Paradigm shifts.
I'm all about paradigm shifts.

Introducing: On Being Confused

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

One Being Confused

Introducing: On Being Confused. Or Conversations Between Me, Me, and You.

I am overjoyed to announce that these vignettes, or tête-à-têtes, or ‘conversations between me, me, and you,’ are no longer waiting for me to get to you!

Well, that’s not entirely true, a number of them are still waiting. But these two are ready! And available in the Shop:

  

So, what is ‘On Being Confused’? It is a series of conversations, musings, ponderings – on various topics: on life, on living, and most of all on being confused. (And of course seeing our way through that confusion.) It is what philosophy used to be, what it should be, and what it is in our natural state of wonder: what is this? and what is that? and what the *#$@! is going on in this incomprehensible thing we call existence?

Let’s think on things for a second together. (Click here to see more.)

And apologies for being M.I.A. on the blog for the past months, been throughly entrenched in making these longer, more intimate pieces available to you.

I do hope you enjoy! (Seriously, follow this link to check ’em out. )

On Wishing.

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

“Wishes are recollections coming from the future.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

My girlfriend sent that quote to me yesterday. She said she thought I would like it. She was right.

It makes me smile.

I’m a ‘what if…’ kinda human. I like to play that game. And I especially like to play it with thoughts like this. So:

What if wishes were recollections coming from the future?

How that change the way you think of your wishes? How would that change the way you relate to them? Stop and think about it. Play the game. It is a totally different tenor of dreaming.

Inhabiting a world wherein a wish is a recollection from the future incites a totally different backdrop against which you wish your wish. Try it. Play with it. Take it like a pill, once a day, or a like a green juice – it’s really healthy. Especially for your ability to dream (creativity and imagination included), but no less so – or maybe because of this, also for your heart and your life.

 

RELATED POST: A Dream is Half a Prophecy

Dissatisfaction.

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

Glass makes a good point – in fact he makes a lot of them. Here they are, taken apart and put back together.

Number one: our dissatisfaction is recognition of the gap between our taste and the fruits of our labor; between our potential, and what we are currently actualizing. It is not, as we are apt to interpret, a sign that ‘we can’t’, that ‘we were wrong’, that ‘we are incapable – and stupid for ever thinking we might be able to x in the first place.’ In fact, just as much as it communicates that we are not getting it right presently, it also betrays our potential. You are disappointed because of your taste, and your taste gives away your potential – i.e. the possibility that presently exists of what you might in time become. What you have it inside you to become.

You weren’t an idiot for thinking you could, you were simply aware of your potential. You tried, but did not succeed in actualizing it. You are dissatisfied because you are aware that you didn’t actualize it. But your recognition of the gap between what you wanted to produce and what you actually produced itself means there is more to you than that. The ability for you to recognize your failure, that the creation is not that good, is proof of your good taste. Proof that there is another possibility, that there is more than what you are actualizing in the present. There is, still, un-actualized potential. And yes, that is frustrating; especially when you’ve been trying to ‘actualize’ it for awhile. In fact, it sucks. – But this is precisely what Glass is telling us we have to push through, because:

Number two: this continual frustration and dissatisfaction we feel when confronted with our work before we have transformed the potential into the actual is normal. In fact the gap – there being a gap – between our taste and the fruits of our labor is normal. It is not a sign that you shouldn’t be doing x, or that you should never even have tried. Quite the opposite: it is a phase in the process of actualizing potential; it is a normal part of the process. We have to be vigilant against depression and dejection – i.e. taking the failure personally, deeply personally.  It isn’t s always our desperate or inflated egos that cajole us into thinking we could succeed at x; sometimes it is our potential. And so Glass is tells us what he wishes someone would have told him: that this gap between our taste and our creations is normal, and that having to take time and iterations is simply what it means to transform potential into actual. We all go through this, it isn’t personal. It is just part of the process.

Number three: unfortunately, what is not so normal is pushing past the period of dissatisfaction and disappointment. What normally happens after a person confronts the gap too many times is that they quit. This Glass warns us, is where the real battle lies. Don’t use all your energy fighting to ‘actualize’, and certainly don’t add to the battle the weight of your self-esteem. Just fight to stay in the game. To simply continue to the process. To weather the phase. Closing the gap takes time – and it is normal for it to take time, real time, not a token two minutes. Fight to take the time.

Number four: Fight for iterations – your iterations will close the gap. It takes a volume of work, of iterations, of tries, to close the gap; so if you really want to get there faster do more work – create more. Shorten the amount of time by increasing the density of output/production/creations in time. Keep producing.

