Drama Cleanse: The End…or Beginning 

  1. 5-minute Journal- every day
  2. Podcasts:
  3.   Beautiful Writers Podcast: Anne Lamott & Glennon Doyle Melton: Hallelujah Anyway; Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: Brene Brown; Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: Glennon Doyle Melton
  4. Visualize for 5 minutes – Everyday, this morning with quick meditation
  5. Exercise: Bar online (20 minute version) and 4 mile run; track workout; rest day; 4 mile run
  6. Goal- submitting revised article to 2 different journals
  7. An item off your shitty things to do list: Still checking off…
  8. Do something fun: Friend came to visit…so much fun was had.

Well, we made it. I was really hoping that I would arrive on the other side of this happy, healed, and heartbreak free. Not quite there, but I guess I am 30 days closer to getting there.

As far as ‘drama’ goes, I was relatively successful. In comparison to the past year, specifically the past 7 months, it was a bubble of all things good and beautiful. But it wasn’t, really. Life just doesn’t work that way. But ,there was still a lot of both of those.

Podcasts:

The first podcast I can’t recommend highly enough. I was an interview with Glennon Doyle Melton and Anne Lamott. I literally could not stop listening until it was over. These two, especially together, were riveting. It is centered around their writing careers, but everything they discuss is applicable to all- everything around facing your fears, pursuing your dreams, etc.

So Glennon Doyle Melton is my new hero. She is just so unbelievably real and raw, and also funny, charming, strong and bold. I think I wrote about her last week. Lamott is a bit older and so incredibly wise but without the least bit of pretention. She, like Glennon, is extremely raw an honest and, yes, a little crazy.

The second and third podcasts were Glennon again, and then Brene Brown.

Takeaway:

All of these discussions each woman’s path that led to her need to write and the way it has impacted her life, as well of those of her readers. The themes that kept surfacing in all three of their stories were fear and failure…which I am finally figuring out are one and the same.

Each woman had to do the one thing that scared them the most. They had to accept that they had failed. They had to look at all of their pain and shame and guilt and fear, all their demons, and not only name them, but expose them and identify exactly where they came from.

Failure. That is always the source, right? Our pain, our guilt or shame…it comes from a deeply ingrained fear that we will fail or that we did fail. It makes us completely powerless because we have no control over it. ‘They’ do. We are afraid of failing ‘them’- our parents, our children, our partner or boss. We fail because we believe they think we failed.

One of them asked a seemingly simple question that proved to make the most powerful point in the podcast.

When was the first time someone told you couldn’t do something well or made you feel like something you created or did was bad?

I feel like every one of us can quickly conjure up this memory- your art teacher, parent, sibling, or ‘friends’ at school. You proudly, or timidly, offered up your talent, and they laughed at you, ridiculed you, embarrassed you, and/or hurt you. I thought of mine and was kind of embarrassed that it had such a lasting impact. But when you are little, you have no choice but to use others’ thoughts and opinions to form your frame of reference, and this includes your identity, even if it is only their reaction to your precious drawing.

I was in the first grade and we were given a picture to color. The best one got a, no idea, a sticker or eraser or something. We all handed them in and the teacher put them up on the wall for everyone to see. I have no idea what the picture was or what mine looked like, but I remember that I was proud of it and actually thought I might ‘win’. I didn’t. She even selected a runner-up, but it wasn’t me. I went up to the teacher after and asked her why mine didn’t win. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but something to the effect of I didn’t stay within the lines. (such a metaphor for my life right now). I remember being so embarrassed and furious at myself for not knowing what the rules were.

I know I kept coloring, probably compulsively until I learned to do it like everyone else. But it’s not about ‘coloring’, is it? She planted a seed. I wasn’t good enough, or worse, there was something wrong with me. So I had two choices: I could either kill myself trying to be better, or I could just stop trying all together. This message started a viscous cycle that became a life-long battle.

I’m not saying this event was the only contributing factor to one of my most relentless issues, but I definitely can see how it helped set the stage. You can’t be perfect if you color outside the lines. And you can’t be celebrated if you aren’t perfect.

It’s crazy, right? Are demons are born from our innocence. Our naive tendency to trust ourselves and those around us with our safety, our love, our confidence and self-worth. We are completely oblivious to the fact that our unconventional drawing will manifest into a never-ending battle to be good enough- a battle that most of us don’t even know we are fighting. 

I was very clear that I wasn’t in a battle, I was in an all-out war and I knew exactly why. But I truly thought I was winning. I was winning because I was achieving. – college degrees, great jobs, athletic endeavors, exciting travels. What I was actually doing was running. They were forever closing in, but I was always 2 steps ahead. It was exhausting, but it was so much easier than trying to disarm them.

To be clear, I don’t think setting the bar high and achieving your goals is a bad approach to life, not at all. This is what makes us human and why we are here- to experience, to achieve and evolve. Anything living has to grow, right? Otherwise it dies.

The problem is when we are doing what we do as a way to prove our self-worth, prove being the operative word. If we interpret success as ‘how much’ or ‘how well’ we do something, and those quantifiers are determined by others’ standards, then we will never get it right. We will never own anything but our failures, and any of our successes will be theirs.

So while I was running full force, stacking up one accomplishment on top of the other, I truly thought I was successfully building up my credentials. But what I was actually building was a fortress. It was a seemingly good strategy. I still didn’t have to face anything. But I now had this extremely powerful weapon- an impenetrable wall to keep the demons at bay while keeping ‘my good enough’ safely inside.

Herein lies the tragic flaw, right? All the things I accomplished now defined me and you got to decide if I they were good enough…if I was good enough. My carefully constructed walls were a very convincing façade that became my prison. I was forever afraid of failing ‘you’, so you stayed locked out, while I remained trapped inside. I unknowingly granted a safe haven for the very demons I was trying to eliminate. They grew steadily in both strength and numbers, leaving no room for anything good.

This has became far more exhausting than running. The prospect of remaining invisible and far removed from all the things I love and want is far more terrifying than facing the shit that has sucked all the joy out of the things I am most proud of.

So here is the crux. Lamott so eloquently reminds us, ‘failure has its function’. You failed. Your worst fear came true. But so doesn’t that mean that you just did the scariest thing you will ever do? You already survived the scariest, so anything that happens now can’t be worse, right? You are still standing and now you have the most powerful weapon of all.

Knowledge.

What is fear, exactly? It’s a belief that something is dangerous. It’s not knowledge of what is inevitably going to happen, it’s a belief of what might.

There is the function. Failure makes us disarm fear with the knowledge that, even at its worst, it can’t destroy us.

I think  I’m finally getting to the place where I don’t give a shit if I fail anymore. I already have failed, in so many ways, none of which were small. So, that’s out of the way. And yes, I am embarrassed, ashamed and angry. And yes, I still feel fear. But it is not the fear of failing you. It is a fear of not doing all of the things I still want to…I being the operative word. I just want to do all of the things I want to do because I want to do them. So maybe it’s not fear exactly. Maybe it is something entirely different that just feels similar, physiologically speaking.

Maybe I’m just really excited?

I think that is a good note to end our little experiment on. It has not been a perfect 30 days. But I feel like some destructive patterns were interrupted and some new ones were implemented. That was the goal.

Thanks for coming along for the ride and for your all of your support and wisdom. I send all of you lots of love and wish you an endless string of happy, exciting, and peaceful days

Drama Cleanse: Days 23-25

  1. 5-minute Journal- every day
  2. Podcast: Beautiful Writers Podcast: Marianne Williamson: From Tears to Triumph
  3. Visualize for 5 minutes – Everyday, this morning with quick meditation
  4. Exercise: Bar online (20 minute version) and 4 mile run each day
  5. Goal- Submitted article to elephantjournal (heard back today! Request for revision and resubmission!!
  6. An item off your shitty things to do list: God, feel like that is all I have done for the past 3 days…
  7. Do something fun: Friend coming in for the weekend. Fun will be had

Podcast: Beautiful Writers Podcast: Marianne Williamson: From Tears to Triumph

Marianne Williamson is someone I used to read/listen to a lot in my mid-20s. She is truly an enlightened soul but is still approachable and real. This is an interview about her approach to life and how her career path started.

Williamson believes and teaches A Course in Miracles. I actually studied it for a bit, but honestly can’t tell you what the premise is anymore. I do know that it helped formulate my beliefs, but again, not exactly sure how.

Takeaway:

WARNING: This one is a bit on the esoteric/spiritual side. But I need some spiritual right about now, and it made me realize that this whole ‘I’m have to do this on my own’ it just not an option. I need to lean on my tribe and I need some help from some power that is infinitely more powerful, wise and knowing than I.  So whatever you believe in- God, Jesus, Buddha, the Universe…even nothing, I do encourage you to read on and try to keep an open mind.

I have always ‘prayed’ or at least had dialogues with ‘God’. But ‘God’ has changed over the years for me and my belief (emphasize my) is in an omnipotent force that is in me and all beings and all things.

I usually refer to this force as ‘the Universe’. This is my truth. And it is also something that I sometimes doubt, sometimes forget, and sometimes just ignore.

Over the past couple of years, however, I have had to tap into it and I have in full force. And I assure you, I have also doubted its presence and power this year more than I ever have.

