A Story About Making Decisions When The Pressure Is On And How To Change Your Old Beliefs

It was dusk. The early autumn air was still warm and humid.

“I’d like to slow down,” I said.
“Are you going to walk with me or not?” she retorted.

That’s when I felt a subtle discomfort in the pit of my stomach, the slightest anxiety, and I thought I’ve got to make a decision right now. For me, in that moment, the pressure was on.

To me it was clear she was angry, her frustration continuing to build as she began walking increasingly more quickly.

I had an urge to slow down, to be with the sensations, to explore what was going on for me and for her. I wanted to connect more deeply and be real with what was happening.

But: I had to make a decision. I had to be decisive. That’s what men do! They make decisions right now!

Unfortunately, I made a quick decision to continue walking with her. And as we continued along the open city greenway through the park, a sinking feeling in my chest began to fester.

I brought this up to my life coach a few days later. He seemed surprised I had given this one situation so much thought. We talked about it, but didn’t come to any real conclusions.

I brought it up to him again the next week, still trying to digest what had happened. And even though we processed it quite a bit more, I still didn’t understand why it was bothering me so much.

Finally, after around 3 weeks, I realized why I was so obsessed with this moment and what I needed to learn from it.

See, to any stranger glancing at our exchange, there might have been to them nothing odd about a young man and woman having a polite although maybe quippy, short verbal exchange.

But for me there was a lot of sensation and confusion underneath the surface.

I continued walking with her. In fact, she and I continued to have a polite conversation for the next hour or so until our walk ended and we bid each other goodnight.

Even writing the words “polite conversation” makes me a little sick. Polite conversation is what you do when you’re in the doctor’s waiting room. It’s what you do when you’re not being real with each other, when it’s more comfortable to pretend, and you’ll probably never see that person again anyway.

Polite conversation isn’t what you do when you want to deeply connect with someone you really care about.

I’m not too big on polite conversation these days. I prefer real conversations, which, in other words, is meeting the other person at the depth to which they’re capable in a given situation. (It’s sometimes called meeting people where they’re at.)

This fateful night, the lesson I learned has continued to be, for me, so valuable.

The lesson?

Don’t rush a decision. When in doubt, pause. And get curious.

That’s it!

What I wanted in that moment was a deeper connection. I wanted to get her world. I wanted to know what was going on with her at a deeper level, what she was feeling, and mostly if she would be willing to show up and connect with me (even a tiny bit).

I wish that conversation had gone like this, “I’d like to slow down.”
She says, “Are you going to walk with me or not?”
I wish I would have replied, “I want to walk with you, however, would it be ok to ask you a couple questions first?”

If she had said “no,” then great! I would have turned around and gone home.

Obviously, she would not have wanted any real connection, and I would have been sad, but pleased that we had done the right thing instead of continuing with pretentious, polite conversation.

If she had said “yes” then, great! I would have asked about how she was feeling, if she were willing to slow down and let me know what was going on for her, if there was anything she needed or if I could support her in any way.

Imagine that difference.

But I had a rule: gotta be decisive, man.

This situation happened over a year ago, but the lesson has stuck with me ever since.

I’ve got a new rule now: when in doubt, slow down, pause and get curious. I’m still practicing this new rule.

Look, obviously, there’s a balance between analyzing the info and the whole “paralysis of analysis trap” that many people fall into as well.

(Surprise, it all comes back to “balance” again.)

My point in sharing this with you is because we all have these types of rules.

We’ve all got rules that we learned at whatever stage of development, and these rules are running the show until we become aware of them.

When we become aware of our rules, it’s a beautiful thing, because we can literally make a decision if we like that rule or not.

And if we don’t like that rule we can change it.

So how do you change a rule? Two steps:

1) Notice what your current rule is
2) Set a new intention and PRACTICE that new intention until it becomes your new, automatic rule

Ideas become intentions become rules become beliefs become habits become our life.

We can upgrade our life dramatically when we get really good at finding our old, out-of-service rules and practicing new intentions until they become the new, drastically upgraded rules.

What is an old personal rule you used to have that you no longer abide by? What did you change the rule to?



P.S. Becoming AWARE of your old, disempowering rules is the first step to becoming more fully ALIVE, and this process is powerfully catalyzed by a personal revolution self-discovery coach like me! For a limited time I’m offering 1-1 discounted sessions. Click the hyperlink “personal revolution self-discovery coach” for more info.

February Blues And Staying ALIVE

dead tree

I feel like such a hypocrite writing these posts sometimes. “Impostor syndrome” I’ve heard it called.

Fucking ALIVE.


All the things I most want, my highest values, my priorities, my truth. And I feel so far away from them so often. They say we teach what we most need to learn.

And so we persist. Gravitating towards the edges of what we recognize as most nearly real and sustainably pleasurable.

All this energy in our heads serves us well until it doesn’t anymore. Until we realize that our above-average intelligence is a by-product of feeling unsafe in our bodies. The underlying story: “My body is not safe, so I’ll refocus awareness in my head where I can figure things out.”

But that’s not working so well anymore.

What I hate sometimes is that it takes so much energy to heal.

It takes energy to heal.

I’ve paid thousands of dollars over the last few years to begin seriously healing. (Money ~ Energy –in case you hadn’t gotten that one yet.) I’ve invested LOADS of time into practicing healing.

I feel sad and hopeless when I think of my friends whom I doubt will win the battle. I imagine they’ll die before they realize they’ve mis-invested their energy. Better luck next life, I guess.

The truth is I’m bitter against my creator for setting it all up this way. Why did you make it so damn hard!? Did I want it this way? Did I really ask for this? Maybe I was so fucking bored with whatever I was doing before that I dreamed up this new “challenge mode” to play. Goddammit.

But at least we have each other. And we have a shot. I’ve been hopeless before, and I’m not hopeless in this moment. The whole world now seems to be teetering on the edge of the point of no return. What’s that physics term they use? Total capacity? Breaking point? Melt down? I don’t remember.

Oh yeah, “critical mass.”

Either way, death is probably just a new beginning.

It’s February again, could you tell? Fucking February.

This is the longest I’ve gone without alcohol or weed since I first used the substances in college.

I know the only way out is through. It’s the lesson I’ve been learning the last few years.

But god dammit it’s the patience part that sucks.

A dream here, a voice there. A few days of release followed by weeks of silence. A burst of anger, lost friends, several new friends who might not walk away when I show them my pain. #blessed.

I forgive you for turning your back on me. It hurt, but I needed the practice with the pain. And it’s all for the best, right?

All is well.

And it’s probably just February.



Shed Your False Beliefs


I believe the purpose of life is three-fold:

1) To grow

2) To serve our fellow creatures

3) To experience life

When we grow, we have more to offer to others. When we offer what we can and serve others, we feel significance and meaning. And when we feel that our lives are meaningful, we enjoy the experience much more.

I feel gratitude and love as similar feelings. In other words, I haven’t been able to clearly feel, define or distinguish any differences in the way I experience love or gratitude.

Fulfillment and peace have different flavors or hues to them for me than gratitude or love. I would say fulfillment and peace are less intense but deeper and slower moving.

When we are willing to examine our beliefs, to clearly define what it is we want, and to consistently move toward those desires, we experience a good feeling inside.

When we’re willing to face the terrifying uncertainty of pursuing our passions and having our basic beliefs challenged, we are becoming more at peace with reality, with everything. The more false beliefs we shed, the more our capacity for love will grow.

Love cannot be given or taken. Only offered and shared.

So who are you becoming today?

Because who you are becoming is who you are.