Wednesday Wisdom: Fall Down 7 Times, Learn the Damn Lesson And Not Fall 8

A9A03F0D-F4B9-4F9F-9FA9-1A2CEAB34C75.jpegI don’t think I’m gonna climb today, I think I’ll watch my kids climb instead. 

Those were the infamous words I heard myself say last Friday (6/7/19) as I got ready to head into work, the a 3 week long summer program at my charter school aimed at providing  students with opportunities to try outdoor activities such as paddle boarding, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing.

That day, my group was headed to an indoor bouldering gym, a gym I had been to many times previously, familiarized with their routes.

Getting to the gym with my group of high school students, I took one look at the ceiling route (a route I’ve attempted many times before but never completed) and said to myself, I bet I can climb that. 

Rewind almost a year ago, I was climbing at Garden of the Gods, my adventure partner Tim and I were showing friends from out of town the legendary red sandstone routes. We had climbed most of the afternoon, leaving Montezuma’s Tower, an iconic Colorado climb, for the cherry to top the day’s epicness.

As we cleaned up the gear from the afternoon, I thought to myself, I think I’m done climbing for the day. Tim confided in me that he too was done climbing for the day and asked me to lead Montezuma’s Tower. “You’ve climbed it before and I’m confident in your ability to lead this route!” He confidently stated to me.

I thought about my friends from out of town and how they’d love to be on top of Montezuma’s tower, and see the view from above. I also considered Tim’s confidence and wanted to believe his words. I don’t want to let them down. 

That day at the Garden, on Montezuma’s Tower, I ended up falling from 10ft off the ground unclipped. Luckily, my partner Tim caught me (and by caught me, I mean took my butt to his face) but the lasting trauma of the fall mind fucked my confidence in my ability to sport climb.

Fast forward to last Friday, looking at the ceiling route in the bouldering gym, my ego got the best of me. I bet I can climb that lead to me climbing past my previous personal best, but swinging out uncontrollably, falling and injuring my collateral ligaments in my left knee.

Both incidents involved me hearing my intuitive voice: I don’t think I’m gonna climb today…. and I think I’m done climbing for the day.

Yet in both occurrences, my ego was the victor and I rationalized my way out of listening to my body’s intuitive response: I bet I can climb that, and I don’t want to let them down.

The lesson: listen AND FOLLOW my intuition. My body knows best, even subconsciously my body knows more than what my rational brain can process. Clearly the universe gave me multiple chances to learn this lesson, and in the words of The Alchemist author Paulo Coelho, “Success is falling down 7 times but getting up 8!”

 

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Wednesday Wisdom: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

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Photo by Chris Parish

“Are you okay!?” It’s the question I’ve been hearing for the past three to four weeks now from friends, coworkers and administrators. My inability to hold a poker face let the world know that internally, no, I wasn’t okay.  Recently I’ve felt on edge, trying to prevent myself from jumping off the proverbial cliff. My mood fluctuated between subtle frustration to down right pissed, sometimes veering off into sad and emotional. For that stretch of time, I was doing everything I could to not feel those emotions, because let’s face it, those emotions aren’t fun to deal with. The more I tried to suppress the emotions, not talk about them or deal with them the stronger they became.

This past week, after a few intimate conversations with friends and one intense yoga workout designed to break down the ego, I couldn’t hide from the emotions and their triggers any longer.

Turns out, after a deep reflection on the yoga mat, I had legitimate reasons for being angry, sad, upset.

My first reason I identified is that I wasn’t being true to myself and setting boundaries. I said yes when I meant no. I was giving my time and energy (my most precious resources) freely when I needed to conserve it. My job was emotionally draining, I over booked my schedule and didn’t properly plan times to emotionally recharge.

With Father’s Day coming up, I realized this also contributed to my anger and sadness. Although I believed I’d fully grieved my father’s death, seeing  Father’s Day cards in the stores made me upset as I no longer had a reason to buy one. In that moment, seeing those cards, life felt really unfair.

Lastly, in general I’ve wanted to make changes to a few different areas in my life, but since I hadn’t properly conserved my time and energy, I had neither to make progress on personal goals. I felt stagnant, stuck, no hope because nothing was changing.

After identifying my underlying reasons for my anger, frustration and sadness, I allowed myself to feel the emotions which ultimate led to me releasing them. 

When I was asked “Are you okay!?” I felt the need to smile, nod and pretend everything was okay, when in fact it wasn’t, far from it. But I’m thankful for my close friends who saw through my bullshit and pressed on with more questions, because clearly they saw something(s) I was trying to ignore.

And that’s the lesson I’ve learned, that emotions, especially the unpleasant ones, are there for a reason. Anger was present because I ignored my boundaries. Sadness existed because I was reminded that someone I love so deeply is no longer here with me. Frustration found its way into my life because I wasn’t making  progress on personal goals. And in a world where I feel forced to smile and nod when asked “are you okay?!” I’ll remember to be brave and authentically say “No, I’m not okay, but that’s okay”.

