When Your Good Life Makes Others Feel Guilty

I’ve been seeing a lot of those posts on Facebook, where a person apologizes for loving their life too loudly, and reassures everyone that it’s not actually perfect. They explain that they tend to focus on the good for their own benefit, but then they might rattle off all the things that suck to assure others that they are not trying to make anyone feel guilty. Continue reading “When Your Good Life Makes Others Feel Guilty”

Essential Oils for the Soul {and a free workshop}

Old Frankie and I are off to meditation. Cuz Mama needs all the help she can get this morning.

You know, I’ve gotten some serious flack for my love of essential oils. Some people can’t believe I’m involved in any sort of direct sales (which I get – I used to feel the same way until I realized how beautifully anti-corporatism this model is) and some just can’t believe I like this brand (which I get – we all have our personal faves). Continue reading “Essential Oils for the Soul {and a free workshop}”

My Retreat Turned Into Retreating

On my way...

I’ve got my feet up, my heart out, my head on. I’m not sure if I’m ready or just resolute, but I’m on my way. Confronting my resistance with 7 days of all day, every day meditation. It might blow my mind to bits. But that might be a good thing.

That was the photo and those were the words rattling around within me Friday. Right before I turned my phone off, handed it to my hubby, and arrived at the ashram.

I’m not sure how to describe the week that followed. People like to ask if I “had a good time”, but “good” is not exactly the word that fits. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t exactly good either.

Useful. That was the adjective I settled on.

It was a useful week. Enlightening. Challenging. Helpful in many ways. Heart-wrenching in others.

I knew I’d be confronting my resistance to meditation, but I had no idea what that resistance was. I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea how I was about to crumble. Shit, I’m not even sure where to start, how to explain it, to describe the gamut of internal movement I went through and where it has lead me, and where it might be leading me now.

I mean, I see it. I feel it. I just have so few words for it.

Five meditations a day (I had thought it was only four). The first one at 6:30am, to which I could barely drag myself out of bed for.

That was my experience the first 4 and a half day actually. Bone-fucking-tired and can’t drag myself out of bed (or off the couch).

I’ve never slept so much in my life. I’d be awake just in time for the first meditation (fall asleep during it of course), then wake long enough to eat breakfast and take a shower, head to the second meditation and fall asleep within 15 min after until the third meditaiton, then eat lunch and try to read until I fell back asleep again, wake up just in time for the fourth meditation, have dinner, and then either fall back asleep until the last meditation or fight to keep my eyes open until I did.

Sleep, eat, meditate, punctuated by reading and discussion circles (of which I often fell asleep during).

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I shouldn’t have been surprised actually. My body tends to put me to sleep when I’m moving through deep work. I’m pretty sure it’s my spirit’s way of making sure my head doesn’t get in the way. I just hadn’t planned for it.

I also hadn’t planned for the way in which I retreated into myself.

Or all the crying.

Cracking open is hard work. It’s messy and more than a little embarrassing. There are so many parallels drawn in my heart, so many images my mind showed me if where I was.

I went expecting to confront the things in my world that were challenging me but all those things fell away. Instead what manifested was my own bullshit, but reflected back by my immediate surroundings. Instead what I dealt with was the deep gorges held within me. (Meaning you can’t do work in your world by withdrawing from it. At some point you’ll have to step back into your world to apply what you’ve learned.)

And there were two main things I saw within me:

  1. Exactly who I am in this body, this mind, this personality, this set of needs, these emotions, this heart.
  2. How skillfully I’ve avoid it.

I saw patterns through eyes that have never seen so clearly. I saw my heart behind a brick wall – to protect it from the world, but also from myself. I saw what I’m capable of – both good and bad. I mourned the death of everything I wanted to see. I rejoiced at what I had long insisted wasn’t allowed in my world.

I realized that one of my greatest desires is to know myself, and then I realized with a sudden start that I did know myself, and part of that self was the desire to still search, to still learn, to experience the depths of myself, the parts that can never fully be known – that that is what makes me Tara. Digging into the depths with ease. Finding beauty in what others see as darkness or ugliness or fear. I realized how dangerous those very pieces of myself could be if not handled with care.

I saw a lifetime of my real self reflected in a thousand choices, a hundred styles, all the ever-changing parts of my chameleon skin pulling together to make a whole. How every varied place I’ve been in my life was really all aspects on the same spectrum I play on.

I think I went hoping to transcend myself and my ego, and instead I ended up fitting more snuggling into my own skin.

So much more happened. Things that tore my chest open and toppled me to the floor. But each time I try to write them out, they draw themselves back again.

Right now I’m unraveling what all this unraveling means for me back in the “real world”. I can feel a need to shift, to reclaim, to embrace myself (with a bit of a middle finger to the whispers in my head that I shouldn’t). I’m wanting to unravel how to hold onto this comfortable, settled place I found when I stepped away from the busy and the crazy and the push-pull of the world.

But until I get that figured out, I’ll leave you with this, because it makes me laugh…the cocktail and decadent meal I treated myself to after I left Friday night. Because every week at an ashram should be celebrated with alcohol, baby back ribs, and cheesecake, no? 😉

What? You don't celebrate a week of meditation at an ashram with a cocktail, ribs, and cheesecake?  #yesidid #keepinitreal

P.S. Synchronistically, we’re still talking about Self-Acceptance in the Sisterhood this month. Have you joined us?

My Wisdom, My Bullshit (and showing up for the right one)

She insisted we had too much to do. I insisted nothing was more important than this right here. #betweeniandme #morningwalk #meditation #consciousness #organicwisdom

I leave in just a couple hours, and I haven’t packed or even done laundry. I’ve been rushing through all the things I need to do before I leave because once I’m gone I’m actually going to be 100% gone. Off the grid.

Seven days. Nothing but meditation.

No email. No Facebook or Instagram. No internet whatsoever.

I’m not even going to bring my phone. [Insert wide-eyed look of fear here.]

Unless there is a bonafide emergency – something that (heaven forbid) involves a hospital or a mortuary – I will have zero contact with anyone but my own Self and the few others who will be on this little “retreat” with me. (That alone is a big deal. I can’t remember ever being out of contact with Justin or Zeb for more than 24 hours.)

It’s not really a retreat, in the way we’ve come to see retreats. It’s not up in the mountains or filled with yummy organic foods made by some Kitchen Goddess. It’s not scheduled on the calendar and filled with other meditators from around the world who signed up with me (although I did plan my retreat at a time when others were also planning theirs).

Nope. Nothing “fancy” or “sexy” or “dreamy” about it. Which is exactly why I chose it.

It was only an opportunity. A standing offer to anyone who seriously wants to confront their own practice, deepen it, not because it looks fun or beautiful or restful, like a gorgeous vacation; not because it will make me look like any of those things. Those things are beautiful and wonderful and meaningful, but I knew I needed to take up this offer without all that in order to take it seriously.

The offer to stay at a nearby meditation center in the middle of busy commercial part of town. To putter around, read their books on their worn down sofas, partake in endless conversation that will either energize me or totally wipe me out, scribble mad notes in my notebook, DIG IN, and most importantly, take it all a step further – practice how to fully and completely release it and come instead to meet and know my own center of consciousness.

How does one... #artjournal

I know it will be intense, not because they or it is intense, but because the shit that has been surfacing as this date approached is intense. Intense resistance, in the form of irritation toward it, fear of it, exhaustion at the thought of it, and endless, endless, endless reasons why the timing is just not good.

I used to think that resistance like this was my inner guidance telling me not to go.

I mean, it’s LOUD, and loud is something to listen to right?

But I can now recognize it for what it is: Bullshit.

We’ve all been there, right? In that space between My Wisdom and My Bullshit, and unsure of who is telling the truth when they both insist the other can’t be trusted?

I faced those battling voices – one being damn near drown out over the screaming of the other – and had to make a choice. Which do I listen to? Which do I trust to be my guidance?

It’s a question we all struggle with. Only this time I knew what personal patterns to look for.

When I made the decision to retreat, I felt a pounding heart, tears in my eyes at the sense of homecoming, anticipation and impatience that I had to wait three months for September to come around, and an undoubtably steady knowing that I needed to be here. I felt an overwhelming surge of Love; for myself, for this opportunity and those offering it, for the journey I am on, for Life and all those who live it with me. I felt confidence in my decision to confront my own meditation practice and felt the same confidence that this safe space would be the right one to support me, without taking any of my crap. I knew it all like I know I have a vagina. It was obvious. You couldn’t convince me otherwise without sounding like a crazymaker.

When the resistance started sneaking in, I felt agitated, critical, annoyed, judgmental, unsettled, uncomfortable. I felt scattered, distracted. Too busy, full of excuses. Short-tempered or full of doubt. I danced on the corner of “how could I” and “it’s just not a good time”. I tried to DIG IN and hit a protective barrier, something that told me to go “Fuck Off” because this one wasn’t going to budge no matter what I did or said.

It sounds like it was an obvious choice when I write it all out – a choice between Love and Trust…or everything else – but it really wasn’t.

Even when I could see the contrast, I still wasn’t sure which to trust. I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time showing up for that voice of fear in my life. It’s strong, insistent, convincing.

But this time I decided to show up for that voice of Love instead.

I wrote this in the Sisterhood:

But my mantra has been to “keep showing up”, steadily choosing to follow my initial instinct…Those initial instincts can be so easily buried once the mind starts gibber-jabbering, so I just keep bringing it and me back to that moment when I knew beyond any doubt the choice was perfect. I’m not giving those surfacing doubts the same power to make my decisions as I’m giving that joy and the whole-body-Yes feelings I’ve had (even if they aren’t the stronger sense right now).

I made the final decision on Monday. I chose to just show up.

