In Moments of Darkness, Stay. On. Your. Path. Just Keep Walking, in Compassion. You’ll Generate Light.

Life Coaching with Teresa Young

I wrote the first version of this piece after the November 2015 Paris attacks, then updated it in November 2018 after the tragedy just down the road in Thousand Oaks. Today, yet again, as all too often of late, we’re trying to process our feelings of shock, grief, and horror after the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shootings.

Horror can sap our souls

When we’re confronted with dark events, dark forces, with terrible, even horrific experiences and images, it’s natural and human to be blindsided. We don’t ever quite become numb to it. And it’s easy to fixate. To lose focus. To lose energy and heart.

Of course this is particularly injurious in dark moments. We can lose the vision of our way forward. We can lose the energy for anything. Our peace of mind, even our belief systems, shattered. Again.

Challenge and the way forward

In the thick of moments of terrible trial, consider that your shattered focus is, yes, still, a gift you don’t have to wait for. This challenge is the way forward. As one world leader said during the darkest of times in the 20th Century:

If you’re going through hell, keep going.
—Sir Winston Churchill

This guidance to forge ahead is right on in the fires of fear, pain, and the loss of simple human happiness. Loss of confidence in the next day or week or season for ourselves and our fellow humans.

Today I’m feeling an even more specific spin on this important counsel. It’s something like double down on what matters most to you. Despite anything or everything. Stay focused, or re-focus, or begin to focus, on your highest priorities. Live your values. What you find most meaningful and beautiful.

Walk. Your. Path.

It’s a discipline. Perhaps the ultimate discipline. Maybe challenging enough that you can’t fixate on what would further darken your door and sap your body, mind, and spirit.

Another important wisdom-keeper says it this way:

Do not let the behavior of another destroy your inner peace.
—the Dalai Lama

Be as informed and present to world events as you feel is sustainable for you. Be active in creating change in ways that speak to you. Send your empathy and care telepathically to victims, families, and those struggling for life right now.

Donate money and other resources. Express yourself in whatever ways feel right, but try to do so while generating peace internally, rather than yet more conflict. Practice compassion, including self-compassion, and real self-care.

In other words, put on your own oxygen mask now, right now, as one way of counteracting understandable emotional paralysis in the face of horror. And continue moving forward on your goals in the ways that matter today, one foot in front of the other. And pace yourself in the process. There’s time for all things.

In fact, take time to meditate, rest, and engage consciously in whatever helps to calm your spirit. Then you’re helping to generate light that humanity needs at this critical moment in which we’re all intensely connected.

Proceed.

Do your good work. Walk your path. And reach out for support that you need. In short, proceed, dear ones. Proceed.

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

 

 

 

Reflecting on Grief, That Perennial Walk Through Dark Woods in Strange Country

I’m reflecting on a setback I’m having at this precise moment. And after an especially good day yesterday, including a phone session with an inspiring new client, a great meeting with my own coach, lessons with two super-fun students, a hug from their empathic mom, and Poker Night with two of my sons and their ladies. Then, boom. The hammer came down. I cried off and on all night.

And yet, I also know that everything is OK. It’s just a natural expression of the yin and yang of all things, including grieving.

So now I’m writing my way through this particular neck of dark woods while listening to Pandora’s “Rain Radio.” I played it for my mother all night right before she died. Now it’s a way of keeping her near me.

And I’m reflecting on the deeply internal roller coaster ride of these almost two months since her death. I’m seeking guidance, too, as always. But in new ways. Connecting with her, or at least trying to. Hoping I’m succeeding. Not sure yet.

But just after I got back to L.A., I had a beautiful dream of her emerging from the rubble of a fallen building, young and strong, with flaming red hair, wearing a bronze raincoat. And another of getting out of bed early one morning to sit in lotus pose to meditate. I’m in the mood to consider that one almost an out-of-body experience. It felt so real, like my spirit actually did get down on the floor without my body. Talk about guidance. I’m workin’ on it.

The bottom line is that I’m hovering at the cusp of a dark place. Falling in at moments. Or for hours. Climbing out.

And again, it’s OK. My mother’s life and the beauty and complexity of our relationship are worth this heartbreak. It makes perfect sense to both my logical mind and my deep feeling function.

In fact, I’ve given myself explicit permission to check in and out of “ordinary reality” as needed. Because the truth is that I’m in explorer mode as always, too, intent on learning whatever I can of the human experience while on this poignant leg of my own life journey.

So far, I’ve learned that I go from intense need for solitude, for unstructured time, free of productivity concerns, to intense need for human contact. But of a kind that can be with me right here, where I was last night and where I am in this moment, grappling with death’s hand in the human condition, up close and personal. And with the fact that my mother’s death is changing me—my priorities, my obsessions—in profound ways that I can’t predict yet, much less express.

I’ve never been here before. And I can’t see through to the other side of this particular, impenetrable stretch of unknown territory.

I’m not afraid, though. I trust this process. I guess it’s the explorer in me. And I realize how stable my life had become these past few years. Stable in ways that I didn’t know I could lose through feeling so searingly painfully the loss of another. I didn’t know that what may have in fact become a phase of stasis gives way, in the face of the tipping of some great hourglass, to… what? So far, I don’t know. At least I don’t have words for it.

And yet, again, I know everything is OK. I know all this feeling is healthy and good and right. Not to be dreaded. Swallowed. Papered over. Made pretty. That in fact such an error would be the makings of future trouble.

Grief will have its space, time, and impact, whether sanctioned and embraced or driven down into the unconscious if we seek to avoid the mess. If well-meaning others succeed in advising and expecting us to close that door and “forge ahead.”

