Tama Kieves


Harvard lawyer turned career catalyst and author

welcomes visionaries, career-transitioners, artists, leaders, meaning-seekers, freedom-junkies & entrepreneurs...
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The Universe Wants to Talk to You: Do You Want to Listen?

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(This is an excerpt from an article I just released in my e-newsletter. Want a copy? Get it here)

The ego has a thousand goals. Are they really yours?

The fast-track Western world reveres productivity, measured by what we “get done.” But I invite you to consider becoming undone, letting go of ill-fitting self-definitions, freeing yourself from beliefs and patterns, becoming naked, available, and present to your present life. The Universe wants to talk to you. Do you want to listen?

Sometimes you have to stop scoring points in the life you have in order to win at the life you desire.  A Course in Miracles teaches, that “the vision of one world will cost you the vision of another.” Albert Einstein said the same thing: “You cannot solve the problem at the level of the problem.” Are you so busy maintaining the structures of your existing life, that you can’t hear when Great Love is calling your name?

We don’t always realize what we’re not getting done by getting things done.

The other day, I decided to give myself a mini-retreat on my back porch. I’d hurt my neck so I thought maybe I should drop my tasks and spend the day listening to my body and myself. Immediately I heard a perky voice within dictating glamorous, acceptable ways to relax. Maybe you should go to a spa and get a hot stone massage. Hey, you could read that new book about scaling your business. Since you’re not on the computer today, why not organize your meditation space? Even in the domain of my time off, I had a checklist waiting to devour me. I spent the day in a ratty tee shirt instead, “doing nothing,” being, listening, and receiving. It was one of the most productive days I’ve had in a while.

I played with silence and it fed me.  I consciously slowed down. Escaping from a usual feisty business day, I remembered, again, there is more my soul needsto get done than any “to do” lists contain. I always hunger for real life, not the mass marketed “get real” life. I want to see the dawn caress the Taj Mahal and feel the spices, centuries, voices, and truth in the air. I want to smell the wild honeysuckles taking over the wooden fence, knowing I only have a bucket full of summers here on earth. I want to taste life, seize moments that will live inside me forever. I am a jewel thief greedy to collect rare and shiny moments.

In rebellious chunky penmanship, I wrote in my journal, “I am not going to answer emails today.” (I am a pathetic anarchist.) I want to know and love myself. This I won’t regret on my deathbed.  Because I may not know what I want to be remembered for, but I know it’s not this:  She always got back to people within 48 hours. And she had excellent punctuation.” 

That day, doing nothing, I ended up writing, soothing the cells in my body, forgiving myself for a hundred choices of forgetting, cradling a part of me who’d suffered disappointments, and falling in love with myself, the endless capacity of the mind and heart to heal itself, and the Universe who led me all day long to discover the ways I’d been led all of my life long.

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Forgiving Your Mother, Yourself, and Everyone: This is Your Lifetime to Get it Right

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(This is an excerpt from an article I just released in my e-newsletter. Want a copy? Get it here)

This Mother’s Day you have the chance to get it right. 

 

You have the chance to open up to the one of the most significant relationships of your life. (Or moms, same goes with your kids.) My mom left this planet back in 2011. One of the best things I ever did with my life was work on healing my relationship with her. The struggle to love and forgive is a worthy struggle. It’s heroic. And it will affect every other relationship in your life.  And guess what?  For me, it all came down to loving myself. Go figure. 

So this is a piece I wrote years ago, while visiting my mother in upstate New York. (I’ve edited it today.) I felt challenged at the time. I wanted to be the perfect daughter. But there’s something about dealing with our families that’s like taking acid. You go on a trip. Things come out of the blue. People grow extra heads. Then you come back and you think– what was that all about?

“Those who see themselves as whole make no demands,” teachesA Course in Miracles. Well, clearly, those who seem themselves as wild animals act accordingly.

