My first guest blog post, as featured on A Holistic Journey.
Last week my father told me that his local Safeway had closed down, soon to be replaced with a Whole Foods. Normally this news would’ve tickled me – I’m a Whole Foods addict – but I was inexplicably sad. He now scans the weekly store flyers and shops the best deals.
Why did this conversation leave me feeling so tender, so emotional? I realized it was the first time I thought, I want to be like that. Like my father. Careful, methodical. Good with money.
The money story has always been big for me. As a small child I constantly compared myself to others – me often holding the short end of the stick. Everyone else got the best toys, the best food (hot dogs and sugary cereals), the best clothes. I got a dad who seemed to say ‘no’ to everything.
It made me angry. It made me…
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Something totally unexpected happened last week. My ex-boyfriend contacted me after seven years of silence. I hadn’t heard from him since we broke up.
Our relationship was unhealthy (to say the least) and shortly after we parted, I did something stupid which completely distanced him from me. We were very much in love at one point, but our inability to deal with our demons quickly poisoned what we had.
It took years for me to accept my role in our destruction. I had played the victim with him, but I was anything but that. I was cruel and said hurtful things. I was jealous and mistrustful. I wanted to be the centre of his world, and whatever attention he gave me was never enough. I was angry.
It stung like hell when he told me he didn’t love me anymore. But eventually I realized that I didn’t blame him. He had his own part to play in our breakdown, and he has to deal with that. But I can only be responsible for myself. And I see now that I had no self-love when I was with him. Whatever he did (or didn’t do) could only reflect that. We were doomed from the start.
A couple of weeks ago, I knew it was time to contact him. To take full responsibility for my own actions, and let him off the hook. The last I’d heard, he’d moved across the country, so I made a coffee date with our mutual friend, and planned to ask her for his number.
He beat me to it.
I was stunned when I saw his name in my email inbox. It was surreal and wonderful to hear his voice when we spoke on the phone a few days later. I was able to say all those things I needed to say, and release the blame, sadness, and guilt I’d carried for years.
I no longer feel incomplete with him, and I am beyond grateful for the possibility of a new relationship. He is someone I truly care about and want to stand by in this world. I have compassion for him now, and want to be a great friend where I couldn’t be a great girlfriend. It feels like a miracle.
I’m convinced that human beings are deeply connected on a level far beyond the physical. We pick up each other’s signals and communicate in ways we’re not consciously aware of.
I’ve been contacting many friends and family members these last couple months, acknowledging messes I’ve made and cleaning them up. The universe is magic; it senses our actions of love and responds in kind, sending us even more opportunities to restore and create love. Sometimes when we least expect it.
Last weekend I listened to a fabulous interview with Liz Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love (or EPL, as my bloggette pals like to call it) and The Signature of All Things. The discussion was full of gems, but what stood out was Liz’s take on passion.
‘Passion’ can be such pressure! Find your passion. Go after your passion. Live your passion. In Liz’s words, passion is a very ‘rock star’ state of being. But for many of us, including me, our passion is not obvious. We can’t pinpoint it to something specific.
When our passion is not clear, we may feel bad about ourselves. We perhaps feel inept that we can’t find it, or assume we don’t have one. We become blocked and discouraged. We believe passion should be *big*, so we don’t train ourselves to watch for more subtle cues from the universe. Maybe we don’t think those cues exist.
Liz suggests going with curiosity instead. Now this I can get on board with! The word ‘curious’ is showing up for me a lot lately. A few weeks ago, I watched a YouTube interview featuring the wonderful Danielle LaPorte, who wrote The Fire Starter Sessions – a hugely motivating manual on how to get-off-your-ass-and-start-really-living. (This book has inspired me on so many levels, and is partly responsible for me quitting my job!)
Danielle spoke about discovering the top five feelings we want to cultivate in our lives, and living from those states, rather than focusing solely on achieving goals or acquiring ‘stuff’.
Curiosity made my list.
