Life brings everything. You are not doing life “wrong” if sometimes you are sad. If sometimes you don’t want to get off the couch. If you get angry with others. Life is highs and lows. Life is success and failure. Life is struggle and ease. Life is the complete human experience.
We can’t only embrace the highs and expect no lows. I would argue that you won’t enjoy the highs as much without also allowing for without judgement the lows. How can you savor the highest happiness with out also tasting deep sadness? How can you wallow in blissful peace with out standing in complete fear?
I am still learning to embrace all of it. To not judge myself for when I feel “less than enlightened.” LOL. I do, of course, want my life to be all sunshines, hugs and rainbows (and I have a lot of that) but the reality is that the human experience brings everything. I am not bad or wrong for not always being blissful. I don’t need to hammer judgement down on myself for feeling fear, anger, depression. I can just allow for all of those, embrace them and know that 1) they will pass just like everything else in life and 2) everyone… and I mean truly everyone, experiences this.
So sit back, relax and embrace it all. 🙂 We are lucky to be alive and experiencing it.
Recently, as you might be able to tell from reading this blog or the ZB Facebook page, I have been struggling with how to deal with fear. I started a regular meditation practice again, which honestly has been delightful and helpful. I was also looking the other day for a mantra that I might be able to use and focus on when I am feeling an increase in fear. I googled of course and found some but nothing that really hit me in my heart.
Then on Thanksgiving eve, I am sitting and watching Legends of Tomorrow with my husband. We literally watch every superhero show on TV right now. One character is talking to another one about being afraid and he says,
“Without fear there is no bravery.”
That was it for me. It got me in my heart. <3
It will be with me going forward to use as I step forward into whatever life is going to bring my way. I like the focus that I feel the mantra gives me. The focus is what will keep me stepping forward.
I also appreciate that the feeling of fear is a shared common experience that humans go through. (Which is why the characters on the show were talking about fear and how everyone I have asked about that feeling has some wisdom to impart.)
While that alone for me is worth just sharing. I would be remiss without adding the importance that my husband would place on me getting this from a TV show. He has always used entertainment movies, comics, shows, etc as sources for life lessons. He connects to it in ways I never have. So he will be happy when I tell him all that I picked up from the show last night. 🙂
Playing small feels easy.
Playing small feels safe.
Playing small is comfortable and allows for tiny, comfortable risks.
I know that the terms “living big” or “playing big” have always been the ones that make me cringe a little. It feels like too much. Playing big makes me fearful. Am I brave enough to play bigger? Can I allow for the fear? Will I have the courage to keep stepping foward?
Or do I accept what I know about myself and play safer? Keep things smaller. More controlled. Easier.
I know what all of the self help and leadership books tell me to do. I know what the memes on social media would encourage.
how will I let my life play out?
You know what I really hate?
When I see him, I get angry. I want to punch his sad mopey face. He is always sad. Always a party pooper even though he is surrounded by friends. He walks slow. He is hunchy and shuffling.
You know why he drives me so crazy? He is the visual representation of me at my worst. The part of me I am afraid I people are going to see and no longer like me. They will see how I get depressed for no reason. They will see how sad and tired I feel sometimes. They might see how I withdraw and yet try to silently shout my needs non-verbally. When I am deep in my space of “not-enoughness” and I see a picture of Eeyore, it makes me sick. I sometimes forget all of my kindness practice and I am not kind to me. I feel angry and impatient with myself that I can’t be different in the moment, that I can’t just talk myself out of this place.
I find it impossible to offer Eeyore any compassion. Fuck, dude. Pull your shit together. You are surrounded by happy friends. You are alive and besides the fact your tail constantly falls off you seem to have your health. Be happy dammit.
Ok, maybe it is myself I can’t offer compassion to in those moments. I still have work to do… in breathing, allowing, being kind when its the last thing I feel like doing.
Do you have a something/someone that represents you at your low points?
These past few weeks have brought many challenges as life tends to do. Physical pain, an ailing parent, tensions with a close friend, hormones, a lack of sleep. I was on my way home one evening and feeling pretty overwhelmed by everything. I was running lists of everything that was going wrong at the moment and how bad it all felt.
And then I remembered…
my favorite poem from Rumi. It talks about inviting all of your emotions in for tea. Welcoming them in like friends.
I took a breath.
I named everything I was feeling.
I turned in and faced everything. I welcomed them and allowed for them to be.
