Don’t Look Down

Don’t you find that no one looks up anymore? This is from my early posts. As you enjoy the tail end of summer, remember to look up and notice who and what is around you.

I was in the grocery store recently with a large number of grocery items. Normally, I’m asked if I found everything okay and how my day is going. Sometimes I get to know the cashier a little better, so that I know that this one is the youngest of six and that one is wearing shorts in the middle of winter because he hasn’t had time to do laundry.

But this time, the cashier didn’t look up. I wouldn’t have minded if he was just intently focused on my grocery items, but instead he was having a very animated conversation with the guy bagging. He and the bagger were shouting loudly at each other about music, something I’m interested in, but they never once bothered to look at me. Even when I started bagging, they kept on arguing about music. (The one thing they could agree on was that nobody should ever do Beatles covers, because they can never do them justice.) The entire time they engaged each other.  They never once looked at me.

I surprised myself when I decided to speak up with, “Do you realize that you haven’t looked at or talked to me the entire 15 minutes I’ve been here?”

The guy ringing me up replied, “You could have jumped in.”

“But you didn’t even look at me,” I said shyly, as though I were fighting with a boyfriend and not a cashier I had just met. “It makes me feel invisible.”

The cashier and bagger were embarrassed and hustled me out of the store as quickly as possible. They had no idea what I was talking about, because they are part of the “Look Down” generation. The only reason they weren’t texting was that I’m sure it’s not allowed when you’re bagging.

One of the most important things for all of us to remember is that we need to notice each other. We need to look up. But we don’t anymore.

If you want to find your world stage, a first step is to notice others, so that you and they can feel part of the world. You can’t be on a world stage (or whatever that means to your life) and not acknowledge the people around you.

Here is my favorite spoken word poem, called “Look Up.”

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Drop the Ball

This week I was so busy cleaning out the attic, which was necessary to let the roofers in for repairs, that I forgot– for the first time since I started the blog over two years ago– to write a post. At first, I got mad at myself for forgetting, since I had made a commitment to be consistent and write every weekend. But then, I realized that this was an opportunity to share with you what I learned. Sometimes it’s good to drop the ball, to remind ourselves that we’re not perfect, or to realize that we were trying to carry too many balls in the first place. I see so many of my clients beat themselves up for not being perfect, that I have to remind them that the goal isn’t to plow through everything on their to do list perfectly. The goal is to enjoy their lives. If they drop a ball, or two, or three in the process, so be it.

What I will say is that cleaning out the attic became quite absorbing and cathartic. Since my kids are at sleep-away camp, it’s been possible to really focus on one task and not get interrupted. I realized how often I, and many others, are constantly getting interrupted and don’t have the gift of uninterrupted focus. I learned how efficient I can be when I’m just doing one thing and how satisfying it is. I got to read old love letters (!) and diary entries, and found things that I hadn’t remembered, like the note from the mean theatre girl who apologized for not being very nice while we were at Yale. Or the recommendations that people had written me, which were much more complimentary than I had remembered, and some old exams that I did well in and had forgotten about. I may have a strong memory, but it isn’t perfect (there is that word again!), and this experience reminded me of how lucky I’ve been in my life. Not everything turned out perfectly (there were also break-up notes from various boys in there), but I have been very fortunate nonetheless and have a lot to be grateful for.

To find your world stage, give yourself the gift of focus as much as possible, so that you can do meaningful tasks, whether they are work or chores or even just for fun. And if you have old boxes with memories, sometimes going through them is a huge ego boost. I came away feeling happy and proud and beautiful, something we all should feel.

 

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For Those Who are Waiting

I am continuing with sharing my earliest posts. This one is just as true now as it was 2 1/2 years ago. For the past few months, I have been taking time off from Facebook and feeling better than ever, because I don’t get caught in the comparison trap. I don’t have to read the political rants, and I don’t have to listen to endless bragging. The fact is, if someone wants to be in touch with you, then they will be. But it’s a tough pill to swallow when you find a good friend was in town and didn’t bother to call, or a friend who has been “too busy” to be in touch, has been having lots of fun spending time with other people. Taking a break from social media has been liberating and I highly recommend it.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer, in whatever way makes you happy!

If you want to find out what makes you come alive, sometimes the first step is to notice what makes you feel deflated, angry, sad, defeated.  How many people can honestly say that 20 minutes on Facebook makes them feel better about themselves, passionate, ready to write that novel, create that business?  I remember reading once a few years back that there had been a study about phone booth etiquette (when phone booths still existed), and that when the callers knew that others were waiting to use the phone, they took longer to finish their calls, I’m guessing because there is some perverse joy in making others wait.

