Why ‘easy’ isn’t actually easy!

Choose Honest

When we betray ourselves and others, it’s often because we’ve made the “easier choice” – consciously or unconsciously. But this “easier choice” is actually the cowardly choice. For example, at the time, I mistakenly believed that it was easier for me to have an affair than to tell myself, and my husband, the truth of wanting out of my marriage. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Eventually, making the cowardly choice will be harder, not easier, because it will almost inevitably lead to destruction. You may be delaying the blow up but once it comes, that blow up is often bigger and more painful the longer you put it off. I’m certain the pain would have been less had I been living in alignment with my truth.

But we’re all human, and we’ve all taken the “easy” way out at some point in our lives. For eighteen years, I thought I was committed to my marriage. But in hindsight, I realize I was actually committed to being indispensable, to being punished and to rescuing. All of which led me to stay in an unhappy, controlling marriage. Those commitments overrode my desire for my own well-being and happiness.

What I’ve learned is that, in life, we get what we’re committed to at the deepest level. We tell ourselves we’re committed to happiness, but deep down, we’re actually committed to something else – like being indispensable, staying safe, or putting others’ needs ahead of our own.

For so long, my self-worth was tied up in how much of a chameleon I could be. How much could I please people? How well could I turn myself into what they needed? Becoming what they wanted brought me the most validation, but it was a false validation. I was loved for my façade, not for me. When I finally let the façade go, I discovered that, yes, there were people in the world who would love me for my true self, even though I wasn’t perfect. I learned that I could not only survive if I was human, but actually thrive because of it.

We are meant to be and express the fullness of who we truly are. If we’re living authentically, we might show different aspects of our personalities in different situations, but none of them will be false. When you stop and tell the truth, so much energy becomes available to you – energy that can be used to live the life you want.

When something is “off” in your life, you know it. And it takes an incredible amount of energy to continue the denial. But the truth is so much better! Free yourself now to pursue the happiness, love, and success you deserve.

So, tell me below, where are you choosing easy over honest in your life right now?  

Learn to Love ALL of You!

Freedom

Freedom feels different to different people.

I found my freedom by entertaining the idea that I no longer had to be at the mercy of another human being.

My client Nicole found freedom in a bathing suit. Here’s her story:

I wore a bikini. I wore a bikini on a beach in plain sight of everyone in broad daylight. I realize this doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment. But this was my first time. I once had a very respectable bikini bod but never had the guts to rock one. I always wanted to wear one, but I was too self-conscious of my scars and my thighs … and too trusting of my Inner Critic. I mean, she must know what’s best for me. She’s known me my whole life!

So, three kids, two saggy boobs, and one sad- faced belly button later, I was determined to kick her out of my life and don a stringy little reggae number I found at the store. In the weeks before, I had one of those moments when I realized that ego wasn’t about arrogance. It was about living on the outskirts of an authentic life and denying myself my own love. I saw that the Inner Critic I so trusted was actually the voice of my ego, whose mission was keeping my mind preoccupied with the small stuff and away from the real show. So, I began to shut her down.

Fast forward to the day … I shed the last of the forty pounds of baby weight, but still had more stretch marks than could be counted and a body, though mostly in shape, that wasn’t quite the shape you see in magazines. But that was okay! Had I held on to my low self-concept, I would have sat in my cute enough tankini wishing I had the ovaries to get my Marley on. Instead, I took off my cover-up, revealing my red, black, and gold to the world. And guess what? The earth stayed in orbit.

I actually forgot about what I was wearing and just enjoyed the beach. It wasn’t about who looked like what. It was about being fully there. I watched my little girl boogie board in her bikini, I inhaled the salt air, and I silently prayed she’d always have that two-piece ’tude.

So, yeah, on the surface, it doesn’t sound like much—putting on a bikini. But that day, I won a personal thirty-nine-year battle and moved toward an authentic self-concept that can’t be cultivated by planting my roots in pop culture’s shifting sands. It must be grown in the rich soil built by living my own truth and accepting whatever that may be. This shift in my thinking is an ongoing process.

That itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, Rasta-striped string bikini was the first major mile marker I reached while walking away from my critical self and toward self-love. Freedom can be found in a bathing suit. Who knew?

Tell me in the comments below: Where will you find YOUR freedom?

Stop ignoring the whisper!

Freedom

When something is “off” in your life, you know it. And it takes an incredible amount of energy to continue the denial—energy that could be used toward letting go of the old and inviting in the new. That’s what I learned when things finally fell apart in my marriage. And, to my great delight, the new was so much better. If I had just been able to let go sooner, I could have started that new life years before.

We deceive ourselves in all sorts of ways. For so long, my self-worth was tied up in how much of a chameleon I could be. How much could I please people? How well could I turn myself into what they needed?

Becoming what they wanted brought me the most validation, but it was a false validation. I was loved for my façade, not for me. When I finally let the façade go, I discovered that, yes, there were people in the world who would love me for my true self, even though I wasn’t perfect. I learned that I could not only survive if I was human, but actually thrive because of it. We are meant to be fully and truly who we are. If we’re living authentically, we might show different aspects of our personalities in different situations, but none of them will be false.

It’s impossible to maintain a false identity without consequences.

It takes a lot of energy to hold up a mask, to continue a story, to portray a role that isn’t true. When you stop and tell the truth, so much energy becomes available to you—energy that can be used to live the life you want.

Imagine what would be available to you—energy, time, insight, freedom, fun, etc.—if you let the mask fall and committed to just being you. What would it be like to be that transparent, genuine, and organic in your life? Can you imagine it?

While the fear of revealing yourself is natural, doing so unburdens you. It actually helps you overcome the fear of judgment. Why? Because we discover that people aren’t judging us nearly as harshly as we expect. In fact, in my experience, people rarely judge us harshly when we show vulnerability. The biggest issue is how much we judge ourselves.

What do you see could open up for you, what would be available to you, if you let your masks, roles, stories, and secrets fall and committed to just being you? What energy, time, insight, freedom, or fun could you have more of or experience that you can’t experience right now?

Tell me in the comments below: What inner whispers have you been ignoring… and what freedom is waiting for you on the other side of truth?

Become a Boundary Badass!

Say Yes

I had absolutely no idea how to set boundaries prior to finding my way through my divorce. Most of us don’t know how to set them. We’re taught to put others ahead of ourselves. (This is especially true for women, but there are plenty of men who have the same issue.) I have heard my friend Cheryl Richardson say on several occasions, “If I spend my life pleasing people, I spend my life.” Up until that point in my life, I definitely had been spending it. And I was just about bankrupt when I finally woke up.

Not everyone puts others ahead of themselves, of course, and some of us are more prone to people-pleasing than others. But the attachment many of us feel to keeping others happy is pretty tenacious. In a certain way, pleasing becomes our currency—the way we purchase love and attention. If we don’t think we inherently deserve love, we feel we must find some way to earn it.

When we begin to set boundaries, we often find ourselves face to face with A-to-Z thinking. All or nothing; it assumes that if you can’t make it to Z, you can’t have anything at all. But it doesn’t always have to be an either/or proposition. You only have to get from A to B. Small shifts add up.

If you’re prone to A-to-Z thinking, evaluate your situation thoroughly and ask yourself:

  1. What steps can I take today to move me inch-by-inch toward the boundary that I’d like to set? For example, where might I say ‘no’ when I would otherwise say ‘yes’?
  2. Where can I ask for what I really want instead of watering down my request to please another person?

When we answer honestly, we see that there is room to take one small step and set one boundary at a time. Then, setting that one, first, boundary helps us to develop the courage to set more boundaries.

  • We are no longer reacting or responding to someone else.
  • We are suddenly able to act from a clean, clear place.

Having set my own boundaries for the first time I was finally able to begin living my own life and it was amazing. And while I felt stronger in some ways, I also felt a lot like a young colt trying to walk for the first time—which is fitting, since I was indeed birthing a new identity. My legs felt gangly, like I could barely stand. And then in time, of course, I leaned to stand on my own two feet again.

So, take heart! When you set new boundaries, you may at first feel as though you have a new pair of legs. You might feel off balance, but it won’t last forever.

Yes, it can be very scary to operate from a place of what your own heart desires, especially when you’re a people-pleaser like I was. As children, we learn to respond in a way that brings us the least stress and trouble—and that often means allowing ourselves to be moved by others’ wants and needs. But as adults, we have to learn to get past our ingrained fears and make clear choices.

Your Boundary Badass Mantra: “I will only say ‘yes’ today to what I truly desire.”

Try it…and let me know how it goes!

Can you see the gift in your projections?

Continue to be testedEver notice how the people closest to you can also trigger the heck out of you?

She’s so selfish.
He’s so rude.
She’s a know-it-all.
He’s irresponsible. 

