Posts tagged hsp
The Courage Within
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I had a really good week.

I made it through a full schedule of classes without my body falling apart, I am getting into a GROOVE with my students at GVSU and I launched my new website. All three are reasons to celebrate, yet the thing I am most proud of is that I am doing them all MY WAY.

As part of the clearing out process that comes with a website/blog switch, some old posts left in my drafts are popping up. I know my last post was also about staying in the wrong place too long and what it does to a person, and normally I would not share two of the same in a row, but I feel compelled to share the message that making change is up to you.

NOTHING, no job, no person, no life situation should ever be allowed to make you feel less than. To make you feel like you constantly have to prove yourself, to make you question your worth, to suck the joy out of you. Life is not meant to be so hard.

Over 5 years ago I found the courage to let go of what was no longer serving me as I set off to follow my heart. It was a scary fantastic thing to do. The result is I now end my days with a smile, a sense of worth/belonging, and knowledge that I make a difference. The dirty feet, messy hair and sweaty clothes I come home with are an in-the-present daily reminder of this. What a difference operating from your sweet spot makes in a person's level of joy. Below is the post from my drafts, I hope my words resonate with the right person today and encourage change.

You are enough. You are worthy and deserving of joy. You have a place in this world that is meant just for you. Find it.


Courage does not mean that you possess the strength to carry on. Courage means that you will carry on when you feel that you no longer have the strength.

This is one of the first statuses I saw when I opened up Facebook this morning. Maybe it was an answer to last night's prayers asking for the strength to get through the funk I am in. Maybe it was just what I needed to realize that I need to find the courage to plow through my current problems and face my fears. After struggling through another sleepless night, and waking up to the same sad, scared, tears-really-close-to-the-surface-feeling I have experienced for the last couple of weeks, I am ready for a change. I do not want to feel like this anymore. It sucks.

I believe in being honest. So I will tell you that my blog has been quiet because I haven't been myself. I don't know what people who suffer from depression feel like, so I won't say that is how I have been feeling, but I think it might be appropriate. I will say I am stressed, beyond stress I have ever felt before. Emotional is maybe not a strong enough word.

It stems from me feeling like a failure. At work. I was hoping by now that I would have achieved a different result, I've certainly tried hard enough. But a year after I began my quest to find my place within a changing industry and a stagnant company, nothing has changed. Honestly it has gotten even worse, for me. Because now that I have tried so hard, and beat myself up every step of the way trying to make sure I was doing the right things, and they haven't worked, I now I feel that I have indeed failed. Not a feeling I am used to.
 
Lately this feeling of failure is the last thing I think about before I go to sleep, what I think about during the night when I cannot sleep, and what awaits me when I wake up in the morning. It permeates everything I do. It is wrecking one of my favorite times of year. It is wrecking the joy I feel being around my own family.
 
I hate feeling uncertain, unappreciated, unsure, heck, unwanted. I hate that there is a now a knot in my gut all day long. I was foolish enough to think that people at work would see how hard I was trying. That by me finding the courage to take some chances and think outside the box, it would count for something. That someone in management would appreciate and recognize the lengths I was willing to go to find a solution.
 
Instead my value to the company is even more in question. So much so, I felt like I was summoned to a meeting to get my walking papers last week. I didn't, at least not yet. That is never a nice feeling to experience, but it is especially hard for me because our family size has recently increased by two. At this moment in my life, my contribution to the family income, is crucial.
 
Why is it that after doing a job for almost 24 years, my opinion does not matter? Why is it that after continually attempting to share ideas, and implement them, I am questioned about what I really do, what my role is? Whose fault is it that I am in a "grey area"? Why am I, after 12 years with this company, asked to write my own job description to clear up the confusion about what I do?
 
How can I not be offended by this? And not then take everything said as a criticism? My new boss (who has been at our company for a year) told me he has no idea what I really do. How is that even possible? If someone told you that you needed to start submitting a report every Friday about what you were going to do the next week, how would you take that? I cannot "not be so sensitive". I must be wired differently.
 
I take it like this, I am a failure. If no one can see any value to what I bring to the table, somewhere I have made a crucial error. Did I fail to advocate for myself? To make sure I achieved recognition? I am not motivated by my personal gain (at least not monetarily). Job satisfaction, passion for what I do, and joy come from feeling that I make a difference. Clearly I have failed to make that difference in my workplace, I have failed to matter. And that is my worst fear realized.
 
So, I am facing it. I am now going to find the courage to carry on. This blog will no longer remain quiet. I will once again achieve success. My promise to my family is this: I will not be sad anymore. I will fix this.

When one door closes, another opens.
 
If you find yourself in a similar situation, maybe these quotes will help.
 
