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Not Seeing Is Believing June 26, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Self-Development.
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My conscience has been bothering me because I have not been posting on my previous weekly schedule. Well not really my conscience, just that little inner voice that pipes up when I’m not living into my declarations about my life. And this blog relates to the one that in which I declare I am a writer.

OK—that’s said and now I ‘m over it. The reason for the title of this blog is that it became necessary for me to have a second eye surgery to repair my torn/detached retina. I was unpleasantly surprised because I am used to being able to pray, meditate and visualize my way to good health. Hmmmm, what up?, I wondered. Then I decided that there was some very good lesson I needed to learn through this process and I set about learning it.

The first question I asked myself was “What am I not seeing that I need to see?” There was a lot of great stuff to mine from that one. So what follows is what I have seen without the use of my eyes.

Everything happens for a purpose.

All right, I admit this is not a new learning for me. I have long believed that everything does indeed happen for a purpose but I got some extra practice in remaining steadfast in my belief about that. I think in my case it was just time for me to have time to re-evaluate some important aspects of my life. There were a couple of relationships that I wasn’t sure needed to continue. In one case, I concluded that it should and in the other that it was time to let go of the relationship and what it represents in my life. As I was preparing for the first surgery, my friend sent me a quote (he said I said it but it’s much better than what I said) that I think really speaks to this ‘everything for a purpose’ idea.

Things don’t happen to us, they happen for us.

 

It’s ok to be vulnerable and in need as long as you don’t make it a way of life.

Man, I don’t know about you, but it is sometimes hard for me to ask for help. I pride myself on being a non-needy person who only makes requests that are appropriate for the size of the relationship. Suddenly I found myself needing to ask people to drive me places, mow my lawn, listen to my fears about losing my eyesight, and so on and so on. And it’s been my great blessing to have people in my life who were more than willing to offer me the help and reassurance I needed. So I now see even more than I did before that it’s necessary to be able to receive as effortlessly as it is to give.

Sometimes we need a Significant Emotional Event (SEE) to see what’s been right in front of us.

It’s the darndest thing but we human beings are silly animals at times. Instead of learning our lessons in laughter and love, we seem to need to be turned upside down and shaken a bit before we pay attention. That’s my metaphor for a SEE—and it’s no coincidence that the letters spell that word. When we are very upset emotionally about something and we feel as though we are backed up against a wall, it is then (and only then) that we change our perspective. I have changed my opinion about what’s important in my life since I’ve had this SEE. Seeing is important in my life—forget about how well I dance the tango, or if I look terrible without eye makeup or whether I’m keeping up with my writing goals. Nope—seeing is important—both physically and metaphorically. The rest of that stuff matters but its relative importance has changed. Additionally I have had plenty of practice in navigating my mood. It’s been challenging but I know I did the very best I could. Another quote that I have been daily holding in my hot little hand helped with that a lot (once again courtesy of my friend Michael):

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.  Eckhart Tolle

Think about it….

–Amara

 

 

 

 

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Be That May 15, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching.
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I’m recovering from a weekend of tango frenzy and what better way than to come back to earth with a blog post.

I was watching a movie last week –or I should say a segment of a movie. I seldom sit down and watch an entire movie at a time. In the movie, Robin Williams play a psychologist turned convenience store owner. Williams asks the main character if he’s a smoker and the guy replies, “I’m trying to quit.” The psychologist responds with, “You need to figure out if you’re a smoker or a non-smoker. Find out which one you are and be that.”

Ontology

Since I am involved in the study and practice of ontological coaching, that comment is right up my alley. Ontology is the study of being and who you’re being in any given time is something that should be a conscious decision rather than a default position that may or may not further your intentions in life.

So, find out who you are and be that. Great concept. I have a conscious declaration about who I want to be in the world. Do I always manage it? Well, no. But the fact that I have that declaration gives me a road map when it comes to making decisions about how to live my life.

I have a practice before I go to sleep each night (unless I’ve been dancing tango till the wee hours—in that case I just collapse into bed). In this practice I call to mind at least five things about the day that I am grateful for. After that I mentally review the day and see if all of my actions have been in alignment with who I say I am. If yes, then I feel satisfied. If no, I decide to do a better job tomorrow.

What’s the payoff for being conscious?

Why be conscious of who you want to be in the world? By my observation of both myself and others, being in integrity with your values, desires, and mission makes for a more satisfying and value-producing life.

