Lookin’ Good

About 3 years ago I went to a seminar called “Landmark”. It’s a 3 day, incredibly transformative experience. I believe it was day 2 where I started experiencing some resistance. The program lead was teaching us about the fact that essentially our whole lives are about “looking good”, but he kept using references like “the fanciest car”, and the “blonde with big boobs”. Those examples, among others, just did not click with me, so I felt safe in the rationale, that’s not me. I don’t do everything to look good. I even came up with stories like I hardly even wear make up, or fancy clothes. I clearly don’t care about looks. Little did I know, this fact would begin to shift my entire life:


Our lives are about looking good for other people (and therefore ourselves). 


Now if you’re a self-development enthusiast, you already know this, and you are probably shifting it already. If you aren’t, you are likely denying that you yourself, are included in this. 


Let me explain. 


Maybe we all don’t buy our fancy car in order to look good, but MOST of us make MOST of our moves in life based, at least in part, on how we will look to others. “Looking good” doesn’t necessarily mean physical appearance. It’s about how we are seen through others’ eyes. So maybe you don’t put on the makeup in the morning to look good for anyone in specific, but you probably put it on in order to be seen as some who “is put together”, or like you tried, or like you care, or maybe even “just in case” you meet someone. And maybe you don’t date the sexy girl just because your friends will think you’re cool, but you probably have some part of you that wants it to work out, or to look a certain way so that people will think you’re lovable, or good in bed, or good enough to have a partner like that, or whatever. 



If you know me, you know I used to be fairly social, going out every weekend and attending events frequently; and now I spend most every night at my house working, or enjoying the evening with a close friend (and my pup). Part of that is simply maturing, but another huge part of it, is exactly what I’m writing about today. It is that out there, in the world, so much is dependent on how you look to other people, without them actually having any idea who you are or how you live your life, that I got overwhelmed when I began my self-development journey. It became too difficult, and to be honest - just plain annoying, to be surrounded by people that were so worried about how they looked, without getting sucked back in myself.


Well, this weekend, I went out to a dance event. And of all dance events, it was a pretty lovely one. It was in order to raise money for a charity, so it was not only for a good cause, but it attracted good people, part of a loving community (which is certainly not always the case). 


I was able to approach this experience quite differently, as it’s been about a year since I’ve attended something like this. I spent much of the evening not only watching the performances, but specifically observing people’s body language, and what story they were really telling, rather than how good their dance technique was, or how much they killed the performance. (I very much included myself in this observation: noticing when I wanted to get on my phone so as not to appear like a loner, or when I was unsure if I should say hi to someone I’ve only met on instagram for fear they would think I was weird, ha!) 


And what I saw was, lots of beauty. 

And, lots of insecurity. 


Many of the performances were riddled with a, ‘I need you to like me’ feeling behind it. And what’s funny is, I know exactly the feeling. I remember when I’ve stepped off stage in the past and thought, damn, I was so in my head worried about what people were thinking - hoping that everyone saw me do that cool solo, or that no one saw my mess up. 


I noticed girls in the bathroom, worried post-performance if their makeup was still on and cute, and boys worried about messing up their steps. And the thing is, this is all fine and normal. There’s nothing wrong with it. But the bummer is that sometimes we don’t realize that we are doing ALL of that work and worry and fear and upset, for the approval of other people. And when it comes to sharing your art, or creating an event that raises money for a great charity, it’s really a bummer when that need to look good actually STOPS you from sharing the full truth, or creating the event from the true intention of serving others. 


(During this event, I also witnessed some of the truest expressions I’ve ever seen, in a way that brought me to tears multiple times (I mean, I’m a sap, but still!).)



So let’s really try to take a look at this in our lives. In full admission that we DO do things for the purpose of looking good, where does it come up? Probably everywhere, all day long, in every action. (Seriously though). Yesterday, I noticed it specifically at the gym. I was training a lot of the muscles I need for handstands. The gym is not usually the place that I actually do handstands, it’s simply the place I strengthen the muscles for them, and other things. So after a set of core and shoulders, I was considering doing some handstands, or some press handstands in the middle of the floor. And I stopped myself. Not because I was tired, or lazy, but because I realized the true reason I was doing that, was to look good for other people. I realized if I had been working out alone, I would not have done some extra handstands on top of my already intense workout. Not that using the eyes of others to motivate you can’t be helpful, but my honest self knew that that wasn’t actually the case for me - it was simply to show off. (I’ve also had times where I DO want to do the handstands to serve my workout, and I’m worried people will judge me, and in that case, I choose to do them anyway! It’s about listening to yourself, not judging what’s good or bad, or right or wrong.)


Where does this come up in your life? How might being more authentic to yourself serve you, and your dreams? 


A reminder that this doesn’t mean wear your pajamas to work, stop taking showers, and be a bitch because all of that could be about looking good. It simply means, notice when you are selling yourself short, in order to attain the potential approval of others, or in order to make sure someone likes you, or in order to not show people your truth. Because in reality, you showing your truth, and owning whatever that is, is not always going to get everyone’s approval, but it WILL get yours. 


Xo

Puppy Lessons

This weekend I learned something pretty profound…from my dog. 


I took him to the dog park, because, lately he’s been getting really antsy around other dogs, so I wanted to let him run around and enjoy (we used to do this a lot and he loved it). I committed to doing some training with him right outside the dog park, to make sure he could listen to me, even though I knew he’d be distracted. So we got there, and before we were even near the park, he was whining, crying, and yelping. I told him his usual command “quiet”. Didn’t work. We parked, I pulled out some treats and repeated, “quiet”. It worked for about 4 seconds, before he was yelping again. 


We did some commands a little ways away from the park. He did OK, but definitely was so uncontrollably excited that not much was working. At one point he let out a huge scream. I didn’t even know dogs could do that! We went into the park, and within 10 minutes, I was dragging him out by his harness. He started snarling, barking, and trying to bite a dog that intimidated him, and he quickly got out of control snarling at a bunch of dogs. I pulled him out, but it became immediately clear to me that his uncontrollable excitement, is the same as his uncontrollable aggression. 


 If they can’t control their excitement, they definitely can’t control their aggression. 




So besides the training tactics that I need to make sure I apply to my pup, why am I sharing this with you?



Let’s repeat that discovery, for humans:


If you can’t control your excitement, you definitely can’t control your aggression/upset/anxiety/fear/etc. 


So although excitement, and passion, lust, and drive might all be positive emotions and experiences to have, if we can’t control them (control meaning to not let it take over), then what hope to we have of controlling the negative emotions? 


I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, I would hear a phrase like “control your emotions”, and think, no! I want to feel everything! I thought that controlling emotions meant not feeling them, or not getting to enjoy the goodness in life. And I certainly thought it meant having to try not to let the negative ones seep into everything, and damn near thought that was impossible. But the truth is, controlling your emotions is not about having no feelings, or not experiencing things, it’s about emotional intelligence. It’s about being able to experience feelings, without them taking over you, and ruling the rest of the day, or week, or month. 


(I remember about 2 years ago a boyfriend broke up with me, and I kept expecting to be really sad. I was all prepared to wallow in my feelings, eat ice cream, and veg out….but that rush of sadness never came. Not because I didn’t love him, or didn’t feel sad about it, but because, I had been hard at work to increase my self-awarenes and gain emotional intelligence for a few years at that point. That moment was just a little victory for me; acknowledgement that I was getting stronger!)


So, how do you control your emotions? Or what does that process even look like?


Well, let’s go back to Dojo, my dog. In order for him to be able to socialize safely and appropriately, he has to be able to remain calm when he’s excited, and when he’s scared. So training, for him, looks like me taking him to distracting, exciting places, and keeping him calm, focused, and disciplined. 


Now, we are, of course, more complex than dogs, but - that’s not a bad idea. And truly, this is yoga. (Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, or “to control the senses”, in one of its definitions). Yoga asks that you observe yourself, mind and body. You observe your thoughts and feelings, and physical sensations. Observing them comes with two parts: 1) increasing self-awareness and understanding, and 2) not attaching to the observation. Just like Dojo will need to be able to see a dog run by him, and not attach to the possibility of running with him, we need to see a fear drift by, and not attach to the possibility of it becoming real. These two parts together make up an aware person, who is non-judgmental or non-reactive to their feelings, or really any disturbance whatsoever. 



Does this mean don’t ever get excited? No. Does it mean you will stop having fears? No. Just like Dojo will always be affected by the dogs that cross his path, you will always have feelings. However, by controlling them, you get the opportunity to choose how to play with them. Just as if Dojo stays calm while we walk up to a dog, he gets the treat of playing with them, so if you stay non-reactive while observing the thought or emotion, you get the treat of playing with that feeling however you’d like. 


Start to notice when you get hooked on a thought, or emotion. Often, that’s the emotion trying to take over. Trying to get you to indulge in your excitement, or embarrassment, or worry, and take a leap out of your life, into that feeling. And see if you can back up and look at it instead. And if not, at least see if you can state to yourself that you’re hooked on an emotion, so as not to make any big life choices or anything, hah! It will get easier and easier to step out of it, and not have that one thing dictate your whole day. 

Wherever you’re at in this process, keep going. I know I am! 


Xo 

CHOOSE your circumstances.

There’s this story that I often hear, from my friends, students, and even myself. The story is something like, “I can’t,” or “I have to,” or “I have no choice.” These phrases put us in a very compromised position. These phrases imply that some force outside of ourselves has forced us to do (or not do) something. Most of the time I would say this is likely not true, but even when this IS true, this is a pretty powerless stance to take. 


Now, you probably think I’m going to say something like there is always another option, or find a way to make it happen. And sure, that’s a possibility. But let’s go in one more step. When you feel like you are stuck, or perhaps like something happened to you and you can’t do anything about it, or like you have to do something and have no choice, you have three options of how to respond. 


Option 1: remain unhappy with the situation. Complain about how it’s happening to you, suffer, and remain powerless in the situation.

Option 2: decide that it’s not okay with you, and make something happen no matter what it takes (quit your job, leave a tough relationship, save up money, etc). 

