The Moment of Your Truth

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Hey soul sister: you can listen to me read this blog post {8 min, 4 sec}

How long have you known?

You were born knowing your Truth. You knew that then, before you were told otherwise. And of course, you know that now, but at some point, you may have started walking it back, hiding it away, or even dismissing or diminishing what you know to be true for all the right reasons.

Maybe you wanted to fit in, or not get in trouble, or perhaps you noticed that the people around you didn't understand or, that there was no context in which you could understand the Truth of your being so you dismissed it, diminished it. Simply put, you walked away from yourSelf, as so many of us do.

I honor you and the desire to belong. We do the best we can, don't we?

You circled back to truth.

If you are here, at some point, you began to circle back. You got curious. Or maybe you got sick. Or you just got fed up. There may have been a catalytic event that propelled you to find what you hid away so long ago. You felt the longing to come home to your own Soul, to the knowing of your heart. 

You came home to yourSelf and your longing to live your magic, yes, but also to share it with the world. To teach, to coach, to support others in their own expression of wholeness. 

The uncomfortable edge.

In making the return journey home to your knowing, to your heart, to your soul's essence, you find the journey is challenging. For all the "bliss" that is promised, the truth is, the path can be brutal. Yes, beautiful and yes, brutal. 

One of the edges that I am most fascinated by both in myself, and in others, is that even as we spiral inward toward essence, toward fully embodying the truth of true nature and the work that we are called to, there are ongoing challenges. 

Bliss or no bliss, the urge to deny, dismiss or diminish what we know is true is destructive -- this urge creates distance and does real harm. An internalized prison that keeps us at a safe distance from the heart of our truth and the work we are truly here to do. 

The lies we tell ourselves and others.

Language matters. Too often, I hear my clients or women I know speaking about themselves in ways that keep them shackled. 

"Oh, I'm just doing this little thing..."
"I'm so afraid, which means I suck and I'm never going to...."
"I do this weird thing..."
"I can't share this because people will think..."
"I have no idea what I'm doing, I'm so stupid...."

I hear variations on these sentences daily in my own head and from the mouths of clients. These kinds of statements, allowed to run the show unchecked, become painfully embedded in our psyches, amplifying our fear and diminishing our ability to be fully and joyfully ourselves in the world. 

I've been actively rooting out this language for years and still, it persists. As I've named it for what it is -- self-perpetuated violence -- I've taken it more seriously and it's drastically improved. Maybe it will never go away, but I understand just how important this is for our individual and collective liberation. It seems like such a small thing, easily overlooked as not so important -- there is an impulse to diminish and dismiss the way we diminish and dismiss ourselves. But these statements are lies. Flat. Out. Lies.

Call it what it is and let's try something different. 

The moment of your truth.

How we speak to, and about ourselves, either draws us closer to ourSelves and others, or creates distance. It may be one of the most important aspects of our development as humans.  How we speak to, and about ourselves, is the very foundation of our self-worth, of our relationships, the health and wellbeing of our communities and of the success of our work in the world. It is the heartbeat of how we communicate with others, how we connect and our language either fosters, or fractures, our sense of belonging. 

You and I have the great good fortune (and burden) of living into ways of being and working that are undefined, and therefore undervalued, by our society. We have a choice to continue perpetuating the language of dismissal and diminishment or to commit to grounding ourselves in the truth. 

When faced with the crappy, diminishing, and dismissive words that spill out of your mouth, take a moment to find and speak your truth and let me begin by telling you what I know for sure about you. 

  • You do work at the edges where spirit meets matter and our current language cannot possibly contain the mystery of you and your work in the world.
  • You are afraid because walking in places without a compass or a map takes courage and you have that in spades, don't you? 
  • You do work that deeply serves the world. You know this by the impact that you have on people, whether they can articulate it or not.
  • You must share who you are because otherwise, you will never feel a true sense of belonging nor will others be able to receive you fully if you hide and that would be sad for everyone.
  • You may not know what the long-term plan is, but that is okay because you are called and your soul knows the way.

It's okay to say these things. To stop diminishing and dismissing yourself. To draw close to your truth and to give others the chance to see you clearly, to teach them the truth of who you are and in doing so, who they are.

With great tenderness, embrace the truth.

It is turning toward yourSelf, and your truth -- even (especially) when it's uncomfortable -- that liberates and empowers. You live and breathe at the very edge of human awareness and language. You are operating in the mystery. At this edge, you are expanding the conscious knowing of what is real and creating the language as you go. This is revolutionary work, and, make no mistake, it is changing the world we live in.

Speak to, and about yourself, with great care, sister. As you do, may the world open to you with warm celebration of the gifts you carry for yourself, for all of us. 


