fbpx

Does it feel costly to be yourself?

Let’s be honest: it does feel costly to be ourselves. Maybe not all of the time, but certainly in some relationships, some conversations, some contexts?

Believe me: I completely get it! Here’s a peek inside the (sometimes) craziness of my brain:

  • I know I need to _______.
  • But if I do, then _______ is going to get mad (or hurt or offended or silent) which will then lead to an argument which will then lead to them shutting down (or blowing up or walking away or being passive aggressive) which will then lead to me having to mend fences or else deal with the fallout.
  • The fallout will be awful. _______ will happen and then _______ will happen and if that’s not enough, then _______ will most definitely happen!
  • Once those things occur, that will mean that I have to _______ which will then impact _______ and ________, and _______!
  • It’s too much. It’s too risky. I can’t handle all of this!
  • Better to NOT be fully myself.
  • Whew! ‘Glad I thought that through!

My brain aside, I’m guessing yours processes somewhat similarly, especially when you are on the verge of stepping more fully into who you are, telling your truth, choosing alignment and authenticity; defying compromise or compliance or playing small or holding back or hiding or putting others’ emotions above your own or, or, or…

Here’s what is true: 

More times than not, the choices we make to be fully ourselves come with a whole freight train of risk, cost, and consequence.

It’s no wonder we are a bit tentative!

So, what is a wise, brilliant, amazing, and strong woman (you!!!) to do?

I wish I had an easy answer. There isn’t one. (Parenthetically, let me say that you should be highly suspect of anyone who does!) But here are 4 uneasy answers that are worth considering:

  1. Don’t ignore or downplay the risks, the costs, and the consequences. And please don’t try to *just* have the “right” mindset and overcome (or repress) them.
  2. Give yourself permission to name all that you’re afraid of. Listen to the inner chatter, the imposter, Resistance itself. Unedited. Unrestrained.
  3. Listen to the wisdom within, to your wisdom. Even the fears themselves offer profound insight that is deep and true and trustworthy. You are wise.
  4. Let the wisdom that is yours — including the awareness of risks, the inner chatter, and the stunningly powerful insights — help you remember just how strong and amazing you are.

It feels costly to be fully yourself because it is!

Naming this is what reveals just how valuable and important you-being-you actually is.

(And, in case you were wondering, you’re worth any cost and every price!)

May it be so.

See yourself as a miracle

When I was 8 or 9, my newborn sister went into the hospital. I don’t remember the details. I don’t remember ever visiting her there. I don’t even remember what was diagnosed. What I do remember is seeing my mother cry for the first time. She and my father stood in a corner of the living room — her shoulders hunched over as she shed close-to silent tears; his arms around her — trying to console. And I vaguely remember one of them telling me that Lorri was sick.

I can imagine they would have done anything remotely possible to have her back. I can imagine that their desperation would have driven them to cling to the smallest of options. And I am certain that they prayed — asking for her healing, longing for a miracle.

There’s an ancient story told of a father and his daughter. She was only 12 years old and dying. Desperate, the father went in search of a healer he’d heard rumor of, then begged him to come back to his home and heal his girl. As they set out together, messengers arrived saying, “Don’t bother the teacher any longer; she has already died.” The healer paid no attention, saying, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”

When they arrived at the man’s home, there was nothing but confusion and wailing. Again the healer spoke: “The child is not dead — she is only sleeping.” When people started making fun of him, jeering at what he’d said, he sent them all away and went into her room — along with three of his disciples and her mother and father. He took her by the hand and said, ““Little girl, get up!” She got up at once and started walking around.

I imagine her skipping out of her room and into the crowd of people, all smiles, oblivious to both their shock and overwhelming joy. She probably asked for a snack and then wanted to go play with her friends. Just like that — all was as it should be.

She was a living, breathing miracle. From the age of 12 and for the rest of her life, this would have been her identity — the way in which she was known by others, the way in which her parents would have seen her, what would have been whispered about her as she walked down the street, grew, lived her life. In some ways, we might guess this was a burden to bear: others expect too much of you; an average life will not suffice.