He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he who loses his courage loses all. - Miguel de Cervantes

Have the courage to face a difficulty lest it kick you harder than you bargain for. - Stanislaus

Hit the Road Jack
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I spent too much of my life at a job in a place that never wanted me, didn't appreciate me, who resented me even. Why did I stay so long in an environment that brought me down?

Looking back I should have left so many years earlier. I allowed the unhealthy workplace to eat away at my self-esteem, to make me question my worth, to make me feel as if I wasn't enough.

I should have walked out the first week, the first time I was demeaned by a coworker who thought they should be my boss. The first time I was pushed to tears. I don't do well with meanness, I never have, and I should have known if it happened to me on the first week of the job, it wasn't going to be an isolated event.

It continued to happen in little ways, and in big ways for 12 years. And I am sad to say, I let it. I should have walked away, dared to do something different, but I kept trying to fit in, to make it work, to fix it. It was a great place "on paper", and the job was something I could do and do well, and I loved the flexibility in my schedule. But it wasn't worth what I lost there. Underneath the pretend, I knew I wasn't welcomed by all, and trying to please, trying to prove my worth and be seen as valuable to those who would never care, was a huge waste of my precious energy.

Underneath the company's "make sure we look good from the outside" facade, was an inside filled with a good old boys network that I would never fit into. Women were second class citizens who did a lot of the work and who management allowed to be bullied by a small group of unhappy, negative male employees.

A leader, by dismissing his employees complaints or avoiding the awkward conversations to handle the inequities, in essence condones the bad behavior and allows the unfair, inappropriate bullying to continue to happen. Over time this creates an apathetic, unhealthy, unmotivated group of employees, led by the meanest of the mean. Any responsible, conscientious, highly sensitive person cannot survive unscathed working in a company with all that negative energy.

It certainly took a toll on me.

I stayed so long for several reasons; because I was scared to go elsewhere, because the flexibility of the schedule worked so well for me, and maybe deep down I wanted to prove them wrong.  I thought if I tried hard enough, they'd see my value. Therein was my biggest problem. Looking for value and recognition outside of yourself is always a recipe for disaster. No matter how great I tried to be, I was never going to hear what I wanted to hear from the management in that company, and it wore me down trying. I became anegative, critical, angry, overly sensitive shell of myself.

I am much stronger now, after several years away from that toxicity and lots of personal growth work. I was able to gain back my positivity, and my self-worth. Deep down I am still the same person I always was, but I now have confidence from within in my abilities and in myself again. If I were to have started at this place in my present state of mind, I would never have hung on so long. I would more than likely have never signed up to work there in the first place.

If life has you feeling negative, stuck, angry, sad, or numb -- take a look at it from all angles. Creating your ideal life is up to you. What situation in your life is dragging you down or making you feel you have lost your personal power? There is always a way out. Take it. You don't have to justify it to your parents, your siblings, your co-workers, or anyone else -- and don't let the naysayers tell you you can't just do what you love. They are the most stuck and will say things like that to keep you stuck as well. You can do what you love to do, if you dare.

It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else when you make changes to improve your life. If you feel the need to take a demotion, change your job or your career, say goodbye to a relationship that just isn't meant to be, or sell your huge house and live simpler, then give yourself permission to do it right now. The world will not see the full version of you, until you do. 

You have the reigns, you control the speed of your life and you choose where you work, who you stay with, where you live, and how you live. Stop listening to the advice of others who see your life from the outside as a completely different life than the one it feels like you are living inside. Shift that energy, disrupt the status quo and create your ideal life. I learned in the process that I was making life much harder than it had to be, by trying to change a broken system, to fit in where I wasn't meant to.

You deserve to be lifted up, not beaten down by the people surrounding you.  A good person, with good intentions, who has natural talent and deep sensitivity can find work or love or whatever you seek, but only if you trust in your own inner wisdom to lead the way.

Take that leap. Life is so much sweeter on the positive side.

My Addiction Was Control

Ever since I can remember, I craved control. It was the only way I knew to keep myself safe from making mistakes. I controlled my world to keep from being caught unawares. As a result, when my kids were younger and I was working full time, I kept myself (and my family) on a tight leash. Trying to be perfect doesn't leave much room for anything else.

I wasn't the type to be spontaneous, or to procrastinate, instead I was efficient and planned. I made lists and prided myself on checking things off as I accomplished them. It became an addiction of sorts, a worthiness booster to be organized and in control. I tried to always be ready, to be prepared for anything, to impress the world by looking like I had it all together. And sometimes I really did have it together, but the effort it took to maintain the control ate away at my happiness. And it gave more fuel to the mean voice which grew in my head, every time I fell short of perfect.

