I have a history of being terrified of failing. I thought that failing meant being hopeless, exposed to judgment, made fun of, left without needs met. I would have much rather flailed, moving aimlessly in circles, just to avoid taking a chance at something I might not be able to do, or be skilled at, immediately. This resistance to fail, to be a beginner, kept me from experiencing a lot. Instead of trying new things that I truly cared about, I sought control and my world shrunk. I drank, did drugs, abused my body, the list goes on. I didn't want to be a failure, which meant I was stuck spinning in circles and getting nowhere I really wanted to be. Do you relate?
My perspective on failing has changed drastically since being sober and in recovery from an eating disorder. Life has a way of transforming us through the tough times, when we are willing to fail.
Isn't spinning in circles and feeling stuck the worst?
What's more painful than failing is flailing. The torture that confusion can create is worst than the bruised ego failing can cause. John C. Maxwell, one of the top leadership speakers and experts in the world, says that "Failing is fertilizer. It shakes the soul and lets the glory out.” Maxwell speaks to the power of failing, especially when we fail forward.
Don't get me wrong. I bristle at the thought of falling on my face. Who wants to be seen making a mess? This failing forward thing is a practice, not somewhere to arrive. Instead of taking failure fiercely, learning to flow with it makes the benefits of failing available.
Anything worthwhile is going to test us, challenge us, stretch us out of our comfort zone. It will push buttons we didn't know we had, calling our higher selves forth. To achieve greatness, whatever that means for you, will require failing.
Think about it: no one starts an expert at anything. That means failing is part of the process of becoming skilled, successful, significant.
The idea that we can become overnight successes is just a fantasy. Any "overnight success" has 10+ years of work under their belt. Look at anyone you admire and you'll find quiet hours, day, weeks, years of dedication that got no applause.
When left to your own devices, do you flail or fail?
Where do you see resistance to failing in your everyday life?
By asking these questions, we can move from the distracting and dead end patterns of flailing, focusing on things that don't matter, being swayed by emotions and reactivity into a territory with more meaning and magic. Failing intentionally, with enthusiasm and focus through every detour, is how we achieve what we desire. This is a game changing choice.
In recovery and in life, failing can be scary. The fears come out when this F word is spoken. Will I be judged? Will I be abandoned? Will I be alone? Will my needs be met? Can I recover from rejection? These are some of the fears I hear a lot and have been through myself.
The fears keep us flailing. In its nature, it is unsteady and leaves no room to be grounded in trust, to be powerful and on purpose.
Turning the fear of failure on its side will change your life. By facing fear and letting failure splay us open, exposing what we truly desire and are willing to change for, we become free to grow through every learning curve we go through.
Failure is not a life sentence or proof that what you fear is real. It is just a step in the process, in progress. Failing forward is proof of character.
Our dreams are worth failing for.
Whatever it takes, as long as it takes.
What is that dream in you that makes failure fertilizer?
How exactly do we fail forward?
Follow these simple steps, use them to guide your mind and actions:
1. Stay positive (attitude is almost everything).
2. Celebrate the little and big wins (appreciation is a quiet gift that everyone benefits from).
3. Reframe doubt wherever possible (turn doubts into affirmations of what you want + practice focusing on those future wins instead).
4. Stay connected with people you trust who will give you honest feedback (i.e. mentor, coach, therapist).
5. Keep your goals and plans in front of you (if you quit because of one failed attempt, what will never come to be?).
6. Remember what you don't want to go back to (pain of the past can be a great motivator to change).
7. Keep learning about things that light you up.
8. Get in circles with others who are growth oriented and driven to defy the odds of fear (association goes a long way).
9. Create a game plan to achieve your dreams, one step at a time (action, action, action).
10. See every failure as a step toward success (how many attempts did Benjamin Franklin have before the lightbulb worked?!).
Are you convinced that it's time to fail by now?
Isn't it time to stop flailing and focus instead?
With focus and dedication to living on purpose, regardless of what that is for you today, creating significance can and does happen. Learning about what you truly value and nurturing your dreams requires bravery and focus to follow through on. It is the most worthwhile journey we will ever take, that of being true to ourselves and making an impact on our world. It is through deciding to commit to ourselves and what we care about that failure is no longer an enemy. It becomes a friend. Failure becomes the fertilizer for the gardens that are guaranteed to bring harvest. It's not about if, it's about when.
