When to relate and when to walk away.

Sometimes, we find ourselves involved with someone or something that seemed workable at first, but now has gone south…fast. So what do you do?   Do you hang on and try to make it workable? Or, do you let go of the effort and let the cards fall where they land?

To relate or to walk away?

This is happening for me in regards to my current work situation. I just feel that my needs and values are no longer in alignment with the work I do or the company I represent. This is not about good or bad, but rather just me moving in a different directions. I’ve put forth a good effort; time to move on as I don’t see anything changing.  Yet, the thought of launching into something else is scary and with no financial safety net, it’s a long way down.

The awareness is there for me – time to let go – yet now I must face and observe my concerns and emotions (fear of loss, failure, money, respect – the full spectrum). This is where I sit with fire and see what comes up for me. I call this the awaiting space; a place and time to assess my needs and my wants.

Part of the awaiting space is the formulation of what happens next.  Not in a frantic, crazy modality, but rather a structured, planned progression.  Something inside me knows that letting go is a powerful place of action and the reaction to letting go is usually an opening for newness and freedom (besides, holding on to things for too long is a complete waste of energy). So I am allowing the space to open, naturally.  Looking at my options, but checking in constantly along the way.

What happens next?  You’ll find out in upcoming posts.

So next time your in a similar place – relating or walking away – let the process unfold. Do not rush to judgement (or into action). Let the awareness and all that comes from that space hold you for a bit. You’ll know the right time to let go and to take action. But remember, when you do decide to take action…do it.

Sitting with fire


I have strong impulses for things in my life. Some of these impulses cause me great stress. What I call an impulse, others might refer to as a “sturb” (as in a disturbance in the emotional body) or a reaction. When they are present for me, I usually find my self in a place of stress or unbalance.

“Sitting with fire” is a term I use to describe a practice of noticing when that impulse is present, then making a conscious effort to sit with or meditate on that impulse.  Stillness versus action. No avoidance, just a complete surrender to the impulse to observe what I feel and perhaps the source behind the it.

One example of such an impulse is work related. I feel the need to jump into work, even though it’s my day off.  Why because it’s work and somebody needs me. I can feel my anxiety levels rise as the impulse begins to stir.  This is when I need to slow down and breath.  I stop myself and take an inventory of what I need and what I want (not what work or the impulse desires).  The idea is not to give into the impulse, but rather to sit with the impulse (fire), until it loses it’s power over me.

Other examples of impulses can be:

  • The desire to eat sweet or junk foods
  • The desire for alcohol or drugs
  • Dangerous or costly behaviors (i.e. gambling, driving at high speeds, etc.)
  • Sexual impulses

It is my ability to sit with fire, that is perhaps the biggest indicator that my spiritual practice is alive and strong. How long I can sit with whatever it is that troubles me, the more I’ll see and feel.  I am no longer reactive to that force.

This is important to our overall health and well-being.  For I believe most of us go through our lives reacting to these impulses.  Our perspective of the world is often ruled by them. The things we do to avoid or numb out, only further enhances the problem.

So sitting with fire becomes an important practice like meditation or yoga.  See if you can catch yourself as you feel the grip of an impulse start to land.  The only way to do this though is through practice, practice, practice.

Do we stumble when we look up?

I am on this kick about what it means to thrive in the world today. It’s been in my conversations (many others apparently have this question as well), my readings, my audio books…even my walks are consumed by this topic as I navigate the trails near my home.

I feel like myself and so many around me have been moving through the world, looking down, as if unsure what our next steps will be.  I also look down from my burdens – self-doubt, shame, depression, guilty – what I like to call my human condition.  So heavy are these burdens, that looking up seems impossible at times.  From this place I (we) sustain.  We get by.

Yet, I am pushing myself toward a different way of being in the world.  A way of moving that allows me to expand; not contract.  A walk if you will, where my head is up and my chest is open.  Although the pathway may be rocky (life), I seem to glide over the bumps and ruts effortlessly.  My vantage point is now 360.  My orientation broader and brighter.

So I encourage my readers to consider this for a moment.  Noticing from which space you operate.

Nose down and introspective?  Or head-up and open?

