I was free writing in my journal using this line as my starting off point: Like paint tumbling out of a paint can, ready to be rolled onto a clean wall.

Yeah, I know, but just go with me here, ok?

Anyway, this stream of consciousness writing eventually led me to a truly important insight, which is this:

What if the truth isn’t what “she” says? “She” being our mean-spirited, overly critical, judgmental, asshole voice in our head. I’m sure you know who I’m talking about, right? We all have a “She”. Let’s just say “She” is part of our human experience.

voice is a liar

But here’s the thing, we don’t have to believe everything (or anything!) “She” says. In fact, we shouldn’t, because “She” is basically a compulsive liar. Let me explain.

 

“She” is so swift at having us believe that we are spoiled, ungrateful, worthless little brats that have absolutely nothing to offer anyone, ever, that we often stay hidden, play small, and never do what we really want to do in life, much less what we are meant to do, which is to love ourselves and others both fiercely and gently.

 

So how do I know she’s a liar? Because when I stop believing her, even for an instant, I SEE my brilliance. I am flooded with images of me twirling in delight on top of a mountain (cue The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music here), free, happy, and unchained. I FEEL my heart filled to the brim with LOVE! Perhaps even enough to heal the world! At least, in that instant, that’s what it feels like to be free of “She”.

the hills are alive

So I wonder, what would happen if more people stopped believing “She” and instead chose to listen to their truer voice, the voice of their own brilliance? What could happen with the power of that energy? What if we were all twirling on the mountain? How could we use that force of light to transform our selves, our communities and our world?

 

To be free of “She” is to say NO to being dragged down and held back, so we can say YES to moving forward and being uplifted!

 

So what if the truth really isn’t what “She” says? What if the truth is something else altogether that has nothing to do with her and everything to do with you?exhale only love

 

Who would you be if you didn’t believe her lies? How would your life change, starting today, if you focused solely on your voice, your light, your Truth? Can you set her free from her need to control you, in her attempts to keep you safe from living a courageous, vibrant life? Can you stop believing “She” long enough to release her to the wind, turn inward to the wise LOVE that infuses every ounce of your being, and be FREE?

I say, let’s live in a world free of “She”, twirling together on the mountain.

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I want to write. To get it all out of me. To say what needs to be said. To explore and be brave and be heard and scream from the rooftops that I am worthy and capable and will do and make and be something magnificent. So here is what I have for you today.

We are here to learn, grow and evolve. This I know for sure.

here comes the sunP I N this to pinterest Because LIFE (yes, life in all CAPITALS!) is constantly changing and isn’t that miraculous?

Every single day, the same sun rises…but it never looks the same. EVER. It never quite casts the same shadows or reflections onto the ever-changing but stable mountains, sidewalks, hills, or houses.

Our days begin and end with the same rhythm…the sun rises, makes it’s way across Earth’s face and
then sets again to reveal the moon. And yet, the world we step out into and wake up in is constantly different (especially with #45, but I digress). No two days are alike. No two moments are alike. And I can’t help but think what a miraculously beautiful gift we are given, every single second of every single day!

And so it is with us.

Each day we awaken a little bit older, a little bit closer to death, a little bit more life lived within our bones and blood. Some days we may be wiser than the day before. Other days, maybe not. But that’s not the point anyway.

The point is life goes on and it will keep going on, with or without us. (Sometimes that makes me sad, but that’s for another post). The beauty of this is we get to decide how and if and with whom we get to participate in this beautiful unfolding before us, around us, within us.

THAT is what will either make or break us. Some days, we awaken with a sense of purpose, drive or excitement. Other days, all we feel is dread. The dread of the same old sun rising over the same old landscape to do the same old thing…again and again and again.

And yet, if we take a moment to notice the subtle shifts in the landscape, we can see the nuanced changes in light and how the sun hits that peak or valley or stream or horizon with a glow or shadow or haze we didn’t see the day before.
And when we notice these ever-so-slight shifts in perspective, what do we actually see or gain or experience? Something new. Something that has not been known before. Something NOVEL. And why is this important? Because when we slow down enough to notice the new, the slight, the different, the change…we become present to what is. And what “is”, is Life. This thing we do every single day. We LIVE. Your life, my life, our lives. We are living, breathing and participating in this glorious experience together

And I care about this so much because just as the natural rhythms of our lives set the tone for change and stability, so do we in the way we live. If we’re lucky, we wake up every single day with another opportunity to participate in this “thing” we call life. But when this thing keeps changing, we need to change along with it, right? Can you imagine what would happen if we didn’t change? What that might do to our souls, our homes, our lives, and our relationships, to name just a few?

Here’s are some simple examples:

 The weather changes (weather is a big deal here in Montréal), so we adjust our clothing, the tires on our cars, the shoes on our feet and the temperature in our homes.

