“The game is not about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.”
I remember reading this quote a long time ago and having absolutely no idea what it meant. I had just gotten a job at a large law firm, I was making great money and I thought I had finally arrived at a place in my life where I had finally become “SOMEBODY.”
However, after fifteen years of practicing law, I felt unfulfilled and I decided to abandon the profession and focus on a career in consulting and coaching. I was really starting over. I had only a few clients and I was unknown in the industry. Around the same time, I helped organize a charity event to introduce children to the idea of giving. At this event, one of the mothers said, “wow, what a group of heavy hitter moms we have here!” She proceeded to go around the room naming every woman and their accomplishments. Everyone that is, except me. I was dumbstruck and felt as though I was floating in air with nothing to hold on to. A knot in my stomach formed and began to grow. What had happened to everything that I had worked so hard for over the years? Who am I without my accomplishments?I sat with these thoughts for many days and I began to realize how much I had been using my outside achievements to define who I was and how I felt about myself. Maybe it was time to get comfortable with myself without clinging to the outside world’s view of me to make me feel better or worse. So began my journey to get comfortable with being a “nobody.”
The most interesting part for me was that the more I sat with my “nobody” the more I found that I was freer of the strings that used to control my emotional ups and downs. I began to really understand that the insatiable need for validation from other people was a losing battle because I couldn’t control what others said and thought. However, once I released my dependence on how the world saw me (the philosophy of Maybe helped a lot!), I got to know what really makes me tick and who I really am. My “nobody” was a place inside me that was okay no matter what was happening around me. My “nobody” is not a place where I am worthless, but instead is a place where I am always valuable. It is enough just to be here, to love, to breathe and to be human.
I still have big goals and I have accomplished a lot since that day, but I start each journey from a different place. My life is less of a race to the top and more of an experience of living life. My “nobody” gives me a continuous awareness that there is more to me than what I am experiencing in the outside world and more to life than what I achieve.
I still enjoy life when I am quoted in the newspaper and my readership increases on my blog. But I also enjoy life when one of my blog posts that I think is insightful gets very few views. I truly appreciate those few views and I do not feel badly about what it may mean for my career and how I value myself. It is all an experience helping me to understand my true nature.
I now believe that we can all relax into life and become happier, more giving and more peaceful without all the outside pressures affecting how we see ourselves every minute of the day. We can give up one identity to find one closer to our hearts and less reactive to the outside world.
Maybe by being nobody is really when we become somebody – our true selves!
Today I walked around New York City for a few hours, very quietly observing the people that passed me by. Maybe because Mother’s Day is Sunday, I thought about each person I saw as someone’s child. I thought about what their mothers may have dreamed for them in their lives. I watched an elderly woman and wondered how long it has been since she hugged her mother. How would her mother feel watching her child limp down the block as an eighty-year-old woman? I imagined a homeless man’s mother. Does she know where he is? How did he become homeless? I even saw an angry middle-aged man and thought, would a hug from his mother make a difference?
What happened to me today when I saw everyone as someone’s child? My heart split open with compassion. I thought about how each person’s mother would want the world to treat her child. I thought about the kindness I hope my children will experience in the world when I am not around or when I leave this earth. Suddenly I started to cry. I imagined the heartbreak and joy every mother must have experienced with each person I passed and the hope that her child would be okay in the world. My heart opened so wide that all I could do was smile at people, hold a door a few seconds longer and make small talk wherever I went. Even though these were small acts of kindness, I had the larger realization that I need to treat each person that I meet each day the same way I want the world to treat my children.
For the few remaining days before Mother’s Day, Maybe you can try this practice when you are at work, running errands or just walking around town. We can have much more compassion and kindness when we see everyone we meet as someone’s child. It certainly keeps the love coming!
As mothers, if we can open our hearts to the world, Maybe it is the beginning of creating a more caring and loving society? Just Maybe.
Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some people believe that hoping for certain things to happen in life is an attachment that leads to suffering. They either seek to protect themselves by assuming the worst will come or aim to cultivate neutrality toward the world.