Being with my mother, I can’t believe how quickly I am triggered. I am A Course in Miracles teacher, which if you don’t know is all about forgiveness and choosing love. But as I hide away upstairs in the cutesy, cluttered guest bedroom of my mother’s townhouse, I wonder if the material really only works for my students. Because at the moment I’m foaming at the mouth. That can’t be good.  

The truth is I’m tired. I’m weakened. I don’t have it in me to be conscious and centered. So I have to forgive myself. I am trying. I am daring. I am not saying cruel things, even when I caress the knives in my mind. I am trying. I am daring, I remind myself. I know my intentions are 90% pure.

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How to “Make It” in Your Life’s Work: Getting Everything by Giving It

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(This is an excerpt from an article I just released in my e-newsletter. Want a copy? Get it here)

Are you tired, yet, of the “beggar syndrome?” You know, that sense of looking into the window ofother people’s lives, wishing you could be as successful. 
 
I can’t tell you (and don’t want to!) how much I kept imagining everyone else knew how to grow the work they loved (and run away to Bali with the man they loved, while eating organically, shopping locally, healing the world globally, buying New York Timesbestselling author appropriate black dresses, and fill in the blank of your craving here.) 

My own success, has come, of course, through learning how to stand in my strength—a strength not given to us by the world. It’s the inspired power of love, and every one of us has it.
 
This month, I’m excerpting this passage from my book Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! (Tarcher/Penguin). Inspired & Unstoppable is all about how to use inspired means to achieve any of your dreams. 

The world is not holding you back. You are holding the world back. You are holding back your strength and your strength can make a difference at this time. You have a power in you that can move mountains, and, better yet, people. But you’re still allowing others to tell you what’s possible or right.
 
Maybe you’re still chasing kudos to glue some sequined wings onto your hobbled back. But no amount of approval will ever set loose the inspired potential that you already possess. You have the power to shed your ordinary skin. You have the power to turn flesh into hope, disconnection into union, and this moment into a balm to some section of humanity. You are holding back the floodgates of your own wild ride.

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Moving Forward Without Fear—The Easy Way

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(This is an excerpt from an article I just released in my e-newsletter. Want a copy? Get it here)

I am going to tell you about cleaning up my clutter, baby.

I’m really telling you the secret of making seven figures in the work you love. I’m telling you how to get to Bali. Or figure out who you are, now that you no longer fit in your skin. I’m telling you how to move on from the one whose name must never be mentioned, though you mention it way too much.
Really, this is about going past the ‘all or nothing’ syndrome and onto the easy track of having everything, well, eventually.

So…

My home office resembled a nice, homey, junkyard for years, accented with tasteful teal walls. I’d answer the phone acrobatically, thank God for yoga. I knew exactly where the slip of paper with the red dot was, though to others my desk looked like the remains of a parade, after the windstorm, tornado, and apocalypse. I am a lover of potential. Others say, a clutter freak. But we’re splitting hairs.

For years, I swore I’d sift, sort, and jump into current time.  One Friday night, armed with meditation and gospel music, I finally decided to tackle a fat pile and the contents of a desk drawer. I dumped everything on the floor. It looked like a whale or planet had thrown up. The debris was CD covers, half started articles, a ring I meant to fix, scraps of images for art projects, bank statements and disintegrated “important” phone numbers. I was doing fine, until I had the thought, “this is going to take so much longer than I thought.”

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Why You Can’t Find Your Calling—And How You Can

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The word calling, purpose, or mission is so final. It belongs on parchment, notarized by seraphim and God. It’s permanently pinned down. It’s a noun. And a calling is a verb. A calling is a way of giving yourself permission to unravel into the white hot vortex below your societally sanctioned identity. It’s about learning how to love yourself as you never have before. This is not a job description. It’s a party, an act of forgiveness. And a homecoming.

Students and clients often ask me to help them find their calling. What they really want is something to put on a business card, maybe with a logo. A phrase to validate their life. Something to explain themselves to an aunt in New Jersey who never will read Rumi or Joseph Campbell.

I’ll tell you what I tell them. Relax. Throw out your need for a definition. This is not that moment. You wouldn’t ask an embryo to select her major in college or apply for an internship. You’d let her grow toes first. You’d let her play tag. Let yourself grow toes.

