enough

Enough is Enough with Feeling “Not Enough”

Nancie-Carmichael-photo-of-woman-with-hand-on-heart-300x336

As the fifteen women shuffled in, nervously, awkwardly, some excitedly, some quietly, some chattering, hugging. Shifting into seats, we took some minutes to settle into the room and the circle before beginning our workshop.

I began by passing out blank sheets of paper and asking each woman to write down five insecure thoughts that she had since entering the room.  Not one of them hesitated to begin scribbling their insecurities. I collected these anonymous lists and put them in a box. “We’re letting these go for now, we’re putting them aside,” I explained. I put the box outside of the room. “If you want to grab them on your way out later, feel free.”

No one did. I ended up going home with fifteen very interesting lists. Around twelve of them mentioned their bellies, and not in very kind ways. Thirteen of them listed feeling fat. Many of them wrote of being concerned about saying something stupid. Not fitting in. Regretting what they wore. Concerned about being judged. And this is typical. Nothing unique here. We do this often, and we do this well.

Renowned father-and-daughter psychologists Dr.’s Robert and Lisa Firestone have done extensive research on our insecurities, and they have found these to be the most common…

  • You’re stupid.

  • You’re unattractive.

  • You’re not like other people.

  • You’re a failure.

  • You never get anything right.

  • No one will ever love you.

  • You’re fat.

  • You’re such a loser.

It’s a painful reality that we are our own worst enemies, that there is most likely no one in our lives as critical, and even cruel as we are to ourselves.

I think it’s safe to say that pretty much every single one of your insecurities, and mine, boil down to one false belief we seem to all insidiously carry, some of us better at hiding it than others…

I am not enough.

Enough is enough, already.

I’m forty-six years old and I do not want to waste another minute of my life feeling not enough. Yet, still sometimes the feeling comes in uninvited waves, parting, receding, flaring up, dying down, depending on a variety of factors. Sometimes a beautiful ray of clarity will shine through me, and it reminds me of a new commitment…

When do you get to be enough, Lisa?

And I ask you, when do YOU get to be enough?

How about now?

Not when you lose that 20, 40, 60 pounds. Not when you get that man or have that baby or get that job or degree or house or whatever.

Your enoughness is implicit, because you are. Because you exist.

It’s a tricky dance, this fluctuation between wanting to be better and being enough. Some might say I am in the self-improvement business, or so it seems.

Truth of the matter is, I am in the emergence business. I am only interested in bringing forth what is within you, what is within me. We are born with our innate brilliance, our enoughness, already existing inside of us. We simply have to tap it, cultivate it, birth it.  “Improvement” is moot. Accessing is paramount. Enoughness almost seems paradoxical- and it is:

I am enough. AND I am emerging into a more brilliant and powerful version of myself.

I am always enough.

If we could remember that, all the time, in a perfect world, in a perfect brain, we would have no more insecurities. Our enoughness would be enough. Sure, we might be attracted to making positive changes to live more brilliantly, to make our experience here more awesome. While being enough.

How the hell does one even go about practicing enoughness?

It boils down to taking control of the thoughts we think, of changing course when our brain wants to go down that dark path, stopping it in its tracks, shifting it, taking charge of it. You are not the thought. You are the thinker of the thought. You’re the boss. Start acting like it.

Wouldn’t you rather think (and know) that you are enough, and do your life’s work from a compassionate, loving place? Sure, who wouldn’t?

To do so, we must begin to shift our thoughts– stop them dead in their tracks, choosing new thoughts. Practicing new thoughts.

I am enough. I am always enough.

So the next time you feel insecure thoughts attempting to wreak havoc in your mind, I challenge you to…

  1. Stop the thought– BAM. Catch it. Stop it.

  2. Strip the thought. What’s underneath it? (Hint: It’s always “I am not enough”.)

  3. Replace the thought. I am enough. I am a beautiful work in progress. I am an evolving, eternal being full of potential, and perfect in the right now place of my evolution.

  4. Breathe into those new thoughts, slowly. Really. Use your breath. Even if you don’t believe the thoughts, breathe into the possibility of them. When you affirm a new thought,  it doesn’t automatically work like some instant magic pixie dust, POOF. But you do create a welcoming place for it to take root. We’re talking new synapses that must form here, brain chemistry being altered, science, man. But we do get to choose.