To keep showing up to my daily meditation practice, even when I really don’t wanna.

To show up to this retreat and hopefully confront whatever the hell is rearing its ugly head and locking me out of the conversation.

After making the decision I had one Oh-Shit moment when I almost backed out – too much to do, too many distractions (too many excuses).

And in that moment I chose to “just show up” again.

Not perfectly. Not with a sweet smile and a fake disposition. I might even scowl at someone when I walk through the door tonight (I think they’ll understand). And I might even just own my bullshit and ask for help.

But even without the bells on, I will definitely be there. Which is more than enough.

On Showing Up and Rocking It (The Ricki Lake Recap)

The whole story is up on the blog in about 5 minutes (link in profile). @ecowomb #rickilakegreenshow

It’s Saturday, two days after the show, and I’m still not totally with it. I’ve slept umteen hours and am still finding my footing, but I wanted to get this whole experience down before I forget it.

To answer the most frequently asked question first: The airdate is April 17th on Fox, and you can signup here or here to get a reminder or watch the video we capture of it.

The overarching vibe of the entire experience: amazeballs.

I realized long before the show that this wasn’t about being on TV, or connecting with the beautiful Ricki (whose work I admire anyway).

This was about me.

It was about making a declaration to myself of self-approval and nonjudgment. About surrendering my desire to control and perfect, and instead forgiving myself my perceived shortcomings and “not enough-ness” by allowing myself to just own Who I Am.

It felt like years of Digging Deep all culminating in front of a live studio audience.

And it was magical.

Of course I did. So did my mom. #rickilakebitches

Ahem. My driver. Armen from Armenia. He was awesome. So was his car. #rickilakebitches!!

Curled up in a bathrobe. #DiggingDeep and swimming in Balance EO. Feeling so ready for this gig. Heart and soul all in. The taping is at 12:30 Pacific but I'm accepting good vibes all morning! #rickilakebitches!!

Continental brekkie, #paleo style. And there's a Lyfe Kitchen and a Chipotle nearby. Perfection. #rickilakebitches!!

 

I knew going into this that my shit – some really old shit, too – would surface. I knew I’d have the opportunity to be nervous, scared, and self-deprecating. I knew I’d hear some old stories in my mind, way too much criticism, and a lot of negativity from my mouth.

Because I knew this as a very real possibility, I made up my mind to go into it full of intention and awareness. I spent an hour or more every day with those stories and voices. I embraced this as the opportunity it was to step into my Self. I turned off the habit of keeping myself outside of things, keeping my focus on the outer, or keeping myself busy in the superficial, and I allowed myself to turn inward completely, to own what surfaced, and to spend the time necessary to make peace with it.

And I’m damn proud of myself for it.

Sometime last week the words came to me: “I am not doing this for anyone else. I am up there for an audience of two – my Spirit and the Spirit. This is for us to celebrate my own ability to love and live. This is a milestone in the agreement we made for this life.

I know it probably makes little sense, but this whole thing was not really about sharing green living or what we do. Those were just the bonuses, the icing on the cake.

This was about me celebrating Life and embracing self-approval.

I had voices rise up, and I chose to answer each one with love and affirmation.

I had fear surface, and I chose to respond with a reminder of my Truth.

I had doubts pop in, and I surrendered each thought that didn’t come from Spirit.

Surrender.

Surrender surrender surrender.

If it hadn’t been the work I’ve been doing with that Guiding Word this year I may not have gotten up there and rocked it so thoroughly and completely.

Surrender didn’t mean giving up, or saying no, or taking the easy way out. I wasn’t surrendering my desire to feel confident and calm and excited on the show. I wasn’t surrendering this wonderful opportunity.

I was surrendering every negative thought or expectation.

I surrendered every idea that I was going to sound like an idiot, every worry that I’d mess something up, every thought that I had to be some conventional idea of perfect (as well as every after-thought that because I can’t possibly be perfect I might as well not even try). I surrendered every idea that I knew what needed to happen, I surrendered every expectation to perform or force it to come together, and I surrendered every temptation to be something or someone I wasn’t.

I showed up fully. Fully in my body, fully in my heart, fully in my spirit. I did so without apology for what I need and without trying to fit a box. I owned Who I Am and what I do without backpedaling or making excuse. I felt confident and comfortable just Being.

And it felt amazing. Which meant I was free to experience some amazing things.

It meant jumping on the bed in excitement.

Again, of course I did.  #rickilakebitches!!

It meant wearing clothes that felt good on me and doing my own makeup, so I could get up there in my own skin.

The hair and makeup crew.  #rickilakebitches!!

Me and the mama. Represent.  #rickilakebitches!!

It meant laughing and being silly with friends backstage.

Chillaxin with the EcoWomb crew! @ecowomb #rickilakebitches !!

It meant dancing behind the stage to get myself ready and doing a little strut-dance as I walked out to greet the audience.

It meant smiling big, and cracking stupid jokes, and not really remembering 90% of what I wanted to emphasize, and still rocking my socks off.

It meant hearing my name from across the restaurant later that evening and looking up to see it was Ricki waving to me, and getting another opportunity to hug her tight and thank her for everything she’s done (and is doing) in this world.

End of the day, me and my mama decided to go have tea while we waited for our car back to the airport, and we hear someone call to me from across the restaurant. The beautiful earthy mama @rickilake was there just when i was lamenting not getting her phot

It meant CELEBRATING and JOYFULNESS and FUN.

It meant being damn proud of myself.

Me and Angela after the show

I had nerves and I surrendered them. I had fears and I released them.

I had self-judgments and I freed myself from them.

I walked-strutted-danced onto that stage in total confidence and self-approval, without any fear or butterflies. I instantly forgave myself for my mistakes and imperfections and I just loved all over myself for having the courage to say Yes to this opportunity and the openness to work through all that Life gave me the opportunity to DIG IN to.

I didn’t share much about green living, really. It was all over too fast.

But I shared the whole of my heart. I allowed my light to shine, and I shared myself.

And that’s what makes this thing a wild success in my book.

That’s why I know I rocked it.

My Aversion to My Child’s Passion Does Not Make Me a Bad Mom

Comes complete with sound effects every time he Sorry's us. #hekickedourbutt #halo #games #play #fun

The current Organic Parenting e-course group is underway; most of them on Module 5, this one is dedicated to playful parenting.

The irony in this is that while over 100 women are listening to me talk about how to bring more playfulness and joy into their home, I’m coming to peace with the way in which I’m just not playful.

Case in point: I’m coming to peace with not playing video games with Zeb.

Justin plays with him, and I’ve spent the last 5 years trying to play.

And I’m not doing that anymore.

I’m not pushing myself to play video games, not guilting myself for not playing them, not apologizing for not playing them, I’m not even Digging Deep with what I was calling my resistance.

I don’t need to.

This is one of those times when the barrier I had was less about what I couldn’t get myself to do, and more about what I was resisting in myself. This time what I found was my resistance to my own acknowledgment, authenticity, and acceptance.

I finally came to see me, Who I Am and how my brain processes, and why certain things are such a challenge, like noise and the “static” I feel around electronics, the way my body reacts to anxiety and pressure and frustration, and the way I learn and don’t learn.

I tried. For five years, I’ve tried to overcome my experience because I thought I needed to in order to be a good mom.

And each time I would experience sensory overload and subsequent overwhelm…not a cool way to connect with your kid, btw.

I tell people all the time “You know the kid who can’t stand tags in their shirt or loud noises…I’m that kid, all grown up”. I say this quite often to demonstrate to parents that it’s okay to be sensory sensitive; it’s not a “dysfunction”, it’s a function of the way our minds works.

I’m a self-identified “Highly Sensitive Person” and I love that about myself. It’s a beautiful quality that I would never give up, have never wanted to give up, because I was always taught to honor myself.

And just because I’m an engaged, compassionate, mindful, organic, unschooling mom doesn’t mean that’s going to change.

It’s not the video games; it’s the way I work.

And by trying to “overcome” my innate, organic qualities and preferences, I was telling myself (and teaching my son) that it’s not okay to be me, that I need to change Who I Am to please others.

And even if those others are people I care deeply for, I’m not okay with that message.

Game night with @heathermattern @calebabc @caylaanngirl and @bluesparklejoy #uno #somepeoplecheat

So I’m making peace with the type of mom I am. I’m the mom who loves seeing her husband and son playing video games. But I don’t play those games myself. They aren’t my thing, and that’s okay.

Making peace with it made space to realize what I already do, and can do more of:

  1. I will still sometimes play. – No guilt. No “should” or “have to”. When I feel my energy reserves are full and I can take in the game, I’ll play certain ones – like the easy levels of Mario Kart or Super Mario Bros. Zeb often has to carry my guy through the areas that I can’t seem to figure out (like not falling off shit), and I don’t usually last longer than 45 minutes, but I do my best, when it feels like an authentic choice, not a guilt-ridden obligation to be a “good mom”.
  2. I support his interests. – I don’t have to play the game itself to support and get engaged with his interest in it. For example, when Zeb found out Halo had a novel series but couldn’t figure out which came first, I surprised him with the books in the mail. We help him find the Halo MegaBlocks he likes to build with, and share links with him for details on the game when we find them.
  3. I show interest in HIS interests. – I may not be playing the game, but I’m still a part of it with him. I watch them play video games together, until it’s too much for me. I ask questions or listen to (and try hard to understand) his recaps of what’s he’s building, what his goals are, what new thing he discovered, the new maps he’s built and so on.
  4. I work to find other things we can play together. – Board games, like Sorry or Monopoly. Uno. Watching movies. Helping him create stop motion videos. Telling jokes. Walking to the store together. Just because his first interest is something I’m not down with doesn’t mean we can’t find common ground that we both love.

I want to show him I approve of what he does, and explain my aversion as my own and nothing to do with the validity of what he loves. I want to show him how I take ownership for my own needs without apology. I want to make sure he knows my challenges are not personal, not about him. I want to compassionately receive his disappointment without showing him we should feel guilty for Who We Are. I want him to know it’s okay to say no, by saying no for my own well-being too.

Most importantly, I want to show him that it’s okay to unapologetically love and honor yourself.

THAT is a lesson I want HIM to have the freedom and confidence to practice too.

The New Professionalism: Unapologetically Imperfect

My most ergonomic desk eva. #myofficetoday

Today is my day to breathe. Take space. Drop my shoulders.

The Organic Parenting e-course is complete, sent out, and officially off my To Do list. It was such a huge project, with so many components and dozens of contributors, making it my biggest project to date.

Over a year in the making. The last three months of which were flipping crazy.

I’ll admit. I have a bit of a perfectionist streak. Especially when it comes to the work I love to do, sharing my heart and soul. And the parenting topic is such a big, tender one that I spent a lot of time stressing about how it was coming together, how the audios turned out, the right formatting, the right voice, if it all made sense, and so on and so on.

This project alone was a full time job.

That’s without seeing clients, facilitating the Organic Tribe, holding events, and still exploring the country with my family.

As I inched closer to today’s date, I began to inch closer to my perfectionist saying all sorts of things:

“You must have all the audios completed before you go to Wide Sky Days.”
“You’ve got to send out at least 4 emails next week.”
“You need more blog posts! What happened to the 5 other posts you had planned?!”

According to my project and marketing plan, I was far from perfect.

And this would have really stressed me out in the past. I would’ve been a big old ball of nerves trying to do it all, be it all, have it all together.

But this time I adopted a very fitting motto as I worked…

“Unapologetically imperfect.”

“I’m going to unapologetically create a course I believe in, without fear that it must meet every last person’s needs…”

“I’m going to unapologetically say what’s on my heart without fear that I’ll sound crazy to people who don’t get it…”

“I’m going to unapologetically take breaks, or complete postpone pieces of the project that aren’t inspiring me in order to play with my friends and family or read or work on the part of the project that is calling my name…”

“I’m going to unapologetically get the last audios created and uploaded in their own timing…”

“I’m going to unapologetically screw up my marketing plan this time around…”

“I’m going to unapologetically be happy about it all too…”

No amount of stress can make time slow down so we can get more done and still have time to play. No amount of trying can make every last person happy, can make this everything to everyone, can possibly simplify such a big topic, or can get those last audios uploaded by my chosen deadline. No amount of stress is worth missing out on our family throughout any project either – something I did too much of at the start.

So I let it all go. And embraced something different.

Imperfect entrepreneurship. Without apology.

Of course, there’s a balance there…leaving people hanging isn’t cool. Creating less than your best isn’t cool. Not taking into account the needs of others while you meet your own needs doesn’t actually meet anyone’s needs at all.

But there is a difference between professional and perfectionism.

You can be the first without trying to be the second.

I let go of the idea that I’d have all the audios from all six modules edited and uploaded by the time the first module started. I let go of the idea that the contributors goodies would be organized and formatted before the third module.

I just let go and leaned into joy and trust.

If this “trust” thing is good enough for parenting, you’d better believe it’s damn good enough for our passions as entrepreneurs. 😉

Of course, letting go changes everything.

I did, in fact, have all the modules completed before Module One began today. And I got the Village Wisdom contributors PDF formatted and uploaded this afternoon.

I could’ve stressed over doing these things, and likely not done them.

Instead I just adopted the same philosophy I have toward life itself: Joy and Trust. And it all fell together without the stress, because I just let go and leaned into joy and trust.

What Have I (Re)Learned?

The same lesson life is teaching me again and again…

I don’t care if you’re talking about parenting, or your partners, or your work…you’ll never regret the sense of ease, wonder, and perfection that comes when you stop trying to be perfect, stop forcing it to happen or controlling how it does, and let the current carry you where it will.

Make and follow a plan. Just don’t marry the damn thing.

And stop apologizing – to yourself or anyone else – when you follow where your heart pulls you.

Ask yourself: Where do I need to let go and allow?

 

4 Unconventional Things to Say to Escape A Conventional Conversation

Bored...
Photo Source

Have you ever been stuck in a conversation that makes you want to scratch your eyeballs out?

I’d wager the more conscious and unconventional you live, the more injury your poor eyes endure.

You probably don’t want to lie or feel inauthentic. And you don’t want to cause a scene or be rude or hurtful (that’s not very authentic either).

But you don’t want to be there either.

Why is it that we think being authentic is going to cause so much pain or rejection?

I started to learn this awhile back when I had a conversation with a women who was radically authentic and invited me to be the same. It was so freaking liberating! There was nothing offensive about it, because I could tell it was coming from a good heart. And I had so much more trust for her because I knew it was all real.

