Take Back Your Life!

Are You True To Yourself Or Who You Think Others Want You To Be?

November 20, 2016 by Giulietta Nardone

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” – Oscar Wilde

About 7 years ago, I ran a local program called, “Let Go Of Who You Aren’t: Be Your Perfectly Imperfect Self.” It had a few brave people in attendance. Honestly, like so many of my ideas it was simply ahead of its time. More and more, I’m hearing people discuss that topic. Sometimes, I’m just too early for the party.

Okay, we come into the world screaming to be ourselves and for awhile we are. Little kids tend to be honest and forthright. They speak their own little truths and its so refreshing. I worked with some children a few years ago. One of the little girls — an old soul in a young body — gave me a wonderful compliment: “You let us go wild in a good way.”

I loved that!

As for myself, I was wild for a lot longer than most because my mother did not send me to kindergarten. I went briefly to a nursery school in the bottom of our church where all we did was sit on our blankets, take naps and eat crackers. I remember doing little else and I have an excellent memory.

Other than that I spent my time playing in the woods behind my home. I climbed a lot of trees, going really high up. I didn’t have any fear of falling out because I viewed the trees as my wise friends who would support me. Every day I climbed as high as I could go, sometimes near the top. I loved to sit on the branches and look down and around at my little childhood kingdom.

I attribute my sustained wild spirit to that extra time spent chasing butterflies, wading in streams and communing with trees. When I got to first grade, I found it really confining and had a difficult time adjusting. Honestly, I was never able to adjust to working all day in an office. It felt unnatural to me, like I was in a cage – which, quite frankly, I was.In school and in Sunday school, I felt like the adults wanted to shut me up and turn me into a polite mute that curtsied on demand. I was always being sent to the corner or outside the room — punishment, I guess, — for speaking my mind. That caused me trouble at work. When I saw an injustice, I spoke up about it. When something didn’t make sense, I spoke up about it. When I felt like someone was abusing their power, I spoke up about it.

Bad idea if you want to keep your job. Good idea if you want to be true to yourself.  I shut myself up for awhile in my twenties trying to conform to the status quo and almost lost it. An unpleasant time in my life and not something I would recommend to anyone. Thankfully, I freed myself from myself.

I love to speak up and it is an ongoing challenge because people will try to besmirch me in an attempt to keep me quiet. They want something to go a certain way and anyone like me who points out anything that might jeopardize that want, gets labelled all sorts of weird things.

I’m guessing if they were being true to themselves, they wouldn’t feel the need to suppress others.

In my life travels, I meet a lot of people who tell me they want to return to being themselves. In fact this muse news is devoted to that. From day one in 2008, it was called “Take Back Your Self.”

The best place to start the journey back to who you are rather than who the people around you want you to be is to know something isn’t right with you.

You’ll know because life will seem off. You go through the requested motions but deep inside know you don’t believe them yourself. You will be in conflict with yourself. You will feel angry, something that can manifest itself in many ways if repressed, including illness and depression.

If you can find an assertiveness training class, sign up for it. In my pathological twenties when I was feeling the most unlike my self after years of being shut down by adults and, subsequently, my self, I stumbled on this type of training. It was great.

One of our first assignments was to buy something at a department store we didn’t want and return it. Simple, yet totally liberating. Prior to that, I just kept the unwanted item. And so did lots of my friends. Another woman in my program had a fear of driving into Boston. She was encouraged to try some smaller roads and work her way up to the Mass Pike. By the time we finished she had driven in!

The more you take your self back, the more powerful you will feel. It’s when we suppress ourselves that we feel weak and helpless. Got an good ideas to share with other readers? Please pipe in below. Thanks, J.

ps, If you are free on December 4, please join me for wild painting in Holliston. All supplies included. More info here

Be Brave With Your Life

October 12, 2016 by Giulietta Nardone

Be Brave With Your Life

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. ” ~ Winnie The Pooh.”

Recently, I got two confident little kittens: Cleopatra and Spartacus. They are quite small, but that doesn’t stop them from exploring every inch of their new home and jumping to new heights every day.

When we first brought them home, they attempted to jump on the bed, making it about halfway. I’d un-cling them from the sides and help them up. Each day, they made it a little bit higher until they could get up on their own.

