|Here’s what I like about you.|
(It’s a long list, so settle in.)
You can do impossible things.
You prove that every day.
You’ve suffered setbacks
in your career and relationships
and learned how to course correct
and declare a do-over.
You’ve experienced unimaginable losses
and a devastating amount of shame.
You’ve lost a parent, a child,
a sibling, a spouse,
a friend, a pet,
or they’ve lost their way,
and somehow you’ve
found the faith to love
and offer support again.
You have taken risks
that nearly broke you
and still struggle with
for not knowing better.
You’ve been misunderstood
and yet you remain
open to what’s possible
even when it requires you
to risk it all again.
You do the necessary hard work.
You go in early,
and shovel snow
even when you know
no one else will attempt
to venture out.
You’ve bought more self-improvement courses
than you’ll ever complete,
but you don’t let this stop you
from seizing new opportunities
to invest in yourself
and build a better world.
Your body has betrayed you.
You may have experienced
a threat to your health
that brought you face to face
with your own mortality.
You’re getting older in spite of
your ageless attitude,
and inimitable shoe collection.
Somewhere along the line you started
working overtime instead of working out.
You occasionally overindulge
and binge watch entire seasons
of your favorite shows
all in one weekend
when you could be
clearing out the clutter,
attending a CrossFit class,
or preparing healthy meals
for the upcoming week.
But you believe Mondays
are like New Year’s Day,
so you begin again
and vow to do better.
You worry about the world
going to hell in a hand basket
and secretly suspect it’s
weapons of mass distraction
that will ultimately lead to our undoing.
You fear that folks have forgotten
how to talk to each other,
think for themselves,
follow their guidance,
or stand up for what they believe in.
So you make sure to vote
even though you know
your neighbor will vote differently.
You smile at strangers even though
they may interpret this small
act of kindness as stalking,
and you speak your truth
even if your voice shakes.
You are brave when bravery is required.
You are resilient even when you are bone tired.
You weave a spell with words that soothe the soul.
And you sing despite your reputation
for making up your own lyrics.
You are more than the sum of your parts –
even though all your parts are perfect in their imperfection.
You are always evolving.
You are still learning.
And so you remain a mystery –
even to yourself.
You see life differently.
You are wildly creative
which makes you
You hug trees,
flirt with babies,
let your dog occupy
the choicest spot on your bed,
let your cat commandeer your computer
(to allegedly manage her Instagram account),
and let baby goats jump on you during yoga.
You orchestrate the elements,
bend time, and defy gravity.
You feel deeply so you hurt easily.
You know intuitively so you act instinctively.
You keep these gifts hidden so you can
blend in and not out yourself as
the force of nature that you are.
Your curiosity keeps you questioning the status quo.
Your attraction to the extraordinary
summons you to sacred sites.
Your generosity makes you magnetic.
Your vulnerability makes you irresistible.
Your dancing makes you legendary.
Your sense of humor makes you the life of the party…
should you ever stray from the sanctuary
of your studio, library, garden, or kitchen.
You bloom where you are planted.
You are a sensual creature who insists on honesty
wherever you can find it.
You are a meaning maker
with an appetite for adventure.
You are a citizen of the world,
a renegade, a revolutionary,
a rebel with a most compelling cause.
You are a visionary, a shapeshifter, a truth teller,
a way shower, and a light worker.
You are grounded in this world
but not exactly of it.
You are a Spark of the Divine.
Made up of stardust and moonbeams, you are.
You continue to surprise and delight.
Because of that, I’m all in.
I’m devoted to helping you get
from where you are now to where you want to go.
Because I want more for you than you dare to want for yourself.
And partnering with people I adore as much as I do you
is what I’m most grateful for thisThanksgiving.
THE “HOLIDAZE” ARE HERE!!
If you are triggered just hearing those words,
then it’s time to tap!
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) can help you
not simply survive this season,
but quite possibly thrive!
Join me for a FREE tapping session on Friday, November 26th.