But practicing with others was hard. Could I really be honest and authentic without fear? My experience has taught me otherwise: to look outside myself and please others first, to lie for social graces, to be responsible for (instead of just mindful of and compassionate toward) someone else’s feelings while completely neglecting my own.

When I began to DIG IN to those ideas I saw them for what they were worth: fear-based lies that taught me to reject myself in hopes that others would accept me.

So I decided to do something radical instead.

I decided to accept myself and practice saying what I really wanted to say.

I discovered that nothing that I really wanted to say came from an intentionally hurtful place, and sometimes even when I tried to please others they still ended up taking it the wrong way.

So if I had no control over them and how they accepted or rejected me, I might as well choose to honor myself throughout.

So I began to practice this during conversations I wanted to escape. Here’s how:

4 Unconventional Things to Say to Escape a Bad, Boring, or Offensive Conversation

 

  1. So, on a totally unrelated note… – I usually say this one with a smile and no one bats an eye. That’s because we all think it’s rude to change the subject, unless someone else is doing it (then it’s rude to tell them so). So we all suffer along in the same conversation looking for an out instead of creating one. You don’t need an excuse to create one. Just the willingness to stop toeing the line.
  2. I’m uncomfortable with this topic. Do you mind if we change the subject? – This one was hard for me because I didn’t want to have to admit I was uncomfortable and risk opening a can of worms by explaining it. So I learned to speak my mind by being authentic about how I was feeling. Most of the time others would glaze over the discomfort (they didn’t enjoy talking about it anymore than I did). Other times it was a great opening for a deeper conversation and to practice really owning my reactions, as well as my values.
  3. I strongly disagree and I’d like to [discuss something else, excuse myself now, share my real thoughts]. – If you think it’s difficult to just mention discomfort, try doing something others deem as confrontational. It’s not okay to disagree with others unless you want to be seen as obnoxious, rude, loud, bossy or domineering. Bullshit. Strongly disagreeing just means you’re willing to take a moral stand for what you believe is right. And the world needs to witness more of that.
  4. Excuse me, but this topic isn’t meeting my need for ______. I’m going to go mingle with others. – Does this one sound selfish or self-centered or egotistical to you? It was one of the hardest I’ve ever practiced. It meant being honest about my needs, which tends to trigger another person’s sense of failure if they didn’t please you. Which meant I had to learn to no longer taking responsibility for how someone else chose to feel about what I knew I needed.

I think more than anything I learned this:

That to be uncommonly joyful meant I would need to take some uncommon and unconventional steps in my life toward freedom and joy.

Sometimes they felt like baby steps.

Many times they felt like radical leaps off a cliff in hopes that it would be all right.

Many times they were met with major opposition, and I had to learn new skills to not only escape a conversation with my authenticity in tact, but to handle the world when it threatened to shake me up.

A lot of people ask me how I’ve been able to release the fears of what others will think, and release the fear of living an unconventional life, and remain so unshakable.

For starters, it isn’t always easy. I still work at it.

But it is possible when you do the work moves you through your barriers. So I put a popular Organic Tribe call into a mini-toolkit to show you how…

How to Thrive Unconventionally in a Conventional World

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:: 110 min audio call: Describes the inner work you get to do to get unshakable, as well as the most effective, practical outer work to change your experiences with others (Value: $250)

:: 31 page workbook: Helps you to DIG IN, clear your triggers, and shine your authenticity, while putting into practice the steps you can take to remain grounded and compassionate despite any confrontation from the conventional world (Value: $40)

:: Covers everything from: Why others attack your values, what judgment and justification really mean, what you can say in conventional situations to remain true to yourself, exercises and prompts to help you put it all into practice and release your fear of being your unconventional self

P.S. This is a mini-toolkit, only focused on this small topic and as in-depth as possible in the small package. For more in-depth support, you may consider using it in conjunction with Digging Deep.

You can get this mini-toolkit for only $25.

(But it comes to you for free as part of the Organic Tribe.)

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6 Tips to Get More Blog Comments

I had a question several weeks ago about how to get more blog comments. I’ve talked a bit in that post about my experience with blog comments, why I turned them off and on again, and how it’s important to DIG IN to our reasons why we think we need them and how they affect us.

Comments
Photo Source

Now, let me preface by saying I don’t think it’s beneficial to focus on the number of comments you’re getting (or not getting) on your blog.

Tracking comment stats is one of the worst indicators of a thriving blog.

In fact, since turning my comments back on, I get very few comments compared to previously. And if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll likely find you get more interaction there since those sites are meant to be more social anyway.

So before we even look at any tips to get blog comments coming in, I want to talk about INTENTION.

It’s important to know yourself and know why this topic matters (or if it really matters). Do you:

  • Hope it will increase readership?
  • Want to experience more connection with readers?
  • Wish to facilitate connection in others?
  • Use it to bolster your own sense of approval?
  • Just think a successful blog “should” have lots of comments?

