Fear is a funny thing...

Fear is a funny thing. I spent all of January (some of you were with me) talking about, thinking about, and writing about making choices based on faith instead of fear. I saw it everywhere, and I really stepped out of fear in a big way. Since then, I made huge steps towards creating some goals that have been in the works for a long time, but have yet to come to fruition due to fear blockages. And not that since then, fear hasn’t come up, it has - but it has been way more minimal. I see it, and I feel it, it maybe makes me feel a little shitty, but I felt so connected to my faith or my purpose in each step that I just kept moving. 

 

About a month ago I started feeling a little more stuck, and these past few weeks have been like running with a 100 lb weight on my back. Now, there’s lots of things behind that, like…the wearing off of the new years goals (lol), needing to shift into new conditions, etc, but the main thing I’m seeing, right now, is the I’m at the cusp of actually doing the things. I just launched my teacher training program, to happen this summer; I’m sending out my choreography reel and all kinds of vulnerable things to people; I’m embarking on another yoga retreat, with the goal of expanding nowhere in sight. I’m short on money, but high on hopes, and oh my goodness, IT’S SCARY! 

 

It’s like, you know when your friend convinces you to do something scary, like ask someone out at a bar, and you agree, but then as you actually start to process doing it you’re like, “yea but shouldn’t I do this first?” And “but what if they are in a relationship?” And “I don’t think I should do that, because that might be rude, and then I’ll send a bad impression”, etc. It’s like all the second guessing floods your brain. Now, in a surface level version of this (like perhaps, asking someone out at a bar), it can be quite obvious that these thoughts are just doubt popping in. But life tends to be a little more complicated, and man we are good at making those thoughts seem rational, important, and even wise. We train ourselves to listen to them. 

 

So what do you do when you’re about to do something “scary” and those thoughts start popping in? How do you know when those thoughts are telling you that you are truly not ready, and there is more to address before you act? And how do you know when those thoughts are only happening because your BS meter decided to go on break, and your fear jumped in and took the wheel? 

 

If you can, pause reading and watch this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG-F_rRVdLc

 

(Thanks Will Smith…<3).

 

What he basically just explained, is that - fear IS BS, “the point of maximum danger, is the point of minimum fear.” So the fear you feel, before something scary, is completely inauthentic. Because when you are actually in danger, you are not in fear. You are in sync. You just act. Fear, as felt before the action, is the emotion that decides how we act, not the emotion that happens from acting. 

 

 

Last week, I went in to have a very very (very very very) simple medical procedure done. Before going in, I had an idea of the amount of pain it would cause, and in my head, given some previous experiences, I thought this procedure was going to be extremely painful. A few hours before, I was training at cirque school, doing handstands, and my back spasmed. I cooled down, stretched and headed home to take some Advil before my appointment. I realized as I walked home that the spasm was coming from my psoas. The psoas is a hip flexor muscle, that connects the spine to the thigh bone. They call it the “fight or flight” muscle, because it’s the muscle that triggers when you have to like, run from a bear. The thing is, now a days, we are not usually running from bears, so often, our psoas triggers for no reason. This is what I believe happened to me. And as I was driving to the appointment, I started to get so scared of the possibility of pain, that I was shaking. 

 

Now, long story short - the procedure was literally painless (LOL), and obviously all the fear was for nothing. But the point is this - FEAR of something in the future caused me to unneccessarily fire a muscle that was not needed, FEAR caused me to spend 2 hours worried for nothing, FEAR tried to do everything it could to stop me from doing the scary thing, which in the end, when it happened, was not scary at all. Now, to give you a little positivity here, I realized that this is what was happening, I called a friend, and I calmed myself down. And not that the freakin hour and a half in the waiting wasn’t still torturous, it really was, but the spasm had already eased up and my back was already relieved. 

 

I also want to add one caveat, as I often do, to say that fear does have a place. Fear is an important part of our evolution, because it helped us survive. It helped us choose situations that led to less pain, more safety, and that is why we are here today. However, for most of us in this modern world, we are confronted with less life-threatening things on a day to day basis, and have lots of time to spend thinking about things, so fear kicks in to keep us safe from doing things are just slightly uncomfortable. 

 

When you feel fear creeping in, you have a choice. Use it as a checkpoint, or a stopping point. Let the thoughts that come from it control your decisions, OR look at the thoughts as just thoughts, and decide what you are willing to overcome. Believe in yourself, AND hold yourself accountable to being safe and prepared to the best of your ability. Fear is here FOR you if you let it. It's up to you if you let it take you down. 

Conditional Self-Love...doesn't work

You know, when I was younger, hearing people talk about how to be a “good person” in any way would have me get defensive and down on myself. Like if I didn’t meet all the criteria (the criteria, sometimes given by a stranger speaking their perspective), that automatically meant I was a bad person. So I either had to 1) prove to myself (or to them) that I wasn’t, through rationale, excuses, and defense mechanisms, or 2) beat myself up over it, and feel terrible about myself as punishment. 

 

Now some of that was a skewed perception of who I was. For instance, if someone said, “if you want to be a good person, you must be really giving”, I tended towards hugely discounting all the ways that I DO give, and still making myself feel bad for it. (Ridiculous I know - but check yourself, you might do it too). Some of it, though, was based on something a little bit heavier, deeper, more engrained. It was based on my conditional love of myself. Basically, I had an idea of what it meant to be a good person, (obviously hugely based on what other people thought a good person was!), and if anything I did didn’t line up with it, I felt ashamed. (Not just guilty, as guilt is the willingness to acknowledge you could have done better, and then learning and aiming to do better. But deeply ashamed.) So ashamed that I could hardly admit to myself that I didn’t fit this perfect mold of what it meant to be a good person in my head.

 

I’ll give an example. At the end of my yoga classes I say the phrase “to be understanding, loving, and giving, rather than be understood, be loved, or receive” (a section of my family prayer!). There were days where I would say that, or say the prayer to myself, and think, oh goodness, I’m only focused on being understood, I’m such a terrible person. As if “I’m only focused on being understood” = “I’m such a terrible person.” I would immediately love myself less. I would doubt myself, and put myself down for being so selfish. Which of course, in turn, led me to be more selfish in my conquest to cover up how selfish I was being! I needed to make it seem “ok” so I could still qualify as a good person, and pretend to be “ok” with myself, even though I wasn’t. Instead of, simply admitting to myself that I was really focused on being understood, instead of being understanding and compassionate with others, and then DECIDING to change that. It’s like it’s so simple, we don’t even know how to do it. And I think it’s really tied to this (among other perspectives and terminology): our conditional love for ourselves. If I no longer love myself because I was a little selfish in a conversation with a friend, or because I got mad at a student for being late, I’m in big trouble! Because you guys - I’m human, and sometimes, those things are gonna happen. And that has to be ok. I have to be allowed to do that without being punished, or loved less. AND, I must be able to see it, learn from it, and choose how to move forward, knowing that I want to be better for myself and for others at all times. 

 

Phew. That was kinda heavy. Why am I sharing this? Well, this week I started reading a book called, “This is How We Rise” by Claudia Chan (thanks for the rec Haley, if you’re reading this!). She talks about making the shift in mentality from “me over we” to “me for we”, essentially meaning, serve others before serving yourself. As I was reading, I felt remnants of that defensive Jessie going - “but what about self-care!” “I DO serve others! Don’t I?” And “oh no, am I a terrible person? Am I not doing enough for others?” She even touched on it, she said, 

 

“Now if you’ve done the work of personal growth, therapy, or coaching, the idea of serving others before serving yourself may sound ludicrous. We’ve been taught that we need to put ourselves and our self-care first in order to bring our best selves to our careers, families, and causes. I believe and preach this message too. But there is a difference between self-love and being self-centric. Self-love is keeping your bucket replenished and full so you can bring your most fit self to the external realms of your life like family, workplace, community, and neighbors. It is optimizing the health of your physical, mental, and financial state so you can best serve your life’s purpose. Conversely, being self-centric is investing in all of these areas but for the sole purpose of serving yourself. Self-centric people mainly put themselves front and center on their own stage and spend their lives consumed in establishing their image, as defined by societal clichés of making more money, being more popular, having more social media likes, wearing the right brands, living in the fancier house, and so on. In reality, the more we chase these superficial things, the further away we get from having sufficiency and peace. The satisfaction that comes from gaining the material is always temporary.” 