A theme I have noticed in these various podcasts- whether it be Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, or Brene Brown- they all have some sort of practice or ritual around prayer/meditation. I personally think this has a lot to do with their success and quality of life. I am learning that is almost impossible to get through tremendous pain, suffering, sense of failure, etc. if you don’t believe in a higher power that can provide guidance, strength, and hope. Some might say people make up an entity to provide comfort and reassurance that they are not alone in the world. I guess I would just say that if you have ever experienced, whatever you want to call it-‘magic’, coincidences, serendipity, miraculous events or experience- there is a sense at something bigger, more powerful, and yes divine, at play. Again, this is my belief.

These successful people I have listened to also attribute their ability to express and access their talent or make crucial decisions that lead to their success comes from this ‘divine inspiration’ or whatever they believe is their source. And all of them take the time on a daily basis to just be quiet whether that is prayer, meditation, or just an activity that allows them to go within. This is where they get their answers or insight.

So this is where I am stuck right now. When I was trying to decide to take the huge leap that I took to move to be with the person I thought was the love of my life, I effing got down on my knees. I prayed, I meditated, (well, I forced myself to sit still long enough to try to hear some sort of guidance), I sought advice from friends, I wrote lists of pros and cons. I did everything I could to listen to my intuition, my heart, my truth. I never once heard anything other than what I knew to be true- ‘trust your intuition, ‘trust your heart’, ‘have faith in yourself’, ‘you deserve this’, ‘you are worth this’… leap.  I would hear these things and I would convince myself that I was just hearing what I wanted to hear and then start the whole process over again. My friends responses were mixed, but they knew I was going to do what I believed to be right. And I 100% believed that I was making the right decision.

So what happened exactly? I still can’t wrap my head around it. Nothing, absolutely nothing did anything but destroy me and pretty much every aspect of my life. That, I know I did not deserve. I certainly know that I am worth more than how I was treated and the circumstances I endured. No, it didn’t break me. Yes, I had to dig deeper than I ever thought possible to get myself out of bed and face the reality of what was happening,  figure out how the hell to get myself out of the situation, and love myself enough to refuse to believe the terrible things that he claimed defined me. I had to do and believe the complete opposite of what I had initially  .. because I had listened to my heart, to my intuition, to the universe.

This is why I am stuck. It is extremely challenging for me to trust in anything right now, especially myself. It’s actually the last thing I feel able to do right now. But if I resign myself to believing that, then I am the victim. That would mean the ‘gods’ were against me, or it was karma, or punishment, or that I deserved it.

I have mentioned before, I believe we manifest everything in our lives. Every person we meet, every failure, every success, every traumatic event, and every miracle. I truly believe that we summon it because of something we need to learn. There are definite patterns that I have repeated in my life over and over. Painful ones and beautiful ones. Clearly it is the painful ones that dominate our thoughts and reactions. We rarely stop and recognize when we feel good, but we are very cognizant when we feel pain. I feel it like I never have. And the only way I could have gotten this far and the reason why I still have hope that I will end up on the other side so much stronger and happier is because I am writing through it.

So there are two pretty significant gifts. Sharing my writing was something I never had the courage to do with confidence. I think even more importantly, I had become complacent in most aspects of my life. I was not living fully or demanding extraordinary from my life. I was coasting and would have continued to had I not invited some pretty painful events and people into my life. When we are suffering and in pain, we will do pretty much anything to make it stop. That means doing something drastically different than what we are doing. Complacency, for me, is just as painful as heartbreak or defeat…at least I think so. It’s a bit hard to say while in the thick of heartbreak and defeat. What I do know is that I am doing things dramatically different that I was, both in my complacency and heartbreak. I am finally giving myself permission to receive love and friendship. I am allowing myself to be imperfect and crazy. I am exposing my insecurities and failures by writing, and trying like hell to remember the gift in all of this.

This is divine. At least I believe it is. So I have to be grateful, give thanks for the gifts- because I needed them, because I wanted them, because I know that they will lead to a life that I want and did not believe I deserved before. So I am checking back in with the Universe and working on learning to trust myself again. Hopefully, I will switch gears and create new patterns that are not shrouded in pain and heartbreak this next round. Fortunately, I also believe that lessons don’t always have to be painful.

That was a bit long-winded. I hope you take what you need from it and that you are already experiencing the gifts from any pain, heartbreak, and/or defeat in your life. I promise, there is always a gift.

We are on the homestretch. Be gentle with yourself. Try to do something fun and surround yourself with people who make you feel loved and happy…and go have a green beer or Guinness if that is your thing. I prefer ‘black and tan’, myself…

 Next Steps for our homestretch: 

Just keep doing whatever positive, nurturing, empowering things you have been doing that are working for you. We’ve totally got this.

Recources

  1. Journal App.fiveminutejournal.com
  2. Visualization: Mike Dooley (visualization tips: http://www.tut.com
  3. Podcast Referenced: Beautiful Writers Podcast: Marianne Williamson: From Tears to Triumph
  4. Exercise: com/online
  5. Goal: com/elephantjournal.com
  6. Cleanse products: Renew’s 7 day Rapid Cleanse, Milk Thistle, Probiotic, Apple Cider Vinegar: https://www.davidwolfe.com/1-tbsp-acv-eliminate-health-problems/

 

Drama Cleanse: Days 19-22

  1. 5-minute Journal- everyday but Sunday
  2. Podcast: Beautiful Writers Podcast: Glennon Doyle Melton: Beautiful Love Warrior
  3. Visualize for 5 minutes – Every morning besides Sunday
  4. Exercise: Bar at home; Run; Bar Method at home; Bar Method/run
  5. Goal- Publish article: actually submit article…; Led second Shakespeare. Fun/success
  6. An item off your shitty things to do list: Every day…not exactly a highlight, but feels good to get shit taken care of.
  7. Do something fun: Not there yet. I thought about it though. I didn’t come with anything…yet.

So, this weekend was a little rough…kind of brutal, but I did survive and there was no ‘drama’, just a bad weekend. And, as it always seems to happen, the podcast I have been listening to was about exactly what I am struggling with. I recognize the title probably scares any of you guys out there. It actually was speaking more to women, so you all might want to explore Tim Ferriss or Tony Robbins instead.

Anger. This one just keeps resurfacing again and again. It is a dance, a painful, maddening dance between anger and sadness. It feels constant. I can recognize that glimpses of normalcy and happy are surfacing more too. They just seem to be overshadowed by the dancers of late.

The Podcast is between 3 women who are all brilliant and enlightened and funny. They all have been through some shit and all can pretty much attribute their success to surviving it. Melton sounded like she has led a life extremely similar to mine, minus the kids part.

Takeaway:

They hit on something very poignant and relevant to where I am at. I’m just so fucking angry. It comes in waves and then I beat myself up for feeling it, which is clearly counterproductive. Why the hell should I not be angry? There is really not one thing that has happened to me over the past 6 months that would not conjure up this particular emotion.

This doesn’t make me a victim, it actually compels me to action. But it also deemed unacceptable. ‘We’, being women, are not supposed to be angry. We can be sad, we get permission to cry, but that is because we are sensitive, right? We are emotional. And that’s okay.

But angry. That is just not unacceptable. That is irrational. I saw it in full force in my last ‘relationship’. I am passionate. I get pissed or hurt, I show it. I feel it, and I say it. I heard over and over- calm down, you are crazy, you are manic, you are irrational.  But he, he could say the most vicious things someone can say and that was okay. That was just responding to my ‘crazy’. It was justified. It was my fault for provoking his anger. Or it was simply downplayed or denied.

Clearly I’m not the first one to point this out, but I think it deserves to be reiterated. Men express anger or frustration, they are assertive. They are strong or in control or taking charge. Women? They are a bitch or dramatic or ‘on their period’.

I’m not proud of some of the things that I say and do when anger takes over, but I would not trade passion and expression, even if they are irrational, for passive or tolerant of abusive behavior.

So my expression makes you uncomfortable. Offer up some options then. We go home and cry about what we are pissed off about? We hold our tongue and just let it fester until it becomes so ingrained that passive becomes our default or it just eats us up inside? We go meditate or take a hot bath or go for a run?

Yes, sometimes a good cry or hot bath or run will get it out. But sometimes those ‘healthy’ coping mechanisms just don’t work. Sometimes we just need to blow up, scream, hit, and make a scene (hitting is not recommended, but I have done it… twice, but he was bigger, stronger, and hardly felt anything…and he fucking deserved it) .

I am not saying this is the high road. I’m not saying this should be our default. But shit, sometimes that is the only way to get it out.

What I am saying is this: I am a passionate, opinionated, strong-willed woman. When I’m pissed off, when I am hurt because you were an ass or you did something cruel or selfish, then you are going to know about it. I am going to tell you, and it might be at a volume or in a tone that makes you uncomfortable. I might make people stare. Deal with it. You shouldn’t have been a selfish ass.

See, I actually feel better. A healthy, acceptable expression of my anger. But be clear. This is because the person I would otherwise be screaming at is not in front of me.

So, I hope your weekend was better than mine. I hope your week is anger as well as drama free. But if it’s not, do whatever you need to do to get it out (maybe refrain from hitting). Everyone around you will be just fine.

