I Just Got Schooled by a Podcast

What I’m about to share is all fairly fresh so I’m going to do my best to work through my experience while I’m communicating. Typically, I’ll write when I’ve already finished the processing part of my self-discovery and I understand it all. That’s when I sit down to write; after the processing. This feels – more raw, like I’m writing in my personal journal, not anything I’m preparing to share.

My inspiration to invite you “behind the scenes” was sparked by a comment from my inner circle about how quickly I can move from discomfort to epiphany. The more practice I have, the more efficient I become. Perhaps, sharing the processing with you is a way to help you practice also?

This latest and most fresh form of discomfort comes from blindly disliking another human being for an unknown reason. The object of my disdain comes packaged as a former-athlete-turned-successful self-development entrepreneur, author and speaker named Lewis Howes.

I’m still wondering at which moment I decided to “follow” him on Instagram. I’m fascinated why up until yesterday, I was still following him, even though I’ve never watched his videos for more than a few seconds because every time I did, I felt my skin crawl and moved on. As I actively practice non-judgement of others, this thought is equally uncomfortable. 

By the online face of Lewis, and the snippets of his work I’ve seen, what I knew about him before these last two days, was teensy tiny. Besides the above, I know he has some formula for how he moves through the world. He has a structure. (This sparks something I’ve said I’ve been lacking recently). I watched him make his bed. (Seriously, it was on Instagram and p.s. I do the same). I watched a moment of him running. He has a routine. He’s attractive, healthy and successful. He looks like a wholesome human being, perhaps even charming. I can’t claim to understand, even as I type this, why his style irks me so much, or more specifically he irks me.

Immediately before I sat down to write this, after leaving a polo message for a friend with tears in my eyes, I had just finished a podcast between Rob Bell and Lewis Howes.

I adore Rob. The Robcast is my version of church. I had a few minutes to drive yesterday and was craving some Rob so I clicked on the interview. After knowing who it was with (Lewis), I stopped listening and tried to find another episode. I tried FIVE other episodes that wouldn’t load/play so, with a deep breath, I resigned and went back to Rob and Lewis. 

Clearly I was meant to hear this one. 

It turns out Lewis and I have some things in common that I never would have suspected. From growing up lower-middle class, to having some publicly-broadcast family disruptions as a child, to Toastmasters as a game changer. The podcast with Rob was specifically related to a book Lewis wrote called The School of Greatness which is also the title of Lewis’s podcast. 

I’ve never listened to Lewis’s podcast but, I just ordered his book. I ordered it by justifying that it was a gift for someone who I think WILL resonate with him. Still not certain I could be that person. 

I have blindly disliked this human, for zero reasons I can justify, UNTIL I heard his story. Now he’s piqued my curiosity. His story is something I want to know more about.

There’s a few threads in the podcast that I’m connecting in a new way as I think through this unfolding scene. Rob and Lewis talk about creating something from nothing, about breakthroughs and vulnerability. They cover pain and medicine, money and time. All of these topics and the views they share resonate as truth. More specifically, they resonate as MY truth. So I’ve been avoiding this human and his messages because they make me uncomfortable and yet I’ve found truth in it. Isn’t the truth sometimes the thing that’s most uncomfortable?

My sophomore year of high school, a few days into my new biology class, I realized I didn’t like my teacher. This is strange for me. I loved school and I had great relationships with most of my teachers. But this one, I didn’t like. I remember my Mom asking me what I was going to do about it. I knew myself well enough by then to know that having good relationships with my teachers was as important to my success and enjoyment of school as anything else, so I decided I was going to volunteer to be her lab assistant. My Mom was shocked. I told her, that I needed to like my teacher and I wasn’t going to get there by avoiding her. I was going to get there by understanding who she was and working with her. This is who I was as a teenager; it’s who I was born to be. It’s who I’ve come back to on my self-discovery journey. The person who says I don’t understand (read: like) this, let me get closer. 

So, ( I shake my head as I type this) the moment has come to dive deeper into the world of Lewis Howes. To read the book before I gift it. To venture into his podcasts. To allow him to take the role of teacher and mentor in my life through his words and his work because perhaps, my discomfort is a sign that he’s going to help me grow in ways I could never have imagined. 

The lessons we need and the people we need to deliver them, come to us in the most interesting ways. I’m fascinated to see where this thorn in my side in the form of Lewis will take me. I can’t deny that I was moved in a different way while listening to his personal story.

Whether someone is on your radar for a good reason or, like in this case, a not so good one…they are still on your radar. It’s not an accident. It never is. It’s always a chance to learn.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that he IS an attractive, successful (male?) human. (I don’t feel this way about others.) Maybe it’s because he’s figured something out that I haven’t. (I wouldn’t label myself as a jealous person and this thought applies to A LOT of others.) Maybe it’s because I’ve got a thing about “jocks” from my childhood. I have NO idea what has kept me actively avoiding this man and his work for so long. I just know that the time has come to stop. 

I’ve got the age-old adage of not judging a book by it’s cover running through my head.

I’m grateful for Rob and everything I’ve listened or read of his work previously. These things have set a precedence of trust and growth. If it weren’t for that trust, I’m not certain I could have so openly (even if reluctantly) tuned into this conversation between him and Lewis. The conversation that has brought this new awareness. The conversation that will bring me to Lewis’s work in earnest. The one that will now take me into my next steps in a new way, because I’m taking on a new teacher. I’m opening myself up to the discomfort of attending The School of Greatness.

What a difference a decade makes

HMD….That’s what the subject line of the email said. Curious, I clicked on the message and immediately regretted my choice to do so. It was from him. 

Have you ever made a decision or a choice that in hindsight you realized was incredibly stupid? That’s the story of how this email ended up in my inbox. And I’m finding that this story isn’t all that uncommon or unfamiliar but I’m getting ahead of myself. 

It’s a weeknight and I’m traveling for work. My husband is at home taking care of our toddler-aged daughter and I’m in a sexy dress with just a bra sitting at the hotel bar drinking a whiskey, neat. The sexy dress is because I want to feel authentic to my truth; which is, I’m falling in love with this friend of mine I’m supposed to be meeting for dinner and I want to look and feel attractive. 

He sees me in a way I haven’t felt before and it’s intoxicating. It’s almost as if he sees through everything outside of me and into the core of who I am. Our energetic connection is unlike anything I’ve known up until this point in my life; it’s raw and powerful. When we are near one another it’s like someone put my skin on extra sensitive and it’s buzzing with electricity. 

Only at this point in the evening, my friend has started an argument with his girlfriend and is no longer coming to dinner. I’m drinking to take the edge off the pain I feel at this change in plans. It’s not an unusual course of action for me to have a few drinks after work. These ones are sliding down smoothly. 

Theiry, the bartender and I are almost friends, based on how much I travel and how often I’m at this particular hotel. Javier is my waiter for dinner. I alway sit at the same table. Although I wasn’t supposed to be with Theiry or Javier on this particular night; I am. 

When I first started traveling, I hated being alone. Routines like the same table and the same people took the edge off of my loneliness.

On this particular evening I’m feeling extra intentional about dulling my pain receptors. Theiry asks about my choice in attire. I explain that I was stood up. Cue the guy at the bar next to me to engage in a conversation. I don’t remember his name. He too is married. It’s a friendly enough conversation but there’s something underneath the seemingly innocuous conversation. 

At some point, in my now inebriated state, he walks me back to my room. 

We end up sitting on the couch in my space, talking. He rubs my feet. That’s as much physical contact as there will be between us. Thank goodness, because this isn’t the first time I’ve invited a stranger into my space and the other few didn’t end as easily.

These are challenging things for me to share because I look back now, as my daughters are older and I’m on a sober curious adventure and think “WTF were you thinking?!”. It doesn’t make the story any less true.

The foot rub guy stays in touch via email even though I ignore every single one of them. This HMD one is the only one I remember vividly because it was a well wish: Happy Mother’s Day and that struck me as interesting. That on Mothers’ Day, I would be someone that would cross his mind; a stranger, in a hotel room, on a random business trip. Clearly, I also meant something else to him. I don’t believe in coincidence so I know that this human is part of a much larger web of interconnected experiences that led me to the life I have today. 

For all of these little pieces, I am grateful. (The gratitude will come, in time, for your stories too).

This story took place over 9 years ago but I thought of it for the first time this past Sunday and I haven’t been able to let go of it. When that happens it’s usually because I have this work – this writing, this sharing, to do. 

Looking back  at myself from my current place in time, I see a lonely and unhappy woman, numbing herself and putting herself and her safety in jeopardy, to feel something other than the truth of her real story. To feel anything at all, other than the pain of the life she’s built that she doesn’t yet see a way out of.

I see a woman afraid of her own company, because she doesn’t love who she is and doesn’t like what she sees.

I see a woman living the life she was taught was “right” because it most closely fit the mold of others, all the while doing self-destructive or “rule-breaking” things to feel closer to some semblance of alive.

Now, almost a decade later, with a firmer grasp on my own inner knowing, more connected to my intuition and the benefit of time and wisdom, I can articulate this story. 

At the time I could only tell you the narrative. I’m a new mom, I travel for work, I fell in love with someone who isn’t my husband and I’m acting out in ways that are destructive and harmful to everyone, but I can’t stop, because stopping and surrendering to my life as it is now, is equivalent to death. 

I realize how dramatic this sounds. I also know if you’ve been anywhere close to this point in your life that you know exactly where I was at. 

Deep breath, lovely. I see you, I know you, I’ve been you.

There’s another way. It won’t be simple. There will be bumps and bruises along the path, not only for you but also for those you love. It’s also 100% worth it.

However, the most important question I want you to ask yourself right now, that came from a remarkable coach I flourished with named Lola Pickett; is “What do I need right now?” 

That’s the question I want you to ask yourself. What do you need right now?

Then, find a safe place to speak (or write) the answer out loud. If you don’t have a safe space, I’m here. 

Tomorrow night is a full moon. It’s a time for releasing things that no longer serve you. Now is the time to begin the steps toward releasing the layers of life holding you back from being the truest version of yourself. Reach out if you need a helping hand. I’m here. 

the train ride down memory lane

I’m on a train, sitting facing backwards. A broken down building and crushed cars were just in view.  A few cows too. I’m wearing a long black sleeveless dress and my cowboy boots because my destination and cowboy boots go together like coffee and cream.

As an added bonus, my boots make me happy. My entire outfit does. I don’t waste my time putting anything in or on my body anymore that doesn’t feel joyous.

About 48 hours ago, I was navigating my way through a very busy part of Seattle. In anticipation of a seminar I was presenting at Amazon. It’s material I created a few years ago when my personal self-discovery journey started. It’s called Finding Your Center of Power. I define your center of power as the intersection between the things that bring you joy, your innate strengths and talents and your personal definition of success.

As my life shifts and changes around me; these anchor points, as well as my core desired feelings (CDFs) are my onboard guidance systems. I use them to triage any choice I make; does it bring me closer to how I want to feel? If the answers is yes, I lean in.

A glimpse out the window and I see two people and two dogs in a wide open lot and I’m transported back in time.  When I first moved to WA, I was with a former boyfriend. My intention was to attend university somewhere where the options when I got out of school were greater than what the Hawaiian Islands had to offer.

I moved to Seattle in November and by February my 3.5 year relationship with said boyfriend was over. I was 21 and in a new city by myself. I knew three other people in the state (besides my coworkers) who were not connected to my boyfriend.

One of them had a family who was traveling for 3 weeks and needed a house sitter. It was a place to land for a bit. After meeting the family, I was invited to help in exchange for room and board. Everything I owned at the time fit into the back of a Ford Explorer.

Three weeks turned into nine months, and that stretch of time changed my life.

Dan, the father of the family was a hunter and had trained hunting dogs as pets. There were two when I moved in; Moose and Sam. Moose would stay with me (along with the three cats, the iguana named Bob and the hedgehog) when everyone traveled. Sammy, the clear favorite and a fabulous dog, was always continuing his training when the family traveled.

When everyone was home, Dan, Sam and I would go out to a field and continue his training. Animals and nature have always been a thing for me, so these moments were very special. Dan died a few years back from complications related to cancer. I miss him regularly.

At times when my life feels in shambles, the ache for his wisdom becomes even more tangible.

The views along this train route are reminding me of him and our time together.

I can’t help but think that HE would know how to help me right now. He would know just the right words to say. He would know exactly how to remind me of my power and my capabilities.  