Today, I found Spartacus way up on the pinball machine and have no idea how this tiny kitten managed to get up there.

Clearly, he jumped. Even Cleopatra was looking at him trying to figure out how she could get up there as well.

They love to try new things, jump to new heights, tightrope across dressers and bureaus, often falling down between the sides. Sometimes, I find them clinging to the sides, other times they fall down and meander out the bottom like nothing ever happened. A few times I’ve seen them fall all the way down. They just pick themselves up and gallop down the hallway.

The kittens don’t know that they are technically too small to reach all these places, so they follow their own instincts and go after whatever attracts their interest. They keep trying until they get to the place they wish to be.

When I was a small child I did similar brave things. I’d scale rock-faced hills in my neighborhood, forge across streams, wander off from my home into nearby meadows.

A little bit older, I’d gallop my horse down hills over jumps, do back flips into the swimming pool, climb as high as I could into the trees in my backyard, walk alone through the woods for three miles to the barn my horse was kept at.

Honestly, I felt invincible.

That fearlessness got taken away from me of us by the time I entered my senior year in high school. I grew increasingly cautious and scared about doing all sorts of things. Physical and emotional. If I had an issue with someone as a child, I’d confront them. That became less frequent as I grew older, until I often said, “that’s okay,” when it wasn’t. The problem with “that’s okays,” is that they merge with previous “that’s okays” into a giant, festering “that’s okay” which makes you feel like the cowardly lion.

It’s okay to say “that’s not okay” and instead say what you want. At least that way you get your wants out into the open with the other person’s wants and it creates an opportunity to both get more of what you want.

Letting others push you around doesn’t help them or you. Once you grow up, others can’t send you to your room without your permission.

The more you flex your brave-heart, the easier it will be to stand up for what you want and even go after what you want. And, believe it or not, people will look up to you more when you assert yourself.

So, where do you say “that’s okay” too much? Good place to start the journey to being more brave..

Do What You Love And The Money MAY Follow

September 21, 2016 by Giulietta Nardone
“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.” ~ Dhirubhai Ambani

About 15 years ago when I was working at a corporation, I stumbled on a book in a used bookstore called, Do What You Love And The Money Will Follow.

It was the first time I gave any thought to opening my own creativity-based business, which was odd given that my grandmother, grandfather and my father all owned their own individual businesses. My grandmother, back in the roaring twenties, owned her own dance studio. She produced local plays and recitals after graduating from Emerson College. If she were still around, I’d tell her that I’ve followed in her creative footsteps.When I did open my own business, even though I loved what I was doing the money did not follow very much.

Making your creative business thrive is a little more complicated that doing what you love. You have to deal with what I call the psychology of your business. If that is not addressed properly, you can learn to dislike what you love and end up back helping someone else build their dream.

The most important rule of business I have learned:

Whatever dogs you in life will follow you into your business. I sometimes think the greatest gift a business can give its owner is to highlight what dogs you in life. It is easy to get around this “dog” when you work for someone else. Much easier to hide from yourself in a cubicle. Most corporations don’t really want you to be the best you can be. The job description may state that, but it isn’t really wanted from what I observed.
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Do You Feel Limitless, Like You Can Do Anything?

August 23, 2016 by Giulietta Nardone

“If you tell life what it has to be, you limit it, but if you let life show you what it wants to be it will open doors you never knew existed.”

-Unknown.

Like so many people, I used to feel that I had to follow a certain life plan to be living a “good” life. Do x, y and z and your life will be marvelous.

Well, I did x, y and z and it wasn’t marvelous. It felt phony, empty and meaningless.

Fortunately, a town hall on the verge of a demolition gave me the chance to let my life show me where it wanted to go. I grabbed that opportunity to save the building and followed it – a kind of blind faith – and just like the quote above it led me to places I didn’t no existed. It also led me to parts of myself I didn’t know existed. I emerged as the kind of person, I’d always wanted to be but didn’t think I was.

Funny, how I couldn’t even recognize myself covered with the grime of conformity. I thought I was something completely different and then spent my life battling that phony version of myself. What a waste of energy!

I’m really grateful that opportunity in my town presented itself. The more I let my life lead, the more fabulous opportunities presented themselves. (more…)