Optional steps/practices for next few days:

  1. Journal
  2. Podcast
  3. Visualize
  4. Exercise
  5. Check off one item off your shitty things to do list a day
  6. Do something fun
  7. Step towards goal of choice
  8. Cleanse of your choosing

Recources

  1. Journal App.fiveminutejournal.com
  2. Visualization: Mike Dooley (visualization tips: http://www.tut.com
  3. Podcast Referenced: Beautiful Writers Podcast: Glennon Doyle Melton: Beautiful Love Warrior
  4. Exercise: com/online
  5. Goal: com/elephantjournal.com
  6. Cleanse products: Renew’s 7 day Rapid Cleanse, Milk Thistle, Probiotic, Apple Cider Vinegar: https://www.davidwolfe.com/1-tbsp-acv-eliminate-health-problems/

Drama Cleanse: Day 15-18

  1. 5-minute Journal- check
  2. Podcast: Tony Robbins: Talking with Titans: A visit with Tim Ferris reveals the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers.
  3. Visualize for 5 minutes – Every morning right when I wake up
  4. Exercise: Ride bike to and from bare3 class; Run; Bar Method/run; Bar Method/run
  5. Goal- First Shakespeare Meetup Group-success; Publish article: submitted one to elephantjournal.com
  6. Don’t-want-to-dos – knocked off 4

This week was not necessarily fun, but I tried to stay focused on how good it will eventually feel when I have all this shit sorted out and behind me. I don’t realize how much more energy I spend worrying about things than what it would take to just deal with them. I definitely had to put the ‘5-4-3-2-1’ tactic into use. A few items on my ‘don’t want to-do’ list felt like plunging into the deep end of an empty swimming pull.

Podcast:

NUTSHELL:

I listened to this one twice over the span of 4 days, and it was probably the best one I could have chosen to help me get through this week. Robbins basically just picks Ferriss’ brain about what he has learned from all of the amazing people he has interviewed, and how he has used the tools/words of wisdom to accomplish what he wants in his own life.

As you all know, Ferriss fascinates me and I continue to be more in awe of him the more I listen to him. This one is worth listening to because you get a sense of how far he has come despite major obstacles, setbacks, and his battle with extreme depression (includes a heartfelt account of his near suicidal experience).

He shares an exercise he always puts himself through when he feels stuck or needs to make an important decision. He sits down with a pen and paper (or computer) and makes 3 columns:

Column 1: List of the worst things that could happen

Column 2: List of actions he could take to minimize the likelihood of those things happening

Column 3: List of things he could do to get himself back to good as quick as possible if worse case did happen (which in most cases it doesn’t).

TAKEAWAY:

This exercise was the most imactful thing for me. It seems so simplistic, but it was ridiculously hard to get myself to sit down and do, especially while in mid-descent down the rabbit hole. This particular situation, in conjunction with several others, has been overwhelming to me to the point of paralysis. Writing it down and spelling it out meant admitting that it was really happening. And if it was really happening, then I really had to finally deal with it.

But by avoiding it, letting in snowball into this all-consuming tragic ending, we end up giving so much power to ‘that which shall not be named’. It becomes this intangible force that infiltrates every aspect of our lives, not because of the actual consequences happening, but because of all of the time and energy we spend panicking about them potentially happening. Yes, there will be consequences. But they will most likely be substantially less severe if we actually take action to know and decide what they will be.

As I laid in bed playing out worst case scenarios, I caught myself and started to think of other situations that I have been through that seemed similar in severity. There were a few that came to mind and none of them did me in. Each was resolved and none prevented me from being happy or living a full life.

So I got up, grabbed a pen and paper, and dismantled my mess piece by piece. It’s not pretty, I assure you. I can’t fix it all in a day or even months, but it can be fixed. And those days or months or years are going to pass regardless, so I might as well spend them empowered by the fact that I am taking action vs. anxiously waiting for the sky to fall because I am not.

I’m proud of us, we are making progress. My friend did call me out today, though. He told me I should maybe try to do something fun today. Fun. I can honestly say I have no idea what that might be right now. But I’m going to think about it and come up with something that I will do this weekend… it’s a start.

Optional steps/practices for next few days:

  1. Journal
  2. Podcast
  3. Visualize
  4. Exercise
  5. Step towards goal of choice
  6. Cleanse of your choosing (if you have not started/completed yet)
  7. Check off one thing on your list of things you don’t want to deal with.
  8. DO SOMETHING FUN

Recources

  1. Journal App.fiveminutejournal.com
  2. Visualization: Mike Dooley (visualization tips: http://www.tut.com
  3. Podcast Referenced: Tony Robbins: Talking with Titans: A visit with Tim Ferris reveals the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers.
  4. Exercise: barmethod.com/online
  5. Cleanse products: Renew’s 7 day Rapid Cleanse, Milk Thistle, Probiotic, Apple Cider Vinegar: https://www.davidwolfe.com/1-tbsp-acv-eliminate-health-problems

Drama Cleanse: Day 14 & 15

  1. 5-minute Journal- check
  2. Podcast: Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: Leap into the Fire
  3. Visualize for 5 minutes – This morning
  4. Exercise: Bar Method at home
  5. Goal- Start a meetup group to study Shakespeare: First one is tonight.