We’ll tap at 3pm and 7pm EST.
Or, if you’re super stressed, tap twice!
Register here to get the Zoom link.
You’ll get my
“Top 10 Tension Tackling Tunes to Keep You Humming
Through the Holidays”
just for registering.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved all things “woo-woo.”
From feathers to sticks and stones to drums to oracle cards to divination guides, I was fascinated with how these tools could transform an ordinary experience into an extraordinary one.
And for almost as long, I’ve felt a sense of “poo-poo” about incorporating these tools in my professional work. Like they aren’t “legit”. “They shouldn’t be taken seriously.” “I should just consider them a hobby or something I entertain friends with.”
But not using them disrespects the gift. Because you see, these transformational tools are my medicine.
Unfortunately, the creative gifts we unapologetically accept when we are young are the first to be sacrificed on the alter of adulthood.
It took me years to embrace my creativity and unique way of knowing as the incredible gift it is. I can finally acknowledge how incorporating this supports my health and well-being in ways that have just as much to do with the bottom line as meeting a sales quota.
It has taken me even longer to see that my decades in the desert struggling in silence and solitude to come to terms with my quirky way of seeing the world and experiencing life were actually preparing me for the journey I’m now on. This shamanic adventure is one that demands that I reclaim the gifts I abandoned in my misguided attempt to blend in with the conventional crowd.
We are wired to want to belong. We are social creatures who need community. And with that comes the need for approval, acknowledgement, achievement, and evidence that we are okay.
So we sometimes give up what we know to be true about ourselves in order to fit in with everyone else.
If you’re not the average bear or color outside the lines or move to the beat of a different drummer or are a free-spirit (as I was often called), life can be more challenging.
But it can also be extraordinary.
We all have unique gifts. Whether we’ve honored them or abandoned them in the past, they are needed now.
It is time to excavate them from wherever they may be hiding and share them with a world that hungers for human decency, compassion, understanding, insight, consciousness, forgiveness, light, and love.
If that requires me to bring out my drum and singing bowls, my crystals and oracle cards, my talking sticks, flower essences, spirit animals, and Divine Assistance Team, then so be it.
Maybe when I embrace my woo, you will embrace yours too.
Ever wonder what it would be like to use your gifts to transform an ordinary life into an extraordinary one?
Join me this week for a FREE Master Class
Embrace the Woo
Thursday, June 27
at 8pm EDT.
Plus get a behind the scenes look at
The Academy for Practicing Everyday Alchemy
coming in September.
The only thing you need to do to participate is
download the free Zoom app at https://zoom.us.
Then just sign in and enter the
Meeting ID 517 495 633
Email me at email@example.com ahead of time
to get your free guide to Embrace Your Woo.
April can be a very taxing time of year in the US.
Whether you pay taxes quarterly or yearly, get money back or have to pay money in, there is a general reckoning that always leaves me feeling, well, taxed.
I know it doesn’t have to be that way.
Yet once the dreadful day has come and gone, taking a good chunk of change with it, I forget how urgent and uncomfortable it is to account for it all.
This year I decided to take matters into my own hands. And since writing is what I generally do with my hands, I’m writing my way to a new, empowering money story.
I invite you to do the same.
Last month I participated in an online Millionaire Mindset Challenge that was nothing short of miraculous. The energy of the creative community was contagious, the possibilities endless, and the miracles multiplied by our collective witnessing of them.
So many of my friends asked me about it that I decided to create my own version of it called Pennies From Heaven.
I’m changing up the rules a bit to give you a little more time to ponder your potential and adding a few Angel Investors to guide you to your most magnificent manifestations.
Because your mind can’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s vividly imagined, you’re going to conjure up the most creative scenarios you can for experiencing the kind of wealth and abundance you’ve only dreamed about thus far.
Whether you like it or not, you are experiencing the precise level of abundance you can comfortably handle at the moment. What??? Can that be true?