A case in point

Dylan is a young man of 16 whom I have known since he was 9. He probably won’t win scholarships for his academic achievements but Dylan is a world class human being. His declaration about himself is quite obviously to be a loving human being in all circumstances of his life. When you come into Dylan’s presence he greets you with an enormous hug and some sincere appreciation. Dylan fairly emanates love for others and receives it in return. He knows who he is and he is that all the time.

What’s this mean to you?

So who do you say you are? A writer? Then write. A reader? Then read. A tango dancer? Then dance. A liberal, an archconservative, physically fit, overweight, a musician, an emotionally balanced person, a neurotic. Figure out what (or who) you are. Embrace it, get really cozy with it and be that…

–Amara

 

Walking Through the Fire May 1, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations, Uncategorized.
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cccommons by celine nadeauSometimes life gets hard. Sometimes it gets downright overwhelming. I guess we’ve all had times like that. I know I have. It’s something I refer to as ‘walking through the fire.’

Now I’m not talking about minor annoyances like your car not starting, cutting your finger with a knife, or losing a favorite earring. No, I ‘m talking about the REALLY BIG stuff—life changing/threatening stuff. Things like losing a loved one to death, depressions that take away your will to live, battling a serious illness.

Most of us have had these things happen in our lives not once but multiple times. And if you haven’t—well, maybe you could better spend your time reading another post today.

What doesn’t kill you…

I believe that walking through the fire provides us with opportunities—provided we come out on the other side. No, moving through such an event is no fun at all. But to quote Frederich Nietzsche, “What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.” I often say that to clients and I’m not being flip when I say it. I mean it.

My own fire

I have had quite a few fires to walk through in my life. One of the fiercest was when my 38 year old husband got a brain tumor and died within 5 months, leaving me with a 5 year old son to raise. There were times that I thought I was not going to make it through that blaze. However, the fact that I had a young child depending on me and that I was his ‘only game in town,’ made any other choices seem unavailable. Was it fun to go through it? Decidedly not. But now that I have walked through the fire I know that it did make me strong. I believe that there are not many things I cannot handle.

The ‘wounded healer’

Some of the very best people I know have had some mind-boggling fires to walk through in their lives. And as a result, they bring a richness of experience and perspective that is very valuable to me. They bring the certainty that there is purpose and joy in life and that the life they have is definitely worth living. They often display a deep caring of others and a capacity for seeing others as vulnerable just as they were. Could they have gone the other direction and become embittered, pessimistic people? Of course—and there are plenty of those around.

But what sets them (and I hope me) apart is that they have learned from these challenging times and they have moved on.They have made a declaration that while they may be wounded by their difficulties, they will heal and rebound from them. That’s why they are the best people.

You can do this

You may be walking though a fire right now or trying to recover from one. Your ability to declare that you are and will be ok is what will get you through it. Sometimes it’s just one day, one hour, one breath at a time. So even if you have to repeat it like a mantra with each breath, your determination will be what gets your through  And for God’s sake, don’t be afraid to ask for help. (Get it?)

I am not sure why this topic came up today but I was guided to write it. Thus I am sure that I was supposed to write about it for at least one of you out there…

Hang in there—fires burn themselves out…

—Amara

To Compare is To Despair April 27, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations.
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(This is me..wasn’t I cute?)This is me at a dude ranch--not comparing anything.

So hi everyone. I have received tens of emails wondering where my posts have been for the last three weeks. I can only say that it’s been a combination of being a bit overwhelmed with stuff and my internet connection failing for two weeks in a row. But after spending much time with my computer, my router, and my modem,I am one with my electronics  and am back in business.

Were you intrigued by the title of today’s post? To compare is to despair. I learned that phrase from a friend of mine who has been successfully working a 12-step program for many years. One of the major goals of 12-step programs(as I understand it) is to give people the tools to handle their emotional/spiritual pain in a healthy way. And the tendency to compare ourselves (usually unfavorably) to others can cause a whole shit-load of pain.

How’d we start this anyway?

How do we come to this comparing stuff anyway? Experience and observation says that we hear these messages that we’re not quite measuring up to other people from the time we can understand language. “Look how well Susie cleans her plate,” “Tommy is a better batter than you are—you need to try harder,” “Sarah is a straight A student…if you would only apply yourself you could be like her.”

So we get into the habit of comparing ourselves to others as little whippersnappers and we just keep on going. But just because we become “adults” we aren’t suddenly immune to that habit. I recently had someone compare me to another person and find me wanting and didn’t I just buy into it?

Assessments are not true

But when I returned to sanity (a relative construct, to be sure) I realized that when someone compares me to another and finds me lacking he (or she) is simply offering an assessment of me. And my often-repeated mantra about assessments is that none of them are true. So if none are true and I am getting cozy with one that makes me feel like crap, well, maybe, just maybe, I should go with another one that makes me feel good.

If someone offers me the lovely assessment that I am negative and judgmental and acting out of alignment with my spiritual beliefs and thus comparing me with some mythical ‘saint,’ I can swallow it hook, line and sinker and feel awful about myself or I choose to look at it differently. I could instead say that I am doing the very best I can with the tools that I have and the actions I know to do. And that when I can be more loving and less judging I will.

What makes you unique and very cool?

Comparing ourselves to others is appropriate if we’re trying to set a new world record in some endeavor. But most of the time it’s not a productive enterprise. Instead why not try to focus on what it is about you that makes you a unique part of the world? Why not tell yourself that you don’t have to be like everyone else because truly you are not the same as anyone else.

Gifts Differing

Isabel Briggs Myers wrote a book which she called Gifts Differing in which she explored the 16 personality types that she identified as part of her life work—better known as the MBTI. She did not entitle the book Strengths Lacking. I love the point she made by choosing that title. We are all uniquely positioned to make an impact on the world based on the strengths we innately have.

Try this…

List 10 things you love about yourself. Yes, right here, right now.You can do it! And when you’ve finished it, slap those puppies up everywhere and focus on them daily. Revel in the fact you are pretty damn good. No compare, no despair.

‘Nuff said…

–Amara

Don’t Hug a Tree—Hug Me! April 3, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations.
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3314737024_4ea1f1671f_20100719093630_640_480Current wisdom is that hugging is a positive thing. Why? Because most all of us benefit from physical contact with another person. And I’ve always thought hugging is a great  thing. However, something happened this week that has me totally convinced that hugging someone can make a difference.

The theme was ‘connection’ at my Thursday night tango class. (Didn’t I write a post about that last week? Well yes, and here is the link in case you missed it: Are You Connected?) So how very serendipitous that the very same theme popped up at tango class. In tango there are a number of connections that are important: connection with the floor, connection with the music, connection with your partner. This week we were working on the skill of connecting with your partner.

Hugging in the round

Lori asked us to count off by 2’s. All the 1’s (that was me) formed a circle and closed their eyes. The 2’s were asked to stand in front of a 1. The instruction to the 2’s was to give the person in front of them a really good hug. (I rolled my eyes a little at this—that is if you can roll your eyes when they’re closed. Let’s just say I mentally said. “How hokey.”) Lori turned on some restful music and we began the ‘exercise’. The ‘hugger’ circle rotated partners while the ‘huggees’ stayed in place. The upshot was that each person received about 8 hugs. When we had completed our assigned task, the energy in the room had totally changed. Tango students can be pretty intense and serious but at this point every single face had a broad smile on it.  We did it again at the end of the class and changed roles from hugger to huggee  And when class ended we were flying.

Following class was a practica –the opportunity to practice for a few hours. And what a practice it was. The connections that were established by hugging made for great connections on the dance floor. It was a wonderful evening.

What’s the lesson?

So what’s the lesson? Go around hugging everyone all the time? Well, no. There are just some relationships that aren’t big enough or safe enough for that and some places where it would be odd to do that. Like waiting in line at the bank or meeting your child’s teacher for the first (or even second) time or at a job interview (now there’s an image). As I thought back to what made the magic occur at tango class, I came up with the assessment that it resulted from opening the heart.

Open your heart

Opening the heart or letting down your barriers encourages others to be able to do the same thing. I know when I find myself holding back, being remote, shy, or unapproachable (and yes, I am that way at times), my interactions with others are a lot less rewarding. If I wait until I trust another person completely to let down my guard, I may be losing out on a wonderful opportunity to deepen a relationship that will enrich my life.

Trust and positive feelings as a starting point

So what I have decided to do is to focus on having an open heart with others. To think about extroverting the good feelings about him or her that I often keep to myself. And if I don’t really like the person all that much, I ‘m going to focus on dropping my judgments. I’m going to start from a position of trust and see where that might lead me. No, I’m not going to hug everyone in sight but I am going to pretend that I could.

Want to try it? Well,then– GAME ON…

–Amara

Who Are You Being? March 6, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Uncategorized.
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2418629901_0eceaf6e82One of my favorite questions of people I coach is “Who are you being?” (And one of my favorite most-hated questions is “Name 10 things you love about yourself.” However, I’ll save that for another day. )

What are you about?

Why do I love the question ‘Who are you being?” Because it really speaks to what you want to create in the world. And if you’re not conscious of what you’re creating, you are very likely to create a lot of muck and greatly annoy those around you. And since the guiding principle of my coaching is to get effective work done by intentionally building relationships with others, it follows that I’d like to know who you are being (or at least who you think you are being).

Who do you know?

When someone has a consciousness about who they’re being, it shows up in everything they do. Think of some of these people who are in your life. One person who comes to mind for me is Lori, the owner of Sangha Space in Media, PA where I take tango class. Lori is all about creating a tango community that is vibrant and welcoming. She speaks about these goals and her actions point to this commitment. Her energy and her desire to make everyone welcome is constant and when she’s not at the studio, the place is just not the same. Lori’s actions and words are a match and ‘who she is being’ is enriching her life and that of others. She is acting into a strong declaration about the purpose of her life.

You can be a whole bunch of you’s

Who are you being? There is no one answer to that question, of course. Sometimes I am being supportive, kind, and  loving. Other times I am being judgmental, impatient, and selfish. And I am ok with either end of the spectrum. However, I do have a declaration about who I want to be and judgmental, impatient, and selfish is not part of that declaration. So the trick is to constantly rely on my Observer—that element of myself that can step outside , take a look at how/what I am doing, and allow me to self-correct when I am not acting in integrity with my declarations about who I want to be.

Try this

This week figure out what you’d like to do more of in order to act in alignment with who you want to be. Kinder? More hard-working? Better organized? A friend to all? A setter of boundaries? You decide. Just decide. And then when someone asks you that annoying question about who you are being, you’ll have an answer.

–Amara

Ready, Set, Change! January 9, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Self-Development.
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organic light by xalamay (busy)

Last week’s post was about starting a new year, not with resolutions but with the setting of intentions. After I posted   it, my friend Karen sent me a post by Chris Brogan (the king of bloggers) on a similar topic. After I read Chris’ post entitled “My 3 Words for 2011”, I added another word to the two keywords that I had already selected. My previously stated keywords were Expansiveness and Service. After reading Chris’ post I have added Creativity to my list since I realized that a year without focusing on creativity would be a bleak year indeed. Take a peek at his post and see what you’re inspired to do.

Segue!!

Now a smooth segue into the topic for today…new beginnings. (See how I did that?) It’s related to last week’s topic but I’m writing it because my friend is starting a new endeavor tomorrow and I’ve been thinking about what that might mean to him as well as to those of you who read this blog. (Of course he probably won’t see one new thing in this meaningful and well-crafted nugget since he has been listening to me for quite some time but I hope you will.)

Let’s hear it for new beginnings…

New beginnings are yummy—like a brand new year, like a new boyfriend, like a new quilting project, like becoming a grandparent. You have the great opportunity to do something different and better and perhaps even to atone for the things that didn’t previously go so well. Beginnings can be scary too but most of us are smart enough to just push through the fear and get on with it.

I’m thinking back to some of the significant beginnings I’ve had in my life. Was I intentional as I embarked on the new experience? Probably not. I like to think that I am now a bit more conscious about what I want to produce than I used to be. It is, after all, my story and I’m sticking to it…

What you might consider

So if I were starting a new job tomorrow (as an example), what would I be considering? Here’s a short and thus not exhaustive list:

  • Who I want to be (the eternal ontological coaching question) Embedded in this question is some awareness of what I bring that is unique or special. What are my talents and skills that can add value in the new situation? What values do I believe it necessary to embody no matter how fabulous or not-so-fabulous the situation is? What is my promise to the world—or at least the part of the world that I inhabit?
  • What mistakes or missteps I made in the past that produced results that I didn’t value. Sometimes it’s possible to identify these without knowing how we could have done any better. Not to worry. That’s where my oft repeated mantra of INTENTION comes into play. I may not know how to be better but if I have a pretty clear picture of what I’m going for, I can use that as my North Star. From that picture, actions will either be ruled out or suggested based on my stated intention.
  • What value I want to produce for myself in the proposition. Make no mistake–unless you are producing value for yourself in addition to producing value for others—you won’t be having fun. And really, why the heck do anything if you’re not having fun? Especially if that ‘anything’ happens to be a job that takes up 40-60 hours a week of your time.