What area is asking you to fail forward and move closer to your dreams?
How has distraction kept you flailing and confused?
What dream calls you into courage to face fear and fail forward now?
Trust that deep down desire to live and thrive living below the fear or flailing you are currently with. Face fear and turn that bully into a teammate instead!
Be in touch with what you discover and share how you are ready to fail (forward).
For support on gaining clarity and beginning this journey, contact me for a coaching consultation here.
"Mere deciding raises your morale."
- Napoleon Hill
Indecision sucks. I don't know how to state it more poetically so I won't try. In a world with option overload, being decisive is pretty rare. During times of transition, such as recovery, it can be even tougher to know where to turn and which decisions are "the right ones."
Have you ever found yourself standing like you're lost in an aisle at the grocery store, staring at three dozen boxes of the exact same thing, unable to choose one and move on? Come on, I know I'm not the only one...
One thing I've learned is this: There is power in positive action.
Making decisions cuts out certain options and lays out others. This, in itself, makes life more simple and streamlined.
Example: I'm in that god awful aisle at the store again which makes my mild ADD go off the charts. Rather than freak out or leave without anything, simplifying saves the day. Asking the question "do I need bulk or individual size?" will whittle down my choices. Making a decision based on the circumstances will help me make that choice. Am I shopping for myself or a group? Simple question, simple enough answer. Right?
I also turn to my intuition, that quiet nudge inside that is ready to direct you when you listen. This act of checking in with intuition can be so simple it might seem silly. Am I more drawn to the yellow or blue? Is the square or triangle more compelling? These questions can lead to decision making, providing a clear direction for what to choose or where to explore.
Keeping things simple reduces anxiety and moving on can happen more quickly, easily and with more ease. I love this. As someone who can complicate a button, Keep it Simple Sweetheart has been a slogan I turn to often. I want to make choices and trust myself to deal with the next step, whether I am in the market, at another turning point in my sobriety or running my business. Simplicity, Self Love and Support allow me to do this.
When it comes to bigger life stuff, you might be thinking "but Darcy, how will this work when I'm thinking about getting a divorce or moving?" Can it be that simple? Quick answer: Yes. When you are aligned with your values and have cultivated trust in yourself, making decisions and following the direction it leads you in is second nature. In recovery, this takes time. Don't expect yourself to be perfect or feel confident every step of the way. You won't.
Side note: Simple doesn't mean easy or fast. Taking things step by step leads to conscious choice making and complex things can be more manageable.
There is no perfect choice. Nor is there any one decision that will make or break any one of us. There is magic in consistency, though and consistency creates confidence. Making decisions based on personal values and following through on things that matter leads to self trust. Prioritizing what really matters and seeking the support to create the results you desire will lead to options. When you make the "big decisions," the "little ones" fall into place. When you make the little ones, based on what you value most, the big ones will be aligned.
Sometimes shame enters the picture, threatening to throw you off course. I know this one well, that damn inner critic who can get under my skin faster than anyone I know. Imagining that I am safe and unafraid helps me disconnect from shame or insecurity.
Bringing curiosity in also takes the shame or blame out of any situation. This can be a game changer no matter where you find yourself. Shame is toxic and makes simple things difficult and painful. Instead of judging, just notice. This can happen by shifting from using words like "should" into "could" or "good and bad" into "preferable or less enjoyable." What are you drawn to when you know you won't be judged? Being kind to yourself does wonders... give it a try.
Confidence grows with choice making. Taking action can lead to the feelings you desire. When you don't know what decision is best for you, take a deep breath. Start there and things will immediately be more approachable (just try it).
Not knowing what to choose might indicate being disconnected from personal values, what matters to you most. To create a clear direction, asking simple questions and deepening understanding of yourself now might be in store.
Living in recovery is not just about surviving. Overcoming challenges and rising above them shapes us to be more alert, alive and energized about life. Growing through difficulty and recovering from change, transition, illness or trauma leads us to a place where we get to thrive.
The next time you find yourself unclear on what direction to take, take a deep breath, sink into your self, listen to that intuition, bring curiosity in and ask people you trust who have experience for perspective.
How do you Keep It Simple Sweetheart?
What does Self Love look like in your recovery world today?
Where does Support show up to keep you company?
Explore + let me know what you find!
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,
Darcy Helene Meehan
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas