self awareness

An Education of the Heart

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I’ve been having dreams about college lately. In them I’m wandering down long hallways, finding new passageways and discovering hidden stairways. I love these dreams as they represent something playful and curious stirring in me.

My waking life lately is a lot like college. From time to time I have that bubbling feeling of excitement in my stomach, that passion and curiosity that I remember only from my college years.  However rather than studying academics I’ve been exploring the inner workings of my heart.   It brings on a lot more challenges than just getting a term paper finished on time but I’m finding the benefits of knowing myself are infinitely rewarding.

The best part about this “college experience” is the people who’ve come into my life. I look around and see my world is full of teachers–not the academic type…in fact, quite the contrary.  Their lessons aren’t derived from books, but from listening to their hearts, living life, and making mistakes.

So, in honor of my current teachers I’m doing something a little different.

Below you’ll see my “life course book” –you know, like those college course books that students get before the new semester, only my classes are hand picked and taught by some of the most special people my world…

Becky’s College of the Heart

2014-15 School Year

Course #1 The Power is Yours                                                                                       

Teacher: Daniela

My friend Daniela is sunshine. She is bright and open and has taught me to believe in myself, with a spark of optimism that doesn’t fail. Keep going. Don’t give up. Be the awesome person that you are. At one point in my life I would have been skeptical of Daniela’s optimism, doubted all that shiny positivity, but now I get it. She sees the good in people and fosters it, with honesty and love. She’s my cheer leader, shouting from the sidelines: “You’ve got this, girl!”

Course #2 Happiness is a Choice                                                                                            

Teacher: Tim€

Tim and I are fellow authors and I consider him one of my closest friends. Tim and I have an odd sort of mentor/mentee relationship. I resist pretty much every lesson he teaches me, however 99% of time I cave a few days later and I accept that he’s right and willingly take his lessons to heart. Our friendship is a more than a little antagonistic, but that keeps it interesting.

I remember when I first met Tim he was always humming to himself some song that nobody knew but him and I thought “This guy must be repressing some awful stuff. No one can possibly be that happy all the time.” Now that I know him better I see that most of the time he actually is just that—happy. He takes life as it comes and most importantly sees the world without that fear/worry lens that has followed me most my life. He’s optimistic, even when things are hard.

Among the many things Tim has taught me, I think most importantly I’ve learned that happiness is a choice. We have control over who we are, 100% of the time. This contradicts everything I was taught growing up, but somehow it has clicked lately. Tim’s blissful balance is rubbing off in every way.

Course #3 The Mind meets the Heart

Teacher: Lenny

Lenny is a big Italian business man (definitely not a mobster, but you might mistake him for one). I met him, oddly enough, while lifting weights at the gym. What I love about Lenny is that he does business with his heart as much as his head. He feels out his strategies, not letting heart or heart take too much of the call. Although all our conversations have been between huffs and puffs on the equipment, I have gained a great deal of practical wisdom from his insight on business and life. For me Lenny has modeled focus, drive, and a willingness to take calculated risks.

Course #4 The Inner Workings of the Heart

Teacher: Victoria

I have known Vicki for about a year. She is the heart component of my education. She is in her late 50s and by trade a sex therapist. In Victoria’s world love is like a flame that must be tended to and stoked, while at other times it must be disciplined and tamed. Vicki has taught me that this fire is who I am and that I needn’t apologize for my flame’s intensity. It simply is. In fact that fire in our belly, that passion is what makes me and this life we lead so wonderful.

Course #5 Speak and Your Subconscious Will Listen    

Teacher: Sue

Sue is a magnificent eighty five year old woman hypnotist. She’s teaching me about the dark caverns of my mind, where life whispers in secret symbols and shares ultimate truths. In this realm of the subconscious there is no reason, just purity and faith. Speak to the subconscious, tell it your desires and it will listen. And so for the past month, that’s just what I’ve done. Under her guidance, I have been breathing deep, closing my eyes and delving into the dark world, where I whisper my secret dreams, taking charge of my life, fearlessly.

I am stunned as I reread this list. It amazes me that there are so many incredible people in my life who are willing to take me under their wing and share life’s awesome secrets.   And this is only the tip of the iceberg! My husband, my kids, all my friends, my parents—they are teaching me too, every moment I am with them.

How about you?

Tell me about a teacher in your life.

What “courses” have you taken with them?