I, for one, am really tired of the insidious toxicity of not-enoughness. It’s a liar, and a cheat. It’s already cost us too much. It’s wasted too much of our precious time. It’s destroyed too many lives.

I am enough. I am always enough. And so are you. Pass it on.

Baby, You’re Worth It.

o-FIFTH-HARMONY-WORTH-IT-VIDEO-facebook
Click for video. What if this was your anthem for 2018?

It happens every year. Millions of us start the year with determination and resolve…

This is The Year.I will eat healthier. I will exercise more. I will create new habits to work toward my dreams…

And then, one by one, by February, almost all resolutions have been dumped by the side of the road, like last year’s Christmas tree.

And does that mean you failed at resolutions, or did the resolutions fail you?

There are a few theories I have about why this happens, why we start strong with such good intentions, such fierce determination, only to eventually fizzle out.

The bottom line is this. Resolutions rarely work.

Yet we are so quick to blame ourselves.

If I was just determined enough, disciplined enough, focused enough, we often think. If only I had more will power.

Ahh, will power. That evasive, invisible force that seems to start strong and fresh each morning, only to evaporate by day’s end.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned about change, commitment, creating healthy new habits and ditching old, unhealthy ones, in hopes that you’ll feel extra supported as you move deeper into 2018, hopefully with your commitments strengthening.

But here’s where it starts, my lovely friend.

You must believe you are worthy of your desires.

You’ve gotta believe, all the way to your core, that you deserve this.

And I think all too often, deep down inside, we don’t really believe in our own deservability.

Getting healthier takes extra time and effort. Shopping, chopping, slicing and dicing veggies for a salad is, ugh… so much more time-consuming and expensive than say, Jack in the Box drive-thru.

And you are so worth it.

The next time you are going the extra mile for yourself, hassling over yourself, chopping, dicing, juicing, getting your butt to the gym in cold, crappy weather, paying for dance classes, whatever that extra effort might be, what if you turned your effort or extra hassle into an act of devotion, instead? An act of worthiness and deservability. An act of love.

What if you repeated this to yourself, over and over? I am worth the effort.

Baby, I’m worth it.

Think about the things you have done for others that are time-consuming and take extra effort.

Maybe you drove all over town looking for that special Christmas list item for your kid. Because your children are worth the effort.

Maybe you are dating someone you’re crazy about and you spent hours in the kitchen preparing a special dinner for them. Because that person is worth the effort.

Maybe you spent hours knitting that scarf for your favorite cousin. Because she is worth the effort.

It’s so easy to do these extra things for the people we care about, because they are worth it. Their smiles, their satisfaction, their happiness matters to us.

And you, my friend, are also worth the effort. You are so worth the effort.

I’ll never forget my fantastic client Jennifer, that told me how her amazing, succulent wild woman, poet aunt, responds, when receiving a gift from someone…

“You are so good to me, and I am so deserving.”

Don’t you just love that?

We are so deserving.

And in a couple weeks, (or days!) when your resolutions or intentions for 2018 start to lose their luster, falling flat, like the carbonation fizzled out of a soda… remind yourself.

You are worth the effort.

Every ounce of extra effort it takes for you to be, do or have whatever it is you want, is worth it.

Because you are deserving, so deserving.

Believe it, know it.

And remind yourself, as you course down the aisles of that pricey health food store, or write that check for the yoga pass, or power through cravings as you break that nicotine habit, or dice and slice and chop your ingredients all Sunday afternoon for your weekly meal prep.

I am so deserving.

Baby, I’m worth it.

You Can Be Satisfied AND Want More

"She was a bad egg." Click image for Veruca's video!
“She was a bad egg.” Click image for Veruca’s video!

Every time I think of “wanting it all”, I think of the petulant, spoiled-to-the-core brat of Willie Wonka fame, Veruca Salt. She’s an extreme example of wanting. Spoiled, recklessly self-absorbed, and we all know what happens to her. She faces her unfortunate demise when she falls down the hatch, trying to get her golden egg. “Bad Egg” the meter declares.

And we all chuckle, knowing she got what she deserved, the little brat, the subtle message planted: don’t want too much.

