Image by Cheryl
Last night Fear woke me up – again. Lately I’m pushing up against some old stories and beliefs that tell me what I can and can’t have. These are stories of LACK and LIMITS and UNWORTHINESS…not fun. Really! And yet, they contain gold for me if I’m willing to do some digging. So, there in the middle of the night I had a little talk with Fear. (To me Fear appears as a dark figure in a trench coat and hat, you can’t see his features, but he’s menacing, lurking in the shadows ready to pop out and wreck my day – or night, That is why I call my fear “him”.) “Fear”, I said, “I’ll talk with you in the morning. I know you want to help, but I need my sleep.” Eventually, he left me alone and I slept, but I knew this was an appointment I needed to keep.
After breakfast we sat down with a journal and a pen and began talking. This is a practice I do when I feel tense, scattered, confused, stressed. Or when I keep waking up in the night! It always helps. I start by letting Fear say his part – for as long as that takes – I write down his worries, fears, concerns, character assassinations (my character, of course), etc. At some point he begins to repeat himself and that’s when we stop. As I write I’m not judging, just listing. Sometimes an insight will come up and I note that down to come back to later.
Today Fear told me:
- I have nothing of value to offer.
- No-one likes me.
- I have no skills.
- I’ll starve and end up in a horrible place at the mercy of horrible people.
All of this (and more) keeps coming up, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. But that’s how Fear works. I actually know he cares about me, he wants to help, but his methodology is really screwed up! He thinks that by scaring me he’ll get me to stop doing new things and stretching myself. He thinks that makes me safe.
Oh, he of little faith.
Ironically, stopping assures that the worst case scenario can happen. Not to mention the hell of living with my fears as my MO in the world. No thanks!
Here are a few tools I employ to deal with the fears that come up, and how I get Fear to help me, for real. These tools will help give you some space away from your fears which allows more clarity, more sanity, more joy! Assuming your fears are here to help you can make them less upsetting and scary too. (Note: There are times just writing out my fears clears the air and I can move on – these ideas are for when that doesn’t work.)
- First, I look at each fear and see if it has helpful information for me. For example, I might look at “I have no skills” and ask what skills I feel I’m missing that would be honestly useful. It’s true there are some skills I want to take the time to learn – particularly technology skills. So, now I can schedule time to address that. Because I listened to Fear he feels better already!
- Next I search my fears for “truth”. Using the same fear as above I ask, “Is it true I have no skills, like zero?” And of course that isn’t true at all. It is something I fear though, regardless of how ludicrous it may be.
- So, next I find evidence. I look for the things I know I can do – this can start really simple (and may need to if the fear is pretty strong) like: “I am skilled at walking. I can drive like a boss. My eating abilities are amazing!” By the way – laughter is a great antidote to fear, so rock that too! Keep going with the evidence. And if you get stuck ask someone who loves you. They know your skills and will share some with you that you didn’t even know about or see.
The most important thing here is to really feel the delight of being skilled. Sense into the opposite of the fear. No one likes you – ha! Everyone you like also likes you. Feel it. You have no value? You are not just valued, you are value, inherently. We’re not dismissing or running from our fears – we’re getting honest about them. These can run in the background and mess with our ability to make good decisions for our lives. We’re acknowledging them and allowing them to be useful. That is a win-win!
- Finally, for any fears that didn’t work with the previous tools, try this…
Ask Fear, and yourself, what is this really about? Allow yourself to let the answer come up. You can say “If this happens/is true, then _______” to get more information. For example, the last fear I have listed “I’ll starve and end up in a horrible place at the mercy of horrible people” is a future-type fear. It’s practically a national-obsession-type fear. So I ask, what is this really about for me right now?
The real fear here, and in most future-type fears, is loss of something that you have now that you value. Like a safe home, a good income, a lot of amazing people you love, relative freedom, etc. These types of fears are pretty insidious because they require faith to overcome them. We can look for evidence that this has never, ever happened to you before, or that it has and you overcame it. But we also have heard cautionary tales of the horrible things that have happened to others. We might have seen it firsthand. We fear It could happen to us in the future. This can be scary stuff. They’re also the types of fears that tend to show up during times of transition in your life – when things are changing.
For these my first step is to turn it over to a Higher Power – your Higher Power of choice. I ask for help. I have faith that I am heard, and I am safe. I see and feel how safe and blessed I am right now, and I focus on that delicious feeling. I focus on how grand my life is right now. I live right here. This will (if you’re anything like me…) require repetition, and more repetition. The number of times you have allowed your self to go over and over the bad things that could happen, that is how many times you need to recall that you are safe, life is good, and you have access to just the help you need right now.