I really thought everyone lived with a mean voice, an inner critic like mine, who constantly pushed me to be better, to accomplish more, to never fail, to never give up, to never let anyone down, to be beyond reproach and who screamed about how stupid I was when I eventually screwed up. I now realize it isn't like that for everyone, and I was one of the (un) lucky ones who's inner voice took a negative and nasty turn.

Attempting to live beyond reproach is a slippery slope to navigate, primarily since it is IMPOSSIBLE. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone fails. If they don't, they aren't trying, heck they aren't really living, they are simply keeping themselves safe. No one is truly ever perfect, there is always something that can be improved upon, and hearing the helpful criticisms and suggestions given by those I was trying to impress, felt like mean jabs that lowered my self-esteem. Could they not see how hard I was trying?

"We put so much time and energy into making sure that we meet everyone's expectations and into caring about what other people think of us, that we are often left feeling angry, resentful and fearful." --Brene Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me

Desperate to hear the words I wanted to hear from others, I tried harder to attain that praise. Imagining if I was perfect, I'd hear what I wanted to hear. Yet no matter how good I got at things, my own mean voice often reminded me that I could have done it better, faster, righter: if only I had done this...or that. So I was never beyond reproach from my own inner voice, even if I had heard the words I wanted to hear from the outside.

You will never find your own worth if you search for it outside of yourself. Which is why in the end, I had a magnificent crash and burn mid-life crisis, and was forced to start the journey over.

Once upon a time on a cold day in November I took a walk and sobbed my way through the darkest thoughts I had ever had about not being enough, not being good enough, not being worthy of love, of praise, of all the things I had been given. I was convinced I had messed up my whole life, screwed up parenting, and I couldn't even get being grateful for all I had correct. I slogged through the darkest of shi* on that walk and came to decision that life as I had known it was over. I was going to take a leap of faith and jump in without a plan.

No more miss perfect, no more worrying about how it all looked from the outside, or how crazy people would think me to walk away from a good job, and a nearly 24 year industry career and start over. Worse yet, to leave without a real plan. The only plan was to not have a plan and instead learn to follow my heart. Life had gotten too hard, I had made it that way, and it was up to me to change it.

The first stop after quitting my career and walking away from all I knew, was to sign up to be a substitute teacher. I didn't ease into it that role either, I chose a two day middle school assignment as my first experience to move out of my comfort zone. It pushed me so far out, I nearly walked away from substitute teaching an hour after I started. But I stuck it out.

A friend actually saved me that day, he was working in the building and stopped by to check on me. He ate lunch with me, and calmed me down. He let me know it was okay to be scared to death, and making mistakes was natural, and convinced me no one would think less of me if I didn't come back for the second day.

To walk away would have been a bonafide failure in my book, so I stayed with that awful assignment and made it through day two, vowing to never return to that particular middle school. And all that spring I gave it my best shot, I took assignments in all grades from K - high school, special ed, phys ed, split level classrooms, I wanted the full experience. And I got it. Realizing only later, after school let out for the summer, that substitute teaching was really not my thing.

I had been keeping my life so controlled and safe it had been years since I had been brave enough to get out of my comfort zone, to allow myself to be lost, unsure, uncomfortable, and caught unawares. Since there was no way to plan your day during substitute teaching, or to follow the rules and do things "right" or perfect, as the rules changed in every school, and in every classroom (sometimes there were no lesson plans for me to follow at all), I was forced to stay in the moment. To just be myself and deal with whatever came my way in each unique situation. It was uncomfortable, especially for the control freak me, but the times I succeeded in connecting with the class, or feeling like I had actually had a good day, gave me a new sense of accomplishment. It started rebuilding my inner strength. I was no longer checking things off my to do list and judging my worth by accomplishment, I was learning to live in the moment and slowly beginning to believe in my worthiness again, from the inside.

For a person who didn't like messing up, I was forced to ask for help often, to own my mistakes, and to extend grace to myself when I handled things poorly. I not only learned to be more comfortable with making mistakes and letting go the reins of control, I learned to give myself a break and to begin quieting the mean voice inside.

If life has you stuck in a pickle, the only way out is through the darkness, through the mud one step at a time. Find the courage to begin within, start by crawling if you have to, and let the winds of change blow in their magic.

What If?

What if you were completely free to live without all the things that weigh you down?  Things like doubt, worry, depression, people pleasing, or obligations you take on even if you don't really enjoy them. What if you could start over with a clean slate and just be free to be you,  would you do it?

It is hard to think that anyone would say no to the chance, yet I see people pass on it every day. In a way, that is exactly what I did for far too many years. Year after year, I searched outside of myself for answers and validation, blaming others when things didn't go the way I hoped. In essence, I walked right on by the chance to begin anew over and over again.

Until I crashed.

It took a falling apart to be able to piece myself back together in the form of the real me. Good news! It means, if I can do it, so can you. Now it doesn't mean there isn't "work" involved, because for a while it is all emotionally exhausting. But the ensuing sense of freedom and growth you gain as you dig deeper is worth every hard moment of inner work.

My journey started when I slowed myself down enough to try yoga, thanks to prodding from friends who knew me better than I knew myself. Yoga was something I thought I would never like/need because it was too slow, and I loved to move.

They say 'What we resist; persists' and they say it for a reason. I needed yoga like no other and the opportunity to try it kept presenting itself to me. Once I did, I realized how much I needed to slow down, to tune in, to feel myself again, because running from what was truly in my heart was killing me.

Yoga was my bridge, my gateway back to myself. My real self, not the creation of me I presented to the world. I wished to look perfect. To some, I was. The more perfect I pushed myself to be, the more I began to hate myself. My "hate" became a negative voice that never stopped criticizing me. I was always thinking that I could do better, be better, be beyond reproach, immune to constructive criticism because I was going to do it completely right. I sought to validate this fake "me" by trying to always be right, or worse, by making others feel wrong.

It didn't take long to become a negative force in the world. It became hard for anyone to live up to my expectations, because I never did. It was hard to make me happy, because I never truly was.

What a sad state to be in. What a lonely place. What a nightmare it was. Surrounded by worry, fear, living in judgement, hearing and thinking only negative thoughts, losing all sense of gratitude. Yuck.

I didn't hear any compliments that came my way, only the criticisms. I couldn't accept any niceness from others, only felt their meanness. I wouldn't accept any niceness from myself either. I lost the piece we all need to heal from the inside, self-love, self-acceptance, self-care. All of that comes from within, and I spent all my time outside of me looking for validation, approval, acceptance, and love.

It took me a while to realize it was within me all the time, even though the things I read and studied told me it was. I had to find my own way to access it.

Yoga started it, learning I was an hsp was the next step, and reiki energy work finished off the trifecta so that I could regain my power. The recipe will be different for each person as we are all on our own journey, but the results of tuning in can be the same.

Power. Acceptance. Change. Happiness. Love. Freedom. Expansion. Strength.

Every positive word you can think of comes from reclaiming your personal power. Don't let your life pass you by without taking a chance on yourself. Be the person you were born to be. Make waves, create ripples, be 100% YOU. You will only be truly happy, free and whole when you do.

There are so many people who have traveled a path to get where they are and are willing to share. Find someone who resonates with you, who gets you and go learn from them. Teachers come in so many different forms. Listen, look, feel, trust your instincts and find your inspiration, then work hard and fly free with the what ifs....

I can't wait to see your beautiful light begin to shine as bright as it was always meant to!

Namaste beautiful soul. Namaste.

 

My Three Words for 2017

Peace-filled New Year Greetings!

It is hard to believe a year has gone by again. I had great plans for 2016, mostly revolving around accomplishment. You know, things I "hoped" to do: write that book, create more podcasts, produce some great inspiring blogposts, organize, simplify, meditate more, etc.

As I reflect on the past year, I realize I didn't accomplish a lot of those things on my mental to do list, but I am proud of how I allowed life to happen, and how I gave myself the permission to enjoy it. I spent oodles of time with my sweet grandbaby, as much time with the rest of my family as we could all carve out, stayed peaceful within-- even if life got a bit busy, stopped worrying about money for the first time in my life, and let some things go that were weighing me down. I also stepped a few steps out of my comfort zone when I found a space and started Soulistic Sisters Studio with two friends. The studio is a refuge for me, especially when I cannot be up north with my trees. In it I feel safe, and like I am coming home. I find it brings out my confidence, my best self and I feel like I belong there. I still hear 'If you build it, they will come' in my heart, and I trust that what is meant to be will happen, as we grow our community one sweet soul at a time.

I haven't written a blogpost in a long while, much longer than I intended in fact, and not because I had nothing to say. I was intent on enjoying each day to the fullest in 2016. And maybe, just maybe I am becoming the person I was always meant to be. I had a major miracle happen in my life about a week ago. Someone I had met only last year, who took a yoga class with me, then became a friend, paid me the biggest compliment of my life. She called me a free spirit. A free spirit. I felt like Rudolph when he finds out Clarice likes him and he flys into the air without effort.

I was once so FAR from a free spirit I could only watch enviously while others were free spirited, as I wished/dreamed/imagined a "me" who wasn't an over achiever, and who lived happily without being scheduled and planned. Truth be told,  I am still doing a happy dance knowing someone currenlty sees me this way. I will hold this sweet thought close to my heart as I continue to recover from my once type A, control freak, people pleasing, critical, judgemental, perfectionistic self.