Option 3: switch your perspective, and choose the situation, exactly as it is. Decide (or it may even feel like pretend) that you chose this circumstance, and everything about it, and approach it as if that were true. 


These options are mostly about perspective. None of them make your circumstance disappear, and none of them are necessarily “true”, it simply depends on how you choose to look at it. 


I would say, most people choose option 1. It’s easiest to blame something outside of yourself, and continue to be unhappy, although it might suck. Option 2 is probably in second place. People hit the gym because they refuse to see themselves as they are, or cut out friends or family in order to move forward, or quit their job and live in rugged conditions. Option 2 can create some real change. But this third option, option 3, is something special. It’s this balance between 1 and 2. See, it’s not complacency. It’s not just throwing your hands up and being ok with a shitty situation. (Nor is it complaining about the situation). But it’s still not forcing it to change either. It sits in the middle. It’s the space of CHOICE (and truly, of freedom). 


For these purposes, we will define choice as the ability to select freely between one or more options. Meaning, you might technically, not have another option, however, you still can choose freely. How can that be? This is simply a place to stand, a place that allows you to OWN your circumstance (even if it isn’t your “fault”) so that you can continue to choose what to do.


So let’s look at an example. Let’s say you want to start your own business, but you feel like you can’t because of your current, all consuming job (let’s say 90-100 hours a week). And let’s say this job has made it very clear that you will be fired if you lessen your hours, or make a small mistake, or something like that. And let’s say you cannot afford to lose this job because you have no savings, are in debt, and are helping to support a family member. So I would say, the odds of you starting your own business within this circumstance are pretty low. So you might feel like, I have no choice. I have to keep working at this job. I can’t create the career I want. So here are your options:

Option 1: remain unhappy with the situation. Complain about how you want to start your own business but can’t. You have to stay where you are.

Option 2: decide to quit your job and make it happen with your new business ASAP, or up your workload to 120 hours per week, and lose sleep to start this new business.

Option 3: choose to be at the job you’re at. Choose to spend 100 hours per week working, at a job that perhaps is not your dream. 


Now let’s look at option 3. Option 3 doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t magically remove the barrier to your success. But what it does do, is give you back the power. Option 3 may even lead to something similar to option 2, just in a more powerful, less torturous way. 


So lets say, you chose to work at this job, 100 hours a week, even though you truly want to do something else. And if you chose it - how might you be approaching it differently? Instead of dreading it, or blaming it for your current unhappiness, you might show up to work powerfully. You might take big steps in saving money, or signing up for a business course to do on weekends. You might network with people at your current job, and create possibilities for growth within and outside of the office. So, although nothing changed, your whole world might be different. And maybe in a few months, you will no longer “have no choice” but to stay at this job, but perhaps you will have a plethora of options looking forward. But by not choosing, or rather, by choosing not to take ownership for your circumstance, you run the risk of never getting out of it. 


Choice doesn’t mean you always get what you want. Choice just means, you have the ability to decide how you live your life at any moment. It is not necessarily the truth, it is simply a place to stand. A perspective from which to look at your life. So rather than digging yourself further into the hole, you actually begin to gather the tools to climb out. But without first taking the stance of choice, having the power to get out of it is going to be tough if not impossible. 


In the moment where you feel powerless, like you have no choice in the matter, ask yourself. What if I chose this? What if it was me that chose to get sick, or to get fired, or to be in this awful relationship? How would I look at it then? And then choose it. Own your situation, and watch yourself find the good, the ongoing possibility, and the growth within it. 


xo

Right and wrong. Good and bad. Which are you?

As humans, we do this thing where we have to classify things as either good or bad, right or wrong. As if there’s nothing in between, or nothing else to identify with. As Wendy Byrd says in Ozark (yes I got inspired by the TV show!), we are taught that Adam and Eve were clearly told that they can eat from any tree except for the fruit of one, and they ate it anyway. But what if they were actually just starving, and that was their only available option? Now Wendy is using this to prove that wrong-doing is not so simple. My point is not so dark, but similar in nature.


See, right and wrong, good and bad - it’s a spectrum. What’s more is that, just because something is right for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s wrong (or that YOU are wrong) if it’s not right for you. And visa versa. 




Something that I really like about the yoga sutras (sort of like the yoga bible, the principles on which yoga stands), is that it is written from the view that, rules are not the end-all be-all. For instance, instead of saying, ‘do not kill,’ it writes, ‘non-harming,’ as an intention of living. Meaning, live in a way that harms the least amount of beings possible, including yourself, given your circumstances and personal limitations. ‘Do not kill,’ as an all applicable rule, can be taken so extreme that you can’t walk down the street, because you might accidentally kill an insect. So that rule is not actually accessible, or logical in our life today. But does that mean that all who do not live by it fully are wrong? (I know there are exceptions in these types of rules, but exceptions to the rule is simply adding rules to the already existing rule, without truly looking at the intention behind it.) 


In the book, The Code of The Extraordinary Mind, Vishen Lakhiani talks a lot about what he calls “brules”. Brules is a made up word, that is essentially a combination of the two words: bullshit and rules. I think he’s onto something. There are so many rules that we live by that aren’t applicable to our lives currently. For instance, going to college is a kind of rule that many families/social circles/school systems live by. It is certainly useful and important, but with the expansion of the internet and readily available information, plus new strange “jobs” on the market, a college degree is getting more and more meaningless. Is it really essential anymore? In addition, women were encouraged in the past to go right from their parents’ house to their husbands’ house because women were not expected to work (nor allowed to work in many cases). So the “brule” of needing to find a husband at a young age, was created. Now, we are not only allowed to work, but we are expected to have matching careers to our husband, so that brule is no longer essential. 


So perhaps, we can instead look at the intention behind the rules. As non-harming is to do not kill, safety and success is to going to college. Meaning, if “go to college” was the rule, we get to break it down and look at the heart of it. What is it really about? Let’s say going to college as a rule was developed to ensure safety and success. But now, if going to college not only doesn’t ensure safety and success, but it perhaps even prolongs your ability to develop your career and find success, instead of hanging on to the rule, let’s hang on to the intention: to ensure safety and success. So perhaps, during high school we devote more time to trying new things, exploring job options, and finding your interests, and less time on good grades and high SAT scores. And perhaps, after college there is some more time to self-explore, maybe even other programs, other than college. Not to say that college is not still a GREAT tool and option, but just that the RULE of “you must go to college after high school in order to be successful,” is not actually based on transferable truth. 


All of that being said, let’s go back to the right and wrong thing. Next to what, exactly, are we measuring that distinction? 



A friend of mine is reading a book, The Untethered Soul. He mentioned to me that he felt like the book was saying that what he was doing was wrong, so he was getting defensive. We talked about it, and I asked, “does the book actually say that you are WRONG?”. He said no, and giggled. Of course it didn’t. The book is not saying DO THIS or you’re bad and wrong. The book is saying, consider this way of doing things for this purpose. What would that do for you? Would it enable you to be less emotionally stuck? Would it allow you to have deeper connections with others? Would it make it easier to let go of fear and pain, and help you step up in your life? Yes? Ok so. The opposite of that is not WRONG, it is simply a CHOICE. A choice to do the thing that is less likely to yield the outcomes you desire. 


I was listening to a podcast today and she said something like, life is hard for two reasons. To stay in your comfort zone, and to step outside of it. Meaning, life’s going to be hard no matter what. You can make the choice for it to be hard just to stay in your comfort zone, or you can choose for it to be hard so that you can get the reward! 


So why then, do we jump to right and wrong? Good and bad? I think there’s a lot that goes into this, but much of it is because we feel the need to prove to ourselves (and others) that WE are right, or good. It’s so scary to accept the fact that we might be wrong (and I believe a lot of that is because of how we are taught about right and wrong), that we would rather have this black and white system so then at least we KNOW that we are GOOD and RIGHT. But the problem is, we are actually human. Not only do we make mistakes, but we also have our own internal metric of what is right and wrong and good and bad; and if we depend on some external rules to govern that within ourselves, we inevitably are going to go against our own intuition of what’s really right. So, when we do something that isn’t “good”, according to some brules, instead of owning up to it, we hide it. We can’t accept that we might be “bad” (because those are the only options, good and bad), so we lie to ourselves and to others. We cover it up. I’m not even talking big stuff like murder, cheating, stealing, etc. I’m talking even the little things like, we do something for our own personal gain, even though we know it might hurt someone else, and instead of acknowledging our responsibility, we hide that from ourselves. We use the rules and circumstance to justify our actions. 


What if we just loosened up this right and wrong thing? I’m not saying that everything goes. I’m just saying that, it’s not really about right and wrong, good and bad. It’s about getting SO real with yourself, that the only option is to do the “right” thing, or the thing that is the MOST right for you in that moment. When you are in that place, you make the choice that is the closest to right/good you can possibly make, AND you get to learn more easily when it doesn’t work out perfectly, or you accidentally hurt someone anyway. 


So, just as the sutras say, rather than confining yourself to a rule like do not kill, (because who knows how many ants you squashed today, not to mention that gross cockroach that invaded your house last week), open yourself up to taking the step of the least harming action possible. The thing that enables you to flourish, while not squashing too many others, with full acknowledgement and responsibility, that you might squash some, without trying. That’s ok. You are human. You get to ebb and flow with right and wrong. 




Notice when you feel like you, or someone else, is wrong. Unless it is very black and white science, I encourage you to question it. Why do you think their way is wrong? Or why are you judging yourself? Is it possibly based on a rule (or a brule), that you are subconsciously living by? Are you able to shift what right and wrong means to you, in order to be more compassionate towards yourself and others, and allow yourself to embody the things that truly call to you, rather than things that are based on someone else’s imposed values of right and wrong? 


Good luck. 


Xo

Why does someone else's success, make you doubt yourself?

Comparison is the thief of joy, they say. I hear that and I think, of course. It makes perfect sense! And yet, when it comes to certain things, I can’t help but do it anyway. 