 

Now real quick, let’s debunk this: WE ARE ALL SELF-CENTRIC. Some of us more than others, some of us rarely, some of us all the time, but we all are. And if you’re not with me yet, keep reading. It’s not necessarily about the fancier house, although that is a more dramatic manifestation of this feeling. It’s about the need to BE something in order to feel good about yourself. So if it’s that you need the expensive car to feel cool, there ya go. If it’s as subtle as you need your boss to like you to feel good about yourself, boom. It’s the same thing. And it’s self-centric even in the moments of self-doubt, as you are still worrying about how you’re performing negatively, you’re still consumed but your own lack of self-worth, you’re still trying to prove to yourself that you are lovable, instead of being present for others. 

 

Ok now real quick, if you are anywhere near where I was (and still sometimes find myself), let’s clear something up: NONE OF THIS IS BAD OR WRONG OR ANYTHING TO FEEL BAD ABOUT. It’s simply life. We are humans, we have egos. We are going to need to be seen, to feel important. It’s our nature. And it’s ok. 

 

But the beauty of this discovery, is that we can use this information to develop ourselves. No, it’s not bad that you had a moment of being self-centric; but you can look at it when you catch it, and decide to learn from it. Decide to look at your values, rather than your ego driven reactions, in order to make a better choice next time.

 

One more example. My friend was talking about sharing an experience with her father. She did this coaching program, and her coach told her she’s lazy. Hah. What he meant was something very specific, in that she is not putting all the effort she could to making her life work. He was not simply insulting her, and she knew that. She actually really heard him, and is now making steps to not cut corners, and really be in integrity in her life. However, when she shared this with her dad, he could hardly let her finish the sentence before he got upset about her coach calling her lazy. He went into defense mode, don’t talk smack about my daughter! Which of course, is lovely, thanks dad. But if she had done that with her coach, if she had heard her coach’s word and immediately shut him down because of the perceived insult, she wouldn’t have heard that she has room to make her life stronger. She wouldn’t have seen this pattern in herself, that her coach so keenly spotted for her. Now I’m not saying that type of intense coaching is for everybody, but I am saying - when we put up our defenses, we BLOCK ourselves from growing. Same in my past when I would immediately get worried I wasn’t good enough, and would spend all my energy defending myself to myself. Because of that, I couldn’t even begin to see how I was slacking, and how to be better. I couldn’t even let myself be with it, because it was too scary that it meant I wasn’t lovable. 

 

This just doesn't work. 

 

When do you get defensive? Start to look at it. Ask it what it’s doing, and why it’s doing it. Look at your ego, challenge it to unconditional love. Let it know that even if you did something bad or weren’t being your best, that it doesn’t mean that you are bad. It just means you did something bad. See it. Learn from it. And watch yourself level up. ;)

For or Against?

I’ve had a few moments in the last week or so, where I’ve felt really passionate and/or upset about something, and I get really motivated and driven. It gets me excited to do something about my upset. And while I think that’s lovely, I have to ask myself - is this really me, or is this just a reaction? And if it’s just reaction, what’s actually true to me? And does acting from reaction really create what I want? Reaction has us working against the thing that upset us. It has us throw all our energy into defense. Into the negative. Into "NOT that”. Proaction has us working for the thing that we really want. It has us throw all our energy into offense without letting the few goals scored against us get in the way of our movement. It has us work from the positive, the inspiration. It has us create what we actually want. 

 

When we are upset, our passion/emotion kind of blinds us from what’s real. It feels so real because it’s exciting, all consuming, sometimes uncontrollable. It becomes an obsession or addiction or be upset at someone or something in order to make ourselves feel better. But that’s not the truth, it’s not your authentic processing or decision making. So how do we get to the truth? 

 

 I’ve found again and again that often, the truth is very close to the reaction. For example, let’s say you go to an audition or a job interview, and you don’t get it. There are two common reactions: 1) feel not good enough and helpless or 2) feel like they don’t deserve you anyway and screw them! Although these seem like different reactions, they are really just two sides of the same coin: fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of never achieving dreams. Fear of not being seen. And although the second reaction seems like the powerful one, it is still feeding into the fact that this audition says something about you and your worth. And if that’s the case, in order to be okay, you have to say screw them. You have to put them down in order to keep your worth safe. 

 

Not only is this kind of crappy, it also proves to be ineffective. It puts you in overdrive, proving to yourself in others that you are good enough. It has you throw all your eggs in the defense basket, and save little for the offense. But the truth doesn’t need to be proven. The truth just is. Knowing your worth is not something you have to squash others to see, you just see it. 

 

But here’s the thing. These two reactions are really close to important truths, and important tools for growth, it’s just that the upset blinds us from it. Number 1 comes from the truth that perhaps there is something for you to work on, to make yourself more effective at your job. And number 2 comes from a very healthy, and necessary, decision to not let others’ opinions make you feel bad about yourself. But both are flipped into this reactionary, defensive, fear-based emotion, instead of solid, effective thought and action. 

 

Now, I’m not saying never get passionate or upset about things - I do think this creates motivation for change. However, watch yourself when you are really fiery. Notice when that is driven from fear instead of faith. Notice the way you jeopardize your strength, by moving from anger. Notice when you are putting others down along the way. Notice. So that you can act more powerfully. 

We Never "Arrive"

As many of you know, I just got back from my yoga retreat in Yosemite. For those that don’t know, my retreats are a 4 day, semi-local experience, of all women focused on their self-growth and personal power. We embark on a weekend of looking at and uncovering insecurities, fear, and trauma, in order to create and become the women we truly are. One of the experiences is a nude photoshoot in nature - the intention being to have us confront those insecurities, fears, and traumas right away. In other words, this weekend is a weekend of self-work more than it is a weekend of vacation or relaxation. That being said, it can be truly magical, eye opening, and relaxing in that we do yoga, experience nature, and connect with great people. Anyway, the retreat I did in January was super lovely - everyone was kind of on the same page, weather conditions worked in our favor, and the group left feeling love, gratitude, and connected to each other and themselves. But I remember feeling a little off, personally. Feeling something like, I could have done better, or I wasn’t prepared that time, or something like that. To be honest, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it just felt a little off. So I prepped for my next retreat, only two months away, I had to get going. 

 

Meanwhile I’ve been focusing on a few other things as well - my upcoming teacher training program, my choreography, some dance endeavors, etc. And there was this subtle feeling I had as the March retreat got closer, like, I’ll just do this retreat, and then I’ll focus on the other tasks. Sort of like, “I know what I’m doing now. We will just conquer this retreat like we have in the past, and move on!” Which I think is a lovely thought on one hand. It’s filled with confidence, trust, and intentional priorities. However, it also had me expect things to look a certain way, and to approach this with the same intention as I have in the past. 

 

Long story short, this retreat was definitely not like it has been in that past! Yosemite proved to be difficult weather and distance-wise. We had a bunch of hiccups like flat tires, wrong directions, no service, compromised sleeping situations, etc. And this group of women was not quite as in it as usual, so there was some difficulty diving into the yoga/connectedness/vulnerability part of the trip. Now, this retreat was absolutely lovely in so many ways, and the women were perfect for this experience; and, it was a lot of heavy lifting on the facilitating end. 

 

All of this is to say that, while the experience was still incredible - there was something oddly tough about it. So, throughout the retreat and upon the drive home, I really started to look at it. Like yes, I know the weather was unpredictable, and shit happened like flat tires, but, really - why was it so heavy this time? Why did I feel like there was so much resistance at each step of the way? 

 

Now - a couple things. I realized a few days before the retreat that our theme for this round was to find acceptance that our plans and expectations are always going to change, so to really be present at each step along the way, re-center, re-asses, and move forward. Basically, be ready for shit to go wrong! And of course as I saw that theme come into play I was like…damnit. Because that means I have to be ready for it! hah! So I knew it was coming, and it definitely was an appropriate theme for this particular trip. But even in knowing that, I was still struggling personally, and as the facilitator. So I looked a little deeper.