 

Thankful Thursday: Losing Hope That Life Would Have Been Different

IMG_8397Sunday was my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting I’ve ever attended. I felt honored when a good friend asked me to accompany him to a meeting celebrating his six month milestone. I expected to sit back and be a fly on the wall, supporting my friend, instead I was brought to tears by one woman’s story.

The topic of the meeting, forgiveness. The young woman helping to run the meeting was one of the last to share, but what she shared resonated with me long after I left the meeting.She said a patient she worked with at a recovery house (the patient now deceased) had created a painting for her with the words:
“Forgiveness is losing the hope that your life would have been different.”
That quote hit me like a punch to the gut. I teared up because it was exactly what I needed to hear.

For too long I’ve been wondering how my life would have been different without the difficulties of my childhood. What if my parents didn’t get divorced, what if my dad wasn’t affected by a mental illness, what if I didn’t go through a crippling stint of depression. I’ve expended extensive amounts of my mental energy supporting the what if’s, the dreams that my life could have and should have been different.

Losing the hope that life would have been different -It’s detaching yourself from the what if’s, from the blame, from the judgement, from the shame, guilt, and ultimate hurt that’s been a heavy burden to carry for 20+ years.

Losing the hope that life would have been different- it’s the acceptance that I’m exactly where I need to be and couldn’t have ended up here without experiencing all that I had, the good, the bad and the down right gut-wrenching.

I can say without a doubt my experiences have allowed me to develop and employ empathy. I can now look into the eyes of another soul and acknowledge their suffering, saying with a just look “I’ve been there too.” It allows me to acknowledge but more importantly, validate feelings. I’m able to sit with someone in their most uncomfortable moments, because I too have been forced to make peace with my darkest shadows.

Losing the hope that life would have been different – it’s offering forgiveness, not just to my parents but to myself. Truly understanding I did the best I could, given the circumstances and my cumulative knowledge at the time.

Losing the hope that life would have been different – It’s living life with an unburdened soul- the ultimate freedom.

I’m grateful to have been asked to attend that meeting. My friend, conspiring and working in conjunction with the universe, lead me to the medicine that I needed to taste.

Thankful Thursday: Remember When You Prayed To Get Where You Are?

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Today I read a post on IG that said “remember when you prayed to get to where you are now?” 
WOAH! When I had a moment to myself, (let’s be honest, in the bathroom), I stopped to reflect, remembering exactly where I was the multiple times I had dreamt of living in Colorado.

I knew at 15 I wanted to move to Colorado after visiting family friends in Breckinridge. I wanted to move for the outdoor, active lifestyle, and to be in the presence of majestic mountains.

After college I was living in my parents’ basement. One day, I took a moment to think about moving to Colorado. I bawled, ugly cried, thinking that I could never make that move. How could I afford it? Fuck affording it! Could I even muster the courage to move? 

Three years into my professional career, I was feeling stuck. One day I decided to read “The Alchemist” and three pages in, I again bawled uncontrollably. The next day I decided to quit my job, back pack Australia then head out to Colorado, to start a new life. Was I scared?? I was fucking terrified! But I knew that the hardships of leaving was going to be less than the pain of staying.

Fast forward to my first night in Colorado, I told myself I’d give it a year and then buy a house. Buy a house!? For a pickup and go when ever where ever commitment-phobe it was a huge decision. But almost a year later, I signed papers and bought my house. Was I scared?? I was terrified! (See a theme?) What if I couldn’t afford it!? (See another theme!?) Point is, where I am now, I dreamt about years ago, and here I am. What I am currently pipe dreaming about, well, I can make it happen too. I Just need a bit of persistence, hard work and the undying belief in myself and my abilities.

This past year I’ve forgotten how far I’ve come. It was great to look back today, to help motivate me for my future!

#awoke #consciousliving #trusttheuniverse #trusttheprocess #awakening#mountains #getoutside
#livelife #livefully #consciousness #vibehigher #highervibes #thankful#grateful #thanks #awaken #adventure #the_adventuress #sheexplores#adventures #travel #travelblogger #sheadventures #wanderlust

Real Talk Tuesday: Fear of Intimacy

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Photo By Ryan Lundbohm, @the_bearded_kite

 

“So Why Are You Afraid of Intimate Relationships?”
Those were the words a friend asked on Sunday that have still stuck with me since spoken. The question hit me like a punch to the gut. I broke down immediately.
It was a topic my therapist had also sneakily asked when I was separating my fears, a visualization exercise to help me separate my own fears and my mother’s fears that she instilled in me growing up. I was taking stock of my fears and packing up ones that no longer served their purpose.
“Fear of intimacy?” She asked. It took a second for me process, as it wasn’t a fear I had identified on my own prior to the sorting exercise.
“Keep,” I responded, my therapist glancing at me with a smile, both of us knowing it was a short term protective measure I’d be revisiting soon.
Why the fear of intimacy? Intimacy requires a high degree of vulnerability and trust. It requires Opening myself up, all of myself, the light and the dark, to be seen and deeply understood.
Maybe my fear stems from opening up and being hurt in the past. Maybe I’m afraid because my models for intimate relationships were completely dysfunctional, whereas instead of equating intimacy to trust, compassion and respect, I equate it to abandonment, loss and rejection. Maybe I’ve felt safest keeping those I love at a distance. Maybe in order to be intimate with another I must first love and illuminate the darkest parts within me, to make peace with them.
Since Sunday I’ve been ruminating on this. Since Sunday I’ve known this is the next fear I need to tackle. Since Sunday I’ve been an emotional wreck, waiting with anticipation to unpack and process this fear in therapy.

