The Power of a Tribe and Divine Female Energy
At first glance, you may look at the above picture and believe that I am lost in a powerful moment of prayer, breathwork, or meditation, but I am here to assure you that this is not at all the case. In fact, when this picture was snapped unbeknownst to me, I was in the middle of the ocean on a beautiful, sunny day, skin kissed by a warm breeze, in the throes of the most terrifying and life-altering panic attack I have ever experienced in my entire existence. In fact, the story I am about to share with you was quite honestly one of the most vulnerable and powerful moments of my entire life.
My weekend adventure immersing myself in the warm, calming flow, and bold, brilliant colors of the middle of the Atlantic ocean started out amazingly well. As my best friend and I jumped into the water with our masks and snorkels, I was instantly engulfed in the beauty and mystery of the coral reef below me. I spent forty-five fascinating minutes exploring before we decided to head back to the boat, take off our gear, and go for an unencumbered swim. I removed my flippers and mask, ran to the back of the boat, and jumped right into the crystal clear water. I remember a fleeting thought entering my consciousness…”The world is SO big and I feel so small right now.” and all of a sudden I was gripped by panic. My body became instantly cold and numb as waves of fear washed from my head all the way down through my toes. I felt as though I couldn’t breathe, my heart racing a million miles per minute. I couldn’t get out fast enough and when I did, it took every effort to suck in enough air to prevent me from passing out. With forty other people milling about, I’m sure you can imagine that it wasn’t exactly helping the onset of panic. As I sat on the front of the boat trying desperately to calm myself down, a realization hit me that I was completely vulnerable out here. If I was indeed dying in this moment (as my mind kept assuring me that I was), there was legitimately nothing I could do about it.
I made my way cautiously back to my seat and something of a miracle happened then. As I lifted my gaze to focus on the horizon, my eyes caught those of a woman across from me who was probably in her late 50’s, early 60’s. She mouthed, “Are you okay?” to me, and my usually stoic composure crumbled as I mouthed back, “No.” Without hesitation, this woman crossed the deck, sat down next to me, and swept me up in her arms. She softly reminded me to breathe and to close my eyes as she rocked me back and forth and wrapped me up in her towel. Another woman brought me water, and yet another encouraged me to eat a small snack. At first, my typical self-preservation kicked in and I resisted the temptation to curl into the unknown comfort of this mystery woman, but gradually, I felt myself allow her to draw me in and I rested my head on her shoulder as she continued to squeeze me close. This amazingly beautiful woman held me like this for a full 45-minute boat ride, never even knowing my name or anything about me…and I allowed myself in that moment to let go of all of my defenses and be taken care of.
As we neared shore and I began to feel more at ease, I sat up a little straighter and looked around me. One by one, every woman on the boat locked her gaze with me and nodded, almost as though they, too, were breathing easier for me. I was later informed by my best friend that the moment my body curled into this woman who had been holding me, each woman on the boat sat up straighter and closed their eyes, taking deep, methodical breaths. She said it was the most incredible thing she had ever seen. I thanked my amazing Angel Mama (who I found out was named Anne), and although she humbly accepted the gratitude, I don’t truly know if she understands what she did for me. I don’t know that any of those women do. I am notoriously a person who takes care of herself and others. Rarely do I allow myself the opportunity to be truly nurtured, particularly by strangers, but these beautiful women from all over the world who spoke probably six languages between them, came together in a stoic show of support to provide a safe container for me to experience the very real terror and weakness that I was feeling. I don’t want to exclude the men here either, all of whom tapped into their own Goddess energy and supported me by offering a smile, a squeeze as I walked off the boat, or as far as Anne’s husband goes, his wife.
When we got back to my car, I let myself cry harder than I’ve cried in a long time. We often move through life forgetting that we need others to support us in our moments of weakness, maybe even sometimes feeling like we don’t deserve to be supported. When we can cross over those self-imposed blocks, we open to possibility and allow Universal love to flow to us and even through us. The truth is, it is always there, even when we don’t see it, and the scary thing is that if we let our fear of looking weak or vulnerable become greater than our need for love and connection, we may stand to miss out on the incredible freedom and power it can bring into our lives.
What I experienced this weekend was the power of love, the power of a group of women working toward a common goal, the power of the Warrior Goddess energy that exists within each of us regardless of our sex, and the power of treating others as though they are not separate. At the base of it all, we are all humans, needing, seeking, and desiring love, acceptance, and the right to be ourselves at any given moment. These women and men gave me a gift that I will work hard to pass on to others in any way that I can. We often have no idea how great of an impact our small acts of kindness might have on another person. As far as Anne and the other passengers on that boat go, they have unknowingly helped to heal some long-existing wounds that have prevented me from fully allowing myself to become close to others, females in particular. They have helped to birth a better version of myself and have encouraged me to pass that feeling along. Hopefully, this story inspires you to do the same. Let your Warrior Goddess light shine bright…the world needs it so badly right now and always.
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The Importance of Getting To Know (and Love) Your Inner Dork!
I was born an extremely strange child. That’s me up above in the background, pulling on my eyelids with martian bobbles on my head. That’s my sister up front, looking marginally annoyed and confused by whatever I am doing and my existence in general. I have evoked this response from her, and many others, since my first breaths on this Earth, and I have a funny feeling I may continue to do so until my last.
When I was little, being weird and silly worked for me. It was a great way to ease tension, get myself out of trouble (my mother ALWAYS broke), distract myself from boredom and use my imagination in creative ways. We had a giant dress-up box in my basement and whenever it was raining and I couldn’t play outside and peel acorns for -the squirrels, down to the basement I would go. I would spend some time finding the perfect outfit, march back up the stairs (sometimes at my own risk depending on my threads), head into whatever room my family member, house guests, friends or door-to-door salesman were in and just stand there…until somebody noticed and burst out laughing.
I continued this behavior throughout high school, not assumed “most likely to succeed” or “best dressed”, but certainly nailing “funniest girl” when it came time for my peers to vote for our senior yearbook. I could handle that. Funny was my thang. I never felt weird or judged for being a goon. It just came naturally and, even when others scoffed at it or thought me obnoxious, I did my thing and tried not to worry about it.
In short, I was a big dork. However, life hasn’t always been a series of silly moments for me. I went through a very dark time, much like most people I know. As I got a little older, life threw a rather quick succession of shitty events my way, and somewhere in the midst of it all, I lost my spark. Being silly and goofy became that thing that other people who weren’t going through drama did. It seemed like a waste of time and an act of immaturity. I began relying on substances and things outside of myself to help me hold on to that feeling of joy and freedom that being myself had previously allowed me to have. I gave half-ass smiles when I knew it was appropriate and made self-deprecating cracks once in a while just to keep up my shtick, but inside I felt very broken and unhappy. Slowly, the zany, dorky person who I naturally am, got lost in a spiral of self-judgement, self-pity and the feeling that this is how I was “supposed to be” after the things I had been through. To put it bluntly, I was pissed off, bored out of my mind, depressed and TOTALLY out of alignment with who I was.
Fast forward a few years (like 10). I gave birth to my son and spent the first year or so of his life looking at him much like my sister is looking at me in the debut picture of this post. How is he smiling and happy and goofy all the time? Where does his energy come from? Can I have some of it????? I couldn’t help but smile myself. Two years later, my daughter was born. By this time, I was starting to get the hang of this whole motherhood thing (if anybody can truly “get the hang” of parenting, that is). I began to watch their interaction with one another, and from the very first day I brought her home, I watched them find joy in each other. They laughed incessantly together from the day she could laugh. They began to imagine and create together as soon as she could do that. They played dress-up and restaurant and superheroes and would come to me almost daily to see who’s creative outfit was the best (they still do, and they always tie). Watching them, I started to learn how to play and be silly again. I remembered how much fun impromptu dance parties in the living room are, how much fun it is to make others laugh and how amazingly freeing it is to let yourself be the dorkiest, craziest version of yourself, no matter what.
I am proud to say that now, at 35 years old, I am once again an unapologetic dork, like it or lump it. It took me a while, but I finally realized the importance of owning my inner dork, without exception. I’ve also realized that we ALL have an inner dork. Mine shows up through goofy costumes, bad dance moves and singing off key, but maybe yours is something else. Maybe you like telling really bad jokes. Maybe you’re really into stamp collecting or enjoy looking in the mirror and making up your own commercials. Maybe you like to secretly escape to Star Trek conventions or enjoy watching Anime action/adventure flicks on the weekends. Whatever your inner dork digs, let it shine! You enjoy these things for a reason, and denying them because of social norms or how others might perceive you, isn’t doing you any favors. There is endless joy in embracing the things that allow you to be a total goofball. When we take ourselves too seriously, we slowly extinguish this beautiful part of ourselves. When we learn to love it, we inspire others to do the same.
Yes, I am a dork, through and through. I am a dork and I own it proudly. I am also married to an incredibly awesome dork and the mother to two of the most amazing dorks I know. Find your passion, embrace it and share it with the world, no matter what it looks like. This is what makes you uniquely you. If you’re really ready to let your dork flag fly, share a picture of your dorkiest moment in the comment section below! I’d love to see it!
If you are ready to release your limiting beliefs and learn to love your inner dork again, visit my website HERE or call me for a free consultation at 561-951-7045. You can also like me on FACEBOOK to keep up with my latest classes & events.
Meet Your Inner Critic…And Knock That Punk Out
A couple of weeks ago, my husband walked in to my bathroom to find me sitting on the floor, head resting on my knees, sobbing uncontrollably. Though his first impulse was probably to hightail it out of there, luckily I have the best hubbers EVA, so instead, he sat down next to me and cautiously asked if I was okay. My answer…”NO, I’m NOT okay…I’m fucking awful! Just awful!” So there…glad that you asked? As I started to list off all of the reasons I was doing so terribly, I began to come to the realization that all of the rage that I was feeling inwardly, I had been projecting outward to him and my kids for the past couple of weeks. This, of course, just made me sob harder and feel worse because now, not only was I feeling awful, but I was also an asshole because I had been treating others awfully. Geesh. No pressure. You know what, though? The realization was SO freeing, because it allowed me to take a big, hard, necessary look at myself.
All of us are guilty of this at one point or another. When we are feeling any type of disdain towards ourselves, we project it out onto those closest to us. For example, think of a time where you felt guilty or angry at the way you had talked to your kids. Next thing you know, you’re tearing into your spouse about the way that they are talking to the kids or over-disciplining or looking at them funny. If you don’t have kids, think of a time where you were at work feeling underappreciated. Suddenly you see a co-worker getting praised and you unconsciously start recognizing all of the things that co-worker has done wrong in the past few weeks. I even made cupcakes for the manager’s birthday party last week…she didn’t bring shit, he can’t even remember to put the toilet seat lid down…eww…but they seem to think he’s so freaking smart, she’s such a suck-up, etc. Maybe you don’t feel like you are making enough money and coincidentally you suddenly feel the need to lash out at your brother/sister/spouse/parent/friend for the way they are handling (or not handling) their finances. You begin to judge what’s happening in other peoples lives, rather than peek under the hood and find the source of the discomfort within yourself. Pretty shitty, right? Yeah, I felt that way too.
As I melted down in my bathroom that day, I was flooded by the reality that I had been a real bitch the past couple of weeks. I let everything out…all of the ways that I was angry, disappointed, aggravated, annoyed and disgusted with MYSELF, and each release allowed me to see how this feeling was being reflected out to those around me. Hubbers would come home and tell me something positive that had happened in his day and I would respond by completely invalidating him in one way or another, simply because I didn’t feel positive myself. My kids would be laughing and playing and being silly and I would get aggravated at how loud they were being, because I didn’t feel joyful. All of this happiness was completely accessible to me, but I had allowed my own inner thoughts to essentially create a prison that kept me from enjoying it.
Now, it should be said that I am naturally a person that has big expectations of myself, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with setting big goals. What I realized through this purge, however, was that I was putting up all of these big expectations without having any compassion for myself or acknowledgement that I am human. Then, when I didn’t make a deadline or get the result that I was so attached to getting, I was feeling like a failure and thus began my old pal, Inner Critic, chattering away and reminding me of all of the ways I wasn’t good enough. Man, when that voice gets started, she just doesn’t SHUT THE FUCK UP! If we choose to listen to that voice, we can end up on a serious downward spiral, that only we have the power to stop.
Give yourself one day to really pay attention to the voice in your head. What does it say to you? Does it compliment you in that pretty dress or tell you that you look like a fat slob? Does it pat you on the back for your witty remark or does it insist that you shouldn’t have made that stupid comment because nobody thought it was funny? Does it cheer you on as you hit obstacles and keep moving towards your goal, or does it use these obstacles to discourage you by reminding you that you should have played it safe or that you should quit while you’re ahead? A good way to gauge the volume of your Inner Critic is to really start to listen to it. If the things this voice is saying to you are things you couldn’t imagine saying to somebody that you love, chances are that you shouldn’t be saying them to yourself. The more awareness you bring to this voice, the more opportunities that you have to redirect those thoughts to a more compassionate voice within you.
Don’t be like me…don’t vomit your emotions onto your husband through a two-hour barrage of tears because your Inner Critic got so loud that you couldn’t shut it up! Beat your Inner Critic to the punch. Seek them out before they seek you out. Pay attention to the thoughts in your head and demand compassion from yourself, way more than you demand perfection. What I have found through this entire process, and the reason I’m sharing it with you, is that I am lighter, happier, freer and filled with gratitude at the amazing things in my life. I know for a fact that I will never let my Inner Critic get that loud again because I love myself and I love the people around me and I love that they love me too! That’s a whole lotta love. You should get on this love-train. It’s a fun place to be!
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“Compassion is a verb.”
Thich Nhat Hanh once said that “Compassion is a verb”. A verb is a word used to describe an action. Compassion is defined on Dictionary.com as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune”; a feeling…a noun. Although there is a clear paradox in these two definitions, Hanh’s statement is truly powerful. He is implying that compassion is not a passive state of being…it’s not just a feeling. The state of compassion points us to a need for action.
The world is currently in a sad shape, so surrounded are we by hatred, fear, war, and adversity. Countries are bombing one another over the very things we should be coming together over. God, no matter what name you call Him/Her/It by, should be a unifying force between us, and yet our need to be right continuously throws up senseless barriers. Natural disasters are wiping out countries that are living in absolute squalor, yet we have building materials stocking shelves in every Home Depot across the country, sitting unused. Children across the world are starving, and here we are with a Publix on every single corner. I could go on and on and on. We have all experienced that moment, watching the news, sick to our stomach at the turmoil we are seeing on the screen, wondering how people can do these things to one another, to the planet, etc. We watch helplessly on, feeling sympathy for others in their suffering and wishing there was something we could do about it. However, can you imagine what kind of a world we could create if, together, we put some action behind these feelings?
This post is not meant to be depressing, nor is it meant to be a rant about all of the things we are doing wrong as a society. It is simply meant to raise awareness. How are YOU showing up each day? Are you putting action behind your compassion? It’s so easy to get caught up in the feeling of being one, small voice, but we are each so much bigger than that if we simply TRY to be heard. One small voice becomes two small voices, and then three and four, and eventually hundreds of voices getting louder and louder and louder, until perhaps the day comes where our voices boom louder even than the poverty, louder than the hunger, louder than the bombs ravaging countries. However, if we allow ourselves to fall back into this helplessness we may feel, we are relinquishing any power that we could potentially have to positively impact our future and the lives of those around us.
Each of us will leave our impact differently. Maybe we become the voice for those without the resources to speak out, maybe we raise money for a cause we are passionate about, or maybe we fly abroad to volunteer in impoverished countries. Maybe our role in the process is as simple as lending an ear to someone who needs to be listened to, or offering a smile and a hug to someone who is going through a tough time. All of these acts, no matter how big or small, matter. YOU matter! Your voice matters. Your decision to take action rather than submit to the world as it is, matters. SO. VERY. MUCH.
As we approach a new week, I urge each and every one of you to use each day within it to take some form of action. Where does your compassion draw you? What cause, circumstance, person, or charity needs your one, small voice, so that theirs can grow loud enough to be heard? Start simple. Write a blog, send a love letter, share a smile, buy the guy in line behind you a cup of coffee without telling him. Every act of compassion ignites a spark in its recipient and any others lucky enough to watch it happen. Be that spark. We are all one family, all wanting the same things from this life. Safety, security, happiness, triumph, peace, and love. You, no matter who you are, have the opportunity to help provide these things to people all across the board, whether you know it or not. Your one, simple smile could be just the thing that ignites the spark in another, who then goes off to change the world. You never know how powerful you are, but know that you are far more powerful than you think.
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Pre-conditioning….and a Dog Named Bacon