Colleen Hannegan

Finding the words....and the perfect pair of glasses.

Fearlessness

Whew! What a summer......

FearlessnessColleen HanneganComment

Fires, fires and more fires. Record breaking size of fires. And smoke, everywhere there were fires and even where there weren't. And heat and humidity. For us Southern California peeps we cried and cried about humidity. Looking over the West Coast maps that showed where fires were burning all at once, gave me an Armageddon kind of feeling. Like when I used to believe in Armageddon. Now I believe in good people and not good people and try to stay clear of the not good ones.

 The beauty surrounded by the prickly.

The beauty surrounded by the prickly.

The signs in the heavens; the eclipses and retrogrades and meteor showers, blood moons, big moons, solar flares, earthquakes, landslides, floods, news that the polar caps had record heat days and then to see Hurricane Lane and it's 160+ mph winds making history and messing with the Big Island that was still reeling from volcanic eruptions and lava flows. I could see and feel the anxiety that affected my work in retail. People were ultra sensitive and sometimes easily upset.

No wonder. I was happy not to go anywhere but to work, then home. I avoided crowds and too much direct sun. Thank heavens we have a/c at work and home. I might have had a few too many vodka tonics over these past three months but I chalked it up as holy water that blessed me and then maintained my low profile.

Last week, I went for an overdue haircut and encouraged Joseph to cut off three inches. An inch for each of the past three months that seemed just a bit too much! For two days I regretted the extra trim, but now it feels good. 

This big, blue, beautiful marble that spins us 'round and 'round and holds us down and feeds us and breathes for us, has its own agenda and simultaneously tries to handle all the shit we throw at it everyday at the same time. I see how we've collectively taken for granted all its majesty and have far too long, ignored our increasing human footprint and handprint. I'm confident enough of us are working together to repair and more closely address our earth home's needs, knowing we can better take care of ours at the same time.

Earth and its wonders reminds me to be more flexible, to make good change as needed, be aware of my neighbor and fully stop at all red lights. Try and slow down a bit.

Last evening I made plane reservations in October to travel to a place I've been wanting to visit for a long time. It seemed like a positive action after so many months of feeling fear and staying so close to home.  I went to bed and promptly had a nightmare that when we arrived, fires had just broken out and the sky was filling with smoke and clouding out the blue above.

Gee, I wonder why?

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Fun vs. Fear ~ How shall we live?

FearlessnessColleen Hannegan2 Comments

Summertime, and the livin's easy. It certainly is easy and beautiful living here in southern California with the cool morning  marine layer holding back sun's heat until later in the day. The sky's blue face peeks out from behind those ocean mists and the cool breezes spin through the leaves on the trees, through my hair, through  my open windows in my home. I feel safe here. Mostly.

I love summertime. Who doesn't? But this summer's beginning has been besieged and held hostage by so much fear in the world, so many terrorist attacks and bloodshed and a constant roar of doom for our country's position in world affairs, that I'm having to emotionally arm wrestle local summer FUN from the death grip of local and international FEAR. Both real and imagined.

 Summer fun hike over O'Neill Regional park with views of Rancho Santa Margarita.

Summer fun hike over O'Neill Regional park with views of Rancho Santa Margarita.

I naturally thrill to welcoming each new morning into my life. Hooray, another day to play. As I've entered more mature years I suddenly want to explore more ways to have fun, even if it's usually called work. Travel adventures are calling. New creative ideas are popping up more frequently. My husband and I are enjoying the fruits of our hard labor redesigning our home even if it is back- breaking at times. The results have brought us great joy and comfort.

And at the same time, I feel gnawed at and uneasy about terror in the streets of our local neighborhoods and in the world; a world that is now so much nearer to us than it once was. What to do? WHAT TO DO?? 

Seeing Manchester, England rise up from their recent bloody and fearful night and come together again this past week-end to claim LOVE is stronger than HATE and that having FUN and FREEDOM shall reign over their FEAR, touched me very much.  As did the citizens of Portland, sharing stories of bravery of the two men who offered their life for a stranger and one gravely injured for standing up to hate towards two women.  I see and read stories of bravery as often as I do of warring bloodshed.

We humans struggle between the fear of hateful deeds and the fun of peaceful sun, every day in this crazy world. Why is there so much viscious hate and cruelty among us? How can we enjoy the beauty of a day, the pleasures and joys of all we love to do if we choose fear? Fear to go, or stay, and speak up or travel? 

We are the world, yes we are. And in my world, I'm choosing fun over fear of what might happen. There is a healthy fear that keeps us safe in our daily activities but it is the unhealthy, deep seated unconscious fear of death that will prevent us from being fully alive.

Our only control is in our thoughts for goodness and actions of tolerance and kindness in our immediate place in the world.  I have faith that my smallest act of kindness I put my hands to, has a larger, healing ripple affect that goes out to many others that I do not know. Because kindness follows kindness.  I try and stay conscious in what I can build, not tear apart.  Somedays I fail, more days I succeed. I find my own peace in this.

