Greatness is not given, it is chosen.
Becoming great is gritty. It's also a gift.
We are all designed to be great, to create legacy, to impact others in ways that truly matter. Greatness is in us, we just have to cultivate it, choose it, create it, let it blossom.
Every one of us has the capacity to be great, great on our own terms. The ways we can distract ourselves from what truly matters keeps greatness and the rewards it offers at arm's length distance. This world is full of distractions and denial. Convenience strips away character all too often. Greatness is inconvenient and it's what we all seek. Being great, feeling great, having a sense of integrity and purpose and impact, it is chosen.
Making choices that lead to personal fulfillment, provide for others and are meaningful are not often easy. The convenient choices are mediocre at best; they don't leave people with more value than before they started.
Why does anyone want to achieve greatness?
Why do you want to be great?
Greatness is chosen in quiet moments where no one will give us credit. We must have our own compelling reason to overcome the resistance of convenience, old programming and fear in order to build our character. This is where greatness is cultivated and grows into giants.
What we value defines what greatness is for each of us. Once we identify what matters to us, we can create a road map with simple stops along the way to choose, create and achieve what we desire. Greatness is not about getting credit for anything, it is really rooted in serving others and defying ordinary or easy.
Defining greatness for ourselves will reveal what we value. This is a benchmark of living mindfully and on purpose.
How do we become great? It's actually quite simple, though far from easy. While it might look unique for each of us, here are some guidelines for how we can start creating greatness in ourselves from the inside out.
1. Choose how we spend our time. From work to hobbies, daily habits to what we do when no one is watching, how we spend our time reflects what we value. Are the things that are bringing us closer to growth outweighing the mindless distractions and dramatic interactions? This is the most valuable aspect of our lives, how we utilize the time we have. Maybe sitting in silence in the sunshine is a way to start spending time more meaningfully, instead of being on our phones or scrolling facebook.
2. Choose who we spend our time with. This includes who we interact with, the relationships we invest in, what we allow into our sacred inner space. Jim Rohn said "you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with." This shook me when I first heard it... did I like who I was? Was I contributing to other people being less than they wanted to be? What a call to level up! If we become like the people we spend the most time with, think about who we surround ourselves with. This goes for books and music, TV and social media, friends and family, intimate partners and teachers. We can be built up or put down by our interactions. Seek out people we want to be like, who we enjoy, who challenge us and compel us to stretch our comfort zones, learn more, give more and grow. When there aren't people like this physically around, creating space for them to enter in can be uncomfortable. Choose this... this is greatness tucked in discomfort. Read more books, listen to podcasts, join a virtual mastermind. Getting creative during the in between times is part of leveling up.
3. Commit to the process of becoming great. Making decisions holds tremendous power. Defining what it is to be great, envisioning how it feels and the ways it impacts others is a sure fire way to start choosing things that lead to a bigger sense of meaning. To be great requires choosing great. Decisions come from commitments. Where can we commit to take action or make adaptations today? Is there something simple that is sucking the dreams out of us instead of infusing them into us? How can committing to our highest selves happen now, even if there's doubt or shame or a lot to learn? Decide. Simply decide to be willing and think about how it will feel to start embodying this. There's magic in this. Try it.
4. Model others who we admire. Think of someone who inspires. This person is an example to follow. Look at how they walk, how they pay attention to others, what they stand for, why they inspire us. Are they getting out of their comfort zone regularly? Do they offer support to others? Where have they overcome difficulties? What attitude or mindsets do they exhibit? Genius is in following others who have results we desire. This is not about becoming them, its about learning from their experience to achieve what we desire. Mentorship is the X factor of success.
5. Believe. Believing in ourselves is so important. However small the belief is now, nurture it. Letting ourselves dream about how stepping into our purpose and cultivating, then sharing the gifts only we have, makes them blossom. When dreams are felt, imagined, allowed to grow, we become more committed to creating them. The beauty in dreaming is that there is no ceiling unless we create one, or keep building the ones others have handed down to us. Our greatness is ours, unique and needed by the world.
6. Expect resistance. Then embrace it. Discomfort is a sign of growth. Greatness requires us to grow. We have to grow out of the beliefs that have kept us playing small, being in a victim mindset, holding resentments, choosing abuse over abundance. We get to grow beyond the places that have hurt us, held us captive, hindered our ability to create in the ways we are capable of. Resistance is the initiation of becoming great. Expect it. Embrace it. Reframe that it means something is wrong, affirm that resistance means something is right! We are growing into greatness with every choice to stare doubt, fear, naysayers or impatience in the face and fuel our dreams, values and hope instead.
