Tag Archives: truthful speech

Quit your CFU job….

Don’t worry….there are no curse words in CFU, it means CHIEF FIXER UPPER.2superwoman via annesadovsky
How do you know that you have been promoted to this exhaled position?
Well, it’s the subtle signs;

  • only you can find the cold cuts in the fridge
  • only you can pick up socks from the floor
  • only you can load a dishwasher
  • only you can go to the grocery
  • only you can make an effort at a peaceful relationship

Get the idea?
I am sure that you can come up with a few more examples from your own life.

Did you apply for this job?
If you did, what was the job description like?
Was it a one liner that sounded like, “FIX MY LIFE NOW and FOREVER”?

Check out the Mary Oliver poem called THE JOURNEY.

I believe that Mary Oliver found herself in the CFU job and she had to quit.
I think that her poem was her resignation letter.

What would your resignation letter look like?
It can be a Poem.
It can be a short letter.
It can be a long profound thesis with tons of explanations and life examples… but this may make you more upset when you remember all the stuff that you CHOOSE to take on.



CHOOSE to take on?

Uh huh, choose. It may sound harsh that I am telling you to choose to take it on, but really did someone hold a gun to your head to make you do it? If the answer is yes, that a GUN was held to your head, make immediate plans to leave that environment.

So now, let’s just see how you got THAT thankless job.

Were you always a fixer? Were you a “born” helper? Did you get lots of pats on the back for always having the solution? Were people always calling you up so you could fix their issues? Do you feel useless if you are not fixing something or someone?

What would happen if you simply STOPPED all the fixing?
Who would you be upsetting?

Make a list of all the significant folks in your life and put a Y or an N next to their names if they would be upset or not? Then add up all the No people and tell them THANKS for all the support they have given you. Thank them for not expecting you to be the constant Fixer.

Now for the YES people, what to do with them?
The truth is that the issue is with YOU, not them. You have not been able to say NO to these folks who expect you to fix everything. You have trained them to expect you to fix it all.

It may sound harsh but we really do train others how to treat us.
We train them by not speaking our truth.
We train them by not being able to say a NO that respects both them and ourselves.
We train them by assuming that if we do just one more thing, they may leave us alone.
We also assume that we are teaching them something, like maybe how to do it themselves the next time.
They learn nothing but “there she goes again” taking this new load of “crap” off my plate.

A dear friend of mine was on a professional coach call yesterday and a significant member of her family (a grown up), interrupted her to say that SHE needs to call the insurance company to get something done.
Why does SHE need to call?
Why did he interrupt her?

Easy answer…..she trained him over the course of many years to expect that she would “fix” all that was broken, not working, or just plain pissing him off.

Yes, she has a great strength, which is to find solutions, but what do we teach others when WE are the only ones to find the solutions?
What happens when people are so dependent on us and we fall ill or die?
We leave them in a lurch and we leave them helpless.
It may be better if we teach them how to fix their own issues so that both people can take full responsibility for the smooth running of the family.

I know that it is easier said than done. I understand that the people you care about may get angry and say some hurtful things.
What I am asking you to do is to care for yourself and your physical, mental and emotional health as much as you care for theirs.

One of my favorite quotes is this one from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter to us.”

What things matter to you?
I invite you to speak them to a trusted friend, not complaining about all that you must do, but rather, what steps you will take to do less and have the able bodied people in your life do more.

Love and light,

Indrani, Former CFU.

Change, Protect, Create…strategies for a respectful NO

In his book The Power of a Positive NO, William Ury gives us these 3 strategies to help us form and deliver a NO that is supportive.

Ury tells us that we “cannot say a proper YES if we cannot say NO.”

When I first read that line, I had to really think about it.
This is what occurred to me…if I am NOT ALLOWED to say NO to you, then any request is really just an order from you.
If I have to obey my orders, why even put it in question form? Just say to me…
DO this!
DO that!

