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HOW TO ELIMINATE A OO7 DOUBLE LIFE

When James* called upon me, he asked that we meet in an open restaurant downtown Vancouver. Asking him why there instead of my office, he laughed and said, ‘Because I need it this way.’ 
 
On the agreed upon date and time of rendez-vous, James sat down in front of me and immediately placed his hands under the table where I could Not see them. This gesture alone told me a lot about James, how easily he pretended to be emotionally open yet felt the want to hide once in front of me.
 
Through my talking with him, I found out James was one of nine children from a very large Catholic South American family. He grew up being an altar boy, going to Sunday school, and saying prayers. But something was Not working for him… In his teenage years, he realized he was gay and being gay is apparently something deemed unacceptable in his family and culture.
 
 

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt rejected for what you are?

 
 
James moved to Vancouver, found a job, and said he met the ‘love of his life’, whom he married a couple of years later. Though saying he is happily married, James had two Facebook accounts, one ‘straight’ and one gay, to ‘spare’ the family as he said. Looking down, he confessed few people (if any) where he came from knew he was even married.
 
 

Can you imagine what it feels like to hide things from the people you love? 

 
 
In tears, James said he needed to come out of the closet as a gay and this is why he was coming to see me. He felt he could Not do it alone, he said this was too much for him to face alone.
 

 
I asked…
 
 

In a perfect world, what would your life be like right now?

 
 
Jame’s face brightened. He shared how he would only have one Facebook account and one Instagram account. He laughed saying he would show pictures from the ‘crazy’ adventures he and his husband have been on, their food expeditions, their vacations together, even their honeymoon trip…
 
I asked James if he truly loved his husband. Without hesitation he answered choking up, “Are you kidding me? He is the best thing that has ever happened to me!”
 
I replied,
 
 

When we truly love someone, including ourselves, do we hide who we are?

 
 
James burst into tears. He did Not seem to care anymore whether the waiter or other patrons saw him crying; his shoulders were heaving up and down with heavy sobs. Then he took a deep breath, clenched his teeth, and said, “I deserve better! My husband deserves better! I am coming out!” I was impressed by this fiery determination.
 
That day, he went home with homework to do. Over the next seven days, he had to call every member of his family, his eight siblings and two parents, and tell each one of them he was gay. His framework looked something like ‘I am calling to share something important to me. I am gay. Being gay is a part of me, it is Not all of me. I love you.”
 
 

Have you ever had to stand up for what you believe in? How easy was it?

 
 
At our next coaching session, James sat down with his journal open. Where he had drawn ten little people with their name on top of each, three of them were still left unmarked by an ‘X’ signifying ‘the job is done’ and they knew he was gay.
 
I open directly,
 
 

What happened to you missing your goal?

 
James grabbed his journal with both hands. He mumbled how he was Not truly close to the only sibling left on the list as this person had once sexually assaulted him when he was a kid… He also said how many of his siblings were now sending him harassment messages telling him he was ‘wrong’, going to ‘hell, and ‘Don’t tell mom and dad! They’re too old and mom’s depression is too bad!’
 
Like so many, James was caught once more living a double life, living in the background of his own life while trying to get ‘approval’ from others, especially from members of his family.
 
 

Whose approval is most important to you to be happy?

 
I pointed to the top of the page where all his little people drawings were and I asked him to write down a story title expressing what his goal is. His pen almost pierced the paper as he wrote in capital letters at the top,
 

“I AM COMING OUT!”

 
 
Let me ask you…
 

Why do we become untruthful?

Why do we pursue lies?

 
 
I believe the answer is, because we think it will be better.
 
Is it though? How was James’ constant lying about being gay going to advance his goal of coming out of the closet?
 
Clearly, denying our truth does Not work.
 
With this in mind…
 

How do things become better?

 

I believe, things become better when we focus on 

  • becoming truthful. ‘What is my truth?’

  • becoming intentional. ‘What can I do right now to uphold my truth?’

  • becoming accountable. ‘What can I do to hold myself accountable so I live my truth?

