grace

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.

The Sacred Disconnect

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This spiritual path you are traveling is exactly the one you are meant to travel. All of it is part of the journey. All of it is sacred. Yes, all of it.

Often we feel we are on the “right” spiritual path until things go “wrong.” Until we get bamboozled or blindsided or sidetracked or take a detour to become an addict or develop a compulsion for shopping or shoplifting or get fired or get divorced or get drunk or forget who we are or take up sleeping pills or sleeping around or sleeping all day and then we’ve blown it- we’re “off” the spiritual path.

Way back in my church days, we called that “backsliding.” It was all very black and white- you were either right with God or going to Hell. You were either saved or damned. you were either washed in the Blood or a back-slidden sinner.

So of course, we were set up to be in constant struggle, anytime our humanity showed up and we found ourselves less than “Godly.” And so continued the split, the rejection of selves, the self-hatred and self-condemnation.

I don’t believe that to be true anymore.

The addictions, the shoplifting, the eating disorders, the failed marriages, the broken hearts, the affairs, the distractions, the detours, the pain we face in our very complicated, very human lives- it’s all part of the spiritual path. It’s all an essential part of the journey.

Of course, these aren’t the highest, brightest manifestations of our lives. I’m not saying go out, get wasted, rob a convenience store and sleep with your sister’s husband just to write it off as part of your spiritual journey. That would be way too easy, and way too careless. Plus, our actions catch up with us: karma can be a bitch.

But I don’t think there are any “detours” on the spiritual path, and I don’t think we can ever leave it. The only danger to the spiritual path is unawareness.

But you know what? Funny thing is, even unawareness is part of the spiritual path! Suicide? Part of the spiritual path. Cursing God? Despair? Yep. Part of the path. All of it.

All of it, meaning everything.

Your spiritual journey is all your own. It’s meant to be exciting and adventurous. Think of Dorothy on the way to the land of Oz.

She had to leave home to find home, just like we do.

She thought she needed something outside of herself to get to where she wanted to be. Just like we do.

She ends up going through all kinds of crazy shit to find her “guru” – the wizard. Just like we do.

Only to find out she had what she needed all along, those ruby slippers, coveted by witches everywhere, to get back to where she wanted to be, just like we do.

As you continue on your spiritual path, I implore you to be as gentle and as compassionate toward yourself as you can possibly be. Keep in mind that it’s pretty normal and human and again, part of the spiritual journey, to at times be detached from your own inner voice, to not “feel” spiritual, to be completely disconnected from your soul’s language.

Even this disconnect is sacred!

We disconnect in order to feel separation. Without separation, we would not recognize connection. We must experience darkness in order to define the light. Without winter, how would we define spring? Without hot, how would we define cold? It’s all part of the great and perfect totality.

If you are looking for a spiritual path, look to the ground. You’re already on it.

If you’re looking for a guru, look in the mirror. You are what you’ve been looking for.

If you’re looking for your sacred text, look within. You already are holy truth.

You’re looking for your way back home? Guess what, Dorothy? You’re already wearing the ruby slippers.

 

*****

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

What if I Told You?

1454578_10151857640233473_203122843_nWhat if I told you that you are not your mistakes?

What if I told you that there are no mistakes?

What if I told you that every so-called detour, distraction, poor choice or bad decision you’ve ever made was actually exactly right because it brought you to exactly here, exactly you, exactly in this moment, and exactly NOW is perfect.

What if I told you there is nothing wrong with you?

What if I told you that any wisdom you seek in gurus and therapists and churches and teachers and philosophers and coaches is already within you.

That the gurus and therapists and teachers and churches and philosophers and coaches, the good ones at least, will never take credit for “fixing you” or “saving you” or “delivering you”. They are simply showing you a mirror of your own brilliance and reminding you of what your soul already knows, has always known and will always know (but sometimes we all need reminding.)

