Love the Life You Lead. Spring 2014. DAY SEVEN: Melinda Abrams

What do you stand for?

Having it All. . . Having enough. . . Lean in. . . Lean out. . . Recline—STOP. It’s all making me crazy.

As a professional woman approaching 50, I am part of the generation told that we could have it all. . .Hell we could do ANYTHING.

My peers trained to be lawyers, doctors, professors, financiers, CEO’s, COO’s. Some of us chose not to have children, some of us chose to have children.  Many of us put off having children as we were so busy working in a field we were passionate about. I did. I was on the fast track to becoming a principal of a school, working as an Assistant Principal in my early 30’s. I had my first child at 33 and my third at 38. Before children, it was common for me to work 12-14 hour days, AND I took good care of myself. After children it seems I work 24/7. It seems I have it all, and yet I never feel like I am doing or being enough. I’m torn between allocating time for my business, time for my art, time for my self care, time for my children, time for my husband, time for my friends, time for my extended family, time for service. . . . .it’s a swirl of crazy. It’s when I consider ALL of these aspect of leading my life, I think, CRAP I don’t know if I really even want it all.

Perhaps instead I should consider having the latest iteration offered to women and that is “Having Enough”. Accept to me that feels like settling. While I don’t want the constant striving for more, more, more (ie. ALL) . . . I do want to acknowledge and be grateful for what I do have, what I do, and how I be. . . AND yet “Having Enough” doesn’t really capture what I want to stand up for. . .or what I want for my daughter’s generation.

So then I consider the most recent trend . . .. Leaning in, leaning out, and reclining. Of course women should be able to move up in any hierarchy. A woman’s choice to lead at home or in any given work field should be celebrated. Of course a woman should also be celebrated for making time to reflect and relax. For either to happen families will have to be in constant dialogue and be willing to change with the circumstances. Women will have to speak up and take charge. . But, UGH! this doesn’t really move me to where I want to be or how I want to live either.

The truth is I want us to focus less on whether it’s right to lean in/lean out, have it all/have enough and rather focus on LOVING THE LIFE YOU ARE LIVING. The beauty of LOVING the life you live is that love is both a verb/action, a state of being/feeling, and it will serve you in your whole life (work, family, self, community) regardless of where you are leaning and what you have.

Let me define Loving the life you lead in simplest terms:

DO what you Love. I know I’ve said it before, yet it’s simply worth repeating. Do something you love every day. You deserve it. When you do things you love EVERYONE benefits.
BE with those you Love. For some of you (me included) the challenge is to include self. Make time every day to be loving to yourself, and to other people who are important to you.
GIVE and RECEIVE. It’ a vulnerable thing to do, but it is sooooo worth it. Let people help you. Hire people to help you. Foster people helping each other.
ACKNOWLEDGE. EVERY DAY. Do it your way. Offer a blessing. . . write a note. . . meditate. . . dance. . .sing a song. . .WHATEVER!…acknowledge what’s full. . .what’s complete. . .what’s emerging. . . what’s conscious. . .what your dreaming about. . . what hurts. . .what you see in others. . . whatever it is that touches your heart and soul and wherever it occurs, acknowledge and be grateful.
LEAD. Sometimes from the front, sometimes from behind, sometimes from the middle—always conscious of your choices and your impact. . .accept for when you aren’t, and then RECOVER TO WHAT YOU LOVE.
INTEGRATE. Loving the life you lead is not always happy-haha. Sometimes it hurts. Normalize integrating your grieving self with your celebrating self. Love each and every aspect of your life. It’s certainly challenging when you have so many pieces to your life. Do it anyway.

Then and only then, whether you have it all or have enough. . . .whether you are leaning in or you are leaning out… whether you work in the home or outside the home. . .whether you work part time or full time or all the time…YOU WILL experience profound satisfaction, incredible aliveness, and you will Love the WHOLE life you are living. This is what I stand for.

What do you stand for?

About melindarabrams

Melinda Abrams, CPCC, MSA is a champion of the shared experience. She consistently moves individuals and groups to deeper levels of connection and support, and models ‘being moved’ by what is present in the space. She believes that in this creative combustion, capacity expands ….simply, naturally, magnificently. In addition to coaching corporate executives, Melinda takes great pleasure collecting and sharing messages about Loving the Life you Lead on facebook and her blog Moving Leaders. She loves coaching, delivering experiential programs at outdoor education centers, teaching teleclasses, holding weekend retreats, and guiding leaders to MOVE. Melinda brings over 20 years of teaching and leadership development to Moving Leaders. Her work spans experiences with youth, corporate clients, and both business and medical graduate students at Duke, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest Universities. Her commitment is to serve emerging leaders as they move towards shared enthusiastic leadership. And YES! Melinda is also an artist. She creates unique handpainted scarves. In my art, my coaching, and my spiritual practice I consistently return to wonder and awe. As I turn to wonder and create from there I experience a profound connection with source. This movement brings me to this latest series of scarves. I love the idea of wrapping oneself in an idea–an intention– a possibility, and creating beauty with that intention. My hope is that when one chooses this scarf to wear, they turn from disconnected bland to soulful brilliant. Of course when the scarf is open and hung you can read the message, yet when it is draped and worn, the message is simply seen as a design. My promise is that the wearer is reminded to turn towards the message and that the message is shared through the wearers actions and interactions with others. Melinda Abrams Melinda loves living in Chapel Hill, NC with her husband and three children.
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