7. Be intentional about mindset. Perspective and attitude pain our world. Who we become comes from what we believe. Challenging the default of negativity, selfishness, victimhood, small focus takes times. Greatness is not overnight, it is over time. Focusing on what is true, seeing the full spectrum of our experience, leads to wisdom and maturity. Yes, there is pain and discouragement. There is also opportunity and resilience. How do we want to live? How we live comes from what we believe. Digging up the mindsets that trip us up, keep us stuck, blame others and stay in denial will make us great... long before its obvious to ourselves or anyone else. Reframe disappointment into seeing the lessons learned, feeling the emotions and choosing what we want to take away from it. This is not a one time deal, it has to be repeated again and again. Intentionality will not be appealing, do it anyway.
8. Ask for help. We all need support and it's here for us! In becoming more mindful of who we spend time with, we can trust that it's safe to be vulnerable and seek accountability, perspective, support and a pep talk when we need it. There is no such thing as a self made success story. We are all in this together. A rising tide raises all ships. Choose to be in the rising tide and ask for help when it's needed, offer it when others seek it. Learning to receive is part of what makes us great; humility and receptivity are endearing qualities that make us human. Vulnerable and strong, we ask for help and receive it because becoming great is so important that we do whatever it takes.
9. Notice the growth. Then celebrate it. Greatness is not a destination to get too. It's a process of becoming, of learning, of giving, or growing. Seeing where growth is happening and how we are changing matters. Giving ourselves applause, quiet kudos, gratitude for doing the hard thing because we care about our character - this is greatness in action. Growth is gritty. It's also such a gift. Savor it. Simple moments can be so rewarding. Notice them. Then keep creating them.
We are all designed to be great.
Taking stock of our lives will be a wake up. Consider this a gift, an invitation to choose again what we want and how we will move toward greatness. What do we have to release? Where will be bring more focus? How amazing will it feel to prove to ourselves that we are worthy of being great, whether others notice or not?
Whether we feel like it or not, much is required to be great. Intentionality, discipline, honesty, integrity, trust, generosity, going against the grain. Normal is convenient. Greatness is earned.
Giving up what we want now for what we want most is a staple in the greatness game. Accept responsibility for the choices only we can make and results they lead to. Act into positivity, productivity, authenticity, discipline and greatness.
Become then get. Being who we want to be through our daily routine leads to receiving what we desire. Try it. Prove me wrong. Prove this theory right. What is there to lose, really?
Get gritty. Become great. The world needs the true you.
One of the things I wanted most when I got sober, and since then in multiple recovery journeys from illnesses and difficulties, has been freedom from fear. Fear gripped me for a long time... the threats of something horrible happening that I could not come back from, people I loved getting hurt or dying, not having needs met, financial problems, you name it, fear was funneling through me. One of the reasons I turned to drugs and other harmful behaviors was because fear and anxiety were so overwhelming. I needed a break from the panic and stress of feeling out of control, being unable to calm the fears or know how to handle things that might happen.
Ultimately, sobriety and recovery led me to other options. Fear didn't just vanish when I got sober, though. What happened was a growing awareness to what I wanted and needed help with. Recovery didn't turn fear into faith automatically, nor did it calm my anxiety right away. Fear isn't the most inviting thing to sit down with. Fear says "run, hide, panic" a lot of the time.
In recovery and my life now I have a very different relationship with fear than I used to. I honor fear. It has a lot of valuable information to give. I do not feel captive to it or give it free reign to tun my life. Recovery and fear work together; without fear, recovery wouldn't have been chosen in the first place. The fear of continuing down a dark path, being victim to your addiction or illness or scarcity mentality, propelled change, giving you courage to make uncomfortable choices and claim your life back. Fear leads to bravery. For this reason alone, giving fear some respect and getting curious about how it might benefit you now is worthwhile.
I speak with many people who want freedom from fear. I don't have freedom from fear, I do live with a more balanced perspective about which fears are important to follow and which are messengers bringing information that requires some understanding and dialogue.
Fear is part of life. We are hardwired to be alert and afraid of certain things for our very survival. If a car is driving straight at you as you walk across the street, the built in fear of getting hit will lead you to jump out of the way. This is something I want to keep! Not all fear is bad, wrong or harmful. I'll even go so far as to say no fear is bad or wrong, though following some fears blindly can be harmful.
In recovery, learning to distinguish the difference between our fears, old and learned fears, current fears, fears linked with the future, is a rewarding part of self understanding. By looking at who we are, how we think and what we believe, the ways fears inform our choices can help us in making new choices, challenging certain fears and shifting what we believe. This is a dynamic process and doesn't happen overnight.
Having conversations with fear helps to gain understanding. Think of fear as a part of yourself. Having a conversation, with open dialogue and curiosity, can bring aha moments and closer connection to truth. As with any relationship, if there are questions asked and safe space to answer them honestly, valuable information will surface.
