Lyn Gives Ellen DeGeneres A Run For Her Money!

spool headerI’m extending a standing ovation to Mary Miller of Spoollhardy Girl – a blogger who has documented her reinvention journey from empty nester to creator of oustanding quilted blankets.
Mary is a no nonsense Midwesterner who questioned the legitimacy of my “life coaching” when she first observed me shadowing a client last year at a sewing summit.
I don’t mind being questioned in this manner. There is merit in examining some of the practices used under the guise of “life coaching.” But, that’s the subject of a different blog.
Fast forward to today, and it is Mary’s humor and candor that has caught my eye now. I just read through two of her most recent post and I laughed out loud several times. Then I realized something about Mary: She’s a Bad Ass!

That’s what we call people who understand and then live in alignment with the following SoulSalt concepts:
A personal code of conduct – A.K.A. Be True
A personal set of strengths – A.K.A Be Strong
A personal system for managing focus – A.K.A. Be Focused.

Enjoy’s Mary’s style and honesty….Mary you’re on:

Be True. Be Strong. Be Focused. (Find Your Lula Recap Part II)

What are your core values? Do you know? Take a minute to think about it. Can you pick three words out of all the words in your language that sum up who you are? It’s not easy is it? Especially if you haven’t ever thought about it.  I hadn’t.

On day two of Lula we were introduced to Lyn Christian. Lyn was also at Sewing Summit with Amanda Herring last year. She stayed mostly in the back, videotaping Amanda’s talk. Amanda introduced her as her “life coach.” I have to be honest. I thought the term life coach was a little weird. Maybe it’s my no nonsense Midwestern upbringing. Maybe it was simply my own prejudices, but I didn’t really understand why a life would need coaching. I am pretty much a “just muddle through” kind of gal. Having somebody to coach one through one’s day seemed, well, self-indulgent.

When I woke up the morning of day two. I reminded myself of something I’d jotted down in my smash book in the midst of my near panic attack (thank you, Richard Nixon) the night before:

I knew there could be no room for my pre-conceived notions this day. I needed to stay open to everything that was given to me and assess later whether or not it was something I could use. To do anything else would mean that I was wasting everybody’s time especially my own.

The first thing we did that morning was some alignment exercises with Lyn’s partner, Susan McLaughlin. She showed us some really fantastic things that we can do on a daily basis to keep our bodies aligned. Proper alignment can help reduce inflammation in our joints and also reduces fatigue so we can work better, longer. I was stunned by the immediate results just a few short exercises produced. She also had us do a breathing exercise which felt like what I’ve imagined meditation to be like. I really liked how calm and focused this made me feel. I mean, really? Any chance to lie down on the floor and listen to my breathing, I’m in!

Now that we were all aligned and focused, we began working with Lyn. I’m not sure I have the vocabulary to describe Lyn in a way that will do her justice, and I didn’t take a single picture of her because from the moment she started talking, I was completely honed in on her message. This is no New Age, Kumbaya singing, false guru (did I mention I might have some pre-conceived notions?). This is a serious, accomplished business woman who has helped some really big hitters in the business world as well as the art world accomplish their goals in both their personal and their business lives. Chops, people. Lyn has chops. She is one of those rare people, you meet who are so comfortable in their own skin they exude a quiet confidence that makes you want to raise your game; to just be better. She also has a personal style that is so cool and so her very own and so uncontrived that, well, let’s just say Ellen Degeneres is jealous.

We began by going through stacks of cards with words on them finally narrowing them down to three words that were our top three values. Mine are Love, Gratitude, and Equilibrium.  Whenever we are faced with decisions that need to be made in our personal or our business life, we need to see if what we are being asked to do aligns with these core values. This exercise really helped me to recognize some very basic things that are so easy to lose sight of. I realized later that I had de-cluttered my inner workspace, just as I do in my sewing room before I start a new project, and I felt just as refreshed and ready to work after this inner de-cluttering as I do then.

Love: Nothing is possible without it.

Gratitude: An elixir, without which life is poisoned.

Equilibrium: Necessary for good function.

Our next session Lyn brought us through some very specific, solid things we can do to make our lives function better.  I have printed out my Today/Not Today and my “This Week/ Not This Week” sheets and have filled them in with sticky notes containing all the things I must accomplish if not today, then soon. This includes everything from the mundane (laundry) to the fun stuff (work on Illustrator) She talked to us about personal integrity; if you tell yourself you’re going to do something, you need to do it. This is something I have always struggled with. I’m pretty good at doing things I tell other people I will do, but I am always happy to give myself a pass on the things I tell myself I’m going to do. Lyn calls that “shoulding on yourself.” Hehehe get? “shoulding?” Get it?

I think the biggest realization I had after two days of listening to Lyn is that being a “just muddle through” kind of gal wasn’t really working for me. I was wasting too much time, giving myself too many free passes, and making excuses for why I wasn’t where I wanted to be creatively. Integrity is really important to me, and I was letting myself down in that area, big time.

So, I highly recommend taking a minute to contemplate what your core values are and ask yourself if you are living by them. It does a body good! And if you want to know more about the incredible Lyn Christian and her coaching company, Soul Salt (coolest name ever, don’t you think?), you can find her HERE and HERE and HERE! It’s all great information and it’s all free.

