I have been in the midst of great changes. Ironic, right? The reinvention coach and mentor for empowered change is living another great transformation. Well, that's me at the moment. The inevitable changes of life are happening and I am choosing some more. Fears are being faced. Vulnerabilities are being exposed. Beliefs are cropping up to be digested, reframed, thrown out and turned into fuel for forward movement. With these changes and transitions, more time on my own has led to a sense of loneliness. Or so I thought...
I am on my own in a new place, another stage of life, in unfamiliars on many levels. The thought "I'm lonely" has been making surprise appearances consistently, and I'll admit not to my liking. Initially, I took this thought as fact and started the dip into momentary depression or sadness. Lonely! Oh no. The idea of loneliness set me into fear mode, like loneliness was some goblin guaranteed to turn me into stone, a scarlet letter on my chest, code for "you're unlovable." Left unchecked, the thought "I'm lonely" would quickly become a belief with a disempowering association. Through the practice I've cultivated, I didn't plunge into a dark hole when I definitely could have, believing loneliness meant something was wrong with me or where I was going. Instead, I asked a few of the right questions and turned the looming thought into a great insight.
So, I feel lonely. Okay.
Is that really true?
Are you really lonely?
What does lonely even mean?
If I am, is that such a bad thing?
What else is true?
What's the gift of going solo?
These queries got me to pause rather than run with the initial thinking, thoughts that would undoubtedly lead me to mean self talk and defeatist mentality. Ah, that precious pause. It does wonders for anything. Stopping to breathe gave me a moment to see where I was, actually looking at where my feet were and assessing the facts of my present situation. Reality check! Asking my inner wisdom a few questions and sitting with the answers that came, I became delightfully surprised to find that I was not lonely after all. Yes, I was alone. That was true. Yes, I had thoughts of missing someone and experiences of another time. That, too, was true. What else was true? I was tapping into independence on new levels. I was healthy and whole on my own. I know how to be with myself and live a meaningful life, one morning or afternoon at a time. I actually love being able to choose on a whim where I'll go and what I'll do, a benefit of being independent and in my own company. So, I'm alone, what will I do now? Dancing in the kitchen, yoga moves in the living room, clips of The Office while making a smoothie, changing my mind mid move, silence while meditating, the world is mine to choose as an independent woman on a mission to live fully and love myself completely. The options are endless, what fun!
Looking at my concept of lonely, I transformed the definition into something neutral and eventually elating. Left unchecked, it would hold power over me, and who likes to be controlled by a thought or feeling? With a willingness to explore what frightened me, it became just another word I could use or not. Talk about freedom! When the thought "I'm lonely" came, it means I'm not tuned into my relationship with a higher power or myself. Feeling alone is an invitation to befriend myself in simple ways, to turn up the music and dance, to do something that nurtures my spirit. Being alone does not equal loneliness. Neglecting the amazing relationship I get to have with myself is what feeds loneliness. Talk about a reframe. Challenging previously unquestioned beliefs is where the gold lies. This question and answer session shook me up in the best kind of way. The downer became an upper. Loneliness turned to luscious aliveness as I chose to delve deep and shift my thinking.
Loneliness is just a convenient label, for spaciousness, sacred self time, independence. The negative connotation placed on being alone is silly when I really look at it. As a few of my clients with children would remind me, having a minute alone to go to the bathroom is precious let alone an entire afternoon! Don't get me wrong. Being alone all the time isn't healthy, nor is it why we are here in human bodies. Connecting with community is life affirming, validating, pleasurable. No doubt.
"My people" near and far remind me to stay the course when fears crop up or I feel wobbly. I cherish them more than words, those close to me and part of my previous chapters. This being said, an inability to be alone and content in the solo moments is such a shame. Some of the most meaningful, spiritual, fun, endearing, heart opening moments I have experienced have been when I am in my own presence. Turning inward then reaching out to others is the foundation for the strongest friendships and bonds. Love mastered inside makes it possible to share with others and stay centered in yourself at the same time. Know yourself and you'll attract the tribe you've been waiting for.
The next time a sense of loneliness moves through your mind, take it as an invitation to a party of one with you, turn that music up and start dancing, curl up and read a book, light the candle, draw a bath, do what soothes your spirit and lights your soul on fire. In other words, do something just for you & be kind because you are amazing. Being alone is something so often taken for granted & is really worth celebrating. The longest relationship we get is the one with ourselves, might as well make it an incredible one. What is one thing you'll choose today to cherish your self?
To Enthusiastically Alone Living & The Tribes that Inspire Independence,
Do you want to feel more comfortable & content in your solo time? Message me to find out how.
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,
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,
Darcy Helene Meehan
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas