Fractures and Fault Zones

The daughter of a geophysicist and a long-time Houston resident (which if you’re not familiar with the city, has a massive fault zone running through it), I’ve always been intrigued by fractures and fault zones; of the seismic shifts that can occur over time and why some foundations can withstand the shifts, perhaps even becoming stronger over time, while others crumble in the wake of a single tremor.

In any team or long-term relationship, whether familial, romantic, professional, etc., there is the almost certain inevitability that at some point, sooner or later, fracture lines will form — cracks that form in the wake of too much pressure or perhaps the revelation of some fact, truth, or behavior that lay hidden just beneath the surface. Sometimes these revelations are the result of unforeseen triggers or unresolved business that may surface in our memory. Sometimes they are the result of people, events, and circumstances that we simply cannot control.

Whatever the trigger; whatever the cause, over time, too many fractures can eventually form fault zones that threaten the very stability of our foundation. Over time, too many fractures can cause us to question the integrity of intention, too, causing us to reactively look outside ourselves for answers (or blame) instead of taking time to look inward at our own role, choices, and behaviors.

So what do we do when we first see them surface? How can we create enough spaces in our togetherness or teams to allow for the natural expansions and contractions that occur over time? How can we practice self-care and cultivate the strength and resiliency needed in the event of a sudden quake or seismic shift? How can we do a better job of communicating our needs, fears, dreams, and hopes, while creating a safe space for others to do the same?

One answer is to take responsibility for our own choices, feelings, and behaviors, while establishing healthy boundaries that both honor the self and others; boundaries that reflect and defend our core values and truths, enabling us to form our own solid foundation even as we live and work in community and relationship with others.

Another strategy is to practice letting go of our need to both know and control outcomes, while allowing Faith to be our guide. So often we assume we know what is ‘best’ in any given situation — whether for ourselves or others, though this need to know or control not only damages others, but prevents us from being fully present in our own lives too. It robs us of the mystery of the moment and erodes our capacity for living from an inquisitive point of view — essential for continual learning and growth.

In the end, we cannot always predict a tremor or quake and we certainly cannot control the outcome. What we can do is take the time to build a solid personal foundation that can withstand the tests of time,  while cultivating the personal readiness and resiliency needed to navigate shifts, expansions, change and disruption, when they inevitably come our way.

Possibility Thinking

Impossibility thinking comes from a place of fear and a lack of Faith. Possibility thinking comes from a place of love and a fundamental belief that all things work together for good.

I’m curious to know…

Expanding on the theme of dreams and miracles, are you driven more by your fears or your Faith? Despite the inevitable heartache and hardships that are part of any life journey, do you believe that all things work together for good or that you are simply a victim of life’s circumstances? In the larger context of the world we currently live in, what role can possibility thinking play in creating meaningful solutions to complex problems? What role does possibility thinking look like in your own life?

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Texas Two Step

2014-05-07 09.06.51Back in my hometown of Houston for a few days, my mind drifts back to my early 20’s — those post-college days filled with few responsibilities and endless possibilities. It was a time of transition — leaving the security of home and college, finding my footing, while envisioning future outcomes for my life.

Thursday evenings were a particular favorite.

If my girlfriends and I weren’t out at our favorite Mexican restaurant, sipping margaritas while flirting with the boys, we’d head out to another favorite venue and tradition in town — Wild West.

Throwing on my best red boots with my hair long and wild, it wasn’t long before I was doing the Texas two-step across the dance floor. A little two-step shuffle backwards, before taking a bigger step forward, all in a steady rhythm. Whether dancing to George, Garth or Clint; whether dancing fast or slow, the key was to keep shuffling along in alignment to the beat, moving across the floor.

Isn’t that how it is with life sometimes?

We take half-steps back to reflect and renew, before taking a larger step forward to (re)engage.

If we’re intentional in our actions, we move in a certain rhythm that keeps us in steady motion, though always advancing forward. If we have a clear vision and feel secure in our values, we can more effortlessly move through the steps without losing our way. When we trust ourselves, we can take a couple of mini-steps backward, without fear of falling behind.

