2014

I will not abandon myself

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I know how to be here
in this gray place,
so familiar in its charm-less charm
I’ve learned how to be herein this dark space
and not be afraid,

I know how to be here, now.

I know when it shows up,
uninvited visitor.
the best thing to do
is to take its coat,
offer it a seat,
a snack,
a footrest.

I will not resist its embrace,
I will not run from its force,
I’ve been down that road before.

I will not abandon myself.

instead I will stay.

I will be.
I will know
that everything changes
and that the light
is defined by the dark.

This is the poem I scribble in my journal on a dark day. I am weighed down by the heaviness of what I easily recognize now as depression. All I want to do is sleep. When I’m not sleeping, I’m fantasizing about sleeping. I cancel meetings and lunches with girlfriends because I don’t want to talk to anyone or get dressed or brush my teeth. I want to crawl under a rock or a blanket and sleep ’til springtime.

Maybe it’s the change in seasons, maybe it’s hormonal, maybe it’s chemical, maybe it’s Mercury in retrograde, maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that, maybe it doesn’t even matter. Melancholic and mopey, I have no ‘reasonable’ explanation for these feelings, they’re just here, hanging over me, blocking my view of the light. I cannot feel the light. I want to run. I want to hide.

But this time, I don’t. Because things are different now.

I’m trying something different these days. I am a scientist in my soul’s laboratory. I am experimenting with a new idea. This time, I will stay with these feelings.

I have spent so much of my life running from my negative emotions, hiding, numbing from anything that felt bad, completely convinced that feeling bad was BAD, and that bad feelings were to be avoided. I had a hundred ways to avoid a bad feeling. Anything to leave that bad feeling. On some days, I’d try all hundred.

“Cheer up!” my well-meaning friends might say, while I waffle in this mud puddle of murky emotions, splashing around, getting some of my muck in their eyes. Yes, they mean well, yet I know (finally) that ‘cheering up’ is not what I need- that’s how I got myself into the habitual behaviors and shadow comforts that I have spent years weaning myself from in the first place.

Instead, I have vowed to not abandon myself.

To not turn my back on this dark feeling in me. To just sit with my emotion, that is my challenge, to just be with this ache, this hollow feeling, that is my sole job today and it’s taking more energy than I anticipated.

It’s so much easier (and familiar!) to hide, to run, to numb, to bail. Instead, this time, I acknowledge the yuckiness. This time, I don’t turn away from it, but simply hold it like a colicky baby. I rock it back and forth and whisper soothing words. There, there. You’re okay, baby. I’m here…

Richard Moss in his work “The Mandala of Being” talks about the difference between being in your feelings, and your feelings being in you. We so often buy into the illusion that our feelings can actually engulf us, swallow us, that we can lose ourselves in them. Moss gently urges readers instead to be a safe place for their feelings, to create spaciousness around the feeling, no matter how dark and ugly the feeling might be, and I am now driven by the challenge of discovering what a life lived this way will look like. I am experimenting, all right.

I will not abandon myself.

What I also know is this: When I create a safe space for my feelings, it turns out these feelings are not as terrible or ugly or awful or deadly as I imagined them. They’re more hungry-baby than scary-monster. All they want is to be acknowledged, to be felt, to be held. They will not destroy me, or engulf me, because they are just feelings, they are mine, I hold them inside of me, and lo and behold, I am finally a safe place for my feelings.

Just the other day, I heard a woman on the radio talking about her inner work, the way that she had learned to accept all of her feelings with love and compassion, after a lifetime of rejecting her ‘bad’ emotions. Mmm… I could relate. Just a little. At the end of the show, she was asked to share her motto, and I loved her answer so much I’ve now adopted it as my own. (I don’t think personal mottos are copyrighted. If so, my bad.)

If I would have heard this woman ten years ago, five years ago, last year even, I probably wouldn’t have gotten it- it would have been just beyond my understanding, like hearing a foreign language, as I was still so passionately dedicated to avoiding and rejecting my own ‘bad’ feelings. (But because we receive exactly what we need, what we are ready for, exactly when we are ready for it, I didn’t hear it ten or five years ago, I heard it the other day.)

She said: “All feelings are welcome here.” And I thought, for the first time in my life, yes. Yes, they are.

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new front cover TODLExcerpted from my book, Truth or Dare Living: Wild Adventures for Your Sacred, Sexy Soul. Now through the holidays, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite chapters from the book, available on Amazon.com, while I revive and reignite my creative fire with some much needed rest. Enjoy!

Relatives. Related. Relating. Relate.

Brother, father, me. Relating
Brother, father, me. Relating.

I was homesick and I didn’t even know it.

It had been a few years since I’d visited my hometown of Chicago. My fiancé had never been, and I longed to see my family, to introduce my dad to my future and final husband. It was time.

When I moved to Dallas sixteen years ago with my then-husband (still family) and our three year-old daughter, it was with the intention of “trying it out for a year.” We are all still here.

Dallas has been good to me.  I have grown, I have built a career, I have raised a daughter. I have started companies and taken risks and discovered dreams and released other dreams.

I have fallen deeply, wildly in love with my perfectly imperfect life, in a rich and complicated way here. I belong here.

Yet, in my reinvention, in my “belonging here”, I had also detached from my origins. I had forgotten where I was from.

Sure, I “knew” where I was from, but existing a thousand miles away in a self-created family, in a life full of meaning, adventures, fun, distractions and excuses, I’d found it easy to almost act as if I had no family of origin at all.

It kills me to say that out loud, when I love my family of origin very much. I know I am related TO them. But the truth is, I haven’t been very good at being related with them. As I think about the word “related”, it’s not just semantics, not just a matter of blood and DNA, there is something active and engaged about the idea of being related to. It’s also about relating.

What happens when we fail at relating with our related? The babies turn into kids, the kids turn into adults. There are divorces, deaths, weddings, funerals, more babies. When you leave your place of origin, and do a lousy job of staying in touch, life goes on without you. But even worse, even worse than missing birthday parties and barbecues, is the longing, the longing you might not even be able to name.

The longing to know and be known, to see and be seen, in a way that only family can do. These are, after all, the ones that were there all along. The ones that “knew you when.”

That I have siblings I don’t know, as they become adults, I am ashamed. Not only because I don’t know who they are, but because I have failed at knowing them. I’m not gonna lie, I have sucked at “doing” family. Especially the long-distance kind. For a variety of reasons, some elaborate, some nothing more bullshit excuses, I have been able to justify my gross negligence.  I’m done making excuses for my distance and detachment.

This visit brought me home. Not just to a physical place, but to myself, to the roots of my existence, to the love and belonging I cannot ignore, because it is the very blood that flows through me.

Spending quality time with my dad, my siblings, cousins, grandma, nieces, aunts and uncles was a gift bigger than I had expected to receive.

My dad’s hair has silvered since my last visit. His eyes have grown softer. His smile is brighter, it seems, and his voice is kinder than I remember.

My baby brother is nearing middle age, like me. Without me.  For hours the other day, we pored over coffee and pie and truth-telling, searching each other for the answers to life’s mysteries. Just like always.

The bond we three share cannot be broken, and I am grateful for one more chance to hug them both.

My youngest brother is a man now. My little sister, a woman. They are strangers. Yet they are not, because we are related. We share the blood of the same father. I hardly know what they are like. But the love. The love is there.

Time has been slipping away while I have conveniently forgotten birthdays and holidays and this isn’t the blog I started out writing, I’ve digressed into a vulnerable place, but it’s what’s true and real for me. And if I can’t give you that, then we have nothing, right?

I want to be better.

I am willing and prepared and perhaps, finally mature enough, to exert the effort it requires to show that I give a damn, to reach out, to acknowledge, to not just love in feeling and thought, but in action. Love is a verb, they say.

I’m scared, I’ve gotten away with my detachment for so many years. Now I am calling myself to a higher standard and it requires me to grow up, to commit. It’s frightening to love with more than words and thoughts.

At the end of the trip, getting home to Dallas felt so good. Yes, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, and missed my bed, I missed my comfy, cozy life.

But going home to Chicago was medicine I didn’t even know I needed.

It helped me to remember who I am, and what is most important to me.

Love.

And relating.

 

 

Getting the Support You Need

As an occasional offering, I invite you to write with your questions or topic suggestions. I will answer all either privately or in this space. It’s my intention that my words will bring hope and new clarity. Here’s one…

a-alone-1530422Dear Lisa,

I could use some perspective on how to reach out for support when that isn’t my usual M.O., without freaking out the people I am reaching out to.

Generally speaking, I am mostly level-headed and together and don’t typically ask for moral support from my friends or family.