What if she had a different perspective? What if being a miracle was what opened her up to a life of possibility and joy and expanse? And what if that’s exactly what she offers you today?

*****

Yes, you.

Imagine it. Dream big. Dig deep. Ask yourself: If I believed I was a miracle, I would…

Every answer that shows up is your wisdom speaking; your desire, your heart, your longing, your truth. And you can trust it. Because you are a miracle. Now…to believeing it and being it!

May it be so.

A 3-Step Plan Worth Following

I lived a very long season of my life (decades, really) in which I was endlessly on the hunt to find a plan that would make sense of everything, give me the happily-ever-after I wanted, ease my every stress and struggle.

What I learned, usually the hard way, is that those plans don’t exist. Which explains why I’m skeptical of them.

Still, there is a plan that feels far wiser than anything I’ve dared to try, have seen on a bookshelf, or have ever had recommended. It’s inspired by one of the ancient, sacred stories I tell — about a woman who had little-to-no power, hardly any choice, and realities that endlessly conspired against her. In spite of all this, here was the 3-step plan she somehow managed to live:

1. Trust your heart.
2. Take crazy risks.
3. Let go of the outcome.

I could tell you her story — both how it’s been told throughout time and my reimagined and redeemed version. I could fill you in on just how passionately committed she was to a life that was not only non-traditional, but completely counter-cultural, without any compromise or compliance. And I could certainly speak to all that she (still) has to offer you and me both, when it comes to working through resistance, getting past gatekeepers, and living in a world that often rarely sees or honors women’s voices, bodies, wisdom, or very selves. Without all the details, here’s the bottom line: to choose and embody any of these three steps (let alone all three) is MIRACULOUS.

Which is why she’s worth following, why we would be wise to trust her heart on our behalf and risk that she knows of what she speaks and somehow believe that the outcomes, no matter what they are, will be worthy and worthwhile.

And just to reinforce her relevance, this:

Though centuries have passed between her story and mine, I continue to work through resistance (internal and external). I endlessly strive to not only name, but get past gatekeepers (again, internal and external). And I still live in a world that rarely sees or honors me as a woman. I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

I’m also guessing that your actual three step plan looks a lot like mine (whether we admit we have one, or not):

1. Determine the outcome I want.
2. Mitigate every risk.
3. Find ways to get determined outcomes without the involvement of my heart at all; definitely no reliance on trust..

Not. Miraculous. At all.

So, back to where I started: Yes, I’m highly suspect of 3-step plans (or 7 or 12). But this one? It feels daring enough to invite the life I long for, risky enough to bring about results I’d barely dream of, and courageous enough to actually invite freedom, expansiveness, hope, and joy.

1. Trust your heart.
2. Take crazy risks.
3. Let go of the outcome.

May it be so.

*****

I write a letter every week. It’s filled with my stories, my thoughts, my doubts, my beliefs, my challenges, my hopes. And after I write it, I email it to you – every Monday morning. I’d love for you to have it. SUBSCRIBE.

Remember Who You Are

I talk about sovereignty all the time. It’s a program I offer. But more than all else, it’s a reality, a truth, that I see and understand as *just* a given.

Let me explain.

I believe that you — fully yourself, fully authentic, fully honest, fully aligned, fully in your integrity, fully present (I could go on) — already ARE sovereign.

I believe that sovereignty is inherent, implied, implicit, irrefutable, intact within you. It IS you.

And this means that

there is nothing you need to strive toward, do more of, fix, solve, remedy, purge, add, or somehow overcome in order to be sovereign.

Did I mention? You already are.

So, the “work” of being sovereign is about remembering that this is true, that this is who you are — bottom line, underneath it all.

  • Underneath all the messaging you’ve absorbed (and even believed) from culture and family and religion and patriarchy.
  • Underneath all the chatter in your own mind — about how you are not enough or, more often, too much.
  • Underneath all of the fears and risks and costs and consequences that you are relatively certain will ensue IF you are fully sovereign, fully yourself.
  • Underneath all the ways in which other people perceive you (whether that’s in alignment with what you know/believe/feel, or not).
  • Underneath all the roles and titles and responsibilities.

