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.
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.
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It’s become so common that no one is surprised anymore. We all just nod our heads in some type of secret solidarity.
Yet, why are we sharing from a place of shame? Or Guilt? Or Embarrassment? Or, even, with a sense of thinking we are responsible, in some awful way?
It’s time to stop the avoiding and clean up the shame, and start healing.
This open door will never swing shut again. More and more sexual assaults, inappropriate behavior, rapes kept under wraps are now seeing the light of day. The media posts new stories daily and we aren’t even bothering to read them. (Or, maybe that’s me, this is not new!)
What if we took this new-found solidarity, commonality across all women of different cultures, colors and class, and used it to fuel our Light?
What would happen if we were sharing with glee something beautiful that happened from sharing and healing to becoming more empowered, conscious and ready to tell our truth?
I’d love to discover what could happen when we realized that this totally inappropriate treatment we’ve all received was just a catalyst for igniting our realization of our value, our worth, our strength?
As we glue together the pieces where we previously thought we were broken, we heal the parts and are even more beautiful, more complex and more resilient.
The term Wabi-Sabi applies here…the Japanese believe in the beauty of impermanence and imperfection. When a piece of art or pottery is broken, they often fill the cracks with gold. Creating a more beautiful piece and honoring the imperfection.
Let’s shift into this type of #MEtoo. Let’s shift into the beauty of what we are now from the healing, growing and expansion into a more stunning piece of art? What if we shined our light through those cracks?
© 2017 Deborah LeeAnn www.DeborahLeeAnn.com
Authentic Leadership Academy & Consulting
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Continuing with the theme of FEAR this week, I’m curious…
When are you most afraid – Sharing vulnerably yourself? Or being with someone else who is sharing vulnerably?
Let’s define Vulnerability:
noun: vulnerability; plural noun: vulnerabilities
1.the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
It’s been a difficult or trying week for me.
Monday was the anniversary of my wedding.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of signing the divorce papers.
Tomorrow night is the Farewell Party for my ex and his wife as they prepare to move out of the county, to a destination where our daughters will spend considerable time.
I told a former lover I couldn’t speak to him now as I am still processing our relationship ending.
And, I got the news that my application was not accepted to a co-working collaborative.
So, I’ve been sitting with all of the heaviness. The spiritual by-passing (the feeling that I SHOULD be) feeling grateful for what all HAS transpired and lessons learned. And, the emotions of grief, hurt, upset and more have washed over me. Yes, Grief has cycles and I’ve been riding them!
The difference this week is that I’ve reached out. Talked and cried and shared and asked for support. Given myself extreme self-care.
Why is that so difficult for us as powerful, independent, brilliant women?
For me? It’s a “not wanting to bother anyone” or “I don’t want to be a burden” or “who wants to talk to a whiner, a soppy mess of a friend?”
Yet, when I asked for support to attend the party? All 3 women responded “Yes! Of course!”
When I cried a bit when my trainer asked me how I was doing on the metabolic challenge cleanse this week, she was lovely and understanding why I was not following the diet to a “T”.
When my business coach asked what I thought I could do this week, and I answered honestly, she was compassionate yet firm, my plan was do-able.
When my daughter asked me how I was, I was honest. Not angry. Just sad. Not talking bad about anyone. Accepting that they are who they are and we are not in alignment anymore.
I even can feel the excitement of what might be coming next for me through the pain and loss of this time. I had another ding this morning.
And, felt into and B E Y O N D the pain and saw the echoing of old stories and patterns – now releasing. Now bowing to what is emerging. And, making way, stepping aside.
It’s such a different feeling. The gratitude for the pain. The awareness of being in the present with all that IS and all that is on its way.
The most difficult part? Has been the weirdness of sharing with others. The fear of showing up less than, broken, messy and VULNERABLE. I don’t like asking for help. As much as I coach others on Receiving…it’s not that easy for me to Allow in the support and love I SO crave. Need. Want.
So, on this All Saints Day/All Souls Day/Post Samhain/Halloween day, sandwiched between two very significant dates for me, I have called in the Magic of connection. Community, support, sharing, giving, receiving. Receiving even when I don’t ask for it. Even without reciprocation expected.
And, gratitude shows up. Appreciation. And FEAR becomes fear…and disappears.
Ahhh…this feels so much better!
What are YOU Afraid of?
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What is your deepest fear?
In honor of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos next week, let’s talk about fear.
Funny how lots of people like scary movies. We can laugh at the ridiculousness of the plots and know that it’s not real.
Yet, when scary stuff comes up for us, we literally cringe. Hide. Run away or freeze.
For most of us, Fear runs our life. We are so afraid of what we don’t want to happen, we are literally closing off what we do want.
It’s where we let old stories, and often younger versions of ourselves, take the driver’s seat. Where we step aside, literally, giving our power away.
I run. I hide. And, I freeze.
I veg watching Netflix. Drinking wine. Or through sex.
I get super busy. Or, stop doing anything at all in a state of depression-like coma.
All in resistance to what wants to be expressed or experienced or let in.
What am I SO afraid of? Who am I so afraid of Be-Coming?
And when I recognize it, how do I use that energy to fuel my momentum versus let it suck me back into the same-old, stuffy, suffocating space of who I used to be.
Let’s move into the next iteration of Courageous Authenticity. Where we don’t run from our Fear, or Hide from it, or even manage it. We welcome it, transform the energy of it and utilize it.
Nothing in life is wasted. All forms of energy are valuable.
What is holding you back? Where are you stopping your SHINE from radiating from you? Who do you want to show up as and how does she want to BE in the world?
Chances are, it’s exactly what you need and want that calls you forward. It’s more powerful than Fear.
Ready? I’m here with you…remember it’s a journey.
© 2017 Deborah LeeAnn ~ Authentic Leadership Academy & Consulting