Do You Have an Overdeveloped Sense of Responsibility?

Jim and I have recently started watching the TV show Smallville. If you are not familiar with this show, it is a retelling of the story of the iconic superhero Superman, when he was young. The series began during his high school years and continued for 10 seasons. The Series finale was this last spring. Jim and I are watching the DVDs and have started from the beginning.

One thing that became clear very quickly is that the character of Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego (although at this point there is no Superman) has an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. He takes everything on. Anything he has even a remote connection to, he will feel like he is responsible for creating a positive outcome. No matter what anyone else’s choice is or what part they play in the things that are happening, Clark always feels like it is all his responsibility to fix. I suppose that is a good thing in a character that can bench press a tractor. However, it handicaps his character with a lot of guilt and makes him moody and broody. Of course he is also a teenager, so that might have something to do with the moody and broody.

One of the insights that came to me the other day was how by Clark taking on all this responsibility, he negates the choices of the other characters. Since I have a tendency to take on lots responsibility for the things going on around me, this was an important realization for me. Every situation in our life is a result of the choices we and those around us have made. When two or more people meet, that meeting is the intersection of each person choices. So when I, or someone else, take on all the responsibility for something occurring, it is as good as saying “I’m sorry but all your choices are meaningless to me.” Now what impacted me the most was the realization that some of those choice are made in the deepest love and are meant to be a gift to me, or someone else. A gift I was rejecting by taking on all that responsibility and negating the choice!

I realize that responsibility has many non-supportive means out there. It is something I have talked about before. I also realize there are those who aren’t taking on responsibility for their choices. However, don’t own what is not yours. Recognize what your choices are and recognize what the other person’s choices are. When you take on more than your share of the responsibility, you hamstring yourself with guilt and stress. You can’t make someone’s choices for them and therefore you cannot guarantee any outcome or result in which someone else has a choice. This may result in an outcome you may not want, yet they too have their lessons to learn and experience to receive. Allow them the responsibility of their own choices and the gift that this is for you and for them.


In love and light


Why, Oh Why, Am I Writing About Charlie Sheen?

What is it about Charlie Sheen? I did a google search on him and here is what I got: he was missing his kid’s birthday, had hired some Israeli bodyguards, and his tour sold out in 18 minutes. On my 10 minute ride to work I heard his name mentioned in the news at least twice. His exploits are everywhere and every news agency seems to want to mention him in some unflattering light. So why? Why do we care so much about what he is doing and when he his doing it? I know he has a popular TV show but there are many other actors and TV shows that are just as popular. Is it his arrogance? Is it because he does things that so many people don’t approve of? Is it because he lives his life in a big way and shines so brightly?

I may not approve of his lifestyle. I may not like how he pursues his materialistic pleasure with his dogged determination. I may think that he could put his time and money to better uses. I also know that what we see in the media is probably not the truth of the man. The media loves the bad boy. The media also loves to put people in the spotlight so they can show you all the flaws and faults of someone. The media likes to stand in judgment and say “We are so much better than this person because of …”, and Charlie Sheen certainly has his flaws. Don’t we all?

He also lives his life to the fullest extent and without excuses to anyone. He does what he wants when he wants to. When people shine so brightly and live their lives with such… passion, we tend to want them to be more flawed. We want them to be less bright. We want them to be ordinary again. Why? Because their brightness scares us. It reminds us that we are not fully shining our light. It reminds us that we may not be living with passion. It reminds us we may be allowing others to dictate our actions and goals instead of following what we want. I may not like what Charlie Sheen is doing in his life but I love that he is living his life in passion and without remorse.

So the next time you hear a media story about Charlie Sheen’s escapades and exploits, remember that he is shining and living his life without other people’s ‘should’s and ‘should nots’ deciding his actions. Remember, as the media points out his flaws, faults, and all the “ridiculous” things he says, that he does all that he does fully knowing that everything will be plastered all over the news, in every tabloid, and completely dissected and analyzed by many, many people. Yet he still does it and enjoys that he does it, without self-doubt or self judgment. We could all use a little more of those qualities in our lives. We could stand to burn a little brighter and live with more passion. We could all take a page out of Charlie Sheen’s book and live our lives without remorse and without excuses.


