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Shock Yourself: Loosen the Labels that Bind You

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Photo courtesy of Flickr Hive Mind.

“I am not the type to let people in.”

“I am the least domesticated person you’ll ever meet.”

“I can’t save money.”

“I always let fear stop me from what I want.”

“I hate when attention is on me.”

“I’m not ever putting myself in a vulnerable situation again.”

“I could never do that.” (Insert your “that” of choice.)

One of the most pervasive and restricting things that keeps us from living life fully, and experiencing our own fullness, is not our circumstances, it’s not our budget, it’s not our past, it’s not our external limitations.

It’s the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.

I hear them all the time. Sometimes, in my own head.

Here’s one I used to tell: I am not the domestic type. I felt strongly about this, because I wanted to feel “wild and free” and to me, being domestic was the opposite of these feelings. I feared it would feel restrictive. Lame, dull.  If I surrendered to domesticity, I’d lose my feminist card, and turn into some sort of Stepford wife.

On a deeper level, the last time I really, truly embraced domesticity was my very short, and very shitty first marriage from the time I was 19 to 21. He had turned out to be an abusive, controlling monster. So maybe on some level, I tied the two together and promised myself, never again, not me.

It wasn’t until very recently I began to challenge this old story, and realized, to my amazement, I can feel wild and free AND domestic. These days, I’m certainly less “wild” than I used to be, (thank goodness) but I’m creating a new definition of who I am. And I love it.

I am domestic. There, I said it. In fact, this is new. It’s just been sinking in, the last couple months.

Like most mornings, this morning, I spent the first few minutes out of bed tidying up the house. My fiancé, Matt and I just moved in, almost three months ago, and while that “honeymoon phase” newness of the house has slightly worn, I still find this act of tidying up to be a meditation of sorts. A blessing, a gift. A prayer.

As I fiddle around, arranging pillows on the couch, throwing in a load of laundry or wiping down the kitchen counters, watering a plant, I feel a giddy sense of joy at the simplicity of my newfound domesticity. See, I was notoriously a self-proclaimed “non-domestic.” Sure, I kept my apartment tidy before the house. But I never cherished tidying up. That is just friggin’ weird.

But here I am, doing it. And when I do, I notice a presence, an awakeness, peppered with gratitude, to be alive, to be sober, and present, to be clear-headed, to be home. In myself. I’m home.

And then, I find wiping the counters, arranging pillows, watering a plant, these simple acts of keeping house, become an act of devotion, a way of saying “Thanks, God.” Me. And upon realizing this, I shock myself.

So how can you shock yourself today? How can you challenge your own binding labels of who you are, and who you are not?

I don’t think it’s just cool or interesting to challenge and loosen the labels that bind us. I daresay, these are acts of defiance, radical acts of revolution. Evolution. And doing so may be imperative to your growth.

Granted, no one knows you better than you, I won’t argue that, but when you definitively declare, out loud to the world, or quietly inside, who you are, or who you are not, you create a box around yourself. Your own little personal prison- how cute! You might decorate it, hang pretty curtains, but as long as you refuse to leave it, as long as you don’t dare explore what might be outside of its walls, you’re in a self-inflicted prison. Isn’t it time you broke out?

Guess what? The box is made of cardboard. Grab a butter knife.

Pretty much every day, in my work, and in my life, I hear definitive declarations of what people think they are and what they think they are not. I listen to stories of limitation and people fighting passionately to live by them, hanging curtains in their cardboard boxes and yes, like I said earlier, now and then, some of the stories I hear are my very own.

Thankfully, almost every day, I also see people defying their own stories and limitations. I see women bravely doing what they thought they could not do. I see courageous souls willing to risk what they think they know about themselves, and the deceptive comfort that comes with that, to explore the other side of that cardboard box. And wow. When they do, amazing, miraculous, transformative and powerful things happen.

Magic happens.

I challenge you today to choose a label or a story or a definitive declaration you’ve held on to, and shock yourself. Do the opposite. Be the opposite. Open up to the possibility that what you think you are is not the be all, end all of who you are.

And watch the magic happen.

You are all things. You contain multitudes.

Why not experience as many of them as you can, in this fleeting moment we call life?

To Be with Our Emptiness

Photo by Dee Hill
Photo by Dee Hill

We are, each of us, introduced to our emptiness at some point in our lives. Some of us come into contact with it as children, some of us as adults. But at some point, we begin to notice it, feel it.

It aches deep within us, constantly, this void. Sometimes we barely even notice it, as we spend our days focused on frenetically filling it, and oh, do we try to fill it with all kinds of things.  Over the years, I’ve tried in so many ways. With relationships, work, focusing on others, with sex, shopping, shoplifting, cigarettes, TV, with drugs, alcohol, religion and God. 500 piece jigsaw puzzles, even for a while.

Since I’ve been sober for nearly six months, I’ve noticed this emptiness pop up with increasing frequency. Of course it does, I have far fewer places to hide.

For me, it feels like a deep itch, like a gnawing, gaping vacuum under my heart, above my belly, and it rumbles in a low growl, like a motor. What do I fill it with? I don’t like it. I’m not comfortable with it. It’s like when you have a rash and they tell you not to itch and all you want to do is itch.

Talking about it over lunch with a dear friend yesterday, she resonated immediately. “It feels like… a burning hollowness.” she said.

Yes. That.

It calls to me and feels like want. What do I want? I ask myself. What do I need right now? More coffee? Another cigarette? An orgasm? To get loaded? To fuck? To take a nap? To take a walk? The wanting tugs at me, like a persistent toddler.

Fill me, it says.

I asked another friend about her emptiness over coffee. With twelve years of recovery under her belt, she knew exactly what I was referring to.

“In recovery, we call that a God-shaped hole.”

Yes. It made sense at first. But then I thought more about it. I have a rich spiritual practice. I write and talk to God every day. I practice gratitude, and mindfulness, and I feel supported and loved by something greater than me all the time. I listen to spiritual podcasts.  I read spiritual books. I journal. I color mandalas. I feel like the Divine and I are pretty tight. I think calling it a God-shaped hole may be simplifying it. For it implies then, that a god-shaped hole can be filled with God. Problem solved. Oh, still have the hole? Just pour in more God.

I am beginning to see thing differently. And for me, it’s a pretty radical concept.

It started as an epiphany, as a question I asked myself.

What if the hole, the itch, the emptiness, the sweet ache of being alive is not meant to be filled, but is meant to remain empty?

That is what I now believe. I’ve come to realize is that this emptiness isn’t meant to be filled. It’s meant to be lived with.

And learning to live with this emptiness – teacher and poet Mark Nepo calls it “the sweet ache of being alive”—is the most challenging inner work I have done.

What does this emptiness want from us? Only our companionship.

Because when we leave this emptiness and allow It to just be, when we sit with it, breathe into it, and learn to simply be with it, it turns into our depth, our vastness.

It will sometimes take all our might, but we truly can shift the urge to fill it into a practice of just being with it. I’ve been working with this practice lately.

If we sit with it, with curiosity, with a welcoming spirit, even if that welcoming spirit is a reluctant welcoming spirit, we realize the hole doesn’t need filling at all. This white space, this deep hollow becomes a portal and through it, in it, we free-fall into the depth and spaciousness of our own being. Our limitless spirit. The emptiness is the portal through our humanity and into our divinity.

What would happen if we just dove in?

We become one with the hole and it doesn’t swallow us. It only reveals to us our vastness, our infinite capacity for everything, our sweet, vulnerable ache that doesn’t need anything except our company.

This is a new concept for me, I reiterate. And when I remember to practice it, when that itch, that familiar, uncomfortable yearning for that mysterious anything, that un-nameable something, that persistent toddler of want, tugging at me, saying fill me, fill me, arises, I am learning to turn my attention to it, instead of blindly, unconsciously numbing out.

I turn my attention to it and say “hi.”

 

 

My Luck is No Accident: Wanna Get Lucky, Too?

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I’ve considered myself a lucky girl for many, many years, and I’m not ashamed to declare it. Great things happen to me. Call it coincidence, synchronicity, serendipity, happenstance, magic, charm, or just plain luck, I am a magnet for awesome situations, chance meetings that turn into big breaks, and unexpected blessings that seem to happen on a daily basis.

I was reminded of this the other day, marveling over a recent blessing with my awesome fiancé, Matt… “Can you believe this opportunity just fell on my lap?”

“I hear you say that a lot.” He answered. He’s right. But am I lucky? Or are my choices, thoughts and desires simply aligning because of the practices and philosophies I embrace?

Here’s the real truth. It’s no accident I am one lucky lady. My luck is not random. And in spite of what my wandering ego sometimes wants to think, nor am I some special favorite child of the divine, at least not any more than anyone else is favored! (We’re all the favorites of the Divine, we are all “trust fund babies of the Universe!”)

We’ve all known a person who considers herself cursed. She is a magnet for bad luck. Accidents follow her. Mysterious ailments ail her. She can’t seem to catch a break. She knows it too, and makes sure everyone who comes in contact with her knows it with her. She was born under a bad sign.