Peace,

Becky

www.beckypourchot.com

www.ThatsSOBizarre.com

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The Ta-da Factor

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Over the past few days I’ve done some very important, very nonscientific social research. And lucky you get to hear the results–

So, my new book came out on Amazon a few weeks ago. (www.BeckyPourchot.com) The whole thing happened faster than I expected, and Amazon posted the paperback three days earlier than planned.

I was thrilled beyond belief when I saw it up there, so without much thought I shouted it out to the Facebook world sharing how absolutely ecstatic I was that my “baby” was finally out in the world.

My friends and supporters shared my post like mad. It was amazing.

There was one problem.

This “announcement” was too soon. The kindle edition wasn’t out yet, so people were heading to my site and the kindle version wasn’t there.

Nothing was choreographed like I hoped. My words in the post weren’t carefully crafted, just blurted out to the world, but something interesting happened. I watched people’s excitement as they read it. They felt connected to me, and I felt connected to them! We were sharing in the love. They wanted to “share” on facebook because they were thrilled for me. They wanted to celebrate in the moment too. It was wonderful.

Then a few days later, when the kindle edition was out I had a chance to make a “real” announcement. I created an official one, spending a very long time figuring out the exact words to say.

In the end I tried to mimic my initial enthusiasm: “Hey guys! It’s here!” but something was different, this time I was in essence saying “buy my book” and the energy shifted.

On top of it, with all that over thinking going on in my head, my writing lacked sincerity. My intention was different. This time instead of just wanting to share the news I was secretly thinking “I want people to share this” “I want lots of likes” and it completely changed the overall reaction of my friends.

Living your life wanting likes is not a great way to live. Trust me, I know this sort of thing. I’ve learned in my 43 years, anytime I go into a situation where I’m thinking: “I want this person to like me”, “buy this”, or better yet “Ta da! Everyone! Look at me!” people turn away. They’re left ironically unimpressed.

No one likes a needy person. Their behavior in essences says “Something is incomplete in me. Please fix it.”

So, what’s the answer when you’re trying to sell books, make a living? Honestly I don’t know, but what I do know is this: all I can be is me and the minute I shift from my truth…from my essence, everything is thrown off. I know, I probably will never been a marketing wizard with these tactics, nor will I likely sell a million books by just “being me”, but hopefully the people who do read my books will walk away feeling they’ve been touched by something good and they’ll tell others because the book brought them joy.

In the end, all we have is truth. There’s no reason to hide it.

Side note: I can’t finish this post without a shout out to author (and occasional sensai) Tim Baker who has been telling me this stuff for quite a while. Now I’m listening Tim. You were right.

Of God and Unicorns…

unicorn be yourselfSometimes I journal as if I’m talking to God. I don’t even believe in God, at least not in the traditional sense, but as I was writing this came out.

God, I am burnt out on this writing thing, this author thing, trying to sell my books. It’s too much. It doesn’t make me happy.

Okay tell me specifically, what, in all of this doesn’t make you happy.

The trying. I mean I love the doing, but the trying to be perfect…

What do you want to be?

I want to be a woman who writes really good books, who tells exciting stories aloud to an audience and makes people feel good inside when they hear them. I want to write great articles, short stories…keep a decent blog…and keep creating That’s SO Bizarre..and love the people I interview for all their quirkiness.

God, I want to send light into the world. I want to send my heart and humanity to people…I want to remind them who they are!!

Don’t you see it Becky!!? You already are all those things. That is you! My God, Becky, you are living and breathing your dream.

The key is to stop comparing yourself to everyone… you are not them. You are on your own path. The minute you try taking their roads you fail….that’s when you crumble. Only you can be you, to be anyone else would be a lie. You hurt, suffer when you try to be someone else. You can only be you. Beautiful, sunny, heartfelt you.

Becky, my sweet love, you are fine. This is not depression, this is longing…and this is all good. Finally there’s room to look at this part of yourself deeply. There’s a lot going on in your life. Take a deep breath and know you are okay. Let go of the paths you cling to and float atop the one you are on.

Smile. You are here. Right now. In beauty and light.

Forgive, my dear, for you already are perfect.

Never Doubt the Power of your Own Advice

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My higher self has a lot to say these days…and it seems to do it in Wizard of Oz metaphors.  In fact, while writing in my journal tonight this thought landed on the page:

“The yellow brick road is right in front of you, Becky. It’s time to take that next step towards home.”

These days it’s not just my subconscious talking to me.  Those who love me are practically screaming: “Becky, you have the power. Listen to it. It’s calling you to greater things.There’s nothing to fear.”