They will either freak out that I am “not completely fine and normal” or won’t have any perspective that would actually help me.

How do I overcome my resistance to asking for help because I’m fearful of upsetting the people that I would reach out to or I’m already predicting their reactions as not helpful.

For instance, I wouldn’t want to call my mom and be like “I’m not dealing very well” cause that would burden her for weeks that somehow the possibly most together person in her life isn’t “okay”. I can’t call my BFF cause his reaction would be “that sucks.” Knowing that my husband is managing enough with his current struggles and burdens, I cannot turn to him.

Signed,
Need It, But How Do I Get It?

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Dear Need It,

I relate very well to your resistance and struggle reaching out for help, all too well! It ain’t easy!

Especially if over the years, you’ve owned the title of “The Strong One,” because the Strong One handles it all herself. The Strong One needs no support, and is the one doing the supporting. The Strong One has her shit together, carries on with valor and courage and is Teflon tough and ugh… being the Strong One is exhausting.

I used to joke, and actually still do, that one day, I will start hosting clandestine meetings for the “Secret Society of Strong Ones.”

We will meet monthly to cry.

It’s actually not a bad idea.

Some of the best advice I ever got was from my therapist, Bob, many years ago.  It happened like this. I was in trouble, but I couldn’t fathom turning to anyone for support, not even my husband at the time, Johnny…

Bob: How would it feel to you if Johnny came to you and said “Look, I’m not doing so well. I’m struggling and really need your support right now.”

Me: It would touch me deeply. I would feel honored. And I would do everything I could to support hin in the way he needed. It would feel like a gift, to be able to show up for him during a difficult time.

Bob: Right. So when you hold back asking for help, you deny others the gift of being able to show up for you, you cheat them of the opportunity of being there for you.

BAM. Changed my perspective, instantly, completely.

I’m not going to say it suddenly became easy to reach out for help when I needed it. It’s still incredibly difficult.

But I trust my needs for support as part of this beautiful cosmic dance of intimacy we get to share with others.

We give. We receive. We need. We offer. We hurt. We help. We heal. We heal each other.

And this dance relies on vulnerability for its rhythm.

I’m going to suggest three things to you.

1.Resign your position as Director of Protecting Others from What is Really Going On. It’s an unfulfilling, lonely gig, and you deserve to be supported in the same way you support others. I repeat: You deserve to be supported in the same way you support others.

2. Get clear on what type of support you are needing. Let your intimates know, very specifically, what you are needing. That right now, you need a compassionate ear or a shoulder to cry on or a place to vent or a safe space to be real with what is current without their advice or fixing. Or maybe with their advice or fixing. You decide.

Sounds scary because it is and it requires vulnerability, but like a muscle, when you practice, it gets stronger.

3. Broaden your circle of support. I love the saying “Stop going to the hardware store for milk.” It sounds like you already have determined that the type of support they will offer may not be helpful. There is support all around. Make a list of other people you know truly care about you– even if you’ve never “gone there” with them– this could be a perfect opportunity to deepen those relationships.

If that doesn’t work, check out 7 Cups of Tea. They offer free, confidential and professional counseling online.

We are wired to need one another.

Sure, you could “get by” without reaching out. But by risking your own reputation of being the Strong One, by deciding that you will no longer shoulder these burdens alone, by opening your heart to telling the truth about what is current and real for you now, you become more YOU, more authentic. You will experience deeper intimacy in your relationships, and you will gift others with the opportunity to show up for you in a new way.

You can find the support you need.

It’s there. It rarely comes knocking.

We ourselves must do the knocking.

So start knocking, sweet sister.

I wish you courage and send you love,
Lisa

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The suggestions and opinions offered on this site are not meant to dissuade any reader from seeking the advice and care of his or her own appropriate and licensed health care provider. The reader is strongly encouraged to seek out and establish a meaningful relationship with such a provider who will have the opportunity and responsibility to examine him or her and offer individualized health care suggestions and services.

The Year of Getting Serious… Seriously?

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“I take pleasure in my transformations.”
– Anais Nin

Just like that, the new year is under way. Here we are, 2014! Are you someone who is energized by the start of a new year? I am.

Each year, I designate a phrase for the new year, that which will be my theme, my intention, my focus. Years ago, I gave up resolutions, as I found them to feel restrictive and uninspired, too bossy and boring. I needed kindness, a soft approach, one that felt like self-love rather than self-flogging. I need my intentions to feel good.