For years now, I’ve been fully aware that if you are feeling upset about something, it is almost always due to your own insecurity. So, I think it’s fair to say that generally speaking, if you are comparing yourself to someone else and feeling bad, or jealous, or hateful (towards yourself or them), chances are, you are feeling insecure. (If you aren’t yet comfortable with that statement, take some time to dissect it and process it for yourself! This is a huge game-changer.)


But this past week, I realized something deeper. I caught myself feeling a little down when looking at other people’s success. I felt, admittedly, jealous and hurt when I saw other people doing well, which I will say, is not a common feeling for me. So, I went to work to question what that was about. I talked to a friend, I meditated, I journaled, and after letting go of what was worrying me, I realized something pretty huge.


I only feel threatened by other people’s success, when it’s about something that’s not right for me.


In other words, I feel threatened by someone being “really happy”, or “in love”, or “successful” only when it’s based on something I think I should be doing or having or accomplishing, not based on what I actually value and strive for. 


For instance, back when I was focused on being a professional dancer, it would bother me when other people were successful at auditioning and booking jobs that way. Not because I didn’t want them to be successful, but because I thought that’s what I should be doing, and it made me feel bad that I wasn’t. But when I realized that path wasn’t for me, I found success and fulfillment in dance in other ways. And, no longer felt threatened by others succeeding in that way. Because truthfully, booking jobs for me was never about me really wanting the job itself, it was about me needing the external validation that I was good enough. It wasn’t authentic, it was simply an insecurity pulling at me. 


In looking at my life today, I am focused on yoga retreats, teacher training programs, self-development, etc. And in no way am I threatened by other people succeeding at hosting yoga retreats, or leading teacher trainings, or doing life coaching, etc. In fact, it often inspires me and helps me stay driven toward my goal.


So when this comparison feeling snuck in last week, and I caught it, and I realized that comparison only feels threatening when it’s about something that’s not authentic to me, I had an opportunity to check myself. I looked at my values, and my purpose in doing what I’m doing currently. I looked at specifically what was bothering me about seeing other people’s success. What scared me? What made me feel bad about myself? 


I quickly realized it was only about looks. It was about other people looking cooler or more successful because they have more of a following. And as much as a real following is super useful and worth working for - it wasn’t the real following that I was jealous of. It was simply that it looked more successful. 


Ha!


So just like that - I get to check myself. What is my purpose? Is it to look successful? Or is it to be impactful. And while it’s easy to say that of course it’s to be impactful, it’s not always easy to hold on to that truth. 


This week, I get to come back to my truth. I get to acknowledge that, that feeling of comparison is not only about my own insecurity, but specifically it’s about something that is actually not important to me. And then I get to choose. Do I want to decide that getting validation is important to me, and focus on it, so that I can feel better? OR am I willing to stay true to my values, even if it means less validation? 


We know the answer ;). 


Step into your actions with full responsibility. You must be willing to walk forward even if things don’t go as you want them to, as you think they should, or as you see other people doing. If you are not - you will get crushed. But if you are, if you truly are willing to keep stepping external judgement or validation, you become absolutely unstoppable. 


xo.

Take the leap

This last weekend marked my first Take It Off Yoga Retreats Staff Training. I, along with 5 other ladies, took a trip to Tahoe, where we worked together to not only develop ourselves (like we do on every retreat), but to also work on our facilitation as individuals, and as a brand. 


Throughout this weekend, each of us led an activity and a yoga or meditation class. Each of us had a chance to really make an impact on the group, and level up as a teacher, communicator, and coach. It was such an awesome opportunity to experience our own leadership, while still getting to be students for each other. 


By the end, everyone had made such huge strides in their personal growth, and their growth as leaders of their own (future) retreats. But there was a fear that I saw coming up, and after communicating with them, it became clear. The fear was something like, “I can’t lead a retreat if I don’t have my life together,” or, “Who am I to guide these women through this, when I can hardly do it myself?”. 


So here’s the thing. I know this feeling. All too well. I feel it almost everyday, even if it’s only a fleeting moment. And sometimes it really consumes me. 


And, I think it’s an important thought because, we don’t want just anyone teaching us important things like how to love yourself, and to become a better you. So in some ways, the fear is valid. 


However, I think it comes with a misconception, and therefore a limiting belief. The belief is that “teachers” are supposed to be these beings that stand at the front of a class and write on a whiteboard, or put up a powerpoint and give you information. This information is expected to be true, because, well, the teacher said so. But who were your best teachers? The ones who made the greatest impact on your life, not just your grades? Were they the teachers that told the facts the best? I doubt it. Were they the teachers that had the neatest powerpoint? Probably not. They were the teachers that captivated you. The teachers that told stories, and related the information to things that were important. The teachers that weren’t afraid to say, “I don’t know,” and look it up with you. The teachers that were human. These are the teachers that not only communicated information to you, but had you learn and grow. They inspired you to step up in your life, in some way, even if it was simply to do the homework. They taught you how to understand the material, or how to get excited about it. They showed you passion, and you felt it, so much so that you were inspired to move forward. 


So a teacher, is not really someone who passes on information. A teacher, in this case, is like an illuminator. The teacher guides you, and brings to light the things that you need to look at in order to further understand the material. (In fact, the Sanskrit definition of a guru is a person who shines light on the darkness.) The teacher lights up a path for you, so that you can choose to walk through it yourself. But the teacher doesn’t have to be all knowing, nor do they have to do the work for you. Instead, the teacher inspires you to do it, sometimes by not knowing. By encouraging you to dive in to yourself, and understand deeper. In that way it becomes the job of the student, to acknowledge that everything can be a teacher. A successful, growing student is always looking for the teacher in all things.


And what’s more is, often the teacher’s personal experience, as they are learning and growing themselves, serve the students further. 


So this fear of not being good enough to share knowledge or growth - what is that? 


I mean,


Tony Robbins talks about how if it weren’t for his mother abusing him, and him being very stuck in a victim mindset - he wouldn’t have been able to create big change in the world.


Ed Mylett says that he believes it is because he is actually very insecure, shy, and anxious, that he can really connect with people, and inspire them to grow. 


For truly, seeing the person in the gym who is super buff, doing everything perfectly, and looking sexy while doing it, is not nearly as inspiring as the person with one arm, showing up to the gym and putting in hard work, regardless of their circumstance. 


It is your “flaw” or “defect” or “setback” that qualifies you for the job, actually. Not the other way around. 


Now of course that’s a pretty vulnerable way to be. And, there may be a long way to go before you can really be impactful in the way you desire. But, how do you get there? 


You begin. 


Take the leap. It is in the leaping that you get to experience your own strength and courage, and begin to develop a deeper faith in yourself. 

Your setback is your way IN

I was listening to a podcast with Ed Mylett the other day, and he said something (well a lot of things, but one thing in particular) that struck me. He said, so often when we are trying to achieve big goals or take big business steps, we hit a bump in the road, a challenge, or a set back, and we think it’s a sign to stop or quit. We think, clearly the universe does not want me to do this so, I guess it’s not for me. When in reality, these moments are a sign to continue




A few weeks ago, I was preparing for my upcoming Take It Off Yoga Retreat, like I have been every few months for the past 2 years. People were interested, and signing up, and I was excited. And then, all of the sudden, the sign-ups stopped. People dropped out. People were still interested, but I was getting flooded with reasons as to why this retreat won’t work for them (money, schedule, priorities, you name it). When it came time to decide if I’m going to proceed with the retreat or not, I was forced to really look at what was going on. I realized that the two people signed up for the retreat were new yoga teachers, looking to apply their skills and do something meaningful.


One morning, while reading, I paused to reflect on my goals for the retreat. Since the first retreat, I knew I wanted to expand. I didn’t want these retreats to be about ME leading them, I wanted them to be about what they represent: the taking off of layers that hold you back. The freedom and self-love they empower women to embody. And I knew I couldn’t accomplish that mission on my own - not in the way I saw it. So from the beginning, I saw other yoga teachers, leading Take It Off retreats all the time. So...why wasn’t I doing that? I mean, logistically, I knew why. I was doing it, just very slowly. Bringing on one intern at a time, and sort of figuring out the process, not really knowing where it would go. But what’s the real truth? The truth is that I was afraid and uncertain. I thought maybe what I’m offering is not good enough to teach it to others. I thought maybe no one would want to join.


All of the sudden, the epiphany hit me. This November retreat is not meant for me to lead another group of students. This retreat, is for the training of new Take It Off facilitators!


On Thursday, myself and a handful of yoga teachers and self-development leaders embark on a 4 day journey into self-discovery, leadership training, and cohesive team building, and I am beyond excited. :)



This process was a little scary. I mean, not having enough people to do a retreat has never happened before. I could have felt like I should quit, like it just isn’t for me anymore. But that’s not the truth. So, I allowed myself to remain open, ask myself questions, and look for improvement. And had this not happened, this opportunity for expansion would have been missed.


What’s more is that, if I had simply led this retreat, like I usually do, I would have not had the push to make a change.



A setback isn’t a way out. A setback is a way IN.



I think sometimes we forget that growth lies outside our comfort zone. I mean, how many times have you heard that? And yet, we forget that that means that growth is uncomfortable. Period. Doesn’t mean you don’t get better at handling it, you certainly can, but it never is simply comfortable. That defies the very definition of it. So when life/the universe/your business/your relationship throws you a curve ball, or something that’s really disheartening, look at it as a sign that you are growing. It is FOR you. You GET to step into the challenge because you are ready for it.


Was this process easy? No. Comfortable? Hell no. Was it what I planned? No. Does that mean my life is terrible or I’m really struggling or I need help? No. It means I’m growing. I’m in the gym of life, doing a couple extra reps past my burn out point, and it’s hard. But I know it will ultimately build my strength, and my ability to be impactful.



Your challenges are your blessings. Your setbacks are your boosters. Your uncomfortability is the source of your growth. Lean into them. Love and trust yourself so much that you know you can step through it. Let it be a magnific part of life and growth.


Xo

But what are you actually willing to fight for?