It’s unfortunate really, that we’ve equated desire with being spoiled, wanting more with ungratefulness, that somehow it’s more virtuous to not want, to just be satisfied with what you have, to be content.

So when the desires do stir within us, for more, for bigger, for better,  there is an emotional dissonance that occurs within us, a tear of sorts, a conflict. The apparent contradiction between what we’re “supposed to be”– grateful, content, happy with what we have,  and what we actually are, wanting, desirous creatures with longings and yearnings.

The notion of either/or is complete hogwash and I challenge you to ditch it!

I was talking to a sweet friend the other night, who can’t quite put her finger on it, but she’s restless, less satisfied with her work. “Uninspired” was what she called it.  “But…” she began to backtrack. She feels like she “should” just be happy, grateful. She’s got a fulfilling, successful career, cool apartment, great boyfriend, wonderful friends. Shouldn’t that be enough?

And yet, here she is, finding herself wanting more, and the shadowy underbelly of that desire is guilt and judgement, as if wanting more is some declaration to the bountiful Universe that we are greedy, arrogant and impossible to satisfy.

My friend dreams of traveling, of experiencing more of the world, having wild adventures in foreign places, doing what she loves while traipsing the planet, and when she allows herself to want more, her eyes dance, her face lights up, her smile spreads across her face, and it’s beautiful to behold. A desirous woman is frightening to some, titillating to me.

Of course, there is also that part of us that knows that if we want more, bigger, better, we will have to BE more, bigger, better, and, oh that’s a whole other blog, this idea of staying small so that we don’t have to live up to the grandness of our desires and dreams… You know what I’m talking about, right?

But the message I want to share with you today is that you CAN be both grateful and content AND wanting of more.  You are a co-creating your life, with a boundless Universe that is thrilled by your desires and dreams.  Your longings do not diminish your gratitude for what you have. Desire does not cancel out gratitude.

So go on, want it all. You will not fall down the chute. You are not a bad egg. Your dreams and desires have power and magic in them, and you can trust them. But ohh…  you might have to act on them, too. That’s the way it goes…

Feel grateful, yes. Appreciate what you have, yes. But don’t stop there.

Dream on, feel your longings, bask in your desire, let yourself want.