Which is why when the phrase “Get serious” popped into my head as the possible theme for my year, I pushed it away, deeming it too boring, too demanding, and well… too serious.

It’s time to get serious. The voice would not leave me. It is time to get serious about a lot of things. It’s time to get serious about my health, my money, my business. There’s your theme: Get serious. Meh. Seriously? Get serious? How dull. I wanted something more fun like “play more” or “savor” or “relax”… something that was going to continue to allow me freedom and pleasure, both such important values in my life.

But alas, as “get serious” would not leave, I searched myself to locate the origin of this notion. Was it coming from not-enoughness? From self-judgment or cruelty? The funny thing was, it wasn’t. It was coming from a different place- the future me, Magnificent Me, the higher version of myself that is ready for better. Not from a controlling, restricting, boring me who is trying to suck the fun out of everything. Get serious is coming from the best parts of me, from the part of me that is ready, really ready, to maximize my life, my assets, my wellness, so that I CAN play more, savor more, relax more.

Here’s what I understand now: Getting serious doesn’t have to be the opposite of pleasure or freedom.

Getting serious is not the antithesis of joy. I’m beginning to think it is a path to greater joy, and that there is joy to be found in taking care of business. I’m ready for greater joy.

I’m ready to get serious.

I deserve better than what I’ve been giving myself. I’m ready for better.

Self-love and self-care are not diminished by my getting serious. Only enhanced. The better I take care of my life, my body, my resources and what is most important to me… the more trust I create between me and myself. The more I trust myself, the more pleasure and joy I am able to experience!

I really can have it all. And I’m ready for it.

What are you ready to get serious about? Are you ready to have it all?

In next week’s blog, I’ll share some tips and tools for getting serious, while still experiencing  joy and pleasure!

Wing-spreading Time is Officially Here

maddi movingMy daughter, my only offspring, my womanchild, smack dab in the middle of her 18th and 19th birthdays, is on the other side of this wall, in her room, right now, singing and packing. Packing to move into her first apartment with friends, this weekend. She is spreading her wings. She is flying away.

As we drove around today, prowling liquor stores for free boxes, we talked about the move, her new life, her choices, her path, and I find myself coming to terms with her bold and brave decision. What choice do I have, at this point? Sure, I could foster and nurture this resistance, that would be easy. But I know this: My resistance is rooted in fear. My fear does not support her. I want to support her. And God knows, she only grows more stubborn and hell-bent when feeling judged or unsupported. She is a Taurus, after all, and she is her mother’s daughter.

Our conversation bounced all over the place, my mind flooding with questions, fears, excitement, acceptance, resistance. I was feeling all the feelings, all at once. I wondered (wonder) did I give her enough? Did I teach her enough? Did I do my best?

I’ve seen the movie “About Time” twice in one week, now. If you haven’t seen it, you should; it’s beautiful. The premise is a common one, time travel, but the focus is on finding bliss in our “extraordinary, ordinary lives”… cherishing every moment, big moments, small moments, bringing to life as much noticing and awareness as we can, so that we might savor, and not squander, our days. This movie made me cry with jealousy. No fair. I want to go back in time. I want to savor those moments with my daughter again- those ridiculously busy days- I’d love to go back and be less busy. I’d like to stop more. Play more. To squat down and meet her eyes and listen, with my full presence.

I used to think it was a cliché parents would say to each other “They grow up so fast.” Now I know it’s a cliché for a reason. Because it’s utterly and ridiculously true. They DO grow up so fast. And now, as she heads into her future, forging her own path, there are things I want to make sure she knows.

Maddi, are you reading this?

Seek only your own approval. “Someday I will make you proud.” You said to me, today. I nearly broke down weeping. What? You already do make me proud. You are an amazing, insightful, brilliant young woman with the strongest sense of self I’ve ever known in someone your age, hell, even beyond your age.  What makes me proud is you being you, your strong spirit, your will, your courage, your creativity. But here’s the thing. Your life should not be lived for anyone else’s peace of mind, pride or pleasing. I appreciate you valuing my opinion, but ultimately, making yourself proud is the only pride that matters. The world is full of opinions. I may not always approve of your choices. But I don’t need to. Do you approve of your choices?