But, here’s the deal: Every characteristic we don’t like in someone else, exits within us as well. As the old saying goes – when you point a finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

We all possess every human characteristic and emotion. There’s nothing we can see in another that we don’t have within.  As children we began to assign good or bad, right or wrong to certain aspects of ourselves. As we grew, we learned what we needed to hide in order to receive the most love.  And, we also learned how to overcompensate for the rejection of these qualities.

When we can’t be with certain qualities in ourselves, we reject and disown them – and then project them out onto others. And then the people around us reflect these disowned qualities back to us. These disowned qualities are all the things you emphatically say you are not.

How do you know if you’re projecting? Projection sounds a lot like judgment. So if you are activated by someone’s behavior, it’s likely you’re in projection.

We’ll continue to be tested until we’re no longer triggered. So, in order to neutralize the charge, we actually have to own and integrate these disowned qualities within ourselves. The soul is longing to be whole…reclaiming, integrating and making peace with these rejected pieces of ourselves is the path to wholeness. When looking for these qualities within, it’s important to remember that we may not exhibit or express them the way someone else does. So, we’re looking for the aspect beneath the behavior.

  • Think for a moment about someone close to you.
  • Now, identify the specific quality in them that triggers you – the quality under the behavior.
  • Ask yourself, “Where is this same quality in me?” (Remember, you might display it differently.)
  • Ask yourself, “How do I overcompensate for the rejection of this quality?”
  • Accept this disowned quality. Say, “I am X.” Not easy, but we can all be X from time to time.
  • Embrace this quality and find the gift it offers you.

I’ve got one.

  • My ex-husband
  • Lazy, under the behavior of not working
  • Sometimes I binge-watch my favorite shows
  • I overcompensated for a long time by being an over-achiever
  • “I am lazy.” (This will probably sting at first – which means you’re on the right track. But you’ll get more comfortable with it as you own more aspects of yourself.)
  • My laziness allows me to rest, rejuvenate and replenish.

Now you try it!

Can you think of a quality, displayed in another, that you’ve made bad or wrong and have decided you’re not that? Remember, we point that finger out when we have trouble owning these qualities in ourselves.

Here’s the great news: You can do this exercise whenever you’re triggered – which for me, and most people I know, is just about daily. Each time someone reflects one of your disowned qualities back to you, you have the opportunity to own it bringing you one step closer to wholeness, self-love, self-acceptance and self-forgiveness

Are you ready to see the gift in your projections? I’d love to hear about your takeaway here in the comments! 

Begin with One Different Choice

Inner Peace

When we first begin making different choices–even one different choice–and start taking back control of our lives, it can initially feel like we are losing control. We’re often outside our comfort zone and we seldom have any idea what to expect from the future. Eventually, if we persevere, we learn that it’s an illusion to think we were in any kind of control at all.

In reality, we’re actually less in control when we hold rigidly to the familiar, enslaved by fear and not free to move with the pulse of life.

On the other hand, when we let go and surrender into the arms of the unfamiliar, we enter the flow. We can follow our truth and our desire, creating the kind of life we most want—a life filled with possibility and enjoyment rather than tension and terror.

Stop sacrificing your inner peace in hopes of outer peace. That outer peace is, more often than not, dictated by someone else and not by our own needs.

When we choose comfort it means replaying the same pattern over and over. We already know our outcomes from the patterns we’ve been living. It’s not until we make a different choice that we can design a new ending to our stories.

Making one different choice can have an enormous impact as we move toward jumping into our new, better lives.

Choosing to do one thing differently is the starting point that leads us to the next steps. We dissolve patterns and prove to ourselves that there is life beyond the familiar.

I’m not going to pretend that dissolving patterns is always a smooth process; often, it’s anything but. And some of the people around you may be confused once you change the rules of the game.

Are you sacrificing your inner peace in hopes of outer peace?

Tell me below, I want to know: What’s the most self-honoring choice you can make today?

How to Get Unstuck

Movement mobilizes possibility.

One decision can create a big shift in your life and propel you forward. Even just one small forward movement can cause a positive ripple effect. This step often impacts us in ways we can’t predict, or may not even fully recognize at first.

Change begins with making a different choice.

Taking a single step today allows everything else in your life to shift toward your new and better life.

During the transition from leaving behind our old beliefs and creating new ones, we start to notice our habits and patterns. Sometimes, you have to tiptoe an inch at a time. That’s okay. Each step you take will give you more courage to dissolve a pattern and live into life beyond the familiar.

It starts with installing new beliefs to upgrade your operating system so you can catch yourself when you default to thinking and behaving in limited ways. You’ll start to notice yourself attracting a situation that’s similar to others you’ve attracted in the past—and in the moment you can make a conscious choice not to engage in the old pattern. This is how change happens, and how our beliefs cease to have power over us.

Recognize the costs of staying in situations that no longer serve you. Remember not to beat yourself up for excuses that kept you stuck in the past! We can’t go back, but we can begin again right now.

One authentic choice leads to another, and you’ll find you are on your way to the life you desire.

When your “change muscle” becomes stronger, you’re less likely to get stuck in circumstances that hold you back or keep you small. If you know how to make little changes, you can make adjustments as you go.

Life is a series of course corrections. 

Each change you make gives you permission to make another.

Your present moment choices are the crystal ball that will predict your future.

This is the powerful truth, and it is the truth you can discover for yourself!

Let me support you in cultivating the courage to take the action to make the change you desire. Join my Jump Coaching Priority List now, and I’ll send you what you need to begin implementing change right away! Plus, you’ll be the very first to know when Jump Coaching opens for enrollment!

Where do you feel stuck, what change do you want to make? Tell me about it below, I want to know…

Whose life are you living?

Say Yes to You

So much of the time, we would rather stay small and imprisoned than face the uncertainty of becoming who we are meant to be. The resentment that comes with keeping our dreams under wraps may be a life sentence, but it’s also a known commodity. It’s within our comfort zone. In order to stay there, we have to slip into denial, numb out, and stuff down our real feelings and our true selves. What a high cost we pay for that so-called “comfort.”

By staying in my marriage, I wasn’t allowing the full expression of my life to emerge, and looking back, I realize that the marriage was another hiding place for me. As long as I stayed and propped him up, I could hide from what I truly wanted and from all I was capable of becoming. Leaving my husband meant I would no longer have excuses for not fully inhabiting my life—a terrifying thought.

I became aware that my denial had caused an underlying tension in almost everything I did, and tension is the opposite of freedom. In my career, people-pleasing and workaholism became escapes. I kept jumping through hoop after hoop in order to receive recognition and earn a gold star. But no amount of gold stars was ever enough to fill the emptiness of living an inauthentic life.

I have learned that betraying myself can never be the price I pay to avoid betraying someone else. We don’t serve anyone if we are pretending. We don’t owe anyone the denial of who we are.

Mine is not a solo story.

The majority of my coaching clients come to me with no idea of what they really want. They’re in some sort of transition knowing they need to make a change, yet facing the prospect of living life on their own terms aligned with their own desires for the first time is daunting.

Simply naming desires – feeling worthy and deserving of them without worrying about the logistics and implementation – is the portal into the process of healing, truth-telling and transformation.

* * *

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, needs, desires 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. Marriage was a long time to be away from myself.

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. Own up to desire.

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 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.

* * *

Florence, Italy. In Michaelangelo’s gallery, bodies birthing themselves from rough and ragged chunks of marble. “Unfinished Slaves,” frozen in a state of self-excavation. I, too, was carving myself back into life.

Shame and guilt stripped away, revealing my raw flesh. I reclaimed time lost; my unlived life. Forgiveness arrived, tentatively at first. Then—now—in bursts of disbelief. Inhabiting my life completely– no hiding, truly living – is unparalleled.

What do I know, now? I know that happiness, fun, pleasure—these are the necessities. I know that loss is loss and grief is grief. I know that forgiveness is the gateway; freedom and love lie beyond. I know that nothing is better than living my life as it is happening. Meeting the miraculous moments as me—just me.

Just being me is the only thing I ever have to do to be loved.

I know that living on the other side of my greatest fear I can do anything.

Endings and beginnings are kickstarts and catalysts. An invitation to a life I never knew was possible: this extraordinary life I am living now.

And above all else I know that no matter what I do or don’t do, I am worthy.

I offer my heart to you with the hope that it serves as a compass to lead you back to yourself, with an invitation to find and trust your own voice as you dive deeply into your desire.

* * *

I wasn’t living my own life. Are you? Whose life are you living? Tell me about it below, I want to know…

Do You Tell Yourself the Truth?

Your body is the barometer of truth.

 

As a kid, like most children, I was trying to figure out who I needed to be and what I needed to do to get the most love possible, while avoiding trouble and pain as much as I could.

For me, attempting to be perfect was simply an unconscious survival strategy. As I’ve shared openly, my need to be perfect was directly related to my disabled brother’s death when I was two-years-old. I believed that if I was imperfect — like he was — I would die.

Another one of my survival strategies was to become indispensable, bending over backwards to buy love by taking care of everyone else’s wants and needs.

I learned the hard way what happens when we deny own needs long enough.

Our desires, our health and our wellbeing will demand to be heard.
Even if you don’t heed that call, the truth will come out.
Unfortunately, most often it will come out sideways.
Perhaps you’ll become ill; or depressed; or if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself expressing those needs in destructive ways.

When something is “off” in your life, you know it. When we are feeling discontent in a particular area of our lives, we will discover that we are playing a role in that area that is not our authentic self. We are disconnected from the truth of who we are, and that disconnection has consequences.

It’s impossible to maintain a false identity without consequences. 

It takes an incredible amount of energy to hold up a mask, to continue a story, to portray a role that isn’t true. When you stop and tell the truth, so much energy becomes available to you — energy that can be used to live the life you want.

When we admit to ourselves what we already know, we fly through the doorway of discontent into full-blown freedom.

Facing the truth will fuel you to fulfill your potential and live the life you were meant to live. As you begin to explore who you really are, as you let the mask fall and commit to just being you, you will encounter the stories you have told yourself about yourself and your life.

You might even be amazed to discover that most of the pain we feel is due to our unwillingness to accept what is, exactly as it is – wishing something was different than it is or was – the stories you tell yourself, the stories you’ve wrapped around the truth.

The truth will plant you firmly in the present moment, clear on what is and what can be.

It’s important to remember that admitting to yourself what you already know, telling yourself the truth about your life, takes practice. It is a muscle that needs developing.

I believe the first step to freedom and lasting change is uncovering and admitting our truth. We examine the lies we tell ourselves and walk through what happens when we deny, avoid, or minimize our truth. We discuss survival strategies and our failed attempts at rationalization, justification and compartmentalization.

We discover that everyone has things we feel we need to hide in order to feel loved and accepted.

As we do this, as we take this first step, we discover the ways in which our minds bury but the body never lies.

Your body is the barometer of truth. 

Truth is visceral. You can feel it in your bones….in the core of your being, it is there.

We all have things we feel we need to hide in order to be loved and accepted.

In order to evolve, we must first unconceal the things we need to admit to ourselves…the things we already know.

What is the truth we hide when we betray ourselves? 

Betraying yourself can never be the price you pay to avoid betraying someone else.

We don’t serve anyone if we are pretending. We only serve their façade — the part of them that is in denial and unwilling to admit what they already know. We don’t owe anyone the denial of who we are.

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. The truth won’t be able to be denied forever.

As we begin to examine telling ourselves the truth, we can see how our lies have affected our relationships. We don’t feel truly loved and accepted when we know there are things we keep hidden out of sight. 

When we are honest with ourselves, we can’t pretend anymore.

We realize it is time to unconceal the things we need to admit to ourselves… the things we already know, and allow that to be our first step toward living our truth and being who we are meant to be.

What about you? 

If you aren’t happy with your life, or with some specific aspect of your life, there is probably something you haven’t been willing to tell yourself.

Let me know, in the comments below, if you’re ready to listen to the whisper within that you’ve been ignoring?

Are You Afraid of Fun!

Freedom requires play

 

Do you think fun is frivolous? Does play make you feel anxious? Do you relate to leisure as being lazy, unproductive and irresponsible?

I get it. I used to be just like you.

My perfectionism and my history—the pain I experienced around my brother’s death when I was so young—turned me into someone who didn’t know how to play or relax. In fact, I was so concerned about spending any time not working that I frequently worked during my off hours while I was at Hay House. It made no sense, of course, since I had a set salary. I would make just as much if I relaxed and enjoyed my time off as if I spent it crouched over my computer. But I wasn’t thinking logically! My beliefs told me that if I wasn’t working, I wasn’t valuable. And if I wasn’t valuable, I wasn’t safe.

It wasn’t until I left my job and started working for myself that I began to give myself time to play and enjoy my life. Which is ironic, since as any entrepreneur knows, when you’re working for yourself, there’s no such thing as paid time off! But my self-worth was finally intact, and I no longer believed I had to be a workhorse to validate my value. After that shift, I not only began to make more while working fewer hours, but I also began to learn how to enjoy my downtime. I can now play and relax without feelings of fear or guilt!

I’m here to tell you, there’s room for everything you need in your life—family, relationships, the right kind of work, and playtime.

So, tell me in the comments below: What will you do today to play?