Friday, December 9, 2016

It's hard to be a human

It's hard to be a human.  I have things in my life that I believe and know to be profound truths for me.  I've tested and proven them to myself time and time again.  And yet, even though these truths are known to me, believed by me to be good for me...  It happens far too often that I some how look up from where I am in life and realize that I've moved away from those good and true things.  Those good and true ways of being that serve me well when I'm in the flow of life and honoring them some how disappear over and over.  I'm left to stumble around until I find my way back to them.

How does that happen?  I am a strong and capable woman.  I am generally speaking, living my life consciously.    And if I'm brutally honest,  I struggle to string together consecutive months at a time when I am purposeful, balanced and focused on living my best life.

I actually do the best when I think of myself as someone else that I am in charge of taking care of, tending to.  If I were actually a small child in my care, I would certainly look for meals, set the table, not eat in the car, get enough sleep, go outside to play, have naps, eat a vegetable now and then.  So, why don't I do those things now?

The answer that springs to mind is because I'm exhausted.  I'm so busy working, building a new business, taking care of home, husband, family members who need support that I have no time to tend to myself.  But surely, one of those profound truths is that if we don't take care of ourselves, we cannot possibly be our best selves with other, for others.

I want to do better.

It's hard to be a human.  Be gentle with yourselves friends.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but a couple of years ago I had this thing happen where I felt like I was going through life on auto pilot.  I felt like I was living life a little bit flat lined.  I’ve seen Dr. Brene’ Brown talk about how often times we use food or alcohol or drugs to numb our shame and our pain… and how you can’t numb those things without also numbing joy.  

That was me.  I’d settled into a good job, a good marriage, empty nest… but after a certain number of years of those things, life was pretty routine.  I lacked joy.    I longed for something more.  I longed for a deeper connection with myself and with others.  Seeking some spark of inspiration in my life, I stumbled on Brave Girls Club

For me, from the outside looking in, Brave Girls Club (and Camp in particular) was all about belonging.  And oh how I wanted to belong.  A little research revealed so many women giving testimony about how Brave Girls Camp is life changing.  I became a little obsessed with it.  My expectations were pretty high because I’d poured over every blog that mentioned Camp, every picture and video.  So, off to camp I went, not sure how 'life changing' it would be for me because I’d already done all my big healing.  Intent on fitting in, I packed my cutest clothes and shoved my anxiety aside. 

All those anxieties that I've struggled with for years, those persistent thoughts about being a fraud, of waiting for the other shoe to drop came flooding back while I was at Camp.  When I look back through my Soul Restoration journal, it’s clear that I still had much ‘big’ work to do.   Because I lived so much of my life faking normal, my ability to feel like I belong and to make genuine connections was wobbly at best.  And there were many destructive old messages still to unpack:

“You never stick with anything.”

“You’re not like them.”

“What makes you think you can do that?”

And unpack them I did.  I didn't know when I signed up for Brave Girls Camp that I was really signing up for Soul Restoration.  It's an amazing course taught at Camp that is yes, life changing.  You don't do it alone, you have a whole Restoration Team at the ready and a circle of women to support your journey.

In Soul Restoration, I met my truth teller who dug up some great things for me to remember.  Every great adventure I have had in my life- from working in the movie business, to traveling the world, to falling in love… all happened because I chose to choose.  Somehow despite all the odds, when push came to shove, I have always summoned the courage to go after what I wanted in life and not to let life just happen to me.  That's why being on 'auto pilot' felt so awful to me.  I learned to interact with my 8 and 80 year old selves.  My wise old self gently showed me that the person responsible for making me feel like a fraud, like I don’t belong is in fact… me.  She urged me to get out of my own way and to LET MYSELF BELONG. 

In the years since I attended Soul Restoration, I’ve continued to work on these themes.  Work might not be the right word… I have focused on allowing myself to be in the flow of belonging.  I try to heed the words of my 80 year old self and go into every situation assuming I will find my tribe, to look around and wonder which of these women will be my first friend here.  Soul Restoration has reminded me to choose to choose, to do it anyway, despite any doubts that pop up as doubts tend to do.

So yes, Brave Girls Club is about belonging, but what I’ve learned, is that you have to let yourself belong.  Melody and Kathy have lovingly created and held the space, waiting for each woman until the time was right for her to step into her own… for each to realize they are worthy of love an belonging right now.   Brave Girls Club is not about standing next to them in the glow- hoping that their shininess will rub off on you.  It’s about standing in your own glow.

Isn’t it about time for you to do that?  To stand in your own glow?  It’s time for you to choose to choose.  To let yourself belong.  Melody and Kathy have created so many opportunities for Soul Restoration to be available to you.  You can do the course online.  You can do it in weekly formats.  You can really be sweet to yourself with the gift of a retreat experience.  There are 50 certified facilitators allover North America facilitating the Soul Restoration course for women just like you throughout the year. 

I’ve got a spot saved for you around the Red Carpet at my retreat in September in Arizona.  Why not check it out?  Come stand in your glow.  That’s my wish for you.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

My Soul House

Photo credit:  ckdhtc on High Aperture

When I was in my college years, I kept dream journals, and spent time learning about dreaming, and how to figure out what our dreams mean.  What I believe is that our dreams are highly personal and one has to figure out the symbolism for themselves.  One can't just open a book, look up water and determine that universally, water means thus and such.

For years during this time of my life I had re-occurring dreams that featured a house that looked much like the abandoned building above.   There was no question in my mind the meaning of the dream.  I knew the house was my life.  In the dreams, I wanted desperately to fix it up, restore it to its original beauty.  I would wander through the rooms running my fingers over wood and chipped paint.  I stepped over broken boards that were blocking access to certain parts.  My heart ached for this house, this life.

It is no surprise to me that I had these dreams regularly during this time of my life.  I'd been hiding childhood sexual abuse for some 20 years and had not ever disclosed it to anyone before.  My life was in shambles but I was the only one who knew it.  I had no idea how to go about restoring my life, my self... my soul back to it's original beauty.

Some years later, I did disclose, got good therapy and healed.  I don't believe I've ever seen the house in my dreams again and I kind of forgot about it.  A couple of years ago I was blessed to have the chance to go to Brave Girl Camp where Melody Ross and her sister Kathy Wilkins gently led us through the Soul Restoration curriculum Melody created.

The first concept we were introduced to was our Soul House.  Melody invites us to imagine that when we are born, our soul was put into a beautiful house with each room representing a part of ourselves.  Over time, things happen in our lives that make us forget who we are.  We are told lies, we are abused, we make mistakes, sometimes we even tell ourselves lies to help us make sense of our lives.  The cumulative effect of all this is that our Soul House falls into disrepair.  When we live this way for many years, we can feel like there is no hope for us, that we are beyond repair and this is just how our lives will be.  

I sat there at Brave Girl Camp stunned when Melody introduced this analogy.  It made complete sense to me given my history, my life and the beautiful but rundown, abandoned house in my dreams all those years ago.    

I've just spent a week in Idaho with the Brave Girls team becoming a certified facilitator of Soul Restoration.  In this work we 'close' our Soul Houses for restoration, clarify what are truths and what are lies and how each makes us feel.  We identify the lies we have come to believe in our own lives and release them in a powerful ceremony.  We make contact with our own Truth teller and get in touch with our authentic selves and gifts and strengths we may have long forgotten about.  All of this and more is guided by me as facilitator using the curriculum and artfully designed projects Melody created.  

If you've been feeling like you've lost yourself, forgotten who you are as you move through this busy world, it might be time for you to close for Soul Restoration.  Our next Soul Restoration retreat is scheduled for September 16,17, 18th at the beautiful and historic Kenyon Ranch is Tubac, Arizona.  We have a spot for you, Sister.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

We've sure got a lot of work to do.

So, today I had got to spend time at a Girl Scout meeting with a mixed age group of girls.  In honor of Valentines day, the activity at hand was to write letters to themselves to share some of the things that they liked, loved or appreciated about themselves.

Many of the girls were struggling.  Their troop leaders patiently coached them through it and before long, the girls were standing up and sharing their letters aloud while others listened.

I watched as a fourth grader stood up and shared her letter to herself.  The part that really caught my attention was that she slipped in some of her dreams along with her list of what she liked about herself.  A girl after my own heart, I heard her confidently proclaim that she wanted to 'travel the world with her friends'. She capped it off with  a saucy "Love, Me."

And then... she added a PS and my heart stopped.

"PS... Lose weight".

I'm just so angry and sad that I don't even know what to do with it.  This beautiful child topped of a great love letter full of confidence what that bit of soul killing bullshit.

Thank goodness that she's in Girl Scouts.  Thank goodness that she has a place to go where all bodies are good bodies.  Thank goodness that there's a caring adult who will find a quiet time and place to talk with her and help her know that everything about her is a gift to this world.