We made it to the halfway mark. For me, this feels miraculous after over a year of sporadic and then constant drama. It feels good to take charge and do things differently. I actually feel hopeful, which is much needed. So give yourself some love and well-earned accolades. Doing the work is not easy. Transforming bad habits/patterns into healthy ones is something few dare to do. Please don’t be discouraged if a mishap or two happened or some drama reared its head. This is a process. It’s a journey. Be gentle with yourself. You are headed in the right direction and you have the courage and capacity to stay the course.

NOTE: I think we have some momentum going here, so I am going to begin checking in just twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. I will be sure to fill you in on the things I learn and resources I find that I think will be most helpful.

Some thoughts:

Visualization. This morning it occurred to me that I was still in sleep mode and my level of focus and ability to stick to what I’m visualizing was minimal. So, I tried sitting up, even just in bed, and it was way more effective.

Exercise: Dramatic tendency intact.

Okay, so my toe isn’t broken. I might have been a bit over-dramatic. But the reality is, I am dramatic. And I’m actually okay with this. I have been criticized for this quality on several occasions. I beat myself up about it, and I tried to change it. But I decided to just embrace it.

How I see dramatic? Dramatic means passionate. Dramatic means excitement. Dramatic means taking the mundane, the ordinary, and transforming it into something with fervor. And think about how the descriptive adjective transforms the noun it proceeds?

Dramatic setting, dramatic comeback, dramatic improvement, dramatic entrancee.

I mean, wouldn’t you rather be in a dramatic setting vs just a setting, or dramatically improve vs. just improve.

So, my assessment of my toe was dramatic. But how much more intriguing was my recount of my yoga session? I broke my toe vs. I jammed it. In my defense, if I need one, which I don’t, it fucking hurt. And it was a color I have never seen before. And I have never had a ‘jammed or sprained or whatever it was’ toe.

Point is, for all of you I scared out of doing yoga, rest assured. It does not usually if ever involve broken bones. If you practice safely and in accordance with current physical state, all toes and extremities should remain intact.

I gave you a lil’ quote that makes me smile. Hopefully, it does the same for you on a Monday afternoon.

Podcast:

I listened to a short one this morning from Elizabeth Gilbert’s series. Again, I love these because she just selects normal, everyday people who are stuck in whatever endeavor they are pursuing.

This podcast was a session with a young poet, Hope, who wanted to take her poetry to the next level and pursue spoken word (which I love) and poetry slam sessions. She didn’t have the confidence or think she was talented enough to compete with other poets she was reading and hearing.

Gilbert dug until she was able to help Hope get to the core of it. Hope was paralyzed by fear of rejection. She ultimately believed that if someone told her she wasn’t good or talented, she would just stop. She would give up the thing she loved most.

Takeaway:

Gilbert challenged hope to ask herself the following question:

Who gets to decide if you are a good/talented/worthy’ ‘parent/artist/partner, etc.’?

It’s so true, right? Our barometer to our worthiness or level of skill/talent is almost always contingent on someone else’s opinion/assessment. It is almost instinctual because we are usually doing or being something for someone else, not for ourselves.

This hit me. Is this authentic? If I am living/doing for someone else, then I am altering who I truly am and what I can truly offer to fit the expectation or what I think the expectation is of another person. That is not who I am or what I have to offer, that is what they want and what they expect to receive. These are two very different things. It is also a recipe for disaster. Does this change with each person I aspire to please? If each person has their own desires and expectations, how can I possibly keep up with all the adaptations I would have to make to appease them?

It is our fear of losing their respect, attention, love, etc. and that our worst fear will be confirmed.

We are not good enough. We are not worthy.

Ironically, we often seek out the people who will confirm this. This is as painful as it is an easy out. It is an excuse to give up and avoid the fear of rejection. But it also stifles us and represses who we truly are and the gifts we have to offer. Which is worse?

Gilbert gave a good perspective and weapon to take action and give ourselves permission to ‘jump into the arena’.

We don’t have to be the best ‘artist/parent/partner’. And we don’t have to assume we are the worst. ‘There is enough real estate for both’.

Just like we have heard over and over, we just do the best we can do at whatever it is that we want to do/be most. This can free us from the pressure of being better than anyone else, of comparison. We just get to do what we do and know we are giving it everything we can. The reality is, this is more likely to land us among the greats than if we stay paralyzed for fear of failing/rejection.

So for the next few days, we will just do what we do simply for the reason that we love to do it, and we will give it our best.

Enjoy your next few days, drama free.

Optional steps/practices for next few days:

  1. Journal
  2. Podcast
  3. Visualize
  4. Exercise
  5. Step towards goal of choice
  6. Cleanse of your choosing
  7. Check off one thing on your list of things you don’t want to deal with.

