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Intention Instead of Resolution January 1, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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Well, it’s 2013—another brand spanking new year. If you’ve read my blog in the past you know that I’m not too taken with new year’s resolutions. However I am very big on intention which is a kinder, gentler kissin’ cousin to resolution. And for me intentions have a lot more juice. Resolutions beg to be broken and then you get to feel guilty about having broken them. And if you foolishly made a list of your resolutions in the past don’t, I repeat don’t, be tempted to go back and look at the list to see how you did. It will only make you feel bad because chances are you did not fulfill them. And if you did achieve them–big congratulations—you are a unique person.

There is a saying that I quote each year on this day. It says that what you spend time thinking about or doing on New Year’s Day will be what you will do or think about for the entire year. With that in mind, I am planning on having a conscious day so that I can have the kind of year I intend to have—not the one that just happens to me. (Of course if you choose not to believe that then do whatever today. Me, I’m covering all my bases.)

So what am I going to do today?

1. Cook pork and sauerkraut for my family. I want to cook good food (and before you say it—yes pork and sauerkraut is good comfort food and good luck on New Year’s Day according to the local folklore here in Pennsylvania Dutch Land) and spend good times with my family this year.

2. Going to see my friend Mary who has been having some health challenges this year. I value friendships and want to continue to deepen the relationships I have and develop some new ones.

3. Post this blog entry. I neglected my writing in 2012. My intention is to write more this year.

4. Play tango music. Well, I want to dance the tango all year of course—often and well.

5. Meditate. One can never go wrong in spending time going inward. There’s much to be learned and gained by focusing on Source/Spirit/God. (you pick your favorite term—samey same—another Pennsylvania Dutch saying)

6. Keep my mood in a very good place. 2012 was a year of ups and downs for me mood wise as it was for a lot of people I know and/or coach. So I am intending a year of productive moods—even in the face of things going wrong as they inevitably will.

7. Work on a quilt. That’s obvious—I love doing it and it’s good therapy.

8. Be as kind as I can because just look around…couldn’t the world use a little (lot) more of that?

What are you going to do today or tomorrow to project the kind of year that you dream of? Whatever you decide I hope that you’ll be conscious about it and that all of your dreams come true—or at the very least that you have some dreams…

–Amara

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Three Ways to Appreciate Yourself When No One Else Seems To January 15, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations.
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  takanomebynomadiclass.cc

I guess we all go though times when can sing the old childhood favorite:

Nobody likes me; everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms. Big fat juicy ones, (and so on.)

You probably know the feeling. It seems that no one gets how great you are and what you have to offer, or they don’t seem to respect you for the great skills and talents you bring. Notice I have chosen the word ‘seem’ because most of the time when we are feeling that way it’s because of an inner dialogue we are having with ourselves. The more we stew on it, the worse it gets and pretty soon our mood is in the ditch and we are in the land of victimhood—one of my personal favorites.(NOT)

What can you do when you find yourself hanging out in this desolate wasteland? Well, just for you I have come up with some tried and true remedies to get you through the night, the day, or the week. Any longer than a week and you’re in danger of adopting a new way of life…yuk!

So here goes:

#1  Make what others think of you ‘mildly interesting.’

If you base your happiness solely on what others think of you, you’re looking for love in all the wrong places. The person who needs to think highly of you is? (for $1000 and a trip to Belgravia) Yep, that’s right—you. Often we are tempted to take personally what others say and do—making it all about us and our shortcomings or lack of value. Try this interpretation—it is never about you. It’s always about them. People see the world through their set of values and experiences—what I refer to as their background of obviousness or BOO. So if they are judging you as falling short, it’s more about their own world than it is yours. So how about making the assessments of others about you, mildly interesting?

I had a coach who used to tell me that when I would whine about something. Mildly interesting means you don’t discount it since their opinions may contain a nugget for you. However it also means that while their opinions are interesting, they do not rock your world.

#2  Make a list of your accomplishments/talents

We all have a very silly tendency to dwell on what’s not right about us. When you think about that it’s kind of crazy really. We have about a million choices in how we think of ourselves –or at least two. We can either think we are great or we can think we’re lacking. Hmmm, let me see. Which one of those choices makes us feel the best? We’re great or we are the dregs of the earth…let me take a WAG (wild-ass guess) here. I think it feels better to think we’re ok, worthy, good, talented, etc.. Now if it makes you feel good to think you are totally worthless, well, ok. But you don’t need a coach—I’d shoot for a psychologist or psychiatrist or some psych…

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine today about our tango milonga last night. He was commenting on the fact that he was much in demand as a partner. After that remark he said, “I hope I’m not being too big for my britches. (Being raised in Texas, that’s one of my favorite sayings.) My response was, “If you’ve got it, you may as well flaunt it.”

So take 5 or 10 minutes to sit down and write down the things that are good about you. No, not one word about what you need to improve. Bet you $10 you’ll feel better after doing it.

#3 Just Say NO

When I find myself going into the self-pity mode, or the I-am-an-unworthy- human-being place and I don’t feel like having a pity party, I just stomp my foot and say NO! You’d be surprised how much better this can make you feel. Especially the foot stomping part. Just make sure the little children are safely out of your way when you do it.

There’s something very empowering about deciding what mood you’re going to be in. And we all have the power to do that—if we choose.

I wouldn’t kid ya..

–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

The Tango Connection December 12, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Personal Observations.
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tangoheelmediumI am delighted to say that I have a new addiction. And that addiction is Argentine tango—one of the more demanding dances I have ever attempted to learn. In spite of the fact that it is illusive, I have fallen in love with it. What do I love about the tango? Well, it is illusive—not full of set patterns like ballroom dancing, a dance form I have been doing for 17 years. In tango each partner I dance with has a different style of putting the steps together, selecting which steps to do (and not do), and executing those steps.  As a new dancer I find following challenging but fascinating. At a milonga (a tango dance) when you dance with a partner, it is usually for a set which is 3 –5 songs. And for me that is a good thing since it takes me that long to catch on to a new partner’s rhythms. Tango is its own mysterious and exotic world and I am smitten.

Perhaps one of the best aspects of tango is that tango dancers think of themselves as a community. And there are tango communities all over the world. As I began my basic 10 –week class at Sangha Space in Media (near Philadelphia), our teacher, Lori Coyle, constantly emphasized that tango dancers are a community. She often talked about the importance of connection in tango.  And since we are a community there are some standards of behavior which go along with that. These were taught, along with dance steps in the beginning class.

Some examples: When invited to dance you are usually accepting an invitation for a set—multiple songs—not just one dance, the way it is in ballroom. This is great unless you find yourself dancing with someone you don’t enjoy. And here is a subtlety:  whenever you say “thank you” to your partner, you are giving the message that you are finished dancing and so you will be escorted off the floor. So the key is if you want to continue to dance, do not say thank you to your partner until you  are ready to stop. One of my friends could not figure out why she kept being escorted back to her seat after only one dance while others were dancing multiples. The reason was that she was thanking her partners after each song and they assumed she wanted to stop. She soon got over that.

Another practice (also taught and reinforced in tango class) is that you always escort your partner back to the same place where he/she was when the invitation to dance was accepted. (The leader usually does the escorting.) Again, the emphasis is on treating a person with respect and care.

There is also a practice in tango of leading and following being shared by both men and women (at least where I’m learning it). So when I am in class I take my turn at following (which I am pretty good at) and leading (which I am not so good at). The theory is that the student can learn much faster if he/she can dance both parts. It is also perfectly acceptable for two men or two women to dance together without eyebrows being raised. (If I tried that at my ballroom studio the teachers would not be amused.)

That’s another thing I like about tango—there is a tradition about it that I find very comforting. And the tango shoes—well that’s a whole other story—be still my heart.

When I started this post I had intended to write about the importance of community, using tango as a small example. However, I see that I have gotten carried away with my example and now have no time for THE BIG LESSON. Oh well, sometimes it’s ok to just do something for the sake of pleasure. That’s why I do tango and that’s what I’ve decided about this post.

So no great lesson today except to say….Learn the tango!!!

—Amara

I’ve always wanted to…. October 3, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Self-Development.
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tangoshoesccPeterForret.jpg How often have you heard someone say, “I’ve always wanted to…” usually followed by a wistful or sad smile and a change of subject. You probably have an ‘always wanted to’ list that you periodically add to—at least I hope you do. If you don’t then your life is missing something really important.

A partial list of my ‘always wanted to’ is as follows (the part about the dominatrix costume has been left out):

  • live in Italy 
  • learn the Argentine tango
  • write a book
  • work in a bookstore
  • visit Seattle
  • go to Chautauqua New York
  • sew the perfect fitting pair of pants
  • knit a beautiful sweater
  • learn to roller skate really well
  • return to being a vegetarian
  • visit Santa Fe

I’m happy to say that I am in the process of doing a couple of items on the list, with the tango being my most recent endeavor. Now if I can just get to the point where I can say I do the tango without considering myself a big fat liar I will buy myself a pair of stiletto tango shoes..

The thing about your ‘always wanted to do’ list is that it speaks to unfulfilled but not unreachable possibilities. By giving language to these things you get closer to fulfilling dreams in your life. And achieving your dreams, even if they seem insignificant to the rest of the world makes life richer and more fulfilling. There is nothing sadder to me than the person who has no interests, no aspirations, no possibilities. I want to tell him (or her) to try very hard to get a dream and then believe that it’s possible. Believing you have no possibilities  can lead to drastic actions like jumping off bridges or the like.

When you can believe that something is possible you can begin to move toward it even though that movement may be in teeny tiny  baby steps. Then opportunities that you never expected wander into your life. But if you haven’t put language to it (sometimes known as intention—more about that another day) how the heck can you expect to find your dreams, let alone live them?

So here’s your mission should you choose to accept it

Make a list of your ‘always wanted to do.’ Include the ones that you have in fact done. Then spend some time getting cozy with the items on that list  Daydream about the joys and pleasures that will be yours when you experience some of the as yet unattained items. Then pick one to go for. Possibilities are great but without accompanying action they are a bit like window shopping at a bakery. Who the heck wants to do that?

 

Giddyup!

—Amara