At least then I know what I am dealing with, dictators and tyrants.
It is my experience however, that few tyrants WANT to be seen as tyrants. They want to be seen as benevolent and caring. They really believe that all their demands and orders are for our own good. They may think of themselves as the parent and us as children and therefore need to be TOLD what to do and how to do it.

Here is an easy test. Think of someone in your life that you have not said NO to. They “ask” and you do, without any real choice in the matter.

Now flip the roles in your head. Are you allowed to tell them what to do and will they do it?

If, for instance, they say “This room is filthy, clean it up!” and you are expected to hop to it and clean it up, can you say the same, in the same voice? Will they hop to it and clean it up?

Please do not try this with an abuser!!!

William Ury says that we must:

1. Change what is not working… by learning to say NO
2. Protect what we hold dear to us…like not being a constant slave
3. Create the new way we want to live.

He informs us that by learning to say a Positive No, we will be able to make significant changes that support both our internal power and our external relationships.

I wish you list of energy to change, protect, and create the life you say you want.

Love and light

A Thousand Words…What the movie taught me.

I was recently on a flight and saw the movie A Thousand Words, it was funny and introspective at the same time.

I did not expect introspection from Eddie Murphy.

The premise of the movie (spoiler alert) is that Eddie Murphy’s character has 1000 words left and when he reached this quota, he will die.
There is an outer manifestation of this which is a tree in his back yard that loses a leaf with every word he speaks.
He loses three words (and three leaves) if he says “I love you.”
This becomes very problematic not only at work, but with his wife, to whom he cannot express his love because he does not want to die.
If he writes a word, the leaves also fall.

Ok, so it’s a movie and it all works out in the end!
BUT, what if it could be true?
Do you know how many words you have left?
This of course presupposes that you know how many years you have and you know how many words you will speak each day.
A daunting mathematical problem!

How many years do I have left?
I know not.
I have this moment.
What I choose to say in this moment can be uplifting or off putting.
It can be humorous or humorless.
It can be stated without judgment or it can be accusatory.
I can whisper or shout.
I have a plethora of choices.

How do I decide?
I have to KNOW who I am and how I want to show up in the world.

I have to know ME!
I have to be true to me.
I have to fight the lethargy that comes with everyday living and the urge to be “fed up” with knowing myself. I have to be ON.
That takes at first a conscious decision to be true to me, then it becomes like breathing.
It becomes a living testament to the William Shakespeare quote “to thine own self be true.”
I must live, To MY own self be true.

I recently had someone forward me a text that they received from another person.
This person just sent the text. They did not say what they wanted me to do with it.
I had to wonder, what should I do here? Should I ignore it, therefore ignore the person who sent it to me?
Should I comment?
I chose to comment, but with humor.
Why? Because I have chosen to try and find the lesson or the humor in my experiences.
How did the recipient take it? I do not know!
What did I accomplish?
Only being true to “MY OWN SELF.”

It’s a long and winding road, indeed.

Love & light,


Wishing for the Sound of Silence…

Sing the following words to the tune of the Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel…

“Hello story my old friend
I’ve come to fondle you again
Because your lies have me trapped in
The same old paths that are in my brain
And the stories, never give me any peace, any peace,
Wishing for the sounds of silence”

Ok, so I am not a real lyricist…. but I do pretend to be one once in a while.

My teacher and mentor Dr. Martha Beck, tells us that we all have a tendency to ‘story fondle.’ You know, telling the same dramatic story over and over again and looking for people to agree and to commiserate.  If someone challenges our story, we tend to become defensive and lash out or sulk in a corner.

How DARE they not believe us?
Who do they think they are?
What right do they have to say that my truth may in fact be just a story?

Ask yourself this, have you told many someones the same story over and over?
Why do you feel compelled to repeat old stories?
Ask yourself, “Do these stories bring me joy?”

I know whereof I speak, I have used this technique, and it only kept me stuck.
I got tired of being stuck.
The only way I could free myself was to consciously not tell the story. Not ever.
I did vent in therapy where I could get some insight, but other than that I started to create new themes.
It is not easy to step out of the story.
The stories are familiar, and on a strange level…even comforting.
You know every word, where to place charged emphasis and where to shed a tear.
We are academy award winners in our own plays.

Do you need a different way?
Are you tired of being angry and sad?
Change the stories.
Make them comedic monologues instead of dramas.
Put on a costume and tell the story from that character’s point of view.
Tell the story with a fake accent and crack yourself up.
Do anything.
Do something different.
If you don’t, who will?

Love and light,

Is school making your child crazy?

Is school making your child crazy?

“The purpose of school should be to prepare kids for the rest of their lives, but too often what kids need to be prepared for is surviving the school day itself.” Susan Cain, QUIET

For the parent of a child who is being bullied, the above quote must be especially poignant…that is, if you are lucky enough to be told that they are being bullied. This blog is not about bullying but about being SHY and being ashamed of being shy.

Dr. Brene Brown tells us that shame says “I am bad.”
If a child has learned to be ashamed of being shy and is cajoled or taunted to be more outgoing, this child may feel that being shy is so bad that their existence is useless.

I feel that many shy children feel invisible. They know they have the right answers, but are afraid to put their hands up and speak out loud in the classroom. They cannot get full marks on any report card because a grade is being given for “class participation”. Many want to participate and when they work one-on-one they can have exciting
conversations, but in a group they freeze.

Telling this child to be something other than what they really are will not make them change. As parents and educators we have to learn how to work with the introversion so that the child can feel pride about their ability to be reflective, and introspective. We have to show them that their minds works differently and beautifully and show them how to find ways to be a part of the group, but in a way that feels safe to them.

“The truth is that many schools are designed for extroverts,” says Susan Cain.
So what do we do as parents and advocates for our introverted kids?
“When encouraging shy children to speak…it helps to make the topic so compelling that they forget their inhibitions.”

As parents and educators we can take sincere interests in the activities of the introverted child and use the love of those activities to encourage them to talk.

During the summer months, while kids are out if school, the time is right to begin the project of speaking up and out in the safety of one’s home.
These skills are important, if only to be able to tell others to stop bullying them. Being able to speak up for ones emotional health is  skill that we must teach our children. They are the future leaders.

In the May 21st, 2012 issue of Fortune Magazine, Doug Conant, the former Campbell Soup CEO gives some great advice.

He says:
1. “Don’t change who you are…people are not mind readers- you need to let them know if you are shy.”
2. “Say what’s on your mind…I’ve met so many leaders who realize that telling your colleagues something that is on your mind is so much easier than keeping it in.”
3. “Know who you work with…You might just find that you have introverts embedded within your organization who are natural-born leaders.”
4. “Find alone time…Introverts get more energy by having quiet time, compared with extroverts who find energy by being around people.”

This advice from Mr. Conant shows that introverts in the work force have a lot to contribute, and as parents/educators of these future leaders we owe it to them to prepare them for their whole lives…a life full of other people and challenges beyond those of childhood.

I hope you take up this project, it is well worth it.

Love and light,

Am I fired?

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone I barely knew regarding my classes in which she has never attended.
Her information came from some of those who had taken my class. These people had some sensitive nerves touched and decided their pain was my fault! The email was mean spirited and made accusations that were untrue.

What was I going to do?
Was I going to retaliate?
Was I going to react?

The first thing I had to do was control my mind chatter and control my emotions. I felt the tears stinging at the edges of my eyes and I blinked them back. After a while the tears did not need to show themselves. I got hold of my thoughts and I formed my next steps.

I decided that my steps would be based on my TRUTH.
My deepest truth about the work that I do is that IT IS NECESSARY! The pain of an abuse victim pales in comparison with the slight pain that I was feeling.

I asked myself, “Indrani, how far would you go to reach a woman who needed to hear what you have to say about resilience and courage?”
My answer was “as far as I need to.”
So how far would I go to reach the women that I had come to reach?
I replied to the email and decided that I would go as far as I could go without damage to myself.
What kind of damage? EMOTIONAL damage!