I have come to realize, best intentions aside, there will be days that I experience both as I modulate working to find the balance.  But I’m rather positive that I (we) can move through the world looking up, without stumbling.  And if we do, it’s only temporary, as if to keep us mindful of the effort we need to put into being alive.  The rocks and ruts will always be there.  It’s all in the approach.


The unsustainable

“Well the word that comes to my mind is…thrive” my friend throws out during one of our weekly check-ins.  We had been talking about how we and those we knew were always in this place of “just getting by” in our respective lives.  Then he hits the nail on the head.  He goes for it all –  “what would it be like to thrive?”

I could feel a shift in me simply hearing the word as it penetrated my ear.  I repeated the word back to him and experienced that same feeling again.  A feeling of power.  Something positive and actionable.  Whole shit!  He was on to something.

So of course this got me thinking about why I don’t use this word more – in my work and in my life.  Why I hear so much about “sustainable” practices and not how we can have “thriving” practices or lives. Is it me or is this a collective thing?  Have we given up on a life better lived?

When we thrive, we operate from a place of openness and kindness.  We are no longer weighted down by fear or anger; the drivers behind so much of our modern strife.  We see the world as bountiful with opportunity.  There is enough for both you and me.  We are energized.  The grip of stress, which causes our dis-ease, let’s go allowing us to breath and circulate.  When we are thriving, there is no more need for disconnecting or numbing out.  We want to be connected and alive.

So with so many potential benefits, one would wonder why we don’t hear the word more.  It is probably a mind shift that has to take place at the level of I  –  as in “I have to use the word to describe my work and my life”.  If in fact we are what we think, the inclusion of the word thrive would be a practice worthy of serious contemplation.

As we wrapped up our call, I thanked him for the insight. It was another rich conversation leaving both of us with something to ponder.  As I disconnected the call, the following thought was present for me  about my life  – thinking sustainable is in many ways, unsustainable – in that it could never give me the dynamic, rich life I seek.





Where is the humanity?

A brief scan of the news this morning made me realize the constant struggle for personal freedom and rights of value.  The news is littered with examples of the dynamic tension between the individual and the powers that be.

The rights of the individual basically boil down to what we collectively can agree on.  So I want to think about what I can do to promote freedom and free thinking.  Looking at the world around me as a blank slate – as in never experienced before.  Not trying to make the world fit into something that I know or are comfortable with.  Maybe even be “uncomfortable” with what I see and experience.

This is the greatest test of my humanity.


This is my 100th post…no small feat.  I have, in my writings, wanted to share my life, with all the ups and downs; to be revealing and open in my impressions of the world around me.   These were my intentions from the start, and I almost didn’t make it.

Why?  As I mentioned in my post yesterday, taking action to remedy one’s life can be scary and that scary usually takes the shape of a part of this question – what if I fail?  Several times this fear of failure stopped me.

But here I am, 100 blogs later.

So what’s next for me?  I don’t really know, but I promise myself this…

To live large.

To continue to blog.

To fail.

And to share all of it with you.


A leap into the unknown

Sometime, the best of plans simply don’t pan out.  In this case, I’ve come to a point in time where I need to make a decision…the road has forked and it’s time to move in a different direction.

The question is always – what exactly is next?  Will the road ahead be better maintained and full of pit stops?   Or is it a long, slow Nevada stretch of nothing that must be endured.  Will I leap and land on my feet? Or on my backside?

Here’s where the rubber meets the road.  It’s up to me.  Regardless of the direction, it’s about how I respond to the challenge ahead.  It’s about the perspective for all roads have something to learn from and unique sites of their own.  Taking action is what it really about.  With out action, our lives become stale and stuck.

So I am humming this tune to myself as I prepare to let go of that plan that I had clung to the past 6 months.  Looking down and putting one foot in front of the other (creating movement) I now begin to make change happen.

Scary?  Yes, the unknown has that power.  Worth it?  Definitely.  Becoming stuck and all the emotions that come along with that space are far worse for me then the unknown.  My power comes alive in the action. That aliveness is the catalyst for my growth.  A new dynamic is created.  And it radiates out of me.

