Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | February 2, 2023

Why Didn’t Someone Tell Her She Was Enough

Watching a friend struggling through grief right now is so painful. She seems so lost and alone and the people closest to her are helpless to give her what she needs. A pattern of broken relationships has left such a void in her family that reaching across the span seems almost impossible.

Considering how much time I have devoted lately to studying early childhood trauma and the unconscious impact that can happen when no one knows better, I am seeing her plight through a lens of awareness. She, like just about everyone I know, discovered at an early age that survival in this world was paramount and that we weren’t enough just as we were. We had to do and be better.

Some of us became People Pleasers, always on the lookout for a way to make others happy or at least meet their needs. I am one of these and have a lifetime of memories … both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ … that show how I compromised myself, my values and what I felt was instinctively ‘right’ to avoid upsetting others. I’ve paid a high price in some areas of my life and the pattern is so ingrained that I still, even though I know better, have to be vigilant.

Others, like this beautiful young woman, and I am making assumptions here from observation and what I’ve learned, became fierce, a fighter, staying strong and independent. You don’t get hurt if you don’t let people in. And not being hurt is critical to survival. I get it. I get how the fear of being rejected, neglected, abandoned or forgotten will override the most sensible of us when we face decisions. I get the desperation to be seen and heard for who we really are and how the absence of that from an early age tells us that we are not enough. Even the most well meaning parents, and most of us are just that, don’t have a clue how to give this message to our kids without some unwanted fallout.

No one is to blame. I repeat, no one is to blame. When I attended The Hoffman Process 26 years ago I learned that while we are all guilty of poor choices and negative impacts, no one is to blame. Patterns are learned generationally and environmentally. While it is excruciating to witness the often gut wrenching revelations, it is this awareness that leads to healing and peace. Gabor Mate leads the world on a journey of uncovering and recovering from unrecognized and unresolved childhood trauma. I can only hope that somewhere in the depths of despair, this proud, capable, worthy young woman hears that truth that all along, she was enough.

Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | January 31, 2023

We’ll See

Some of you may have heard me share the old Chinese fable about a farmer, his son and a prized horse. I am reminded of this today as I woke up feeling sad that a much anticipated visit from a beloved friend has to be postponed because of, again, weather. It’s been several years since we saw each other and plans were in place until a polar vortex brought snow and ice. I sat in the sadness for a couple of hours and then slowly emerged into a new perspective: What if this works out better in the end? Of course for both of us not travelling airports and highways in bad weather is a plus. But beyond that, I am certain there is some shining light that will emerge. It’s too early to say what that is but my husband is suiting up in winter gear for a walk in lovely park. Maybe that’s where the miracle is waiting. I’m staying alert!

In the meantime, for those who don’t know the story, or those who just want a refresher, here it is:

“A farmer and his son had a beloved horse who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbours exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”

A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild horses back to the farm as well. The neighbours shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”

Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the horses and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The neighbours cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”

A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg. The neighbours shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | January 29, 2023

Going to The Hardware Store For Milk

In Louise Hay’s groundbreaking movie “You Can Heal Your Life” there is a segment with Cheryl Richardson reminds us to choose our source of learning and support wisely. Cheryl’s reference to not go to the hardware store for milk was completely aligned with what I’ve painfully experienced in my own search for comfort. It has taken me literally two decades to fully understand that there are some people in my life, although we love each other dearly, are not the right people for me to share some of my angst or woe with. Even if I really, really want to tell them what I’m feeling!

A wise teacher once told me not to ask things of people that they don’t have the capacity to give me. At first, I was taken aback and felt that I would be unfairly judging someone. What I realized with time was that my own life’s journey made me an ideal person to ‘hold space’ for some people needing empathy and compassion. The key word is ‘some’ people. Not everyone. I’m just not the best fit. Period. And the same applies to others. For example, sometimes I can’t help myself and I start giving advice or relating a similar story. It happens in a flash and when it does, I’m done. I’m in my Rescuer role which never serves either of us.

Whether we are biologically connected or best friends, there are times when what we need is only available from someone else; someone who can really be with us through a challenge without the glare of history or preconceived ideas. It needs to be said that I am blessed with lots of coaches who are friends and even they don’t always fit the bill. Sometimes, just like me, they want to fix when ‘being with’ is all I need.

The big lesson for me is to be kind to those who don’t ‘hear’ me and lovingly accept them for where they are. No judgement. No animosity. No shaming. No regrets. Love them for what they do bring into my life and don’t make the relationship messy by going to them with things they aren’t able to handle.

Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | January 27, 2023

Here Comes The Fraud Police

Every successful, wise and inspirational person I know (and I know a lot of them) has had the same fear of being ‘found out’ as a fraud. No matter how much education, research, training they have had there are times when it feels like it’s not enough. No matter how many accolades, acknowledgements, awards, or highly coveted commendations, they still have moments when they ask “Are you sure?”

While I don’t claim to be among the greatest thinkers or influencers of thought by any means, I am definitely in this group who wonder how they ended up being praised or appreciated for their contribution. It’s not that I doubt my impact on the many lives I’ve touched. I have a little Atta Girl file with cards and notes that are testament to my dedication to be of service to the growth and learning of others. Random emails, surprise visits and unsolicited messages of thanks are wonderful reminders that I have achieved my life’s mission of doing my best to help others find joy and peace in their lives.

And that’s the key … doing my best. As a passionate life long learner I know there is always more I can learn and share. And I’m not perfect. I am driven to walk my talk and in spite of a conscious effort well supported by my fierce colleagues I don’t always show up the way I want to or, certainly, the way I could. And therein lies the problem. I’m human. And being human means I make mistakes, don’t see the cues, overlook things, take things for granted, push back, over analyze, resist, blame, complain, over help, assume, awfulize, and get stuck in a limiting mindset for longer than is healthy. Sometimes relationships suffer and some disappear. Some are strengthened by the power of pause and focus.

But the biggest fallout is that when a client expresses deep gratitude there are times when I think “If only you knew who I really am you wouldn’t think I’m so smart!” Again, every coach I know and every successful leader I have worked with has had those exact same moments. Thankfully, we know we won’t always get it right so we keep going, overriding that inner critic who sees only our faults and not our attributes.

My clients hear me ‘fess up’ all the time. Most are relieved to know that I am just as fallible as them. It reminds us that we are all human and run the risk of dropping the ball at the worst time. What they hear from me is that what happens next is what really matters. How we recover builds resilience and what we say to ourselves changes everything.

When a friend was lamenting that she had not been a good mother (and what mother hasn’t wrestled with that a million times) she was blessed with words of wisdom from an old soul: You weren’t perfect but you mostly got it right.

So the next time the fraud police are banging on my door I’m going to shout back at them: “I’m doing the best I can at this moment and that is good enough.”

Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | January 27, 2023

Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | January 22, 2023

Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | January 21, 2023

Expectations and Disappointments

Even when I don’t think I have expectations, clearly I do. They are subtle and not always at the forefront of my thoughts but make no mistake: they are there. When I texted a close friend about how I was struggling with an ongoing issue her reply felt vague. She didn’t seem to understand that I had only brought this up because I was feeling sensitive and overwhelmed. Of course I didn’t spell that out in my message. I ‘expected’ that after decades of close friendship she would recognize my actions as a call for help. Or at least some empathy. Even an all out ‘you poor thing wailing’ might have felt better than the ‘better luck next time’ approach.

As I began to spiral into judgement I stopped myself. (That’s what we TED* coaches do). What was obvious was that I was disappointed because she hadn’t met my expectations. I’ve learned over the years that expectations set us up for disappointment; especially my old habit of expecting things of people who did not have the capacity to meet my needs.

Again, like a revolving door that never, ever seems to stop, I remembered that my feelings were directly as a result of my expectations and there was no one, outside of perhaps myself, to blame. And blaming myself was useless because this journey of learning is all about bumping into stuff and starting over. Or at least starting fresh when there’s nowhere else to go.

What is equally important to me is to give others grace when what I say or do triggers them. A recent quick message to an old friend sent off a firestorm of accusations. I couldn’t have known that our previous casual banter would now be seen as insensitive. Expectations and disappointments. We can put in the effort to resolve misunderstandings wherever we can and when it matters recognizing that others may not be in a place of longing for connection. Some people will let us go. We will let some go. Sometimes, we will find a way to love each other through our unmet expectations and resulting disappointments.

Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | January 20, 2023

We Are Still Here

“The miracle is that we are here, that no matter how undone we’ve been the night before, we wake up every morning and are still here. It is phenomenal just to be.” Anne Lamont

Today, in the midst of the blessings and tragedies in the world around me I am deeply grateful for this reminder. Feeling so much sadness last night for a beloved family member, friends grieving, huge disappointments and immense joy for others celebrating new beginnings and exciting opportunities. The contrast is stark and my emotions as wide a range as conceivable.

In it all there are feelings of being left out, misunderstood, shamed and hurt. They all push me into a victim mindset. At least for as long as I am willing to stay there. At any moment I can begin the shift into that inner world of resilience and self-awareness. I am not wholly any of the names I’m called or labels others give me. Last night I believed them all. This morning, I woke up and I’m still here. Still a complicated mix of the kind, empathetic, strong, wise woman and the pieces of me that act out of fear.

We all travel these journeys oblivious to the dangers and the blessings of our overactive minds. Given that I am still here, I get to decide where I will put my focus today.

Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | January 18, 2023

We Must Always Take Sides

Elie Wiesel said “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

As we arc into a New Year with our dreams and the promise of change, let’s take sides. Let’s stand on the side of those who believe in the inherent value of ALL living creatures. Let’s stand on the side of those who are willing to risk criticism, judgement, rejection and abandonment to do what’s right for ourselves and for all those who are vulnerable; those desperately praying for someone … for us … to speak up on their behalf. Let’s stand on the side of kindness; on the side of compassion; and always, always … on the side of love.

Posted by: Ms. Daryl Wood | January 17, 2023

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