Zero Judgement, All Love

Zero Judgement

Shit happens. Unexpected upsets occur. People let you down.

React or respond.

Shut down or share your truth.

One truth is, you always have a choice.

Those moments of challenge life hands us are opportunities to grow. Even when they suck.

Some days the urge is strong to shut down, protect myself, and say, fuck it, I’ve had enough.

Those are the moments that shake me to the core, and remind me that I get to choose how I want to live my life.

No one else has a say, including people who love me.

I do not want to live a shut down life.

I will not trade my passion and self-expression for safety and security.

It is the cause of dis-ease, which I’m sure given enough time becomes disease of a more common kind.

I choose to live consciously, as awake and open as I can.

My choice to live the way I want requires no approval.

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” 

Emile Zola’s words resonate, squeeze my heart, and remind me of something I’ve known for a very long time.

I am here to live out loud.

Unapologetically, free to choose, moment by moment.

Today choose love.

Love the upset. Love the people. And most of all, love yourself more.

Zero judgement, all love.

Imagine the possibilities.

 

Freedom Always Follows Truth

Freedom always follows truth

Today, like most days, I pulled two cards to start my day.

My go-to deck of Truthbombs reminded me of something I’ve forgotten in the busyness of the past few months.

Freedom always follows truth.

And then, because it seemed I needed a second reminder, truth-telling came up in an interview, and I heard myself say how vital it is to my life and work.

Dear Universe, I got the message, loud and clear.

In that moment, I realized it was time to come clean, to tell the truth about what I want – now, at this moment in my life.

Not last year, not even six months ago. Now.

What I want might take a little ruthless compassion focused on the woman in the mirror. And it might take making changes to my schedule, stretching me out of my comfort zone yet again.

That’s the truth that’s been niggling at me, and also what I’ve avoided.

Because really, do I have to keep growing and expanding myself?

Yes, I do. I am clear that’s part of my work in this lifetime.

How do I know this is true? Because I suffer when I stop growing. I suffer when things become stagnant, routine, and draining.

And more importantly, I thrive when I’m challenged to grow.

It’s not that difficult to tell the truth.

Telling the truth feels so damn good. Have you noticed?

It’s the feeling of sweet relief; a kind of grace that washes over me, a balm to my soul.

If it feels so good, why don’t we do it more often?

Because no one wants to look bad.

“Hey there, let me tell you how I lied to myself and got through it.” – Said no one ever.

Sometimes, lying looks like not telling the whole truth, and then we rationalize it away because it’s not like we actually lied.

Except we did.

To ourselves, and holy fuck, there’s a wake-up call.

Wake up to the truth.

In that interview I spoke of forgiveness, and how it relates to self-compassion. It’s easy to get caught up in self-recrimination when we slip from our commitments, and veer away from the truth.

But what if instead we simply acknowledge what’s there?

No judgement, all love.

The truth is I want writing to be where I turn to work things out and create; not a sometime event linked to a looming deadline.

The truth is I want my business to reach more people; and I want that more than I want to believe the old stories about how it’s not possible.

And the truth is I love the busyness that sometimes gets in the way.

I love having my time and energy focused on projects and goals that will, in some way, change the world.

But that truth felt too big, too audacious, too fucking huge for me to admit.

The truth is I want all of this, and more.

 

And suddenly… sweet relief, and freedom.

No judgement, all love.

 

How to Transform Your Inner Critic

Some things can’t be explained, and a little mystery is a good thing.

That’s what I love about working with Jill Prescott.

Disclaimer: Jill is a good friend and I love her madly.

That’s not why I’m writing this.

I want you to know about Jill because working with her is life-changing. I’ve worked with many coaches, healers, and mentors over the years, and very few have had the impact I’ve experienced with this woman.

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” – Albert Schweitzer

I’m writing this because Jill is one such human being, and I know what awaits those who register for her new program, Embrace Your Humanity.

It’s about acknowledging and transforming your inner critic.

Yes, we all have at least one, and too often it can feel like it’s living your life instead of YOU living your life.

