Why do I resist letting go? It paves the way for so much. As I face the uncertainty in letting go, dare to reinvent myself through conscious change, I continue to redefine and finesse my understanding of the process. Letting go... (enter theatrical noise: dooo dooo dooooo). The bad rap letting go has been given, both by me and others, is only one side of the story. Certain things are such a relief to release, right? To literally let go of a heavy bag you've been carrying for minutes or hours, to surrender a worry or fear to a higher power or delegate a task you're not suited for or interested in to others. These are the upsides of release. As I engage even more change, moving to a new city and starting another chapter, I am inciting transitions and stepping into uncharted territory on many levels. On the eve of this move, I am reflecting on letting go, both to comfort myself in moments of nervousness and also to bolster the confidence in releasing. Releasing the ideas of how life has to be, who I have been, what safety means and how I can show up now, how I can change. My faith muscles are growing as I have an honest look at my relationship with letting go. This conversation with letting go in itself challenges me to release the grips of control and live into a new story of release/letting go/surrender. Ultimately this is what I want, to be free to honestly live my life from the inside out. It isn't very comfortable. In fact, it's quite uncomfortable The type of discomfort I've come to recognize as a sign I am right where I'm supposed to be.
Letting go of what I have been invites in what I am meant to be. From my heart to yours, I invite you to let go of something. I am benefiting from it, amidst the discomfort, and I want this same freedom for you. Exhale and send something that has been nagging at you out with that audible breath; imagine it moving out and evaporating in front of you. If you are willing to let go, the great forces that turn our planet will certainly take it for you. Hey, your exhale helps trees grow, so give it up! It's actually a great act of service. Let go. Ask someone to help with your to do list or hire someone on fiver or hire my mom to take care of something small for you. Say a little prayer and request that a fear or difficult feeling be transformed into something useful. Give it up, whatever it is. Really let go. At some point the recognition that you released what felt impossible to unhook from was indeed surrendered. This, my friend, is the essence of freedom. So here it is, my most recent proclamation, my reflection, my commitment on letting go. May it illuminate your own journey in a way that comforts, challenges, enlivens and reminds you that you are absolutely not alone (even when you're alone). Change requires the courage to let go and then, yes, let in something new.
I am letting go of fear. I am letting go of doubt. I am letting go of worry. I am letting go of limited thinking. I am letting go of the compulsive "need" to know how things will work out in my favor or yours. I am letting go of the "what ifs" and "why did this/that/the other have to happen?" I am letting go of attachment to feelings and let them move through me instead, informing my journey with wisdom rather than pain or suffering. I am letting go of impatience. I am letting go of dread or doom and gloom outlook. I am letting go of thinking I know when there's no way I could because LIFE'S GOT THIS ALL COVERED in ways I could never imagine! I am letting go of the belief that because change happens I am unloved. I am letting go of the idea that letting go requires loss and sadness. I am letting go of the belief that loss is possible, instead adopting the truth that loss is impossible. I am letting go of the judgment about my body being less than tight and toned in some areas. I am letting go of comparison. I am letting go of the nostalgia that breeds depression. I am letting go of the thoughts that birth or feed resistance. I am letting go of anything that keeps me from tapping into the truth of who I am, who you are, what Life is: abundance, joy, eternal love, unwavering adoration, celebration, honor, beauty, playfulness, allowance, acceptance, BLISS.
I let go. This provides space for me to allow in the ABUNDANCE OF FREEDOM * I am ready to receive as I reinvent with the Divine. Bless all of you. Let's claim the truth and perpetuate only love, feeling honestly and living fully. I let go to let in what is meant for me, meant to be channeled through me, meant to exist in a way that I am needed to express. There is a song that only can be sung through me, my actions and evolving journey. Letting go allows me to tune into this song. I might miss melodies from former tunes, yet they are embedded in this new song, adding to its richness and delight. How beautiful this life is, I allow it all to be and see the blessings through any difficulty or confusion. It's all a miracle, whether I understand why or not right now. Radiating Love from all distances, I cherish you.
What did this stir in you? Are you ready to release something, or give it a go at least? It might not happen all at once, the process could be slow and steady and deliciously rewarding. You won't know if you don't choose to do it. Hey, you can always take back what you released. What have you got to lose really? Set intention, take that breath, release "it" and let go of what just might be holding you back from that satisfying freedom you so desire. Loosen that grip and let the miraculous real magic of trust wash over you. I'm here for you. I'm here with you. Let's do this.
Let me know in the comments below what you're releasing & how it shifts your relationship to you, others and the vast, beautiful world we live in.
