You have no idea what you can endure. Some days I am grateful for the challenges that life brings because I know it is leading to growth. Sometimes I just want it easy. I heard that when we think we are at maximum capacity we are actually only at 20%. That helps when I am running up a mountain and imagine how good it would feel to just stop, but then I remember how good it feels on the other side. That saying “pain is necessary, suffering is optional” goes a long way.
Someone told me that I am in the tunnel right now. She said “it is not a nurturing place and you have to keep moving.” She affirmed that I was doing all the right things and to keep the faith that it will all make sense someday soon. She told me it was okay to be angry, sad, scared, and that it was safe to share these feelings out loud. Maybe this is what it feels like to be born, emerging from the womb and into this new life on earth.
Right before the snake sheds it’s skin, it is temporarily blind. This protects it but also creates for a very vulnerable existence. During this period the snake other senses are heightened and it may hide, until it emerges stronger, with a new skin and increased resilience for another season.
Yes, coffee can help and you know I love it (private message me and I will hook you up)!
I heard yesterday that consciousness is the downside of sobriety. I think what he meant was that with increased consciousness we also get to feel the stuff that can be really painful and we are more likely to face fears and walk through the shadows of self. A primary reason for using drugs, alcohol and other addictive substances or behaviors, is to become unconscious and to numb the feelings, thoughts and emotions out. For anyone who has experienced addiction or substance abuse, you know that the problem isn’t really the beer or the crack. Put the drink down and what are you left with? All the $%@# that served as fuel for numbing out is still there and it might have even been doing push-ups in the other room while you were getting wasted.
We all have ‘stuff’, whether it is a result of our own choices or hand-me-downs from our ancestors (thanks Mom and Dad!). Good for you if you have been working through it in a healthy emotional state since your adolescence. For as much self-reflection and personal growth work I have done (with the support of many professionals and peers (gulp)), I continue to be amazed at how many opportunities show up every day for new ways of living. It is through becoming more aware and then choosing new responses that we can re-pattern and shift the consciousness.
There is a lot of buzz – even in the mainstream – about mass consciousness. The idea is that we are all part of one ‘energy’ and that when groups form around a common purpose something will inevitably shift. We each bring our own unique and individual consciousness to a situation, to a room, to a group, to a nation, and to the world. Studies have shown that even one person’s loving presence in a crowded room can transform the collective energy (Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Clinical Applications of Bioelectromagnetic Medicine, 2004.) Meaning, other people in the room will actually start to feel differently just from the influence of that one loving person, even if they have not spoken a word.
This is no longer ‘woo-woo’ and is not religious. It is scientific.
Yesterday I woke up to a new level and March 6, 2016 will forever be noted on my personal timeline of life-changing events. The world became a notch more crisp and I was attune to every detail around me. Without feeling overwhelmed by the crowds or the emotions of people with whom I engaged, I simply saw / heard / felt / smelled / tasted / touched life in a new way and with so much awe and gratitude, that I want to offer that gift to you too. I guarantee you that something so beautiful is on the other side of that sleep-state, you will never want to go back.
Behind many of the world’s greatest leaders is a major heartbreak. At some point in their life they reached a turning point and perhaps were faced with death. Call it a ‘challenge’, a ‘bump in the road’ or ‘a growth opportunity’ but let’s face it, bad things happen. Sometimes the thing happened before we were even born and our cells carry the experience, even from generations ago. Are you responsible for this and how do you turn it around??
This world offers a lot of material to work with and there is no shortage of trauma. Last week my five year old son and I were admiring a building that had gargoyles on the top and when he asked what purpose they served, I answered quickly “to protect us from evil spirits”. 30 minutes later he was still processing and seeking more explanation. Without having guidance from a skilled professional I answered as best I could, knowing that my son has already faced his share of ‘evil spirits’ and what I want the most is for him to feel safe and secure in the world. I do not want him to grow up full of fear and I will be open with him about how I have overcome some heartbreaks, when the time is right. I will not shelter him and I will do my best to highlight the internal source of strength he can always tap into, so he does not feel powerless to life circumstance.
I do believe we are always at the moment of choice. If we are under attack we may automatically enter fight-flight-freeze mode but then when we survive we have options. Many of the most admired changemakers have a very personal story of post-traumatic growth; something that seemed to tear them open and pull out their insides. It required deep examination and self-reflection in taking steps toward a rewarding existence. In their personal journey of healing they have become motivated to leave the world a better place than when they found it. The heartbreak leads to purpose and meaning. For that reason, I am grateful for those experiences in my life that created wounds and left scars. I could not have imagined the ‘breaks’ leading to a sense of wholeness and it is my intention to support others as they walk through the valley of the darkness.
How will you move on from your heartbreak; from that thing that was so painful it seemed like it might kill you? How do you describe that heartbreak today? Have you taken action? How do you present yourself to the world in reaction to this trauma and how does it manifest in your life today?
Today you must focus. We are going to take an inventory. You may find dusty shelves that you have been ignoring for years. You may come across cobwebs and perhaps even some bones, left behind by people you have never met but whom are somehow influencing your life. This is a big warehouse you have and some aisles are friendlier than others. There is no rush and you will not be alone, but it is time.
I know – you are very busy. Your life is very full and you have so many responsibilities today. You are already late for your first meeting and your child is crying. You have not even seen your best friend for a month and what you really want to do is take a trip; to get away; to sleep; to “catch up”. It seems like you are doing everything right and yet you still feel so much stress and some days it feels like you are treading water. Before you go to sleep at night – if you get to sleep – you go over all that you did, gauging your success on how many items you crossed off of your list, only to rewrite a new one for the next day.
