growth

Baby, You’re Worth It.

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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.

When you cannot change (no matter how hard you try.)

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“A leopard never changes its spots.”

Gosh, I hate that saying. I hate it because it’s nonsense. I’ve changed my spots many times. They’re changing right now, as a matter of fact. And I know many, many people who have drastically and dramatically changed themselves at the very core. Change happens.

But what about when it doesn’t? As a Life Coach who specializes in supporting people as they make lasting change in their lives, I’ve also seen plenty of stuckness. I’ve also been stuck.

What does it mean when you want to change, but no matter how or what you try, the change just doesn’t last? The new habits never gel. The old mindset won’t let go.

First things first, if you’re finding this to be the case in your life, there is nothing wrong with you.

I’ve become bona fide allergic to any form of thinking or self-reference that implies you are broken, damaged or “ruined”.  In fact, the most damaging thing about thinking you are damaged is the thinking-you-are-damaged part.  Our thoughts and beliefs are more powerful than we’ll ever know.

Tattoo this backwards on your forehead so every time you look in the mirror, you will read it: There is nothing wrong with me.

In a self-help society that profits from our damaged self-concept, it’s hard sometimes to buy this. But you can. Owning that there is nothing wrong with you is an act of civil disobedience. Rebel!

“Be full of yourself. You are good. You are very good.” – Patricia Lynn Reilly

Yet, while we strive to improve ourselves and step into our greatness by manifesting powerful changes in our lives, our habits, our ways of doing life, sometimes we just can’t even.

We may make some progress. One step forward, two steps back.

We may sabotage our own efforts.

We may not even be able to take the first step, but oh, we can talk about it so much we get sick of the sound of our own voices, saying the same thing over and over about what we need to do, month after month, year after year, about what we will do, someday… while we stay stuck.

Why? Why is being “well-meaning” so irrelevant to making lasting change?

Why is the road to hell paved with good intentions?

I have a few theories of my own, and they all involve letting yourself off the hook, for now. You ready?

* There is still juice in the old way. You haven’t made sustaining change in that area because you still have learning to do, you’re still growing, the lesson hasn’t rooted, or there is still some pay-off that you are getting that outweighs the risk, pain, danger or loss that making the change brings with it.

Ask yourself what you are still getting from not making the change.

Ask yourself what you are willing to learn in order to move on. Evaluate, compassionately, and know that there may be very important reasons under the surface, in spite of your seemingly compelling desire.

* You are fighting natural life cycles and authentic timing. When I was a little kid, I found a cocoon and thought I would help the butterfly out by slicing open the cocoon to set it free. You can guess how this story ends. A dead, black undeveloped cluster of goo. I killed it because it just wasn’t time.

Can you allow yourself the possibility that it’s just not time? Trust me, when natural timing of change is aligned and calibrated, the change happens, momentum is possible, efforts finally stick. Nature is wiser than we are.

* The change you are striving for on the outside is not in alignment with who you truly are. Perhaps you are trying to change because your partner wants you to, or you want to fit in, or stand out, or you are trying to change to keep up with what you think you’re supposed to be. True change must be rooted in truth.

Who are you, really? Who are you emerging into? Is the change you’re trying to create really all that important to you? Whose dream is this? Get clear and get honest.

* There’s a deeper, truer belief that needs to be addressed. Repeatedly running into the same old slips and relapses and repeats and redundancies means there is a deeper truth in conflict with your desire and there is still healing to do before real, true change can finally take root. Debbie Ford called these truths “Underlying Commitments.”

When the change you desire is consistently sabotaged by conflicting choices or behaviors, there quite often is a deeper desire, a deeper commitment or belief that won’t let go until we heal it. For many, that belief is “I don’t deserve true success.” Or “I will always be a screw-up.” Or “I am committed to playing small.” So guess what our actions will support?

Our actions are always a reflection of our true commitments and beliefs, even before we discover what those deeply-rooted commitments and beliefs are.

Instead of relentlessly beating yourself up because the change you are trying to make just won’t stick, what if you turned within, with compassion and kindness and explored what might be keeping you stuck?