I've been called a Pollyanna. A lot. Apparently being called a Pollyanna is a jab, yet I take it as a compliment. Look at her story more closely to see the power in positivity and perseverance. She was a gal who went through A LOT in her young life: orphaned, pawned off on various people, left to fend for herself, constantly in transition, poor, hard working, no guarantees of security and a lot to withstand. Through every experience, she chose to see the silver linings. She slowed down and savored the details. She was grateful for what she had even with so much uncertainty and despair. Pollyanna was a trooper, a pioneer, an avant garde, a light bearer. She flummoxed those around her who were driven by fear, trying to look good to everyone around them at all costs (ego), at the same time inspiring many to stop and smell the roses with her choice to be simple and sincere. Pollyanna had her priorities straight. She knew what she stood for and had her bottom lines. She might not have had a lot in the physical realm, yet her spirit was full and she had everything to gain. What about that is a turn off? Seeing the world through rose colored glasses more than many and holding vision for potential where it might not be present today is inherent to who I am. I've been through a lot and choose to keep going. If that makes me a Pollyanna, I'll take it with a smile.
I see the power of Pollyanna. One of the lessons she teaches is this: With every moment, every uncertainty, there is one choice to make: will I choose to be grateful for what is here and open to what's possible, or will I curse the world for what it's not giving me and play the victim role? She had many reasons to whine and say "woe is me." Being a victim or martyr is easy, it's convenient, it's a trap. Rising into gratitude and staying curious about what is being grown might not be easy. It is worthwhile though. Pollyanna rallied an entire community, uniting people who were insistent on being enemies, even bringing a smile and laughter to the biggest curmudgeon ever.
Pollyanna danced to her own tune. She was willing to look silly in the name of authenticity. She shared herself generously with other people and questioned the status quo. She connected rather than isolated. She paused to get to know herself even in the dark times. She felt her feelings and moved on when drowning in sadness, anger or blame were viable options. She was real. What about that isn't attractive? It wasn't easy to understand from the outside and many judged her for how she was, who she was. Undoubtedly this hurt her and she accepted it, staying true to herself through it all. She was the one she had been waiting for all along and knew it as she veered off her own course and found her way back. She took responsibility for her life and refrained from blaming Life for screwing her over. She dared to embody gratitude and live fully each day to the best of her ability.
Staying stuck in the blame game is where disdain, anger, rage, addiction, depression and apathy are bred. Gratitude turns darkness into light, bridges worlds, creates doorways of possibility where few options existed. Gratitude transforms black and white living into full color. Gratitude or blame? I choose the former. It's more pleasant to live with and much more attractive. Audrey Hepburn said it simply and clearly: Happy girls are the prettiest. Gratitude might not equal happiness all the time, it does make it possible to feel free and content in whatever circumstance. Clinging to blame and pessimism keeps familiarity, allows there to be a stance of "I'm right." What is looked for will be found. Will you look for what's right or what's wrong? Either way, you'll find it.
Pollyanna didn't have all the answers. She lived in the moment, recognizing that the future isn't for us to see yet. Being right here and now is where the magic happens. Being fully awake to the reality of today with the lens of "how amazing is this" is revolutionary. Others might judge, saying it's stupid/silly/unrealistic/idiotic/counterintuitive/ignorant to be positive when things seem to be going down the tubes or much of life is a big question mark. It's at these times, when the opinions of others are tempting to drag you into fear and worry, that turning inward, or to those close by who hold the light and also choose to see the silver linings, is imperative. Dare to be grateful in the midst of everything. I dare you.
When all else fails, when the mind is going into fear mode, when there is a grasping at something to rely on, pause, literally, to stop and breathe in more deeply. Get out a piece of paper or the phone and get to gratitude. Asking "what has gone right? What brought joy or delight? If I looked back on today in a week or a year, what would I wish I had stopped to say thank you for?" This shifts fear into freedom and invites delight/peace/humility in. With every "thank you" a "fuck you" is quieted. The world, both inner and outer, is a more pleasant place to inhabit with the "thank you" record playing. This practice is so simple. Simple and transformative. Try it.
Be a Pollyanna. Take the challenges facing you, in your head or household, and choose to see how Life is inviting you to grow into the next greatest version of yourself. Stay a victim or join this tribe, I bet you will have more fun and be challenged in ways that satisfy beyond measure. The choice is yours.
Need some help becoming a Pollyanna? Contact me now & claim your space in the tribe. Learn how to thrive through every transition and finally enjoy the adventure of getting to know yourself & living your life.
With a smile,
What do you do when life interrupts your best laid plans?
Things seemed to be going so smoothly. I mean really smooth.
I felt happy, on point, breaking through fear and experiencing what I dared to ask life for both in personal relationships and my professional life. Then there was a hiccup. Let me be more direct, then there was a slap in the face. Smooth sailing came to a screeching halt, at least that’s what I thought.
What had I done wrong?
Did I not use my tools?
Was I deluded to believe that things were working out?
The hiccup, trip up, back track into old beliefs and self blame turned out to be another wake up call. Jealousy, fear, insecurity, second guessing, self blame, survival mode, a sudden stall to what felt nearly too smooth, thinking it’s all gone to hell. Life interrupted? Or was it something else??
I had a choice to make.
Was I going to see this unexpected event, finding out about something that rubbed up against some of my great fears - as my downfall or opportunity to rise above?
The “crisis” label forming, red flags...oh yes, I know where that doom and gloom thinking takes me. It is not comfortable and I KNOW that it doesn't have to set the stage, especially not if I want to live in a place of balance, peace and satisfaction. I want these things and I do live with them most of the time. Life interrupted, can be just a simple interruption of life. Perhaps any hiccup is a reminder to show me just how much choice I have in how I live. Turning the attention back to me has been proven necessary. Truth be told, the focus on who I am in relationship with others was taking center stage. With compassion, devotion, celebration, tenderness, embarrassment and honesty I came back to myself with intention. Balancing the scales and feeding my inner resources brought me to new clarity. A bonus has been detachment from what others say, think, want or do. I get to choose how to be in any situation, just as others do.
Slowing down, meeting basic needs, feeling the feelings, taking care of me, relying on those in my inner circle, slowing down again, recognizing fears, talking about them, having real talks with trusted allies, slowing down (yes, again), using what I have to soothe anxiety so that clarity is possible. Moving at lightning speed in the whirlwind of heightened emotions and thoughts leaves little to no space for a fresh perspective. This is why the toolkit is so important. These are the tools that turn me toward solutions. Keys to open me up, to invite me to step beyond the story, circumstance, warped and one sided belief, or “crisis” rabbit hole. What lies beyond fear’s "limited vision" is a greater clarity and strength than you might imagination.
Looking between the black and white thinking, I now see that change does not equal crisis, disappointment does not mean everything has been a sham.
Crisis = Plot Twist.
Choosing to see how I am being taken care of in the midst of difficulty, is vital. Maintaining calm and seeing from a broader perspective, when details are triggering old beliefs and feelings that I’d rather not be with, is an art that comes with persistent practice. I have survived countless hurts, moments of overwhelm and debilitating fear. By asking a few simple questions, stepping back from the feelings, beliefs and assumptions that seem to be ultimate - other possibilities become visible. This past week has been a return to simplicity for me. Am I hungry? Am I tired? Do I need a pep talk? What is this feeling trying to tell me? What would I choose if I knew how loved I am? What lies beyond this fear?
When you think you've arrived and you get knocked down, life is intervening. Slow down, breathe, check in with your feelings, ask what else is true [beyond what is going on between your ears], seek support from trusted and trustworthy allies, distract yourself in healthy ways and ask important questions.
In asking myself these questions and practicing self care in simple ways, I see this hiccup as a blessing. Yes, there is pain, insecurity, awkward energies and some sadness. There is also strength, recognition of love, faith and tenacity. I am growing through this, whatever the outcomes are. Devoted to myself, I am choosing to see how life is taking care of me beyond any circumstances. It is a choice. This is peace. This is bliss. This is possibility.
Life interrupts us on occasion but that does not mean you have to feel the full weight of a Life Interrupted. Slow down. Feel the ouch. Breathe. Stay curious. Love yourself. Move on.
Life interrupts. Take it as a love nudge.
I just let go of something I love. I got the signs as I have so many times before. I heard and saw that it was time to release this phase, to call on trust, to release control of outcomes, to choose myself, to honor love by allowing change. I knew it was time to let go and it was still hard. It is hard. To be candid, I have been ignoring these signs to let go for some time. As I have in situations before, I didn’t want to see what I was seeing. I didn’t want this to be true. I didn’t want to acknowledge that it was time to incite change. I wanted to hold on. The familiar was no longer serving me or the other in optimum ways. We were not thriving. And still, I held on because love was still there. I thought the presence of love meant that I must hold on. I’ve learned that loving means staying loyal, not letting go. Unlearning this rigid belief is happening, though not as gracefully as I would like.
Ignoring the signs did not change the truth. It merely postponed my making choices and actually added a great deal of anxiety to my inner and outer world in the meantime. Fear grew and confusion began clouding the clear signs to act. Being in tune with my body and having a consistent practice of meditation, be it walking, yoga, seated breath exercise, creative play, or writing, has led me to intimately hear the truth and receive guidance on how to proceed in the most appropriate ways. Clear guidance is available. As I connect to my inner wisdom, clarity meets me with ease and tenderness. Actually listening to and following the guidance I receive is up to me.
Letting go and honoring loss is an important part of life. Easy? Not really. Worthwhile? Absolutely. Even in the midst of sadness I know this to be true. Loving is so worth it, all the feelings and experiences it brings. Feeling the loss of a loved one or experience is a sign of our capacity to love. Honoring change, whether it is through a death, releasing a relationship, job transition, graduating from one year of life to the next, or any of the myriad changes life offers, is an ultimate sign of respect for life. Saying okay to change and recalling what has been meaningful is a way to celebrate life. The times of difficulty, decline and discord as well as the times of ease, joy, levity and abundance.
Loving someone, something, somewhere is what makes life meaningful. Holding onto what one loves is common human tendency, and yet it goes against the very nature of love. Doesn’t it? Loving is honoring, appreciating, accepting, seeing, hearing, sensing, savoring and then letting be. Love does not mean to hold on tight and refuse to allow change. As much I as I know this inside, when it comes to letting go of something I care for deeply, the thought doesn’t quite convince me out of feeling loss. They aren’t meant to.
In this time of loss and transition, adjusting to a new normal (for now), I come back to what I know for sure. The place in me where faith resides, where trust lives, where I know there is a bigger picture than I can see where all turns out exactly as its meant to. One thing I know for sure is that love is real. Caring and connecting transcend time and space. Those I have bonded with and shared even sparks of acknowledgment with remain. In me, in them, in the vast web of life we all share. Honestly appreciating does not diminish just because the form of something changes. I think about change in terms of letting go in this way: moving from one grade to the next in school is a rite of passage, a success. It requires trust, time to adjust, and brings with it many feelings both of insecurity and exhilaration to develop and grow. In order to experience what is next, what has been must be let go. Holding onto the first grade would make an entire world of learning, connecting, growing, changing, evolving, and experimenting impossible. Holding on, resisting what is meant to be, denying the natural progression of change is not an act of love at all. It is harmful. All life is a place of learning. When it comes to letting go, as scary as it might be, there is so much more to experience beyond this fear of letting go in love.
Letting go with love is loving. Imagining those I care about who I no longer see or hear in the same way is how love lives on. This is as real as hugging them, showing up to that office, calling her, seeing his smile across the room, giving the furry friend a pet. Honor the loss, remember with love, trust the greater good, be gentle and kind in the process as yes is said to the new.
Here's to Loving + Letting Life Change,
I am in a space of flow, of success, of abundance. Every day is bringing with it more blessings, answered wishes, new experiences inviting me to step in and shine.
Life is good. Scratch that, life is great.
Amidst change, both unanticipated and long awaited, I am stepping up to the plate. I have been rolling with this feeling great-ness for a handful of days now comfortably, even happily. Claiming my strengths and learning a lot about myself as well, I have been present and vibrantly alive. To be honest, it has been surreal. Slowly and subtly I began to notice shadowy thought patterns creeping in. Do you know these with the same familiarity as I do? The sly, sneaky, passively condemning, coyly bullying gremlins” Things are good now but you know the other shoe is going to drop, don’t you? This can’t last forever…
Setting off a string of similarly negative thoughts, my go with the flow, trusting and elated self started to shift into the skeptic: This is probably too good to be true, I better not get used to this, is everything really okay or have I been fooling myself?
These thoughts, if entertained, can and will likely lead to self sabotage and a self fulfilling prophecy. I know they have for me. If, on the other hand, they are identified, questioned and called out for what they really are (just big, scared bullies), they can and will dissipate and fade away.
The truth is, the other shoe doesn’t have to drop. Things do not have to “go wrong.”
It is perfectly safe, acceptable and marvelous to experience continued success, positivity, and pleasantness even when challenges arise. The belief that after some success (in whatever ways you define and experience it) there must come drama, tragedy or lack is what I have come to call the upper limit problem. When life is going smoothly, it becomes uncomfortable or intolerable and sabotage enters in on an unconscious level. Self sabotage can happen before we know it and cause a train wreck where we had been sailing along, leaving us asking flabbergasted, “What just happened?!”
There are a number of authors, speakers, writers and spiritual traditions that speak to the upper limit problem in their own voices. I particularly enjoy how this is described in The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.
The common themes that I see in these discussions on hitting an upper limit with problems include fear, faith, and choice. Disbelief that it is safe or acceptable to experience what we desire leads to behavior fueled by the depleting states of fear or even terror. When fear comes, we can either believe it without question and follow it blindly into whatever dark corners it leads, or we can choose to question it and feed the faith instead. In short, we can become conscious. With awareness enters choice. We can choose to feed faith instead once we see the thoughts or behaviors for what they truly are: fear. Choosing faith means believing in the goodness of life, in our inherent right to have positive experiences, participating in the process of learning and growing and transcending our former limitations.
As much as it can seem like there is no choice, especially when fear has a strong hold on us, the truth is, the choice is ours. The fear will come. This is just part of being human. What we do with it when it arrives is what dictates where our path leads.
As the sneaky, sabotaging, trickster of a fear came in with “the other shoe is going to drop, don’t get too comfortable here” I met it with a formula I’ll share with you here. Here it is: I acknowledged it, questioned its validity and looked for what else is true. In this brief and powerfully transformative exercise this is what I came up with: Life will bring what it will bring. Right now, life is full of blessings and I am choosing to enjoy them. Even when I get nervous that this will not last forever, I remember that change is the only constant so more new experience is surely on its way. If this, too, shall pass, well then I am going to savor it while it’s here!
After getting in touch with myself, I asked a few simple and powerful questions:
Why am I afraid of feeling good?
Is there something I can do today that will support my feelings of safety?
If I saw this success, joy, and abundance as gifts sent to me from a loved one, how would I receive them?
Am I willing to release the fear and feed the faith?
How will I take care of myself if the other shoe does drop and things go wrong?
In what ways can I love and accept myself through all that I encounter?
Lastly, I returned to the practice that grounds me and lights me up simultaneously. The Gratitude List.
Being so in my head can get overwhelming, so returning to my center is vital after this type of self exploration process. Pen in hand, I grabbed a piece of paper and started listing my “thank you, life” items. The page was full before I knew it, and not just of the external experiences I have been graced with. Interactions with family, the fragrance of tuberose at the market, fresh picked blackberry tasting on the sunset walk, the smile of that loved one and other moments filled the page, too.
Letting life be, whatever it is, is the exquisite privilege and ongoing challenge of a lifetime. Good, bad, difficult, easy, fabulous, aggravating, inspired, ho hum, sacred, mundane, the list goes on. Whatever you are going through, just remember, it will change. So why not take it for all that is being offered now? Today, this hour, this breath, will never come again. The path could turn in an instant, what I know for sure is that right now is what we’ve got. Whether the shoes are on tight and cozy or have been flung off by the tidal wave of life, hang in there and join me in the High Tolerance for Feeling Great Club. It really is the place to be.
See you there,
Balance: How often do you hear, see or say this word? I, for one, hear it a lot. From childhood learning, to meal planning, health magazines, doctor offices, board rooms, food labels, therapists, teachers, bosses and world news, the term is widespread. We can use the word often, but when it comes to defining it, I find many are at a loss. As a Balance, Wellness and Movement Coach, I guide others in the quest to define and create their life on their terms. Rediscovering and defining for ourselves what some basic terms and concepts mean to us as individuals is the key to living authentically and meaningfully. This balance thing is no exception.
For a long time the concept of balance eluded me, too. To be honest, sometimes it still does. I have often wondered "does this balance thing even exist? And if so, who has it?" This initial curiosity has set me on a journey that continues daily, no end in sight yet.
In looking more closely at this all elusive state, I discovered some of the ways I have defined balance. I have equated to stillness and calm, success and perfection. This is a nice theory, a grand ideal, and a trap when I attach to it. Balanced living might include all of these things, though it is not dependent on them. Balance is not a state of complete stillness, as I have thought most of my life and until now, assumed, and become quite frustrated over. Looking at this belief now, it appears more like death to me. Accepting that I had been confused in previous interactions with balance allowed me to rediscover what it is in my life.
If balance isn't what I thought, what does it even look like? How will I know when I'm living it? Am I just waiting for someone else to tell me I have arrived at it?
Asking the question "what is balance to me?" while weaving in the tool of curiosity brought even more questions. Question, question, doubt, frustration, question, comparison... and then I had a revelation.
Sitting on one of those almost too fun to exercise with bouncy balls of all places, I noticed how when I got still and found my center, to remain there, upright and erect, I had to make continuous small adjustments to my legs, back, abs, and arms. A lot was being asked of me: my breath and focus were required as I kept these systems working together to keep me “balanced." This working to stay centered did not feel stressful or agitating, it did ask me to focus and stay committed. "This was it, balance!" poured from my lips, and then I tipped off and met the mat. I had met balance for a moment. My physic al body was not completely still though it might have appeared so from the outside. This moment on the yoga mat remains with me. A simple exercise with profound teachings.
Balance is not what I had previously thought. In an instant, my definition broadened and so had my experience of balance. No longer stagnant and fixed, I was free to explore balance in new terms. Stay curious and the answers will come.
Such is the way balance shows up in my day to day life. Accept the imbalance, ask meaningful questions and assess the situation from the inside out. Bring to awareness one area of your world that feels a bit off kilter. Get in touch with the situation or relationship and apply these questions to it:
Feel into these statements and practice how it will be to actually strike the balanced life you so desire. In celebrating the process of finding our own balance, new insights become available that were hidden from view when we were in resistance mode.
The idea that balance has to look a certain way will keep it in our future, never in the here and now. And who wants to wait for balance? I know I don't. Some equilibrium now and ongoingly sounds wonderful. As long as we stay in the "if...then" and "when...then," our power to choose the reality we live remains in the hands of others: other people, institutions, and circumstances.
My definition of balance is one that continues to grow, change and reveal itself in new ways. While I still wonder how balanced my life actually is, when I ponder on the balance thing there is a peaceful presence that definitely hasn't always been there. Putting to practice the tools of acceptance, curiosity, assessment and application (trying things out) have changed my relationship with balance into something rich, menaingful and rewarding. Balance is something unique to each of us, undefinable by anyone else. Continuing to identify what balance means to me has become fun as I've taken the pressure off and given myself a break for not being perfect. Both of these are daily spiritual practices. I might not be perfect, I definitely tumble, and there are areas of my life that are beautifully in balance right now. These are worth celebrating! And learning from for that matter. Where we are in balance can direct us to find balance and live it in the areas that are ready for a newfound centeredness. Take a moment and learn from your successes. Practically applying what has worked for us before is a simple and efficient way to attain our goals.
Ways to communicate with that balance thing and strike it where you want it include: make small adjustments, look for what's already working, practice adaptability, flexibility, patience, letting go of assumptions, have trust in your process, take the lens off other people's balance or lack thereof, shake the constantly available opinions of others, following your intuition, ask those you admire how they strike the balance they do.
Explore these concepts and apply them to your day to day when you want to find balance again. Remember, balance, like us, are continusouly growing and changing. Allow the balance of yesterday to transform into something equally satifying.
Remember, there is no one way to live in balance. Freedom comes from knowing what works for someone else might not work for you. We are all in this together and only you can discover that glorious formula for balanced living perfectly tailored for you! Question those assumptions, explore your world, stay curious, get on the bouncy ball, be gentle with yourself and find your way to balance as it is showing up today.
Ready, Set, Go, I believe in you!
I do not have children. The truth is, I don't know if I ever will. The call to motherhood, in the traditional sense, is something relatively foreign to me. Since I was very young, I noticed other girls and boys talk about having a family, being the mom and dad to their own little girls and boys. I did not share this fantasy. I did, however, dream of having animals, traveling to unknown places, interacting with people from across the globe and helping in places where love was needed most. Where kids and a "normal" family were concerned, I didn't hear the call. I still don't, at least not now. Being a woman is so tied to being a mother. With my inner compass guiding in directions other than family life, having and raising children, putting on the Mom role, I have felt a sometimes subtle, other times glaring alienation. Is there something wrong with me? If I don't have kids, how can I be a complete woman? The questions and answers have come over time, continuously changing and evolving as I myself grow and change. What I have found is that I, as much as any other woman, am a mother. If to no one else, to me.
I have held space for and nurtured many ideas, periods of experience and transition. I am compelled to care for and provide comfort in way only a mother can. Being a mom is about more than having biological children. Motherhood is an archetype all women channel in their own unique ways. Mothers are the nests where precious life grows, the watchers and protectors, the teachers and guides. Mothers are generous and caring, masters of compromise and creativity. The decisions and circumstances that lead to the external role of mom are just one aspect of this archetype. Parenthood and motherhood are not one in the same. This being said, I honor all parents. My mother and the women I have been raised by and with are incredibly compassionate, resourceful, dynamic, generous, intelligent, insightful, supportive, brave human beings. I have learned how to be a woman in the world by their examples and through their encouragement. They have shown me to how channel the archetype of motherhood and lent me the courage to forge my own path.
I am my own mother. I nurture and protect the seedlings within that are taking root and in the formation stage. I wrap a warm blanket around the shoulders and heat the tea kettle when I am sick. I look in the mirror and say I believe in you when fear is telling me to give up on my dreams. I tend to the details like only a mother can. I hold on when it is needed and let go when it is time. I am always present and stand by me no matter what. I stand up for what I believe in and offer others the respect to choose their own way. I am a mother, to myself.
Claiming this powerful archetypal energy is available to women everywhere. It is built into us, a birthright. Regardless of the decisions or circumstances that have shaped the outer world, if their are children running through your house, have been, or ever will be, you are a mother. Whether your experience of motherhood leaves a smile on your face or tenderness in your heart, there is space for expansion and healing. Choosing to recognize the mother within is a life affirming move. When the mother within is found, seen, and allowed to express herself, the whole world changes.
Can you recall a woman who has shaped your life in meaningful ways? Perhaps it is your biological mom, perhaps it is not. Whoever comes to mind represents a loving mother to you and can be honored. What did she do, what energies did she embody and what did you learn from her? Tap into this wisdom and channel it. Now try on the motherhood cape, just for yourself, and notice what you find. Becoming what we desire from others is the key to living a peaceful, deeply fulfilling and vibrant life. If you have children, I have no doubt that providing and showing up is a constant. Giving is honorable and important, and so is receiving. Looking in the mirror and seeing my own inner mom gazing back is the sweet stuff I wish for all of you. Whatever you've been through, wherever you're going, that inner mother companion and guide is there cheering you on, sometimes with a quiet sweet smile, other times hooting and hollering. It might take practice to find her or make sense of how she speaks to you. Good things can take time to cultivate. If you feel lost, simply start by asking "what would a loving mom do?" and go from there. You know the way...
Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is what it means to have an open heart. This is no real surprise in February, the month full of reminders about love, and that I will be leading a workshop on just this topic next week. Heart shaped everything, flowers, red and pink galore filling the aisles and inboxes. There have been many years where I am unenthusiastic about Valentine's Day, chocking it up as a Hallmark created holiday that brings more pressure than relief to people in regards to their love life. This year is different. I am noticing the abundance of love all around me. This has come with a pretty simple shift: I have broadened my love definition. The advertising and decor has not changed. My perspective has. Expanding the idea of love from the romantic kind (that this month commonly brings into sharp focus) into the universal kind has opened my heart in new ways. With this shift in focus, I am really enjoying this month with all its splendor and taffeta. Stepping back from the idea that romantic love and partnership is the end all be all for happiness (yes, I am popping that fantasy bubble yet again), that anyone not in a relationship is excluded from having fun this month (false!), is a pastime. Acting on these beliefs will surely close the heart.
It is natural to close the heart, especially when there has been hurt. I know this as much as anyone. Who hasn't felt disappointment, loneliness, heartache, sadness, despair and frustration about love? There is a time for stepping away from the buzz of the world, going within, licking our wounds, shedding tears and nurturing the inner self. Closing the heart can be an act of protection and safety. It is when the heart stays closed, caring for the self turns into hiding from the world, and the mind shuts to new possibility that life lacks vitality and meaning. From here, a closed heart becomes a death sentence of sorts. We must reopen to life, dare to experience love again, and step out from the familiar realm of isolation. When it is closed, there is no space for healing to enter. When the heart is open, healing happens and joy can flow easily.
Making peace with where you are, single (or "an individual" as my dear friend Lura once proclaimed) or in a romantic relationship or satisfying partnership with another person, is a step in the direction of enjoying this day dedicated to love. Acknowledging the pressure this season can bring about how things "should be" and choosing to see from another angle can lead to a place of softening, a liberation, an open heart. I know it has for me. This relaxing into what is has put me in the perfect position to see the many ways love is present in my life. This shift in perspective has become a wonderful game of noticing the love and joy strewn throughout the world right now. The smiles on my nieces' faces, laughter with co-workers, the curiosity of my dog, growing gardens, bundled up walks on the beach, gorgeous sunsets, jumping in puddles during the rain, the door held open by a stranger, holding my Grammi's hand, the list goes on.
In asking the question, “What does it mean to have an open heart?" these are just some of the answers that come to mind. When I look at love from the lens of daily miracles, things that bring me a sense of comfort and connection are countless. There is more than enough, more proof of love and reasons to be than I can count. There is so much love, to give and to receive. With an open heart, I am taking notice of the beauty and joyous potential in current situations and circumstances, counting blessings and celebrating the experiences within life now. From this perspective, I have stepped into a kind of romance I didn't know possible. I am letting life love me and I am loving it. I am choosing to have an open heart. What about you?
Is your heart open to enjoy how love is present in your world today? What will it take to open your heart and let luscious love in a little bit more?
If you want to open your heart more today and need a boost, here are some of my go to's you might try:
- ask different questions
- look at familiar things with new eyes
- act as if you are what you want to be
- wear something fancy "just because"
- be with animals
- be with children
- just laugh
- order something new on the menu
- move that body: yoga, dance, etc.
Living with an open heart is a courageous act. There are risks of saying Adios to shutting life out. The satisfaction, bliss and joyful play that come when we open up make the potential risks worth taking. Don't you agree?
Love is all around,
Today was a fabulously trouble-free day. Simple pleasures and productivity met as I showed up for myself and others, gave and received, checked a few to do’s off the list and took a stroll in the sun. The majority of the thoughts I was entertaining were encouraging, or at least neutral, and I felt gratefully at peace. It was a full day, no problems in sight.
Then, all of a sudden, things came crashing down. My muscles and head started aching, I discovered a drenched kitchen floor and cracked pipe under the sink, a full bottle of shampoo dropped on my toe, then came the conditioner. The phone started ringing, the dog barked at what, I cannot tell you, and I felt overwhelmed. My thoughts took a turn and I was questioning whether I am, in fact, doing enough, if everything is okay. The inner critic was well energized and giving me her three cents. The calm and content was out of sight and I wanted it back. Now. Initially bummed and discouraged, then I remembered one of my tools, a technique that brings me back to center anytime and anywhere. I went back to basics.