Resources

  1. Journal App.fiveminutejournal.com
  2. Visualization: Mike Dooley (visualization tips: http://www.tut.com
  3. Podcast Referenced: Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: Leap into the Fire
  4. Exercise: com/online
  5. Goal: com
  6. Cleanse products: Renew’s 7 day Rapid Cleanse, Milk Thistle, Probiotic, Apple Cider Vinegar: https://www.davidwolfe.com/1-tbsp-acv-eliminate-health-problems/

octopus

Drama Cleanse: Day 13

  1. 5-minute Journal- check
  2. Podcast: Tedtalks: Kathy Hull: Stories from a home for terminally ill children, 2. Lux Narayan: What I learned from 2,000 obituaries.
  3. Visualize- This morning
  4. Exercise: Easy run
  5. Goal- (speaking to students at independent school) Listened to rest of second workshop by TedTalks Founder Acumen Presents: Chris Anderson on Public Speaking

The past few days have been a bit rough. As the dust is slowly starting to settle and reality is sinking in…well, things are definitely messy. Like pretty much everything. At least that is how it feels. I.e., I’m completely overwhelmed and doing everything I can to not go down the rabbit hole.

So this morning, as I was willing myself to go back to sleep until at least the sun was up, I started listing out all of the things in my head that were on the verge of collapsing, envisioning worst case scenarios for each. Since I have done this a few times before, I knew lying in bed was pointless. So I did what I always do, I started cleaning. Fortunately, I realized something was missing from my usual ‘morning’ routine- my podcast. I snapped out of it long enough to realize that I needed some perspective or at least something to get me out of my head. Tedtalks seemed like a good option. I didn’t even look, just pushed play and went about trying to rearrange my ‘closet’ one more time to accommodate the piles of clothes that will realistically never experience hanging status, at least not for the next 12 months.

The Tedtalk was short, as they are meant to be, and one plays right after the other. So I listened to two.

Subject matter of both of this morning’s selections? Death.

I guess you can’t get more ‘perspective’ than that.

Podcast: Kathy Hull: Stories from a home for terminally ill children

Needless to say, I was sobbing by minute two.

Long/short, Kathy Hull founded the George Mark Children’s House, a freestanding pediatric care facility for children who are dying from terminal diseases. The center offers free housing in a beautiful, peaceful setting for children and their families to spend their last few weeks together… or days.

Hull previously worked as a psychologist for pediatric intensive care units. She started the center after watching countless babies, toddlers, and children die in crowded, cold hospital rooms lit with fluorescent lights and crammed full of loud, horrific machines.

The center is located on her friend’s Camel Ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Camels. How cool is that?) The center and staff provide everything imaginable to ensure that the last few days for these children and their families are unforgettable- their favorite meals freshly prepared, resident dog and bunny to snuggle with, beautiful surroundings, fresh air…and camels.

And then she introduces Crystal.

Crystal was 9 years old and arrived at the center with only two weeks to live. But she didn’t die in 2 weeks. She lived another four months. She held on because she finally got the chance to actually live- to learn how to make jewelry, and carve a pumpkin for Halloween, and plan her 10th birthday party.

And my favorite part:

Crystal set up a lemonade stand by the front door of the center. Hull told Crystal that she wanted to buy a cookie. “How much is it?” she asked. “Three dollars” Crystal immediately replied. “Three dollars? That seems a little high for one cookie.” Crystal’s eyes light up and she gets a huge smile on her face. “I know”, she states, matter of factly, “But I’m worth it”.

So, I’ll leave you with that. Perspective. Things aren’t great right now. They are actually beyond challenging. But, jesus, they can be fixed. They can be fixed because they are temporary and I have the time to fix them. I have the time because I actually have a future… a much-needed reality check.

New step for this week. I’m going to deal with one thing that I have been dreading and putting off. I’m going to list everything out that is stressing me out, I’m going to prioritize them according to most urgent to least, and I’m going to deal with one a day. Manageable bites, I can do.

Optional steps for Day 13:

  1. Journal
  2. Podcast
  3. Visualize
  4. Exercise
  5. Step towards goal of choice
  6. Cleanse of your choosing
  7. Make a list of shitty things you don’t want to deal with. Do one of them.

Resources

  1. Journal App.fiveminutejournal.com
  2. Visualization: Mike Dooley (visualization tips: http://www.tut.com
  3. Podcast Referenced: Tedtalks: 1. Kathy Hull: Stories from a home for terminally ill children.  2. Lux Narayan: What I learned from 2,000 obituaries.
  4. Exercise: barmethod.com/online
  5. Goal: Acumen Presents: Chris Anderson on Public Speaking: https://www.udemy.com/courses/
  6. Cleanse products: Renew’s 7 day Rapid Cleanse, Milk Thistle, Probiotics, Apple Cider Vinegar: https://www.davidwolfe.com/1-tbsp-acv-eliminate-health-problems/

Drama Cleanse: Day 12

  1. 5-minute Journal- check
  2. Podcast: Beautiful Writers Podcast: Brene Brown: Daring to Create Greatly
  3. Visualize- This morning
  4. Exercise: Bar Method (Barmethod.com/online)
  5. Goal- (speaking to students at independent school) Listened to second workshop by TedTalks Founder Acumen Presents: Chris Anderson on Public Speaking

So I decided it was time to do a cleanse. I think it’s an important part of the reprogramming/fresh start process. I did go easy on myself on this one, however, and just committed to a 7-day one. It’s a start and denying myself of all vices for weeks at a time just isn’t realistic for me right now.