Now you try

How about you start something new?  Do something different. Start small if you really, really hate change. Today when I pulled into the Borders parking lot I made the heroic decision to park in a different section of the parking lot than I have been parking in for the last 10 years or so…Gutsy—maybe not. But it reminds me that I am about making changes, big and small. Changes, that is, that are productive and fun…

Wanna try?

–Amara

A New Year—What Are You Going To Do With It? January 2, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations.
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heartbyviamoicreativecommons

Welcome to 2011…If you’re like me you’ll spend the first 30 days or so of the year making sure that you don’t write ‘2010’ on your checks or other important documents. But before you know it you’ll really get the hang of living into a new year.

A new year—a new beginning—if you choose. I like new beginnings. They give me a chance to clear the slate of the stuff that didn’t work so well in the last year while providing a chance to embark on something new. That’s called HOPE and we all need that. I always say you can never be too rich or too hopeful—ok, I know that’s not exactly the original but it fits, right?

This is the time of year that people engage in the practice of NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS. I am not a fan of new year’s resolutions, mainly because they have the stigma of being vacant dreams or promises to oneself.

  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Exercise at least 4 times a week
  • Get a better paying job
  • End the toxic relationship
  • Be a better person

Any of these look familiar? I have written many a new year’s resolution list only to look back at it at the beginning of the following year with dismay. Have you done that once or twice? So my solution is simple. Stop making resolutions.

Ok, before you get too disillusioned let me go on to explain. (How can any self-respecting life coach not set goals?) Instead of making resolutions I define my intentions for the year. Intentions are a bit different than resolutions. For me they often answer the question: Who do I want to be in 2011? In setting intentions I am charting a direction in which I intend to go. And out of that direction, actions present themselves as appropriate.

Along with two of my wonderful writing friends, Karen and Rachel, I am engaging in a goal setting process for 2011. We each approach this using our own preferred styles. One of the things that we are doing is selecting a keyword or two for the upcoming year. The purpose of the keyword is to suggest possible actions for the upcoming year.  My keywords for 2011 are expansiveness and service. I’ve chosen these words because they seem to get to the heart of who I want to be in 2011. Using these two words as a guide I can make plans (not resolutions, mind you) to act into my stated intentions for the year.

If you are very linear you may not be attracted to this approach. However, if you’ve make dozens of unfulfilled resolutions over the years maybe you’ll find more satisfaction in this process.

Whatever you decide to do, how about you intend to have a productive, fulfilling and joyful 2011?

–Amara

The Blame Game—Just Say No November 13, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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scene of the crime 003 So here I am– good and ready to write the next installment of my musings about blame and how to get over it. Thank you to those of you who have emailed and spoken to me about the issue. It seems that there are very few of us who are immune to this lovely habit. I also learned quite a lot about blame and how others view it in the session that I recently had with a group of managers. I told my story which seemed to ignite their interest and we used it as a jumping off point for talking about blame and how to substitute something different. (Or was it that they just like to see their coach in the hot seat for a change?  Hmmmm)

If you read my last post you know that I was in quite a snit about my next door neighbors cutting down a beautiful old oak tree that was in the front of our houses. If you haven’t read it and you’d like to, here’s the link : Blame,Shame and Other Delights.  I was angry and immediately started blaming them for their actions. However, I am somewhat addicted to being happy—or at the very least feeling peaceful—and this agitated state was very disturbing to me. So I had a strong declaration that I needed to move into a different mood, pronto. Well, at least as pronto as I could. And I am happy to say that I have done that. But it took something to get there.

I did it—sort of

So how did I do it? Through superhuman and amazingly inspired action—well, not really SUPER human. But I dug through my spiritual tool kit and pulled out some super-duper tools to assist me. First I went to my favorite standby, Byron Katie. I have referred to her work in previous posts. Katie says that when you fail to accept what is, you make yourself miserable. Here’s a quote from a small blue book I received at one of her workshops.