There are so many things I’m curious about; I couldn’t stop wanting to know ‘why’ if I tried! Curiosity keeps me interested in, and ever-learning about, life. This is very important to me, as I don’t ever want to assume I know it all. I especially want to stay curious about people. And our role in the mystery of the cosmos. (Ok, that’s another post.)
Curiosity is very powerful. It will never burn out. It stokes itself!
I’m certainly not discounting passion; it can be a very good thing (hehe). But passion can be viewed as a sweet, deepening revealing, rather than something I have to find, now. I’m relieved to take that pressure off myself. And curious to see what unfolds as a result. 😉
My first week of school is officially over and I am using this weekend (my days off are Sunday/Monday) to r-e-l-a-x. As much as I can, anyway – I do have homework!
So what’s it like to go from full-time cushy-job employment, to a student with no paycheque? I don’t know if it’s quite hit me just yet, as things have been incredibly busy since my last day of work just over a week ago. I’d had an amazing sendoff from my colleagues and friends – they really spoiled me with love, wine, and gifts (including a stunning mala bead necklace). Days later, I was sitting in my first class.
For my reader friends who don’t know, I quit my job and am studying Digital Communications for a few months, so that I can fully understand the realm of social media and incorporate that knowledge into a business I’m starting. Might as well put my social networking skills to good use! 😉
But that’s the thing: though I have some of these skills, there’s so much more to learn. The social media world is fast-paced and requires near-constant keeping up with…everything! And there is a LOT of it going on in my city (the birthplace of Hootsuite!).
I’m having a great time learning about it all. My brain is pretty saturated with the influx of information, but it feels good to actually be using it for something new! Already I’ve been schooled in the worlds of SEO, HTML/CSS, news releases, social media (Twitter & Hootsuite), and using Final Cut Pro and GarageBand for video promos. (Side note: how’d it take me so long to discover the joys of GarageBand?!)
I’m even learning more about our good ol’ WordPress world!
And there is more to come. It’s easy for hours to fly by, immersed in all the different platforms. I must remember to take time away from the computer every now and then. And to be ‘real’ with what I put out there, instead of adding to the noise.
Do I miss my old job? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some sad moments. But in those moments it’s not really the job I’m missing. It’s the comfort and the familiarity (and the paycheque!), but mostly it’s the people: my awesome, loving colleagues; the best ‘boss’ ever; even the hot Whole Foods guy I’d see most days as we ordered our morning coffees (and who I went on one date with, but that’s another post).
I know I have made the right choice, and despite the moments of discomfort in this transition, it will all work out. My mind is opened to new possibilities. I’m encountering different people every day as I walk through my city’s business district to and from school. My body is happy that it doesn’t have to sit so much. And I’m finally starting to understand Twitter!
Most importantly, now that I’ve taken this leap, I’m inspired to think bigger and greater for my future creations. Why not? There is nothing to lose in dreaming big.
#peaceout #findmeontwitter #alohaleya
This seems to be the summer of saying what I need to say, no matter how terrified I am to say it.
A couple of weeks ago, it was calling my family members and acknowledging how I truly felt about…everything.
I’ve long played the role of the ‘good’ daughter, not wanting to make waves or hurt or offend anyone. But because I couldn’t express all parts of myself – the darker, more unpleasant things – I kept them within. And there was a lurking, hard resentment building as a result.
I’m getting that when I feel such resentment towards people, they know it on some level. They feel it. And no amount of smiles or sunny disposition can cover it up. And that hiding, that suppressing, is way more harmful (to everyone) than expressing myself outright.
When I shared with my family that I had blamed and resented them for things from the past, it was said with such a desire for love, peace, and harmony with them in the NOW. And they could actually feel that, because in that moment I was expressing all of me. They could feel that authenticity and, in turn, they welcomed what I said with love.
It’s the time to stop playing roles, and live who we CREATE ourselves to be. Not who we, or others, have thought we are. I feel that a huge weight’s been lifted from my shoulders. Like something that was struggling to get out of me is finally releasing.
A few nights ago I did something that I never thought I could do. I told a group of 30+ people about my financial debt. I gave them the breakdown of how much I owe, and to whom. I stated the total amount.
