Cha Cha Cha!!

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Three Steps to Go

Dance has a kind of mesmerizingly syncopated magic. Like a-bra-ca-da-bra but with red-ruffled, hip-swinging swagger. Life in the 21st century moves at a fast-paced rhythm. Some days, we thrive in it. Others, we barely survive it. The dream though… is that it makes us come alive. 

This requires collaboration. Trust. Vulnerability. A willingness to listen to the music so we understand the timing. And a commitment to practicing the dance steps that make us good partners. 

Step up… to the plate of your wild and wonder full potential. 

I recently came across Sean Achor’s definition of happiness: What if happiness is not about seeking pleasure but about the joy of moving toward our potential. The first feels temporarily great but ultimately kind of self-indulgent, frivolous and empty. The second feels meaningful, sustainable and nourishing.

But to step up you’ve got to leave stuff behind. Fear of… being an epic disappointment, not being worthy, letting others down, giving up, selling out and caving in. Why, oh, why, must there always be a part two.

Step in… to the habits, practices and attitudes that move you toward your potential.

You’ve got to sacrifice your status to push past the quo. You will inevitably think I can give up no more. I have sacrificed everything but my happiness. But you probably haven’t. Or maybe you’ve given up the wrong things, so you don’t have to give up the one thing that makes you really uncomfortable.

Finally, after decades of finding legitimate reasons why doing the horribly difficult thing was a genuinely bad idea, I have started leaning in. The more nauseous it makes me, the more I lean. I started off trying to sugar coat it to make myself feel better. But what’s the point? It’s like frying kale or faking kindness. 

One of my favorite spin teachers says, make adjustments not excuses

Step out… into the arena of life.

Let’s come back to this last one in a minute.

I give this three-part Step up. Step in. Step out. mom lecture series pretty much daily to our boys with variations based on circumstantial nuances. I am arguably a world-class, three-step master motivational speaker with talks worthy of million-dollar mok-tik-toks.

So, it was shocking to be blindsided by the boomerang of my self-proclaimed brilliance. Despite my never-ending hustle of endeavors and explorations, I have unknowingly been dragging around a suitcase-full of glass ceilings and locked doors. 

A two-ton rulebook of what I can and can’t do. 

Of the way IT IS. 

What if IT ISN’T?

I believe with every inch of me, that I am the inimitable Haroldine with a purple crayon. I create imaginative worlds unlimited by logic. Universes free of cultural confines. Inside-out soulscapes that redefine reality. Onramps to unseen possibility and margins for everyday miracles. I am an architect of options. 

Turns out, the scenario is a bit different than that. 

Imagine the purple crayon has a side hustle drawing narrative nooses where Haroldine’s future hangs in the balance. A kind of Calvin & Hobbes meets Fight Club. My story has become stuck in a closed loop circuit of subconscious complacency.

Even if you can cha cha with the best, without the final cha the dance dead ends. 

I step in. I step up. And I stop. 

I have my reasons. I am an introvert. Experience has proven that stepping out is dangerous. Akin to social suicide, personal annihilation and communal abandonment. So… not entirely worth the risk.

I take professional risks, intellectual risks, creative risks, physical risks but risks of the heart, not so much. Events over the past few weeks, however, have tortured me into reconsidering. There was a work situation that left me feeling poorly. Then a family one. Then a friend one.

I resisted and rejected. I explained, excused and devised exit strategies in my mind. I numbed, hid, pretended, pouted, cried, raged, ran, overate and under-slept­. In short, I tried every defense I had. Pulled out all the stops. Used every resource at my disposal. None worked. And for every week I left one problem unaddressed, another one cropped up. 

Finally, this past Saturday night, I retired early to bed, dejected and defeated by my inability to work through these relationship issues by myself. I picked up my phone hopeful of distraction and the universe knocked on my door (via email).

I got a notification someone had commented on my blog post. I have written several lately, so wondered which one. When I saw, I laughed out loud. Out of the blue from a hundred years ago…

The Dangers of Dithering

I looked up where I imagine the universal energy hangs out and smiled. Got it. 

I had never really understood this last Stepping out part. I thought it meant stepping out of my comfort zone or stepping out of old routines or outgrown patterns. But I think, for me, stepping out means stepping out of the safety of my mind. My perceptions of what the world will do, what other people will do, whether I will be safe. 

What if my assumptions about the world are WRONG? What if people DO want to hear what I have to say? What if the world IS interested in what I have to offer? What if all my dead ends are actually onramps to the worlds I write about?


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