Category Archives: free thinking

The Road to OZ

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The Road to OZ

It’s been 2.5 years since I last sat down and gave attention to this blog.  Since I gave attention to the writing I love so dearly and the tool in which I most effectively process life’s shifting landscape.   The tool that allows me to bring connection to my circles.

In these 2.5 years, I have been wrestling with purpose, passion, values, self-worth, belief, and a loud inner critic that has invited me to play small.  I bought in to the lies of that critic.  The lies that it doesn’t matter if I write my stories.  It doesn’t matter if I share those stories.  It doesn’t matter if I stop bringing you in to my world.  It doesn’t matter if I live in alignment with my integrity and values system.  It doesn’t matter if I shave off a little edge of my authenticity to help people digest my life’s journey.  I bought in to the lie that in order to stay safe, to survive, I had to shed a part of me that others may not appreciate.  I chose silence.  I chose complacency.  I chose to don the masks.

At the beginning of 2017 (my 40th birthday), I began to tame that nasty inner critic.  I got clear on my values. I stepped back in to alignment.  I started creating visions of all that I wanted to manifest and I threw caution to the wind taking a trust fall straight in to the arms of the loving Universe.  I had Absolute clarity that it was time to quit playing small and it was time to step in to my power.

So it turns out that it DOES matter if I share my stories.  It matters to me.  And when I flow from that place of alignment, that place of listening, my stories stir something in others because we are all connected.  We are all taking this life journey together.  My story is your story or the story of someone you know.   I hope my sharings will inspire, push boundaries, cause you to listen to your universal nudges, step in to alignment with yourself and your 2017-07-13 07.56.57values, take risks, spark imagination, and if nothing else, help you to connect to the world around you.  Sitting here, at my desk in the Costa Rican Rainforest (more on that to come!), letting the words spill out of me, I have this elation.   I’m semi-giddy with excitement.  I’m hopeful the story munchkins will forgive my 2.5 year denial of their existence and visit me often going forward.   I’m fully committed to honoring the words whispered to me in the night, and on my runs, and any time they smack me upside the head singing in their munchkin voices, “This world you are experiencing is just SO magnificent.  Share the wonderment! Follow the yellow brick road.”

This blog will continue to cover a vast array of topics that will include family adventures, travel, living in Costa Rica, nature-inspired learnings, and general sharings of something that lights me up or makes me go hmmmm.  I will continue to spill the thoughts of living a freethinking, open-spirited family life.  I will have a secondary wordpress blog at SoGoodSoPure (coming very soon!) that will cover topics related to my Coaching Business.  There you will find topics geared toward women who are wanting to shed shame, learn vulnerability, find their authentic voice, step in to their unique power, and begin sharing their gifts with the world.  Both blogs will continue to be intimate and sometimes raw in their content.  Not all stories are happy stories but that does not lessen their need to be shared.  Life is messy and in the messy is where we feel most alone. Sharing our stories can be the catalyst of connection and ease our loneliness.  This is what I seek to do.  I fully believe that a life unmasked, a life untidy, is a life worth living. And the more we show up authentically in this big big world the more the world will heal.

That said, it weighed heavily on me as to whether or not I should go through and deleteyellowbrickroad the old posts in this blog as some are controversial, some are angry, and some are misplaced. I concluded that those blogs are the bricks that paved my yellow brick road.  The stories, releases, perspectives, and feelings were necessary and are NOT meant to be erased in order to appease an audience of readers.  If you aren’t a fan of the journey I traveled to be where I am today, no problem.  Maybe instead, appreciate that the journey brought you the content you are reading today.  These new sharings of my life experiences/observances are the next yellow bricks in what is certain to be a lifetime of brick laying because I’m not certain one ever reaches OZ.

Journey On, Readers.   Journey On.

I Choose to LOL (Live Out Loud)

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imagesAbout a month ago, I was in a real slump.  I was feeling inferior to other people (particularly women).  I was feeling insecure and questioning my worth as a human being.  I was feeling ugly and negatively judging my body.  I was feeling self conscious in my old mini-van and it’s lack of cool.   I was resenting my role as a mom.  The boys, they too, had stolen my cool factor.  I was doubting my ability to go back in to the work force and contribute quality work that others would value.  I began to become dissatisfied with the size of my home, the style of my clothes, the color of my hair, the small number in my bank account.  I was comparing, judging, and sitting in the ugliness of the stories my mind was creating and buying. The lies began their sneaky little job of creating this web of madness within me.

Once I realized that this funk was turning ugly and affecting the way I was viewing the world and treating the people around me, I decided I needed to take a hard look at what had changed to cause such unhappiness.  Adam had been out of town during this period of downward spiraling and I had engaged in a lot of, what I believed to be, harmless fun.  I watched Bachelor in Paradise from beginning to end.  I watched the Kardashians.  I lazily browsed on Pinterest and Etsy while watching music videos.  And I was on social media much more frequently…even adding the FB app to my phone.  Media was actually affecting my view of the world.  My view of self.

And there it was, the answer was that simple. I am sensitive to what I view and can easily fall victim to the solicitous agenda of media. I know that not everybody will be as sensitive as I am to overt sexuality and portrayals of what women should be.  Some of us are more sensitive to violence or consumerism or the top ten lists of how to be perfect in some fashion of life from parenting, religion, or home organization. We are all comparing ourselves to a standard sold to us. We are always “failing” at something according to someone. Even if that someone lives inside an electronic box selling a non-existent one-size-fits-all-perfection-solution.  I bought in to the lies, sold to me by the people inside that box, that my 36-year-old female self was all washed up. If I don’t look like the Kardashians, sell sex like JLo, have the same perky body of the women competing for “love” on Bachelor in Paradise, if I’m not as perfect as all my “friends” on FB, and if I’m not buying or wearing the latest/greatest…well then I’m not worth anything. I’m not attractive. My husband won’t want me for much longer. I need to make changes. Run faster. Workout harder. Get a six pack. Make more money. Eat less. Dress sexier. I’m clearly inadequate. I need to be better. Lie after lie quickly building a foundation of self hatred. I wanted to hide my insecurities from all of you. From my friends, my family, my husband. I wanted to appear stronger and more secure than I was. And so I hid. I had been hiding other areas of my life and just added my insecurities and self hatred to the dark corner of other secrets.  The longer I hid, the more insecure I felt. I was now living a false truth. Another mark against my clearly flawed self.

Lucky for me (and those around me), I was quick to recognize that my thoughts were turning into an ugly infestation and I was able to reflect quietly enough to identify the culprit. That damn media had its grasp again. I immediately turned off the media inputs, reached out to my girlfriends and was open about how I was feeling and I soon found myself worthy again. As I rid my life of the noise shouting at me who I was, who I wasn’t, and who I should be, I found who I really am.   In the silence, I found that I am me. Perfect me. And you are you. Perfect you.

 

One way that I have found my center time and time again is to be vulnerable in sharing. I find great healing in sharing in this blog. I become connected to those around me when I let down my guard and show vulnerability in sharing my struggles. I find that others open up and share too. We build a safe community where we can be real and genuine no matter where we are in our journeys. I recognized in this time of disliking myself that I had stepped away from my purpose of living out loud. I had started to hide for fear of being judged. I had gone inward and become alone. I had lost some of my integrity. I needed a good kick start to getting back to a life of vulnerability and authenticity. I was given that good kick-in-the- ass a few weeks ago when I had the pleasure of attending an event in which Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, wa10174916_10152050667061493_5333993137919276168_ns speaking. In that forum, she spoke about Radical Honesty. Cheryl’s belief was the equivalent of my belief of living out loud. Here was a woman who was baring her life in a truly authentic way and I, along with so many others, connect with this type of vulnerability. I felt the pull and encouragement to come out of hiding and begin sharing again.

 

I’ve started by sharing my deep, dark, scary secrets with my best friend, my husband. He’s held such a safe space for me and encouraged me to share whatever my heart needs to share. With his encouragement, I am ready to restart the practice of Living Out Loud with Radical Honesty. I hope that you all will continue to hold a safe space for my sharing, for the sharing of others, and find your safe spaces for vulnerability too. Start by sharing one secret with someone you find trustworthy. Or even begin by writing down the scariest secret you can think of sharing and burn it or bury it. Just writing it down is one step toward healing and letting it go. Freedom from the lie that secret has sold you.  I think you’ll find the more you share the less scary it becomes. And you’ll start to love you a helluva a lot more. Others will gravitate toward you because your energy will be absolutely pure. And, before you know it, you’ll not only be your own safe place but a safe place for others to practice Radical Honesty.

 

So who’s with me? Who’s ready to LIVE OUT LOUD? Journey with me, Friends! Let’s change ourselves, our circles and our communities with a little bit of Radical Honesty!

 

 

 

 

Starting Overs

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I read about this wonderful project in Oregon,promoted by Oregon Humanities,called “Dear Stranger.”  Participating had a pull on me and I immediately knew I wanted in.  The very thought of exchanging a letter with a stranger fluttered my heart.  I was excited to find my own truth in this project and I am equally excited to hear my stranger’s story or remembrance, his/her  interpretation of what ‘start’ means.

