reflection

When It’s Time, You Know.

atlamak

Change is hard.
Especially big change.
Especially when that change will require us to restructure and redesign our entire lives, will demand that we disappoint, inconvenience or confound others.
I’m in the midst of such a redesign myself, as we speak. As you might or might not know, I made the decision earlier this year to wrap up my seven-year project, the Burlesque Experience, and to transition away from facilitating group events and programs altogether. This coming summer semester will be the very last B.E. session, after twenty-two incredible seasons.
This has been no easy decision.
I love the Burlesque Experience. I love teaching, and hosting and facilitating, and holding space. These aspects of my work have given me immeasurable joy, satisfaction, connection, creative expression, pride, glory, humility, and have taught me so much.
I’ve fallen in love, again and again, with hundreds of brave and gorgeous women I’ve shared my work with over the years.
“I am who I am because of the women I’ve surrounded myself with.” – Salma Hayek
For the last eighteen years or so, I’ve been creating and hosting programs and events for women in Dallas.  For the last couple years, I have been doing some major “inner” renovations. I’m not talking new curtains or throw rugs in there- I’m talking about knocking out walls, foundation repair, restructuring the whole place, room by room. As I’ve been changing, so have my drives, so have my desires. (Well, of course they would.)
One desire that has grown stronger than ever, accompanied by a quickening, an urgency of sorts, is the need to buckle down and write. And what I have recently come to understand is that I cannot create what I want to create when my creative energies are dispersed all over the gosh-darned place.
I described to a friend recently, my life was feeling like watery Kool-Aid. When you water down the Kool-Aid, to stretch it out, everyone gets watery Kool-Aid. I want to be potent. I want to be concentrate. I don’t want to live my life diluted.
The truth didn’t hit me in the head like a lightening bolt. It seeped in, little by little, subtly tossing tiny clues here and there, until the tiny clues became wisdom, became truth.
Until I was ready to acknowledge my truth.
One day, my feelings turned to knowing. My curiosity turned to clarity. I just knew, I was ready to close this chapter.
I had to look hard at all of the elements of my business, my brands, to really get clear about what it is I wanted to keep doing and what it was I wanted to stop doing. I realized I still am very passionate and devoted to my private coaching clients. That is very much alive for me. I feel like I could coach privately for the rest of my life, I love it so much.
And I also knew that in order to tap into the creative energy I needed to do my other work, and explore other aspects of myself, my purpose and my soul’s desire, I had to let go of some things.
I am ready to turn my attention to other desires and dreams. I am ready to shift and evolve into the next version of me.
It’s hard to point at any one reason or circumstance and say “that’s why”, though I’d love to be able to.
See, I love a compelling story. And I usually need one to motivate me to make any important change in my life. Yet one of the things I’m learning is that, in actuality, I don’t require a story to make a decision. I don’t need to explain or justify to others, or to myself, why I’m done with something when I’m done with something.
Something doesn’t have to go bad or fall apart or hit bottom or become painful before I am done. I’ve been there, too, many times.
But not this time. This has been so hard, because I hate disappointing people. But I’m also learning that sometimes choosing for me means you might be let down. Can I be okay with that? I’ll never be a person who “has no fucks to give.” That’s not my style. I have a lot of fucks and I give them freely. I care about what others think. I don’t like hurting people. And I also must choose what’s best for me.
Many years ago, a friend shared with me that the word “decide” actually means “to kill.” This has always stuck with me. Especially when I need to make a decision. Think about it. Genicide. Matricide. Suicide. Homicide…
When we decide what it is we want, what direction we want to go in, who we want to be, something else has to die. No wonder we avoid deciding.
As I move into these new directions, wrapping up one cycle, immersing myself in new endeavors and cultivating new desires, it’s bittersweet, indeed. But I know it’s right. I trust myself.
So what is it that you, my friend, are avoiding? What big change needs to be made? What are you pretending to not know?
It’s scary, sometimes, clarity. Because it requires us to do hard things. I think that’s why we’ve gotten so good at pretending not to have it. I have it now. And I will not pretend.
I’m leaping into the unknown in many ways, letting go of what I know, to explore what I don’t know. I’m willing to let go of feeling like an expert to embrace being a beginner. I’m once again in uncharted territory. It’s bittersweet, terrifying, exhilarating, promising.
What about you?

Do Your Mood Swings Have a Message for You?

nong-tinh-gian-du

I’ve been noticing something interesting lately. I’ve been starting out my days on a high vibration, fiercely grateful, mindfully approaching every task with presence, joy… All ooey-gooey and overflowing with love. And I move through my day, completing tasks. Or not. Bouncing around from one priority to another. One diversion to another.

And then, at some point, BAM. I crash. I don’t just crash. I plummet. My mood shifts dramatically. I go from “joyous bearer of light” to “bitch on wheels”. Just like that. Or so it seems.

I look at my sweet Facebook posts from the morning and roll my eyes at myself. I think bad thoughts. I make careless mistakes. I’m stressed and tired and off-kilter.

All that overflowing, ooey-gooey love has coagulated and turned into something much less appetizing, viscous and dry. I am hard and closed and cranky. I dislike. I complain. I judge. I worry. I feel overwhelmed and feral. Not fit for human interaction.

What is this shift? Why does it happen? So suddenly it seems, yet maybe if I look closely, not so sudden at all.

For a while I thought it was a sugar crash. Or a hormonal imbalance. Or demon possession.  But today, I’m realizing it’s something way more subtle and insidious. And really, quite simple…

I haven’t checked in with myself.

All tangled up in the doing, going, creating, replying, forwarding, posting, planning, I’ve wandered away from myself.

It makes perfect sense. I start my day with ritual. I make my coffee. I light candles. I journal. I read. I pray. It’s no wonder I’m full of love and light!

And then, little by little, I disconnect from myself, from Source. I forget to check in. I ignore the desire to stretch. I hold my pee for ridiculous lengths of time.

I’ve decided here and now to take up a new daily practice. A simple practice called stopping. Remember lunch hours? I used to have them in corporate America. I kinda miss those.

I will check in. Ask myself what I want, feel and need. I will tune in, jump off the grid for a few minutes. Refuel.  Start my midday the way I start my morning. Wow. What a concept. And why not?  I heard a woman say to another woman who was complaining about her back-breaking busy schedule… “Wow… Who on earth is responsible for treating you that way? Who’s the tyrant that manages your schedule?” Yes, it was sarcastic. In a loving sort of way.

“You get out of balance because you aren’t listening to your inner life, because you aren’t meeting your challenges of your life with any input from the inside. you haven’t given yourself enough time
to know what you think or feel.”

– Jennifer Louden, “Comfort Secrets for Busy Women”

I’m ready to try something new. To restore my balance midday in order to experience more joy.  And this epiphany I am gifted with when I stop to check in with myself.

What shifts or changes are you ready to make? What truth is waiting for you, if you simply check in with yourself?

What if during your next mood swing, you took it as a message from your soul to check in with yourself, to step aside, stop, recalibrate, reset, turn inward?

I’m off to restore and renew now… See you on the other side of my day. Most likely, in a much better mood.

 

 

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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