Ah, the holidays are upon us. For many of us, that means that we'll be invited to celebrate the spirit of the season socializing with family, work colleagues and friends. For so many of the extroverts in our midst, this is often most welcome. For the introverts, this can be sometimes paralyzing. For all of us, committing to all of the invites sent our way can result in overwhelm and exhaustion. When I entered the sales industry 20 years ago, I relished in all of the parties (holiday and otherwise) and in the chance to drink, party and flirt (and most of all, goof off to take my mind off the stress of the job). It was a fun perk and a way to connect with people on a casual level for a brief period of time. Nowadays, the thought of even a christmas party with the small number of fine people in my office makes my tummy turn. What happened? I believe the change of pace has a lot to do with my values. What I used to value about the connection I felt to my fellow party goers has evolved into a value around deeper connection and the desire to have conversations that weren't solely based on "So, are you busy?". What I loved about drinking, loosening up and showing up as an introvert morphed into a deepened value about meaningful presence and showing up as me, not a "liquid courage" version of me. Oh, and it turns out that I LOVE sleep, and need it to function as a normal human being (in other words; I'm getting old!). It doesn't make the people who still party wrong. In fact, I have a lot of envy for those people who have the energy to participate in the fun goings on! I miss the old me that loved doing that stuff. I had a lot of fun. And, year by year, my FOMO gets less and less. But its still there. The holidays inevitably bring up the delight, or angst of family commitments and expectations. For some of us, it's easy to forgo the company Christmas party, or even a friends' Christmas open house. But Family? That can be a different story. Some of us, myself included, have extended family trees (mine is actually a huge shrub!) that sometimes “require” us to spend the holidays bouncing here and there to see this side of the family and the other. It can be exhilarating AND tiring! And, if we include the topic of where the economy is right now, can add some financial stress or expectation stress about gift giving. Most of us reading this have made a commitment to personal care, soul growth and showing up bigger. The history we have with family can sometimes just shoot us right back to old ways of doing things. Showing up as your new self may seem like a lot of work, and you might receive some push back from your family. Stay curious about that! If you aren’t an extrovert or find the holidays a bit taxing, how can you Say Yes from a place of Grace? When you are asked to do something around the holidays (or anytime, for that matter), when your presence is demanded at an event or gathering, when you are asked or expected to exchange gifts, you might consider the following: Check in with your current direction, values and what is currently lighting you up (aka your sweet spot, your passion etc) does this request honour where you are at and the direction you are heading? if it doesn’t and you can gracefully decline, do that! That extra time you’ve just gifted yourself can be spent focusing in what is valuable to you. if it doesn’t and you absolutely, positively cannot fathom saying no, set your intention to show up with grace, and be absolutely present. You might bring a handmade token, or food, or just yourself. Ask lots of questions, be interested in others, practice gratitude for being included. Set boundaries and time limits be sure to schedule in time to recharge your body and soul. If you look at your calendar and you feel like you might suffocate, consider taking a few of the extras out of it, or agree with yourself that your calendar is now full, and all requests will now be met with a loving no, thank you or a revision* (see below) No explanations needed. set appropriate time limits on your commitments. Build in some flexibility if you are just having way too much fun and your soul is being fed by the activity. AND, do your best not to already be leaving before you get there! *try scheduling phone calls instead of face to face visits. This can be so welcome on both ends! You can arrange skype and wine dates with friends, or have brainstorming phone calls in your sweatpants! 