Can you imagine if we didn’t adapt to the changes in weather? What would that look like? It would look like shorts and flip-flops when its -20 outside! Which means frostbite at best and literally freezing to death, at worst! (Although I honestly feel like I could freeze to death at my fathering-law’s house sometimes. BRRR!).

You become a parent, so you adjust your lifestyle. Again, what would it look like if you chose not to adjust? It would look like heading out to the movies without a care in the world and leaving babe behind, because OOPS, babysitters? Or partying like it’s 1999 and being wasted while babe is sleeping and may need your help during the night, but you’re actually too drunk to do anything. Um, not so cool, huh?

You get fired. Now what? If you don’t adjust and adapt, you just keep showing up at your old job until eventually someone calls security, right?

Look, I know I am giving some really basic and somewhat ridiculous examples, but the point is this: life is made up of a lot of really teeny-tiny insignificant moments but it’s also made up of some really freaking big ones. And it’s our privilege to adapt to both by consciously growing, learning and evolving as humans.

 

And that is whatlife is a creationP I N this to pinterestI love about coaching. Knowing that we can change our level of happiness and satisfaction with life by being open to learning new ways of seeing our circumstances, our lives, our troubles, etc. By being curious enough to ask ourselves what needs adapting or shifting.

By being present enough to see how the changes are already happening around us and wanting to be in dialogue with those changes, as opposed to being in opposition to them.

 

 

Life is such a beautiful, ever-changing gift. Some days are really good. Some days are really hard. That’s ok. THAT is life.

Our power is in how we dance along to the changing tune of what we can’t control. THAT is where you’ll find your happy, joy, and freaking-killer dance moves.

Dance on, my loves. Dance on. xo

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Today is my birthday. A day I enjoy celebrating with my children, husband, family and friends. A day to reflect and honor my life already lived and all the living I hope I have before me!new-yearP I N this to pinterest

But for every day that is special to someone, that very same day can be painful for others and I am well aware of this fact. For instance, on the day of my birth a few years ago, a friend of a friend was killed while biking to pick up her child at work. She was also 5 months pregnant. I am sure her husband and child and all those left behind did not wake up to the same fanfare I did this morning.

Let us remain forever mindful of others’ pain while we celebrate our own joys in life.

So with that, I humbly present my stream-of-consciousness life lessons as they came to me today when I took some time to sit down and listen to what wanted to come out. This list is simply a taste, of course, of the many, many lessons I have learned along the way so far. Here goes:

  1. There is beauty all around us if you take the time to notice.
  2. Life is not fair, and that’s ok because it’s not meant to be fair. 
  3. You can have regrets and still feel grateful for what the experience brought you
  4. If you can sit with the discomfort of a situation, a yoga pose, a conversation, a difficult time in a relationship and be patient with your discomfort, you can find the peace on the other end, the release, the reward of your efforts to have allowed the discomfort to exist, to be.
  5. Sometimes letting go is the best action you can take.
  6. Letting go and giving up are not the same thing, one takes courage while the other is housed in fear.
  7. God is LOVE. Love is energy. And it is everywhere.
  8. I feel it physically, in my body, when my children are hurt physically. I feel it in my heart when my loved ones are hurting.
  9. We are all loved. Always. Yes, even those we think are unlovable.
  10. Food is medicine or poison. Choose what you nourish yourself with carefully.
  11. Vaccines (or anything else for that matter) shouldn’t be given with a “one size fits all” approach. Our bodies are each so unique, special and delicate, they should be honored and treated as such.
  12. Self-knowledge is POWER.
  13. Happiness is over-rated. There is so much joy and beauty and love and learning to be found in the unhappy moments of life.
  14. Life is complex.
  15. Life is also very simple.
  16. Life is filled with paradoxes that bring tremendous depth to our human experience. How lucky are we to live these lives filled with ALL of this messiness and glory?
  17. The more you give, the more you are filled.
  18. The love of a dog is magical.
  19. Giggling uncontrollably with your kids is one of the greatest joys in life.
  20. Salt water, the ocean, the beach is so very healing.
  21. Lighting candles in the colder and darker months, even during the day, adds tremendous warmth and coziness to a space.
  22. Taking a shower after a hard and sweaty workout is OH SO GOOD.
  23. Taking a hot shower as a new breast-feeding mom is OH SO FUCKING GOOD!
  24. Sleeping in on days when you need it is pure luxury.
  25. Quiet, reflective time each day is essential to my well-being and the well-being of my family.
  26. When we move through our days with an energy of love, the world around us changes.
  27. Our bodies have so much to teach us about what we really want in life, if only we get quiet enough to listen and pay attention.
  28. Kindness, to ourselves and to others, is THE WAY if you want to live a meaningful life.
  29. Failure is not an option when you see the experience as either a success or an education.
  30. There is always something to learn from every experience you have.
  31. Love is being close, being patient, being kind, being available, being aware, being present.
  32. Our kids know more and can do more than we often give them credit for.
  33. Our kids also need us to step in and show them the way, even when they know it already. We all need help sometimes to get going.
  34. Eating delicious and nourishing food is one of life’s greatest pleasures.your-lightP I N this to pinterest
  35. I can fiercely disagree with a loved one’s views or opinions and still love him or her.
  36. I am not responsible for other people’s feelings. Just as no one is responsible for mine.
  37. Solo road-trips feel like the freedom of my youth. And I love rediscovering this feeling!
  38. Some friendships can withstand the passage of time and absence of contact. And that is miraculous!
  39. Our parents really did try to do the best they could.
  40. Things don’t always work out the way we plan. And that’s ok. We can live with the disappointment, the anger, and the pain and turn it into something meaningful. We are meaning-makers. It’s what we do.
  41. Taking care of my body through regular exercise makes me feel good and quiets the mean-girl voice in my head.
  42. Coaching works!! I am continually amazed at how not believing my negative or unhelpful
    thoughts enables me to feel more peaceful, lighter and WAY more empowered to move through life with the confidence to “handle” whatever life throws my way.
  43. Motherhood is often a thankless job but the rewards are too many to name, explain, or describe.
  44. We are each born with a unique gift to offer the world. And it is our responsibility to find out what it is and offer it with full abandon.

