Empowerment

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IT’S Ok TO NOT BE OK: SHOWING OURSELVES COMPASSION WHEN THINGS SUCK

Published by Elephant Journal ~ July 6, 2016

I was walking through the airport the other day and saw a woman standing in line at Starbucks who clearly wasn’t feeling her best.

She had such a look of forlorn sadness in her eyes, it broke my heart.

I offered to buy her a coffee and she seemed taken aback. “No, no no… that’s so nice. But you don’t have to do that.”

“I want to,” I said. “You look like you need it.”

She smiled shyly, grabbed my hand and said, “Thank you so much. I needed that.”

As we stood next to each other at the cream and sugar station I could feel her sadness. One of the hardest things about being empathic is feeling other people’s emotions—but in this case, it was a gift. I asked her what gate she was going to and if she wanted to walk with me.

“I’d love that,” she replied and in the 10 minutes we had together, I learned a little bit of her story. She admitted she had a tough holiday. It was the anniversary of the death of her father. She had been feeling depressed leading up to it and had a big breakdown on July 4th.

I shared that it would have been my seventh wedding anniversary that weekend so the holiday is also hard for me every year. She shared how after five years of her father being gone, she thought it “should be getting easier” but it wasn’t. I shared the same expectation I had of myself.

We were two strangers who just got each other.

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ONE IMPORTANT DISTINCTION TO HELP MANIFEST WHAT WE REALLY WANT

Published by Elephant Journal ~ April 5, 2016

Poke fun, but recently I got reacquainted with Esther and Jerry Hick’s “Law of Attraction” recordings.

I know a lot of people think the Law of Attraction is total new age bullsh*t and maybe it is for them, but whenes to myself, I know I absolutely draw in what I put out into the world.

And I can put out a lot of mixed messages about what I want. Which is what I get back. Nothing solid. Nothing permanent. Nothing that quite measures up to the incredible over-the-top image I have in my mind of what my life should look like.

Yes, I’m moderately successful and have manifested some pretty incredible things in my life, especially recently. But I’m a woman who believes in the extra-ordinary and and I’m drawing in just a notch below that. Not exactly up to snuff for an overachiever.

Want to know why?

Because until very recently I wasn’t even clear what I truly wanted.

I’ve been working with a few clients who have said these exact words to me in our sessions, “I don’t know what I want. I just know I’m not happy.”

Yea, I get that. And I say this for myself as much as for everyone else reading this: We need to get really real with ourselves about what we want if we want to manifest it. Because without that clarity and without being fully honest with ourselves about what it is we desire, we simply can’t draw in that “thing” we’re looking for.

And when I say be clear, I mean we have to get specific about the things we want. Saying “I want to be happy” or “I want to make a lot of money” is not going to bring what we’re longing for.

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How We Give Our Power Away & Ways to Reclaim It

Published by Elephant Journal ~ February 7, 2016

“Stop asking why they keep doing it and start asking why you keep allowing it.”

I am absolutely guilty as much as the next person of giving my power away. It’s something I think we unconsciously do, without even realizing we’re doing it.

We give our personal power away every time we let someone push our buttons, make us feel “less than,” intimidate or bully us into doing things, or make us feel guilty.

We give our power away every time we allow someone else to make us feel judged, controlled, or defensive when we know we’ve done nothing to deserve it.

We give it away when we allow someone else to shame us, guilt us or stop us from expressing ourselves or being who we are.

I love myself too much to allow this anymore.

As strong, feisty and self-assured as I am, I found that I often gave my power away to others in an effort to be liked or to not create waves. I don’t like confrontation and I seek to have peace at any cost, so if that meant giving in or staying silent, I would.

Let me tell you something about my silence though: it doesn’t mean I’m giving in or allowing someone to walk all over me or bully me.

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5 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT BEING A STRONG PERSON MEANS

Published by Elephant Journal ~ December 19, 2015

I was raised by what I consider to be a strong woman.

My mom rarely shed a tear, forged ahead when she was sick, tired or just plain fed up, and never backs down from anyone. In my eyes, she was afraid of nothing.

So of course this is what I grew up to believe was the definition of strength.