 

Then it hit me. The material I teach is not totally authentic to me and what I want to create with this brand. If it were, these hiccups would be way less tense. I realized that yes, my retreat is certainly focused on self-growth, and comes with work and focus, not just relaxation. But not as much as I believe to be beneficial. In other words, I actually want the retreat to be tougher and more intense: I want to create a greater transformation in a short amount of time, which requires pressure, intensity, and a willingness to have breakdowns. And to be really honest, I have been sort of unwilling to bring people to that place, for fear that it will be too hard for them, and they will end up not liking it. Now, to be fair - this is a legitimate business decision, to cater the retreat to the audience that is interested, because I definitely want the business to grow. But also, to soften my intention because I am afraid people won’t sign up, or won’t like it feels a little crappy! 

 

My point in sharing here is this: I am so focused on staying true to my self in creating the life and career(s) that I want. I am so focused on being whole and complete on my own, and not needing external validation for my confidence. I am so focused on moving from faith rather than fear. And yet - I STILL MISSED IT! I knew I felt a little off, but I couldn’t see what it really was for months. 

 

No matter how much we work, no matter how confident and in tune we feel for a period of time, no matter how successful we get, we never arrive. We never just know, this is it, I’ve made it, no more worries! No, there is always another layer. And as soon as we let ourselves sink into that, we are bound to miss some vital awareness to our growth. 

 

Stay present at each step along the way. Be willing to see where you are compromising yourself and be willing to choose what to do from there. And, know that if you don't, the universe will find a way to show you ;).

 

Thanks to my retreat teammates and participants for being so down so roll with me this round, and all for supporting. It's making these steps possible! xo

Our Attachment to Meaning, and How it Blocks Us

We tend to attach meaning to everything. We are meaning making machines. 

 

When we are little, we are talk to speak, which is essentially an agreement of symbols representing our interpretation of the truth (I’m reading The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz - give it a read!). In other words, our vocabulary is based on a lineage of experience, and perspectives that create the full meaning behind a word; and, that meaning is distinct in each individual, family, culture, country, social class, etc. So, our ability to communicate and express the “truth” is deeply flawed and unreliable. 

 

Ok, so what? Well, if each of us attaches a slightly different meaning to the same word/concept/behavior, etc, we are in a constant state of, at least slightly, misunderstanding each other. What’s more, is if I am attached to my understanding of something, but I see evidence of something contrary to that, it becomes upsetting, and my mind has to work on overdrive to prove that it isn’t so. For example, if I have an idea of what it means to be a woman (from my mother, media, culture at the time of growing up, etc), and then I see myself or another female doing things other than what I know to be lady-like, I am now judgmental of that person. As in, they should be behaving one way, but they are not, and now they are no longer good enough for my description of what it means to be a woman. 

 

We do this to ourself, ALL THE TIME. I would say that’s where most of our judgement comes from. A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend, who is also a dancer, about how being “not good enough” for a job or in a class for dance is like terrifying and emotional, but being “not good enough” for an acting job or something that we haven’t trained in our whole lives, is totally ok. Why is that? Because we have attached a deep meaning to what it is to be a dancer. We have been doing it for so long that it has become synonymous with our identity, to the point where, if I’m not good enough, it brings into question the entire concept of “I am a dancer”. It forces me to judge myself up against some impossible standard of what that means to me (and if I’m in that place, I’m of course going to do that to others as well). 

 

A few days ago, I was having a conversation with a family friend. I said something about my love life, and what I got in return was a lot of judgement. Luckily, we are both emotionally intelligent, and we pretty quickly talked about why that happened (also because I’m not one to stand for that…I pretty much stopped responding until we could get to the root of it!). So we discussed, and we quickly realized this: she sees me as a strong woman. Strong woman to her, comes with a specific set of behaviors, and what I had just said, in her mind, did not match that image or ideal. (This is sort of like the thing where when you meet your idol in person, they are not as good as you hoped, because they’re like…human. You know?). Now, my friend and I quickly resolved this, and we have a deeper understanding of each other, and we love each other very much, but here’s the problem with this stuff - if her and I hadn’t talked about it, we certainly would have started to take space from each other, if not totally split. Personally, that is not a space that I want to be in, so I would no longer put myself there. What’s happening when we do that is we are holding on to a view that is not only an impossible standard, but it’s hurting us and others because now we think that that’s the only way to be “strong”! Which is insane! Especially because, I know, that what I was describing to her, among other things that she may disagree with, are the epitome of what make me strong - my vulnerability, my willingness to trust others, my ability to set boundaries and love myself deeply, etc. And yet, those were the very things that immediately led to judgement. 

 

To go a little deeper, no longer talking about my friend, but all of us - when we judge something for not fitting into our personal idea of what we think something should be, we eliminate the possibility of us learning how to grow in that area. Part of it is a lack of understanding, because we hear a word or a phrase and we go “oh no, that’s not strength!” without fully understanding what that means. But if we start the conversation from that assumption, we leave no room to actually understand, because it’s already been placed into the “not strong” category in our heads. It’s not moving. We are feisty when it comes to being right, so as soon as it’s landed there, uuf. It’s there for a while. 

 

To give another example, I have been seeing this one a lot within relationships and in talking about relationships. Last night, I heard about someone highly respected in the dance community, who was cheating on his wife for years in secrecy, with another women who also had a husband. The news was devastating to a lot of the community. I found myself getting kind of upset. But let’s get clear. I’m not upset about the cheating itself, I’m upset about the lying. The lack of communication. The inability to address this early on, so it doesn’t become devastating. Not only because that’s hurtful to her, and their relationship (and so many people’s idea of what a good relationship looks like!), but because it spurs on some very yucky stereotypes of men and women, that just exacerbates this cycle of distrust, non-communication, and fear. 

 

Here’s the cycle (and I mentioned it briefly in another post, so you know I like this one lol): men are liars, women are crazy. Look, we are human, sometimes people sleep with other people. Sometimes people freak out and get overly emotional. Sometimes we say hateful things, and do things to hurt another person (often without even realizing we are doing it). But what cheating and lying about it does is it adds proof to our stereotype that men are liars. It’s literally building evidence for this meaning that comes with being a man. (Not saying that that’s not there for certain behaviors in women too, but generally speaking, this stigma comes up a lot with men). Now, not only does the ex-wife of this man have a skewed idea of all of his behaviors, even the good ones, but so do we as a society. We now see something similar in someone else, and we go “oh no! That means they must be lying!” We build up our walls. Women get more and more afraid that men will cheat, and men get more and more on the defensive of having to prove that they won’t, and we end up living in defense, instead of in truth. And YOU KNOW WHAT? That very defense is what causes in the inability to talk about it in the first place. That very defense is what causes the need to lie and cheat in the first place! AH! 

 

Look, I’m not saying it’s ok to cheat, but if that’s something you feel like you need to do, talk about it. NOW. To someone. Figure out how to communicate it. It’s OK to have needs. It’s ok to be unhappy and not know how to deal with it. It’s OK to be attracted to other humans. All of those things are ok. But as soon as we weigh it up against some standard of what we think monogamy is supposed to be, or some standard of don’t ask don’t tell, or some standard of what it means to be a “good man” or a good person, we block ourselves from having the ability to really listen to ourselves. Because if we are attracted to another human, does that really make us a bad person? I think no, but if we are unwilling to look at it, and instead we act on it in a way that hurts you and others? Definitely not rackin up points in my brain. 

 

Phew, ok. That was a lot. 

 

So what does this all mean for us (besides if you’re thinking of cheating, or telling your friend off about her personal life lol)? A couple things:

  1. COMMUNICATE. Be willing to let go of your definition of what it means to be a good person, or whatever it is, to actually listen (including and especially to yourself!). Be willing to see your truth, instead of what you think it should be. 
  2. We have the ability to create whatever we want. You know, in the example I shared about my friend, I wasn’t hurt at all, and I could have been. She was harsh with me, at times. But instead of getting hurt, I wasn’t because in this case, I was so confident that my choices were right for me right now, that they are “strong” choices for me, that her words didn’t affect me. Why is that? Because I’ve decided what it means to me to be a strong woman, and all that it comes with; and because that is a part of my ever-changing definition, I get to create my reality in each step I take. I get to decide how to be the strong woman I want to be at every moment. 