What if you dared to trust that true change happens when the timing is right, when the healing is complete, when the leopard is truly ready to change its spots?

Until then, go easy on yourself. Be gentle. Be kind. Be present.

And dare to trust in Life’s wisdom, and the natural nature of your life’s own unique and perfect evolution.

“Nothing happens, and nothing happens, and then everything happens.”– Fay Weldon

 

Let me tell you about my 2016.

Photo by Dee Hill.
Photo by Dee Hill.

It happens every year, right around this time. I get to feeling super reflective, looking back at the year I am completing, culling and sifting through the details to find the juice, to find the gains, the growth, the stuff to feel proud of.

AND I start getting antsy as hell for a brand new year. A clean slate. A fresh start. I itch for it. I crave its freshness, its potential, its possibilities.

Like clockwork, here I am. I’m ready.

There’s no denying, for millions of us, 2016 has been an intense, eventful year of shifts, transitions, collective loss, collective grief, fear, and pain.

AND everything else.

While yes, we’ve been challenged, we’ve also been blessed.

I’m not suggesting we ignore our pain, or bypass our struggles, pretending they didn’t exist, but let’s widen our scope, to really take it all in. There was so much good. If we want to admit it.

Before we move into 2017, I want to present to you some some questions for reflection.

Take some time to consider, journal, contemplate, make art, chat through the questions and answers with friends, whatever! It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it does make a difference when you do it.

I’ll go first.

If you asked me what I learned this year, I’d tell you this.

I am far more powerful than I realized. I can do what I thought impossible. I am my own hero.

I learned that I can’t do it alone.

I learned that my body is my friend. I’ve learned that my body is boss. I learned that my body is an animal. She’s a mammal. And she’s far wiser than I ever gave her credit for.

If you asked me what I let go of this year, I’d tell you this.

I let go of the story that I want or need alcohol in my life. I let go of the story that life was too hard without it. I let go of the story that life was no fun without it. I let go of the belief that “I can’t.”

I let go of the need to change my body before I love her. I said bye-bye to diets, once and for all.

I let go of my excuses. Most of them, at least.

If you asked me what I gained this year, I’d tell you this.

Confidence. Power. Strength. Understanding. Pride. Self-trust. Intimacy. Inspiration. Love, love, love. Lots of love.

If you asked me how I changed this year, I’d tell you this.

I used to think I knew what freedom was. And then I found new freedom. I got out of my own way, once and for all. I have re-built the broken trust I had with myself. I let love in. I learned to be supported. I did brave things, and got braver in the process. I took chances, I stretched, in my life, my relationships, my business. I made myself proud, very proud. I discovered things about myself I wasn’t aware of, by getting sober. I discovered more of my shadows. I discovered more of my light.

If you asked me to create a picture of myself, in relation to this year, I’d show you this.

I am turning, I am spinning, to a rhythmic beat, my arms extended, stretched in the air, my head thrown back, I am dancing, I am smiling, I am laughing.

If you asked me to sum it all up, this big, outrageous, intense, helluva year, I’d tell you this.

Thank you. Wow. Yes. Ahhhhhh… Hell yeah.

What about you?

What did you learn this year? How have you changed this year? What did you let go of? What did you gain? Create a picture of yourself, in relation to this year. And sum it all up.

I want to know.

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A gift for you! Download my printable Old Year/New Year Card Game. Great for parties, circles, journaling, or long walks on the beach. Grab yours here. It’s free!

Re-Routing: Getting Your Life Back on Track

I’m hard at work on some brand-new stuff, so I hope you’ll enjoy one of my favorite blogs, originally posted in February of 2013. Enjoy!

 

woman-looking-at-gps-in-carFeeling lost or stuck? Have you taken a wrong turn and and are now feeling seriously disoriented or misplaced? Have you wandered away from what you want, who you are or what you know to be true? Maybe it’s time to re-route.

Our inner GPS system sure is something else, a genius technological feature… one that’s always been there. Just like our modern, fancy-pantsy, phone-guided systems, or our TomToms or Magellans, we have all the guidance we need within us to find our direction, to keep us on track.