Another thing to consider as a person in recovery is whether the fear you are feeling is yours or your addiction's. Addictions are bullies. They lie. They threaten. They use fear to get fed. If an addiction stops being fed, it will die. When I was using drugs, I started to believe that if I stopped I would lose control, bad things would happen and I wouldn't be able to handle it. These fears were not really mine, they were the fears of the addiction I had formed. I was under a spell and unable to see that I was fearing things that weren't based in reality. The reality was actually the opposite! If I didn't;t stop using, bad things would keep happening. I had already lost control. The more I led these fears lead me around, the more I was dependent on drugs and fear to feel okay. It was a vicious cycle.
Fear takes away our options when we let it lead us.
How can we shift from fear using us to us using fear?
1. Start a conversation with your fears. Take a notebook and ask these questions, writing any answers that surface. Let this notebook be a safe space for fear to speak openly. Give yourself permission to see and hear the fears without needing to act on them, invest in them or believe them. This is about observing, think about this as if you were interviewing someone. In this case, it is a fear or might even become a group of fears.
Ask specific questions:
"What do you have to say to me?"
"Are you mine or someone else's?"
"Does this fear belong to my true self or an illness/disease/addiction?"
2. Once you have identified the fears here with out, go deeper. Breathe deeply and make a decision to let new information surface. Ask more questions:
"How are you trying to help me?"
"What are you needing in order to feel safe?"
"Where are you pointing me to cultivate more trust in myself, others or life?"
*If some of the fears have revealed themselves as belonging to the addiction/illness, still ask these questions. Addiction/illness meets needs until something else can; this is where the recovery journey comes in. Using substances or behaviors, avoiding action, or other things that you might have employed that don't benefit you long term, are all ways you've learned to survive. This is part of life! Just because you've used something up until now does not mean you have to keep doing it; in fact, by reading this and opening up a dialogue with fear, you are being equipped with new abilities and have more options available to you.
3. Make a list of how fear has served you up until now. Start the list or writing with "thank you, fears, for..." How has fear helped you stay safe, avoid danger or protect yourself? Has being afraid of dying young kept you from using IV drugs or driving 115 miles per hour on the backroads at night? These things might seem silly or feel awkward to write... honor them anyway.
4. Flip fear on it's side. Now channel your inner courage, the wise one that lives in you and speaks through you from time to time. Take out another sheet of paper and complete this sentence until nothing else comes. Set a timer for 3 minutes and start here, then go as long as you like.
"If I weren't afraid, I would say..."
"If I weren't afraid, I would do..."
"If I weren't afraid, I would celebrate..."
"If I weren't afraid, I would ask..."
"If I weren't afraid, I would stop..."
"If I weren't I would..."
Fear can be a messenger of what to avoid and also where to go. Some of the things I have feared most have been things I had to do. Huge dreams brought up fear of my capacity, "could I really do that?" Fear has pointed me toward my destiny, showing me where I needed to trust myself and others, choose growth over comfort, rise into a new level of responsibility. Recovery sets us up to mature, to take up more space, to lead others once we have learned to lead ourselves. Vulnerability can be uncomfortable, it is not a sign to panic and run away though. By having real conversations with fears, distinguishing between fear for our safety and fear of success can happen. Learning the difference between our fears and the addiction's, or a younger version of ourself, sets us up to seek out support and balance the fear with faith. This comes through sponsorship, mentorship, therapy, creative outlets, the list goes on.
My mentor says "fear is a pointer in where you need to go." This has been a life changing perspective for me. I don't grab fear and immediately run with it, I do pause to consider if it's valid to take at face value or use to find out what's underneath it.
5. Create boundaries. Boundaries are limits and agreements we set with people, thoughts and behaviors. Boundaries are not punishment, they send messages about what places are off limits and what is or is not allowed. By shutting the door to a bathroom, I set a boundary and communicate that I want privacy. In telling friends I no longer want to be around drugs, I create a boundary and show others and myself that sobriety is a priority for me.
Fear needs boundaries. It needs to be told what it's job it and what I am handling. In asking fears what they need, what they are trying to convey, in thanking them for being of service and then giving the fears that belong to addiction or illness back to where they came from, we can thrive in new ways. Freedom comes with boundaries. Nothing is exiled, there are just more clear agreements and spaciousness.
Setting boundaries with fear can be challenging. I use a simple technique because simplicity leads to success. Try this:
Write any fears you don't want to keep believing, following or being held captive to on a piece of paper. Use as much paper as you need. Fold each one. Now, find a box with a lid or a mason jar with a top that shuts. Decorate the box if you'd like. Make it an inviting space, something beautiful. Remember, this is not about punishing fears, it's just putting them in a place where they don't have to try and take control over you. Putting them in this box tells them that they can relax, you are safe, all is well.
You might not fully believe that all is well yet. Why would you if fear has been gripping you and you've been relying on it? This is a practice, as all change and learning and growth is. There might be areas of life that seem unsteady. You might wonder if you'll be okay without the familiar fears. Through shifting your perception on fear, you are building your faith muscles. Self trust comes through inquiry and action. That's what this aforementioned process is all about.
