For those that don't know, I have been sorting through an autoimmune issue for years. I use the word "issue" because I hate doctors and every time I go, my blood work comes back normal. And because of said disdain and my stubbornness, I am a nomad in my health and trying to figure out how to best heal.
With that said, this all started after I had my daughter. Pizza Fridays has been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember. We would order pizza, maybe some salad, and a glass or two of wine. This has been fine (and delicious) until it wasn't. I started to feel awful on pizza night. Like I was hungover only hours later. I thought it was the wine so pulled back there. But then I had all of these aches, what I have come to find out are more tissue related, but so hard to describe to a health professional. "It's kind of muscular, kind of joints, idk..." I started seeing chiropractors and acupuncturist with no avail. I was also exhausted and my anxiety started climbing the charts. Looking back, I chalked that up to sleep deprivation of motherhood, but these are also big symptoms as well.
By chance, I decided to cut out gluten to see if that would help and it did! Pretty much every symptom cleared up. Until I had my son. Dairy was the next culprit that I have identified. But damn if giving up cheese isn't hard. I had cut back dramatically, the only dairy in my life was the occasional cheese (hello GF pizza friday!).
As the years progressed, it's been harder to really even keep up with the triggers and the symptoms. All the while, you feel like a crazy woman. I mean all of my symptoms are invisible - joint/muscular/tissue pain, anxiety, and fatigue. Oh! and the definition for autoimmune disease is basically that your body is attacking your own tissue. And it's triggered by food. Do you have any idea what it feels like to think that your body is attacking you when you eat food. Scary AF. Talk about anxiety and exhaustion just from that.
This past year, I have really tried to get a hold of it. I have picked up the Medical Medium book series and follow him on Instagram. I have tried his protocol twice, but both times I blew up like a bloated balloon. In defense, it's also because I tried giving up meat at the same time, which drastically increased my bean and grain consumption, which are triggers as well. For the love....
OK! That gets us up to date. It's January 2019, I am in the post holiday -I ate whatever I want and feel like shit- coma and have jumpstarted the medical medium again and feel like an Oompa Loompa. Identifying that grains could be a culprit and needing some sort of accountability, I jumped on the Whole30 train. I just needed something. I needed something to commit to with a start an end date, to get the dairy out of my life, to stop using wine as a crutch for the witching hour, and to really figure out what my body needs.
Here were my biggest takeaways:
1) Week one I felt amazing. it felt like the easiest thing in the world. I was completely gluten and dairy free. My energy was through the roof, my balloon belly went away, and I was so happy that we committed (yes, I drug my husband and neighbor along with me). The kids were eating healthier too, because the daily Christmas treat habit had faded for them, and most of our meals were just more nutrient-dense. This was exactly what I was looking for. Praise Be.
2) I had also picked up that eggs, pork, and even some FODMAP veggies were big no's for me. Identifying my food triggers before whole 30 was starting to feel impossible (because there are lots of them) but by clearing out all of the other damaging foods, it made it very clear which ones I had aversions to.
3) I love to cook. I like it more with a glass of wine. I hate cooking 21 meals a week. It was a lot of fun trying some new recipes in the beginning. I was having fun pinning new recipes and following new accounts on Instagram. But the meal planning and grocery list process became incredibly time-consuming and tiring. It's hard when you have to re-learn all of your foods, the ingredients, and where to go for your specialty needs. And by the end of the whole30 haul, I was just tired of the work. My cooking suffered and then so did my desire to eat the food. I like good food. Don't we all. I have to enjoy the process of making the food and give myself more breaks for this to be sustainable.
4) I have other issues. I check out around 3-5pm. It's the witching hour. The kids are crazy and whining and fighting and tired and hungry... and I am about 1/3 of those. And I am just done with the madness. So I check out. Wine was my checkout tool and when I don't have an evening glass of wine, I usually have an after dinner sweet treat. Now that both of these were gone, I went to social media. I would scroll in the afternoon and then usually when the kids went to bed. This stuff is like crack. I get that sometimes we just need to get though the day, but this is not the life I want to live. I don't want to be dazed under booze or social crack. So somehow, I have to find a way to make that time more enjoyable. I'll get back to you.
5) So now what. In the last week, I started fantasizing about pizza night and a heaping plate of nachos with an extra large marg, but I can't. I didn't start this for some kind of crash diet, I started this to launch me into a new phase of my health. I have got to say good bye to the foods that hurt me. I literally feel like I am breaking up with cheese and could cry. CRY. In the upcoming weeks, I will start to slowly reintroduce beans and grains and see which ones are my nemesis, but then I have to say goodbye to those foods...
6) The hardest part about saying good-bye to these foods is that now I'm that person. I was an incredibly picky kid and used to get so much grief for it. When I opened up my pallet in early adulthood, It was so liberating. I liked just about all foods. Some I would rather not eat, but for the most part, I didn't have special requests and never complained about food. This is a fun way to live your life. And now I am the girl who can't eat anything... because there are very few meals in this world that are gluten, dairy, and egg free. Sharing a meal, attending a party... all of it just got a little more complicated. And well, I just don't like being an inconvenience. It's like here's me: I don't want to take up too much space, be too loud, or off-put anyone in anyway. But this is my health. And when I am triggered, I can be a heaping mess who's too tired and too weak to really be productive. The anxiety can make it feel like my head is on fire and my face is too heavy to move. My body can ache so much that it hurts to stand up straight...
7) Food is absolutely my biggest trigger but it's not the only one. Stress will trigger my symptoms in a flash. Priding myself on being able to function under chronic high stress has caught up with me. High stress triggers high anxious symptoms. Anxiety triggers my aches. My aches trigger the fatigue, and the fatigue brings on the brain fog. It's like my body has finally said, enough already. Stop fucking around. Live a beautiful life, not one that you grind out.
So I am sorry. I am sorry that my food is now an inconvenience. I say this in a genuine way, not in a #sorrynotsorry way.
But I want to live. I want to take up space. I want to be seen in my greatest expression of myself. And so I am going to work very hard to stay away from the foods that will dim my light.
I think the most powerful part about Whole30 for me was seeing these opportunities for growth in my life, beyond food. Ever since I first identified a mind/body connection with food, I became obsessed and it's always been my first line of defense (or attack). Let food be thy medicine. But sometimes there are circumstances outside of food. I'm achy because of the dairy or I'm tired because of the wine... maybe. But what I saw was that I'm achy from anxiety too. I'm tired from boredom too.
So here we go. My diet will probably mimic a more paleo-style. I am excited to have a glass of wine this Friday. And I am on a mission to decrease stress and increase joy.
I have made infinite mistakes as a mom, but have always gotten one thing right: I love hard and deep. I'm sure this is not unlike you. I mean, we don't care for these tiny humans day in and day out and not love them with every fiber in our bodies. But even with that I have felt this disconnection. This invisible thing that keeps me from them. From really serving them with my soul.
I have few regrets in life. This is a symptom of being a person that lives in the future versus the past, rather than someone who's given herself grace in her mistakes. But I live with one regret as a mom and it's that I stopped trusting and loving myself when my daughter was born. I know people try to prepare you but it is just downright impossible to prepare someone for what motherhood really feels like. I really didn't understand that when this tiny person came out she would immediately have her own preferences. And her preferences were very different from the plans I was making in utero. I like sleep. I read all of the sleep books. I planned that she would be a great sleeper. I thought that I could transition easily from mom to business as she played nicely on a rolled out blanket. I thought that I would immediately find my momma tribe and we would plan baby + me yoga and coffee dates. None of these things happened.
And I started to feel broken. I looked for answers outside of me. I begged for advice in mom groups. I envied the mom gangs. I resented portions of motherhood that kept me from building my business.
But the truth of all of this is that I stopped loving myself. Stopped trusting my ability to listen, even to the things I didn't necessarily want to hear. And has continued to ebb and flow in various stages of motherhood. While infancy with my son was different, part of this was second time around, part was an easier baby, part was the lesson of what not to do, I have still seen the same signs and symptoms rear their ugly head. Impatience. Frustration. Ok, losing my shit. While, I don't want this to turn into some falsehood of patron saint motherhood, I do want to bring attention to when this is them and when this is us.
Motherhood is hard. But it might be a little easier if we loved our selves more. Ok, life would be a little easier if we loved ourselves more.
So, yeah, that's step 1. You. Love you.
But then step 2. Find your breath. Your center of gravity. Your heart's calling. What is it saying to you about motherhood. About the kind of mom you want to be. Then we need to ask ourselves a critical question. A question that we reflect on often and yet never with motherhood:
What is your intention with mOtherhood? What do you want your outcome to be?
I ask this question in one shape or form in all areas of my life. What do I want my intention for the day to be? What are my goals for the year? What is my desired outcome with anything work related or with conversations I am having. And yet, I had never thought to ask myself the question, "What is my desired outcome for my children." Or maybe I have but haven't been brave enough to really consider the steps. The daily action. The intentionality that is really required.
One of the most important outcomes that I want for my children is that they feel rooted in this earth. That they are not like tree branches blowing in whatever direction social media is taking them. I want them to feel solid in who they are, which will not come from an impatient mom or a mom who is not solid in who she is. I want them to know true love so they don't just need attention. And everyday, I know that I need to breathe through my children. Find the rhythms. Feel the heartbeat of where they are developmentally and respond with intention.