Let me just speculate and suggest you may have a few money hang-ups that are getting in the way of experiencing the kind of wealth and abundance you desire.
Whether these be unspoken vows, limiting beliefs, or a general distrust that the Universe is conspiring on your behalf, it might be worth looking at your money story and see if you can allow yourself to play your way to prosperity.
“Who’s got time for fun and games?” you ask.
Well, I hope you do! I, for one, could definitely use a little more levity in my life.
After suffering in silence and solitude for decades, I’ve discovered the key to my success is surrounding myself with wise and witty friends who are curious, open to new experiences, and can see things from a different perspective than I can. If I’m going to tackle a touch topic like money, I’d prefer to do it with my tribe.
Consider this your invitation to hop on board the Pennies From Heaven money miracle manifestation train. Even if no actual money shows up during the game, the insights you gain into your money story will set the stage for future windfalls.
Look at it this way. If you were expecting a baby, pursuing a degree, directing a movie, or taking a vacation, you’d prepare for it, right? You’d plan for a nursery, register for classes, hire some actors, or make travel arrangements.
The same applies to increasing your income. You may say you want more money, but if you can’t manage what you have now, how will you successfully manage more?
Pennies From Heaven is your practice field.
If you’d like to play along, just write “Show Me the Money!” in the comments below. The game will be played through our Pennies From Heaven Facebook group, so if you’re on Facebook, just ask to join the group and I’ll add you.
If you’ve already mastered money and want to look at relationships, health, or any other area of your life, the same rules of the game apply. I’d love for you to join me and play your way to whatever you most desire.
If a lucky leprechaun failed to lead you to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on St.Patrick’s day, never fear.
There are many ways to manifest a miracle that don’t involved leprechauns, lotteries, or even luck.
They do, however, require a little imagination, a lot of faith, and an action plan.
A few weeks ago I started playing a game called the Millionaire Mindset Challenge with the fabulous Fiona Orr. It starts with receiving $250 virtual money and doubles every week day so that by the end of the first week the amount is already up to $4000. In a few short weeks, you’ve amassed a million virtual bucks.
The only rule is that you share your money story in as many splendid details as possible of where the money comes from and where it goes. Did you earn it, win it, or was it a gift? How will you spend it, what will you buy, where will you go, what will you do? You assume all debts are paid so no money can go to paying off debt.
How does playing this game change anything in real life?
As Fiona says, “The more specific you can be, the more you activate the trifecta of happiness neurochemicals in your brain – dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. So just playing the game will make you feel happy if you let yourself really feel like it’s real. Your brain does not know the difference between imagination and reality.”
So when you make the emotions and scenarios so real, so compelling, and so specific, your mind doesn’t make the distinction between an actual the windfall and an imagined one. You start raising your vibration and open to having this money show up in your life because you know what it feels like and have plan for it when it arrives.
Many players have already experienced real money showing up – me included – and I must say, it’s pretty darn exciting.
The crazy thing is we are all capable of manifesting miracles of all kinds and do so on a regular basis. But most of us fail to acknowledge that anything out of the ordinary is happening.
I facilitate a monthly mastermind group called Practicing Everyday Alchemy. The goal of the group is to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
It starts with the right mindset and the ability to see what’s hidden in plain sight.
This happens when a handful of people connected by a promise, a person, and a picture of what’s possible come together. When a tribe of people who matter to each other start believing in each other, things get really interesting.
People start taking action. People start succeeding because their success lifts up the entire group. People take risks because others have their backs.
A year ago I invested in a coaching program that required a huge financial leap, travel to Boston four times throughout the year, and a rigorous examination into my fears, shadows, hopes, and dreams. I made this journey with about forty other women and men who have shown me what’s possible through their vulnerability and courage.
Belonging to such an amazing group has multiplied my miracles. I joined two other groups and allowed myself to participate and be seen in a way I’d never done before. Experiencing first hand the kind of transformation that can happen with the support of others in a safe and sacred space, I made it my mission to create that space for others.