In recovery, you are getting back into the driver seat of your mind and life. This requires awareness and takes effort. It takes responsibility to be awake and conscious about your choices! The work is real, the rewards are immense, the miracles keep coming.
What might become possible for you, in your thought process and confidence level, when you see how fear has been trying to help you? How might you be able to breathe easier when you thank fear for what it's teaching you then give it permission to relax and quiet down?
Recovery = Recovering who you really are
Fear = Face Everything And Recover
I choose recovery because I want to trust myself. Spending so much time believing addiction, illness, low self esteem and fear without question robbed me of confidence, health, well-being and freedom. Learning to be loyal to myself, my truth, instead of fears or addiction, comes in seeing where I am believing lies. Fear can be a liar. This doesn't make it wrong, it just means I have to trust myself enough to believe something else when fear is bullying me into believing it. Trust happens in time and experience, through conversations and staying curious. Trust is formed through truth telling, even when it's vulnerable.
Start using fear to enrich your self understanding, recovery, confidence and courage. Let fear propel you, show you where you need to go, reveal what part of your recovery is needing more attention or affection. In recovery, I know that there is no perfection. Progress is what counts. This has helped me be more compassionate with myself or others when fear is leading to reaction, harsh words or hasty decisions. By slowing down, breathing deep and recognizing that we are all human and that fear is normal, I can see that fear is just another messenger. Everyone and anyone, fear included, has information to share. Why not use it to our advantage if it's showing up?
Filled with fear or brimming with faith, you are supported & I hope your recovery journey is an epic learning curve. I am grateful to be on this path with you.
With Huge Heart,
Every single one of us has our stuff. Shit happens. Sometimes we create it, sometimes we come up against it. Any time something happens that is challenging, scary, filled with uncertainty or unpleasantness, there are a few choices: complain, try to change it, use it to our advantage.
I am all about leveraging experience. If we're going to go through something, why not grow through it?
Recovery teaches us that the power of perspective is huge. Our mindsets are one of the greatest resources we have. Just as incredible is our association. When perspective and community combine, we can be unstoppable in living by our values and making waves in the most meaningful ways.
When life is tough, when surprises come and threaten to take us off course, when shit happens, we can be taken down or use it to lift another up. Turning our story into service to another brings meaning and purpose into what might otherwise seem like punishment from the universe.
I recently had a few days of pretty dark thinking. I felt pessimistic, impatient, a lot of judgment and self pity. It was a recipe for disaster and depression. I was in my own shit. After day two, it crossed my mind that I could stay in this for a long time if I let myself. This shit, these circumstances, all these emotions weren't going to magically disappear. They weren't going to change on their own, it was my job and opportunity to change the way I was interacting with what was.
Synchronistically, I got a message from a former client who was going through a very similar dark day. I let this flip me into a different mode, one of service and connection. I got out of myself and told him I was in a similar place! I got real, I didn't hide my feelings or pretend I was feeling on top of the world. I shared my shit and asked him if he wanted to be one another's accountability to create some changes in ourselves and hopefully see our experiences differently.
I turned the shit, being in my stuff, feeling low, into service. I connected with someone else and tapped into my ability to show up for them while showing up for myself at the same time. Service is the great transformer. Giving our attention and affection to others, offering support and sincerity, turns every experience into a wise teacher.
The next time you're going through it, look at how you can share what you're going through with someone else and watch connection blossom. The shit turns into manure when we take the eyes off ourselves. Change the story and change your life, maybe someone else's, too.
There is so much stigma around addiction.
Have you heard the judgments, opinions and misconceptions? Do you have them?
They're just weak.
Just get over it.
It's not that big of a deal.
What's wrong with me?
Don't talk about it.
Are you crazy?
Why are you doing this again?
Why are you doing this to me?
It's time to name these beliefs about addiction you hear or say to see where misunderstanding and misconception might be keeping you stuck. Denial makes healing impossible.
Someone recently asked me how to ask for help with his drinking that had gotten out of hand. I was so honored that he asked me this, took the chance to get vulnerable and open up this conversation. Addiction is an epidemic worldwide yet there is still stigma around saying "I need help." This is an important conversation more of us need to have.
Addiction in itself keeps people limited until the habits are arrested. Think of addiction like having a spell cast over you, keeping you hooked into something that is intriguing and harmful all at the same time. Addiction meets a need that hasn't been met in other ways. It's not a character flaw or sign of weakness. It's a response to trauma a lot of the time.
Why would someone who has been hurt deserve to be judged for it? Addiction is similar to this dynamic. Have you ever hear "hurt people hurt people" statement? As an addict I know that being so filled with hurt I didn't know how to express led me to hurt myself and other people in the process. I used drugs and other habits to check out because I didn't know how to face the pain in me. I have now been sober for over 14 years and am still learning about what it means to deal with addiction and be in a daily recovery journey.