In love and light

Who Would You Be Without Your Memories?

I watched this TV show where one of the characters lost his memory. During the course of the show he ended up getting back with his ex-wife. He no longer remembered why they had gotten divorced so couldn’t understand why he had left her. She became an anchor for him of who he had been. Another one of the characters wondered if it would work when one of the couple has years of baggage and the other is completely open to something new. This got me to thinking – who would I be if I woke up tomorrow and didn’t remember anything about my life? What would be important to me? How would I act? What parts of me are shaped by my memories and what parts of me are shaped by my instincts? If I woke up tomorrow with no memeory would I get to choose everything about myself? Would I get to choose how I react in situations? Would I still even like coffee?

I can’t even begin to know the answer to this. However the question is a great place to start looking at my behaviors and actions. Where did they spring from? Why am I acting this way? Is this something I learned over time or is it an instinct? If I didn’t remember any of my past would I still act this way? It is really a very intriguing question and it goes back to the whole nature vs nurture question – which is the most influential in someone’s development and behaviors? This question has been studied by scientists for many years. As far as I know, they haven’t come up with a concrete answer yet. However, I could have missed the memo.

On most days this question is way more analytical than I want to get. I really don’t want to spend my every waking moment figuring out if this action is something I learned from my past or is something I do instinctively. Instinctive reactions have been programmed into us as a species for many generations as a way to survive. Many of those instincts may not apply to our current living situation. They are still there, however, and you respond to them accordingly. Fight or flight is a well known instinctive response. When you find a behavior that is not supporting you, asking yourself if it is instinctive or learned is a great way to drill down to the driving motive behind it. In those cases you can ask yourself, “If I didn’t remember who I was and had to recreate myself would I still act this way?” Either answer you get, I believe, if you find a non supportive behavior, you can reprogram both learned and instinctive behaviors in yourself. I believe we can change both these aspects of ourselves.

Take some time and ponder for a moment – if I didn’t remember anything about me, what would I choose for myself? Who would I choose to be? Hmmmm. The possibilities are endless.

In love and light

Where In Your Life Are You Settling for Less?

Snow, snow, snow! Snow is everywhere you look around here. Last winter season we got pretty much nothing for snowfall. So far this season we have gotten a few good storms. Thus snow is every where. I love snow. I guess you could really say I love snowstorms and falling snow. The whole shoveling, icy roads and sidewalks, and really narrow streets I could do without. However, since that is a part of snow storms, I will live with them. For me the beauty and peace that I receive in a snowstorm outweighs the nuisances that accompany them. At least in January it does. When March comes around, the annoyances of a snowstorm may outweigh the joy I get from them.

As I was thinking about snowstorms and how I take the annoyances of them because I love the beauty of them, I got to wondering where in my life am I settling. There are benefits and consequences to everything that we do. I understand that. I also know from my own experience that sometime that “benefits and consequences” logic can be used as a means to settle for less that what you want. You like your job. You do something that you enjoy (but might not love), it pays you well, and you like the people you work with. So you stay. What you really want to be doing is something else. This is a case where the benefits of staying may outweigh the consequences of getting another job. Yet you are settling for less than you want (and deserve). You are asked to commit to a romantic partner who you love, treats you amazingly, and thinks the world of you and yet you have no passion or chemistry with. If you say yes, you are settling for less than what you may want.

Is settling for less really all that wrong? Yes and no. For me, the question really becomes are you even aware that you may be settling for less. Most of the time we think what we have in our lives is good enough that we forget that we ever wanted more or different. More often that not we have been so beaten up by life and kicked around and stomped down, that when we get something that is “good enough” we are not aware that we wanted “fantastic” and “amazing.” So ask yourself the question “Where in my life am I settling for ‘good enough?’ ” and sometimes that may be where you want to be at this moment. As long as you come clean with yourself and figure out what you really want and desire. Hold the vision for yourself. You may be willing to be in “good enough” for now and yet know that “fantastic” is out there for you also, someday. Look at what you are settling for in your life and allow “good enough” to grow and expand into the “amazing.”