Isn’t that the same with social media?  I wonder if the thrill in bragging lies in knowing that others are waiting for what you have in your life to happen in their own lives.  I have a client whose grad school friends would post what jobs they got, knowing that many others were still looking.  Other people post picture after picture of their big wedding day, knowing that many others hadn’t been invited. Do we really want to be that person who posts how blessed she is because her child got into all 8 Ivies and is having a hard time choosing?

For those of us who are waiting for the dream to come to fruition, whether it’s work that fills your soul, or a new relationship, or a child to come into our lives, remember that it’s the unfolding that is beautiful.  And social media, with its bragging and snarkiness, stomps on the part of us that is becoming something new, just like pulling up bulbs in the winter before the flower has had time to bloom.

Trust in the process of unfolding. And don’t let anyone pull at your roots until you’re ready to blossom.

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Two More Summer Questions

I’m going to keep this short so that you all can get back to the beach, the lake, or whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed. I just emailed a friend, asking if he was having a relaxing summer. His answer: “Who has time to relax? I’ve been performing music and then I traveled through Chile.” So for those of you who are not heading to the beach but rather to some interesting place, these questions are still for you. For those of you with a little more time on your hands, this may be the perfect time to take stock of your health and well-being. My husband and I just bought a juicer and I’ve been working with a raw vegan diet to see if I can clear up a nagging health issue. So far I’m feeling better and healthier. What are some steps you could take in the next six weeks before the pace of fall picks up?

Here are my new summer questions. Email me your thoughts (even if you look and feel great!) at melinda@worldstagecoaching.com to be entered into a drawing for a month of free coaching.

Do you like how you feel?

Do you like how you look?

If you do, that’s great. If you don’t, what are some tiny steps you could take today that could shift that?

May this next week be full of sunshine and adventure!

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What Is Your World Stage?

Given that I have a lot of new readers who have subscribed in the past six months, I have decided to post my earliest posts every other week and then post something new in alternating weeks, so that readers can access that earlier material easier. This was my first post from 2 1/2 years ago and my son is the boy on the right. Wishing you all a joyful summer–

Melinda

So often we think we don’t know what we love to do because we’re so focused on pleasing other people.  All you have to do is notice when you’re happy, when you’re so filled with joy that you feel unstoppable.  This picture was taken from an Indian dance at my son’s school.  The boys did a break out solo at one point and the joy they felt was palpable, and so inspiring.

We don’t need more books, more school, more people telling us who we should be. We need to remember that we already know.  Just look at children and they know.

May you go out into the world and find the dance that brings you joy.

What is your world stage?  What will make you come most alive?

Go do that.

 

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Two Questions for Summer

Since I hope you’re on a beach or by a lake somewhere, I want to keep this week’s post short. I have two questions:

  1. Do you feel supported and inspired by the people you spend the most time with? We are the average of the people we spend the most time with, so whomever we spend time with matters. If you have great people around you who lift you up, then you are fortunate indeed. If you don’t, then now is the time to make changes.
  2. Do you love the work you do? Work should allow you to use your greatest gifts and make a difference. When you’re doing what you love, you’re in the flow and feel like you lose track of time. You enjoy what you do so much that you could do it for free. If you’re not experiencing this, summer is a great time to reflect on what you could do that would excite you.

Happy July from World Stage Coaching!

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Summer Quiz Pt 1

Since summer is a time to slow down, relax, and have fun, I like to have summer quizzes off and on during the summer instead of writing full blog posts every week.

The first 5 readers to answer these 3 questions and email them to me at melinda@worldstagecoaching.com, get a free coaching session.

Here are the 3 questions:

  1. What is your favorite summer memory? 
  2. Where do you like to travel to each summer?
  3. What is the summer fruit you like the best?

That’s it– just 3 quick answers sent to me, and the first 5 respondents (who are not clients or family members) get a free coaching session.

For me, my favorite summer memories have been camping each summer with my daughter at her girls’ camp. It’s a 48 hour sprint through the woods, but after seven years, it has been one of the most special things we have done. My favorite place to visit growing up was a family camp in the Sierras in California. Now it’s going to Maine and New Hampshire to see family. My favorite fruits: watermelon and blueberries are tied 🙂

Have a great week and make sure you do what delights you!

Wishing you sunshine and fun from World Stage Coaching.

 

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Happy July 4th!

In a few days, I will be gathering with my parents and my husband and kids and my sister and her family to celebrate two important things: July 4th and my dad’s 80th birthday on July 6th. We will be in Maine, attending the small town parades, and there will be a lot of veterans marching and children waving flags. Last July 4th was the first Independence Day since President Trump had been elected, and my husband and I were so appalled by the damage being done, to foreign policy and the environment among other things, that we happily ignored the holiday. It also helped that we were traveling in Portugal at the time and could distance our family from the usual celebrations.

