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About “someday”

You know of Lizzo, yes? Her music, her recent show on Amazon — Watch Out For the Big Grrrls, her incredible voice as a singer, but also in the world. I am enthralled by her, quite honestly; taken aback (in the best of ways) by her boldness, her courage, her defiance, her fierceness. 

I recently came across something she said that feels worth sending your way — along with some thoughts of my own and hopefully prompting many of yours! 

“My movement is my movement. When all the dust has settled on the groundbreaking-ness, I’m going to still be doing this. I’m not going to suddenly change. I’m going to still be telling my life story through music. And if that’s body-positive to you, amen. If that’s feminist to you, amen. If that’s pro-black to you, amen. Because ma’am, I’m all of those things.”

Many if not most of us hope to do something groundbreaking, to enable some kind of significant change, to leave a lasting legacy. And right alongside that desire — whether secret or stated — is our lack of belief that such a thing will ever be so. 

Or maybe it’s just me. 

There is so much I’d love to be able to do, transform, create, dismantle, build up, leave behind. I have the greatest visions, the biggest imagination, the strongest hopes and a voice within that says, “Keep it in check. Tone it down. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Who do you think you are?”

Who do I think I am? Well, if I lean on Lizzo’s wisdom…

“I’m all those things.” 

It’s not about becoming more, somehow transforming ourselves into who we yet want to be. It’s about acknowledging who we already are! 


Consider listing out all of the things you most hope for and dream about in your own groundbreaking-ness. 

Now, will you (can you) acknowledge them as who you already are? Not who you might or might not become. Not someday but today! Not what you wish could happen, but don’t dare dream. Not what you visualize or long to manifest. But already within you, part of you, all of you — right now.

Lizzo’s self-acknowledged groundbreaking-ness has to do with being body-positive and feminist and pro-black. “I’m all of those things.” My groundbreaking-ness has to do with redeeming women’s stories and inviting/compelling women into their inherent sovereignty. “I’m all of those things.” 

And your groundbreaking-ness? What is it? What do you want it to be? What would you hope-beyond-hope it could be? What if you are all of those things? (You are, you know?!)

If, like me, your inner critic is already working over time to convince you of just how impossible all of this is, that’s the BEST news!

It’s evidence that you are on to something, that your groundbreaking-ness is not only imminent but inherent within you! Otherwise, the voice wouldn’t be speaking at all!

The gap between what you desire and what you doubt is the very path to take. It IS the discernment you need to keep moving forward. It’s the direction that’s yours to walk. 

Not easy, but clear. Not without risk or cost, but worth every one. And “when all the dust has settled,” the you-you-already-are you will still be standing — in all your groundbreaking-ness and gloriousness. 

May it be so!

About the quiet and silence.

 

So often, I talk about a woman’s voice and courage and sovereignty. Yours. Mine. Ours. It matters. It is what I’m passionate about and committed to. And. All of these realities, these ways of being, are profoundly strengthened when we choose, revel in, and allow silence.

I was inspired to write about this via an article in the Atlantic and this quote:

“In a world of so many traumas and terrors, I am desperate for silence. It is not escapism, not always. It is about meeting oneself. The way you might encounter yourself in the silence of, say, journaling, is distinct from how you reflect in the public arena. In silence, a certain veil is lifted. We might realize that the rage we feel in public is born from fear or despair in private. Healing is a very quiet thing. In the silence, we can wrap our wounds. There are times when taking shelter is a noble thing to do.” ~ Cole Arthur Riley

(I immediately downloaded her book: This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories that Make Us)

Silence “not as escapism,” but about “meeting oneself.”

How beautiful are these words? 

“In a world of so many traumas and terrors, I am desperate for silence. It is not escapism, not always. It is about meeting oneself.”

We often fear that if we’re not taking a stand and speaking up and constantly talking about all of the “traumas and terrors,” that we must be trying to escape; we are evading what requires our attention and looking the other way. And though that may sometimes be true, more times than not, it’s not.

There is a lot going on: the stories happening in our world and the oft’ excruciating stories in our own personal world. As I’ve named before, it can be difficult to let ourselves feel all of it — to name what we feel, to give ourselves permission to feel, to believe that the sky will not fall when we do. It is far easier to stay busy, to distract ourselves, and to allow “noise” to overtake the quiet.

But in such times, silence is what we need more than anything. It’s how we hear ourselves think. It’s how we name — with honesty and courage — what we truly feel and why. It’s where we actually feel — at least in part. It is, indeed, about “meeting oneself.”

And it is not escapism when you allow this, when you choose this, when you prioritize this. It’s intentionalism. It’s sacred. It’s necessary.

Why journaling matters and why, for me, it gets prioritized above nearly all else.

Again, let’s return to Cole Arthur Riley’s words: “The way you might encounter yourself in the silence of, say, journaling, is distinct from how you reflect in the public arena. In silence, a certain veil is lifted. We might realize that the rage we feel in public is born from fear or despair in private.”

Exactly. We MUST have a place that is ours alone, quiet but for our own voice; safe, secure, and completely vulnerable — with no risk at all. 

Oh, that we could know this in relationship with others, that we could trust that our every thought would be allowed, welcomed, not “fixed,” argued, or requiring defense. I used to believe that such a thing was possible…even mine by right. I also used to believe that it was for-sure my fault that I didn’t have relationships like that. It didn’t occur to me for a very long time that I was the one to give this to myself. 

*****

There was a season in my marriage where I picked journaling back up after a hiatus of a few years because I needed a place to process all that was hard, everything that made me so angry I could hardly see straight (but never acknowledged out loud), the long list of things I wished was different.

I kept a 3-ring notebook just under my side of the bed. College ruled paper. My favorite pen. First thing in the morning, before the girls woke up, I’d pour myself a cup of coffee, climb back into bed, pull it out and write. It never occurred to me that my then-husband would ever read it. But one day, in the midst of another painful conversation, I realized that he had been. I was furious. I was exposed. And most of all, I was ashamed. Ashamed that I had any thoughts or feelings that I wasn’t willing to let him see and know.

I know better now. I know that every one of my thoughts and feelings were legitimate and allowed. I know that the shame never belonged to me. And I know that were it not for that silent-and-sacred space (sans it being violated), I wouldn’t have been able to hear me, to make hard choices, or begin to see — with increasing clarity and strength — what was calling to me.

*****

Now, almost every morning, after pouring a cup of coffee, I sit down at my laptop and let myself ramble for an hour. Sometimes it’s just that: rambling. I articulate what I did the day before, what’s coming up in my schedule, a snippet of a dream from last night. Sometimes it’s a response to my inner critic or my fear — letting them speak instead of pushing them away. Sometimes it’s something I’m worried about related to my daughters or money or any number of other pressures I feel at times. Sometimes it’s about my spirituality, my beliefs, my questions, my doubts. Sometimes it’s the way that I work out what I want to write and why I’m even doing it in the first place. And always, with about 15 minutes left, I turn over the next card in my deck and wonder what woman-and-wisdom will show up to speak directly to what I’ve just written and expressed. (It’s amazingly perfect and profound. Every time. I still can hardly believe it.)

I also know this: especially when it is not safe to name and express your deepest feelings, your truest truths, you must have a place that is. Journaling offers that. (With, of course, the caveat that it IS safe. You should know: my journaling immediately switched to a password-protected document on my computer from that point on.)

You deserve and need a place in which you can say any and everything, in which you can rant and rage, in which you can wish and hope and dream. You deserve and need a place in which you can wander without direction and process without answers. You deserve and need a place in which you can, as Riley says above, lift the veil and encounter yourself. 

It’s quiet there: silence that is blessed and expansive and healing…

How “healing is a quiet thing” and enables us to “wrap our wounds.”

Again, how beautiful are these words?

In the context of the story I shared above, it was only in silence that I could hope to heal from that betrayal. Talking about it with him (which is what he wanted) only left me feeling more raw and exposed. Stepping back, choosing silence, and giving myself permission to be quiet, to not speak, was what allowed me to heal (eventually), and, over time, what enabled me to build the strength I needed to leave.

That’s but one example. There are many, many more. But far more important than my stories, are yours.

What reality, experience, or current struggle comes to mind that deserves healing? What wound is waiting to be wrapped — with a steady hand and a generous heart…yours on your own behalf? What spaciousness and quiet are you intentionally giving yourself for all of this and then some? (These might just be questions worth journaling through.)

Inviting the quiet in, letting the silence “speak,” will offer you exactly the wisdom you desire (and deserve). It’s how you hear that know-that-you-know-that-you-know voice within. ‘Promise.

Can we know when to choose silence and when to speak?

My quick answer: Probably not — at least with failsafe certainty.

My longer answer: Yes. Definitely.

I return to exactly what I named above: that know-that-you-know-that-you-know voice within. It speaks to you all the time. It knows of what it speaks. It can be trusted. You can be trusted.

Your own wisdom (which you can hear in the quiet) tells you that silence is the right thing, right now: that your voice does not need to be front and center, that more healing is required (and deserved), that other voices must be given attention, respect, and volume.