Having an addiction does not make you weak. Being addicted to a substance, reliant on a habit or feeling unable to make a change you want to make does not mean there's something wrong with you. It means you need help.
Addiction comes with being human for many of us. It can be really scary to say "I need help." The questions about what might happen when you get vulnerable and expose your addiction can be really uncomfortable to sit in. "Will they judge me?" "What if I cannot get better?" "Who will I be without this drug, drink or habit?" "Why can't I just slow down on my own?"
What's scarier than saying "I need help" is not facing the addictions that are stealing your life.
One of the surefire ways to turn that fear of being judged because you need help is to look at the gifts of giving. How does it feel to give to someone you love? Isn't it comforting and enlivening to see someone light up when you give them a smile for no reason other than to share your love? This is the gift of giving. People need help all the time, many don't say it out loud but need it just as much as anyone who does. Reframe what it means to need help my seeing the gifts in giving. By you saying "I need help" you are giving someone the opportunity to share their experience, strength and hope with you.
Maybe they need you as much as you need them. Have you ever considered that?
Take some time today to write down how your life has been enriched by what you've given others. Think about when people you know or love, or even complete strangers, have been in a place of need. How did it add value to you and them for you to give to them? Make a list of how you felt when giving, how others reacted when you helped them, note the ways you felt more connected to love by helping someone else. Now write down anyone that you trust to be real with. Trust doesn't mean it won't be uncomfortable, but success is built on inconvenience.
Sobriety isn't convenient. Learning new ways to be and live won't be comfortable a lot of the time. Anything worthwhile isn't easy, it's so worth it though. Change can be challenging. Growth is glorious. One leads to others and asking for help then receiving it is the bridge from one to the other.
Choose yourself. Challenge those fears trying to hold you back. Claim your strength and say "I need help." Watch the change start to happen. You are worth it, this addiction can be overcome, you are not alone, hope is here for you.
How do you make space for who you are becoming?
The act of growing, the art of living, the process of transforming are actively happening on a daily basis whether you realize it or not. Creating space for what is emerging, the stories that are surfacing, the beliefs that are being challenged and changed, the body that is moving and evolving into its own unique form for this season of your life, this is required for your own survival and to tap into your ability to thrive.
Without space things get stifled. In order to become, you must allow there to be spaciousness between what has been and what will be. Those who avoid conscious growth usually do so because the discomfort of being in unfamiliar, the space between here and there, what has been and what will be, is incredibly uncomfortable at times.
Think of a seed that gets planted, it is designed to grow and thrive and reach its unique potential. If the seed is planted in a small pot, however, it may not have the environment it needs to expand and grow sturdy roots. Space, for this seed, is not a liability. Having a container where safety can be fostered is important, with boundaries and borders to stretch into. The delicate balance between too little room to move and grow and vast expanse with no help in harnessing the energy being cultivated; like the seed, this is the harmony we all find. Usually with a lot of experimentation, experience + simple adjustments.
With spaciousness, becoming is possible. Authentic growth and expression can happen, with help from the outside elements rather than being dictated by them. Space can feel scary. The freedom to evolve might trigger uncertainty, self doubt, doubt in life itself.
Becoming is a process that happens over time, one that cannot be rushed yet also cannot be avoided indefinitely. Like art that requests to be shared, if the creative energy is not expressed it demands to be. Becoming is an art, not something to master, something to uncover and explore, to relish in and honor.
To live a life that is meaningful and fulfilling, you must allow space for growth and change. This might mean releasing what you've wanted to hold onto, to leave something that has become familiar, to question what was always assumed. This is warrior work.
Nurturing yourself with safety and nourishment while you move and flow helps soften the sting spaciousness can bring. Like a seed's soil is nourished, so too do you need soul food while you blow into blossoming. Think small and start simply: Take deep breaths. Choose colors that soothe you. Surround yourself with people that encourage your empowerment. Read material that reminds you of who you truly are. Make art. Walk outside. Write your fears and dreams, let the tears out, dance with music or silence.
You need space, space to grow and honor the specific size and shape of you that is coming into expression.
Where in yourself and your life are you needing more space to go and grow?
What ideas or beliefs or attachments will you need to release in order to give yourself the space that you need to become who you are being asked to become?
This act of becoming requires feeling, sometimes emotions linked with grief and sadness need more time and expression than you've given them. Honor the uncertainty, lean into the mystery, relish in the you that you are becoming. Inhale the possibilities and newness. Exhale the things that no longer fit.
The fear of loss can be gripping, paralyzing, life zapping. I recently had a conversation with a friend who spent a lot of time in quiet and alone. He had lived such a full life, with so much loss and sadness. I asked him about his past and noted "there has been so much loss." Without a thought, he responded, "oh yes, but there has been so much gain."
He spent a lot of time alone. He cherished the space between sounds, the ways life found him when he paused. Meditation was a portal into loss where he accessed the gains. My dear friend showed me the poignant power in embracing losses and allowing what else is true to be present as well.
