It’s official: I’m a Life Coach (because my business cards that arrived in the mail tell me so)

I’m just gonna say it: I don’t like selling myself, but if I’m going to get anywhere with my Life Coaching business then I have to. So, here it goes: beginning with my new business cards that just arrived.

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To answer a few questions… that nobody is asking me (haha! Well, number one, I think that laughter is key when it comes to self-help. Hopefully, you enjoy it, too, if you end up choosing me as your Life Coach.

Why did I decide to become a Life Coach?

  • Honestly? I really enjoy people, understanding people, and (if possible) helping people in whatever way I can. I have learned the hard way that change doesn’t happen overnight but if you stick with things and you’re determined and patient, then with your ‘eyes on the prize’ I believe it is possible to make helpful big and little changes to get somewhere. Maybe you make it to the goal you set for yourself, or maybe you make it somewhere else (different but good). Who knows but the point is to keep moving and trying and growing and making mistakes and learning from them and picking yourself up and going at it some more.

When did I figure out that I enjoyed all this self-actualization ‘stuff’?

  • (Haha it’s fun asking myself questions that I then answer). It really started when I read a book by Natalie Goldberg called Writing Down the Bones. It was about writing as a form of self-discovery, self-help, Buddhism, and more. I learned how writing can help you answer your own questions and move yourself down whatever path you choose. Once I started writing, I realized that I liked other thinkers who offered ways to free your mind, become happier, and let go of unhealthy patterns, etc. I found that I enjoyed growing as a person and so once I started picking up enough tools of the trade, I felt that I had something to offer others, too. I’m no expert on life, but….. I have been fascinated by what I’ve learned from life and from seeking wisdom through other scholars/philosophers/psychologists that I’ve encountered along the way.

How am I qualified to be a Life Coach?

  • I have a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Colorado-Boulder, I have completed a Life Course training course online via the Life Coach Training Institute, and I have read extensively on self-help, psychology, philosophy, and self-actualization.

What next?

  • If you are interested, what I can offer is a free consultation via email. If it seems like a good fit then we can make arrangements from there (e.g. skype, phone, etc.). You can email me at larastarcevich@yahoo.com. That’s it! It’s up to you if you feel like you are at a point where having a Life Coach to talk to might help you get to where you want to be. 😊
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Happy list (not ‘Gratitude’ – I’m tired of that word. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you, ‘Gratitude.’ Just…take a break)

16996230_1533522530021296_9122315252869427204_nThese are some things I have right now and I am glad to have and that when I focus on them, I stop thinking that my life is anything less than grand just the way it is:

  • A nice bed with just the right assortment of blankets and pillows
  • Two dogs that like to sleep with me and keep me warm which is especially nice since my bedroom is downstairs and gets colder than the rest of the house.
  • No aches or pains really. Just a twitch in my eye occasionally but I think that is from not going to bed early enough. I’m going to work on that.
  • My love of writing and my ability to savor being alone more and more without worrying because I do feel a wide net of loving people but I also realize that if I am going to get any of the 1001 things I want to get done in my life then I need some time alone to think and create and organize and strategize.
  • A cat that likes to snuggle with me especially in the morning.
  • My dream that someday I will be a slightly sarcastic but never bombastic life coach.
  • My other dream that I will publish something that somebody somewhere pays to read. It doesn’t have to be much. It could be 10 cents but it has to be somebody who doesn’t know me (even though I am super grateful for my super supportive family and friends) but there is something magical about somebody who doesn’t even know you wanting to read words that you strung together on a whim and a cup of java. I don’t know why, but it is.
  • [At this point, I should probably say I am done with my list but I am determined to go beyond the normal threshold and push myself to seek something deeper.]
  • The morning. I used to be a morning person when I was a kid. Then I grew up and went to college and partied and got crazy and stayed up late a lot and then I had kids and that really turned me into a night owl because kids get up early and if I wanted time to myself I had to stay up late but now my kids are older and they sleep in so I am starting to have my mornings back and I like it.
  • Long sentences. I really like long sentences. I don’t know why I do other than I like the challenge of constructing a really long thought without it toppling over. It’s like building a house of cards. I like to see how high I can get before it stops making sense anymore. I can get pretty high, I would say. And not even with MaryJane.
  • I have to have it around. On YouTube videos when I need a pick-me-up in the morning. Mid-afternoon if I need to force myself to stop being a workaholic and remember that little things matter. Laughing is more important than sex (sometimes).
  • I love feeling the pain in my muscles. I need to do it more but what I’m happy about now (I’m tired of the word ‘grateful’) is that at least I know that I need and want more of it because I know it will make me happier.
  • Simple things. I read the news, I try to keep up with the latest movies and music and trends but ultimately what I know I do best is notice and savor little things. It’s like people who are porn junkies. There was a study that was done (yup, another nameless study but I promise this one was from a reputable source – some guy who has a PhD in psychology, Ariel something or other) that showed that the endless variety and novelty of porn stimulates the brain so much that it becomes numb to ordinary sex and it becomes hard (well ‘soft’) to get turned on by less-than-perfect bodies having less-than-idealized sex. I say it’s the same dealio with life. If you can never unplug and just be with the little moments, then how can you ever really be happy with your life because MY life is definitely not as perfect, exciting, endlessly changing, tantalizingly rapid-fierily witty, and sophisticated as the slick images that parade across the internet every day.