Find your breath. Lean in to your heart’s leanings.  Observe the temptation that is alive within you now. Find your feelings. Find your yearning. You may yearn to drive across the country to see cactus, ocean, stars and cheap box motels. You may yearn to soak your cracked feet in warm rose water and cry for the friends you lost 10 years ago. As you relax, needs will flutter up. Communications will arise. Messages will be sent.

I know the Type A’s are grasping already. (Okay, okay, what are the 10 steps to relaxing as quickly as possible, so that I can get on with it and stop relaxing and start making gobs of money?) I am of this stock. We often want to know how to seize control. But this is not that journey. This is a time of letting go of control, to usher in the clarity and sovereignty of the soul.

I only know one step towards finding your calling.  

It is profoundly this. Stop judging yourself. Love yourself unconditionally.

Start now. Accept any inclination, knowing the way to begin will always find you.

You may think this is unwise. You may think you need more than this.

I don’t care what you think. A calling doesn’t come from your thoughts.

That which calls to you comes from your subterranean self, the one who speaks in sensations, emotion, spaciousness and velvet suggestion.  It comes from the periphery, like a wink from the moon. It comes from the wells of surprise as well as the angels who wipe their boots with ordinary mud. It comes from feelings, wonder and wholeness. It comes from saying yes. It comes from accepting numbness or anger or desires that perplex or unnerve the self that has always maintained control. It comes spontaneously, in invisible micro-shifts, in odd bursts of time, and bears no relation to the schedule you set for yourself.  

It comes from giving up.

It is already here. You are already empowered. You are already assigned. You only need to learn how to love yourself completely.

Anything Can Work Out Right Now (Unless You’re Not in the Now)

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(This is an excerpt from an article I just released in my e-newsletter. Want a copy? Get it here)

Are you ready to discover your calling? Or become a household name? Or meet the love of your life? Then rip up your scorecard, baby. Sit at the doorstep of Creative Possibility. Step into this uncorrupted moment, and allow your years, disappointments, and opinions to disappear. Call it Zen. Amnesia. Surrender. The Zone. Whatever lingo works for you. Because as a career and an inspired success coach, I know this breakthrough strategy works. It’s this: I have the willingness to allow things to work out, even if they haven’t worked out before. 

Let’s face it. The eager run through open fields and meet new opportunities. The beleaguered trip on daisies. They call it “experience.”

Recently I coached Julie, a psychotherapist who had three hot new prospects call her in the past week. I felt excited for her. But I noticed Julie’s tone was as flat as my kitchen table, well, as flat as my kitchen table is, underneath a small mountain range of piles. She could have been telling me about historic weather patterns in downtown San Diego.

“Yeah I’ve seen this before. There’s a little spike of interest and then it dies down,” she said. Suddenly I felt my interest die down, plummet actually. I swear I could feel the stars in the evening sky recede. Her tone, momentarily, turned my enthusiasm into a shade of shame. It was as though the adult had stormed into the room and told us to stop jumping up and down on the bed.

Of course Julie had her reasons for staying cautious and a bit deflated. She’d had “experience.” I envisioned attorneys wheeling in their case files and documents, exhibits and evidence. Her reasons took up a great deal of room in her heart and in our call.  

“You know, this time doesn’t have to be like the past,” I said softly. “Yeah, I don’t want to get my hopes up,” she remarked. “I’ve been down that road.”

And that’s when I knew we stood at the threshold of change— or in quicksand.  Julie was no longer in present time. There was no future available to her. She was on a “road.” Only what had happened in the past could happen again. And the more she guarded her heart, the more robotic she became. I sure wouldn’t sign up for psychotherapy with her.

I wanted her to get those clients. I wanted her to surprise herself. I wanted her to feel a dream come true and then another one and another one. I wanted her to be free. And most of all, I wanted her to show up for her current life with love. I wanted her to meet her life now and have her real life meet her back with the stunning generosity I knew was available.

