I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, “What do you want, Deborah? Yes, and under that, what do you REALLY want?”
My answers aren’t clearly written out for me or come in an image or picture, they are more of a group of sensations…a softening in my belly and chest, a relaxed jaw and neck/shoulders…an almost cloudy vision as even my vision softens and feels less strained.
Those sensations are my body’s way of telling me the answer. The deep desire within me is most truly felt, not “forced” mentally. It’s a lightening of my energy – and a relaxing into – the space of pleasure.
Whoah, there she goes, getting into that uncomfortable place again!
I’m trying to describe the indescribable (for me, at least). And the power it has to guide us, inspire us and fuel us with the purpose and hope for the future.
So, for many months now I’ve been playing with the mantra, “Open and Soften.” Knowing that the more I do that, I receive some type of guidance, inspiration, or energy to move toward something.
My mind has been screaming, “Open and Soften TO WHAT?”
Yet, my Wise Inner Woman keeps assuring me that is it. That’s the full directive. Open and Soften into Beingness.
So, if you’re reading this, I may lose you here, yet, I truly believe that that is our Purpose. Our role in this wild and precious journey of Life.
Beingness, and a newer version of that I’ll call Inter-Beingness, is my Desire. It sounds simple. And it is not.
Turns out that according to my hologenetic profile from The Gene Keys by Richard Rudd, my Life’s Purpose is to be a Dancer of Beingness. Wow. Still letting that simmer as I contemplate it.
And, the shadow of this lovely state of Beingness, is Self-Obsession. Endless self-improvement, constant searching and learning, and desiring to figure out who I am, what I’m here for and how can I be a better ME?
The pathway of Naturalness finally opened, after exhausting that never-ending loop of searching and self-obsession.
A lovely therapeutic equine helped me to learn about Authenticity and my value in Being. (and that’s another story!)
Hence the beginning of the concept of Authentic Leadership Academy and Consulting. The birth of that name of my business has been a continual reminder to be ME. That, by modeling Authenticity, Deep Integrity, and Humility as a Woman and a Leader, I can serve other women wanting to be a fully, more true, and self-expressed Self and impactful Leader.
All the pieces began to fall into place. From my corporate HR experience to nonprofit consulting and the work with local teens and Native American children, The Leadership Circle certification and coaching, the somatic and embodiment practices of The Art of Feminine Presence™, all the various Strengths-Finder, Energy School, Joy of Goals©, Health Coaching even, all played a role in my Be-Coming.
And now I get to play with ALL of these experiences. And who I am as a result of all that knowledge and wisdom.
So, my heart’s desire always steers me in the direction of growth and Beingness. Or back to Beingness. Or to the next level of Beingness, for me.
Where is your heart guiding you?
After months of diving deep into all of my emotions and Reactive Tendencies (to use The Leadership Circle language I use in leadership development training), I’m ready to feel into what I want. What I’m allowing myself to dream, feel into, bring forth.
Sound selfish? Or out of touch with these chaotic and uncertain times? Or, what does it bring up in you?
Most people’s answer to my question of how they’re doing right now is, “I’m grateful, truly I am.” “There’s so much good in my life.”
And that’s great. To be happy where you are is wonderful.
To feel stagnant, or just “OK” with where you are, or feeling restless; like I do when I’m hungry and keep looking around for something to satisfy that feeling and nothing is quite meeting the need… That means I am, and possibly you are too, ready for something MORE. Yes, we can be grateful for where we are and what we have AND still want something MORE.
Our mind wants desperately to find a plan, to run from what’s uncomfortable, or to deny what we are simply tolerating, versus our Heart – which wants Beauty, Love, to run towards Joy or something that feels good, lights us up, makes it sing!
So, after deepening into and feeling what is truly in my space (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) I can then find the acceptance of “Yes, that is what is.”
After pausing there, and really f e e l i n g, we can listen for, or find energy, that rises within.
It’s our heart’s calling. Our body or soul guiding us towards what is next. What do we want, given we are here right now?
This is essential work for any of us on the front lines right now.
The more we feel we don’t have time or energy to devote to finding our heart’s desire or inner guidance, the more we need to practice this inner work. To move towards our next expansion, expression, or growth, it requires an openness to allowing what the Universe wants for us.
The more we can receive. And it begins with the beautiful Desire bubbling up like a wellspring within. Then “await what the stars will bring.”
Our heart is our own tuning fork or unique GPS that can invite divine inspiration, creative expression, or deep healing. Our businesses require us to be open to this channel. Our physical health does too. Artists rely on it to bring forth their heart’s desire onto paper or stage, or through images.
