For Those Who Are Lying in Wait

March 02, 2015

Deep beneath the crust of earth and ice, I am lying in wait.

Contrary to popular belief, lying in wait is an active process. It is different than the indifference of lethargy. It is different than the directionless energy of telling myself I should be grateful for whatever comes my way.

Concealing myself and readying myself to attack by surprise, gestating the possibility of a new incarnation of myself.

When I am lying in wait, I am readying myself for the next beginning. I am active in hold my reasons for sprouting in a faith. Faith that that breaking through to the surface will be worth the effort. Faith that there are revisions of becoming that are greater than myself in this moment. Faith that the Spring will come, the rain will fall.

Faith that my environment is stacked for my survival, that my becoming is supported by something greater than myself. 

 


 

There were so many years of waiting. So many years where I held my breath, waiting to be better, thinner, smarter, prettier, easier to love. There were so many years when my entire focus lent itself to shaving off essential components of my identity so that I might become more easily palatable.

In those years I told myself daily – you are undeserving of the life you want. It will come for you when you’ve put in your time, when you’ve made the necessary adaptations. When you’ve cracked the code. When the epiphany arrived and you were suddenly able to be polite or don your white gloves with elegance.

When you stopped falling up the stairs. Or spilling coffee on your favorite white scarf. Or speaking out of turn because you just can’t keep yourself quiet a single second longer. When you easily slide into a size six. Or write the book without shedding a tear or sweating anxiously when you feel the overwhelming urge to scroll through your Facebook feed instead.

You will deserve the life you want when you’ve perfected yourself. 

But years later I know that this life isn’t made for perfection. It is made for surrender, the continued act of softening to what is. Softening to what you love. Softening to the fact that you can be made for it and it can be hard, and that is ok.

I am the woman who falls up the stairs, tripping over here feet because talking and walking is too much to keep track of most of the time.

I am the woman who sobs through every new iteration, stomping my boots as I struggle to keep up with myself.

I am the messiness of coffee spilled on precious fabric and the mastermind behind enormous projects launched to great success.

I am not particularly graceful. But, I am recognizable to myself.

 


 

Sometimes, sprouting occurs even in the most inhospitable environments. 

I was born on March 8th and my father reports that there were crocuses at his feet.

Today, it is March 2nd and I know that there are crocuses below the crust of snow and ice that are emboldening themselves to sprout despite the desperate cold and legacy of a Winter that will not end.

 


 

We know the adage, the only way forward is through.

And yet, we resist the “through.” We cue up season after season on Netflix. We pour ourselves another drink. We yell at someone. We get upset about nothing in particular. We eat a bag of potato chips.

We do our best to remain directionless, so that we might avoid the pain that we believe that transformation requires.

But, what if you weren’t afraid of the depth of your emotions?

What if blooming wasn’t a question – but a soul imperative?

What if you took a deep breath and decided that you weren’t willing to wait anymore?

So.

Here we are.

Lying in wait.

in full bloomSometimes, sprouting occurs even when the only person who believes in us… is us. 

There is no one better to judge our genetic make-up or the depth that we are willing to go. There is no one to see the fiery insides of our spirits. We are privy to our own inner fortitude. We, alone, know the full range of what we are capable of. 

But, the trick here is to allow ourselves the process of becoming prematurely. Like the crocuses we may bloom impossibly early. We may submit ourselves to the truth that Winter is not, in fact, over. We may curl back up, licking our wounds and cursing ourselves for jumping the process. 

Sometimes, we sprout for sprouting’s sake. 

Because it feels good to bloom. Because it feels good to break through the ice and dredge of self-imposed boundaries, for no reason other than to feel something different than the soft, dark coil of waiting to be ready. 

Because you alone know what you are capable of. 

Because you want more for yourself and you aren’t willing to put your life on hold any longer.

 


 

Everywhere around me, I see women cracking through ice, blooming like crocuses in the Spring.

I asked my tribe about blooming so that I might share it with you. I asked them to crawl inside their why so that I might bring their brilliance to light here.

In their words…

…I am fertile ground ready to accept and nurture the seeds of the enchanted garden that resides within this vessel of my soul. I am in full bloom when I can erupt from my solitary beauty sleep, enriched with the wisdom from generations before and the tending of my soil with nutrients of the goddesses that surround me today, preening me for the day when I am ready to meet the sun with unfurled petals of my own unique glorious colors for the world to view in awe.

