Well, We’re Not There Yet…

Life, I realize is a continual work-in-progress. I AM a continual work-in-progress. 

And, part of my learnings from the past year has been that you don’t ever get “there.” We might go around and revisit the same places, each time with a new perspective, a new twist and new learning.

Remember when we were little people and we’d be on our way somewhere and we would be so anticipatory of “getting there,” we’d be impatient and drive our caretakers or the driver nuts?

I do, and I have been doing it a lot lately.  Still!

The thinking, “I’ve already been here.”  “I’ve already healed this.”  Or, aren’t we through this? Or, when:

Will it get better? 

Will I be more clear? 

Will the pain end? 

Will the storm pass?

Yep, or the comments, “when this pandemic is over…”, or “when things get back to normal…”, or “when we have a different leader in the White House… or City Hall…”, or “when… “, you get the picture.

And, all of these prayers, yearnings or complaints are keeping us from BEING HERE. Right Now. In the midst of Life. As it is.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to fix stuff. That’s why I was successful as a Recruiter, Human Resources Director, Consultant, Board Member, Coach. You bring me a problem, I’ll give you a solution, or 10 options for one.

And that worked well. Now, I’m learning that it’s not my job to fix other’s problems. Or give unsolicited advice to friends. Or tell my daughters, partner or ANYONE, what to do. What they ought to do. 

It’s a new way of growing and developing. Internally. 

Moving my own energy back INSIDE, where it belongs. 

I can still provide answers, share wisdom or facilitate trainings. However, it’s not my job to MAKE anyone take this information. It is my job to ask good questions, offer ideas or new ways to see the world.

When I operate in a space where there’s trust in the “other” to open, receive, learn, grow, shift and see things with new eyes, it’s my happy place. 

When there’s a curiosity to learn a topic, or I’ve been given an area to “unpack” and provide some understanding around, I can be a Light-Bearer, showing the next steps and inviting others to come along.

And, the best way for each of  us to learn? Is by listening to what our own internal guide/guru is saying. 

And, we need to listen constantly. Contemplate regularly. Ask questions and open our minds, ears, eyes, hearts and allow the answers to arrive. Not demand the answers. Or put a time limit on them. 

Trust. Learning to Allow. Accept. Then Embrace the constancy of Change. The continual Growth. The concept that we never cross a finish line. There’s always another “there” we want to reach. Or to shift our paradigm to “How do I want to FEEL right now?” And know that we are in exactly the right place, right now. And, that we will not ever be complete, finished, done. 

Last week I was in the deep dark of discomfort and resistance. Then I remembered I signed up for the Fast Track. And Growth means Change. Mother Nature shows me that over and over. New shoots, weeds and blooms and leaves springing up daily, remind me that this is constant work. This personal/professional growth thing. That’s why they call it Development, right?

In this moment, Life is Beautiful. Expansive. And my Heart is on Fire. Growing right here alongside of you…and allowing it be as it is. Celebrating how it is even on some occasions!

Thank you Nature for being such a great teacher. And Happy Earth Day too!

How are you?

Dancing with Shadows

This February full moon is highlighting our brilliance. And as much as we are uncomfortable with vulnerable showing/sharing of our shadows, we are often equally uncomfortable with owning our Brilliance.

As we move from February into March the theme shifts to honoring ALL of us. Equally. 

In honor of the Equinox and equanimity, expansion and equilibrium, egalitarianism and equal rights for all. (Liked the alliteral play there?)

Easier said than done. 

We hide, especially as we begin to share from our heart and soul or expand in our visibility in our roles in the world. As our Great Work in the world grows, so must we. And often it can be too much for our system to handle.

So many women are finding, the more their impact and influence grow, their Shadows of insecurity, unsafeness, or gnawing doubt in their abilities create walls of Fear.

I capitalize Fear because it is currently at the base of our world’s issues: racial and social injustice, misogyny, economic inequality, political division, devastating effects of climate change, and a global pandemic on top of all that.

And, we are falling back into the “already healed, I’m done with that” space of old stories, patterns, reactivities, programming and tendencies. 

So, even though this was an area of clarity and spaciousness before 2020, you may find the revisiting of the anxiety or depression or sadness or anger that was tucked away nicely and neatly in the past. 

AND, it’s all good. The full moon this month reminds us to feel our brightness. Our wholeness. Our holiness. Our Beauty, Strength, Safety and Wisdom…all regained by tapping in and tuning in to our Divine Center. The Oneness that can help us reclaim these lost parts of Self, and sit gently and hold the brokenness, the grief, the anger, the Fear. 

Because many of us are very sensitive to the collective energies, we can feel the Desire to move into Love, the fear of the Fear, and our roles during these evolutionary times to be a bridge for these polarities. To allow them to co-exist. There is room for Love amidst it all.

And, no more sweeping the ugliness, brokenness, anxiety or fears under the rug…that helps them to grow in power. Facing them, with Love and Light, shines the truth onto these old ways of operating, many of which we’ve inherited through ancestral and cultural programming.

So, just like Spring Clearing and Cleaning, we’ll take out and examine each pattern, behavior, reactivity or story and ask ourSelves, “Do I love this? Do I need this? Does it bring me joy?” (thank you Marie Kondo!)

And after lovingly appreciating, holding it and seeing it as it is, (often a younger version of Self or an inherited story/pattern) we can thank it and allow it to be sent off to be recycled or reused elsewhere. I like to imagine it becoming the compost for new energy for creativity and play!

Let’s appreciate the Moon this month for shining her light on us. For helping us to remember our own Light…sometimes shadowed, but always there. 

And thank you for all of the enlightening and beautiful stories shared by my sisters and brothers of color who helped us to learn and grow through Black History Month…your sharings opened my eyes and heart over and over.

Freedom to Let Go

It’s July.

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.

Freedom, Liberation, Sovereignty

Freedom, Liberation, Sovereignty

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!

Self-Cultivation through Authenticity

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. 

Sound familiar?

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. 

Lessons from My Garden

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I’m a gardener. A cook. A traveler. A spiritual guide. A paradigm-shifter. A conscious connector and conversationalist.

Like many of us, it’s difficult to say I’m anything else besides a mother, an entrepreneur, a leadership trainer. We tend to limit ourSelves to our job title or what our role is at home. Like many of us, it’s been a learning opportunity to say I’m anything else besides a mother, an entrepreneur, a leadership trainer.

For years, I was governed (and took comfort) in having a job description. A job title. A business card that stated my role and who I worked for.

There’s security in that. In having a written out instruction and policy manual, a clear printed out Roles and Responsibilities, along with who I worked for, worked with, and how to measure my performance.

In only a few years after leaving the corporate world, I was yearning for that same structure. It was long gone, in my marriage and role as mother and wife.

No one gave me accolades or bonuses on bringing up a profit margin or how many clients were served compared to last year’s same quarter.

And it continued to become more ambiguous as I navigated my way through a rocky marriage, parenting our daughters and finding my peer group of older moms to socialize with. My other friends from work were NOT stay-at-home moms. They didn’t understand my angst at not knowing how I was doing. Not having that consistent feedback from my VP or clients meant I had to start figuring out my own progress. Measure my own performance.

That wasn’t easy for me as I listened to the regular negative commentary from my then spouse.

It’s been a journey of self-discovery to undo that messaging in my mind, heart, body, and spirit.

Over 10 years later, I’m continuing to rewire and rewrite or completely self-author who I am. How I’m doing and how I’m feeling. I get to hear feedback from others and ask myself, “Is that true?” “Does it even apply to me or my experience?” Or “Is that their story showing up through my actions or their own reactions to me?”

It’s been a great decade. As I continue to unfold, blossom and show up, just like the new wildflowers, perennials, biannuals, and weeds in my garden, I see that there are a divine beauty and wild mystery to the timing of things.

Let’s see where this unfolds today as we dive into Self-Authoring. Learning about who we are as we are being reflected back by others, our gardens, the Universe.

[Read the transcript.]