November 2012

From smirk to smiles: Adventures with Bill

Bill & I were all smiles when we snapped this picture at the end of our last coaching session.


But the session didn’t start out that way – at least not for me!


I arrived at 8am, exasperated and frustrated. I had promised to bring him 10 copies of something, and my printer went on the fritz that morning.


Bill greeted me with his usual smile, and we shared the usual morning pleasantries as we walked upstairs to his office. “Good morning. How was your weekend? etc.”


He was smiling but I sure wasn’t. I felt like a bit of a failure. Arriving empty handed with no progress in my homework from last session. Blech.


It wasn’t the huge kind of identity crisis where you think your whole life is meaningless.


It was the kind of itchy, scratchiness you feel when you’ve rushed out of the house and realized you forgot your important papers. Or like when you have company coming and the toilets overflow 15 minutes before their arrival.


The kind of snafu where you mutter under your breath, “Of course…Newton’s law. What can go wrong, must go wrong.” Or “Darn technology…we were better off without all this stuff!”


Mine was, “This always happens to me.”


I was off my game.


“What do you want to look at this session?” he asked me.


“Blah, blah, blah,” my words came out in a rush – like bottled up frustration so often does. I spent the next several minutes telling him everything that was not going right for me.


I had to shut up after a while because I just got tired of hearing myself talk.


“How can we re-frame this?” he asked me.


Then he gave me a taste of my own medicine.


“It sounds to me like you’ve had a lot going on with your mother visiting for 5 days, an event at the studio, and a stomach bug.


“And you still managed to keep things going.” He encouraged me to cut myself some slack.


Ahem. Physician, heal thyself.


And then we re-framed.


We reviewed my goals, one of which is to clearly articulate my life’s core purpose, my values and the vision for my work.


We discussed a few positive things that are happening in my work. I started to feel a little better.


I’ve learned that my core purpose revolves around connecting with others and about doing positive things in the world.


As for core values, I listed way too many.  So Bill asked me to narrow it down to 5 categories. I’ll let you in on what one of them is:  transformation.


I am here to constantly transform myself through personal growth, study, hard work and letting go of the results. And I am here to help others do the same.


I arrived at my coaching session defeated and down. After a session of talking through the (erroneous) thoughts of failure, Bill had me return to the real work of remembering why I do the work I do. Talking about why I teach Iyengar Yoga always energizes me.


So we took a picture of this transformation.  I left the session refreshed, refocused and ready to go.


And we’re all smiles now!



Homecoming Stories

I’ve been involved with Elaine Blanchard’s Prison Stories program for a few years now.  We usually work in the women’s prison, helping incarcerated women tell their stories.  Then a group of professional actresses perform their work for them to see and hear.

The next incarnation of this work is called Home Coming Stories.  Elaine is working with 12 formerly-incarcerated men.  Many of the actors who will be performing these men’s stories are also friends of mine.

I will be attending the public performance in Frayser on November 17.  Hope you will consider attending!

And please spread the word…details below!

Home Coming Stories, stories shared by  12 men who are ex-felons in Memphis, will be performed on Saturday, November 17th, at 8:00 pm at Union Grove Baptist Church in Frayser. Located at 2285 Frayser Blvd. 38127.

Bill Baker is directing. Ron and Alex Gephart are stage managing. Joe Murphy is making music on his guitar. Actors are: Jamey Mann, Phil Darius Wallace, Vincent Perry, Bill Andrews, Justin Asher, and Stuart Turner.

Performance is free. Tell your neighbors, co-workers and family about this and come with a car load of folks.

Elaine Blanchard  (Prison Stories coordinator)  has been meeting  with this group of men for 12 weeks and gathering their stories. She wrote the script from their collected stories.