I’m curious…

Whether doing a Texas two-step or a latin tango; whether a waltz or a sizzling samba, how do you move through your life? How do you keep pace with the changing rhythms of life without losing your way? When the clouds move in, do you choose to dance joyfully in the rain or sit that song out? 

 

 

 

 

 

The Space In Between

In the weeks leading up to the recent launch of a personal initiative I’ve spent years preparing for and months developing, I found myself standing in that awkward space in between.  You know the one. It’s the no man’s land between advancement and retreat; between pushing forward and playing to win, or playing it safe, if only to assuage our fears of losing.  An internal battle between heart and ego; between being liberated and stuck; I seesawed between moments of hope, encouragement and possibility, and moments of fear that most surely would rather see me wither, withdraw and fail.

Photo courtesy of Oklanica via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Oklanica via Flickr

In a moment of honest reflection, I find this battle ironic, relevant and remarkable.  Ironic, because this new initiative, the Global Girls Project, is centrally about women’s empowerment and encouraging others to live and lead their own voice out loud; Relevant, because in order to inspire women to share their story of empowerment and advice they might pass on to others, I’ve had to own my own journey along the way, imperfections, struggles, learnings and all.

As I continue to step closer to my dreams, I also find this moment remarkable.  Remarkable, because quite frankly, when I started this personal blogging adventure called Heart Path almost 4 years ago, I never imagined that my own story and journey would lead and connect me with so many wonderful others whose collective wisdom and insights have helped shaped my own.

And so it goes.

We advance.  We retreat.  We learn.  We stumble.  We fall.  We grow.

And in that space in between; in that space of uncertainty that threatens to become our undoing; we allow faith to replace our fear, a spirit of service to replace our ‘self’, and we begin to pay it forward for others.

Whether you’ve been following from the start or just happened to drop by, thank you for sharing this journey.

Note:  The Global Girls Project, a collaborative multimedia writing initiative, is in the early stages of development.  To catch a first glimpse and learn what the project is all about, I encourage you to visit the website at www.globalgirlsproject.org.   

 

The Power of Thought

Too often we say to ourselves or others, “how could this happen to me/to us/to our company?”  We believe we are powerless over forces and circumstances that seem to swirl about us as if in some conspiratorial way.  In this powerlessness, we cast ourselves as victims in our own drama, the villain always being someone or something else.  As people, we fall into these patterns because it is easier to project our pain, mistakes and short comings, than to own them ourselves.  We project onto others what we would rather not look at within ourselves.  We move frenetically through our lives without slowing down long enough to reflect, process, and discern, not only what is going on around us, but in our own thought patterns as well.  We thoughtlessly react, instead of thoughtfully acting.

When life throws us for a loop…or two…or three; when unforeseen events come crashing into our lives, disrupting our sense of equilibrium or illusions of control, it is natural and human to want to personalize the event(s).  Perhaps we were violated in some way or a trust was broken; perhaps illness or death invaded, casting a dark shadow over our life or those others we love; perhaps we lost our job – the result of economic and political forces beyond our control.

Still, anticipated or not, how we choose to interpret and respond to life’s losses and challenges is within our control, and our thoughts, for better or worse, profoundly shape how we move forward beyond these circumstances into the future.  Put a positive spin on events, and your more likely to create a psychological opening for moving forward; respond with a heart of gratitude or compassion, and your more likely to develop a deeper appreciation for the beauty in each person and learnings in each situation; respond with integrity and transparency, and you’re more likely to build trust with others; respond with humility, and others are more likely to work with and/or support you in your endeavors.

I’m curious…

How do you respond to the invariable struggles of life?  Do you seek to find meaning, answers, and openings for moving forward, or do you find yourself stuck in a cycle of blame – whether of self or another?  When life’s challenges comes crashing into your world; when challenges result in personal grief or hardship, how do you choose to move through them?   Do you seek opportunities for growth and learning, do you tend to bury or mask your pain, or do you choose the path of martyrdom?  What role does forgiveness, humility, and gratitude play in moving forward?