The Mitchum Incident

I was co-leading a workshop the other day, and I was transfixed by watching this group of highly competent leaders all doing a task the exact same way. I found myself feeling a little high and mighty as I sagely gave them the feedback that when their approach wasn’t working, they just tried the same thing harder. “Heh, great line,” I smugly thought to myself. I should know by now that a high and mighty feeling portends a Universal bitch-slap, er… life lesson.

I found it in my deodorant.

My girlfriend Stephanie, who keeps it real, and I were chilling at the top of a particularly sweaty hike. I, making a grand statement of the obvious, observed, “I stink.” Steph, without missing a beat, said, “I know. I still love you.” I felt my face flushing as I said, “Sometimes I just have to put more deodorant on.” Steph paused for a moment and replied, “You know Bridge, that deodorant you use is not your friend. This isn’t the first time it hasn’t held up its end of the bargain.”

I silently thanked God for all of the work I’ve done on myself, because I could hear from my girlfriend whom I adore that I’ve been cruising around with periodic episodes of B.O. and not want to instantly die of mortification. Barely. Then, something clicked. I burst out laughing, “Haha!” I snorted, “That shit is NOT WORKING! And I’ve been trying harder to make my deodorant work by applying more!” I’d thought it was me—that I had some kind of fundamental hygiene flaw, like an extra B.O. marker in my genome or something—but it was just the jacked-up deodorant I was using.

In an embarrassment of riches, the life lesson didn’t stop at deodorant. It kept unfolding for me as I reflected on my tumultuous relationship with beauty products. The moisturizer that I stuck with for seven years while thinking I just had bad skin; the shampoo that it took me three months to figure out gave me hives; the cheap razors that nearly made me a bloody shower statistic before I realized I wasn’t just a horrible shaver or that my legs weren’t inordinately bumpy.

The Mitchum Incident, as I like to call it, showed me that my pattern of trying harder extended way beyond beauty products. My past relationships were case studies in trying harder: I tried harder to be a good stepmom, in another relationship I tried harder to not rock the boat, and, in another, I tried really hard to feel secure.

Like tossing the Mitchum for Secret, what I really needed to do was change it up.

Being a good stepmom meant stepping out of controlling and parenting, and stepping into negotiation and relationship. And, it turns out that trying hard not to rock the boat and avoid conflict can result in a very abrupt and painful capsizing—the soul wants what it wants, and eventually it will make its desires known. The last relationship change up was such a no-brainer, it only took a year of therapy and getting dumped to get there: I felt unstable in that relationship because the relationship wasn’t stable. I didn’t need to try harder to be in it, I needed to get the hell out.

I kept missing the point that my soul was so stridently trying to teach me: that I didn’t need to try harder, be someone different, or accept the unacceptable. I thought the pattern was you are flawed, try harder. But the pattern really was, this is not working for you, change it up babe. Stop trying to Mitchum a Secret situation.

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P.S.

Hi friends! I’m writing blog posts again. And actually, what I really want to do is have conversations. With you. All this writing business is just so I can have something to talk about with you. My friend Abigail says I’m really good at creating clarity for people through having conversations. And I love it. It’s a total two-fer. So this is my invitation for you to join me: wherever you read this, on Facebook, my website, or via email, please join the conversation. I’m like the New Age Linda Richmond: we’ll have coffee and we’ll talk, no big whoop.

Om Shanti, Bitches

I’m a fundamentally lazy person, at least according to my Inner Protestant. What’s funny is that for a lazy person, I sure do put a lot of effort into things. For instance, the other night I was at a new-agey concert at my local new-agey church—exhibit A for how far off the reservation I’ve gone—turns out it was a chant-along. That was new. The performers, Deva Premal and Miten, who are like The Who of New Age, told us that for the next ditty, we were all going to do the traditional reciting of a mantra 108 times. I elbowed my friend Jen and said, “Oh yeah, I’m so glad we’re doing it the traditional way now.”  She giggled, as Jen is wont to do, … Continue reading

You May Be Right

As a psychic was reading my base chakra the other day, and she said she saw someone else’s energy in my energy field.* She went on to say that people are only able to “stick” to our energy field when we give them permission. Here’s where she zinged me a bit…and that we give permission through our limiting beliefs. It’s like the spiritual version of TP on your shoe. So unsightly. She said I contracted my energetic glommer-onner through my belief, “Maybe they’re right.” I didn’t even recognize that as a limiting belief until she said so. I thought it was the truth. Haha. The belief goes a little something like this in my head: “What if the way they see it is really right … Continue reading

Random Reflections on Life-Coachy Things

True abundance is trusting that you’ll get what you need precisely when you need it. Trusting without evidence is faith. Our stuff is our stuff. It’s not about eradicating our flaws. It’s about being fully human. The problems begin when we deny or shame those parts of who we are: the ego, the neediness, the judgyness, the bossiness… Oh, that’s just me. As long as we’re talking about me, if I eradicate those parts of myself, I also lose my self-esteem, my ability to receive love, my insight, and my leadership skills. So basically, love your parts. Do the stuff that feels good, now; don’t wait for someone else to get on board with you. Related…your best shot at getting someone on board with you … Continue reading

Live

Source: etsy.com via Julie Magers on Pinterest A new friend was recently checking out my Facebook page and commented on how happy I am in my photos. I was about to say my standard “Facebook doesn’t show the sum-total of reality” speech when I stopped myself. Actually, I am happy. And the people in the photos are genuinely happy to be with me—if they weren’t, they probably wouldn’t let me smooch them like that. I hope. Being happy doesn’t mean I’m maniacally excited about each day. I don’t really have the energy or personality for mania. That said, my life today does have a strong undercurrent of joy. My friend’s comment caused me to ponder how I’d become one of those happy creatures–because it’s a … Continue reading

Poetry is Self-Help for the Soul

Originally published at Maria Shriver’s blog. “Each Moment a White Bull Steps Shining into the World.” My heart began palpitating as I read the title of this poem. My friend, Cathy, made me read it because a few months before, a White Bull had stormed into my world and I didn’t have any poetic language for what looked like a huge, messy disaster. Jane Hirschfield’s poem described my feelings precisely, and shed light on my confusing love drama. Her poem was solid self-help and spiritual guidance that spoke directly to my soul. Hirschfield helped me understand that this lover stormed into my rather sedate life for a reason, and that I should accept the gift. And later, when my lover departed just as suddenly as she … Continue reading

What’s Your Real Mission?

This post is inspired by a Facebook conversation my friend Joya Iverson started where she posed the “Mary Oliver” question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” And then I thought about those corporate mission statements that always made me want to stab myself in the eye. I swear that’s what they’re shooting for in those all-day retreats where they develop that crap. I was going to try to come up with a mock crappy one, but I got too bored thinking about it. So I posted this one: My mission: Do business with amazing people, write a book (or two), love fiercely, pet whales, try on cowboy boots, go wherever the hell I want to … Continue reading