Last week I went to an audition my agents sent me. It was a dance audition, for a decently big company, so I expected there to be a lot of people there. Often, I opt out of auditions that I believe will be cow-calls, or a ton of people. But this one was asking for dancers like me, and it was a decent amount of money which I could really use right now, so I choose to go and see how it was. The night before I mentioned it to my friend and he said something like, “cool, and you can always leave if there’s too many people.” I casually said, “Yea!” But in my head I was thinking, no no no, I don’t leave auditions. 


So here’s the deal. I’m a dancer. I moved to LA to dance professionally. I love dance; dance has been my life to some extent for more than a decade. However, I found a new self with yoga. I discovered a leader that I didn’t know I had in me. I uncovered a whole new level of self-love, that when I was really into dance, just wasn’t there. And, over time, the things I loved about dance like working my body hard, and getting choreography down, and getting picked for a dance team or a job, were just not as important to me anymore. 


It’s been a hard 5 year battle of - am I actually a dancer? I’ve struggled with feeling like, I’m giving up if the answer is no, and that’s not ok. And if the answer is yes, damn…I should probably try to book some jobs. And yet, every time I focus on taking dance classes with important choreographers, and train in the way I know I’d need to, I hate my life and myself. I live in fear, a fear that I now understand to be fear of being not good enough. It’s so intense, that it’s not sustainable. In the past, I’ve felt like, that’s a fear I need to push through. I’ve felt like, I’m not good enough to even say I’m a teacher unless I’ve not only pushed through that, but also booked big jobs. 


Phew, what a story to live into. 


But here’s the truth. I am most myself when I’m teaching. And, as a teacher and a business owner and a leader, I get feelings of fear, and being not good enough ALL THE TIME. And yet, it doesn’t make me hate myself. It doesn’t make me hate my life. 


So last week, I went to that audition. I got there, and I stood in line. A line that wrapped back and forth through a large studio, down the hallway, and out the door. It wasn’t insanely crowded like some auditions are, but it was definitely a couple hundred people (and the company was looking for 6 dancers total). So I thought about it. I looked around at everyone else’s faces, and I very clearly felt, this is their job. It’s not mine. So I left. I left feeling empowering, not defeated. Not like, how dare you, Jessie! Which is what I would have told myself in the past. No, instead I felt, for the first time, that that was not my battle to win. So not only should I not be there for myself, and my authentic truth, but I should not be there trying to take someone else’s win! They deserve it. They are working for it. 


The next day I was texting people, inviting them to my yoga class, the one I’m hosting on my own. Hosting classes on my own is a little scary because what that means is I’m paying for studio space, and I’m not sure if anyone will show. It’s a risk, and it’s emotionally taxing. So, I was texting people, and I kept getting responses saying no. For whatever reason (busy, sick, work, etc). I took a big sigh. I thought, geez. This is a lot of rejection. And then something clicked. Auditions are a lot of rejection! I mean, every successful dancer (or actor or singer or artist of any sort for that matter) will tell you - make sure you have thick skin. Get used to hearing, “no.” We know this story. But I realized, that I’m not willing to go through the rejection for dance, because, deep down, I know it’s not for me. I’m literally not good enough, but not in a self-deprecating way, just in the true way of acknowledging that that is not where I spend my time, my energy, my love. It is not truly what’s important to me. But for teaching? For leading and building a community? For facilitating personal growth and transformation? For helping people love themselves more and more? HELL YEA!!! 


Now does that mean I don’t enjoy dancing? No. Does that mean I won’t go to auditions that are right for me? No. But I feel a huge release in acknowledging my path, and where I should push myself. When I experience fear in my yoga retreat business, or my teacher training, there is no part of me that shy’s away. There’s only drive. Determination to figure it out, and move forward.


I understand that a big part of this journey is simply maturation, age, understanding myself better, like any human does. But I’m sharing this specifically with you guys, because, everyone makes decisions for inauthentic reasons. ALL THE TIME. EVERYONE. Old and young. Smart and dumb. Experienced and ignorant. WE ALL DO IT. And it’s important to continue to check in. To continue to say to yourself, ‘do I really want this? Or am I choosing it because I think I should? Or because I used to want it? Or because someone else told me it was the right thing to do?’ 


As Marty Byrde from OZARK said, “I’m just saying that any decision made, big or small, has an impact around the world.” :) 


Check yourself. Are your decisions authentic? Are they actually serving you? And if not, be willing to look at why. Be willing to make the change in your life that has you step out of having to do things that aren’t right for you.


It took me 5 years with dance, so, have patience. 


But, start. Start now. 


Xo

I'm hard on myself. You?

Hi I’m Jessie, and I am extremely hard on myself. If I had to name one trait of mine that is my biggest strength and my biggest weakness, this would probably be it. Because I am hard on myself, I am incredibly determined. Giving up is not an option (I honestly don’t even really understand what that means). When I set out to do something (fully), I accomplish it. Because I am hard on myself, when I don’t do my best, I don’t let it go. When something doesn’t work out the way I want it to, I tend to take it personally. When people don’t respond or show up how I would, I get upset. 


In Landmark (a program I did a few years ago), they call it a “strong suit”. It’s a trait that you learn from a young age that has helped you get far in life, AND sometimes holds you back. (What’s yours? You probably have a few!)


Yesterday I had a weird day. A day of somewhat random self-doubt, annoyance/frustration, and feeling not good enough all over the place. I say random because - there’s no specific incidence that triggered it, no one said anything mean, I’m not failing at anything big…just kind of random. Or perhaps an accumulation of little things. And through the process of being a little off balance, I learned some things. 


1) I have a natural ability or instinct to be tough on myself, and push myself. That is something I can either protest, or accept. 


2) This “hard on myself” trait does not define me. As in, it is not ME, it is simply a trait that I have. It comes up from time to time, and occasionally takes over and makes me upset, but ultimately, I get to decide how I look at this trait. It can be awful, or it can be useful. Through this, I found gratitude. 


3) If I weren’t so hard on myself, I would not be the teacher and facilitator I am today, and forever growing. There is no way I would be able to break things down so specifically, and care deeply about how people are understanding it. If I weren’t so hard on myself, I would not be so hard on my students and they would experience less growth. This trait is incredibly useful. 


Today, it hurt me. But I love it no less. And what’s more so, is I love myself no less. 


If it weren’t for my fears, my insecurities, my breakdowns, I wouldn’t have nearly as much to share with you all. I wouldn’t be able to speak authentically, and from experience. I have lots more to go, but today, I am grateful for these moments of self-doubt, self-disgust even, so that I can step through them and encourage others to do the same. 


And tomorrow, is a new day. I get to give myself grace, and trust that I will continue growing (because trust me, I will). 


How do you handle those feisty characteristics? 

Xo

I'm not doing enough...

Insecurities are these crazy things. They are anxieties or uncertainties about ourselves, that become influential in the way we see ourselves, and therefore in who we become. Which, without further investigation, already seems pretty insane. Why would we let an uncertainty dictate who we decide to be? And yet, we do. 


Insecurities are actually quite smart. They know that, because humans are intelligent and strong, the only way they are going to survive is if they have evidence that proves them right. In other words, humans are going to simply move past the uncertainty, if proven otherwise. So, insecurities are on a mission, to prove that they are worth listening to. They are on a mission to disprove evidence that shows they are not real. They are on a mission to stay alive. 


Put in everyday language, an insecurity such as, “I am not thin enough”, begins to take over the human that it occupies. It begins to hunt for evidence that proves that the human is not thin enough. So every time a date rejects them, they add it to their list of evidence. Every time an item of clothing is too small (regardless of the size), they add it to their list of evidence. Soon, this insecurity gets so powerful, that it simply becomes true to the human. And once it’s “true”, everything is seen through that lens. 


Where this gets even more twisted, is now, the human that occupies this insecurity, is hooked on it. As in, because it is continually being proven, it needs to continue to be true, or else the human will lose it’s understanding of reality. So, even if it’s not true, as in clothing fits and looks fine, the human will begin to morph reality to fit this insecurity-filled-truth. So, they might sabotage a date, or they might actually gain weight in order to be “not thin enough”. The insecurity staying in control may seem like a bad thing, but see, with the insecurity in control, the human GETS to be right about how fat they are. They GET to be safe. They GET to BLAME the “truth” of the insecurity, for the reason to why they are not happy, or successful, or in love, etc. The insecurity grabs all the power, and therefore the human doesn’t have to take responsibility for it. 


Phew. 


Sometimes, this happens really dramatically. Most often, it happens subtly, constantly, with small insecurities here and there. 


Lately, I’ve been struggling with a fun one. It’s name is, “I’m not doing enough.” This particular insecurity is sneaky, because it’s just a branch of my usual “I’m not good enough”, but it’s taken on a particular costume, making sure that I am constantly stressed about not working hard enough. Now, you’d think a thought like this would make me work harder. And, in some ways, it does. But let’s look beneath the surface here. What really happens is I work in a way that serves to prove to me that I’m not doing enough. 


For instance, this week, I’m beginning a new class that I am hosting myself. It’s a little scary because I am the only one responsible for if anyone shows up, and how it goes. It is a big step for me personally, it is something I am very excited about, but is also something that gets me afraid of not being good enough. So, enter insecurity. I see, or have seen, over the years, evidence that proves to me (or my insecurity) that I am not doing enough. Evidence such as, I am not as financially prosperous as I’d like to be (therefore I am not doing enough), or I am not as reputable/marketable as I’d like to be (therefore I am not doing enough), etc. So because of this existing evidence, and the truthfulness I feel (deep down) about this insecurity - it has power. 


My first class is on Wednesday, so on Monday, I felt a little pang of fear about the class. I realized, OMG! I haven’t choreographed or prepared or advertised, ah!! It’s going to fail! After a brief meditation and journal session, I realized, oh right, my insecurity “I’m not doing enough” is looking to prove itself right again. So it’s hoping I don’t do enough, and my class goes poorly, so that I can strengthen this negative belief. If I hadn’t caught it, I might have procrastinated until the last minute, proving to myself that I surely am NOT DOING ENOUGH. 


