Creating Your Right Life

inspiration & tools for empowered living

0615
2014

Find Your Purpose and Power: Rediscovering Your Superhero Self

1041406_30891902Several years ago, pretty much everyone I know became a huge fan of the television series Heroes. The show’s premise is that people all over the world begin discovering that they have superpowers—they can hear thoughts, manipulate the time-space continuum, become strong enough to break through steel bonds, etc. The kinds of things that couldn’t possibly happen on this planet. Except they do. I watch regular people make these kinds of discoveries just about every other Thursday. Here’s a metaphorical but only slightly exaggerated version of my typical coaching process. Some nice, ordinary-looking person comes to me and says, “I’m Clark Kent, I’m Diana Prince—and somehow my life got off course.” Sometimes they say that perhaps in childhood or perhaps at work they zigged when they should have zagged, sailed south when they should have sailed north. “One morning,” they say, “I woke up thinking, ‘Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?’” “The problem isn’t your situation,” I always tell them (because it’s always true). “The problem is your lenses.” 

“My lenses?” the person says, looking at me as though the bloom is definitely leaving the rose.

“I mean the way you see,” I explain. “Your psychological perspective.” I don’t mention (yet) that I’m also alluding to Clark Kent’s eyeglasses, which disguised his real identity. I know that whenever I can help an “ordinary person” remove a set of distorting perceptual lenses—zap, pow, shazam!—I’ll see them levitate right off the floor, flexing steely muscles under neon-colored outfits. When this finally happens, it doesn’t surprise me. But it usually shocks the hell out of the client.

“Oh, my God!” says Superman or Wonder Woman. “Who am I? What am I doing? Holy transfiguration, Batman, what should I do next?”

“I have no idea,” I say. 

And at that point, we’re finished.

Because I’m not Batman, or the Forecast Phenom, or the Psychedelic Psychic, or whatever. I was born with just one superpower: the ability to see other people’s superpowers. So I can tell you that pretty much everyone (including you) is a superhero, and that every superhero (including you) has an incredibly important life mission. Figuring out what that mission is? That’s up to every individual hero (including you).

I’m telling you all this because recently I coached three women who were unsure of where they were supposed to be in life. Their path forward looked fuzzy. They thought this was because they were in confusing situations. But I saw each woman looking through her own particular sort of distorting lenses; the fuzziness wasn’t in the surroundings but in the way they saw. At moments when your life appears bleak and the way forward indistinct, the same thing is almost certainly happening to you.

Most people try to think their way out of these kinds of problems. From my perspective, however, adding more ideas to these three women’s heads would be like forcing Clark Kent to add assorted sweaters, parkas, and goggles to his nerdy suit and specs. Finding your purpose and power requires stripping certain thoughts away like street clothes until you hit Lycra. My job with the three women I’d be coaching was to help them peel away illusions until their superhero identities emerged. While we’re following their stories, I’ll throw in some hints that may help you, too, take off your “normal” disguise and liberate your true, superhero self.

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0608
2014

Channeling Your Inner Hobo…Insight from Martha

So I’m on my yearly migration to Africa, where I go to molt, feed, and mingle with others of my species. Every time I make the trip, I’m so grateful and happy. And miserable. And terrified. 
 
It’s not Africa that bothers me; it’s getting there.  

I admire but don’t understand people who love travel for its own sake. I have enough trouble puttering around my house; flying to places with utterly different time zones just seems gratuitous.

Eckhart Tolle says that there are only three feeling states for people who live in the Now: acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, which means “filled with God,” kicks in when you’re doing what you love, with people you love, in places you love. Enjoyment is how you experience things that are, y’know, okay. Acceptance is the emergency go-to state for times when you’re not in your element.  

Once I get to Africa, I’ll be eyeballs-deep in enthusiasm. But to find acceptance for the actual trip, I must assume the ragged mantle of the Airport Hobo, my alter ego who—this is the important part—only knows the world of air travel. I can’t even let myself think how much I’d like to be doing something else. For Airport Hobos, there is only Now: security screenings, boarding passes, inappropriately timed sunlight.  

Each trip, I take a new Airport Hobo name (last trip, Numbbum Eyebag; this trip, Imaculatta Tinkleplenty). I tell Airport Hobo stories. I sing Airport Hobo songs (“I’m leavin’ on a jet plane…”). I hunt hot outlets. I flee from babies.

This works so well I’ve started Hobo-ing in other circumstances, such as waiting for a medical exam or talking to my accountant. Try it. When you absolutely can’t find enthusiasm or enjoyment, become the Acceptance Hobo of whatever it is you must do: the Laundry Hobo, the Office Temp Hobo, the Parent-Teacher Conference Hobo. Name yourself. Then accept your progress one present moment at a time. Later, you can tell the tale over many a crackling fire to generations yet unborn.  

And forgive me if, when we pass each other, I don’t wave. Airport Hobo means no harm. Airport Hobo only recognizes passport photos. And Airport Hobo’s tiny, jet-lagged brain is entirely occupied accepting the Now.  

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