Tara Sophia Mohr | Playing Big

Tara Sophia Mohr, Playing Big. Find Your VOICE, Your MISSION, and Your MESSAGE.

I see so many women getting stuck because of this…

While I’m caring for my new baby, I’m sharing some favorite posts from the past few years. This is one of them – enjoy!  ~ Tara

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Women Stuck

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I see so many women getting stuck because of this: they are turning to their friends and family for feedback – on their ideas, their projects, their burgeoning dreams.

It’s natural. We’re thinking about something – a potential career change, a business idea, something we’d love to create. And next, some little voice in us wants to know: Is it a good idea? Am I crazy?

So we venture out and we talk to the people closest to us – our friends and family – about what we’re thinking. That part inside of us that wants the bolstering and affirmation says, “So what do you think?”

And then it’s tough because 1) a lot of the time they don’t get it, don’t like it, don’t think the idea is a good idea or 2) even if they do like it, have you noticed how their validation doesn’t really set you free to start taking action? It often leaves you wanting more emotional validation from others.

Here’s what I recommend: Do not go to your family and friends for feedback on whatever new idea/project/career move you are considering. What we get from friends and family is just too layered – full of their love for us, their desire for us to be safe, their own experiences, their own fears. (Are there exceptions to this? Yes, of course! But most of the time, making this shift does help us start moving forward towards our dreams.)

Let dear friends and family play that incredibly powerful role that family and friends can play – in loving you, in cheering you on, in being there to commiserate with you when it’s tough, to laugh about the crazy moments along the way. Go to friends and family for support – not for feedback.

For feedback on whether the career move is viable, whether the potential business has a market, whether that title for your book is as compelling as you think it is – all that kind of stuff – go to the people you want to influence and reach with your work. If the book is for young adult women, ask a few of them what they think of the title. If the potential business would serve busy working families, get their feedback on the concept. Ask recruiters or hiring managers in your desired field about how the career move you want to make could work.

Get feedback from the people you want to influence and serve – only they have the perspective to be able to give you accurate information on the feasibility of your idea.

This means, yes, you may have to do the sometimes difficult thing of asking explicitly for what you want from family and friends. For example – “I’m super excited about this new business idea! I’m going to test it out with potential customers, but what I really would so appreciate is some cheerleading along the way. I’ve never done something like this before and I’m kinda scared!”

This can be a little hard to do at first, but it’s so good to get in the habit of having that conversation with friends, spouses and family members – to tell each other what you are looking for when you bring a topic to them. It’s good for you to get in the habit of asking them, too: “What are you looking for from me right now – advice, my personal opinion, or cheering you on and emotional support?”

Go to family and friends for support. For feedback, go to the people you want to influence and serve through your work.

Love to you,

Tara

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Nurturing Creativity

While I’m caring for my new baby, I’m sharing some favorite posts from the past few years. This is one of them – enjoy!   ~ Tara

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There’s a book I read to my son almost everyday for a while – The Construction Crew.

Okay, let me be more honest: most days I read it to him at least five times. If he saw the book lying somewhere in the room, he was excited to read it, right that moment. And then to read it again.

My son has a lot of books about trucks, but this one has long been his favorite. It’s something about the art.

On the last page of the book is a short dedication from the illustrator, Carrie Eko-Burgess.

It says, “For my father, Charles Eko, who told me when I was little to quit tracing and start drawing.”

The first time I read that, in a 5:30 am up-with-the-little-one haze, my heart exploded a little.

“For my father, who told me when I was little to quit tracing and start drawing.” 

What a gift to receive that message from a parent.

What a gift we give when we remind someone that they are ready, and they are enough, to quit tracing, and start drawing.

Where in your life are you tracing, when really, something is within you that wants to draw?

And where are we as a society still tracing something – some older picture that is supposed to show us the right way to do things – when in fact, it’s time to draw something new?

Love to you,

Tara

A little postscript. When I wrote to Carrie to get her permission to use the book cover image in this post, she told me how vividly she can still remember the moment when her father said this to her. She told me movingly, that her dad is even pictured in the book, a member of the construction crew. And oddly enough, we also discovered that the very day she and I had been corresponding, she and my son had serendipitously crossed paths. Of all the places in the world, that day, they both were walking around the very same museum in San Francisco.

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The Quiet Power

While I’m caring for my new baby, I’m sharing some favorite posts from the past few years. This is one of them – enjoy!   ~ Tara

The Quiet Power

The Quiet Power

I walked backwards, against time
and that’s where I caught the moon,
singing at me.

I steeped downwards, into my seat
and that’s where I caught freedom,
waiting for me, like a lilac.

I ended thought, and I ended story.
I stopped designing, and arguing, and
sculpting a happy life.

I didn’t die. I didn’t turn to dust.

Instead I chopped vegetables,
and made a calm lake in me
where the water was clear and sourced and still.

And when the ones I loved came to it,
I had something to give them, and
it offered them a soft road out of pain.

I became beloved.

And I came to know that this was it.
The quiet power.
I could give something mighty, lasting,
that stopped the wheel of chaos,

by tending to the river inside,
keeping the water rich and deep,
keeping a bench for you to visit.

Love,
Tara

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Avoiding What You Most Love

While I’m caring for my new baby, I’m sharing some favorite posts from the past few years. This is one of them – enjoy!    ~ Tara

Avoiding what you most love

The lights in the room go down. I’m up on stage. I can’t see many faces or eyes in the audience, but I can feel the crowd, completely. I speak from the heart, and lose my sense of time, of space and of me. Magic happens.