You will make mistakes. We learn how to manage money by first mismanaging it. We create boundaries when our boundaries have been crossed. We learn to be loyal to ourselves by betraying ourselves. We learn how to pay bills on time by having the power shut off. It happens. You will make mistakes. Just learn from them, ‘kay?

Learn to listen, really listen, to your intuition. You have an incredible, fail-proof inner navigation system, and it’s accessible to you anytime you need guidance. Sure, others can chime in. You can get your tarot cards read, your friends can give you advice. I am always there to talk things through. But allow these outer sources to simply be clarifying aids toward the wisdom within you. Look for signs, confirmations, clues and synchronicities on the outside that validate the truth that’s available to you on the inside.  Pay special attention to those feelings when something isn’t right. It’s your own inner tuning fork. It knows what’s up. Trust yourself. Trust your boundaries.

Oh, those precious boundaries… If you have ever had the perfect opportunity to figure out what yours are, this is it. Nothing like living with two roommates to help with that. Often, we don’t know where our boundaries are, until they’ve been crossed… “Hey, that felt shitty.” Or “No. Did not like that one bit.” Speak your mind. Even when your voice may tremble or falter, speak. Even when they might not like what you have to say, say it. If you can learn this now, the rest of your life will be that much easier. Trust me on this. Trust me on all of this…

But mostly, trust yourself. You are trustworthy. You are capable. You are brave. You are forging your own path, trusting your own desire. You got this, baby.

Funny this song should come on at this moment, as I type, Elsewhere, by Sarah McLachlan. I’ve always loved it, but now it makes a different kind of sense. It’s for you, Maddi…

“I believe
this is heaven to no one else but me
and I’ll defend it as long as
I can be left here to linger in silence
if I choose to
would you try to understand?
Oh the quiet child awaits the day when she can break free
the mold that clings like desperation…
Mother can’t you see I’ve got
to live my life the way I feel is right for me
might not be right for you but it’s right for me…
I believe…”

SacredSexyU Spotlight: Meet Katie Forbes!

ssu spotlightI’m excited about a new monthly feature – I’ll be gleefully spotlighting some of my amazing clients, partners and pals. These are the folks who inspire me on a regular basis, and I want to share their shining brilliance with the world. Today, meet Katie Forbes!

Katie is one of the loveliest, most generous and authentic people I know. She shows up for life with a wide open heart, and I’ve loved the time I’ve spent with her. She brings a lot of light into my life and the lives of so many others.

She’s just launched a sweet and lovely business, Dew & Beemore, that is a true extension of her bright and sparkly personality. Katie and I conversed about dreaming, planning, growing, letting go, tuning in and other sacred, sexy stuff. Check it out…

katie1Katie, you are forging a new path, developing a dream. Tell us about Dew & Beemore.

I have this tremendous heart for helping others. Dew & Beemore is a fledgling import company that helps artists, in both the US & India, make their art by financing and collaborating on new projects or purchasing their completed work, making this art accessible to people who otherwise might not have access or exposure to it, and supporting organizations that help people who really need it.

The name of your business seems to have a rich “double” meaning. Can you tell us about the concept behind the name?

I co-founded Dew & Beemore with two brothers, Farooh & Abdul, in response to our deep desire to do (Dew) and (&) be more (Beemore) with life. We three love art, but the one thing we all have a real passion for is helping others do more than they ever thought was possible and be more than they dared dream they could be.

You also work a full-time day job. How do you keep things balanced? What keeps you centered?

Ah! Balanced?! Good grief, do I do that? HAHA…  I rely heavily on my yoga and nutrition to keep my body and mind in check. Keeping the physical stressors away is The. Most. Important. Thing. I can’t hope to do anything or be anything other than a lumpy grump if my brain won’t work (poor nutrition) or my back hurts (skipping yoga). Also, personal development is a priority.  I always have a book that is in some way contributing to my understanding of the world and my place in it. Sessions with you! Having forehead on desk moments are scientifically proven to be the direct result of lapsing katie2in regular brain dumps.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of letting go, to gain; creating space to attract new brilliance… have you let go of anything recently? What did you gain?

When starting a new (ad)venture you have to come to terms with menial bank account balances for some time. I have been reminding myself that money is something that you can’t be attached to. I have let go of the attachment to my bank balance. If I spend our last 200 smackers on what my gut is telling me is the next step, then the 200 will come back when and how it is supposed to. What I have received in return is FREEDOM.