Even when we get off track, we can always get back on. Our GPS system doesn’t lose our way, just because we do. “Re-routing…” she says. And she gets us there.

And you know what our car GPS systems never do when we make a bad turn? They never say…

– There you go, screwing things up again…
– Oh! GREAT job, dumb-ass…
– Figures you’d blow it, again…

What the inner GPS system is good at doing is sending us cryptic, subtle clues when it’s time to re-route.  Some include…

– isolating ourselves from others
– jealousy, irritability, bitchiness
– accidents, mistakes and mishaps
– back, head, stomach aches
– overspending, overeating, overdrinking, overanything-ing
– chaos in your home, life, car, purse…

Can you recognize when you are out of harmony, or heading in the wrong direction? Be a detective in your life and consider the signals your GPS system gives you when you’ve gotten off route.

There is a model for change that is used everywhere by coaches, therapists and other professionals that I find interesting. What I especially find fascinating about it is that  it includes relapse as part of the change cycle.

If you are beating yourself up for changes that haven’t “stuck” or new year’s resolutions that have already fallen by the wayside, if you have slipped, but you haven’t yet regained your footing, if you are being hard on yourself for not having perfected yourself yet, please, ease up.

Think of how your car or phone GPS system works… she gently says “re-routing” and then gets you headed back in the right direction, as quickly, safely and easily as possible. She doesn’t say “Stop trying.” She doesn’t say “Give up.” She doesn’t say “Turn back.” She doesn’t even make you feel stupid or shake her head and told you “I told you so.”

She simply and gently says “re-routing.”

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Ask yourself:

What are my own internal GPS system’s signals that I am out of harmony?

Are any of those signs happening now?

What one action can I take today/this week/this month to help bring me back, to re-ro

ute and re-orient myself, and get my life back on track, and in alignment with my desired destination?

If I can support you, let’s schedule a coaching session! Email me right away at lisa@sacredsexyu.com to see which session type is best for you.

Hey, Jealousy

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In my last blog, we talked about the hidden gifts of envy, and I promised to share with you my thoughts on jealousy next time. Next time is here!

Jealousy is one of my least favorite feelings. It can bring out the worst in me.  I also know it comes bearing gifts, when I remember to look for them.

Let’s clarify the difference between envy and jealousy. While both can be equally yucky, envy tells us what we want by pointing at what someone else has or is.

Jealousy is a bit different. Jealousy comes from a sense of feeling threatened, and there are usually three parties involved with jealousy. Here are some examples…

  • Husband hires new assistant. You Facebook-stalked her and she is cute. You suddenly feel uneasy and worry about them spending so much time together at work.
  • Best friend gets new guy, you hardly ever see her anymore, and when you do, he’s usually there, or she’s talking incessantly about him. You feel forgotten and unimportant in her life.
  • Again, you find out that your dad and your sister got together for lunch. You’d sure like to have been invited. It’s always been like that, you’re certain he loves her more.
  • Boyfriend has new job and he is head over heels in love with it. He eats, sleeps and breathes his work, you’ve never seen him so fired up. Except when he first fell in love with you. Would be nice if he was as passionate about you as he is about his job.

Get the idea? As you see in the last example, the three parties don’t even have to be all human. In fact, I’ve heard of (and maybe/maybe not, even personally felt) jealousy over a business, a pet, a car, sports, anything that feels like “there’s less/not enough fill-in the-blank for me.”

What is your fill-in-the-blank? What are you afraid of getting less of?

Could be time, attention, affection, validation, love…  no matter what the details, here’s what jealousy really boils down to. Under the details, stories and reasons, there’s fear.

Jealousy is fear.

Fear of what? Losing who or what you love? Being forgotten? Change? Being unsafe? Being alone? Being unloved? All of the above? You decide. Investigate your jealousy.

And if you dig a little deeper, underneath the fear, you’ll find a core belief that is so common, so prevalent, yet most of us are barely aware of its existence.

The core belief is this: I am not enough.

Here’s a step-by-step process, to put into immediate practice, the next time you feel triggered with feelings of jealousy.

