11 February 2014


Do you ever feel like you are watching someone in a movie, riding the elevator up to their obligatory job, trudging through their day, going through their menial tasks? And you start to feel really bad for them - like you want to make them a cup of tea with a large dollop of honey and tell them to, "Perk up already. This is your life!" And then you realize that you are watching yourself...

Does that ever happen to you? It happened to me this past weekend - my birthday weekend. 

Is it just me, or are birthdays always emotion-filled, expectation-ridden, and a little bit depressing?

I guess this is because it's the "new years" of your life, and you are faced with the task of evaluating who is important to you, who cares about you in return, how far you have come in the past year, and where you are going. You immediately feel the pull to do something "AMAZING" to really kick things off and set the tone for what's to come. But somehow, my definition of amazing was defined by what I thought others would think was amazing... or based on a hazy idea of an amazing time I once had?... I'm still trying to figure it out.

While it was great to dance on a table, yell "this is my jam!" after every other song, and drink as much as I did in college, none of that is really how I, in my authentic state, define amazing. What is really amazing to me is a great, ass-kicking workout; a delicious brunch starring some organic eggs; a warm, timeless day at the beach; getting lost on a hike through a dense forest; a night in with my girlfriends; redoing my vision board; listening to a quirky audio book; a cozy alfresco homemade dinner by candlelight. Why didn't any of THAT come to mind when I was planning my birthday?

Is it about appearances? Did I think that what I like to do isn't interesting enough? Fun enough? Am I still stuck in the awkward high school phase where I would take a puff of a Djarum around my friends so that I wasn't just the prudish straight-A student who hoarded after-school club titles and gold stars?  It can't be about that... because I am morbidly embarrassed at the thought of any stranger witnessing me on the night of my birthday and summing me up with the only information available: booty shaking, vodka shotting, table dancing birthday girl who wanted nothing more than to spend her special night like this... I mean what the HECK? No wonder why I felt so disconnected from my spirit and desperate to leave by the end of the night. I'm not that person. I don't enjoy doing the things that that person was doing. 

Ok, you get it. I feel regretful and saddened that I chose to go there on my birthday. I look back at that night like a bad dream... like I was kidnapped from my centered, self-aware place and thrown into the Hunger Games as an insecure, bar-crawling, attention-craving 21 year old. 

But I'm trying to be kind to myself. I took the next two days to reflect and just be with the real me. I did the things that the real me loves to do... I went to the movies, I did my yoga, I tried a Pilates class, I grocery shopped and made a healthy dinner, I spent time with my kitties, and I sat in the sun. I feel revived and I am slowing learning to forgive myself and to let go of the judgement. It's a slow climb, but writing this has, at the very least, helped me to laugh at myself and start to shake it off. 

OH WELL! Right? The people who I most care about (and who care about me) know the real me. And I lived to tell the tale. Dusting myself off and getting a move on...

Thanks for reading my confessional. :)

06 February 2014

Love vs. Fear

Yowza! This year is off to a CRAZY (awesome) start! Ask, and you shall receive. In my last post, I listed out all of the things that I am creating for this year, and many of them have already been set in motion. Talk about the power of setting intentions and creating possibilities! 

One of the intentions I set that has picked up momentum is "Deep self trust - listening with a sensitive ear to my instincts and developing a higher level of consciousness." In reconnecting with my inner spirit, I have been able to identify patterns and tendencies in myself. I have started to look at myself more subjectively - to step back and look at my whole person from a distance. My most recent "aha" was how fear lives in me - what it looks like when I wear it, how it shows up in my life (how it disguises itself), and, most importantly, how it holds me back. From there, I have started to think deeply about the relationship between love and fear. I'm really curious to hear how this occurs for you all... would love to hear your personal experiences with this if you are open to sharing.

* * *

Let me start by asking you a few questions that I asked myself a couple months ago when this all started: What have you committed to this year? What are you afraid to ask for? How are you doubting yourself? 

It's never too late to let go of fear and doubt. You will be amazed by the VAST space that is created when you abandon the "can't" mentality and decide to powerfully state what you want to create in your life. I can't tell you how many times I have stayed in the comfortable, easy, familiar situation because I was too afraid to leave, to start over, or to just entertain the idea that I might want and deserve more. More connection in my relationship, more inspiration and creativity at work, more boundaries... Whatever it is - the "can't" that proceeds those desires is all driven by fear.

Fear is paralyzing. It's nearly impossible to move forward when you legitimately believe that you are incapable of doing so. Whether you are afraid of being vulnerable, being loved, being rejected, being "found out," or getting it "wrong," that fear keeps us from connecting with our inner power and making amazing things happen in our lives. 

Where does that fear come from? As much as I would like to tell all of you that the world is just plain scary, and that the fear is OUTSIDE of you (therefore, inescapable), I'd be lying. Fear is in you. Fear is a feeling, an emotional and sometimes physical reaction, not an actual thing. It can feel like the fear is a REAL thing - but if I told you to prove it to me and go find a heaping pile of fear outside, you'd come back empty handed. It lives in the mind. And I think that 99% of the time, it all stems from self-worth and the fear of not being enough (good enough, strong enough, fast enough, thin enough, smart enough, worth enough).

I don't know about you, but when I am struggling and feeling that I am "not enough," I have a very hard time, for example, being vulnerable in romantic relationships, asking for more space from my family, demanding a raise at work, making requests of friends, getting motivated to accomplish things, etc. When I feel like I'm not enough, I'm not living in self-love. I feel that I am broken, no good, and inadequate. I feel that I'm not worthy of love, attention, help, or someone else's investment. In fact, I start to self-loath or self-pity. THAT is what living in fear looks like. Love is absent, and the warm wash of shame, loneliness, and unworthiness overcomes us. It's enough to make anyone want to draw the shades, crawl into bed, and never come out.

"If you are worried or afraid of anything, there is something in your mental attitude that needs correction." Napoleon Hill

I believe, deep in my being, that our thoughts paint our world. It's mostly perspective, and less about "reality" (what the HELL is reality anyways?). If you are focusing on the "don't want," "can't" and "what if" and "no way," then you are sure to bring the exact opposite of what you really want into your life. Those thoughts come to fruition because of how much energy you are putting towards them. And you can expect to stay stagnant and in perpetual "stuck" mode. 

When you live in fear, there is no room for love. And, reversely, when you live in love, fear takes a hike, real quick.  Love can only blossom in the sunny optimism of appreciating and respecting ourselves, and others. It gets washed out when we are cowering under the unwavering rain cloud of fear-living. (you might be thinking, cue music: Haddaway's "What Is Love") Love is not second guessing yourself, judging yourself, blaming others, and feeling like every other situation is "the worst." Love is connection - it is trust - it is vulnerabilityBrenĂ© Brown really says it best...

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” ― BrenĂ© Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

And how do "shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection" fester? Fear. Fear is at the root of all of them. Really think about that... Shame is the fear of being unworthy or fear that you don't belong. Blame emerges from the fear of taking responsibility. Disrespect, whether of others or yourself, is the fear of seeing people for who they really are or accepting their values. Withholding of affection is the fear of loving or being loved, or just plain fear of being vulnerable. When you remove fear, none of these things can exist. And that is when love (connection, affection, vulnerability, compassion) comes rushing in. 

Toggle with some of those concepts in your life. See what happens when you lean into the discomfort of vulnerability, take a risk, and practice living fearlessly. You'll surprise yourself! I have been consciously letting go of the rain cloud thoughts more and more over the last two months, and I already feel more loved, LOVING, powerful, and cracked open than ever before. As a result, I am MAKING THINGS HAPPEN, and I feel encouraged to continue the cycle. Try it out and let me know how it feels.