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Listen to me speak it and today, I sing a little, too {8 min, 32 sec}:

The ocean refuses no river, no river
The ocean refuses no river, no river
halleluj, halleluj
— Origins: Sufi Chant

"The Ocean Refuses No River."

This beautiful chant was taught to me when I was becoming a yoga teacher at Kripalu in 2003. I have no idea what teaching our leaders were offering or the context, but I remember this morning more clearly than any other of my training. Our group sang this in rounds, with drums and it has lived in me ever since, surfacing in the days that I most need to deepen in my understanding of receiving. 

Recently, this chant has been waking me up in the morning. I've been humming it during my days. I sing it when I'm tending altars in the morning, considering, again, what it means to receive. 

Are you open to receive?

Or, do you struggle to receive? Maybe I should ask, do you struggle to receive the goodness that life has to offer? Most women, maybe you, too -- receive criticism, the other shoe, abuse, dismissal with a set jaw and an expectation that there is more of that to come. 

In my own life and in my coaching practice, I see a profound ongoing struggle with receiving. I often invite women to set an intention to open to receive. On an intellectual level, we may understand that when we ask to receive, we are opening to receive joy, ease, abundance, love, light, support and peace. But the shadow of the desire to receive is the fear of what else will arrive. What else must be endured in order to "receive" the goodness? 

Filtering seems like wisdom.

On some level (like most women I know, including myself) you may be trying to filter what you receive -- blocking out what you don't want to receive: the anger, the hard words, the judgement, the pain, the shame, the devaluing... whatever it is, you may be unconsciously struggling to suppress, or keep the negative out of your experience.

Another facet of resisting is only seeing challenges and hard stuff because on some level, you don't believe you can have the abundance, the joy, the peace, the support, the love that you want. Why? Perhaps it's the context of modern culture, or you don't want to be a bad citizen, or make anyone jealous or have too much good stuff come your way. Because as much as we, as a culture, have an aversion to so-called negative emotions or circumstances there is an equal and opposite judgement of those who have it really, really good. 

It's a lose-lose situation, no matter which way you lean.

Unfortunately, whether you are trying to block the negative or you are afraid to receive goodness for fear of judgement, It's a tight corner, it's uncomfortable. It's a brittle and exhausting space to be in. Goodness, joy and abundance are hiding in plain sight, but you aren't able to receive it and take it in because you are shut off from receiving in general or you've denied yourself the joy of receiving the good stuff. 

These attempts to filter become cages of numbness and misery that, in my experience, truly suck the life out of living. 

Becoming the ocean. 

As I've considered this chant, and what it might mean to be the ocean that refuses no river, I've recognized my own willingness to receive the challenges and work with them consciously. I've recognized deeper layers of resistance to really, truly, deeply receiving the abundance and the good stuff out of fear of judgement - both my own and others. 

So what would it mean to be the ocean? It is an exhalation. A softening of the entire body. It is a solid-gold awareness of the sacred resources that we have to welcome, and work wisely, with whatever life holds. It is a deep knowing that no one can choose the circumstances of life, but we can decide how we will respond. It is open arms, yes, but also a capacity to choose, to transform and to learn from what is here, right now -- both the exquisite and the challenging. 

Funny enough, when I become the ocean, I find that what is present more often than not is the joy, the abundance, the sweetness, the love, the connection[- and the sense of purposeful contribution that I deeply enjoy. Yes, the challenges definitely are there and, when I am the ocean, I know exactly how to address the challenges: I can speak up, I can say no, I can feel it all the way through, I can learn from it, I can let it go, I can protest... and I can also widen the lens to see the goshawk soaring above the neighborhood. I can lean into the love of my family and friends. I can step outside and feel my connection to the earth. I can eat an avocado fresh from my tree or spend time with the roses.

In other words, you and I can make as much space for the incredible goodness of life on earth as we do for the problems and the challenges we face individually and collectively. 

This is sanity.

In 12-step programs, they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. It is time to collectively recreate our relationship to receiving as women -- let's sink into the idea of being the ocean that refuses no river.

Learn this chant. Sing it with me. Get off of your phone, or your computer, and step outside. Stop over-identifying with what is wrong and gently open to what is right. Immerse yourself in water. Become the ocean and, yes, acknowledge and work consciously with the challenges but please affirm the joy, the goodness, the beauty and the love. Let yourself be nourished by the abundance that is within you and all around you. 

Refuse no river, sister. Be the ocean.


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Photo by Jon Del Rivero on Unsplash

The ongoing journey of self-worth

You were born with an intact sense of self. 

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Rather hear it? Listen to me read this post {9 minutes, 48 seconds}

However, early on, we are indoctrinated into ideas about worthiness that lead us to believe that worth is to be found outside of ourselves -- in how we are perceived and received by those around us: another’s assessment or gaze or our monetary value or the work we do or our beauty. 

This focus on recognition is the air we breathe.

