Ask anyone on my staff, the first rule of Fight Club is: Don’t abandon your cell phone. And the second rule of Fight Club is: Don’t abandon your cell phone.
For years now, if you’ve seen me running around our Hay House events, you’ve seen me wearing my phone around my neck!
I’m always wearing dresses and never have pockets. So when I finally found the perfect lanyard that works with the iPhone, it literally changed my life. Gone are the days of setting my phone somewhere then running off in a rush to look for an author or put out a fire, only to “come to” 5 stops later and have to backtrack in my mind to where I left it.
Last Wednesday night, as I was repacking my bag, I realized that I couldn’t find my phone lanyard anywhere – which was especially odd since I always put it in the exact same place when I take it off. Panic ensued. I dug everywhere – through everything. Had I somehow left it in the San Jose hotel the other day after the last conference? Did I actually lose it? I mean I don’t lose things!
I immediately looked online to see if I could order a new one and have it arrive the next day in Austin – where I was headed for our next conference. The company is a tiny operation and there were no expedited shipping options online and when I called them I just kept getting an endless busy signal.
And then I remembered that my Event Manager Mollie had one and since she wasn’t going to Austin, she’d be able to spare it.
But…in order to get it, I’d have to first confess that I’d lost mine.
No matter how ridiculous this might seem, there was a time not so long ago when the fear of revealing any need or imperfection – even about losing something – would have far outweighed my desire or ability to ask for help.
As I was texting Mollie to see if she could bring her lanyard into the office to send with Jen to Austin for me, I had to actually stop and take a moment to acknowledge my massive breakthrough.
By letting down my guard, I had finally crossed the threshold and relaxed into the place where exposing myself as human – especially to someone close to me – was no longer a threat but rather an invitation for someone to help me, for a change.
If we’re overly concerned with perceptions of others and we we don’t allow others to help us, we rob them – and ourselves – of the opportunity to fully participate in the interconnected flow of giving and receiving.
So I used Mollie’s lanyard in Austin and I have a few more on order so that I can always carry spares!
Think about the ways in which the fear of removing your mask of self-sufficiency prevents you from having everything you want and need. The guaranteed by-product benefit will always be more transparent and fulfilling relationships with others…and yourself.
Last month, after my keynote at Hay House’s I Can Do It! Ignite NYC conference, I walked off stage and since no one was right there to receive me and to shower me with positive reflection and energy, I immediately defaulted to the negative self-talk. So much so that I even went as far as sending texts from backstage, apologizing for sucking.
I had been out there sharing my story with over 2500 people – about being a recovering perfectionist who has historically only felt worthiness based on external validation, who has now learned that love is an inside job.
The irony is not lost on me.
There I was on stage, teaching exactly what I need to learn.
I came out for my book signing, still in a fog of my own making, and could barely receive the overwhelming positive response: that I was so natural, that it was as if everything I was saying was happening right now, that my conversational tone, timing and pauses created a rhythm for connection…
And then I was told – by several people – that I ran off the stage so fast I actually missed my standing ovation.
Talk about being unable to receive…
I realize now that I was so blown open and present to my own experience up there that I had no gauge for how my speech was really landing, or the impact I was having. I was so wrapped up in wanting to be perfect that I couldn’t even see I already am. The external validation was there, but because I didn’t receive it and take it in, I made the whole experience mean something else.
This past weekend, at our I Can Do It! Ignite San Jose conference where we had so many brand new speakers, I made a point to be right there at the edge of the curtain after each person spoke – since I’m also producing these events, I live backstage – to immediately lock and load positivity straight away. Including myself. As soon as I came off stage, I did what Louise Hay always does and said to myself, “You were fabulous! You did a great job, kid!”
And even though I didn’t feel that was 100% true, I was reminded of “The Right Questions,” in which my dear friend and mentor Debbie Ford asks: “Am I Looking for What is Right or Am I Looking for What is Wrong?”
And now as I head off to I Can Do It! Austin this weekend, I realize that each experience on stage is a magnificent exercise in noticing my attachment, and in letting go. And I am excited to have the opportunity to share my heart with everyone there, devoted to my commitment to service, and knowing that true connection lives in the sweet spot where my vulnerability meets yours.
