Listen to my voice telling you this story by clicking here.

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Something within you knows that you bring a seeing, a knowing, a perspective to this world that, once expressed, might just (and probably will) change everything. So far, you’ve kept it under the radar and off the grid. But within, you are intuitively certain of the capacity you hold, the reason you’re here, the gift you have to give that defies our every expectation. You can (sometimes) feel it. You can (usually) sense it. You are (mostly) sure. You have been waiting and watching and planning and dreaming and…holding back.

It’s just out of your reach. It’s just on the edge. It’s (seemingly) just outside your door. And…it’s a lot: unleashing this much power, this much might, this much brilliance, this much passion, this much you. 

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You’re not quite ready to leave this place. Not yet.

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One day, one moment, probably when you are least expecting it, your very Heart will knock on your door. You will watch it step boldly, winsomely, breathtakingly across the threshold. You will feel its energy, your adrenalin, the thrill. Every condition will be right and you’ll know, with a flash of insight and wave of emotion, that this is it. And you will hear it say, “Yes. This is it.” Finally. At long last. The Breakthrough.

Or so you think.

On that same day, just a moment later (or is it sooner?), right on its wings, another guest arrives. You didn’t invite this one, but it always seems to show up – forceful, pushy, well-known. It’s your Head. Wrestling its way into the room, it sounds something like this: “Oh no, no, NO! Now is not the time. You’re not strong enough, smart enough, known enough, important enough, brave enough…yet. Wait a while longer. Think on it. Don’t rush into anything. You should hold back.”

But something about this day and this moment is different. Something shifts. Stars align. Your confidence soars. Your body knows. And your wiser, calmer, truer, bravest self invites both your Heart and your Head to join you. You welcome them in. You offer them unparalleled kindness, hospitality, and conversational reign. Your Head gulps strong black coffee; determined, focused, on-task. Your Heart sips peppermint tea; bemused. You open up an Excel spreadsheet for one and open up space, period, for the other. Your Head goes to work while your Heart “just” dances. You allow the familiar fear, insecurity, and cynicism, the checks and balances, the pros and cons, the conservative, safe, protective stance, the logic, the reason, your heavy sigh. Simultaneously, you are captivated by the lack of restraint, the hope, the magnificence, the imagination, the passion, the risk, your pulse. This day, this moment, you sit back and take it all in – amazed by the vastness of both.

After a while, caffeine wearing off and certain it’s been heard, your Head finally relaxes and takes a well-deserved nap. It’s so tired. It’s been working so hard and for so long. And then, late into the night, unhindered, unrestrained, unafraid, you and your Heart desire and dream and yes, dance.

The day, the moment will come when, Head resting comfortably and Heart ablaze, you will reach out, turn the knob, swing wide the door, and step over the edge. You are ready to leave. You will confidently and compassionately cross into the world that has been eluding you for far too long. You will look around and be overwhelmed, humbled, transformed. For you’ll see us. We’ve waited to honor you, to witness your courage and strength, to soak in your beauty and wisdom, to dance to your tune.

Yes, your Head wakes up, disoriented at first, then pacing to and fro, awaiting your speedy return. And to be sure, from time to time you come back – to consult, to strategize, to plan. But this is no longer your primary home; it’s now a place to visit. Your Heart is your home. And with each day, each moment that passes it seems to grow larger, stronger, fiercer, gentler, wiser. You’ve entered new territory. There’s no going back.

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It’s not about head vs. heart. It’s about opening the door, ushering in and acknowledging what frightens, limits, and restrains. It’s about pouring it some coffee while you drink some tea, and then dancing on the Excel spreadsheets. It’s about opening up space, listening to, and trusting the steady beat-beat-beat of that know-that-you-know-that-you-know voice within. It’s about being grateful for how brilliant your head actually is and reminding it (and yourself) that it’s your heart that rules this roost. It’s about realizing that home is where your heart is…which means you are ready to go.

Unleash all that power, all that might, all that brilliance, all that passion, all that is you.

 

No more holding back.

May it be so.

[Deep appreciation to Jael and her story for connecting me to my own. Just one of the ancient, sacred narratives I so need and so love.]

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You and me. Together. It's time. Hear my heart (and my head) on your behalf. I am opening up space for four new clients this Fall. I’d love for one of them to be you. Truly. Learn more.

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    Listen to this post via my voice. Click here.