What is the difference between her and me? I believe it really boils down to what we think we are, and how we do life.

Quite simply, we create our own luck, whether we consider it good luck or bad.

An interesting study was done, with five dollar bills. A five dollar bill was laid in the paths of people that fell into one of two groups, those who simply consider themselves lucky, and those who do not.  Each person had the same opportunity to find the same five dollar bill, right in front of them. Guess who more often found the five dollar bill?

You guessed right. The so-called Lucky Ones.

Hey, I know. Life is messy. Shit happens. If I wanted to document and record and focus on the crappy little things and sometimes bigger, crappier things that happen to me, I certainly could. My life, just like anyone else’s is a dance between great days and bad days. Some dreams come true. Some fizzle. Some days I radiate, some moments I am a little grey rain cloud, pouring cold rain on anyone in my path. Of course. But my focus- where I choose to put it- that is what determines the reality I experience.

There are certain things I do think are random. The fact that I happened to be born in a first world country to this life, with these privileges I’ve done absolutely nothing to create, like clean water to drink, a bounty of food and opportunity available to me, the loving family I was born to, that were able to provide for my needs.

However, I think that my current life, the experiences I’ve attracted, the reality I live in day to day is quite non-accidental. Non-coincidental. I create my luck.

We experience what we think. Our feelings and our thoughts create our reality. This is spiritual law. This is quantum physics. This is truth.

I’m reading this fun book called “Get Rich, Lucky Bitch” by Denise Duffield-Thomas. She talks about the four common traits of us so-called Lucky People. Do you do these things? If you do them more, I promise, you’ll get lucky!

And if you consider yourself to be unlucky, chances are, these four practices are missing from your life. See what shifts when you begin to pour your life force into these four practices…

  1. Lucky people maximize their chance opportunities.
  2. Lucky people listen to their lucky hunches.
  3. Lucky people expect good fortune.
  4. Lucky people turn their bad luck into good.

When I read this list, I realized this is the exact recipe for my luck. I do these things. And they work. So luck is not random chance at all, like some would like to believe.

You are a powerful magnet for luck. You are a designer of your own random experiences. Yes, that’s a paradox. Isn’t it a beautiful one?

What choice will you make to get lucky today?

Warning: Some People Don’t Want You to Grow

Jealousy-300x168Shining too bright, eh?

Not everyone likes when you grow.

When you quake, it shakes their ground, too. Especially the people closest to your fault line.

Understand this: You are an evolving creature, radiating brighter than ever before, making empowered choices. You are changing. And some people hate that. They don’t even know that they hate that, they might never admit that they hate that, but when you change, and they do not, it’s a reminder. You become a mirror of what they are not. And most people don’t like reminders of what they are not.

Quite often, the ways you are changing also have direct implications for them, and the dynamic of your relationship.

They might have to pick up the slack in the relationship, or around the house. They may need to make more effort. They might have to change their minds and let go of preconceived notions or outdated beliefs about who you are. They might have to grow, too, to keep up with you, and this doesn’t always go over well.

Unfortunately, it’s a rare and preciously self-aware person that can say “The growth and change you are experiencing is making me uncomfortable and I feel scared. So in order to not act out in a way that is hurtful to you, I’m telling you what’s going on.” Nah, hardly happens like that.

Instead, there’s the acting out.

The resistance, the arguments, the distancing, the gossip, the jabs.

There might be snide or snarky comments or complete verbal punches in the gut, that take the wind right out of you. There might be knockdown-dragout arguments. It might even feel like the world itself is crumbling.

There might be a complete and radical breakdown of the relationship, where a choice has to be made, and it may be the most difficult, painful choice you have ever made.

No one ever said evolution would be easy.

But there’s no turning back. You can’t ungrow. You can try, in all sorts of unsavory, self-sabotaging ways, but even THAT is growth, believe it or not. No, you’re here.

You are evolving, you are growing in delightful, beautiful ways, and to some people, that’s just scary.

They have ideas  and beliefs about you, after all. And when you shake up someone’s ideas and beliefs, it makes them feel wrong, and feeling wrong is one of our least favorite feelings, so we will do what we need to do to stay right. Feels safer, after all. We’ve all done it. It just sucks when it happens to you. At you.

But what if it was happening FOR you?

Guess what? It is.

The distillation process gets hot. And then, there is purification.

Go ahead, grow.

Let those old skins peel and fall from you.