When I was done, I felt some more space. I was able to breathe better. It didn’t solve any of my problems. It didn’t all magically go away. I will still tired. My Dad still wasn’t better. I still was struggling with my friend. My back still hurt.
I wasn’t as overwhelmed. I felt more present. I felt more space between me and what was happening. That felt pretty darn good.
Recently, I did a little “Be Brave Everyday” challenge with my barbell group.
I challenged them to think about how they can be a bit braver in their day to day lives. Maybe figure out how to live a bit bigger each day.
For myself, I enjoyed just turning my focus towards bravery each day and seeing how it might show up. Some of it was big things like going to a women’s networking event and not knowing anyone. Some days it was small things like staying in extroverted mode a bit longer, rather than shutting down. Admittedly there were a few days when I didn’t know what, if anything to share at all.
I enjoyed what others were sharing and noticing and that we were all thinking about how we could be braver.
So I challenge you to be BRAVE every day… step into the fear and do it anyway. See what opportunities it creates, the people you connect with, what you notice about yourself about being brave.
Let me know how it goes.
I met a man recently who starts every day by saying out loud:
“Today is a fabulous day day full of opportunity and potential.”
Wow. How do you think that sets up his mindset for the day? What subconsciously might he be looking for and thinking about as his day unfolds? And how powerful it is that he is declaring every day as fabulous?
It made me realize that I have gotten out of the habit of setting my thoughts and attitude for the day. I sometimes grumble, I sometimes groan, I sometimes don’t think anything particular at all. I love the idea of being deliberate and positive with my first thoughts. I am planning on setting a task with a positive phrase that pops up the same time my alarm goes off so I can see it. Then I will see what I notice through out my day. What you pay attention to grows. 🙂
“I am going to eat X food and not feel bad about it!!”
I hear this all the time. While I love people working to not have hang-ups on certain foods , it makes me realize how programmed we are along the good foods/ bad foods line.. And how that goes even further to being good or bad people based on the food that was just consumed.
For me now, the only times I feel bad about eating a food is:
1) When I eat something that I KNOW makes me feel bad. Kindness is filling your body with foods that bring energy and nourishment. Not ones that leave you doubled over in pain for hours or effect you poorly in other ways. This is important to consider with people who have food allergies or diabetes but I feel like most of us know what fuels us.
2) When I eat in quantities that make me feel sick. This is my one big rule. I don’t ever want to me laying in bed at night feeling terrible because I ate too much. It is not kind to stuff yourself to over capacity. Bingeing is not kind. Kindness is enjoying, savoring and having exactly enough.
What if nothing was forbidden? What if there was no guilt? How might you eat? Would you have food rules for yourself?
These past few months have been full.
Full of energy. Full of fears. Full of busy things. Full of learning. Full of conversations. Full of what ifs? Full of leaps of courage. Full of mind. Full of heart.
I love when I get in these big learning cycles. Sometimes I get those moments where I feel I am on the edge of something huge that I can’t quite wrap my arms, heart and brain around. But it is close. I can hardly wait to see what all of this learning brings. Where it takes my life, my experiences, my gym, my relationships.
Are you able to recognize the big learning times in your life? Maybe where you feel like you are drinking through a fire hose? Where you feel off balance most of the time? Where you feel fear but know you are heading in the right direction? Can you relate to that feeling of being close to some bigger understanding but not quite there yet?? I would love to hear about it.
On the clothes you wear. On how you behave. On things you think. On what or how much you eat. On the size and shape of your body.
Even if you bend over backwards trying to comply with whatever the society/community/group standard is, someone somewhere will judge you.
You have absolutely zero control over what other people think.
So do what fucking makes you happy. Wear the outfit you want to wear. I hear from people all the time who are afraid to wear a certain shirt, outfit, shorts, bathing suit because of what others might say. Be brave and wear it anyway. I can’t tell you how many times while eating With friends I hear the phrase “don’t judge me”. Relax, savor and enjoy what ever is in front of you. Pick the foods that bring you joy and nourish you. Sometimes that is going to be a beautiful salad, sometimes it’s funnel cake. Love to dance? Do it! Love lifting weights? Awesome. Learn good form from a good coach and don’t worry about being judged in the weight room.
Life is too short to hold yourself back in worrying about others judgments and expectations.
It does take practice being brave. The more you do it and stronger you will be come and the less fucks that will be given towards people who may want to tear you down or whose opinions don’t matter anyway.
Love your life. LIVE your life. Be brave. Be your amazing self. You’ve got this!! 👊🏻❤️