    Maybe it’s (not) only me…

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    Maybe this sounds familiar: 

    You are in conversation with someone and as they are talking you hear another entire monologue – all within your head. It’s all the words you’d never dare speak, the emotions you really feel, the you you wish you could reveal. It’s so loud you marvel that they cannot hear it; that they cannot hear you (and sometimes you’re even irritated that they can’t). You struggle to stay focused, to repress what keeps rising up, to silence the din. And, *sigh*, undoubtedly, you succeed. You keep your thoughts to yourself. You quiet down the ruckus within. You’re good at this. Highly practiced. On it. 

    Or maybe it is only me.

    Maybe I’m the only one who has known this experience – over and over again. Maybe I’m the only one who, after a lifetime of this pattern, began to feel disingenuous and not really seen, heard, or known. Maybe I’m the only one who felt bone-weary almost every single day. Maybe I’m the only one who felt like she was living two completely different lives: the dangerous one hidden, the safe and acceptable one revealed. 

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    Maybe it’s not only me.

    Despite years of good, hard work and profound healing – the therapy, the spiritual direction, the long-and-into-the-night conversations with dear friends – I feel something hauntingly familiar. A deep-seated fear that if I do or say what I actually think and feel all hell will surely break loose. A deep-seated belief that I am responsible for keeping myself and them together. A deep-seated pattern of denying those voices instead of trusting them. 

    Here’s what I know – and because, maybe, just maybe, it applies to you – what I want you to know, as well:

    I need to, deserve to, must listen to those voices. That rumble and ever-increasing cacophony within isn’t something to ignore. And my renewed and endless efforts to silence it will not be abided. 

    It’s the sound of generations and generations of women in thunderous chant on my behalf. An army that rides in my honor and defense. A force no more tamable than wild horses.

    They call me to gorgeous strength. They imbue me with dauntless courage. They remind me that they know – without a shadow of a doubt – who I truly am. And they will not allow anything less of or for me, their daughter, their lineage, their kin.

    They say this to me – and maybe even to you: 

    You do not deserve a life lived in shadow or even slightly restrained. It is not to be your destiny. Silence does not suit you. So rise up. Stand tall. Step forward. And speak. We’ve got your back.

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    Maybe it is only me. 
    Or maybe not. 

    May it be so. 

    [Deep appreciation to Dinah and her story for connecting me to my own. Just one of the ancient, sacred narratives I so need and so love.]

     

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      Listen to the audio version of this post by clicking here:

      When Wisdom Eludes

      I remember one afternoon, years ago, sitting in my living room with a woman I deeply respected. I talked to her about my then-struggles, about my longing to be a better wife, a better mom, a better person. I told her how I read nearly every book I could get my hands on, trying to make sense of the situations in which I found myself, trying to improve my perspective, trying to change my behavior, trying to change, period. I confessed that I quickly purchased almost any self-help regimen that promised me the results I so desired if only I’d follow their simple 1, 3, 5, or 7-step plan. And more than just read, I’d actually do what they said! I applied every principle and precept. I followed every rule. All to no avail. I listed off the conferences I’d attended for all of the same reasons. And I named the speakers, subject-matter-experts, and guru’s of one kind or another who I was convinced possessed the necessary “fix” for my life. In all of these, I was completely certain that if I did exactly what I was told, surely the change I longed for would be mine. She listened, patiently, and then said words I have never forgotten:

      Hand Mirror*
      “Why do you look to outside experts for answers that already exist within you?”
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      I’m pretty sure the room started spinning. She might as well have told me that my two beautiful daughters playing at my feet were alien creatures from outer space. It was information I couldn’t take in, couldn’t comprehend, and resisted almost viscerally. This thought had never crossed my mind and I was almost 40 years old.

      That conversation was nearly 14 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday…and…I recall and apply it every day – hardly having mastered her advice.

      The lure is so incredibly strong to seek for answers externally, to trust in someone else’s experience and wisdom above our own, to assume that someone older, wiser, and at least more successful knows the “secret” that will change everything broken or ailing in our lives.

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      And yet, were we to actually listen to our very self, our deepest soul, our strongest intuition, the before-the-dawn-of-time wisdom within (that I passionately and resolutely believe in) and then, most importantly, trust what we hear, all that we need would already be ours.