And then I have faith in myself. I see how I’ve managed to take care of myself all of my life until now, even when it wasn’t perfect it was OK. I note when I handled things well, when I overcame heartache, tragedy, sadness – knowing I can handle anything at all that I need to. I give myself credit – I know that I am the hero of my life!
Next, I ask Fear to help me by telling me why he fears this outcome. Many times when I have these fears I find there are areas of my life where I’m not giving it my best. I’m not focused, I’m not paying attention. You’ll be amazed what helpful information is running around in the back of your mind waiting for you to just give it some air time! I pay attention and then I take steps to care for myself, for my money, my home, my freedom – whatever addresses my legitimate concerns. Taking inspired action is a great way to dispel fear!
Fears are scary. That’s how they get our attention. But they’re also trying to help us. I believe that. I hope these tools are of use to you in living & creating your amazing life! If you have any questions you can contact me here or schedule a free session here. I’d love to hear from you!
Note: The information above is meant for normal fears and fearfulness. There are times when fears will not give us good information – when they’re overwhelming and too much to tackle alone. If you’re in a situation like this please contact a professional – a psychologist or other therapist can help you.
Christmas Past: My sweet kitty under the tree.
It’s at this time of the year I remember my mother’s wisdom most. Our family was really busy at Christmas time with 2 stores to run and all of the holiday’s excitement as well. And yet Mom always made Christmas special – she loved it and created an amazing experience for us from food, to decorations, to presents, to fun things to do. Until I was a mom I had no idea how hard that was to accomplish. Or what a joy it is to make something so delicious.
I’m having an extra busy Christmas season this year. We’re fixing up the house we’re moving to, keeping the one we’re selling in pristine condition, packing, moving….Whew! And please, let’s not even talk about Christmas preparation! It’s pretty stressful and I tend to start rushing, running, getting breathless, not sleeping, always planning and thinking ahead. I’m certainly not spending time in the moment where I am so I can enjoy my life and this gorgeous season. And that reminds me of a saying of my Mom’s: “The hurrier I go the behinder I get”. It always used to make me laugh, but it’s true! My rushing and stressing isn’t making things go faster or more smoothly at all. In fact it made me sick and farther behind than ever.
And, of course, I know better! I kept telling myself this was no way to do things, but I just didn’t listen to myself. Today as I’m feeling better and starting to rush around again I heard my Mom’s voice “The hurrier I go….” And I laughed and tuned in again to the world as it is right now. If you tend to get wrapped up in all there is to do in a busy season here are few tips I can share that work for me to come down to Earth, slow down, and, you know, get less “behinder” – or at least have more fun (and stay healthy) while I do my work:
- For goodness sake – Breathe!!! When you’re holding your breath or breathing shallowly you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Or making life easier or more delightful. Pull in a nice deep breath and let it out, be grateful that it’s so easy, and available, and calming to just breathe.
- While you’re breathing, wiggle your toes. Notice you have a lovely body, toes that move and support you. Lungs to breathe into. Legs to stand on, arms to hug someone with, a head to lay on your pillow when you rest. You can dance, and sing, and make things with such an amazing body.
- Open your eyes (really open them) and look around. Where are you? What do you see? Do you see beauty, or something comforting? Do you see loved ones, nature, your home or office? Be where you are and look for the most delicious thing in that place. Let the experience of that object, person, situation, or sound fill you with joy! Rest there, in that joy; soak it up.
- Next, think (calmly…) about what has you rushing about. First, I want you to assume there is an easier and more pleasant way to do whatever it is. Know that you will discover this easy, pleasant way when you allow yourself to let go of your preconceived notions of how things must go and what you need to do to make it happen. Let me say here you can (and will) certainly proceed the way you want to proceed, and if that means you will go on rushing, that’s fine. Hey, I’m with you. There are times that is the only way for me too. But I want you to be honestly aware that there are other choices, for sure. Other ways to make it happen that are different and probably a lot more fun. Ways that allow you to drop perfection, allow you to enjoy the process, allow you to ask for help, ways that honor your needs. These ways will certainly make the process better not just for you, but for everyone around you (just ask my poor sweet husband what a drag I’ve been the last few weeks!).
- Brainstorm, make a list, allow yourself to dream of the perfect solution, write it down as if it has already occurred. And then step away for a bit. Sleep on it, rest. And come back to your dream process. Do you see new ways to do this? Is there anything that can be dropped, farmed out? Can you at least see how you can do what you want, achieve the outcome you desire, and still have fun, as well as a healthy body and mind? What would be the best outcome and a delightful way to get there? How can you make that happen?