If I can change, so can you! It also made me realize the POWER of telling someone how you view them. We never see ourselves clearly enough, and having someone affirm my hard work has made all the difference in how I will approach my 2017, I even changed the words I thought I was going to choose as my Three Words to Live By because of it. I encourage you to reach out to someone with a random act of kindness and tell them how you "see" them. Who knows, it could be the little push of courage forward they need to transform into who they always wished to be.

My New Year's Wish For You:

Live 2017 with positive intentions. May you not only recognize the power within you to change your life in any way you desire, but also believe that you are worthy and deserving of everything you wish for. Begin healing yourself from the inside and watch your beautiful light grow brighter. Always believe in the Power of YOU. Shine on friend.

My words to live by for 2017 have finally chosen me.

Illuminate

Trust

Thrive

Happy New Year from my happy heart to yours.

P.S. Have you chosen yours yet? I can help with this.. :)

Claiming Her Power

When she finally accepted she could not collect her self-esteem by being perfect in the eyes of the world around her...

she fell.

Hard.

The quest to find her missing worth had led her on a fast paced journey far far away from herself.

Her solution had always been to find someone outside of herself to give her the accolades she so desired, to find her worthy, valuable, lovable, and to fill up her bucket of self esteem with their praises. She searched for value from everywhere, because she was certain it would be enough to fill the hole within her.

Only after years of trying she came to see it didn't work that way. Finding meaning from outside of herself by doing things "right" was like trying to hit a moving target. She was never quite able to grasp it. What she heard from others was never enough to fill the great void within. She grew weary from the constant trying, and super sensitive to even the slightest of criticisms.

Certain that someone, somewhere would see her value if she just did things a little better, faster, smarter, she kept up the facade. For way too many years. She wanted the world to think she had it all together. But that was a lie, and deep down she knew it, and the weight of that knowledge was eating away at her happiness from the inside.

As she slowly realized she was coming undone, she fought even harder to hang on, as giving up was not an option for someone like her.

So she continued to search outside of herself for the answers, not knowing then that she was wandering even further from the person she had once been.

She stopped believing she was lovable. She stopped believing in herself. She stopped trusting that she had the answers. And that made her weak from the inside out. It gave rise to a voice so mean it drowned out the whispers of her spirit.

She looked for love in all the wrong places.

If only she had known there was one only place to start. Her own heart.

She needed to begin to love herself, embrace both the dark and the light parts of her, to begin healing.

It took the hard fall to the bottom of the well of self-loathing, and a large letting go/cracking open, to let the light of worth back in.

In the quiet darkness at the bottom of that deep well she was forced to turn inward. There was no one else to seek praise from in that darkness. She had to face herself. She had to look into her own heart. Did she even like herself anymore?

A quiet voice arose from the darkness.

You are worthy. You are loved. Everything is going to be okay.

The soft words of comfort began to warm her soul from the inside.

She understood then that failure was an option. It was how we learned. It was how we grew. It didn't mean the end, it was instead a new beginning.

She let go of the heaviest of baggage she had been carrying with her, the need to be perfect, the need to please, the need to constantly pick up her pace.

It didn't happen overnight, but she slowed things down, she turned inward, and she began to find herself, a few small pieces at a time. This time around she vowed to stop looking outside of herself for the answers, instead to trust her inner knowing for the next right step.

It was there she found her power. It had been right there all along. At the heart of herself.

 

Garnering Her Courage

And when she could no longer hold all the pieces of her life together, she summoned the courage to fall apart.

Once she hit rock bottom, with no where lower to go, she came undone and broke into a million tiny pieces. The relief she felt was unexpected. With nowhere to go but up, she felt the lightness of hope instead of the weight of crushing despair. Her greatest fear had always been that if she gave in to the darkness, she would not be able to recover from the fall.

How had she not realized that the hanging on had been like a cement block around her neck?

So she began the process of letting go.  She gave up the constant struggling against the current of her heart, and began to float back to herself. 

Some changes were immediate, others took longer for the world to see. They said she was reinventing herself, but she knew it was more about coming home to herself after years of trying to be someone/something she was not.

She worked hard to unlearn the strategies she had created hoping to stay safe, appear good and be beyond reproach. Some days it was more of a battle than a release.

She stopped

playing it so safe she kept herself in a fake bubble of safety so she wouldn't fail

staying productive so she was never called lazy

perfecting her outward appearance so the world would like her

trying to right all the wrongs that were not hers to fix

Years of control and constant striving forward to achieve began to melt away. It left her feeling lighter and freer, but also a bit unsteady. She struggled to find her balance even though the ground beneath her was in a constant state of change. Some of it she liked, some challenged her to her very core.