It is time to let go of the distractions. It is time to rein in your energy which has become so depleted. You are doing everything right but you may be experiencing cognitive overwhelm. You are aware that something is not working and since you are reading this, you are ready to take time out to do that inventory. You do have time because we are going to make a list of all of the things that take your time each day but are not adding to your life. We will in fact lighten your load by transmuting those activities and thought patterns that are not contributing to your dream or your Passion Pursuit(tm).
Let us begin. Throw away your “To Do” list and start a new one. On a small piece of paper, write down the first three things that you feel you must accomplish today. Put it in your pocket. Drink a big glass of water. Now get quiet and listen. For today, just do the three things and listen.
The family we are born into may or may not be part of our tribe. It is over the course of time that we have the opportunity to connect with those people who feel like family: kinsmen and kinswomen with whom we effortlessly connect. Sometimes we can walk into a room and know instantly that we are with our tribe, or we might meet someone who feels so familiar and comfortable that there must be a deep-rooted connection.
I have often felt alone though thankfully it has been many years that I have truly felt lonely. It can scary to get vulnerable, but I am learning that the reward is so great and well worth the risk. The key is finding your tribesmen and women – those people who will love you unconditionally and who you feel a great loyalty toward. I believe that our souls protect us and it is for each one of us to determine with whom we are meant to walk this path. For me it has been a seemingly long journey although the healthier I become, the younger I feel. In the process of experiencing trauma I unconsciously adopted coping skills to cover up the pain. I am still recovering my senses and it is only through safe relationships with others that I am able to experience the full spectrum of emotions.
My Love Partner
As you seek out your people, you might consider what identity have you taken on and how do you wish to change it? Are you the lone warrior (I was and still can be!) or are you the eternal team player? Do you shape the path or take the route that is so rutted out it seems like the only option? Who do you surround yourself with and how do they inspire you and encourage you to experience life at its fullest?
I have come to know myself in a new way in the past ten years, since entering into a new way of life without drugs or alcohol. The path of self-discovery and love has magnified since becoming a mother five years ago. I am learning that it is okay to be sensitive and that I do not have to apologize for how I live my life or to whom I choose to give my time. I do not live from a place of should and I no longer settle for what seems to be enough or okay. I could not have done this without my tribe and I am so grateful that we are finding eachother (again) in this lifetime.
Kinswomen in Rwanda
By popular demand, this is a follow-up with the amazing Derek Sivers (@sivers)! This episode can be listened to independently of our first popular conversation, and he answers some of my (and your) favorite questions.
Source: Derek Sivers Reloaded – On Success Habits and Billionaires with Perfect Abs
Have you ever felt like a second-class citizen? When was the last time and how did it affect you? More importantly what did you do about it?
I sure have and in looking back, almost every time it was a situation that I had chosen, consciously or not. It was (and is!) related to self-worth for me. For many people around the world it is not a self-selected place to be, especially for people who have been violated or groups of people who are regularly subjected to hate crimes such as racism, sexism, ageism, and other forms of bigotry.
It is fascinating to watch our own behavior and to notice how old belief patterning shapes our daily choices. As I was driving into the gym parking lot recently I noticed how so many people go directly to the far lot, like they just assume that all the good spots will be taken or they have already decided they have bad parking karma because not much goes their way (or maybe they want more exercise but I somehow doubt that!). I used to do that. I would actually drive by the empty parking spots in front of my destination because I assumed it was not for me – like it was reserved for VIP or maybe it wasn’t even legal. What?! Well, how about it was reserved for VIP and the VIP was me?!
Today I take that parking spot and moreover I assume there’s going to be a parking spot in front of my destination. I assume I will have the exact change or better yet, the meter will already be filled (pay it forward ya’ll)! Today I choose first-class living and that is because I am choosing to be better to myself – to honor and respect myself, and to be guided by faith rather than fear. I am re-patterning old belief systems that used to tell me I wasn’t good enough in certain (okay – all!) areas of life. There is a fine line between pushing oneself to achieve the unthinkable and pushing oneself past the last breath of life. It takes gentle discipline and persistence, and we certainly cannot master these humanisms alone. Let us each be sure we have a unique support network to make the big Shift. We are retraining ourselves to differentiate the voices that guide us to take action. Which one will you listen to and trust to guide you? Is it speaking to you from the head or the heart?
Today I am seated in one of those ‘best of second class seats’ (front of the pack, extra leg room…) on a flight across the U.S. I literally have my toe in the first-class section (small plane). I awoke from my nap with wafts of their warm, steaming lunch and the clanking of real silver on dish. I walk through their section to use their restroom (because I am good enough for that don’t you know?!) and see their discarded trinkets and snack packs, eyeing their lounge chairs with a tinge of envy. Here I am, edging in, almost there, wondering what it is that sets them apart. Oh yeah, they paid more, but is it really just money? I don’t think so. It’s never really about money. Money is a neutral tool that we all have access to and there is plenty of it in the world for every person to have $3 million. So what is it really? I believe it is all about shifting our mindset and making a conscious choice to take ownership over our futures; to claim what is ours and to take responsibility for reprogramming our lives. For those of you who have decided money is the source of evil or that you really don’t want to fly first-class:that’s cool and also your choice, but I ask you to consider the real reasons and try to imagine what it would be like to walk through your day with every single privilege opened up to you and your loved ones.
We are them. They are us. We are all part of the same. I see now that when I feel separate it is because I chose to be that.
See you in first class.