SPEAK YOUR TRUTH

Dear Strong Woman,

When people ask you how you are doing, do you answer honestly or comfortably?

I’ll come clean: I’ve been telling half-truths, tip-toeing on the edge of my comfort zone for fear of sounding braggy or being labeled as inconsiderate.

The truth? Things are GOOD.

They’re so good I have been reluctant to say so because I know we are not all in the same boat, pandemic or not. But bringing attention to what’s happening with me feels…selfish.

And that’s because it is!…which is the point of this share. Creating the space to celebrate that I made some uncomfortable moves, some unreasonable declarations for my life, and am blooming in spite of the circumstances in front of us. Toot toot!

So here are my recent wins:
• I’m getting 8 hours of sleep on average for the first time in decades.
• Creating home-cooked meals on the regular has been cathartic. It is now and will continue to be my new normal.
• My business has doubled.
 • My pups are getting the love and attention I always wished I could give them, especially considering my recent hospital scare with Juno.
• I’ve done all of this the last six weeks while sharing my little studio apt with my new beau, and we have been belly laughing on the regular.

I created this.

I created this and skipping the celebration of it would take away the opportunity to be in awe of what became possible when I took responsibility for my life. That is some awesome power to get present to!

If you’re holding back from saying what’s true for you – good or bad! – notice how uncomfortable you’re choosing to remain in order to prevent someone else’s discomfort. Remember, sis – you are not required to shrink yourself down in order to put those around you at ease.

Speak your truth.

NOTE TO SELF

I did a thing.

In an effort to raise my vibration around writing, I decided to surround myself with some like-minded souls who are also working on creating art with their words.  Thanks to Meetup, I found myself braving D.C. traffic this past Tuesday night after work to sit on a couch with strangers, in a stranger’s home, hoping to bring new energy to my craft.  

It was beautiful.

We did a handful of writing exercises that resulted in a momentum and flow I haven’t felt in a while.  One of those exercises was to write a letter to yourself from a future version of yourself.  Below is word-for-word what came out of the tip of my pen – which of course naturally started with my usual salutation – unedited and perfectly raw.  My favorite part? As I wrote the final two words, our host and timekeeper for this exercise said those same two words out loud.

It’s those little idiosyncrasies when the Universe is nodding at me, confirming that I am right where I need to be.

Sharing this in honor of the magic that comes from strangers uniting to create something beautiful.  I hope that magic finds it’s way to you, or better yet, that you go out and create it for yourself.

As my future self will tell you, act as if it has already been done.

Thank you for being here.

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Dear Strong Woman,

Everything you can dream you can create.

Just know that it has already been decided.  Just know that yes, that small voice telling you to keep going is right…and it’s not your mother.

It’s you.

Your voice matters.  Your story matters. Not just because it is yours, but because it is simultaneously ours.

We belong to each other, and our stories, collectively, are what make for a beautiful light in a sometimes dark world.

So don’t you stop shining.
Don’t you stop writing.
Don’t you stop letting you voice be heard.

GET LOUD. Do you hear me? Turn up the volume and share what is true.  Because what is true for you may very well be true for others.

How will you ever know if you remain small and silent?

You were made for more.
You were placed in this world that is missing something because it is your job to create it.

For you.
For me.
For us.

Be our lighthouse. Blind out the dark with your brightness.  Be the light-worker you are called to be.

Setting yourself free will set others free in the process.

IT’S ALL CONNECTED.
IT ALL MATTERS.

And quite frankly…

          it’s time.

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ABLAZE

Dear Strong Woman,

Have you ever had that moment where you’re driving alone in your car, and the song that suddenly comes on the radio feels like it was written for you?

Or maybe you find yourself at church, actually listening to the sermon your pastor is giving (for once), and find that it was exactly what you needed to hear?

What about when your sitting in a room with 30,000 other people, both exhausted an invigorated after three full days of intense training, listening to woman at the top of your organization getting praised for the positive change she has brought to the world, and feel a bizarre futuristic sense of deja vu?

“Who would’ve thought a girl from Western Pennsylvania could have done all of this.”

WAIT.  I’M a girl from Western Pennsylvania, too!

From Spark to Wild Fire

I felt it – that spark – way back when I decided it was time for me to put myself first and encourage others to do the same by becoming an advocate of self-love.  I knew it was going to be my saving grace, as I couldn’t ask others to do what I was unwilling to do for myself. The example I strived to set was the answer to the problem I avoided by constantly kneeling at the alter of my to-do list.

I just didn’t know that such a tiny spark would eventually spread like wildfire.

Self-love has played a major role in transforming me from rundown workaholic to wellness warrior, so much so that the act of saying no to the shit I hate has allowed me to say yes to the things that have always set fire within my soul.  (Hence, this blog.)  In a way, I am becoming who I was always meant to be.

However, the most profound discovery thus far on this grand adventure has not been my light, but what happens when one chooses to take their light and light the candles of others.

And then put 30,000 of them under one roof.

It’s Lit

There is something so beautiful about a person whose energy introduces them before their words do. Get enough people like that together and you’ll find the air around you buzzing.

Buzzing with hope. With opportunity. But most importantly, with intention.

And isn’t that how we should be living every day?  In fearless pursuit of what sets our souls on fire?

*click*

It was then, there…in the middle of the fire, that I decided.

There is no such thing as having enough time.  You have to MAKE time.  Life never slows down. You are never ready.  As is the case with everything, you’ll figure it out as you go, and even then you’ll never have it all figured out. (Here’s a secret: no one ever does.)

But if you find that place where you are just a little more excited than you are afraid, that’s your magic moment.

That’s when you go for it.  That’s when you go all in.

I’ll leave you with this:

When it feels scary to jump, that’s exactly when you jump. Otherwise you end up staying in the same place your entire life.

And I don’t know about you…

But that’s not something I can do.

“Be here a year from now.”

Message received. 

Now this girl from Western Pennsylvania has some work to do.

GO BIG

Dear Strong Woman,

It’s okay to be scared.  Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.

There is raw energy surrounding all the seeds being planted right now.  I can hear it humming…and the one theme that keeps coming to the surface is this:

Go BIG or go home.

But the problem when going big is that the fear that comes with doing so is a B-F-D!  No one wants to fail, but isn’t settling just another form of failure?  I mean, really.  If it isn’t everything you ever wanted, can you truly be happy?  And don’t try to tell yourself that ‘happy’ and ‘content’ are the same.

They’re NOT.

(And you know it.)

COURAGE

Getting everything you ever wanted depends on your response to the fear. Do you choose to hide behind it or harness it into something great?

“But what if I fall?”
“Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

(Right??)

Think about all of the famous failures who continued to go big despite everyone telling them to go home:
– MJ was cut from his high school basketball team.
– Oprah was told she wasn’t fit for television.
– Walt Disney was told he lacked imagination and had no original ideas.
– Steve Jobs got fired from his own company.
– Edison was told he was too stupid to learn anything.
– The Beatles were told they had no future in show business.
– Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 different publishers.
– Lincoln lost 8 elections.

Do you think they weren’t afraid?

(Rhetorical…)

Everything they ever wanted was on the other side of fear.

And the same is true for you.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

In closing, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something – not.even.you.

Stop cutting yourself short and promise yourself your best.

Your best effort.
Your best life.
Your best  e v e r y t h i n g.

Because it isn’t a matter of going big or going home. Going big is what brings you home.  It’s what leads you to find who you are and your purpose in this world.

Your fear has the same magic as Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

So whether it takes 3 or 300…

Go click those heels, babe.

SCISSORS

Dear Strong Woman,

You do TOO MUCH to be brought down by things that don’t align with your vision.

Ask yourself what is really important to you, and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.

Sometimes that means cutting out things…or people…which can be totally uncomfortable. But…isn’t that to be expected? It’s something you’ve never done, but that’s because you’ve never been this version of YOU before.

Which means it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, regardless of how hard it may be.

Memory Lane

For today, I am asking you, Strong Woman, to take a trip down memory lane with me. I’d like to share something I wrote in early January surrounding this exact topic, before the concept of  ‘Dear Strong Woman’ even came into being.

I remember crying my eyes out in a Starbucks while I wrote it, and how FREE I felt upon completing it. I still cry when I read it, but they are happy tears due to how much stronger I have become as a result of this…because I’ve chosen to only surround myself with those who lift me up rather than drag me down.

That’s what happens when you shine your light, loves. Your vibe attracts your tribe.

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I fought back tears during the last round of my workout yesterday. True story.

It caught me out of nowhere because I let my emotional guard down for a brief second. Not something I do often, and definitely not something I expected to do during a workout…let alone a workout led by the guy who actually created the workout…while doing said workout simultaneously with 800 other people.

The trigger? Joel (the trainer) said (something like), “Keep going! Don’t give up! How you treat these last 30 seconds is how you will treat 2017!”

Perhaps that’s not a tear-jerking statement for you, but I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck the past week and a half. I’ve felt it, but I didn’t realize how I was outwardly carrying it until Anders pointed out that I’ve been on the verge of tears a lot recently.

The short of it: letting go of things, even when it’s absolutely necessary in order for you to move forward, isn’t easy…and it’s especially difficult when those “things” are people. People who, on the surface, appear to be very close to you, and yet deep down don’t know you at all.

So that “keep going don’t give up” statement emphasized my resolve to embrace my forward progress, not the old “keep holding on, don’t give up on them” attitude I used to adopt. That give-a-little-more-of-yourself tactic in hopes that they’d give a little back in return. Damn, I used to LIVE by that rule! It took me the better part of 30 years to realize the difference between me giving and them taking.

It makes me emotional because a part of me still feels….selfish! I’m making it all about me here! But it is NECESSARY. My star is RISING, and I can’t let someone – anyone! – weigh me down. And truth be told…if I cut someone out, chances are it’s because they handed me the scissors.

So my watery-eyed last 30 seconds of kick boxing was my acceptance of the whole damn thing. Snip snippity snip, y’all.

What I hope you take away from my I-cried-during-a-workout story is this:

You will evolve.
Not everyone will.

EVOLVE ANYWAY.

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These last three lines have become my battle cry.

I welcome you to adopt them, too.