I have simply stopped arguing with reality. How do I know the wind should blow? It’s blowing. How do I know this is the highest order? It’s happening. Arguing with WHAT IS is like teaching a cat to bark. Hopeless. I know that reality is good just as it is, because when I argue with it, I experience tension and frustration. It doesn’t feel natural or balanced. When I recognize this fact, action becomes clear, kind, fearless, simple, fluid and effortless.

So in my case, I stopped railing against the lost tree. How do I know the tree should be gone? It’s gone.

Took my own advice

In addition to applying Katie’s work, I also chose to see that for my neighbors the decision to cut down the tree made perfect sense. I found a quote from a letter I wrote about a year ago to one of my fortunate coaching clients.  Here’s the relevant part:

Everyone is reasonable; we just don’t always understand what the reason is. This works for me when I get caught up in my judgments about the seemingly incomprehensible behavior of another person. When you find yourself shaking your head about someone’s (or a group’s) stupidity, just assure yourself that the behavior makes perfect sense to them in their particular world. Having a sense of curiosity about what why it makes sense to them seems more productive to me that getting twisted about the fact that they don’t see the world as you do.

Great advice, if I do say so myself. I just had to start taking it, and I did.

Innocent as a baby

In addition there’s another way of thinking about people you want to blame. And that is to see them as completely innocent. They are doing what they did from a place of taking care of their lives—often a place of fear. To paraphrase A Course in Miracles, there are only two emotions, fear and love. When you are not seeing love, you are seeing fear. I began to see that my neighbors were fearful that the tree would fall on their house or their car, causing damage. When I focused on the fact that they were taking care of their fears, it became easier for me to let it go.

Before you pronounce me Mother Theresa 2, let me tell you that I still have my moments. I’m human. However, I am committed to being a better human each day.

Are you in?

—Amara

Working to Deadline October 10, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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a nod to marye2

For the last week and a half I have been working to fulfill a deadline. And if there is anything I have learned about myself it’s that I make my deadlines. That completion may come at the 11th hour but I do get there because I hate to miss deadlines.

This particular deadline is for a quilt that I am entering in my guild’s big biennial quilt show. Our registration forms had to be turned in at the August meeting but the quilt did not have to be completed at that time. In August I had finished piecing the top so I could take a picture of it to submit with my entry. However, the quilting had yet to be completed. In the past I have hired a longarm quilter to do this for me because I find quilting on a regular sewing machine to be a major pain in the  ****. However, since I purchased a longarm quilting machine in June, I of course elected to do the quilting myself.

Through a confluence of delaying events which include lower back problems, pieces falling out of my longarm machine and utter fear that I would screw it up, I found myself having to complete the quilt in a few days’ time. Last Monday I had a week and a day to get it done. Then my machine began to regurgitate crucial parts. I remained calm but whiny and got the darn thing back together again with the help of a very patient technician in Missouri.(Bless you, Aubrey.) Bottom line: the quilt is now less than one hour from being completed. See the lovely picture above.

Since quilting  and hand sewing are fairly repetitive it gives one time to reflect. So I reflected a little on deadlines. I often think that if I didn’t have them—or set them for myself—I’d never get a darn thing done. I think I’d be a lazy lout if not for deadlines—but then of course I reflect on who is setting the deadlines. That would be the overly ambitious (at times) but definitely not lazy me.

One thing about life on a deadline is that it really helps to sort out one’s priorities. In the last week and a half I have found it quite easy to say no to requests, to schedule the time I needed to finish the quilt, to cut out unnecessary dawdling. That’s been pretty cool. So cool, in fact that I am going to bring that practice forward to my non-deadline life. (Yes, that’s a very public declaration!)

My way-cool coach Jen Louden calls those things time monsters. And monsters they are. Here are some of my time monsters:

  • surfing the internet for no good reason
  • playing with fabric in my sewing studio
  • watching NCIS re-runs that I could recite from memory because I have seen them so often
  • re-writing stuff that is probably just fine
  • shopping

While I may not stop doing the things that I know are time-wasters (I love NCIS), I can at least make more conscious decisions about where I choose to spend my time. Emphasis on choose. We all make choices—that includes you, dear reader. If your choices are not getting you where you want to be then guess what. You can choose again.

Maybe you’ll get a quilt done ahead of deadline. Maybe I will too someday. Anything is possible.

—Amara