Your own wisdom (which you can hear in the quiet) tells you that silence is NOT the right thing; that it is actually preventing you from being heard, seen, known, and yes, sovereign. It’s no longer tenable. It’s no longer tolerable. It’s time.

Your own wisdom (which you can hear in the quiet) tells you that your voice is exactly what is needed and the most perfect-and-powerful thing you can bring and trust and use in this very moment. Definitely.

We can know when to choose silence and when to speak when we’ve given ourselves enough silence, enough space, enough quiet to discern exactly this! I could keep talking, keep writing, but that pretty much defeats the point of what I’m attempting to say, yes?

I’ll conclude with one more paragraph from Cole Arthur Riley (definitely read the article; it’s so good!):

“Audre Lorde famously said, “Your silence will not protect you.” This wisdom has been taken to the extreme. To be silent is to be complicit, people (including myself) have said. This can be true. There is certainly a silence born of cowardice, a silence that emboldens oppressors. But sometimes to be silent is to finally become honest. To halt the theater. In the quiet, we at last hear the sound of our own interior world. The pain or numbness. The guilt. The nothing at all.

And I would add, the deepest, most reliable wisdom that endlessly dwells within. Within you.


I write you a letter every week. I’d love for you to have it. No skimming the surface. Diving deep. Vulnerable. Honest. True. SUBSCRIBE to Monday Letters.

About Time

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately; struggling with it in some ways. And oddly, it’s not because I don’t have enough of it or feel like I’m on some endless treadmill; rather, just the opposite!

I find myself uncomfortable with, even avoiding, the spaciousness of time.

I’m a do-er. Super task-oriented. Motivated by efficiency. Profoundly satisfied by getting all my to-do’s checked off on a daily basis (and as quickly as possible). And I’m quite good at this! I get a lot done in a relatively short amount of time. So, to slow down, to stop working, to not take on one more thing just because I can, feels not only frivolous and irresponsible, but damn-near impossible.

When I ask myself why, I don’t have to search very far to find the answer.

Underneath my busy-ness, my schedule, my constant doing, is a deeply ingrained belief: my value and worth are determined by how efficient and productive I am.

I’m guessing it’s not just me.

A few questions:

  • How do you feel about yourself when, at the end of the day, you’ve not checked everything off your list?
  • What emotions show up when you look at the still-unanswered emails sitting in your inbox?
  • What is your mood when you get up in the morning to a kitchen that was not cleaned the night before?
  • What is your response to the latest post on Instagram that tells you it’s not only possible, but damn-near required that you accomplish more, earn more, be more — and all available to you if only you hustle harder (and buy the program that will teach you exactly how to do so)?
  • What would your mother say if you slacked off or took a sick day or gave yourself a break from your endless inventory of tasks and to-do’s? (I know: what your mother might say is not really relevant. But you do know her answer, don’t you?)

1 quote and 3 (tiny) topics

The Quote:

Re-vision–the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new, critical direction–is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we can understand the assumptions in which we’re drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society. A radical critique…feminist in its impulse, would take the work first of all as a clue to how we live, how we have been living, how we have been led to imagine ourselves, how our language has trapped us as well as liberated us, how the very act of naming has been till now a male prerogative, and how we can begin to see and name–and therefore live–afresh…not to pass on a tradition but to break its hold over us. ~ Adrienne Rich

Topic #1: Internalized Patriarchy

Ooooh, how this has shown up within me lately. Places and ways in which I default to deeply-held beliefs (even though I no longer believe them) and values (even though I no longer value them) that continue to wield their power in my psyche and day-to-day life. Ick. Ick. Ick!

Here’s a quick example…

My book is scheduled for publication in Fall of 2023. (I know: champagne, confetti, all that!) I’ve struggled in celebrating. Why? Because I’m going a hybrid publishing route vs. traditional. And why would I have any ambivalence around this at all? Well, because of internalized patriarchy! Somewhere, despite my better judgment, I believe that being acknowledged and chosen by the powers-that-be actually matters. I want the value deferred upon me by those same powers-that-be. The potential cash-advance? Well, that validates my value even more, yes? Ick. Ick. Ick!

The internalisation of patriarchy is not a fault. Its unnecessary, unrealised legacy women are carrying. We don’t even realise when and how patriarchy has seeped into our identity so much that we hallucinate its compulsions as our choice. ~ Emila Dutta

I don’t like it! 