Self-help advice like ‘love yourself’ and ‘don’t listen to that voice in your head’ is useless when you’re caught up in the inner critic’s world of judgment and negativity.

That’s where Jill comes in, and if you let her, she’ll guide you from that place of judgment to a new reality called self-love.

Here’s her story.

You've been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. - Louise Hay

How to Transform Your Inner Critic (and embrace your humanity)

 I’m interested in people falling in love with themselves.

I’m convinced if that happened the world would change dramatically and instead of being surrounded by fear, self hate, anger and regret we would embody peace, love, grace and joy.

Sounds like utopia right?

Well what if you simply started with you?

By now, we all are aware that we must start with ourselves if we have any hope of transforming the world around us.

Through much personal growth, and downright determination I’ve come to realize that the very first step on that journey is to find out what’s really going on inside your own head.

You may be surprised if you slow down and just listen for a minute. When I did what I heard was “well that was dumb” and “idiot” and “DO NOT leave. This is as good as it’s gonna get for you”.

Turns out I was dealing with an Inner Critic. Several, actually. And as I began to dig deeper into this topic I realized it’s an epidemic.

You can find 2,419 books by typing Inner Critic into the search engine on Amazon alone! Two thousand, four hundred and nineteen books. Wow.

So I bought about half of them and started reading. (a slight exaggeration.)

Symptoms of the Inner Critic:

  1. Sleeplessness
  2. Can’t make decisions
  3. Afraid to leave a job/relationship/group of friends that you know isn’t working for you anymore
  4. Stress and anxiety

How many can you relate to?

There are a lot more, and I put a check mark beside about 90% of them.

I lost my shit for a while when I got the full impact of what was going on. It was scary as hell.

For those that don’t know me, I’m not quite 5 feet tall and under a C-note in weight. I don’t fall over too easily, and when I do, you can bet I won’t stay down for long.

I rallied and got to work. It started while I was in a program Sandi offered a few years ago, and while the inner critic conversation was a small part of the overall program, the impact it had on me was profound.

It had such a massive impact that I started teaching my clients how to work with it, turning it from inner critic to inner guide.

The shifts people experienced were nothing short of miraculous, and it started by being willing to listen to and face what I had been telling myself all those years. I had continued suffering long after the initial trauma as over.

Through this work, I took back my life.

I started saying “no” to the things and people who were not right for me.

I saw my value and stopped being dominated by the nonsense going on in my head.

Did it end the negative self talk completely?

No, but that’s normal, and a part of being human.

“A destructive thought process exists within all of us, and we are plagued to varying degrees by an internal dialogue that is harmful, restrictive, and at its ultimate extreme, self-destructive.” – Lisa Firestone

What’s unusual is how quickly I now catch it. I can look at where it came from, and decide if it’s something I can use to my benefit or simply let it go.

That’s what I want for you.

 

* Jill has generously offered a spot to one of my readers. To qualify, please visit this post on Facebook and tell us how you think this program would help you.

 

We Must Move Into Love

“To transcend fear we must move somewhere else emotionally; we must move into love.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We must move into love, and in doing so we make it an active choice rather than an intellectual one.

We’ve heard the call to choose love over fear.

Has it worked for you? Because I’ll admit I’m starting to get that choosing isn’t enough.

And so I did, mostly because I pride myself on walking my talk, but also because I reached out and asked for help.

Some time ago, I began thinking about shooting video, but every time I thought of it my entire being clenched, gripped by the fear of putting myself out there in a new way.

It felt dangerous and vulnerable.

I let myself feel the fear, and I even began to question it, examining it from various angles.

One day I found myself reaching out and asking a friend for support. He was brilliant in that he didn’t just give me advice on how to make videos.  He showed up on my doorstep with his equipment and proceeded to record our conversation for two hours.

Two hours of facing my fear, and moving into love.

Two hours of talking about love and fear and freedom, and other topics I’m passionate about.

At some point I realized I’d almost forgotten about the cameras I was so into our conversation.

I realized that love and fear can’t coexist.