During the years of growing up it hadn't occurred to her that she was a person in need of time to just be. Always thinking she was too old, too busy, too necessary to just sit among the trees, or to play with rocks, she had always kept up her forward trek. Sadly, her progress had become the measurement of her own worth.

And that led to utter exhaustion, and her ensuing fall.

Rock bottom has an interesting way of giving you a new perspective and she came up fighting with fresh new eyes. Hope filled, happier eyes who now saw the necessity of spontaneity, of living a more unplanned life, and who craved freedom, peace, and joy. Comfort zones were meant to contain, and she was clearly ready to fly again.

She let her life get messy. She watched for signs from the universe meant to direct her onto her true path, occasionally impatiently jumping at opportunities that were not meant for her. She let herself fail. She let herself experience new things. She began to grow wiser.

And gone was the feeling that she would not be able to handle anything that happened to her. She knew she was growing stronger. She filled her mind with beautiful things, gone was worrying away the moments of her life in preparation for the what if's that might never actually happen. She traded them in for living in the moment, experiencing the beauty of life right in front of her.

As a result her cupboards grew unorganized, cobwebs formed in the corners of her rooms, and dust settled on everything. She didn't care. She rarely even apologized for it anymore. She just let it be.

Instead she laughed. She danced. She sang. She created. She was silly. She made mistakes. She moved on. She began to believe in herself again. She made time for the things that mattered and didn't feel guilty for letting the rest go. She became wise in understanding she could never be what others wanted her to be if she was not honoring herself. After years of putting herself last in line she made time for herself. She became a calmer, happier, better version of herself.

She lost friends, but gained her self-respect.

She made mistakes, yet bounced back with inner reserves she once didn't believe she had.  

She grew weary of games, drama, and judgment. She stopped trying to figure it all out, to stay ahead of the game, and just made time and space to be herself, to fuel her soul.

Following her heart gave her the positive energy to live life her way. To lead with trust, knowing and belief. Her journey up from rock bottom brought her ever closer to the person she was always meant to be.

It took great courage to dare to fall apart, but she now understood the reward was worth it.

 

 

 

 

Taking Action

Ready. Set. Jump.

I love it when people call me fearless.

I also dread it.

Especially when my inner voice screams "not true, you are not fearless, not by a long shot."

I suppose I believe that if  I were truly fearless then I would march off and take action on the things I believed in, and in doing so would make a difference in the world around me. As I write this I am realizing that I have not fully grown past the if, then  futuristic thinking pattern that once ruled me. I thought I had.

To me standing in your personal truth, believing in yourself, and allowing your dreams to grow wings --those actions spell fearless to me. And if that is my gauge, no wonder I fall so far short of believing that I am capable of fearless.

A truly fearless person would go after what they want.

I don't do that well. I still find reasons (or excuses) to procrastinate, to abort, or to divert. I allow myself to get caught up in way too many detours and distractions. Self-sabotage?

I've tried at different times in my life to take action in what seems like the right direction, but I end up letting my inner voice (or someone else' s voiced fears) stop me in my tracks. I've wondered if my heart was not truly into those ideas I left behind, or if I am just scared of committing fully to a path in case it is the "wrong" one. Whatever the reason, I begin things with enthusiasm and passion, and then I stall.

There should be no fear in truth.

Why are so many women of my age afraid to stand fully in our truth?  Is it because we have been taught to worry about what it looks like from the outside, a what-will-the-neighbor's-think mentality we inherited from our mothers and grandmothers? Or is it fear?

We really should be worried more about how it feels on the inside, than what it looks like on the outside---shouldn't we?

Creativity, whether with words, a paintbrush, a camera, a sewing machine, a series of music notes, lies within all of us. And it is nothing short of scary to share outwardly what comes from the deepest parts of our soul. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to stay safe in our skin, never expressing  fully what we feel in our soul, or it will extinguish our light.

The truth, who we really are, is deep within our soul. It is in that creative space where all our  goodness and brokenness awaits the chance to fully express itself. To shine a light outward and make our unique difference.

A truly fearless person would have already written the book I tell people I am writing. They would have let go of the negative thoughts that they aren't really a writer, or they aren't a good enough one anyway. And they would let go of thinking they have nothing unique or original enough to share.

I need to let my light shine. In my own unique words. And I need to do it without expectation and without worrying about the consequences.

I took a step today in the direction of fearless. I signed up to attend the Storyline Writers Conference this fall outside of Chicago. Investing in my dream. Investing in me.

As I continue to evolve and grow into the best me I can be, I thank those who see me as fearless. Your support encourages me to keep going. To keep trying. To believe in myself.

I am pretty sure I see fearless, and she is just around the corner.

Summer Workshops to Help You Get Off Go

I have been known to cringe when people say the name of my business incorrectly--most times they say "Get Off and Go" instead of just "Get Off Go". Not a big deal really, but it matters to me so I thought I would explain where the name came from in hopes people will remember it.