This is motherhood from the inside out.
I remember when I first started dreaming about starting my own business. Business actually had nothing to do with it, as so many budding entrepreneur stories go. I knew I had an idea for how to serve people and if the job wasn't there, I was determined to create it. Remember this actually surprises me because I don't remember myself being bold, but I guess I have always had a little spice in me.
My first concept was to create a holistic wellness center. You know, like counseling, yoga, nutrition, maybe massage. Things that create peace and enlightenment from a mind/body/soul level. I tried piecing it together. I tried looking for partnerships. I even went on a rampage with the Pepsi Refresh competition and bombed a presentation in front of Angel Investors.
I had no idea how much money I was going to make or even how much money it would take to live the life I wanted to live. I didn't understand the kind of work that it would take and what that would look like alongside motherhood. I just knew that I couldn't work a job that didn't bring me great joy. My money story was all a mess. Little did I know then, that not being solid in the MONEY part of business would inevitably steal joy and also get my vision for how to serve really murky.
My husband on the other hand has always had the entrepreneurial mindset and vision of making a lot of money. Somewhere along the way of my visions of a wellness center and his vision of getting rich, we joined efforts and went into business together. I can confidently say now, that this was an incredible learning experience, though it didn't take either one of us to our end goal. Some would call this a failure. Others would call us quitters. But the truth is that we weren't happy. And the reason we weren't happy is because neither one of us were in alignment. My husband really wasn't that interested in helping people in the industry we were in, but he wanted to make a lot of money. I, on the other hand, just started to follow his passions and caught a money vision but lost my initial outcome of how to help people.
Business works well when your vision for impact is in alignment with your vision for your earnings.
In order to have a business that I would deem a success, meaning it brings you great personal fulfillment and brings money into your pocket in the amounts that you desire to live your best life, while also giving you the freedom to live that life.
So, here I was, years later. I am not making the income that I wanted to at this stage in my life and so much has changed with becoming a mom and lessons that I have learned and the evolving internet that I started to feel kind of lost. Who was I and who was I meant to serve? What is my money story? How much do I want to make and what feels honest in terms of earnings? Because while I love woo-woo stuff, I don't actually believe that money is just going to fall out of the sky.
So bit by bit I started to put the pieces together. I started to learn who I was. I started to remember my true voice and distinguish that from being a parrot. I started to embrace the stage of life that I am in right now, today. Not the stage that I anticipate being in.
I learned that I love to write. Like really love it. I learned that a one-size-fits-all is bullshit. With everything. Diets, relationships, parenting, business. There might be some commonalities, some systems that work for more than one person but there is nothing that's tried and true for everyone. And I learned that I REALLY liked to talk about that because that and only that is what will help women get to where they want to be.
And now to put all of this together, right? And monetize it. Because as I told a friend of mine recently, who asked if I needed to make money writing, YES! I LIKE TO MAKE MONEY. I do! I think it's fun. I love when money hits the bank account. I love pouring myself into the things I love and knowing that all of my financials are taken care of and abundant. I love being generous. I love traveling. I love exploring. And I absolutely love not having money problems. I love how the energy that once went to stress and anxiety and worry, that used to be a source of tension in my marriage, is gone. I love that. I want more of that. I want others to have more of that. Can you imagine? Imagine if everyone who had money problems could suddenly free up those emotions and put them to good.
So, Yes, girlfriend. I have to make money. i want to make money. i love making money.
But as the story started, money, to me is in proportion to my worth. And my worth is connected to my truth. So if I want to make money, I best get connected to what is connected to my heart. And sister, if you want to make some serious money, I suggest you do the same.
Joy. Definitely not a word that I would use to describe myself. Something I might experience on occasion, for a moment or too. But joy is rare. Laughing continues to get replaced with stoicism. Peace and stillness are often as close as I get, because true joy, the lose yourself in the moment joy, deep belly laugh joy, time stands still joy, heart bursting joy... well that just seems too far away.
But, dear friend, this is about creating a life you LOVE, not a life that you kind of feel peace with.
So in my effort to create more joy, I am going to start with this sweet reminder of the things that bring me joy.
1) A good book, curled up with a soft throw, and a warm cup of tea.
2) Al fresco dining on a warm Spring day. A crisp glass of sauvignon blanc and meal that makes you moan out loud.
3) Moaning out loud (did I really just write that).
5) Outdoor concerts. Singing every word and dancing because you just can't not.
6) Girlfriends. When your inhibitions are lowered enough to laugh til you cry and cry til you laugh.