Of course, the biggest secret to manifesting miracles is to believe you can. To know you are worthy of your deepest desires and to expand your bandwidth to allow for the fulfillment of them.
I liken it to placing an order on Amazon. When you order something, you expect it to arrive. You don’t wonder if you’re worthy of receiving it. You know it’s on its way.
Some miracles simply take time to manifest. Like birthing babies, writing books, shaping beach bodies, or apprenticing with shamans. Some miracles require preparation and practice.
One of the best things you can do to prepare is to align your energy and adjust your environment for the imminent arrival of your miracle in the making. Make a plan, act as if, ask and you shall receive. All in good time. Or in an instant. Or when you least expect it.
What happens when you play a game like the Millionaire Mindset is sooner or later you come up against your limitations. You feel the resistance, you hear the voices of everyone and everything that ever held you back, and you might even get a little angry that you can’t allow yourself to have what you want.
But if you keep playing through the resistance, you start to realize what’s possible for you.
And that may be the biggest miracle of all.
I’d love to hear what you’d do with your ever increasing wealth. Where would it come from? What would you do with it? Dare to share in the comments below.
Love is in the air.
At least that’s what card companies, chocolate factories, and flower shops would have us believe around this time of year.
Of all things to believe in, love is certainly a noble and worthy cause.
As someone who has never been married and spent my fair share of Valentine’s Days celebrating the unconditional love of my dogs, I could give you a million reasons why romantic love is overrated.
But I won’t.
Because as cliche as it sounds, love makes the world go around.
The problem is not with love.
It’s with our limited view of what it should look like, feel like, or how and when it should show up in our lives.
If you are like me and Hozier, “I fall in love just a little, oh a little bit, every day with someone new.” Or something.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the one I am with. Because of that, my cup runneth over with love..
So I am looking to fall in love just a little bit every day with someone new because there are so many people in need of love. No one may have noticed the tiny tears in a person’s heart. No one may have noticed the way a person is lovable, adorable, vulnerable, creative, generous, surprising, kind, or appears to be broken.
When I do, I let my love open the door.
Whether that be through a smile, a reassuring word, a gentle touch, or just keeping my mouth shut when I might be tempted to criticize or judge. Often times these things can mean more than diamonds, flowers, candy, or over-the-top declarations of love.
And I don’t limit myself to people.
I especially love trees and have no shame in wrapping my arms around their trunks whenever I have the chance.
And, oh, I do love my animals.
I love ideas.
I love art and music and poetry and delicious food.
I love to sleep.
I love my snow pants because they allow me to be warm and comfy in winter weather. And they create a softer landing when I fall off my skis.
I love creating something out of nothing and transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.
None of that can happen without love.
So I will continue to be a hopeful romantic and believe in love and all the ways it dares to shows up in the world against all odds.
And I will send a whole heart full of love to you.
P.S. I would love to know what you love and what songs about love you love. Please add your playlist of love songs in the comments below.
For someone who is not real big on the holidays, I absolutely adore these days between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Part of it is because I work full-time at a college and, like our students, we get these glorious days off before starting full steam ahead again in January.
The other part is I happen to believe there is something magical about these days. Because they are the last days not just of the month or the quarter but the whole year, people tend to write them off as an insignificant segue into start of a New Year.
But I know better.
It’s as if these days have a secret they will share only with those who can get quiet enough to listen and be still enough to notice.
While many people are bustling about returning items, reconnecting with family and friends, or trying to check off the last few items on their yearly to do list, I’ve been quietly calling the pieces of myself back home in order to acknowledge all the adventures I’ve had during this trip around the sun.
Before I even begin thinking about what I want to create in the New Year I ask myself a series of questions about the current year. The answers I get inform my direction and my intentions for the upcoming year.
I wanted to share them with you as a way to consider what 2017 has meant to you. You may want to sit with them, answer the ones that feel most in need of answering, skip those that don’t make sense for you, or make up your own.
After allowing my answers to these questions to reveal themselves to me, I take out a piece of paper and put a big plus sign on one half of the page and a big minus sign on the other. Armed with the insights from this year, I can clearly articulate what I want more of and less of in the New Year.
Because this is a process and the questions require time to marinate, I first read through them and let them seep into my psyche before attempting to answer them. Then I grab a pen and let the answers come to me.
By about Sunday I’ll be able to collect my responses and apply the perspective they afford to the New Year. On Monday I’ll spend some time welcoming 2018 and contemplating the choices ahead of me. I’ll Name & Claim what I intend to create and then release that intention into the wild.
I share this with you in hopes that these questions might help you find some clarity and direction in the New Year. Maybe you can ask some of these questions of your family and friends at a New Year’s Eve gathering?
May you savor these last days of 2017 as they share their secrets with you.
Baby Steps & Best Advice
- Where did the smallest step produce the biggest result?
- What was the best advice you were given this year?
- Who shared it with you or how did it find its way to you?
- How aware of your body were you throughout the year?
- Did you feel connected to your body and allow yourself to feel the pleasure of being in a body or did you disconnect and spend the majority of time in your head?
- Did you have any health challenges or achieve any health or fitness goals?
- What books, movies, music, conversations, trips, trainings, or classes forever changed the way you think, feel, see, or experience life?
- What places provided you with the most peace or inspiration, the best working environment, the most creative conversations, the most nutritious and delicious food and drinks, incredibly beauty, or fascinating people?
- Where did you love hanging out and with whom?
Fears & Thrills
- What was the scariest thing you did this year?
- How did you feel once you faced your fear?
- What was the most thrilling thing you did, said, felt, or experienced this year?
- What made you feel most alive?
- What caused you the most pain or regret?
Gadgets & Gizmos
- What new technology did you master that catapulted your business or personal life forward?
- What products, apps, or life hacks made your life easier, more organized, or more fun?
- What purchased created the most joy and/or frustration as you worked through the learning curve?
- When and how were your gifts recognized and appreciated this year? (By you and others.)
- When did you need to activate your superpowers and how did you do so?
- Was there a particularly painful lesson that held an exquisite gift for you?
- When did you have to practice patience and learn to move at the pace of grace?
Health & Well-Being
- What creative, meditative, fitness, or health practices did you begin that made a noticeable difference in the quality of your life?
- What new foods or drinks did you discover this year that you now can’t live without?
- What really nourished you? (Mind, body, and spirit)
- What health care practitioners offered you the most comfort or provided you with the most helpful information necessary to achieve your optimal health and well-being?
- Were there any new arrivals in your home? (Pets, people, plants, furniture, etc.)
- Were there any departures in your household or family circle?
- Did you move or add on to your existing home or somehow alter your living arrangements?
Livelihood & Creativity
- Did you start a new adventure, begin a new business, retire, or leave an old career to start something new this year?
- Who was on your dream team? What collaborations or partnerships gave you the most joy and brought about unexpected or innovative results?
- Who needed to be fired from your life? What relationships created chaos, unnecessary drama, miscommunications, or major meltdowns?
- Where did you create something amazing out of nothing?
- Where did you take “massive imperfect action” as my coach likes to call it?
- What crazy idea captured your attention and refused to let go until you took action? What happened next?
- Where did you lose track of time and fall into the flow of doing what you love?
- How did money show up in your life this year?
- Did you experience any money miracles or windfalls?
- When did you feel especially abundant? What thoughts, practices, purchases, or actions contributed to that?
- When did you feel constricted or tight about money? What thoughts, practices, purchases, or actions contributed to that?
- Did you read any books, attend any seminars, work with any financial wizards or coaches who helped shift your mindset around money?
- Who walked into your life this year? How did their presence impact what’s possible for you?
- Who walked out of your life this year? How did their absence create more presence for you?
- Who do you long for? Who is missing in your world?
- What relationships shifted or transitioned as you changed and grew?