 
I could certainly relate to James. When I got married, I did not tell my then husband about the way I grew up, the level of violence. I thought he would ‘love’ me more if I buried what had happened to me as a child. Can you relate? My life changed for the better when I became truthful, intentional, and accountable.
 
 

Here are some rock solid tips to assist you who may suffer from ‘007 Double Life  Syndrome’:

Once you have identified what your truth is, whether it is to come of the closet as gay or lesbian, leave an unhappy marriage, change jobs, or …
 

  • Make a list of who needs to know. When we make the decision to come out with our truth, often, we tend to believe everyone ‘must’ know all at once. Spare yourself feeling overwhelmed, work in stages.

  • Come up with an on point message telling your truth. Keep it short. Keep it sweet. Keep it to the point. Understand there is plenty of time later to go into the ‘Why did this happen?’ if you ever chose to.

  • Have an accountability system/person in place. Though many of us say we ‘know’ what we need to do in order to be happy, many of us end up losing our nerve when the stakes are deemed high.Therefore, having someone on your team who is Not emotionally attached to your situation allows for actions with a greater sense of clarity.

 
 
Now imagine somebody has just read these tips…
 

What do you believe will be their greatest challenge?

 
Before James came to see me, he had all the best intentions in the world, BUT he lacked a solid accountability system. This is why as soon as he went into ‘What will they think of me?’ he lost his nerve of telling his truth to his family.
 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who holds her clients highly accountable so they get to live their truth openly, and like James, get to come out at the top of their story page.
 
For coaching inquiries, reach out to me at anne@walkinginside.com
 
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach,
Anne
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
 

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ROUND AND ROUND

ROUND AND ROUND
 
Round and round
We go again
On the merry-go-round of life.
Ups and downs,
We think that’s life
Until we get off our mount.
 
Round and round
We go again
On the merry-go-round of life.
Laughter and tears
We think we’re here
Until we go deep within.
 
In and in
We go again
On the merry-go-round of life,
Darkness and light
Fuse into one
Until we go round and round.
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
 
What makes any of us go round and round in circles?
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
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HOW FAR AM I WILLING TO GO?

HOW FAR AM I WILLING TO GO?
 
Am I willing to go beyond the stars
Where you and I were born
Where the sun befriends the moon
Where rainbows bridge us all?
 
Am I willing to go further than the eye can see
Where trees plant their roots
Where flowers drop their seeds
Where leaves take in the colours of seasons?
 
Am I willing to go deeper than the ocean floor
Where all the river beds make one
Where the illusion of division is triumphed over
Where we all feel as one?
 
How far am I willing to go?
 
I am willing to go
At the centre of myself
Where I hear it all begins
The point of origin
That unites us all.
 
I am willing to go
Where ‘broken’ lines disappear
Where there is no you or me
Where there is only a we.
 
I am willing to go
Where love is no more a concept
Where love becomes fully being
Where love is visible in all.
 
If ever I think I have reached this place
Where I hear it all begins
Ask me again
‘How far am I willing to go?’
And I will come back to
Being in the here and now
Until we all feel that we belong.
 
With Compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
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I — USED TO THINK

I — USED TO THINK
 
I used to think
A tree was just a tree
I saw it with my own mind
Roots, trunk, branches, leaves.
 
I used to think
You were different than me
I saw it with my own mind
Bodies, fences, judgement, fear.
 
Thanks to my mentor, I met me
For a moment, I stopped thinking,
In stillness, my mind cracked open
Discovering sunshine cooling breeze within.
 
How refreshing
To hear inside the giggles of a small child
Who never thought we were separate
Who’s always known we all belong.
 
Because of my love for this child and me
The lines in my mind are becoming blurry
If there is nothing separating you from me
Then, who am I? What are we?
 