      An important disclaimer: When I say “all that we need would already be ours,” I do not mean that finding sought-for wisdom within magically equals never lacking for anything, expecting success at every turn, and being profoundly honored and loved at all times. I do mean that there is no lack of wisdom within us. 

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      The seeming trick is figuring out how to call this wisdom forth, how to access it, how to see/hear/feel/sense it in the first place. 

      As our conversation came to its obvious end, she left my house. I remember putting my infant girls down for naps (so that they wouldn’t act like creatures from outer space) and then sitting down at the dining room table with a stack of college-ruled notebook paper and a pen in front of me. I presented my question/concern at the top of the paper and then did what I’d done hundreds, thousands of times before: I wrote. I wrote exactly what I thought, what I felt, what I wanted, what I knew. Everything. No editing. No censoring. No holding back. This was nothing new. I’d been journaling for years. What was new was that I half expected to see answers, assumed its accuracy, and trusted its authority. My answers. My accuracy. My authority. All of these appeared – and then some.

      But instead of being thrilled with this revelation, I was terrified. If my wisdom was right, if I actually knew, then I’d also have to act. The real trick is trusting the wisdom itself, once found, enough to actually follow through! 

      This is the collective reality that most women live with. Steeped in a world that has caused us to second-guess our own knowing in deference to those with power, we struggle to hear our own brilliance, let alone express it. Groomed to value objective reason, to trust our head over our heart, and to rely on facts over emotions, it’s not that surprising that we can barely even hear the voice, the wisdom, the wealth within, let alone follow its advice. Though our wisdom is deeply intuitive, it feels counterintuitive to trust it.

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      So what are the countermeasures? What are we to do?

      We MUST find and rely on the expertise of other women. 

      It’s possible that this sounds antithetical to what I said above; in direct conflict with the sage advice I received so long ago. I assure you, it is not. It will be through our relationships with other women that we will not only come to find, hear, and trust our own wisdom, but also have the ability to walk headlong into it.

      • We must look to other women for they are the ones who will point us back to the wisdom we already hold within ourselves. 

      • We must discover and listen to the stories of other women so that we can see our own wisdom, our own choices, our own stories mirrored within. 

      • We must hear the wisdom of other women and recognize it as our own: a shared knowing, a DNA-like thread that roots us to one another in soul-and-spirit ways, a gravitational and sacred force that binds us to one another – past, present, and future.

      • We must be in relationship with other women so that we have the courage to make hard choices, walk thin lines, and traverse endless deserts.

      14 years ago I didn’t understand any of this. 14 years ago I didn’t realize that this woman was offering me her wisdom so that I could find it within myself. 14 years ago I had no idea the choices I would yet be called to make, the lines I would yet be required to walk (and cross), the endless deserts I would yet traverse. And 14 years ago I could have never imagined being surrounded by the women I now know – face-to-face, virtually, and the ancient, sacred ones who companion and guide me in ways that continue to humble, astound, and transform me.

      The wisdom you seek is already within you. Find the women who know this to be true, who can point you back to your own north star, who see and affirm beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt their profound belief in what you already know. And be that woman to others. The more that we can and will do this, the sooner we can leave behind a world of experts who peddle their wares and step into one of shared truth, compassion, creativity, strength, and hope.

      May it be so.

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      I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you of three ways in which women’s wisdom abounds in my world. First, through Blessings. Once a week, totally free, and filled with truth you deserve to hear and know – in the voice and from the heart of one of the ancient, sacred women I love (and whose wisdom is infinite). Sign up today! Second, through SacredReadings. These women’s stories bring such amazing perspective, hope, and yes, relevant wisdom directly to your circumstances, your questions, your story. They are my favorite thing to do for you. Get yours today. Third, through SacredConversations. What a privilege it is for me to be in relationship with clients, one-on-one, and offer my wisdom (which really just points you back to that which is already yours.) You and me. Together. It’s time. Learn more.

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        Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
        Do not be afraid.

        ~ Frederich Buechner

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          She felt as though her life was some kind of hellish test; as though the universe was conspiring against her; like the powers of heaven and hell were battling it out as she was carelessly tossed to and fro in the middle.

          Hardly a martyr or victim, she was not someone determined to “make sense” of her circumstances by blaming anyone else. She simply looked around at the endless and inexplicable realities of her life and realized that every single one of them was out of her control; that no platitudes or promises of a God who had bigger or better plans would begin to suffice.