I am of the mind, however, that most of us would find it impossible to get out of bed in the morning without hope. Every business, every investment, every marriage and every other situation we embark on has our hope packed into it. Actually, it is not our hope that causes us emotional pain. Instead it is our inability to be flexible and fluid in the face of change and uncertainty.
The Philosophy of Maybe is the key to remaining free of our attachments that create suffering while embracing hope for the future at the same time. The feeling of doom that seems to threaten us and our plans during a difficult time is replaced with the understanding that Maybe what is happening will have a good result, Maybe it will get better or Maybe we will weather through it regardless of the outcome.
So today whether you are worried about your job, a medical problem or the future of your children, let Maybe ease your mind and remind you that life is filled with possibilities even if you can’t see them in this moment. Life may not go exactly as you planned, but there is always the HOPE that MAYBE your path will still lead you to the life you desire.
I recently moved to a rental building in New York City on a temporary basis. The building is filled with young professionals, mostly in their mid-twenties to early thirties. I am the only person with children in the building. In the elevator and lobby, everyone is always on the phone or listening to music. I say hello and goodbye to people, and if there is nothing loud in their ears they will smile back at me. Once in a while, I get a hello back. I also have stood in the elevator with them screaming on the phone and not even acknowledging (or noticing) that I was sharing the same small space. I am sure that there are very nice people living in my new temporary quarters, but the individuals who walk through the lobby with their eyes facing down are becoming part of a faceless society. Has technology progressed to such an extent that we are now losing our ability to even acknowledge the presence of another person?
What is also happening is that all of these young adults are not experiencing their surroundings. First, it is not very safe to walk in the street, a store or anywhere else when you are distracted by music or speaking on a phone. Second, this behavior creates a mindset that where you are going is more important than the process of getting there (the in-between has no relevance). The meeting, the dinner party or whatever you are planning for tomorrow is deemed more important than walking in the street and being present for your neighbors, the sounds, the trees and to life happening around you. Who knows all that could be if we all were present to experience every moment, as well as each person with whom we come in contact everyday?
This really got me thinking about my children who are growing up as part of this electronics-obsessed generation. I need to teach them about personally integrating themselves with the world and experiencing all parts of life. So, I have set up these simple standards and rules that I try to live by when I leave my home everyday. I share it with them and hope they watch and learn from me how to be aware and present individuals:
1. I always get off the cellphone when I enter a building, my children’s school or a store. I don’t speak on my cellphone in the elevator unless it is an emergency. If I must finish up a call, then I stand outside or at a place far from the elevator. This way I am more present for what I am there to do and available for interactions with other people.
2. I say hello and goodbye to everyone on the elevator or in any close area in a store or restaurant. My children get to watch me speak to people I do not know. I realize that this has to be balanced out with the idea that children should not speak to strangers, but I still must teach them to be respectful people and to be part of the community.
3. I limit wearing headphones or speaking on the phone when I walk in the street. Otherwise, it is not only distracting, but feeds a tendency to be removed from our surroundings and results in discourteous behavior to all around us. I find people bump into me more often when they are distracted by their electronics. It is especially a danger to those with special needs and the elderly. I also try not to speak on my phone when I am driving my car.
4. I teach my children that their walk to school or the car ride is just as important as being in class at school. The subway ride to go to the dentist is just as important as the dentist appointment itself. Saying hello to someone in the hallway at school is just as important as the play date after school. Every moment is living and I don’t want my children believing that there is anything more important than where they are in the moment.
These are just some very simple rules to begin to teach our children the importance of limiting the use of electronics, and being more present in life to better experience human relationships and learn interpersonal skills. I hope these practices will be a successful beginning for all of our children to understand that every moment matters. Just Maybe.
When my daughter was eleven she tried out for the school play, The Wizard of Oz. She was quite nervous about trying out and wanted to be cast in the play more than anything. She told me that she was going to stay really positive because when you think positive good things happen. She began to say things like “when I make the play” and practiced acting and singing everyday. The day the cast list went up her name was not there. She said she couldn’t believe it and kept looking at the list again and again for her name. She then thought it must be a mistake and began to look for the teacher but ran out of time. She came home crying hysterically and yelling “positive thinking does not work!!! I’m never trying out for a play again!!”
