Friday, January 9, 2015

Letter To The Nice Girls (Revisited)




Dear Nice Girl:

You know who you are. 

You’re the one who helps the elderly couple struggling to carry their luggage up the stairs.

You’re the girl who calls after a truck full of strangers to give them the book that flew out the back. (Maybe it was important to someone.) Your boyfriend locks his eyes on yours, shakes his head and says, “Nobody does that.” But you do. 

On the plane, you pick the fallen peanut package off the floor and place it gingerly on the tray table so the passenger sitting next to you – a sleeping soldier – can eat them when she wakes. 

You’re the one who tidies up the dishes on your table at the restaurant to make it easier for the server.

You try to make it easier for everyone.

You:

  • Pull forward at the drive-through to put the change in your wallet so the car behind you doesn’t have to wait a fraction of a second longer
  •  Always check behind you and around you to see how you can move out of another person’s way … never dreaming of making someone get out of yours. (Maybe you should.)
  • Didn’t conform at school and have one clique. You fluttered between all groups, getting along with the cool kids, the smart kids, the nerds, the gangsters, the jocks – everyone.


There’s simplicity in the way you love.

Peeling back fa├žades, gently lifting off masks others wear is your specialty. You peek behind and say, “Ah! There you are!”  

You keep secrets. Nice Girls are Professional Secret Keepers. You safely carry stories of lost pregnancies, abortions, the steel barrel shoved in his mouth, and betrayals measured by the number of kisses down another woman’s spine.

You’re good at keeping secrets … but not at keeping love.

You attract men with war and conflict on the soles of their feet. You recognize complex Achilles-aches and provide a place of centered calm; but his feet are too tired and too wounded to carry you. His war too bloody.

For years, you help and support conflicted men, hurt men, men in crisis, men in transition feel grounded. They say you saved them. 

You even get some thank yous. The Nice Girl carries them in a pearl box, knowing gratitude matters.

You think this makes you special, loved, different – almost powerful – to be The One who penetrates him, who sees his potential, his spirit ... even when he does not; but it’s not your job to heal his wounds.

Eventually, he wants a backpack and no possessions. A divorce. Or he wants what you can’t offer him: his own children and a clean slate. Or he moves away to focus on his education ... he can’t have you and focus on dreams. 

When he asks you to let him go, you gently bless him, and blow him away to freedom.

This is the pattern. It begins to feel like continuous rejection, a cyclical sacrifice of self. You wonder what’s wrong with you. 

Look: Not all people are nice.  

Some betray you. Don’t keep their promises or show up for you when you need arms around you … because they’re too deep in their own hurt (all while you, Nice Girl, are empathetic about their pain and try to help them through it, even when they were the cause of yours).  

The generosity you give to others you don’t give to yourself. 

They push the boundaries of hurt ... because they can. Because out of kindness (and perhaps, sometimes, fear), you've let them.

You learn that “You’re one of the nicest, sweetest people I’ve ever known,” comes with a slap-down, a “but.” 

·         But he tells you not to fall in love with him.
·         But “I don’t want to keep you from meeting a nice guy.”
·         But he’s not happy enough … because you weigh too much.
·         But he’s having affairs.
·         But he’s not ready for your love.
·         But he’s confused. 

He loves you…
but doesn’t choose you.

There are some, who at worst, know how to turn your compassion inside out. 

They set fire to your self-worth and rain ashes on you. 

You’ll burn, yes; but you’ll burn brightly and the moon will smile at you from afar, knowing you are the fire. 

Ashes will fertilize the soil and you will grow again.

Ashes are story kindling. Stories that alight.

What looks like destruction is rebirth.

See, not everyone wants tranquility. He might like the steel cut of a knife or the desert sting of wind. He might like edgy storms.

And you know how to weather storms... 

You see the front coming and unlike most – who retreat – go straight out. You see how far you can go. The air shifts. The rains come. You smile and brace for those winds and let them rip through your hair. You want to spread your arms out as wide as the tumultuous ocean lets you, embrace it all, and scream, “BRING IT!” 

It’s in those storms that you feel the hot, raw, visceral energy piercing through you. It brews deep in your soul. 

Oh … there’s a wild strength within you. 

And you want more. 

It’s time to harness that energy and make a choice: Live out the ache of old patterns or create ones that honor you.

Listen. 

Listen to the whispers of your heart. They’ve been there all along, inviting you to generously devote time to yourself, Dear One. 

Live in devotion to yourself until you realize that you are the Love you seek. 

Surround yourself with those who see your gifts of sensitivity and empathy as just that: Gifts. Know this for yourself.

Know there’s beauty in disappointment: It leads you to finally recognize what it is you do want.

When you’re ready, build yourself a luminescent, storm-torn door. A door that humbly stands in the beauty of its imperfections,  right in front of your golden meadow heart.

Only you can open it.  

There will be those who meet you there. 

Watch on the horizon for the storm chasers. The ones that show up, courageous.

They drive hours just to have coffee and see your face. 

He notices little things: the tiny mole above the knuckle on your index finger and the one on your heel; that you curl your toes and screw your mouth to the side when you’re nervous. He’ll kiss your crooked mouth still until he knows, you know, that you are loved. 

They love in quantities the galaxies hold and go so high, they grab handfuls of stars for when you have nights that go dark.

Their soul clicks and their arms spark when they see you. 

They show up when you’re on your knees.
They stay. 
They won’t burn you … and you’ll have stars. 

Keep your palms open to the sky, Nice Girl. 

Build your door. Carve beauty all over it.  
         
Let them come to you. 

And remember, always, who you are. 

*This is an edited version of the previously published Letter to the Nice Girls (2013)*

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Your Magical Words: Discovering Your Word(s) of the Year

http://eepurl.com/2OMVH

It started as a child. I'd scour dictionaries, enchanted by the meaning and histories of words. I still am. And I still scour dictionaries. 

Words are magic. They have the potential to touch our lives - to even change our lives.

Remember those sweet, sticky words whispered to you late at night in the arms of someone you loved?

Or the time that someone rattled your soul with cruel, abusive and cutting words?

There's power in words. They can put a spell on us and weave us into possibilities. Or into despair.

Words are magic.

So it's no surprise that three years ago, I was allured by the idea of choosing a "Word of the Year" in January as an alternative to setting resolutions. Resolutions didn't ever stick, but a word? Oh, a word might just entice me to stay devoted and committed. The word (or words) chosen are meant to be a guiding light to help direct you during your year.

As you adopt your word(s) (some people have three words, like a mantra, others have up to four...it doesn't matter), you can use them to make decisions, create plans and strategies, to have as a touchstone to see if you're on track with the goals you want to embody over the year.

My words have been the theme for my work and personal strategy. They're utilized as a tool to check-in and see if I'm in alignment with what I'm creating.

The first year was Ignite + Glow.
Year two? True North. 
This year? Gentle Effervescence.

Their deep and personal meaning provided just what I needed to gain momentum personally and professionally ... with profound impact.  


But how do you come up with a word of the year? 

I struggled the first year, but was fortunate to have the loving support of sisters who took a creative business ecourse run by Kelly Rae Roberts. (We're all still connected.)

They generously shared resources and their experiences or processes with finding a word; in fact, a resounding number said the word(s) would find them. This, too, has been my experience.

I talk about that in the workbook I just created for YOU so you can have a step-by-step process for coming up with your own word.

Click here to get the free workbook, "YOUR MAGICAL WORD(S)."

All the resources that I've been fortunate to find over the years are pulled together in one, beautiful, fun, and soulful workbook to help you find your word(s) of the year.

This year's words
Gentle Effervescence are my words ... and they certainly surprised me. While I knew that I wanted to have more energy, more connections, to sparkle a bit more professionally + personally, I couldn't really "see" myself as "effervescent."

It's as if the universe knew this and handed me - quite gently - the qualifier "gentle."  I wouldn't be able to pull off being BOLDLY effervescent. It's just not who I am. But gently effervescent? Yes, I can get behind that. Thank you, Universe.

There are two other words this year, too, which are combined with my words of the year; they are my "core desired feelings" - something that I discovered by going through Danielle LaPorte's book, "The Desire Map."

So my north star leading me with all its magical twinkles and alchemical concoctions is:
Generous Devotion (to) Gentle Effervescence

It's my hope that if you haven't discovered your own word(s) of the year, that you'll download the beautiful workbook and that by doing so, you will have your own north star, your own guide post, to help you throughout this year.

It will make a difference, I promise.

P.S. If you're already signed-up for my newsletter (the Love Notes), then you'll receive the free downloadable workbook in the next one.

P.P.S Some lovely blog posts from my beautiful friends who wrote about their word of the year:
Monica Martin, mixed media artist at The Artsy Girl Studio. Word: Purpose
Michelle Reynolds, an artist in Australia at Shells in the Bush. Word: Focus
Rene' Savoie, an artist at Peabody Designs. Word: Fearless.
Philippa Ramsden, an incredible writer in Yangon, Myanmar, at Feisty Blue Gecko. Words: Breathe, Stargaze, and Realise.
Galia Alena, a soulful mixed media artist in Australia. In fact, she's having a giveaway! Go to her site right away + you enter to win a customized piece of art that reflects your word of the year for your altar!

Have you chosen a word for the year? Please share it below in the comments! If you've written a blog post about it, please place a link to it there, too so you can get some comment love.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Secrets of Letting Go (VIDEO!)

Last week, I sent out my newsletter and included something different: a video message. The response was positive and it was suggested by some that I post it here publicly so everyone can watch it.

So, I'm listening to my readers and posting the video. This is a little scary (and feels super vulnerable!) but I've felt the desire to come closer to you, to reach out in new ways ... and a video is certainly much more intimate!

The video below provides tips and insights - the secrets - of letting go. It is my deepest hope that it provides some comfort, some love, some type of support to you. 


What are some ways that you let go? Or what is it that you need to let go of? I'd love to hear in your comments below. 

Oh! And if you'd like more videos like this, then feel free to "share" this and leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

If you'd like little love notes from me (my newsletter), then sign up here. You'll receive little love notes periodically from me -- and I promise not to overload your inbox with them.

Friday, October 24, 2014

When Dreams Are Dashed

  
This post is in response to a request from some of my Facebook followers to write about this topic. 

Dear Beautiful You,

Things haven't gone quite as planned.

You had a vision of what your life would look like by now ... a checklist of accomplishments to mark the successes, indicating that you're moving right along, just like everyone else. Some of the items on the list have been ticked off. Others, have not.

And then there are your dreams. The beautiful dreams you've held within so tightly, nurturing, only to learn that it's not possible for you to have what you wanted. At least, not in the way you wanted it. Not right now.

It doesn't feel fair.

You did everything you could to prepare for your dream. You studied how to get what you wanted. You listened to the experts, took care of yourself and created a vessel - a space - to delicately cradle this precious desire which has bled away.

The worst part is, you can't control it or fix it or get back what you've lost.

It hurts.

There's grief as you mourn what could've been. And sometimes, there's anger. An anger that slices through you - righteous and steely - pointed at the inequity of it all.

In your pain, you start to see there's a fine line between allowing it to swallow you and leaning into the hurt without being overcome.

When you're devoured by loss, you lay down your power and say, "I can do nothing. I'm nothing in comparison to this hurt." You shut down. Most of us do this at some point. It's almost a survival instinct ... a protective mode: Curl up, retreat, and wait it out.

But when you lean into your pain, disappointment, and grief from a place of awareness, of being alive, you're not shutting down; instead, you're acknowledging your grave loss with the strength to tell the truth: "This hurts."

The subtle difference between leaning in and being overcome with pain is knowing that pain is not permanent. Nothing is.

It's similar to when you work out and feel the strain of a muscle stretching in a way it's not used to. You notice it. Actively engage with your body and its experience; and while you allow your body to feel what it does without giving up or shutting down, it becomes more agile, stronger.

When you trust yourself enough to be vulnerable and tell the truth about how you feel, you move through the pain. It's a surrender to the truth of right now ... without knowing what the future holds.

But right now, the truth is that the dreams you held onto tightly have been dashed and you don't know what to do. How to move forward. How to construct new dreams.

Grieve your loss. Be honest about how you feel. Then, when the time is right for you, you'll discover a new version of your hopes. You'll find a way to achieve a semblance of what you had deeply wanted. Maybe you'll even remember an older dream that you had always wanted, but were afraid to go after ... and you find the courage to do it now.

Maybe it means further study or committing changes to your life. Maybe adoption or being the best Aunt that ever lived. Maybe it means a career change. Or a divorce. 

Unknowns are challenging; but you don't have to know the answer right now. You will. When you're ready.

Until then, beautiful one, know that you are loved. And you will have new dreams that are just as amazing as this one was.

I'd love to hear what some of your deepest held dreams are. Please feel free to share.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How to Have Self-Esteem: It's All About Love




Life can be unclear, muddied, filled with unknowns.

When challenges hit, your sense of direction is thwarted by uncertainty; it feels personal, like life is picking a fight with you … and it’s winning. You’re left nursing a raw vulnerability that leads down the dark alley of self-doubt, asking: What did I do to deserve this? Why can’t I catch a break? Why does this always happen to me? Soon, you’re recalling every mistake, regret, and lie you’ve ever told yourself. The only thing that becomes clear is a belief that you’re flawed. 

You know the signs. You’re harder on yourself. Grumpier. Less patient. Tired. Restless. Fearful of what is going to happen next and unable to get the past off rewind. It’s hard to focus. You feel less kind. And as your mind lives with recent struggles and disappointments, you wonder why it is that each time another difficulty rears its head, all the old ones decide to haunt your memory, causing you to feel heavy. Disconnected. Isolated.

You decide you want to feel better. So, you seek outside validation that confirms you’re good enough. If someone hires you, gives you a new job, you’re valuable. If your friends reach out without reaching out to them, you’re important. If you lose 20lbs, you’ll finally be attractive. If that man asks you out on a date, and then another, you’re worthy of love. Until then, you remain unseen, invisible, feeling unworthy, unimportant, unattractive, unloved. And quite alone. 

What happens when you don’t lose those 20lbs, the guy doesn’t ask you out on a second date, your friends don’t call (probably because you didn’t tell them you needed them), and the new job doesn’t come through? You’re suspended in time, frozen in a spot of near inaction, of fear. Could it be true that you’re unworthy? After all … you didn’t receive the validation you needed.

Something along these lines occurs to you: “I need better self-esteem and more confidence. I need to learn how to care about myself.”

The gurus say if you don’t love yourself, you can’t really love someone else; but you don’t really love yourself a lot right now, so you begin questioning your capacity to love. You begin to feel guilty, wondering if you don’t love those you do love … enough! You can’t even LOVE right!

You don’t have to learn to love yourself.  You don’t even have to try to love yourself.

You ARE love. It’s who you are. The only thing needed is to remember that. Naturally, when you’re not all in your head or worried or scared, you emanate love.

Not sure what I mean? Each time you feel happiness, joy, wonder, or beauty, you’re simply experiencing loving feelings … those words/emotions are rooted in love. If you smile or express that positive emotion in any way, you’re expressing – or being – love.

Next time you compassionately hold your friend’s hand because her heart has been shattered, take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I’m being love.” And guess what? Your friend will feel it. And so will you. There will be a shift.

When you see something beautiful … a perfect rose, children laughing, an elderly couple holding hands … and you recognize it as such, you are being and feeling love.

When you eat an incredible piece of chocolate – and you know it, allowing a slight moan to escape from your lips – you are being and feeling love.

It doesn’t take any special effort other than to see what is already there and then express it.

Self-love is simply remembering that there isn’t a disconnect between the thing that you’re feeling loving towards and yourself. That love is you, radiating from you.

Acknowledging your feelings, allowing yourself to be in a moment, and then feeling the freedom to express what is going on, is an act of love. 

And anytime you’re being loving, you’re being self-loving, too. There’s no separation. The only distinction is your awareness of this ... and that makes all the difference.It's a slight change in how you see things.

Most of us, especially when we’re going through challenging times, will do anything to avoid feeling the pain we’re experiencing; but it’s just as loving – and radically freeing – to admit when you feel alone, sad, afraid. Doing so allows those feelings to flow and pass through you, instead of ignoring them ... which does not remedy the situation. Why? Because telling the truth is an act of love.

You don’t have to learn how to have self-esteem or go after trying to love yourself. Instead, tell yourself the truth.

So recognize it when you: fix your hair because it makes you feel beautiful; decide to sleep because your body is tired; eat because you’re hungry; take a break at work because you need one; connect with a friend because you miss them; wear those saucy shoes and earring because you feel hot when you do. 

Not because you’re “trying” to be loving towards yourself; but because you are being love.

There will be seasons where it seems life is beating you up. You may even have a few scars to show for it. But when you’re in that raw, dark alley remember: You are enough. You are beautiful, exactly the way you are. There is nothing you have to do, except to tell the truth, which includes recognizing you’re brave for facing – straight on – your vulnerability. 

And this, too, is love.

So, sweet, dear you: What are ways that you show your love? Remembering that when you're being loving towards others, you're being loving towards yourself, also. And ... when you're being loving towards yourself, you're being loving towards others, because there is no differentiation. Love is Love. 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Date Training



Sometimes, we get down on ourselves and think – for whatever reasons – others may not find us attractive.

Attractiveness isn't about your clothing size or your hair. It's how you carry yourself. A sense of believing in who you are, knowing that you are special and important. That you have beauty within. And you do. We all do. It’s a matter of taking the time to remember what makes you unique. What you have to offer to this world. Getting in touch with who you really are.

After painful relationships and encounters, we’re often afraid of being rejected and disappointed again. That fear can be so powerful and so loud that it stops us in our tracks, preventing us from trusting our intuition and taking a chance. Instead, we shield parts of our hearts in the false belief that no one will ever truly accept us exactly as we are.

The more we’ve been broken-hearted, the more we protect ourselves. Eventually, it would take an extraordinarily talented ninja to penetrate our personal Great Wall of China: We’ve created our very own self-fulfilling prophesy.

Though I’m a big advocate for dating (it’s a wonderful way to learn about what you want and don’t want out of a relationship), it’s not for sissies. It’s scary. It’s hard. And if your walls are already quite high and thick, doing a bit of training before stepping into the dating scene is worthwhile.

What do I mean by training? Just like you’d train for a marathon, you can train for dating. Without this preparation, you can further injure an already strained or broken heart. While you’re single, see it as an opportunity to get to know yourself. Woo yourself. Discover and uncover who you are just in the same way you yearn for another to.

Many of us deeply wish for someone study us, to feel enthralled and entranced when they’re with us. Until we’re clear about our inner magnificence, how can we really expect another to see itYes, I absolutely believe that partners can hold a mirror up to us and help us accept, profoundly, our beauty.

Yet, if you feel damaged or unlovable, the first step is to gently deconstruct those self-loathing beliefs by bravely removing your heart-shield brick-by-brick to let love’s light in. And trust me, beautiful one, that light is already there. You are it.

So, take yourself on a date. Do something you like. Go to an art museum. A movie. Cook yourself a fabulous meal. Drive to the beach or up in the hills. Get a manicure. If those aren't feasible, take a bubble bath, light candles and read a book. Or a juicy magazine. Buy some erotica if you want. Splurge on an outfit that makes YOU feel sexy. Spend time in front of the mirror, looking yourself right in the eyes, and seeing how gorgeous you are.

When we focus on ourselves and truly get to know our own bodies and our own hearts, we become centered; then, if you want someone in your life, you'll attract the kind of person who is attracted to the real you, how you sparkle. And you’re meant to sparkle. If you don’t believe me, then believe Ms. Lauryn Hill when she sings “Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.” (Doo Wop/That Thing) You are a gem.

If we believe no one will be attracted to us, they may not be … but not because we’re NOT attractive ... but because we've put that vibe out. (Or worse, we'll attract the type of person who senses that we’re not feeling 100% and take advantage of that. That won't feel good … and we’ve all probably had that happen before. Let’s not do a repeat.)

It comes down to this: What you want from another, give to yourself. You want someone to be kind to you? Be kind to yourself. To respect you? Respect yourself. Show up for yourself.

Each time you do this, you’re taking a piece of your wall away, and allowing room for you to peek inside your fabulous heart and see just how stunning you are. And when you know, everyone else will, too.

So, go shine.

P.S. If this is an area that’s difficult for you (I know it is for many of us), then perhaps you're interested in more exercises that could help which I offer through coaching sessions.