Do You Have An Attitude of Inquiry About Yourself?

Not judgement.


Not criticism.


Not disappointment or self-doubt or avoidance.



But inquiry —without purpose or agenda or evaluation.



Do you ever pause to notice “what is” about you?



Your patterns - thought or otherwise?


Your feelings - strong ones and consistent?


Your reactions - slow or instant, intense or fearful?


Your pace - hurried or present?



For no other reason than to relax and view yourself from a place of curiosity. To lay the judgement, criticism, and self-doubt to rest for a minute and just observe. To give yourself the peace of objectivity.


And from this place of innocent exploration, we notice.


We accept.


And then we grow.



Learning to Let Go

Letting go has been (and presently is) one of the most painful, uncomfortable, and necessary lessons I’ve learned in life (and am still, continuously learning).


In particular, this has been the biggest struggle for me in my relationships. I’ve been so terrified of letting go, even when it’s painfully obvious it’s past the expiration date.


But do you know what’s even more painful than the fear of letting go?


Holding on.


Holding on when you know without a doubt it’s time to move on.


Holding on when you wake up in the morning, go to bed at night, and spend the time in between dreaming and thinking about letting go.


Holding on and becoming so ashamed and embarrassed about it, that you carry a heavy burden you can’t even tell your friends about.


Holding on and spending every second of every day feeling you’re fucking up, getting it wrong in life, and wasting precious moments of your own time.


Holding on and being so sick of yourself because you’re too scared to make the leap.


I don’t think there is a gradual method or multi-step process in learning to let go. You just have to do it. Letting go begets more letting go. And there’s no way to feel relief until you jump.


There is something amazing hidden but within reach on the other side of that fear. And it will never look or feel how you imagine it to at this moment.


It will be better.


And after you’ve jumped before seeing the net, you’ll wonder why the hell you spent so much time waiting. The agony lies in the waiting and the passing of time with indecision.


Terri Cole says, “Overwhelm is a mountain of unmade decisions.”


And Marie Forleo says, “Actions brings clarity.”


Which will you choose today?


Take a step, any step. And I’ll see you on the other side.



No more hiding.

Today I hit “publish” on a post that terrified me. It was an old journal entry about my great-grandmother before she died in 2012.


As I reread it, I felt sick to my stomach at the thought of making it public which is precisely when I knew I had to do it.


I am still afraid & queasy thinking about it.  All day I’ve been avoiding my thoughts and the accompanying feelings in the hope that they’ll go away. In truth, I already know the basis of my fear and that I have barely scratched the surface of confronting it.


The fear of:


What will other people (my family) think?


Will they be angry?


Will they still love & accept me?


I am often afraid of sharing my own truth. And as I make a commitment to showing up in my own life more authentically, I’m sure to rattle a few cages beyond my own.


There are some very raw and truthful statements in the post about my Nana; vulnerable, private thoughts I’ve held close to my chest for a long time.


But I’m realizing more and more that playing it safe doesn’t do me any good. Neither does hiding the dark corners of myself that I’m desperate to share, the places where I long to be seen, heard, and understood. Even if it’s scary and uncomfortable. Even if it upsets people I love. Even if no one gets it.


I’m actualizing this commitment to myself.


No more hiding.




How do you want to spend your visit?

*This is a private journal entry of mine from 2 years ago that I finally have the nerve to share. In loving memory of my Nana, Michael Reynolds, who passed away on September 17, 2012. She is dearly missed. 


My great-grandmother is dying.


My Mom called me last week and said she’s refused to eat for 6 days. An already frail and withering body shrinking more and more into itself.


“I quit,” she tells my Mom.


She’s 92.


I’m not sure how to feel. Maybe it’d be different if I was looking at her. But I’m in Texas and the family is in Indiana. I’m not seeing these last days, hours, and minutes. I don’t have to hear her familiar voice say such unfamiliar things about giving up.


“But hasn’t she earned it?” I ask myself. If anyone has the right to quit, isn’t it someone who’s almost 93? Who’s lived through the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, Women’s Rights, Civil Rights, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, and 9/11? A difficult marriage to an abusive husband without any options to leave? The lack of tools and opportunities to heal herself and her family that we take for granted now? 


Ahh yes. Now I feel something. My eyes dampen, my throat tightens, and I hold my breath with a question. A deep and dark cave of sadness surrounds me.


“Did she love her life?”


My jaw aches because the more I clench it, the more secure I am against  avoided emotions and repressed tears.


I don’t know.


What brought her pleasure? What little stolen moments of fun did she experience? What made her laugh?


I have no idea. And I didn’t have questions until it was too late for her to answer them.


Anthony de Mello says death brings sadness to people because we are thinking of ourselves. Those who have passed are not sad —they’re just gone. We make death about ourselves, our agenda of grief. We fear the loss of the known.


My Nana is ready to go. Why is that sad? She is weak and tired. She’s had Alzheimer’s for over 2 years. She’s a stranger to herself just as the world is around her. What am I hanging onto?


Last year, when she was still staying with my Grandma, I was visiting them back in Indiana. I was looking for floss in the bathroom with the door open. My Nana is sitting on the couch, watching me. She no longer knows who I am but she is kind and helpful as always, asking in her gentle Kentucky accent, “Whatchya lookin’ for?”


