On the eve of her 49th birthday, she lay in bed wondering what had happened to her drive and enthusiasm for life. The tears kept her awake, as did the heightened awareness that she wasn’t happy, her experience of life one of feeling trapped.
She lay awake for hours shocked by this realization.
Some time in the middle of the night, she whispered to herself that she would do whatever it took to feel better; to cause a breakthrough for herself. She was so very good at doing it for others, and it was time to turn that attention and care to her Self.
This was hard for her to admit, given that her work was all about helping people enjoy a greater experience of life. She’d been using all the techniques and tools she’d learned over the years, but nothing had made a lasting difference.
That was me, April 14, 2012.
I had entered my own personal hell.
A year passed, and I turned 50.
365 days had gone by since that dark night of the soul, and while I’d made some changes, things were still looking pretty bleak. So much so that I was actually considering therapy and/or drugs to help me get through this phase, which seemed to have become my life.
That’s when I asked myself one very important question:
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get through?
I felt that YES flow through my body like an electrical current.
Yes. I would do anything to feel free of the dark cloud that hovered over me.
Yes. I would do anything to once again feel love and freedom in my life.
That YES changed everything.
And the following truths came through, becoming a non-negotiable road map to getting unstuck.
8 Non-Negotiable Truths to Getting Unstuck
1. Trust yourself.
I had to stop looking outside myself for the answer, and I realized yet again, it doesn’t matter how good the coach or technique is if you don’t trust yourself in the process.
That takes getting out of your head, and into your body.
You’ve got to notice how your feelings, your choices and decisions show up in the physical. Close your eyes and feel where they live in your body, and what they’re trying to tell you. You’ll feel a difference that is unlike any external reference.
Becoming more self referenced is a direct route to feeling more free in life.
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” – Coco Chanel
2. Become a yes.
As I practiced dropping into my body, I began to notice how good a YES felt, and I wanted more of that! I began to pay attention to when something felt like a yes vs. meh, and I began choosing yes more consistently.
Once again, this information is stored in your body, not your mind. A hell yes in the body feels so much more invigorating than a hell yes in the mind.
As you get clear on the difference, begin consciously looking for the YES in your body. It’s your direct access to the source of your energy.
“I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.” – Gandhi
3. Focus on feeling better.
It often felt like I was losing myself in the swirl of emotions and judgments of my mind. Creating any kind of goal from there was pointless, as I just couldn’t get it together to follow through. I can be kind of driven though, and had a hard time letting go of my goals, until I felt I had no choice.
That was a very good thing because it forced me to focus on feeling better, and the sweet relief of that was indescribable.
Toss your goals list, or at the very least, hide it away until you have the resources to look at it with a fresh perspective. Your only goal should be (yes, I said should) to feel better, and when you focus on that you’ll see and feel results much more quickly.
“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus
4. Give up your end goal.
Giving up goals is a tricky thing, right? Especially those big hairy audacious goals that we’re encouraged to create.
Go big or go home. Play a bigger game. And other bullshit calls to action.
Fuck. Them. All.
As soon as I did, I could actually imagine taking an action. And even if the action made no sense in that moment, it was still a move towards feeling better. See #3.
“I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom.” – Chuck Palahniuk
5. Explore new territory.
Einstein nailed it when he said doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result was the road to insanity. Unfortunately, that was a road I was on for months, but when you’re stuck in a spiral of negative thinking and feeling, seeing anything new is almost impossible.
Until you hit the wall, and in a fit of desperation try something new.
Oh my God, new never felt so good. New had a profound impact that rocked my world and gave me some much needed perspective.
- Experimenting with juicing
- Celebrating 50 with a tattoo
- Facing my fear of water
- Retreating for 3 weeks to be with myself
New territories. New actions. One after another.
Combined with #3, you can’t help but feel freed up in ways you can hardly imagine.
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” – William Faulkner
6. Ask for help.
This is not my forte. I’m the one that people come to for love and support, and it is crazy how hard it is for me to ask for help when I need it – but I knew I wouldn’t get through this alone.
So I asked, and nearly threw up from the anxiety that tried to choke me as I asked.
And I asked again, and again, each time noticing it was a little less painful. Each time noticing how quickly people said yes to my requests, how willing people were to help me. And I cried like a baby, feeling so much gratitude.
You have no idea what’s available until you ask. You’ve got to take a deep breath and do it.
Let people contribute to you, and then, let yourself receive the contribution, and love.
“Now that she had nothing to lose, she was free.” – Paulo Coelho
7. Get the right kind of support.
This required telling the truth about some things I didn’t want to face. When I did, I began to notice who could support me in the areas I was struggling with. This made it easier to make specific requests, and I was blown away by how quick people were to respond.
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” – Gloria Steinem
The key is asking the right people for the right kind of support.
The folks who squash your dreams, and tell you to get over it? Do not share your needs with them while you feel vulnerable. Ask the ones who love and support you; the ones who’ve been waiting years to contribute and make a difference in your life.
8. Dig deep.
I’ve been on this personal development path a long time, and I thought I’d dug deep before. Imagine my surprise when I discovered there was still some unexplored terrain. I resisted this at first, questioning everything I knew, wishing for an easier to way to get through this, considering therapy and drugs to numb the pain of feeling stuck.
- I should have been able to stop myself from getting here.
- I should have asked for help sooner.
- I should have been able to get through this on my own.
The litany of self-recrimination was long.
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” – Gandhi
Until the day I said, FUCK IT. I’m going deep to get to the source of this and I WILL get through it.
That was the turning point.
Followed by the realization that you can swim on the surface of your issues or you can dive deep.
Deep can be terrifying and uncomfortable. Deep can feel like facing the dragons within. But the payoff of going deep is an undeniable, even palpable letting go of the past.
The payoff is returning you to choice.
Choice is always empowering.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl
So there I was, 50 years old, considering what I wanted as if for the first time, and two words came to mind. . .
In that moment I knew, I was ready to do whatever it took to keep myself on that path.
That was a goal worthy of the rest of my life, and one that called to my soul.
Following that call unleashed my freedom, and returned me to my Self; the self that somehow got lost in the work, marriage, and commitments. It was this self I was longing for, but no matter what I did that year I simply could not find my way back to her until I paid attention to my yearnings.
Following that call led to my energy and enthusiasm returning as I surrendered to putting myself and my needs first. Surrender was not easy for me but it made space for love and freedom as the clearest intention I’ve ever known.
Following that call led to an event that led to a training that led to working with a mentor who calls me to be not just the warrior I know well, but also the tender heart of the feminine that wants to leave you with the experience of being cherished.
My intention in sharing this part of my life is twofold:
1. I want you to know I understand. Too often in the personal development world what’s presented is a veneer of looking good, and that’s not helpful. Life is never handled, and the journey never ends, but it may take you ’round the bend to a place you hadn’t expected. There is hope there too.
2. I am intensely passionate about this commitment to love and freedom, and I have become unapologetically focused on the Freedom Sessions as the way forward. This coaching journey is like nothing else I’ve ever gone through, and it’s what delivered me from the hell I’d been feeling to where I am now, more myself and alive then ever before.
I now have one clear intention – to unleash your freedom in those areas of life that hold you captive.
That is what I’m here for.
Over to you:
Which of these truths resonates with where you are right now?
How would unleashing your freedom make a difference?