3 hour appointments (including driving and meeting) can be narrowed into a nice 1 hour, fully present appointment with your friend or loved one. Above all, choose to be present. Presence is the absolutely most priceless gift you can give someone. If you say no, do it with love and grace. If you remember that sometimes a no to someone else is a yes to you (or to other friends, family, passions), it often reframes the decision and how it lands for you, making it easier. If you say yes, do your best to show up as a yes. People can sense when your yes is a no, even if you follow through.... If you say yes, choose to say yes with all of your being. Show up with grace. Stay present. Be curious. Make room in your heart for others to show up the same way. Happy Holidays! xo Watch our blog next time with a contribution from Womentum member and facilitator, Clarissa We asked her some important questions. Here’s what she had to say…. Have you discovered what lights you up? If so, what is it/are they? There is a lot in this world of mine that lights me up! Right now eggnog chai lattes are on the top of my list. Short answer: My intuitive healing practice, meditation practice, spiritual practice, creating my world to fit me instead of the other way around, honouring my natural sleep and creativity cycles (I like to sleep until 10am and create until 1 am!), being a part of a supportive community with shared intentions, floating (being in a sensory deprivation tank) at least once a month aka self care, furry creatures (namely cats, dogs, and horses but that is only because I often can't get my hands on much else!), writing mostly everyday, crystals and gemstones especially in jewelry form, burning stuff under a full moon, eating delicious food, reading books that inspire me, finding the lesson and the love in challenging experiences, talking about the magic and woo that exists in the world, witnessing other peoples growth, and finally, doing my own self growth/healing/discovery work. How are you currently bringing your passions/desires into your life on a daily basis? I'm a very determined person, once I decide that I want to do something or create something in my life, I find ways to make it happen. Right now I have three big passions in my life that are competing for attention - my spiritual practice, writing, and my healing "job", my practice and writing are something I've committed to doing every day, and I had to figure out a schedule for work that really aligned with how much I can work while still maintaining my zen demeanour. Would you like to share one practice in your life that has invited positive results? I've recently decided to begin a year long intensive spiritual practice that involves meditating with each member of my spiritual council, since there are currently twelve of them, I work with one per month. Last month was Quan Yin the Goddess of love and compassion, this month is Jesus. I begin every day with sitting in meditation and from that I end up working throughout the day on various spiritually based concepts (love, expectations, manifesting, being vs doing etc) that come up in the meditation. It is the one thing that I am devoted to and diligent with. It's only been two months and it has helped me to understand what I want out of my life and taught me how to be love. Describe one of the biggest risks you’ve taken in your life. I don't feel like I am really a big risk taker. There are certainly things that I have done that may look like a risk (starting my own business/creating and teaching a workshop) and have certainly hit my vomit line (the big scary stuff usually makes me feel like I want to vomit which is how I know how big and important it is), but they are usually the things that I'd be bummed out by if I didn't do them so they don't actually feel like a risk. What impact do you feel you are having on the world? I like to think that I am bringing in more loving kindness to those around me. I also want to be a living example of the change I wish to see in the world. I do, however, feel like my worldly impact isn't as big as I want it to be yet, which is a great motivator for me to do and be more. Who, in your life, inspires you? How? I honestly feel like everyone I meet gives me an opportunity for inspiration. I feel like everyone is my teacher and there is something wonderful to learn from everyone whether it's through positive example or (most often) through challenge and being triggered. The people who inspire me to be the best version of me are those who love anyway, who choose to be and do better, and who keep going even when the part of the journey they're on is hard and not so fun. What has been your greatest take-away from being a part of the Womentum community? My greatest take away has been uncovering who I am, and being able to be me around other amazing women. I didn't know the power a supportive and loving community can have, before Womentum I hadn't experienced one. Since I have been a part of it, it feels like I can do anything, be anything, and accomplish anything. If I was Popeye, Womentum would be my spinach. What was your biggest challenge this year? Figuring out how to put my self love and care first, which is still a challenge. I really like to help people and have a hard time saying no, even when I need to. I've also learned how amazing my life becomes when I do care for myself first and how much more I can actually do for others from a space of being full. Right now it is still a back and forth game, going until I have nothing left, then realizing I have to do self care again, feeling good, overdoing it, back to self care... my challenge for next year is becoming proactive instead of reactive when it comes to me!