In love and light

When To Stop? When Is It OK?

How do you know when enough is enough? How do you know when to continue on and when to stop? In our society we give great praise and admiration to those that continue on when everything says they should stop. It is the athlete that keeps running with a torn muscle, the salesperson that stays late all the time to make those extra calls, and those people that push on (through pain, uncertainty, and forces telling them to stop) to make it happen that we put up on a pedestal. We make movies about it. We tell stories, give praise, and hold these people as the ideal of what we should strive for. They are the dichotomy of commitment, focus, and determination. They show what a human being can do when they set their mind to it. They are the role models we cling to when we need inspiration and strength.

and yet…

Is it worth finishing a race with a torn muscle if you will never be able to compete again? Is it worth those extras calls and late nights if it costs your family and marriage? Is it worth causing permanent, irreparable damage, physically and emotionally, to cross the finish line, make the grade, and achieve success? Where do you draw the line? When do you push on, press on, and continue and when do you stop, knowing that what you are doing is not working and it’s time to try something else?

I have no answers. I have no insights. I work with this concept daily. It was brought home to me this week as my physical body had challenges that needed to be addressed and now must take time to heal. When do I push on and finish what I said I was going to and when do I stop and rest? I think for each one of us this question is intensely personal. What you are doing and why must be weighed against what the potential costs will be. In the end we must all follow what our heart tells us to do, even when those around us are telling us to keep going or telling us to stop. Sometimes, until you strive for something with all your heart, you don’t realize you aren’t willing to pay the price it will cost. Despite what everything around you is saying, that’s OK. Really it is. Sometimes it isn’t until you fully commit to something, throw your heart completely into the game, that you realize you really didn’t want to play in the first place. That doesn’t make you a loser. That doesn’t mean you are uncommitted. It doesn’t mean you are unfocused. It just means you didn’t think the gain was worth the price you were going to have to pay. You decided it was better to rest, go home on time, to take time off, or change what you were focused on.

Guess what? That’s OK. Really it is.

In love and light

Is “Should” Affecting Your Energy Level?

How often in your vocabulary do you use the word “should?” Just take a moment and think about how you use the word “should” in your sentences and your thoughts. “I should clean the house.” “I should do the laundry.” “I should make those business calls.” “I should redo my resume.” “I should visit my mother.” The word “should” is defined as: used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency. The word “should” is an obligating word. It is a word used to get ourselves or someone else to do something right now or in the very near future. This word invokes guilt and shame because we are not doing whatever action we feel we must do. When you think about the word “should,” notice how your body feels. Notice how your energy level is affected. Your body may feel heavy. It may feel tired. You may also feel a sense of resentment and resistance. “Should” is a word that strips us of our power. “Should” is not a word that creates energy and movement. It is not a word that creates a connection or feelings of joy and happiness. “Should” is a binding word. It is a word of restriction.

There is power in our words. All words have a vibration, a sound, and an energy to them. There is power in how we think and what we say. This power can support us and energize us, or this power can hinder us and cause us to feel tired. The word “should” is not a word that empowers. It is not a word that energizes. Now think about the word “choose” or the word “desire.” Think about the energy to those words. These words have a different feeling to them than the word “should” does. Think about how empowering it would be if you started to choose to do things all those “must dos” in your life. “I choose to do the laundry.” “I choose to make those business calls.” Think about how different of an energy level that creates in you than the word “should.” Now think about how different an energy level it creates if you desire to do those actions! “I desire to clean the bathroom today.” “I desire to visit my mother.” “I desire to do my resume.” “I desire to do my newsletter!” There is a totally different energy to them. There is a completely different feeling in your body. You may not necessarily feel that desire in that moment. However by just using a different word in the sentence you have now created a completely different tone and feeling in your body. Begin to create your own high energy vocabulary by removing from it the words that have a low energy feeling to you and replacing them with words that have a high energy feeling to you. This will completely change how you feel when taking actions and raise your energy levels!