 

One more example: for 28 years, I’ve been a night person. Everyone knows, don’t talk to Jessie in the morning. Not a morning person. No no no no. On December 30, I decided I wanted to wake up early. It wasn’t like a new years goal, it wasn’t like I decided to force myself to do something against my will, it was like, “I’m gonna be the person that wakes up at 6 am”. So I did. And then I just kept doing it. I have woken up before 8 am pretty much every day since, minus a couple of days after late performances. Do you know what was stopping me before? My attachment to, “I am Jessie, and I am not a morning person.” That’s it. I was attached to that. It’s easier! haha. And then, I simply decided to change it. And now I have. That’s IT. 

 

You get to decide what meaning you put on things. If you let your attachment rule you, you never get to learn. You never get to actually see what you truly want, because you are blinded by these inauthentic rules that you’ve been accumulating since childhood. And you know, you hurt yourself and your loved ones :(. 

 

You guys - we are changing every day. BE PRESENT at every single moment. Be willing to change your perspective at every. Single. Moment. And watch yourself evolve into the person you really want to be. That’s within your power. 

Listen To Your Body

Last week, I kept finding myself exhausted and I wasn’t sure what was going on. I did have a busy week, filled with things like video shoots and events and subbing classes. I also had a few really late nights and definitely lost a good chunk of sleep. (It also happened to be the time of the month…which never helps). But a little busy-ness and a period has never stopped me before, and yet I kept finding myself knocked out on my couch in the middle of the day (and I am not a napper). 

 

About two years ago I discovered something about myself, that you guys may understand, or have a similar pattern: when life gets rough, I get sleepy. In my younger years, I went through some phases where I was quite depressed; during those time periods I would sleep like 10 hours a night, sometimes more! In recent years, and when I discovered this, it’s a little less blatant, but it’s still present. I noticed one day as I was getting ready to perform my choreography, that for some reason instead of feeling all the normal feelings like excitement, nervousness, etc, all I could feel was sleepiness. Like my eyes could barely hold themselves open. I thought, “hm, that’s weird. I slept plenty. I had coffee. What’s going on?” Later that week or month, I was in yoga and noticed that when I’m in an uncomfortable pose, one that I have to breathe through, I often nod off. Me trying to meditate, was just a snooze fest! So I put the pieces together - when the going gets tough, Jessie curls up and goes to sleep. Oops. 

 

So back to the present. This past week I was feeling really tired, and I could tell that it wasn’t just the lack of sleep and the busy-ness. So I investigated. What’s going on? Am I avoiding something? Am I afraid of something? Am I attached to some outcome? Upon first glance - no dice. I ran into a couple of options, but they didn’t feel right. So I kept going home and resting as needed, and continued on. 

 

Sunday, literally as I was teaching yoga to my dancers, I think I mentioned something about dancing or choreographing, and it hit me! This last week I focused on my choreography career a LOT. I filmed two pieces of choreography, I put out my choreography reel to the public, I worked on an EPK to send to my agents and potential clients, I looked at studios/events/people to submit to, and I reached out to a couple of connections in regards to building my future. Pursuing this realm for me is scary because I worry that I am not experienced enough/reputable enough to build a career. I worry I haven’t done enough yet to try to do what I want to do, and I get overwhelmed. So I get sleepy, because those are really uncomfortable thoughts, and rather than sitting with them, my body is like, nope! Shutting down. 

 

Here’s the magical thing - I realized it, and I was free. I’m now awake, alert, and ready to work. I am aware of my insecurities, but they don’t rule me, or hold me back, or make me sleepy. Wow.

 

What do you do when things get tough? When a difficult task lands on your desk at work, or you push yourself through scary territory? It might not be sleepiness, it could be that you run and hide, or you go workout a lot, or you eat a lot of pizza, but notice it. Become aware of it. It is a warning sign. It’s your body saying I DON’T LIKE THIS. And your job is to catch it. Often, once you realize you’re doing it, your need to do it disappears!

 

Now a little caveat- I was talking to a friend just after I had this realization, and she shared that she feels the same thing when she doesn’t want to do something at work. She gets really sleepy when a shitty task gets handed to her. She’s observant and self-aware so she realizes what’s happening, and yet she can’t seem to shake the sleepiness and get it done. It gets so overwhelming that a nap must occur first. 

 

So sometimes it doesn’t disappear just from realizing it. What’s the difference? Why not? In my experience, this is because in my friends case, she doesn’t actually want to be doing her job. It’s something she does because she needs to make money, and it’s not too terrible, so she continues to do it. But for her, sleep is a great way to get out of doing things (haha - subconsciously! Not intentionally). For me, sleep is defending against a fear that is not worth worrying about, is really annoying and is getting in the way of me doing what I really want to be doing. 

 

See the difference? In my case, I know that I want to continue, and move forward despite the discomfort. In her case - the discomfort is a sign that she may actually want to look at if and how she wants to continue.

 

 

Listen to your body. Notice when it’s trying to tell you it’s uncomfortable, whether that’s a stomach ache during a scary meeting, or a need to get drunk after a long week. Sometimes, the body’s reaction will disappear when you discover you don’t need it - our mind is extremely powerful like that. Other times, your body will be the key to opening the door to a whole new career path/relationship/adventure that you didn’t even know you wanted. Not to mention that staying present to this stuff helps prevent and heal illness, injury, and chronic sleepiness! Seriously. 

 

Listen to it. It’s there for you. 

STOP ASSUMING!!

Since last week I’ve been thinking a lot about assumptions. About the way we create a story in our heads before anything has shown that to be the case. About how our brains feel the need to fill in the blanks at all times, even if we have no data to support that fill in. This is one of the things that makes us so powerful and intelligent, because our minds are meaning-making-machines. They are built to figure things out, and I personally love that so much. (If you know me, you know sometimes I love it too much!). And yet, I would say it’s also the thing that gets us into the most trouble, and causes us the most suffering. 

 

This week I’m teaching a yoga class focused on transitions. In yoga, it’s really easy to hear a pose name, picture the pose in your head, and just hop into it, assuming it’s going to feel the same way it did before, or hoping that you are are magically able to get it better this time. But if we just focus on the pose itself, we often end up throwing ourselves off, or skipping some essential safety steps/building blocks of the pose. This is how we get injured, or how we plateau at a level of the pose because we don’t have the actual foundation to go further. Essentially, it’s easy to fake the end result, but in actuality, the process of getting there IS the thing that makes the pose. 

 

Now this not me saying the same old “enjoy the journey” concept. Although, yes I hope you do. It’s more about the fact that if we actually do want the end result to be successful, sustainable, and enjoyable, we HAVE to go through the journey intentionlly. We have to be present in it, make decisions within it, and be aware and patient with each step we take. 

 

In yoga, this looks like really setting things up from the ground, moving mindfully, each movement creating the foundation for a piece of the pose. It requires a deep awareness of the body, coordination, and at each step - not assuming what needs to be done. In other words, until we get there, and experience it fully, we might not realize that to lift our leg in the way that is required to advance in a pose, we actually have to adjust the pelvis, or push into the ground in a particular way. Things that wouldn't necessarily be connected or assumed, but definitely are. And each step of the way, we have to check in with that. (Note that when I say we “have” to, what I mean is that if we don’t, we are much less efficient, the end result is often less sustainable or less stable. So it takes more time and focus to do, but will in the end create a stronger, more powerful version of the pose). 

 

Same in life. 

 

Coming back to assumptions. I think this gets messy when we start assuming that what we want, actually looks and feels the way we think it will. Because then at each step, we are simply trying to force it to be like that, rather than what it actually needs to be. And if it’s not feeling that way, we often destroy ourselves or our mission before we even get there, because we were not willing to be present with the process. 