This week’s blog post comes to you from Womentum member, Whitney Alexandra, who we introduced you to last week through a Q & A I am. Two innocent yet powerful words. What follows them, shapes your reality. December 29, 2014, just days before the New Year and I am wrapped up at home in one of the creative projects that I have on the go. One of the many that I always have on the go! That day turned out to be life changing. I had two close friends over that evening and they both remarked how much they loved my new piece of crystal art. The catch is that neither of them knew that I had made the piece they were admiring. Nor did they know that every other piece of art that was hanging in my home was also handmade by me. Once I told them, they returned to all my artwork with fresh eyes and some disbelief. “I had no idea that you were an artist!?!?” I had not heard those words from anyone let alone my close friends. Surprisingly, it weighed heavy on me. Am I an artist? Over the course of the next few days, I revealed my artwork to other people I was closest to and again, they made the same comment. Finally, a moment of truth occurred. I have these passions, interests and gifts that I have kept hidden. I never talked about them; never thought of showing anyone; never claimed my works of art as mine. Reflecting back, I really can’t tell you why this was the case… it just had been that way for years. Life confronted me with this same question at our January 2015 Womentum meeting. We kicked off the year with the theme: Who am I? That night I chose to make the declaration: I am an artist. And, I am ready to be seen. From that point, my priorities changed rapidly. Within a few weeks I had launched a website, created more products, and started sharing both my art and the inspiration behind it with the world. To those outside my circle of family and friends, this new venture appeared to have come out of thin air. But, to those in the circle and in my own head, this was actually a long time coming. There was never a strong enough calling or enough urgency to put forward my work in the world. Not until that meeting in January! The initial declaration was associated with a sense of freedom and boundless inspiration to continue creating and allowing the artistic momentum to propel me. Part of this meant attempting new forms of creative expression that further allowed me to grow as an artist and as a creative entrepreneur. Over the past 10 months, I have unveiled my custom crystal art, my initial jewelry launch, held a full jewelry collection launch this fall…and that’s just the start of what’s to come. I am so thankful for the meaningful conversations that we have at Womentum and for the positive results and support that emerge from belonging to this amazing community. My hope is that by hearing my declaration, seeing my actions, and through sharing my passion that you too will be inspired to become who you really are. I can’t wait to see what hidden gems you have for the world. Nearly a year has passed since I decided to uncover this new path…and I am so thankful for the day that I had the courage to declare my arrival. Looking forward at 2016, I have a business that I love, I share my passions with the world, I have the freedom to create, I love everything I work on and, most importantly, I proudly introduce myself. I am Whitney Alexandra and I, am an artist! XO - Whitney Curious about what Whitney’s reality looks like now? Check out her sparkly and inspring company Flora Italia Website: floraitalia.com Instagram: @floraitalia Facebook: facebook.com/florainc
“Nothing worth having comes easy” “Work Harder than you think you did yesterday” “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great” Sound familiar? This is a message many of us have had handed to us over and over again. Our parents, teachers, the media, movies, books, social media....they have all contributed to this belief that Life.Is.Hard. This is a perspective or belief that I adopted at an early age. By watching my parents’ marriage end, to witnessing my mom work so hard and, seemingly, never really get ahead. I started to understand that I would have to work really hard to make my relationships work, to earn a decent living and to have a fulfilling life. What is interesting is that while I was working hard on those aspects of my life, I was missing out on it. I chose partners or friends that were unable or unwilling to be emotionally available, thus making it hard to connect or communicate ~ and feeding my perspective that if I just worked a little harder on the relationship or on myself, that we’d walk into the sunset hand in hand, or be besties forever. I worked really hard, keeping late hours and throwing myself emotionally into every aspect of any business I’ve ever run, never asking for help because I believed that my reward of financial freedom was directly tied to literally working myself to the bone (and making myself very sick for 2 years, at one point). The fascinating thing is that, for a very long time, I didn’t really feel like I was getting ahead. I felt like I was working really hard to maintain what I’ve always had, or less, in a few cases. I’ve been recently invited, by Shandra Carlson (a fantastic coach and facilitator) to remove the word “hard” from my vocabulary. I must tell you there was no hesitation on my part to do so. After 41 years of hanging out with hard, I was ready for a break. In considering whether or not that was possible for me, I took stock of all of the ways I was complicating my life; not asking for help when I needed it taking the “long way” round when a fairly easy solution was available not having systems in place to create ease in my life saying yes all of the time explaining myself when it truly wasn’t necessary performing autopsies of every single painful conversation or interaction engaging with people who were not respectful of my values avoiding important conversations with those who