My Ted Talk

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Sometimes, when I'm in the shower, I like to pretend I am giving a Ted Talk. It’s one of those secret dreams of mine I haven’t shared with anyone.

Yes, one day I want to give a Ted Talk and I often practice in the shower. It goes a little something like this. 

I’m introduced and eloquently float out and take my spot center stage. I stand before an audience of hundreds waiting for me to speak. To bare my soul, share my truth and change their lives in some way.

Then maybe all the pain I've experienced in mine will finally have meaning. 

I pause and scan the audience as the nerves settle in my belly. And then I begin. Words flow gracefully from my lips as I deliberately and meticulously speak. 

Line after line, I stand before the audience with grace and ease and pure poetry escapes from my mouth and I feel alive. As if I am finally living in full alignment with my purpose.

And this is what I would say:

When I was a little girl I was desperate to be accepted and loved by everyone. 

I learned early on that if I said and did the right things, molding myself to every person in my life, I would always feel a sense of ease and acceptance. 

I would always feel, loved. 

But that really wasn't the case. 

As I grew older, trying to create that sense of peace started to be become like draping individual chains over my shoulders. Eventually the stories and facade became too heavy. I hit a wall and could no longer continue carrying that weight around. 

This was about the time I stumbled across my first personal development book. It was a few months after I turned twenty and I had just made my very first big life decision all on my own. And I was scared as hell to go down this new path. 

I had made the decision to drop out of college. 

This decision proceeded a massive nervous breakdown in the middle of a raging frat party. My friends found me sobbing uncontrollably, wrapped in a tiny ball sitting on a bed in the basement. They couldn't console me. I was unconsolable. In shock.

They took me home and called my mom. It was 2 am. The next weekend I was driving back to Seattle to tell my family I was leaving school and in that one decision, I felt one of the weights release and fall to the ground. 

This decision changed the course of my life. It sparked something deep within me that would take years to turn into a full fledge fire. 

You see, it was the first moment I realize that I am not going to be for everyone and neither would my decisions and I had to be okay with that. It sparked the courage to finally explore what  I really wanted and ask some really big questions. 

Years later I stand before you with one message and one message only. I truly hope you take it in. 

Under no circumstances, whatsoever, are you going to be for everyone either. And that is okay. 

It's easy to get caught up in what other's think of our lives and it's really easy to paint a pretty picture that we have it all figured out and that our lives are picture perfect.

We do this because we are all longing for the same thing; to be loved and accepted. 

But here is the thing, no matter how hard you try, I promise you, there will always be someone who is just itching to find your flaws. To point out your mistakes, bring you down to 'reality,' burst your bubble and keep you feeling small. 

Certain individuals will look your life and criticize and judge no matter how perfect you paint it.

So drop the act. Lighten up your load a little. 

There are always going to be people who have so many opinions about YOUR life because they are too afraid to step back and address the areas they are unhappy with in their own.  

Caring too much what family and friends, acquaintances, and strangers think is a paralyzing behavior. It will prevent you from serving your purpose and doing those things that your heart desires. 

I've realized that when I get caught up in thinking about what I should say and do with each and every person in my life I’m actually deeply neglecting my own needs, wants and desires. I'm completely out of alignment and in some place in my life I am not giving myself the love I deserve but rather, judging myself in some way. 

As cliché as it may sound, it took a year of dealing with a rare cancer diagnoses to get some real clarity into the trajectory of my life and accept this one very crucial and important thing; I will not, under any circumstance whatsoever, be for everyone.

I may not even be for people in my very own family and I'm learning to be okay with this too. 

Every single day I have to fight the urge to crawl back under the covers where it is safe and warm. Where people can't see me. Where I can play as small and feel as safe as I want to. 

Why? All because I'm scared of what other's think? 

I’m not perfect. I’m a work in progress and I still find myself grasping for acceptance and the idea that to be loved, I have to say and do everything in accordance with everyone else.

 I still fall short of my best self every single day.

However, I often think about those who conquered great things in their lives didn't do so by playing small or spending too much time caring about how they looked to others. If they had, they would have never done the thing that helped the person that changed the lives. Now would they?

And in the great words of Oprah, this is what I know to for sure:

You will not, under any circumstance whatsoever, be for everyone.

You will not, under any circumstance whatsoever, be accepted by all.

And you will absolutely, under no circumstance whatsoever, be able to make everyone happy.

And you will absolutely, under no circumstance whatsoever, be able to fit a square peg in a round hole. So stop trying.

So please, I ask this of you with so much love in my heart, just be you. Every single beautiful part of you. 

If we continue living our lives for everyone else, we will never truly know what we are capable of creating. Your purpose is in no way shape or forms the same as any other person's in this lifetime. When you step back and look at it that way, maybe you can find the strength to act in accordance with your own self, your own desires, your own needs. 

I want to leave you with just one more thing before I go.

Before you open your mouth to speak to anyone, pause for just a moment and ask yourself this, "Is what I am about to say imparting my own judgments onto them? If so, don't say it.  

When I have nothing more to say I turn off the water and dry myself off. 

Then I go back to my life and leave my dream in the shower for another day. 

It's Okay To Do This

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"And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been" - Rainer Maria Rilke

A brand new year. An opportunity to do things differently, to begin again. 

I hope you remember in this coming year that: 

It’s ok to not be perfect because when you can accept that you are imperfect you will finally realize you are perfect just the way you are.