  1. Notice and name.“What is this yucky feeling? Why did I suddenly get bitchy and want to lash out? Oh… I’m feeling jealous.” Locate the feeling in your body. Notice the sensations… “Ah there it is. It feels like a rock in my chest. My face feels hot and my ears are prickly.”
  2. Open. “I know that jealousy is informative. Okay, I’ll open myself up to experiencing something different with this feeling. What gift do you have for me, jealousy?”
  3. Listen. Your jealousy wants to tell you something. Jealousy is fear. What are you afraid of? Identify your fear(s). Then, go deeper. Under the fear, what is a core belief that this fear is rooted in?
  4. Brainstorm. “What can I do today/this week/this month that will help ME feel safer, more grounded, that will plant me in my own enoughness?”
  5. Reach out. If you need to reach out to that person, be specific, own your shit and be direct. “When I hear you talk so much about your new friend, I’m finding myself feeling jealous. I know that’s mine, it’s rooted in a fear that maybe I’m not enough for you. I’m working on that fear, will you help me by reminding me of why you choose to be with me? Sometimes, it’s just really helpful to hear it.” Being direct with our desires and needs requires vulnerability, and it’s not the “easiest” thing to do, but on the other side is deeper intimacy.
  6. Do. Jealousy is rooted in a feeling of being unsafe. You are a safe place for every feeling. What can you do to feel safe? How can you be reassuring friend to yourself? Affirmations like “I am safe. I am enough.” “I will be okay, no matter what.” are helpful and simple and cost nothing to practice daily. Meditate. Talk to a friend. Stand barefoot in the grass to ground with the earth, make a list of all the brave things you’ve accomplished, because you’re capable, smart, you’re enough. Baby yourself. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and put on sweet music. Nurture yourself.

You are enough. You are always enough. You have no idea how enough you are.

We so often rely on the outside world, external circumstances and other people for our sense of safety, when in actuality, we alone are the safest place.

Yes, we need each other. Yet, when we understand that we, ourselves, are enough, jealousy doesn’t have much power. We know that we are the most reliable, trustworthy, solid and steady sources of safety available, and that nothing can threaten that. Fears lose their charge, because we can trust ourselves to see us through anything.

We will be okay no matter what. Jealousy can lead us home, when we turn to it with tenderness and curiosity.

It can lead us to our enoughness. And returned to our enoughness, we come home, again and again.

So, next time you feel jealousy rearing its head, think this: Jealousy is an invitation to love myself better.

Jealousy & envy come bearing gifts… No, really, they do.

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“I know I should be happy for her, but I secretly feel green with envy.”

“I really do trust him, and I know I’m not supposed to feel jealous, but I do…”

“I’m trying not to feel jealous, because she’s my friend, but I can’t help it…”

These are things I’ve heard friends and clients say, and yeah, things I’ve thought or felt myself. Until I learned how to interact with jealousy and envy in a completely new way.

Maybe you’ve had moments like this…

… You’re on the elevator on the way up to your office, having a good hair day, minding your own business, feeling pretty good about the dress you’re wearing, when the elevator stops, and in walks a perfectly beautiful, put-together, poised woman, looking dazzling, and suddenly you feel deflated. You suddenly feel frumpy and plain, and you wish you could feel as confident and look as perfect.

… Your friend’s business has taken off in big ways, she just published her book, AND she has more clients than she can handle. You smile and congratulate her over a celebratory lunch, yet secretly you find yourself thinking “Why does she get all the breaks while I still struggle, year after year?”

… You’re trying to be a good friend, but as you spin your wheels trying to lose weight, your bestie is posting her impressive before and after pics, and dropping sizes like they’re hot. You find yourself harboring some resentment, and then resenting yourself for being such a shitty person. After all, envy is a deadly sin, and she’s your bestie, better than the restie, for goodness sake.

… You’re at dinner with some friends you introduced recently, and you find out over appetizers that they recently got together for drinks, without you! While you knew, and even hoped, they’d love each other, you didn’t expect to get left in the dust of their rapidly deepening bond.

While the words “envy” and “jealousy” are often used interchangeably, there is a distinction.