Never in my life have I been surrounded by such positivity. I’m watching the people I love dance the dance of life with confidence and joy, unafraid. They are breathing in all that is good around them, taking the negative and harnessing it into something powerful and strong.

I plan on taking my own advice…and the advice of people around me and move forward, no longer shielded by fear.

So here I go guys, I’m doing it, taking that next step down the golden road headed straight in the direction of my heart.

1,000 thank yous to Daniela Behler of Engaging Social Media and Tim Baker of Blindogg Books who hear my heart and never doubt me.

Peace to you all.

P.S. Tomorrow is my birthday, so I’m wishing myself a happy day. 43 years on the planet and each one is better than the next.  I am so very grateful!!!!!!

Oh, and if you like what I have to say check out my books

www.beckypourchot.com

Thank you!

The End of the Story

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I feel as if I’m ending a chapter in my life “story”.  It was a wonderful chapter, maybe one of the best in my book thus far, but its time for the next one, so the story can continue on.

And so, as I was journaling today, I decided to write out an ending for myself as if I was a character in my book.

Here’s what I came up with.  (As far as I’m concerned, its all true!)

…She looked in the mirror and saw not what she wanted them to see, but what was really there…her new forming wrinkles, her blemishes, her fly away hair…but also her beauty, her strength, her vibrancy. She was magnificent, not because she was anything particularly special, but because she was all she could be–herself.  And in that moment she noticed a glow, burgeoning in her chest.  She watched it emerge, growing in intensity, until it was shining brighter than 1,000 suns…it was light, yes, but more importantly, it was also love.

This, light emerging from her depths, held it all, the love she felt for her sweet parents, her brothers, her friends who made her smile, her magnificent husband who holds her hand through it all, and all the people before her. This heart shone with love for everyone who has ever crossed her path, for every animal, for every leaf. But most of all, it shone for her.

And as she recognized this, the light spoke:

“You have been exactly who you were supposed to be all along. All the noise, all the chatter, all the demand—that was just air, an illusion, a subtle breeze.”

And now as she stands looking at herself in the mirror, she knows that all that she feared was a myth.

Love. This glowing heart.  It has always been here, and it will always remain.

“You are forgiven Becky. You are marvelous. I am always here.”

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Make it So!

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A year or two ago, some friends on Facebook were discussing with starry-eyed optimism how easy it is to make change in our lives.

“Just choose it! That’s all it takes,” my friend said.

“That’s right!” the other one replied.

This pissed me off. That’s NOT how things work. I grumbled to myself.

The two went on and on with this discussion and frankly I wanted to vomit.

Give me a f@*$&ing break, I thought. Maybe these two freaks of nature think they can make their lives better by twitching their nose like Samantha on Bewitched, but that certainly was not me. No one has that much control over their lives.

I thought about their comments for days. Mulled over them. Steeped in them. And at the end of it I knew for sure that “thought control” wasn’t for me. I had baggage. A world of noise in my head…not to mention a diagnosis: General Anxiety Disorder. OCD. Bipolar. According to the people in my world I was clinically helpless.

I was taught that we have little to no control of who we are, where we go and where we end up. To the people in my world, life was like a bumper car ride. We may have a little freedom of movement initially, but in the end we’ll always be blocked from going anywhere.

Fast forward to today.

I’m out with a group of friends and I’m feeling my anger and sadness build. I hadn’t slept well the night before and I had some left over resentment boiling in me from the previous day. I was cranky and miserable.

Two years back in that situation I would have perpetuated it all: You are an awful person for having these feelings.I’d say. You should have stayed home.

I would have sat with my friends with my negative filter on, taking everything they said as an attack, or a sign of disapproval. I would have gone home that night and grumbled.

But this time I did something different. I decided to make change.

I excused myself from the group. Alone in the bathroom I breathed deep and I asked myself, What do you want?

I responded to my own question: I want to have a good time. I want us all to have a good time!

And in my calm state I heard the answer: Then make it so!

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I stepped from the bathroom and settled in my seat with my friends. I felt resolved not necessarily to have a super, crazy good time, but to be okay with where I was. I was no longer passive to my mood. I chose to be content.

Sure I was still tired, and yeah, the irritability was there, but I sat back and stopped trying. I stopped feeling guilty and mad at myself for the feelings that were going through my head. Instead of letting the dark and dank emotions grow, I released them. I no longer fought. The battle within me was over.

It didn’t take any magic, no nose twitching, or anything of the sort. I just redefined the picture.