Consider gender bias, not to mention racial and sexual bias — consider all the ways society narrowly defines who and what is worthy or most often, unworthy. Then there are the insidious ideas and lived experience of needing to “earn” your keep, needing to perform, being expected to be pleasing (or not), or to be quiet, having your ideas dismissed, diminished or worse, stolen. And the hits keep rolling, don't they? 

Let's not forget the ever-present societal focus on beauty: body shape, size and image, looks and fashion that keep many women from the very real work of speaking up, making a powerful contribution, or simply living fully out of a sense of shame and unworthiness. If you aren't beautiful or perfect by some nebulous standard of beauty, no one wants to hear from you. 

Every day reminders abound that to be worthy you must be something other than who you are. It's all such profound bullshit, isn't it?

This dynamic is changing and being challenged, thank all that is holy and good. Yet it is so important to remember and to recognize that it isn't just you. That alone, in my experience, can loosen the chains. Because often, self-worth (or lack thereof) is viewed as a personal failing, but, if you grow up in western society, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to have a real sense of your true and innate worthiness unless you’re willing to reject societal norms to some degree. 

Sad secret: NO ONE feels worthy in this system. 

Not even the people who think they are writing the rules of worth. Why? Because worth cannot be defined by someone else, by a society, or by what we accumulate or do.

Worth doesn’t need to be earned. It’s who you are.

The work that the women I know have done to heal from these damaging ideas and circumstances is breathtaking — and, I’ve not met a woman for whom it’s truly done and over. We continue to dance with healing self-worth on an individual and collective level, perhaps in perpetuity. At least for now.

Most people, for some period of time, try hard to meet those societal expectations. I know I sure did. Of course we want to believe that if all of the ever-changing requirements are met, then a sense of worthiness will magically be ours. Many people stay locked in this game their whole lives and my hypothesis is that this is why addiction runs rampant in our culture — because addiction is a reasonable response to wanting to be seen and celebrated for who we are, but not knowing how to cultivate those qualities because we are told our worth - and every good thing in life -- lies outside of ourselves. 

My guess is that you are beyond believing these lies.

That you, like I, discovered at some point that no matter what milestone you reached (more money, better hair, fixed teeth, the right weight, the big house, a killer wardrobe, the PhD, the job…. name your own) that any sense of worthiness and accomplishment was fleeting at best. But even knowing that, and moving past much of it, there are likely places where you experience a lingering lack of self-worth. In other words, you may still be pinning your desire for an embodied sense of self-worth on external validation. 

In any case, knowing that there is no external reference point for self-worth is very good news — because that means you are, and have been, moving closer to a living embodiment of the truth about self-worth: self-worth is something that you can only find within you. 

Your WHY is everything.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting the PhD, wanting to be strong and sleek, to wanting the job or to be fired up to be in the movie. In fact, I believe with all my heart we are here to create, to express ourselves, to master our chosen work, to move in the direction of our desires, hopes and dreams. To experience all that we are capable of and what is possible as a human. However, the difference in why you want something -- for external praise and validation or because it will bring you joy -- changes everything. 

The difference between wanting those things so you feel differently about yourself or so you get recognized by others versus doing it because you feel an impulse and a desire and an excitement within you -- those two motivations are worlds apart. The experienced results are vastly different as well: the former will leave you feeling empty and hungry for more while the latter is a celebration of you and all that you are. 

The Invitation: Choose yourSelf

I suspect you know first hand how it feels to do something to fill a sense of lack vs. something done because it is yours to do and you do it joyfully. Just off the top of my head I can name jobs, relationships, entire careers, ways I've shown up in public, and how I exercise and eat -- where I Intimately know the difference between showing up inspired and in alignment with mySelf versus doing it to fill a gaping hole in my sense of worth.

So get close to yourself -- what does it feel like? What is the difference for you between these two states of being? Embrace this vast range of experience with an open and compassionate heart. No matter how much you've done for glory, love or recognition vs. inspired action that is aligned with your heart, you have learned and grown. It is part of the journey. Those experiences and that wisdom is yours.  

And, you get to choose. I choose to practice aligning with my heart and soul. I've had enough of that aching empty feeling when the recognition and praise stops and I'm left with only myself. Maybe you are done with that, too. By acting in alignment with your own wisdom and your own sense of what you value and who you want to be and what you want to contribute to the world, you are guaranteed to amplify your sense of self-worth through your actions and feel good about the results no matter who else likes it or recognizes what you've done. 

Make no mistake, this is a powerful state of being in which to move through the world. Whole, sovereign, and worthy. Let's keep moving in that direction, together.

Tell me everything.

Where are you on your journey of self-worth? What are you noticing about the tension between seeking external praise and validation versus turning inward and seeking your own approval? What frontiers are you exploring on your journey to a greater sense of self-worth? 


Come, Practice with Me.

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