Become the next evolutionary version of you, without apology, without shame, without regret.  Trust your path. Claim your power. Own your shine. And know that there is a place, a world, a reality, where your shining brightly does not diminish the light of others, where you are invited and encouraged to be your most amazing, fabulous, beautiful, radiant self, with others being their most amazing, fabulous, beautiful, radiant selves.

I know this because it’s the reality I live in. It’s my address, and I won’t settle for living elsewhere.

When you shake things up, things get shaky.  Hold on to something stable, ground your feet, and keep growing.

You’ll be okay. In fact, you’ll be more than okay. I promise.

 

 

Original post date 10.1.13.

Ditch that Lousy Dance Partner

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Is there something you’ve been struggling with, something you can’t seem to get ‘on top of’, in spite of the rules and goals and intentions and restrictions and rewards and all the things you’ve been trying?

It could be anything from unhealthy eating habits, to too much maryjane to happy hours that put too much of a dent in your wallet to hanging out with people that don’t honor and respect you.

It could be excessive shopping, excessive wine, promiscuity that leaves you feeling empty, excessive work, excessive procrastination, excessive Netflix, excessive niceness.

Is there an area in your life you trying to will-power your way to healing? Are you trying to white-knuckle your way through managing a bad habit? Force-feeding your soul with rules and restrictions and regulations for how you will live, how you will get a grip on this one thing?

How’s that working?

Exhausted yet?

I get it.

I’d struggled for a long time with not feeling good about the ways and increasing frequency I was turning to alcohol to feel good, to abandon a crappy mood, or feel “in the mood”, to socialize, to connect, to “get through life.”

I hated that I smoked cigarettes. I was embarrassed and ashamed more often than I care to admit.

I didn’t like the way I was feeling about myself. I didn’t like the way I kept breaking promises to myself. I was tired of feeling like crap for an entire day or two after tearing it up on a Friday night.

I was exhausted. It wasn’t working any more.

It’s like I had an inconsistent lover who made me feel great sometimes, who said and did all the right things, then we’d go to bed and the next day, he’d turn on me. It was no longer good.

The pain was just not worth the pleasure.

It takes a LOT of energy to dance with a crappy dance partner. Yet I kept trying to dance.

I kept trying to tango, and my dance partner wanted to slam dance.

Finally, I came to the realization that it wasn’t the dance that wasn’t working. It was the partner. For me to be truly free, I needed to sever the relationship.

And so I did.

On the first day of a brand new year, I quit smoking and said goodbye to spirits of the chemical kind and became a brand new me.

Yes, me. The eternal party girl. Lord knows, I’ve had one very long party.

That party is finally over, for me. No more screwing around. I left the dance floor. I found that my strength would not ever be coming through managing or restricting or limiting. That works for many. It wasn’t working for me.

My strength would come from ending the dance, once and for all.

Guess what? No more broken promises to myself. No more feeling bad about myself. No more energy wasted on trying to manage an unruly dance partner.

So now there is a new party, and it’s one of feeling good, feeling strong, being healthy, hangover-free weekends, lots of money saved, weight lost, new energy, new passion, better skin. Better relationships.

Better everything.

Are you trying to limit something with rules and restrictions, when really, you should just stop altogether?

Trying to dance with a lousy dance partner?

What if you just left the dance?

You can keep struggling, you can keep fighting, or you can walk away from the fight.

I’m not saying abstinence is for everyone. Of course not!

I CAN say it’s working very well for me.

I have been working on myself for my entire adult life. Always healing, dealing, feeling, revealing, and now I am doing so in braver, bolder ways.

This is the most important work on myself I have ever done.

Is there something in your life that makes a lousy dance partner, but you keep trying to dance with?

What if you stopped trying and simply decided you were done.

No more trying, what if you just walked  away from what is not working? Stopped. Let it go.

What if you stopped going to bed with this lousy lover, with a lover that doesn’t love you back?

What if you stopped trying to make something work that is clearly broken?

You need all your energy and life force for other things, like doing your work in the world, like living an ecstatic, joyful life, like loving and creating, and connecting and living in the light, so bright, it’s almost blinding.

Bring your sunglasses.

Step out of the shadows. Step into the light. Claim your freedom. You can be free.

The bright, radiant, glowing light of who you can be when you finally decide once and for all to stop playing small, to stop giving your power away, to stop shrinking yourself down and sabotaging your own well-being in order to “get through life.”

No more “getting through life.”

It’s time for a new dance partner.

Life is the best dance partner of all, has all the grace, all the excitement, all the best moves, all the passion. All the finesse. All the everything you’ve ever longed for. All you’ve ever dreamed of.