Ahhhh. There you are! You: completely yourself, all of you, sovereign — already and always. Remember?

Rarely do we stay in this place, this state, this awareness in a 24/7 sort-of way. I have to remember — over and over again. And when I do, I can see that it shows up for me in glimpses and glimmers:

  • When I’ve taken the leap and expressed my true feelings in a relationship (instead of the ones I thought the other person could handle).
  • When I’ve expressed my (unpopular, but no less true) opinion at work.
  • When I’ve stepped onto a stage and somehow, miraculously, overcome my insecurities and fears — even for those minutes.
  • When I’ve watched a Netflix series, start to finish, with one of my daughters — looking over at her and feeling so profoundly grateful that she is who she is and that I get to be me, fully me, in her presence.
  • When I’m talking with a friend who has enough history with me that she notices and names what she sees in me, when she calls me to more, when she reflects back what she knows to be true. (And when I can do the same.)
  • When I am writing — especially in those blessed moments when I am unimpeded by my inner critic or Resistance — putting every bit of my head and heart on the page.
  • When I am in conversation with a client, listening deeply to their heart and simultaneously hearing the know-that-I-know-that-I-know voice within me; being clear in that moment about what is mine to say, what grace is mine to extend, what wisdom is mine to offer.
  • I could go on.

All of these are moments. But, when added together, they create markers along the way, plumb lines of sovereignty’s presence, me — at my core — being all of who I am.

Ahhhh. Right. Now I remember.

And this is what I’m inviting you to, as well. Remember who you are when you are most yourself, underneath it all, and yes, worth stating again, sovereign — inherent, implied, implicit, irrefutable, intact, through and through. 

This is what we look at together, talk about together, and remember together in SOVEREIGNTY — my live, 9-week program. An open invitation into all of who you, you as completely yourself; calling you into, up to, forward to your fullest self: all of your wisdom, all of your agency, all of your courage, and endless, endless hope. It’s beautiful. You are. Remember?

Join me.

Registration closes on Monday, 9/6/21. We begin together on 9/9/21. All the details are here (including a payment plan, if helpful).

You ARE sovereign — already and always. I’m right about this. Let’s remember our way back, together.

May it be so.

No imagination required…

There’s a story I love to tell of a mostly unknown woman named Jael. She singlehandedly won a huge battle for a whole tribe of people by doing the most unlikely and shocking thing. In the thick of the fighting, she offered the enemy commander (who was sneaking away) a safe place to hide, made him comfortable, and then, as he slept, drove a tent peg through his head and killed him. 

It’s a violent story, to be sure. (Which explains why it’s rarely told.) But just imagine if it had been, if she was known; if she was known by you…

  • Imagine if you had been been lulled to sleep by the tale of a shockingly brave woman who overcame every fear and did what had to be done – no matter what others thought, expected, or allowed.
  • Imagine if you’d had a model, a template, a subconscious plot line within that invited and compelled courage, boldness, and strength.
  • Imagine if it never crossed your mind to choose being good over being right.
  • Imagine if you had no idea what seen-not-heard even meant.
  • Imagine if  you never compromised yourself on behalf of another.
  • Imagine if no part of you held back, played it safe, or waited to be invited into the, arena onto the stage, or out of the shadows. 

Hard to imagine, isn’t it? 

What if it wasn’t? What if we just knew who we were – our strength, our wisdom, our  divinity, our sovereignty? No questions asked. No doubt. No wondering. Clear. Certain. Sure. Solid. 100% ourselves.

This is, at least in part, why stories like Jael’s matter. She moves us from *simply* imagining that kind of strength and courage to actually acknowledging it – to living it.

So, no imagination required – hear Jael’s voice on your behalf:

This I know – no imagination required: You are braver, stronger, and wiser than anyone knows, than even you know. 

This I know – no imagination required: You fight for what you love, for what matters most, for your very self – as your hands shake and your voice trembles and your heart races. Still and always – brave, strong, and wise. Still and always – bringing victory and peace. Still and always – worthy of endless song and celebration. 