But this year is different because July 4th is important to my parents. Both my husband and my maternal grandfathers fought in World War II. My husband’s grandfather, whom I never got to meet, was a prisoner of war in Japan and went through severe suffering. Most Americans have family members who have fought to preserve our freedom, and many have soldiers out there today, sacrificing their lives and keeping us safe. It’s easy to get blasé and think that celebrating doesn’t matter, but it does. Even though I don’t agree with most of what this current administration does, I do believe in the flag and what it symbolizes. I remember that there have been times in United States history and in world history as well, when a leader has been destructive. But the earth keeps spinning and humans realize that this too shall pass.

No matter what country you are from, remember that your flag symbolizes what your country stands for. I am grateful that a bunch of rag tag colonists took on Great Britain, and, against all odds, won. I am grateful that our country finally realized that slavery was wrong and worked to abolish it. I am grateful that labor laws were created to protect women and children from being abused as cheap labor. I am grateful that people are finally waking up to the importance of #Black Lives Matter and #Me Too. I do believe that having a destructive president is forcing people to remember that our flag and our freedom and our democracy cannot be taken for granted ever.

In honor of all those who have fought, whether those brave colonists fighting with pitchforks if that is all they had, or abolitionists who helped redefine what was right, or women fighting for the right to vote, or blacks fighting for the right to be treated equally, I salute all of those who have fought for what matters. It may be a disheartening time right now, but we shall overcome this too.

And in honor of my dad, who almost 80 years ago came into this world in Portland, Oregon on a very hot July day with no air conditioning to a mother who had planned to have a few more children after him but stopped because he was so stubborn, Happy Birthday, Dad! The world would be a better place if everyone were like you– kind, fair, courageous, hard-working, honest, funny, athletic, great with kids and grandkids, and a great Canasta player, golfer and singer.

This summer, go find that world stage. And if you are an American, happy July 4th!

 

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Happiness is… Summer!

May this summer be filled with sunshine, adventure, family, and all good things!

Stay tuned for my summer drawings for free coaching. In the meantime, click on the title and post whether you are a beach person or a lake person, and you can win a free session.

Happy Summer from World Stage Coaching!

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Love Is All

Usually on Mother’s Day, our kids make cards for me and we do something special. But as my grandmother used to say to my father when he was little, “If you’re not going to be nice to me every day, then don’t bother with Mother’s Day.” I do feel that the overpriced brunches and corsages are a little much and not what women want. We want appreciation, and someone else to do the dishes and clean the bathrooms.

Somehow on Father’s Day, which is today, we tend to let things slide. Since it’s part of the mad-dash of year-end activities, the day often gets short shrift. This year we’re not really celebrating today because my daughter is on a school trip in Spain and my son is writing as much as he can for a musical he’s submitting to his school tomorrow for consideration for next year’s theatre season. Since I’m writing the music with him, that’s what I’m doing today, as well as sexy things like returning something that’s broken to Amazon, and contacting the doctor to fill out medical forms, and going through piles of papers. Since the laundry is overflowing, my husband is doing load after load even though it’s supposed to be his special day. This is why I love my husband. He’s not sitting around glued to the television, wondering when his snacks and beers are going to be delivered. He’s scrambling around trying to help us so that everything gets done. Given how much he’s been traveling lately, it is amazing to not only around have him around, but to have him do chores so that I can keep my sanity.

Here’s what I have to say to any of my female readers: the guy you want to marry should be the guy you’re attracted to and best friends with and someone who makes you laugh. But he should also be the one who does laundry on Father’s Day and is as happy to mow the lawn as he is to cook a Julia Child’s meal. The guy who knows how to craft the perfect email when there is a problem, whether with a teacher or a workman. The guy who can comfort a crying baby and intervene with a moody teenager.

Recently, I had my first professional singing gig in 12 years, and it was a huge success– standing room only and such tremendous applause, that I wish I could have bottled it. My parents got to be there, which is special since they live 3,000 miles away. And my son got to hear me for the first time in his memory. (My daughter will have to see me next time since she was still in Spain.) A lot of the audience said that their favorite song was one of the originals I played, called Billy and Me, which is a love song I wrote for my husband when we were first married. Twenty five years later, it still applies, and in fact more so. There is nothing sexier than a guy who is a great dad and who really supports his wife so that she can be a happy person.  Here are the lyrics to the chorus:

Love is all I know/Take me wherever you go

Love is all I see/Cause you take in all of me

So in honor of all the wonderful men out there who are great dads, here’s to you. A big part of finding your world stage, is being that person who allows others to claim their world stage as well, both children finding their way and wives needing the space to reclaim theirs.

HPIM2501_1.jpgThis is our family 12 years ago, right after I had stopped performing, since I was focusing on these guys.