- Where was your love most needed and how easy was it for you to offer it up?
- Who surprised you with their unwavering support and love? Who disappointed you?
- Where did you go this year and how did you get there?
- Did you travel for business, for pleasure, out of obligation, and/or because it was your soul’s calling?
- Who did you meet in your travels?
- What did you see?
- How did it change you?
- How did God/the Universe/the Great Creator/Divine Feminine or Masculine reveal itself to you? How did you respond?
- Were any of the answers you were seeking hiding in plain sight?
- What was lost? What was found?
- When did you feel closest to God or Source energy?
- What was surprised you most this year?
- How did this surprise rearrange your reality?
- What unlikely sources of support, funding, friendship, or freedom showed up for you?
- How did world events impact your actions?
- Did these events alter your opinion of humanity or change the way you view the world or the future of the planet?
- Did these events catalyze you to join a movement, stage a protest, offer aid or assistance to those in need?
If you had to sum up the year in 6 words, those words would be:
___________ _____________ _____________ ______________ _______________ _____________
* Mine would be: You can’t make this stuff up. Really, it was that kind of year! Totally amazing.
Top 10 Takeaways from the year? List them here!
I’d love for you to share any aha’s or epiphanies that may arise from these questions in the comments below.
It’s here! My favorite holiday of the year.
Thanksgiving is one of those rare days when our collective attention turns to all we have to be grateful for instead of all we have yet to achieve, acquire, or otherwise add to our lives.
As much as I love the tradition of gathering with family and friends to celebrate scrumptious food, delectable desserts, and familial frivolity, this year I opted for a simple yet somewhat scandalous solution. Stay home.
Silence + Solitude = Saving Grace.
My adventures have taken me far and wide this year and I have never felt more blessed to have the family and friends I now have in my life. I’ve had the opportunity to do deeply transformational work with fellow coaches, clients, and canines (my dogs are always the first recipients of my new coaching methods). And I’ve stretched myself beyond anything resembling a comfort zone into a continual curiosity zone where the ground is constantly shifting.
For all of this, I am incredibly grateful.
And in desperate need of some quiet time with no agenda, no expectations, and no unnecessary drama.
This year I have set some things in motion that have changed the trajectory of my life. The best I can do to honor the source of all this goodness is to find a place of grace in each day to say thank you.
So on this day dedicated to giving thanks, my offering is this:
Feast on your life.
Feast on all that you have endured and achieved, become or dreamed of becoming.
Feast on the lives you’ve unknowingly touched with your smile, your words, your random acts of kindness, your refusal to give up on what you know to be true.
Feast of the fears you overcame to get you to the right place at the right time to do that thing that only you can do.
Feast on the doors that opened because you had the courage to keep knocking.
Feast on the friends and family who get your quirky sense of humor, can activate your superpowers, believe in your brilliance, reflect your beauty, and take care of your dogs while you travel the world.
Feast on the way your body works tirelessly on your behalf, day in and day out, in pursuit of optimal health.
Feast on the freedom you have to choose your thoughts, write a new story, break old patterns, reinvent yourself, or opt for a “do-over”.
Feast on poetry, music, laughter, imagination, kisses, kindness, talent shows, card games, traditions, long walks, eccentric relatives, and belonging in this world.
Thank you for being a part of my blogging family. Some of you have been around since the start in 2011. Bless you!!
You know I adore you and would love nothing more than to hear how you are celebrating today (even if it’s not Thanksgiving when you read this or if you live outside the US) and what you are feasting on by leaving a comment below.
And, if you are not planning your Black Friday shopping strategy, watching football, or sleeping off the stuffing, please join me and fellow coach Becca Formenti on Facebook Live tonight at 6pm CST. It will be Facebook friendship feast!
The topic of this week’s Sunday Summer Stretch Series is chaos. Specifically, how to keep calm in the midst of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear.
I’m fairly certain if you’re alive on Planet Earth, you’re feeling the effects of the intense energy vying for your attention. Everywhere you look, you can find evidence of escalating emotions as it appears we have collectively taken the fun out of “dysfunctional” and now just frighten the life out each other.
But if you look closer and get quieter, I believe you’ll find evidence that we are equally committed to collaboration, communication, and contemplation.
Admittedly it takes practice to cultivate consciousness in the midst of collective chaos. It’s difficult to decipher the facts and figure out what’s really going on. It takes courage to stand up for what’s true and what’s right for you. And it’s almost impossible to interrupt the pattern you’ve been programmed to run when you get scared or feel threatened.
But it’s imperative that you are able to question, object, or offer another perspective than the one that leads down the rabbit hole of doom, doubt, and drama.
With all that’s already on your plate, I’m going to assume you are not looking for yet another cause to commit your evenings and weekends to. So I’m going to suggest a simple practice that you can do anywhere, anytime you feel stressed.
It’s a simple tapping exercise that I originally learned from Gabrielle Bernstein that goes like this.
- Touch your thumb and your pointer finger and say the word “Peace”
- Next touch our thumb and your middle finger and say the word “begins”
- Then touch your thumb and your ring finger and say the word “with”
- And finally touch your thumb and your pinky finger and say the word “me”.
You can substitute the word for whatever quality you wish to experience in place of “peace”. It’s easy to do. It’s so subtle no one even has to know what you are doing. And it’s a tactile reminder for you to call in the quality that you most need in the moment.
Because sometimes all you need is a moment to restore your equilibrium. I like to say you are only one thought away from a new perspective. It’s just getting to that thought can take a little wrangling.
For more conversation around this topic, jump in on our FB Live Sunday Summer Stretch Series episode this evening at 7pm Central time.
We’d love to hear how you keep calm and carry on. Leave your feedback or suggestions in the comments below.
It’s that time of year when students of all ages are graduating on to bigger and better things. In my family alone, we have three graduations in as many weeks.
After a couple of decades of being out of school, my sister just completed her Master’s Degree in Student Leadership. Her daughter is finishing her last week at SCAD and will be heading out to California to start her creative career with a hat maker. And my nephew just graduated from Illinois State University and is on his way to Wyoming with his girlfriend to experience a summer working at Yellowstone.
Oh, the thrill of the open road and a new chapter!
This is the promise of new beginnings. Anything is possible.
The reality is that new beginnings are available to us at any time, although we sometimes need a little pomp and circumstance before we’re officially ready to roll.
I prefer to start without the fanfare.
I tend to launch before I know what I’m getting into.
Because if I knew what would be required of me to do half the things I long to do, I’d never do them.
It’s too daunting.
The learning curve is too steep.
If I knew how ridiculous I would feel prior to feeling fabulous or smart or trendy, I would never conjure up the courage to connect or create in all the ways that really light me up.
If I knew how much time, energy, and effort would be required to learn something people half my age were born knowing, I’d be tempted to use the “I’m too old for this” excuse.
But it’s that attitude that ages us faster than anything else.
The thing is, before we can get there from here, we have to go through the I-have-no-idea-where-I-am-or-what-I’m-doing place. No one talks about this place because once we get where we’re going and know what we’re doing, we often erase limbo land from our memory.
It’s human nature to want to forget our ineptitude or gloss over the obvious errors in our thinking or the epic failures we didn’t anticipate.
But these often make the most memorable stories and become the beginnings of our greatest adventures.
Countless success stories start with the adventure that went awry, the chance meeting that wouldn’t have happened if all had gone as planned, or the random recalculating of an accepted hypothesis that resulted in a scientific breakthrough.
There is an urgency about getting to the Promised Land, wherever that may be. We want to start out making top dollar. We want to instantly become an internet sensation. We want everyone to know our name. We want to succeed in business without really trying.
But there is a necessary learning curve. This is that magical time when we are humbled and frustrated and overwhelmed and filled with uncertainty that’s only occasionally sprinkled with awe and amazement and enthusiasm about what’s possible.