I promise.

You can do this.

When the time is right, you will know. When you’re ready, you will know.

Care to tango?

 

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p.s. Sometimes we need some support to ditch our lousy dance partners. Going it alone is possible, but hey, let’s face it, it’s tougher. We belong to each other. Support is available. I’ve got mine. Get you yours.

p.p.s I posted a new video blog for you where I talk more about the changes I’ve made. You’re invited to make your own changes, on behalf of your best life ever.

When We Wander from What We Want

18-People-Who-Have-Failed-At-2015-Already-new-years-resolutionsIt’s inevitable for most of us.

We start the new year off with the best intentions. Connected to our dreams, clear on our desires, fired up with hope, we come out of the pen ready to do this.

We chug along for a week or so, momentum building.

Week two, yeah we’re good, making progress.

Week three, week four… well, things come up. We get distracted, we get tired, we get bored, we get sidetracked.

By the time February rolls around, we have ditched the resolutions. US News reports that by February, 80% of resolutions have failed. EIGHTY PERCENT. The good news is it’s not just you! The other good news is it doesn’t have to be you anymore!

It is totally normal to wander from what we want. Life has a way of distracting us. We have a way of getting in our own way. We blow it. We shift and change and sometimes even forget what it is we truly want from our lives.

Then, to make matters even worse, we feel bad about ourselves for “failing.” We blame our lack of will-power or commitment. We feel ashamed that this year was no different than the year before, or the year before.

And then we default to “game over.”  We throw in the towel.

Can this year be different?

Here’s what I think.

I think we give up too soon. Getting sidetracked is pretty much inevitable.

Here are five important tips to keep in mind, so that this year will be different.

  1. Start with a passion-based plan. Make sure that the goal is REALLY YOURS, not just what you think you should want. Then take that desire and break it down into steps, doable, realistic, action-oriented steps. Plan them. Schedule them. Plot them. You rebels might hate reading this, but it’s the difference between roaming around until you find your destination and GPSing it.
  2. Connect to your WHYs. Again and again. On a day you’re feeling strong, committed and capable, create a list of all the reasons, large and small you are working toward this goal. Review it,daily. Connect to each reason. Feel it. Breathe it. Focus on the pleasures that await you on the other side of the goal, and all the beautiful, sexy, fantastic reasons for even bothering in the first place. And if there is no pleasure waiting on the other side, take it off your list of goals and desires.
  3. Don’t go it alone. Accountability works. Whether you hire a coach, join a mastermind group, or buddy up with a trusted friend, enlist someone to hold you accountable. Someone besides yourself. It’s way too easy to cheat, justify, and disappoint ourselves when no one else is looking.
  4. Be kind to yourself. Praise yourself. Reward yourself. Write love notes to yourself in your journal “I am so proud of you. You’re doing great.” Sustainable change rarely comes from a place of self-loathing and cruelty. Try a gentler, more compassionate approach.
  5. Anticipate the wandering. You are a human being, not a machine. The secret is to get back on track, as soon as possible. Just because you “blew it” doesn’t mean it has to stay blown. And when we anticipate something, it won’t throw us completely off balance when it happens. It won’t knock us down. And if it does, we get back up, dust of our sexy selves, forgive ourselves and pick up where we left off.

You can do this. I can do this. Let’s be the 20%. We got this.

 

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Let’s build momentum! For added support, planning and mapping, plotting and scheming, join me Saturday 1/16 in Richardson, Texas for my 2016 Planning Party. Getting your sh*t together was never this much fun! Find out more here.

Relapse

stress

Not very long ago, November 12th, just about a month ago, to be exact, I wrote a braggy blog about how I had kicked overwhelm’s butt, about how I had cured myself of stressful living and spreading myself too thin. You may remember it?

“I’m even getting stubborn and refusing to let myself feel the anxious, overwhelmed, heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping feeling that used to be my normal. I just can’t live like that anymore. Well, I “could”. But I choose not to.”

Want to find out how quickly you aren’t done with something? Write a blog telling the world how you’re done with it.

Month later-me is shaking my damn head at last-month-me’s arrogance.

Yep, I relapsed.

When I wrote “My name is Lisa and I am a recovering adrenaline junkie. I have spent a lifetime, decades, in a rush toward the ever-changing finish line, overloading, overextending, overwhelmed. That’s just the way I did life. I think I even made myself slightly late to everything so that I could get that rush, that rush that came from rushing…” I meant it.

The relapse into old ways didn’t happen all at once. Ironically, it happened the exact same way I had made the changes toward stress-free living in the first place… once choice at a time.