My heart wanted to break to think of my child looking at the list again and again in the hope that her name would appear. I held her as she cried uncontrollably, and I realized that the philosophy of Maybe is what the situation needed. My daughter had fallen into a common pitfall of positive thinking. To harness the power of positive thinking, we need to be optimistic no matter what happens. For many people, this is too hard to sustain when life takes unexpected turns. When we face obstacles in life that obscure the road ahead it is easy to doubt that things can still work out fine. It’s especially hard for children to access this positive perspective in the midst of emotional pain. They get stuck on the idea that “if today doesn’t work out, it will never change in the future.”
The peace that we are looking for is not peace that crumbles as soon as there is difficulty or chaos. Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened. Pema Chodron
When I first read this quote, my immediate response was “Yes! I want to be like this.” I want to cultivate unconditional openness to all that arises and not feel threatened by unexpected or unpleasant events in my life. Yet I struggled to stay open and accept those things in life that did not feel good in the moment or scared me for the future.
I think many of us can easily feel threatened if we unexpectedly lose money or a job or have a medical problem. What if this unconditional openness that we long for is too hard for some of us to maintain in difficult circumstances? What can we do when the events in our lives scare us and leave us feeling groundless?
These are the times when we can use Maybe to bridge the gap between our pain and the peace for which we yearn. Maybe helps us open up to our current Read the rest of this entry »
New York, New York (PRWEB) April 08, 2013
WORLD RENOWN LIFE COACH AND AUTHOR ALLISON CARMEN RELEASES “THE BOOK OF MAYBE: FINDING HOPE AND POSSIBILITY IN YOUR LIFE”
World renown life coach and author Allison Carmen releases The Book of Maybe, a philosophical work that has cured thousands of people of their addiction to certainty and led them on a path to more joy and success in life.
The Book of Maybe is based largely on the experiences and advice of the author who has been a practicing life coach and business consultant for more than 10 years. “It’s a book for people who have lost hours, days, weeks, months or even years worrying about what will happen next in their lives,” says Ms. Carmen. “It’s a book for people who have felt paralyzed out of concern that something in their lives isn’t working out the way they had planned. The book helps people find hope and accept the possibility that whatever happens in their lives MAYBE is for the best, MAYBE will get better or MAYBE will work out another way,” says Ms. Carmen, who believes that “with MAYBE we can realize we are not stuck in our present circumstances and open ourselves up to the infinite possibilities that are available to us every day.”
In commenting on the book, Aida Turturro, Emmy nominated actress, said that “Everybody can use some help alleviating stress and worry in their lives. In the book, Allison Carmen gives us wisdom through stories and exercises to help us understand how to see all of the possibilities in our lives and to stay hopeful under all circumstances. With Maybe by our side, we can find the strength and the will to achieve our goals despite the twists and turns that life may throw our way.”
Joshua Rosenthal, Founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest holistic health coaching school, commented that “Allison Carmen is a distinguished graduate of our school. She condensed her life experiences into this brilliant easy to read book empowering readers to see that life is not always black and white. By using the concept of ‘Maybe’ a world of possibility opens up helping to re-evaluate any situation and giving readers more options and choices; increasing flexibility and reducing stress.”
The Book of Maybe takes the reader on a simple yet profound journey to help them face many aspects of life, including:
• Reducing Daily Stress and Anxiety
• Viewing Uncertainty as a place of Hope
• Creating more Opportunities in Life
• Living With More Joy and Success
• And so much more
And it all comes down to one simple word: MAYBE!
About the Author
After many years of working as an attorney overwhelmed with anxiety about the future, Allison Carmen found hope and freedom when she discovered the Philosophy of Maybe. Today, Allison works as a life coach and business consultant with a vast array of people, from entrepreneurs and owners of multi-million dollar companies to artists, actors, writers, fashion designers, attorneys, medical workers, nannies, parents and the homeless. Over and over again, Allison has witnessed people find the courage, regardless of present circumstances, to step into the realm of Maybe and improve their lives.
The Book of Maybe
By Allison Carmen
Paperback, also available as an Ebook
On Sale: April 2013
CONTACT: Allison Carmen