          Her husband, however, had a different viewpoint. He held fast to his belief that anything that happened to him (and by association to her) was just, fair, not to be questioned, and to be borne with immovable dedication and commitment. He dug in his heels, stood by his beliefs, and declared his faith in the goodness of God.

          Some would say he was a saint. She wasn’t one of them. She didn’t buy one bit of it. And finally, one day, she had enough. She said,

          “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

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          These are the words of the wife of Job.

          Two sentences that have lived in infamy. And not surprisingly, she’s been shamed for them for centuries. Her husband did the same. He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

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          This story is not a favorite of most who are familiar with scripture. 42 chapters that tell of a duel between God and Satan with Job as unwitting pawn. It conjures up every existential and theological question in existence (which might actually be why the story exists in the first place). We struggle to understand how/why God would ever agree to such a thing, not to mention encourage it and allow the incredible torment, disaster, and grief that Job (and his wife) then endlessly endure.

          It is not my intent or my desire to argue such questions. First, because they are impossible to answer, but second and more importantly, because when we even attempt such, our focus shifts and we lose sight of her (not to mention the generations of women who both preceded and followed). It is my intent (and deep, ongoing desire), however, to name and honor her: her thoughts, her stance, her voice, and yes, even her beliefs (or lack thereof). She spoke her mind. She articulated her heart. She expressed what she actually felt. She told the truth as she saw and experienced it. Boldly and unswervingly she revealed her humanity in the face of inhumanity. She called forth justice in bold and impossible-to-ignore ways. And she had no intention of sitting back, playing small, or staying silent.

          (Think about it, about her: we heartily affirm and encourage every bit of this in one another; on our own behalf, as well.)

          We would do well to follow her lead.

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          Free for use via Google ImagesJob’s wife proclaims out loud what all of us, at least in part, want to say when we find ourselves in circumstances that cannot possibly be understood. Yes, we want to believe in a benevolent, generous, gracious, and kind God; but there are times, to be sure, when every possibility of such feels tested, if not foolish. And, simultaneously, just like her, we still have the capacity to stay and survive in places of extreme ambivalence when answers elude. We somehow make room for mystery. We know that there have been, are, and will be times in which we cannot make sense of our own reality, let alone that of the larger world that spins uncontrollably around us.

          In truth, Job’s wife mirrors back our capacity and courage in the most sacred of ways, not shameful ones.
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          Her story graciously offers us a glimpse of the Divine; a celestial honoring of a woman’s truth-telling and strength.

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          Did you catch it? As Job’s story continues, he loses everything – his their children, his their land, his their livestock, his their livelihood. But he does not lose his wife. She is the one and only entity spared throughout the entire travesty, and this, after she speaks her truth. This is not the God we normally see in this story – or our own. This is a God who despite everything, and above all else, saves her. This dare not be underestimated. Nor dare she…

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          And as for her, so too, for you.

          Your voice, your truth, your courage is stamped with the approval of the Divine. More, you are deemed worthy by Job’s wife herself. She looks at you unflinchingly and says, “Yes, you are my daughter, my lineage, my kin.”*

          Think of it: who and how might you be if befriended, companioned, and mentored by Job’s wife? What truth-telling might you voice?  What injustice might you name? What courage might you display? What strength might you reveal?

          Job’s wife is your matriline. Her blood flows through your veins. Her voice rings when you speak your mind. And in honoring her, you are the one transformed.

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          May it be so.

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          It’s understandable why we struggle with scripture when faced with stories like this one, which is exactly why I am so determined to tell of the women within in ways that free them from the chains by which they’ve been bound. They are so amazing, so incredible, so persevering, so determined. They deserve to be known.  

          You, me, all of us are in such good company. A cloud of witnesses that surrounds. A storyline and bloodline from which we descend. A transcendent and transfiguring chorus that endlessly uplifts. What can’t we do or say, really, with this much support, this much beauty, this much wisdom in our midst? 

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          Click here for the audio version of this post.

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          All you have to do is ask...I’d be negligent if I didn’t make a story like this one available to you; uniquely and profoundly for youSacredReadings are at least one of the ways in which I do so. One woman who chooses you, who comes alongside to encourage and guide with particular wisdom,  perspective, kindness and hope. Learn more or just go ahead and book yours today. It is my favorite thing to do for you.

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