I will have a good time, I told myself. And I did!   By shifting my reality, my visit with friends went from being potentially miserable to wonderful—one of the best outings I’ve had in a very long time.

I’m not saying this makes change easy—not for me anyway. Some days are bad. Some are worth grumbling over, some even require tears, but recognizing that we can take control of how we filter those experiences will ultimately affect the course of our lives!

I’m seeing that life is not like a bumper car ride, nor is it a merry-go-round…or a roller coaster. We are not passive! We are absolutely 100% active. I say ax the carnival ride metaphor all together and imagine yourself flying out over an open field. You have all the choice in the world, to go up, down, fast, slow. Yeah, it might be windy some days, but how that wind affects you is entirely up to you.

It’s your reality! Make it yours!

Wishing you peace and love,

Becky

Hey! If you like the ideas you see here you might enjoy my new book that’s coming soon! It’s called Open Souls. Take a peek. Sign up for my newsletter. www.opensoulsbook.com.

The Year in Review….Sort Of

I have a lousy memory. Details that everyone around me can recall are just hazy thoughts, like a dream I barely remember upon waking up.

The thought of this used to make me panic. I worried about the precious moments slipping away from me, but while I lament over not being able to remember the details of my children’s first step, I don’t linger on the past, because quite frankly, I can’t remember it so well.

This fuzziness of my history makes time feel very slow. Events that happened a year ago feel like ages ago. People always say “time speeds up as you age” but for me it’s the opposite. My life behind me is just a jumble of faint emotions, blips of reality.

So here I am living in this little bubble of the present and it’s not so bad. I take a lot of pictures and I make sure the people around me keep reminding me of our stories.

For what little memory I have, I will say last year, I really struggled with my shit.

Boy, did I!

But I think all that “shit struggling” was actually the best part of the year. I faced myself head on and wrestled my demons. I looked at the anger, fear and desperation in the eye. I faced the things that were hurting myself and the people around me and smiled at it all playfully.

Although I am FAR from perfect, sometimes, rather than beating myself up for my shortcomings I chose to sit down and chat with my little demons:

“Hey, demons,” I say, “We’re in this together, you and me. We can’t do this life thing without one and other. So let’s make this work. Nastiness is who you are and as shameful and embarrassing as it feels at times, it’s a part of who I am.”

It’s then in this conversation, that I see that my demons are not pulling me down. They are in fact a staircase, supplying the very structure from which I will use to climb to higher places. I will always have my flaws (and some pretty big ones), but I forgive my demons, just as I forgive myself.

To the people I love, I apologize for any nastiness, pettiness, and greed I may have shown you this year. In my heart I want only the best for all of us, just sometimes my demons get in the way.

I wish I could say this year I’m going to figure it all out, that I’ll become a perfect mother, wife, friend, writer, but I realize there’s no winning in this game, just trudging forward and forgiving along the way.

Besides, life would be no fun if we figured it all out, right?

As a side note: I’m excited to tell you about my next book, out April 1st, —Open Souls—all about meeting and greeting your demons. If you want more information you can go to the website and register to be notified about its release.

www.opensoulsbook.com

Peace to you all!

Confessions of an Agnostic: Why I Believe in God

Twice in my life now have I had the odd feeling of waking up…not in the literal sense, but more, I suppose in the metaphysical sense.

It’s very weird, and difficult to talk about because it is so personal. We’ve all experienced it, I’m sure, we just deny it because it messes with everything we take to hold true.  I’m not crazy, though I have certainly been treated as such for most of my life. In fact its the exact opposite of crazy.

The first time it happened it was very abrupt.  It was terrifying.  I literally thought I was dead.  I was sitting on my boy friend’s bed talking with him when I was hit with this sensation of divine stillness. The chatter in my mind stopped and I was just there. Purely Me. It was beautiful and frightening at the same time.

The self I had spent 19 years with, listening to her strive, worry, and grope and  was gone.  I mean completely gone, leaving me with this thing, this feeling I suppose one could equate with God.

I remember two friends of ours knocked on his dorm door and we let them in.  As they spoke I could hear everything.  Beneath their words I could hear their fear, their need for love and acceptance.  They soon left and I told my boyfriend what was going, crying for the loss of self.  He assured me I was okay.  He had known this feeling himself.  This in fact was something to welcome, he told me.

