That’s been my reminder these past few weeks. (Getting out of the way.) I have a tendency when funk hits the fan to get in there. To stress. To get upset, in the very charming woe-is-me-Life-is-out-to-get-me kind of way. (Really, you should see me some time. You’d probably have a lot more compassion for your own bad days. I know, you’re all surprised. I may have some wisdom and mindfulness, but I also still have an ego to work with and she’s a tough nut to crack.) Continue reading “Miracles Happen When I Get Out of the Way”
“Organic Wisdom” is what I have found speaking to me in those quiet moments, that guides me and that echoes Truth in my life. Please feel free to download, or share this image in any way you’d like.
Busy and “bad timing” are going to be the excuses we use for our entire life until one day we realize that “busy” is something we create to avoid the Big Dreams telling us it actually IS time.
- “It’s not a good time to start eating healthier. I’m too busy to get myself feeling well.”
- “It’s not a good time to follow my dreams. The market is crap right now.”
- “It’s not a good time to talk about this. I have too much going on.”
- “I’m just too busy, but when things slow down…”
But is that even possible? Aren’t we “too busy” for things to slow down? 😉
Don’t wait for some magical day when the Universe reorders itself to create some impossible gap in your busy schedule to finally do what your heart, your family, your Life is aching for.
It’s not going to happen.
Instead the Universe is going to give you a dream and say “If you say you’re ready, I’ll support you. I’ll start by showing you what you get to let go of and what fears and ideas you get to examine, so that you can make a place for this in your life.”
Don’t get to the end of your life and wish you had started living years ago when hindsight suddenly shows you just how right the timing actually was.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
What have you been putting off?
This is a friendly reminder: The summer course for the business mastermind begins June 4th, just a little over a week away.
What sets this group apart? It includes:
- The nitty-gritty, step-by-step, “How-do-I” coaching to simplify the process
- Powerful built-in systems of support from like-minded sisters
- And guidance to DIG IN, overcome your fears and blocks, and not get stuck in the paralyzing “Holy-crap-what-am-I-doing-what-will-others-think” syndrome
There are still spaces available but it’s filling up with just over a week to go.
“Organic Wisdom” is what I have found speaking to me in those quiet moments, that guides me and that echoes Truth in my life. Please feel free to download, or share this image in any way you’d like.
I think we (myself included) give too much credit to our experiences, saying that they are what made us who we are today.
Likewise we can give too much blame as well, insisting that they are the cause of our suffering.
But we are not the result of what happened to us.
We are the result of what we choose to do with it.
Painful, heartbreaking and horrific things have happened in my life: abuse, assault, loss, depression.
I’m not being contrite when I say I am am thankful for each and every one, even though I have no desire to experience it again nor would I wish it on anyone.
But as painful as those events are, they did not happen to me.
They happened for me.
And more importantly, I happened to them.
From those events I learned how to suffer and how to overcome suffering. I learned that I could allow things to tear me down or I could choose for them to build me up.
There is a difference in what happens to us and what happens for us: One creates victims. The other creates survivors.
Kick-ass survivors. Men and women who are ablaze with wisdom, strength, confidence and the desire to transform violence into love. Men and women who experienced something that will embolden them to change the world.
You are NOT the result of what has or will occur in your life, of the pain you are or have experienced, of the mistakes you did or will make.
You are the result of what you choose to do next.
You know that most riptide deaths are not caused by the riptide itself? They are actually caused by the swimmer’s exhaustion as they fight the tide trying to regain their control and sense of safety.
Last week, after a long day on the beach, I was connecting with a girlfriend online around the idea of surrender and allowing when it dawned on me…
This is life at times: A riptide in the ocean.
We dip our toes into Mama Ocean, playing with the idea of jumping in headlong, with the thought of independence and glory and Big Ass Dreams of the moves we’ll make and how cool we’ll be. Then comes the time when we’re finally ready and we dive in (thinking we look like sexy mermaids, of course) feeling happy, excited…feeling the excitement of freedom and exploration as our Big Ass Dreams become Big Ass Plans.
But the ocean sometimes has another idea.
Sometimes it laughs at our mermaid-esque attempts and our Big Ass Plans and it wraps it’s arms around our waist and says “This will be more fun.”
And then it shows us what we really get to see.
And that loss of control, the pull in a deeper direction, feels dangerous. Our natural inclination is to fight against the current, swimming hard toward shore, toward what looks like safety. To regain our authority, our rightfulness, our power. To be the commander of our own direction. To push through the fear, fight the resistance, or force our way forward.
But that’s how deaths happen, you know.
Surrender Saves Lives
They say if you’re caught in a riptide you should do one of two things to save yourself from exhaustion and your ultimate demise.
:: Swim parallel to the shore: Don’t lose sight of your bearings, your safe ground, your desires. But don’t fight for them. Just move yourself out of the chaos by side-stepping it and getting yourself into a new place (a new frame of mind, a new environment, a new idea, a new rhythm). But sometimes that current has other plans and won’t relinquish you that easily, and so your safest bet is to….
:: Lay back and surrender to the flow: The riptide will move you, it will pull you beyond your comfort zone. It will show you things you’ve never had the courage to explore on your own and take you a bit farther than you thought possible. And then the calm will come, as you pass beyond the rush and you can find your way back to solid ground with a new understanding of the power that surrounds you, a new respect for the forces that envelop you and yes, more clarity on your path.
Yes, Life’s been teaching me a lot about surrender, about allowing, about dreaming and actualizing with an openness to Trust.
It’s been helping me to release the tension and the resistance and lay back with my arms spread open and surrender to the flow, or the sunshine, or the sweetness of rest.
It’s been showing me when to DIG IN and focus, and when to let it all go. And it seems a disproportionate amount of it looks like surrender, especially when it comes to juggling three businesses and family connections and spiritual grounding. Surrender to what my heart really aches for, for what my mind really can’t focus on, to the idea of doing jack-shit all day, then staying up “too late” to get three solid, uninterrupted hours of work done.
And here are my frantic efforts to swim against the current: chastising myself for going to bed at 2am and waking up at 10, feeling guilty for too much time working, feeling guilty for too much time playing, stressing over the taxes due and tires that will need replacing soon, the needs of a daily changing son and the upcoming events on my calendar, and my deeper need to escape to the mountains with my nomadic mamas. Thoughts of rudeness as I just can’t find the time to catch up on emails, when I am instead writing in my journal at the beach. The old tapes that play out when I measure my own needs against the needs of others.
And all the while hearing The Ocean, as it allows me to fatigue myself, whispering to my spirit with the words,
“Release. Surrender. Let me take you deep and far beyond your comfort zone and show you what awaits out there. Lay back and let Me carry you. You are safe…but only if you let go.”
I’ve sat here looking at a blank screen grasping at inadequate words to describe the shaving of my head for way too long.
Empowering? Still weak.
Let me start by backing up a little to the beginning of my weekend. We’ll see where it goes from there.
The Start of One Incredible, Life-Changing Weekend
Tiffani, my badass freeplaylife photographer, arrived in Orlando on Friday evening.
Now let me just say something about Tiffani.
She’s flipping amazing. Colorful. Playful. Daring. Vibrant. Envelope-pushing.
But she also has this deeply sensitive side that you only get to see in her photos or videos or in long conversations about Life.
So I knew she was the perfect person to help me commemorate this powerful step. Because she totally “got it”. ♥
We had an amazing weekend that I know I’ll be talking more about later.
But the photos!
Oh wow, the photos.
We started with the before photos (for obvious reasons) and let me just say, one amazing photographer can make you fall in love with yourself.
She captured so much more than either of us felt was possible to convey without being there.
Because, oh being there was amazing!
We laughed, drank wine, ate and talked, shared epiphanies and dreams and laughed some more. I love that woman so much. Yes, I’ll definitely be writing more about that soon.
But back to the experience…
Capturing the “Before”
I wanted to capture it. My dreads. What they meant. I wasn’t sure if it would be possible but if anyone could do it, I knew it would be Tiffani.
And she did.
And I love them, each and every one of the “Before” shots. They so perfectly capture the depth and love I’ve had for my dreads. They leave me breathless. Speechless. In awe and honor of my own spiritual path, of where I’ve been and Who I Am because of them.
I’ll let my favorites do the talking…
I looked at them on her camera between Day One of photos and Day Two. And I had an ache. I saw the beauty and the story Tiffani had caught for me. And for the span of one deep breath, I loved them so much I couldn’t fathom letting them go.
But then that breath passed and I felt my whole body, my whole spirit say “Trust”. Mmm, yes I can do trust.
The During and After Experience
As much as the before photos LOOK amazing, it was (and is) the during and after process of shaving off my dreads that FEEL amazing.
And that feeling of “amazing” was something that the camera couldn’t capture.
The way it FELT to have my husband there, the man who spent 14 loving hours putting my dreadlocks in, handing me the empowerment, the strength to take this next step – on my own this time.
The way it FELT to acknowledge my fear as it turned my hands cold and made my heart pound and asked me to pause, to breath, to give it a just a moment to be heard so that it could willingly let go.
The way it FELT to call forward the faces of the beautiful women, my many sisters, who had emailed or texted or messaged me their love, to feel them circling around me.
And then the way it FELT to remove my dreads, one-by-one, to feel the world shift beneath me, while also shifting me forward, the rushing in of exhilaration, and of an emotion I still do not have a name for.
I’ve said it so many times but it bears repeating again: It was as if my dreads had, over the last 43 months (to the day, I just realized), systematically entangled all the energy of my past, the fears and challenges and limitations and all those things that were not serving me.
And towards the end of my three and a half year journey with dreadlocks, it was “heavy” with the past and the stories that were ready to be let go.
And so, with all the yuck carefully secured in my dreads, I began to snip it all away.
The past that didn’t belong in my present, the heaviness…
The weight of the world fell off my shoulders.
One at a time. Landing on the ground. With only a few feet between us but feeling as though it was the length of the world now separating me from it.
Old and gone and unattached.
And then the way it FELT to see “the past” lying on the ground, to hold it in my hands, to feel as though it was ancient history, detached from me, in my hands but with such distance between us – something to honor and smile upon or ponder about, but not something to ache for or regret or miss.
(To miss them would’ve felt awkward, like going backward, like losing wisdom, slipping into clothes that had once been comfortable but that I had outgrown. It would’ve felt silly trying to wear the things of my past, like a grown women trying on her favorite childhood shirt. It was and is and always will be beloved, but it’s not comfortable anymore.)
I felt LIGHT…not weight-light, but energy-light.
I text my mom an After photo and she said it perfectly in just a few words:
You look beautiful. And FREE!!!
Yes, that’s what this feeling is.
It’s the feeling of being free. Open. Unencumbered. Spiritually cleansed.
A lot of people (my step-dad included) don’t get it. How was I not free before?
But I AM FREE now. I recognize the difference, in the way only a previously and ignorantly unfree person could recognize. I’m suddenly free of the past. I’m free of the expectations I’ve accepted in my life (from myself and others). I’m free of the facade, the props I would use to convey Who I Am.
I’m free of the NEED I had to convey Who I Am.
I am free.
I never expected to feel as free and as feminine and as sexy in my own skin as I do right now with no hair. I’m walking on clouds, in love with my raw self. Feeling as though I’ve settled into Who I am, dropping into my own essence, JUST my essence. Nothing trailing along behind me.
Calm and simple and joyful authenticity.
I can’t stop rubbing my head or reveling in that menthol-cool feeling of the air across my scalp or the warmth of the sun or swimming in the pool, holding my breath beneath the water, feeling the sensations moving around me, no more worry about “getting my hair wet”, nothing taking me out of the moment, out of the experience it.
Present-moment awareness. How does having no hair offer me that?
I don’t know but there it is.
The whole experience. Commemorating my dreadlocks. Preparing to send them off with love. Those two minutes of fear, where my hands went cold and shaky and I wasn’t sure I had the courage to take my next step forward.
Then the instantaneous and immense feeling of YesYesYes! as I snipped the first dread and it fell to the ground, the feeling that propelled me forward like a mad-woman, feeling the heaviness lift from my spirit, feeling the open space begin to fill with excitement and LIGHTness as each knot of hair was shed.
The JOY and smiles and that sense that my whole body was laughing that suddenly came rushing in, not from my mouth or my face or my words (I was pretty much beyond words), but from my belly, from my core. Bubbling up and spilling out of my eyes, my pores, my fingertips, the top of my head.
The way I suddenly felt lit up, nothing getting in the way of SHINING. Radiating. Reveling.
To feel so deeply connected to Who I Am, to the people in my life, to Spirit and Life itself…
It has been one of the most deeply spiritual (yet insanely, hysterically, joyful and downright silly) experiences of my thirty years.
It’s sounds silly to many.
I even have to laugh at how silly it sounds to me.
It’s just hair after at all.
But it’s not about the hair.
It’s about the experience of the hair. MY experience.
It’s about what this small, seemingly meaningless experience (in the grand scheme of life) had to offer me.
And it’s about me accepting that offer.
It’s about being open to a grandiose, breathtaking and awe-inspiring overture in what looks inconsequential, impermanent, and trivial.
This is life.
Mundane. Simple. Momentary. The details small and ultimately insignificant. A blip on the screen of the Universe. A monotonously repetitive story throughout the span of the centuries.
But still never duplicated in the narrative. Consistently renewed in our emotions. And regularly, excruciatingly and inconceivably mind-blowing to participate in.
It’s all “just hair”. Until we embrace the experience of it. And then it’s the whole Universe bursting alive within the space of one fleeting moment.
More Dreaded Goodness
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and so many of us are turning our hearts toward big, beautiful meals and the idea of gratitude.
Gratitude was my main guiding word this year. So naturally I have lots of thoughts during my very favorite holiday.
I’ve never loved Thanksgiving for the gratitude part. I loved it for the simplicity, for its ability to not add so many layers of complexity to what I am really wanting to experience: deep connection with those I love, deep enjoyment I find myself most capable of within a slower pace in life, and deep nourishment – physically and spiritually.
But something about the idea of gratitude tended to rub me the wrong way.
And I didn’t understand it until this year, as I dove into this word, allowing it to guide me, to show me, to open me to what I longed to understand.
And this is what I understand.
I resisted not the practice of gratitude, but this ever pervasive idea or sense of obligation, guilt and shame I felt around the word.
“I should be grateful.”
“You should be grateful.”
And my heart would hear those words and want to yell “No!”
And now I know why. Why I resisted what seems so true.
Because every time we feel as though we “should be” grateful, we negate the pain or hurt or struggle that we are experiencing in that moment, instead of gratitude.
We tell our tears to stop. We tell ourselves to suck it up. That others have it worse. And so who the hell are we to ache, to hurt, to need to cry, or to desire change when we have it so good.
“It could be worse, so we should be grateful.”
And in thinking that “it could be worse”, we ignore what is yearning for attention right now.
Because if someone else has it worse, we don’t deserve to have it better.
Oh, and there is a time for that!
A time to recognize our blessings, to give thanks.
And there is also a time to acknowledge our own pain, to heal our own wounds, to protect our own hearts and understand that under our ache, our pain, our frustration, our complaints…under the surface of what we’re experiencing is something within us that deserves love, that deserves attention, that deserves validation, that deserves to have its deepest needs met.
Not because we’re more deserving, not because anyone else is less.
But because we all deserve to have our needs met.
All of them.
Because that’s what that pain, that lack of gratitude is…it’s just a sign to meet a deeper, fundamental and universal need.
If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s this:
I went into this year assuming that I would simply focus on the act of gratitude.
And I did. And it was good.
But it didn’t last.
Because those aches would resurface and ask with longing for the attention they needed.
And that’s when I understood that I cannot make gratitude.
I cannot make myself grateful.
Gratitude is already – and always – there.
I simply choose to experience it by first addressing all the aches, the longings, the unmet needs, the pain I am holding within my heart and that is standing between me and the experience of gratitude.
But when I simply lean into those aches for a moment, giving them the attention they are screaming for, encircling them with compassion, examining what they are and why, and bring Light and Love to them, they ease and vanish.
And as they do I experienced the rush of gratitude.
The gratitude that was always there.
Waiting for its turn.
But patiently, knowing that something else needed to come first.
And then gratitude had its turn.
And it enveloped me.
And I held it.
And it changed my experience of life.
And it only recedes when something bigger needs to be held for a moment.
Gratitude was – and is – the natural consequence of healing my spirit, of peeling back the layers of my painful beliefs and fears, of coming into awareness of Who I Am, and what I’m here to do.
Without those fears, there is nothing but gratitude left TO experience.
And when I experience that gratitude, it gives me the ability to not just “suck it up”, to not feel awash in my guilt or shame, but to come alive, to feel vibrant, and THEN and only then do I find myself capable of offering what I am experiencing within me to those who have the same or deeper needs.
There is no “should”…this just simply is.
When I validate and give love to my lack of gratitude, I experience gratitude naturally and then I can actually create the same in the lives of others.
And that is one equation I am so incredibly grateful for.
I just want him to stay with me until I can be sure he won’t turn into Norman Nothing.
I want to be sure he’ll know when he’s chickening out on himself. I want him to get to know exactly the special thing he is or else he won’t notice it when it starts to go.
I want him to stay awake and know who the phonies are, I want him to know how to holler and put up an argument, I want a little guts to show before I can let him go.
I want to be sure he sees all the wild possibilities. I want him to know it’s worth all the trouble just to give the world a little goosing when you get the chance.
And I want him to know the subtle, sneaky, important reason why he was born a human being and not a chair.
– A Thousand Clowns, Murray trying to explain why he hasn’t put his nephew in school yet
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
― Albert Einstein
There are so many quotes by Einstein that I lovelovelove.
But when I read this one, I kinda went…ick.
Not to say it isn’t sometimes true. Sometimes Life gives us the opportunity to choose to just keep moving. Take a deep breath and the next step.
But too many times in my life I’ve applied the “just keep moving” mantra of conventional wisdom and found I was going alright…in the wrong direction. Or worse, the same direction I’d been headed when I’d gotten myself into the situation that required me to “just keep moving”.
But I choose not to live a life in which my best option is to just move through it.
I want to live a life in which I can jump off that damn bicycle (that might just as well be heading in circles) and sit and savor a sunset, a laugh, a moment of perfection found in everything. Something I don’t find when I’m just moving through my days or my life.
Life is meant to be savored, absorbed, adored, experienced.
Even (or especially) the messy parts, the parts that stretch me, that rub uncomfortably against me, can be sat with, experienced, learned from. In fact, I’ve found that has always been my best answer to them.
Because what do we get by avoiding them but another opportunity to experience them?
Nope, I don’t want to move in circles or keep heading in the same atrocious direction. I want to hop out of the madness and listen deeper to the very thing I’m tempted to rush through.
There are times in your life when things come to you and through you. These are the times when you’re heart and soul gets poured into something and you not only create what you believe in, but are created and healed at the same time.
This is magic. This is when the dots are connected and it’s all beyond words and it makes sense anyway.
This is Life. It’s when the mess is beautiful and our hearts are cracked open and we just get it, whatever “it” there is to get.
This is what Digging Deep is for me.
It’s my heart and soul, the foundation to build Truth on, my creation and my healing, my message to the world…that you’re not broken, you’re not bad, you’re not helpless in your circumstance.
You are powerful. You are amazing. You have capabilities no one else has and a purpose no one else can fulfill.