Willing to know, I ask her to show me the way
How I may serve her from a place of integrity
Laughing, she is showing a world full of wonders
Where roots and bodies, you and me,
Are merging into, this or something greater,
Then… I used to think.
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
 
To know more about Soul Leadership: www.fullmontyleadership.com
 
P.S. With this post, I am including more forms and patterns I have seen when opening up pictures. This time, I am not showing the pictures they may have originated from because I want you to imagine what can possibly give rise to …
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AWAKENING

AWAKENING
 
I awoke in the middle of the night,
Frightened and scared,
Thinking I was alone.
I looked around the bedroom,
Stillness and shadows greeting me.
What an unfamiliar sight, I thought to myself,
To be alone with one’s thoughts,
To be shyly greeting one’s feelings.
 
Out of habit,
I called out a name,
Thinking you would come,
But the echo came back empty.
I did not yet understand,
Love is neither a name or a game,
It is a flowing feeling,
Like waves, rising and falling,
Amidst our own waters.
 
Thinking I knew better,
I turned my bed into a raft,
I paddled day and night,
Still hoping to find you,
Afloat on another raft nearby.
 
Feeling more lost than ever,
I finally stopped doing this crazy thing,
And started instead to
Listen to the wind
Who has always known my name.
 
It said,
“Dive,
Dive deep within,
For the one you are looking for,
The Beloved,
Is awaiting.”
 
I told the Wind,
“I am no Mermaid,
To flag my tale under water.”
And the Wind softly replied,
“Trust and Have Faith,
Within you is always the Way.”
 
So I took a majestic dive
Perhaps the way Dolphins do?
Feeling my own breathing
Echoing back to me
The beauty of universes within.
 
I now use my raft as a diving board,
In whatever room I find myself in,
I remember Ocean Waves belong
To the One
Awakened in the middle of the night.
 
With Deep Gratitude,
Anne
 
Dov Baron, thank you for being the Wind speaking softly to me, I am grateful
 
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
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HOW TO GET THROUGH “HE’S NOT THAT INTO YOU”

I look at him, a playful grin on my face. I am laying on the bed, watching him as he enters the bedroom. “Did you miss me?” he asks casually. As I pull him towards me, I whisper, “Let me show you…”
 
We have all been in this kind of situation…. where we have believed we were in ‘love’ and ‘all’ that mattered was ‘being’ together, right?
 
… Until the dreadful moment where we realize…
 

“What the hell did I get myself into?”

 
 
In the past, I have had my share of this kind of realizations. Feeling squeezed, I wondered,
 

 “What is wrong? Why isn’t he that into me?”

 
 
I thought… it all started ‘great’… We locked eyes across the room and felt a strong physical attraction towards one another.
 
Can you relate?
 
… And before we took the time to really know each other, there we were, showing how much we had missed each other by having sex.
 
 

Is sex automatically synonymous of intimacy?

 
 
I was so eager to have a relationship that I did not know how to be in a relationship.
 
Sounds familiar?
 
Before long, I started noticing his,“Hey, my battery’s about to die, gotta go, ok? Love ya though!”
 
This type of behaviour from him surfaced especially when I wanted to talk about our lack of spending time together…
 
 

Is spending time together automatically synonymous of intimacy?

 
To my increasingly ignored hurt feelings, he answered things like, “You’re harshing my mellow right now!” before storming out of the door, leaving me feeling even more unwanted, unloved, and undesired.
 
It is in moments like these that I have said,
 

“What the hell did I get myself into?”

 
 
 
It has taken me many years of mentoring (I was stubborn) to deeply realize that,
 
 

Like attracts like. 

 
Go back. Read it again.
 
 

A toxic relationship is based on two individuals having the 

SAME primary wound, but

DIFFERENT coping mechanisms.

 
Look at it as a magnet… The magnet is the toxic relationship wound and each end is one person’s coping mechanisms (+ or -). A + could be confrontational, a – could be withdrawal…
 
 

Now, what is your primary wound? 

 
My primary wound is the shame of existence. I grew up in a household where my father treated me like chattel, ‘do as I say or else!’ I had to blindly obey, no matter what I felt. I mainly felt unseen, unheard, unloved. This is why in the past I became attracted to men who treated me like chattel, who did not see me for who I truly am, who did not believe my needs, feelings, and emotions mattered.
 