So I took that mean spirited email as a CASE study and I sent myself to NEGOTIATION school.
I had taken a class in negotiating a few months ago, so I began to apply the principles.
A negotiation is a two way street where everyone compromises and therefore wins.
So what did I want to WIN?
I wanted to win a chance to share something with the women.
What did this boss lady want to win? I had no idea!
I only had the email to guide me so I looked at what they were AFRAID of.
I charted what I read alongside what my true work was.
I very carefully began to craft my response and I held in my heart the women who would be in my class.

I did the class that afternoon for 2.5 hours and returned the next day for 3.5 hours. The women that took part asked me to stay longer. They even called the boss lady to ask and she said NO. She said that “they were not ready”.

How did she know?
I have no idea!
They felt sad and I left.
I felt like both she and I won.
I won the respect of the women and she won the time frame constraints.

As I write this I am resting in my hotel room, looking at THE VOW.
It seems like a great title because it lines up with the VOW I made to myself to honor my truth.

Love, light & truth,


Nice to meet you…

I recently met a person who seemed intelligent, respectable and personable. This person also seemed to cherish their
family and love life. I thought to myself, hmmm….I could be friends with this person.

But then someone gave me an unsolicited opinion that the person I met was a liar, bad news, and would bring me down. They insisted that I would regret being friends with this person. No specifics in why, it was said cut and dry…just like that. These judgments were offered up to protect me.

Immediately I was filled with self doubt.
Did I misjudge this new person?
Had I been duped?
Had I made a bad judgment in character?
Do I trust too easily?

I felt bad about myself.

These thoughts have been percolating for a few days now. After much thought, I realize that I have a great gift.  I can see the best in people from the start.

If I was to meet you on the street today I would look at you warmly, smile and engage with you.
I do not weigh heavily on other peoples experiences with you.
What matters is how you interact with me.
And if your interactions with me are negative then I may choose not to be around you.

In my world I do not want to immediately look at your face when we meet on the street and distrust you.
You have given me no reason to be on guard.
You are not perfect, nor am I.
You may have hurt others or made mistakes in life, and so have I.

When we first meet we have a clean slate with each other.
It is up to us what we write on that slate and how we interact together.

Hi, my name is Kay.  It is nice to meet you.

Who’s Minding Your LIFE?

Yesterday I had the chance to “fix” a problem for someone.
This person called me and they were sad and crying. I am a good fixer.
I am a really good fixer.
Then, I took a few moments to ponder if this was something that I really wanted to deal with.

I decided to not do it.
Why would I not do it?
The answer is so very simple.

I did not have the emotional bandwidth.
I could not sustain what needed to be done for them with everything that needed to be done for me.

I was already experiencing stress just from hearing the request and I knew if I did not pay attention to what was happening with me internally, I would make decisions that I would regret.

This skill did not come easily. I have been NOT paying attention to my own self for the majority of my life. Whenever I met someone who was able to decline “fixing” others I was amazed. I felt like I would never get to the point where I would be able to stand firm in a decision that was good for me.
But I was wrong.

The book that saved me from a fate of “chronic people pleasing” is The Power of a Positive NO by William Ury. I encourage you all to read this book. Inhale it slowly and digest every word.

I will give you one of the tips that Ury presents in the book. He says that people fail to say NO in the following ways:

We accommodate because of fear of reprisals if we say no.
We avoid the person all together so that we do not have to deal with the issue.
When avoiding does not work we feel trapped and acquiesce but with
anger. We end up shouting and blaming the other person saying “you made me do it.”

No one can make you do anything.
The words that people speak can be hurtful and you can feel abandoned because those involved did not see your point of view…but that still cannot MAKE you do anything.
We end up doing things because we cannot stand the “pressure” and we give in.

Building up resilience to “pressure” is what we need to do so that we will be firm in our resolve to stay in our own business and mind our own life.

Sitting in the midst of the pressure from outsiders can feel like you are going to cave in, but you will not. Your body is strong and will not collapse. It is your resolve that collapses. Allow yourself to feel the pressure and share the painful experience with a trusted friend or therapist. That is exactly what needs to happen in order to build
up resilience. It takes time. Only YOU can do it. No one can “give” you the strength to sit with the discomfort. It is a decision you have to make in order to save your own sanity.