I sit down at the computer to write. I wade through the icky first few moments and eventually, the work draws me in. A couple hours later, I pick up my head, notice the time, and feel completely uplifted by the journey that writing has taken me on.

For me, writing and speaking are the vessels that carry me to that special state called flow, the state when we lose track of time, when we fall into a gorgeous forgetting of ourselves and become completely merged with what we’re doing.

For you, it’s probably some other activities. Maybe running or gardening or counseling or crunching numbers. We’ve all been given a few vessels that take us into that special state called flow.

What I want to talk about today – with great compassion – is why we so often end up not doing the things that bring us into that wonderful state of flow, even though flow brings us so much joy, and so much respite from our day-to-day malaises.

There are the usual reasons: Fear of being bad at the activity. Past wounds from that teacher or supposed mentor who made us feel like we just weren’t cut out to do the thing. Lack of time. Thinking we’re too old or too young, or, or, or…

Yes, all that. But there is a deeper reason we resist and then often simply don’t do the things that bring us into flow.

It’s because flow threatens ego.

The ego is a part of us that sees ourselves as a distinct, separate self. It’s invested in you seeing yourself as a self – you know, the kind with a name, a height, a weight, a resumé or LinkedIn profile, a relationship history, and so on. It generally feels quite threatened (because indeed an alone, separate self is not very safe), and therefore spends most of its energy trying to defend itself or avoid dangers one way or another. It never sees you the other way – a stitch in a wondrous fabric, a ray in a sun, a drop in an ocean. It knows the bounded you, not the connected one.

The ego does not like it when we go into flow state because flow state is about the disappearing of the boundaries of self.

The boundary that disappears for you when you are in flow might be one between you and other human beings.

The boundary that disappears might be the boundary between you and nature, as you hike on a trail or swim in the ocean.

The boundary that disappears might be the boundary between you and your material, as you sand the wood, or move the needle through the yarn, or place the bead on the wire.

The boundary that disappears might be the boundary between you and Inspiration, as something else writes the essay for you, or the right thing to say in the meeting simply comes out of your mouth.

Flow undermines the illusion of the separate self.

Ego doesn’t only feel threatened by failure or emotional exposure. It also feels threatened by anything that helps us transcend our egoic self.

Recently I heard someone say something intriguing: “I’m afraid that if I start meditating more, I’ll somehow lose my edge.”

It’s an interesting phrase, “losing your edge.” Sometimes, those words are used to connote losing a competitive edge. Sometimes, it has to do more with losing a kind of mental sharpness, or hunger for achievement.

I can’t help but think about it differently. When I heard, “If I meditate more, I might lose my edge,” the edge I thought of was the edge of the self.

As much as we individually long to lose our edges, and as much as our world needs us to do so in order that we collaborate to survive, another part of us fears that loss.

So today’s note is, first and foremost, a loving reminder to you that there are things in your life that bring you into flow. Because we forget. Those activities are gifts to you from life and from the divine. They deserve your time, and they will repay you manifold if you give it to them.

Today’s note is also a reminder that you will likely avoid doing those things that bring you into flow, and the reason is that your ego does not want to lose the battle of how you view yourself – small or large, bounded or connected.

And today’s note is an encouragement to find a way to go into flow anyway, to dip into its well, and let it remind you of the vastness that is here, already in you, and ever waiting to connect to you.

Love,

Tara

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A Dispatch from New Motherhood

Dispatch from New Motherhood

Good morning –

And then the day came…when mom could find an hour to sit down at the computer to write!

I’m so happy to share with you that in the very first hour of this year, our daughter came into the world.

She’s amazing. Super snuggly. And radiant.

These have been very sweet weeks of learning about her and of experiencing new motherhood for the second time (it’s so very different, the second time).

I can tell you from the front lines of witnessing an early life: we are absolutely all miracles. Special reminder: you were a baby once, too. You are, therefore, definitely a miracle, too.

Today I want to write to you about something I’ve been thinking of in these weeks of nursing, rocking, walking. It’s a contrast I keep reflecting on as I watch my newborn daughter and my young son.

Being around a baby makes it so damn obvious that every human life is precious. This amazing thing happens – we grow in a womb and come out and keep growing. And we are adorable and gorgeous and have bodies that know just how to grow…

But as a collective, we do not treat each human life as if it is precious. We especially haven’t been treating each other that way lately, in our most public spheres in American life.

And watching my son and daughter, it’s so obvious that we start out utterly innocent, good-hearted – only wanting to connect, to love, to hold and be held, to get our needs met. And yet, right now our public rhetoric seems to have forgotten this basic innocent goodness of human beings and our most core instinct to care for one another.

My son and daughter – and all children – make it clear: We start as love. If we are met with love, we continue to be and give and extend love.

You and I can not know all the pain, the indoctrination, the hurt that happened along the way to harden the hearts of those we now see spreading hate, violence, and fear. But we can be the mothers and grandmothers and warrior guardians of the collective and say, “No. No. Not this. Not here. Not on our watch.”

We can take the simplest and most important stand there is … a stand that manifests in myriad ways across different issues and different moments, from the most personal to the political. The stand that every human being is a child of the divine. The stand that kindness matters. The stand that we must take responsibility for the harm we do to others, and make amends. The stand that we are sisters and brothers with all human beings. Let’s take that stand in every way we can.

With love, from the terrain of new motherhood –
Tara

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