What if I told you that you have, within you, every single strength, tool, trait and ability to handle everything and anything that you should face or have faced, in your life?

What if I told you that there is no such thing as “soul healing” because it is impossible to damage a soul because your soul is divine and divinity is indestructible, unrelenting, perfectly perfect perfection?

What if I told you that any wounds or so-called “damage” that you think you carry from what was done or not done, what was given or not given, what was said or not said to you when you were a tiny child or an angsty teen or a hungry seeker did not nor could not touch your soul and within you is the perfection of your divine essence, always, no matter what , forever and ever amen?

What if I told you that you are brilliant, and beautiful and amazing and perfect, just as you are? That you are a bright and radiant star and that you were born to shine?

What if I told you that you, my sweet, beautiful friend, are exactly right.  Right now.  As is. You are the I am. You are divinity incarnate.

Would you believe me?

*   *    *    *

 

* TRUTH

Which of the statements above felt the most difficult to embrace? Does it feel opposite of a belief you hold? Is that belief working for you? What would it take for you to ditch the old belief, and experiment with a brand new one?

* DARE

Pick one that you would like to claim. Claim it. Write it on a sticky and stick it on your mirror. For example…

There is nothing wrong with me.

I am not my mistakes.

My soul is perfectly perfect.

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Reprinted from my book “Truth or Dare Living: Wild Adventures for Your Sacred, Sexy Soul.” Second edition with Companion Journal/Workbook coming soon!

Photo by Dee Hill Photography

Mean-Spirited Roadhouses and Other Detours

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“Gamble everything for love, if you’re a true human being.

If not, leave this gathering.

Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty.  

You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping for long periods at mean-spirited roadhouses.”

– From “The Essential Rumi” (translated by Coleman Barks)

When our hearts are open, we gamble everything for love, we hungrily seek divinity, we bounce (or sashay, or saunter, or strut…) along the spiritual path with zeal, or with peace, with awareness. It feels amazing.

And then we stop.

Ah… look, here’s an intriguing roadhouse.

We slip in…

We all have our favorite mean-spirited roadhouses.

Maybe yours is regret.

Shame.

Self-loathing.

Returning to hurts of the past.

Or an emotionally bankrupt relationship.

Or maybe it’s a physical activity that works well for numbing. For removing you from the intensity of the divine, of your own light. Or your own feelings.

Bingeing on Netflix streaming for hours and hours at a time.

Facebook scrolling. Scrolling, endless scrolling. Scroll. Click. Scroll. Click, click. Scroll, scroll. OOH! A notification!

Drinking too much. Or too often. Or both.

Shopping for things you don’t need, just to feel a rush of newness, of… something different than this.

I’ve done all of these things, stopped in all of these mean-spirited roadhouses, as well as others I won’t name. Luckily, today, in this moment, I am back on the path, gambling everything for love.

But I also trust the detour.

There will be times on this spiritual path, when we will find ourselves at mean-spirited roadhouses. And more importantly, we must. The path of divinity is intense, and asks much from us. That we be completely aware, that we remain open, that we shine bright.

It can get exhausting being our magnificence.

Oh look… there’s my favorite mean-spirited roadhouse… I’m gonna stop in for a spell… I think they’re running specials…

And so, the cycle continues. Until it ends. Until that glorious day we can walk right past those familiar mean-spirited roadhouses, and keep on walking, gambling everything for love.

Gambling everything for love is not for wimps. It’s not easy. Nor is it free of dangers and risks. But, as Rumi is saying, more or less: go big or go home.

It doesn’t matter if you use the word God, spirit, love, divinity, magnificence, grace, glory. I don’t care what the heck you choose to call it. We’re simply talking about your innate connection to that which is bigger and greater than the limits of your humanness. Call it what you will. We’re either seeking it. Connecting to it. Living it. Or detoured.

Right now, think about your current place on your path. At this moment of your life, are you gambling everything for love or half-heartedly reaching for majesty? Are you seeking God or hanging out in a mean-spirited roadhouse?

If you’re in a mean-spirited roadhouse, when you’re ready to come back out, to pick up on your path, come on. The light at first, is blinding. It’s dark in there, after all. And you might carry some of that mean-spirited roadhouse smell on your clothes for a while.

But out here, on your divine path, the air is sweet, the sun is bright and the breeze wants to say hello. Welcome back.

Gamble everything. Give it your all. Go big or go home.

As Rumi knew, half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty.

Grace, generosity and a friend in need

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Zenda being Zenda.
Photo by Loving Photography

I’m doing something different this week. I’m really wanting to help a friend.

Some of you may know her, some may not. Her name is Michelle, a.k.a., Zenda LaBelle.

She’s one of the most generous, loving and accepting people I know. She’s picked up the nickname “Mama Zen” in our Burlesque Experience alumni community because there’s something really maternal about her, something really calming. She’s been a blessing of nurturing tenderness, support and encouragement to so many.

She’s the type of person that would drop everything for a friend, that loves to give and share and create and connect. I’ve been honored to watch her unfold first as my client, then part of my team, and most importantly now, my friend.

Last year, she had what some might call a ‘dark night of the soul.’ Within a matter of a couple months, her job, her car, her home… all gone for unrelated, yet eerily closely timed circumstances, and her life became a blank slate. Her sense of security was gone. She relied on friends to help her with temporary places to stay. She was down. But she did not stay down. She reinvented herself. She job-searched. She found a new job with potential for growth and long-term stability. Her spirits began to lift, and she worked to rebuild her life. Last month, she found a space of her own to call home and settled in to her new apartment. I’ve watched her return to her more natural state of joy and peace. Stronger, wiser, and more in control than ever.

And then last week, she had an unfortunate accident.

Like, she tripped and fell and broke her wrist really bad-unfortunate.

She needs surgery, she has to miss a bunch of work, she’s running out of resources, has new medical bills and rent is due.

I have no doubt that the generosity of this community can help her through this temporary setback.

She is the type of person that rallies around someone in need. Last year at this time, in fact, she organized and produced a burlesque show on my behalf, when I was in my personal crisis. That show saved me. Even moreso than the money, I was reminded by the outpouring of love, that I wasn’t alone.  That’s just one of the generous things I’ve seen her do or been personally blessed by. If I listed them all, this blog could go on all day.

I have this amazing circle of friends, and I’m noticing this super cool trend among them- and actually, “out there” in general…

We take care of each other.

There is a shift in consciousness happening where generosity is a natural response, a path and a way of life. Where the tribe gathers round when one of its members is in need.

I told her this morning that she’s been making deposits in her karmic bank account for a long time. Now it’s time to make a withdrawal. She deserves that. She is supported and held by a loving Universe, and that Universal energy likes to disguise itself as people, you and me, in action. Let’s be Zenda’s karma.

If you’re feeling inclined to send a gift, small or large, please send it to through Paypal to zendalabelle@gmail.com.

Let’s continue moving together in this beautiful circle of generosity and grace and keep the spirit moving, growing, thus creating abundance for our own lives as well. I didn’t make that stuff up. That’s just law. It’s grace.

Zenda wrote these words about grace last month to my daughter as part of her graduation/18th birthday gift…

“The dictionary defines grace as unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification, or a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.

 My gift to you as enter woman-hood is this grace, a knowing that you are worthy just because you were born; a knowing that the divine loves you as you are no matter what; a knowing that Spirit is always with you, loving you every step of the way. Whether you stumble or fall or soar, you are complete and worthy. If you stumble or fall, grace is there to catch you and tell you are worthy of picking yourself back up with divine assistance…

Grace is the women you walk through life with, supporting you and encouraging in your journeys and adventures. “

Zenda, may the grace you give return to you now. When you stumble and fall (sometimes, even literally…) know that grace is there to catch you, too.