Luckily, I caught it, and have spent the past few days excited about creating these classes, and, about stepping out of that insecurity. But, it’s easy to see how these sneaky beliefs pull us down. It’s easy to get hooked on them! And live in the land of fear + proving the fear right. It becomes a vicious circle. And even if it’s subtle, it causes us suffering, little by little, and it exacerbates the fear so that other steps and other changes in life get difficult as well. 


It’s funny, I was thinking of writing about this concept, before I saw it really concretely happening in my life. So, I encourage you to take this concept on. What does it really mean to you that insecurities look for evidence as proof of their truth? Let it soak in. Acknowledge that insecurities like validation, and then start to notice where you may be embodying this cycle.


The good news is - you get to choose. Do you want to prove your insecurities right? Or do you want to stand for your SELF. You don’t have to BE your insecurities. Start to step out of them. 


Xo

Everything is FOR you

For the last 11 weeks, I have been hosting my first very own 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program. I spent about a year and a half writing the 400 page manual, creating the syllabus, and planning and prepping. On Sunday, I had 13 students graduate, and become yoga teachers. To say I’m proud doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel. 


What was particularly special was not the fact that they can now teach yoga, although that was and is SO exciting, but that I think they really got what this yoga thing is. They understand how to apply it to their life, and to live it. They understand how to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. In fact, by the end of the weekend, they so powerfully reminded me of something I had taught them throughout the training, that I feel compelled to share it here. 


Everything is FOR you


This is a concept I talk about a lot. I believe this is fundamental and essential to self-growth in any way, because as soon as you can start to see things as lessons, or eye openers, or challenges that help you grow in some way, the whole world shifts. My teacher trainees impressed me by coming back to this throughout the program. One women shared about how it felt like they could not fail during my training, simply because of this frame of reference. Because if they did, “fail”, it was seen as a learning opportunity, which felt safe, supported, and growth oriented. 


So how can we take that into our lives? Because truly, life can be just the same.


Well, yesterday, this concept was really present for me, so I shared it with my morning class. (If you’re a yoga teacher or a life coach, you know that, whenever you share something, that something always comes back to you!) So of course, when I finished class, I checked my phone and saw that I had a cancellation for my upcoming Take It Off Yoga Retreat experience. I’ve had various people interested over the last month or so, but only one sign up. And there she went. This was followed by a meeting with a student that was going to enroll, who also shared that she is not quite sure about signing up. That, in addition to having a lower-than-normal crowd for my upcoming Info Night, woke me up. 


Now, I will admit I was a little sad and fearful about these cancellations, among other things that hit me throughout the day. However, I quickly came into the lens of everything is for me. I knew the answer wasn’t to get upset and worried, try to fix things, or get hasty and make any decisions. The answer was to step back, and listen. What is this trying to tell me?, I asked. What about my energy needs to shift? Or what decisions or changes do I need to be open to? How can I create what I want, authentically and powerfully? These shifts are not for me to get upset by, or get held back by. Rather, these shifts are an opportunity for me to check in. 


Now, I go to work. I journal, I meditate, I open myself up to receive. AND, I keep working towards what I’m building - my retreat. I’ve already uncovered some really big discoveries, and I know I have more to go. That is my mission this week.


In the meantime, if you haven’t already, it’s time you check out my retreats. Take It Off is a brand that I created after being sick of fears and insecurities holding me back, and finally seeing how to rise above the grip they had on me. I did a nude photoshoot in nature one day about 2 years ago, and the power I felt from stepping through all those limiting beliefs was incredible. And the love I felt looking at my photos, and seeing myself as I truly am, for the first time ever, was life-changing. These retreats are about that. Changing lives. And not because your life is currently bad, but because you deserve to live a life you LOVE, in a body you LOVE. This retreat is about figuratively and literally taking off layers that weigh you down. This retreat is about getting to the roots of what hold you back from being fully you, and actually starting to get rid of them, so that you can embrace what you want and who you want to be in this life. Through the lens of seeing that everything is for you, this retreat is not an escape, but rather, an opportunity to look your fears in the face, and through love and responsibility, transcend them. 


Imagine what could be possible without the “I can’t do that, I’m not good enough,” story, or the one about how you have to look a certain way to get what you want, or perhaps, the one that says “no one will like me.” Without those stories ruling your subconscious life, you are unstoppable. 


As one of my beautiful teacher trainees shared, “I’m not a fool and think I’m invincible now, however, I feel a lot more comfortable knowing and acknowledging that mental blocks are a real thing, and no matter what they are, you’re capable of overcoming it, whatever it may be.” 




This week I’m listening for what’s there. What’s there for me to see. 


Are you? 


Xo 



Check out retreat info HERE.

If you’re interested in simply talking about this stuff in person, come to Info Night this Thursday (tomorrow) October 4, at 8:30 pm. RSVP by emailing me HERE, and I’ll send you the address. 

Being a human is hard.

So for the last few weeks I’ve felt kind of dull, lethargic. It’s subtle, and I’ve been doing all my normal stuff, but in the background of everything was a slight dull-ness. Waking up has been incredibly difficult. It’s like my sheets were 1000 lbs and I couldn’t muster up the strength to move them. I’ve been getting mad at myself for not waking up and being productive, and repeating the cycle over and over again. I’ve been feeling unproductive (despite working all the time), and simultaneously exhausted. Besides a personal yoga session here and there, the only real time I end up taking for myself is on days when I get home and I’m too exhausted to think, so I turn on Netflix, pour a glass of rosé, and order take out. After doing that I don’t wake up rejuvenated, but instead, I wake up feely guilt for not doing enough. 


Being the pretty self-aware human that I am, I’ve noticed this. I’ve been mostly pretty rational about it, “Ok Jessie, if you go to bed earlier, you can wake up earlier and not be so mad at yourself.’ Or, I remind myself I completed all my to-dos each day, so that I don’t stress about what I haven’t done. Etc. And yet, the feeling was still there. 


Monday it came to a T. I woke up at 8 am naturally, smiling, but then when I realized I’d have to get up and face my day, I went back to sleep. I knew I didn’t need to or want to, and yet I did. When I finally got up, I had severe menstrual cramps, so I laid on the couch, casually reading for a while. By 11 am, I was ready to walk my dog and step outside, and yet I was still feeling very down. I went home, meditated, lit some sage, had some food, and planned out my week. I then had a meeting with a lovely women who reminded me of why I love what I do, and how much passion I have for it. So much so that when I left I felt even more guilt for not doing more of what I love to do. If I love this so much, why am I waking up everyday dragging my feet? What’s stopping me? Why do I feel like I’m not enough, everywhere I look right now?


I called a friend, and a moment after she asked “how are you doing?” I was in tears. I didn’t even know why yet, but I knew I was fed up and frustrated. I realized that I have been so consumed with being better, doing better, being more successful, being more powerful, etc etc, that I’ve forgotten to acknowledge myself now. I’ve forgotten how far I’ve come! 


Now, not literally. Literally, in my rational brain, I’m aware of how much I’ve grown. I honor myself, and I know I’m worthy and powerful. But subtly, that not-good-enough mentality snuck in there, and was infesting everything I was doing. 


I’m here today to remind you it’s ok to be human. I had a friend and student say to me the other day, “but your blogs are always so put together!” after I told her that I struggle with the same things she was worried about, everyday. It’s hard, for me too, to remember that people don’t often show their humanity. I mean, you see the vulnerable posts on instagram, and your close friends might cry to you from time to time, but you don’t really see the scope of emotions and struggles every person goes through everyday. And that’s ok. Not everyone is going to show it (and not everyone is even aware it’s happening to them). But it’s important to remember that it IS happening. You are not alone. And in fact, if you can even see that you are going through something, you are ahead of the rest, because through awareness, change is possible. 



This week, I am working on loving my shadows. I am working on not beating myself up for making mistakes, and on cultivating my love for what I do. I am working on getting out of the feeling of “I should be better”, and into the feeling of, “I do better because I am better.” I love myself, and I actively work on maintaining that love everyday, even (or perhaps, especially) when it doesn’t come easily. 


Thank you for reading, for looking at yourselves, and for allowing me to be human. Embrace yourself in all your glory - the happiness, the upset, the productivity, the mess, the downfall, the rise, the full essence of you. Xo

Get Real

Caroline Myss says that all illness involves the throat chakra, the energetic center of authentic truth in the body. Myss describes herself as a medical intuitive: someone who can intuit, or acquire knowledge without proof, medical conditions in a person, simply by hearing their name or speaking to them briefly. She claims this “power” is not magic nor luck, but rather, it is something that can be taught. She actually has a system for how it works, and how to apply it. 


She breaks down the ways in which your energy contributes to the physical condition of your body. For instance, she claims that low back pain is usually attributed to money problems. In short, this is because the low back is part of the sacral chakra, which governs things like money, power, sex, pleasure, etc. Very commonly, therefore, stress in the financial realm, leads to low back tension or more serious problems. 


So why am I telling you this? Well, first of all, because it’s FASCINATING. (If you’re interested, go to www.myss.com, or purchase her book, “The Anatomy of the Spirit”, to get a more in-depth look at what she has to offer.) Second of all, because what this means is that, every time something is wrong in your physical being, it is related to your authenticity. And I think that’s worth looking at. 


The throat chakra, in short, is about communication and honesty. It is located in the throat (+ neck, jaw, mouth, etc). It is about expressing your thoughts and emotions, communicating them to others effectively, and being in integrity (as in, you do as you say). Perhaps the most important aspect of this is that, in order for it to function smoothly, you must be honest with yourself first. In order to authentically share with others, you must be able to admit it to you. 




When studying yourself, this can be really tricky because of all the things that influence your understanding of yourself. For instance, your family has an idea of who you are, and therefore every time they see you, they comment on how “you” you’re being, and that paints a picture in your head of what it means to be you. And here’s the tricky part, even if they are saying something pleasant, like, “you are such a good person” it can distort your vision of yourself. If you have a particular definition in your head of what it means to be a good person, and you know you’ve done things that aren’t in line with that, you’re going to start to dislike yourself in some way. You may even begin to hide those things, because, everyone (including yourself) thinks you are a good person, so you can’t be ok with those things about yourself. It then becomes increasingly difficult to be yourself, for fear of losing that label (or worse, getting another, negative label). 