I know I’ll be following this list of steps for the foreseeable future! I have my brainstorming done and now I’m going to take long rest and see how things look in the morning. I already feel more hopeful that I can make everything happen – and in a lovely way. I hope this is of help to you too. And I want to wish you delight-filled holidays and all of the pleasures of the winter season!
Lots of Love, Cheryl
Image by My Life Through a Lens
I was thinking today about Imagination and the Presidential Race, as one does…
I wondered if Bernie Sanders imagined himself the beleaguered, scrappy, but honest and appealing, underdog. And if that is why he achieved what he did. And then I wondered who of the current candidates could really imagine themselves as President of the United States of America. Who could see themselves living in the White House, vetoing bills, appointing people to important positions, talking with other world leaders, working with Congress, going to Camp David? I wondered if that person would be the winner in this surprising and sometimes ugly contest.
And that, of course, set me thinking about what I can imagine for myself and my life. As Goethe said (or perhaps not quite; apparently an Irish poet named John Anster published a translation of Goethe which was a bit loose and poetic, and this is his version of an excerpt from Faust – info from Quote Investigator):
“What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it…”
Or more to my purposes, here is a quote by William Arthur Ward:
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”
Apparently, I’m not the only one thinking about this, and it isn’t a new thought at all! It is a telling consideration though. What do you imagine for yourself? Do you have sweet, hidden dreams you believe you’ll never truly achieve? Can you see yourself living the life that includes those dreams, or are you content to just…dream. When I asked myself this question I could definitely see ways I’ve let myself play the beleaguered, scrappy (but honest and appealing!) underdog in my own life. And that’s perfectly fine – if it’s what I truly want.
I love/hate these sorts of revelations! I don’t like feeling that I’m failing myself, or especially others. I don’t like thinking I’ve “ruined” my life by not doing things “right”. I don’t like thinking I could be President by now – had I only dreamed it! – but instead I’m just a goddess dreamer. These are the nasty thoughts of my dear, inner Mongol Horde, of course (read about the Horde here). Happily, I am a multitude, so I have other feelings and thoughts about this as well. What I love is that with each revelation I can make changes that are delicious to me and make my life the delightful romp I want it to be!
This all makes me think about the actual intentions and dreams behind the actions I take each day. Because you can definitely take action and not be aware that you’re creating something you don’t really want. Here is more of the quote by Goethe/Anster:
“Lose this day loitering—’twill be the same story
To-morrow–and the next more dilatory;
Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? seize this very minute–
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it,
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated—
Begin it, and the work will be completed!”
This could be about being lazy *gasp* and finally getting off your behind to take action – but I think it’s more about being unaware of your true beliefs and motivations behind the actions you are taking today. As I tell my clients (and really most anyone who will listen) awareness is everything – in making changes, living a life you adore, knowing who you are and what you want, and in pursuing that All-American goal of happiness.
In order to learn more and be aware of my own motivations today I asked myself – “When I’m eating this cookie am I fulfilling my dreams of losing weight?” And then I wondered – is losing weight REALLY a dream of mine, or am I actually happy the way I am and can quit striving for the “ideal” weight? Why do I want to lose weight? Can I really see myself and my life as a thinner person? These are pretty important questions if I don’t want to “lament o’er lost days” and weigh the same next month. Or perhaps I just don’t need to beat myself up anymore over a goal I don’t really care about.
Or I may look out there at all of the courses that offer a way to “Make 6 Figures!” and wonder what I really want. Do I want to make 6 figures? Why SURE! Do I want to live the lifestyle that many of these thought leaders live? Probably not. I don’t care that much about world travel. I like working from the local park – a far off beach isn’t necessary. I don’t care about being on Oprah or convincing people I’m the only true expert in something. Honestly – I feel my clients are the experts in their lives. But I do want to help people as a career, I know I can help people, and I do want a continuing income I can live well on. Can I imagine that life? What does it look like? Is it different from the one I have now? How?
And then after I ask myself lots of questions and clarify what my dreams really are I can get in touch with what Cassie Parks calls my “future self” and figure out what the two of us DO want. Usually that process of getting in touch with the future me who is living exactly as I want to live, and doing just what I desire to do, yields some good ideas about next steps to take. So, naturally, then I can get off my duff and “Begin it, and the work will be completed”! OK it may take a bit more time, but beginning truly does have a magic of its own – plus it’s the only way to get here to there.
