Surround Yourself

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Surround Yourself

Surround yourself with women who refuse to—

Place their agenda upon you, to make you into someone you are not; find the women who will be patiently with you as you become the fullness of who you are.

Need to impose a time line on your evolution; the women who trust in the organicity of your journey are seeking you, too.

View you as different from themselves; the women you want are the ones who see that common humanity in everyone’s life’s experiences.

Judge you; find women who see that any judgment is calling their own souls to look at what it is in them that is ready to be seen and be healed.

Feel envious of you; look for women who know that envy is an invitation to look at ways they are letting themselves down.

Surround yourself with women who will only—

See themselves in you, and love both you and them.

Hold you in their arms while you cry, grieve, scream.

Caress your head while you delve, dive, find the very bottom of the pain.

Speak what feels true to them, gently, compassionately, burningly.

Massage your feet as you move old wounds out of where they are lodged in your body.

Laugh when you are able to finally laugh.

Who are the women in your life who REFUSE TO and WILL ONLY? Write their names on your heart. Then, tell them you love them. 

 

 

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More Like You and Less Like Me

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More Like You and Less Like Me

As a child, I created a storyline, which I internalized as a belief, and have held it for most of my life. Like all stories, they feel true until we are willing to look at them fully and deeply. Looking into stories can be painful, and we've all also learned to avoid the pain. I did. I learned not to feel my sadness. I was often told not to cry when I felt really sad. The adults in my world wanted me to feel good and be happy, so their admonishment came from a good place, for sure, but I learned to not feel what was present for me. 

The storyline I created sounds like this: if I'm more like you and less like me, then you'll love me more. I learned this storyline deeply--embodied it--and I practiced showing up in life more like the people whose love I felt I had to earn, or whose love I was afraid to lose.

My friends, it's hard to be someone else. 

I'll make a distinction between emulating someone we admire--whose positive characteristics are ones we desire to cultivate in ourselves--and believing that someone will reject us if we don't become what they want us to become. 

This belief I took on was my own choosing, offered to me by loving adults, who also told a version of this story to themselves. Most of us take on the fearful belief that we must be less than the fullness of who we truly are in order to be accepted and, ultimately, loved for who we are. 

Beliefs are deeply powerful and personal ways that we create meaning about the world. When we arrived here as babies, we were open-hearted, pure love, and intimately aware of our connection to the Divine. We were also wholly dependent on others for survival, and it was our deepest desire to stay, with our family of origin. So we attached ourselves to the adults in our life as we began Earth school.

Most of the adults we chose, though, had been completely conditioned and therefore, most had wholly forgotten their own infinite nature. As we grew, we created a mental construct to reconcile the conflict in our consciousness between what we knew and what we experienced in the world around. The stories we created were to help us make meaning. The resulting beliefs cause us pain, beliefs like:

I’m not good enough.
I can’t have what I want.
Nobody listens to me.
I must follow the rules to receive love.

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.

This work of slowing down, of learning who I am, and of being the fullness of me, is my life's work.

Last year, I left my corporate career and, now, I can see the gift I gave to myself. I stripped away all the outside busyness--the things in my life that gave me no choice but to be very, very busy. For months, I felt lost. 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." 

If we desire to feel a peaceful freedom from the stories we've created that cause us pain, the only option is to own our beliefs because, unless we own them, we can't change them. 

What this planet needs now, more than ever, is humans who are willing to be the fullness of who they are. Will you join me?

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Me too, and Why The Conversation Starts Here

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Me too, and Why The Conversation Starts Here

You’ve seen the #metoo movement?

You’ve posted Me too?

In case you’ve been disengaged, let me quickly catch you up. Millions of women, all over the world, are posting Me too as their Facebook update, with the additional copy/paste of these words:

If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Please copy/paste.

This is my copy/paste, because I need to say more. I believe we all need to say more. I believe this is the beginning of a conversation most of us have never had.

For all the times I’ve been out for a run in the summer’s heat, in running shorts and a sports bra, I say, me too. I wasn’t inviting your whistles and whoops. It was 90 degrees at 6 p.m. and I was logging 8 miles. I was training my body to be ready for many a 12.1 and a couple of 26.2’s. I was training my mind to believe I could. You didn’t take me out of my zone. I noticed, for sure, but I didn’t respond.

For all the times, after my divorce, I moved my right-hand ring to my left hand before I sat down at a hotel bar, I say, me too, surprised by how many married men said, “that’s a beautiful ring.” I never intended it to be a conversation starter; I intended it to be my personal symbol of transformation, a symbol of beauty that came out of my darkest days. In those conversations, I heard, “let me buy you a drink.” I was curious to see where this man’s mind was going. I was curious to understand how this new game was played. Me too, for all the business cards I received, followed by, “Travel here often? Keep in touch.”

For that time a senior acted really interested in me, a freshman, and I wore his scarf around in school. And then, he tried to unzip my pants in the backseat, while we were parked on a double date, I say, me too. I resisted. He lost interest. He never spoke to me again.

For the way I was asked, when I was eight, to put my mouth on him, a child himself, no more than eleven, I say, me too.  My little mind was curious and confused. He, a playmate whom I named in my nightly prayers, told the other boys, who teased me from the back row of the school bus. For that merciless teasing, I say, me too.

And now this conversation is open, this me too, invites looking inward, because that’s where the answers always rest.

I felt hesitant to claim, me too, at first, because I wasn’t raped by the senior boy, and so many women have been violated much more severely.

Yet, I want to honor that I felt diminished.

Diminished in my silence. I was afraid to be seen as a bad girl. I’d felt the shaming and blaming on the school bus. Why didn’t those boys shame and blame him? Was I the bad one?

Yes, I felt diminished.

Diminished that my smiling, curious way of being would be read as an opening into my body.

Maybe that’s the first lesson from me too. We can no longer accept as taboo what’s been hushed. We all, now, have an invitation to speak what’s true in our experience. As a wife, I invited a conversation with my husband about me too, and we shared with honesty about what we each have experienced. As a mother, I will speak more earnestly with my grown children about me too, and be a listener for my daughter and my son.

Now is the perfect time for all of us to speak, me too, and reject the discomfort of talking about our bodies and our experience, about abuse and power and force and consent and the sacred temple that we all are.

Now is the perfect time for each of us to claim a new relationship with our bodies, one that is steeped in self-love, self-care, and a deep, abiding gratitude for its strength and its resilience and its messages to us.

Now is the perfect time to embody the new knowledge that is this century’s greatest scientific gift from the field of quantum physics, and described this way by writer Dianne Collins:

Scientists began to prove in the laboratory what sacred texts have revealed and what many of us have felt in our hearts and souls—that the universe is a multidimensional unified whole, and that all of us and everything are intricately interconnected.

Now, then, is the perfect time to learn that when we harm another, we also harm ourselves, and its corollary of truth: when we harm our divine, sacred self, we harm each other.

Now is the perfect time for a new conversation.

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“I read the news today, oh boy.”—The Beatles

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“I read the news today, oh boy.”—The Beatles

It’s Monday, and I read the news. Then, this Beatles lyric popped in my mind. I’m not a Beatles expert—I just like their songs. I was born in ’64, and my older uncles played a lot of Beatles tunes in the mornings when they were getting ready for high school, drying their mop-tops with the vacuum cleaner.

The news today isn’t good. Mass shooting. Terrorist attacks. Wars. Lack of diplomatic discipline.

My stomach hurts, and I feel so sad for us humans.

I remember when some other terrible shooting happened in the U.S. when my children were small, more than twenty years ago, and I wanted run away. I wanted to take my kids to a country with almost no gun homicides; there are many countries like that. I wanted to go, to hold them safely in my arms, and to reject our policymakers' dangerous kowtowing to gun lobbyists. I wanted to distance myself from my country that built the military-industrial complex, my county that did insidiously fund the nation’s defenses as a tool of economic stimulus.

Today, I don’t want to run. I want to be in my own pain long enough to hear it, to know it. Today, I want to transcend criticizing my country’s practices and focus all my energy on our common humanity. Borders of voting districts, states, and countries are all made up, invisible lines. They are illusory.

Today, I ask you to be with your pain. All of it. Do not numb it by binging on Hulu or Facebook or M&M’s or wine or anything else that dismisses your feelings. Do not try to soothe your pain by pointing your finger at someone who wronged you. Do not join the blame game. Be all of your humanness.

And as you feel and see all of your humanness, tell yourself the truth: that we are all human, and we are all divine. Therein lies the paradox.

I am like you. You are like me. I am completely unique. You are completely unique.

Today, ask yourself: how can I see myself more fully, more clearly, and more compassionately? How can I look at my own wounds, without judging or being a victim? How can I see my pain for what it wants to teach me?

That is the divine work of being human. To stay in my own sadness, frustration, anger, heartbreak, disappointment and fear, long enough to see it fully. For it’s only when I see it that I can address it, claim it, diffuse it, transform it.

Today, when you speak with those you love, don’t speak of the blame you have for who’s done what in the world. Speak of how you feel about yourself, with compassion, and speak what’s true about you. Share beyond the minutiae with those you love and by whom you are loved. Make connection. See each other’s humanity.

Today, don’t read the news again and again. Call your mother instead. Visit a friend. Do a favor for your neighbor. Learn something about them that you don’t know, something about their own humanness. Talk about it. Share what’s on your heart.

We are here on Earth for each other. Let today be a day that we live like it.

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The Risk

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The Risk

The risk is not following your heart.

Oh, but you protest—I have responsibilities.

What you really mean is: I won’t, because I’m more committed to someone else’s dreams.