I’ve also been exploring “stuckness” and how it serves us, in the long run, as a preparation, healing or gestating time. What do you do when you feel stuck?

When I am feeling stuck, I often turn to doing something that gets me moving, physically. I haven’t decided if it is the act of setting aside, or if it is truly the act of moving that does it. Either way, physically or mentally, like any good author, I put the chapter aside for a while, and come back to it in a few days.

I’ve loved you since the day I met you, Katie! I want you to brag on yourself. What do you love most about yourself? What makes you fantastic? What are the gifts you possess that are most helpful in the growing of your dreams?  

I love you too! What I love most about myself is my heart. I love deeply and honestly. I am fair and want everyone to feel fulfilled, respected, and strong. My super power is spotting people’s strengths and showing them how to leverage them for a purpose bigger than themselves. I use this gift a couple ways,  to spot goods that an artist I know would be able to transform into something unique finding ways to leverage what Dew & Beemore is doing to improve the lives of others.

What advice do you have for people who are holding the seed of a gestating dream, but maybe have limitations of time, due to a full time job, or start up money, or even entrepreneurial experience?

Get help. HA! What I have come to realize is that there is no one who has done anything without help. Working alongside someone who can act as a mirror for frustrations and stuckness, tell you to get a grip in a loving way, and hold you accountable really alleviates the feeling of being on an island.

Time, shmime. Job, shmob. Money, shmoney. Experience, expershmearience. I’ve got none either!

I have formal training in skincare. I am a training/quality manager by day, and my hobbies include crocheting and dog training. Limitations are whatever you allow them to be. Limitations are not inherently roadblocks, they are yield signs. Are you going to be that person getting on the highway of life that stops at the yield sign? There are no engraved invitations to this party. So just do something. Screw the limits.

Thank you so much for being so Sacred and so Sexy in your sharing, Katie! Keep shining, and offering your authenticity to the world. You are a gift.

You can learn more about Dew & Beemore by visiting their website or Facebook page.

Coming Home: The Miracle of Self-Acceptance

selfie1Something has shifted in me, something big, important, true and real.

I have crossed a threshold that I didn’t even know existed. It could be an age thing. I am about to turn 42. I’ve heard about these shifts from women in their forties and fifties. Maybe it’s because I’m loved and cherished in a really awesome way in my intimate relationship. Maybe it’s because I just got tired of fighting.

But it probably has mostly to do with the fact that I’ve been working diligently on it for some time now, developing practices, doing work around it, dialoging, journaling, meditating, and self-therapy, because I wanted out of the vicious and cruel body-loathing trap I’d been in for so long. Here’s what’s up:

I am finally in love with who I am.

It seems that for the most part, the war against my body has ended. The “enemy” has retreated.  I have surrendered into the soft, safe place of radical, total self-acceptance. I have come home to myself, to finally find a resting place.

I’ve always been fond of who I am, “spirit-wise.” My soul, my personality, my gifts, yada, yada. Even my face, my hair. But there was so much hostility, quite frankly, toward my body.

I have spent the majority of my life, up til recently, hating parts of my body. Hiding parts of my body. Wishing, crunching, diet-pilling, loathing, comparing.

But this shift has opened me up enough to love my totality. And that means my body, too. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still like to be more fit, to release some weight, to be healthier. But this motivation to make changes is coming now from a place of love vs. loathing, a place of kindness vs. cruelty. Imagine the freedom that exists in that shift. I am just beginning to grasp it, myself.

In the meantime, I am cherishing my body, as is. It’s miraculous and magical functions, its shapes and lines, curves and even its bulges and fleshliness. It’s softness and generous areas, it is my home.

These days, I rarely find myself in cruel thoughts. If I do, they are fleeting and quick as I have learned how to shift my thoughts, to change directions. Mostly, these days, I am inhabiting my body fully. I am loving it and grateful for its relentless generosity and grace.

Bear in mind: Self-acceptance is not resignation. Like “Oh, this is just the way I am, I might as well give up trying to release weight, or get healthy…” Self-acceptance is not giving up.

Self-acceptance is taking off from a love-based launching pad.

It’s a foundation rooted in kindness instead of cruelty.

It’s rich, potent soil from which amazing things can grow, instead of the rocky, gritty, nutrient-deficient gravel of self-loathing.

All the work I’ve been doing to love myself is finally paying off. I am loving myself more fully, completely, entirely than I ever have before.