Going forward, you may go as far as exaggerating, or even lying, about your actions, or it may be more subtle like, telling yourself you did something to help someone else, when really it was for your own personal gain, for example. But no matter how subtle, you’ve begun to taint the throat chakra energy. 


Now, before I go on, let me tell you: ALL of our chakras are tainted, out of balance, and being messed with all the time! So don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you’re bad, or wrong, or doomed. However, it is useful to be aware of because if every illness of the body is related to honesty, then being more aware of it will help keep you more healthy. (Yes, it will.) 



The other day, my friend shared something with me that I thought was interesting. He defined three types of gaining knowledge:

  1. learned knowledge: something that you’ve heard before, or read about, but don’t fully believe it, or live it. 

  2. understood knowledge (or the feeling of knowing): something that you’ve experienced and you so fully believe, that as soon as you see it, you need no further explanation or analyzation, you just get it. 

  3. mastered knowledge: something that you’ve learned, understood, practiced, and have mastery over. You automatically apply it without thinking.



I think this is particularly useful here. For instance, with this information of what it takes to be authentic, we have these three levels of knowledge. 1) We may have learned this, and see how we might be lying to ourselves, but we don’t totally believe that WE are doing it, nor that it is necessary to look at, so we don’t live it. 2) We’ve learned this, and we understand it. We know how to check ourselves and our intentions. We still catch ourselves after the fact from time to time, and realize we messed up and weren’t honest, but we understand that that’s what happened, and we know how to communicate it and clean it up. 3) We’ve mastered this. We are always 100% honest with our intentions and the way we communicate, without fear or hiding or questioning. We are practiced and fluent in this level of realness, even when it reflects badly on us. 


So, as always, we begin by becoming aware. If we can take in the information and begin to apply it to ourselves, we slowly become more and more authentic, simply by seeing. I invite you to incorporate this self-honesty into your life. It takes a desire to, and a willingness to see when you are not who you think you are. It’s tough, but once you get to the “understanding” phase, you get to really connect with yourself. You get to speak your truth more often than not, and even when you don’t, you get to discover that, and rekindle a deep honesty. And not to mention, the next time you get a sore throat, you can literally cure it by looking at the way your living in your voice, your truth, your authenticity. 


Get real. Allow yourself to heal from the inside out. 


Xo


Your Values are Your Values for a Reason

A few weeks ago I was listening to a podcast. In it, they were talking about happiness, and how often, we set ourselves up to be unhappy by going against our true values. For example, a hypothetical man stands for loyalty - he believes you do not cheat on your partner. This same hypothetical man is having an affair. He is very clearly acting in a way that directly goes against his values, and he is subtly telling himself that he can’t be trusted. His actions are proving to himself (and to others), that he is not capable or not good enough to show up for what he stands for. 


Now, I think this is a bit of an extreme example. When I first heard it, I very strongly agreed and understood what it was saying, but I didn’t feel it directly applied to me, or even those close to me, as I’d like to think we are at least a little more clear than that. However, this week it really resonated.


When I was younger, for example, I wasn’t totally aware of my values. I knew how I’d been raised, and I could loosely describe the things I believed, but I didn’t really know what they meant in real life, or what they meant to me personally. So I might have said, “I don’t care what people think,” when in reality, I only cared what people thought. Or, “I just want to love and understand others,” when in reality, I was so caught up in being loved and understood that I couldn’t see beyond that to others (at least not fully). The values were there, but they were buried. And because they were buried, it was almost easy to go against them. My fears and insecurities were directing me to do the things that were safe for my ego, but little did I know I was sabotaging my own love of myself, and my own strength. 


See, by acting in order to please others, or to impress others, or to be good enough for others, even though that’s not what I truly valued, not only was I constantly upset with myself, but I was consistently proving to myself that I can’t be trusted. So I was mad at myself, and then knew I couldn’t trust myself to do better, which then made me more mad, and etc etc. It’s like a rebellious teenager. After the 3rd time they tell you they’ll “never lie again,” you sort of get the picture that…they’re gonna lie again. So you no longer place trust in them, and perhaps you put structures in place to limit them, or to punish them. So I did the same to myself - I limited myself. I knew I couldn’t be trusted to handle the sticky situations, so I said, “just stay here Jessie! Don’t mess it up!” I secretly punished myself all the time. I knew I wasn’t showing up fully, and I hated it. 



This week, I’ve been feeling some of that from others. I’ve been handed a couple of passive aggressive comments, and some misplaced anger, that, upon reflection, I can see is in part from their dissatisfaction with themselves. So then of course, when it’s handed to me in that way, what do I do? Care about what others think. Get fearful they won’t like me. Blame. Judge. You name it, my heart and head went there, at least once. Do I stand for any of those things? Of course not. And those moments of going against what I stand for pretty quickly take me back into not trusting myself, even if they are fleeting, or only in my head.



So what can we do? I think the biggest thing is self-awareness. It takes time, commitment, and a real sense of courage to see that you are the one doing the thing you don’t like. So be patient - but once you see that you actually are acting in order to make others like you, (even though you stand for being yourself no matter what, for instance)… you’re WAY more free! Because now, you GET to choose based on who you are, rather than what you think they want. 

And then, when it happens to you, if you can choose to act in line with your values, instead of combatting against their lack of integrity, you become untouchable. Someone else’s upset doesn’t have to be yours.


After reflecting on this, I realized I wasn’t free of the rule. As in, it takes two to tango. As in, yes, comments directed at me were probably them acting out of their own fear, their own lack of self-trust. But why did it bother me? Well…hmm…oh yea…for the same reason! As quickly as I saw that, and took responsibility for my own self-conscious reaction, the dilemma almost disappeared instantly, and my ability to act in accordance with my values became effortless. 


I encourage you to take a look at what you stand for. What really matters to you? And notice, are you acting in line with that? And not to say that you should just switch your behaviors in the blink of an eye, because sometimes that ends with more upset and self-judgement. But allow yourself to see. And perhaps, via awareness, self-love, and a little discipline, you can start to create a reality in which you get to live in line with your values. A reality where you can truly be you. A reality where you trust yourself to stay true to yourself, no matter the circumstance. 


Xo

Mr. Fix It

A little over a decade ago, I got home from shopping, sometime around my birthday, and I was frustrated. I was a teenager, struggling with body image. I looked in the mirror, and hated what I saw. I remember saying to my mom, “I’m just not happy with my body.” We talked about it, and I decided that I was going to make a change. 

 

I’m not sure if it was just after that, but over the next 5 years or so, I went to work to make a change. I tried diets and exercise routines. I checked my body fat, weighed myself habitually, and looked constantly for ways to feel better about myself. My weight went up and down, I felt better sometimes, and much worse other times. I was proud of my dedication, but never proud of the results for very long. 

 

See, I did all of this under the context of needing to fix myself. The context of, “I’m not good enough now, so I need to make this change in order to be acceptable.” It’s not like that was the script going on in my head, but that was the underlying belief behind almost every choice I made. 

 

About 5 or 6 years later, I found myself in a yoga teacher training. And all of the sudden, I didn’t hate my body anymore. (I literally don’t even know what happened, but I started to somehow accept myself, via the beauty of yoga, and studying it’s teachings!). And all of the sudden, I didn’t feel ugly anymore. I didn’t look in the mirror and hate myself - AND, if I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, it didn’t destroy me. And what’s more is, I lost the weight I had been so concerned about…without trying at all. And what’s more is, my stomach problems completely disappeared.

 

I could go on about the benefits of this acceptance, but let’s get to the point. When I was acting from a place of this is broken and not good enough, I must fix it in order to be ok, it didn’t work. In fact, it often left me even more broken. But when I finally stood in the realm of I am whole, and beautiful, and always improving, it worked with very little effort. And, even when I wasn’t specifically losing weight or getting more fit (or whatever), I was still not broken. 

 

———

I learned this about 6 years ago. I understand it, and I use it in my life, daily. Acceptance. Acceptance does not mean complacency. Rather, acceptance means love. AND, you can accept something, and it not be okay with you, and that’s how you make a change. AND, if acceptance means love, love can create what you want. Acceptance AND growth are this magical duo, that work together to create beauty, peace, contentment. 

 

But of course, as life would have it, in the last week and a half, I discovered a new layer of it. I hit a new knot of tangled up “not good enough”s and “this is broken, I need to fix it”s. 

 

See, historically in my life, when someone has said to me, “accept yourself, you’re beautiful!”, or “be where you are, don’t be so hard on yourself,” my reaction was a polite smile, and an internal eye roll and mutter, hah! Hell no, I’m not accepting this! 

 

Now, before I go against that Jessie eye roll, let me just also voice that, I am incredibly grateful for this response. In many ways, it does mark my determination, and my drive to go further and be my best self in my life. However, there’s a line that I cross over sometimes. And that line is when desire to be better becomes, “you are broken”. That’s when I’m operating in the negative, not the positive. That’s when results are scarce, and emotions are devastating. 

 

In the last week, I found this Mr. Fix It tendency, everywhere. It’s way more subtle than it used to be, as it’s no longer as blunt as, “I don’t like myself, I must fix it.” It’s more like, 

“I don’t like not knowing about this part of my future, so I must decide it now” (not logical nor a good idea), 

or “It hurts me that you are unhappy, so I’m gonna fix it” (not from love, from fear), 

or “I’m scared you might hurt me, so I’m gonna make sure you don’t” (<—as if I can make someone do anything…). 

Anyway, I’m sharing these not to say, I’m a terrible person, because that would also be me trying to fix it (trust me, I tried that route :D). But rather, to share that, these are behavioral patterns that are coming from fear. Fear of things not being okay. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not knowing. 

 

Faith is about trusting that you will be okay no matter what happens. Faith is not about trusting that everything will go perfectly, or that you won’t get hurt. So it’s time for faith to get even deeper into my being. 