 

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Running Out of Time This Year? More Abundance Than You Can Imagine is Heading Your Way

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(This is an excerpt from an article I just released in my e-newsletter. Want a copy? Get it here)

I don’t know about you, but I have barely begun to grasp that it’s 2013, and now they’re playing “Jingle Bells” in Walgreens. How did this happen?  The months zipped by like red Camaros. And now there is the “reckoning” with ourselves– did we use and live our year the way we meant to?

If you’re feeling as though you wish you’d moved closer to your ultimate dreams, I have a story/ritual to share. I want to give you a pivotal way to open to the abundance that is heading your way right now.

When my latest book Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! first got released into hard cover, I was feeling anxious and fearful, about how much I “hadn’t gotten done,” and how the time had crept up on me. I hadn’t finished designing the website. I hadn’t come up with a book launch and I hadn’t become confident, pithy, slim, or organized or blonde. I couldn’t sleep. I felt like I was running out of chances, and running out of steam. I had such a limited time to become perfect, and I was so far behind. If I’d met you at a party, my name badge would have said, “Hello, I’m Overwhelmed.”   

I drove to the mountains to see this woman, a coach, a friend had mentioned.  We talked and then we hiked to a field where a raging stream ran.

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Being Grateful for Yourself, Your Unusual Life, and Your Courage—A Thanksgiving Power Practice

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(This is an excerpt from an article I just released in my e-newsletter. Want a copy? Get it here)

Some of you may be celebrating this Thanksgiving with hugs, easy conversation, turkey and pumpkin pie. Yet some of you may feel stranded, like the marble that rolled away from the group, stuck with the dust bunnies in outer space or abandoned under the buffet. And some of you may feel stranded in broad daylight, surrounded by people, feeling invisible, or worse yet, as visible and broken as a car wreck on the side of the road, strangers gathering to gawk at the shattered glass.

For many, the holidays can bring up discomfort.

They can be some weird checkpoint in life–where you find yourself comparing your entire life to the fantasies you have in your head of how your cousin, neighbor, or sister-in-law is pulling it off. Let me tell you something, no one is pulling this off. No one is spared challenge or confusion in this life. Everyone, consciously or not, is seeking to find peace, comfort and communion with their own soul.

Anyway, I don't know about you, but in holidays past, I've had the feeling of standing in some bad, funky, psychodrama, and feeling as though my head is a big pink balloon floating away from my neck and onto the ceiling.  And that's before I touched the alcohol.

There are those easy breezy questions people ask, stuffing celery sticks and chips into their mouth. "So what are you doing these days?" they ask.

And you stand there paralyzed, thinking to yourself, "Well, if I knew what I was doing, do you really think I'd have 200 self-help books, a peak performance coach, a therapist, a Vedic astrologer, and a medium?" Sometimes, I find myself itching to answer these questions with, "Could you be more specific?  When you say, what are you doing these days, do you mean on the astral planes or do you mean in physical time?" Of course if you luck out, some celebrity may have died recently and you can pick apart their lives and spare your own.

So whatever your holiday experience might be, this Thanksgiving Day, I'm inviting you to my table. It's a table of soul, and it's big. It includes all of us, even those of you around the world, who don't celebrate this tradition. And wherever you are, you can practice being at our table.

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Action Steps Anyone?  Grab a journal and write down what you are grateful for and do tell me and our tribe one thing (or ten thousand!) you are grateful for about yourself or your journey this year. You can post it in the comment section of this blog post.

 

Change is Love: Why the World Needs You to Seize Your Dreams

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(This is an excerpt from an article I just released in my e-newsletter. Want a copy? Get it here)

They say the ice caps are melting, the earth is heating up and the world economies are cooling down. Maybe some part of you is frightened by the unprecedented fluctuations. But another part of you, a light gobbling super freak, is clapping its eternal hands in joy. These are the times we came for. This is what we trained for. We’re in times of the greatest changes, to help us make our greatest changes.