In love and light

Are You Managing Expectations?

This week’s ramblings is based off of a situation that occurred at supper the other night. Here’s a little background information so you understand the situation. We had been gone most of the week before and because we didn’t want anything to spoil while we were gone, we had very few food choices in the house to pick from. By this time, we had been home for a few days but hadn’t gotten to the grocery store yet. So still not a lot of choice to eat in the house. So for supper that night I had pulled out two containers of beef stew from the freezer. I LOVE beef stew! I was looking forward to it all day. As Jim was getting it ready (you know, putting it in bowls and heating it up) he asked, “Why is there chicken in the beef stew?” This made no sense to me either. I came to realize that what I thought was beef stew was really the left-over chicken and veggies we had made in the crock pot the week before. We ate it anyway, but I just was not enjoying eating it. It really didn’t taste that good to me.

When I commented to Jim about this he asked, “How much of that is because you were counting on beef stew?” Well, of all of it really. The chicken tasted fine the week before, and I love chicken made in the crock pot. The chicken is always so moist and tender when cooked that way. I ate the piece in my bowl with a spoon. That’s how tender it was. So what is going on here? The same thing that is going on everyday — what I expected the outcome to be is affected how I was viewed (or tasted in this case) the situation. I expected one thing and got another, so I was disappointed with what I got. The result was a dinner that didn’t taste good to me in that moment. Life is about managing expectations – our own and others. If someone is disappointed, then how were their expectations not met and why?

Think about how many expectations you set everyday. Most of these expectations are ingrained and not thought about. Most of us expect the sun to rise, the car to start when we turn the key, and to get to work on time when we leave the same time as we did before. We expect water to come out of the faucet, and for it to be hot if we turned on the hot water. We expect the TV to come on, the phone to ring, the oven to work. The list goes on and on. All of these expectations, and many more, are part of the background noise of our daily lives, and when one of them doesn’t turn out the way we expect, we are disappointed. As I write this I am thinking about how my life would be if I let go of all expectations. I don’t think I will achieve that soon and yet, think of how different holding that perspective that could be. How different would it be if instead of expecting hot water out of the faucet, I gave thanks because it’s there or if I said “Thank you” every time my car started. Such a different life that would be. It would be one of wonderment and amazement for all the amazing things that are going on around us.

WOW. Look at that! The fan and light came on when I flipped a switch. How cool is that!

In love and light


Choice is Our Greatest Gift.

One of the greatest gifts we, the human race, have been given is the gift of free will, or in other words: the gift of choice. One can argue that this gift has caused countless years of brutal treatment, torment, pain and suffering. However, it has also caused amazing beauty, kindness, bravery and peace. It has given people the ability to overcome the human being’s basic instincts and to rise above them. It has given us the ability to respond to situations and not just react based on past conditioning. The ability to reason, to grow, to expand beyond all that has come before in our history as a race, this is also a gift of choice. As with anything, what we do with our free will is our choice.

If you fully embrace this gift and incorporate it into your life, it will give you the opportunity to live life with less stress, frustration and anger. It will help you to incorporate new ideas, new perspectives and new opportunities into your life. With a simple step into full awareness and acceptance of the belief that you have a choice about anything and everything that comes into your life, you will create a life filled with abundance, health and joy.

The key to this awareness is to remember that regardless of what is going on around you, you have a choice of how to view this situation. No matter what else happens, that choice can never, ever, ever be taken away from you. There are horrible and awful situations happening around us and to us every day. One choice is to view the situation as “I can’t do anything about it” and stay trapped in that situation. Other choices are to look at what you can learn, where you can serve, where is there an opportunity to change, what you can do to make this a better situation or where you can go to get out of the situation. As long as you believe you have no choice, you will never look for those opportunities.

In love and light


Anger & Fear – Are You Using Them Creatively?