 

The morning speaks to me

messy-bed-xlI want to know what other people’s morning rituals are, so as an invitation to share yours, here’s mine:

[I should clarify: this only happens when it’s summertime and neither my kids nor I have any real responsibilities (because I’m a teacher and they’re out of school). So, in other words, our true nature is coming out.]

I like to stay up late which means I get out of bed late… although I tend to wake up early. Like 5am but then I put my eyepatches (eyesleep mask? There is no good word for this thing that is so helpful in the early morning after a late night partying with friends) on so I can sleep longer. I sleep maybe another hour and then – sorry, but it’s true – I check my facebook and then go back to sleep. And I do that a few times before actually getting up. Sleeping, facebook, sleeping, facebook. Annnnnnnddddd eventually I’m up.

Then? I really want a cup of coffee in bed but alas there is no one to make it for me but me, but I also don’t want to get up and disturb this Zen state of mind I have so I just give up wanting coffee and get back into bed. I read various things but eventually I pick up my favorite book (now by Amy Krause Rosenthal) and after a few pages of her inimitable writing (that is like reading my own mind at play), I have to write too. And I write and write and get crazy ideas about social experiments or digging up my past for other people’s entertainment and then…. I get up, make coffee and see if my kids need anything.

While I’m making coffee – which lately just involves a pour-over where I have to stand there and wait for the water to sift through the grains —  I do my kegels because making coffee is the only totally predictable part of my day and so since it’s inevitable I figure I should include the kegel ritual for good measure. (I know – that was probably TMI but it gave me a laugh so I figured maybe you’d laugh, too. Plus maybe you’ll start doing your kegels in the morning. Come to think of it, shouldn’t men be doing kegels, too? Why the hell not, right?).

And then after some more writing and coffee drinking on an empty stomach – well, sometimes I grab a potato chip or some nuts but I don’t want to spend time cooking anything – I’m sitting at the kitchen table writing more. The morning is my most creative time. I reserve other parts of the day for random, sporadic meaningless jokes and observations that hit me but I reserve the morning for what my unconscious, inner life beckons me to write down. There. That’s it. What’s yours?

Loneliness vs. Aloneness

Loneliness versus Aloneness

I’ve been obsessed with remembering my childhood from the age of 7 – 10. I think it’s because I was the most content at that age. I hadn’t yet gone through puberty, that time when suddenly everyone else’s voice is louder than your own. Once that happened, my equilibrium was thrown off.

Back then, my sister and I would play with these two brothers down the street, W and K. But we only played with them if we needed an occasional diversion. It wasn’t a requirement. We also had two friends who were girls – D and F – each one (respectively) about the same age as my sister and I – and we would see them, too, but even less often. Maybe once every few months.

But somehow I was still content. Content enough with my family, my room, our animals, our house, my imagination, the grass, the clouds, time. I don’t know how I filled my time but somehow (without gadgets except Saturday morning cartoons when chores were done) I was fine.  No after school soccer practice, no constantly revolving stream of extra-curricular activities. Nope. Pretty much nothing except my imagination, a few people, and nature.

And I want that feeling back.

Of course, I can’t totally get it back. I have a house now, kids, a job, bills, but I think it’s possible to get closer to that feeling.

Loneliness is a word with a lot of shame, but the problem is if you can never admit that you’re lonely (just like if you can never admit you’re an alcoholic), it’s hard to change. So I’m admitting it. For the past – I don’t know… 25 years? – I’ve been lonely at least some of the time. Not all the time, but sometimes, and I haven’t always filled that void with the healthiest of options. And the reason I can say this is… I know I’m not the only one. Ok maybe some people have all their shit together 120% of the time, but the reality is we’re all human and that feeling happens sometimes. So what do you do with it? Eat too much? End one relationship and begin another the same day? Become a people pleasing workaholic?

Loneliness is akin to boredom. If you’re bored, you want someone to play with (whether you’re 9 or 49). But the truth is, if you’re bored then you’re probably also kinda boring. You want some new gadget or person to amuse you. Maybe it’s a new boyfriend, maybe it’s switching jobs, or the town that you live in. Sure I can get a new job, a new town, or a new spouse, but can I try out new parts of me? Can I learn Spanish? Can I go square dancing? Can I start delivery pizzas and run into my students who will look shocked when I show up at their house? Can I start talking to strangers in checkout lanes at the grocery store? Can I do a social experiment where I eavesdrop on people in Walmart not because I’m a creeper but because it’s fun to watch people when they don’t think you’re paying attention?

When I was about 25, I was living in Denver and I decided that the reason I wanted to be in a relationship was because I was “bored being alone.” I told myself: “I already know myself really well and the only way to grow as a person is to be in a relationship.” What a crock of shit. Ok, maybe you do grow as a person in a relationship, but seriously. What I’ve learned since then is that if you are going into a relationship because you’re bored, then eventually you’ll get bored again once the novelty wears off. So you might as well learn how to not get bored on your own. Boredom leads to loneliness, but curiosity about you and your world turns loneliness into contented aloneness.