You can’t flourish otherwise.

Fumble, make mistakes, embarrass yourself, get it wrong, turn red, contradict yourself, get called out, make people question or get mad at you. But voice yourself. Not for the sake of hearing yourself, but for the sake of expressing your truth. Not for the sake of being right or making a point, but for the sake of being you. Try different parts of you out; it’s how you’ll find who you are. You’ll know. It’s how you get better at being yourself and finding your tribe. Because they’ll get you and make sure you show up for yourself. It’s how you’ll know you matter and feel truly connected. It’s how you shed the weight of your own suppression and find meaning and purpose in your day .

My body, my mind, my awareness

I frequently check my shoulders to see if they’re even slightly raised. I place my left hand on my stomach and listen for a moment. I feel for what my heart is feeling. My body tells me things that would take hours, days, weeks, and sometimes years to realize otherwise. It’s a matter of knowing that my intelligent body is there to listen to. A friend pointed out to me that I do this. That I’d say, “My stomach doesn’t like it, ” instead of “I don’t like it.” Or “It hurts my body to hear that [gossip],” instead of “I don’t want to hear that gossip.” Because if I were to be honest with myself, I want to hear that gossip. Because I always recognize the pain in my body first before my mind catches on. My mind is more desensitized. Which means, when I ignore my body signals, my awareness around that topic or event dulls, and by the time my mind catches up to it, it gets stuck and enmeshed in the fear and scarcity of letting go, or in the shame of my complicity, to do anything about it without a lot of digging that I don’t want to do. So I’d rather defend it.

Better to check my body first.

What if…

…we focus on learning rather than teaching?
…we could act as stewards rather than bosses and masters of our children, fellow humans, the animals, and the Earth?
…we could watch others blossom without wondering how they will impact us?
…we could mind our beeswax and take our own risks to express who we are rather than expect others to express how we want them to?
…we could be there at the ready just in case they fall and cry, love them for taking the shot, and encourage them to try again instead of being so afraid for them and ourselves that we encourage them to shrink just enough to keep them contained for our convenience?
…we could understand that we don’t understand the entire context from which someone else responds and behaves, especially those closest to us?

Like a seed, you just will.

When you crack open a seed, there’s nothing. Yet in that nothing lies all the intelligence coded into it to grow the most magnificent tree or fruit. Each seed knows what it is.

We, too, are encoded with all the intelligence needed to grow into our magnificence. We can tap into it by going into that silence, that nothing-ness similar to what we find when we crack open a seed.

Therein lies the coding of the entire universe conspiring to make things good through you. There are no accidents. You were meant to be here, and to be the brilliance that you are.

So when you are feeling in a dark, dark place, buried by all the heavy dirt that is the noise of life, know that life is waiting for you to emerge from that seed and provide the oxygen that is you that the world needs to survive. All you need to do is to embrace the soil into which you’ve been buried and seeded, take moments to tap into that silent space, into your seed, and listen. You won’t even need to figure out how to emerge. You just will.

My feelings guide me.

My tears show me what I long for, what I’ve lost, and what I’ve gained.
My anger reveals my values that, harnessed, will change the world.
My fears tell me what’s holding me back, where I play safe, what I need to unleash.
My shame implores me to let go of external judgments, to not agree to them, I don’t need to suffer. They reflect the judger, not me.
My blame tells me to take back my power, not give it away.
My love shows me I’m unlimited, and I’m ripe with infinite potential.
My joy affirms my pure presence.

How to get free.

You’ve heard the saying, with freedom comes responsibility. So true. But how do you get free?

Vulnerability.

We hear this word a lot these days, and it’s because we need to hear it again and again right now. It’s imperative.

In order to work for the freedom of every human, we need to own our freedom. We need to get vulnerable first. To get uncomfortable. To crack open. To understand it’s a necessary thing to be here to make real change. We need to get free.
In order to unleash ourselves from our own bondage, we need to take these risks. But we’re afraid to fail and look stupid. We’re afraid to be judged. We feel safer to be slaves of facade.

The more I try to tuck away my “shortcomings” (my stupidity) and only show my shiny side, the more suppressed I feel… and the duller I become. I may not show my stupid, but I certainly feel stupid.
The moment I own myself and show my stupid card, I feel free. Free to be me, to make mistakes, and to try anything. I move forward and move others with me.

Vision for tomorrow? What about vision for today?

When we’re trying to figure out our lives, we’re often asked about our long term vision. What do I want my life to look like in 10 years?
This question assumes that my current self knows anything about the future. My 30 year old self couldn’t conceive of what the world would look like today. She couldn’t imagine what 51 year old me would experience, grow into, or want.

The question I find more compelling is, what do I want my life to look like today?

I look to what’s bothering me. It gives me a clue into my own attitudes about self and about the world as well as what’s causing me the most pain. I believe that each of our personal angst is special. It prompts us to become change agents for our own unique sh%#, and in that, not only can we find our way out, we become unique experts in them.

I also look to what I already have that’s good. Because it affirms that I’ve done this before. I’ve created good, and it’s a reminder of what I am capable of.

They both give me clues into the trajectory of my life, I suppose, but I’ve long stopped needing a clear picture of it. It holds me back from doing what I need to do to first make today okay and set the right tone for tomorrow.

In this context then, the question isn’t what do I need to do to make things (and others) comfortable with me? Nor is it what can I do to seek approval?
I think I even short-change myself when I ask what do I need to do to feel good about myself? This question deepens the well for neediness and band-aid solutions.
The question for me is, what do I need to do right now to make things right and good? It’s self-loving, life affirming, empowering, and purposeful.

Meditation isn’t falling asleep. And I mean that both literally and figuratively.

It’s not a practice to hide away from the conflicts of life. It’s there to plug in to the gloriousness of it. It isn’t a way to shut out the world or make us impervious to its pain. It’s there to wake us up. To make us more alive. And to see the interrelatedness of life.

We feel calmer, not because we insulated or got away for a moment, but because we tapped into our true sense of self and purpose. We tapped in to a more expansive state, and we saw the good. We saw that we were okay.

Meditation taps us to an energy source that unlocks through our desires, and it opens us to our courage to confront the shadows and to feed the i’m-possibles. Because when we tap into that true nature of ours… into our becoming, turning our backs on it is not an option.

Being yourself

Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.

–Alan Watts

Otherwise, we’ve got something to measure up against and our attention goes to where we are falling short.

Being yourself is being in alignment with your essential nature, which, because we may not feel used to being there, can feel really vulnerable. In our minds, to be rejected by showing up as ourselves without the bravado, the shell, the attitude is unfathomable. We reject parts of ourselves first for protection, disconnecting ourselves from ourselves and others and essentially hurting our spirit. We take solace in that no one can hurt us (as much). But it doesn’t protect us from being angry, frustrated, anxious, or depressed. It holds us back from being free.

We’ve built up reactive habits that seem to project “who we are,” and we’ve confused them for our identity. It’s not who we are. It’s just what we’ve been doing. Who we are doesn’t change. We are enough, and that is and always will be true. What we do– that’s a choice once we are aware of it, and we can make different choices.

At the end, the worst kind of rejection is the kind where we do it to ourselves, and if no one ever rejects us, it’s probable that we’ve done exactly that. The true you will not be for everyone, but it will be for you, and it is and always will be the most powerful you. Each of us is meant to have an impact in the world by our mere existence (no one is “extra”), and unlocking it means to let go of who we imagine ourselves to be and just be.