 

So here I am, telling you the thing that used to trigger me into a self-hate-filled reaction. 

 

BE WHERE YOU ARE. 

ACCEPT YOURSELF FOR EVERYTHING YOU ARE, AND EVERYTHING YOU ARE NOT, RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT.

 

AND THIS ONE.

 

AND THIS ONE. 

 

….

 

With the understanding that change is inevitable, and unfavorable circumstances are inevitable - we come to acceptance of what is. We come to a place of LOVE, for all things/people/happenings. We come to see the purpose in every step. And in that way, we get to live in gratitude. We get to live in acceptance of all moments, even the yucky ones. 

 

This week, I aim to find peace when I actually want to call in Mr. Fix It. I’m willing to not be where I want to be at this moment, in order to create what I need in the long run. 

 

Join me. Xo

 

 

PS - my recent video speaks to this a bit. Take a look if you'd like some inspiration for your self-discovery, self-acceptance. <3 

 

Hindsight is 20/20!...?

The other day, a friend said to me, “yes but, hindsight is 20/20.” I was telling her about a past event, where I knew better, and I felt I could have done better. She was using the term to remind me not to be so hard on myself. In other words, that of course now I can see how I could have done better, but it doesn’t mean I should have at the time, because, well, I couldn’t see it then. 

 

And while I agree with the concept, and I appreciate the comfort for my overly-critical-OCD personality, it got me thinking. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, which might imply that present sight (the opposite of hindsight), is blurry. So perhaps, at the moment something is happening, my vision is blurry, and therefore the decisions I make are less than precise. And I do think, in many cases, that is how it goes! You never truly know what you are going to get when you make a decision, especially a risky or scary one, so that makes sense. 

 

But also, you can often feel something deeper than that. For example, let’s look at two scenarios. 1) You make a smart decision based on all the information you currently have, and you believe it could possibly create the outcome you want, and…it doesn’t. 2) You make a smart decision based on all the information you currently have, but you feel this tugging at you. You feel a small voice inside of you saying, nuh uh, that’s not the one. But you go with it anyway because it feels good, or other people are counting on it, or it rationally makes the most sense and can’t rationalize any other choice, etc. And then, it doesn’t go the way you want. In scenario (2), you did actually know. And you chose to go against what you knew, deep down. 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago, my Ayurvedic healer-friend came in to my yoga teacher training program to do a lecture on Ayurveda. In the lecture he shared a quote that said something like, we use our willpower to go against our gut intuition. (You know, that moment when you look at the tub of ice cream, and you decide to finish it at midnight, even though everything inside of you is saying no!) We are different from animals, in that we have willpower - the ability to make decisions based on more than just instinct. And when we use that to go against our truth, we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are taking ourselves further away from ourselves. 

 

When we do that, when we use the power of choice to choose something that goes against what our truth is, we subtly tell ourselves that our truth isn’t worth listening to. And if we made a decision that we knew was bad when we made it, we end up so mad at ourselves for the outcome, instead of simply evaluating the situation and learning and growing. We build up anger, resentment, fear, and distrust for ourselves. 

 

So we can connect to this internal voice, this “gut intuition”. (By the way, I don’t particularly like that phrase because it tends to be overused and misused to portray things like psychic abilities, or emotional feelings, etc. By intuition here, I mean, the ability to use energy data to make decisions in the immediate moment (definition by Caroline Myss). The ability to trust yourself to do that.) 

 

There are times where you truly did not know, you made a decision, and it didn’t go well. And in that case, it’s important to use hindsight to look at the facts, evaluate what happened, and proceed with more knowledge and understanding, so that next time it will go smoother. And then there are times where you did know, deep down, and you chose to use your willpower to go against it. And in those moments, hindsight can still be useful, but in a different way. I think it becomes less about the circumstances, or the facts of what did or did not happen. And more about the fact that you knew and you ignored that knowing. Get better and better at catching the moments you know, but hide it within yourself. That way, you can actually choose in line with yourself, and what you know is right. You can actually use your willpower to enhance your power, rather than suffocate it.

 

Trust yourself. That voice is there to serve you. The tricky part is just to quiet down the noise of fear, other people’s voices, and habits, so that you can actually listen. Xo

Be Where You Are

I have been working on something, personally, over the last couple of weeks. I’ve shared a bit about it over the last few blogs; in short, it is sort of an imbalance with control. I tend to swing from two ends of the spectrum, on one end I over-control, I grab hold of the situation and try to make things happen the way I think is best. On the other end of the spectrum, I don’t trust myself so I try to pawn off responsibility by being a people pleaser (see last post!). Essentially, I either shut other people down in an effort to maintain control, or I shut myself down in an effort to avoid control. That is a gross generalization, but it is essentially what it happening. Both of these scenarios happen from a place of fear, from a place of worry that it things won’t go as planned, or rather - that if they don’t go as planned, I won’t be good enough. (That’s the limiting belief that still gets me sometimes!). So, I over control to make it good enough, or I let other people control it so I can tell myself it was good enough, but it wasn’t actually my doing. 

 

Phew. Heavy intro. 

 

So why is this important? I am very aware of these patterns within myself. So much so, that now I’m at the point where I see it happening while I’m doing it! I can’t always totally stop it, but I am aware. But the thing is, every time they come up, I get frustrated with myself for still being there. The problem lies in the fact that in order to “deal” with it, I approach it with the same control imbalanced mindset. This control thing is built in to my system. So, I either try to control myself so much so that I’m no longer imbalanced (which of course doesn’t work because add control to a control problem, and what do you have? Umm…more control.) Or, I try to let other people take care of it, whether by speaking to them directly, or just blindly trusting them. Which also, usually, doesn’t work, because it’s not actually my truth, it’s me pushing it away. 

 

Which brings me to my point. How do you actually let something go?

 

…..

 

Well, you just let it go. 

 

…..

 

 

That’s it.

 

Unfortunately so. The answer is, to simply let it go. The more you think about it, dissect it, and try to prevent it from happening, the more the same issue shows its nasty face. Sort of like, the more you massage and stretch an injury, the more aggravated it gets. Sometimes, the body needs to be trusted to do it’s own healing. 

 

Now, not to say that a deep awareness, an ability to direct your own habits and behaviors, and a willingness to push through uncomfortable patterns aren’t essential. They are! They absolutely are. 

 

AND

 

The acceptance of where you are is equally as important. 

 

So instead of trying to control your control problem… (if I had a hand-to-face emoji, it would go here), see the problem, and accept it. Accept it for all that it does FOR you, including showing you the pattern. And let go of the reins. Remind yourself that you are whole and complete as is, and increase your awareness around the pattern, without judgement. 

 

Be where you are. This self-development stuff is not about fixing, it’s about living. It’s about pushing yourself to be the best you can be, simply because you love yourself so much. It’s about full acceptance of ALL that is you, even the annoying stuff, and drive to be more authentic, and powerful. 

 

Xo

Breakthroughs come in all different shapes and sizes

This weekend, I confronted something I was avoiding. It was so subtle, that it has been so easy to ignore. Or, I’d look at it every once in a while, and do something small to address it, but then I’d let myself just go back to normal. What I confronted was my tendency to people please! 

 

Let’s clarify what people pleasing is. It is not simply being kind, or doing things to help others (although that is part of it). Rather, the term itself comes with some baggage. It really means, doing things for other people in order to get love, receive recognition, avoid conflict, or not take responsibility. People pleasing is different than being kind, because it comes at the expense of one’s authenticity, and often at the expense of taking care of oneself. It comes from fear of not being liked or not being good enough in some way, rather than from love. Not to say that people pleasers don’t care about the people they are helping, of course they do, it’s just that that’s not the root of the motive behind the action. 

 

Now, I’m not a huge people pleaser. I don’t have a terribly difficult time saying no to things, when I know I’d rather be doing something else, or need to prioritize my own health or life. I don’t often over-do-it on being nice, to make sure that someone likes me. And, I would say I am pretty freakin spectacular at communication. And yet…I got stuck in it. It was subtle and sneaky. I realized I was doing things for a friend, not because I totally wanted to, but because I felt like I couldn’t handle having the conversation around saying no. I was afraid our friendship wouldn’t stay peaceful, or I wouldn’t be able to explain myself clearly, or they would get hurt/upset. It was just in small ways, but I felt it building up in my voice with this person. I felt restricted, and we were starting to argue with each other anyway. 

 

Long story short, after sharing this with my friend, we had an argument, but all in all, it was great because we were able to understand each other on a deeper level. It was definitely not easy, but it was worth it, and I will be better about speaking up sooner next time. 

 

Then I found myself upset. And it took me about an hour or two to realize why I was upset. It was the people pleasing once again. By the next day, I was already so worried that if I didn’t people please, I wouldn’t be good enough. So investigated, what is that? Why do I think I won’t be good enough if I prioritize myself? And I looped back to an underlying belief I wrote about a few weeks ago: I won’t be loved unless I do better (if you’re interested, scroll to the post from June 13, 2018). This belief is just something that is a habit from past experiences. It is something that I have overcome in many ways, but it still triggers me from time to time. 

 

Well this weekend, it hit me big time. I woke up feeling heavy, upset, mad at myself mostly. I realized, in this case “do better” meant to show up for this relationship in as many ways as possible. And sometimes saying “no”, or doing something that I need for myself instead, felt like not showing up. According to this belief, that would mean I’m not doing better, and that would mean I’m no longer lovable. Uuf. 

 

What’s cool is that, I saw this all happening. And, for a period, I couldn’t step out of it yet. I just saw that I was triggered into this feeling again, I knew it wasn’t true, and yet I still felt shitty. And you know what? That was totally ok. Probably for the first time ever, I was ok with the fact that I wasn’t ok. I simply said to myself, “Ok Jessie, you’re triggered. You know this is not true, and you know you are doing the best you can. And you’re still triggered, and upset. And that’s ok.” And it wasn’t magical, and I didn’t snap out of it - I sat in it for a few hours. It slowly lifted off my shoulders. Now, I know exactly what it feels like, as I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve caught the trigger while it was happening (not after). 