…Being in full bloom is about honoring all parts of the process: the deep grounding, in the dark silence, the blooming, the reaping, the celebration. In full bloom is about balance, which can only come when I can recognize my own responses to this process.

…It is the feeling of a Gardner who is enjoying the fruits of her labor, seeing the impact she has made, feeling full of pride. But also – knowing that it took a lot of “dirty work,” persistence, and a whole lot of faith.

…For me, it is allowing and honoring the harvest, the enfolding, the blossoming and the becoming through trust and delight. It is about letting go and letting flow and staying out of my own way.

…I is about honoring the rhythm inherent in life. No longer denying the impact of the natural world on my own internal landscape but instead, claiming it, leaning into it, knowing it and myself deeply so that I may show up as the person I believe myself to be. I bloom when I stop resisting what is already contained within my cells and allow myself to be cradled in my own truth.

…Being in full bloom represents stepping into my own unique journey as a woman. Giving myself space to breathe, be, awaken, restore, connect and express who I was created to be.

….It is where I gain solid footing on uneven ground. It is where I nurture my curiosity and trust while honoring who I am in this moment.

In my words…

I bloom when I claim this space as sovereign territory, sacred land, and tend to myself with a deep sense of reverence.

I bloom in truth and messiness.

I bloom when I am ready, but my readiness is in the tug of my own evolutionary path – not the illusion of doing it all perfectly.

I bloom in specificity.

My blooming is an active process. 

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Yes, You Can Have That (Finding My Way Home to My Spirit)

February 24, 2015

For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no. And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes. . . .

When we don’t listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us.

{Terry Tempest Williams}

“Ma’am, this computer is going to take at least $500 to fix.”

I hadn’t been expecting to buy a computer this month. I certainly hadn’t been expecting to buy two computers this month.

I bought the first computer in a panic, rushing under the crunch of the storm. I was working with a sales person who’s name was Lewis. I told him what I needed out of a computer, which, admittedly is quite a bit since I run my entire business from it. He told me the one that would be the best fit. He told me the price. I felt the rising tide of panic in my stomach.

I couldn’t possibly spend that much on myself. There has to be another way. Maybe I should just fix the broken computer, surely an exploding battery and protruding trackpad aren’t that bad. Maybe I should just use C’s computer when she’s not looking. 

That sinking feeling of taking too much space. Of asking for too much.

On the one side there is affording it, but where I really get caught up isn’t in affording it – it is in believing that I deserve to have whatever it is.

The thing about this story is that it concerns a big ticket, luxury item, but I experience these feelings almost equally when considering a $10 purchase.

It is not about the money. It is about allowing myself to have the things that I want. 

A note: I struck out “need” there and replaced it with want. Because, when we tell ourselves we can only have something if we truly need it… it leaves out the whole slew of things that we want just because they light us up – experiences, people, things. I didn’t not “need” a brand new computer. I wanted it. It is important for me to claim that. 

I said, “Well that’s just WAY out of my price range.”

Lewis kindly directed me over to another computer, a replica of my old one, and told me that this computer would do everything that my old computer did and it was in my price range because they were phasing it out. It would be a little slower. At some point they might not be making software for it. But, for the next couple of years, it would be a pretty good fit.

I bought it.

We drove home (in a blizzard).

When I got home, I didn’t want to take it out of the box. I didn’t want to set it up. I left it in the corner, picking up my old computer and engaging in the fragile dance of using the lower right hand portion that wasn’t jutting up at an odd angle.

Here’s my truth: I ignored my intuition in the moment of buying that computer. Instead of allowing myself to stand in my truth and power, I curled up in the safety of the low cost, even when I knew that the dreams that I have for this business and for this work would have been better served by the more expensive computer. I couldn’t allow myself to have it. I told myself the old story, we just don’t have money for things like that. The story that I had been telling myself since childhood. I said no when I desperately wanted to say yes.

I had abandoned myself in the process. Wanting to be good, wanting to do it correctly, wanting to belong to my family of origin.

I told myself that if I let myself have what I really wanted, I would become some sort of outsider.

Give yourself permission to have whatSo, I sat down and ordered a second computer to replace the one in the box I wouldn’t open. I bought the second computer sitting on my couch with my excitement and reservations. I bought the second computer while telling myself that there was enough room for all of myself in my own life.

That is the computer that I am writing to you from today.

Here’s the interesting piece. I feel nauseous even thinking about telling you this story. What will they think of me? How totally obnoxious and elitist that I ordered not one but two computers. Ugh. This whole thing is disgusting. 

It’s true. My privilege is showing in this piece. I own that.

But, I wanted to share this story because this is a process that so many of us encounter daily in different ways. 

We twist ourselves into knots about giving ourselves the things that we require – the things that we know that we need to do the work that we are here to do. We deny ourselves proper self-care, nutrition, and time. We refuse to invest even our own energy into our bigness.

We say no to ourselves more often than we say yes.

In the process we are starving our own inner lights instead of stoking the fires of our spirits.

And why? So that someone, somewhere will think that we are good? So that we can belong? So that we can make other people comfortable by keeping ourselves small? Because we believe that it is virtuous to say no?

The truth is that my spirit doesn’t require a fancy new laptop. My spirit doesn’t care a thing about laptops.

But, my spirit is here for this work. My spirit shines brightly, vibrating excited energy through my skin when I use this tool to show up in this space, creating tools and courses that are healing for women. My spirit is here for this work – and this work is served by this laptop.

My spirit shows up in the exact moment when I start saying yes to myself instead of no.

Yes, you may take this hour to create something beautiful. 

Yes, you can have that. You can have this life that you have created. You can receive the abundance that you tenderly cultivated. 

Yes, you can have that.

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The Loophole, Self-Trust & The Story of A Tattoo

February 16, 2015

Even the most repressed woman has a secret life, with secret thoughts and secret feelings which are lush and wild., that is, natural. Even the most captured woman guards the place of the wildish self, for she knows intuitively that someday there will be a loophole, an aperture, a chance, and she will hightail it to escape. 

{Clarissa Pinkola Estés}

When I was a child, I would dream of brief cases, commutes, and travel coffee mugs. I would find myself whipped up into a lather contemplating 401Ks and benefits. I was the kind of child that dreamed of a stable income and a 9 to 5 job.

Because a stable income and health insurance meant safety, and, above all else, I wanted to be safe. I wanted to build a life that I could trust in – a life where there weren’t many surprises and I felt delightfully competent.

I dreamed of the simplicity and ease of it all. Someone else to tell me what to do – and me, doing what I was told well enough that I rose through the ranks of my dream organization.

And so, I put one foot in front of the other, working my way through my undergraduate and graduate degrees, readying myself for the day when I would suddenly understand business casual clothing, possess the right footwear, and begin.

 


It was 6 am and I was in a hotel in Vermont in January. As I woke up, my eyes were scratchy, swollen from having cried all night long the night prior as evidenced by the mountain of tissues on my bedside table.

The conversation:

I can’t keep doing this.

I can’t keep doing this, either.

Mara, if this was the last year of your life, what would you do with it?

I wouldn’t become a social worker. I would start my own business

And there it was, the truth that I couldn’t avoid any longer.

After two years, accumulating over one hundred thousand dollars of debt, and being told, repeatedly, that I would need to shut down my website and my online identity if I was ever going to be a respectable therapist… I made the decision not to become a respectable therapist.

 


 

I felt the day weighing on me, as I trudged around Portland in the heat. Must attend the conference. You paid for the conference. My heart beat out the old good-girl story: finish what you’ve started, do the right thing – even when it comes at a cost to you. Steadiness over whimsical. Be reliable.

IMG_6272But in that moment it occurred to me that if I didn’t get the tattoo I had been dreaming of, right that second, I wouldn’t be able to understand my body – understand my life. That the permission involved in the act was as much a test as anything else.

That I had been accepting no as an answer in so many areas of my life and whittling down my vibrancy. It had been two years since I said goodbye to the life I had always imagined. Two years when I decided to craft a life where I could get a visible tattoo on my arm on a random Saturday afternoon.

Two years and I still felt like I had to ask permission – from my partner, from my mother, from the world around me.

I still felt like that woman who forfeited her freedom.

I felt that old trap of following the path and putting my trust in the way that things had always been done instead of trusting in myself – and in my spirit.

This is not how I want to live. I want to live a spirited life, a wild life. A life of my own. 

So instead of saying No, I said Yes.

 


 

“What’s with that hexagon?” The TSA agent asked after he scanned my ticket. “Are you planning on filling it in with something? What are you leaving the space for?”

“It’s the space for the holy spirit, of course. I’m leaving it open.” I laughed. He laughed.

I told people that for a while, when I first got my tattoo. Intrigued that people seemed consumed by filling the space, often stopping me to ask me what my plans were for it.

Why is it in us that makes us want to fill every open space we see?

It’s the space for the spirit, my spirit. It is the reminder of the place where I first felt like a woman, standing solidly within my work, my greatest achievement.

It is the space that I am holding open for myself in my own life – to change my mind, to rewrite the rules, to deeply honor my needs even when it is inconvenient and calls for a dramatic renovation of what I know to be true.

It’s the space for the holy spirit. Mine.

It’s the space to discover myself anew each day. To reclaim my body, my territory. To bloom in my own skin, on my own terms and in my own right timing.

In it’s permanency, I feel safety in my own trust deeper than I’ve ever felt anything before. In it’s solid, thin lines, I see the truth and the healing beneath the fantasy of briefcases and 401Ks. I see the bravery that was required to shed that skin so that I could step into my own.  I see that though I am and have always been hardwired for survival, I can choose to survive on my own terms. Thrive on my own terms.

In it’s permanency, I am reminded of how I want to live.

A spirited life with room for messiness and renegotiation. 

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Worry, Intention & Reclaiming Choice

December 12, 2014

This month, I have been consumed with the idea of well-intended choices, with the way that we actively participate in creating the world around us that we want by stacking up our small choices in an effort to build something beautiful and uniquely our own.

Cultivating a remarkable life that sustains you is about reclaiming these small choices, about making the decision not to let small choices pass us by because we are busy underestimating their power. 

And, yes, we always have a choice – even (and especially) when we feel like we don’t.

Each and every choice is a stitch in the fabric that we surround ourselves with.

intentionThat perfect cup of coffee.

That well-dressed salad with a sprinkle of truffle salt.

That decision to stay home instead of overextending ourselves.

The clothing that we dress ourselves in.

The socks that we procure for ourselves.

Each choice has a purpose, and that purpose is to align us more deeply and beautifully with ourselves, with our own shining spirits. 

Yesterday I was on a plane and the turbulence was terrifying, the worst I’ve ever experienced.

In a moment I was connected with a younger version of myself. That version of myself used to white knuckle the the arms of my seat from take-off to landing, silently cursing myself for putting myself in harms way.

That version of myself was constantly terrified of making the wrong choice. 

I doubted my decisions, because I was making them blindly, in an attempt to please everyone around me – including the unknown people that I was certain were judging my every move.

During that time of my life, I always felt like I was failing. Like I was never doing good enough.

But, it wasn’t that I wasn’t doing enough, it was that I was was doing a spectacularly poor job of being me.

And so, I spent each plane ride with my heart racing and the most cruel and terrified thoughts scampering through my mind.

However, when each choice has a purpose and when we are invested in becoming more aligned with our own personal truth and power, we become less worried.

The purpose here is not to rid ourselves of fear, because fear is natural. Instead, it is to free ourselves from the useless worry, the constant wondering, and our moment-by-moment second guessing.

Yesterday, as I sat on the plane, I marveled at how I was no longer terrified. My mind was calm. My hands in my lap.

I asked myself, what is different here? 

I became aware of how, now, I ask myself – would I have made another choice if I had known that the outcome was that the plane would crash or that harm would come my way? And because I have reclaimed my choices, carefully making decisions based on my heart and my true purpose on this planet, the answer, now, is always no. 

No. I was traveling to complete the next level of my CCT energy healing training, to which I feel divinely called. This trip, this decision, this training wasn’t a question for me. It was the next step in a series of decisions aligned with my purpose on this planet – to be energetically clean in my interactions, to do my own work first, to expand my capacity to heal the wounds and serve the well-crafted intentions of my community of women.

I felt deliciously calmed just knowing that, now, I able to trust myself.

I felt calm in feeling my way around this larger choice, because I had allowed myself to experiment with all of the small choices along the way. Each moment, asking myself quietly – how do I want to live? Is this decision in integrity with that vision?

And, though it sounds like work, I have never been so harmonious, so at home in my life.

Learning how to trust myself has been the most delightful adventure that I have ever embarked on.

So today, I am pausing in re-entry to my life after a week of travel, and I am turning my thoughts yet once again to the small choices – the breath, the breakfast that nourishes me, the decision not to jam-pack my schedule, the time with my sweetheart.

And I wonder, what sustains you? How do you want to live? And what small choices can you make today that are aligned with that vision for your life?

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The Self-Help Cycle & Taking Imperfect Action

November 25, 2014

For years I found myself stuck in the same cycle…

Identify a problem. Look for a book or an expert to help me. Research on the internet. Ask all of my friends. Observe what everyone else around me is doing. Sit and wonder about it. Make a plan. Get (more than) a little overwhelmed by my plan. Get scared. Get more stuck. Decide that my problem might need a little more research and begin the cycle again. 

I was stuck in thinking about the multitude of ways that I wanted to living my life differently… but, in my overwhelm, I wasn’t doing anything differently. I was stuck in the intellectual stage of discovery and knowledge accumulation.

And really, I had no freaking clue where to actually begin.

Self-Help CycleEverything felt so big and I felt so small. Researching felt infinitely easier than the risk of trying something new and failing.

I also believed on some level that I was a problem that needed to be fixed. A problem so complex and special that it warranted all of that extra research. I wanted to be a problem, because problems have solutions. Problems lend themselves to a quick fix. To a solution handcrafted by someone smarter than myself.

But I wasn’t a problem. I’m not a problem. 

What I was, was deeply deeply afraid. Afraid of shining. Afraid of not being enough. Afraid of being too much – of having too many emotions to navigate. Afraid of trusting my intuition. Afraid that this whole thing of “getting to live exactly how you want” was a lie and I would have to go back to my life as I knew it. Afraid that I was special. Afraid that I was not special enough.

Here’s the thing

You are special. Your problems are not. We all struggle with something – even the people who seem like they have it all together.

You are not a problem to be fixed.

You do not have to over complicate it. You can choose not to overwhelm yourself into a place of inaction. You get to determine the pace and the structure of what “living your life how you want to” looks. You get to experiment – and get it wrong. You get to recalibrate and end up with something a million times better than you ever could have imagined.

You get to choose.

But, you have to choose to put down the self-help book or pause before hiring the next coach or sit with yourself before you press BUY NOW on the next e-course.

You get to choose to remember that you are not a problem to be fixed and thus that book/person/program will not fix you. You get to choose that if it is action that you’re craving, it is your job to start doing something – anything. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Claim your desire to move forward and start anywhere.

Before clicking purchase on that next thing, do this

Ask yourself… What do I want? Where am I try to go? If I were really honest with myself, what is in my heart to create?

Then, ask yourself… What one small step that I can take in that direction right now?

You may still decide that you want the book or the coach or the program, but it is my hope that you make that decision out of a place of adoration and devotion to your own sweet spirit – and the knowing that getting support would feel deliciously good. Support gathered from that place has a delicious, celebratory feel to it. It is about plying yourself with resources to aid in your success, instead of that panic-induced search for something to save you from yourself.

You may decide not to. That’s ok too. I promise you there will be another thing to sign up for coming up soon.

You may decide to start with taking a little bit of action to see where it takes you. 

You do not need to do everything today. 

In fact – don’t even try to do most of the things today.

Start with one thing. One glass of water, one loving word mumbled to yourself, one act of self-kindness, one good choice.

Start with one thing and give yourself permission (as many times a day as you need it) to keep it simple. Don’t fall into the trap of judging the fact that “one thing is stupid and don’t you really want a sexier, BIGGER plan – you should hire someone to help you with that.”

Choose to hop off of the cycle. Choose to reclaim your life in small pieces and moments of clarity. They will add up, I promise.

Know this: each and every starting point is exactly the same. You do not have to wait for the right one. Pick any spot. Start there. Don’t be too precious about the process. The process of living intentionally is going to be a bit messy. You might have some feelings. And that is totally ok. 

You might need help. That’s ok too. Ask for it. Seek out communities where you can be yourself and share vulnerably. Hire someone to hold space for you while you sort it out. Gather an entire team to support you in taking action if you’d like.

Allow these small acts to expand your capacity for living remarkably, vibrantly. Pour small choices into the cracks and crevices between responsibility and your to do list, feeling into the way that doing so subtly starts to reweave the fabric of how you’re living.

Give yourself permission to take imperfect action. 

A note: For many years I made myself into a problem to be fixed to justify the fact that I really loved exploring myself – taking classes, reading books, working with people. I had to unbraid this for myself to teach myself that it is truly ok to love those things – and to take them merrily. I didn’t have to be a mess in order to deserve them. I was allowed to spend my money on them because they lit me up… and that’s the point. So, if that’s a piece of it for you, an extra dollop of permission: You can love it. You say yes to it. But, skip the part where you call yourself a mess in order to deserve it. 

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