Today I’d like to talk about anger and fear – two emotions that seem to have gotten a bad rap in our society. Actually, most emotions have gotten a bad rap. If you demonstrate any emotions when you are speaking to people, they seem to use that as a way to dismiss what you say as “emotional” and therefore not worth their attention. However, that is a post for another day. Today I am writing about fear and anger.

Most people will do anything they can to be sure not to exhibit fear or anger. For that matter, most people are not even willing to feel or to acknowledge that they are feeling those emotions. When we do see someone who is exhibiting these emotions we get uncomfortable and then proceed to coerce them into not feeling these emotions. A child who wakes up afraid from a dream is told, “It’s just a dream.” This dismisses the fear as irrelative because “It’s just a dream.” We are told to push past the fear, to feel and do it anyway, to put aside the fear, and take action. When we are angry, our words are dismissed because they “were spoken in anger.” When we see someone who is angry, everyone backs up and backs away, no longer giving attention to that person, just to that person’s anger. When we are asked “Why are you angry?” it is asked in such a way that we are made to feel like we have no right to be angry. A child throwing an angry tantrum is told to “Behave!” or else “I’ll give you something to cry about!”

Anger and fear are emotions, the same as joy, love, and excitement. They are not positive or negative. These emotions are as much a part of the human condition as blue eyes and brown hair. They just ARE and like any emotions, they give insights and clues into what is going on for us as humans. Both anger and fear are indicator that somewhere in our mind and body we believe that something is not the way it should be. These emotions let us know that something is “Wrong.” When you allow yourself to feel these emotions you can get to the base of what the “wrongness” is about. You can use these emotions as indicators to take another look, assess the situation, find out what is going on for you, and find out what’s going on in the situation. They are amazing opportunities for growth and change.

These emotions have a place and a purpose. If you are a woman alone on a dark street and someone approaches you – fear keeps you alert and it will give you energy for action if needed. If you see an act of injustice, anger can give you that push and energy you need to take action to right that injustice. However, if you are in a business meeting and you are angry with someone when they disagree with your suggestion, this is an excellent opportunity to feel the anger and learn what is going on with you and the situation. Maybe you feel like you are being threatened; maybe you are intolerant because they can’t see the “right” thing to do; maybe you feel defensive, unheard or unworthy. You can use this as an opportunity to look and see what belief system this anger is defending. Then you can look and see if that belief system is supporting you or not. The emotion of fear can be used the same way – “Why am I afraid?”, “What is going on here?”, “Am I paying attention to my instincts?” All emotions that we feel are great spring boards to learn more about our belief systems. Fear and anger are especially great opportunities to learn from, because they are emotions that we become very aware of. We are aware of them because they have gotten such a bad rap and we do everything we can to suppress and ignore them! Use these emotions as the opportunities that they are.

In love and light


The Gift of Today

I heard a great line from a song on the radio this morning.
“We are all one phone call away from our knees.”
What a powerful reminder to us all that life can and does change at a drop of the hat and all of our plans, dreams and goals will not change that fact. My life is now different than it was a week ago. I lost a good companion this morning when one of our cats transition to Spirit. A week ago I would not have even considered that as a possibility. Today I am missing a friend.

We often forget, I know that I do, that things change constantly. Our lives appear the same day in and day out. We do the same things everyday, we see the same people, we hear the same songs on the radio, we have our regular routines. So our lives appear to be the same. However, our days are not the same. Each day is a new one and can not ever be recaptured once gone. We forget, I forget, that each day is not a “given right” (a line from another song) but a gift to be cherished and embraced. A blessing that may not be here tomorrow.

Today say “I love you” extra time to those you love. Kiss and hug your furry friends a couple extra time. Smile to those you see on the street. Say “Thank you” to those around you for the service they render you. Better yet say “Thank you” to people just because they are in your life. Each day remember that you are only one phone call away from your knees. Remember that those people who are in your lives now will be there someday. Most of all, remember that today is a blessing and a gift. Embrace it. Cherish it. Don’t let it pass without acknowledging that fact.

You will be missed my little one.

Yukonne Yuki McMahon