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Many years ago, when I just a young 35 year old, I had an experience that taught me a huge lesson. Here is my experience told in a story I wrote for my new book. What follows my short story is a reflection on how we might benefit from a new perspective, then change our attitude with a big splash of creativity.  Enjoy!

Hands On Steering Wheel

It was Tuesday, another freezing, dreary rainy day in the northwest. My week was just getting started when I got a call from my partner in crime. My girlfriend Judy and I were building a huge custom home on spec. The lot was on the 9th fairway of the local prestigious golf course. We really thought we knew what we were doing when we had the idea, and when we so dramatically designed our dream home in hopes of making the big bucks. Judy was frantic because the call came in from our new foreman. He was asking a ton of urgent questions none of which either of us understood. She was all upset saying, “What will we do, I don’t know what to tell them?”

I peered out my window and saw the pounding rain. Dang, another bad hair day. It was time for me to get ready for work anyway, so I passed on breakfast and ran out to my VW bug to start the engine. The car was so cold that I had to place a brick on the accelerator so it could warm up while I finished getting ready.  This was the only way to warm the car enough to tolerate the extreme damp cold. Within ten minutes I was dressed, out the door, and in my somewhat defrosted VW. I was not happy.

 (Too bad I did not have a fancy Audi like the picture portrays)

My anguish was not about the house as much as it was about the job that awaited me after I visited the job site. The golf course was part of a country club that also had a gym workout facility of which I was a trainer and aerobic instructor. Now this will not sound very nice, but I just did not think I could tell one more overweight person what to eat, and how to exercise. Everyday it was the same place, same words, same exercises on the same equipment, over and over. I was so bored with it and everyone there.

Many things can cause unhappiness and I thought I had plenty of reasons. It was the early 80's, and it was my first Northwest winter after being born and raised in Southern California.  It was always so cold, the kind of damp cold that seeped in my cells and remained there until I submerged myself in a hot bath. It was dark at 4:30 in the afternoon, and it was a long drive to town if I wanted to go out and socialize. My 11-year-old son and I were held captive in our apartment every evening. I missed my family, my old friends, and outdoor walks in the evening, the west coast sunsets, happy hour and a good tan. My hair always looked like shit and I was lonely too.

Building homes had always been a dream. I was thrilled when I moved there to actually fulfill this dream. I should be happy, right? When I arrived at the job site, the rain was still pounding. It amazed me how the people in NW just move on regardless of the weather. Here I am cussing, grunting and groaning while very wet, wondering why anybody in his or her right mind would live here, but here I was.  My own self added to my disdain.

Judy had made a few phone calls prior to her arrival at the site, so she had answers for the crew. It was apparent that they delighted in our ignorance, giving them the opportunity to give us a hard time. We could feel their sneers and judgment and knew they were laughing behind our backs.

As I drove myself to the club, with my attitude in the dumps, I looked at my hands on the steering wheel and suddenly saw what they were doing. There they were, both gripped firmly around each side of the wheel. I was driving myself somewhere that I had decided to go. No one was driving me. No one had a gun to my head.  It was all me. I had made the choice to go there, and at some point in time I was even excited about it.

In that very moment I made a decision. If I was going to make the choice to do something in my life, even daily little tasks, then I was going to love it or leave it. If I did not want to do it anymore, then I would move toward changing the circumstances that were within my power. Meanwhile, I would make the most of what I decided to do even while planning and executing a new path.  Then and there I decided I would quit this job and find a new source of income. But, until then, I said to myself, “let’s have some fun today”.

This decision and insight inspired an entirely new attitude deep within that has lasted me a lifetime. I popped into the club with a smile on my face and lightness in my step. I was going to make this day the best day ever. With that I embraced each person who came my way. This new attitude inspired a reservoir of creativity in how I worked with them. Taking the focus off myself, I asked about their lives, showing genuine interest. I made jokes and found new ways to inspire a fun and satisfying workout for them. Our energies fed off each other as we danced through our time together. Like musicians who are in a grove, we harmonized living our moments with fresh spontaneity. Wow, could it be this simple? Could I just decide to have the best day ever and have it? Well, yes. I discovered a new power that day and it was all because I decided to.

That afternoon I called Judy and we brainstormed how we might court the crew to become team players, players aligned with our vision, players that helped us learn rather than delighting in challenging our ignorance. As we dropped our agenda to act like we knew it all, we schemed, giggled and laughed and came up with a plan. 

The next day we showed up on the job at quitting time, dressed as cute as possible without being too sexy. With an ice-cold bottle of Champagne, crystal glasses, a case of beer, and 3 joints rolled with the best of the NW weed, we said, “We want to celebrate with you. We have never built a house and this is our dream. You guys are the experts and we need you. We really don’t know what we are doing, but we want to learn. Will you help us? To celebrate our first week of ground breaking we brought some party favors.”

With that we unveiled our stash.  A couple guys grabbed a beer instantly while another said, “Hell, I quit drinking a year ago, but would love a doobie”. We cracked the champagne, poured, puffed and toasted. Sitting around in funky chairs, legs stuck in the mud we got to know each other. Gratefully the rain had subsided and our newfound friends joined in our intentions. This was the beginning of the one of the most fun episodes in my life. And the good news? I bought a cute hat.  My bad hair days were over. 


A New Day - Feeling Trapped

Within my constant study of consciousness and personal development I came across some readings that landed in me like truth.  It has to do with feeling trapped, which I know many people are feeling today. 

When people are feeling trapped, it brings on a very low frequency in the human life force deep within the body. Part of this is due to the fact that our creativity shuts down and we do not breathe deeply. We might feel powerless. When we don't breathe fully, we deplete our energy and reduce our capacities. One of the sure signs of this is fatigue. When we feel tired and loose our dynamism we have usually allowed ourselves to feel trapped. This is not a time in our evolution to diminish our life force. This is a time to be strong. 

This struck home to me because I was feeling trapped. But, you see, I did not know I felt trapped. I was just tired all the time, and have been fighting a fatigue problem. I am that person that goes like crazy and then crashes - the pitta body type out of balance. When my Mom used to call me, and I would tell her I was tired, she would respond by saying, "Well, I guess so. I never saw anybody go like you. You never stop." When I do get good energy, I get so excited that I spend it like crazy. 

Years ago while standing - staring at an open kitchen cabinet full of supplements, wondering which one to take, I heard this voice. It said, "You will not solve this problem by what you put in your mouth." Dang. A pill would be so much easier.

So, when I learned of the fatigue masquerading as the feeling of being trapped. I perked up and realized that I had been feeling trapped, like I did years ago in Washington. This realization called for nothing short of re-evaluating my situation and revitalizing my creativity within it. Why? Because the problem is not solved by changing the outside around us, even though there are definitely things that might need changing. 

The solution could only be resolved by changing my attitude and mustering up more creativity within the world I have already chosen, on some level, to live in. I share this with you now because this is a time for us to be on our game. We must do what we can to keep ourselves strong so that we can keep our families strong, and our communities thriving. With humanity facing its greatest crisis ever - namely the destruction of our own environment, we must dig deep, and use our creativity for collective and practical solutions. 

Fatigue * Weight Loss * Immune Function

I believe this state of feeling trapped and causing fatigue has a has a great deal to do with immune response and weight loss as well. Because when we operate at a low frequency our body does not metabolize our food as well. This means that we don't get the nutrients our food provides, and we don't burn it off as well either. We may feel hungry even when fed, but it is our spirit that is hungry, most likely for more creativity. Creativity awakens our life force. Like in my story, when I got creative within my day, my life force turned on, and I had a great day. The power is within. We know this, but it is not always that easy to recognize. That being said, it is extremely easy to do if we put our mind and actions to it.

I share this in hopes of you freeing yourself from feeling trapped, if you so happen to feel that way. Feeling trapped can be hidden in so many ways, even if we just feel trapped inside a body that does not look and/or feel like we want it to. But, whoever you are, and whatever you are doing, there is enormous creativity in you just waiting to be expressed. This creativity will re-inspire and free up your life force for ????????, perhaps all kinds of magic.

Do you feel trapped? If so, what do you do about it? Let's talk about it. Leave your comments below.

Aloha blessings, Susan Teton

 Please contact me for a no-obligation 15-30 minute complimentary health, wellness, and nutrition coaching session by phone, by Skype or in person (on Maui). Susan@ChefTeton.com.