 

For example, I was talking to a couple of friends about relationships this week, and started to see the assumptions we carry with us from relationship to relationship. Now, each individual person’s are going to be very unique and specific, depending on how they were raised, how they’ve been treated, their experience with different types of men/women, etc. But let’s go with a coupe of general assumptions. Often, a woman assumes a man is going to cheat, based on data of previous relationships or seeing men in the world and knowing “that’s what they do”. Opposite side of the same coin, often men assume that telling a woman the truth about his intentions and actions would hurt her, based on data of previous relationships, or seeing women freak out or get really hurt by it. Now of course, both of these things are true sometimes. However, just because a man is a charming man, or likes to talk to people, does not mean that he will cheat, and just because a woman is sensitive or emotional, does not mean she can’t handle a real conversation about intentions, or actions. And these assumptions put us in a vicious cycle, not only in the case where man meets woman, with these nasty assumptions attached, but also in our society, everywhere, all the time. We get used to men cheating, and we get used to women overreacting, so instead of calling each other out, and creating empowered humans, we end up enabling them to continue to be that way. It’s expected of them, it’s already assumed, so might as well live into it. 

 

This becomes a problem because then, how do we actually build a solid relationship? If that is our end goal, how do we get there, when we are too busy assuming what it’s going to feel like? Instead of taking the time to get to know the other person in every situation, we jump into a relationship and hope it can handle the pressures of all the expectations we’ve put on it - while still holding on to our assumptions about it. Yea…that’s not going to work. Just like kicking into a handstand, putting pressure on yourself to stick it, but still assuming it’s not going to require any core work, shoulder stability, or confronting a fear. Haha - not possible!! 

 

My point here is this, look at what you want to create for yourself, whether it be a yoga pose, a relationship, a career goal, etc, and yes visualize it, think about how it might feel, all that good stuff. And then as you start to step towards it, be vigilant in your studies of it. Be honest in looking at yourself and how you are truly showing up for it. Be willing to change your course, to let go of some fears, or to release an assumption of how you’ll feel in it, and watch the magic of that goal come towards you! But hold on to your assumptions and force it, and watch the goal either get accomplished and feel terrible, or simply get further and further away. 

 

Connect to yourself. Check yourself. Fill in the blanks yes. But be willing to re-write those fill-ins as needed. 

 

:)

Make Your Own Decisions

So yesterday I realized that in various situations, I was making a (subtle) assumption about another persons intentions/desires, and then making my decisions based off of that assumption, in order to please them. However, if you don’t yet know the real mystery about people pleasing - the truth of it is that it’s for our selves. I was doing that in order to “please them”, but really, it was to save myself the trouble of letting them down because that would make me look bad or feel bad or have to deal with having a difficult conversation, or whatever. 

 

As I looked deeper at what was going on, I realized this stems from my inability to quickly decide what’s right for me and what I want to do, often for fear of it not working, for fear of others not approving, or for fear of it affecting someone else negatively (and then it’d be my fault). 

 

This is kind of an old problem for me. I’ve grown out of a huge chunk of my need for validation in order to make a decision, I’ve grown out of people pleasing for the most part, and I am always the one that’s willing to have the uncomfortable conversation (lol). So where was this coming from? It was an old pattern. An old pattern I experienced with some past business partners, and in some past relationships. A pattern where I rely on the other person to make decisions for me, but hide my true feelings about it until I don’t know what happened but now I have no say in the relationship. And this has me feel like the victim to the circumstance right? It has me feel like I am being pushed around by a bully, but actually, I am simply not saying and doing what is truly right for me. 

 

Now, a couple of caveats. 1) That doesn’t necessarily mean the other person isn’t a bully. In my past, sometimes they are! But, that also doesn’t change what I am doing to exacerbate the situation. 2) That also doesn’t mean that I should just say what I want at all times, stomp on people to get my way, and anyone that’s in the way of that can leave. No. But it does mean that there is room for me to actually listen to what I want, before going along with someone else, and to communicate that in a way that allows for compromise and mutual understanding. 

 

So what’s the point of sharing this? Well, the past few days I’ve been kind of bothered, and it took me until yesterday to realize that it was this. During that time, I was communicating to friends and observing situations, and now looking back - I’m seeing this pattern in them too. Where do you make assumptions about other people? And how does that affect the way you see them, and the decisions you make? In the moments where you feel like the other person in a relationship (any kind of relationship) is not doing what you want them to do, or a situation is not working out the way you want it to, is there room for you to take responsibility for your end? 

 

See, when we are upset with someone or something else, it is actually about us. ALWAYS. Otherwise we truly wouldn’t be upset. 

 

I’m gonna say that one again - when we are upset, it is about US. ALWAYS. 

 

That doesn’t mean you are wrong or terrible or fucked up or anything of that nature. It simply means you have the power and ability to create the situation that you want. Look at what you are doing, what assumptions you are making, what decisions you are making, and decide if you are actually in line with what you want. I’ll warn you, this is a hard thing to see. Our ego steps up when we go to do this and it says “BUT I’M DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT” (and don’t get confused, that is the SAME as “I’m doing everything wrong, I’m terrible”). So be willing to see beyond the ego, and check yourself out. What do you truly want? What are you doing to create that? 

 

 

 

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a quote from the lovely book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson (pardon the language today!).

 

“The desire for a more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is a itself a positive experience.” 

 

Instead of making assumptions about how someone or something should be better, what if we accepted what is, and moved forward with compassion and understanding towards the self and others? Look towards growth, not cover up. Look towards showing up, not pointing the finger (at the self or others). Look to move from acceptance and love, not the need to fix. 

 

I share my stories with you to hopefully inspire you to look within and see in yourself the ways you do these things. They are not unique to me, nor to you. They are for all of us. And we are so easily programmed by our upbringing and society and media, that we tend to slip into patterns unconsciously. Remove the judgement. See them. 

 

xoxo 

You are exactly where you need to be

So yesterday my dad and I were talking about how when a person gets sick, they are prescribed medication to help the illness heal. However, if the drug creates some side effects, they are often prescribed a second drug to help ease the symptoms. This often (if not the first round, the second or third round of this) counteracts the healing that the first medication set out to do, or at least dulls and complicates it. This can obviously lead to a whole mess of drugs on top of drugs, mostly just to cover up symptoms of other drugs. It can get difficult to treat the root of the problem with all of that, even if some of the drugs are doing just that. 

 

I got to thinking. How do we do this in life? There’s a point where our symptoms get bad enough, that we feel we need something to ease the pain. In the medical field, that’s more drugs, but in life - it can be almost anything. It could certainly be drugs still (I would say mostly recreational though), or it can be alcohol, or it can be sex, or it can food, or it can be Netflix, or it can busy-ness - anything that we use to make ourselves feel better. Anything that we use to deny our true feelings and just feel good in the moment. 

 

Now of course, just like in medicine, there are certainly times where that is necessary, and totally ok to use as a means to get through something. But at what cost? And when is it time to actually delve into the feelings, emotional or physical, and let them work themselves out? And how do we learn how to bare that?

 

At some point, we have to stop numbing. 

 

I think this is a tricky line, and there is some balance to be had because removing all coping mechanisms isn’t necessarily the answer, but I also think in general, we can benefit from being a little more aware of when we are crossing that line. It’s easy to get caught in the story, ‘this makes me feel better in the moment, so therefore this is helping me get better overall.’ Whereas actually, that feel good moment is often inhibiting our growth. Being aware of the choice is important, so that we can again step out of it, and not get stuck in false feel-good.

 

 

Last week I wrote about how everything is FOR you, as in, for you to learn and to grow. And with that comes the fact that it is also showing up at that particular moment because you are capable of handling it. But if every time it comes up, we run, or hide, or push it away, we never get the benefits of it. 

 

This weekend I had a moment (well, like 2 hours) where I was really frustrated and upset with the fact that various people were not responding to me in a timely fashion. I was taking it personally. I felt like they didn’t want to talk to me, that I was annoying them, that they didn’t care about what we were talking about/doing. Although I knew all of that wasn’t really true - telling myself to not take it personally over and over again only got me so far! 

 

I realized that in my past, when something like that would happen, and I was taking it personally, I would just look for something or someone to make me feel better. I would need someone to apologize, tell me they love me, etc. And although I definitely started to do that this time, I realized through my growth, I now need to not cover up the feeling of taking it personally that they didn’t call me back. I need to not get their approval to make it better. I need to just sit with the fact that I took it personally, and those feelings are not true, and I love them anyway. And by numbing those feelings in the past, or needing them to make me feel better, I have literally kept myself in this loop of taking it personally. 