Love will always win. Death cannot destroy love. Fear destroys love. And when we rise up and choose love and courage, our hearts will be free to live every day as if it's a perfect summer day.

Wishing all a fun and fearless summer! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXO

 

 

 

Girlpower.

FearlessnessColleen HanneganComment

Our invisible masks, weapons, shields, spears, steel toe’d boots, gloves, helmets, swords, arrows, bullets, arms crossed; injustices, pains, sorrows, regrets, harm, scars, victories, success, winnings, losings, awards, inheritance, gifts, luck, years of hard labor, and smooth sailings. Your mileage and frequent flier miles.

Job titles, degrees, square footage, acreage, the four or six or seven figure income, receipts, registries, wardrobe, bank accounts, investments, make and model,  jewelry, labels, resume, lineage. Your years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds, nano seconds. Your millennia, your infinity. Your biggest mind bending thoughts and your pipsqueak ah-ha’s.

Your social security number, your birth sign, your name.

Take it off, take it all off and set it in a nice neat pile at your feet, or a messy heap.  Girlpower is something far greater, more majestic, untouchable, immeasurable, incomparable and our birthright as a woman. It’s not earned it’s given. As unique as you are. ONEOFAKIND. Your very own superpower.

Reach deep down into it and see how high you climb.

Start HERE. Always start HERE.

 photo courtesy of Taylor Sheridan

photo courtesy of Taylor Sheridan


“What if” Doomsday or Possibilities?

Featured, Spirited Work, FearlessnessColleen HanneganComment

In working with business people, both management and those they manage, I’m discovering so much of the overwhelm is based on “what if”. Hidden within the what if, is the fear of the unknown.

And isn’t fear all about the unknown, what might happen if I don’t make it into work today? What will my bosses think if I don’t agree with them? What will my employees decide about me when they learn I’ve made a mistake? What if this business doesn’t  survive and I lose the money I’ve invested? What will my family think of me?

BFO (Big freak outs).

I have been attuned to the concept of fear at many various stages  of my life. It can keep you wide awake at night and make you eat too much or not enough, wondering what if?

But when I sit down with clients and listen to their fear story, the very act of talking it over with an experienced advisor dissolves most of the shortness of breath that carrying it all by themselves creates. Looking at the NOW truth, what is really happening right at this very moment reality, puts a positive pause on the panic button of the “what if” bomb.

“What if’”s are more effective when we seek enlightenment for ideas instead of options for catastrophes.

“What if we gave client’s more than what they expect?”, is more productive than, “What if we don’t get that contract signed by Friday noon????”

Fear is not real. It’s a thought, a feeling. It doesn’t show up anywhere except your thoughts. And we know the overwhelm that builds condo’s in there!

David Whyte, one of my favorite poets and teachers said in his seminar I attended in January, “You don’t have to overcome your fears, you simply have to know what you are afraid of.”

Knowing you are afraid of the dark, you reach for the light switch.  Allowing what is, to just be, opens the space for you to make good and right decisions based on a calm and clear mind, not one overwhelmed and stuck in a pretend world of maybe. True leaders and valuable employees open the door to fear and the windows too when it arrives and lets it pass right through. Fear is an invitation to recognize uncertainty and create a plan of action (sometimes non-action) that can break down the perceived hugeness of the problem into more easily managed pieces.

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” Pema Chodron

My sister Molly is an ultra runner She deals with fear when she stands at the START line at her 50, 100 and 135 mile non-stop ultra-races in the high altitude Himalayas, during flash floods in the Sahara desert stage race, storms so strong the rescuers called off the finish of a race in the “rocky mountains” of New Zealand. She was in Utah preparing for a 50 mile race last weekend and we had a wonderful conversation about fear.

“I’ve learned to be comfortable with fear.” she explained. “I’m able to put my mind into a higher plane of problem solving. I become more aware and alert.  I also prepare well for my adventure but there’s always the element of surprise and danger.” I’ve known my sister for over 56 years. Her adventures in being fearless began 6 years ago.

“My ultimate freedom is feeling my personal power beyond comfort.” Like the time she was lost in the dark at midnight during a 100 mile race and had to call out for help until another runner came to her rescue. Molly runs into her fear literally, and then just keeps on running right through it. She’s  made friends with it.

I’m not suggesting we become ultra-runners to fight fear and embrace courage. Sometimes I have to dig deep for my fearlessness when the line in front of me at the grocery store is stalled over too many coupons being scanned and my hypoglycemic is kicking in because I skipped a meal and I feel like showing my frustration by griping.

Michael Carroll, author of Fearless at Work says that often times the biggest act of courage is to be still. If just for a few moments. To face it and let it be.

Dealing with an upset superior or facing the boredom that can be a day in the office requires a calmness from deep within. To be fearless is to step closer to the truth as Pema Chodron suggests, to run through it like Molly does or to stand calmly in line and just be with it.

As soon as I relax into it, the last coupon gets scanned and the line moves forward.

Happens every time.

Enjoy this clip from Michael Carroll from his timely book on addressing fear in the work place,Fearless At Work.

I’m enjoying his workshop this week on the subject. http://vimeo.com/52172345