 

Flipping the Script on Rejection

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Photo by Chris Parish

The first time I redefined my personal definition regarding rejection was during a panelist discussion at a BDSM seminar in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood. My friend, who was interested in learning more about the lifestyle, asked me to attend for moral support. I happily obliged to satisfy my own curiosities, but ended up coming away with much more than just a new understanding of the lifestyle.

 

One of the panelists provided insight into sex contracts, a measure to ensure all parties involved in the experience felt emotionally and physically safe. Her profound words on rejection came when she explained that it was okay to walk away from a contract or to have your requests denied. She recognized that most people view rejection as a negative thing. Once rejected, most become defensive because they view it as a reflection of their self-worth. But she challenged that by saying, “If my contract is rejected I think, ‘thank you for not wasting my time!’ ”

Upon hearing those words my friend and I both faced each other with amazement in our eyes. We both confirmed that we were guilty of spiraling into the shameful frenzy of the “I’m not good enough” rabbit hole. Instead, that panelist framed rejection as an acknowledgement that neither participant would benefit if the contract didn’t feel authentic to one or both parties.  It’s a quote my friend and I have revisited multiple times (sending loving text reminders) since that day. We’ve even combined it with the no-bullshit wisdom that her father gave to me in high school after meeting my then boyfriend:  “NEXT!”

Years later, I revisited my definition of rejection after reading a book by Pema Chodron, a very popular Buddhist teacher and author, who also provided clarity on the subject. She explained that rejection is the Universe’s way of saying “that’s not your path.” That phrase is still inscribed on my bedroom wall to this day.

Rejection is more poignant for me now, since rekindling my passion for writing. I’ve long suppressed my desire to publish my creative works because I was afraid of rejection and criticism. Much of what I write stems from my own personal stories and any negative critique of my writing was previously viewed as an attack on my experience, and my truth.

As I’ve been doing the hard work, going to therapy, truly knowing my self worth, my voice and validating both, I too have internalized a new perspective on rejection. It came to me as I was sitting at my desk attempting to overcome my “impostor syndrome” to write a piece for this blog. My internal dialogue immediately went to:

“I’m a terrible writer.”

“What makes your story valid?”

“Why would anyone want to read it?”

“I’m not good enough.”

The emotional toll from my inner critic was enough to prevent me from sitting and writing altogether that night. By chance, I saw the quote from Maya Angelou I taped to the base of my computer, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

In that moment, I realized I had to rewrite my internal script on rejection. I imagined receiving a rejection letter for an article or book proposal. What would I say to that editor? What would I say to myself to lessen the sting?? Pausing for clarity, I thought “Thank you for your opinion, but I won’t let it invalidate my truth!”

That too is now inscribed on my bathroom mirror, where I can see it every morning, so I can embody it and manifest it, to live and write my truth.

 

How do you handle rejection? Which saying resonates with you? Would love to read your comments!

 

 

 

Self-Love Sunday: Slow Down (You’re Movin’ Too Fast)

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Lavender Latte from Garden of the Gods Cafe

Self-Love Sunday:

Slow Down (You’re Movin’ Too Fast)

Ever since the New Moon in Aires (4/5/19) I’ve been in go-mode riding the burst of energy to start new projects, ones I’ve had on the back burner for way too long. Being surrounded by creatives and Intuits has inspired me to progress on my projects, yet I still felt distracted and disoriented, unsure of the steps to accomplish my goals.

Friday, with the Full Moon in Libra, brought a lesson I couldn’t ignore. That morning I woke up and still with lots of confusion about certain aspects of my path, I was rushing to go to work and fell down the stairs. I hit my head, my back and my butt. I didn’t have time to process the fall and went to work as if nothing was wrong. Getting home from work, I broke down and cried.

Hitting my head triggered emotions from a traumatic brain injury I had in high school. Reflecting on the numerous times I’ve hit my head since that TBI (too many I’ve stopped counting) the universe was telling me to slow down, to get out of my head – stop overthinking- and trust the process. .

I can see the big picture and where I want to end up, but I need to break my vision down into small action items to accomplish them, one by one. Slowing down and enjoying the process is essential to future success and living my true life’s purpose. .

“Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy”

-Simon and Garfunkel

Has the universe given you signs to slow down? Comment below 👇🏼