 

The point is, if everything is FOR you, it’s not only about the learning lesson itself, it’s also about the fact that you are ready to tackle that challenge. That it has arrived in such a fashion because it is time you see it. And perhaps, if we stop covering it up with band aids, more meds, and external validation, it can actually heal. We can stop getting triggered so easily and deeply. We can communicate more honestly, without the subtle guilt trip of needing something from someone else. We can take responsibility for ourselves, without feeling like we need to be responsible for someone else to do what we think they should do. We can love ourselves for our feelings, even if that feels yucky, because we actually get to know them and understand them. Coping mechanisms are important. Medication that helps ease nasty side effects - important. But when you are coping, know that you are coping. Know that there’s something else going on, and that it might cause problems of its own, if not addressed. 

 

Care for yourself by being grateful for your strengths. Choose and show up for the challenges that are given to you. Love and accept what comes along the way. You are exactly where you need to be, right now. Struggles and all. Live in it. Love it. Love yourself.

 

<3

Everything is FOR you

When life gets frustrating, it can often feel like bad things are happening to us. I’ve heard in myself and in those around me this past week a lot of, “I am so fed up,” or “I am doing the best I can”, or “how could they do that to me?”. These are the phrases that come out when we feel helpless. When we feel victim to the circumstances. When we feel like we are doing everything we can to create the result we want, and yet it’s just not working. Whether it’s because of another person not participating, or because of the circumstances just not lining up, it can feel overwhelming. 

 

The problem is, when we do this we not only discount our power, but we end up hurting ourselves. It’s painful to sit with the fact that someone we love could do something to harm us. It’s painful to think that our best for something we really want is just not good enough. It’s painful to think that we have to keep showing up for something that is not showing up for us. 

 

There are two important things to pull from this: 1) people are generally doing the best they can, at all times, and 2) the frustration we feel is FOR US to learn, not against our progress or to hurt us. 

 

1) I finished Rising Strong by Brené Brown last week, and it was by far a great read. There was a story she told about her getting frustrated that I think is really relevant, so I’ll summarize it here. She got invited to speak at a conference, that she did not want to be at, but she felt pressured or felt like she should, so she agreed. Since the moment she agreed, she despised everything about it. In particular, she couldn’t stand her roommate when she arrived at the hotel. Her roommate was rude, loud, uncleanly, among other “annoying” things. She spoke, and left as soon as she could. On her way home she realized she was annoyed with everyone around her. Everything was bothering her. She knew at this point that it was time to look within, so she scheduled an appointment with her therapist. After describing the frustrating story of her crude roommate, her therapist said an awful sentence, “isn’t it possible that your roommate was doing the best she could?” Brené denied this statement, and left with her frustration still in tact. There was no way that was this woman’s best. So she started asking everyone, ‘do you generally think people are doing their best?’ Mostly, to her dismay, the answer she was getting, was yes. She then asked a friend, who she knew shared her general pessimism, and would probably give her the answer she was looking for. Her friend said no, as she’d predicted, but then went on to rant about how ridiculous it is that not all women breast feed, and how they essentially are terrible if they don’t. In that moment, Brené realized the answer to her question was yes, people are doing the best they can. She personally couldn’t breast feed when she was raising her newborn; she tried the best she could, but she could not do it. So yes, people are doing their best. 

 

So what does that mean for our frustration? It means we gotta stop blaming, and start listening. When that frustration boils up and just wants to say, “I can’t do this anymore!”, you know it’s time to slow down, listen to yourself and others, and remember that we are all doing our best. 

 

One other thing to note about Brené’s story, is that the reason she was frustrated in the first place was because she agreed to do something she did not want to do. The conference (according to her story) did seem to be run terribly, her roommate did seem to be terrible, (ha!), but that doesn’t change the fact that she agreed to be there. She was not forced into it. She decided to be there. And THAT is what causes our frustration - OURSELVES! We choose our circumstances, we choose what we step in to, even though it doesn’t feel like it in the moment when someone is being mean, or things aren’t working. The point here is this - usually frustration is telling you to take responsibility for something you have chosen: a relationship, a job, a lifestyle. It asks you to look at the root, and decide, is this something I really want? And if not, you have an easy answer, walk away. But if so, step up, take responsibility for your choice, and know that it comes with challenges.

 

2) Which brings me to number 2. Everything is FOR YOU. This week, I was getting frustrated with a friend. I felt like she was being really inconsiderate to me, and I was feeling like “I am doing the best I can! What more can I do!?”. But when I looked at it, I realized that I am the one that is pushing her away. I realized that I was not accepting a part of her, a part that I actually love very much, because I felt like I couldn’t be there in that way right now. And, after days of being frustrated with not only her, but all kinds of things and people around me (like Brené on her trip home), I realized that if I didn’t address this frustration in me with her, it would continue to show up. You know that quote, “What you resist, persists”? Well, here it is. When you let one frustration build, it starts to feed into all your circumstances. And it feels like everything is doing that to you. (You know that ‘why me?’ feeling?) But of course, we know, it’s FOR YOU to learn. Those obstacles, those challenges that you keep bumping up against, are placed there for you to look at yourself. They are there for you to make sure you are showing up in the way you want to be, so that you can be even more successful and fulfilled as you continue on your journey (whereas, in the moment in can feel like it’s working against you attaining what you want). 

 

Know that challenges arise because you are ready for the next level. They are gifts! But the more you push them away, and blame other things and people around you, the tougher they get, and the harder they get to see. So when you feel yourself wanting to blame another person for what you’re feeling, or when you feel like nothing is working, or when you feel like you’ve been wronged and you deserve better, it’s time to look within. It’s time to ask yourself, why am I frustrated? This doesn’t change another person’s actions, and it’s very possible that they could be doing something wrong or mean or whatever, but your frustration is yours to deal with. Look at it. Own it. Let it go. It will keep showing up, until you let it go. 

 

xoxo

You can't have it all?

There's this belief running freely that says "you can't have it all". And while I like the intention of reminding ourselves to be grateful for what we have, and not worry about what we lack, I think it also sets us up to feel bad for wanting more, working hard for it, and having more. (And by more I mean more of whatever you want - more success, more money, more joy, more love, more fun, etc). Perhaps because we live in a, generally speaking, overindulgent society, we are afraid that if we think we can have it all, we will simply be greedy. And perhaps a handful of actually greedy people have set that precident for what it means to "have it all". But what about the rest of us? This belief has us get caught in, this OR that. I can either be happy, OR I can be financially successful. I can either be a leader, OR I can be vulnerable and honest. I can either take care of myself OR I can take care of others. I can either have a monogamous relationship OR I can have lots of great sex. Ha! The list goes on!

 

A few years ago, I was in the car with a dear friend, who was driving. We had been driving for a few hours and it was hot and stuffy. I asked her if we could turn on the air, (not the AC, just the vents in the car), and she said no. I asked her why, and in a sort of judgmental tone she said something along the lines of, "I don't believe in being so comfortable when there are people suffering around the world. We can be a little hot." Now, in this example, she was definitely shaming me a little bit for requesting air in the car, and I was a much younger, less emotionally-intelligent Jessie, and I took this very personally. I took it to mean I was a bad person for having needs. I felt guilty and ashamed for wanting things that others couldn't have. But now, here I am, years later, long after that friendship has dissolved, reflecting on this incident. What is this belief? Why do we think we can't actually listen to our own needs and wants, because others don't have the ability to do so? And is it true? And does that make us a better person? 

I say No. This belief comes from a mentality of scarcity. This belief is based on fear of not enough. But isn't it true that I am so much more equipped to help others when I take care of myself? And why do we think that if I take care of myself, I can't help others? 

 

Well, I think there is an element of truth here that says, in order to truly understand another being, it takes some practical experiences. Perhaps, for example, a military veteran knows and understands more about not being able to sleep due to a war going on outside your home for days on end, than a professor living in sunny San Diego does. And perhaps therefore, that veteran could then be more empathic and compassionate to someone suffering in a similar situation. But, does the fact that the professor sleeps every night for 8 hours, add to that person's suffering? Does it make the professor a worse person for not suffering for and with the others? I don't think they are related at all actually. A person can choose to sacrifice for others, or adventure with some sort of challenge in order to understand the difficulties of others, but I do not think that us living our lives as fulfilled and lovely as possible, takes away from anyone else (unless of course in order to get there, we had to steal from someone else. That is a different story entirely). 