The morning I called my manager to resign from my corporate career, I told him that I wasn’t going to work for a competitor—a big fear in that business—and that, in fact, I wasn’t going to work for another company in any industry. I told him about my desire to pursue my dreams, to step into a new chapter in my life, to have the space and time to create something from nothing.

I expressed my gratitude for the experiences, the support, and the collegiality. I asked his permission for me to call the executives on my team, to tell them personally. He supported that request.

Then, he said, “I have to tell you that I’m really jealous.”

And, in my conversation with every, single executive that day, I heard the response, “I’m really happy for you. I wish I could do the same thing.”

I felt stunned by these unexpected responses. After all, they each had a much higher salary than I, had more years of earning power, and possessed important entrepreneurial skills and, in this very competitive industry, were considered amongst the best at what they did.

From my perspective, every one of them could do exactly what they dreamed of doing, now. Yet, each of them were telling me that they were more committed to making the dreams of the CEO come true.

I was unprepared to hear the truth: that they weren’t ready to follow their hearts.

Yet, of course I understood. I lived in that space, too. We all live in a space comfortably, until we won’t. Until the noise within become too loud, too clear, and too direct, we stay put. That's the only choice. So that's the perfect choice. Until it's not.

The only risk we face is believing that what we truly desire to experience in this life can’t happen for us. Millions of people, every day, live in the center of their dreams.

Why not me?

Why not you?

The only risk is inaction.

The only risk is ignoring what’s possible.

The only risk is denying our heart’s urging us to a higher purpose, to our own expansion, to our next version of ourselves.

Is it time for you to leap?

 

 

 

 

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Monday, Monday--Are You on Fire?

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Monday, Monday--Are You on Fire?

Fired up for Monday?

A few weeks ago, I was at a spinning class on a Monday evening, and the instructor started by asking, "who's had a great day," wanting to amp up the energy in the room. 

No one raised a hand, except me. Everyone had lived a whole day, but no one else was willing to claim that it was great.

I believe great days don't just come to us. I believe great days are made.

Ready to make this day great? Here are three ways you can choose to impact this day:

1. Decide before you begin. 

Learn what makes a day great for you and align you actions by deciding to do those activities and practices to set the tempo for your day. Are you a morning person? Then, make your morning delicious by engaging in what makes you most happy. Is meditation your thing? Then meditate in the morning--at your optimum time for you. Do you love a tidy home when you arrive back at the end of the day? Then take time in the mornings to push the reset button from last evening. 

If you're not a morning person, what can you do the evening before to make your morning go more smoothly? Decide what's going to serve you best and then do that. 

My friend, Meg, tells a story about arriving at her office one morning, feeling self-conscious about the pants she was wearing. It was early spring, her pants were white, and she thought they weren't flattering. Yet, she'd worn them and was faced with being in the office all day, not feeling at her best. Meg shared her discomfort with a colleague who look at her and said, "go back outside, and walk in this office like you own it."

Meg did just that. And that action shifted her discomfort enough that, for the rest of that day, she moved through her business interactions with more ease, confidence, and self-assurance. 

So, today, decide to own it.

2. Trust what transpires.

We know the adage of best laid plans. When something goes awry from you plans, when an unexpected interruption occurs, or when you're knock off your game a little or a lot, what if you could be okay with what is? Could you let go in that moment of frustration and be curious about what you could learn? Is the disruption calling you to have clearer boundaries so that you can still own your day? Are you able to practice flexibility? Could you cultivate compassion for the situation or for the person who seems to be challenging you? 

I spent nearly fifteen years teaching teenagers English. Remember high school English? You had English class once a day, likely, and I held English class every day, 5 or 6 times, for 180 days every year. I taught thousands of teenagers, and despite how clear and tightly planned my lessons were, things happened, from fire drills to broken copy machines to dogs eating homework and other bad excuses. My students taught me that, when the final bell rings, it's actually all okay. I learned that subtle balance of order and chaos, and it helped me out in the world, outside of the school walls, to remember this balance.

Just for today, trust what transpires, and see how that impacts your balanced living.

3. Use today's feedback for tomorrow's potential.

Most days are not make or break. If we can truly accept what we learn today and apply it to tomorrow, then tomorrow holds incredible potential. Feedback comes to us through our emotions, primarily, so use how you're feeling to decide what you can learn.

Is today frantic and uncomfortable? Then, do something radical to shift tomorrow. When my son was in elementary school, he was responsible for being dressed, with teeth brushed, backpack checked, and after-school gear packed. He decided to sleep in his clothes, so that mornings were less hectic. I thought it was a rather ingenious plan; after all, most 3rd grade boys are a little smelly and their clothes are often crumpled. He felt empowered and clever by his plan, and I easily let myself focus on the outcome--he was ready to leave on time.

If we are less rigid at times, we can tap into possibilities that are the proverbial "out of the box" ideas. Look for what today can teach you about how tomorrow could be.

Next time someone asks you how your Monday has gone, I want you to be able to confidently and truthfully say, "it was great!" 

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