Envy is defined as the feeling of wanting what someone has. Jealousy is more territorial, and requires three parties, like you, your husband and his hot new assistant, or you, your best friend and her new boyfriend that takes up all her time now, or you, your dad and your younger sister, who he always loved more.

If the feelings themselves didn’t feel crappy enough, quite often, envy and jealousy bring with them another layer of crappy feelings, our feelings about the feelings, because we are judging our feelings and making ourselves feel bad about having them.

We “shouldn’t” feel this way, so we feel guilty and wrong and ashamed. It’s messy and yucky, and yet, if we peel away these layers of emotion, we can find some really deep wisdom and sparkling information. And we can grow.

Wanna know how? Let’s talk about envy first.

Part One: Envy

Next time you notice yourself having that twisty, prickly, uncomfortable feeling of envy, for example, your best friend just got another promotion, while you remain stuck in the same dead-end job, follow these steps…

  1. Notice and name. “What is this yucky feeling? Why did I suddenly get crabby after she shared her great news? Oh… I’m feeling envious.”
  2. Open. “I know that envy is informative and Lisa said it comes bearing gifts. Alright. I’ll open myself up to experiencing something different with this feeling. What gift do you have for me, envy?”
  3. Imagine. What do you imagine the object of your envy is feeling? “I imagine my friend feels proud, accomplished, successful with her new promotion.”
  4. Listen. Your envy wants to tell you something: Envy is wisdom, pointing you in the direction of your own unmet desired feelings. It’s not as much about what we want as it about what we want to feel. “Ahhh… yes. I want to feel proud, accomplished, successful, too.”
  5. Brainstorm. “What can I do today/this week/this month that will help ME feel proud, accomplished, successful? I can finally clean out my closet and donate a couple bags of clothes to charity. I’ll catch up on some bills. I can apply for that new position I’m lusting after at work.”
  6. DO. Do a few of those things and notice the rising feelings of pride, accomplishment and success in you. They’re yours to feel too, and they’re what you really wanted. Envy told you so.

Once you realize the feeling of envy is really just pointing back at your own unmet desire, and even more specifically, what you want to feel, your attention shifts away from your friend with the promotion, and turns toward you, your needs, your desires. Then you can choose to take some action to focus on cultivating what it is you want to feel.

That’s how envy is informative, that’s how you transform the feeling of envy, that’s how you receive its gifts.

Next week, we’ll dig into jealousy and discover what gifts it has for you.

In the meantime, let me know how you’ve used this process and what wisdom was on the other side, waiting for your discovery.

To be continued…

You will never be free, if you don’t do this.

freedomI think its pretty safe to say, we all enjoy freedom. We all want to feel free. Feeling imprisoned, trapped, meh, not really our thing.

I know for me, freedom has been a number one value, for many, many years. My top Core Desired Feeling is freedom. It is my favorite feeling, top sensation. Yeah, it’s very important to me.

In fact, for many years of my life, I was so hell-bent on feeling free, that I often mistook the concern, care or requests of others (mainly, the most important relationships in my life) as control, and putting my so-called freedom in jeopardy.

I used to semi-brag “If it even smells like control, I rebel.”

I spent so much time and energy rebelling against imagined control, my own rebellion became a prison.

I’ve been learning some really important things about this freedom I value so much, and how I’ve been fooling myself.

Anything that limits your capacity to experience joy, to give and receive love, is a prison.

Often, that prison is you.

And if you are in prison, you are not free.

Through lots of therapy, inner work and growth, I am much less of a ‘rebel’ (no longer acting out in dangerous, destructive or hurtful ways, in order to maintain my ‘freedom’.)

Yet, this year being the Year of Big Reveals for me… I realized, I still wasn’t free.

For there was a war waging inside of me. There was a painful battle I was fighting that I very rarely talked about, and its kept me imprisoned most of my entire life.

I was at war with my body.

This war manifested itself in many ways– the way I talked to myself…

The way I weighed myself daily, allowing the number on the scale to determine what kind of day I would have or if I would be in the mood to reward myself or abuse myself…

The way I turned to substances to feel better about myself, to feel confident and self-assured, faux freedom…

The way I constantly tried to monitor and control what I ate, in order to lose this extra weight, this extra part of me that I was so, so deeply loathsome of.