Here’s what I do like: 

Internalized patriarchy — when seen and named — has a definite upside: the places in which we feel the most resistance, the most confusion, and even the most shame (3 markers that signify patriarchy’s presence, to be sure) serve as powerful sources of discernment. The things we dislike and fight with/against the most are the very things that afford us opportunity to listen to and trust our own wisdom, to remember who we truly are, and to say “of course!” as we acknowledge our sovereignty and strength. 

Topic #2: Re-visioning and Assumptions

By way of review: 

Re-vision–the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new, critical direction–is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival.

Rich is right, of course: When WE look back, when WE see with fresh eyes, when WE enter an old text (which includes our own personal texts/stories) from a new, critical direction, we do more than just survive: we finally and exquisitely thrive! And not just us, but all women, all of humanity — past, present, and future!

Mmmmmmm. SO much here, yes? Yes.

But wait, there’s more!

Until we can understand the assumptions in which we’re drenched we cannot know ourselves.

“…the assumptions in which we’re drenched.” I love this phrase and it weighs so, so heavy on my heart. Her words describe, in so many ways, what I am always talking/writing about when it comes to the stories we’ve been told, the ones we tell ourselves, the culture in which we live, and so much more. Naming these is what I focus on with clients and strive to consistently name in my own life over and over again. It’s definitely what I reveal (and re-vision) in my book. And every bit of this, to Adrienne Rich’s point, is so that we can know ourselves. 

And that? Knowing ourselves? It matters more than all else, is sacred above all else, is worth more than all else. 

Topic #3: (Trapped and) Liberated by Language

Again, by way of review, the final sentences within Adrienne Rich’s quote:

And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society. A radical critique…feminist in its impulse, would take the work first of all as a clue to how we live, how we have been living, how we have been led to imagine ourselves, how our language has trapped us as well as liberated us, how the very act of naming has been till now a male prerogative, and how we can begin to see and name–and therefore live–afresh…not to pass on a tradition but to break its hold over us.

When we re-vision, when we acknowledge the assumptions in which we’re drenched, we cannot help but see and name how language has both trapped us and liberated us. Too often, this happens through language that’s been spoken for us, around us, and about us. Stories. Roles. Assignments. Stereotypes. Value. Worth. These have defined us, shaped us, and yes, (mostly) trapped us. 

Adrienne Rich is not alone in naming this. Brené Brown speaks almost exclusively about it in her latest book, Atlas of the Heart:

If we want to find the way back to ourselves and one another, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories and to be stewards of the stories that we hear. This is the framework for meaningful connection.

The key is to make language our own, to claim its power and beauty, to take agency, and to move from being trapped by it to letting it be the source of our very liberation. Ultimately and paradoxically, the very things, experiences, even people that have oppressed or bound us, when named with language, are what enable our freedom.

  • When you honestly name and put language to the harm of your past, you can then step into freedom from it.
  • When you bravely name and put language to your fear, you can then experience a life that is freed from such.
  • When you fiercely name and put language to your truth, you can then begin to live in uncompromising, unedited, and freedom-suffused ways.

All easier said than done. All the work and journey of a lifetime. All deeply sacred.

*****

So, to (finally) wrap things up…

  • internalized patriarchy is a real thing — which is why:
  • re-visioning matters.
  • understanding the assumptions in which we’re drenched matters.
  • naming how language has trapped us matters; letting it free us, even more!
  • doing every bit of this not alone makes all the difference.

All of this, on repeat and with constancy and dedication, is what can and will change the world. Needed now more than ever, yes? 

May it be so.

Wisdom from Dr. Sharon

I came across a Facebook post by Brene Brown a few weeks back. She was talking about her recent conversation with Sarah Niles who plays Dr. Sharon Fieldstone on Ted Lasso. (If you’re not a Ted Lasso devotee, I promise, all of this will still make sense.)

These were the words in the meme that accompanied the post:

All I try to do is just root my feet and feel like I have a right to be here. I deserve to be loved. I deserve to be seen. I am seen. I am loved. ~ Sarah Niles

Honestly. I could just stop here, yes?

And, I have more I want to say…

Root your feet and feel like you have a right to be here.
We live in a world that often (and still) tells us we do not have that right. The evidence is legion. Still, still, women are not allowed to make choices for themselves (in some states more than others). Still, still, our voices are not heard. Still, still, our compensation does not equal that of our male counterparts. Still, still, domestic violence persists — and sexual trafficking — and sexual violence. And what is the antidote to this? SO much, of course; but the MOST healing, MOST transformative, MOST world-changing thing possible is YOU believing that you have a right to be here. Right here. Right now. So, root your feet. Stand still. Stand tall. Stand firm. And stay.