Examine your deeper reasons and align yourself with an intention that resonates with you, hopefully one based on something other than “should”, “have to”, scarcity or fear in any other form. Question any assumptions as well, because you’ll always find exceptions to the “rule”, which means this really can be done in any way that feels like a beautiful fit for you and your higher intentions.

Once you feel aligned then move through these tips to help you meet your goals.

1. Quit Taking It Personally

Why is this first? Because if you’re feeling triggered or upset in any way you’re going to create an experience based on yuck and funk, instead of one based on love and trust. And yuck and funk don’t serve you and your goals.

For a number of reasons, most people won’t comment and it has nothing to do with you or what you’re writing. (It’s not all about us after all, 😉 )

People are busy. They may love your stuff but in order to have time to read it at all it means they don’t have time to reply. Some just don’t like commenting, others don’t feel they have anything to add, a few think it’s dangerous, a couple don’t know how it works or even know they can, and more have even more varying reasons.

There are things you can and probably will want to examine in order to increase blog comments, but for the most part…

The people you have the biggest impression on may never say a word.

This is okay. All is still well in your world.

My Suggestion :: Before you write, connect to your Truth, your purpose, your authentic voice and the intention you set above. Lean into Trust that your words will reach the right people in the right time. Release all else.

2. Make It Stand Out

Lots of people write blog posts that are interesting or inspiring to PERUSE on a Sunday afternoon but don’t exactly leave an impression.

If your blog posts aren’t remarkable, they won’t be remark-able.

This is one part Taking a Stand (mixed in with a fair amount of Not Afraid to Ruffle a Few Feathers), one part Saying Something New and one part Making a Real Impact. Not fluff or wave-making for the sake of filling space or getting reactions. But honest-to-goodness words that will intrigue, inspire or help someone in some way. Things that make you go hmmmm or Aha!

(Don’t go overboard on sensationalizing every blog post you write. Just ask yourself “what makes this post remark-able?”.)

My Suggestion :: As you write, connect to your core and allow the words to flow from you, leaning into the Trust that it’s safe (as well as important) for you to speak from your heart on important and sensitive topics.

3. Make Your Blog Posts “Legible”

Obviously, I don’t mean your handwriting style. But your style of editing matters in getting readers and thus to get blog comments.

  • Is your blog post giant paragraphs of words or do they alternate in their number of lines so as to create a flow for the eye?
  • Do you use photos, blockquotes, bullet points, sizes and colors too much or not enough?
  • Is your font fancy and hard to read, or do you have light-colored fonts on dark background?
  • Is it too small or too large?
  • Are your colors reflective of you without being too overwhelming (primary or neon colors can be too much for a lot of eyes)?

Basically, is your post easy to read AND visually appealing?

A possible way to judge this is by finding out of whether people are even staying on the page long enough to read the content by installing Google Analytics. Check for the average time spent on a page (for a blog post, it should be a couple minutes). This will tell you if people are hanging around or jumping ship as soon as they land – if this is something like 10 seconds than they probably aren’t liking the first impression they are getting or the visuals they are seeing (or music they are hearing – seriously, turn that thing off. I’m going to pull a number out of thin air and say that about 97% of people hate the surprise of music, even if they love the music).

My Suggestion :: Do a blog assessment from a reader’s point-of-view, and from your Analytics point-of-view, or ask for some gentle feedback from someone you love.

4. Make commenting easy to do.

Spam filters are a must to make it easy for you. Captcha is good too. Moderation is good if it works for your schedule and doesn’t keep them waiting for days to see their comment go live. (WordPress allows you to only moderate first-time commenters, which is very helpful.)

But make it easy for readers:

  • Can they find comments or is the placement of the “comment here” link complicated?
  • Is it complicated (like Disqus or RealID)?
  • Would they like or dislike Facebook comments instead?
  • Is your Captcha a total butthole and difficult to read?
  • Do you have to be logged in or can it be anonymous or custom (specifically talking to Blogger users here)?
  • What about the words? Is it the plain “Leave a comment” or something more clever?
  • Is it so clever it doesn’t make sense to others?
  • Is it too wordy?

Remember that the options will look different to you if you’re logged in, as well as if people are trying to access it from their smartphones.

My Suggestion :: Do a comment system assessment and look for alternatives to anything less than easy-breezy.

5. Ask for and create engagement.

Asking for engagement might be a simple “I’d really love to know you’re out there; please say hi” or it might be a question you ask at the end. Keep in mind that the post has to be something worth commenting on (see #2).

Creating engagement is usually done through answering questions or adding your own replies to theirs. (Be genuine with this.) Another way to create engagement is to share your post on social media mentioning the conversation happening in the comments and asking for more viewpoints. (Again, be genuine and aligned with your intentions.) You can also ask readers to share any remark-able posts, since it seems to be new readers that often do the most commenting.

But I’d also recommend asking yourself some questions.

