Support is all around us. I learned to receive it.

When I pay attention, and check my defensive nature, it’s everywhere all the time.

I recently created a video.

I haven’t done many videos because I’m uncomfortable with them. It feels strange to talk to a camera, and I don’t know what to do with myself when the other person is talking. I know it takes practice, but I’m not practiced in it yet, so it’s scary. But I finally did it, and it’s out there on our membership site, with many more to come.

One woman said that my tone was silly, uncomfortable, and didn’t reflect who I really was, and that she was a little embarrassed for me as she watched the video.
I had to really take that in and stay open with it to understand what she saw. Perhaps I was trying too hard. It was scary, after all. But I remember preparing for the recording, and the prep work with my business partner put me in a funny mood.

I received feedback from another woman about the same video, and she said, “Your welcoming videos are great – just the right blend of fact and fun.  Very clear, professional, and friendly in your unique and authentic style.”

I love and appreciate both feedback equally, because I know there’s truth in both.

And, both those women are powerful women who march to their own drummer, know how to take care of themselves, aren’t afraid to say what’s on their mind, aren’t in the business of managing others, and would only give meaningful feedback with my – our – success in mind.

If I only received feedback like the second one, I’d question if I was pushing myself to the edge. The first one was definitely harder to swallow for sure, but made the second one that much sweeter. I can’t discount either because neither came from fear, scarcity, or trolling energy; otherwise I would have. They both came from an intention to support, hold vision for, and elevate.

My business partner talked to me about different perspectives, where they come from, and who our client avatar is as it relates to how we create our content. I think about how I put myself out there, and whether or not our content feels fully aligned. It takes some thought to put the two together. It takes the right balance of knowing my expertise, and paying attention to how others connect with them. My partner was concerned about my confidence being “crushed” by the more critical comment(s). I can’t tell you how grateful I am for her love and support.

Being able to receive feedback, and being willing to delve deeper into what’s been called out without getting caught in my own victimization, shame, blame, and justification is a skill that’s taken me – yep – nearly 50 years to learn. Do you know what it’s like not to be able to take compliments? Yeah. Well, this – along with doing the scary stuff – makes the sweet compliments much easier to receive. It’s a game changer.

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 .

It is what it is…

Right now, I’m thinking of the Hamilton song “The World Turned Upside Down”…

When our life changes overnight – even when the build up’s been there all along – what used to be almost seems like a dream. I wake up asking myself, was it real?

There are memories in my mind, proof in photos and even in conversations with those that shared the same dream with me.
On some days, it feels like poof! Gone, like it was never there. It feels good, bad, and neutral at the same time. Sometimes the bad feels bad because I feel like I should miss that dream more than I do. The good feels good because I’ve learned to take what I got and make something magical out of it. I’ve learned to trust that this is yet another pivotal moment that I’m supposed to be a part of, and I get to decide how.

It is what it is.

I hear this often with a tone that implies, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Yes, and….

Like improv. We get to navigate and play with a new scenario and new information that’s thrown at us. We get to first dictate our own amendments to the constitution by which we lived.

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.

Feedback puts you (back) on track

My partner and I have been building a new client site, and after the first 10 hours of work, we had some of our members look at it. They were totally confused about what it was.

Yikes!

THANK. GOD. for feedback! I would’ve kept going with my design trajectory, and the deeper I would’ve gone, the more attached I would have gotten, and the more catastrophic the results would have been. Rather than beating myself up or saying “maybe I can’t do this,” I stepped back for several days, self-soothed my bruised ego, let the feedback sink in, asked more questions, got solid in identifying where I had to get out of my own head, shifted, and redesigned the site. After a few more key notes from clients – also life saving – the “final” output that we are currently rolling out is getting sweet, delicious feedback.

One evening, a week ago, I got lost in a dialogue inside of a private Facebook group.
In this long thread, two woman shared some things. You could tell they meant them from the heart… yet they were so blinded by privilege, it really hurt to read. The cringe factor was awkwardly high.
What ensued was some serious schooling by other women that evening. It was difficult to witness because the two women got very defensive. I knew quite a few of these women, so I was drawn in. Their voices projected a mixture of disbelief, anger, clarity, firmness, accountability, and tough love. No one attacked their be-ing. I take it back. One woman did towards the end, probably out of sheer frustration. I don’t know if the two women were able to take the feedback as a wake up call to do some reading and inquiry after that night. I understand that it would be difficult to be open at the moment (clearly they were blind-sided), but the next day, or the day after that, hopefully the defensive posturing melted and they became open to looking at what everyone else was trying to say.

I’ve gotten plenty of feedback on my gender pronoun confusion by my daughter. I make mistakes all the time, and sometimes I want to defend myself, but I don’t. No reason to explain why I can’t get it right…that’s really not the point, and I know that. Though as I write this, what hit me is that I can commit harder. I only hadn’t because… wait for it… “it doesn’t affect me.” Shit. (That sentence was hard to type out, and I have a strong urge to delete it.)
My daughter, when she corrects me, isn’t sweet about it, nor is she hateful or judging. She doesn’t excuse me or tell me it’s okay. She comes at me with an assumption that I’m not fragile, and that I’m open and can be held accountable. She uses the right amount of firm (which is “very”), she’s succinct, and she’s totally unapologetic about it. She wakes me up, makes me pay attention, and want to do better the next time.

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.

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.

Giving my anxiety a moment of attention so it stops nagging

Anxiety is my mind imagining something chaotic happening to me in the future that I won’t look at more closely today. Instead I dwell in the torture of that wild chaotic dream. Once I look at it, however, my anxiety dissipates.
So when I feel anxious about something, I stop, and I ask myself, what am I afraid of? As long as I am imagining things, I might as well imagine the worst case scenario. I spell it out in my mind: I’m afraid that if I let go of this thing that no longer works in my life, I won’t be able to take care of myself and I will have to move somewhere I don’t like, deal with looking like a failure, and worry my children.

Rather than feeling anxious, I get to look at my statement, of which there are many directions I can take with it. Sometimes my statement reveals what I need to do, and at other times it shows me how silly my fear is. The truth is, I don’t often need to go any directions with my fear statement(s) because just saying it (especially out loud or written out) makes me see it in contrast to what I am currently experiencing in my life today minus the anxiety. It reminds me of what I have and how I got here: My joys came from the risks that I took to be me (I fully own my life), and my anxieties came from attachments to what I know, am used to, and to what have become a part of my mistaken identity (trading a bit of me in for a sense of outdated security).

Looking more closely at the anxiety can be the very thing that can wake us up from that dream we don’t wish for and deliver us to the dream that we do.