matter adding last minute “to dos” to events or meetings, when simplicity is all that was required. engaging in drama everytime I was invited to do so ...and the list goes on. Removing the perspective that everything worthwhile must be hard was actually easy. Imagine that! Reframing my outlook was actually quite simple. I have found it quite liberating, in fact. I now look for ways to for me, and others to allow ease in our lives.... asking for help (and getting it!) looking for ways to cut out the middle man (our “let’s make this hard!” gremlins) and slowing down to consider all reasonable options. This also means getting out of solution’s way exploring ideas to create some systems in our businesses saying sacred “no thank you” a lot; to events, coffee dates, distractions putting ourselves out there as authentically as possible and realizing that no explanation is truly necessary for those who “get” us deciding which conversations are worth having, and which are not. Not everything needs to be dissected choosing with care those people in our lives who align with our values in relationship risking (almost) everything to deepen our connections with those who we cherish keeping it simple and beautiful recognizing drama and declining the invite to participate, in business and in our personal lives taking a look at our values, what lights us up, little things that keep us moving and choosing every day to honour those things, first and foremost. That last one is a biggy. By understanding who I am at the core; my values, dreams, desires, and the legacy I want to leave behind, has helped me to create a new reality about the effort it takes to create a life worth celebrating. I truly invite you to do the same. I appreciate that life has it’s challenges. It offers us opportunities to really check in, dig deep to get through the murky parts. Not everything is rainbows and unicorns, BUT, by rooting ourselves in ourselves (that is to say, knowing who we are and surrounding ourselves with people who look to create ease in our life) we are more capable of steering our ship into calmer waters. I invite you to consider that.... You are allowed to walk away from situations that are not fulfilling for you. With ease. Conversations don’t have to be deep or difficult to have meaning. You don’t have to work your ass off to make ends meet. Intimate relationships can be super fulfilling. Nothing has to be a struggle. You are important. The things you love are important. Do what is easy and brings you joy. What is your outlook on life? How do you invite ease and simplicity into this beautiful life you are creating for yourself? What is one thing you can choose right now that can shift a belief or perspective that isn’t serving you? Watch our blog next time with a contribution from Womentum member, Whitney. We asked her some important questions. Here’s what she had to say.... Have you discovered what lights you up? If so, what is it/are they? Absolutely! I have discovered that most of my joy comes from meaningful connections, creative expression and sharing stories/lessons learned. How are you currently bringing your passions/desires into your life on a daily basis? I have embraced a life very full of my passions and desires. Earlier this year, I channeled my creative pursuits into my business, Flora Italia where I create custom crystal art, jewellery with intention and all sorts of beautiful things. It has not only given me a platform to share my creativity but also share my thoughts around creating a meaningful life from the inside out. Would you like to share one practice in your life that has invited positive results? One practice that has always invited incredible results for me is simply saying “YES!” I find I meet the most interesting people, find hidden gems of places, and often am led down a new, exciting path because I’ve been open to experiencing something totally different. And it’s this complement of experiences that uniquely shapes each of our lives. Describe one of the biggest risks you’ve taken in your life. Hitting the reset button. I’ve done this a few times after relationships, career paths that didn’t suit my passions and lifestyle changes that needed to happen. The reset is essentially clearing the deck of all things not serving you anymore and rebuilding from the ground up. Terrifying at times, but also very rewarding to create a life that is more aligned to what you truly desire. What impact do you feel you are having on the world? I’d love for my impact to be sharing more love & joy and also helping people to live an authentic life. I also hope that I’ll have an impact by following my own bliss and encouraging others to find and follow theirs. Who, in your life, inspires you? How? I’m particularly inspired by Marianne Williamson, Louise Hayes and hearing stories of everyday triumph. I am so in love with stories from anyone who has pursued their passion and created their own dream, business or social enterprise. I recently heard a story of a 6 year-old boy who raised thousands of dollars towards cancer research with a small lemonade stand. Amazing stories are all around. What has been your greatest take-away from being a part of the Womentum community? Beyond building a community of really outstanding women, my greatest take-away from Womentum has been the momentum that it has helped me to create. Having meaningful conversations about what I really wanted led me to start a new path and the Womentum community has helped to support and encourage me along the way. 2015 was a transformational year for you. What are you planning for 2016? I have had a great year personally and also in creating my business. Much of this year was spent learning what I wanted most and asking the tough questions to figure out exactly what and who I want to create for. Next year I’m delighted to expand with new product offerings, creating more free content for my audience and growing our tribe of amazing women.