The acceptance of loss and the ability to see what is gained through every loss, change, transition or phase brought can bring peace. Grieving what has been is important, vital, a process that cannot be scheduled or rushed. Beyond grief lives the ability to release attachment to fear of future loss.
I am spending more time alone these days. The difference between alone and lonely is clear to me. Sacred space, quiet time, solitude are all exquisite. Solo experience can also be grueling and uncomfortable. The difference is all in the mind, my mind, the perspective chosen on the present moment. When I embrace the gift of being with myself, of showing up for myself, I get to lose the fear of losing or missing out.
It is rainy and cold outside. The pull to hibernate and reflect is undeniable. I can hear the voice inside nagging with an insistence to go out, do something productive, judging me for being alone instead of socializing with someone.
The fear or dread of missing out, either on what I desire or what I see others doing, has stolen many magical moments from me. In times of quiet, there is a loss of stimulation. This can be uncomfortable to sit with. The absence of noise is a loss, yet it is also a gain. Have you ever noticed what becomes possible when noise fades away? The gain in silence is inner connection, spiritual sustenance, access to what lives quietly amidst the noise of most moments. Meditation and mediative moments are a treasure chest of possibility to explore...
Yes, there is loss, yet it is true, too... "There is so much gain." Take this perspective with you today and see what shows up. What lives in the space where loss might also be present? How does quiet nurture you when you allow it?
In this new year beginning, I am sending so much love.
With Huge Heart,
Are you paying attention to what is meeting you? You know, those messages from your innermost places, signs from life, unexplainable happenings and nods from the Universe?
One word and energy that shows up consistently for me is Grace. She finds me everywhere I go. I can’t explain it and don’t have to. I am thankful, in awe of the synchronicity, the guidance, the gifts she brings. The messages that show up are offering valuable information and I’m taking notes. Life gives us what we ask for after all... and I've been asking.
In these times of change and transition, sadness swoops in unexpectedly. With eyes open and a tender heart, a lot is uncertain yet this remains true: Grace lives in quiet moments, Joy exists in unlikely places, Love is here (wherever I am) even when loss exists also.
Grace is the ability to breathe deeply and feel fully, to move ahead with or without fear, to sense the hand of the Divine guiding you forward, to know that with uncertainty will surely come clarity. I see Grace and fierce strength in my sister, Sacha. She never ceases to amaze me with her persistence, generosity, kindness, truth telling, classic beauty, unexpected plot twists, grand vision, tenacious action.
If I had a daughter I thought I’d call her Grace. Whether I become a mother or not, this name, this word, resonates with me on all levels. It invites me to live with more faith and trust and levity. Grace asks me to commit to my healing and become my own beloved. She dares me to love and let go and allow change to happen. Grace asks me to claim my strength by facing the lows that frighten me. A gift from Life, a humble teacher and constant companion, Grace is an ally. She calls me higher. She draws me deeper into my soul. She asks me what I’m willing to endure to fulfill my destiny. I cherish the comfort and mystery she brings. I hope to be her messenger for others like others have been for me.
When in doubt, I ask Grace to guide me. Her poise and courage and compassion are awe inspiring. Her resilience and unwavering belief in the miraculous ignite my hope when it seems like the light is dying. When I don't know where to turn, I close my eyes and ask for the next indicated move, thought, decision. I think about my sister. I open myself to what Life is telling me.
The world for provides what I need even when I don’t understand the lessons I’m being asked to learn. Calling in the energy I want to embody means it will come. I proclaim that I will persevere and hold Love firmly and share generously, no matter what comes or how hard it hits me. I believe in the beauty of the future. I see the beauty of right now.
What are you asking Life for? Are you staying open to the signs around you? Breathe deep and bring curiosity into the moment... you will be contacted, again and again. Look to the people around you that offer you comfort, awe, light you up, bring a sense of "all is well" when you think of them. Draw close to the magic of mystery. Ask for more and let it wash over you...
Listen to the quiet and you might just hear, “Please don’t worry, I’ve got you.”
With Huge Heart,
Resistance is a gift. How often are you met with challenge and curse the world instead of thanking it? Most of my life, I have believed that when hurdles happen or unexpected (albeit natural) shifts happen, I am being punished for previous mistakes. I have seen sadness, loss, disappointment and confusion as a sign that I am wrong, not good enough, unchosen or broken. These common human beliefs, masked as "I'm the only one" insecurities, can either keep me stuck or show me how to break through into new paradigms of perspective. I have been stuck in deep stories and beliefs, inherited and perpetuated over time, only leading to shame and more of what is hurting.
As humans we are very skilled at ignoring, avoiding, disowning and rejecting experience when remembering it or facing it hurts and overwhelms us. This is a primal survival strategy that isn't wholly relevant or helpful in current day. Learning to meet resistance and explore it with courage, compassion and creativity is a way to become more of your true self, who you want to be, to align with your current and evolving self.