You deserve to be loved. You deserve to be seen.
No kidding. Despite your own stories — a lifetime of them — in which you’ve not been loved as you deserved, not been seen, not been heard, not been honored, this wisdom calls you to a deeper truth; one that surpasses, overcomes, and heals the lies.

You are seen. You are loved.
The thing I love about these two statements is that they eliminate all argument, all self-doubt, all question marks, all ambivalence, all wondering. They just are. They are true. And when you believe them, really believe them, then you live in ways that reflect their truth. Do that, yes?

A few ways you might experiment in the days to come:

  • Every morning this week, open up a blank document on your computer or page in your journal and write these words across the top of the page: Because I have the right to be here, that means…
  • In every conversation or interaction or meeting this week, tuck an index card or sticky note into your pocket — even the palm of your hand — that says, I deserve to be loved. I deserve to be seen. Then pay attention to, even track, how that shifts the way in which you show up, how you speak out, what you say “no” to, where you say “yes,” even the tilt of your chin and the squaring of your shoulders.
  • Each night this week, just before you fall asleep, repeat these words: I am seen. I am loved. What dreams may come? What gratitude might pour forth? What reflection might you see in your minds eye of just how amazing and wise and deserving you truly are?
  • Oh, and listen to the podcast: Brene Brown’s conversation with Sarah Niles herself.
  • Finally, again and again and again — repeat these words to yourself (maybe even to those you love):

All I try to do is just root my feet and feel like I have a right to be here. I deserve to be loved. I deserve to be seen. I am seen. I am loved.

Vast thanks, Dr. Sharon.

Why I Left My Corporate Job

My thoughts on fear, courage, and being an entrepreneur.

In January of 2018 I left my 10-year-old online business for a job as a trainer/facilitator with a Leadership Development company. Though it was a complicated decision — walking away from my website, blogging, subscribers, my online presence — I knew it was the right one.

I was right. I loved the work. I loved the content I got to teach. And I loved the people I worked with. Just a year later, I was promoted. Then, just over a year later, Covid descended. Then, months after that, there was an unexpected senior leadership change. Then, everything changed.

In the midst of such, and regrettably, I watched myself move into my highly-honed default behaviors of compromise and compliance. I kept my head down. I didn’t speak up. I pulled back. I did what was required — but with less heart, less presence, less “me.” Until…

I pulled back far enough to notice. I had to honestly acknowledge that I was behaving in ways that were completely antithetical to who I knew myself to be. And though I couldn’t have known where it would lead, I said to myself, “No more.”

And then, things got even harder (as is almost always the case when we choose our own integrity, authenticity, and alignment over compromise and compliance). And harder still. Eventually, through a “mutual separation agreement,” I left. September 17, 2020.

It is hard to make choices on our own behalf when they are costly, when there is so much at stake, when fear of the unknown looms.

I believe this is almost always the nature of it — at least as I look back on the most significant decisions and transitions in my life. I also believe that bearing those costs and facing those fears exponentially increased the reward, my sense of strength and capacity, my awareness of my own value and worth.

If you are sitting at a crossroads, where the laundry list of costs feels nearly overwhelming, where what’s at stake is pretty much everything, where the fear of the unknown feels dark and scary, here’s what I want you to know:

  • Consider that the complexity and cost is the very evidence you need to confirm just how important this choice is, just how capable and worthy you are to make it, just how much you and your desires matter.
  • If it were simple or benign, you would have already made the move, had the conversation, left the job, risked it all, started your own business, enforced the boundary.It’s NOT simple or benign. Which is WHY it is asking so much of you.
  • Know that your costs and fears are real. You get to acknowledge them instead of push them under the surface. Not once, but over and over again. Though this feels daunting, it is like Olympic training: building strength you didn’t know you had in order to face and surmount challenges you didn’t know you could.
  • Trust me when I tell you that you are no less worthy if you wait, if you hold off, if you can’t bear those costs right now. I understand. You are still more than enough.

*****

Now just over a year out from my seemingly-stable corporate position that offered me a steady paycheck and benefits and frequent flyer miles and an expense account — I feel the to-be-expected angst of being on my own.

Day-in, day-out I see the costs, what’s at stake, and all my fears lined up like toy soldiers in front of my computer monitor waiting to be addressed or ignored, tackled or given into.

Day in, day-out I remind myself of what I’m doing and why it matters.

And day in, day-out I recognize that in spite of it all, I am choosing me — over and over again. Most days, that is more than enough benefit to stay the course, trust myself, and persist. Easy? Not at all. Worthwhile? That IS the risk, the gamble, and the focus of my endless hope.

May it be so.