A Double-Spaced Life

white-spaces
I’d been doing it unconsciously for the last few weeks. And the other day I noticed.
I looked at my hand-written to-do list for the day, and between every task listed was a blank line. I’d skipped a space between every list item.
Interesting, I thought. And then as the deeper epiphany landed, I realized…
Whoa. This is my life now.
I’m living a double-spaced life.
Let me back up a little. I’ve been a purpose-driven, passion-fueled entrepreneur for more than fifteen years now. I’ve worn many hats, juggled many balls, spun many plates, had many irons in the fire, many pots on the stove, insert your preferred-busy-AF metaphor here. I was no stranger to overwhelm.
In fact, if you’ve been following my work over the years, you know I’ve written a blog or ten about busyness, overwhelm, stress and that constant gnawing feeling I know many of us are familiar with: I’m not doing enough. I should be getting more done. How am I going to get it all done? And if you looked at my to-do lists from the years gone by, not surprisingly, they were single-spaced, one task stacked tightly on top of the other.
I’ve also always found it interesting that I journal on my blank page notebooks from one end of the page to the other, with no margins to speak of. When I create a vision board, there is never any posterboard left peeking behind the images I paste onto it. Filling time, filling space, filling my life to overflowing was how I did life. It’s what I knew.
Until I began to know a different way.
This summer I let go of a huge part of my life and my work, when I decided to close the Burlesque Experience. I also scaled back considerably on the other events, workshops and programs I was offering.
In doing so, I created a spaciousness in my life that at times has been uncomfortable. Who am I now, without this work?
I’ve resisted the urge to create filler, to throw new things together hastily, so that I “still matter” so that I don’t disappear or go broke. Because for so much of my life, I assumed that my greatest contributions to the world required me to be spread too thin. As if this was the only way to be successful. I watered down my potency, my very essence, and it took a major crash and clearing for me to realize this.
Living in a chronic state of overwhelm is not possible without the help of our adrenal system to kick in like a furnace, to support us, give us the energy we need, but guess what? That’s not what adrenaline is for.
Our bodies are marvelously wired with adrenaline for emergency situations. We were never designed to use adrenaline for getting through daily life, for managing our daily to-do list, for the everyday fuel. Yet so many of us are relying on our adrenal systems for just such support.
Until we can’t anymore. Until our adrenal system is fried. Until our bodies say no more.  I was. And mine did.
I spent much of the summer healing my adrenal system through diet, a restorative adaptogen regimen, rest, self-care. And I vowed to do things differently, going forward.
One of the greatest gifts middle age is giving me is the wisdom to slow the heck down. To breathe. To create space, in my home and my work and my life. To leave blank days on the calendar and blank lines on the to-do list. To commit to less. To rest. To seek quality over quantity. To declutter and let go and scale down.
Realistically (though I hate to even type this), I’m in the second half of my life now. I have given myself permission to slow down.
I have given up the hustle to do, do, do, so much of the time, in order to focus instead on being magnetic and being potent—to just be, be, be more of who I am. I still need my business to generate revenue. I still have bills to pay and dreams to fund and a future to plan for. But I refuse to utilize panic and fear as my personal motivator any longer. I refuse to sacrifice my well-being and water myself down, I am done with being stressed out as a normal way of life.
Desperation, overwhelm, over-commitment and stress are no longer invited into my work day. I am far more interested now in being the flower rather than the bee. My bee days are behind me. Letting go in this way can feel scary. Especially for a recovering control freak. Yet what a beautiful way to practice deliberate actions, clear intentions and deep trust. I’ve even noticed the chronic pain I’ve dealt with for years is subsiding, I feel more embodied, of course I do. It’s a friendlier place in there.
New ideas are gestating within me, I am inspired to create more, to express more, to inspire more. There are still big things I have yet to create. In fact, I think my greatest impact and contributions to the world exist in my future, not my past.
But a lot has changed, and I am clearer than I have ever been. I refuse to utilize my adrenal system for day to day living. That means shorter task lists, less events, less overlapping projects, more focus, more self-care and ritual and spiritual care. More white space.
With more space available, I’m finding myself to be a more potent coach, a more present partner, a more available mother. I’m a better friend. My close relationships feel richer.
I am more emotionally (and physically) accessible, more joyful and more me. And it’s easy to understand why…
I am showing up for life, undiluted.
I have gone from a single-spaced life to a double-spaced life, and wow, does it feel great.

 

The Opposite of Funny: Enough with the Body-Shaming “Jokes”

7c9187e61f2c00fd5c3778b79949e139I’m fed up this morning and I’ll tell you why.

I have cringed over many a meme that shames a woman for her fat that is exposed. A woman who is oversized by our culture’s standards has no business showing off her body, as we know. If she does, she shall be subject to our modern day hounds of hell in the form of cruel viral memes, vicious comments and ugly body-shaming messages. Perhaps even thousands of them. Hundreds of thousands.

It’s not just women who fall victim to public ridicule. Men are often the subject of these “humorous” pictures that circulate the internet and show up on my Facebook newsfeed. Pictures of women, men, with their butt cracks, or bellies exposed, most certainly unaware that photos are being taken of them and shared on the internet.

Imagine finding that a picture of you, that you didn’t even know was being taken, had gone viral and someone had made memes making fun of you and the social media world was making fun of your body or the way you dressed or the way you looked.

Can you imagine how painful that would be?

We seem to forget one important fact.

These are PEOPLE we are making fun of. There is a person whose image that belongs to, who lives with her self, her body, her curves, her “unacceptable” shape every single day. She has a soul. She has a heart. Feelings, emotions, the ability to hurt, to cry. Just like you.

Turning someone’s body into a JOKE? That is not funny. That’s the opposite of funny.

Can’t we all just wear want we want and be who we are without the wrath of a million judges laughing and making fun of us?

It’s like a giant schoolyard bully session. Having been made fun of most of my childhood, and the ‘star attraction’ of plenty of schoolyard bullying-sessions, I know it hurts. We are grown now. Shouldn’t we be evolved, compassionate adults by now? Why are we still acting like schoolyard bullies?

Let’s stop perpetuating cruelty. What do you say?

When I was a kid, being made fun of or picked on, once in a while a loving, aware grown-up would intervene on my behalf. She would step in and stop the bullying, stand up for me, protect me, and get me out of an awful situation. She would shut it down.

Now we have grown up and become a giant schoolyard of grown-up bullies. Where’s the loving aware grown-ups to step in and intervene? Who’s going to shut it down?

Let’s do it.

Will you perpetuate meanness by sharing body-shaming memes or even “liking” them? Or will you join me to intervene on behalf of the people whose images are being riduculed.

It’s time for the loving, aware grown-ups to step in and intervene.

I’m tired of being quiet about it so as not to offend, as I continue to be offended.

I’m tired of my own complacency.

I fight the fight every day to love and accept myself, and have built my life around helping others love and accept themselves. Yet, we still struggle. And it’s no surprise. A social current that ridicules, degrades and shames in the name of humor is hard to swim against. But we can do it, if we swim together.

I dare you to stand up for the anonymous victim of the next body-shaming meme you see.

I dare you to delete people from your friends list who perpetuate this type of riducle.

I dare you to voice your offense when offended, instead of staying quiet, as to not offend.

I dare you to take a stand against this bullshit.

Excuse my French, but I’m fed up. Our schoolyard bully days are over. It’s time to evolve, to grow up. Enough, already.

 

*********************

Originally published July, 2014

A Football Season Rant: Pissed about the P-word

Does that look like weakness to you?

It’s football season again. Ahhh… my favorite time of year. Just kidding.  I know some of you love football, and I love you anyway. Do you love me anyway, even knowing that I can’t stand it?  Or that hearing the sounds of a football game on TV is an instant trigger for a mandatory nap? Or that I’d rather go to the dentist than watch a game?

Sometimes I loosely wish I DID like it. I’d be able to participate in more conversations, and anyone who knows me knows I love conversations. I’d be able to share an interest with my fiance’ Matt, and they say that shared interests are a good thing for couples to have… but mostly I just hate it. This year, Matt is playing fantasy football for the first time, so it’s time for me to develop a new hobby. I’m thinking of taking up weekly spa pedicures. Can those be considered a hobby?

But this blog is not about football. It’s about something that’s always around, but really gets fired up during football season, so it’s been “in my face” a bit more since the season started last week. Insulting the other team, or certain ineffective players is part of all the fun, or so I gather.  Now with social media and do-it-yourself memes, everyone’s a comedian, and the insults are aplenty. Whatever, have your fun, guys, but listen…

Can we stop using the word “pussy” as an insult? As the worst thing you can call a guy? Or joking that a guy has a pussy where his balls should be?

I saw a meme the other day that had a football player on the ground, his pants torn in the crotch and someone had photoshopped a vagina where his penis would be.

I’ve seen lots of other memes and posts and comments using the word pussy to cut down the other guys, using “pussy” as a symbol of weakness, of impotence or disgrace.

It pisses me off!

If anyone needs me to help clarify, the pussy is not a symbol of weakness. It is a symbol of power, of life, of creation, of strength.

I assure you, there is nothing weak about my pussy.

I’m saying out loud what I’ve been thinking on the inside for many, many years. And I will continue to say it out loud. I’m not allowing it– in my conversations or in my feed.

It is not okay to refer to my parts as an insult.

As long as we keep perpetuating this stupid joke, will it be any coincidence that our daughters will grow up feeling less than? That women are still paid 78 cents on the dollar for the same work their male counterparts do?  Calling a guy a pussy is not the cause of sexism. But it certainly isn’t helping.

Can we just stop with this nonsense?

Our language is vast and there are thousands of less insidiously-damaging, yet still fantastically insulting words we can use instead…

coward
crybaby
caitiff
chicken
daisy
jellyfish
loser
milksop
pansy
yellow belly
chicken liver
cream puff
lily liver (my favorite, perhaps)

Get creative guys, use your heads!

Imagine (not that we ever will, but it’s fun to imagine…) if we used “pussy” as a symbol for what it really represents…

Wow, great art piece you created, what a pussy!

You are so powerful, you pussy!

He’s such a pussy, isn’t he? So strong and resilient and good-looking, too…

Now that I think about it, though, I DO use the word “dick” to describe a real jerk… maybe it’s time to stop that, too.

What if we stopped using our sex parts as symbols of degrading insults, all together? After all, our sex parts are pretty damned awesome and powerful and beautiful!

End rant.

You may safely resume your football season. But leave my pussy out of it.