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Celebrity Mentors

Taking Care of (My) Business

Living inside your own skin can be a lonely, lonely place.

At least once you realize you are there.

The fact is that many of us spend so much of our time living our lives inside of others' skins that we seldom occupy our own.

What do I mean by this?

As Byron Katie often reminded us during the School for the Work course, there are only three kinds of business - God's (by which she states that she means "reality," or "what is"), mine, and yours.

Guess how often we sneak out of our own business - which refers to the thoughts, events, and circumstances that we can actually control and actually have responsibility for - and into other people's business, or God's business?

If you are anything like me, ALL THE TIME.


Celebrity Mentors

Welcome to the School of Wonderful, Wonderful You


Last month I received the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend a unique course called The School for the Work.

Founded by Byron Katie (known as "Katie"), the School is a 9 day adventure into the innermost workings of.....you.

It was one of the scariest experiences I've ever had. And also - by far - the most appreciated.

How often do we give ourselves the chance to go where no one else (including us) has ever been allowed to go inside of ourselves?

How often do we say to ourselves, "Okay, that's it - I am not living with this fear/insecurity/prejudice/doubt/anxiety for one more second"....and then actually do something about it?

When was the last time you challenged yourself to a thinking contest - and won?


Body Image & Recovery

10 Things My Mentor Taught Me: There is Always Another Perspective

I have so enjoyed contemplating and writing this series about 10 things my mentor taught me that I might just continue it again in the future!

There are so many more things that Lynn has taught me - all worth discussing, all worthy of the highest contemplation. But for now, I will end this particular 10-part series with one of the most valuable lessons Lynn has taught me, which is that there is always another perspective.

I will never forget the time, back in 1989, when I went to a therapist because I had sustained an injury that prevented me from playing music. The therapist told me that I would never play music professionally again - my injury was just too great.

I ran out of the office and drove straight to the home of my mentor at that time, Annie. I walked in the door, sobbing, and burst out with the news, "That therapist said I would never play music professionally ever again!"

Annie looked at me very calmly, and spoke these words, "Well, you don't have to believe her."

This was the first time I had ever considered that perspective.


Body Image & Recovery

10 Things My Mentor Taught Me: I Deserve My Own Love and Respect


"The Subject Tonight is Love," as the poet Hafiz would say, is actually more accurately translated as "the subject of this life is love."

A psychologist working with returning prisoners of war remarked upon her fascination with the subject matter her clients wished to discuss. They were not interested in discussing the horrors of the camps, the separation from their friends and family, the atrocities of war.

Rather, they focused their time in therapy discussing the intricacies of love - and mostly in the format of their romantic love relationships with others, or lack thereof.

The subject tonight is always love, whether we know it or not.  Whether it is familial love, romantic love, friendship love, or self-love, love is why we wake up in the morning and what helps us fall asleep at night.

Love is where our survival instinct comes from, and why we listen to it and heed its warnings and directions.

Love is what gets us through a crisis, and brings us back to life when the crisis ends.

Love is the only reason we can endure copious amounts of hate, anger, fear, and greed, yet still emerge with our hearts intact.

If we have the love of just one other person, we reason to ourselves, we will be okay.

But have we ever considered that that one other person could - and should - be ourselves?

My mentor, Lynn, has never wavered from reminding me over the years that I deserve my own love and respect.


Body Image & Recovery

10 Things My Mentor Taught Me: My Own Love is the Most Important Love

"Whether other people love you is not as important as whether you love you."

My mentor, Lynn, and I have been working on this one for years.

It is taking so long because it is a concept I am curiously resistant to.

Somehow, despite my best efforts and intentions otherwise, I consistently fail to see the equivalent value my own love has in comparison with the love I want from others, or the love I want to offer others.

Lynn reassures me that I am not the only one who struggles with this.

She finds creative ways to reinforce what we are working on, sometimes suggesting books or movies that bring the concept to life in ways that are now or could someday be parallel to my own.