Hurry, hurry Do this quick! Grab a scrap of paper Anything will do Even the back of the receipt from the gift you bought your friend last week or the groceries you filled the pantry with or the long distance bill from calling your mom Hurry, hurry Find a pen Remove the cap click the button Hurry, hurry Write this down TO DO Underline it Beneath that Write 1. Beside that Write YOUR NAME Underline it TWICE Hurry, hurry Do it fast Do it now DO IT FIRST. Collect every “To Do”list you have Admit it, You have many On the top of each one Write YOUR NAME Underline it TWICE Everything that follows on that list will wait for YOU. Make yourself a priority. HURRY.
When I was 15 years old, I had my heart broken by a boy. What I made up about that was that I was not worthy of being loved. I was not good enough. From a logical, mature place, it doesn’t make sense that I would have expected my first love to last forever. I mean, come on. We are talking about the hormones of a young man who hadn’t used a brush before dating me and, once he did, everyone found out he was gorgeous - it wasn’t just our little secret anymore. It’s totally reasonable for me to have expected that, despite the fact that we ended up attending different high schools and he was being showered with attention by equally hormonal girls at his school, we would stay in love (or whatever it was) for ever and ever and our hearts would forever stay intact. Regardless of the insanity of that assumption at such a young age, my soul attached serious meaning to the end of our relationship. I decided I wasn’t good enough. And I was going to prove it. Over and over again. I took that belief and wore it like a tattoo. I took it with me into almost every relationship and situation for the next 26 years.... Feeding your beliefs is important. If they are positive. Feeding your beliefs, if they are negative, can be fatal. The interesting thing is that the positive ones, if they’ve been neglected, need a lot of nourishment, reassurance and care. They are starving and almost insatiable. It doesn’t take much to feed a negative belief. Those little buggers run on very little fuel. And even less proof and evidence of truth. They often need a fraction of the energy. They grow, spread and infect your soul and, if you let them, everything around you. ...Fast forward to this year. This has been a year of intentional curiosity, growth and change for me, and many others in my sphere. At times, it almost felt easier to give in and prepare a smorgasbord to fatten up the negative beliefs that kept inviting themselves over to my self-acceptance party. At one point, I decided that enough was enough. I wasn’t going to carry my figurative backpack around anymore. It was well stocked with unfinished business, relationships that had no closure, and my tokens of unworthiness. I hired a bouncer to keep the negative thoughts at bay. I got curious for myself. I reintroduced my “I am” practice into my life. I remembered how much my soul soaked up every positive word and turned it outward into the world and into my own life. One thing kept me hung up though. It was the “I am good enough” affirmation. I could write so many other things down and they would resonate and, on some level, I could feel my soul nodding and embracing the positive words flowing from the page and passing over my lips. But not “I am good enough”. For some reason, my body tensed up and basically said “Hell No”. It was puzzling. Until a couple of weeks ago. One of the women in our community is a hypnotherapist and I was pretty curious about her practice, so I went to check it out. The stubborn me really wanted to prove that I wasn’t suggestible (which my session proved otherwise). The curious me wanted to find out if this could help me detach from the past wounds of relationships that helped me prove I wasn’t lovable. I went with the intention of letting go of those painful beliefs of “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not worthy of love”, “I am not worthy”. We sat together and reframed some of my old, old, old beliefs. When Belynda suggested, “I’m good enough” as a new idea or reframe, I was triggered. I said “No. That’s not it. It’s close, but that does not resonate with me. At all.” I went on to discover and explain that “I am good enough” felt like I was a defiant child, digging my heels into the ground and declaring that I am good enough, and not believing it. I can almost picture a 6 year old me, a 15 year old me, a 41 year old me, saying that as a way of proving that I believed it. And, worded that way, I didn’t. To me, (and this is just me - I am good enough might be your jam - that’s up to you to decide) it entered my cells as “I am good enough even though I’m not perfect. Or have it figured out. Or as pretty, or smart, or talented.” To me it landed like “I am good enough even though I am not good enough” Yuck. I blurted “I am good.” “Yup. THAT’S the one”. My heart leapt. And we rolled with it. I.AM.GOOD. So, from that day forward, my mantra has been “I am good” and I AM. It’s amazing how changing one word; omitting it, has changed my perspective, my relationship with myself and how my soul and cells in my being absorb that truth. Words are so powerful. Thoughts are so powerful. Bringing them together is an art, that practiced, can change your life. So, now I know that I am not good enough. I am good. Period. AND SO ARE YOU.
