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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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When my old van finally told me it was time for her to retire recently, I took my time looking for a new car. Ever realize how many options there are out there? Narrowing down my choice based on what I wanted to feel like, what I wanted it to look like, how efficient the gas mileage and reliability helped (thank you Consumer Reports!). Yet, there was still the choice decision of what the car’s image said about me…or what I wanted it to say about me.
Our presence speaks volumes about us before we even say a word. How are you showing up?