And one last word on Find Your Lula 2013, and then this will morph back into a quilting blog. I hope that I have painted an adequate picture of just how special this retreat was. People use the phrase “life changing” all the time and it annoys the heck out of me………..(wait for it)………….BUT. But Lula really has changed the game for me. Amanda told us she would help us find our wings and she did. She really, truly did. There are going to be more Lula retreats in the future and I hope if you’re reading this you will consider attending one. Amanda is a natural connector, and she has a magical way of connecting with people and then connecting them with others, strengthening everyone in the process. I am honored to call her my friend.

Stop Feeding Pessimism and Shame and Start Accepting Attachment

We are bonding animals wired for love. This drive in us is more powerful than sex and aggression. As humans we are wired toward attunement and responsiveness.”  Dr. Su Johnson, June 2012 at the Easlan Institute

Like many of you, life has found me seeking over and over for something seemingly elusive within the world of love and romance. I’ve experienced a hunger for strong, emotional bonding. I’ve longed for undaunted, genuine attachment with a single, significant other. The bits and morsels I’ve enjoyed of strong, consistent healthy connection have been few and miles and miles apart.

Sadly, I’m not alone. This repetitive pattern speaks loudly about what we are NOT taught and what we in general do NOT learn as a species through parenting and educational programs. We must gain the most valuable pieces of relating information through the lab of our own lives. So, on I went.

Persisting on the quest for getting my emotional needs met found me divorced and studying Melody Beattie’s recovery work, which introduced me to the term “codependency”. Grabbing onto her bestselling lifelines I practiced setting the anchors of “self-care” and “boundary work”. Gratefully these tools improved my relationship with self. They gave me a stronger foundation for all relationship to live upon. Yet, gripping too hard to the handle bars of personal growth while pedaling away from codependency left me still wanting to fully metabolize a nagging, deeply rooted desire for intimacy.

Undaunted and gaining strength, I drove through intellectual discourses on healthy interaction. I encountered the likes of Stephen R. Covey and his 7-Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey added many useful layers to my advancement through sharing the concepts of:

Synergy -cooperation, trust building action and communication bent on finding respectful win/win situations. Win/win meaning both parties come out with things they need and want. As a formula, synergy looks something like 1 + 1 = 3, 8, 12 or any number > than 2.

Interdependence – a means by which both participants are emotionally, economically, ecologically and/or morally reliant and responsible for self first and then for each other.

I applied these principles logically and practically. The quality of my relationships improved. My satisfaction with life increased. Yet, once again a big corner of my heart kept waking up at 1:00 a.m. crying out for comfort. It wanted intense compassion, empathy and deep emotional bonding.

Eventually I evolved enough to step into a beautiful, strong and stable relationship with a partner equally prepared for our union. Undoubtedly it has been the quality of what I’ve said “no” to in past and what I currently say “yes” to in this relationship that has given me a new sort of courage – a courage that now speaks out loud:

I am ready to be seen, honored, adored, trusted, respected. I need to be held safe within your arms. I want to be ever close to the noble heart that beats within your breast.

Yet even in the bliss of a wonderful partnership, one dim and unproductive misunderstanding triggered up the demons from my past and tripped me up. I said something unkind. She withdrew. Her withdrawal triggered my self-defeating, wounded mantra to spin and blare on the turntable of my mind:

SEE! I am defective. I can never get the love I so desire. I feel like f^@king running away and giving up. 

An ancient and familiar backwash of shame poured over my emotional wiring. I didn’t run away. I calmed myself down (I have tools and I use them), retreated to the computer and started to fight back my demons.

I don’t remember the “key word” plugged into the search that night. All I remember from the blur of emotion and lack of sleep is that I found IT! I found confirmation that my intense emotional desire was truly a blessed and natural “need” and that there were smart and capable people out there studying and bringing scientific research forward to prove the point. They call this dynamic Attachment Theory.

The origins of Attachment Theory are attributed to John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. However, it wasn’t Bowlby and Ainsworth who captured my attention.

Studying human relationship and attachment as a child growing up in the lab of life known as her parent’s pub, Dr. Su Johnson caught my focus.  I found her words inspiring and hopeful. I watched these two clips:

When Hold Me Tight arrived I started reading it. And when I came upon this comment, the part of me once flooded with shame about wanting and needing forever stopped being flooded. Instead a new layer of embracing that a need for love is full of “rightness” and “goodness” and a sign of health.

This drive to emotionally attach – to find someone to whom we can turn and say “HOLD ME TIGHT” – is wired into our genes and our bodies. It is as basic to life, health, and happiness as the drives for food, shelter, or sex. We need emotional attachments with a few irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy – to survive.

I put down the book, asked my partner to join me at the next workshop. She agreed and I purchased two plane tickets and tuition to a live encounter with Dr. Su Johnson at the Easlan Institute in California.

I could go on and on about what I’ve learned from her. I think it wiser to leave you with a fist full of sound bites gleaned from Su during the workshop. And encouragement that if what you’ve read here was useful and hopeful to you, find out more about Dr. Su Johnson’s work immediately.

  • Connection is a need and this need is actually a strength.
  • We deal with stress better when we are courageous. And we have more courage when we have someone there for us.
  • Secure couples can reach out and be sure of one another. This sort of touch says, “You are important to me.”
  • Our most important work is to learn how to connect.
  • Love is an ancient, ancient survival system attached to our sense of safety.
  • We are designed for close connection. We grow and thrive when we are emotionally connected.
  • In order to be healthy and strong, you must also be aware of your need for attachment.
  • We are bonding animals wired for love. This drive in us is more powerful than sex and aggression. As humans we are wired toward attunement and responsiveness.

– Dr. Su Johnson, June 2012 at the Easlan Institute

Dr. Su Johnson, and myself at the Easlan Institute, June 2012