 

So first of all - go me!

Second of all, I love this (even though it was tough), because it’s a reminder that your patterns are your patterns. They are IN YOUR BODY, no matter how much you work on them. They are going to come up, over and over again, until you’ve truly let them go, and even then, they may keep coming back forever, you may just get better at dealing with them.

Third of all, not only do we need to accept the repetitive nature of habits, but we also need to accept that sometimes even seeing it doesn’t make it go away. And it’s ok to be triggered and upset. But if you are willing to look and say, why am I upset right now? Where is this coming from? And perhaps not act on the upset. And perhaps not make any big decisions through this upset. Then perhaps you get to grow through each upset. And perhaps you get to be not only aware of what’s happening when it’s happening, but potentially able to direct it, so it doesn’t take you down. If it’s ok to not be ok, then we allow for the possibility of total honesty, authenticity, and power in all circumstances. 

 

Be willing to see when you are in breakdown. Be willing to be in breakdown. For a breakdown is the only way to a breakthrough. Xo

The C Word

So the other day, I locked my keys in my trunk, and had to call triple A. Even though I was a bit annoyed, and frustrated with such a stupid mistake I made, I was perfectly happy walking over to the pub to grab dinner and wait for triple A. But then, I called a friend. She didn’t answer, but texted me she would call me back soon. Triple A came, unlocked the car, but still couldn’t unlock the trunk. So I had to wait another hour and a half for the locksmith to come open the trunk. And still, I was a little frustrated, but I enjoyed sitting at the restaurant, planning out my weekend for my teacher training. By the time I got home, my friend still hadn’t called me back, and of the whole night, that was the only thing that was bothering me. So I had to ask myself, why did that bother me more than me locking my keys in my trunk? And more than triple A having to come back twice? And more than me getting home almost 3 hours later than I originally had planned? Why did that stuff hardly bother me, and yet one friend not calling me back, throw me for a loop?

 

I imagined a scenario where it wasn’t this friend, it was someone else. Would I be as bothered? Nope. It specifically was bothersome because I am really close to her. So why would that make it more bothersome, instead of less? What it comes down to, for me, is control. Because she is so close to me, it feels as if I have some control over what she does/how much she shows up for me or how she shows up for herself in her life. In a lot of ways, this is a great thing. Her and I have an incredible relationship - one where we can really hold each other accountable, both within the relationship, and for each other in our separate lives. And, generally speaking, I am grateful that I am the type of friend that will help you hold yourself accountable, and push you to be better. However, I sometimes put so much responsibility on myself to take charge in a relationship, that I start to feel like I have control over the other person. And if I feel like that, and they don’t do something I want them to do, I feel useless, not good enough, and upset (mostly with myself). 

 

So I started to look at this feeling of disappointment that I felt when my friend didn’t call me back, and comparing it to other moments in my life. Because actually, “disappointment” was sort of a disguise for feeling uncertain, not good enough, useless (or lack of control). I started to see that this feeling shows up all the time. I found various instances, recently, where I was trying to do something “right”, instead of doing it real. In relationships, sometimes I find myself doing things based on assumption of what I think they want or need, rather than what I truly need. In career, sometimes I find myself doing things that I think I should do, or what I think people want, rather than what is actually important to me. And recently, for my birthday, I found myself getting worried that I wasn’t doing anything “cool” or exciting for my birthday, rather than simply sticking with how I truly want to spend my birthday. I’ll also add that I have a terrible habit of picking at my skin, and I’ve known for some time that this habit must be emotionally related. No matter what I do with my diet, or skin care products, it doesn’t seem to change. And after this realization, I realized that the need to pick, is the same need to control. It’s like, if I can’t get what I want out there, I will control whatever I can over here. It’s like an OCD need for it to be perfect, since I know very well it’s not perfect. 

 

Phew. 

 

After letting this discovery sink in over the past couple of days, I’ll admit that today I was feeling really frustrated with it. I couldn’t get over the fact that I wanted to do things “right” or the “cool” way or in a way that other people would approve of, and I was frustrated with myself, because I know that authentically, and truthfully, that is not what I care about. I realized that part of the reason I was stuck in it, was because of an interaction I had with a woman the other day, who was basically telling me how I “should” teach something that’s very important to me. Her “should” was based on flashy moves and hype, not based on technique and honesty. Something that I don’t agree with. And yet, I felt threatened by her telling me to do it that way. In fact, I felt small - like I wouldn’t be good enough if I didn’t do it that way. 

 

So on the way to one of my classes today, I found myself a little stressed and tempted to bite my nails and pick my skin. And then I looked over at the guy in the car next to me, and he was biting his nails. And then I looked forward at the guy in front of me, and he was picking his skin. And then I kept looking at people as I drove past them, to see that almost every single person was doing something compulsive as they were driving. And I realized - we all have this need. Whether it manifests in a physical way, like biting nails, or not. We all have this need to maintain control over our lives, say, for instance, when we are stuck in uncontrollable traffic. And all of the sudden, that woman’s opinion on how I should teach, seemed irrelevant. She is going through her version of what she feels she needs to control. So the best thing I can possibly do, is teach it the way that’s authentic to me. Is continue to use my voice to teach honesty, and integrity. And to continue to value the things that are important to me, not the things that I think are important to others. 

 

CONTROL. It’s something that I am pretty good at. It is part of what makes me a good leader, teacher, and friend. And, letting go and accepting that not everyone or everything is going to go the way I want it to, even the ones I seemingly have a say in, allows me to live a little more authentically and fully. :) 

 

Learning everyday. And, looking forward to a day when picking and biting is no longer a need! 

Vulnerability is only weakness, if you believe your fears as truths

So the other day my friend was telling me about her and her ex-boyfriend, and how they are trying to become friends. We all know that is a daunting task, but I am a big believer that it is SO worth the while, if you care about them (and yourself and your healing!). Anyway, she was mentioning something that he keeps saying to her that is driving her crazy, and is hurting her. She told him to stop. When I suggested she think about his words from his point of view, and that maybe he didn’t mean them negatively, she said she felt that all the way through their relationship she was the one that was trying to understand him from his point of view, but that he never took the time to understand her.

 

So here we are in this predicament. “I do all the work, and they don’t, so I’m just gonna stop doing the work, to protect myself.” This is a super common reflex, or effort to set healthy boundaries. And, I don’t want to knock it down necessarily, because sometimes this is absolutely what you need. However, why do we feel the need to stop showing love, when the other person doesn’t give it in the same way we do? If we truly love them, it should not matter what we receive in return. And why does it feel like giving “love” with no return, is weakness? 

 

There a tons of definitions of what love is, but some common understandings of it are something like:

-love is accepting someone for all that they are, and all that they are not

-love is giving, selfless, and unconditional

-love keeps no record of wrongs, it does not boast

-etc

 

Love is not actually dependent on the other person. That being said, it doesn’t mean show up over and over for someone who isn’t showing up for you, but there is a way to walk in love, regardless of the circumstance, regardless of the other persons’ reaction, regardless of if it’s going how you want it to or not. 

 

So why do we do this? Why do we stop loving, when someone gets hurt? Or stop loving when someone isn’t giving us the commitment/time/affection/attention that we want? Or is that love at all?

 

Here are some of my thoughts:

 

Vulnerability is only a weakness, if you believe your fears as truths. 

 

Loving someone, regardless of their actions (unconditionally), is not a weakness, if you do not fear. But if you are worried they will abuse you, leave you, hurt you, manipulate you - then that very love and vulnerability, does become a weakness. It does put you out there to get hurt. 

 

In my friend’s case, she expressed that she was afraid he would never “choose” her. But if she truly knows that if he doesn’t choose her, it will be best for both of them, and that it will happen in the timeline it will happen - then she can fully trust. And she can continue to walk in love regardless of his wishy-washy-ness.

 

Often, we are afraid of someone leaving us, so we don’t want to fully put ourselves out there, because then if they leave it will be extra devastating. But what if we were simply not afraid of them leaving us. We would put ourselves out there, and even if they left, we would have an understanding of them because we love them, and chances are we would support them. And in that way, we provide the love and support to another human we care about, that is truly beautiful. 

 

Today I borrowed my friends’ pants (lol) and I had a moment where I was worried about spilling on them. Let me preface this story by saying my friend, whose pants they were, is a spill-er. Constantly dirtying things by being a (beautiful, fantastic) spazz. So I took a breath of ease knowing that, if I spilled, she would understand. And of course I was very careful ;). Silly example, but let’s think about it. Let’s equate her giving me her pants (when I gave her nothing in return), to giving someone love, or being vulnerable. She didn’t give me her pants worried about when I would return them or if I would ruin them or mad at me for taking them without giving her anything; she simply gave them away. Some might think of this as reckless, like I could take advantage of her and abuse that privilege - right? So it is vulnerable. However, her doing this is only a weakness if she believes in her fears. So in this case her fear would be something like, fear of me damaging the clothes, or not doing anything for her in return, or taking advantage of her niceness. But the thing is, my beautiful friend, does not believe those fears to be true! Yes, it’s in part because she trusts me, but I’ll venture to say, in the bigger scheme of things, it’s because she trusts herself to be ok if the pants get damaged, or to communicate to me if I start taking advantage of her and deal with it accordingly. She knows she can handle whatever repercussion comes of it. So the fear, is not a truth, it’s just a maybe thing that might happen one day. And she’s ok with it. 

 

Same thing in love. If you can see your fear, and acknowledge that a) it could happen and b) you’ll be ok if it does, that vulnerability is FREEDOM, rather than weakness. Love becomes POWER, rather than an open wound. 

 

*A reminder that love is not “do everything for someone else”, or something like that. Love is more like, accept someone and try to understand them regardless of if they are doing that for you. Love is care and support for a human, not for what that human gives to you. You can very well, love and care for someone from afar, so be careful that this “love” does not exhaust you. Love is powerful, not destructive. Love is your connection to yourself. YOU are worth it, regardless of what other people do with it.