Saying yes to this and yes to that. Signing up for courses and RSVPing for events. Let’s throw in the holidays, a new program launch, four holiday parties in three nights, a terrible head cold and cough and a five-day trip. My new healthier, cleaner eating went out the window as I stuffed carbs and flour into my face because I was on vacation. (Before that, it was because it was Thanksgiving.)

And bam, there I was. Overwhelmed, unfocused, frazzled, exhausted, making mistakes left and right, coughing, sneezing, stressed.

I am not saying I don’t love my life, or that I’m not grateful to have a busy career, active social life and commitments that matter. These things matter greatly to me, and I cherish my life and all of its complications and adventures. What I am saying is that a watered-down version of me does no one any good, especially me. Driving on empty is dangerous. Stress kills. There is a better way. I am learning to do things differently.

Here’s the difference this time around. Here’s where I can confidently trust that I am making real progress on my path.

  • I caught myself (relatively) quickly.
  • I compassionately and lovingly evaluated my life, without beating myself up for being a “hypocrite,” instead, gently acknowledging my human-ness.
  • I’m bravely facing the truth about myself that there are still some aspects of me still in need of healing, and this is one of them. For me, still, busy-ness and overwhelm happen too naturally, and there’s some self-examination to do around the why of this decades-old pattern.
  • In the interest of transparency, I made the decision to come clean with you, instead of carrying on the ruse that I was “still clean” of my addiction to busy-ness and adrenaline.
  • I addressed the problem right away, choice by choice, getting myself back on track with my practices for centering, self-care and reconnecting with spirit, with myself.
  • I promised myself not to add any more commitments or events to my calendar this year (except one important one still unscheduled.) (You might have to hold me to this one, friends.)

I need more stillness.

I need to bring myself back to center. Again and again.

I need to get quiet.

I need to slow down.

I’m not “out of the woods” yet, when it comes to strong, consistent, solid practices to keep me out of stress-mode and living a peaceful life of ease and trust. It’s a practice. A daily practice.

And if I spend the rest of my life in practice (I probably will), I’m okay with that, because I love myself unconditionally, and I am always in process.

I am aware.

“Without awareness, there can be no choice.” It’s been said.

Where in your life lately have you “missed the mark” or taken a step or two backwards?

Where or how have you relapsed?

Can you offer yourself compassion for your slip?

Can you gently course-correct, without cruelty or punishment? Without beating yourself up?

Can you allow your imperfectly, perfect self some slack, because you’re very, very human after all?

I am humbled, and I am back on track. How many times will I need to get back on track? As many as it takes.

You?

My Big, Bad, Beautiful Year

artist unknown
artist unknown

It’s that time of year. Time to start processing 2015, the things we’ve learned, the ways we’ve changed, what we’ll be taking with us into 2016. What we’d like to leave behind.

I know so many of you have had such important, monumental shifts and smaller but equally important twists and turns this year. Some twists and turns happy, some not so much. Some shifts have been your choice, some have been chosen for you.

For me, 2015 has been a big one. On the surface, you might not notice. I still live in the same place, drive the same car. I still have the same bangs, and the same fiance’. But peek inside, it’s been a big, bad,beautiful year for me…

2015 has been a year of “adulting.” And you know what? Adulting gets a bad rap. Adulting is rewarding. Adulting feels good. Taking care of business creates confidence and self-trust and when I trust myself, wow, it feels really good.

2015 has been a year of puppy love. Never thought I’d be a dog owner, but then Tuco happened to me. Those that know me well know that I always considered myself to be “not-an-animal-person.”  I’m not gonna lie- having my daughter move to Colorado for a few months created a bit of an empty nest feeling…  and this little mutt showed up and has quickly found his place in my heart. It’s not always easy, being a puppy-parent. In fact, sometimes it’s a pain in the ass, but I love this boy, and I sure am enjoying the endorphins and serotonin that he brings with his cuddles. I discovered a hidden chamber of love within my heart.

2105 has been a year of getting clear(er). There will always be mysteries. I will always be figuring it out. But I have made some important strides around how I spend my time and energy, how I will create boundaries, how I will respond to conflict and handle drama. I’m clearer on what I allow in. What I want my life to feel like. To look like.  And I’ve made some necessary shifts to get it there.

2015 has been the year I’ve made some bold changes around my health.  I’m not where I want to be, but I’m on my way. Habits are forming. Wheat is out of my diet. (I did cheat a little bit Thanksgiving weekend. It wasn’t as sexy a reunion as I imagined it would be) Started on Plexus this week also. I’ll keep you posted on that. I’m feeling better. I’m listening to my body more.