My money situation has always been my ‘dirty little secret’. The thing I’ve keep hidden. The shame has kinda paralyzed me. It’s the story I’ve allowed to rule my life.
I revealed all this on a coaching/leadership call as part of a workshop series I’m doing on integrity (an extension of the Landmark workshop I did a couple of weeks ago). Now that I won’t be receiving a regular paycheque – I’m starting school next week – it is time to really clean up the money stuff.
It’s not that being in debt equals a lack of ‘integrity’ as most people define the word, i.e., integrity in the ‘moral’ sense. It’s more that the stories we have about ourselves (because of our financial debt) reinforce our feelings of shame and powerlessness.
Integrity is wholeness and completeness. Powerlessness and shame are not.
If my underlying feeling is that ‘I have no willpower’…how empowering is that?! No wonder most of our efforts end in self-sabotage!
My debt had become loaded with so much. It was weighing me down. Being able to share the numbers with a group of relative strangers, especially those I couldn’t see, was…well, I can’t say it felt good at the time.
But – in the hours leading up to that call, I couldn’t wait to get it off my chest. And now, knowing that once again I’ve had a conversation and spoken words I would have never fathomed speaking just a short time ago, I’m feeling lighter. Seeing those numbers as ‘what is’, and not a negative reflection of me.
I know that more and more of these conversations are possible. And it’s those conversations that facilitate real transformation.
It’s like I’m pushing myself to see how far I can go. How much I can trust people. Ultimately, it’s showing me that I feel safe with myself. Knowing my world will not fall apart when I say what hasn’t been said before. Love will still be there.
Boundaries are good. Barricades are not. I’d isolated myself in many ways, and gotten used to going at it alone.
This sharing feels good. It’s kind of addictive. It’s letting life in.
It’s true; I have been very quiet lately. After my last post, the urge to blog had disappeared completely. It was strange – I felt I had no words in me. In addition to that, for the last couple of weeks things have been changing at such warp speed. I’ve been so busy preparing for what’s coming next that I haven’t had the time or focus for blogging.
Probably the most monumental thing that happened for me in August was participating in the Landmark Forum. This is not your ordinary personal growth workshop. Over three intensive days, my beliefs about my life and the world were brought to my consciousness in a very powerful way. It’s difficult to articulate just how profound this experience was. Suffice it to say that I was able to express myself on a level I never could before. And this has transformed everything.
During that weekend, I had heartfelt and genuine conversations with my mom, dad, and sister. Conversations that once seemed impossible (or, more accurately, conversations I didn’t even know I wanted to have.) Conversations in which I let them see who I really am and how I really feel, which on some level I’d always hid from them. Conversations where I could barely speak through my tears, apologizing for the toxic blame and resentment I’ve carried within, and the unrealistic expectations I have held of them.
This has been incredibly freeing for me, and the timing of it all was so synchronistic, given that my job is finishing in two weeks and I am making some big plans for the future. I’m seeing how everything in my life is so interconnected. Suppressing who I am in one area affects all areas. If I can’t express my true self to my family and friends, how can I express it to the world? To step onto that larger stage, take risks, and feel safe and confident?
So what is on the horizon for me? My plans include studying digital communications for a couple of months at a local university (maybe I’ll finally understand twitter!), and starting my own business with a friend and former co-worker. She and I have been discussing this venture for months, and had spent many an hour at the office sharing our vision for what we want to create. (She quit a few weeks ago.) We are ready to go for it!
This summer has been full of activity – planning, connecting, preparing – and now is the time to ACT. Landmark powerfully cleared away so many stories, interpretations, and meanings I’d concocted about my life, other people, and what I am capable of. It gave me the deep understanding that those stories were never ‘real’ to begin with. It took away my sense that life is a series of problems to be fixed, and delivered the epiphany that there is nothing fundamentally ‘wrong’ with me or my life.
I am seeing everything with new eyes, and this is invaluable as I take my next steps. Yes, it does feel stressful and it does feel challenging. But it also feels electric, intriguing, and alive. I have been craving these feelings for a long time.