It’s this grace period when we get to fly under the radar, make mistakes, and hone our craft before we get pummeled by public perception.
It’s when we realize how lucky we are not to have our dreams realized before they are fully formed.
I recently came across a book titled “What’s In The Way, Is The Way.” This echoes the idea we’ve been tossing about in my coaching program that the life we’ve lived so far, with all its trials and tribulations, has provided the precise experiences we need to succeed.
Whatever impeded our journey informed our journey and placed us in the perfect position to offer the unique contributions we can today.
So, graduates, as you saddle up and ride off into the sunset, remember it’s the detours, flat tires, the missed turns and the learning curves they afford that hold the real gifts.
I have no doubt you will get to your Promised Land with the flair and finesse that only you possess. Just remember to embrace with grace the path that leads you there.
I’d love to hear what you are graduating from at this juncture in your life. Please leave your comments, insights, or advice for fellow graduates of all kinds in the comments below.
Yesterday I attended the funeral of a dear friend. She was the first one to “like” a blog post or leave a comment on my “latest and greatest” idea, no matter how wacky or weird it was.
If we’re lucky, we all have at least one person like my friend Linda who makes us believe in our own brilliance by reflecting it back to us.
Ours wasn’t a likely friendship but one that developed by working together. We didn’t work together for hours on end but in the odd hours when everyone else was asleep or had gone for the day or the week.
You see, Linda was the caretaker of our building. She was the invisible hand that kept the floors and windows clean and everything in operating condition. She would usually come in around 4 in the morning and spend a couple hours at our building before heading to her full-time job to put in another 8-9 for the day.
In her “free” time she made quilts and took in sewing projects and did all kinds of odd jobs for others.
She was a worker bee.
About a year ago Linda got bone cancer and embarked on the only route she deemed acceptable – the grueling road to recovery. She was an extremely private person so at first she simply withdrew. I’m sure she thought she could handle it without bothering anyone else and be back to work in no time.
But that was not the case. She had a long battle ahead of her and she was forced to fight it full time.
Once as I was driving her to the hospital I remember thinking, “This is really happening to us. We are no longer immune to cancer. It’s no longer something other people deal with.”
I got a glimpse into the impact a diagnosis of a debilitating disease has on a person. She, of course, was not going to let it get the best of her. In fact, like many people who have had cancer, it seemed to bring out the best in her.
Despite her declining physical condition, emotionally and spiritually she seemed to simultaneously harden and soften. Harden to take on the fear and uncertainty and soften to allow others to help. This brought about a kind of acceptance and letting go that comes with finally understanding what truly matters.
During the service, the priest admitted that he didn’t know Linda. I thought about how lucky I was that I did. As he fumbled his way through a reference to some Twilight Zone episode meant to comfort her family and friends, I consoled myself with what I did know and love about her.
While he surmised she loved being an aunt, he had no idea how much she loved her “kids” Rick and Rachael, the cats who shared her life. He made no mention of how mechanically minded she was or how, despite her fragile physical form, she was in the midst of a full DYI home renovation that had her excited about her future again. He failed to mention her lucky streak at the casinos or her love for Manny’s pizza.
He had studied her obituary but knew nothing of her life. He hadn’t had the opportunity the rest of us did.
As the priest offered the congregation communion, I imagined Linda finally communing with Michael Jackson, whom she admired more than any other performer. She told me once she’d love to have his music played during her funeral service but didn’t think it would go over very well.
So I came home and honored my friend the best way I knew how. “Alexa,” I commanded my AI device from Amazon, “please play ‘Man in the Mirror’ by Michael Jackson.”
Let me just say Alexa has ever understood or responded to any of my requests before. I believe she’s in cahoots with Siri who has the same problem. But today she responded, “Okay, Penny. Playing Man in the Mirror – the Immortals edition.”
Then I moon-walked around my kitchen, celebrating the life of my friend.