|I shared this story once before: |
My life went to hell. My husband at the time forged my name to put liens on our assets and ultimately lost his business putting us in debt (over $1M). And I found out he had a drug problem. My children were barely one and five years old. We lost our savings, our home, and our marriage. And he ended up in court over the next two years.
It’s difficult to know when you’re in the middle of a shitstorm if you’re making the right decisions. Looking back, I got through it like a champion. And I learned to ask for help and choose my truth.
Fortunately, I had already been learning to heal through foods, regularly practicing yoga, and working with my doctors and spiritual teachers weekly. We all experience hell in one form or another. This is why I speak so strongly about the practices we share. I was fortunate enough to start them before my hell, so I had access to powerful tools that gave me energy, made me believe in myself, and show up in the world roaring compassionately.
But my story doesn’t end there. I was content. I turned my life around, loved the people around me (dropping all the toxic influences), and I had an incredible support system and a healthy, relaxed lifestyle. Because of my full dive into a yogic life, I developed a strong aura; it wouldn’t be unusual, at the time, for a total stranger to approach and tell me about it. Or for someone to say, I feel incredibly calm around you; I want what you have.
Yet I felt a turbulence bubbling underneath the calm. After I had taken care of the hell that was my life circumstance, I realized I had completely insulated myself in this new, sweet life and stopped putting myself in uncomfortable situations to continue following my soul’s journey. It’s like I decided to park along the path and set up camp. I was called to tear down this insulation. I wanted to close my eyes and ears and not listen. Life was fine, I did my work.
That’s the burden that feels so heavy and brings on the existential anxiety, the agitation, and the body aches when we don’t listen to our soul and grow…. as Marianne Williamson puts it… powerful beyond measure.
It’s the dirty pain* of not busting out of our current comfort zone to take the call that’s felt in the undertone of disquietness and agitation. It’s what causes us to wake up feeling incomplete, like we left something on the table.
I listen to the call the best I can, I make tons of mistakes, and I’m often uncomfortable. People have long stopped commenting on my aura, which makes me wonder if it’s shrunk. I’m learning some lessons over again, it seems. But this time with many more tools under my belt and a whole lot more certainty about who I am and what I have to offer. I’ve gone through it before.
When hell is screaming at your door, it’s obvious you have to take care of it. When disquiet is at your door, it’s not so obvious. Hopefully you listen, and you take care of it before hell arrives… sometimes the way it did for me when everything literally blows up, and sometimes in the form of chronic pain, auto-immune issues, or mental illness.
Don’t blow it off. Choose clean pain.*
You’ll know when you’re done with your journey. I promise.
*In life, pain exists. How you deal with it will determine whether or not you experience dirty pain or clean pain. Clean pain is when pain happens and you take care of it. The act of taking care of it is uncomfortable but direct, real-time, clean, honest, and temporary. As singer India Arie says, what did not demolish me simply polished me, now the clearer I can see. The act of avoiding pain is dirty, causing heaviness, confusion, exhaustion, and overwhelm with added layers of pain from self-judgement and shame that refuses to go away until you choose clean pain.
P.S. – I have a question for you that I’m trying to understand better. Will you help? What do you think is the key thing that causes some people to focus on taking the next step vs. feeling the obstacles deeply (and getting stuck in the overwhelm)? If you’re reading this via email, hit reply and let me know your thoughts. If you’re reading this from my site, comment below. Thank you.
We try all sorts of things to take care ourselves and feel better, both in our lives and about our lives. Am I right?
We meditate, do yoga, eat as well as we can, try and remember to get enough sleep and drink enough water. Pay attention to, and spend time with, the people we love. We read books, journal, listen to podcasts, see our doctors and therapists, and we try to get in enough “me” and “we” time.
All those are good. Just remember the thing that determines whether or not they work.
It matters less that you do those things, and it matters more how you do those things.
Go into each of what you do in your day with a grand internal entrance:
Offer a prayer of gratitude and set an intention for diving into what you’re about to do. It helps sometimes to know how long you’ll carve out to do it.
Then, dive in with abandon. Never mind whether or not you like what you’re doing – if you’ve chosen to say yes to it, do it with abandon. With complete devotion.
This how is more important than what your doing.
Let’s take eating, for instance. If you eat all the “right” foods without that gratitude, attention, and devotion… you’re somewhere else. If you’re feeling guilty about what you’re eating or worried about what you’re thinking, you’re somewhere else. If that somewhere else isn’t putting you into a happy, relaxed place (and pace), you’re turning on your sympathetic, fight-or-flight, nervous system rendering yourself unable to rest and digest. Which means it doesn’t matter what you’re eating, your ability to digest will be compromised. If you don’t come out of your meal light, sustained, nourished, relaxed and energized (I mean, food is energy), it’s a clue your digestion could be better.
Same goes for any other activity you’ve got going the rest of your day. Your ability to fully unleash your potential, creativity, and sense of meaning and purpose is limited by the extend to which you’re somewhere else or worried (essentially the same as being somewhere else). Your ability to digest – take in and receive what’s yours to act on… and let go and release what’s not yours – is limited. This limitation is what locks up your mind and body. You might think you’re saving time multi-tasking, but you pay for it this way. This shift may feel hard to unwind, but your totally worth it.
So stop worrying so much about all the stuff you need to do to feel better. Start with going into your day you already have with complete abandon.
Practice this quick, simple meditation to access calm and responsivity, and get better results in your life.
For best results: practice daily. Better to do 3 to 5 minutes a day than 20 min every other day.
It’s hard to access calm – no matter what you do – when you wait until you absolutely need it.
Build your reserves. Make living from your parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode your new normal.
Remember: you get better at doing what you do… and better at not doing what you don’t do.
p.s. I apologize if the media below is coming out as anything but a video, as it should be. I’m trying to figure out what the problem is.
How you feel right now and your judgment around it are two distinct things.
If you could let go of the judgment and just feel it through, that’s how you open your head and heart to receive.
Your emotions – how you experience the moment – tell you if you’ve been breached, whereas judgment is a breach in itself.
Your emotions tell you if you need to work on your boundaries.
Judgment tells you you need to build a protective wall.
Your emotions tell you if you need(ed) to speak your truth.
Judgment formulates a story where you become the victim and persecutor.
Your emotions tell you if you got something right or wrong – NOT an external kind of right or wrong based on what others think, but the right or wrong that comes from your sweet Soul that tells you if you’re still on your Soul path.
How you’re experiencing the moment… that “right” or “wrong”… tells you to either keep going or to pivot.
It speaks to you when you stop identifying with the experience itself as a judgment – as who you are – and instead start feeling it through and looking at it as what you can do.
Your emotions and experiences are your most accurate guidance and authority on your best life.
They give you valuable, juicy information.
Once you get that, you realize you have your own special GPS system that, when you allow yourself to have fun with this, makes your life incredibly rich and directional.
Try it. Not just once for a moment. But continuously. What have you got to lose?
There are excellent coaches that can take you to their dreams, and then there are those that can shatter them, taking you a lifetime to recover. These coaches are athletic coaches, teachers, parents, and other influencers in our lives. But there’s a more important one – the one that no one else can hear. That voice inside you. And that voice – it can strengthen or weaken your nervous system, your immune system, your energy, your sense of self and your sense of what’s possible through you.
What’s your inner coach saying? Take note.
Awareness is key to change.
Here’s a simple 3 minute meditation to open up the neural pathways and meridians to take in the external world, digest it, identify, metabolize, and make yours what serves you, let go of what doesn’t, and experience prosperity.
40 days to create a habit. 90 days to confirm it. 120 days to make it who you are. 1000 days to master it.
Here are 3 things you can do – in this order – for a quick shift in physiology to get calm and clear on a solution
I just found an article and a podcast that I must share with you. The article completely hooked me. It made me feel so encouraged about the potential trajectory of yoga because it opens up the conversation, and hopefully a pathway towards inclusion and wellness as being defined both internally, by our own sense of coming home, rather than by what we currently envision a yoga practice to look or sound like, and externally by approaching yoga as social, political, and both uncomfortable and the most rewarding.
My issue with the yoga industry is that there is so much spiritual bypassing going on. It’s become an ego-centric space, ironically. At the moment, in yoga, we don’t learn union, or do no harm. We learn to barely breathe and fully bypass.
The article is called “Wellness isn’t always welcoming. Meet the women bringing change to the industry,” published on Today.com. My business partner and I have been working carefully over the years to deliver yoga as a way to access yourself, and be accessible to everyone, with only half the success. We are continuing to peel the layers of our own blind spots. The podcast, Yoga is Dead— I can’t wait to listen to all the episodes. This morning, I listened to Episode 1, and it was phenomenal. I invite you to read the article and listen to this podcast with me.
In the meantime, as I work to best serve my community during this historic moment of reckoning, and at the same time move them over to a platform that better assists us in this process, I need to stop, listen, and learn. I need to take some time to make sure that I understand what I am doing, and that I am not causing more harm.
I’ll be back.
No matter how much I’ve practiced, and how much I’ve learned… even though I’m disciplined… thinking I don’t need others to keep growing is a mistake. If I go too long without others that, by their mere existence, stretch me, my justifications become reality.
By others, I mean those that have taken a similar path that aren’t afraid to challenge me, or take on a challenge. Those that aren’t continuously looking for ways to “take a break.”
Engaging with a mix of people is helpful: those that I see all the time and therefore are more relaxed around, and those that heighten my awareness and slow me down because I don’t dance with them as much. This gives me a balance of letting down my hair and treading much more consciously. The latter helps me come back to the former more heightened with the benefit of being more relaxed. Does that make sense?
This weekend, as 16 of us, along with 2 trainers, began our course in conscious communication, we got to heighten our awareness. I know this sort of thing seems like a lot of work, but these things really do make a difference. It pulls me out of an auto-pilot that I wasn’t fully aware was happening. And I love that.
We let our fears get the best of us, and we need to figure out how to get the best of fear. Listen to your thoughts. Are they dwelling on the excuses, reasons, obstacles, and exhaustion? Stop it. Observe your body. Are you holding tension anywhere? Release it. Ask yourself: what one thing can I do right now? No matter how small, stop the judgment and do it with full abandon.
Preparedness can only take you so far. Action will take you the rest of the way. It will get you more prepared and more motivated. Action. Then motivation. To count on it the other way around will turn you into a victim all over again.