with massive love and gratitude.

xo

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A permanent mask. His face, completely covered in tattoos. The milestones of his life inked into his skin, forever.

Inked into his identity, inked into his presence, inked into how others will “see” him for the rest of his life. Inked into the gait of his walk, the rhythm of his step.

A face transformed into…what, exactly? A real-life looking monster? A freak? A scary dude whose life went off the rails?full-face-head-tattooP I N this to pinterest

As we passed each other in the park that day, I was left with a certain heaviness of heart. Him. Whoever he was. The pain of his life inked into a mask of sorrow, worn with obligation, day after day after day. I felt so sad for him to have done this to his entire face. To his identity. To his soul.

But perhaps I am jumping to a terrible conclusion and projecting my own stereotypes of what might drive someone to ink his entire face. Perhaps his mask is a symbol of a life well lived? Could it be? A life of bedtime stories, giggles, deep friendship, falling in love, a supportive family and warm hugs at night. A life where happiness resides. Who am I to assume anything about him anyway? But I admit that what I see is the stain of a pain-filled life, the remnants of which he has chosen to imprint for the rest of the world to see. It’s too personal, as I know tattoos are meant to be. And so I don’t know. But I imagine the stories. I imagine the hurt.

Perhaps he wears it to hide. To hide from the knowing eyes of those familiar with his story. From those who expect him to be broken. Or, maybe, his mask speaks for him. It shares the inexpressible, through shock, imagery, symbolism.  A silent movie played out on his skin…a way to communicate that which no words can express. Just a dark, painful, ink-filled story. Forever imprinted on a face that was once naked, pure, and untouched, a long time ago.

And then it hits me that we all wear masks. To fulfill our needs, fulfill our desires. To help us appear a certain way; better than we really are, stronger than we really are, nicer than we really are. Our masks keep us safe from the pain of what may be the truth of who we really are, in any given moment. They keep us hidden and covered and far from hurt, pain, rejection, misinterpretation and feelings of worthlessness.

But for The Man with the Tattooed Face, he wakes up with the same mask, every single day.

And I am so saddened by this.

Will anyone ever be able to see him, for who he really is? Can anyone get beyond the ink that covers every single inch of his face and see when he is genuinely happy, sad, worried or scared? To see the beautiful lines around his eyes, the slight upward tilt of his lips, the burrowed frow? What if the pain he has been trying to hide all these years is now healed? Can anyone see past the ink to the peace he now feels? Can anyone see the man for who he is now, today?

removing-maskP I N this to pinterestAnd what about the rest of us with our non-inked faces? If we wear our masks too often, how will our genuine joy, fear, sadness and worry be noticed? How will people be able to know and see us, to really see us, if we wear our masks too often? Perhaps the imprint of our own masks leaves permanent stains on our faces, on how people see (or don’t see!) us. What if this were true? Would we think differently about the masks we wear?

So while I worry for The Man with the Tattooed Face and the fact that he cannot take his mask off, I am soothed by the realization that we can. I can. We have the choice to take our masks off or even not put them on at all! To be seen, as we are, in all our pain, glory, imperfection and joy.

So consider this an invitation. An invitation to acknowledge the privilege it is to be able to drop our masks in the first place. And the power of what this means!

Why is this important?

Because when we stop hiding and concealing the truth of who we are, we connect. We connect to each other’s pain, joy, worry, sorrow, grief, fear, happiness, excitement and all the other messy feelings life offers us.