It’s a brave, new world.

I dare you to explore this brave, new world for yourself. You would not believe the energy that opens up, the new “white space” you’ll have in your soul, in your mind, new freedoms and fuel to express yourself, to do what you came here to do.

Stop wasting your time and energy hating your body.

Inhabit your body with a spirit of curiosity and inquiry: How can I love you better? How can I take care of you today? What are you trying to tell me? What do you need? What do you desire?

And you’ll discover, in this work, a sense of coming home after a long and exhausting trip. Relax into the body that is, in this moment.

It is what it is.

Can you love yourself enough to accept your body, right now, in this moment, as it is?

Coming home starts with one step, one decision, one choice. And then another, and then another… and eventually, you find yourself returned, whole and complete.

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Author’s note: The journey never ends. Seems I’d just launched this blog and have been plagued by waves of melancholic body-image/self-esteem bullshit. Harsh and bitter body analysis. Bunch of bleh. Blaming it on full moon, hormones, lack of endorphins/exercise, whatever it is, it’s there. Ironic, eh? But I am making progress. This I know.

A Daring Adventure or Nothing

LifeDaringAdventureWhen I was in seventh grade, awkward, uncertain, and incredibly restless, my unsupervised class Christmas party ended up being a giant circle of Truth or Dare.

While our tired and disengaged teacher flipped through the newspaper, oblivious to our activities, thirty pubescent, horny boys and girls circled up and began to play.

Oh my God, I thought, this is it, my opportunity to BE KISSED. I hadn’t yet, up til then, in spite of the colorful yarns I spun at recess sitting on the school steps, with a couple of my friends, sharing exotic, made up tales of various ‘bases’ of sexual experience with imaginary boyfriends they would not, not surprisingly, ever meet. So excited I was that Truth or Dare day, I went to the girls’ bathroom, feathered my hair, applied a fresh coat of Bonnie Belle lip gloss and returned to the circle, nervous, adrenalin pumping, ready for action.

“She can’t play!” Someone nominated my exclusion. “She’s too young.”  I was a tender eleven to their twelves. I wasn’t THAT young, for goodness sake.  “No, you can’t play!” Others chimed in. I was devastated. I pretended not to care, I would just watch, fine, whatever. I didn’t want to play anyway.

Perhaps this explains the beginnings of my lifelong love for the game of Truth or Dare.  I grew out of my awkwardness, but not out of my desire to be titillated, challenged, amused and entertained. As an adult, I’ve spiced up many a dull party with a good game of Truth or Dare.

I love the idea of daring others and being dared out of comfort zones, of speaking truthfully, intimately expressing what might have never been revealed otherwise. Boldly stepping out of the mundane and into a wilder, more adventurous version of ourselves.

In fact, that’s what my life has become. I look at life as a laboratory of sorts. A playground, an improv stage, that we make up as we go along, where each and every moment we have the opportunity to test our boundaries, to dare ourselves to play bigger, be bolder, live courageously, love wildly. Sure, we can stay folded up inside of ourselves, cozy and “safe” within our comfort zones. Plenty of people do. I can’t live that way.

By some magical, awesome twist of fate, I have become the type of person that would rather risk than stay safe. When faced with a conflict or challenge, even the desire to retract and contract, I choose to go deeper, even if terrified, instead of folding up inside myself. It’s scarier, riskier, out on a limb. But as the old saying goes, that’s where the fruit is.

How are you living your life?

As a laboratory, where you get to experiment with opportunities, choices, combinations, testing things out courageously, not knowing what you might get, but risking anyway?  As a playground, where new scenarios and adventures can be imagined and created, always new and colorful, even if you’re playing with ‘the same old swings’?

And what will it take to move you out of the mundane into the wild, daring adventure your life can be?

I dare you to take that leap, whatever that leap may be. Take that class, make that move, commit to that relationship, dive into life, let go of that old story that holds you back, ditch your excuses, jump in, arms raised, heart open and say YES to the life that is calling you.

I dare you.

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Have you heard about my new program, The Truth or Dare Club? I invite you to explore, and obey the stirrings your heart is expressing. It’s time. You ready for this? Join the Club. The only thing you’ve got to lose is what’s been holding you back.

Who knows? Could be…

Click Tony’s lovely face to see and hear the song.