It’s ok to be disappointed when something doesn’t work out the way you hoped because eventually, you’ll see that this disappointment brought an opportunity that never would have happened had what you wanted actually come into fruition. 

It’s ok to not always be strong or brave or courageous.  

It’s ok to not clean out his closet for days or weeks or years or ever even, if it never feels right. It was a love so deep and for so long, most of us only dream of experiencing that. 

It’s okay to say goodbye to people without actually saying the words. Send them love, or not. Wish them well, or not. And let them go. Close the door. Move on. 

It's also ok to say no. As much as you want, to whatever doesn't feel right in your soul. 

It’s ok to not practice yoga or meditate or journal. You can still be a deep, meaningful, inspired, creative, spiritual person. 

It’s ok to not be over him or her yet. Know that with enough time and distance, you will be one day. 

It’s ok to try a million different things over the course of your lifetime. You're a complex, ever-evolving person and hey, it gives you so many great stories to tell. 

It's ok if you don’t feed your kids homemade organic meals from scratch every night and you opt for a box of Mac and Cheese. 

It’s ok if the house is messy and you move the clothes from the bed to the floor for a week straight. 

It’s ok if you delete friends off social media. And it’s ok if that’s me. 

And it's definitely okay if you decide to delete social media altogether. The world will go on. 

It’s ok if you fall off the diet wagon day two of the new year. And it’s definitely ok to say a big FU to diets in general. 

It’s ok to want to grow and change and shed old skin. Even if you are worried what others may think. Even if it feels scary. 

It's okay to stop caring what other's think. In fact, I highly recommend it. 

It’s ok to go to the grocery store and buy nothing on your list but come home realizing you just bought $150 worth of food. 

It’s ok to start over...and over ... and over again until you find what fits. 

It’s ok if you like to say fuck. It’s really ok. 

It's ok if some days you just want to hide away and turn off your phone and watch twenty-five episodes of Sex and the City. 

It's ok to not have it all figured out. 

It's ok to be different and fully embrace it. 

It's ok to cry a lot. Again, you are a complex human with a ton of emotions. 

It's ok to want more for yourself and it's ok to be perfectly happy with where you are right now. 

It's ok to let go of the need to be a certain size. 

It's ok to stop coloring your hair and embrace the grey and it's ok to color your hair until the day you die.  

It’s ok to be 37 and still single after 4 years. 

It’s ok to eat quesadillas for lunch for a week straight. Quesadillas are really good. 

I can go on and on but the moral of the story is, I hope you go into 2018 knowing wherever you are, right this moment, is perfectly ok. 

Stop being so hard on yourself. 

Here is to a brand-spankin' new year. 

When Your Self-Care Routine Becomes a Burden

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Self-care has become a bit of a buzz word. It's everywhere, popping up more and more the further you get into the world of self-discovery and inquiry. But what exactly is it?

To me, self-care is the act and attitude you take to maintain a standard of well-being, health and personal happiness. It's those things that add a richness to your life, that make you feel full, nurtured and taken care of.

But what happens when you rituals of self-care become too much and start to impede on all of the above? Is that even possible?

I was talking with a client the other day and she mentioned that she was feeling like her self-care routine was starting to feel like a burden. I asked her what she meant by this and she told me how she got up at 5:30am, before her family was up,  just so she would have enough time to do all the things that she felt would add to her happiness, fulfillment and betterment as a person. Except, it wasn't. It was stressing her out and causing her to feel depleted and disappointed when she couldn't get to everything.

I asked her why she felt she needed to include everything in her self-care routine and she replied that they were all things she really wanted to make a part of her life. They were habits and behaviors she valued and brought joy, peace and happiness to others, and thought they would bring that to her as well.

I paused for a moment before asking her my next question. "What do you think you should do then?" I asked.

She continued to tell me how it was causing additional stress on top of everything else that was overwhelming her. When she couldn't commit to something fully then she felt disappointed. She was lacking excitement to participate in them because they were feeling like a chore.

"I probably need to look over my routine and remove the things that don't feel right to me anymore." She replied.

BINGO!

I think this is something that anyone who is aware and committed to adding in self-care to their daily lives goes through. We all know how important it is to do things that we love, those things that make us feel alive and nurtured and well taking care of, but there are only so many hours in they day.  In our ideal world we'd be able to carve out enough time to leisurely go about our day, pausing for 20 minutes here and there to meditate, followed by an hour-long yoga class, and walk outside and come home to a nice warm bath. Maybe some days you can do this but when it starts to impede on your happiness, when you start to look at those things like just another thing on your list of things to do,  it's time to take a good, hard look at your current reality.

I'm a HUGE believer in self-care rituals. I talk about how important it is all the time with clients however, when it starts to feel like a chore, then it's a sign you have taken on too many acts of self-love and you aren't fully able to commit to and absorb their benefits. Therefore, it turns into yet another chore or task we need to do.

I told my client that maybe she needed to write a list of everything she did in a day to promote self-care and cross out the things that were weighing her down and making her feel conflicted and stressed and do those things that really filled her soul with a deeper sense of self-love.

When we do this we are able to really get the full benefits of self-care.

Remember this when you are thinking about your self-care routing; it's quality over quantity. It's not how many things we can fit into our day but how those things make us feel inside.

Reader Challenge -- If you are feeling like your self-care routine is adding more stress than feelings of nurturing and love, reassess what you are doing and remove that which feels more like a burden and invest more into what you keep.

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