Is it any surprise to you now that I attracted men who were not that into me?
 
What about you?
 
Let’s take it deeper…
 

What is the greatest form of intimacy?

 
 
I have come to deeply believe,
 

The greatest form of intimacy is, vulnerability by authenticity.

 
 
Go back. Read it again.
 
 
What does this mean, you may ask?
 

Intimacy is, 

 

Being vulnerable with our own self 

by discovering who we are at the core of our being.

 

It is the greatest form of self-love.

 
 
Think about it… If we start discovering who we truly are… where our past hurt comes from… and do somethings to heal our self… What do you believe happens to toxic relationships?
 
I strongly believe,
 

Toxic relationships then become a thing of the past.

 
 
For example, I often get propositioned by men who approach me with seemingly hungry eyes as they say, “I love how deeply connected you are to yourself, it’s sexy as fuck…” 
 
Their dry hunger I perceive, this kind of self-starving self-love, puts me off so much that I energetically close the door on them.
 
Why?
 

With self-discovery comes discernment! 

 
 
When we have discernment, we feel what works for us, we feel gradually into situations or possible relationships. There is no more denying, no more giving in to just blind physical attraction alone, we become clear!
 
 

How do we become intimate with our self?

 

  • Spend time alone. Ask yourself, ‘What do I need right now?’ and ‘What do I really want in my life?’ Act rightfully upon these answers. Build compassion for your self.

 

  • Build strong emotional boundaries. I know, it is easy to say and hard to do, especially for many of us who spend more time stating what they do not want rather than deeply feeling knowing what they do want.

 

But for people like you and me who are deeply committed to their healing,

 

  • Hire an emotional intelligence coach or mentor. We all have blind spots and unless conditioning is transcended, guess what? It will keep running the show under, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

 
Now, I am so deeply into-me-see (intimacy) that I am becoming a different kind of magnet, a magnet who attracts people like me, getting intimately connected with their own self.
 

Like attracts like, remember?

 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach, Authentic Speaker, and Bestselling Author. I can be reached at anne@walkinginside.com
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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THE LESSON BY THE OLD MAN WITH THE RABBIT

His eyes fascinate me, two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle. Every time he looks at me, I feel transported inside the world of an innocent child, perhaps confused by how many years seem to have flown by him. His face, a maze of zigzagging lines, looks like a race against time. The more I look at him, the more I want to know the heart behind the beggar I see on the street.
 
Unlike many other pedlars perhaps, he does not verbally ask directly for money to me. He usually leaves a hat or an empty cup in front of him and silently waits. For a while, I even thought he was mute…
 
On some days, I notice him holding a big fluffy brown rabbit in his lap. He seems to love his rabbit very much and the rabbit seem to reciprocate greatly by snuggling its nose deeply inside the old man’s open jacket, maybe to hear their uniting heart beat?
 
As the old man pets his rabbit in long rhythmic strokes, I notice there is no cage for the rabbit and no leash. Amazing, considering we all live downtown where sirens are blared, buses breaks loudly, and passerby talk on their cell phone.
 
Today, though, something happened to break ‘our’ routine. A great gift was given to me. As I was about to enter my favourite coffee shop, the old man suddenly appeared behind me and asked softly, “Can you buy me a cup of coffee?”
 
Startled, I jump. How did he get here? Holy Molly, he can talk! As I look inside his two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle, I feel my heart fill with the desire to know him.
 
I reach inside my coat pocket and retrieve a bunch of spare change. I am unsure if I have enough to buy an extra cup of coffee for him, so I impulsively say no, then wishing inside I had brought more money. Peaceful, he says okay and starts standing in line by my side, as if money was a non-issue.
 
I do not know what to think. I put my hand inside my coat pocket again and I find not only an extra $2, but also a free donut prize I had won the day before. I smile at the old man triumphant. “I have extra money! I can buy you that coffee after all!”
 
The old man smiles at me as if he had been expecting this result.
 
Waiting in line, I ask him how he is and he smiles at me asking. I ask him how his rabbit is and he answers his rabbit is fine and at home. I ask him if he lives in a centre and he answers yes. At one point, I mention his new haircut that I believe suits him tremendously and my, o my, he blushes like a young child, passing his bony hand through his balding greying hair.
 
The whole time we are talking, he first looks into my eyes before answering any question. He reminds me of The Fiddler on the Roof. Any moment, I imagine him erupting in a traditional dance with his arms wide outstretched open.
 
We get to the counter and I take a step aside. I ask him to order his coffee as he likes it. Then I give him the coupon for the free donut. His face lights up like a Christmas tree. After I pay for both of us, I realize I am left with spare change close to $2????
 
I do not get what is happening, but I take all the left-over change and give it to him saying, “For whatever you need…” The two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle smiles at me in acknowledgement.
 
I watch him choose to sit alone at a table. Wrapping his two hands around the warm coffee cup, he closes his eyes, a peaceful smile spreading on his face. I feel the same smile spreading on mine…
 
In our everyday interactions, we never fully know who we are impacting. My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach whom you can reach at anne@walkinginside.com 
 
With love & Compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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FROM FRUSTRATION TO LOVE

This week’s MindFlick is as follows:  “I heard on the news that Pity and Should tried together to save a woman who had fallen unconsciously into an apparently giant pit. Police identified the wounded woman as Frustration.”
 
For many of us, pie can be comforting when trying to figure things out. So pull up a chair, glad a slice of pi, and let’s see what happened with this case.
 
Let’s start at the scene…
 
Pity reported she was walking on the street minding her own business (she says) when she saw this woman unconsciously falling into a giant pit.
 
“I immediately rushed over,” she confessed. “I quickly looked around and saw it was my moment to shine.”  Trying to be brave perhaps, she jumped into the pit after the fallen woman.
 
“I grabbed her hand,” Pity smiles, “I asked her if she was okay.”
 
Visibly shaken, the wounded woman apparently thanked Pity profusely. “Thank you for being here, I feel so much less alone knowing you are here with me.”
 
On the news, I saw Pity pump out her chest real big at this mention. She added, “That will teach all these people in my life who have thought I am heartless and cruel.”
 
The story gets worse…
 
The wounded woman apparently managed to sit herself up against the rocky wall and asked Pity, “Have you called for help? Does anyone know we’re down here?”
 
It is said Pity focused her eyes on the ground, feeling guilty. She did not answer.
 
The wounded woman realized their predicament, “You fool! You blindly jumped after me? Without having locked your safety first? How can you help me now?!!!”
 
On the police report, it is said Pity then started crying uncontrollably, whining about she keeps being called heartless and cruel when all she has ever wanted to do is be useful to others. “Bunch of ungrateful bastards!” she yelled out, “that’s what you all are!” 
 
Luckily, Should walked by and took inventory of the situation. He seemed pragmatic, cold, and highly logical.
 
Pointing a finger at the wounded woman first, he belted, “What were you thinking? What kind of idiot puts herself in this situation? You should know better!”
 
He then turned mercilessly on Pity too. “And you! Following suit without thinking! Just to make yourself feel better! You’re no better than her! Don’t you see? You’re both wounded!”
 
Pity started howling. “It’s all her fault! I just wanted to help! It’s not my fault she is so unconscious and can’t look where she is going! Don’t put the blame on me, pin it on her!”
 
Hearing all these harsh words, the wounded woman was stunned, speechless, as if frozen on the spot. She suddenly felt deeply guilty and ashamed of herself. “Maybe Pity and Should are right, I’m an idiot, I can’t do anything right!” She put both her hands on her face and started sobbing, having seemingly very little compassion for herself.
 
Thankfully, a loving child stopped and listened. She looked inside the pit and addressed the wounded woman. “What is your name?” she gently asked.
 
The wounded woman stopped paying attention to Pity and Should and answered, “Might as well call me Frustration.”
 