So I’m doing Renew’s 7 day Rapid Cleanse. It’s gentler than most so you can still function in your daily lives. I added a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to the mix (see link to benefits below), probiotics (replenishes good bacteria that fights the bad), and Milk Thistle (promotes liver and kidney health). I’m also not going crazy with the diet portion either, which I will emphasize is very important (the less toxins you put in, the easier it is to flush out the present ones). But I am trying to make sure everything I eat is organic and hormone free, and adding in as much green things as I can.It’s a start…

Podcast: Beautiful Writers Podcast: Brene Brown: Daring to Create Greatly

As you know by now, I’m kind of a fan of Brene Brown. Although the focus of this podcast is on writers, the content is applicable to all endeavors and is not gender specific. Brene’s background is entrenched in dissecting shame, its origins, and ways to dismantle it. This interview is just picking her brain about her approach, what inspires her and a cool story and lesson learned from her interview with Oprah and meeting Maya Angelou (Soooo envious of that one).

Takeaway:

The thing that struck me most is when she discussed ‘comparison’. I think it is one of the main factors that contributes to why we get stuck, crippled by insecurity and self-doubt, which I think results in our fear of failing and unwillingness to take the risks needed to get where we want.  For example, I go on Facebook and see nothing but all of my friends’ pictures of their kids- their kids’ accomplishments, family photos of their vacations- and I start to compare my life to theirs. They all seem so happy. They have these beautiful children. I have none. They seem happily married or remarried. I’m single. They have the beautiful house with a big yard and a dog. My place is most likely as big as their walk-in closets. They have successful careers. I am completely starting from scratch.

And I truly hope all of the beautiful things in their lives are as they seem. But the reality is they struggle, too- with their marriages, with their kids, with their careers. They all have or will go through a crisis of sorts and they all will have regrets or dreams that might not come true. Many have confessed to me that they long for freedom as much as I long to find/have a family, home, etc.

So, if I can stop myself from scrolling for a second, I try to shift my thinking and reflect on the cool shit I have done and my own accomplishments. Yes, they are very different. No, my life is not perfect and certainly did not turn out as planned. But what I have, what I can be grateful for, is the freedom and drive and courage to decide what direction I want it to go from here at a point in my life where I really know what I want. I get to reinvent myself in whatever way and at whatever pace that is right for me. This is not to say that my friends can’t do the same, but I understand that they don’t always have the freedom to make all the changes they might want at the time that they want to.

All this to say, I am making a concerted effort to stop comparing myself to others and shaming myself for all the things I have done/not done up to this point. I can only start from where I am, taking with me the lessons I have learned and the gifts I have received. I simply have to start embracing my story, not wishing for someone else’s. And when I can successfully frame it this way (which, I assure you, is not always), I am actually proud of my story, as messy as it has sometimes been. And I am most definitely excited about how it will unfold.

My two favorite things Brene said:

  1. Don’t forget to look for inspiration (magic) in the ordinary, everyday moments, whether it be a message you get from a billboard sign or a person you meet at the coffee shop. Everything that appears in your life appears for a reason. We can just get so wrapped up in our drama or go into coasting mode, that we forget to pay attention.

So don’t forget to look for it…inspiration, gifts, magic…whatever it is that you need.

  1. The host threw out some fun, lighthearted questions to dig a little deeper into who Brene is and how she ticks. When she was asked to choose “sex or sleep”, her response: “There will not be one without the other.”

Brilliant. Although I will confess, I only really agree with one side of that one. Oops, too much? Inappropriate? Probably. But what the hell, it’s true.

Drama Free Options for Day 13

  1. 5 minute Journal
  2. Podcast
  3. Visualize
  4. Exercise
  5. Step towards goal of choice
  6. Cleanse of your choosing

Resources

  1. fiveminutejournal.com
  2. Visualization: Mike Dooley (visualization tips: http://www.tut.com
  3. Podcast Referenced: Beautiful Writers Podcast: Brene Brown: Daring to Create Greatly
  4. Exercise: barmethod.com/online
  5. Acumen Presents: Chris Anderson on Public Speaking: https://www.udemy.com/courses/
  6. Cleanse products: Renew’s 7 day Rapid Cleanse, Milk Thistle, probiotics, and apple cider vinegar: https://www.davidwolfe.com/1-tbsp-acv-eliminate-health-problems/