2015 has been a year of business growth and changes. For the first time ever, I committed to business coaches to support me in my business transitions and growth, and I have changed the way I do business in so many ways now.

2015 has been a year of letting go. I moved my only daughter to Colorado (she’s back for a while) which is its own unique combo of heartbreak and joy. As I transition directorship of the Burlesque Experience, I’m not going to say it has been all easy.  I struggle with some of the underlying fears and questions any time letting go has to happen. Who am I without this? What if this is the wrong thing? What am I thinking? Ego-based concerns of scarcity and lack arise. I work through them. I trust this process. I trust myself.

2015 has been a year of deep transformation and personal growth. Just flipping through my journal shows me so. I am changing. I am evolving. As I bring forth my own evolution, it happens at its own pace, at its own rate. The Universe reaches in to intervene in dramatic and/or subtle ways when I need it. And what I continue to learn is that change cannot be forced. Lord knows I’ve tried. I can set up plans, support systems, accountability and whatnot to help me along, but ultimately, change happens when its ready to happen. Sometimes quickly, sometimes not so quickly. And it’s all good.

2015 has been a year of getting my shit together. Yup. That pretty much sums it up. I still have more to get together, and chances are, I always will.

But in this moment, I am proud of who I am, imperfect, in-process, open-hearted, brave, vulnerable, flawed, present, and thrilled about the future. I trust myself. I love myself. And I love my messy, beautiful, sacred, sexy life.

2016 will be a huge year. We’ll be buying a house this year, my business will continue growing and shifting. I am committed to working hard on a book or two. There are ideas I haven’t even had yet that will become reality! That’s cool to think about. Who knows, I might even get married…

I’m so happy you’re on this journey with me.

What about you? What have you learned this year? How have you grown? What are you thanking 2015 for? And what do you want in 2016?  That’s the big question. Don’t let this year get away without evaluating, reviewing, and deciding what you want this year to mean in your life, as you kiss it good-bye.

May you cull from 2015 its gifts, lessons and unexpected blessings and may 2016 shine with potential. Yours for the taking. Let’s do this.

 

Me? Stress-free? Can it be?

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My name is Lisa and I am a recovering adrenaline junkie. I have spent a lifetime, decades, in a rush toward the ever-changing finish line, overloading, overextending, overwhelmed. That’s just the way I did life. I think I even made myself slightly late to everything so that I could get that rush, that rush that came from rushing.

When my daughter was a little kid, watching everything I modeled, as kids unfortunately do, she was playing pretend with an old day planner I had given her. She sat at her “desk” filling in each date with pretend obligations, at one point saying something like “I still have to fill up all the empty ones…” Damn.

Yep. By the age of seven she had learned that a loaded calendar was somehow desirable, that it proved something, but what? That was a question I asked myself for years.

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Then there was this card she made around the age of eight or nine, on an afternoon we spent making cards, the haircut just happening to be my haircut at the time.

I had reoccurring dreams of being at a buffet and loading my plate up so much that food was falling off the sides, and then, I’d see the real buffet, the one I really wanted, but it was too late. Because buffet managers hate it when you waste. (True story: I once saw an owner loudly bitch out a mortified customer… “This is all you can eat, not all you can waste!”)

This was my normal: being completely stretched thin, tapped out, running late, rushing everywhere, overbooked, overextended, harried, frenzied, surviving on adrenaline.

Everything suffered, especially the things that mattered most, like relationships, health and sanity, yet I was too caught up in my busy-ness to notice. My busy-ness had become an addiction. A disease.

Getting out of this cycle took a good couple of years, a commitment to a different way of living, a reevaluation (or two, or twenty) of who I really was, what I really wanted, and what I was willing to let go of to get there.

It wasn’t about doing more, I finally realized. It was about letting go.

I’ve made a lot of changes in 2015. One of the biggest ones was shifting my business around dramatically, and basically handing over my largest piece of business to a new director to open up energetic space and lots and lots of time. I’ve also changed the way I eat. The way I start my day. The way I end it. I’ve changed the amount of commitments I put on my calendar. I now pay for a couple new services and tools to make my admin tasks and household chores easier, money very, very well spent. And I have a puppy, who (mostly) brings more sweetness into my days with lots of spontaneous cuddle breaks.

If I were to count, there have probably been 100 choices or more I have made this year so that I could love my life better, feel better, do better, be better.

And surprisingly to me, the stress dissolved.

I no longer live with stress and overwhelm as my baseline.