Sometimes she tells me this is what she is doing. And sometimes she waits for me to figure it out on my own (I'll give you one guess as to which method takes longer).

And don't get me wrong here -  I like the concept of loving myself. I like it a lot. I just have trouble doing it.


Body Image & Recovery

10 Things My Mentor Taught Me: I Have More Going for Me Than I Realize


When I look at me, I see one thing.

When my mentor, Lynn, looks at me, she sees something else.

Or someone else, to be more accurate.

In other words, in my mentor's eyes, I am always kinder, smarter, more sensible, and have more going for me than I realize.

Our views differ because I am usually mired in the events of the moment. Today I feel sad. Tomorrow, guilty. The next day, joyful. And the day after that, angry.

So each day I feel like a different person, and as a result I often fail to see any continuity between the days, the emotions, and the person experiencing the life she is living in.

That is what a mentor is for, Lynn repeatedly reminds me. She sees the continuity.


Body Image & Recovery

10 Things My Mentor Taught Me: Joy is Always Available

Joy.

Now there's a sore subject.

15 years out of the 40 current total years of my life have been spent battling anorexia and bulimia. A good 15 more have been spent working my way into and out of that precarious state.

That leaves approximately 10 years of my life in which I may have even had the perception that joy existed for me. And those were the first 10....not my wisest or most emotionally mature years.

Although, according to my mentor Lynn, that may be open to debate.


Body Image & Recovery

10 Things My Mentor Taught Me: I Am Worth Fighting For


When my mentor, Lynn, first met me, the average caterpillar had higher self-esteem.

Not that I realized this, of course.

I was too busy putting on a fancy display of confidence for....wait for it....my new BOSS.

Yup, that's right. I met my longtime mentor when she came to manage the marketing department I worked in for a company I now only distantly remember.

I quickly noticed there was something different about Lynn. She had the down-homey confidence of a true West Texas cowgirl with the mysterious hint of the international in certain phrases that took on a decidedly German lilt.

I was so intrigued.

I had never, ever met anyone like Lynn before, and I wanted to know more.

But I had endured enough corporate etiquette classes to know that it was unlikely I was going to be able to ferret out much information from the woman who now managed my corporate present and, if I played my cards right, future.

Which was why I was so surprised to learn that she was equally intrigued with me!


Body Image & Recovery

10 Things My Mentor Taught Me: the Right to Question My Thoughts


"Your thoughts are not always your friends." This from my wise mentor, Lynn, who seriously had earned the right and the life experience to assert such a radical statement.

I nodded. Mmm hmm. Thinking all the while in my head, "My mentor doesn't know what she is talking about here."

After all, by the time I met Lynn, I had been living up high in my head for years, much estranged from my heart, body, and spirit, relying almost exclusively on the thoughts in my head for guidance, companionship, criticism, and comfort.

To hear "your thoughts are not always your friends" was scary to me. If I couldn't trust my own thoughts, was there anything trustworthy I could count on?

As Lynn patiently worked with me, I slowly began to understand more about thoughts, their nature and purpose, how they arose and where they went after I stopped paying attention to them.

Along the way, I learned that thoughts were not necessarily my enemies either.

They were just my thoughts.


Body Image & Recovery

10 Things My Mentor Taught Me: Life Is What It Is

In the early years of our mentoring partnership, each time my mentor Lynn would say "it is what it is" I would think, "huh?"

That phrase just didn't make sense.

It didn't make sense because in my mind, nothing was what it seemed to be. I distrusted everything and everyone (including, sometimes, my mentor).
Where are we bonking ourselves on the head with our own stick, then marveling at the "rabbit" that appears in our little hat?
I thought appearances were storefronts for the truth, and I lived my own life from that perspective.

How could something just "be what it is"?

When Lynn would say that, it felt like she was calling my version of reality a lie.

She was. Thank goodness.

The truth was, I was miserable in that "reality."

I was miserable living behind my storefront, hiding who I was and what I needed from everybody, even those who might have been willing and able to meet me where I truly was and offer hope.