And it’s time for you to understand what is getting in your way.
The Digging Deep Toolbox
Digging Deep is a life-long toolbox to help you uncover blocks, overcome fears and move through your challenges to create a self-designed life of passion, autonomy and authenticity.
You can use it as your catalyst for personal growth, your inspiration for healing or your toolbox for awareness and empowerment. Because you have something beautiful to create in this world and some things aren’t serving you one bit.
Here’s what you can expect to find in the Digging Deep toolbox.
- A 151 page e-book full of discovery, recognition, dismantling & rebuilding
- 16 worksheets to help you DIG into this deep soul-work
- 1 gorgeous assignment + Double Dog Dare to plant your seeds of growth
- The tools to move through your blocks and create something amazing
As an added BONUS to the beautiful and diverse learners out there…
- Full audio of the entire e-book and every worksheet! You can read, listen, write or talk according to how you learn and process best.
Are You Ready to DIG In?
I want you to know more. Because there is so much more to know.
I want you to know who this toolbox is for, what others are saying and what the process looks like.
I want, more than anything, for this process to be a magical one, full of healing and discovery and incredible growth.
If you’re ready to DIG in, click this link or the banner below to know more.
I have a little story for you, a story of opportunity, of growth, of saying Yes.
Many months ago I had this little tiny nudge. A nudge to shift, to relaunch, to step up to the plate of my life.
And I said yes. Actually, I said “Okay“.
And because “Okay” is really just a thinly veiled “Okay, I’m having doubts, but I’ll try to tentatively trust you” Life answered in return with, “Okay, I hear your doubts, so we’ll take this slow.”
So, for about four months, I moved slowly. There were a few moments of “Um…” or even one or two of “Eek!” but mostly it was a comfortable little path.
Then right before I relaunched, as I was sitting in my space – that quiet, meditative, soulful space – I felt it again.
But it wasn’t a nudge this time. It was more like a request: A request for more Trust, an offer of growth and connection, an opportunity.
It was the question, “Are you feeling ready yet?“
Not demanding or pushy, just a heartfelt question.
I had no idea what it really meant and I was filled with fear about it. Oh boy, was I. Because saying yes to something you can’t see…well, that’s just fracking terrifying.
But I took a deep breath anyway…and I said Yes. And I really meant Yes this time. So I opened my whole heart and my whole soul to receive it.
And Life Rushed In
Do you know what happens when you say Yes! to Life, to an offer from your Source, to the nudge in your heart you’ve been ignoring?
In the moment, opportunity looks a lot like stress, overwhelm, uncomfortable changes, upheaval, odd new circumstances, and a really messy experience. It might start feeling like being engulfed by fear, or even sadness or anger.
(Or maybe that’s all just me.)
But if you keep saying Yes, if you can remain open and trusting….
Well, in hindsight you can see it’s all just Life rushing into your open heart as fast as it can. It’s not going to miss the opportunity after all. 🙂
And so because Life’s opportunities are often big, it can be stressful.
Because it comes so fast, you can feel overwhelmed.
When it’s new (and it will be new), it can feel uncomfortable.
And since it’s often demanding, it may seem like upheaval.
And because we’re human, it’s often messy.
But in reality, it’s really, really good. And here’s why…
It All = Strength Training
Looking back on these past 3 months, I see what I thought was pain and obstacles and stress. But you know what I really see now?
My coach has a way of putting it that I like. She compares it to weight lifting. You put resistance on your muscles to build them, to grow them.
When you say “Yes!” (and really mean it), Life begins its job of giving you opportunity to strengthen and grow you.
And that can feel tiring, overwhelming, even painful at times. Because it’s usually going to start with the discovery and healing of all the things that are going to get in your way of what comes next.
You can call it struggle, or strengthening; pain, or healing. But only one perspective is going to get you through it. Only one is going to keep you saying “Yes”, keep your heart open and authentic and expanding.
And that’s worth it.
Because as ugly as it will feel as you go through it, as someone emerging from the other side, I can promise you it’s amazing.