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?
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.
For me, these past few months have been quite a ride. Deep into the netherworld of shadow, grief, and depression, mixed with highlights that were blissful, serene, and overflowing with gratitude and loving connection.
It’s been about sitting with all of me. The whole messy, radically human Me. The beautiful, creative, and wise Me. And all of the in-between parts as well.
So, entering June is going to be my foray into a new sort of Balance. Not completely 25% Heart, 25% Soul, 25% Mind and 25% Body…more of a sense of a grounded weeping willow tree, waving in the wind, dancing with the sun, and sharing my branches with wildlife…being in service as a beautiful shade tree.
Balance for me is what my chiropractor said was the problem when I had my first visit with her last week. Starting with an old injury that was brought back to life from my car accident last December, the pain in my left should shot up into the base of my skull, and down into my sacral and hip joints. So yes, physical balance was called for to allow me to soften and unwind the tightness and inflammation stored in my body.
Then she mentioned that there was emotional trauma there that had made it deeper and wound more deeply into my psyche. I had been angry and sad, felt guilt and shame for looking away from the windshield to turn off the news that was upsetting and missing the split-second chance to that could have allowed me to brake and stop before the impact. I blamed myself for being irresponsible, not paying attention, hurting myself, and causing so much trouble for myself and the others involved. That didn’t help…
Spiritually and energetically, I’ve been so deeply in the depths of lots of emotions these past few months, feeling out of control, distrusting of self and the Universe, and God to support me through this evolutionary time and wanting desperately to feel in control. Which, of course, I am not able to stop thinking or feeling the anxiety when I spend time there.
This put me into overly masculine, logic-brained mode…which cuts off connection, compassion, and creative inspiration. Or, I would fall into the old paradigm of feminine helplessness, despair, and feeling unable to do anything…
So, hence the desire to focus on Balance. A way of aligning and grounding into the wholeness, the integrity, the strength of Who. I. Am. Right. Now. And, guess what? That is a beautiful blend of intellect/intuition, relational and interdependent connection, spiritual Oneness and my own Light, and physical strength and wellness.
It feels more resourceful. I feel more resilient. The world appears my hopeful. And Life is more beautiful and flowing with Grace.
If you are unable to tap into the Center of Presence, Peace, and Purpose, here’s a centering practice you might try…I’m looking to practice this a few times a day until Equanimity feels more the norm instead of the exception. I invite you to find that practice for yourself and let’s keep shining our Light! The world needs us all now. Especially when we are integrating our whole and brilliantly complex selves.
Here we are in the third week of April. An April, like none other anyone alive now have ever experienced.
How are you? I mean, really, deep down, how are YOU? And, even underneath that…?
It’s about time for us to be Truthful.
Feel what we feel, and not try to push anything away. If you know me at all, you know I am a proponent for Authenticity. (It’s in the name of my business even) Yet. I find it difficult at times to tap into what’s truly mine, what’s real for me.
So, where am I going with this? My personal and professional theme for April has been Growth. Each of us is Growing in one way or another as we find new ways of operating, loving, and leading.
To make the most of this growth cycle, we need to start telling the truth of where we are. What we are feeling (no judgments please) and verbalizing with vulnerability and authenticity to a safe circle/coach/friend some thoughts around “What’s our current Growth Edge?” And, to get there to tell the truth about where we are.
So where are you?
We are such beautifully complex beings and our minds cannot keep up with the growth and changes as much as we’d like.
So typically what happens is often when someone asks, “How are you?”, we respond in a way that is just off the top of our head, or with the words that are easy for us to say, or with concern about not wanting to add to any ‘negativity.’ Or, we don’t want to unload on this person believing they’re already going through enough (because goodness gracious, we need to think for them and feel for them as well) Right? Like, we don’t have enough going on just managing our own stuff!
Or to put it another way, I don’t want to add to the negativity. I don’t want to add to another person’s shit. I don’t want to whine. I don’t want to feel what I am feeling and only want to concentrate on other’s feelings because it is easier to manage other’s shit than my own.
Hmm. So, since we have a bit more time now to start really sitting with ourselves, what about really BEING with ourSelves? In Truth. Feeling ALL the feels. Noticing what’s going on in our hearts and bodies, not just our heads.
And when we answer the question about how we’re doing, do you answer with, “Okay, I’m feeling grateful because I have food. I have work that I still get to do that I love and I have money in the bank. And I have a warm, cozy home. I’m really grateful.”
(It’s fine to be grateful, but what is under the gratitude? Because there is always more.)
Okay, great start! So now, what’s underneath that? If you go under the Gratitude, is there more? Yep, you bet, if we look for it.
There might be some grief or sadness at this time because we don’t get to go out and be with people. We did not get to celebrate spring holidays that we traditionally do with our extended family in person. We might be missing being with our friends and/or hugging everyone like we normally do. Something we cannot do through a FaceTime or Zoom call.
How can we fall back deeper down under what our mind is telling us we feel, or what our mind is telling us we should feel, or what the dizziness of our life is keeping us from feeling?
This is where I’m asking for you, for all of us, to begin a different way of Self-Cultivation.
Self-Cultivation is beyond self-care. It’s deeper than that. Cultivation means creating the fertile soil or foundation that nourishes and allows for a living organism to grow and flower with more blooms and stronger stems than if you planted it in poor soil, without the sunlight, or enough water.
And when you plant a seed in really rich humus or compost-enriched soil and provide the right sunlight, the right spacing so that it has room to grow and the right amount of water, It will thrive.
So, in our own Self-Cultivation, to allow for optimum growth and resilience, what structure do you have in place?
This means creating the space, and the grace, to grow and expand in ways that we aren’t even sure of yet.
We do know that we need to breathe in a deeper way, we know we need to practice opening our hearts and minds, more and more. Open our eyes wider to allow our vision to expand as well.
And, beyond that, to open into our Innate Wisdom, and Trust in ourSelves. Along with the universe, or the divine plan that is unfolding.
So what are your Self-Cultivation practices? What are you doing for yourself to tap into your Center, your place of power, the seat of your creativity? This is key.
Some practices that I’ve been putting into place are:
- First thing in the morning, I make lemon tea, a full cup of hot water with a couple of slices of ginger and a half a lemon squeezed into it. Then, I sit down with my planner before I do anything else.
- As I plan, l ask myself how I want to f e e l. This allows me to make choices, and to come up with things that will nourish me so that my thoughts will flow in the direction of whatever project that I’m working on.
- I also tap into what does my body want and need, what are my wellness practices for the day?
- Then, asking and writing, what do I want to do for my divine self today? In growing and cultivating my relationship with Spirit…
- And what do I want to do, emotionally and heart-wise, to reach out to people beyond the intellectual pieces of what needs to be done for work?
- And any other “needs to be done” stuff too – complete taxes, clean the house, work in the garden.
Are you up for a challenge? What are your Self-Cultivation practices? Would you be willing to share them with the community? Do you start your day with a ritual? A routine?
In speaking with a dear friend yesterday at our zoom coffee meeting, we came up with the idea and commitment to create some structure to allow for open inspired creativity to flow.
In a myriad of ways, we are all being called to grow and expand now. And these new fragile seedlings all need to be supported and nourished. Are you preparing your soil to plant the seeds? Into the right environment, with enough space to allow what wants to come through us to come through?
That may look like silence and solitude for a part of the day.
It might look like sitting still and looking out the window.
It might look like spending hours in the garden weeding and planting.
Everyone gets their thoughts and inspiration in different ways.
Sometimes it is sitting still.
But in each case, it is a softening of your mind. Easing into your space. Simple.
I know I get about half of my ideas by being still in contemplation, and allowing and creating the open space. But the other half come from when I’m doing what my grandmother would call “putzing.” Others get their ideas in the shower, or driving or doing dishes.
Last thing, and definitely not least, is finding time to laugh, to play, to be silly. To make funny sounds in your mouth and to sing out loud and not care if it’s in tune or not. And adding something that makes you laugh, whether it’s watching comedy, or it’s tuning in to some of your favorite podcasts or music channels, whatever cultivates Joy in you.
So often we have been taught to be quiet – as children, as women. There is something to be said about being able to express ourselves. A reset. See if you can give it noise, a sound, and allow that to come forth. Our anxiety, collective trauma, needs a voice. It’s probably going to come out in strange ways – so why not a strange noise. Sing in the car. Scream. Yell. Let it all out.
Let’s come back home to what’s real for you.
How can you support your Lightness of Being? To be truthful and authentic? Add that to your Self-Cultivation practices.
So these are my musings and seeds of wisdom for this month. And I truly wish that this time is providing you solitude and space for Self-Cultivation and Authenticity to enable further growth.
Take excellent care.
[spreaker type=player resource=”episode_id=13871533″ width=”100%” height=”200px” theme=”light” playlist=”false” playlist-continuous=”false” autoplay=”false” live-autoplay=”false” chapters-image=”true” hide-logo=”false” hide-likes=”false” hide-comments=”false” hide-sharing=”false” ]
Even though I spoke these words last week, they are as true today as ever.
Where are you playing small?
Where do you lose your value?
When do you dim your light?
It’s time. For us to INHALE the inspiration we are constantly receiving, and EXHALE our creative spin on it. Our voices, art, written words, and dance are needed now.
We are all stepping up. Stepping IN. Stepping forward. Marching together towards change.
Conscious leadership is required of us all. And that means showing up. SHINING brightly. No apologies. No more hiding.
Ready? Let’s do this.
Join me for a free training next week to kick off Self-Love Month. Details can be found on my website, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn profiles.
© 2018 https://deborahleeann.com
Authentic Leadership Academy & Consulting
Read the Transcript
[spreaker type=player resource=”episode_id=13012943″ width=”100%” height=”200px” theme=”light” playlist=”false” playlist-continuous=”false” autoplay=”false” live-autoplay=”false” chapters-image=”true” hide-logo=”false” hide-likes=”false” hide-comments=”false” hide-sharing=”false” ]
It’s harvest time for many but not for me. Autumn is my “spring cleaning” time.
Letting Go to Live More Fully is one of my mantras and I’m typically singing it as I welcome this time of year.
I’m finding myself tossing old items, giving away piles of clothing and linens, cleaning out toiletries, (how does that drawer get so cluttered?) and generally, cleaning house.
Culling from my freezer and pantry too. Getting off of mailing and email lists. Aligning my bank accounts. And, reviewing/assessing/releasing relationships. This one is the hardest.
This brings me to my topic for today. When we consciously make the decision to walk away from a person who has been a big part of our life, it’s a big deal. So is standing up and asking for things to change. And, additionally, being willing, AND READY, to leave if they don’t.
So, here is that time of year. Mastermind circles ending. My first Authentic Leadership Academy coming to a close, the realization that the romantic relationship I’m in is no longer where I’m flourishing and happy.
With all of this “letting go” comes a sense of clarity. Freedom. More space to BE. And, the fear of being “alone” is also present.
Many of my friends, clients and colleagues are coupled. If you are one, you may not understand what I’m going through, It’s been one hell of a decade since my divorce, and I thought I was done healing.
Maybe we are never done. Just like we are never complete.
Here’s to seeing where this takes me and how I’ll grow in the process!
“Landslide” cover and full Sweet Letting Go playlist on Spotify by desiremap ((Danielle LaPorte)
Authentic Leadership Academy & Consulting