If you don’t save your own sanity who will?

If you are not minding your own life, who is?

Love and light,

I forgive myself….

I forgive myself for holding a grudge against you.

I forgive myself for allowing the past hurt to etch new wounds on old scars.

I have been holding on to a deep grudge for over 20 years. Yes, 20 years and I am quite ashamed to admit it. Even as I express to myself and all who would listen that I have changed, this grudge I will not let go of.

Let’s get it out there. Shall we?

20 plus years ago I was at a funeral and I approached someone with whom I had been feuding. We actually had been feuding together, and doing a great job. A jab here, a sarcastic comment there, a nasty look when we thought no one was paying attention, and so on. We were great adversaries.

At the funeral, I wanted to call it quits and I approached this person and said something to the effect of life being short and we never know when…blah, blah, blah.

I asked if we could drop the past and start over.

They said NO.

They said that I would have to prove myself and my intentions TO THEIR SATISFACTION.

Oh Really?


From that day on, they were my sworn enemy. Every time I got a chance, I was distant and cold and unfriendly and I enjoyed the game. BTW, my opponent was quite formidable.

We would pretend to hug and kiss each other in front of others, but if we saw each other at the store, we would look straight thru each other.

People from far and wide could see the great divide. Neither of us cared!

Fast forward 20 plus years, and I am TIRED OF THE GAME!

If I die tomorrow, I do NOT want to take this well played game to my grave.

I do not want the rules of this game etched onto my heart any more.

What once gave me great joy and guilty pleasure now makes me sad and makes me feel less than human.





There, I’ve said it.

It feels good not to have to dig for the hurtful memories and to relay to people the how and whys I am still at war.

I am putting down my weapons.

I will still keep on my armor, especially over my heart, but I will no longer throw offensive or defensive moves.

I will move out of the way of jabs and insults.

I may even say something like, “I am tired of this exhausting game so you win”


Now how do I move forward?

I must find the courage to forget all the history. I must find the courage to see God in that person.

I must focus on that person’s good qualities, the ones I admire.

As I focus on their strengths, I will heal myself of all the rancor of the past and hopefully expel the pent up toxicity and enable my heart to be free of past pain.

If I am truthful, they have not been on my radar for quite a while, and it’s only when I am going to be in their presence that my claws want to come out.

So, I will keep my claws nicely manicured and polished and use them as a decorative feature not a hidden weapon.


I forgive me.

Such a small sentence.

Such a powerful sentiment.

Congrats to me, I am a courageous being.


You all know the lesson here.

Will you step into the courageous act of forgiving yourself for something/s you have done?

Good luck, it may take a while, but it’s worth the journey.


Love and light


When I say NO… Do you hear MAYBE?

A case study in Nonviolent communication.

I just got a call from a charity for Breast Cancer Research asking for
a little something for underprivileged women.
This is how it began:
Me …Hello
Them…Is the lady of the house there?
Me…Who’s calling?

Note that I did not say… Oh yes, I am the lady of the house…

Them… This is so and so and we serve women who cannot…..

Me… I support breast cancer research and will not be able to support
your organization.

Them…Please do not draw the line, these women cannot pay their rent….etc

Now I am pissed, she did not hear my NO.
But then I think of the book Nonviolent Communication that I have
been devouring and I think, oh what a great time to use it here.

So I quickly do:

O- observe what is happening.

F- feel my feelings… I knew that I was feeling irritated and I
started down a road of “if she only knew how much I donate”… Then I stopped

N- What are my needs and what are her needs? She needs me to give her
money and I need to be true to my established charity budget and not go over
that amount.

R- What request am I going to make based on MY needs?

So let’s return to the conversation

Them…Please don’t draw the line….
Me…Amanda, I support Breast Cancer research and I am NOT going to
give anything more at this moment.

My voice was clear and precise and very purposeful.
She heard it and responded.