There is no greater musical interpretation of gleeful anticipation and gut-instinct premonition of big things about to manifest than Tony’s “Who Knows?” from my favorite-musical-of-all-time, West Side Story.

“Around the corner
whistling down the river…

Come on, deliver
To meeeeeeeee…”

I find myself often feeling like Tony. You know what I’m talking about. That FEELING…

“The air is humming
and something great is coming…

Who knows?

It’s only just out of reach
Down the block
on a beach
maybe tonight!”

And YES, that something-coming that he was anticipating was meeting the love of his life, Maria, at the dance at the gym. (Albeit, he ends up dying shortly after, because of a misunderstanding involving her brother, her boyfriend, a rumble and whatnot… but that’s not the point of this blog.) My point is, he followed his hunch. He felt it coming. He showed up. And he fell in love.

Do you ever feel on the brink of something really exciting, really important, but you’re not sure what it is? Do you ever feel gleeful anticipation of the wonderful things that have yet to unfold in your life? Do you ever get a hunch that something great is coming?

I’ve been having that feeling a lot lately. It’s an exciting, energizing feeling.

Here’s the catch, though. Yeah, there’s a catch. Manifesting that exciting, important, really wonderful, great whatever-it-is isn’t going to happen unless you move toward it.

Okay, yes, sometimes supermodels get discovered at the mall, sure. And Charlize Theron met her first manager in Hollywood while having an emotional meltdown in line at the bank because she was flat broke. Synchronicities happen. Here’s the key: Supermodels sometimes get discovered at malls. Not sitting at home eating chips on the couch. Charlize was discovered at the bank. Not doing her banking online, although that might have been a more convenient choice.

Life, truly lived, requires us to be engaged. To interact. To show up, take risks, step out of our comfort zones, leave the house, put on some lipstick even (or especially) when we’re not feeling it, to make eye contact. To make conversation. Life rewards us for our dangerously uncomfortable, awkward interactions, for our bravery, for our courage.

When we’re paying attention, going to the dance, chatting with the barista, waving hi to the garbage man, smiling at strangers and making choices to show up rather than shrink or hide, Life responds.

Had Tony stayed at Doc’s stacking bottles of soda pop all night, he would not have met Maria. There’d be no story to West Side Story.

So are you stacking bottles or are you going to the dance tonight?

Something’s coming.

Engage more. Do more. Smile more. Connect more. Show up more. Let go more. Risk more. Laugh more. Cry more.

Live more.

And watch how Life responds. She loves that stuff.

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Ready to take your relationship with Life to the next level? Join me for a four-week group coaching experience SoulFire: Your Life, Ignited, my first co-ed coaching group! Starts Wednesday 6/19.

Because I am Worth It. And So Are You.

How do you know when it’s time to take a break?

The Universe, in its divine wisdom and wicked sense of humor, has many curious ways of leading me to a resting place. Some more dramatic than others. Last year, around this time, a chronic pain situation became a serious, full-blown shut-everything-down-crisis.

Lately, it’s more subtle. I’m having trouble writing. And focusing. I’m feeling overwhelmed much of the time. I’m forgetting deadlines. Weekends go by too fast, and I’m not as excited as I usually am to start a new week. I’m tired.

Last year, my body made the decision for me. I took August off. This year, I’d like to do the same thing, but not because my body says so. Just because I say so.  Because I am worth it. I feel like it will be a way of honoring myself, of refueling and allowing my ground to lay fallow for a while, to clear, to quiet.

One of the biggest challenges of being me is that I love creating, inventing and facilitating so much that I have a hard time stopping. It feels like “my natural state”. But from a quieter, deeper place, I know my natural state is NOT doing, It is being.

While I will still need to get certain things done, in August, I’m going to take a break from blogging, from creating new things, from networking and from most events and duties.

I’m going to give myself time to be fallow. I’m resting.  And over the next two months, I’ll be doing everything I can in preparation, to ensure that I can take a nice juicy break in August.  Because I want August to be my vacation month, each year, from now on. Last August was a crisis response. This August is a proactive act of self-care. I want to recharge. I want to renew. I want to be able to give you the best I can. And If I never stop, if I’m always going, if I’m spread too thin, I just simply can’t do that.

The world will not stop spinning without me. The Universe supports my self-care.

Let’s join forces and commit to our care together. What decision can you make, on behalf of your self-care, this summer? Because you are worth it.

I feel lighter already,