After all, you can’t cram for and knock grief out, like prepping for a big meeting or taking the written test at the DMV. This is soul time. And the soul cares not about “linear” time. It just wants what it wants and needs, what it knows is the work at hand. Work that may indeed inform our trajectories. Our creative and contributory destinies.

And again, I trust all that. I honor it. It’s one way of honoring my beautiful mother. Of honoring these precious lives we’re all gifted with, both our own and those dearest to us.

Because, in truth, I’m still on my path. I’m still creatively engaged, feeling everything and feeling my way. So far, that’s what I need. That’s all I know. And it’s enough for me.

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

 

 

Dare to Swap Those Hand-Me-Down Beliefs for New Possibilities Here in the New Year.

Are Your Beliefs Helping You Create - Life Coach Teresa Young

What do you believe, anyway? About life, and love? About work? How about money?

Consciousness of your beliefs—of what drives you and stops you—is a courageous approach to modern life. You can in fact dare to examine your beliefs. Reflect on them. And make choices that change your life.

One central test of any belief is whether it’s fear-based or growth-oriented. Like believing that “love always fades to quiet boredom.” Maybe it’s been your experience so far, or you’ve seen it play out in the lives of others. Like long-held family knitting-circle talk, or good ol’ boy logic. But does it challenge you to keep risking for the deliciousness you want in relationship? Or do you justify your own lack of heart due to fear of heartache?

Most importantly, are you really free to choose? Consider that any reason why not is a belief, rather than some absolute truth. In truth, we’re living in an amazing era. You and I are actually free to consciously choose our beliefs if we’re ready to do this important inner work. Work that will move us forward in new ways. In the ways that matter most to us.

Now dare to go bravely cast off the hand-me-downs that don’t really suit you. As you get set to do that beautiful work, reach out for the support you deserve. Get yourself a coach!

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

Stop Squandering Your Energy Now. You, Dear. Today. Really.

Stop Squandering Your Energy - Life Coach Teresa Young

Stop squandering your energy. For real. And you know just what I mean, right? OK, the truth is I started with the negative to get your attention. Now let’s talk about conserving, containing, and consciously creating what you want most using your precious energy. And I don’t mean with long-lasting light bulbs or by powering down your electronics at night. I mean by making the best use of your most precious commodity: your life force. You with me? Great.

Track your flow

I say one powerful way to begin is to actually log your energy usage for a day, in four sections:

  1. Important (in service to your goals)
  2. Fun
  3. Unimportant
  4. Counter-Productive

First, in this moment, what do you think you will see? Next, try it out. Check your predictions after 24 hours. Even this simple action will begin to change the game. Read more here at http://oneideaaway.com.

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

 

How to Rock the Life You Want (Spoiler: First Truly Be Beautiful YOU)

One Size Does Not Fit All ~ Life Coaching with Teresa Young

You want me to rock… life?

As a musician who became a coach, I regularly ask my clients this jammin’ question, “So, are you ready to rock life?”

If your answer to my question is yes!, then the classic Zappa quote here may aid you. It states the fact of the uniqueness of each of us. And those who know about Frank will tell you he was a man who walked his talk.

Frank Zappa walked his talk.

As a musician/composer and provocateur during the Vietnam era and beyond, Zappa created his own rock life legacy of compelling, original music and acerbic social commentary. From genre-busting musical styles and types of ensembles, lyrics that took down all manner of sacred cows, and a lifestyle that was part of his art, he lived his truth. His own unrepeatable creative life.

Enter… you.

Enter this season of opportunity in your beautiful life.

Are you considering stepping off the beaten path? Marching to the beat of your own drummer?

I’m having fun with these cliches to reinforce the truth that the question of whether and how to live in a way that’s unique you is oh, so human. And yet…

Read more of this scoop at www.oneideaaway.com.

 

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

Is Change on the New Year Horizon for You? Consider the Holidays Your Pre-Season.

Poised to Embrace Change - Life Coach Teresa Young

Today I’m thinking about embracing change. ‘Tis the season for me on a lot of levels, and that intrigues me. Because I know if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to folks around me, too.

‘Twas what season?

I’m thinking about the fact that there are placid seasons in our lives. Times that, as you look back, seem like long stretches of comparatively calm water. But then when was that, exactly? Those six months? That year and a half? But actually, this major life event happened. Then that one. And while they had your attention, the lid blew off the situation around the corner.

Never a dull moment. And that’s the journey. That’s the beauty. Beautiful life.

And yes, change comes in seasons. Like in the movie Chocolat, where a big wind blows lovely Vianne and her daughter Anouk into the village. And we feel it. The “winds” of change. “Spirit.” The unknown. Excitement. Freedom. Fear. Plus whatever grieving we’re doing as we let go of whatever certainties we need to lose.

What do you want to do?

So, here in the season that’s a pre-season, too, with the coming New Year calling me forward, calling you, how do we invite and embrace the unknown? A focus on energy is one way for me. In fact, I say follow the energy. First by getting present to its ebbs and flows. What wants to rise up within you? And what feels exhausted? Exhausting? As in wants to be over, at least for now. Follow the energy as inner wind tugging you forward.

And it’s worth noting here that we humans often don’t embrace change until we have to. Honestly, we all have our ways of treading water, of staying afloat without rocking the boat. That’s why it takes a big wind to break up the status quo. Then we will still stand there or sit or lie and wait and hold back and turn back and start forward and stop flat, until the moment comes when… we’re… ready. Or ready enough. Because sometimes we just have to leap to learn what we need to know.

Party and plan. Present and future.

This holiday season, relish the known. The now. And especially all our delicious ritual experiences. Meanwhile, in the margins, as big context, keep watching for what wants your attention. Then in moments that feel right, try out some new moves. Put a toe into that growth-and-change dance that it’s time to do. And while you’re dancin’, look around for and enjoy all the fine folks right there with you on the wild, wonderful journey.

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.