Below is the letter I wrote to my stranger:

We were told to write about starts.  First starts, second starts, good starts, bad starts.  Naturally I began to think about my starts.  It caused me to pause and examine the “starts” I remember.  What was significant about them?  What emotions were present?  How did I grow and what was gained?  Lost?  I’m not yet 40 and, yet, my short life has seen its fair share of starts.  An abundance of starting overs.  Some by choice.  Some be the choices of others.  Some in which I felt empowered.  A trailblazer.  An adventure seeker.  Others in which I felt powerless, helpless, and bound by fear.

As I write this, I’m recognizing that I was never powerless.  I was never without choice.  I have always had choices in how I responded to forces beyond my control.  Forces sometimes so mighty, so loud that the only choice was to start over.  But I got to choose how that starting over would look.  What path it would take and whether I would choose to hate it, resist it, allow the power to jade me.

I have certainly resisted at times.   I have suffered deeply for not accepting what is.  I have suffered for trying to protect and cocoon all I owned and what I believe I owned.  In these starting overs I have seen that ownership, control, safety…these are illusions.  We never truly own, control, or create safety.  We simply believe we do.  I don’t say this out of bitterness but quite the opposite.  I say this because I have seen freedom in the letting go of all I wanted to possess physically and emotionally.  I’m free to acknowledge life circumstances for what they are.  Mostly outside of my control. Oh!  The freedom in that knowledge.

I have found that ‘starting overs’ are gifts.  If we welcome them, move with them, invite the lessons that lie within.  Stop wrestling with them. Surrender.

Truly each and every day is a starting over.  Each day we can choose how to flow with new beginnings.  Right now, if I fully invite my starting overs into my life, I believe I’ll continue to grow in empathy, love, and kindness.  And, so, I do just that.  I invite starting over in my career.  In my husband’s career.  I accept the challenges with my children and choose to love them deeper tomorrow.  I accept the financial struggle and uncertainty that comes with two years of unemployment.  I acknowledge my feelings and emotions and I appreciate the opportunity to know them more intimately.  I cherish the starting over with my husband.

Daily starting overs.  Each day new opportunities.  New growth.  I guess I’m truly grateful for this life, for the ability to choose, for the endless days of beginning again.  This breath always new, therefore each breath is, in essence, starting over.

*Deep Sigh*

I Want in the Game

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IMG_1984Last week the boys were out enjoying every moment of being snowed in and off of school.  I sat watching them through the window from the warmth and comfort of my couch.  I could hear and see their excitement each time they flew down our street on sleds.  But I was simply an observer.

I had this moment while I was watching them.  This moment when I recognized just how fully they live.  Every moment is for the taking. Every day is a new adventure.  They don’t allow fear to keep them from attempting some new trick.  Instead they fly forward with every ounce of gusto they can muster up.  If they fall, it’s not failure.  It’s an opportunity to adjust and try differently.  Snow, new people, trampolines, beaches, skateboards…all new opportunities to dive in and experience!  Without hesitation or expectation.

As I watched, I realized I want to be more like them.  More childlike.  Less afraid.  Fewer hesitations and expectations.  I don’t want to sit on the sidelines of life watching from behind a window.  No!  I want in the game! IMG_1986

The game was happening and it was not a time to be passively observing.  So I geared up to sled with the boys and raced down that hill screaming and laughing and experiencing the joy of being a participant.  I was living life beside them.

Later that evening I questioned whether I had consistently been avoiding moments or opportunities that required me to explore new ideas, push through fears, drop my preconceived barriers, leap without thought, or live with gusto.  I have sidelined myself often in the past.  This time my questioning brought me to an answer that I was really pleased with.  I was happy to learn that I have been making forward progress.  I am taking more risks.  I am opening myself up to ideas and experiences that had sat behind tightly closed doors.  For most of my life I have more often said ‘no’ than ‘yes’.  Now I am saying a lot more ‘maybe’ and ‘yes’.  And that feels amazing.

I started jotting down experiences I’ve had over the past few years that required me to drop my inhibitions and allow myself to be fully vested in life.  Some of these I’ll write about in more length.  Some are only significant to me.

