I'm Anella. It's great to meet you!
To me, writing is understanding the experience and speaking is sharing the experience. Writing helps me discover who I am. I know that when I’m willing to be transparent, that helps everyone remove the mask and reclaim the self.
That's why I am a writer. That's why I share my stories.
That's why I teach writing and coach other writers, too.
When I began to own the fact that I'm the author of my life's story, I began to remove the mask. The transformation includes three pivotal points: my father's passing from Alzheimer’s; two years later, a 22-year marriage ending in divorce; and 11 years later, leaving a corporate career so that I could offer my most meaningful work to the world.
Some of the best things that happen in our lives come as a result of some of the worst things that happen to us. Writing is how I process experience, discover understanding, and express my healing.
My father’s death and the dissolution of my marriage left me, for the first time, without a significant male relationship. In my late 30s, my father passed away after 10 years with Alzheimer's, four days after I leaned in and whispered into his ear, "you can go now; we're all okay." I was his only daughter, and he was my first love; like so many women, our fathers taught us our deep, subconscious beliefs about love.
Then, my marriage with my high-school sweetheart began to crumble under years of low-level strain. My post-divorce 40s left me questioning everything about how I showed up in relationships. When I chose to deeply understand my own spirit, I began to heal my core relationship beliefs which had shown up in every relationship in my life.
When we name our own, painful beliefs, we begin the process of unraveling our stories and coming home to ourselves. Part of this process means letting go of our ways of masking the pain.
My primary pain-avoidance practice has been busyness, because as long as I'm too busy, I can't take time to look at my own pain. I've over-invested myself in caring for others, building a career, and ignoring parts of myself that I just didn't want to see. My secondary pain-avoidance practice was wine. See What Stuff You Really Want to Know About Me, below.
And it was all perfect, because I could not be who I am today without having taken this journey.
This work of slowing down, of learning who I am, being the fullness of me, unmasking and reclaiming is my life's work. When I became brave enough to leave my corporate career, I accepted it as a gift to myself. In order do do so, I had to burn down old, limiting beliefs about my responsibility to others; I had to see my value beyond the numbers on my paycheck; I had to play bigger. I had to honor my inner voice that was begging me to make this change.
For months afterward, I felt lost. After all, I stripped away all the busyness after hiding in it. I felt fearful, because there is nothing - outside of me - to point to and say, "that's the reason I can't be all of who I truly am."
I took a chance to unmask and reclaim. It's not easy to look inward. In doing so, I've had to face all of me. My self-deceptions. My secrets. My fears. My playing small. My broken heart. My core wounds. My addictions. Father lessons. Mother lessons. My stories that minimize the fullness of who I am. It's been ugly sometimes. I've been angry, too. And, I've also learned to forgive, to trust, and to arise, each day, believing that life is beautiful, even in its imperfection.
I am here to invite you home to yourself, to tell your stories, and to shine your light.
If we desire to feel a peaceful freedom from the stories we've created, the only option is to own them because, unless we own them, we can't rise from them.
I'm living proof that our life's stories are our greatest teachers, if we are willing to see the truth of them.
I share my story as a way of helping you write yours.
I am no smarter, nor braver, nor more capable than you.
I am here to help you transform your life. Now. Remove the mask. Reclaim the self.
The Stuff You Really Want to Know About Me
I love everything about sleeping: the coolness of the sheets when I first crawl in bed; the way I dream and remember; the early-morning bird calls that awaken me.
I don’t slow down very much. I write, I read, I edit, I teach, I speak, I practice yoga. I cook, though not as much as I’d like.
I travel as often as I can. My last trip to New York City produced this piece of writing about slowing down. (See #2)
I’m open to learning about most any topic. Think expansive and that’s me.
I’m have a Cabinet of Invisible Counselors and I talk with them nightly. Yep, like Napoleon did. Napoleon Hill, not the Frenchman. We’d have to know each other better for me to tell you their names. Some have passed; some I loved; some are very much alive.
Three things that I came here to do: learn compassion; be a mother; and learn to trust myself. All are intertwined. All can be done with great joy.
I am an unashamed intellectual who makes meaning. Except when I meditate, which I do most every day. It keeps my mind open and clear.
When I was a child, I ended every day by naming all the people and things I loved, including, “me and the pear tree," homage to an old pear tree that stood like a sentinel on my family’s farm in central Kentucky.
I have a tripwire and, when crossed, I show up as the worst of myself. Fortunately, the wire has only been tripped a few times in this life. Then, the goddess, Kali, shows up to help me burn down some more ego.
I stopped drinking wine except for special occasions, and I honor those times with a glass of very expensive, very fine wine. Beer bloats me so I don’t drink it. I live in Kentucky, so I have an occasion taste of bourbon. Neat. I have an addictive personality, so I’ve stopped doing anything that causes me to leave my body; I much prefer to be in all of my experience.