Most people who know me would say that I’m an incredibly strong woman. My strength however is different. It’s a bit more quiet and reserved. I like to think my strength comes from a place of mindfulness and peaceful intentions, instead of an outwardly showy, “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar.”

What I’m finding is that too many of us are telling ourselves we aren’t “strong enough”…mainly women. And this is simply because their definition of strong is flawed.

We believe that being strong means we will never break down and cry…and I’m talking the ugly, fall apart in a million pieces on the floor in the fetal position cry. When the road we are trudging gets too tough, or the emotional pain and heartache too great.

We believe that being strong means we will never back down from something we started or from a person who is verbally attacking us or pressuring us into doing something we don’t want to do.

We may believe that being strong means we will never fear anything… that we will just forge ahead, balls to the wall, and go after everything we want.

None of this is true.


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HOW TO BREAK DOWN THE WALLS OF  A  “TOUGH GIRL”
Published by Elephant Journal ~ December 2, 2015

To all the world, I am the “tough girl”. Although I’m soft on the inside and need to be loved, nurtured and help – I shield myself with iron-slad armor so nobody can get in.

I allowed someone in once. I gave him all of my trust and love.

But that love was shattered into a million little pieces, then stomped on some more, even after he was gone.

My heart may have been dead, but I’m still alive.

My pulse beats faintly, coming back to life at moments, when someone shows genuine kindness and affection toward me. When a friend reminds me that all is not lost and there is still so much more to look forward to.

This tough girl wants the armor to be broken, but is afraid of being exposed to the elements. Emotions are overwhelming—not safe. Feeling anything that resembles love or a “charge” is terrifying.

There have been one or two who have made my heart flutter, sent electricity down my spine and made me quiver with emotions that took my breath away.

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LIFE ISN’T ALWAYS FAIR: WHY IT’S OK TO ALLOW YOURSELF BAD DAYS
Published by Elephant Journal ~ December 1, 2015

Bad stuff happens to good people. That’s a fact.

And let’s face it…sometimes it gets really exhausting having to be positive about it.

My parents have always said, “You think you got it bad… there are people out there that have it a million times worse.” 

And yes, I acknowledge that they do. All of us can find at least 10 people we know that are dealing with something much worse than we are.

Still, we don’t have to put on a happy face and accept every difficult thing that happens in our lives. We have a right to vent about it, to get angry, to be sad or depressed.

We don’t need to sit in these feelings for extended periods of time. But are we allowed to go there for a short little visit?

Hell yea. And let’s not feel bad about it.

Someone asked me recently how I would describe my writing. What do I write about, they asked?

I had to think about that for a few minutes as I have never forced my writing to fit into any one particular box. I just write what is in my heart. But if I had to take the majority of my work, I’d categorize it as inspirational, advice on healing, letting go, acceptance and how to transcend and move through difficult situations.

So writing about the reality that life sometimes sucks and that we don’t always have to be positive, pull out our rah rah pom poms and carry on with a big fake smile is a little out of character for me. Yet when I jokingly threw out the idea to a few friends about writing about it, people wanted to hear it.

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I Am Not Who I Once Was: Who13757137535_2331a77629_z We Become After Trauma

Published by Elephant Journal ~ October 22, 2015

This past weekend I attended one of the most powerful workshops I’ve ever been to. The theme was, “I Am Not Who I Was: Unfolding Your Own Myth.”

We opened the evening by going around the circle and speaking a little about ourselves. When it was my turn, I didn’t realize I was speaking or know where the words came from, but I heard myself saying with fierce, unapologetic bravado:

I am not who I was 2 years ago. I was a woman who listened to everything others told her she had to do, and never listened to my own inner voice. I hid so many parts of myself. I didn’t like to be seen and I feared being heard because what if people didn’t like what I had to say? I followed all the rules because I thought following them would bring me everything I wanted.

I shared the woman I am today, having gone through my own personal trauma. I’m different. I have a voice. I don’t care what people think of me anymore. I allow myself to be seen—the real me, not the one I think will win people’s approval.

I base my self-worth not on what anybody else thinks of me, but on what I think of myself.

I’m a bit of a rule-breaker now, and I don’t apologize for that.

I will never be who I once was because of what I have been through.

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I WON’T BE ANYONE’S 2ND CHOICE ANYMORE

Published by Elephant Journal ~ November 4, 2015

I think as women, we settle for a lot less than we deserve.