“Is this your real name?” the child asked innocently.
 
The woman paused, “No, not really. It just seems so right now; I am not seeing this situation clearly.”
 
“How may I assist you?” asked the child.
 
“Do you have a cell phone on you?” The child answered yes. “Can you please call for help?”
 
The child called and police arrived shortly. They straightened Pity and Should and congratulated the child who had remained grounded the whole time.
 
As the wounded woman hugged the child tight against her heart, the child gently whispered, “What is your real name?”
 
The woman smiled a big smile, “You can call me Love.”
 
The woman then took the child’s hands in hers compassionately remembering she is so much more than what happens to her.
 
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
 
 “It’s all about pie, honey!” is a blog series provided by Walking Inside Resources Inc. and dedicated to explore various emotional concepts in a pi setting. “MindFlick” is copyrighted to this company.
 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach, Author, and Authentic Speaker. You can reach me at anne@walkinginside.com
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
 

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WHAT DO PERCEPTIONS CHASE?

Today, I am going to poke fun at our perceptions, but in order to do so, we need to be on the same page here. Now, how do two people get on the sage page? How can we see through each other’s eyes?
 
I don’t know about you, but I have decided to go with the ‘safest’ route first. I went inside my head!
 
I asked,

“What is the meaning of perception?”

 
Because I think in pictures, inside my head popped a mirror shining facets like a diamond.
 
Yes, I can be perceived as ‘weird’ like that. I guess,
 

The way we see things… 

all depends on what meaning we are chasing now?

 
I told myself to stay strong, the struggle with myself is real here! I held my hand and asked,
 

“Is perception a mirror of myself?”

 
As soon as I asked it, I chuckled.
 

Holy Shit, if this is true….

 the amount of times I have tried to make others swallow my perceptions… 

was just me trying to make me swallow my own truth?

 
…… Waaaa, I might need to take a breather here before we move on. “Too sobering!” comes to mind.
 
So I decided to take the next ‘safest’ route, my logical mind!
 
I grabbed my Etymology Dictionary (where words come from) and looked up the word perception.
 
People! We might be massively screwed here! Because the dictionary says: PERCEVOIR -> CHASSER
 
What????
 

To perceive is…. to chase? 

 
You might not know this right now, but the child inside of me had a fit of giggles at me reading this definition. Personally egotistical wise, I did not. Who likes to be wrong, right? 
 
Still, curiosity took over and I opened the dictionary at the assigned ‘chasser, I a. d)’
 
My dear friends, it seems the word perception appears for the first time in the 12th century. Before that, what? Our brain was not developed enough to make up (perceive) enough shit?
 
Mmmmm….I kept reading…. 
 

I really want to get on the same page with you here.

 
Therefore, I found out,
 

Perception means reflection.

To perceive means to glance.

 
The dictionary people backed it up with latin words such as “perceivre”, and “percipere”, just in case you are wondering.
 
In light of all this, let’s go back to the beginning of our conversation,
 

“What is perception?

Perception seems to be a reflection… a glance…

 into a truth about our self?

 
If this is true, this means…

  • Every time I have thought of someone as ‘fat’, it was just me not accepting my physical body as is?

  • Every time I have thought of someone as ‘moron’, it was just me not accepting I might be clueless on some things?

  • Every time…..

 
You get my point? 
 
How,
 

What we reflect upon others is 

something we also have within ourselves?

 
 
To me,

This is why compassion is so important!!! 

 
I believe compassion is the only thing, the only tool, that allows to be on the same page, to see things through each other’s eyes. Why? Because I trust compassion is holding space for another person without judgment.
 
Therefore, as we be on the same page,
 

 “May our perceptions reflect compassion.”

 
With deep love & respect,
Anne
 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who assists her clients in letting go of the want to be right (nailing perceptions like jello to a tree) and embrace happiness instead.  I can be reached at anne@walkinginside.com
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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WHAT IS SERVED BY BEING A BIG FISH IN A SMALL POND?

Three years ago, I was asked a similar version of this question by my future mentor Dov Baron. He phrased it as something like, “Who are you hurting by playing small?”
 
When I first heard his question, sitting in the audience among hundreds of others, I immediately told him to fuck off… in my head of course.
 
I started feeling agitated inside, angrily pondering, “Who is he to ask me such a question? After all I have been through in my life!”
 
Back then, I was very much a victim and, like all victims, I might not have noticed I was playing small out of fear.
 
Which brings me now to this incident yesterday…
 
I have been actively doing lane swimming for the last three weeks after almost a ten years absence from the pool. Jumping into the water, I had ‘forgotten’ how cold it is at first. I had also ‘forgotten’ how much effort it takes to kick, and how much air we need to keep a swimming rhythm going…
 
I felt out of breath… I swallowed a lot of bile… but I still keep swimming, having faith to become a better swimmer and change lane one day.
 
This week at the pool, I notice a ‘strange’ phenomenon. I am watching this guy, this middle-aged man…
 
When I get to the water, there are about 7 swimmers in the slow lane, including him and I.
 
I notice he waits a solid 15-20m before he starts swimming after the person in front of him. This is a 50m pool. I think to myself, “He is so generous! How compassionate of him to leave so much space between swimmers!”
 
My eyes grow bigger as I watch him then zoom across the water and  pass the swimmer in front of him in the last 10m or so. I think to myself, “WTF! What kind of person does this?”
 
I stand on the ledge watching him swim back towards me. As per his ‘usual’, he passes every swimmer along his path. He even seems to claim the middle black line in the lane as ‘his own’.
 
He touches the ledge and decides to just stand there. I watch every arriving swimmer do a turn around him.
 

“Really?”, I wondered, “is this person for real?”

 
 
As he seems to catch his breath, I seize the opportunity to quickly start swimming. Maybe this time will be different?
 
No, it is not. By the time I arrive at the flags (10m before finish line), he passes me and I choke on water from the wave he creates. I stop swimming and walk the rest of the way.
 
He looks at me, unfazed. He smiles, “Good morning!”
 
I seize him up. “Good morning.”
 
He smiles a bigger smile. “Please! Ladies first! I am not that good of a swimmer! I am quite slow actually!” He chuckles.
 
I look at him coldly, “Is that so? You could have fooled me!”
 
He pretends not to notice my anger. “I really do not want to go right now, I am catching my breath. Go! Please! Ladies First!”
 
I think to myself,

“Am I making all this shit up?”

 
I start swimming. In the last ten meters….
 
Now I am pissed off. All I want to say to him is “What the hell is wrong with you?” As soon as I think it, I stop. Why?
 
Because I now know that,
 

Every time I make someone their behaviour, 

I am triggered and becoming the Wound myself…

 
So I asked myself, “Who does he remind me of?”
 
The Wound howled back, “Meeee!”
 
I used to ‘love’ being a big fish in a small pond. This is why I was so triggered three years ago when Dov Baron asked the question, “Who are you hurting by playing small?”
 
Let me ask you,
 

If you are living into your potential,

would you be offended if questioned on it? 

 
For me, the answer is no, but back then it was…. 
 
Having said this,
 

What is served by being a big fish in a small pond?

 
I believe FALSE PRIDE is served.
 

  • I flaunted my skills in front of people who might be less skillful than me… just like this man overpowering every swimmer in our lane that day. What does flaunting skills without discernment say about us? 

  • I pretended to be nice while screwing people in the back…. just like this man who smiled at me and so politely told me, “Ladies first! I am not that good of a swimmer!” What does fake compassion say about us? 

  • I got to think I was ‘better’ than I truly was in reality…. just like this man who might actually get his ass kicked in the middle or fast lanes. What does being full of ourselves say about us?

 
Now, when you think about what I have just shared,
 

What is served by being a big fish in a small pond?

 
And
 

“Who are you hurting by playing small?”

 
You be the judge.
 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who assists her clients in becoming expert swimmer in bigger ponds. I can be reached at anne@walkinginside.com
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com