Two summers ago I was deep in the midst of digging inward to understand myself better. I filled countless notepads every time I sat in the sun, words just poured out of me onto the paper. Some ideas were sparked by the self-help books I was reading, other times I just needed to get crap off my chest . So I wrote, and wrote, and in the process I began to heal and find my true path.

Sometime near the end of that summer I realized that what I really wanted to do was help others move forward. It is what I now consider my life's purpose, and something I do easily and intuitively. In fact for a long time it was actually easier to help others move forward than it was to help myself! When I looked down at my notepad one day after doing an exercise to uncover my innermost wishes, I had written 'I want to help people get off go.' And just like that I was on Go Daddy to see if the web address was available. To my surprise it was --this after the maddening weeks I spent typing in random things like eatpoop.com just to verify my belief that everything (I wanted) was already taken. The fact that it was actually available might have been the first of many signs from a higher power showing me I was finally on track.

Now imagine the "Go" in Get Off Go as that first space on a game board --kind of like the Go/Start space on the Monopoly board-- your token is poised and ready, all lined up, prepared but still stuck all at the same time. You need to roll the dice and create some forward motion to begin the game.

I run across people every week that are stuck, or at least stalled in their lives. They are standing on the "go" space but something holds them back from making their move -- it can be fear, negativity, self-doubt, a lack of belief in themselves or even that they are listening to others around them tell them they can't. Sometimes old patterns or beliefs need to be identified, busted up and removed to start the forward motion. 

I know this precipice well. I stood there for a few years, assembling my parts and pieces, hesitating, reassembling, hesitating more, then finally being brave and reaching out for help. Only no one answered. Seriously. I was ready to go, and there seemed no one willing to help. I didn't need a counselor, or a therapist--I had done enough of that kind of work on my own. But I did need a gentle push to get me moving forward. Strange isn't it that the life coach (es) I emailed and called years ago never even bothered to respond.

My wish is that Get Off Go attracts people who are ready to do the hard work necessary to heal and thrive. As a person who has recently traveled along this same road, I can be of help to others. I am not good at sales; I never will be. But I AM good at listening, asking questions, connecting dots, and helping people think differently. The best way I know how to reach out to people is to host workshops.

So here is my summer workshop line up:

Thursday, May 29  VISION BOARD WORKSHOP

Tuesday, June 3 BEGINNING MEDITATION

Tuesday, June 17 CULTIVATING GREATER SELF ACCEPTANCE

Tuesday, July 24 THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING

Tuesday, July 1 WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK--GOING DEEPER INTO FEAR

If you are ready to move forward, or if you find yourself needing a change in direction and could use help figuring out the first steps, please consider joining me at one of the workshops. Go with the one(s) that resonate with you, because deep down you already know what you need to Get Off Go. 

Namaste.

On Clarity--And Being A Highly Sensitive Person

Despite my valiant efforts to do so, I have come to recognize that clarity cannot be forced.

While 2013 was a year of incredible personal growth for me, punctuated by several aha moments and many life changing lessons, I still find myself wishing I could see my future. I've always looked ahead, honestly for a long time I knew no other direction to look, and as much as I now attempt to live right here in the present moment, there is a part of me that wants to leap ahead.

Like yoga, learning to live in the moment and allowing life to happen is a practice that requires a concentrated effort. Apparently reformed control freaks like me don't give up our control easily, even if we know it is the healthy and right thing to do. As part of my attempt to focus in the present and not ruminate away all of life's joy and spontaneity by worrying about the future, I have embarked on a mission in 2014 to write my way to clarity.

I'm starting by sharing a life changing moment from 2013, one that forever has altered the way I interact with the world around me. I am a Highly Sensitive Person

One Defining Moment

While listening to Susan Cain's book Quiet, right after realizing that I am not the extrovert I always thought I was, I heard the term highly sensitive person for the first time. Some of the characteristics of an hsp Cain mentioned did resonate with me, but I was so focused on learning that I was an ambivert (not an extrovert), I promptly forgot all about it.  It wasn't until a few weeks later that I actually heard the term again and discovered there was a whole book written about the characteristics of a highly sensitive person. Turns out it fit my personality description a lot more than I originally thought. 

Elaine Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person and Barrie Jaeger's Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person are two books I will never stop referencing. They have changed my life and also allowed me to help others understand themselves better as well. Not to mention how important they have been in helping me come to terms with what I considered a huge failure of mine -- quitting my last job after only a year.