Them… Oh, thanks for supporting Breast Cancer.
Me… You are welcome.

Here’s what I did:
I knew my NO.
I knew why I was saying NO.
I did not let myself get caught up in the story of her population, not
out of not caring for them but out of a very caring place for me and
where I put my charity dollars. I really believe that I am doing what
I can do and I will do more when I decide it is time to do more.

If you go back up to the top of the post you will see many little
things that could have derailed me…
-Request for a little something
-The story of who needs the help
-Her telling me that I have drawn a line

NONE of those things matter when you are standing on solid ground.
This makes me sound like a right winger. I am neither a left winger
nor a right winger. I am simply following the plan that I set out at
the beginning of the year before the charities had a chance to get to
my emotions.

Emotions have a big role in what we give and who we give to BUT giving
has to support the bigger picture and must come from the heart.

This lesson is especially true for your energy. Money is easier to
find than energy.

A dear friend, Gretchen Pisano (www.soundingboardink.com) taught me
this past week that we all have units of energy and we must manage our
energy, not just our time and I am adding not just our other resources.

When people make requests of you that involve energy expenditures, you
have to use:

O… Observe what is happening without evaluating… You will know if
you are evaluating if words like should and must pop into your

Here are some examples of observations and evaluations from Nonviolent Communication by Rosenberg
1. John was angry with me yesterday for no reason.
2. My father is a good man
3. Pam was first in line every day this week.
What was an observation VS evaluation here?

F…knowing what we are feeling and expressing what we are feeling.
I realized rather quickly after she said ” drawing a line” that I was
getting irritated, and I could have spoken instead to “how dare you
tell me I am drawing a line blah, blah, blah” but I just FELT the
feelings and then asked myself what I wanted for me…what is my
request of me, not of her? I could wish that no one hits me up for
money anymore, but I can only be in charge of what I will do when it
does happen.

Here are examples from Rosenberg about statements of feelings
1. I feel like hitting you.
2. I feel good about what you did for me.
3. You’re disgusting.
What is a feeling VS a non-feeling here?

N…knowing what you need is taking responsibility for your feelings.
In my case with Amanda, I was irritated because I had an unmet need
for HER to know that I am generous and that I do not draw lines around
charity giving. I am very purposeful and give quite freely. In this
case, Amanda’s job was to get my money. My job was not to keep it from
her but for ME to KNOW what I was willing to do and not do. I met my
need for acknowledgement of generosity by telling myself that I was
generous and by communicating it to her very purposefully.

Here are some examples of needs from Rosenberg… Remember a need is
taking responsibility for YOUR feelings.
1. I feel frustrated when you come late.
2. I feel disappointed that you said you would do it and you did not.
3. I feel scared when you raise your voice.
Which of the above statements takes responsibility for their own feelings?

R…request of others in order to enrich life for us…Rosenberg
In this case vague language will not help clarify the situation… E.g.
you know Amanda, I kinda give a lot and I feel so bad and I don’t know
what to do because…
This language does not serve me. Being clear and requesting what I
want is called for here. I could have said “I do not want you to ask me for a donation”, but I chose to focus on saying what I do and
saying what I was not going to do.
I also did not use a negative as in “I won’t give to you” I used a
positive as in “I give generously already”.

Here are some examples of requesting statements that are very clear
and not so clear.
1. I want you to understand me.
2. I want you to stop drinking.
3. I would like you to drive at or below the speed limit.
Which statements are clear VS vague?

This way of communicating is not easy, as we have been taught to
use language to onshore what we truly feel. This way we won’t feel
A brilliant woman, Brene Brown tells us that vulnerability is the key to
being who we are and getting what we want from life.
Hear her Vulnerability TED talk here.

I also recommend that you read
Nonviolent Communication.

If you are having judgments of whether I should have given in to the
charity that is a whole other conversation called a moralistic
judgment. You can have a VALUE of charity giving, but when you start
judging others on HOW much and how often they SHOULD give, then we are
getting on our moral high horse.

Love and light