  • What kind of comments do you want?
  • What kind of person would you like to comment?
  • And what kind of things do you feel if you get no (or no positive) comments? (DIG IN to those feelings so you can be free of them and continue to do what you do authentically.)

My Suggestion :: List a few possible ways to ask for and get the kind of comments you want from the kind of readers you love, experiment with your ideas one at a time, and watch your feedback (comments and analytics) to see what works for you.

6. Stay focused.

If your blog is new, remember that there are a gazillion bloggers out there trying to get their start too. It takes time, and an investment of your energy to bring in the right people and then only about 20% of them will actually EVER comment.

Be patient and connect to your intention again and again.

If your blog is also your business, keep in mind that comments do NOT equal success. Very financially UNsuccessful bloggers have TONS of comments. And there are very successful businesses that are making 6-7 figures and getting no comments at all. Your blog comments have nothing to do with your success (unless of course you’re spending all your time trying to get comments instead of actually doing the things that will support your business – oh snap! Yeah, I called you out!).

My Suggestion :: Put your energy into the projects, tasks and areas that matter first – creating something worth consuming and getting it out to the right people. Trust the process of all else.

And let me add a seventh…

Experiment. Try new things. Keep track of the results. Do what works for your spirit first and then what works to get blog comments.

What about you: What’s your perspective?

Do you comment or rarely comment? Do you feel like no one is listening if you get no comments? Do you have a comment policy or a tip of your own you could share?


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Connecting With Children (It Doesn’t Have To Be Awkward)

It use to be awkward for me to speak or connect with children.

I would ask them the customary questions: How old are you? What grade are you in? What’s your favorite subject? What do you want to be when you grow up?

(Kinda similar to how I use to talk to adults actually: What do you do? How’s the weather? Time flies huh?)

You know, the kind of questions that you don’t really listen for the answers.

But then I started meeting children who liked to make up their their own age (or name), who didn’t go to school, and who demanded (not with words but with their very presence and the way they experienced life) a whole new kind of interaction.

And it was awkward at first.

I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. It was uncomfortable to be alone with a child I wasn’t related to because there was an expectation of interaction that I didn’t know how to handle (compared to the idea that we don’t have to interact quite as much with children we do know – ack!).

I was realizing today how different that is for me now.

I woke up this morning and immediately upon noticing there was actual SUNSHINE I grabbed my yoga mat and headed out the RV door. I intended to salute the sun all proper like. 😉

We’re camped with our caravan and sitting outside next door was my new friend, whom I call Little Turtle, for we both are learning a lot about our own personal turtle shells. As we greeted I did what I would do with any friend…

I invited her to do yoga by the pond with me.

She grabbed her mat, her brother even came along for a few minutes before he decided he had better things to do, and the two of us saluted the sun together.

The hubby couldn't make yoga this AM but my new friend, Little Turtle, could. <3

Then we laid by the water and just spent time together.

In my past I would’ve felt compelled to ask questions or mentor her in some way (oh the ego!). I would’ve had a different tone in my voice and a direction I felt we should take it (educational no doubt).

But our time together was casual and comfortable instead.

We talked about the water and our favorite colors, and Googled on my phone what different colors mean (she’s all about the happy, creative colors!). We wondered about the weird animal sounds we heard and talked about brothers.

The generations between us didn’t matter. We were just able to BE together, as friends.

And this makes me really happy. I have friends of so many ages and backgrounds and beliefs. And for years I missed out on what these young and wonderful friends bring to my world.

Like the enjoyment of sitting and watching the bugs skimming the surface of the water.

Peering over the deck

Last night Justin and one of the kids went off to a juggling meetup. An hour driving together, several hours juggling with other adults, and an hour back. As friends. Right now he has a 10 year old friend helping him work on the engine as they talk more about juggling. As friends.

It just makes me smile.

And being authentic has also become easier. Zeb and his new friend (and Little Turtle’s brother) were playing in the RV and I needed to get some work done. They were having fun and talking and I was struggling with overwhelm and feeling distracted.

So I reached out in kindness. “Hey guys, would it be okay if I had the RV to myself for awhile? I’ve got so much work to do.”

“Sure Mom.” “Sure Tara.” And they finished up their game, asked when I thought I’d be done and headed outside with a smile.

In the past I would’ve resorted to demanding they go outside, or just internally huffing and puffing over how I never get what I need until I became resentful. I never would’ve thought I could’ve spoken to them about it in the same way I would speak to my husband. It would’ve been control or martyrdom for me.

I’ve missed out on a lot of time with these incredible friends, especially the incredible friend I have in my 12 year old son. There were lots of things I had to DIG IN to in order to release my own discomfort and fear and superiority: like the emotions or reactions that would come up for me, the old stories about permissiveness, and the kind of connections I really wanted in my life and what had me settling for less.

But most importantly the idea I had learned that only people of the same ages could have real and meaningful friendships together and that adults were meant to lead children, not simply enjoy their presence.