So, as you can see I have some contemplative days ahead while I scrutinize my reasons for my actions. But I’m still wondering…I do believe that “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” At the very least I believe that if you can’t imagine it then it will be pretty hard to bring it into your life – for real. And that still begs the question – who in the Presidential Race can really imagine themselves as President? And more importantly (at least to me) – what can you really imagine yourself being? Make it good!
Image by Clem Onojeghuo
I’ve always had songs in my head – you know those songs that get stuck, for whatever reason, and can drive you almost mad? Yeah, you too? Well, I used to think they were just an annoyance, and then as I learned more about how my subconscious (sub in here higher self, inner guide, God, etc.) communicated with me I began to think there might be information there for me. The question many times though was: “What information?” Because sometimes these songs aren’t obviously of help. Two days ago the song in my head was “Everyone Else is an Asshole” by Reel Big Fish, it took a bit of discovery to figure that message out I can tell you! The thing is I’ve had some really rich discoveries by following the thread begun by the music in my head, it’s been such a help – and lots of fun.
The aforementioned song was pretty useful really. I’ve always enjoyed its funny, tongue-in-cheek approach to suggesting that if you think everyone around you is an asshole perhaps you should look at yourself first. So, of course, I looked at that. For the most part I don’t think people are assholes, I usually like them and try not to judge, but the truth is I can definitely still use more work on this. And sometimes I can be an asshole myself. It helps me to be aware of that. But the larger message seemed to me to be twofold: First, humor is a fabulous way to get out of that grumpy, judgmental place – if you can see the humor in a situation you’ve stepped outside and have a bigger, clearer view. And it’s fun! The second message is that what you see outside is also what’s inside – and that refers not only to people who appear to be assholes but those who are beautiful, who are successful, kind, rich, etc. What you’re seeing outside is what is inside you too. And you can be sure there are people who are seeing their beauty, their kindness, and even, perhaps, their own assholiness reflected in you. It’s a great lesson to remember because it helps you find the truth of a situation.
“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…” Hermes Trismegistus
If you’re interested in getting more from that annoying song in your head here are a few ways I use to tease out the meaning. See how they work for you. (And if you are feeling brave the “song” is below. Note, there is profanity – obviously, so please don’t listen if you’ll be offended):
- First I focus on the specific lyrics and tune that repeat in my head to see if there is an obvious message for me there. Consider how you feel when you hear it. Does it bring back a memory? Does it make you want to move your body? Is the tempo slow, zippy, danceable? What energy does it have? Does it remind you of something or someone? If so, how? I usually write in my journal about this – partly because I can access my intuition easier that way and partly because then I can remember it an hour later – (really, steel trap!) This may be all you do and it’s very helpful on its own.
- Next, if I’m still not sure, or want to know more, I like to look up the lyrics. This can be tricky if you can’t recall enough to find the song and songwriter/performer, but there are such amazing search engines for this now. Google it and you’ll probably be lucky. Reading the lyrics can often help you figure out more about the meaning for you. Today the song in my head was “We Built This City” by Starship and the meaning wasn’t completely clear for me until I read the full lyrics and got a better sense of the message of the song. Then I considered how that related to me and my life and there it was – some great information for me! I realized I can benefit from remembering what I build my own “city” on (what my foundation is). It’s really key for me to be true to that right now.
- Next, I might look for the video – this is one of my favorite parts, especially if there’s a good video of the song – my faves are old MTV videos and live performances. You really experience the energy of the song from the performance of it and that can be an eye-opener. Sometimes I think my subconscious just wants me to lighten up and sends me a song with a great, funny, or nostalgic video to help me gain perspective on life.
- With each type of exploration take a moment to check-in to how you feel, what the message might be – it can be very simple. I’ve had messages to slow down, to laugh, to pay attention to my money, etc. The message will be helpful and kind – even when suggesting that you just may need to look at how you judge other people.
- If you want to carry this further you can write the message down where you can see it, memorize it, say it out loud to yourself, or just listen to the song a few times today. Allow it to inform you as the day goes on.
In my monthly newsletters I share a song that has been in my head lately, and news and tips for a life of delight. If you aren’t on my email list you can sign up here.
Lots of Love, and Happy August!!
Everyone Else is an Asshole
My Blooming Trumpet Vine
I’ve been enjoying my Word this year more than ever before! I’ve been much more connected, and interestingly for the first time I’ve seen my Word in a more complete way – one that tests my ideas about what’s “good” and what’s “too much”.