Number five: when you close the gap, your work is as good as your ambition. Ambition has a bad rep – much like money: it’s okay to want it, and you should definitely have it – but not really. That’s unfortunate, because ambition is a good thing, (as is money). Ambition engages your potential. It is nature’s call inspiring you towards your potential. It is calling it out in you – and that is a good thing. (No doubt you, and everyone one around you, would be happier and better off for your potential being actualized.) Stepping on everyone to fulfill your potential is not ambition. It is egocentric, short-sighted, small-minded, and/or a plethora of other things including, often, not highly intelligent – but it is not ambitious, unless your ambition is to step on as many people (or as hard) as possible.

And long story short again: Because of our potential, and because of our ambition calling us towards it, we will be dissatisfied in our work, in the fruits of our efforts and labor, until we close the gap between our potential and our present, between our taste and our creations, between our ambition and the current state of our work. We will feel this way until our work is as good as our taste. It is normal for us to feel this way until our work is as good as our taste. The fact that we did not actualize our potential, or close the gap, in the present iteration does not mean that we don’t – or didn’t – have the potential. More likely than not, we still have the potential – especially if we’re disappointed, because we’re aware of the gap. Be pissed off that it’s still in ‘potential’ instead of ‘actual’ form if you need to, but watch that you don’t just fall into taking swipes at your self-esteem, and doing so as if you’re just drawing logical, reasonable and rational conclusions. And, if you really want to persevere, don’t take it personally. You can’t afford to take it personally, you have to get to work.

The Kind of Negative Thinking I Like

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

 

‘Assume I have failed to achieve my goal – what’s the most likely reason why that would have happened?’

I was perusing my husband’s MBA assignment the other day and came across this question. – Which I loved. Now if you know me, and the work that I do, you might find that strange: ‘Surely Cathy doesn’t like negative thinking and thoughts of failure – let alone assuming failure.’ It is called a pre-mortem exercise! Nevertheless, the question, and the exercise, I love.

It is so intelligent.

So cunning, in the most helpful way.

So good at exposing the fact that we know things about ourselves that ‘we don’t even know’. We have a lot of insight, that we don’t know we have, – until we do. I mean it’s there, somewhere – and this is betrayed when we ask the right question. When we ask a good question. Like this one: Assume you have failed to achieve your goal – what’s the most likely reason why that would have happened?

If we’re doing it like this, I am all about thinking negatively and thinking of failure. (Actually I am all about thinking of failure, worst-case scenaros, and other ‘negative’ things, in a number of different contexts.) Think of it, do. And ask yourself: what would be the most likely reason(s) I would have failed? Even if you think you don’t know, pretend that you do. I promise you, as long as you let yourself say something, you will start to reveal a gold-mine. Mine it.

Innoncence v. Ignorance v. Cynicism

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

“Ignorance is not knowing anything and being attracted to the good. Innocence is knowing everything, and still being attracted to the good.” Clarissa Pinkola-Estes

We tend to think that ‘ignorance is bliss’, because increased knowledge inevitably brings with it increased sorrow, pain, and despondency; and that innocence, while beautiful perhaps, is essentially a state of profound vulnerability and powerlessness. We must protect the innocent who are incapable of protecting themselves, and who, in their naivete, will be abused, misused, and desecrated by the realities of life. We ourselves masochistically seek knowledge, while at once envying and despising the ignorant who exist freely without the burdens and weight that are amassed with every new bit of knowledge.

I mean this is the general interpretation of Genesis right?: So long as we were innocent, we existed blissfully in the Garden of Eden. Then came the malevolent and cunning serpent who succeeded in tempting us – or okay, just the Woman – in eating from the tree of knowledge. And: ousted. Immediately. Expelled from Paradise, doomed forever to roam in the anti-paradisal reality that is the result of knowing. Yikes – not only is ignorance truly bliss, but it is also, in this narrative, a virtue. (Our sin was wanting to know, and our punishment: knowing.)

Horrible mixed message we end up sending here to our children, each other, and ourselves: Ignorance is despicable and wrong; but it is also the blessed state we lived in (and hope to return to) with God in Paradise. Knowledge is virtue and power; but our desire for it is also our greatest sin, and your heart will break a little more with every each and every new truth you learn about reality. Enjoy!

Amen (‘-and,’ as she says, ‘a little woman’) for Dr. Pinkola-Estes who, in characteristic fashion, sheds light onto the dark: ‘Ignorance is not knowing anything and being attracted to the good. Innocence is knowing everything, and still being attracted to the good.’ These statements express the completeness of this circle:

Innocence is not about being hopelessly naive, and knowledge, not something that leaves us hopelessly jaded. Not necessarily anyway. Not if we keep going. Not if we move past knowledge, to profound understanding and wisdom, which is always compassionate (and not, despairing). If we continue the journey past mere knowledge we end beyond naivete, and beyond blind trust and faith, (which can and do often come at the expense of our physical well-being). If we complete the circle, we end not in despair, but at fully conscious faith and trust. We come to empowered innocence: innocence that knows everything – and is still attracted to the good. (Note: It’s a circle because it is a representation of the evolving mind. Ever evolving, ever transforming (new areas of) ignorance into knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment.)

Knowledge is, or can be painful, yes. But it is also empowering: now we can choose the good, whereas before we were simply acting out, unaware. It can feel disempowering, because we get stuck looking the unwanted reality in the face. Because the more we know, the more we know what is lacking, what is bad, what there is to be done, how hard it will be, and how small we really are. All this we learn and more. The question is: do we have it in us to know all we know, and even to learn more, and still move towards the good? It is the ever faithful – and, I should add, courageous – child in us that says, ‘Yes.’

 

She’s not wearing the frog on her head because she’s silly or foolish. She’s wearing him because she knows she’ll need him where she is going. She knows full well where she’s going. – And she’s going anyway. Can we do the same?

 

Doing The Right Thing

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

What is the right thing to do?

We want to do the right thing. And I’m not necessarily talking about the ethical or moral thing. We can be a little more gritty, a little more earthly – a little more personal than that. When I say we want to do the right thing, I mean: we want to make the decision, choose the action, take the course, that will give the best outcome. Let’s say for ourselves, and ipso facto, for all life around us.

But what is the right thing? That always seems to be the difficult question, our sticking point – the place we get stuck. How, in any present moment or circumstance, do we know what the right thing to do is? 

Now this is a big question, and I’m not going to pretend to answer it now for us all, once and for all. I am a firm believer that the impossible is possible and still, I’m not a lunatic. Instead, I just want to point something out; because I think we think we get stuck on this question more often than we actually do. We think we are unsure about which action is the right one to take; when in fact we are unsure about its consequence or result.

Now wait. Was that sentence confusing?: We think we are unsure about which action is the right one, when in fact we are unsure about where it will lead. But isn’t the definition of ‘right’ action, especially the way I characterized it above, that it leads to highest and best outcome? Well, yes. But thinking about it this way is bound to get you stuck, because, unless you are willfully clairvoyant, you never know what the outcome of any action is going to be. So if you try to test your choices and decisions by predicting outcomes, it is always going to be a game of probability: it’s gambling, and it feels that way – risky, and uncertain. (And, unless you get a rush from this kind play, it will feel disempowering too.)

There is a difference between knowing what the right thing is, and knowing the result of taking that action. You have a better chance of knowing the former than the latter. I suggest feeling it out instead of thinking it out. Thinking it out tends to get us stuck in the trying to find certainty about where a particular path or decision will lead. We can think, conjecture, guess, but we can’t know, and so we get stuck. Feelings provide further information.

A few days ago a client came in who, in her own words, was deeply confused about the right thing to do, and in turmoil as a result. She recently left her full-time job to start her own business, and took a part-time job that was visibly sucking the life out of her to make ends meet until her business could pay the bills. She was trying to make it work. It wasn’t working. She could see that. She came up with options. And got to the sticking point: but which of them is the right one? stay? start investing in another part-time? start investing fully in her business? Not knowing, and needing to know, had her stressed, anxious and verging on fried.

I asked her to tell me, not what she thought the right thing to do was, but what she felt it was, and she had a surprising amount of information for someone who was supposed to be ‘completely lost’. High-quality information. She wasn’t actually confused. Unbenounced to herself she would blush every time I pushed her to answer the question, betraying the extent of her knowledge about what was right for her. Incessantly she tried to override this information, this knowing, by repeating: ‘But I don’t how it will end up!’

But this we never know. This cannot be what it means to know the right action/decision/choice in any given moment or circumstance. Choosing well is not about probabilities and predicting the future – unless you’re partial to the gambling routine. Choosing well is about letting go of the future for a moment, so that you can come back to the present and really soak in and soak up all the information contained in it. Choose well and you will get to where you want to go, inevitably.

More often than not, when you do not know what the right thing to do is it is because you are afraid to take the action (and so you literally block it out of your awareness). More often than not, even repression isn’t wholly effective, and you do know. You do kinda, sorta know. You have an inkling. More often than not, when you have an inkling, its more than an inkling. You call it an inkling, you know its a good hunch, and in fact its the truth. But for those less often than most situations, when you really do not know, you can go a long way to figuring it out by relating to your choices through your feeling – not thinking – function: how does it feel to make that decision?  To say ‘Yes!’? To say ‘No.’? Then you can use thought, not to try to predict the final outcome, but to project yourself into the experience, and relate to it through your feelings. For example: how would it feel to take that job offer? Picture yourself saying yes – how does it feel? Picture yourself going to work there every day, in and out – take a mundane, extremely typical snapshot in the day – and imagine how it would feel to be living this.

You can tell a lot from your feelings, just as you can tell a lot by watching another person’s reaction (their feelings). I could literally see my client start to wither as she spoke about going to the part-time job; I could see her with more false hope but still essentially the same posture when she thought about trying to find a new part-time job that ‘worked better’. Like a flower turns and moves toward the sun, why do we overlook that we too – beyond our egos and conscious awareness – we too are organisms, that on automatic pilot move toward our suns. Trust your feelings, your intuition, your gut. Trust your posture. At least be curious about them.

 

 

Tarot, Astrology and Coffee Grinds: Part Two

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

astrology chart

This is Part Two of: thoughts on tarot, astrology, and woo-woo readings of all kinds. (See last week’s Tarot, Astrology and Coffee Grinds: Part One here.)

In Part One I talked about allowing yourself to have some authority in deciding whether the reading (or ‘divination’) works/worked or not. And also, allowing yourself to use and enjoy something that works even before you understand how it works. We do it all the time, and it’s unclear why the policy should be so different here. Cloning I can see. Weapons of mass destruction, sure. But palm readings? The I Ching?

The one area, or danger, I can see in using these ‘psychic’ or divinatory systems, is determinism. It’s the same one that arises with the study and use of genetics. The one where I lose my free will; where we are forced to accept, resign and finally embrace that we have no real power over our lives.

This brings me to what I wanted to talk about in Part Two: these ‘psychic’ or divinatory systems are functional and used correctly only when they empower. If you use them, or they are presented to you, in a way that writes off your control, power and authority over yourself and your life, the interpretation or reading is inherently dysfunctional. It is a misinterpretation of any wisdom or insight it might otherwise contain. (I would say the same of genetics, heredity, and anything else that transforms predisposition into predetermination.)

For example, ‘Scorpios tend to be passionate and volatile.’ turns into ‘I am a scorpio so I can’t help being jealous and having extreme mood swings.’. Or because, ‘our astrological signs are completely incompatible the relationship was doomed from the start.’ Mercury in retrograde gets blamed even for coffee spills these days.

But when we understand these things as decrees or fate, we misunderstand them. There is no fate because there is still free will. There are only predispositions.

In terms of fortune telling, there is a picture of a moment in time. Based on that picture there are future potentials, just as there is the most likely future potential. (Actually, in light of quantum physics, it might be more correct to say a most likely future potential.) Remember, for example, ‘that objects in motion tend to stay in motion’. This means that based on the information you gather in any moment, you can make predictions about that object’s future, all else being equal and remaining on course.

This is what the energy reader (of whatever ‘psychic’ or other-worldly variety) reads: the most likely future based on everything you are and are bringing in at that moment. (Or, if it were more important, they might tell you a less likely future possibility that you should be aware of.) They foretell the future based on what they read off the present. Their data are just more subtle forms of energy than the ‘typical’ empirical kind described by Newtonian physics. They are no more ‘occult’ than those you yourself pick up on when you instantly know that you and your new acquaintance are going to be b.f.f. (best friends forever), or that your partner, before he or she even says one word, is going to have a bad day. The only difference between you and the psychic is: 1) the intuitive has confidence in this data and his/her ability to read it; and, perhaps in part because of this, 2) it takes a lot less obviousness of the data for the intuitive to ‘read’ it in greater detail; and 3) the psychic uses a particular system or structure in order to help him/her interpret it.

This one uses cards, that one uses yolks; here you throw stones, there it’s sticks. But all roads lead to home: a picture of a moment in time (e.g. your birth, or the present). It is this picture that the intuitive reads, often with the help of their preferred tool or system (e.g. tarot cards, the zodiac). The reading you in turn are given is, in most cases say, a picture of the most likely future circumstance(s) based on the information contained in that moment of time. It is a picture of what is most likely to be your situation at some point in the future if you keep the same momentum, the same pattern, the same path, (this is the ‘all else being equal’ clause you find in all scientific predictions).

The reading should be interpreted and understood in the context of: ‘If you just continue the way you are going, you are heading for this.’ It is dysfunctional to present this future possibility as if it were written in stone because it’s not: you are always only dealing with probabilities. (The science of all the sciences, quantum physics, will be the first to tell you this.) Your reading is not guaranteed because the future is not and cannot be guaranteed. (Or, as quantum physics suggests, every possible future is guaranteed and happens at the same time (!), so … there.)

The point of ‘psychic’ information, as of all information, is to help you; to give you insight, knowledge, awareness and, ultimately, power. Not, to take it from you. If it is doing the latter, you (we) are probably doing something dysfunctional with it.

Go into these things in the spirit of wonder, mystery and fun. Go into them with the idea that you may – and hopefully, if you get a good one, will – learn something about yourself, your current path, and/or your life. That you might learn about your weaknesses, your patterns and strengths, not so that you can resign yourself to simply watching yourself act them out; but so that you might have the awareness to damage-control, even so that you might grow.

As with any ‘expert’ from whom you seek counsel or advice: do not trust their expertise and their counsel more than you trust yourself.  Others (from psychics to doctors, strangers to loved ones) can point things out to you, they can tell you predispositions, and disclose to you things about yourself of which you are unaware. But they cannot take away your power to change any of the things, no matter how true, they have said about you.

Know that you are the ultimate authority on yourself, and a veritable creator (and not mere participant) of your life. You, and your will, are not a pathetic figure-head. You can change your course in an instant. You can change patterns. You can even transform weaknesses into strengths. (!) And as you do, you change your future, and the future, along with it. – And therefore too, the next reading you get. Even if its only 15 minutes later.

Tarot, Astrology and Coffee Grinds: Part One

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

fortune coffee

A number of clients have asked me, ‘What are your thoughts on Tarot readings, and the like?’

Well, my first thought is: ‘Ooooo magical. mystical. and fun.‘ Being redundant of course, as magic and mystery are fun. – Even if they are something else besides.

But first things first. And in this case, that seems to be to say: ‘It is always possible to write something off as inconsequential, meaningless or coincidence.’ We do this with dreams – day-, night-, even the conscious and waking ones – all the time. But at some point, when it (the dream, the reading, the ‘coincidence’) resonates highly enough, the question of how it could possibly be true (or work or whatever) pales in significance to the glaring fact that it is right on the money.

The truth is: if it rings true, and it feels right, that’s because it probably iswhether or not you understand how she/he/it ‘could have possibly known that’. Focusing and attaching to the ‘how’ is lookin the ole gift horse in the mouth. And, crucially, depriving yourself of the gift.

Most of us don’t know how computers work, how electricity works, how our cars work – but this doesn’t stop us from recognizing that they do work. Nor, thankfully, from using them. But when it comes to ‘other-wordly phenomena’ – tarot, astrology, coffee grinds and egg-yolk readings, dream interpretation too – we feel justified in stopping short until someone can explain to us how they work. Even when what we have just heard or seen feels so true that we don’t know whether to laugh, cry or run. Why does it matter so much how it works? I’m not saying that it isn’t interesting; it’s actually fascinating. I’m just saying that you don’t need to know how it works in order to know that it works, and/or to use it.

Why not deal with intuitive or extra-sensory information the way we deal with light switches? You don’t need an electrician to tell you if the circuit or switch in your bathroom is working because: you can tell. Even not being ‘an expert’, you can tell. Did the light go on? Yes – then it works; No – then there’s a problem. Give yourself the same license and authority here: did it work, or didn’t it? Like the light, if it seems to be working, that’s probably because it is.

And, if it is, when it is, do you have to abstain from using it until you understand how it works? Is it even prudent to do so? Or, as with all our light switches, our t.v., our computer, the plane we are going to get on next month – will we allow ourselves to participate, to use, and even to enjoy, as we do (or don’t) delve into the how?

 

I have something else to share on this topic, but don’t want to inundate, so I’m leaving it for next week. Tarot, Astrology and Coffee Grinds: Part Two will be out on Tuesday.

 

Working hard.

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

‘Are you working as hard as you can? Why?’

Sounds like a question Michael Scott (Former Branch Manager, Dunder Mifflin Inc.) might ask us in one of his talking heads. And although it did make me laugh out loud, The Office isn’t actually where I heard it.

I read this question in a Laughing Sage Wellness Group (phenomenal holistic women’s health clinic) curriculum. And it made me laugh. One of those buddha belly, koan laughs. You know, where you think you’re on the right page, going along, understanding everything – when you suddenly get slapped up-side the head from the opposite direction:

‘Are you working as hard as you can?’ ‘Yes!,’ my internal monologue kicks into high gear, ‘Yes I am. Wait … well, I’m trying anyway. Trying really hard. I guess I could try harder in some ways. I guess I could do better… maybe I’m not really working as hard as I could. … I guess, I mean, I’m probably not. Okay, I know, I’ll try harder. I’ll work harder. I’ll …’ It is absolutely astonishing, and indeed even miraculous, that all these thoughts can surface instantaneously, in addition to sequentially, between the end of the first question and the beginning of the second: ‘Why?’

‘Okay, you, little eager-beaver-bunny, why are you working so hard? And now, even more: why so eager, maybe even desperate, to work as hard as you can?’ I look up to see that instead of reading ‘good and virtuous student’ reflected back to me on the zen master’s face it plainly says ‘fool’.

Why do we try to get to this?:

Because, you know, you could always do more, try harder, until you can’t. Until it’s absolutely impossible. – Which brings you somewhere in the near vicinity of the image above.

Don’t get me wrong. I know why we try hard, and even why we try as hard as we can sometimes. I know the virtuous and even intelligent reasons, like integrity, or taking the risk and finding the courage to really throw all of yourself into something, or to express dedication and devotion. I know these reasons, and they are good and true.

The trick is to make sure that this honest and earnest and good, part of yourself isn’t being co-opted and used in service of an agenda that isn’t your own. That it isn’t being exploited. Like when a wife says to her husband, ‘If you really loved me you would …’; or a father says to his son, ‘If you were a man would …’. And because we are, or at least want deeply to be whatever it is they are throwing around, we get coerced into taking action. We get coerced into proving it. In the case of working hard, we get coerced into proving that we are worthy. That we are worthy of success. That we are worthy of the fruits of our labor. That we are not ‘entitled’, but entirely responsible for our success. And we are no longer trying hard because it feels good and we want to, but in order to prove our worth. And to justify our existence. It’s insidious. And it’s propaganda. Sad, sad communist-Russia-style propaganda. Look:

;)

Work hard. Try hard. Even try as hard as you can sometimes. But do it because of how good it feels to break a sweat. Not, to prove you that are not lazy, or to prove you are deserving. That conversation is a losing battle, because you could always do more. (And this has more to do with the existence of time, as a dimension, than it does with human laziness.) The only way to resolve that conversation in your life, i.e. to make it go away, is to shut it down. Like really bad advertising, or maybe you’d want to call it ‘good’ advertising: it’s low and manipulative. It’s not sophisticated, and it’s not even in the realm of truth. You don’t need to answer it, you don’t even need to engage: just slowly, or better yet quickly, walk away.

Fear 101: Use it to know where you should go

By Catherine Collautt, Ph.D.

‘If you are not nervous in an interview, then it is the wrong interview.’

A girlfriend of mine, maven behind Goddess Huntress (your best on-line resource for high-end, non-toxic beauty info and products), recently told me this was the best piece of advice she received in college. Clearly she’s a smart girl.

If you are not nervous in an interview, then it is the wrong interview. What does that mean?

It means, that when you are on the right track – the one leading you to the bigger, better, more fulfilling place you dream of when you allow yourself to dream – you get nervous. Why?

Because you care. Because this means something to you. (And that’s a good thing.) You’re invested somehow. Maybe your hopes and dreams are involved, maybe your stability and comfort, maybe your self-esteem. Maybe, yikes, all of the above. And so your heart goes pitter-patter as it recognizes the potential gateway to the fulfillment of its desire.

The genius of this piece of advice is that we can use our butterflies as a form of guidance, letting us know that we are on the right path: ‘Gold,’ it proclaims, ‘ahead.’ We can use our nervousness as a flag. Not a red flag, but a green one: This way! You’re on the right track. This is what you want. Something that really means something to you.

In this way can use our fear to show us the way forward – if, that is, we are going for our gold. After that all we need is the courage to go forward and, done and done. ;)