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Although I am not a Buddhist, one of the tenets of the Eightfold Path, Right Speech, fascinates me; it’s where parenting adolescents smacks into enlightened living…and it’s kicking my a$$. 

The foundations of Right Speech include:

  1. Abstain from false speech; do not tell lies or deceive.
  2. Do not slander others or speak in a way that causes disharmony or enmity.
  3. Abstain from rude, impolite or abusive language.
  4. Do not indulge in idle talk or gossip.

As a society, we are failing miserably at Right Speech, and I’m curious to know why. I wrote a little bit about this in my book, but I’ve had it flung back in my face, lately…over and over. You see, my new dream of starting a Volleyball Club and a Wellness Center that empowers girls has landed me smack dab in the middle of Drama. You would think it was from the girls, but you’d be wrong…it’s mostly parents who keep the drama and nasty chatter bubbling.

I had a conversation about this the other day, and I realized that there was a way to apply Right Speech to the Drama-War; I could just choose not to partake. So, I tried it. There was a mom (actually, I’ve had this conversation with many moms, so this is a representation) who was protesting how unfair someone was being to her kid, and I could tell she wanted me to jump into the Drama pool and agree with her. I didn’t. I validated her pain, “I can see that’s tough for you. It’s always tougher on the parent than on the kid, isn’t it? You know, I’ve found that tough situations make kids tougher, if we can let them figure it out and come out the other side. I know it’s tempting to jump in, but most of the time it doesn’t help. Take that energy and help yourself stay calm. That will help her more!” And then I just sent her love and changed the subject. It was remarkable. She followed my lead out of the drama, and pretty soon we were having a meaningful conversation about stuff that really does matter!

It’s tempting to go down the drama rabbit-hole. It feels exciting to one-up a juicy story. But don’t you just feel a little slimy afterwards…like you need a shower? Staying in drama is not the way to build your Girl Power; it just wastes energy. Drama sucks joy.

Right speech spreads joy.

Choose Right Speech.

When asked to embellish a juicy story, especially if you have new information, choose instead to say, “It’s not my story to tell.” And then change the subject to something funny, weird or heart-warming. Join me in choosing Right Speech over Drama; let’s spread a little joy, channel our inner lioness and make Girl World a kinder, more powerful place!

ROAR!

XO

Terri

PS If you and your daughter want a drama free retreat of a lifetime, I’d love to have you join me here.  

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In all the squares of the Change Cycle, I believe that Square 4 is the least understood.  This is the square where all of your hard work in Square 3 has resulted in a peaceful place where things are easy. But The Promised Land can be built on false promises. If you are someone who thinks that happiness is a destination, then you are setting yourself up to never experience true happiness (been there, suffered that). If you believe that The Promised Land can be reached having the perfect house, the perfect family, the perfect car, and a closet full of size 4 clothes, you are missing the boat—because there is no perfect anything, at least not by society’s standards.

 

I believe that my life is perfect for me, but it’s far from perfect. This is the truth of Square 4. The Promised Land is built upon promises you make to yourself and then keep through a daily practice of taking care of yourself, accepting your life (and your teen’s life) as it is, and being very honest about your expectations, without judgment.  Does this sound crazy? Well, it’s no crazier than thinking you can control every aspect of yours and your teen’s lives.

 

How does this look on a daily basis? Once you have mastered the circular movement of Square 3, and you’ve actually reached a place of “All is well” in at least one area of your life (marriage, work, parenting, or health), it’s tempting to think that it will always be this way. That is The Promised Land trap, because nothing ever stays the same — and that’s okay. In the change cycle, Square 4 is right before Square 1 for a reason; just when you think you have it all figured out, then life will throw you a curveball. Even though I am in Square 4 with my family (my relationship with my husband and girls is rock solid and takes very little effort to maintain), circumstances will still intrude upon that tranquility.

 

In my life, right now, I have curve balls flying at my head fast and furious. For instance, my youngest just tried out for club volleyball, yet she is still recovering from her concussion. Old Terri would have spent countless hours worrying about what will happen if she’s not 100%. What will she do if she can’t play volleyball? How will I run a volleyball center, if my own kid can’t even play? There is nothing that will tell me the answer to these questions. All I can do is follow the doctor’s recommendations, help her with her exercises, or supply pep talks when she asks.

 

All we can do is address issues as they arise—and have faith. Instead of pushing her to do her exercises and be vigilant about protecting herself, I say those two magic phrases for teens, “How can I help?” and “Honey, everything will be okay!” Sometimes, I feel like I’m saying that last one to myself, as well.

 

When life catapults you out of the apparent safety of Square 4 back into the uncertainty of Square 1, mostly what you need is faith. Practicing that faith when times are easy in Square 4 starts with a focus on all the things for which you are grateful. This is the way to true happiness: appreciate the small things that you do have, right here and now. For me, in this moment:

  1. I am grateful for my vision of helping girls and their moms see their own magnificence. I’m grateful for having the tools to help them band together to make Girl World a better place. I don’t have the exact map of how this will happen, but the vision is clear.
  2. I’m grateful for daily texts and or calls from my four girls, no matter how far away they are.
  3. I’m grateful for my husband, who believes in me, even when he doesn’t understand what the heck I’m talking about!
  4. I’m grateful for my Pride of friends who talk me off the ledge on a daily basis. When I’m filled with doubt, they’re filled with calm support or pithy comments that turn tears into laughter.
  5. I’m grateful for all the support that we have received in building our 850 Elite Volleyball Academy and Girl Power Station wellness center. People are coming out of the woodwork to help make this happen, because it’s so long overdue.

 

There’s so much more for which I’m grateful, but just writing down these five things has made my Promised Land feel like an oasis. What are you grateful for? Write it down, right now, and create the possibility of carrying your Promised Land with you, no matter what’s happening around you.

 

If you need a little help getting to Square 4, go here! If you want to learn about our 850 Elite Volleyball Academy and how we teach the importance of the credo, “Attitude Is Everything”, go here www.850elitevolleyball.org .

 

Until next time, please be kind to yourself!

 

XO

Terri

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We are a culture of busy worshipers. It doesn’t really matter what we’re doing, we think that we need to be frantic and rushing around to be productive. This is especially tempting when we are in Square 3 of the Change Cycle; it ain’t called The Hero’s Saga for nothin’, people! If you don’t know about the Change Cycle, go here for an explantion.

After you have dreamed up a course of action in Square 2, Square 3 is where you try it out. I say try, because you will probably try and fail… at least a couple of times. It’s daunting to try something and have it not work out, but it also puts you in touch with the best part of yourself–your Inner Amazon. She is a badass, but she’s also kind and funny. I’ve talked before about listening to your Inner Guide, the still quiet voice inside you that always has your best interest at heart. Your Inner Amazon is your Inner Guide’s big, sassy sister. I picture her as a combination of Beyoncé and Alicia Keys— strong and vibrant, with the battle cry, “You can DO this!”

Your Inner Amazon is a great sidekick in Square 3, because it can be unsettling to keep trying and failing. The movement of Square 3 is circular: you grieve the loss of your old expectations in Square 1, you dream up a new plan in Square 2, you try it out in Square 3, and it bombs. Then it’s back to Square 1.

Here’s how this showed up in my life recently. My middle child, who found the perfect apartment in May, lost the perfect apartment 6 months later. So, she’s been on the hunt for a new place (Square 1). She spent a couple of weeks with me on the phone and the Internet looking at new places that suited her (Square 2). Then she found one that was ideal, after traipsing around Chicago for days, and we both jumped through all the hoops to secure her spot and sign a lease (Square 3). Success!  So everything is peachy, right? Wrong. Yesterday, she found out that the other three roommates dropped out! She was sure that she was now responsible for the lease herself (Square 3 failure, back to Square 1), so she called me for help.

Were we freaked out? Not really. Because we both know this is how the Change Cycle works. Worrying is just wasted effort in Square 3. I told her I could help. I did some research, contacted the landlord, and he let her out of the lease. Now she goes back into Square 2 again to dream up a new place to live. We stayed connected, because we know that change is a part of life and control is an illusion. Old Terri would have thrown up my hands and spent a lot of time worrying about where my baby will sleep! What if I can’t get out of the lease? What will I do? But my Inner Amazon said, “Come on, T, you got this! Contact the landlord, explain yourself, and have faith.”

It’s much easier to have faith when you have your Pride to call. Just like in Square 1, you need a friend (or Pride member) to remind you that, “All is well. All will be well. All manner of things will be well.” This is my mantra in Square 3. I say it to myself. I say it to my kids. And I have my Pride say it back to me. This mantra has worked with my clients, as they negotiated the Square 3 of divorce, cancer, and their last kid leaving for college. If you’re in Square 3 right now, take 3 deep breaths (coincidence? I think not!) No matter how bad things seem, you can call on your own Inner Amazon, and your supportive Pride, to remind you that You Can Do This!

Until next time, be kind to yourselves ☺

XO

Terri

PS If you are in the depths of Square 3, without a Pride, I can help!  Send me an e-mail an terri@girlpowerforgood.com to sign up for a free consultation. Go here for more information about Girl Power for Good coaching.

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A support system is one of the key necessities for thriving in transition. If you don’t have a group (or a few) people who love you no matter what, then it’s time to dream up a new Pride. Your Pride may not be the cool kids. You know, the Moms who always know what to wear or the best organic grocery store/exercise class/new coffee spot, OR the Popular girls who walk down the halls impervious to pain, bad hair days and loneliness. You may be searching for belonging in the wrong places.

Sometimes we have friendships that are convenient, but in our gut we don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable around them. Last week, my friend told me that she was cornered at a party by a neighbor, who proceeded to spill intimate details of a mutual friend’s life under the guise of being concerned. Her gut had always told her not to trust this neighbor, and now she knew why. These kind of friends are the Drama Mama equivalent of the teenaged “Mean Girls”. And we’ve all got a few in our circles.

So, how do we find our Pride? The first step is to always trust your gut. If you don’t have trustworthy friends right now, that’s okay. In Square 2 of the change cycle, it is better to be alone then to rely on friends that aren’t Your People. This goes double for our daughters.

If your daughter is depressed because the popular girls don’t want her to sit at their lunch table, ask her why she wants to sit there. Why does she want friends who don’t see her for who she truly is? Then ask her, if those girls WANTED her to be with them, would she pick them as friends? This led to one of the best conversations I ever had with my middle child. She realized that the “popular girls” were not friends she would pick, given a choice. She was just drawn to them, because they didn’t want her…like a moth to a flame. She thought hanging around with them would make her popular.

Having popular friends doesn’t make you popular; being confident makes you popular.

And if those popular friends don’t support who you are, they aren’t Your People. Those are acquaintances, and they have their place. But you will know Your People, because you feel safe when you’re around them. They have earned the right to hear your story by accepting you exactly as you are. They make you feel more confident.

If you or your daughter don’t have a circle of friends that makes you feel confident, and you’re feeling completely alone as we talked about in Square 1,  you can use Square 2 to dream up a new Pride. If you, or your daughter, are feeling hopeless about finding good friends, try creating something with your hands to get the Square 2 dream juices flowing. You can write in a journal, knit, draw, surf for delicious food or travel destinations on the internet, or anything else that makes you feel more hopeful. In this frame of mind, you or your daughter can spend some time describing the qualities of your ideal BFF. Then the beauty of Square 2 can begin.

Once you dream it, the computer that lives between your ears will start noticing people like that dream description.   Your daughter might notice a new face in homeroom and forge a connection. Your brain is a great sorter, once you give it a positive value to compare to.

Still wondering where your ideal friends might be hanging out? Remember the things that you love to do, or loved to do as a kid, and then GO DO THOSE THINGS. Your People, your Pride, will be there waiting for you–because they are like you! Encourage your daughter to try writing poetry (dark poetry appeals to her teen angst) or singing or any other club that appeals to her. I found my Pride when I started life coach training. I built my Pride in yoga classes, because yoga made me feel so darn good. My middle child found her Pride at the Creative Writing department at FSU. My youngest found her Pride when she went out for volleyball. It’s all about following what lights YOU up.

You don’t need many friends to make a Pride, just a few who make your heart sing will suffice. Once you feel supported by friends who share your dreams, then a whole world of possibility opens up for both you and your daughter.

XO

Terri

P.S. If you need a little help dreaming up your perfect pride of friends, I’m an expert. Square 2 Dreaming is my favorite square, and I would live there all the time, if my cray-cray life would allow it. Drop me a line at terri@girlpowerforgood.com, and we can figure it out together!

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You Are Not Alone

Right now, I’m sitting on my back deck, looking at the scene I have enjoyed for 18 years: the stillness of Boggy Bayou, big puffy clouds floating by while I listen to the chirp of the frogs and the barking squirrels. In one month, I won’t have this view anymore, because we are selling our house. This is the only house my baby has ever known, and the house my husband and I built to stay in “until they carry us out feet first”. But things changed.

We are selling our house, so that we can build a Girl Power Wellness/Volleyball Center. The proceeds from the house sale will fund our new foundation and the construction of the center.

This is a 10-year goal for me, and it’s finally coming true.

So, I should feel amazing, right? Wrong! I’m writing this through tears. I’m tired and alone. I’m in Square One of the Change Cycle.

The Change Cycle is just life coach speak for transition management. When we go through a big life change, there’s a pattern to the stages of transition, and we can use that pattern to make the change more manageable. Resistance to change, and the inherent stress it causes, is so universal that I will be spending the next four blog posts on the different stages or squares. Right now, I’m in Square One, which is the Death and Rebirth square. When you have a big change, like your kids going to a new school, moving to a new place or a new job (I’m living two out of three), it is stressful. You want to control the change, but you can’t control change—you can only manage your reaction to it.

When you’re in Square One, it can feel lonely, because most of the transition is happening inside of you. Your outsides look much the same, even as you are swimming in doubt and fear on the inside. You don’t think that anyone else will understand what you’re going through, but this can’t be further from the truth.

It doesn’t matter that the change happening in my life is positive; I still feel alone—and that’s okay. It’s okay to cry at the death of my old story and the rebirth of a new life. But it’s not nearly as helpful to throw a pity party, because I feel alone.

Because I’m not alone.

That’s just an old story that I wrote as a fat kid in a new school in second grade, and I added new chapters entering middle school and high school. Every time I go through a big change, the story kicks back up again. But it’s just a story, and I can ask for help from my Pride to write a new one that feels better.

To move through Square One, you need some alone time to grieve, but you also need help from Pride members who are not in Square One, who can give you perspective and tell you “Honey, it’s going to be okay.” When my heart felt like it was breaking, and the tears started flowing, I immediately sent out four texts to my closest Pride members: “I’m in the swamp. I need help. Can you chat?” Just doing that made me feel better. I got one response in five minutes and made a date for a phone chat. And, just like that, Square One felt a little less lonely.

It seems that change brings up all our ‘chit, and all our old stories of loss and lack. I find that my lizard brain (the oldest part of our brain that focuses on lack and attack) plays the same tune when I’m feeling low, specifically, “How will I ever succeed when I’m not…smart enough, thin enough, organized enough?” This thought then leads to a desire to attack anyone that might actually help me: I snap at my husband, I bark at my kids, and I spend way too much energy in idle, mean spirited gossip. This is the recipe for actually being alone, because who would want to hang around this shrew? Instead of alienating our loved ones, we can call on our Pride for help. Square One is scary and dark, but we all have friends who will join us around the campfire and turn the scary shadows into duck shadow puppets—if we just ask.

When our daughters see us ask for help, they will pattern the same actions when they need help, instead of hiding out in their room, staring longingly at someone else’s “perfect life” on Snapchat. When we can be honest with them and share our loneliness and doubt, without making it about them in any way, then we can support each other through the trials of Square One. We can show them how to ask for help from safe friends who won’t judge us in our hour of need.

Defining your true Pride is crucial in Square One. The time you invest in building deep, abiding friendships will come back to you and your teen or pre-teen daughter in the form of support when you’re in the swamp. Together we will build a path through the wilderness. Together we can help each other through transitions and big changes. Together we are more than the sum of our parts. Hear me now. You can do this, and you are not alone!

XO
Terri

P.S. If the Change Cycle is running you down, I’ve got your back! Starting August 12th, I’m leading a 6- week tele-course to help you reclaim your sanity while raising your teen or pre-teen. Weekly calls with e-mail support in between will give you the support you and your daughter need to become Masters of Change–and the Universe, of course! Go here for all the deets…

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