Even though I was in the business of helping women love themselves and their bodies, that luxury was not for me. That freedom was for others. I didn’t deserve that kind of freedom.

Here I was, Miss International Spokeswoman for Freedom, but I was not really free.

And the same is very likely true for you. Are you free, truly free?

Or are you in prison?

What I’m about to say might seem harsh, but I say it out of love, and first-hand experience.

If you are weighing yourself daily, you are not truly free.

If you are depriving or restricting yourself of entire food groups in effort to lose or control weight, you are not truly free.

If you are obsessively thinking about your body, your weight, your appearance, you are not truly free.

If you are withholding love from yourself until you reach that “ideal” weight, size or look, you are not free.

If you are counting calories, fat grams, tracking every calorie you burn or ingest, this, my beloved friend, is. Not. Freedom.

This is war.

You are at war with your body.

Your body wants peace. Your body wants to be loved. Your body wants you to know how much it loves you, how hard it works for you, how deeply it needs you to end the war.

Until you end the war with your body, you are not really free.

Until I ended the war, I was not free.

Truth is,  I have to end it again and again, sometimes even on a moment by moment basis. Body-loathing was so habitual, it has become more natural than body-loving. But I am on a path of freedom now. And I am willing to fight for it.

I did something really bold a couple months ago. I put the scale in the garage. I stopped weighing daily. Instead, I weigh on Monday mornings. The feeling of freedom from the tyranny of the scale has been exhilarating. But, here’s what happened last week.

Last week, I went to the gym three times. I did yoga at home. I took a couple walks. I was so proud. If you know me, this is a really big deal. I was feeling so good about myself. My body and I were crushing on each other. My confidence level was higher.

I was doing these things, taking great care of my body, for the first time, from a place of loving kindness. My body and I, buddies, lovers… it felt amazing.

Then this Monday, I got on the scale and the number was slightly higher than it was last Monday. And my mood plummeted. My great feelings about myself and my body evaporated, instantly.

I was disgusted.

There I was again, back in that cycle. Whether I am weighing daily or weekly, if I allow that number to determine my mood, my worth, my feelings about my body, I am not free.

So I went to work… I reminded myself of all the wonderful things I had done for my body the previous week.

I reminded myself of the new way I talk to myself, kindly, respectfully. I reminded myself of my new desire, real freedom. True freedom.

I reminded myself that bashing myself over the number on that blasted scale is not freedom, and I returned to love.

I reconsidered my weekly weigh-in, and began a new conversation about where I go from here. I want to feel good. I want to feel free.

So, what I am learning here: this freedom that I love so much is something I will sometimes need to fight for.

I will need to return to it, perhaps again and again, for the rest of my life. Or perhaps someday it will just be my state of being.

Either way, I’m in.

The same goes for you.

Unless you end the war with your body, you will never be free.

The freedom we long for is on the other side of body-loathing. And so is the power. Real power. True power. But I’ll save that for another blog.

Let’s fight for our freedom by deciding “no more body-loathing”, and ending the war, even if we have to do it again and again and again.

The Truth About Changing

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“Nothing happens, and nothing happens, and then everything happens.”
– Fay Weldon

There’s a recent shifting, a new understanding in me that has basically turned my world on its head.

It’s challenged everything I thought about life, about change, about habits and healing. It has turned my business beliefs upside down, it’s shaken up my entire coaching practice and belief system, and yeah, it’s big.

And it’s so awesome. So liberating.

I feel an opening within me that has become bigger than me, I free-fall into it. I’m still not 100% sure how to integrate this new understanding into my business, and exactly how it will impact my life coaching practice, and my life in general. It is monumental.

I do know my work is becoming much richer with this new understanding,  much more loving, and compassionate, and effective.

Wanna know what it is? It’s this:

Everything is perfect. There is nothing to fix.

Your path is your path. Your unfolding is yours. There is no reason to force yourself into changing. In fact, it won’t work, if you are forcing it.

Having built my business on helping people change, as you can imagine, this is a game-changer.

Lately, I wonder if much of the self-improvement culture we live in today isn’t a bunch of bullshit. By our relentless pursuit of being “better”, we can never be enough.

If I witnessed a flower bud, and said “Flower bud, you are perfect, just the way you are. Don’t change!” would I stop it from blooming, at its own natural time? NO. It was designed to bloom.

If I witnessed a flower bud, and said “Flower bud, open. Open now. You were meant to bloom. Work harder. Push. COME ON! Why are you still a bud?” would it open any faster? NO.

Yes, it was designed to bloom. But at its own perfect pace.

Just like us.

Is an unopened bud any less perfect than an flower in bloom?

There is no forcing evolution. Evolution will not be forced. Emergence cannot be rushed. Blooming happens when its meant to. Not a minute before. Not a minute after.

The problem with much of our self-improvement thinking is that we are spinning our wheels, spending so much time, energy and money trying to shape ourselves into better versions, new and improved, always, relentlessly trying to change. Wondering why we can’t change. Wondering why we can’t shake this habit or that dependency. Frustrated as hell that we can’t reach that same goal we’ve had for 20 years, or that we haven’t succeeded manifesting our deepest desires and are still not the people we want to be.

We are missing the point.

And we are missing the perfection available to us in the present moment.

Am I saying don’t try? Of course not. Your desire, your intention, your trying is how you will get there, when the time is right, after all, but we also need to take into account the natural, organic ways we shift, when it’s time to shift.

We change when it’s time to change.

A caterpillar when it cocoons does not weave its humble abode around itself to cozily sprout wings and emerge all butterfly-beautiful, oooh! No. It’s a much uglier process than that.

The caterpillar first must deconstruct, actually deconstituting itself into black liquid. Caterpillar soup. From those cells, something new begins to take shape. But not without becoming complete mush before then. And here’s something new that I just learned… in that black soup process, the old cells fight the new cells.

While the new cells struggle and work to become butterfly, what is old, familiar, outdated is still struggling for survival. Can you relate?

When making the changes you want in your life, there will likely be struggle. It won’t be easy. Sometimes you will be fighting for your life. I’m not saying don’t fight, don’t work, don’t try.

I’m saying trust the process. Trust your own evolution.

I also know that you can’t crack open a cocoon anytime you want to set the butterfly free. I’ve learned the hard way, when I was 10. It was devastating and I felt like crap, I had destroyed the butterfly before it was even ready to be born, by trying to rush its perfect process.

So this is the great paradox… when you want to change, work at it. But know that if it’s not time for change, it won’t work.

Everything is perfect. Nothing needs fixing.

When it’s your time to let go, you will let go.

When it’s time to release old habits, you will be able to release them.

When it’s your time to make painful decisions, you’ll bravely make those decisions (not without being scared, don’t get me wrong. Bravery and fear are by no means exclusive of one another.)

When it’s time to leap, you will leap.

When it’s time to know, you will know.

When it’s time to crack out of your shell, you will fight for your life to break free.

And when it’s time to bloom, you will bloom.

Applying this level of acceptance and trust to my life and to the lives of those I care for and work with has been challenging at times.

We want what we want, and we want it now.

But luckily, becoming this new version of who I am brings with it the capacity to accept and trust life, on life’s terms, and I know, when it’s time… it’s time.

“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anais Nin

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Your Fear is a Master of Disguise

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Remember in every episode of Scooby Doo, at the end, the kids would catch the scary ghost that had been haunting them, only to pull off his mask and discover it was just some guy, pretending to be a scary ghost?

In my countless sessions with clients, conversations with friends, private whining dates with my own journal and years of being in circles of truth-telling women, I’ve noticed something interesting.

All too often, fear holds us back from what it is we want to be, do or create. It is fear that holds us back from letting go, from moving forward, fear holds us back from taking chances and plunges and leaps. Fear gets in the way of our dreams and desires. Fear keep us stuck and small and stagnant and the same.

Yet, in most of those cases, our fear knows that if it came  right out and said, “hey you know what, I’m afraid, and here’s why…” you very likely would see it for what it was and blow right past it. And fear’s motivation is only trying to do its job, after all. Fear wants to protect you, guard you, keep you safe, keep you stuck, keep things the same.

Fear has picked up some tricks on its journey. It’s clever. It’s strategic. It has to be. So in order to get you to pay attention, in order to get you to stay “safe,” here’s what fear does: it disguises itself as other things.

Do you have a desire or dream or change you haven’t been able to create movement with, for one reason or another?

See if you recognize any of these disguises fear uses, when it comes to your dream…

  • Disguise #1: Preparation – Classes, courses, certifications, research, prep work, organizing, re-organizing, re-re-organizing. You know what I’m talking about. The problem with these is that just when you achieve one level, you quickly convince yourself that there is something else you need to know or achieve or accomplish to do the dream. I once worked with a client who was stuck in a standstill with her new business launch until she got a new set of office shelves. Shelves. Her dream was on a shelf because of shelves.
  • Disguise #2: Procrastination – Once I finish this Netflix binge, I’ll work on that business plan. I would do that tonight but I am beat. I’ll get to that thing tomorrow. Or the next day, but soon! Procrastination has a nice payoff too. It’s a lot easier to put things off then to do them. And by easier, I also mean “safer”.
  • Disguise #3: Limitations – A wise friend once said to me “argue for your limitations and they’re yours.” it was a punch in the gut at the time, because I was literally arguing for my limitations when she said it. That’s the thing about limitations. If you want ’em, you got ’em. They certainly love being coddled. In fact, they absolutely BLOSSOM with attention. I hear them all the time. I’m too young. I’m too old. I’m too fat. I’m too broke. I’m too busy. I’m too this, I’m too that. Our perceived limitations quite quickly become TRUTH. If we choose for them to be. Or… we can be wild and crazy and blow right through them. I’ve seen that a few times too. I’ve even been lucky enough to have done it.
  • Disguise #4: Blame or finger-pointing – This clever disguise of fear likes to convince you that it’s somebody else’s fault that you are not doing what it is you came to do. That if it weren’t for that crappy husband, boss, mom, dad, you’d be doing your dream. If it weren’t for THEM, you know… THEM,  you’d be different. You’d change. You really would.
  • Disguise #5: Busyness – We all juggle a lot. I get it. But here’s the thing. The obligations, commitments and time bandits in your life because you allowed them in. You chose them. You actually did. You have two choices here. You can continue to use busyness as a convenient hiding place for fear. Or you can make some space. Commit to your desires. Squeeze in five minutes a day. Do whatever you can. So often we think that soon, just around the corner, life is about to get way less busy. Guess what? It does not. We make the time for what’s most important. If you don’t like the way you spend your time, if the way you spend your time is interfering with a dream, make some cuts. Delete. Re-org. And if you still can’t find the time, chances are, it’s fear making sure you stay nice and busy because it’s safer, and you get to stay the same. Remember, fear loves that.

In which of those five do you identify your fear in disguise? It’s time to shine the light at them. Reveal them.

Think back to when you were a kid. Sometimes simply shining the flashlight on the scary monster in the dark room proves that it’s just a sweater on a chair.

Shine the flashlight on your fear. And then maybe, you can choose differently. One choice at a time.

But first we must call it them out. Nothing changes til we call them out.  Maybe a journal entry like this…

“I see you, Fear! Disguising yourself as _____ and ____. How clever and wily of you. Sadly though, I’m on to you. I’m hip to what you’re throwing, I’m no longer fooled by your conniving ways. I get it. You want us to stay safe. You want me to stay the same. I understand. But here’s the thing. I can’t. So just to give you a heads up, I’m going to be _______ and ______ in the coming days. Starting now, I’m also going to be ________.

I’ve got dreams. Desires. Plans. Big things to do. You no longer get to be in charge.

Your services are no longer needed.”

Are you ready to do that? There is no time to lose. The time is now. The world needs your gifts, your message, your smile, your creations, your song, your dance, your ministry, your magic, your mischief, your heart, wide open, spilling forth.

And Fear is just going to have to deal with that.

Warning: Some People Don’t Want You to Grow

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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.