I no longer measure my worth by the amount of to-dos on my list or unopened emails in my inbox.

My new baseline is calm. Relaxed.

And dare I say it? Easy.

I didn’t even realize this shift until I felt stressed recently and realized what a “foreign” feeling it was. It was appropriate stress, not just my normal day to day adrenaline fix. And it felt weird. So much so, that I stopped, looked at my life and realized all of the changes I have made recently have cumulatively eliminated stress from my life.

Of course life will throw its curve balls. I’m no dummy. Things speed up, they slow down. Life gets crazy, I know this. And I’m ready for that when it happens. But I know that in my day-to-day existence, I am no longer committed to stress and overwhelm as normal ways of being. In fact, I’m even getting stubborn and refusing to let myself feel the anxious, overwhelmed, heart-pounding, adrenalin-pumping feeling that used to be my normal. I just can’t live like that anymore. Well, I “could”. But I choose not to.

You can have this too. No, really.

There are countless reasons why this is important to shift. Stress kills, how about that as reason enough?

If you’re ready to shift into a virtually stress-free life, it’s important to get really honest with yourself about what changes need to be made.

Here are some questions to get you started…

  • What in my current life used to bring me joy, but no longer does?
  • Who are the people in my life who add stress and overwhelm and what can I request of them to help make a shift?
  • What time consumers take more than they add to my life?
  • What is stress and overwhelm costing me?
  • What do I love to do that I’m not doing?
  • Where am I saying yes when I secretly wish I was saying no?
  • What commitments do I have that do not come from my heart?
  • What can I delegate?
  • What can I let go of that will instantly lower my stress levels?
  • What secret pay-offs am I getting from living in a constant state of overwhelm?
  • What inner stuff do I get to avoid by being constantly stressed or overwhelmed?

Yeah, I saved the hardest two for the end.

If you’re committed to creating a stress-free life in 2016, I applaud you. I salute you. support you. And I’m waiting, with open arms, for your arrival. It is possible. I’m living proof. Yep, me, the retired Queen of Overwhelm. Who’d a thunk it?

 

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Making the changes required for reducing stress in your life can be daunting. I can help. How about a complimentary Discovery Session?

The Old You, the Now You, the New You? All YOU.

photo by dee hill
photo by dee hill

So many people I work and play with come with a common need: to reconnect with part of themselves that they have lost.

I know this feeling. I’m quite familiar with it, in fact.  But I also know sometimes that being who we ‘used to be’ isn’t a fair or realistic option.

When I watch  one of my favorite shows, A & E’s, Intervention, and the family’s all joined together to tearfully read their pleas for rehab to their addicted loved one, something they often say jostles me. Many times, they’ll say something along the lines of… “I just want the old you back…”

But is it the “old” version of them that really needs returning?

I’m not saying I can’t or don’t relate to the despair of loving someone with an addiction, I get it, on a very intimate level, in fact.

I’m also not saying that I can’t understand the human inclination we sometimes have to wish we could ‘rewind life’ and go back to a simpler time, a more innocent time. I get that, too.

But I also think this: The ‘old’ version of the addict is the one that became addicted.  The one that was suffering, and numbing out in various ways, hiding secret pain, secret shame, and heading in the direction of the very addiction that brought them to the NOW. The exact and perfect now, the only place where NEW can begin.

Why not start right there?

So that’s what I’m reminded of when people I work and play with talk about wanting to be who they used to be…

“I used to be so free. I used to be so thin. I used to be so confident. I used to be so sexy. I used to be so strong. I used to be so happy…”  I get that, too.

But what I also know is this:  There is an even better version of you than the past version of you. After all, the past version of you became ‘outdated’ for a reason.

The NEW version of you will be a beautiful and organic combination of who you are NOW, and who you have been.

Take ALL of it… the good, the bad, the strength, the pain, the mistakes, the glory, the extra weight, the laugh lines, the attitude, the insecurities, the lessons, the mysteries, the tenderness and grace that you have earned along the way.

All of it is necessary for the perfect recipe, the magic formula, the miraculous terrain, the Divine Totality of the You that you are becoming.

Instead of striving for who you used to be, (she’s gone, after all…)  lean into the completely NEW, more exalted, more sovereign, more complete, more integrated, more healed and more experienced version of yourself.

And in your new glory, you can be thankful for who you used to be, who you are now, and who you are becoming.

Always, you are becoming.

*****

(c)2012 – Excerpted from my book, “Truth or Dare Living: Wild Adventures for your Sacred, Sexy Soul” available on Amazon.com.