We connect to the mom who can’t keep her tears inside because she is so exhausted by another night of interrupted sleep and so we offer her a helping hand, a warm hug and the space to say, “I get it. I’ve been there too.” And she feels a little bit better, a little bit less alone, a little bit more loved.

We connect to the friend who just found out his mother has cancer and he is terrified about what this means for his dad, himself, his siblings. So we take his hand and say, “I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do to help?” And he, too, feels the love, support and maybe even hope.themaskswewearbyshelsilverstein_f02d3c_4490282P I N this to pinterest

But when we mask ourselves, we do not see clearly. How could we? We are hiding. And inherent in this covering-up is a desire to conceal TRUTH. To conceal the truth of who we really are. And when I am not being honest with my own identity and being me for me, how can I be me for you?

I want to be me for me, and for you too! I want to be me for myself but also for my children, my husband, my friends, my neighbors, and my family. And I want them to be unconcealed to me. To be uncovered, real, raw. To feel safe enough to be all of who they are.authentic_self_no_masks_featured_image

So the invitation still stands! Let’s create a world safe enough to be ourselves. Safe enough for all, so that permanently inked masks lose their attraction. So that the desire to hide our truest selves loses it’s seductive power and we feel free enough and loved enough to show the world who we are. We choose being real over being concealed. We choose being rejected over fear.

We choose to show up for EACH OTHER, because after all, isn’t that what humans need most, Connection? To know we are not alone. And when you show up in your Truth, you give others permission to do the same. How beautiful is that? xo

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What do you do when someone you love is going through a difficult time? How do you handle the pain, hurt, worry, sorrow and feelings of helplessness? How can you best support someone when they want distance from you? 

How can we watch the news lately and not feel the interior of our souls come crushing in…tumbling into the darkness where defeat, outrage and deep sadness live?

These are some of the questions I have been grappling with, of late, and I know they will resonate with some of you (if not all of you!) as well. I know, I know, light shit, right? LOL!

Anyway, I stumbled upon a quote that changed my entire perspective on love, particularly in the circumstance of loving someone who needs their space from you.

It’s about loving in a way so the person feels free. 

Wow.

Let that sink in for a moment. I did. I needed to “sit” with it.

So what does that mean anyway? 

I think, at the root, it means that we accept and love them unconditionally. We do not weigh them down with our own ideas of who they should be or what they should do. We love them for who they are. For who they show us they are. For the pain they share and the pain they hide. For the truth they tell and the lies they spew. For the anger they throw our way and the love they shower upon us. We set aside our own agendas and we love with the purest of intentions for who they are in the very moment of now.

Because what else can we do? Really. This is not a rhetorical question. I mean, yes, we can be angry, judge, blame, accuse, and defend ourselves. But how will any of that help us to love better, love more, and feel more connected to those we love?

This is so hard people!!! And I never realized just how hard until recently. Here’s a story that might help better illustrate my point: 

My family and I went to grab some gelato a few evenings ago and sitting on the terrace next to us was a young family with a little newborn. The mom had just finished breast feeding and the little baby was hung over her mom’s shoulder in that totally-blissed-out-drunk-on-boobie-milk-kind of way. And I couldn’t help but look at the gorgeous new life before me and notice how deeply free she felt. She was so loved. So cared for. So secure on her mom’s shoulder, her belly filled with all the nutrients she needed. She was just BEING. There is so much freedom in just being. No judgements about what she should or shouldn’t do, no expectations…you get my drift.

(And look, I get that I am talking about a newborn here!! But stay with me.)

THAT is what I want my loved ones to feel like when I love them. To feel secure, cared for, fulfilled and free to simply BE.

So how do I do that? How do we do that? How can we collectively love each other so that we all feel FREE to be who we are and live how we want to live, in a way that is supportive, nurturing, accepting, inspiring, loving, peaceful…..

Well, I could tell you…but then I’d have to kill you. Because then I would hold the freaking KEY to the universe and end all the suffering around us, now wouldn’t I?

So, instead I offer you this.hope is stronger than fearP I N this to pinterest

I don’t know. I do not have the answers to how to live this way. How to love this way. But what I do know is that I have hope or faith or however you want to define that feeling of trust in something bigger than me.

I trust that by doing my best to love from this place of giving freedom will bring us closer. Loving this way will allow for growth, confidence, security, fulfillment, exploration, respect and for each of us to know we can just BE. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Wouldn’t THAT feel like freedom? 
Because isn’t that the point anyway? To feel the freedom to BE exactly who you are and trust that you are lovable in all your imperfect glory. Period. 

In trusting that you are enough as you are, you will open yourself up to love others for who they are. And the shields of vulnerability will drop away and we will each have the freedom to…

BE. 

 

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