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Why I never use the phrase "Shame on you!"

Using shame is an authoritative cop out. It’s a power-over attempt to be punitive. The goal is to induce guilt which can change future behavior. 

And it’s delivered with contempt. That hideous, self-righteous expression — nose squinched in, pulling the upper lip up and barring your teeth. 

But guilt and shame are different animals. Shame tends to shut people down and shut others out. Guilt may help a person feel contrite, and because of true remorse, take different future actions. 

The problem is that attempts to induce shame or guilt are both on the punitive end of the influence spectrum.

And punishment generally doesn’t teach people to think like you or care about what you care about. It puts them in survival mode.

Yes, it might have gotten the compliance from children that parents sought. (At a grave price—disrespect for the one in authority, and later,  often, oneself.) 

It can prompt people to dig in their heels. Think of...

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Nuances of Reality

Resolutely practical, It is what it is used to be the way I saw things. I refused to ignore reality because, in fact, It is what it is. Looking at what is, I considered cause and effect, then focused on next steps. 

Except that reality holds so much more than the eye can see or instruments can measure. It holds our psyches and hearts, and one person’s truth which is not another’s. 

Nuances are mind gifts - offerings about focus. So how can nuance help us?

Adding nuance to the reality of It is what it is can be especially helpful in times of distress. When situations are not predicted to change, change immediately, or when things are simply out of our control, nuance can be a lifesaver. 

I bought a house. The walls were HIDEOUS - textured, dust sitting atop every bit of horizontal texture, spider webs drawn across tips of texture with dog hairs lodged in them. The bathroom was the worst. Walls were like extra thick cake frosting, like huge stalactites going...

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Purpose and IterationĀ 


What is my aim? What are my intentions in life? How can I find that voice who knows exactly where I should be, what I should do and how?

Many of us have a pretty clear aim in life - to make a contribution. Contribution being a core human need, we quest for a particular strategy to pull this off. 

What if we begin by systematically connecting with that inner voice, that all knowing self, the judge best suited for YOUR choices and yours alone? Combine this with "it is what it is” and you’re working with strong tactics. Invisible, unmeasurable, these truths are always at our service. 

When we override these two realities we try to push the river. 

A less esoteric view on this is Seth Godin’s teaching on shipping. He teaches us to ship, to get our work into the world. Ship then iterate. Only after shipping can we become more clear about the effects of our work. Shipping leads to clarity. Clarity produces greater satisfaction.

I learned bespoke...

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Change Before You Break

We give ourselves sales pitches, knowing things aren’t acceptable - to keep us put.

Change is scary - the comfort zone gets our votes. And we treat stepping into the void as a crime.

We take direction from others while effortlessly overriding our own clarity. This habit’s drilled into us as children, in order to learn self-control. 

Adults have the luxury to recognize and override resistance to change. The trick is to catch yourself at the brink of overriding your truth.

Our higher self, our intuition, our all seeing all knowing confidant, advises us from a vantage point of knowing what’s best - from your perspective. No therapist, family member or any other will EVER be as aligned with your true agenda as your inner wisdom.

If we choose to override our truths we cower to resistance. Our fear of negative judgement,  failure, and our TERROR of the void all keep us stuck. We allow fear to call the shots. 

If we follow our inner knowing we may feel a...

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Letter to my Younger Self No. 6 - Mistakes

Dearest Little Julie,

Everyone makes mistakes - many more that we like to admit. Some are big, some are medium, some are small. Some get you in trouble, and some just make you feel bad. When you make a mistake, do you ever feel dumb, and get mad at yourself? That's what happens to most people.

Mistakes happen, and they can cost us a lot, in different ways. You can lose money. You can lose a friendship over a mistake. There are too many things to list that we lose because of mistakes. 

What's the biggest mistake you've ever made? How did you feel after you found out it was a mistake? What, if anything, did you lose? If you were mad, are you still mad? 

Many people never forgive themselves or others for mistakes. Think back to a mistake you made, one that you still feel bad about. What is it costing you to keep feeling bad about it? Does it make you afraid about whether you're good enough? If it does, then worrying about...

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Letter to my Younger Self No. 5 - Parents

Dearest Little Julie,

You know how sometimes you love your parents, and sometimes you just hate them? When you love them, you probably don't think much about it. Everything just feels good. When you're mad at them, you notice everything that's bad. 

Guess what? My kid is grown up now, and sometimes I wish I could go back and do childhood over with Dwayne. I wish I could have a second chance and do better.  There's a very important thing called hindsight. It means looking at things after they've happened, and seeing different things than you did when it was happening. 

Here's a few things I wish I'd done differently. I wish I'd crossed this one thing off my "To Do" list EVERY DAY - "Play with Dwayne". I wish I hadn't yelled so much. I wish I'd been more patient, and seen things from his point of view more often. I wish I hadn't gone to work so much and been too tired and busy to play with him. I wish that dinner time had been a happier...

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Letter to my Younger Self No. 4 - Death

Dearest Little Julie,

Just about a year ago was the last time I waved goodbye to my mom. Today I want to tell you about Big sadness. I bet you feel sad when you hear about people dying - in wars, in accidents, from diseases, especially from murders, or just from getting old.

Everything in your life will change when it's someone in your family who dies. It's really different than just hearing about others. At first, you might feel like dying too. It's really weird how different it is when it happens to someone you know. It's like a HUGE hole opens up inside you and around you, and there's no way around it or through it. There's just this emptiness. You're SO sad, that feelings aren't even enough to feel how sad you feel. Because you can never see them again, and you miss them, and there's not way to change that. And there's regret - feeling mad at yourself for all the conversations you didn't have, and all the things you wished you'd done for them. 

I hope you never have to feel...

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Letter to my Younger Self No. 3 - Dynamite

Dearest Little Julie,

You know when things are on fire, they have so much energy, they're so hot and out of control that fire takes on a life of its own? Or, the energy of a sudden explosion like dynamite?

I bet you feel that way a lot, bursting with energy, especially when you get to do what you REALLY love doing. Just hearing that you're going to get to do that thing, you have a little dynamite explosion of excitement go off inside you, just thinkingabout that moment, when you'll be doing what you LOVE.

I used to get that feeling when I knew I was going to go horseback riding, or swimming. Those were what I loved most as a little girl. And recess. And climbing trees. And making ceramics. And being with my best friend. I lived for my next chance to do those things. 

When I was a teenager, my excitement changed, and I got that feeling playing sports. I was a natural and REALLY good, and I felt good, anytime I was playing, and...

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Letter to my Younger Self No. 2 - Energy

Dearest Little Julie,

You know how grown-ups drink coffee in the morning? And now, they even bring you to coffee shops, to get special drinks? Why do grown-ups love coffee so much?

I'll give you one guess, and it's not because it's a dessert, the way Starbucks drinks are for you.

It's caffeine. It makes them feel better.

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Before you grow up think about this. You know all that energy you have inside? The energy that needs to get out at recess, and that makes it hard to sit too long in class? That's called natural human energy. Kids are FULL of it, right?

Now imagine this. If you start drinking coffee when you grow up, you might give up your natural energy. Does that sound weird?

The real reason grown-ups drink coffee is because they need it. Because they don't have enough natural human energy...

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Letter to my Younger Self No. 1 - Magnificence

Dearest Little Julie,

You are just a little girl, and yet, all you'll ever need is within you. You have the ability to figure anything out. This is your weapon. You can do anything, and when things go wrong, as they will, you have a way through it, always. Even really bad things, you have what you need to get through it. Because of this truth, feel free to think BIG, aspire to do great things, have the courage to live into your MAGNIFICENCE. 

Everyone has their own unique brand of magnificence. Your job is to find yours. Then, define it, so it fits the WHOLE you, the TRUE you, and NOTHING BUT YOU, and your days will be filled with happiness. 

The biggest trick to discovering your unique magnificence is to always speak your mind. Say what's true for you, even if it's different.

Without this discovery, you might live a life of lies, self-betrayal, disappointment...maybe even disgrace. On your deathbed you'll be filled...

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