So I leap and the thrill begins.

(Here is a simple, yet effective formula to consider when making a change in your life.)

Awareness,  for a short period of awaiting, brings acceptance which then creates the the momentum of action. (the four A’s)

Contact me at gtilley@tengraces.com if you have questions on the four A’s

The Haunted House

“my thoughts inside my head, get lost inside the haunted house”      Ryan Adams

The road of personal growth is fraught with challenges = it’s hard work with lot’s of pitfalls and ways to get knocked down. My mind is by far the most dangerous space I can go into; a personal cocktail mix of self-pity, frustration and fear.  When I find myself slipping down into the rabbit hole, I stop and disconnect myself from this built in messaging and projection system.  Slip to far and it could take me hours or days to regain what I’ve lost.

The way I self-correct is to practice deep breathing; feeling the different parts of the body react to the inhalation and exhalation of the breath. I stay there for 5 – 10 minutes. No thinking, just being aware of what’s going on inside. I slowly bring myself to a state of evenness and calm.  After this practice, I find myself with more awareness to what got me thinking in the first place.  This practice is necessary; an act of self-love.

You’ll be amazed how much clarity comes back to you when you stop the “naughty neighbor upstairs” (Arianne Huffington).  The key is to catch yourself before the mind takes over. Don’t give up or grow frustrated if you slip and fall. We all do.

That’s the other thing. The struggle with our minds is life itself. No one is above it or has complete control over it (mind).  Just notice and breath. There are no days off when dealing with the “haunted house”.

How drugged are we?

I am on my second day of no caffeine.  Let’s just say, I’m not exactly a spark plug in the morning.  I started this process to help my gut heal; a short-term step to improve my health.  But this experiment has me looking deeper into why I like coffee and the impact it has on my life.

We are a culture of addiction with most of us are under the influence of some form of drug, i.e., caffeine, drugs, alcohol, and/or sugar.  Think about this for yourself.  Like me, do you wake up daily to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee or a heavenly sweet danish?  Caffeine and sugar; what better way to start your day.

This minor break from caffeine for me has me observing all kinds of behavioral and emotional shifts.  For example, I have no bounce in the morning the first couple of hours at work.  Flat, no energy.  I’m foggy and lack the clarity I’ve experienced in the past.  Coffee was my propellant.

And of course there are the minor withdrawals – a headache in the morning.  A longing for coffee (aka. caffeine) around 2:00 pm.  I’m thinking about an espresso as I write.

So what’s your drug?  Literally?  What gets you through the day or night? If you remove that attachment from your life, how would your life be different?  What would it take to make you give up your attachment?  My encouragement to you is to look at your attachments and addictions and look to make a change…even if it’s only a small step like giving up coffee or sugar for one week.

I don’t know how long my experiment will last, but if what I read earlier today is true –

” If we stay present to our discomfort, we will also feel something else arising, something more real, capable, sensitive, and exquisitely aware of ourselves and our surroundings.”

It just might be worth the effort.

Mentoring – building the super mentor

A quick glance through the internet and you’ll see countless programs focused on youth mentoring programs.   Inc. magazine regularly covers stories on mentoring in the workplace and why it’s important to their overall culture.

So much demand for mentoring, yet very little in reference to “building mentors”.   Why it this?

Being a mentor is a serious, well-being experience. But, mentors are not built over night. Nor do they grow on trees. Mentors are built and honed with years of hard work, personal experience and the slow cooking of time. World-class mentors understand the totality of their gift and the long road they traveled to get there.

Here are a few traits to consider when thinking of a mentor:

1. The are generous – will to offer their experience and knowledge in support of “others” growth.

2. They are approachable.

3. They are curious and have excellent listening skills.

4. They are honest.

5. They are objective and fair.

6. They are direct.

7. They are genuine and compassionate.

8. They are good communicators.

So the question I seek to answer is how do we find mentors whom represent these traits in all that they do in their lives.

If you think you these traits resonate with you or someone you know, I’d like to talk with them as part of my research on how to build great mentors.

Simply reply to this post or visit my contact page at www.tengraces.com

%d bloggers like this: