Ballroom Blitz- Wise project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

“To err is human, to forgive divine”

The following post is dedicated to a beautiful soul; my late husband Kirk. For years he has implored me to love more and judge less. I finally get it, it is a constant and life changing lesson.

I have a dirty little secret that I have never told anyone but I am about to share with all of you.

I turn into a completely different person when Ballroom Blitz comes on the radio. About four months after my husband passed away I was wandering aimlessly around the Superstore when Ballroom Blitz came booming from the sound system. For the past several months I had been holding my life together with double sided sticky tape and the good thoughts and prayers of the lovely people that never failed to support me during the darkest time of my life. Sure I laughed when something was funny and I was doing my best to put one foot in front of the other but that day was particularly dark.

I recognized the song in the first couple of bars and my left foot started to tap uncontrollably, followed my the unmistakable sway of my hips and that shoulder shimmy thing I do that makes my breasts move in a way that is illegal in some parts of the world. Without a conscious thought I grabbed a can of cheddar cheese soup and started pretending to sing into it ‘OOOH YEAH,” as I grooved through the aisle. I shimmied and I shook and I lost myself in wild abandon in that grocery store while strangers looked on in a mixture of confusion, judgment, amusement and quite possibly admiration. My limbs became one with the music; I was no longer in charge of anything. It was as if I the grieving widow was standing there quietly broken watching this badass, slightly crazy woman treat the grocery store aisle like the dance floor cage at her old small time haunt. I was in awe to be honest. Looking back it is likely in the top five of my most magnificent moments ever.

The song ended and I abruptly put down the soup can, smoothed out my polka dot dress and walked out of the store without looking back. I got in my truck and started driving as aimlessly as I had been wandering through the store and though monstrous tears spit out of my eyes and threatened to drown me I felt much lighter than I had in months, I felt a spark of my old self that if ignited could erupt into a full blown flame. It was a reassuring feeling. It felt like a promise that I was still in there, amongst the wreckage and if I kept digging I would emerge, bruised and bloody, but still fucking fabulous. Those people in that store that day, even if they repeat what they saw in late night conversations, over drinks, or around campfires will likely never know how important that four minutes of intemperance were for me. I abandoned my grief for four whole minutes and I was reminded that one day I would dance again, and sing, and laugh, and love. In four minutes I felt everything I was not able to feel for what seemed like a lifetime.

Their judgement, whatever it was didn’t matter, I pleaded with myself to not to fuel that fire. The only judgement that mattered in that moment was my own and I got to tell you that there was a little girl inside me shaking pomp oms and doing cart wheels.

I have found myself in the midst of many contemplative moments lately. I have been quite vocal that my late husband implored me to love more and judge less and that one thing alone has been nothing short of life changing. I try to be fair with people, I try to understand that humans err; I find myself frequently exploring the depths of forgiveness.

I am learning that there is a beautiful lesson in forgiveness, for both the person we forgive and the person we ask forgiveness of. We realize that we are not perfect and we shouldn’t ask that for that kind of perfection in others. We cannot claim to be attracted to the raw authenticity in people and then turn our backs when shit gets too real. There is something exquisite in seeing someone emerge from a mistake, owning the entire script of their life and working hard to write a better next chapter.

The thing that has struck me more than anything is that when I find myself sitting in judgment of others I am also forced to face my own shit and that is not always easy. It is however enlightening.

I realize that we are not always a victim or a product of the things that happen to us, but what we call into our lives and what we allow. We all have patterns, draws and habits and we are all perfectly imperfect. We are flawed, bruised, real…figuring this shit out as we go along. I find myself constantly reminding myself that when I dare to judge others that I better hold myself up for judgement as well and that is not always fun.

I have patterns of attraction that have been with me so long that I am reluctant to work on them. I feel that they are such a huge part of who I am so I struggle with what belongs and what is a security blanket for me.

My first step is owning that I am responsible for what I invite into my life. I have a pull to certain things that challenge me but also have the potential to hurt me and I wonder if I could ever be completely satisfied without that push/pull.

So much of my identity is wrapped up in the awareness that the people and experiences that have challenged me the most have also taught me the greatest lessons about life and about myself.

However, does this draw towards hard things mean that I am inviting difficult things into my life to avoid boredom?

The truth is I quite enjoy peace, and I quite enjoy being around people who expand my mind and fill me up without sucking away my energy. I can’t help wonder if I have been confusing things. I very adamantly told my friend that I had a healthy relationship with “hard stuff” because I knew that life would be hard, it is inevitable; and I was able to face the hard things head on. She gave me something huge to consider that has been nagging me, like a fly buzzing around my head for the past couple of months.

I can do hard things. I can face hard things. I am a badass. Do I want to? Should I need to? Am I provoking the universe? Am I asking for hard things to prove that I can keep conquering them?

It is not a bad thing to confront you, to question yourself and get to know yourself.

We spend way too much time with an eye on other judging what they are doing without considering what leads us to do the things we do. If we want to sit in the seat of the judge why are we so reluctant to turn our inquisitive minds to ourselves?

Sure, we judge ourselves right?! I am bad, I suck, I messed up, I could have done better, I will never be who I want to be…but how often to we consider the choices we make, why we make them and what would change if we genuinely believed that we were worth the world and made all of our decisions based on what was best for us.

We spend a great deal of time in our lives trying to find someone to spend our lives with and once we find that person we try to be right for that person but too often we forget how important it is to be that person to ourselves. You are the person you will spend the rest of your life with. Our journey in life is not about finding “the one”, the journey is about becoming “the one”

I believe that once we learn to love and accept ourselves and own our own bullshit everything else will fall into place just as it is supposed to.

It takes time and patience is a virtue, sadly not one of mine but I am working on that one too. I indisputably believe that we can all have the life that we were born to pursue, but it takes work and part of that is allowing ourselves to see and meet ourselves and others with love first, before judgement.

Not everyone belongs in our lives and I am careful to weed my garden of people that don’t add value to my life in some way, that is not selfish, that is self care. I am also learning that when someone hurts me, it is very unlikely that it has anything to do with who I am and everything to do with who they are in that moment. Good people do bad things; sometimes our gardens are not full of weeds, just unique flowers that need watering. We can judge them as bad and throw them away or we can show them a little love and see if they bloom.

Life is weird. We are all on a journey. We all have scars and bruises. The very best people I know are made from life’s lessons, emerged from struggle and stitched back together with love and forgiveness.

Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Once you are able to love yourself where you are and how you are you will be a lot more willing to meet people where they are on their journey. We are not the judge or the jury, we are the witnesses.

Doing All Right – Wise project 2018- #TenaciousTuesday

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I want you to know something important. I don’t always have my shit together. I am winging it at the best of times, life, eyeliner, finances…all of it.

My decision making consists of a slight pause, a deep breath and the phrase “fuck it” before diving head first into most situations.

I am not shy and some of my friends describe me as extroverted but the truth is I have this insane need to just be myself. Now granted I have a select friend or two that gets to see the full on crazy that I tuck in periodically to be acceptable for the rest of the world but generally speaking I am an open book and that is important to me because the people that belong in my life are there for the right reasons; for me, not for a version of myself that I present to the world.

We are constantly looking to the right thinking that everyone else has it all together and the truth is that most of us are really just winging it.

The bigger truth is I feel pretty damn good about it.

There was a time when I was trying to juggle all of the balls at once, motherhood, marriage, work, finances, volunteerism and I constantly had the feeling that one wrong move and everything would come tumbling down. The truth is I wasn’t doing any of those jobs particularly well because I neglected in all of that to take care of me.

When I started truly investing in myself it seemed that everything else seemed to fall gently into place, there was no more guilt or juggling. There is great deal of freedom in letting go and trusting that you are fully supported at all times by something larger than you. For me that is the universe; science, energy, spirit and guides. I believe that when we take care of ourselves we are better in tune to see the way that these things work together to constantly support us for our greatest good.

I try to make good healthy choices for myself, I limit my time with people who suck my energy and seek out opportunities for wellness and growth. The more I do this, the more things, ideas and people cross my path that I know for certain were placed there at the right time to support me and to fill my journey with light.

I don’t have all the answers but what I am trying to accomplish is to let go of the fear that sometimes goes hand in hand with not knowing what comes next.

Sometimes it is scary not knowing all of the answers but we cannot live our lives for tomorrow when today is all we are promised.

For me meditation has been a wonderful gift to keep me grounded and connects me to the present and quite frankly to my inner self, the witness, not the judge. Even in the midst of chaos I have the tools to access calm in me that for a long time I never knew existed.

Just for today take a little time to recognize where you are, look around, breath. Don’t worry that the neighbor has a backyard oasis and you have a giant toilet for your dog, don’t worry that your friend is making her family a recipe from Chrissy Tiegan’s new cookbook and your kids are getting Lucky charms with chocolate milk after practice. Take a moment to remember that you have all this under control, take that five minutes you thought you couldn’t afford, even if you are just sitting in the bathroom playing Spiderman solitaire with the door locked. You matter. The moment you realize that everything else is gravy.

You got this.

 

 

 

 

Words get in the way -Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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In 2015 Shonda Rimes released the Year of Yes, just as I was learning to say No all over again. The word NO, a simple shift in narrative has given me back to myself. I used to say yes to everything and it left me depleted and often frustrated and angry. I think I equated saying yes and taking on everything with my self-worth. Being the “yes girl” made me valuable and I got a great deal of validation from that. During that time, I clearly did not know that I determined my own self-worth and because of that, I was often taken advantage of and the things that I used to enjoy I became very resentful of.

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When toddlers learn to say the word no it is extremely powerful in their young minds and they are really onto something. If you have ever seen a toddler saying “No” to everything, on repeat, they are just learning to use and exert their own power. I remember being asked to do something and finally saying no and feeling so fucking great about it. People were so used to me saying yes that it was a little shocking at first and where I was always the person willing to pick up the slack or do the shit jobs that nobody else wanted to do it was not exactly looked upon favorably. I learned quite quickly that my value to some people was very much dependent on what I could do for them, I also learned pretty quickly that saying No to the things I really didn’t want to do put me back in the driver’s seat of my own life and made me a whole lot happier and valuable to the people that really mattered, including myself. Setting limits in our lives is extremely important and for me, a simple change in narrative became a vehicle of integrity and a way to rid myself of time-consuming filler that had ceased to add any value to my life. Don’t get me wrong, saying yes is not always a bad thing, in fact saying yes to life and love and new experiences can add a great deal to your life, but NO, used properly, wields a great deal of personal power and should be celebrated as such. We put a lot of significance on being needed, wanted and valued but saying yes all of the time to feel worthy just becomes a lot of work.

No. Repeat after me…”NO”

Doesn’t that feel amazing?

I had a boss and friend that used to say, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t you are right either way!” I use this little piece of genius almost every day, in conversations with others and in the words I use to encourage myself. Can’t is a powerful word, if we give power to it. If you believe you cannot do something you simply can’t but if you believe you can you have embraced a fantastic superpower because if you think you can, you absolutely, without a doubt, unequivocally can!

But.

But is a word that people use to clip their own wings and wrap themselves in chains. But is often used in the same paragraph as can’t. ‘But’ gives you the pause to say why you can’t. But comes before an excuse. Take notice and of when and how you are using the word but and try to answer in another way.

Trying.

I used to think trying was a powerful word until a very wise man who helped me on my healing journey told me that trying is lying. I am trying my best and I am doing my best is a tiny but incredible shift in narrative that will make you a badass. Instead of attempting you are doing. Simple.

Broken.

I love poetry but in poetry, people are often referred to as broken. Broken hearted, broken spirit, just plain broken. After my husband passed away I often described the feeling I had as broken but when I realized that not only did my heart have this huge capacity to love, it felt every ounce of hurt that comes along with losing that love tragically, I was able to experience every single emotion to every degree on the pendulum swing and I believe that that makes me the very opposite of broken. I am strong enough to bend which essentially makes me unbreakable. I will own and embrace my struggles and rise to fight when needed but I am not broken and neither are you.

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Vulnerable.

The dictionary would like to tell us that vulnerable is susceptible, weak and defenseless but vulnerable is actually one of the most powerful words and actions in the English language. It is one of my favorite words in fact. According to researcher and author Brene Brown, we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Through her work, I have come to believe that vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage. When we shrug off the protective armor that shields us from feeling vulnerable, we open ourselves up to experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives. Vulnerability Is the origin of joy, creativity, authenticity, and love. That feels pretty damn powerful to me.

Save.

We often look for others to swoop into a situation and save us. I have a difficult time with that word. When Kirk passed away I remember falling on my deck and slumping against the house in shock and disbelief and I knew immediately that nobody could save me. We all need support, comfort, and encouragement but in those important moments, I realized that if I was going to slay the demons I better find a sword because nobody could save me, that was my job. In a similar respect we can not save others, that is not our job, we can love, hold space, encourage and support but “saving” oneself is an inside job!

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These are just a couple of examples of how  narrative has been important in my life and has helped me reclaim my personal power. Pay attention to the diminishing words that you use, words that take your power away. You can make some simple little shifts daily in the way you speak to and about yourself as well as how you speak up for yourself. You will immediately command respect because people will see very quickly how you much value yourself and quite frankly if we do not value ourselves why would we expect anyone else to?

Recommended: The Power of Vulnerability~ Brené Brown