7) Writing. The way words feel like a waterfall from my brain to my mouth and into the key board
8) Naps. The Spa. And lounging poolside. Just laying there. Breathing. Taking in the peace.
9) Long walks as a family.
10) Nourishing my body. Eating a meal that I know is pure fuel and medicine.
11) Creating a room in my home that is complete and exudes love, nourishment, and peace.
12) Catching up with an old friend. I am always looking forward, so when I can catch up with a friend or family member to collect memories or learn a bit of family history, it fuels my soul.
13) True connections with like-minded people.
14) Growing. I don't know if there is anything more exciting than knowing I've crossed another hurtle and am that much closer to living out my soul's calling.
15) Going for a drive with my husband and just dreaming.
For those that don't know, in Spring of 2018, my hubs and I got a bug up our butt and decided to put our house on the market, drastically downsize and travel the control in an RV with our two young kids. You can only imagine the hiccups along the way and during the process, we decided to re-evaluate. But that process was everything.
Just getting prepared and in the mindset opened my eyes to a whole different world of simplicity. Where does one start when they want to do said adventure. With the google of course... and then Instagram. Y'all. I found so many families doing this and loved watching their triumphs and hiccups. I loved learning how this process transformed their marriages, relationships with their children, relationships with their stuff, pretty much all relationships. I marveled at the spirituality in it all. I mean one must have God if you are going to take a cold, 5 minute shower in a teeny bathroom that you share with several other people... and this was before I started using Monat and dry shampoo.
I did a massive clutter overall and before the internet lost their mind over Marie Condo, I had learned her sacred principle: Does it bring you joy? As I was preparing for our community yard sale, this led the pack in my easy decision making to move it into the sale. If the answer was no, then it was out. I mean, I was going to have to do some ridiculous down-sizing so lets at least start there. I learned very quickly how many items I had just purchased in my meager attempt to take a Pinterest room and recreate it on a dime budget. So many items that brought zero joy. Just this process alone had me take great inventory in my purchasing and how emotions drive our purchases. Buy something for the quick fix, because you think it's going to fill a need (or really, want) just to bring it home and create more angst. Instead, if I would get really intentional with what I want and have a little patience, I can find pieces that truly bring significant joy instead of just Prime delivery speed.
So as the story goes, we decided not to move, not to sell our home, and luckily, not sell all of our late furniture. And as we stayed, I still found myself daydreaming of a simpler existence. Moving into the country with more land to let the children play free. Moving to Bali where lifestyle is insanely affordable. Moving to a tiny lake cottage where I can always see the water.
Since we are staying put, for now, I have started to ask myself a very important question:
How can I satisfy what's missing in my life by staying exactly where I am??
Isn't this, indeed, what mediation is all about. The knowing that we have everything we need right in this very moment. And well, if we don't, then what are the steps to cultivate it?
Here are a few ways in which I fantasized simplicity, intentionality, and most importantly, JOY and how I am creating them now. You know, kind of like Cheryl Strayed in Wild, or Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray Love, but far more Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project without the monthly rules.
And there is still so much more work to be done. I still want to create more joy, have a deeper love in my marriage, be more present with my children, make a lot of money, and build a bigger community of women who want to create a life they love.
It might be a slight change in verbiage but it was a big change in really creating a life by design. For years, I have been talking about the morning routine. I have been championing the early morning riser squad. It has been like this badge of honor. How early do you get up? 5:30, How early do you get up? 5am! I win.
I would have to get up before my children. if they were waking up at 6, I would get up at 5. If they were waking up at 5, I would begrudgingly try to crawl out of bed even earlier. I would slam my caffeine on an empty stomach. Open my personal development book, hoping to absorb the information before my brain was fully on. If that didn't work, definitely more caffeine was the answer. Morning workout? Sure!
I kid on most of this. It was beneficial in many ways. I loved being ahead of the curve before the kids woke up and had a million requests. I loved a feeling of accomplishment so early in the morning. I loved that I was usually in a good mood to greet them. All of these opportunities for checking boxes was also a major rush for an achiever personality. I could boast, even inwardly that I accomplished more before 8am than some people accomplish all day. Woohoo! Look at me world!
But here's the truth to my morning mutiny:
1) it was built around someone else's perfect morning. Everything that I was doing was because someone else said to do it. And that someone else had successes I wanted so therefore, I thought this is what I had to do in order to gain that same success. If I wasn't achieving it, I was sure that there was something off in my daily habits. While everything I was doing was well and good, its not everything I always needed and my refusal to find a rhythm kept me locked into a militant routine that is so opposite of what my soul longs for.
2) I was tired. So tired. I slept great. 8 hours has always been something I wouldn't compromise on (especially after seeing my sleep-deprived delirium with newborns), but I would be so tired by noon. I gave all of my reserves to my early morning hours and I had very little left for the rest of my day. My family would get the worst parts of me instead of the best parts.
So what did I do??
I slept. I turned the alarm clock off. I let my body wake up when it wanted to wake up. And you know what time that was? 6ish, maybe 6:30. On somedays, even 7. I slept the delicious hour. I slept when I knew that meant my kids could wake me up and that if they did, I would be behind the eight ball. I slept knowing that they could, indeed, be my alarm clock. And I woke with gratitude when they were, " thank you God, for these beautiful beings that bless my world."
Yes, that meant that breakfast wasn't ready when they woke up. Yes that meant sometimes I still had a little sleepy head when they were level ten. But, yes, I did grow more patient. I did embrace their early morning energy. I tuned into them. I let them be my morning dose of positivity.
I stopped going to the gym, too. I enjoy the gym. I do. But I was hustling in the morning to sit in morning traffic, get a high intensity workout in with my aching autoimmune body, and again, exhausted by noon. Luca and I would have very little quality time before it was time for lunch and a nap. My workouts have seasons. I may very likely return to high intensity soon, but for now, my body and mind crave yoga and running. So I do that.
I set my intention for my day. I use the Danielle Laporte, Desire Map and get in tune with what I want to do and achieve. I sit with my true feelings for the day. Sometimes that means extra nurturing, sometimes it's extra creating. Sometimes my focus is all about my health and I spend most of the day in the kitchen or meal planning. And sometimes its all on my family and I research homeschooling and designing spaces. Because my task list is more around how I want to feel, I am far more productive because I am not fighting my flow of energy. I have accomplished tasks that have sat on that list for years! (Did you see my dresser makeover?!)
Here's the point:
So often, we want to know what to do. It's like just give me the items to check off and I will do them. Give me the how-to's. Yet, the trouble with that is that everyone's how-to's are different and when we just teach the how'o's we are missing the point. We are not about just achieving goals and checking boxes. As humans, we are after emotions. We all want to feel a certain way. Some of us achieve that feeling through a certain set of steps, but just because you do the steps, doesn't guarantee you will arrive at the same feeling. Finding the feeling, is finding the heartbeat, the rhythm, ga-gung.
I love Brene Brown. I literally cropped myself into a picture of her and Oprah under one of Oprah's giant oak trees. The first book I listened to was Daring Greatly. I could tell immediately that this book was for me and as she continued to reference The Gifts of Imperfection, I paused my audible and downloaded Gifts, thinking I had to read the prequel first. I inhaled that book in a few days and then completed my listen of Daring Greatly. Braving the Wilderness has to be one of the most important books of our time and my current read is Dare to Lead. Just love her. And her work guides so much of who I am and how I want to show up in this world.
When I was thinking about writing this blog, I was initially going to take you through my own personal journey of the message I received in a recent Sunday service. The message was simple: Jesus loves you. Ok, great. But the magic was in the delivery and how we learn to truly love ourselves. How we learn to voice our own shame and accept the love. You see, for many years I have been hustling for my worth through career, business, money, and prestige. First it was a matter of racking up degrees, then it was being a successful entrepreneur, and then it was money. The shame was created when we continued to live outside of our means and were always broke. And when I finally broke through that shame barrier and opened up to some friends this past year, the most magnificent thing happened: Love. It is magic.
But that's not what this blog is about. Not entirely anyway. This blog is about something more important. It's about the struggle that we endure as women. The constant struggle for our worthiness. The never-ending feelings of not being good enough: pretty enough, smart enough, good enough moms, successful enough entrepreneurs. The shame cycle that so many of us carry with us daily that keeps the love out.
Today I was having coffee with some moms from church. And if I am really honest, the anxiety started as a pulled up to the house. I am still the new girl. And there it was: that brief, yet present feeling of driving my older car in this beautiful neighborhood. Mind you, I am not a car person. I don't care what I drive and yet the thought still popped in my head.
Hustle and Unworthiness breed insecurity.
I relaxed quickly as I have been practicing new self talk for some time. I have been clear on saying no to where I don't want to be and yes to the places I want to build relationships. This is a yes. This is a space to show up as the real me, to love her, and to let others get to know her. This is a spot where I want to cheer others on. There is simply no room for my wall of defense in this situation.
Kindergarten was a big topic of the day as 3 of the moms were starting their tours and process for enrolling their children for the Fall and school has been heavy on my heart. Many moms asked how kindergarten was going for us. "Great! She excels. Makes lots of friends. But I am considering homeschool." This is a weird answer, I know. I struggle with it daily. Probably because homeschool is a little weird, too. I don't know? Is it still? It was when I was growing up.
As I watched my thoughts waver in my head and again the struggle of if I am just overcomplicating things, overthinking, making too big of a deal out of it. Not wanting to feel like the odd ball. Because odd is unworthy? Collective is better? But then the answer became clear as day as Sunday's message drifted into the conversation. Every single one of us are still wrestling with so much doubt and worthiness. This. This is it. Peace returning to my heart. Strength in my soul. Love and confidence for who I am.
I am strongly considering homeschool because I am strongly considering my priorities. The priorities of self esteem, confidence, and worthiness above math and science. The priority of, like all moms, to have my child start on the most solid ground possible and that ground is within her. Everywhere you look, women are rising and as they rise, they find themselves battling the demons. The doubts planted in them in grade school. The sexual harassment in high school and college. The body image. The mom guilt. The "who do you think you are"...
Even as I get confident in my footing, knowing the answers in my core, I second guess myself all the time. Just like this. In this very case right here. I beat myself up before I have even made my move. I put all of the pressure to make the "right" decision and hustle for my worthiness because "right" is defined by who? And why is "right" static? Why isn't it ok to try things out, embrace mistakes, and look at them as getting you closer to truth. I can guarantee that I am always going to get it wrong if I am looking for right outside of me.
No wonder we are drowning in self-doubt.
So this is why I look at homeschool, because maybe I want her to have a more solid foundation in her ability to trust her inner voice than to perform math facts.
But this post isn't about home school either, dear friend. It's about me + you and our ability to learn to love ourselves so that we can embrace each other's individual decisions, because when we brave the wilderness, we still need a tribe that has our back.
Need some Brene Brown books in your life? Visit my bookstore
Such a beautiful title, isn't it. I mean I was going to name it how to have a Spiritual Breakthrough. That's so much more positive and affirming and fun. The enlightenment is what we all want, what we are all searching for. But the truth is, that the only way to have a spiritual breakthrough is to have a spiritual breakdown. And yet, the breakdown is where we resist. Where we kick and scream and fight against nature. Where we think we surrender, but we still haven't.
I remember driving in my car and turning on Oprah on Youtube several years back. I remember hearing her story of surrender and in the car praying to God of my surrender. But the truth was that I didn't surrender at all. I desperately wanted to, but really I was just hoping that God would finally give me what I wanted, begging for answers I would need to get the outcome I was desiring. Does this sound familiar? This is bargaining, though, not surrender.
True surrender is not bargaining using your head and what you think you want. Surrender is finally letting the whisper in your heart lead the way when it's against everything in your head. Surrendering is going in faith. It's literally walking through the fog with a blindfold on and letting every other sense of awareness heighten: finding the rhythm of your breath, reaching out to feel your way, asking for help, listening for all of the nuances. Surrendering is getting kicked down in the fog and having to stand back up alone. Surrendering is losing people along the way. Surrendering is showing up when you have no idea when the fog will lift. Surrendering is one of the most scary and lonely and painful times. It hurts everyday to know you are on the right path, without proof, and you have no idea when the proof will show up.
But you have no choice.
Because you have been back there. You know with complete certainty that the past isn't your future. Because as you continue to wander in the dark, the voice of clarity gets louder.
This is a spiritual breakdown.
You keep going. The fear starts to get a little less because you trust you a little more. You don't need your sight to gauge if you are living your life right, because as you trust, you start showing up as you a little more. The real you. Not the crafted version of yourself that you think you are supposed to be because your mom thought that's who you were or because of the achievements and recognition you've received, or even because you told everyone that's who you are. You couldn't be trusted then. You weren't the real you.
But now you are. And the more you go this route, the more people will see and feel the real you. You are magnetic because what everyone is really longing for is the courage to find their true north. This is where the love comes in. You become a pillar and inspiration because you learned how to love yourself and stand up to the world in spite of what messages society was spewing at you.
The fog starts to lift a little and you can feel that life isn't so heavy anymore. The air isn't so thick. The pain is starting to subside and taking the steps are just a little bit easier. You know now that even with an uncertain outcome, you absolutely took the right path.
And finally, the blindfold comes off and what is in front of you is your life. The life you were always supposed to live. And guess what? It's exactly as you pictured it to be. The colors are brighter and songs bring more joy. You suddenly don't find yourself needing a glass of wine every night and don't need to scroll endlessly. Love and relationships and health and success, it just all starts to come a little more naturally and the results show up a little quicker. Life begins to appear effortless and those that were not on this journey with you will wonder how in the world you are able to do all the things. How you got handed the lucky card.
When the real truth, of course, is that you took the brave route of letting life completely unravel instead of bargaining. You let it fall apart and picked up all of the tiny pieces, one by one.
You had a spiritual breakthrough.
I knew immediately how to answer the first question:
I know that every little first world problem that I carried around would fall by the wayside. FOMO and Instagram and stuff would lose all meaning and I would immediately plug into my family. I would want to gobble up as much time with my children as possible. I would turn off social media because I wouldn't want to miss the little nuances of their play or the opportunity to respond to yet another request. I would want to travel, sure, but only to turn down the immediate noise and distractions of my life.
Personal ambitions would suddenly become irrelevant. This, of course, is what had me wrestle with question number 2.
Because if I am to live a long life, I have so much that I want to do and see. So many places, people, food I want to experience. So many things that I want to show my children. A beautiful dream home just living inside of heart to host my favorite people. Things that come with a price tag and no lack of ambition inside of me to earn the means to achieve it.
How do you live a life of intention while going after personal ambition?
The answer is the sweet spot. It's the harmony between mind and spirit, head and heart. This is where I knew that I was meant to live. This would help me find my true happiness. Because as much as I love my children and want to be present for them fully, if I have more time with them, if there is space for me to continue to develop me, if I am not indeed, dying, then I need to grow. We all do. I need to contribute. My ambition is every bit a part of me as my connection.
Here is how I have started my journey to interweaving these two fundamental questions:
1. I am far more present with my children. They are young but getting older every day. Their dependency on me decreases a little bit more and when it is gone, it's gone. I cannot force my 5 year old to rock with me without some serious eye rolls or drama that I am squeezing her too tight. I turn my phone upside down during critical times of the day, like breakfast, getting home from school and homework time, and bedtime. They get a lot of my undivided attention. But, I am also far more intentional with the times that I am working around them and they are learning respect and patience for mom building a business along side them. They learn boundaries around interrupting me when I am sending a text message (just as I was not allowed to interrupt my mom when she was on the phone connected to the wall with her girlfriends). I am very much imperfect with this but I am aware and I am trying.
2. I am forcing nothing but always looking forward. I am not rushing my ambitions and visions of what I want to create in the future. But I am also not shelving them either. They live with me and the kids. I connect with them during naptime or a changing season. Action is absolutely necessary, no matter how small the steps are, I must be moving forward. Without action, then I am literally living on a hamster wheel. I am thinking the same thoughts over and over and going nowhere, because purpose lives with you. It doesn't go away. Instead it just gets corroded with frustration or disdain. They also will never actualize with just meditation. I cannot will them into existence. I have to live the human experience and take real chances.
3. I have put more effort into my home. Not necessarily buying all the things. Just taking more care and more time. I make sure that my bed is made with the top comforter pulled down. I fluff the living room pillows. And I drop the resentment of sweeping my floors at a minimum of 3 times per day. I invite people over. I don't want to meet at some informal coffee shop. I put on a pot and keep creamers stocked. I also keep a tub of cookie dough in the fridge to accompany our coffee, even though I they aren't gluten-free. I want to connect with my friends. Because if I was dying tomorrow, I wouldn't want our friendships to be surface. If I was leaving my legacy, I want you to remember that you could laugh too loud or cry with your real struggles or breathe a sigh of relief because you don't have to apologize for being a mom, knowing that it's ok if they run or spill something, or open a cabinet.
4. I have fallen in love with two simple things: Writing and my shampoo business. I felt disconnected with online programs and overcommitted with 1:1 coaching. A podcast, while probably the first item on expanding, also gave me commitment issues. But a traditional job isn't for me either. I have no desire to work for someone else. Factor in the cost and time of childcare and current income in my little business comes out even, financially and abundantly in time freedom. Overcommitting is the number one thing that makes me want to flee and run away. Overwhelm and overstimulation gets me short on patience and high on a need for escape. This cocktail is what keeps me from connecting from my children or anyone, really. So for now, I love being able to write when I am inspired. I love being able to post a live video to help a budding entrepreneur. And I love being able to help other women love their hair. It's simple. It doesn't take a lot of time. It doesn't make me feel overwhelmed. It builds organically. And it does allow me to unplug from the things that don't matter and plug in to all the things that do.
5. I am grounded in the now. I am open to the future. And I am always dreaming. I have so many open-ended questions. Do I want to homeschool because I believe it will increase my daughter's self-esteem and confidence or is this a by-product of wanting to unplug from the bigger world and plug into my children? And then how will this impact my personal ambition?
Do I want more children? Or have I hit our sweet spot for our family?
Will I just continue to write and build my shampoo business for more freedom or will I turn around and reinvest this into the next business and opportunity for helping women? I don't know.
These are just some of the questions that swirl around in my head? I used to have a sense of urgency with all of these big questions. A need for an answer to establish a sense of control in my life. But now? Now I am open to these questions. They don't scare me. I don't need to answer them right away. I feel really good sitting with them, just like I feel really good sitting in various rooms of my house, carefully deciding what new piece of furniture or wall hanging should go there as my story unfolds. Feeling confident that I will know how to take action.
6. I am not here for you. I am here for me. My soul came to this earth for a human experience. And that human experience is unique to me. You won't always get my desire to live more minimally or exploration of plant-based foods. You may not understand my thoughts on homeschooling. You may think I am a little hokey for talking about souls and angels. But, yet, somewhere you know that I speak the truth. That you are valid in everything you want and desire and stand for, as am I.
The more I continue to get grounded in me, by unplugging from social media, going to church and connecting with spiritual leaders, the more I open my home instead of setting up a playdate in a public place. The more I check inside before purchasing over looking outside at what you bought, the more I do this over and over and over again, the more I am in love with this human experience I am living.
Everyday, I see different women who are trying to answer these very questions in their own way. Every woman is looking for how to be unapologetically her. Find her ebb and flow or yin and yang. This is mine. How do I create a space and presence that is nurturing for my closest people while also impacting women of the greater whole. My goal in 2019 is going to see how much closer I can get to answer this question.
What is it for you?
I've been doing a whole lotta thinking lately. The kind of thinking that wakes you up because you keep seeing the same signs. Signs to be more generous.
Every snow storm it seems that Chuck and I turn into the people we really long to be. The people we are called to be. He takes his shovel and in recent years, his partner in crime (aka Lyla) and they go out and clear as many driveways and sidewalks as they can before becoming numb from the cold. As someone who has spent most of his life in the snow between upstate NY and Vail, Colorado, he thrives on hopping in his truck for a drive to check out the road conditions and see if there is a Southerner that may need a little roadside assistance. I support this fully. I don't roll my eyes that he's leaving me alone with the small child madness. I don't huff and puff when it all takes him longer than I want it to. I join him in his servant's heart. I stay home with offerings of our time and resources, filling up our space with meals and warmth. I am patient and creative with the kids. I have perfectly temperatured hot chocolate waiting. Stress and anxiety are no longer symptoms of my everyday life.
Chuck and I would romanticize before kids on being the parents that open our home and let all the neighborhood kids over. We would talk about coaching sports and volunteering in classrooms. But the truth is, that's not who we are in this moment. We have let the chaos and stress of parenting be the focus of our lives. We have let guilt be at the forefront of our communication style, keeping us locked into the chaos, adding misery and frustration to this parenting life. We are begging for rest and reprieve and the thought of adding in more chaos of taking on someone else's burden when we can barely carry our own, well, it all just feels too much.
I thrive off of a good daily routine but can see how routine forsaking friendship, love, generosity, and yes, the loud sound of children running from room to room... I mean children playing... is not how I want to live this life. I really don't want to reflect back after the kids have grown and said that I was the parent that perfected the daily routine and left nothing memorable in it's wake. We don't feel routine. Routine creates ease. While helpful, ease is very rarely memorable.
This desire for routine comes from a desire for control. The need to feel that some things in my life are stable and manageable when everything outside feels too much. When the calendar is exploding, when the house is a mess, and when the money runs out before the end of the month, at least we have routine. At least we haven't lost control of it all. Lies we tell ourselves to feel better.
But is it working? Of course not.
I love a snow day for what it is. That it is this sweet time that allows you to pause and reflect. Where you day to day responsibilities fall by the wayside and you get to let your heart lead the way. But I don't want to live this way just on snow days. I want to live this way everyday. I want to lead with compassion and grace and generosity. I want to open up my resources of time and love to others. I want to be the person that is so intentional with my life that there is no need for the daily stress, because these are my decisions and not the decisions that I just allow my self to get swirled up in and then sit back wondering how the hell did I get here. And why am i so tired? I don't want to be the person who is just constantly overburdened by my own life that I don't have any generosity left for you.
So here we grow.
I may shoot you a text message when I am headed to Trader Joes to see if you need anything.
I may offer to take the girls off your hand when you're so tired and expecting your third.
I may open up my home for coffee more often.
I may help you get your sweet girl snacks and toys and pour you a glass of wine so you can rest.
I may give more, because I am always provided for.
I may adopt.
I may show up with lunch just because.
I may pray for you.
I may check on you more often.
I may pick up your tab.
I'm a messy hair lovin' - soulful book junkie - mompreneur who's totally addicted to helping women design a life they lovI'm here, simply, to share my truth so that it inspires you to live yours! To be your boldest, most authentic self, to find your tribe that supports your soul, and to go after success in every area of your life. e.