  • I questioned my religion and became an atheist
  • I went to Haiti after the earthquake and volunteered at an orphanage
  • I tried on being a vegetarian and made it 8 months.  I’m ready to get back on the vegetarian wagon.
  • I started practicing yoga
  • I ran another marathon
  • I marked running HTC off my bucket list
  • I smoked weed
  • I moved and started a new life
  • I took a leap and started over with my husband
  • I floated in a deprivation tank (twice)
  • I tested not owning a microwave.  I will likely never own another microwave in my lifetime.
  • I signed up for an intensive journaling workshop
  • I went to a co-ed clothing optional spa and took my clothes off
  • I learned to SUP
  • I put purple in my hair
  • I started making all natural skin care products and selling them
  • I organized a girl’s weekend with brand new friends
  • I went off my anxiety meds and focused on more self-awareness
  • I submitted my paperwork to get my CVT license re-activated so I can get started on my career again
  • I said ‘maybe’ instead of ‘no’ to a friend who invited me to a progressive church.  I concluded with no but I gave it space first.
  • I accepted an invitation to write a children’s book and wrote it.  And I believe it’s good.

Fear is slowly losing its power over me and the more I accept fear, without fear having the control, the more I’m invested in this game of life.  Fear is in me but fear does not define me.  Nor does fear need to define my experiences.  I realize that we can coexist as long as I remember who’s in charge.  I am in charge.

I am in charge and I’m here to play!

I’d love to hear your stories in which you challenged yourself to push beyond fear.  Journey on, Readers.

 

He Said What?!? (Free Thinkers)

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I’m trying to teach my boys to be free thinking.  To ask lots of questions.  Seek answers that make sense.  Here’s a few conversations from the week that absolutely make my heart full.

Out of nowhere:

G (age 6):  I’ve decided I want to be the government.

Us;  Why?  

G:  If I’m the government I get everyone’s taxes and I’ll be super rich.

Us:  (A quick lesson in responsibility of government and some of the things our taxes are used for)

G:  Nevermind.  Maybe I don’t want to be the government.  I just want to be rich.

Us:  It usually costs people a lot to be rich.  They often sacrifice time and relationships and health.  Just something to think about.  We can’t wait to hear your next big idea!

Taxes

Taxes (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

Yesterday, the boys and I sat down to watch this video.

http://screen.yahoo.com/operation-plumbbob-134423632.html

In brief the video is about the US government using soldiers to experiment with the Abomb.  It cost these soldiers exposure to high levels of radiation and many of them suffered at the hands of cancer.

J:  I can’t believe it, mom!  Can you believe it?  That’s just disgusting.

Me:  What can’t you believe, J?  What’s upsetting to you?

J:  The government.  The military.  The US government cared more about their bombs than they did their soldiers.  They didn’t care what happened to those soldiers.  They only cared about their bombs.  That makes me super angry and super sad.  They should care about people.

Me:  I agree with you, J.  Sadly, this kind of stuff happens all the time.  Sometimes on a lesser scale.  Sometimes it’s just a boss that cares more about money than his employees.  Sometimes it’s cigarette makers or advertisers in general who care more about selling their product than how that product will hurt people.  We have to think about everything that we are asked to do.  Even if the government is asking it of us.  Do you think those soldiers knew how badly their bodies were being hurt?

J:  I don’t know.  They did say they could see their bones and the bombs burned their skin.  But they probably had to make money by being a soldier so they could feed their kids.  And I don’t think the government gave them a choice.  Uhhhhhh, I’m so mad.  Care about people, seriously!

Me:  J, your empathy for people and your ability to think about ideas that others don’t makes you super beautiful.  I love your spirit.

J:  That bomb was really pretty cool until you know how many people it hurt.  

Me:  Yep.  Bombs are pretty spectacular.  Imagine how much damage an A-bomb would cause if it’s dropped on your city.  Pretty sad stuff.

J:  Yeah, I can’t wait to tell dad this.  He’s never gonna believe it.  Our government.  Our very own government.  Definitely not gonna believe it.

Atomic Bomb Test

Atomic Bomb Test (Photo credit: San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives)

On a lighter note S has been thinking about France from a perspective I’ve never though about.

S:  Is the Eiffel Tower surrounded by a force field?

Me:  No, why?

S:  Maybe not just the Eiffel Tower but France.  Is France protected by a force field?

Me:  I’m not following, S.  Why do you think the Eiffel Tower and France are surrounded by a force field?

S:  Because there’s always men who look like they can’t get past the force field there.  They’re always like this (mimics a mime).

Me:  (laughing)…those men are mimes.  They are pretending to be stuck behind something like a glass wall, an invisible wall, or a force field I guess.

S:  Oh, I just thought that’s how the Eiffel Tower was guarded so nobody could get past.

Me:  It’s really fun to think of it that way.  Thanks for the laugh this morning.

S/Me:  Laughing and miming our way out of my force field protected bedroom.

Trocadero

Trocadero (Photo credit: Gwenaël Piaser)