We can never feel them at the same time. It’s impossible.

I realized that choosing love is only the first step.

Moving into love must follow, an ongoing practice that breathes life into us when we most need it.

In saying yes to doing the video, I chose love over fear.

In sharing it here with you, I move into love once again.

Because to keep this to myself goes against how I want to live my life.

I want you to get, just like I did, that I’m OK exactly the way I am.

If I want to help others reclaim their freedom, I have to make the move into love, over and over and over again.

It’s not a one-time thing.

And I am reminded of Marianne Williamson’s prayer,

Dear God,

Help me today to choose love over fear, that I might work miracles for myself and others. Where I am tempted to attack or defend, please guide my mind to a gentler place.

Amen.  

Choose love, and have it be that simple.

Crush your fear.

Become fearless.

An inspiring rallying cry in the personal development world.

Or is it?

Does it really motivate you to hear “be fearless,” when time after time your dreams and desires are shut down by fear? Or does the call to fearlessness leave you in doubt that you could ever be that bold?

Just because we hear something a lot doesn’t make it right or true, or even helpful. That it is believed and widespread doesn’t make it useful or effective in the reality of day-to-day living.

Because the truth I’ve learned is that becoming fearless isn’t the point; nor is mastering your fear.

That’s just ego talking, doing it’s best to stop you.

Fear has its uses – survival for one – and it keeps us from doing stupid things, but the thing we don’t often hear is that fear can even lead you to a positive outcome.

What if leaning into your fear is what sets you free? 

Hard to believe? Challenging your beliefs? Stay with me.

When I launched my business almost 15 years ago, I was afraid.

When I got married after heartbreak in my first relationship, I was terrified.

When I learned how to scuba dive, I was so scared I could hardly breathe.

When I faced a video camera for the first time? Heart-racing, deer-in-headlights fear.

I was wracked with fear every single time.

I certainly didn’t ‘crush it’ or eliminate fear from my life. Instead, I tested it, leaning in to see where it would lead me.

That video recording I mentioned?

Yeah, that happened recently, and I can still hardly believe I did it.

For some time, I’ve thought of doing video, every time coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t for me.

I’m not a video person.
I don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera.
I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing.

A few my logical reasons for saying no.

Then I asked myself what was choosing to say no – love or fear?

Fear – deep and dark – a fear of being seen in a new way. Exposed. Vulnerable. I wanted to run and hide, get away from my discomfort.

So I did the opposite, leaning into it as far as I could. And the most amazing thing happened.

Love showed up and said yes.

Choose Love: photo credit - Sandi Amorim

Love for my work, and connecting to people.

Love for the friend who offered to record my first video, and help me face my fear.

Love for myself, and my desire to keep growing and stretching beyond what I think is possible.

I chose love, and it said yes.

Two hours flew by while we talked about life, and vulnerability, and why the general advice to be fearless is fucked. I talked about how scared I was to do this with him.

Two hours of recording that showed me that being afraid and being filmed (or being afraid while being filmed) was something I could lean into rather than avoid.

Instead of crushing fear, I chose love.

Can it be that simple?

Yes.

Simple, and not always easy, but I’m willing to practice.

Choose love, and have it be that simple.

 

p.s. Video to come, so stay tuned.

 

Lessons from the Birth Canal

As I wrote this post, Deva Premal chanted in the background; a prayer to Ganesh, remover of obstacles. This chant has been my constant companion the past month as I prepared for the business of birthing.

Creating. Launching. Birthing.

And exhausting – for it feels like I have given birth, and been birthed at the same time.

Yes, I love a good paradox.

ges·ta·tion  n.

1. The period of development in the uterus from conception until birth.
2. The conception and development of a plan or an idea in the mind.

In this case, the gestation period was two years.

In this case, the gestation period was two years.

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but…life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

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A Credo for Living Your Best Life

definition of credo against burning background

Fight FOR something, not against.

Own who you are without apology.

Trust feelings over logic.

Take the first step even though it’s the hardest.

Change the world by looking inward.

Don’t just keep your word, honour it.