I have always been an entrepreneur....well, except for that time I worked at a daycare, and a donut shop, and was the first female maintenance person at the local grocery store. Not all at once, of course! But even then. Even when I was playing dress up with the kidlets, overfilling the donuts in the back room at the donut store (perk of the job) and pushing a mop up and down the aisles of the grocery store, I didn’t feel awesome about working under someone else’s schedule and expectations. At the age of 19, I started a housesitting business, and 4 years later, I received my real estate license and have been helping people buy and sell homes ever since. After almost 21 years in the business, I really thought I had it licked. I remember the early days, when I couldn’t afford to put gas in my car (a necessity to making money - you really can’t take the bus to show houses!) and when I was so new at the rejection game. One evening in particular, I cried because my client took advantage of my time - I was heartbroken to discover that there were people out there that really only looked out for themselves. I went through my defensive stage, where I boldly took a stand with other realtors who talked down to me because I was a young woman, and other times when I had to draw a line in the sand with certain clients. I learned that being friends with someone doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do business with them. And sometimes it worked out beautifully. After almost 21 years in the business, I really thought I knew how to handle rejection and not take things personally. Maybe I’m softening again. Perhaps my expectations are too high. It could be that my desire to be honest, caring and accommodating is making me a target to be tested. I so don’t want to become bitter. It’s hard some days, when we see people who aren’t honest or aren't looking out for others, and they get rewarded for it. It’s confusing actually. I’ve been rejected a lot this year. People have said they want my opinion and expertise and then decide that going a different route is the best option for them. In many cases, I see the perilous potential outcome for them, and I have to bite my tongue. Other times, it truly is the best option for all of us. It doesn’t soften the blow any less, though. There are days when I search the job postings at Chapters. Ending my day and shutting off my work day would be a luxury. For about a week. Maybe. The bottom line is this... I know what my intentions are. I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I am fully accountable for my actions and aim to put others first. I am a good person and I won’t lie to a client, even if what I have to say isn’t what they want to hear. I have values that I adhere to. I always do my very best. Always. And still, they may not see that in me. It could be my prices, the car that I drive, or my crazy kinky hair that doesn’t behave. Who knows? Sometimes we just aren’t a fit. That’s okay. Because some people do see the heart in me. Some people know my intentions. I know who I am, what I stand for and what I deserve. Some people may not appreciate the light in me. And for others, it is all they see. And so it is with you. If you are struggling with “notenoughness” or trying something new and being stonewalled at every turn, keep going. Someone is looking for YOU. Somebody out there wants what you are offering. Don’t hide from them. Put yourself out there. Shine on.
I began drum lessons again last week. I basically had to start over (from the very beginning), because I didn’t pick up my drum sticks once this summer. Oops. My dreams of being a proficient drummer, who would be confident to play in front of others, or even to “jam” with my friends on a whim, is not going to manifest itself now, is it? I remember taking piano lessons when I was young. I would practice once a week, right before my lesson, and fool my teacher into thinking that I had practiced ever day, multiple times. I had a gift for it, but didn’t practice. Now, I can only play chopsticks and run scales confidently. The same was true for school, and many things throughout my life. Certain things come very easily for me, and I excel under pressure. This has been a terrible recipe for complacency and, if I’m honest, self-sabotage. It did get me to thinking...what would have happened if I had rehearsed more? What if I’d actually spent time perfecting my craft? Practicing what I loved, created what I wanted. What if I carved out time for myself to practice being the best me I could be? Each fall, as we head into a new season of Womentum, I sit down and get intentional about what our direction will be for the year. We are finalizing the last details of what is going to be a beautiful year of momentum for our members. It is at this time that I also think about my impact and my personal goal for the year ahead. The word “Practice” came to mind for me, so that’s the one I’m focusing on. Now, I can commit to practicing my drums ( which I will). I can commit to polishing up my presence and public speaking skills (which I will). I can commit to continuing to show up with integrity and do the things I promise to do, for myself and others - and practice restoring integrity in my relationships when I fall short - which I will. The other, and perhaps most important thing, I plan to restore into my practice of being a whole human being is recommitting to my daily journal. This journal is my compass, my best friend, my checkpoint and it’s my secret-magic-sauce recipe for success. I carry this journal with me everywhere. Here’s how it works: Each night: I journal about what I am grateful for. It can be one thing or an endless list. I add to my list “I’m manifesting” Each morning: I read the previous night’s gratitude list I add to my “I am” list I add to my “Universe To Do” List. I read aloud my growing “I am” list and “I’m manifesting” list. Before important meetings, or anytime I am feeling shaky and need a confidence boost, I read my “I am” list aloud before I show up. It reminds me that I am unshakable, loved, loving and intentional. It reminds me that I am important and what I have to say is worthwhile. Here’s the really cool thing; in the beginning, it only took a few minutes to write in my journal and only a few seconds to read aloud my “I am” list and “I am Manifesting” list. After awhile, though, I had to carve out a bigger chunk of time to read all of the amazing things about myself. Oh, and I’m fairly certain that after reading my lists, I walk into any situation feeling like a super hero. So, while I’m practicing my drums, my speaking skills and the other various things that need my attention, I’ll be returning to the most valuable practice l I have created for myself. I hope you will be inspired to incorporate any or all of this into your daily life. I’m committing to doing it for 30 straight days - and beyond. Let me know if you do too! xo Lana What I’ve discovered ( aka pointers for making this work for you) Gratitude List works powerfully if you can write in a complete sentence “I am grateful for...” for each thing. However, you may be brimming over with gratitudes, so just do it in point form if you want. When reading the list however, be sure to add the “I am grateful for” before each thing...that way you aren’t just reading a list of things. It’s easier for the hard wires in your brain to understand. The I am list works the same way....I actually write the heading, “I am” and then fire off a bunch of things. When I read it though, it sounds like this; “I am confident, I am loved, I am safe, I am generous, I am attracting intentional people into my life, I am a money magnet, I am a wonderful wife, I am happy to be alive....” and so on. The Universe To-Do list, is just that. Is there something you want to have or do in life, but don’t know how it’s going to happen? Write it on this list. I have everything from finding safe and beautiful space for our groups (this has happened) to finding a book keeper ( found one shortly after adding to my list) to obtaining a very specific and large sum of money ( it’s coming! my itchy palms tell me so;) There is nothing else to do with this list. Just add to it, read it quietly (or shout it from the roof tops) once in a while. The “I’m Manifesting” List is somewhat similar to the U-T-D-List but, for me, is a list of what I am wanting to call into my life; from deep relationships, to lots of fun, and to a house in Hawaii. I read this list daily, multiple times. Oh, and be as specific as possible Seem like too much to take on? Start with one list. If I could choose one for you, it would be the “I am” list. And remember, you can only add positive things to this list. I am grateful for each and every one of you, and I’m manifesting loving success for you all.
Last year, around this time, I declared that I was going to show up differently. Differently is actually code for “my authentic self”. I used “differently” because for years I was showing up as a woman who sugar coated the truth to save someone’s feelings, said yes when I meant no and put myself last. I had cheerleaders. They high-fived me for being me. They celebrated my declaration. They supported me and were excited to see what would happen. Most of them loved it. Some of them didn’t. It was the “some” that made me want to hit reverse and just go back to being the way I had been before. It would be so much easier to just make things more comfortable for them. It was like a second puberty for me. I bumbled around my words. Tears showed up at inexplicable times. I had weird, sarcastic outbursts. Sometimes I was a little too defensive of my “being myself”ness that it seemed I wasn’t truly sure who I was. This second puberty thing seems to be sticking around. For whatever reason, I have decided to make even more changes in my life, and in my business, and guess what? I’m getting a lot of pushback. It’s friggin awkward. I’ve been asked to explain myself. I’ve been walked away from. I’ve been ignored. At different times I’ve been told that I’m not good enough, qualified enough or accommodating enough. It’s been tremendously difficult. It feels like being stuck in the mud. It feels really, really, really hard. It’s tempting to just say, “I surrender. Do what you want. Yes, yes, yes”. I can’t though. The decisions I’ve made come from a place of self worth, self love and a quest to further understand myself. The changes I’m implementing are not necessarily popular with others. These alterations make me feel like I’m a fish out of water. Because I’ve never done this before, I have no idea how to do it properly. Enter the puberty thing again. I don’t feel equipped, and I’m often easily defeated. Lotus flowers are known to grow through mud. Imagine that. They push and push and, ever so gently, emerge from the hard soil. The truth is, they probably don’t force their growth at all, they just go with it. They accept what is, stay present, and continue their course. They don’t have a choice, if they are to survive.They likely appreciate the help they get from the occasional rain showers, that exist to soften the mud, making their unveiling less painful. I admit, I’d love to turn back. It would be so simple to do. Just give in. Surrender to the pressure of the pushback. Instead, I’ll just sit here, mucking around in the mud. Turn up my intention, amplify my presence. Just give in to the feelings of inadequacy, questioning and awkwardness. Appreciate the raindrops that come in the way of love from others, gratitude and kindness. And surrender. Surrender to growth. Surrender to the truth. My truth. I KNOW it will be worth it. So, so worth it. Thich Nhat Hanh has been quoted as saying “No Mud, No Lotus”. Truer words have rarely been spoken.
I spent some time with a friend a few days ago who looked at me with horror in her eyes as she described a moment in which she truly showed her dark side. And was seen.She needed someone to tell. And I was there to listen to her and just be in it with her. Photo Credit: weheartit.com She didn’t kill anyone, or physically hurt somebody. She had just been bombarded with passive aggressive abuse for a long time, and finally just melted down. Something she said caused a ripple effect of hurt, and she couldn’t take it back.I’ve known this friend for a few decades and she is one of the sweetest, kindest humans on the face of the earth. She’d never intentionally do anything to hurt someone, yet, on this day, she did cause someone emotional pain. She looked up at me with shame in her eyes and said “I hope you won’t judge me based on my worst day”. My heart fell as tears welled up in my eyes. “I could NEVER not love you. I KNOW you. Your worst behaviour does NOT define you. Who you are at the core defines you. And my experience of you is that you are whole and kind.” Am I biased because I love her? No. Truthfully, no. She had a bad day. She acted in a way that wasn’t congruent with her values and her intentions. One bad day. One dreadful moment occasionally does not dictate a person’s worth. Conversely, I also believe we shouldn’t decide who someone is on their best day, either. Someone could be a liar, sneak, fraud and just all round awful human being 364 days of the year and then do something amazing on one day. Because of who they are being at their core for most of their days, their behaviour should not necessarily redeem them. This conversation with my friend gave me pause to reflect upon my worst days. There have been many. Heck, I’ve had bad years! I know I’ve been kind and good to others more often than not. I truly believe.... Who we are at our core is who we truly are. Whether we are made of goodness, or something less desirable. The way we behave most of the time, when others are looking or not looking, is likely who we truly are. If we can be happy with ourselves as we sit in silence, Rest our head on our pillow and sleep soundly, Look ourselves in the mirror and know that we did our best today, If we can witness your dark side and love ourselves anyway, Then that is how we should consider viewing our worth. Please don’t judge me based on my worst day. Please don’t revere me based on my best day. Pay attention to all the days in between. That’s where the truth lives.
I don’t need you to follow me, or “like” me. It’s not my right to tell your story. I don’t want to see your vacation photos. I’m not equipped to show you the way. You don’t need me to show you how to create your life. I have no desire to be your guru. I’m not looking for disciples. I want to walk with you and witness as you smell the flowers in your own garden and pick your own bouquets. I desire for you to like yourself enough that you don’t look for outward approval; that you only seek fulfillment from within. I’d like to hand you your favorite pen so that you may (re)write your own story. My hope for you is that you stop taking pictures long enough to enjoy the scenery, the moment and especially the people you are with. That the need for approval and praise doesn’t outshine the entire reason you go anywhere, with anyone, at any time. Instead of being a lighthouse, I’ll light your candle wick from my own. We can find our way together. I’ll share my pencil crayons with you, and supply clean water so that you may rinse your paintbrush as you add color to your already beautiful and amplified life. I am here to hold the mirror up so you can relish in your own beauty. All of it. So you can be seen. By you. And tell yourself how much you love yourself. Truly. You are your own sage. -Lana Wright 02.15.15