The Healing Power of Poetry and Journaling

Each day-let go
Writing is how I solve and dissolve complex equations of heart and head. It is my personal commitment to revealing, as poetry has the ability to connect us to one another. We discover ourselves in words, unveiled and immersed in the precision of the present moment.

I have been writing to capture and process the details of my life since I was 11. The practice of poetry is my way-finding. It’s my guide. Distilling and illuminating the essence of a fixed moment in time, like a snapshot. The pure, concise extraction of an experience, like espresso.

In some way, it didn’t happen if I didn’t write about it.

In fact, my first book is called Writing For My Life and that title couldn’t be truer. Writing literally saved my life and helped me…find me, the real me. That book is far more to me than simply a collection of poetry. It’s a bridge. From my own experience to that of so many others.

Making myself vulnerable through these words has opened my eyes to the ways in which each of our stories are intertwined, coursing through one another. It’s not only the meaning, more the feeling that resonates between us. We are all of us writing for our lives.

Poems became the stepping-stones along my journey from fear to self- acceptance; shame to self-love; punishment to self-forgiveness; self-doubt to self-worth. 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.

reclaiming the lost pieces of me

in seven hours
we reached the desert
by morning
clear blue sky
and red rock wake us
move us
remove us from
the usual

we travel
to see what happens
elsewhere
to find the difference
in ourselves
inside another place
reordering the regular
giving order to what has gone before

call for what has passed
and what will come
mark this moment

my body goes back
into the healing
it sits
in a canyon
i never left
drops down into
unlimited time 

this writing
this ancient meaning of movement
distracts the body
creates a space
for the silence
of making

yes
each day
i can do
one more thing

seven river crossings
bridge past to present
rising and falling
between breath and bone
the perfect landmark
lights up a landscape

i could only come from center
something to go back to
so rooted and close to earth
becoming whole is a profound secret

each day – let go
everything is at stake

What’s Hiding Out in Your Unexpressed Anger?

Permission to Feel

So what’s hiding out in your unexpressed anger?

The Answer: Your Freedom! Anger that’s withheld or repressed can eat away at your desires, robbing you of the intimacy you crave, your dream career, prosperity, peace, wellness and joy.

Last month on my radio show I had a lovely listener, Jennifer from NJ, ask me about anger and I think it’s such an important topic that I want to take some time and shed a little more light on the subject.

I want to start by saying it’s ok to be angry and feel anger. But so many of us bury the emotion, internalize the anger and even reject that we have a right to be angry. As if being angry is not “proper” or “appropriate” to feel. And then we disown and dissociate from it.

Most of us think anger looks like an explosion of aggression and hostility. And yes, anger can look like that. However, unexpressed anger surfaces in different ways for different people – like neediness, control, anxiety, being overly critical, cynical, depressed or like the caller…stolidly independent. And it’s hard to recognize this as unexpressed anger because we don’t have a relationship with it. The expression won’t look the same, what you need to look at is the emotion underneath the behavior.

And what you’ll find, if you dig a little deeper is you actually draw people towards you that do express anger and mirror your unexpressed anger back to you.

So what I want you to do this week is explore your relationship to anger. Think about how you express—or don’t express—your anger and how anger may be expressed in a healthy way for you.

And if you’re wondering how to express your anger in healthy ways, here are a few I’ve picked up over the years:

  1. Take a plastic baseball bat to a pillow
  2. Yell outside from a hilltop
  3. Take a shower in the dark and scream
  4. Go kickboxing
  5. Sing it out
  6. Write about it
  7. Blast music in your car and shout it out

Give yourself permission to feel what you need to feel and learn to own your anger so you can heal into a life of greater freedom.

Love 2.0

all love begins with self-love

 

In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, I’ve been reflecting and remembered this piece I wrote two years ago and it’s as relevant today as it was then so I want to share it with you! Enjoy! ~ NL

It’s time. I’ve been resisting. But it’s time now for me to write about awakening to the wellspring of love, because more importantly I know that it never could have happened had I not awakened to myself first.

I often talk about honoring the space between no longer and not yet, for it’s in this liminal space that resiliency and resourcefulness are born.

I spent much of last year self-resourcing. And finding resiliency in self-love.

On February 25, 2014 – my 49th birthday – the man I had been seeing and I decided to part. We left each other, though still very much in love, because we wanted different things. Eight years younger than I and never married, he longed for a partner and playmate to share life with. And I, having left an enmeshed co-dependent marriage, was a workaholic, happily entrenched in my career and on the road for long stretches at a time. The truth is that I was either working or recovering. Love and play felt like items on my to-do list. Yet I believed I could juggle it all and give myself fully to everything. That belief ultimately stretched our relationship to its breaking point and sent me into eight months of solid certainty that it’s far easier to be alone.

And it was.

During those eight months I self-published my book Jump … And Your Life Will Appear which did so well during its initial release that Hay House offered me a deal to republish it. I traveled for speaking engagements and to be with family and friends. I often hiked for several hours a day. Woke up when I wanted to and went to bed when I wanted to. Ate what I wanted to. I watched what I wanted to when I wanted to. I firmly established my coaching business, allowing me to take the giant jump of leaving my day job.

Over that summer, friends of mine got married and their wedding was like the one at the end of every romantic movie, times a billion. The gorgeous, joyous and madly-in-love couple exchanged vows, pledging their hearts and souls to one another before friends and family against the backdrop of sunshine and waterfront. It was magnificent. Really and truly. And yet as I sat there watching, it was so crystal clear to me that I didn’t want what they were having.

Why on earth would I want that? I had no one to answer to and no one to take into account for decisions I was making. I was free from the obligation of relationship. And I could work as much as I wanted to! It was sheer bliss.

Until it wasn’t.

I started to long for fun and play: for full moons, camping, road trips, mountain biking, and the yummy love that my guy infused our relationship with.

These are things at one time I resisted for fear they would threaten my work. This wasn’t about being lonely or wanting a boyfriend. It was about wanting him. Wanting us.

When my guy and I split he helped me load up all the stuff that was at his place in Aspen so I could drive everything back to my place in Boulder. He even packed me a spare head for the electric toothbrushes we have.

Remember, we left each other in love.

Nearly eight months had passed without any communication. He made that request and I was determined to honor it.

Historically, I’ve been really good at restrictive, righteous self-control and less good at following my heart.

And then, one sunny Saturday in October, I took a risk.

Over the past few years along the journey to finding my own truth, my own voice, and my own power, I’ve learned that when we stay inside the lines too rigidly, we stop the flow of allowing. Sometimes we need to burst the dam and let the pent-up energy move so that new possibilities and options can emerge where before there was only stagnant, lifeless water.

It took me years to stop thinking I needed a permission slip. Years to know that my life was my own and that I didn’t owe it to anyone. Years to get free from believing the only way to be loved is by buying it, bending over backwards with people-pleasing. Years to know that everything we are seeking externally needs to be resolved internally first. Years to live life from my own inspiration, motivation, and agency rather than in response or reaction to anyone or anything else. Years to know that our present-moment choices can actually predict our future and that every choice we make today is either in service of the life we desire living, or sabotaging it. Years to know that the answer to freedom is self-love, self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness.

I took a risk and followed my heart. I was so worried about breaking a boundary that I almost didn’t.

Here’s some of what I emailed:

i want to relinquish
the rigid stronghold
that’s keeping us apart
and let you know
i miss you in my life
i love you always
i am in love with you still

Here’s some of what he wrote back:

thank you for reaching out. i appreciate the risk you took in doing so.
after writing and rewriting you for the past two hours, i don’t know what to say. it feels good to hear from you. i am crying.

Turns out, as fate would have it, he was in Boulder that weekend. Two days later we met for a walk and sat on a rock in the creek for four hours. It was as if everything and nothing had changed.

We have been together ever since.

We put closure on the past so that we can do it differently now.

It’s a tall order. Building on the good, facing fear, and allowing for expansion and possibility. To be independent and entwined, each successful in whatever way that means. To be all in this loving relationship where we speak our truth and where we don’t get threatened or lose ourselves in love.

It’s a tall order, I know, but day by day we’re doing it.

Sometimes it’s glorious, sometimes it’s messy, sometimes unskilled, sometimes graceful. But we are always all in, and that makes all the difference.