It’s a chilly snowy Christmas Day — or, for us Jews, Tuesday — and I’m home alone in Boulder where I just did something for the very first time…I lit a fire just for me!
I have no idea if this seems like a big deal to you, but I’m recovering from a long-standing habit of talking myself out of things I desire, that would feel nurturing, heart-warming and pleasurable, if I’m the only one to benefit.
This morning I’m so taken by the way this simple act of self-care — placing logs in my fireplace, and then lighting them, just for my joy – clearly illuminates how I’m changing.
It’s time to light your own fire!
Wishing you a Merry Merry Happy Happy and all that Holiday Jazz
i got stuck last night. in an old pattern. again. even though i have been consciously driving myself toward new ways of relating, sometimes i forget my new navigation system and fall prey to habit. this time was a little different. i had the awareness, as it was happening, that an opportunity was being presented to me. an opportunity to bypass my knee-jerk reaction and change, right then and there, in the present moment. to operate from a place of doing what my heart wanted versus doing only what made the most practical sense. it was a little messy as i felt the struggle – internal and external – of feeling pulled each way. but my whole gig right now is about getting free. and i am learning that, for me, it’s actually self-sabotage not to run toward joy and fun. i know my capacity and what i’m capable of. i don’t ever need to run toward responsibility since that’s ingrained in me, no matter what. but i can’t keep mourning my unlived life if i don’t jump at the chance for adventure when it’s desired and totally doable. last night i saw the inner workings of this play out in a new way. the next time “an opportunity” presents itself, i will remember to access my joy and dive in – without second guessing myself first.
This week, just when I thought certain less-than-enchanting behavior patterns of my past were dead and buried, I reverted to some old actions and reactions. As if the data comprising the new me had not been saved properly, I defaulted back to an earlier version. Setbacks that felt out of my hands, beyond my control.
When I looked up setback – my hot and heavy love affair with words often sends me to my thesaurus – I noticed the antonym listed was breakthrough.
Hmmm…even my thesaurus has become a self-empowerment tool!
So if all roads point to regression being a necessary step on the path of discovery and development, I wonder why – after 47 years on this planet – the proverbial two steps forward, one step back still lands as a devastating sucker punch instead of what it really, truly is: yet another glorious sensation-filled opportunity for course correction.
Now, I need to interrupt myself for a minute – in addition to the setbacks this week, I also had a few massive breakthroughs! Why didn’t I lead with that? Especially when the breakthroughs actually outweigh the setbacks! Funny enough, each has its own batch of bruises some emotional…and some scrapes and scuffs from nailing a couple cool mountain bike stunts!
Why does deflation seem to be more effortlessly sustained than elation?
Or better yet, why do I allow it to be this way?
This week I’m committed to revamping my outlook and inviting to rapture reign…are you with me?
“Sit in the possibility…without the logistics.”
It’s a month later and her words still echo. I have great respect and gratitude for being seen by her, even when she has no qualms pointedly calling me out on my blinding Type-A-ness.
“Sit in the possibility…without the logistics.”
The audacity. Doesn’t she know my whole life depends upon logistics and that I have just barely begun my recovery from being a rigidly organized, caretaking, over-achieving, multi-tasking, detail-oriented, time-managing workaholic, for god’s sake!? Oh wait…of course she does. And so it’s her precise intention to suggest that I even begin to entertain fantasy instead of solely focusing on implementation and execution.
I used to only contemplate what needed to be done and how I would be doing it. Cut and dry. Dreaming, wishing, hoping, wanting seemed a luxury, and such a waste of valuable ‘doing’ time. I just couldn’t see the value in pure fancy vs. the real world.
And even though I have heard Wayne Dyer quote the English visionary poet William Blake a hundred times: “What is now proved was once only imagined,” I somehow still didn’t get that imagining is actually the first and most important step to creating reality.
But now her words, still roiling inside me, alert me to the necessity of diving head first into my desire if I ever want to allow, embody and offer the full expression of myself.