So, when’s the last time you sat and had a cup of tea with your Heart’s Desire? All that’s required is someplace to be still, listening to nature or inspirational music, and maybe a journal or your phone to record what you discover.
Discovering our heart’s desire is more important now than ever.
Let’s do this.
Here’s to developing the muscle to listen to and follow your Desire and see where It takes you!
And typically July for me has always had a theme of freedom.
And as I explore that whole topic of freedom. It feels like it falls into several layers.
There’s the actual reflection on what it is that I want to be liberated from.
Then there’s the action or allowing, of the liberation, of the letting go.
Freedom feels like the final state. It’s the result of having reflected, having let go and now basking in this new state of freedom.
So let’s start with a question, or contemplation, about where are we? What are we holding on to that it might be time to let go of? And if you’re like me, it takes me a while, I have to ponder that thought for a day or two. In my case, it’s been the last two or three days of what runs me. What am I allowing to have control over my life?
And there are several feelings, thoughts, patterns, and stories in my head. I’ll play some suggestions out for you and see if they might help you with your self-reflection.
I was running for a long time the story of money and scarcity. “I’m not secure without financial freedom, without the constant struggling and striving to make ends meet.” So my old story was that I had to constantly struggle, juggle, worry about money.
Then it became: “Take good care of money. Be a good steward and invest it well. Place it or spend it in ways that I feel represent my values.”
It’s been a long time coming.
First, it was wrapped up in gender stuff, and that women need to be dependent and reliant on someone else to take care of them. All kinds of things have been unraveling around that for decades for me.
And finally, I can say that money is not something that runs me. AND, I know for several of my friends and acquaintances, it’s still at the forefront in their lives.
Another one that still has a hold on me in some ways is TIME.
I feel like I’m in a race for time; meeting deadlines, filling the calendar, or noticing the empty calendar and wondering how to spend my time creating and generating income and new clients. What does all that look like? Am I spending enough time taking care of me? Taking care of others? Nurturing my relationships? I look at how I spend my time as it’s my most important commodity.
Maybe the pandemic times have brought about the concerns of our mortality, or not having enough Life Force. And, the importance of Breath.
What will happen to us as the pandemic continues? What will our lives be like? What will Time be like? How will I spend it? How will I invest in the use of this commodity in a way that brings me the most joy and be of the most service to the collective?
So Time is still something I’m playing with, that I don’t feel fully liberated from.
Others are old stories of not being “enough” (what is that anyway?), not having enough support, not being loved enough, not being worthy of love, all kinds of good things like that. Little by little, they’ve been chipped away by choices I’ve made, by risks I’ve taken, by moving forward in one area or another, despite the stories. Proving to myself that they really are not the Truth.
The power of many of those old stories and patterns has diminished and faded.
So what is your self-reflection about what still has a hold on you? Still creates fear or anxiety or reactive ways that are keeping you small… keeping you stuck?
Because that is NOT freedom.
What we want to do this month is look at this reflection of what it is that has a constriction on us. Anything that keeps us from Breathing or holds us back.
And then, with gentle, loving, self-compassionate, and from a safe self-observation place, allowing them to loosen their grip on us … and to Feel.
Opening to the liberation of Life. On the other side. The Life where these do not strangle us from our truth, from our value, from our dignity.
To our safety. Towards our sovereignty. That, to me, is Freedom.
How do you define Freedom? (let me know, I’m curious!)
I believe it has to do with a state that is felt after liberation. And a remembering that we are all Sovereign Beings.
Liberation from fears, tendencies, patterns, structures, and belief systems that no longer serve.
Sovereignty, for me, is a feeling that I try to re-member, embody, and KNOW deeply. It is the human right of us all to be sovereign. We are “at choice”, personally responsible, and valuable. In the Centering practices I teach, Dignity is embodied when we stand fully in our physical and divine Selves. Sovereignty also reminds us that we have the right to B R E A T H E. (and who do we think we are when we withhold another’s oxygen?)
And, getting back to Freedom, it has a price.
To let go of old patterns, reactive tendencies, and learned ways of being, we must go through some type of release, rejuvenation, renewal. It’s as if we had created vows to remain small, silent, people-pleasing, and high-achieving (stating mine here) so that we were seen, valued, and loved. Those vows are deeply buried in our emotional body and need to be uprooted, loved, and held with compassion…for once they served us, and we’ve now outgrown them.
The price of Freedom comes in this internal self-reflection ( a centering practice around this process can be found here) and the pain or discomfort of moving into new territory of an expanded Self and open heart.
The price of Freedom also may look like letting go of old relationships, old clothes, old jobs, old comfort zones. And this is difficult for most of us. We’ve created a circle of support that has helped keep us in these old ways of Being. And, will they want to support our new behaviors? Our new way of speaking up, speaking out, standing tall?
Some may leave. It’s a difficult reminder to them that change is coming and happening all around. And, that hurts.
Another price of Freedom is by standing up for ourselves and what we believe, we may not fit in with certain institutions, communities, or circles. I felt this strongly in my old gated neighborhood, where neighbors didn’t like my wild gardens, my disdain for chemicals on my lawn, and my proud support of public education and liberal politicians.
Ahhh, so after hearing enough of what I wasn’t doing to “fit in” with these folks, a perfect house came available 2 miles away that was as unique and eclectic as mySelf! And, this brought about the wrath of people, even my ex-husband, who didn’t like my choice.
So, Freedom, is it worth it? The liberating of Self from old ways, old clothes, and old patterns?
I say, unequivocally, YES!
The simple 2 swaths of a pair of scissors across a ponytail, on the top of my head, liberated me from several inches of hair…and the new-found saucy bob has brought another joy, and fun, and a new look to boot!
One of the ways that we can integrate our rational and intuitive sides, or our spiritual and physical sides, or whatever duality that we play in, is to recognize each for their gifts and their shadows.
Actually I think we dwell in more of a quadrality. I believe that we have distinct heart, soul, mind, and body versions of ourselves, as well as many personalities of different ages, or versions of selves brought out during different situations and people. The uniqueness of who we are, the truth of who I am at least, tends to show up when I’m stressed, tired, or emotional.
This last month has been tough, we’ve not only had worldwide pandemic, but we’ve also had change. We’re seeing change. Finally. And lots of ways of Being are shifting, becoming more open, more visible.
Some changes that we’re seeing is around the way law enforcement (and our world as a whole) treats people of color.
Racism is getting the national stage and has a voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. And, the world is listening. It’s become a mainstream theme, and no longer can we ignore the history of how white people have systemically used racism to better themselves. So, we are seeing long-established beliefs and systems beginning to change, evolve, involve everyone to create new solutions that benefit the entire community.
Along the lines of change, and on a personal note, I have just come off of two weeks of being with family during my mother’s hospice and passing. The time with her those final days was beautiful and peaceful, especially towards the end. AND there’s all the family dynamics.
Our family is diverse in that we have almost every skin tone, belief system, and political view represented. And noticing who I feel comfortable with, and who I retreat from, which conversations attract me and which ones feel so uncomfortable I want to leave, and all the spaces in between. All were ‘growth-full’ for me.
The other thing I noticed is that this time, unlike in the past, I avoided managing intellectually, controlling, running the show. I pushed through my typical role as Big Sister and took a backseat. This allowed my sister to step up, and my middle brother to take on the logistics while staying calm and sane. Everybody has their own way of grieving, I realize now, and there’s no right or wrong. Allowing everyone, including myself, to be: absent, involved, avoiding emotion, feeling deep emotions, it was all acceptable to me.
What I’m noticing is I’m allowing myself to really FEEL it this time. The heaviness, discomfort, and roller coaster of grief is sitting with me, riding through me, knocking me down with wild waves, and then holding me aloft in a swell. And I’m not trying to pray it away or force it away, but BE with it.
Also noticing that when I most need my practices; my physical practices, my spiritual practices, and my emotional practices, I haven’t been drawing upon them. I know they would provide a larger bank of Resilience and firm grounding to support me and all my different levels of awareness.
Yet I’m aware that although these deeply held and true support systems that I have built throughout the years were tossed aside, and I threw myself into the storm in the waters, without any safety net or lifeboat.
I really left it all behind!
As I pack up to head out to our little river place, I realize I wouldn’t leave to go on a hike or camping trip without necessities like food and water…so why would I do that to myself, emotionally, and spiritually, throw myself out there without any of my backpack-full of tools and goodies?
What I appreciate now is my awareness of how I abandon myself.
And how I don’t always take advantage of the systems that are in place for me.
The beautiful practices, and awareness, and music, and all of the things that soothe me. I’ve gotten much better at accepting love and care and affection from others. That’s a big one, as opposed to pushing them away and pretending like I didn’t need that. And where I want to go back to is getting my journals out. Putting the music on tap, so at any time I can just bask in it.
And remembering to go sit outside, I did do a lot of that in the last week. Just go sit outside and look at the sky and appreciate the breeze whether it was hot and humid, or cooler, and we’ve had everything in the last week ( it’s been a very interesting week, hasn’t it?). So, noticing, I can take advantage of just looking at nature and remembering. Oh, where am I feeding me? Where am I not feeding me? Where am I starving me? What nutrition is important for me? And getting back on track with those support systems, those structures that allow me to access my strength, my power, my creativity, and capacity to be with all of this.
This is when I’m not easily knocked off of center by others in my family or outside of my family or in the news.
And also, allow me to soothe, and be with, and hold, all of the pain and the grief. All the beauty and the joy that life is.
Here’s to expanding and opening and softening at the same time as holding the structure and the practices, the routines, and the rituals that support me, and you, and all of us.
What if Success was as sacred and singular, as each and every one of us? What if there is such a way of being seen And being safe?
Very often there’s a polarity, that we tend to jump in between.
I’m out there I am letting people know who I am and what my message is, and what I’m here to do in the world.
And then there’s the other.
Oh my gosh, what if they see me? What if they know me? What if they don’t like me? I’ll just go back and be invisible…being invisible is very much my story.
And, for many reasons I don’t need to go into here, Invisibility was the safety mechanism that I developed as a child, and it became protocol. It was my routine. It was my pattern and reactive tendency when things got uncomfortable. Whenever I began feeling expansive, and open, and allowing, for love and life and grace to flow through and to me, it felt unnerving. It still feels scary. It feels uncomfortable. And that is where I want to take you today.
We cannot do our greatest work unless we are ready and able and trusting that it’s okay to step out of our comfort zone and speak up and share our light and our truth and our wisdom.
So, which one do you do? Go out anyway, put on the false bravado of I’m doing this because I have to do this because my business coach told me to do this because that’s what the men do or that’s what the successful people, women I know do. And the only way to grow my business is to continue doing this uncomfortable…(fill in the blank): networking, speaking, writing (whether it’s a blog or a book), videos, sharing on Facebook, showing up on LinkedIn. And I don’t believe that has to be the case. I feel that the more that we do and we allow, and we show up in our truth and own our value and worth and brilliance, that’s when we’re seen.
And it doesn’t mean that we have to do 70 posts a week to make sure people remember us. Of course, we want to watch our social media or our digital media numbers, it’s kind of helpful to know where we’re showing up and where our clientele, or potential clientele, might be. But the other piece is very much around, “How do I just show up and trust?” And if that means doing video blogs, which I did for five years, with no one watching, or whether that means I host a zoom call, and maybe only two people show up, does that mean I’m less worthy? Less valuable?
I don’t think so.
I believe that every time we speak our truth, whether it’s to our friends, our family, our clients, or potential clients, when we show up in our aligned and authentic self, we are modeling, who we are in our work in the world. We are our own biggest billboard if you will. And how do we show up with that presence?
Well, that’s a deep one. And that’s where knowing how to blend our doingness and beingness, our feminine and masculine traits, our intellectual and intuitive wisdom, and our emotional and somatic brilliance, all of those things make up our “secret sauce”. Our SuperPower.
So that’s what we’re going to do in the next month as we move into June. We’re going to operate from a place of receptivity and activity, of beingness and doingness, of physical and somatic wisdom, as well as emotional intelligence and spiritual wisdom. All of those forms of who we are, those different versions of us, if we integrate them and align them, that’s when we have a presence.
That’s when people see us. It’s not about having the perfect lipstick color. Believe me, my last video did not have the perfect lipstick color. And it’s not about wearing the right clothes. (We’re all learning that during this time of working from home. Many of us in our sweats or yoga pants.) It’s about grounding in deep trust, centering into our purpose, and our value, and our worth, and dropping down in a way, from our brains – our beautiful, fantastic, and powerful brains. I don’t mean to do them a disservice. However, when we use that as our only guiding sense of direction, we can go way off our path. So dropping down into our heart space and dropping down even lower into our power center in our lower abdomen. connecting on all of those different levels, energetic, physical, divine, emotional.
Then our voice comes through with clarity, with an authority that people can hear, and those who are attracted to what we have to say, are ready to come and reach out. And I’m all about that. I’m all about letting the people make the decision if they’re ready. They might have a niggling fear of I’m not sure I’m ready, and that’s fine too. But they know in their hearts if it’s time to be seen, to be held, to be supported in their inner landscape journey, in their deep dive into their becoming. And that’s, that’s where my passion is. That’s what I have done for myself and numerous others, allowing them to experience transformation from their old self to their new version of self to the next best. And they’re continuing to grow with a little less fear, I might add. So that’s my thoughts for now, and I look forward to spending some more time with you and sharing some more musings in June.
Take excellent care of yourself, now, and as we move forward into these uncertain and ambiguous times.