My Word is “Flourishing”, and it’s a bigger and stronger word than I ever expected. This isn’t a word that plays small! But as I observe how the word is playing out in my life I can certainly see that I’ve played small, and also what my feelings are about too much. It has been pretty fascinating and so eye-opening. I say I want plenty, a lot, abundance! But then I get uncomfortable with “too much”, and that’s a vibe I don’t want to continue! So, I’ve been learning to welcome too much and to “prune” it when I need to, with the understanding that will bring me even more of what I need, but with some life enhancing boundaries included.
Some very real evidence of this is my trumpet vine which basically took over my entire front porch and made the front door practically unusable – that plant is flourishing, let me tell you! So, I applied some judicious pruning (boundaries) – it’s still abundant, burgeoning, and growing like mad – but now it’s also flowering for the first time since I planted it 3 years ago. More flourishing in a delightful way.
So, one idea for getting in touch with your Word this quarter is to see how it’s showing up in your world in signs and symbols. I saw that trumpet vine as a sign of flourishing and learning to accept BIG growth, but also to know how to set some boundaries so that I can still move freely. You can take pictures of the signs and symbols you find and/or write about them. I’ll be doing both for July in my Year Book.
Here are more ideas for playing with your Word:
- Mid-year is a great time to assess what you’ve done over the past 6 months and celebrate it all! Look at your accomplishments, do they reflect the influence of the Word you chose for the year? Are there any lessons here for you? How does it feel to be living your Word this way? Write about this and keep it with the rest of your Word practices for the year. It’s also a great time to look over the practices you’ve done with your Word so far this year and reflect on what you’ve discovered.
- I suggested a vision board and vision cards in the previous Word of the Year posts, but this takes that a step further. I created a vision board for June using the phrase “My greatest desires and joys help me to Flourish, these are….” And then I used my intuition to pull images and words and create a vision board. I used what I learned from that board to make small cards to tell what flourishing is like for me each day (see image below), then I placed them in my Year Book where I can access that wisdom easily. This has been amazingly delicious and helps me to remember what a flourishing life is all about! I tend to get locked in on something and just push through in misery when that is absolutely not necessary. How about you? Do you forget the things that make life grand in the rush of daily life? This is a great time to reinvigorate daily fun and joy!
My Year Book page: My Greatest Desires and Joys Help me to Flourish!
- You could also create your own oracle cards for your Word. Using all you have learned about your Word as you’ve played and explored with it this year paint, draw, collage, photograph etc. images to make cards that express these lessons and ideas. Then write a paragraph on the back about what it means to draw this card in response to a question. I’ve never done anything like this, and it may turn out just horrible, but I’m so excited to try! I’ll share mine, and if you do this please share yours too. (You can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at the_intrepid_goddess.)
Living with one chosen word for a year is a profound way to grow, learn, and have fun with a focus that takes you in a direction you really want to go. May these ideas for getting to know your Word better be of help. Happy Mid-year! And I hope you’re having fun with your Word, and in your delightful life.
PS: Here are the other Word of the Year posts – Quarter 1, 2016 and Quarter 2, 2016
Image by Cheryl Haezebroeck at theintrepidgoddess,com
This is a quick practice to maintain peace, or to introduce it into a trying day. It’s simple, only requires a bit of attention, and you can do it over and over (in fact, I recommend using it as needed). Here we go…It’s so simple I feel a bit silly sharing it! But it does work, and the more you do it the more you realize you can have an effect on how you feel and how you take the things that come up in life.
Peace in All Things Practice:
- Breathe in slowly and completely, exhale the same way. Allow yourself to stop and look inward, at yourself.
- Drop your shoulders (I know they’re up around your ears – mine too!).
- Smile, or grin. Feel the lovely energy this washes through your body and mind. Ahhhh!
- Love where you are right now. In this very moment let yourself appreciate yourself, what’s happening, what you have, who you are with, etc. Let it all be OK, and more than OK, for this moment
- Rinse & Repeat as needed.
It can seem hard sometimes to do this in the swirl and pulse of the day, but practice makes it easier and more effective. Introducing this still time into your life has all sorts of benefits from greater mental clarity and focus to more calm and happy vibes. I especially use it when I know it’ll be a hectic day, and I know it will go much better if I take the time to check in with myself and allow love and appreciation to bubble up. You may already have a practice like this that you use – if so, just think of this as a gentle reminder to use it and care for yourself in the thick of things.
Wishing you a glorious and peaceful day! I’d love hearing your experience, and if this works for you or if you have another practice that you use to access peace.