It’s evolution’s love song to itself. It’s the necessary forest fire to clear out dead wood and encourage new growth, a stronger strain, to flourish. Where do you want to grow right now? Where is the sap rising in you? It’s time to follow your gut and become a change agent, one who can affect the course of humanity, by changing who you think you are, and what you think is possible. The times are ready for you now.

In the Gift of Change, Marianne Williamson writes “Millions of people feel called in their souls to the task of global transformation, wanting to be its agents in a monumental shift from a world of fear to a world of love.”

Ernest Holmes in This Thing Called You teaches, “Create or perish is the eternal mandate of nature.”  And “This pattern is seeking to manifest through you… it is the will and purpose of the universe… it will win.”

But then there’s the “Who, Me?” Complex…

 

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Action Steps Anyone?  What can you do to deepen your walk of listening to yourself and nurturing yourself in this lifetime? Where are you being called to trust yourself? Have you read This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love and also Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work!  Both, while talking about creating the work you love, are really about this Great Adventure of trusting an inner voice—and feeling beloved, over and over again, despite  self-doubts .

Grab a journal or write your answers on the blackboard of your heart: (or post on the blog here)

Is There a Safe Road in Today’s Job Market? Oh Yes, and It’s Not What You Think

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Resumes don’t make you safe. Credentials don’t make you safe. Only passion is your ticket to stability. Everything in the world can change, except your true nature.

You were born to do what you were born to do.

Recently, I’ve been asked by media (including USA Today) and bloggers, across the country…in this tumultuous job climate and economy—as a national career expert—do I see any Safe Road?

Here’s how one blogger posed the question:

There comes a point for many people when they become exhausted and unfulfilled trying to follow the conventional path to success and disillusioned by the American Dream. It's practically an epidemic these days. Some peek around and decide they are too afraid of uncertainty and go back to sleep at the wheel. More and more people these days, however, find themselves overwhelmingly compelled to leave the safety and security of their current career and make a leap of faith to follow their true calling. You say in your book Inspired and Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! that playing it safe is actually pretty dangerous. Is there such a thing as The Safe Road?

And my answer:

Oh yes there is! I teach all my clients that “In times of uncertainty, true passion is your greatest job security.” I don’t mean that you have to leave a job. But I do want you to follow a direction that thrills you or gives you the feeling of fitting into your own skin.  Think about it. The wealthiest people on the planet are those who pursued their passions, not the ones who denied them. (Oprah, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, movie stars, etc.)

Your true calling is endlessly sustainable and it gives you a distinctive edge. You have more love, stamina, resourcefulness and creativity when you utilize your talents.  You are also more willing to stretch and grow in arenas that move you.

When you do work you love, it gives you more confidence and energy. When you don’t do work you love, it depletes you in every area of your life. Think about it. If you’ve been this successful doing work you don’t love, what could you do with work you do love? Sure, you can will power your way through for a while at work you don’t love. But when you love something, you shine. It’s natural. You bring extra juice and exude charisma. 

There’s something more compelling here, too. The main point of my latest book Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! is that you are meant to succeed in the work you love. It’s almost inevitable. It’s your calling. It won’t let you go. You ache for this expression for a reason. It’s what you’re here to do. And there are doors that open for you that just wouldn’t open for you if you followed something else.

For me, when you do your dreams, you enter a relationship with the Divine. You lean into the Compelling, the Unfathomable Good, that which gives your life meaning and power in ways you can’t imagine. This is real security. This is better than any 401k and, believe me, your contributions are always matched. 

So yes, there is a Safe Road. It’s a wild ride. It’s a journey like none other. I hope more people get fed up with the insecurity of a traditional job market and discover the security of the opportunities and openings already waiting for them.   

 

©2012 Tama J. Kieves. All rights reserved

Tama Kieves has been featured on Oprah Radio, and is the bestselling author of This Time I Dance! Create the Work You Love and her latest book Inspired and Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding at Your Life’s Work.  She is a sought-after speaker and career coach who has helped thousands worldwide discover and live their true work in the world.  Sign up at www.TamaKieves.com to receive the free monthly email newsletter with Tama’s latest articles (and events).

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