I no longer have one foot out the door. I’ve shifted the belief that being in relationship and being successful in my career are mutually exclusive. We’re just wrapping up a six-week stint in Moab, Utah, where I’ve made mountain biking my priority while also devoting myself to my coaching business, and my relationship – everything is thriving.

I will always love my work but I have a reverence for play now too, appreciating the ebb and flow of how one feeds the other.

And still, the bud of self-love that awakened in me blooms big, reminding me that while life might indeed be easier when alone, it’s much more fun when shared.

 love 2.0
for aaron

i used to
feel small
and sinking

so afraid of
being swallowed

today
i feel your heart
reeling me in
above waterline
to breathe again

now
when i am submerged
i remember that
air is always available
in love with you

* this piece first appeared in Best Self Magazine

3 Things You Need in Order to Jump! Right Now!

I live by my own Transformation Equation: Change = Vision + Choice + Action

You know you want change. You can feel it in the pit of your stomach. You close your eyes and picture it in those rare moments of quiet solitude. You want transformation…but “wanting” is not enough.

Here’s the deal: if you don’t make different choices, you won’t get where you want to go and your future will look eerily like your past.

Your present moment choices determine your future … they’re your crystal ball. If you want a different future, you have to make different choices.

The truth is that your heart has already jumped … your head just has to catch up with your heart! No matter what the external jump is, the internal jump must be fueled by a deepening of self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-compassion, self-love, self-forgiveness, self-trust and self-worth.

I live by my own Transformation Equation: Change = Vision + Choice + Action.

If you want to jump, if you truly want change, if you want your life to look different than it does today, and yesterday and 20 years ago…then you need these 3 things:

VISION: Your vision exists inside you. It’s your ideal envisioning of your life. It doesn’t need to be created, simply uncovered and dusted off a bit. I love keeping my clients accountable to the commitment they make to their own evolution. Holding the vision they reveal for themselves, even when they’re unable to see how they’re going to get there. I tell my clients when we begin, “You don’t have to believe, you simply need to believe that I believe.” And, inevitably, they find themselves living into it.

CHOICE: Too often I hear “But I don’t have a choice!” and I reject that…lovingly. You do have a choice. And every choice you make either serves your vision or sabotages it. You’re simply clinging to the familiar because that’s what you know and the unknown is too scary. Today you have a choice, to choose the unfamiliar and lean in to your discomfort—or you can stay exactly where you are. Trust me when I tell you that there is another way.

ACTION: The world will start to shift as soon as you take your first step towards living in alignment with your truth and desires. Movement mobilizes possibility. Take action today, and chose not to stay where you are. It might not always be fast or easy or pretty…but truly inhabiting the life you’re meant to live will always be worth it!

The only thing preventing you from creating, living and experiencing the life you really want…is you. Come Jump with me!

My next Jump Coaching Group begins Thursday, February 9th. If you’re ready to take the next steps toward transformation, self-love and acceptance, I’d love to support you!

The stories in our stuff.

Letting Go

Resistance can rear its ugly head in many forms, beliefs, excuses and stories.

And most of the pain we create in our lives is due to stories we tell ourselves that aren’t true—the inability to separate fact from fiction.

Why do we choose to tell ourselves false stories?

Because we don’t want to face “what is.” Reality feels threatening to us, but reality has a way of forcing us to accept it eventually.

Letting go of excuses and patterns that don’t serve you anymore is an important process in both my Jump and Worthy coaching programs. By honoring your truth, you make emotional space and open up a new world of opportunity.

What kind of opportunity?

I’ll let my client Dorena tell you:

“I’m so much more alive and in touch with who I am and what I want. I am recognizing lots of opportunities to set appropriate boundaries. I’m moving forward one step at a time towards a future that I once thought was only reserved for fairy-tale endings. And I started a business and am getting paid for it! Woo hoo! I never would have imagined that a new business would be a result of coaching with Nancy—and I am so excited about it!”

Much to her surprise, Dorena launched her own business called The Breathing Room and emerged as the Space Doula.

What’s a space doula?

I took this description straight off Dorena’s website, “Space Doula – noun. A woman who is trained to support another as they create an environment that is reflective of their biggest dreams and desires.”

I love that!

Dorena has built a thriving business around helping other women move from overwhelmed to overjoyed by holding their hand as they do the emotional work of decluttering and letting go of “stuff”; stuff that can make them feel heavy, guilty, limited or less than. Helping them create a sacred space in which they can breathe, move forward, uncover passions and pursue their dreams.

 “As long as I hang on tightly, I will remain stuck.”

Dorena believes that when you attach a story to the thing, person or situation you’re fretting about, you remain in turmoil.

By decluttering your space, you give yourself room to breathe, create and nurture your own desires. And when you detach and let go, the miracles show up.

Who doesn’t want that?

What I love about Dorena’s work is she embraced the emotional work we did together of letting go and translated that into a physical counterpart.

What physical objects have you been storing your stories in? What are you ready to release so you can free up some space?

 I want to help you uncover the stories keeping you stuck! You deserve it!

Join me for my next Complimentary Jump Group Coaching Call and get ready to set yourself free!

Befriend Your Resistance

Resistance is a natural part of the process

I love a line in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love: “The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”

It rings so true, especially when you’re wanting to jump, and find yourself sitting in the uncertainty of the unknown.

Inner conflict is one of the ways we stay stuck. As long as we’re sitting on the fence, we don’t have to pick a side, hop down, and get on with our lives. Since my coaching is one massive attempt to help you disengage from your inner stalemate and make the best decision you can, we’ve got to talk about resistance.

You will have doubts. It’s not a one-time deal; you will inevitably have to make your choice over and over. I had to keep choosing to get divorced and not go back … over and over again. I had to reevaluate my decision more times than I can count. In fact, it became a daily practice.

None of us likes change.

Our natural impulse is to come up with all sorts of reasons why we should stay right where we are.

You’ll have to keep reminding yourself what you want and why the change is necessary … in spite of your resistance. And, yes, you’ll have to keep choosing, every day and every moment, to move forward—toward your fulfilling future.

As my friend Dr. Christiane Northrup says, “We heal through repetition. Each time on the spiral we go back to the same place but we’re on a higher rung, or deeper section of that particular issue.” So, every time you act in spite of your fear voices, you grow stronger.

The most important thing to remember about your resistance is that it isn’t necessarily a sign you should abandon your plan to jump. It’s just that that is where your comfort zone is—the familiar.

In my own initial jump—divorcing my husband—I approached resistance with a sword, ready to wage war. I thought if I could just muscle through the resistance, and outlast it, that I would be victorious. But the funny thing is…it doesn’t quite work out that way.

Resistance is like a beach ball. When you push it underwater, it pops back up to the surface even stronger. (Thanks to my late, great friend and mentor Debbie Ford for that great analogy.) So, as you move closer to making your jump, accept that resistance is bound to pop up to the surface and possibly even hit you in the face. Don’t push it back down. Let it be there.

And today I’m going to even ask you to…befriend it.

Now why would I want you to do that?

Resistance rears her uninvited head in the form of negative thoughts and feelings, attitudes, self-judgment, anger and distraction. But she’s a part of you. How you react to resistance may be the difference between staying where you are and breaking through to realizing your greatest desires. Instead of resenting her and wishing her ill will, you might as well sidle up to her and ask her if she wants to go get a cup of coffee.

By befriending your resistance, you honor and acknowledge her but you take away her power and eliminate the conflict. Think of her as a guide, whose job is to test you as you progress on your journey. Every time you notice she’s knocking on your door, offer to buy her a latte and inform her that you’re going to keep moving forward anyway.

Resistance is a natural part of the process. How you deal with it is up to you.

I want to help you befriend your resistance. You deserve it!

Join me for my next Complimentary Jump Group Coaching Call and find your truth!

Setting Financial Boundaries

Find Your NO to Free Your YES

I talk a lot about setting boundaries as it pertains to relationships with other people but today I want to focus on setting boundaries in relation to your finances and ultimately your sense of self-worth. And this is where it gets a little tricky, because some of these boundaries might have to be set by you…for you.

Many of us believe that sticking with the status quo will win us love and belonging. In order to avoid uncertainty and to feel as though we belong, we hold to long-held cultural beliefs, following the prescribed paths we’ve been told will make us happy. These paths take the pressure off of us. We don’t have to forge new pathways. We can stay “safe” in the roles of daughter, son, sibling, wife, husband, mother, or father. We don’t have to have difficult conversations where we break the norms and expectations our family and loved ones have of us. But how safe are these roles really? How safe is it to play so small that we squeeze ourselves into boxes and live false lives?

These beliefs that we hold about money—and our own worthiness—keep us in situations that aren’t truly satisfying. They trap us in the fear of the unknown, where we’re willing to short ourselves to avoid stepping outside of our comfort zone.

Today I want you step out of that comfort zone and find your NO so that you can free your YES. And in order to find your no, you have to pinpoint areas of your life where you can set a healthy boundary….because that’s how you are going to claim your worthiness and start valuing your time, finances and happiness.

Now, think about something about your finances that you would like to change. If you overspend you might say “I would like to stop compulsively shopping”. The boundary you want to set for yourself would look something like this: “I will no longer allow myself to avoid my feelings of unworthiness by buying stuff.” This is a boundary you are setting with yourself to consciously say “no” to your destructive spending patterns and say “yes” to changing them.

Another example of uncovering a NO in service of unleashing a YES may be setting a boundary with your partner. If you are not involved in the day to day finances of your household, you may say NO to having blinders on and say YES to taking control over your finances, or at least sharing the responsibility.

Few people have a clear, balanced relationship with money. Most of us have a person or beliefs controlling our finances in one way or another. Think about your relationship with money and where you want it to change. Take some time and get clear on what you will no longer tolerate…and then say YES to claiming your worth.

I want to help you uncover your worthiness in 2017. You deserve it!

Join me for my next Complimentary Group Coaching Call and reclaim your self-worth!

 

Uncover Your Desires!

Desire is not a dirty word

What do you want, just for you?

For most of my life, I didn’t know what it meant to want anything for myself. I lived solely in reaction to the needs and wants of others, rather than my own. I was in touch with what I could give others, but I had no idea what my own desires were.

When I first connected with my desires, they seemed crazy and selfish. I thought they were over the top and in some cases even a waste of money. But slowly, I expanded what I thought was possible for me and allowed myself to have more of what I desired. I started to see that some of my desires weren’t so crazy after all—I just had to take my head out of the sand. Then, I could give myself permission to want beyond what I thought was possible.

The process culminated in hiring a woman to come to my home in Boulder once a week and cook healthy food for me. I’d been traveling a lot and all too often would arrive home after a long trip to an empty kitchen. Also I hated to cook, so I’d either grab something quick to eat . . . or just not eat at all. Having this wonderful personal chef fill my fridge during that time was a fabulous convenience since the food she made was ready for me to heat and serve.

I also discovered that it wasn’t that much more expensive than going to the grocery and buying food to make myself. So why did it feel like such an extravagance? Just because of my mind-set. The idea of having a personal chef always seemed like something only the very wealthy would do. But my mind-set had nothing to do with reality. Not only was a chef within the realm of possibility, but within the realm of practicality and reason. Still, it took some work to get to a place where I believed I was worthy of paying someone to cook for me, as opposed to simply opening a can of soup.

That experience made me realize that pieces of my desired life are attainable much sooner than I thought. I’m living proof that you can absolutely increase what you believe is possible for you to have!

But first, like me, you have to figure out what your desires are. Even after my clients have worked on becoming willing to be worthy, many of them still ask the question, worthy of what? It’s true that “What do I want?” can be one of the hardest questions to answer—especially for women.

And hey, even if you feel you know full well what you want, I’ll bet you can expand your desires even further.

Now, I’m not just talking about wanting objects like cars and houses and jewelry for the sake of accumulating “stuff.” I’m talking about a better quality of life, one in which abundance flows freely to you and from you. I’m talking about a way of life that allows you to be full and then overflow in generosity to others—both in terms of your finances and in terms of the qualities you want to receive and express in your life.

Today I am talking about YOUR desires, not fulfilling the desires of others. You have to fill yourself before you have anything to give. For now, allow yourself to marinate in the feeling of wanting. Let it be okay to have desires just for you—because in truth, you absolutely deserve them.

 I want to help you uncover your own desires in 2017. You deserve it!

Join me for my next Complimentary Worthy Group Coaching Call and reclaim your self-worth!

 

 

Choose Joy and Excitement in the New Year!

It’s time to unwrap and reveal the real authentic YOU!

None of us likes change. Our natural impulse is to come up with all sorts of reasons why we should stay right where we are. So, especially around this time of year, you can expect your mind to start making a case (if it hasn’t already) for why change is impossible and why you shouldn’t do it.

It happens when we’re caught in a cycle of resistance—wanting to move powerfully forward, but feeling held back or afraid.

You’ll have to keep reminding yourself of what you want and why the change is necessary…. in spite of your resistance. And, yes, you’ll have to keep choosing, every day and every moment, to move forward—toward the future you most desire.

How do you know if you’re in resistance? Here are a few clues:

  • If you’re making excuses for why you can’t change
  • If you feel defeated before you even begin
  • If you want to embrace change but fear letting go of the familiar
  • If you’re trying to convince yourself that your current way of life isn’t so bad

What to do when resistance and fear rear their gnarly heads?

Do what I do.

I literally say— out loud—to those self-destructive voices, “Hi. I’ve been expecting you. I’m turning your volume all the way down. We’re not doing this anymore. It’s time to make choices that serve me instead of sabotage me, and I’m starting now!”

When you make a change in your life—big or small—those voices get louder. They’re trying desperately to pull you back into what they believe is safety. But remember that this fear is irrational; it’s a retreat from life. Plus, it doesn’t actually help you avoid pain. It does, however, prevent you from experiencing as much joy and excitement and growth in your life as you could.

Change will come with grace and ease when you own your worthiness and honor your desire to be free more than feeling safe, comfortable and stuck right where you are!

It’s time to unwrap and reveal the real authentic YOU!

I’m here to support you as you move forward toward your oh so worthy future self in 2017. You deserve it!

 Join me for my next Complimentary Worthy Group Coaching Call and reclaim your self-worth!

Carving out time for you

prioritize and schedule time for your own non-negotiables that bring you joy

I want you to think about something as we roll into the holidays where too often we find ourselves falling into old family patterns and allowing the beliefs of others—about us, our partners and friends, our job, our values—to activate the switch on the negative voice we’ve worked so hard to silence.

I want you to think about…YOU!

It’s so easy to forget that we get to make our own choices for our own lives. If we allow someone else’s beliefs to invade our heads, it’s up to us to disengage from those voices and find our own.

What does this look like?

I have a client, Celeste, whose husband likes her to be in bed when he wakes up in the morning. Yet Celeste goes to sleep much earlier than he does and likes to be up early to write, meditate, exercise, etc. She had been acquiescing to his wishes for years, even though it made her crazy and caused her to miss essential time with herself. As a result, she began to resent her husband for being so demanding. Ultimately, she realized that she was enabling him to be this way by not standing up for her own needs for fear that he would be angry or withhold love from her.

A few weeks into our coaching relationship, she wanted to address this and have me hold her accountable to change her behavior and the situation. No matter how much fear she experienced and how uncomfortable it made her feel, she committed to getting out of bed when she wanted one morning a week to do whatever she wanted to do. Then, she committed to two mornings. Over time, she has created the inner strength and courage to decide each morning when she wakes if she wants to get up and out and do her own thing or if she wants to stay in bed and greet her husband when he wakes.

It’s true that we teach people how to treat us and that when we stand firmly in our truth and make certain needs non-negotiable, we create a new cycle of acceptance for ourselves and others.

Make this holiday’s “certainty” your new mindset… you’ll be surprised at how a positive change in you, and the willingness to make the leap, will reap the benefits of new possibilities in your relationships.

Imagine taking on the holidays and embracing the reality that you are a priority as big as the priority you make others.

So, tell me, what is one thing you’re going to do for you… this week, today, right now?

I want to support you in stepping into the joy, richness, and yumminess of life! You deserve it.

Join me for my next Complimentary Worthy Group Coaching Call and reclaim your self-worth!