For those of you who think that being a Highly Sensitive Person means you cry all the time; think again. It can mean that you are very emotional, but in many cases it is really about how you process the world. While 80% of the people in the world process using a sense or two at a time, an hsp experiences life through all their senses, all the time, making us more susceptible to overload. HSP's generally share some common traits; we think too much, border on perfectionism and are super self -critical, yet we are also uniquely different from each other. All hsp's are not created equal, which makes this harder to pinpoint.

In a strange but awesome twist, it seems that 'like attracts like' in the case of being an hsp. Most people that I have made an instant and deep connection with previously in my life are now reappearing and testing as highly sensitive people; some who have surprised even me.  As I meet new people in my yoga classes and in other parts of my life, the majority of them are turning out to be highly sensitive, too.

The reason I am posting this on my blog today is twofold: one, if my writing resonates with you --you might be an hsp yourself--to be sure, take the test. And two, if you are struggling with any of the things I mentioned above, I want you to know that I can help you. There are a few important tips I have come across that ended the struggles I once had. As a holistic mind, body + spirit coach, it only makes sense I should focus on what I know, and that is how to navigate through life as an hsp. Maybe some of what I have experienced will help you learn to appreciate your unique self, make better decisions about your careers and lives, and help you do it faster than the 50 years it took me.

Not sure if you might be an hsp? See if any of these characteristics sound like you.

A Highly Sensitive Person* is:

  • Better at spotting errors and avoiding mistakes
  • Highly conscientious
  • Able to concentrate deeply
  • Especially good at tasks requiring vigilance, accuracy, speed and the detection of minor differences
  • Often thinking about our own thinking
  • Able to learn without being aware of what we have learned
  • Deeply affected by other people's moods and emotions
  • Specialists in fine motor movements
  • More"right brained" and less linear, more creative in their thinking

To be sure, I recommend you take the test and then check out the books. Even if you don't test as a highly sensitive person, the information uncovered can still be extremely valuable. Chances are someone you live with, love or work with, is an hsp. It would be to your benefit to understand how they are different from you. And if you are an hsp and need a coach who understands the unique way your brain works, and has experience with your specific challenges-- please shoot me an email or give me a call.

My plan is to share more of what I have learned about living life as an hsp in future blogposts, for clarity and all....

Namaste,

Terri

*Excerpted from p. 10 of Elaine Aron's book The Highly Sensitive Person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Striving for the Impossible?

In the past I was never the kind of person able to say "I did my best" and leave it at that. As long as I can remember I have strived for an ideal, a perfect "whatever" that was so good it was beyond criticism, even my own. In all of my 51 years that has never happened. All compliments have been taken with a "yeah but", or several "if onlys".  I've always focused on what could have been better and not celebrated what went well.

I realize now that this is exhausting and frustrating and FUTILE. It feels what I imagine is like a never ending Ground Hog's Day loop. I understand that I have been striving for the impossible and I eventually let that wear me down.

Where did I ever get the idea that I had to be perfect to be of value? In reading more and more about a highly sensitive person, I realize that is just part of my dna. My head and heart have never known any other way to be. The child in me must have been so affected by my own reaction to the criticism I received when I made mistakes, that the adult in me attempted to never make any.

There is no perfect anything in a black and white mind like I once had. There is always a judgment, a critique, a report card, a here's what you could do better next time thought. It is exhausting to attempt to drive yourself toward a perfect "anything"--- you get caught up in judging yourself against your last performance, or against the performance of others -- a completely unfair, highly critical trap that causes years to go by like the blink of an eye, with little chance to experience any personal joy.

This past year I came face to face with the dark side of my perfectionism and the shame it brings. I am happy to say that I squared off against it and have since learned to accept that I will never be perfect in my actions, or in my thoughts, feelings,  performance, writing, cooking; I will never be perfect in anything. Especially if I am the judge. No matter how hard I try, nothing will ever reach my idealistic standards.

I will never be perfect. Nor will attempting to be perfect make me more lovable, more worthy, more of value than I already am.

Yet even as I say it out loud... I will never be perfect, I hear a tiny whisper inside telling me it's a cop out, an excuse not to do my best work. (Clearly that is an area I need to work on).

For anyone who shares my perfectionism, this admitting that I am not perfect is a huge step in the right direction. I will never be perfect, nor will my own judgment of my performance ever not have criticisms attached. But --- I no longer let that mean voice have the floor. I acknowledge she's in there, but I let the calm voice who looks at the positive side and sees the good in what I did, take charge.

Now when I say that I did my best, it is enough. I am enough.

Some of you will not understand how huge this is. Others may laugh at me -- or have no frame of reference to understand where I am coming from. That too, I have learned, is perfectly okay. My message will not resonate with everyone. It may only be relevant to 20% of the people on earth, the 20% who are wired like me. The 20% who are highly sensitive people.

I am perfectly imperfect. And that is good enough for me.