So what if – instead of doing, making, searching, finding, remembering, performing, fulfilling – the only thing standing between this moment and my greatest me is the willingness to “sit in the possibility…without the logistics.” What if…?
While working on my next book – about the unforeseen opportunities, empowerment and blessings that have emerged after my divorce – one specific aspect of myself keeps jumping out at me that clearly defines before vs. after : I TOOK OFF THE CAPE!
What a relief to relinquish the image of perfection I had been projecting out to world. Finally breaking free from the Superwoman persona that desperately drove me to solicit outward validation through unrelenting people-pleasing.
I used to think love would come from the outside in, but now know it must grow from the inside first. No amount of external validation will ever match my internal expression of self-love, self-forgiveness and self-acceptance.
At the time, I didn’t realize my divorce was about anything more than my marriage ending. Little did I know it would be the catalyst to my rebirth, just as any change and transition always has the capacity to be – and it’s up to us to allow in what is wanting to happen, while responding in a life-affirming way.
And so I decided to be vulnerable and let people see me sweat. I learned how to ask for help. I gave my pride the year off. I released the belief that being the best and the only one was a viable replacement for love.
Please stop and be still for a moment. Ask yourself this question: “What intention and payoff drives my inner-Superwoman?”
If it’s that you are soaring around searching elsewhere for love, know that you are not alone. Start slowly. You may first just try tucking the cape it inside your shirt, and even though your ego will do its damndest to tug it out, relish in the exploration of how it feels to not have to perform and manage the perception of others.
Once you experience the freedom from no longer constantly trying to prove yourself by garnering those elusive gold stars, you will soon realize that you can actually remove the cape and hang it up for good.
I’m sitting in my hotel room in Vancouver where we have our I Can Do It! conference here this weekend. As I’m deciding on which poems from the newly revised and updated edition of my book Writing for My Life…Reclaiming the Lost Pieces of Me: A Poetic Journey to share with the audience, I’m also reflecting on the arc of my journey that has led me to this very moment. Finally I can see how each and every bit of my experience is an equally important star in the constellation of my life preparing me for here and now and forward.
This new version of my book is divided into three sections, each corresponding to one of the stages of reclaiming myself. The poems within became the stepping-stones leading me from fear to self-love and self-forgiveness. Here is the piece that opens the first section called bone. I offer my heart to you with the hope that it serves as a compass to lead you back to yourself, and an invitation to find and trust your own voice.
For most of my life, I needed validation. I looked outward for permission. Permission to offer myself love and acceptance. I put everyone else’s dreams and needs before mine. I spent my days managing the perceptions of others, projecting an image of perfection. In the process, I forgot something.
I forgot to live my own life.
I didn’t feel loved for who I was—especially not in my marriage—so I believed I never would be. I checked out. Went to sleep. And was awakened only by an explosion of epic proportions.
After the dust settled, I had a choice. I could either stay numb and go back to sleep. Or, I could face my fears. I could embrace change. I could stop living my life in reaction to others.
And so the journey began.
The journey to knowing, deep in my essence, that I am loved. No matter what I do or don’t do. Even if I don’t do anything I will be loved.
But how? I needed courage. I found it in my body.
My body—flesh and bone—a treasure chest. Its cellular secrets under lock and key until the moment they were ready to be freed. The thaw came that way: an instant, a window, an opening. If I’d left sooner, I would not have been able to stay away. If I’d stayed a moment longer, it would have been radical self-betrayal.
I remember leaving for the last time. I bought a clean, new mattress just days before, knowing it was a last offering to a lost time. I quietly told the truth to someone safe. There was the night I thought I heard him coming for me—first hope, then fear, then resignation. I remember finally asking for help. I remember when I didn’t think all the help was going to help. I remember when it finally did. I remember all the hours around the hours. Those hours building the skeleton of a leaving. Those hours of bone.
Last week, while on my way to Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona for our annual retreat with Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson, the craziest thing happened…I missed my flight! For the first time ever! In my whole life! The Denver airport was a zoo because of Spring Break. I was there in plenty of time…but having a bag to check was the problem! I mean, I hold the world record (well, at least I think I do) for going 73 days straight in carry-on…so what would a mere 28 days be this time!?! But no, I was practicing extreme self-care and giving myself room so as not to stuff everything for a month into my tiny purple rolly…what was I thinking? The lines were so long that by the time I got up to the kiosk counter I was informed that it was too late to check a bag for my flight and then led over to another serpentine line for rebooking.
Did I mention it was Spring Break?!
I called my travel angel – and he was able to grab the last seat on ANY flight to Tucson departing that day – at 10 PM.
Did I mention that it was 10 *AM* when this was all happening!
And, the additional fee would be $1,100!
Even with him holding this seat for me, I still had to stand on the slow moving line for Customer Service to make the change. For well over an hour, while I listened to people bitching and kids screaming, I decided to walk my talk – I do work at Hay House and was on my way to spend a week with Louise and Cheryl, after all! - so I channeled them and waited patiently with a positive attitude!
When I finally got to the counter I smiled and said to the agent, “I’m determined to be your kindest customer today!” and the frazzled agent next to her looked at me like I was kind of crazy and said, “You already are!” and then my agent added, “And I’m sure that by the end of our shift you still will be!” She rebooked me on that 10PM flight. “Do you know this will cost $1,100?” she asked. I nodded my head “Yes.” And then, because positivity is infectious, she told me that since I was so nice and calm she was going to bypass the fee in the system and not charge me a dime!!!
WOW – there’s something to this positive thinking!!! I realized it felt so much better to be kind instead of complaining. I noticed that when I was pleasant, others reflected it right back to me and I enjoyed seeing these agents happy during a stressful day. She put me on standby for the 2:30 PM flight. I was first on the list and for the next few hours I visualized myself sitting on that plane.
So, what could have spiraled into an “ain’t it awful” day actually became quite joyful. And…you better believe that at 2:30 PM I cleared the standby list and found myself tucked into the last available seat on that plane. I shared the hour ride to the resort deep in conversation with my new friend Molly, a delightful woman on her way to our retreat, and I made it to Miraval for dinner!
Today, I post this poem this the newly revised and updated edition of my book Writing for My Life…Reclaiming the Lost Pieces of Me: A Poetic Journey in honor of the first day of National Poetry Month
i breathe without thinking
wake without dreading
feel safe in my skin
after all these years of only sensing myself
like a phantom limb
at last i am here
love doesn’t dissolve it self-corrects and
recalibrates over time
older now and with more accuracy
Letting go has been on my mind a lot lately. And in my body. My big revelation: the key to letting go lies on the other side of actually inviting the memory in deep first. It seems like everywhere I turn right now I am being given the opportunity to dive in and then release. The way a familiar aroma of specific recipes unexpectedly fills my home, fragrant grief enveloping me years after he was here cooking for us. Or how taking off my ski boots, a ritual that was always accompanied by all of my past dogs feverishly licking my nose, floods me with the sensation of loss while unbuckling, further anchoring in doglessness. But I find that if I remember to allow these visceral reminders to really soak in, instead of denying them, that I can swim through the emotion and emerge without a fight. Knowing in my soul that I had to be there in order to arrive here…reveling in relief, freedom, and joy.
no now without then
there is a trick
no one tells
about letting go
you can’t fully release
what isn’t firmly in your grasp
everything we seek externally
must first be resolved internally
you must get right
to the heart of it
seduce the memories
immerse yourself in inquiry
truth will only
come for you once
embrace her and
she’ll be quick
she will linger
a tie to a certain time
will reveal a rip in the body
before being restored
goodnight to the way things were
sleepwalking through my unlived life
goodnight to the hiding
fear always finding a way to crush hope
goodnight to the woman i was
years of holding everything in
goodnight to the silence
my once strangled voice screams
knowing that no woman could stay
if i couldn’t
seems like a long time ago – this
when i wasn’t interested in time
but now the past is
and it has a distinct scent
which i’ve kept
to remind me
that what we got
is exactly what we needed
i must be traveling
outlines and echoes fade
and by morning
all ocean and train outside
the pieces begin to re-pattern
extraction from the
quicksand of marriage
now embedding a new code
while preparing me