“Oh, just something to clean my teeth with. It’s fine —I don’t think she has what I’m after.”


My Nana gets up off the couch instantly. She moves very slowly. Her back has been hurting for weeks but I know well enough not to try to stop her. Helping her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren is an ingrained muscle memory to her body. It leads without cue or conscious thought, like a dancer or musician. It always has.


She makes her way to the bathroom and starts rifling through drawers with me. She doesn’t even know what I’m looking for. After a few minutes I say again, “It’s okay Nana. I don’t think she has it.”


My Nana looks at me with a shrug and a helpless smile and says, “I don’t know. I’m just visiting here myself.”


I can’t help but laugh.


And then she laughs.


We laugh together.


In the months after, when I retell this story to a few close friends, we are amused and moved with this unintentionally poignant statement. “I don’t know. I’m just visiting here myself.” A summation that hits the mark more closely than most things I’ve heard or read.


Brandon Burchard says that at the end of our life we all want the answer to 3 questions:

“Did I live?”

“Did I love?”

“Did I matter?”


Did we enjoy the hell out of our visit? Did we laugh? Did we travel? Did we say, “I love you?” Did we play? Did we share? Did we apologize? Did we dance? Did we nap? Did we create? Did we take chances?


I guess I am making her departure process about me. Maybe it can’t be helped, I’m not sure. And maybe I’ll never know if she loved her time here this go around. Maybe it’s none of my business either.


And even though it’s too late to ask her all the things about her life I sometimes still ache to know, she unknowingly left me with a gift in the form of a question:


How do I want to spend my visit?


                                    image

                                                  


#anaisnin #always #wanderlust #soulyearnings

#anaisnin #always #wanderlust #soulyearnings


Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.
#rumi #soulspeak #latenightyearnings

What inspires you and how do you view it?

I’m in the middle of a novel series that has overtaken my life. I wake up in the morning to read and fall asleep at night, book in hand. Many moments not reading are spent thinking about the story and the characters and what will happen.

I’ve been dreaming about the book too, which has always been a signal to me when something is really on my mind. I find myself excited to come home to the book and when the moments of longing in between reading are coming to a near end, not unlike the wanting of a lover or partner meeting you in bed. 

Is this silly? I find myself at moments being critical or judgmental about being so overtaken. Surely there are more important things I should be doing with my time? The thoughts become increasingly harsh as I lie in bed til noon on a Saturday, the sun beaming strong through my window and the voices of people outside going about their weekend lives. 

And yet, there are other things happening while I’ve been reading. Drinking less, dreaming more. Deep sleeps. Evening walks, connection with nature. A very noticeable coming into my body, feeling my body acutely, sensually, & much more often. Long baths by candlelight. Buying a plane ticket to Europe, to name a few. 

What I’ve realized is that, in spite of my enjoyment, my absolute love of reading and being completely absorbed by a book (a love I’ve had my entire life), I judge myself for it. Quite simply, I view it as idleness and laziness. 

So although I am deeply inspired by this book, and the effects it’s had on me are notably positive, another part of me views it as doing nothing of importance, and comparing it to other activities or obligations that would be much more productive. 

Whatever that means. 

In our culture of never doing/having/being enough, it takes a fierce determination of mind and spirit to hold close anything viewed as unproductive down-time. There is a lot of conditioning behind the nagging voices telling me I should put down the book, exercise this minute, practice the piano, do this week’s lesson for my online course, write a post, work on my website, etc., etc. ad nauseam. 

In short, I’m never “doing” enough and I never will, according to my own mind. So I have the choice to believe my own mind or not, and it is a continuing, tireless, endless endeavor to choose the latter. 

But I do because it’s so important to question your own mind and the thoughts that enter it, it’s important to take the time to get inspired, in whatever way that shows up for you, and it’s even more important to spend time in your precious life “doing” nothing, just because. 

It’s what you and I did as kids, and we never judged ourselves or others for it. Why do we judge ourselves so harshly now? Whose voice is doing the talking in your head? What do you want it to be saying? You get to choose what to listen to or not, and create new thoughts that nourish your body & soul. 

So I tuck away the criticism of idleness & laziness yet again, as I run the risk of being late to work because I’m so caught up in my book. And tonight I’ll light a candle, read some more, and dream of all the things within the story that inspired me today. 



Now, I finally understood the difference between wanting something and being ready to have it.
#katherinewoodwardthomas

You Are Your Wisest Advisor

I watched a video a few weeks ago by Marie Forleo and she wrote this in the accompanying blog post, “You are your wisest advisor.” 

Do you think so? Do you trust yourself? Do you have your own back? 

Because you are. At the end (and the beginning) of the day, you know what’s best, highest, and most good for you more than anyone else. 

So often, we skip past the whole sitting-with-ourselves-and-opening-up-to-our-own-voice, move straight into asking everyone and their Mom for an opinion, and pretty soon we’re so jumbled up in our minds we can’t think straight. 

At the beginning of a question, you know. You already did. And maybe it’s already done. Maybe you missed your truth this time around. That’s okay. There are always more chances. In fact, you’ll keep getting them until you start to believe you’re the one who knows all along. You always did.