 

So where does this come from? This scarcity mentality. This "not enough"...It comes from within us. It comes from feeling not enough. It comes from feeling not capable of having it all, so it becomes easier to say, "you can't have it all", than to own up to the fact that you can, you just don't. But here's the thing, if you CAN have it all, what does that mean? It doesn't mean that you're a bad person if you don't, or that you're not good enough - it simply means, show up for your life. Take responsibility for what you do and what you don't do, what you have, and what you don't have. Live with purpose. Take care of yourself, fully, so that you can really show up for others. Do not blame circumstances for the fact that your life is not the way you want it. Simply own up to what you can do to create your life the way you want it. And then CREATE IT. 

 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be?...Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so others won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine...it is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

-- Marianne Williamson

 

Believe that you are capable of living your most extraordinary life. Take care of yourself AND take care of others. Be happy AND be successful. Have it all AND empower others to do the same. Don't let other people's fears shame you for showing up for your life. Have it all! AND be a good person too. :) 

 

xo

 

DAY THIRTY!!! 30 Days of Empowering Choice Complete!

Congratulations on traveling through this journey with me! My hope is that you feel at least a little more empowered to confront your life through faith, rather than fear. A little more willing to be there for yourself and see your truth. A little more willing to let go of fears and doubts that stop you! 

Since doing this project I have noticed myself go through changes. I am way more present with what’s really going on with me. I am able to catch my defenses way quicker than ever before. They haven’t disappeared, and probably never will, but they are getting weaker and short lived. 

Because I have loved this experience so much, I’m going to continue trying this blog thing. This time, I will post to my website, and will have the post go straight to your inbox! (I’ve noticed that sometimes this goes to your promotions folder if you have gmail. I am working on fixing that, but just keep a look out, and move it over to primary if you find it!) 

In the meantime, feel free to write me with things you learned, feedback for how this could have been better (I’ll probably do it again), and topics you’d like to learn about/discuss in the future! I’ll take requests ;). 

 

If you’re interested in deepening your practice of faith, self-love, awareness, check out my upcoming yoga retreats. We do a lot of this type of work, and it has shown to be pretty transformative! 


Love you guys. Have a wonderful week and year!!!

DAY TWENTY-NINE! 30 Days of Empowering Choice

You guys! We only have one day left! :’(

Thank you for being here along this journey. I’ve enjoyed this so much, that I plan to continue in some way. I will confirm with more details tomorrow.

Here’s a little recap of what we discussed, and I’d encourage you to go back through the emails or click here to see the up-to-date blog! It includes everything we talked about, and I’ll keep adding to it. 

So we started with simply looking at the ways in which fear rules our lives. Those moments where we don’t sit down and do the work because we are subtly afraid it won’t be good enough. The moments of deciding to stay quiet, when speaking up is really what you want/need to do, for fear of what people will think of you. The bigger, longer lasting decisions of taking an awful job for fear of not making enough money, or for staying in a relationship for fear of being alone. Let’s revisit this - what have you learned from it? What role does fear play in your life currently? Remember, we have to be willing to see this part to move forward. Be willing to look at your fears, they won’t hurt you by looking - in fact, that will free you. 

We practiced my favorite exercise of finding them: when making a decision, look at your resistance to each choice. Often, you will find fear hiding in one side. Be sure to keep an eye out for defenses/excuses that are trying to mask your fear in a value - we are sneaky with ourselves. 

As we moved into the next chapter - moving from faith. Sometimes this is as simple as seeing the fear, deciding not to feed into it, and 5-4-3-2-1 (or your version of that) BOOM make the decision and just go for fear. Sometimes this gets complicated a little bit - we tend to actually be attached to our fears. We sometimes even identify with them as a part of who we are, so we have a hard time letting them go, not just because it’s scary, but because they are the only way we know how to live. Other times, we simply need to switch the context. As in - no change in action, no forcing through your fear, but simply deciding to be in a faithful mindset. To speak and act from an empowering place. To remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing, and to have faith in that. 

In order to do any of this, you have to be not only willing to see the truth, but be willing to accept it. And that’s often the part that’s hard. Those inauthentic fears, could be true. It’s not worth worrying about them, but accepting that they could happen is a huge step. Accepting that the person you love is really not who you expected them to be, is a huge step. Accepting that you are not where you want yourself to be, is a huge step. Remember, acceptance is NOT complacency; rather, it is the beginning of true growth. 

Lastly, why are we doing all of this? Why does is matter? Fear is here to protect us, why not let it protect? To me, it is about your power and agency over your life. Fear has you sort of a victim of your circumstances. It has you wait around until life decides your fate. It has you blame and credit everything outside of yourself for your successes and failures. But when we do that, we miss out on what it means to be human: to authentically connect with people, to choose what our life looks like, to create an environment and a mental space that we love. 

Empower yourself to see yourself. To love yourself. To create yourself. Get excited about it! I know I am :D.

With love and gratitude for you all,

Jessie

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT! 30 Days of Empowering Choice

Good morning, and Happy Monday! 

As we enter into our last few days of this adventure, I’ll say a couple of things. First, this work is mostly just meant to heighten awareness within yourself. I had a woman at my retreat this weekend realize for the first time that she was the one stopping herself from being herself. And this is pretty much always true. Not to say circumstances and other people aren’t real challenges, but that we always have the power to choose within that, and therefore we are responsible for our lives - the good and the bad. From this I hope you can start to see a little more clearly how you make choices, and how you direct your life. Start to bring the unconscious into the conscious. 

Second, there is a pitfall with this work - being so worried about doing something inauthentically, or based on fear, that you end up getting stuck, or again living in fear. Note that, just by being aware of it, you release it’s power over you. Admitting it really is the first step, as they say. And you’re still going to stop yourself, or be fearful, or lose some power in your life from time to time, in fact, probably all the time. And that’s totally ok! In fact its necessary to continue to learn :). As we grow, our challenges grow too, so be ready for them!

Third, you CAN have it all! Nothing is black and white, it is all a mosh-mosh of grays. (Wow, can’t believe I just accidentally used the analogy ’50 shades of grey’, but there it is! lol). What I mean is, you can have your fear, and move forward anyway. You can have your husband, and have your life. You can stay in your career, and have it be what you want it to be. You can change your career and stay on top of your finances. This fear stuff is not to say, either your fearful, or your faithful and that’s that. It’s to say, “hey fear, thank you for protecting me and showing up to teach me things.” And to then decide your actions. Decide how you want things to go. 

You guys have been sharing some really lovely things, and I am excited to see how this catapults us forward in even just a slightly more aware, faithful, intentional way. 

Love,

Jessie

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN! 30 Days of Empowering Choice

Happy Sunday lovely people!

 

Sending you love today. Take some time to sit with yourself and listen, whether that's meditation, yoga, hiking, praying, journaling. Allow yourself to see yourself.

 

The ladies of the retreat leave today, so I'll be taking some time to do my own yoga practice, and really check in with my gratitude for the experience. I'll share more with you tomorrow.

 

Love,

Jessie

DAY TWENTY-SIX! 30 Days of Empowering Choice

Good morning!

How’s it goin? HOME STRETCH! You know, it’s funny when we do self-work stuff, because if you’re interested in it, you definitely like to talk about it, learn about it, read about it, etc. But applying it is quite different isn’t it? Since two days ago when I presented activities for you to try I haven’t heard from anyone! Whereas before I was hearing from at least someone every day. hehe. I love it though because this is the practice of exactly what we are talking about! It’s happening now, in real time. 

I often do that too. In my head I’m like, “wow I’ve gotten so much better at not needing validation, I feel motivated by my purpose, and clear headed”. And then I catch myself doing it again, like within that instant. So yes, perhaps I’m much better, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to upkeep. Just like working out, when you get in shape you don’t get to stop. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a commitment. It’s a constant journey, and there will always be new layers. 