Ignite revolution from the inside out.

Be curious, experiment, question everything.

Do what you know to do.

Respect and live your values.

Believe. . .even when it’s most challenging.

Belong because you say so.

Embrace change, but don’t rush it.

Stand your ground for what’s important.

Crush your someday thinking.

Rock the boat, fiercely and often.

Speak your truth for there lies your essence.

Be, do and have what you’re here for.

Shine bright and shrink less.

Be brilliant, talented, fabulous.

Let silence nourish you.

Choose to open, especially when things feel tight.

Forgive yourself for losing your way.

Rattle the cage, speak up.

Choose love over fear every time.

 

I Am NOT Sorry

 

dancing child

Three years old and owning the dance floor!

I am NOT sorry for. . .

dancing by myself on the dance floor, at 3 or now

being intense and passionate and sometimes “too much”

being a girl/woman with strong opinions

hitting that boy in grade 3 when he called me stupid

having a voice and using it

unleashing my Lola and yours

upsetting an uncle by telling the truth when he asked my opinion

loving people as much as I do, even when they mess up

leaving a great opportunity when my boss was an asshole

 

I am NOT sorry for. . .

poo-poohing superficial communication

talking to strangers

being selfish instead of selfless – I am not a martyr

my wit and humour, and sometimes sarcasm

disobeying the rules

taking a stand for what I want

asking you to choose now over someday

NOT sorry for that at all.

 

I am also NOT sorry for. . .

crying easily and often

sharing and loving more than “acceptable”

writing what’s in my heart

calling bullshit when I hear it

disagreeing with the status quo

leading more than following

refusing to settle

I want what I want and sorry be damned!

 

Most of all, I am NOT sorry for. . .

being curious about you, life, and what makes us tick

asking questions when I don’t understand

discomfort – there’s no  magic in the comfort zone! 

growing and learning and wanting the best out of life

being bold and full of moxie

laughing loud, often and unabashedly

being a demand for love, intimacy and connection in my relationships

pursuing my dreams, even though some have not worked out

shining bright and asking you to do the same

loving so deeply I thought I would die when it ended

and having the courage to love again.

 

I am NOT sorry for turning 49 today.

Every single thing that’s happened in my life, whether I enjoyed it or not, has caused me to grow, transform and become more myself than I ever thought possible.

And I am so NOT sorry for that.

 

Boy Meets Girl

boy meets girl

Boy meets girl. I was 16.

Boy & girl grow up together.

Boy gives girl ring. Promises future.

Boy leaves girl. No longer a girl. I was 30.

The facts don’t tell the whole truth.

They rarely do.

For how could these simple facts tell the story of first love, promise and heartbreak without being a cliché?

I once read that however long a relationship lasts is how long it will take to get over it when it ends.

That was true for me.

While there was no happily-ever-after, this story lead me down the path of personal development, which lead to the work I love.

And that?

Has made all the difference.

 

“…Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

 

 

Paying Homage to Self-Care

 

Homage: respect or reverence paid

Self-care: care for oneself

For a few months I’ve been shifting my focus to self-care due to some physical challenges. Nothing life threatening, but challenging none the less.

In my enthusiasm and passion for the work I love (coaching & writing), I’d been spending increasingly more time at my desk, focusing on my mind and forgetting the body and spirit part of the system.

Here’s what my body reminded me of. . .

It’s not about what you know, it’s about how you live and the choices you make each day.

Ouch. They say we teach what we most need to learn, and I’m getting the message loud and clear!

female sculpture in front of grass

 

Brene Brown says that calm is the ability to manage your emotional reactivity.

Calm is a superpower.

Truth is, it’s pretty tough to manage your reactivity when you don’t feel resourceful or when you’re body’s in crisis.

 

The shift to focusing on myself, specifically my body has not been easy and it doesn’t come naturally to me.

My tendency is usually to focus on and be there for others, and I know I’m not alone in this.

Friends, family, clients – I hear it often – everyone is challenged by the daunting task of taking care of ourselves.

Why is that?

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