It wasn't until I had the shadow talked about, the concept Carl Jung speaks to so magically, that I saw there are two or more sides to every experience. In delving into Jung's work and joining conversations on topics that unsettled me at times (enter Brene Brown), the value of resistance and discomfort became more clear to me. At face value, something that triggers or troubles me also holds important information that can actually guide me closer to clarity, comfort and compassion. When resistance shows up, it usually means shadow material is present. This might present as strong emotion, fear, or procrastination. These thing,s that are conveniently glossed over, are actually the things that deserve more time and space to be expressed.
Through recovery work, creative art process and spiritual exploration, I have come to see the shadow material as my friend. Resistance is a sure sign that I am meeting shadow material, something that hasn't been allowed to surface for one reason or another. When I fight resistance, trying to keep it under the surface like a blow up ball in a pool of water, I get tired and tunnel vision. I become unable to see the whole pool, only focusing on the ball staying under the surface because some part of me believes it is safer there, or I am safer with it kept in secret. Fighting, resisting, hiding, these are all self esteem killers and exhausting efforts. Having clarity and confidence are nearly impossible when resistance and secrets or shadow are prevalent.
Challenges are messengers. Emotions are messengers. Sacred information comes through visible and invisible channels. Resistance isn't something to savor or hold onto, yet it is something to notice, honor and work with.
Debbie Ford, a world renowned author and former mentor of mine, said this: "what you resist, persists." At an intensive retreat, appropriately called the shadow process, she spoke to the life of resistance. It is absolutely possible to keep resisting what frightens us or seems shameful, yet the information trying to be seen and heard will not be squashed down indefinitely. Avoiding the conversation with material living in or under where resistance rises, whether this conversation is literal or symbolic, only adds for struggle and suffering. Fighting something just brings more tension and requires more energy to keep fighting.
Think of any incredibly moving story you've heard: the challenges create the tension that leads to creation. Overcoming, changing, growing, evolving, stepping through struggle, these are the pieces of the puzzle that make moments matter. Challenge doesn't make life matter, it does bring meaning and new perspective though. We are here to grow, to discover what matters to us, to identify our values, to connect with ourselves and others, to create our own conscious stories.
Releasing resistance requires trust, a willingness to be in unclear waters. Shifting from "I don't want to go there" or "I can't face this" into a place of "I don't know what's true or coming now" is part of this profound process. Seeing fear as my friend, not to be followed or believed, but an entity that can help me identify what's true for me now, has been a life changing decision. Resistance, challenge and the like might just be offering you what you've been hoping, wishing and asking for. Consider them gifts in unlikely wrapping paper.
Resistance still sneaks up on me, all the time. Being committed to see it and work with it makes us allies instead of enemies. This is a daily practice. The value of befriending what challenges and flipping it on its side, to explore and express, leads to new freedom. Take some time to explore and consider the opportunity in tension... transformation awaits.
With Huge Heart,
Are you in a place of assessing your life, this year, what matters?
Turning into Fall towards Winter, the last days and weeks of this year, I notice a rising reflectiveness. This time brings a natural tendency to review what has come and passed, shown up and stays with us, dreams that are asking to be manifested.
I am not one to set resolutions every January. I seek growth and prefer to set myself up for this rather than accomplishing a set goal to determine how successful I feel. At the start of this year I noticed themes and values that showed up, almost forecasting what I would need to learn and practice. 2018 asked me to see, choose and embody Abundance, Stability + Connection.
This has been one of the most tumultuous and surreal years of my life. Thirty two years on the planet, surviving many periods of challenge, overcoming heartache, healing from illness, rising up after falling, 2018 marks perhaps the most intense and unique. Dealing with a life threatening illness, January 1st I was already intensively receiving support and activating new levels of ambition to show up for myself and heal. My Beau was in the throes of grief and shock, his twin brother leaving the planet in a shocking way in the latter part of 2017. Valentine's Day brought the news that my Dad had taken his own life after battling depression and other difficulties since my, and his, childhood. The lack of stability that came with this news has continued to rock me. The world is forever changed.
As I write, I am sitting here, at a table in a local Starbucks, where I sat with my Dad and Beau, this time a year and a half ago. The connection I can make now looks and feels differently than it did then, I can't hear his laugh or see his conflicted expression, reach across the table and touch his hand or smile at him hugging Kevin. Life is not the same as it was... yet this is what I have. I am recalling the simple yet intelligent conversation we had, listening and engaging intently with one another. It was yet another brief visit from out of town my Dad made. He was notorious for driving hours just to sit and chat and remind me he loved me. I wish he was sitting with me now, facing me in the stool across the table. Instead, he is coursing through my mind and providing a different sense of company. I feel abundant, knowing how thoroughly loved I have been and am, how much intimacy and trust we shared. This is something special.
