There Is Nothing Wrong With You

July 18, 2016

there is nothing wrong with you

It is our job to tell ourselves the truth about our lives.

It is our job to pause and be present with ourselves. It is our job to evaluate how things went… so that we can do them in a way that is more aligned with our values and desires next time. It is our job to be active participants.

But, it’s not our job to pour hurt and shame on top by making every disappointing situation mean that we are bad people, undeserving, or unworthy.

The last couple of days I’ve noticed that I have been feeling uncomfortable in my body. I have been busy and haven’t paid particularly close attention to feeding myself nourishing food or getting as much rest as I need. I’ve been caring for myself, but I haven’t been surrendering to the fullness of my needs.

So, in this moment of noticing, I have a choice.

I can choose to sit honestly and vulnerably with the truth that I feel uncomfortable and I need to slow things down to pay better attention to how I’m taking care of my body.

Or, I could choose to do what I felt most comfortable doing for many years… which was to slide into a pattern of beating myself up for having been in this place before or tell myself that I’m a failure or “inspire” myself into action through cruel words.

Spoiler alert: I won’t be doing that.

I do not need to make my discomfort mean that there is anything wrong with me whatsoever. It doesn’t mean that I am unworthy of love. It isn’t a character flaw. It isn’t indicative of my work ethic.

So, instead of making my discomfort mean everything, I can simply notice it. I can allow it to work it’s way into my consciousness. I can say to myself, “alright, well if this feels like it’s something that would be important to address right now, what would I like to do about it?” From there, I might choose start moving more. I might pay closer attention to the amount of sugar that I’m consuming. I might block out some extra rest this week, knowing that my choices tend to be healthier when I’m well rested. I might dedicate myself to paying attention to taking really good care.

Reasonable. Rational. Lacking the drama of a project or thing to be fixed.

Because the truth is that being on that swinging pendulum of losing my way and then beating myself didn’t work. It wasn’t effective. It hurt my body. It hurt my feelings. It disempowered me into a place of inaction.

Instead, I will choose speak to myself honestly. I will choose not to make my awareness mean everything. I will choose how to proceed and at what rate.

I will choose this path because I believe that we are trustworthy… but we have to earn our own trust.

Today: take care of yourself. Allow yourself to explore the heavy thing that you’ve been carrying without making it mean everything about who you are as a person. Decide where you want to begin.

Start there.

(And if you get lost again? Give yourself permission to skip the lecture… and save your energy to dedicate to finding your way back.)


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Creation Without Burnout

July 11, 2016

Nothing in nature blooms all year. Be patient with yourself.

{unknown}

creation without burnout

I’ve been sitting here “trying” to write for six hours.

In those six hours I have: cooked two meals, drank coffee and then tea, watched three episodes of something mindless that I’ve seen before, scribbled down a few ideas in my journal, berated myself for my lack of productivity, and scoured my contact list and social media for possible distractions.

I have been trying to sit here to write, because I told myself upon waking up that writing must get done. That I am on a deadline. That I have a newsletter to send out and people to email and a business to run.

This is what I grew up knowing about production: It happens when you want it to and not when some arbitrary muse arrives. Good girls meet their deadlines. I have to earn the love that I crave by doing a good job – everywhere, all the time, and without fail.

And because these have been the stories that fuel me, I have been sitting here beating myself up for six hours. Six hours when very few words have been written.

This is what life is like for those of us who forget that contribution is only one of our universal needs. Those of us who wind ourselves up on caffeine to plow through the unending to do lists that lay out before us. Those of us who believe, on some level, that this is the only way forward, the only way to achieve what we want to achieve in this life.

But the truth of this moment is that I am tired.

That, I could have saved myself five hours of strife if I had allowed myself one hour of uninhibited rest when I ached for it earlier instead of stealing restful moments in between forced productivity.

That, this weekend we drove all over creation for the holidays and I had work to do, so I didn’t have an opportunity for the blank space that restores me and readies me for the week ahead.

That, I could have chosen to scroll through Facebook five fewer times and stretched for five more minutes.

That, today is just one day, but if I do not allow myself to rest, I will still feel overworked and undernourished again tomorrow. That I will be right back here again, in the mess of my old stories about productivity and frustration at my lack of self-care.

We were not created to perform around the clock.

Flowers do not bloom 365 days a year. The weather changes with fits and starts as the seasons roll into one another. The tide ebbs and flows.

These natural phenomenons do not ask for permission to rest. They do not languish their inability to be productive.

Instead, they understand the cycle of rest and creation, where rest carves out space for creation and creation expends energy readying us for rest. The cycle of nourishment and production. The model for sustained creation and motivation.

Deeper than deadlines. More soul quenching than the fleeting validation of external praise.

We were not created to be productive at the expense of our human needs.

And I’m not even talking about popular notions of self-care. I’m not talking about hot baths and cascading baskets of truffles and adult coloring. (Though they all might be indisputably awesome.) I’m talking about the fundamental needs that your physical self requires in order to keep showing up here each day.

Sufficient rest. Time without a purpose. Blank spaces to think without the distraction of devices, TV, music, social media, noise. Adequate hydration. The permission to approach things our own way, instead of the constant inner judgment of our own personal process.

The restoration that feeds our creation. The tending that revs us up to get back to work.

The way that we feed ourselves not in an attempt to ditch our responsibilities or dodge our work, but in service to whatever it is that we care about most. In service to our work. In service to our own particular ability to contribute to the world around us.

What if we didn’t sit at our computers pretending to look busy anymore when what we really wanted to do was to shut it down and come back to it with fresh eyes?

What if we closed our eyes for fifteen minutes?

What if we took a proper lunch break?

What would be possible for us when we returned to our desks, renewed and rejuvenated?

I don’t know about you, but I really want to find out.

 


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The Reason For Rest

July 05, 2016

the reason for rest

I am not worth it.

Like you, I was born to this world with a body.

A vessel. Skin, bones, hair, and blood. A bright heart. An open mouth.

And yet for most of my life, my primary concerns were how body looked and what it could do for me.

Like my devices and car and appliances, I expected it to work on demand. I expected it to boot up in the morning when my alarm clock when off and plow through the tasks that I set before myself each day.

I expected it to look good. I expected it to show up. I expected it to work without failure or hesitation.

There is always something more important that requires my attention.

This vessel requires more from me than ignorance of hyped up expectations if it is to remain full, vibrant, active.

While I plow along, I borrow against myself, against my energy until I am left with none.

I know what it is like to be left with none.

It is eyes open and heart racing. The consuming feeling of self-doubt that never leaves like a veil between me and the world. The harsh no I don’t have time for you today to my lover. The hunger that is so deep it feels like it will eat me alive.

When I am left with none, I have no inner resources to give anything or anyone my attention. I am fragile like a crumbling shell. I am angry with my body for not showing up, for not giving me more to work with.

But, even though I am the decision maker and the permission granter, I forget to be angry with myself.

Because a body is build to perform without fail, right?

When I’m tired I often treat myself to the pseudo-rest of scrolling through social media or binging on Netflix, but often it leaves me feeling lacking and dissatisfied.

I ache for it, but I whisper to myself that I will need six weeks off or $20k to feel rested. I will need a calendar with nothing on it. I will need a permission slip from my mother | boss | partner allowing me to put down this heavy load.

But, since I can’t have that, I will settle for what I “can have.” I will lie in bed and scroll. I will watch these 153 episodes of the Gilmore Girls (again), because if I am sitting up my guilt is assuaged. I will settle for this partial rest.

But what if rest was redefined? What if, instead of a horizontal activity, we stretched it to include engaging in self-compassion, permission to be human, and activities that restore our energy?

What if all that it took to replenish your vessel was to allow yourself to move at your own pace and prioritize the things that you really love to do?

Could I have that?

Could I let myself have that?

I would rather do something else with my free time.

Like an exhausted three year old who refuses the nap she so desperately requires, I know that this is true. I know the drum of frustration of wanting more for myself than the unique boredom of tending to my needs.

But this life is an ecosystem. It isn’t a machine to be started up and sent out to do it’s job, coffee and sugar and praise from others as the ultimate fuel.

In this ecosystem, the more that I give to myself, the more that I have to give. The more that I surrender to rest, the greater my capacity for fun. The more I say no to what I don’t want, the more that I have space for hearty yeses and wild adventure.

In this ecosystem, I am the tender steward. I am the maintainer of balance.

It may not be fun but it is necessary, this work. This is the work of staying alive.

I rest and I rest and I rest, but I am never restored.

I am a deep abyss that cannot be trusted. For years I have shoved my needs in the closet, opening the door just a crack and slamming it quickly so as to avoid the impending avalanche that I tell myself is just on the other side of the door.

I want to throw up my hands. I will never be refilled. It’s too late. All I can do is make the best of what I have and keep moving forward, redbull in hand.

I rest but I haven’t stopped to take myself into consideration. Again, I am frustrated with this shell of a body. I want to shout in frustration, I GIVE YOU SO MUCH AND STILL YOU ARE TIRED. I want to punish my sweet body for its human vulnerability.

I want the energy without the attention and care.

I want the outcome without the time spent tending.

I want.

I cannot rest when so much remains undone.

I am allowed to proceed in my own right timing.

I am allowed to not be the first one to the finishing line. My achievements still matter even if I took my sweet time getting there. They don’t have to be achieved perfectly in order to be worthy of praise.

I am not responsible for the world.

I am allowed to reclaim this space here for myself.

I am allowed to meet my own needs first, refilling this vessel. This is how I will best be of service. This will make me a better partner, employee, mother, daughter, friend.

I am allowed to be boring without being forgotten.

I am allowed to spend time becoming, dreaming.

I am allowed to find out what makes me feel truly restored.

I am allowed to prioritize my own well-being.

I am allowed to trust that my hefty history of unmet needs will be undone slowly, with love and tending. I am allowed to trust in my own ability to become whole again, in my own regenerative spirit.

I am allowed to rest.


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Becoming The One Person That You Aren’t Too Much For

June 27, 2016

Become the one person in the world that you aren’t too much for.

That is the invitation.

I am too much

When she passed away, they told the children that dying was like being in a room filled with radiant sunlight. That the sun was so bright that it consumed her, turning her into a light beam.

Sometimes that’s what living visibly feels like to me – the open vulnerability of a construction light on an unfinished room, making art out of the sawdust and screws strewn about. That in such a brightly lit room that even all of your idiosyncrasies look lovely dappled in the sunlight.

That actually, underneath it all, my fears about being too much are about shining too brightly. Of being cut down and left alone for my arrogance. About the taboo of being seen appreciating myself too much. About deserving all of that light. About becoming my own light beam.

That somewhere deep in all of the darkness there was a spark of knowing that I am exactly as special and wonderful as I imagined myself to be before I learned how to behave.

That being such a special, beautiful thing is my birthright.

That being such a special, beautiful thing is dangerous, and so I’ve hidden it away here, amidst all of the darkness.

The darkness is me, but it isn’t me. It is the distractor, the great equalizer. I have conjured the darkness to protect me, from being too much, from shining too brightly. I have conjured it because the discomfort of the light is made bearable when balanced with a heady focus on my many flaws. In this way, underestimating myself has become my greatest defense mechanism, easily gaining me entry into conversations with other humans. Conversations in which we are taught to be self-deprecating.

Conversations where the stories of our too muchness are reinforced, because we are culturally afraid to look ourselves in the eye and see ourselves for what (and who) we truly are.

* * *

You cannot escape the darkness, so build a house strong enough to stand in it.

{Rune Lazuli}

* * *

I sat awake in the middle of the night, heart quaking as tears slid down my face.

The vestige of the question still vibrated on my lips, through my limbs.

Is there anyone in the world that I am not too much for?

It has always been this question.

It has always been this desire – to be understood, to be met, to be celebrated, to be rallied for, to be loved for exactly who I am, in all of my muchness.

The answer was immediate, but at first it was unacceptable.

I didn’t want it to be me.

It felt lonely to be the the acceptor, the lover. I wanted to delegate the job. I wanted to be scooped up and saved. I wanted to be met here, touched where it hurt.

I wanted the answer to be anything but what it was.

I know that there is an aching legion of women who believe that they are too much at my back as I write these words.

Women who have been told and believe that they have too much heart, baggage, spirit, feelings, thoughts, fears, passion, wants, anger, intensity, desires, craziness, particularities, NEEDS, and dreams.

Women who carry the sting of rejection in their skin.

Women who are worried that they will never find a place – or a person – to belong to.

Women who hide their bright lights in the abyss of distractors and attempts to make themselves more palatable to the general public.

Women who turn themselves inside out, both wanting to be seen as enough but terrified of the parts of themselves radiant enough to fill a room with sunlight.

Women like me.

* * *

I have always dealt with my muchness by constricting it, raising barriers and borders as I attempt to hobble my light by tucking it away somewhere private and safe.

What if, instead, I allowed myself to open up into it?

What if, instead, I made space for it within my cells, opening and expanding in permission and gratitude for my own original medicine?

I breathe into my back, into the tight ropes of muscles that are so often cramped as fierce orders bring my shoulders up to my ears when I am working on something intently.

As I breathe into this space, I feel my shoulder blades open like shutters to reveal my wings beneath. Carefully folded at first, hesitant and cramped after so many years of being tied down and locked up, they begin to unfurl.

I stretch those wings to my full wingspan. Feel into their beauty and power.

Could I make space within my physical body to contain everything that I am?

Could I make space within my mental body to actively participate in the stories that tell me I am not enough, meeting fiction with love?

Could I make space within my emotional body to allow for everything that I feel?

Could I make space within my spiritual body to accommodate the knowing that I belong here, to this earth, to this body, to this life, and that I don’t have to forfeit it for a false sense of belonging ever again?

* * *

You may have built high walls.

You may have worked to keep everyone out.

You may have segmented parts of yourself away, parts that you deem unfit or unworthy for pubic consumption.

But, you are lovable, even in these parts.

You are trustworthy even in your messiness and confusion.

You belong in your light and dark.

You can breathe into these parts of yourself, making expansion your practice and path forward.

You can stand here, in the awe of possibility, and know that there is a certain messiness to finding your bearings here. Know that as you experiment with taking up more space you may knock over everything in your path.

You can and will work to rebuild this relationship with yourself, knowing that it is the fertile (and firm) ground upon which everything else stands.

It is your foundation.

This is the piece that no one can take away.

Showing up messy doesn’t mean being unprepared or uncaring of the outcome. Showing up messy means arriving as you are, radiating your truth and purpose and inner beauty – even when you have no idea how it’s going to turn out.

It means trying something new, even if you’ve never done it before and you are on the teetering edge of thrilled and terrified.

It means holding on to what you know to be true, even when everyone is busy telling you what you should do instead.

It means allowing others an opportunity to truly know you, even if there is a chance of rejection, because you know that being loved for who you really are is worth the risk.

It means being true to yourself, even and especially when you’re scared.

It means choosing to believe that you are important, you are deserving, and you are worthy – even when you have compiled and are holding on tightly to a ton of evidence to the contrary.

Showing up messy means giving your life everything that you have – and not worrying so much that you might have misplaced a comma.

You are doing big, important work.

You are allowed.

Stretch your wings. Claim your space. Dance around there.

Get it done. Smile as you work. Enjoy yourself.

Be brave enough to show up as you are.


Goods

Pssssst!

Did you love this post? It originally appeared as a weekly missive to my top secret circle of truth-tellers that I send out bright and early every Wednesday morning.

Join us by signing yourself up riiiiight over here and receive immediate access to The Roost, a secret stockpile of resources BRIMMING with video workshops, audio inspiration, and words guaranteed to tenderly move you to action and soften you into acknowledging your inherent worthiness.

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You Belong Here

June 20, 2016

I remember being in the fifth grade with a chest that already fit comfortably into a 36D bra. I remember even more clearly the day that the woman in Victoria’s Secret told me I was a DD and I made some wise crack about being in “double-d denial” before bursting into tears.

I remember taking notes in little notebook. I scrawled lose weight, grow hair, learn how to put on make-up, wear high heels across the pages.

I remember being followed home by older men who commented on my body under their breath, making me feel like my curves were dirty and dangerous.

I remember choosing that I wasn’t my body. That I was more than my body.

In retrospect I realize that in that moment, I severed the tie between my head and my shoulders – leaving my body, a woman’s body, behind.

I remember declaring myself a feminist, and still quietly feeling afraid that my brave ideas would be rejected if I wasn’t hot like Gloria Steinem.

For too many years, I didn’t feel feminine, because I considered my body too clumsy, too unwieldy, and unfit for consumption.

I was a woman, but I felt silent. Silenced.

I was a woman, but I was terrified of being judged by other women.

Of being too much. Of not being enough. Of never quite fitting in.

you belong here

I equated femininity with a thing that I would get to be when I was better. I couldn’t rectify being in my body without objectifying myself. I couldn’t resolve my wild, feral femininity with the glossy pages of magazines that I bought every time I stood in line at the grocery store.

I never considered the fact that my definition of what it meant to be a woman was simply too narrow to contain all of my magnificence.

It took time and it required granting myself permission to receive my own radiant love before I could begin to hold these seemingly irreconcilable parts of myself in my tender hands.

Learning how to love and trust myself has meant reclaiming my femininity. It has meant repairing the connection between my mind and the soft flesh of my body. It has meant deep healing and defining femininity on my own terms.

I remember the exact moment when joyfully embodied my own divine femininity for the first time. In that moment, I could feel myself deepening into my power and softening to surrender.

In that moment, I was ancient mama love.

I am a woman with a curvy body, a wild nature, and a story to tell.

I know that there are women out there, like me, who have felt like outsiders. Women who shun female friendships or eschew the sacred nature of their bodies, while simultaneously (secretly) pressing their faces against the glass, desperately wanting to be a part of things.

To those women, I want to say: You are a part of things. There is a home for you here. You belong to yourself.

The relationship that you have with yourself is deeper than feathers and crystals and moon phases. It is about allowing your heart to be cracked wide open by your truths – and defining your femininity on your own terms.

Your femininity is not about how you look. It is about who you are.

It is not about what you can achieve. It is about how you want to live.

It is not about keeping yourself small. It is about pouring more of yourself into every nook and cranny of your life.

It is about what you love, what lights you up like a mega-watt bulb. It is about allowing yourself to be seen – allowing other women to circle around you and lift you up. It is about honoring your own truths and living in accordance to your own rhythms.

It is about you – about all of your many parts, coexisting with love and trust.

And yes, you deserve that.


Goods

Pssssst!

Did you love this post? It originally appeared as a weekly missive to my top secret circle of truth-tellers that I send out bright and early every Wednesday morning. Join us by signing yourself up riiiiight over here.

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