We often accept being in a relationship with someone who is not all in, as in… not “all into” just us.

Why do we do it? 

I think we do it because we think the person will eventually realize how amazing we are and choose to be with just us and us alone. We do it because we are just so head over heels in love that we will accept whatever tiny bits of themselves they are willing to share with us.

Sometimes we do it because we are already committed to the person and we hope that they will find their way back to us.

I have personally found myself in this situation twice—both gut-wrenchingly painful experiences that I have worked diligently to never repeat again in my life.

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HAPPY F**ING NEW YEAR FROM OJAI

Published on “Carry On Sister” Blog ~ January 1, 2016

This is what Jen Pastiloff  says as she videotapes of all of us belting out Adele’s “Hello” on New Years morning during a Yoga class, hands in the air, filled with a ridiculous amount of joy, a feeling of connection to each other after less than 48 hours of meeting and our willingness to “not be afraid to be a dork.”

I pretty much knew I was going to love Jennifer when she dropped the f-bomb more than once at Opening Circle the day we all arrived. This was not going to be your typical Yoga retreat which was the very reason I signed up.

I decided to come to Ojai for Jennifer’s New Year’s Manifestation retreat after a whole lot of google searches looking for the perfect way to close out a year of painful endings but beautiful beginnings and to kick start 2016 with some powerful intentions.

 I wanted to let go of what I knew was no longer serving me and make commitments to stop listening to the “1 in 100” as Jennifer calls it.  That is the one person we all listen to who tells us that we “aren’t enough”, or that we’re a “hypocrite” or that “nobody cares to hear what you have to say” or whatever other negativity they lob at us that stops us from hearing the other 100 people telling us how great we are.

I was really ready to release that shit.

All of us came for different reasons, but it became evident at Opening Circle that we had a whole lot in common. Many of us in a lot of pain. Carrying old wounds, sadness over losses, uncertainty about our own power and ability to manifest our dreams.

We needed to find strength and support in each other and be willing to be vulnerable after a writing session when Jennifer called on us to stand up and share with the group.

What is so powerful about Jen is that she truly listens. She listens with such intensity and focus, you know that you are being heard.  She  openly shares about the struggles from her own past, and the things she used to allow to hold her back from manifesting her own dreams.

And then she teaches you how to let that shit go. To ask yourself the question “How may I serve?” in everything that you do. To think about, “What do I need to let  go of to be what I want to be?”  And to share with 35 strangers, “What am I most afraid of and what the fuck am I going to do about it this year?” 

We held space for each other in each moment we were together whether it was in the Yoga studio sharing our fears, dreams and hopes  or in the kitchen eating one of Casper Poyck’s amazing meals, or curled up next to the fireplace late at night in the main house talking about the things going on in our lives.

Some of the most powerful moments were in the sheer fun. The first night in the kitchen when Jen made us all hold hands before our first meal together and then jump up and down like lunatics singing,  “Yummy, yummy, yummy, I’ve got bugs in my tummy and I feel like munching you!” 

Or when we all sang along to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” in the middle of our vinyasa poses. Or during the crazy dance party on New year’s Eve to the African drumming, shaking body parts half of us didn’t even know we had.

We were repeatedly moved to tears watching the courage and bravery of so many of our fellow “Manifestors” putting themselves out there every day by doing something they were scared to do.

There was Jennifer, who danced to something that she had choreographed for all of us. Stacey, who sang something that was meaningful to her. Hayley, who boldly belted out one of the best break up songs I’ve ever heard that she had just written and which had all of us laughing and cheering her on by the end.

And beautiful, Sarah who did what scared her most on the final day… made herself vulnerable as she sat in front of 7 different people she hardly knew, put her hands on their heart, looked them in the eyes and told them, “It’s going to be OK.”

So we all knew that when we left Ojai, whatever was going on in our lives… we were going to be OK.

We all drove back to our regular lives this afternoon… our post it notes with our manifestations for 2016 written in ink still stuck to the kitchen cabinets. I like to think that all of us left having received one of the most important messages Jen communicated on our first night:

“How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.” ~ Sigmund Freud

Thank you Jennifer for an amazing start to 2016!

 


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