I’m traveling because things are feeling muddy. Distance from my normal day-to-day habits and routines has a way of refreshing and resetting the perspective of things. I find it helpful to get out of my own way to gain an alternative view of any situation.

I’ve got some fairly big and life-altering decisions coming up and at the moment; tuning into my intuition and listening to my internal guidance system has been a static-filled line at best. This trip called to me loudly and with clarity and so I’m here; eyes and heart open; waiting for the clear leads I’ve called the universe to provide.

In any situation, where I’m lost, I always find it best to ask for help. From people, from my trusted tribe and/or from the universe. Sometimes from all three.

I always forget how easy it is to ask. I forget how challenging it is to be patient and listen.

It is however, truly that simple. Tune into what matters most to you, how you want to feel, what brings you joy and from that place, ask for guidance. Then listen and act when you feel called to do so.

That is what brought me here. That is what put me on this train. That is what brought me down memory lane and gave me the gift of those special moments with Dan. The beginning of my journey in this stunningly beautiful part of the world.

These are the roots of my courage, my fearlessness and my resiliency and an independent woman in the face of the unknown. This is a reminder of my power to create; when I juxtapose the beginning to now, I can SEE it.

That is why I’m telling you this story. I can only trust that you needed to hear it as much as I needed to tell it.

Travel well, beautiful soul.

“May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way on.” – Irish blessing.

 

 

 

Knocking on doors…

It’s Saturday night. I’ve just landed from a flight to see one of my tribe; the name I’ve given to a select core group of people, both male and female, who are in the deepest and most intimate inner circle of my life. These people are my most trusted advisors and my most sacred relationships. This trip lifted my heart. It was a gift.

My belly is full from my favorite roll at my favorite sushi place. A place that knows me so well, I barely have to ask for my custom order.

I’m sitting in my backyard. I remodeled it last year into a meditation garden complete with sitting rocks, and all the elements: earth, wind, water, fire. As such, the flames of the fire pit dance before me atop lava rocks (because when your roots are Hawaiian, lava means something) and I can both see and hear the waterfall that forms the center attraction of the space.

Besides typing on this computer, I’m taking pauses in between to watch the stars emerge as the sky darkens into night.

I cannot, at this moment, get over the fact that THIS is the life I am blessed to live.

The past few weeks have been exceptionally tough for me on all levels. It’s frighteningly easy to fall down into the dark parts of our journeys and to stay there. I’ve spent more time there lately than I’ve ever dreamed I would.

Major shifts are happening in my world. I’m finding I’m not alone. Astrology forecasts also back up what I’m feeling.

In my work with clients I talk a lot about being self aware. Being present in the moment. Like now for instance, my left leg is crossed over my right ankle and my right ankle is feeling a bit too much heat from the flames of the fire pit, as is the arch of my left foot.  As I tune in more, I can feel a slight breeze coming at the left side of my face, brushing gently at my nose, cheeks and the left top most lip.

I tune into my breath. It’s deep and slow. I am relaxed. (It’s hard not to relax back here…). And as I type, I’m not exactly sure where this is going. The inspiration to write came upon me suddenly and I followed it.

Three years ago to this week, I left my job to explore how I wanted my life to look and feel. I am exceptionally proud of what I’ve done. I am grateful for each trip, each teacher, each nap, each lesson, each moment where I got to choose actively how my time would be spent.

The lifestyle I’ve led is full of abundance. At the end of 2016 there was an influx of financial abundance as well which gave me even greater freedom to choose how to spend my time.

I traveled. I built this garden. I changed how I see the world (both literally through Lasik surgery and figuratively working with well known life coaches like Martha Beck and L’Erin Alta).

I explored the universe, both physically and spiritually. This time has been a tremendous gift.

I’m ready now, to return to something different. I’ve talked about my pendulum theory in blogs before. It is, in short, the theory that when we leave one thing which created pain, misery or suffering we will quickly run to the farthest point opposite to balance the pain only to realize in the end, that we probably would be most happy in the middle.

I had this experience with my former husband who was the polar opposite of my long-term three year relationship before him.

I’m experiencing it now having run completely away from my corporate career (mostly, in hindsight, to escape my toxic boss) into as much of a gypsy lifestyle as I could manage as a single mom with two kids. I was dead-set on showing my daughters that life could be more than rushing, laptops after dinner and conference calls that would disrupt our morning routine.

I’ve showed them. I’m ready to show them what balance (to me) looks like.

I’ve discovered and learned so much growing and launching my business. I’ve explored technology in a completely new way, launching two CRMs and building and maintaining a website (not to mention all the little connections that go into a website…I have five additional systems that support these).

I’ve created content from scratch and facilitated workshops and seminars for large and well known corporations. I’ve been on stages for the National Diversity Counsel and for a women’s conference for Microsoft. These things make me proud.

I’ve also discovered that entrepreneurship can be, for me, lonely and isolating.

I miss being on (and leading) a team.  I miss the feeling that comes from a group of collaborators celebrating an accomplishment, or the brainstorming of a solution. I miss crunching numbers and modeling options on the backside of the crunch.

My personal business didn’t grow big enough to provide these things for me. Instead, it was a testing ground for all the ways I might have the opportunity to help people make the most of being alive.

I have a love of business in general and how it works. I miss the front row seat of my career, where I got to watch some massive business engines in action.

I miss being a part of something that’s bigger than myself.

When I built my company, I built it on the person I was three years ago. Today, I am a completely different human in countless ways. I’ve grown and developed in a way that working in a head’s down, climbing-the-ladder corporate career could never have provided. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m smarter, more fearless and more confident in my skills.

When I left my job I would often comment that I left my career and that I was never going back.

It turns out, no matter what, you can’t go back.

Because once you learn who you really are and what truly makes you tick; you can’t unlearn these things.

I’m ready now, to make a bigger difference in the world.

I have no idea what that looks like. I trust that in time, where I’m supposed to be will be crystal clear. As per my usual M.O., I’ll keep knocking on doors and see which ones open. I’ll look at everything that comes my way and actively chase the ones that make me feel lighter and more expansive.

I don’t know the path I’m going to walk next. I am excited to find it and embrace it.

Tonight, however, I’m simply going to open a bottle of wine, and count the stars. Perhaps I’ll add a s’more or two to the mix…because I can.

Tomorrow, as I’ve also learned, can wait until it becomes today.

 

 

 

The first week, the desert and the stardust

It’s Wednesday as I write this and exactly a week ago was my last day at my muggle job.

I sent kind and loving notes to the people I connected with the most in my time there. It was just shy of six months. 

I am proud of the work I did. I am proud of the connections I built and I am grateful for new and deepened friendships. Most importantly, I’m excited about how these connections will play out in the future.

I don’t believe we come across people once, who mean something to us and then it ends. The most significant people have always come back around, to teach me new things about myself and the world, again and again. 

Thursday marks a week since I left for the desert on a retreat unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Over time, as I go deeper into the work I’m on this planet to do, more so now than ever before, I lean into the things that call to me and feel like the “right” next step.  

I was called to this retreat the same way I was called to leave the muggle role. 

I never believe a decision to be “right” or “wrong” anymore; I believe that all decisions are simply a choice and in each choice, we learn something new. 

Let’s take said muggle job as an example. On paper, it was perfect. 

I got to work from home, a remote employee. I got to basically set my own schedule for the hours I was committed to. I got to do my core work and contribute wherever I saw a gap in the organization, allowing for creativity and exercising new muscles in a corporate space. 

It was a blessing when the job came into my frame of awareness. It was wonderful to feel a community of people working together toward a common goal. The camaraderie of teamwork. Contributing to something larger. 

All of this was a breath of fresh air because if I’ve learned anything about entrepreneurship, for me, it is very lonely.

It turns out that working from home is also very lonely and because I felt tethered to my laptop for a set number of hours a week, it not only felt lonely, it was isolating. 

I did however learn an extraordinary amount about myself in the role. I learned that I am better now than I was when I exited my corporate career three years ago. After having “gone it alone” in my business for the last few years, I’ve learned there isn’t much I can’t do. Truly. It’s not arrogance. It’s the discovery that education for anything you could desire to learn is available at your fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You need only the motivation to research it and then, the capacity to follow instructions through to execution. 

I have refined my skills. I know my talents. I also know how to handle energetically volatile situations. I’ve strengthened personal boundaries. I don’t have an attachment to being smart or right. If I am wrong or make a mistake, that no longer equates to my intelligence (or lack there of) or my worthiness. 

I extinguished many triggers of self doubt that I would have been clueless about if it wasn’t for this role. The release feels a bit like fresh air after a rainstorm. I’ve learned so much.

I went in authentically and came out gracefully, with a heart full of gratitude. 

Maybe it’s the magic experiment on Facebook or maybe it’s the back to back experiences of leaving one place and meeting a group of new humans almost immediately. Whatever it is,  I’ve been aware that there’s been a lot of love coming at me. Reflections of the impact that I am able to have when I share who I am, unapologetically and without reservation. 

When I left Expedia three years ago, I was reminded by a dear friend to not forget my stardust; the impact of light I was leaving behind. This lesson was returned to me this past week with all of these changes. 

I recognize I might sound a bit delirious when I share that with my release into the wild unknown, the goodbye notes and the retreat, that I saw my stardust; as if it were a physical thing that I could actually see. 

I sensed it, the way that one might sense rain through an old injury. I felt it, the way one feels the loving embrace of a soul-tribe member. Stardust made real, tangible, poignant. 

I don’t have an explanation for all of the magic that happened in the desert, except to say that it was exactly as it was supposed to be (as all things always are). Memories created and wisdom gained that will feed me for a lifetime and whole-heartedly as I lean in, with an open and soft heart, for what I will be called to next. 

This magic will also sustain me as my family goes through yet another transition with the magnificent woman I have the privilege of calling Mom. It is clearly not a coincidence that her decline and my release into the wild were almost simultaneous. 

There has been space created for all the things. I have a grateful heart for the un-ending wisdom of the universe. 

I believe these things can be summed up in the words my new friend (and former boss) shared with me in a thank you note from my departure; “the beauty of life is sometimes is the mystery”. 

All things in divine timing. 

All things divine. 

All things.

Divine.

 

What’s next?

I recently posted in my magic experiment that I had made a bold decision. (The magic experiment is a Facebook daily post where I track things that happen in my life that most would call “coincidence” or “funny” or “weird”.)

My “bold decision” is actually more than one and starts with the recognition that I had begun, in my day-to-day life, to wish time was passing by. 

I would actively look at the clock and wondering when it would be “acceptable” for me to remove myself from my desk (which was never built to sit at for hours a day), stop working on the muggle job, and motivate myself to work on the To Do list for my personal business.

Then, in the effort required to motivate myself after the muggle role responsibilities were done into actually doing said To Dos for the personal business, I would have to force the need for “accomplishment” to be my motivating factor. I’d set little tasks to create momentum, small little steps that would eventually lead to recognizable progress. The effort was exhausting.

The energy required for me to motivate myself through the 33 hours a week I was being paid “directly” for sucked out my capacity to want to build my business. The operative word in that sentence is “want”.

That was my first excuse. “The muggle job was preventing the work on my personal business.” 

Then I hosted a workshop. For the first time ever, I tried a different method to fill seats.  I emailed friends and former clients and asked them to spread the word. I referenced the workshop in my conversations with others. I wrote blogs and Facebook posts and Instagram posts. I asked for friends to post the information on “public announcement” sites at local big companies.

I felt bold for asking.

It felt uncomfortable too, but I was going to give it a go. I didn’t want to regret not asking for the business. 

The motivation I utilized to write the companion workbook, update the website, connect the multiple systems required to ideally make it seamless and without too much shepherding work from me required many 12- 1 AM working session.

In the end, the systems didn’t work the way they were supposed to. The spreading of the word didn’t do much beyond what my own personal conversations created and the timeline I was working under made everything feel “stacked” and not spacious, further depleting my energy. 

The workshop was a success on many levels. It was a beautiful experience. I have two more personal 1:1 versions of this workshop coming up this month with two amazing souls I am so blessed to know. 

I put so much heart into this work.

At the end of it, I acknowledged the heart-based work.  

I also acknowledged that the heart is a muscle.

I was exhausted, not only from holding sacred space for some deep soulful work – that part I’ve been training for so it wasn’t as exhausting as my first workshop three years ago. This one however, felt different. 

I felt done. 

I felt done with it all. 

This is the moment when I realized that for years now, the only avenues I could see to make money were to either work for myself or work for someone else. To grow my business or to go back to what I know; sales operations, customer operations and the like. 

I had attempted, with this most recent role acceptance, to try and do both simultaneously. 

In that moment when I realized I was done; I was incredibly peaceful.

I felt relief wash through me. A few tears slowly tracked my cheeks. There was no gushing or sobbing. Just a deep, quiet resignation. 

I let go of the story that it was one or the other. I let go of the idea that I was beholden to anyone or anything; whether I had created it or accepted it as part of my world didn’t matter. I had the power to choose differently. With this peace, I went to bed. 

Somewhere, a few days into the next week, I got a call from John Hopkins University. I had checked out their Masters in Environmental Sciences program because I wanted to apply the healing lessons I have been learning to our planet.

Before finding and accepting the muggle role, I had been searching for roles that sounded fun and interesting (not ones I had done before or had the “skill set” for on paper). It became obvious when I stumbled upon a series of environmental roles that made me swoon that I needed a different set of skills to get in the door and that would require more schooling. 

The admissions contact was calling to follow up. The degree costs about $40K. I wasn’t (and still am not) in a place to make that work.

I did go through the effort to work on the application, securing transcripts from 5 different universities. I also tried to attend the financial aid meeting back when I first checked out the program. It was an automated sign up system and I never got the details that were supposed to send for the webinar access so I took that as a (not now) sign and never followed up. (At least I’m not the only one who can’t get automated systems to work as expected.)

The day I got the call from John Hopkins,  I was at my desk working the muggle job and I started to cry. I cried for the “dream” I’d put aside and practically forgotten about so I could pay the bills. 

A few days later, I reacted very poorly to an email from a coworker. We’ve struggled with one another since I started at said muggle job and this email tossed me over an edge. The email itself wasn’t bad, if you read it you’d wonder how it could upset me. It was the story behind and around it that got under my skin. 

It’s been a really long time since “work” made me cry. I felt emotions I hadn’t felt in a long while and my body reacted violently. 

Only this time I know better. 

I know how smart and capable I am.

I know what I have the power to contribute and to create. I know that choosing what makes me feel good is always the right choice. I know that moving away from things that make me feel small, make my skin feel awkward on my body or trigger a specific visceral feeling of what I can only deem as “fire” goosebumps are signs that I’m not in a position to function at my best.  

I also know that if I am not at my best, I’m not doing anyone any favors, least of all myself. 

So now, step back with me here because in a one week time frame this is a whole lot to digest.

  • I’m disappointed and frustrated with the business I’ve built.

  • I’m forcing and muscling my way through my business (even if it’s with my heart muscle).

  • I have no desire to run my business anymore, at least not the way it’s currently built.

  • I’ve acknowledged I’m not at my best in my muggle job.

  • I’ve acknowledged I’ve let go of dreams that have not let go of me.

Because I’m tuned into universal signs and symbols with my magic experiment I have tears of relief when I find this quote on Instagram from @heyitscarmichael just a few days after the email incident.   

“When the time comes for you to make a change or grow, the universe will make you so uncomfortable you will eventually have no choice.”

My friends, I’ve arrived at that place of discomfort and I have zero visibility to the path forwards. 

I know only that things cannot remain as they are. 

What happens next is anybody’s guess.

I have the following key truths as my compass: 

  • If I stay centered in the things that matter most to me and rooted in the present moment, the path will illuminate in a way that I won’t be able to miss it.

  • If I stay true to my authenticity, what gets built will feel bespoke and fit like a glove.

  • If I commit to using the tools I’ve learned and maintain my boundaries on what matters most to me, I won’t have to sacrifice things that are important (like time, holistic health and space) for things that are necessary but not important (like money).

Because, my love, I know that I can have all of it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt; there’s a divine right life that’s waiting for me and by saying the all important NO to the things I’ve thought were right, I can finally say YES to the things that are. 

Writing feels right. I’ll keep writing.

And, if reading feels right to you, you’ll get to watch this new journey unfold. 

With a loving, open heart filled with excitement for the unknown,

LC

billboards on the highway of life

Once again I find myself writing to you from an airplane. I have no idea how many feet I am above the Earth. I used the first portion of the flight to close my eyes and to rest. I love to sleep and lately it’s been the thing that comes after all of the other tasks are complete…or if I’m being really frank, it comes as what feels like a small sliver in between half-finished tasks and never-ending to dos. 

It wasn’t too long ago, that for financial security I said yes to taking on a 33 hour a week role at a new company.  The role was so remarkably similar my last before “leaving” my career, that I had to keep reminding myself of where I was. 

On my first trip into the corporate office of the new company, I squatted in a co-worker’s office, his walls covered in pictures of the London. In my last position, my boss and half my team lived in London. I would travel there frequently and usually travel the city by tube. After a few years, I came to almost feel like I knew the routes and destinations without having to constantly check a map. 

As I paused in the doorway of the new office, at the new company, looking at the photograph of the entrance to Piccadilly Circus station and the famous red double-decker bus, another frequent form of transportation, I shook my head and giggled at the Universe. “Are you mocking me?” I asked out loud.

A few weeks ago, I took a screen shot while sitting through a training, this coincidence so much more close to home it made me feel something foreign. I don’t have words to describe it.

Before me sat the software, I had helped build at the old company, the familiar names of my former team mates in black text on the screen before me. I smiled remembering the kinship we had held as team mates, wondering nostalgically how said humans were in this present day. 

Simultaneously, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of the circle I felt like I was completing. 

It wasn’t until the road trip that led me to this flight that I was able to put all of the pieces together into some semblance of order. 

Time is a slippery concept – try to hold onto it too tightly and it will writhe and wriggle out of your grasp, just enough to make anything that feels concrete, slick, as if covered in oil; shining, shimmering, reflecting and warping. 

Time is a measurement; sometimes a useful one. It’s helpful, say, when you want to meet someone for coffee. It is not helpful when you are stuck behind an accident on a freeway and running “late” to said appointment.

Time can also be deliciously delightful or downright cruel when it reminds you of where you were and where you are now

That’s a bit like how this training call, on this system was for me. I sent a text to a dear friend that read : “I’m on a training call for [insert said system’s name]; I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.”

Along the path of our journeys, one of the things I’ve always felt immense gratitude for was those people in my life I called my “billboards”.

Those that were close enough to me to know enough of the intimate details of my transformations, of which there have been countless, and also at a distance enough to be able to reflect back to me my life’s journey across time. 

They are the ones that say, “I remember when we talked a few years ago and you said you were chasing this down – it sounds like you’ve arrived”. Or, “I remember you wanting to change this thing – Well done!”. They say, “Lani, pause and listen to yourself. See what you’ve done!” I’ve mentioned these “billboard people” before. 

I mention them again now because it’s the thread that pulls this story together. 

Only 32 hours ago, I was leaving my house on my first ever road trip across many states for what was supposed to be a 13 hour drive to Ogden, Utah with a soul sister who has changed my life, irrevocably, for the better. 

As we were passing through Boise, Idaho, and in anticipation I had called another soul sister who lived in town to try to connect the three of us, if only for a hug and a few minutes of conversation. With plans made, we connected.  This beautiful soul always taps into the heart of me and opens me to a deeper level of truth. 

As we were departing from our brief encounter, the skies dark and the stars shining in their pure brilliance, I started to connect her comments with my present work, life, business and people and realized instantaneously the brilliance of my universe and its teachings. 

My “billboard” in Boise had been constructed to reflect back to me the importance of the person I had become, separate from the situation I found myself in again which as mentioned is an uncanny resemblance of the departure I took from that path almost 3 years ago. 

The situation had to be eerily similar in order for me to see all the nuances in how un-similar I had become, in relation to the whole. 

Suddenly; I could see things differently.

  • I could sense my power and the strength of my voice.

  • I could feel the distance between my work and my person. (Where previously my work defined my person).

  • I could feel the self-confidence of my approach, my need for external validation rendered useless.

  • I could see the magic in the balancing act I had been placed in; growing my business and surrendering those 33 hours a week; was a precursor to what I have been asking for – multiple streams of income from various pursuits all melded into the whole of what I call my “living”.

  • I could see the space between what I do to pay the mortgage and who I am as a being on the planet; a human with a clear purpose and the vision of my existence in the framework of the now.

Without the similarities; these observations would have been almost impossible.

The Universe, in its infinite intelligence about how I “see” things, knew it had to deliver the foundation as close to identical to my “before” so I could see how far I had come in my journey “now”.

A new kind of a billboard, a new style of communication with the Universe. My translator skills growing.

So as we drove those last few hundred miles, and passed signs for a town called Bliss (an original core desired feeling of mine), the constellation Orion shining so brightly out my window (a special one for me for many reasons) and I began to talk about my story the way one shares a life history; for the first time I could see the arch.

I could see, with a clear vision unlike anything I had experienced until then, the powerful truth of my current life. That I was free to continue to make my way as I have dreamed of because the deeper level I was after had been reached, successfully. 

It took a bit longer and a few more tears than I would have preferred and yet, here I am. I have arrived. I’m sharing it with you as the awareness is unfolding because I always find that news is best when fresh. 

Take stock, lovely human, when you find yourself in a confusing déjà vu over what the deeper message has the possibility to be. Ask your people, find a few billboards.

Gather the evidence and welcome the epiphanies as they come. Like waves of an ocean, bigger and stronger; a tsunami of your growth, reflected back at you, changing you, changing your landscape, rewriting your personal story. 

And then, when the calm resettles, with all of the blank space and newness around you; you get to begin again. 

With Metta. 

 

 

a much needed perspective shift

There’s a cacophony of noise around me as I begin to write. The washing machine is cleaning the cover of my comforter for my bed and the bath rugs. The dishwasher is cleaning my dishes. There’s a helicopter flying in the night sky out the window and my daughters’ clothes are gently tap, tap, tapping in the dryer.

Before me are graph paper and bills, a 3 year strategic planning sheet, bucket lists and end of year planning questions.

I’ve had this distinctly overwhelming sense of suffocation lately. Too many papers in the house. Too many unfinished tasks. Too much clutter. Too much noise. Too much of – well – pretty much everything: foods my body doesn’t tolerate well, alcohol, late nights and a plethora of other “too manys”.

This is my pattern. I recognize it when it’s happening, which in itself is a huge step. I’m still working on accepting that it’s OK for me to be in this space. For what feels like the first time; I’m not shameful of writing or sharing this. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It is what it is.

I’ve also cleaned out a few spaces that hadn’t been touched in a long time. You know what I’m talking about…those “secret” drawers, corners and cabinets that collect things that don’t have a proper “home” in your space.  It turns out I have a lot more of those than I thought I did and lately, cleaning those spaces out has helped with my sense of overwhelm.

Last night I took a bath and as soon as I was done, instead of enjoying my relaxed state of being, I took out the rubber gloves and proceeded to clean not only the tub but also the shower and the tile floor as well as the sinks and the counter.

Tonight it was laundry and dishes. Cleaning also helps with my overwhelm.

Tomorrow, who knows what will beg for my attention.

I mentioned my pattern – here it is. When I reach my limit on a “problem”, I get obsessed with fixing it.

The current issue is with my space. I feel into my spaces. What’s exacerbating this particular problem is two fold. The first is the influx of new stuff from the holiday that now has to find a “home” in my space. The second is my relationship with material things has shifted dramatically and my desire to purge is obsessive.

I know instinctively (and over years of practice), that when I reach this mental head-space I usually need a counter-weight to get me more into “flow”.

By now, you’re probably aware that I don’t often come up with solutions by myself, I ask the Universe for help.  This time, I asked what I most needed to understand about how to proceed more calmly and with more trust in the ultimate plan for my life.  

It was maybe 24 hours later, I was on a phone call with a dear friend who made a comment about loving the library and having access to all of the books he wanted for free. Shortly thereafter I went into my Evernote app in search of a recipe and found my “book” list where I keep recommended books from others.

The top one on this list is called The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer. Because I’d been toying with surrender as my word of the year, without hesitation, I downloaded a library app called Libby on my phone, connected my library card number and looked up the book. Tapped the first one, paying zero attention to the fact that it was an audio book until after I had “borrowed” it.  

What a beautiful gift having this audio book has been! I realize it’s fairly common to listen to audio books but I’ve never done it before this one. Amazing is all I can say.

I was ready for this book at this point in my life. I’m certain if I had read it sooner, it would not be having nearly as big of an impact.

It’s having an impact now because of the bristled place I’m in.  The words and story are acting like a soothing balm. I can feel my “ruffledness” beginning to relax back into my body, covering me like a soft blanket, helping me to regain my warmth.

I have found my counter balance, thank you Universe. 

While Michael is reading his words to me, his stories are reminding me of the ones I have in my life that have brought me to today.  

The unexplained phenomenon of people, opportunities and yes, even books that show up at exactly the right moment with exactly the right words that end up shifting my path, my course, my perspective.

I remember a coworker of mine had once commented on how quickly I adapt to and adopt new information into my life. Learning is something I love to do and books like this one are some of my favorite teachers.

We are ending this calendar year in less than 25 hours as I type this, and starting a new one.

My life today looks nothing like I had hoped it would. I couldn’t have planned for what I have. I couldn’t be more grateful that I have it.  This is more than enough evidence (and another lovely reminder) that my journey on this planet is far greater than my human mind can currently conceive.

All of this leads me to recognize the power outside of each of us that is far greater than who we are as individuals; connecting, coordinating and working its magic. It also reminds me of a line from one of my favorite movies by JK Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:

Jacob a “No-Mag” or non-magic person says to Newt, (the protagonist) after going into Newt’s magic suitcase for the first time, “Newt, I don’t think I’m dreaming.”
Newt asks “What gave it away?”
Jacob says “I ain’t got the brains to make this up.”

the gifts in the story

As I type this I’m flying on a plane back from Orlando. I took on some “muggle” work three months ago and now find myself trying many different tactics to balance growing where my heart is, here – in my business, with the very mortal requirement of my mortgage payment.  

While I was blessed enough to have two and a half years of almost exclusively managing just my business, I also spent most of that time adjusting to what I was becoming; a mystic, a metaphysician, an energy healer, a tarot card reader, an intuitive/spiritual coach and a meditation guru.

I call myself a universe translator because at my essence, I read energy and I have a gift for putting words to things.

I’ve spent hours in study (and in meditation). And then, one has to giggle, that as soon as I figure it out and have the clarity of language and ideas, the impending mortgage payment was begging for some assistance.

So it’s no wonder that these mantras in The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn hit me so squarely:

Infinite Spirit, open the way for the Divine Design of my life to manifest; let the genius within me now be released; let me see clearly the perfect plan.” (p. 75).

Followed by this one “I am fully equipped for the Divine Plan of my life.”  (p. 82)

I was asked recently by a dear friend if I was a “certified coach”. I wrote back a lengthy response tossing all kinds of names around. I’ve taken a course with Deepak Chopra. I’ve studied with Martha Beck. The list went on.

All of these are true and, as my amazing friend’s response was – “I don’t need a certification to know that you are great at what you do, just wondering.” I realized that my response could have been as simple as “nope”.

I didn’t feel defensive when I wrote back. Yet, candidly, I do remember “the flare” I got when I received the message the first time.

Over the years of building my business, I worried about how to say that I wasn’t certified (I came from a life of titles, certificates and labels – naturally this was distressing).  Over these same years I struggled each time I had to say no. 

This time, my internal response was different. I had no attachment to the result; just a desire to set the record straight. My external response however, wasn’t as eloquent as I had hoped it to be. This was another good practice run. The next will look much different. Much simpler.

I do remember arriving at the conclusion when I was tossing the idea around in my brain that I would rather invest in studying under a Shaman than get a coaching certification. I made my peace when that was my decision. It was telling someone, with my peace in tact, that was my challenge.

In recognition of my internal response, it was very powerful to get clear that personally, I was OK regardless of what I received back. If someone doesn’t want to work with me because I don’t have a certificate I bless them and off they go.

This question is just one example of the numerous little things that have come up lately that used to cause “pain” and “fear” in my journey.

Another was my internal feelings of inadequacy at work. (Gone!) It turns out that by running my own show, it fundamentally shifted how I show up working for someone else.

I’m crystal clear on my value and strengths. Crystal. Clear. Any and all self-doubt has evaporated. It’s a whole new (and beautiful world!).  (I insist you can get here without needing to run your own business first – this was my path. I also know how to take you down it if you need help.)

And yet another, my feelings of inadequacy from an intelligence perspective.

I love my brain. I always have. I have always been exceptionally confident that I have an intelligent brain even if it doesn’t work like other brains do.  As an adult, that confidence has spurred reactions in others that would cause them to want to “reduce” my size.

When we would talk, the tone of voice directed at me would get condescending or angry.  I’d end up with a visceral physical reaction of wanting to crawl out of my skin. I would leave the conversation feeling stupid, usually in tears and ashamed of my emotions.

The tears were because I was processing. (I cry when I’m happy, sad and angry – yes, this can be confusing.) Tears are not universally accepted in the circles I used to run in as proper business etiquette. The closer these people were to me on a personal level, the more violent the reaction I would have.

The most recent test of this comes in the form of a human in the new muggle role who has pushed all of these buttons. I almost fell into the pattern. Almost. I caught myself.

I saw it happening, I felt where I was going and I shifted my response. I called the person out on their behavior. I offered an olive branch. It was ignored. I was able to laugh at the whole thing. This is tremendous for me!

I bless the human – they are on a journey; it’s not mine. I’ve played my part and now I’ve honored the divinity in said human and I’m walking away. Phew! That was a big one!

As I started reflecting on 2017, which was a huge year: a New-Year 3-day workshop, a 10-day silent meditation retreat, a family trip to Denver with my daughters, a trip to South Africa, a year with an amazing spiritual coach. I became a Reiki Master, I took my first skydive, I celebrated my Dad’s 80th in New Hampshire, I built my meditation garden and launched meditation hours, found my voice as a business…the list goes on…

Then, comes to a screeching halt when I started the new muggle role in September.

I felt, for a few moments longer than I would have preferred, like everything I had accomplished this year had been “erased” for something as ordinary as money. I was devastated.

And then I wrote this story to you, sparked by the book and the mantras, and realized that everything that’s happening at the moment has been put on my path to show me truly how far I’ve come.

These experiences are all serving to emphasize the work I’ve done and the success I’ve been able to accomplish. The universe, in its infinite wisdom, has been putting me back in scenarios I would have struggled through in the past. Making it really obvious just how much I have changed, strengthened and as we say in the spiritual world, leveled-up.  

My 2017 word of the year is Sovereign. I’m proud to say that it’s clear to me, for perhaps the first time, that I am securely in my Queendom. Each of these examples and my response to them has showed me that. More self-doubt gone by the wayside.

What a powerful year! What a lovely reminder that there are gifts in every experience.

Sometimes you need distance and perspective to recognize the gifts. But in the paraphrased words of Richard Bach in my beloved book Illusions; We are not given a problem without also being given the tools to solve them. We create the problem because we need their gifts.

Let this recognition of these gifts catapult me into my divine right life because I now know that I am fully equipped for it.

So I declare: Infinite Spirit, open the way for the Divine Design of my life to manifest; let the genius within me now be released; let me see clearly the perfect plan.

Make 2018 the year of my Divinely Designed right life manifested in reality.

I want 2018 to be the same for you.

If you want some help studying your story, finding your path, owning your gifts and making a plan to make your divinely designed life your reality; join me in my group workshop Saturday Jan. 20th, 2018 or contact me for private coaching.

I’ve got you, love. It’s what I was born to do.

 

 

finding our way when lost

It just so happens that I’m feeling lost right now. And in feeling lost, I’m running into others that are also feeling lost because as you know, like attracts like. 

Feeling lost, for each person, looks (and feels) different. 

I don’t mind feeling lost. I get frustrated with the false starts and wrong paths. I also always find my way. Usually it’s back to my center. 

If you’ve been reading my posts for long enough, you’ll know that I rely on the universe for everything. I trust in the grand power and intelligence of the IS, or God as some would say. 

I am comfortable with my human level of intelligence and I know that for me, my brain has gotten me farther from my heart on more than one occasion. It makes me a little weary to trust my brain.

The universe, when I’ve given it complete trust, has never steered me wrong. 

For some, feeling lost is the worst possible thing that could happen and so they never step off the well-worn path to allow themselves to potentially get lost. 

It was three years ago in November that I started my business. It was a few years before that when I realized that I had worked so hard for the job, the title, the house, the salary, that in the process; I had lost myself entirely.

I had traded all that I was for a series of hollow labels. 

It was upon that recognition that I actively decided to step WAY OFF the path and start a new trail. It resulted in walking away from an 11-year marriage and a 20-year career.

I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned since that time, for anything. 

You’ll note I keep saying “feeling lost” as opposed to being lost. This is intentional. I spent a significant part of my 2017 year trying to stay in a state of “being”.

I came from a past, as described above, where I had to DO something to BE something. DO the hard work to BE the right employee. DO the dishes to BE the good wife. DO the job to HAVE the house to BE “successful”.

2017 was about BEING who I am at all times regardless of what I’m doing. This is a whole different kind of lost. It’s a sensation I can only compare to the way I saw the world (pre-lasik surgery) without my glasses – a vague and blurry outline of something that I’m chasing down but I can’t see clearly enough and the shapes keep shifting when I think I’ve sorted something out. 

I often end up somewhere I never intended to be.

It’s always exactly where I’m meant to be and often, who I need to be there with, whether or not I know it in the moment.  

I’m an excellent self-reflector. I can dive, shamelessly and without judgement, into my reaction to any given sensation because I know I’m the one creating the reaction. I can actively see myself groping around for answers and testing each step, not sure if I’m on wet or dry land.

Each time, I’m overwhelmed with the sensation of feeling lost. 

Here’s how I cope: 

I remember that I am extravagantly loved by the universe and that if I am creating a scenario it’s because I have something to learn from it. Then I focus on what the lesson is. I am driven by learning so this is natural for me. I ask, sometimes out loud, “What would it take for me to understand the lesson in this experience?”

I remind myself that situations I could define as “unfortunate” often contain hidden, fun and entertaining surprises. I ask, “What would it take to find the wonderful surprise(s) in this experience?”. This turns on my explorer, wanderer, way finder and I energetically feel the shift into curiosity. 

The fog, the shape shifting and the disorientation forces me to focus on form and substance that’s closer to my own inner surroundings. “What is clear to me in the moment?”, I ask. 

It can be anything big or small. At least one, usually more. Because I’m a gratitude driven human – my crystal clear bits are typically gratitudes.

This last few weeks, it has been gratitude for the sunshine out my window and dry nights to sit in my meditation garden by the fire. Both the sun and dry nights are a rare gift in the Pacific Northwest this time of year. 

My gratitude redirects my focus to things that make me feel good.

There’s a ton of power that comes from feeling good.

I don’t know about you, but I was raised in a way that showed me that  ‘life is work” and it couldn’t be too fun or something was wrong with you. 

I now know, EXACTLY how I want to feel. I do everything I can to take actions to feel that way.  Each feeling is associated with some sensation of bliss.

I won’t live any other way. 

If you look closely, over the coping actions above, each of these examples is an exercise in presence. 

Each of these examples requires me to acknowledge firstly how I’m feeling in the moment. (I feel________________.) 

Accept it.  (The acceptance is the most often skipped-over part – trust me, giving your feeling(s) a name (acknowledge) and permission to BE (acceptance) is a significant part of the solution.) 

Then take action toward something that feels better. My spiritual coach, L’Erin Alta taught me this. She calls it the “Triple A”: Acknowledge, Accept, Action. It’s brilliant! More importantly – it fucking works. (And I don’t love cursing so you know this is significant!)

Through these actions, I activate the parts of me that love to play: the learner, the explorer, the alchemist. 

I turn those super powers on and suddenly things start to crystalize in a new way. 

I can see the horizon more clearly – sometimes well beyond it. The stars are sharper. The outside world starts to shift. And I realize it’s shifting because I’ve come home to myself.

Like attracts like remember? 

Crystalize your inside (come back to your BEing) – activate your super powers – and remarkably, your outer world follows suit. 

******

If you want to know how to do this for yourself, join me in person, January 20, 2018 when I host an in-person workshop to shed what’s no longer serving you, activate your superpowers and make a plan to use them to make 2018 your most powerful year yet. 

May you be in a place to receive the love and light that surrounds you always,

LC