I intuitively knew at the start of the year that I would need stability in a way I hadn't before. I needed to have my foundation rocked, in the most jarring ways, to really understand what my responsibility and rights are. As a human, a woman, the captain of my ship, I am also surrounded by others who can hold me while I flail. Finding harmony between independence and reliance on others who know me has been a less than eloquent dance. With illness, grief, moving homes numerous times, running a small business and learning the best I could as I went, so much new, the unfamiliar outweighed the situations where I could confidently say "I've got this." My faith took a blow and I found myself walking as if through a dreamscape most of this year. Even in his instability, I found a sense of safety in knowing my Dad was on the planet, praying vigorously, writing voraciously, giving generously and loving fiercely. My body out of equilibrium, my household struggling, business zapping energy, inner criticism and judgment rampant... the equation for stability seemed completely out of reach.
With trial and error, many tears, harsh truth telling and the most dedicated support system I could ever ask for, a new normal started. Tending to simple, the basics of every day, putting some of the big dreams and lofty goals on the shelf for now, became the antidote for a shaky foundation. Coming to see what was most pressing to handle, namely my health in all ways, gave me a road map. I needed stability, peace, simplicity, in order to grow into the next version of me life has in store. Patience and acceptance have been cornerstones to this time of life. I have drawn on these principles and others I know well through recovery work and experience to survive the moments that seem too intense to pass through safely.
My "little" Brother became a Dad this Summer. Seeing him grow into the man I admire, embodying the father archetype with such strength and surety, is something I am proud to witness. He is one of my heroes.
The new role my Mom has to play is hefty. Three adult children, now facing a major loss among many other milestones, relying on her in ways we never have before. The ability to draw close, be candid, share space, create art, honor what is here are blessings of our relationship. I am in awe of how she shows up. My Dad being gone brings up anxiety about her inevitable death, yet more so is the happiness that we have had so much quality time together. Working, living, playing... we've done it all together. In times when the irritation rises, as it naturally will with any close relationship, the gratitude sweeps in gloriously.
The not yet two year old four legged family companion, Sophie, left us unexpectedly this Fall. The joy and laughter she brought is already missed. The loss of her presence has illuminated the other gaps that have come this year and years past. The business I opened with my Beau was closed recently. It became too much, the signs pointed to "shift gears." There is sadness here, and also a knowing that this change is right. Being present with one another, as best we've been able, through life changing and soul crushing experiences has brought us together as it's broken down our foundations. The paradox is ironic, the love is strong. His love for me has exposed where I get to love myself and commit to life in new ways. There is undeniable loss. There is also undeniable gain. Change is a part of life and carries myriad emotions on its sometimes choppy waves.
Connection with myself has been a great challenge and gift 2018 brought. Coming back to me, bringing compassion and care no matter what is going on, has been more difficult than I'd like to say. I guide others in this work, this practice, this lifestyle, and see that the cliche "we teach what we most need to learn" is as true as ever. Through illness, depression, grief, major transitions, reliance on others, scaling down and changing drastically, I need my own love. It has taken piecing self compassion, stillness, and a lot of grace, together in reliable self care practices and newly discovered techniques daily to build a sense of self. Who I am today is not someone I have ever been before. Through hurdles and shock, it's as if I have lost sight of my essence. The gift, I am coming to find, in all of this pain is that I am getting to know myself in ways I haven't ever been able to before.
Having more intimacy with myself has made connecting with what and who matters most possible. Without some of the losses and difficulty, I would not have met some of the angels in human form I get to call on, pray for, say thank you to, share moments with, feel seen by. The world is full of heart centered, generous, gorgeous people. We all have our struggles, our stories, our desires, our downfalls. Being in this thing called life together, finding our tribe, belonging, is something to cherish - and I do.
I synchronistically met a man in the last stages of lung cancer this past season. Knowing his daughter from years back, life somehow saw it fitting that our paths would cross. I am now spending time with him. Irishman, prolific writer, spiritually centered, eclectic, artistic, honest and funny, we are helping each other heal. The future holds what it will... he reminds me that being here now is what we make it, and gratitude, generosity and a smile are always options.
Use these prompts to explore your year:
How has this year brought you closer to yourself?
Where did the divine detour you, both in delightful and drastic ways?
Who showed up with you for changes, challenges and commitment?
What is asking to be felt?
What is ready to be acknowledged?
Where can you release?
I started this year with the request and proclamation for 2018 to be full of Abundance, Stability + Connection. These were guideposts and beacons of light, teachers and values to practice. I am not looking far into the future today. I have a grand vision... don't get me wrong... I just know it's not time to ignite the flame for some of those dreams yet. Self care and healing are priority, simple... The next steps are simple ones. Simple is key to success and satisfaction. Steady and slow, for now, I am allowing reflection to expose truth, provide light, offer insights and soothe me. This is a profound act of self care and respect for life. Get intimate with yourself and see what life delivers to your doorstep...
With Huge Heart,
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas