"When I accept myself I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me." Dr. Steve Maraboli
Those of you who have been reading me for a while, know that my dear friend, Alia, and I used to do something called "Soul Talks." These were uncensored, real conversations Alia and I happily had, recorded and shared. Originally, because Alia lived 8,300 miles away in Bali, Indonesia, these talks were done over Skype and we just shared the audio. Well, guess what? By some series of mysterious, grace-filled events, Alia now lives twenty minutes from my house. So, last week, with an owl hooting in the background, with the summertime breeze and trees and singing birds, we recorded our very first Soul Talk sitting side by side. Our very first Soul Talk where we are sharing the video form. Yikes. Though this is definitely a bit out of the comfort zone, I am stepping more and more in to this freedom space where I care more about sharing my voice than I fear criticism. Hallelujah!
In this episode of Soul Talks, we discuss the crippling effects of self-judgment, fear of criticism, and how we're overcoming these obstacles to freedom.
P.S: Alia and I are in the midst of creating a brand new something else that is going to be extra magically special. Stay tuned for the big sharing. Coming very soon. :)
I have fewer and fewer words. I mean, how do I explain
between bites of corn on the cob and requests to pass the butter
that I've been shedding layers of stuff that never
fit, that I spend hours and days crawling out of the tight
of their tiny boxes, tossing breathless stories written in handwriting I never recognized. How
do I explain that sometimes on a Tuesday afternoon, I sit still
and listen to trees, wind, rain - to that tender voice
that doesn't use words - until I join hands with the scared one in my head
and ink trickles or spills. How do I explain that I care less
about getting things done and what I might look like from their eyes and more about clearing a path that finds the God in all of it. How do I explain what I've been up to when what I've been up to is spinning
these shadows into something you and I can rest
inside, something that will help us remember our own astonishing light. So, rather than answering with an I'm fine
or listing off what I've accomplished lately, which seems
a lot more like nothing than something
I breathe a holy breath, look into your waiting eyes
and, with a smile that holds a heart full of something I'm just starting to recognize
It's been over three weeks since I've written in this space but it kind of
feels like forever. It seems the longer I go without
writing/painting/sharing, the harder it is to sit down and begin. The
more time that goes by, the more the paralyzing mind resistance kicks in.
The more time that goes by, the bigger deal my mind makes of it all.
Steven Pressfield's book,The
War of Art,he writes...
does Resistance feel like?
unhappiness. We feel like hell. A low-grade misery pervades
everything. We're bored, we're restless. We can't get no
satisfaction. There's guilt but we can't put our finger on the source.
We want to go back to bed; we want to get up and party. We feel
unloved and unlovable. We're disgusted. We hate our lives. We
morning I really didn't feel like getting out of bed. I didn't feel like
making lunches for my girls for the three millionth time. I didn't feel
like tackling the overflowing basket of clean clothes that's been sitting in
the back room for three days. I didn't feel like cleaning up the kitchen
-again. I didn't feel like going to the
grocery store or thinking about what to have for dinner or taking a shower or
searching through my closet for the one pair of pants that still fits. I
didn't feel like taking out my paints and making another mess on canvas. I
didn't feel like going for a run even though I signed up to run a 5K with my
nine-year-old, and that run is coming up in less than two weeks (and I'm in the
worst shape of my entire life). I didn't feel like thinking about what it
is that I might do to make myself useful in this lifetime. I didn't
feel like thinking about what color (out of 10 million different choices of
colors) to paint our newly remodeled dining room/living room. I didn't feel
like thinking about the team mom (a single mother to three girls) for my
daughter's soccer team who just found out she has bone cancer.
a text message to a dear friend, I wrote:
such a gorgeous day but I feel so dull inside.
a tremendous amount of resistance from my mind, I somehow managed to get myself
in the car and drove to my favorite, pine-needled, mossy, fern growing,
delicious smelling, wooded running trail. The sun was shining. The birds
were singing madly. While I ran (otherwise known as a barely-moving slow jog),
I thought of all the things inside of me that are dying to get out. I thought
about how lucky I am to be healthy and moving on this bright, beautiful
morning. I silently scolded myself for having so much but (at times)
appreciating so little. I thought about how lucky the trees and creek and
birds are to be blessed without a mind. I thought about how filled with
joy painting used to be until my mind got involved. I thought about how, more
than anything, I want to make myself useful in this world. I thought
about how, running on that trail, moving my body - even though it felt somewhat
painful - it wasn't nearly as painful as the shit my mind throws at me every
day. I thought about how sad it is that I often hold back my truth, my life
force, my art and creativity, out of fear. Fear of saying too much or too
little. Fear of appearing dull or crass or stupid. Fear of what others may or may not
I thought about how critical/necessary - crucial - it is to show up for the sake of my own health and sanity.
a few minutes ago, I came across the following words, written by the incredibly
brave, honest writer, Anne Lamott...
Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and
you're 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn't
go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were
jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out
on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy
creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space
like when you were a kid? It's going to break your heart. Don't let this happen.
A reviewer may hate your style, or newspapers may neglect
you, or 500 people may tell you that you are bitter, delusional and boring.
Let me ask you this: in the big juicy Zorba
scheme of things, who fucking cares?
There was something about this who
fucking cares part that really got my attention and reminded me (I seem to need CONSTANT reminders) that the
release I get from expressing the truth, the release I get from showing up as ME, is worth far more than getting good
reviews (or likes or comments or followers or sales, or whatever).
So today, once again I remind myself that life is way, way too short (and precious) to hold back what's dying to get out - to hold back my ME-ness. Life is way too short to worry anymore about these damn jiggly thighs and too big tummy. Life is way too short to care if they will think I'm too this or not enough of that - because, really (and I say this with lots of love, with hope of release)...
I wrote the below words last week when I was in the midst of some pretty deep
sadness. Though, in this moment, much of that particular kind of sadness
has lifted -I know this depth of
feeling is something we all experience. So, in the spirit of wanting to
share the whole of it, here's where I've been lately. I hope that, in reading this, you feel less alone in whatever
it is that you walk through.
* * *
I'm going through something right now that I don't understand. This something goes beyond the everyday challenges and hardness and loss and sadness that is (as much as joy and beauty and peace and love) part of this life we live.
This morning I read the below
words and they too (like almost everything does these days) made me cry:
I felt ashamed...for all that I was blessed
with and how sad I still felt.Andrea Scher
For all I was blessed with and how sad I stillfeel.
don't understand how I can have so much, be so fully, richly blessed, how my heart can
be broken open by the beauty in a single dew drop, and yet feel - still -
I want is to open up. I want to know what's inside me. I want everybody to
open up. I'm like an imbecile with a can-opener in his
hand, wondering where to begin - to open up the earth. I know that
underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I'm sure of it.
I know it because I
feel so marvelous myself most of the time. And when I feel that
way everybody seems marvelous...everybody and everything...even pebbles
and pieces of cardboard...a match stick lying in the gutter...anything...a goat's beard, if you like. That's what I want to write
about...and then we're all going to see clearly, see what a staggering,
wonderful, beautiful world it is."-Henry
The above words just
came to my inbox (again via Andrea Scher)....and,oh my gosh, how they string the
chord of everything inside me. How they point to the sadness, the longing - the
pain that has been here since I was too young to write, wore pigtails, lived in
that burnt-grassed-tarantula-frequented-army quarters yard in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.
The pain that comes
from wanting, wanting so much - to open, to open to it all - to open
it all up. To connect deeply. Toserve.
The hurt that comes
from wanting this deeply but not knowing where to begin - not knowing (sometimes)how.
I do know that
underneath the mess, the pain, the hard of it all - there is great beauty. And I know, too, thatdeep in the midst of great pain, there is beauty. And that letting myself feel SAD is part of opening to it ALL. I know this but I can't see it right now and somehow expressing this,
sharing it with you, helps me to release some of the hard. Helps me to look up
and in and out. Helps me to inhale
and call bullshit on all that this
mind tries to trap me in. Plus, it's incredibly freeing and relieving (and becoming more and more urgently necessary) to tell the truth. Truth:I don't know what the next step is but I'm doing my best to stay open, moment by moment - to listen deeply. Truth: Sometimes I feel full of love and clarity and purpose and sometimes my heart fills split open with sadness or grief or confusion. Often, in a single day - a single moment, even - I swing back and forth and back again with this full range of it all. Truth: I'm seeing more deeply that there is room for it ALL...thatallof it is part of what it means to be a divine spirit living in a human body, in a messy, imperfect, beautiful human world. Truth: When I let my heart be split open with deep sadness, it opens me up to deep love. Great, big, all-encompassing, deep, true, L O V E. Truth: I am not linear. Life is not linear. Truth: I've been baking bread from scratch lately. Adding yeast to water, letting it sit, watching it rise, touching and rolling and baking - adding butter. Then savoring every warm bite. There is something in this process that is deep and true and necessary for me right now. Truth: This opening, waking up, is not about trying to get rid of any of it (sadness included). It's not about making myself or any of it wrong. It's about wrapping arms around all of it. Even the hard stuff. Maybe especially the hard stuff. Thank you for listening.
And thank you ahead of
time for seeing through my pain to the beauty that's here (that is there in you too) - just on the other side.
Words can't possibly
convey how much this means. How much this feels like true love to me.
I want to leave you with some words (written by Rainer Maria Rilke). The resonance of these words makes me need to lie down.
"Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
So you mustn’t be frightened, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall." Rilke
Life has not forgotten you (or me). It holds you in its hand and will not let you fall.
My life's work and deepest desire is to awaken to my own best self and to guide others to the same. If you feel called to let go of that which no longer serves you and to step into your most empowered self, we might be a perfect match. Click on image to learn more.
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