This I know – no imagination required: I am Jael and you are my daughter, my lineage, my kin. 

She knows of what she speaks…

May it be so.

***** 

This I know – no imagination required: You are surrounded and supported, held and honored by more than just Jael. (Though she’s something, isn’t she?) Countless ancient, sacred women with stories and voices that remind you of who you truly are: brave, strong, and wise. Sovereign.  

I retell, reimagine, and redeem these stories – Jael’s and many more – in SOVEREIGNTY – my live, 9-week program. And companioning the stories is powerful and practical content about hearing and trusting your own wisdom, acknowledging your agency, stepping into courage, and holding on to hope. Every bit of this on behalf of you being 100% yourself, 100% of the time. No imagination required!

Registration is open for the cohort that begins in early September. Learn more. Apply today. Join me! 

The struggle that IS worthwhile

I love Leo Tolstoy’s opening line in Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” 

He’s right: it is our unhappiness that is unique and distinct to our own personal story. And while that’s significant, even important to acknowledge, there is a danger here, as well.

We make our pain so much our own that it becomes woven into the warp and woof of who we are – often to the point in which we find comfort in it, maybe even pride. 

Or maybe it’s only me… 

Over time and for a myriad of reasons, I internalized the belief that life is hard. The influences that reinforced this were legion: Western culture. Capitalism. Protestant Work Ethic. Patriarchy. My family of origin. My own experiences and stories. 

I believed that my pain was of value; more, that my value was directly proportionate to how much I suffered. 

Struggle became my badge of honor. “Hard” was the marker that I was taking things seriously, not being remotely frivolous, and proving yet again that I was made of solid stuff. 

I know. It sounds crazy. Because it is! The good news is that I am aware of such! (To be this crazy and not know it is highly problematic.) 

My truth? It has felt natural, even desirable, for me to suffer and struggle. 

  • Who would I be, if not burdened and heavy-laden with worry and concern?
  • How else could I remain alert in relationships so as not to be taken advantage of or hurt?
  • How could I possibly expect to earn money (even meager amounts) if not willing to grit my teeth and soldier on?
  • And my writing? How in the world could I possibly believe that what comes easily or naturally, would be worth reading? No! It has to be far more difficult!

Crazy, yes.

And completely unacceptable!

When I was in grad school, I remember one of my professors saying it was much easier for us to accept sadness than joy, much easier to settle for less than desire more, much easier to accept our depravity than our dignity. He was right. I’m living proof. 

I’m also committed to changing that story, and rewriting that script.

This is the worthwhile struggle: to choose joy over sadness, to desire more instead of settling for less, and to accept my dignity over my depravity.

 

This is hardly a silver-lining, pollyanna-esque way of viewing the world. Sadness and “less” and depravity are real. But they are not everything. Learning to believe that, to live that is more-than worthwhile. It is everything.

How about for you?

Can you name some of the beliefs you’ve inherited and reinforcd that now feel part-and-parcel of who you are? Here are a few examples. Definitely add to the list!

  • I must prove my worth.
  • My value is measured by the income I earn (the grades I get, the promotions I gain, the FB/IG likes I receive)
  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • Self-care is selfish.
  • I’m too much.
  • I’m not enough.

You can see how these beliefs, these unhappiness-es, these struggles, are not natural…nor necessary to cling to. Right?

It is a struggle to reimagine them – and ourselves. But no struggle will ever be more worthwhile. A lifetime’s effort, to be sure, and the most amazing and important work (and privilege) you could possibly undertake.

May it be so.

 

*****

 

Part of being 100% ourselves, 100% of the time is naming these stories and internal texts/beliefs that have shaped us. It’s also demonstrating the wisdom, agency, and courage needed to craft and live the story that is uniquely yours – unhinged from struggle that no longer serves and committed to “struggle” that strengthens and sustains.

Registration is now open for the next cohort of SOVEREIGNTY: the 9-week program.

Filled with my teaching of content I love, community and conversation with other amazing women, and practical, even sacred tools to help you live an empowered and amazing story that is completely yours. Filled with joy. Desiring more (and more). And accepting your dignity, to be sure. Learn more.