Yesterday, during the retreat, my beautiful friend and cook mentioned something that I think is important here: we will always have more to work on. Always. But let that be a relief. We are not reaching for the perfect place where we are perfect and we never have to work again. We are fully loving and accepting ourselves, and are also committed to working on ourselves to be a little better each day. A little more faithful, or fearless, or loving, or authentic, or powerful. 

So ask yourself what’s important to you, and how you can show up for that right now? And if you can’t in all ways yet, that’s totally cool. But notice if it’s excuses based on fear that are taking you down. At least then you know, and you can learn from it for next time. :)

With lots of love,

Jessie

DAY TWENTY-FIVE! 30 Days of Empowering Choice

Happy Friday :)

 

I am waking up today looking over the sunrise over the ocean, as we embark on day 2 of the yoga retreat. I am feeling incredibly grateful and inspired. I want to share that with you all because I am so appreciative of you signing up to be a part of this email experience, and whether or not you’ve read all the emails, I’ve grown a lot from being able to write to you. Thank you <3. 

 

Today, I’ll offer another activity. Speak with one person in your life about what you’ve learned from these last 24 days. We will start to open up the conversation to be not only within this email, myself and you, but also within your circle. 

 

As you begin to communicate with those that you care about, start to think about what could be possible within your relationships if you get a little more honest, authentic, and responsible for your own happiness. Start to be the creator of your life. 

 

Notice what comes up in communicating - is it easy or difficult? Are you able to be totally honest, or do some fears pop back in?

 

Have fun :)

 

xoxo

DAY TWENTY-FOUR! 30 Days of Empowering Choice

Good morning!!!

 

So yesterday after my coffee story I got a lot of responses about similar experiences with coffee or other substances, and it was really cool to see you guys relate and open up some awareness there! So how does this really apply to real life? (Like, career steps, relationships, etc). 

 

Last night I was talking with my dad about working out and eating right, and what it takes to actually do that. In my experience personally and with others, two things seem to come up when people do this: 1) they either go at from a place of really hating themselves, so that when they are doing it they end up just feeling full of guilt and never good enough and end up not getting the results they want and suffering a lot along the way; or 2) they go into from a place of acceptance and excitement to be better and they actually get results and they are feeling better and look great, but with this new power in their lives, they have a whole new set of problems/obstacles that they aren’t ready for so they slowly stop. 

 

Number 2 is essentially the same thing as the coffee story. We see our own power, our own capability, and we don’t know what to do with it. Coming back to our superheros - with great power, comes great responsibility, and truly, you have to be willing to take that on. 

 

I encourage you today to take a look at an area in your life that you would like to improve. Note that sustainable improvement comes from a place of total acceptance and love, so ask yourself if you are truly loving this part of you. Or what’s in your way of you doing that? And then, look a little deeper and notice if you are actually ready to be where you want to be. And if not, why not? You might consider journaling to organize your thoughts. 

 

*Something that helps me get to the root of it is to ask “why?” over and over again like a child. Ok but why do I do that? Ok but why do I feel that way? Ok but why does that matter to me? Ok but why did that hurt me, or why does that scare me? And keep going until you hit the core of it! 

 

Let me know what comes up! :)

 

xoxo

DAY TWENTY-THREE! 30 Days of Empowering Choice

Good morning! I am up early this morning reading and getting ready to leave for my yoga retreat! I am so excited. 

 

So I realized something a few days ago, and I’ve started noticing it on a bigger scale. A few weeks ago I just started wanting to wake up earlier, take my time drinking tea and reading, before I go off running to my day. Those of you that know me, know that mornings are not my thing. 6 am? Are you crazy? For years I would go as far to say that I almost pride myself on not being a morning person. It is a great excuse to be grump for half the day haha!

 

With my new urge to wake up early, I, for some reason, am just not craving coffee as much. I’ve been drinking coffee pretty much everyday since I was 16, so this too is a huge change. But what’s interesting is every morning for a few weeks, I would find myself going to make coffee, realizing I don’t want it, and making it anyway. Looking deeper, I realized that’s because I have it that I’m not a functioning person without coffee. I associate coffee with making me a good person for that day, and without it, I cannot be trusted. And even about half way through the day if I’m feeling grumpy and tired - coffee will do the trick! 

 

On one hand, I’m thankful that this is just coffee, not a serious drug or a more directly dangerous addiction, but on the other hand - how RIDICULOUS!!!! Since realizing this 5 days ago, I’ve had coffee once, and that’s because a friend bought it for me in a meeting. When I got tired mid-day, I had a tea, or did some gentle yoga or restful meditation. I got centered, rather than throwing substance at the problem. 

 

Of course this got me thinking - how else do we do this? Yesterday I had a momentary freak out when something didn’t go as planned for my retreat that begins on Thursday, and I had to ask myself why a small mishap had me so stressed. I discovered that it was the same thing. Like if everything goes as planned - that the retreat will be successful. This shipment that didn’t come in time - was my retreat coffee. But what’s the truth? The truth is that I am responsible for being great throughout the day, not coffee. The truth is that I am responsible for facilitating a group of women who have trusted me with their weekend, and their money. The truth is, that I am fully capable, and by putting the blame AND credit, on whether or not I’ve had coffee, is to short change my power. 

 

I’ll admit, it was a little scary, as I realized my FULL responsibility for what I want to create, whether that my day to day life, or one of my (so far) biggest passions in life - this retreat. But here I am, on the other side, FULLY capable, worthy, and ready. 

 

*Note, as always - this stuff can be really subtle. Notice in what ways you block yourself, from yourself. Imagine a world where you are the master of your life, in every way. 

 

Love,

Jessie

DAY TWENTY-TWO! 30 Days of Empowering Choice

“What do we call a story that’s based on limited real data and imagined data and blended into a coherent, emotionally satisfying version of reality? A conspiracy theory.” 

-Brené Brown 


Brené talks about our tendency to “confabulate”, a term specifically used for people with dementia or a brain injury, meaning to replace missing information with something false that they believe to be true. The term is used for those with a medical condition, but it is something that every human does every day. It’s just our nature, in the way we interpret the world. This makes us great at telling stories, but not always so great at dissecting truths from a circumstance. 

Now I’m sharing this to say that this is a big part of why it’s important who we surround ourselves with, and the conversations that we have. Because for example, if I believed my boyfriend was cheating on me, it’d be quite easy for me to summon up a group of girlfriends that all believed my conspiracy theory story, and we could take him down. But of course that’s not looking at the whole picture, the truth, nor communicating effectively. 

So one of the reasons we do this is to make ourselves feel better (see above “emotionally satisfying version of reality”). To make ourselves feel better could be simply give an answer to our uncertainty, could be to prove our jealousy right so we have a reason to feel jealous; it almost always is to avoid taking responsibility in some way. As in, it’s often easier to handle someone that is actually cheating, than to handle the emotion of jealousy, confront it, address it, let it go, for example, because that would be taking full responsibility for the way that you feel. 

I’ll leave you with a challenge. When you catch yourself jumping to conclusions, creating a story about he said she said, or making assumptions about why someone did something, or what they did altogether - speak it out loud right then. I’ll use the jealousy example because it’s a common one, and it applies to many scenarios - if you are having a conversation with your spouse and you begin to create a story about how they are lying or cheating, take a second to rewind. Why are you creating that story? Usually it stems from hurt, which can create jealousy and fear. So is this story based on fear, or truth? If it’s based on fear, call it out. Say to them, “I’m feeling really hurt and jealous at the moment, and I can tell I’m jumping to conclusions. Can you help me?” This creates a collaborative discussion, rather than an argument, or a me versus you. This creates the possibility of each person (yes, them too - maybe they were being hurtful!) taking responsibility for their feelings and actions, and allows for a more honest, authentic relationship going forward. Plus, if you ask for help (in your own words) when an argument is heating it up, it often takes the edge off. Asking for help rather than accusing or blaming each other allows you guys to get in the same world and work together. 

Let me know if you try it - anytime! Note that not everyone is ready for this level of honesty, but if you want to build an authentic you, and faithful, empowering relationships, take the step. Trust yourself. 

:)

Love,

Jessie