The months went by and like a good student I l asked questions to my boyfriend who seemed to know exactly what this was all about. But time passed and the magic of his insistent wisdom wore off.  It was all replaced with a new fear–a fear that I was loosing God, that it was slipping out of my hands, leaving me in the world alone.

Anxiety engulfed me like a raging fire and I plummeted into my own personal hell.  Suddenly no choice seemed like the right one.  I was paralyzed with the fear of failing God.

The boy friend and I went our separate ways and I eventual found my balance.  I did the only thing I could do, resorting to the comfort of psychiatric drugs and talk therapies that brought me back to this world.  I do not look back at this period of my life as not good or bad.  It is what I needed to do at the time.

So life went on.  I grew and learned, and continued to hold the unspoken knowledge in the back of my mind that this God-ness I experienced might very well be real, that love is all there is, but whenever I thought too much about it I was sent literally into panic attacks, for fear that the demons wouldn’t slip in again.

So now 20 years later I have an amazing family and devoted husband, life couldn’t be more perfect.  But for a long time I was not satisfied.  I wanted more.  I wanted the other, not what I had, but everything else.  I complained incessantly about people..my friends no less.  I didn’t just expect perfection from myself, I expected it from everyone else.  While I could feel God on my walks on the beach I couldn’t control my fear and anger.

So, this next part I’m hesitant to say, because it just feels so odd.  In the reality I help for 20 years this was not supposed to be.  I was not supposed to feel God every second of everyday, to look at everyone I meet with compassion and love.  These are not things meant for this little neurotic Jewish girl. My story went like this: you are helpless, the world is out to get you, you will try but never suceed.  Yuck!  I’m done with those thoughts.

I’m letting go of my need to be good. No, I’m not turning into some crazed sociopath.  Good is something that is my essense, I don’t have to try  I am good, because I let myself be…and sometimes I’m bad. If you saw what I ate for dinner, or what thoughts jjust crossed my mind, you’d see) But bad is all part of it…so ultimately that’s good too.  Does that make any snese?

I am the one writing this book. I choose where I go.  I have control because I have faith in myself.  I am God!  As are you! We are beautiful.

Life’s Secret Passage Ways

12433381_s“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
Joseph Campbell

I have a reoccurring dream. I’m with my friend at some college or another and we’re wandering through these old dormitories. In the dream my friend finds a secret passage in the wall. We open it and slip through finding a whole other world within the walls. The mood is one of playful adventure and though there’s always a tinge of apprehension, it is always counterbalanced with the thrill of exploration.

Because of these dreams I’ve been fixated with secret passage ways…doorways where there should only be walls. This is my life as of late…I’m wandering with purpose, discovering as new passageways as they open themselves to me and I like to believe it is because in part I’m following my bliss, because I’m doing what I love. And in this process of finding myself I am looking life in the face and saying “I’m not scared of you anymore.”

There’s a lot of uncertainty when you follow your gut.  You never know where the next doorway will be. But in spite of all I don’t know, here’s what I know about life…and bliss: I love to tell stories.

For me story telling—whether it’s in the form of the written word or spoken– is an act of seduction. A good story teller slowly brings their reader in, enticing them. She them wraps them up, immersing them in the mystery of a new found reality, shifting and twisting and suspending them within the magic of her words and then when the story is complete she spits them out, leaving them satisfied and ever so slightly changed. And when I get to do that I am in a state of joy.

This last weekend I was part of a very special event. War of the Words was a literary fiasco organized by myself, my friend Tim Baker and Nadine King as a fund raiser for her charity. We took four story tellers, Tim and myself included and pitted them against each other allowing the audience to vote for the winner. It was crazy fun and a huge success.

But here’s the deal, although I thrive off of being pushed me to my limit, I was managing twelve people, with differing goals and viewpoints and was hearing contention every step of the way. I found myself pulled between differing factions, which didn’t bide well with my people pleasing tendencies. I was not in my element. Bliss was left somewhere far down the road.

But here I am two days later and I can still say it was it was worth it. We made people happy, we raised money for a good cause and I got to tell my stories.

And here’s the clincher for me: In those ten-something minutes I stood on that stage I was back in my bliss, letting all the frustration from the weeks before melt away. It didn’t matter whether I was the best or the worst reader that night, when I was up there I was bringing my stories to my listener’s ears I was moving them, making change.

That night on stage a secret passage opened for me. I was reminded how much I love to do what I do. I don’t know what purpose this door serves or where it will lead…but that’s the fun of it, right? I’ll be heading down that path soon. I’ll keep you posted as to what I find.

small Becky war of words