First, I stopped. Right there in the kitchen amidst the water, ringing and barking, I took a long, slow, deep breath.
Then, I asked what to do next. “Put a bucket under the sink” was the guidance, so I followed it; Simple, straightforward, helpful.
Next, I checked in with my body. What did I need right then and there? Was I hungry? Was I angry? Was I lonely? Was I tired? (HALT) Check & check. I was hungry and tired. So, before anything else was addressed, I made a snack and sat down to eat it. By now, the phone had stopped ringing, the dog was sitting by my side, and my mind was quieter. Yes, the floor was wet. Yes, there was a mess. Did I like it? No.
But how important was it really? [A life saver question I ask often] A wet floor stays wet for a few more minutes or I rejuvenate a body and mind that work for me twenty four seven? Did I want to prioritize cleaning it up and put off the basics of self-care? Yes. Instead, I added my name to the top of the to do list! In ten minutes or less, the things to tend to were all addressed. I checked in with the thoughts and questioned their validity. I reminded the inner critic that she is safe and I am in charge. No need to worry, inner critic, seriously. I said a few affirmations, slowly and genuinely, feeling them soothe my sore spots with each word. I drank a glass of water and took some vitamin C. I sat in silence and let the food fill me, rubbing my feet gently and intently. I took a time out and returned to a place of peaceful presence. When I got up, the wet floor was no big deal. In less than ten minutes! The situation hadn’t changed, my perspective had. Checking myself changed everything.
Have you had one of these moments, or maybe a few? What if you checked yourself more often? How might your perspective and experience change?
Give it a try and get back to basics.
Don't you notice a difference in your state of mind, body and perspective already?!
Go ahead, check yourself!
Here's to you,
Whether I think I am prepared for something or not, life brings it. In the past month, I have had many encounters with unexpected memories and recollections, synchronicities and surprises, challenges and quantum leaps. What I have concluded, yet again, is that when something is in front of me (or within me for that matter), I am ready for it. If it is happening, I am ready and able to meet it. No exceptions.
This belief has been tested and strengthened preceding and following my recent trip to Thailand. Lingering doubt that I can handle all that comes was squashed in one challenging, emotional, surreal and liberating afternoon this week. Within the course of five hours, I found a planner from high school, empty ring boxes, a wedding invitation, the declaration of love heart pendant from my first beau, and a journal with reflections and confessions on years’ worth of experience. In this same afternoon, I drove past a great love I had not seen or spoken to for some time on my way from the market. Reminders of love, life, change and turbulent growing opportunities kept presenting themselves. This was a day! Why is it that all of this comes at once, like a line of dominoes, one leads to the other and to yet another. What led me to be ready for all this so close together? Was this a call to reflect or let go, or both? Thoughts paraded with banners reading “this is too much!” while emotions beamed with shades of vulnerability, sadness, nostalgia, playfulness and honor. The one question I asked in the midst of these thoughts and emotions brought me back to serenity and curiosity:
What is the gift here?
This question itself changes the terrain from panic from the past to peace in the present. I remember a lot. Sometimes this feels like a blessing. Sometimes it does not. The reminders of connection I have shared in previous chapters of my life called me to choose; follow the path of emotions and thought or pave another way. Acknowledging my readiness to handle, survive and even thrive in any circumstance opens me to experience the magic, gift and growth in it. By the end of this particularly memory packed afternoon, I had shed a few tears, chuckled a few laughs, and landed in immense gratitude. I have expressed love freely and received caring passionately in relationships. I still do, now more than ever, with myself. Ready or not… Ready or not!
Your turn: If you’re human, something is showing up in your life, internally or externally, that has you questioning your capability or the outcome. Right? Perhaps some fear crops up when you think about that family dinner or missing the deadline for FedEx to deliver by Christmas.
Find or create some space to be reflective for a few minutes.
Take a seat, take a walk, take a bath and bring this situation to mind.
Notice what emotions and thoughts rise as you do. Remember to breathe, allowing any sensations to rise and fall in their own way. What surfaces is presenting itself to change, why not let it?!
Now ask “What is the gift here for me?” Take a few long, deep breaths and open to what you hear, see, smell and taste. If there were a gift, what could it be? If there were many gifts, how might they be showing up? Play with this, allowing the sensations to transform into guideposts for where you are headed.
I believe in you, you are ready.
So… what do you want? My guess is a gift. Who doesn’t love a present from time to time?
With Blessings & So Much Gratitude,
This article is featured in Simply...Woman Magazine at http://www.simplywoman.com/ready-or-not-life-is-coming/
Darcy Helene Meehan
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas