self-doubt

struggling with creativity

if you really knew me, i've been struggling a bit with creativity. i was saying to Jakob the other day, i have so many logistical things on my plate it often feels difficult to access the deeper, more creative or "spiritual" places in myself. i admit i haven't been all that disciplined with myself either. for some reason, after the switch to Daylight Savings, it took me weeks to get back on track with rising early. but, even though i've been doing so for the last week or so, i still haven't taken the time to write. just letting the words flow out however they will without some agenda (other than getting a blog posted!) attached to the process. one of the really great things that's "gotten in the way" is making preparations for our big presentation on April 18th at the Spirit/Mind/Body Expo in Sonora. if you are in the area, i really hope you can attend! we're launching our new organization, the Local Security Exchange (website will be up 4/18/15!), and have been working very hard with Cheyenne, computer Goddess extraordinaire, to get the website ready. we’re in the final stages of refining our talk to make it as compelling as possible for folks to get involved.

rainy dayso, it's not like i haven't been doing creative things; it's just that i've been feeling disconnected from the quiet space inside and around me which opens up when i give myself the gift of time to write. it feeds my soul so deeply, i forget how delicious it is until i finally sit down to do it. i think it's a great help today that it's storming outside... rain, wind, thunder. this kind of weather always gives rise to my desire to hunker down and write. but that's not typical around here, so i'd better find an inner storm soon (or at least tame the storm of lists in my head!).

as i sit here allowing myself even a few minutes to write before i begin my busy day, i feel so grateful for this precious time. if i wait, thinking i'll get to it later, it will be gone. too hard to recapture in the middle of the afternoon, after i've already had a thousand thoughts of logistics and events, or the evening when all i want to do is snuggle up with Jakob and read.

it's so easy to get caught up in the seemingly endless to do's of life- the dirty dishes, the meetings, the errands. even when i get up extra early, something else always seems to find its way into what used to be my sacred morning time. i distract myself in a million ways from the thing that brings me so much joy and satisfaction. and, even though everything i do is founded on the simple principle of getting that i matter, i find myself putting the thing which brings me a deep sense of inner fulfillment on the back burner. is it a question of worth? do i feel i don't deserve it? is it simply a question of habit? am i simply playing out a legacy of codependency deeply engraved in my earliest memories? or is it a strange brew of all the above? i’m wondering… do you relate to this?

so, if i were in a coaching session with myself (which, perhaps i should do more often!), i would dive more deeply into those questions. then i'd create some reminders for myself that i really, really love... like "remember how sweetly sane it feels to take a few minutes just for me" or "i love to write" or, as the pencil on my desk says, "don't forget to write!" i'd put alarms on my phone or stickies on my vitamin bottles. okay. i'm going to do that. right now! no, wait. i'll do it after i'm done writing.

right, this is it. so simple. yet i complicate it so much. i'm just going to do it. just say "no" to my habitual machinery of tidiness and ticking items off the list. just sit down. turn on the computer. and write. but will i keep it up this time?

ok. right. i'm coaching myself here, so i'm going to challenge myself to write every day. regardless of the important tasks in my path (dishes in the sink, breakfast to make, emails unanswered), i'm going to sit down for at least 30 minutes a day for 30 days. 30/30. no matter what. ok. oh shit. what have i done? i've declared it publicly! well, it's too late now! i've gone and done it. so this is when i’d ask, "who are you going to ask to support you in keeping your word with yourself? who will be your accountability buddy?" i can think of a few folks. "ok, so when will you ask them?" today. i'll ask them today. i'll ask a few different folks to check in with me or let me text them to tell them i wrote that day. jeez! i'm really doing this. i'm going to do this. right now! no wait... i still have 2 minutes left to write.

P1040255ok. so, for now, i'll sit here with the peaceful chimes on my writing program, the blank canvas before me and the delicious quiet in my head as the words fall out and swirl onto the screen.

i love to write.

 

bright light and deep darkness… reflections on Robin Williams and more

robin williams

it's 9/11, a day most of us will never forget.

that morning our family was at the San Francisco airport getting ready to put our 15-year-old son onto a plane to Newark, NJ, on the first leg of his year abroad in Spain. needless to say, he didn't board the plane. instead, we sat at a bar near the gate and watched the second plane fly into the World Trade Center, then walked like zombies to our car as the impact of what had just occurred started to hit us. thousands of souls left the earth that morning, leaving gaping holes in the world and initiating this country into that particular territory of fear and violence which so many others know all too well.

one month ago today is also a day many of us will never forget.

that's the day Robin Williams took his own life and left a hole in the world that will never be filled. and, even though it's been over four weeks since, i still find myself bursting into tears at the fact that he felt so alone in some deep, down part of himself despite the abundance of love that was all around him.

and, although there have been some who have criticized Mr. Williams and others who have committed suicide for being "selfish," i see this act as something to be met with the utmost compassion rather than unblinking derision. (thank you, Cheyenne, for posting this very good article about why suicide and depression are not selfish.)

my heart and prayers continue to be with Mr. Williams' children, wife and all of his dear family and friends as they muddle through this most difficult time. may you all know that he was one of the most selfless humans i ever witnessed (in my very limited way) and that his suicide had nothing to do with you. i am so sorry you have had to deal with some who have expressed their wounds in negative ways toward him; but know that they are just working it out in their own, uninformed way.

malcolm x

i guess if there is any gift in Mr. Williams' untimely death, it's the outpouring of press that's bringing his death and this important and serious issue to light with compassion and care and honesty.

i've watched videos like Jimmy Fallon's heartfelt tribute and read achingly beautiful blogs like Rachel Leibrock's in which she captured my sentiments exactly when she wrote, "And then I started crying. Crying because I genuinely loved Williams as an actor and a comedian -- I grew up watching Mork & Mindy. Good Will Hunting is one of my favorite films. Crying because in that moment, I also felt his pain immeasurably. I felt the absence of hope, the absence of faith that life will get better. The absence of any light."

i've read tributes like this one from Bimbo's 365 Club and quotes from the many celebrities who tweeted and posted, like Goldie Hawn "Oh Robin...Our hearts are broken. Rest in peace darling. We loved you." …and Jessica Chastain "Robin Williams changed my life. He was a great actor and a generous person. Through a scholarship, he made it possible for me to graduate college. His generous spirit will forever inspire me to support others as he supported me. He will forever be missed." …and Danny DeVito's heartbreaking, "Heartbroken."

i think it's easier than most of us would care to admit to let ourselves go to that dark place. it sometimes feels as if we're pushing up against something immovable - especially when we're present to this human race and all the messes we've made; what we've done to ourselves, each other and our only home; all the insanity we continue to play out. one thing i know is that suicide is not a selfish act. it is an act born of an illusion that we are separate and alone. it's an act that is often carried out by those of us who are extremely sensitive to what's happening in the world and we feel as if it's just too much for us.

truth be told, i know this territory all too well. i've been there myself. i understand the experience of feeling completely alone - even that the world would be better off without me - when i was in that place. i remember thinking those unshakeable, consuming thoughts and nearly driving off the road one day five years ago. and i remember, and thank God for, my loved ones and friends who gathered around and reminded me that i mattered. if you relate or if you have had or are having thoughts of suicide, i urge you to reach out and get help. that's what saved my life and i'm so glad i did.

when it comes down to it, i truly believe we are all here to shine our light - whether we shine as brightly and humbly and generously as Mr. Williams did all around the world or whether we shine simply and sweetly right in our own backyards. i think the only thing to do is to shine our light, even when we grieve the loss of those we love… maybe especially then. and, although he may have believed in that terrible, critical moment (or for longer than we can imagine) that he was utterly alone and his light was unfixably diminished, may he know, as his soul flies free, that he never was alone and that his light burned brightly until the very end and beyond.

finally, in his daughter Zelda's words, "To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh. As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you've had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too."

dear human

being vs. doing… part 2

giving up my personal will… ahhhhhhhh!!!

Worry won't stop the bad stuff from happening

wednesday, february 19 2014

i've been up since 3:46. feeling hopeless, less than grateful and slightly numb.

i've been struggling. again. with my spiritual practice. with getting things done. with wondering what i'm missing that is causing my bank account to be at another all-time low. with anxiety (if you really knew me). with pride. with saying what i feel i need to say even when it's f-xx-ing terrifying. like right now.

am i depressed? i don't know.

i'm struggling. yet again. with another cycle of Being vs. Doing… the cycle of staying present one moment enjoying the ride, then flying off the merry-go-round in some version of the past (practiced apart scarcity tale) or future (feeling unsure terrified uncertain restless expecting- ooh! good acronym!) the next.

i'm struggling. with this great urge to WAKE UP - myself, others, the world - to what's going on in the world. to the tragedy of repeated human folly, this broken record of behaviors we seem to be incapable of changing. to my fear that i can't do anything about any of it. to this hopelessness sometimes disguised as cynicism about my government, the corporate machine and about our ability to make a real, lasting shift before it's too late.

i'm struggling. with the fact that i pour my heart into these blogs and hope that someone will comment on them, but when i check for comments, all i see are 2,344 pieces of spam which, although sometimes look like actual comments, turn out to be complete crap. i wonder… am i writing into a black hole? are all these words just my over-active brain on some really great ego-trip thinking that someone else actually cares about the things i care about? is this just a glorified diary minus the miniature lock and teeny tiny key? am i just shouting into the void with a big, colorful yet broken, silent megaphone?

ok. i guess i'm depressed. a little bit. (and indulging in a pretty good-sized pity party.)

maybe the fact that i wake up at least once a week at 3 or 4 in the morning with anxiety - about everything from money to worrying about the elephants to the fact that my to do list seems to be getting longer rather than shorter- has something to do with it. hmmmm….

and, then of course, i worry that, if i post this blog - this one - the confessional about how messy i feel right now, it will be the one that gets more response than the one i worked on so hard about the NSA and our blasé attitude about the fact that we are all being watched by our own government. i keep asking myself, "what's the point of all this writing, anyway?" am i just jerking off publicly? or are these random postings actually helpful to someone else? (i sure hope so.)

to be perfectly honest, i'm struggling with this habitual drive to make a difference in the world and my deep desire to just go work in the garden. i really, truly wonder- what is the best way for me to "be the change" i wish to see in the world? 

option a) make a difference:

strategy… try to make Get That You Matter the global movement i envisioned a few years ago. use my will to "put myself out there" in the biggest way possible. go boldly forth into what i make up would be a more-than-busy schedule of marketing, promotion and sales (gag me!) in a go-go-go frenzy to "make my mark" and get this message out. sell the book on Amazon (booooo!). do the "power woman" thing (i.e. sacrifice my personal relationships, down time and walks in nature) to serve "the greater good" as i sally forth to make real my vision of inspiring millions of people.

outcome… honestly, as much as i know this message is good (maybe even great) and as much as i believe in it (having poured my heart and soul into it for the last 7+ years), whenever i think about what it would take to do this, i want to throw up.

hmmm… is this my resistance? or is it my deep knowing that something is really "off" about this entire approach? i don't know.

option b) work in the garden:

strategy… allow Get That You Matter to grow organically, slowly and locally (kinda like the only food we should be eating). work on a grassroots level. "think globally, act locally." maybe get a job so i don't have to worry about how i'm going to pay next month's bills. trust that it will get to who it needs to get to with word-of-mouth. let someone else do some gentle yet effective marketing (yes!). meditate. pray. write books, blogs and poetry. read good books. grow lettuce and carrots. cultivate my personal relationships. laugh and love with my sweetheart. walk in nature. slow down, knowing that my will is shaky and deceptive at best. use and TRUST Divine Will. serve the "community good" and, if it unfolds naturally, the "greater good" as i sally forth with my journal, computer and pitchfork in hand.

outcome… even though this option is scary for my ego to even consider, whenever i think about it, i breathe more deeply and want to cry.

hmmm… is this my resistance to being "unstoppable"? is it me giving up on my dreams? or is this my deep knowing that something is right on about this approach? i'm 97% sure this is the option to choose.

the trick is… remembering to give up my will, to let the Divine be my guide and to be grateful.

Is This My Resistance To Being Unstoppablei have written about gratitude and all kinds of things to help me remember. and sometimes, i forget. huge chunks of my joy and peace flake off like the Manhattan-sized iceberg that calved off of Antarctica a few weeks ago. sometimes it feels like the surrender, the joy, the gratitude are as slow to grow as glaciers. sometimes it feels like it's right here. like this gorgeous sunrise shining through the window (yes, i've been up since 3:46am.).

i recently saw a couple of posts by two women who are very wise and popular… women i admire for "making it" with their life's passions and, to be perfectly frank, women whom i envy for the same reason. kind of like they inspire me and make me sick all at the same time. (and that is so not about them… i hope some day i have the opportunity to share this with them.)

the first post was on facebook by Lissa Rankin. i really resonated with it because i think that's partly what my struggle is about:  "…the more I deepen on my spiritual path, the more I realize that the very will I've counted on my whole life in order to achieve my goals is sabotaging me. As Adyashanti writes, 'True realization, true enlightenment, comes through a complete relinquishing of personal will- a complete letting go…. By surrendering the illusion of personal will, a whole different state of consciousness is born in us; a rebirth happens.' Imagine that. Rebirth. Resurrection. Surrender... Anthony de Mello said, 'Enlightenment is absolute cooperation with the inevitable.' Wouldn't that be a relief, to finally let go of the handle, stop trying to force your personal will on an uncontrollable universe, and just TRUST?"

after that, i saw this gorgeous piece, "The Initiated Woman," by Danielle LaPorte which sang to my soul, especially this line. "She knows that when people are ready, they’re ready, and they’re never ready before they’re ready. Still, she holds the light for your readiness, because she knows how sweet it is when the time is right." honestly, it made me a bit sad because i don't think i have completed my own initiation. what i mean is, i make up that i haven't yet become as fierce as i may need to be. but, what i know for certain is that we are always ready when we're ready- never a moment before and never a moment too late. i know that, deep in my bones, because what's going on here is that i simply haven't been ready. until this year. and so it all comes back to giving up personal will. i've had moments of that - even months on end - when i let go of all the drive and comparison and surrendered to the moment, to the "inevitable" truth of the Divine, rising up and greeting the day with tears of joy and gratitude. total bliss. but… it seems like every time i'm striving or efforting or wanting to "make it" (whatever the hell that means!), i spiral down into this place. right here.

yes. i'm depressed. today. i've been forgetting that my will is not what matters. i've been forgetting to surrender. i've been forgetting that i matter just because i exist, and that my words are ringing true somewhere - even if it's just in my own heart.

what to do about it?

choose option b.

pray. pray. pray.

drink some more hot cocoa (that always helps).

go pull some weeds.

get busy and write my next blog.

 

or just breathe.

Question of the Week... February 26, 2012

When you take the time to listen to yourself, do you usually hear the voice of your head or the voice of your heart... and what do you hear?

(Please share your thoughts in the comments area below. We look forward to hearing from you and having a great conversation!)

Question of the Week… February 5, 2012

Have you ever felt like you were broken and couldn't be fixed? What was that like for you?

(Please share your thoughts in the comments area below. We look forward to hearing from you and having a great conversation!)

Falling Down and Getting Up with Be Love Radio

I'm sorry to says sobut, sadly, it's true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lunch wuth an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

-excerpt from Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess

I love how life works, even when it seems to not be working – or, rather, I don't seem to be working with it.

I had every intention of posting this blog about Falling Down and Getting Up right after the Be Love radio show on July 3rd, and here I went and fell down and didn't get it posted until two months later. I'm sitting here smiling and laughing at myself as I think about that old saying, "We teach what we most need to learn."

Just like that baby learning to walk, I, too, am learning to walk in a whole new way. It doesn't surprise me when I fall down anymore because I've done it so often, but it does bring more and more compassion and gentleness for myself in the process. I used to beat myself up terribly for all the falling down I did, but now – more often than not – I laugh and look for the underlying cause or issue in order to learn from the experience. I meditate a lot more than I used to, too – it really seems to help.

Having said that, I invite you to take this away from the July 3rd Be Love show (and I do recommend that you give it a listen- they're always really informative). Take away that you will fall down, that your mind will find countless ways to sabotage your progress (I know that one really well!), and that you are absolutely capable of overcoming every obstacle you may place in your own way.

In other words, you will fall down and you will get up again.

The best way to get up again is to reconnect with your essence, with your heart and your community to get all the support you need to get back on the old, proverbial horse. Remember to be gentle with yourself in the process. Can you imagine yelling at or beating up that little baby for falling on its diaper? Of course not! So why do it to yourself?

What would it look like for you to reconnect? Would you need to take some "time out" in order to revitalize your purpose? Would you need to reach out for support from your community, an accountability buddy or a coach to express your feelings in a safe container? Most importantly, what do you need right now (in this moment)?

Regardless of what you choose to do to get back up again, I invite you to have as much fun as you can in the midst of all you are doing. Remember, getting that you matter is meant to be an enjoyable, fulfilling and fun experience. When you fall down, it's great to be able to laugh and learn from it.

Life was never meant to be a chore. You are not a slave to your life, but rather you're here to enjoy the adventure of experiencing it in its fullest. It is your birthright to enjoy and marvel at this wonderful thing called being human.

So, I encourage you to listen to the archived show for this chapter on Be Love Radio; it's got a lot of great stuff in it and should be very helpful in your own Getting That You Matter journey. In the meantime, you can begin the process with this week's Meditation, Mantra and Movement.

Meditation for Getting Up "In what ways do I fall down? What support system can I put in place to help me get back up?" Journal, using the first question, about how you get yourself off track; then about ways to get yourself back on track using the second question.

Mantra for Getting Up "I reconnect to my passion and purpose by…" Make a list of the reminders you can use to reconnect to your passion and purpose. Post your reminders wherever you need to so you can see them every day, and use them. For fun you can track how often you use them and what helps you to remember them, then keep the ones that work and let go of the ones that don't.

Movement for Getting Up Create the support system you need to help you stay on track. Who do you need to enroll? What group could you join? Do you need some professional assistance? What practice would most help you? How can you build in down time and fun so you don't become a slave to your passion? Set a deadline and put it in place! And if you're finding it hard to do, ask one person to be your accountability buddy and help you create your support system.

Becoming with Be Love Radio

It was such an honor to share the time with Kidest for her Be Love radio show once again. She is an amazing host and a powerful force of love on the planet. We had a great conversation about Becoming... and all it takes to do that. Taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zones (and looking at all the excuses we use not to do that), stretching (and all the reasons we make up for staying small), integrity, taking responsibility and great practices like Ho-oponopono. When we really begin to BECOME who we are here to be, as Kidest said, "It's as if the whole Uni-verse took a step with you!" Since I'm on Maui this week for the Cafe Gratitude Aloha Awakenings retreat, I'm gonna keep today's post short and sweet, but suffice to say, I highly recommend listening to the replay and trying on this week's Meditation, Mantra and Movement. Until the next show, I wish you a couple of weeks of becoming even more of who you are here to be!

AlooooHA!

Meditation for Becoming: "What will it take for me to become who I am meant to be?"

What keeps you from stepping up? What do you need in order to become the person you are meant to be? Journal about what it would take for you to become who you are meant to be.

Mantra for Becoming: "I am becoming…"

What can you tell yourself on a daily basis to remember who you are becoming? What can you tell yourself when you feel like hiding? What words can strengthen your resolve and help you to remember that you matter?

Movement for Becoming: Take a bold step toward your Becoming!

What action, if you took it in the next few days, would help you step out of your comfort zone into a bigger you? What would move you powerfully toward being even more of your best self?

P.S. If you are in the Los Angeles area the weekend of April 9th and 10th, please join me for two amazing events! Saturday April 9th is the Cafe Gratitude Intro. to A New View of Love workshop with Jon Marro and myself, and Sunday April 10th is the Leaders Causing Leaders Salon in Palos Verdes. I hope to see you there!

Ah, The Daily Dread...

I woke up again with that feeling of near-dread, almost-anxiety and sort of free-floating fear-slash-worry. It happens almost every day....

Most mornings, I just push it aside like the blankets. But today I laid there in bed and visited with it for a while and asked what it had to tell me. It said, "What if I never go away? What will you do then? What will you do if I am with you every morning for the rest of your life?"

TO READ MORE... visit the full post on the Cafe Gratitude blogsite. Check it out and you'll see what's happening in that amazing community! Feel free to post comments here or at the Cafe Gratitude site. Coming soon... Get That You Matter updates and news on the book, the movement, membership and more!

100 People... 4 years. go.

A couple months ago I woke up to this blog and video on Superforest (my favorite way to greet the world when I turn on my computer!): Miniature Earth

It really made me think... even more deeply... that, if there were only 100 people in the world, I would of course want to make sure that EVERY ONE OF US had enough food, clean water, shelter, health care. I wouldn't be able to live in a world of 100 where any of the members of my little community was suffering while I was eating enough and sleeping out of the rain. So... if I wouldn't let that happen if the world only had 100 human inhabitants, why do we let that happen in a world of billions and plenty?

TO READ MORE... visit the full post on the Cafe Gratitude blogsite. Check it out and you'll see what's happening in that amazing community! Feel free to post comments here or at the Cafe Gratitude site. Thank you and blessings....

Ah procrastination...

I have been procrastinating about this blog for months… again. It's my very large streak of perfectionism… the old "all my ducks must be lined up before I take action" story. Don't get me wrong – I'm fairly spontaneous when it comes to doing fun things with my friends and family. But when it comes to what I'm "putting out there" in the world, it's more often than not got to be perfect. Hence, my book continues to live in the "to be published" phase. Do you recognize this in yourself?

The truth is there are always things to write about, comment on, argue for or against, take a strong stand for, figure out, offer, share. Always. As a matter of fact, I could safely say there are more things to write about, comment on and share than one person could ever handle, but I sure as hell do my best. I continue to save emails, notes and ideas, stashing them away to send out when I do my newsletter (which is still waiting in the wings for the right time). And they continue to pile up.

I realize, in holding this Vision I've been holding for nearly four years now, I feel I have lost some of my momentum – or at least misplaced it temporarily – and that has me scared. The clock is ticking more loudly than ever. I'm almost 50 years old and I need to get off my ass and live out what I'm here to do!

This panic often drives me to work until I fall asleep at the keyboard, often startled awake at 11 or 12 to a bunch of ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff's on the page. I often wish I didn't need to sleep (or like it) as much as I do. I sometimes wish I didn't need to eat or take care of this body as much as I do. It simply feels like there is not enough time in one day, week, month, year or lifetime to do all the things I want to do, and that I'm steadily losing ground on what I want to create. I wake up at night wondering, "Is my book already written by someone else? Has the title been taken and I just don't know it?" I can't help but feel slightly guilty and embarrassed that it's taken this long to get it closer to being published.

Then I remember what I tell my clients – starting new from this moment is all we can do. Regret will get us absolutely nowhere. I am teaching, once again, what I most need to learn myself… that forgiveness, self-love and discipline… this fine balance of qualities are what makes for a life of contribution and meaning. A life of mattering.

There is really no point to this little bit of verbal purging other than my attempt to at least get something out of my head and into the world. I will save my soapbox for the next posting. Suffice to say, I am – once again – renewing my commitment to share, to get "out there in the world" what lives in my head and heart, the issues and causes that make me flail my arms in the air in absolute frustration, cry with deep compassion or laugh with sheer delight. Woohooo!

Some thoughts since Thanksgiving...

I've thought a lot about whether or not to post this blog the last couple of days. Is it too depressing? Will it come back to bite me in the butt somewhere down the road? Will it turn people off from wanting to work with me or buy my book? And what I keep coming to is a clear and steady, "No." What I actually hear is a clear and steady, "Share this. Share yourself with the world, clearly and with love, and you will be amazed."

As I wander through the world, everywhere from my home in the Sierras to Boston to various communities on the internet to my soon-to-be-new home in L.A., what strikes me is a longing for authenticity and realness. I feel and hear a yearning for connection that's about much more than making ourselves or others feel good in order to get something or add one more name to our email lists. In the last week or so, I've "unsubscribed" to a lot of things just to get back to the quiet inside and to be able to really hear the cries for connection under all the chatter....

So, I choose to share in this way, revealing my pain and struggles as well as the insights and beauty in this moment, in the hopes that someone may be moved, inspired or feel they're not as alone as they thought they were. I share this to remind you that you are loved, that you are important, that you matter and that you are needed... no matter how down, low or useless you feel right now, this is temporary. I know... and you are not alone.

Thanksgiving Day, 11/26/09
It's early morning on Thanksgiving Day, and I am sitting here with a myriad of emotions and thoughts. Honestly, it's been a tough year- for so many, myself included. It's hard to cultivate my gratitude sometimes when I'm constantly worried about how I'm going to get myself out of the financial hole I'm in.

If you really knew me, you'd know that...
* although this year has been a year of great experiences and wonderful shifts, it's also been one of the hardest years of my life (like the year my mom died, the years of the divorces).
* although I'm so grateful for everything I do have (a home, food to eat, running water, electricity), I feel a nearly constant fear of not being able to take care of myself.
* I am so grateful for all the help I've received from my close family and several friends, and just under the surface I feel a constancy of guilt and shame about how far down I've gone and that I've become a burden to those around me.
* most of the time, I live with this low-grade panic or anxiety about life- like I'm just one step away from total self-destruction.
* sometimes, especially lately, I think, "My God, I've become the crazy mother I hear other people talking about- crying, mood swings- happy one minute, in a puddle of tears the next." Who have I become?
* I really wonder if I'm really depressed or manic… this does not feel normal. Is it just mid-life hormones?
* although I often talk and write about the importance of gratitude and feeling good about ourselves, it's really hard to feel good about myself when I work so hard to get things going and just the smallest trickle of response comes in.
* most of the time, the shame I feel about where I'm at in my life makes me want to be alone and hide from the world but the thing I long for the most is connection and to be held.
* whatever love is being offered feels far away, like I've created some kind of energetic quarantine sign that says, "Don't come close! What I've got is infectious and you wouldn't want to catch it."
* almost more than anything, I want to be held… to feel someone's arms around me, and hear them say, "It's all going to be all right."
* the tears feel like they'll never stop- this well of grief and shame and sadness feels bottomless.
* I feel so out-to-sea right now, rudderless... with a small, slow leak in my tiny little boat.
* I believe that, even though this is truly one of the few most painful and difficult times of my life, I know that I'm being led somewhere… if I can just hang in there a little longer....
* I'm tired of hanging in there….
* Thanksgiving is usually my favorite holiday, but this year I just want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head.

11/27/09
4:30am… Can't sleep. Woke up 30 minutes ago and tried to go back to sleep, but no good. So, I decided to get up, make a cup of tea, crawl onto the couch with the blanket and write and meditate. Thinking about all the bills and how I'm going to deal with them, the prospects of looking for a job in L.A., looking for a place to stay, and hoping I'm not setting myself up for even more failure by going down there. I don't trust myself right now. It seems like listening to myself has gotten me dug into this hole, but listening to others hasn't exactly dug me out either. Waking up with fear and anxiety every day has got to be taking a toll on my health. No wonder folks who inquire about my coaching don't hire me- if I saw my blogs and facebook posts, I don't think I'd hire me either. Seems like very little makes sense anymore, except that I keep hearing Spirit saying, "Finish the book. Focus on the book. Let go of everything else."

5:12am... Woke up about an hour ago in another panic. Can't seem to focus on what I can do- just overwhelmed by fear and shame. Feeling numb, hoping and praying that, somehow, in sharing this, I will find my way.

Listening to one of my favorite songs- "Wash Your Spirit Clean" over and over again. What will wash my spirit clean? What do I need to let go of?
* the high hopes that I would have at least 20 folks sign up for my teleclass.
* being able to pay my bills.
* dreams of the life I've created in my mind and visions- of traveling, of sharing my life with someone I love.
* hopes that my life will ever be different than it is right now. I mean, what if my life never changed from what it is right now? What if I continued to live with this amount of debt, scarcity, fear, doubt, anxiety and pressure?
* pride (BIG TIME) – about anything I'm too afraid to share, about looking good to everyone "out there" while I'm continuing to suffer "in here," about being an "expert" and wanting to hold up the façade of being someone who actually knows what she's doing when, in truth, I'm just stumbling around hoping I get this life right for the most part.
* shame (in deep, thick layers) by telling the truth of where I am right now....
* the deep pain and fear, anxiety and worry… if I let it all go, where would I be? Who would I be? What would I do?

I'm going to go to sleep for a bit and see if my dreams bring any relief or answers….

8:00am…
Just woke up again. Had some dreams, but can't remember them. But I just realized that this depression I'm in is an opportunity to get back to what's really true and simple- back to the things that are most important, the basics. Like taking care of my body, eating well, brushing and flossing, doing yoga, etc. Something is being asked to be sloughed off… there is wisdom - great wisdom - in letting go of as many externals as I can and in learning discernment. I must re-member who I am, discern what serves me when, and make conscious choices about how I want to present myself.

My question for the day…
What do I need to do today to move my Vision forward and live from my purpose?
Shed all you know. Shed all expectations you have of yourself and that you think others have of you. Surround yourself with comfort right now, find what you need to take care of yourself and make that happen. Find what you can to enjoy this time here with your kids. Things didn't work out the way you'd expected them to, but remember they don't usually. Stay focused on the book; it's hard to do that when you are so worried about money, but the more focus you put on the book, the more you're going to find flowing in. Listen to your heart… follow your dream and passion.

Stay connected with your guides; they will guide you beautifully. Feed your internal flame. Do things that feed your flame - do things that will bring more joy into your life. Take walks, play games, listen to music, dance.

You are not in this book game to make money, you're in it to bring your message to the world. You are not going to go the route of fast-paced, sales-y, go-go-go marketing. You are going to go the way of beauty, truth, transparency, art, love and openheartedness. Your path is very different from many of those around you. Follow your path, even though it seems scary, lonely and different. You are blazing a trail- you are a pioneer as Tanner said….

Give more, hope less, BE GRATEFUL always. Be gentle with yourself today… be gentle.

11/28/09
Got a email from my friend from Rob, kicking my butt, in response to a note I sent out. He quoted my statement, "it's my passion and the Mission of this book to inspire people (myself incuded) to remember who they are and get that they matter," and then wrote:
OK, so here's your assignment: tell me who you are... and why you matter!

I love it when my friends kick my butt. Thank you, Rob!

I decided to meditate on it, and this is what I got:
I am giving birth- squatting, screaming, my guides are holding my arms- holding me up and yelling, "Push! Push!" There's a bed of leaves covered with a blanket under me. The baby has arrived and I am crying and laughing. One of my guides comes around behind me and is holding me, cradling me in his arms, brushing my hair from my face. We are looking at this beautiful baby that one of my other guides has wrapped in a blaket and she's now in my arms. She is so beautiful. She is so beautiful. She has luminous eyes – dark but luminous. It is so peaceful here, so peaceful. Just sitting here, warm and complete in this family- in the beauty of this family knowing tht this child is being born into a family that loves her so much. "What is her name?" they ask; I respond, "Erin. She is the light of the world, she is the perfect reflection of everyone here, of all beings, she helps them remember who they are, she is truth and beauty and fragility and the deepest pillar of strength. She lives to serve. She lives to remind others of their perfection and beauty and fragility and strength. She is a writer, a songmistress, a singer of humanity's trials and journeys and triumphs, she is here to LOVE. She gets to be born into this family of love, to be supported in her every step, to be allowed to make mistakes and to fall, to learn how to get back up on her own again and to run and run with others. She is here simply to Love. She is our Reminder of Love. Her path is not necessarily easy, but her path is necessary and hers to walk."

She, the baby, is speaking now. "I am here to help you remember to trust that you are taken care of. I am here to remind you that all things that happen are not your fault- how could an innocent child ever be to blame for what happens to those around her? You are sensitive – that is both a blessing and a curse. You are not to blame for anything that happened to you as a child, you are not to blame for your mother's unhappiness nor for your children's challenges. You have contributed your part, sure, but you are not to blame wholly and entirely."

The guide who wrapped the baby in a blanket says:
You are birthing the child that's being born of your internal feminine and masculine. It must come from your pain, your pushing, your letting go and releasing that this child is born. Your internal masculine and you are the parents of this child, this woman to be, this new you, this Erin who is being asked to give life to her new self. Olnly thorugh your pain and suffering could she have been born at all… you could not be coming to this new place of beingness, this new plateau, without the pain of birth. You are not so much standing on the brink of a precipice as you are on the brink of a new life.

In order to step fully into it, you must shed your old life. You must release all ways of being that you've come to expect of yourself and that you've trained others to expect of you. You are shedding shame, fear and any expectations that you are any way- in your behavior or being. You are shedding expectations of being bubbly and joyful, of being morose and serious, you are shedding all expectations that you or others have of you and stepping into the "nowness" of being.

What are you releasing? You are releasing...
* Old stories.
* The deep shame and guilt you have lived with from before you were born.
* Your behaviours around your children, the ways in which you interact with them- you must release all expectations of your daughter, all fears for her and release her to the winds of life, even if you are scared for her. You no longer need to protect her from the winds that blow; she needs to do that for herself. You can be her refuge when she asks for it, but you no longer need to offer it.
* You are releasing going to your children for affection, relying on them for physical love and connection. You must find that in other places; when they reach out to you, you can equally share in the connection, but you must not rely on them to supply you with the love you ache for.
* You must step into this discipline- the discernment and discipline- it is absolutely necessary for you to move into this in order to move into the greatness that is being asked of you.
* You are releasing the so-called freedom of having a lot of time for yourself. You are calling in the discipline of short amounts of time for yourself in order to work at jobs that feed your pocketbook and soul.
* You are stepping away form massive amounts of time alone, building a community in a new place, and finding the moments of time for yourself in the early mornings and late nights to write, to work and to move forward.
* You are surrendering to a much greater vision of yourself, and you must let die the old self in order to do so. If you do not let the old you die, you will continue to live with this ache and longing for "something more." Let it all go.

When I say to my guide, "I feel like I'm moving through emotions, states and thoughts at lightning speed, as if I'm moving through years of work in a day sometimes- flip-flopping from one emotion to the next," she responds, "This is because you are healing and shifting at a very fast pace, moving into the next phase of your life. Let it take you at its pace and you will be amazed at how quickly things shift. Do not resist this; if you do, it will be long, slow and even more painful. Let it all go... and step into the brilliance and beauty of your new life...."

Hey, Rob- here's my homework.

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Looking Inside and Being Thankful

I haven't blogged for over two weeks... and realized that I've been making this big deal out of it. I've been pushing myself like I've been under assignment to write an article every week as opposed to a blog. It was good "discipline" but I've been paralyzed by the prospect of it for over two weeks amidst everything else going on (or not going on) in my life.

This morning, when I was writing an email to my dear friend Thomas, I realized that what I've really been desiring to do is to share my process - this crazy roller coaster of what it is to be listening to Spirit, discerning between that voice and the voice of fear and ego, and trusting in the journey along the way. So, rather than force myself into a box that doesn't work, I've decided to start blogging here about this process - on Thanksgiving Day. This holiday seems like the perfect beginning to a daily (or almost daily) "check in" and sharing, a revealing of the ups and downs of getting that I matter and how that shapes itself through these last few months of moving toward the publication of my book. If an article finds its way through me, taking shape in a way that wants to be shared here, then I will, of course, take due notice and follow its lead, giving thanks and being grateful for every single occurrence, person and feeling. I will be the innkeeper at the Guesthouse....

For now, today, I begin the process of countdown to publication... with the hopeful date of March 20th, 2010 - the Spring Equinox - for having the book out and available for sale. We'll see how this goes and without further ado, I give you... "If you really new me, this is how I get that I matter" Installment #1:

Looking within... been doing a lot of that the last few days, and a lot of crying and releasing. Feels important and good. This stuff is so old... almost like I'm carrying the weight/healing the wounds of past generations, too- especially my mom.... The last few months have been so challenging- feeling like "butter spread over so much bread" as Bilbo says in Lord of The Rings; stepping out of my comfort zone so far I can't even see it anymore, getting ready to move to L.A., experiencing financial crisis and the corresponding stress of it, feeling so alone despite the massive amount of love and support flowing in from friends and family around the world.

I've been "stuck" a lot, forgetting all that I've learned, asking "What am doing wrong?" a lot. But this morning, Thomas asked me, "What do you hear when you ask that question?" So I decided to take a moment to listen... and what I hear is, "Nothing. You are doing nothing wrong; you are just doing what you're doing. You may not be doing some things right, but you are right on track for the lessons that are being asked to be learned. You know that this is all part of what you need to develop the compassion and understanding of others about whom and for whom you are writing. You could not speak to them without knowing, deeply, their experience."

I've also been saying, half-joking, to anyone who will listen to my pity party, "I should just throw in the towel and get a job!" And, when he asked me to reflect on what I was saying, I heard, "Now you know better than that..." (which I do). But I also heard, "You do need to get a job- a regular, paycheck-type job in Los Angeles. You would do well to work in a restaurant or as a receptionist someplace where you have the opportunity to shine your light and bring your love and teachings to the public in a bigger way while you're developing your book and workshops. You need to, again, have the experience and compassion for the majority of the people you're writing for/to who have regular jobs and aren't self-employed. This is very important."

And, then this very wise friend Thomas asked me what other question I need to be asking myself. So I listened again and heard, "You need to be asking yourself three questions:
1. What do I need to do today to move my vision for ward and live from my purpose? (at the beginning of the day)
2. What am I grateful for? (throughout and at the end of the day)
3. What did I do today to move my vision forward? (at the end of the day)
These three questions are your guideposts for your days and weeks ahead, until at least the end of this year."

It felt really good to have three concrete questions to ask, and to receive some specific answers (which were pretty mundane things like getting my website updated, taking a walk, writing this blog (!) and cooking dinner with my kids) on which to follow through.

In the end, though, at the end of this day, what resonates more than anything is that I am grateful... so grateful... for friends like Thomas who hold my feet to the fire of my highest visions and essence... for my children who are immeasurably wise and compassionate adults (far more than I was at their ages)... for the folks who will be signing up for my Getting That You Matter Teleclass today, tomorrow and in the next few days... for the motivated, passionate and action-oriented folks who will be signing up for complimentary coaching sessions who I can't even imagine yet... for having a home to go home to... for having enough food to eat, warm blankets, hot tea and running water, sweet romantic movies to watch with my daughter... for a bed to sleep in and the restorative power of sleep, for gratitude itself and most of all for Love....

If you are interested in attending my upcoming 12-week Teleclass starting Dec. 1, Getting That You Matter, visit the Services page at ErinRossCoaching to register. If you register by midnight on November 26, you'll get a 20% discount on the total cost - only $120! Looking forward to hearing you next Tuesday!

Questions about Willingness and Surrender... Learning to Fly

Recently I watched The Visitor again and wondered what it is that is so compelling about this movie for me personally. I mean, obviously, it touched my heart in a very profound and powerful way- how could it not? The subject matter is entirely timely, every bit of acting is flawless, and a sweetness flows throughout the film which greatly appeals to my personal sensibilities. But that's not what I'm thinking about. What struck me this morning as I was meditating was that the main characters in this movie surrendered to God's (or Universal- whatever you want to call it) Will for them.

I think what really struck me about that movie was that the main characters, particular the older man and woman, knew that they could choose differently than they did; they were not so much the victims of their circumstances, but the momentum of their situations propelled them in the directions they eventually chose. I witnessed their struggles with desire, with their egos wanting things to be different; but in the end, they made the choices that were the best for themselves and the greater good, even though they had to make deep personal sacrifices. At the same time, the younger couple had to deal more with "the system," were unwitting victims of their circumstances; but they, too, made choices in how they responded to the situation at hand.

This movie has kept coming back to me again and again… and, as I've pondered it more and more, I've realized that every one of the four main characters in that movie, albeit sometimes struggling with it, was willing to surrender to God's Will for them. They had no choice- either because they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time or because they knew that it was in their highest good to choose a particular course of action.

Earlier this year I graduated from a course in which "willingness" was a key concept, so I've been asking myself questions like: How or where am I willing to do what I need to do to move forward in my life? What stands in the way? How or where am I being stubborn? We were asked to notice these things at a profoundly deep level, to actively seek out the places where we bump up against our old stories and beliefs that keep us from living in a place of total willingness.

As I look more and more, I begin to see it everywhere in my life… and I have some further questions: What does it mean to be willing? What is the difference between stubbornness and having good boundaries? What is God's Will for me? How do I know I'm not just fooling myself and creating a really good rationalization that's coming from my ego to make myself believe it's "God's Will"? What's the difference between willingness and surrender?

These questions baffle me from time to time, and sometimes I feel extremely clear on the answers. Sometimes I feel like they're just out of reach, along with my willingness, and sometimes I feel like I have them in my back pocket and the world is laid out before me like a beautiful red carpet. All I need is the dress!

The thing is, we often have to make hard choices, to struggle internally with what we want versus what is in our highest and best interest, or more importantly, what will serve the greater good.

I guess that is what I struggle with most of the time- is what is in my best and highest interest also serving the greater good? OR do I have to sacrifice what's in my best and highest for the greater good? But if I'm doing that, am I not just really being a martyr, acting from my need for attention and approval? Is it possible for my own good and the greater good to coincide? Is it possible for the greater good to actually be my greatest good, even when it doesn't seem or feel like it? So many questions!

So, here I sit, thinking about this movie and the willingness these characters exhibited, while considering what is going to be in my very best and highest. In other words, what will pay the bills and what will move me forward in my vision for contributing to the planet as a whole? Can that be one and the same thing? It is not easy to balance all of this stuff… not easy at all!

Unless… (What a wonderful word), unless (the key word in Dr. Suess' The Lorax) we make a choice, a conscious choice for an easy, loving, non-dualistic outcome. Perhaps, then, it would not be difficult at all to "balance" all of this heady stuff. Unless… I'm just thinking way too much here and all I need to do is drop into my heart, listen to the small, still voice within and trust the answers I receive…. (It's kind of like "stop, drop and roll," but a little bit different- one is for a fire in a building, the other is for a fire in the spirit.) Maybe all I have to do, like the people in this movie, in order to really surrender, is let go of all the questions, take a deep breath, and go inside…

So I go inside and say, "Thank you for sharing," to the crowd of voices, take some nice deep breaths and listen. And do you know what I keep hearing, over and over? "Let it all go… all of it, every expectation, every thought of good or bad, right or wrong, what you need to or should do. Be willing to let it all go." It's like this great big neon sign on the inside of my forehead- it's absolutely un-ignorable, undeniable and ever-present. So, why do I persist in staying stuck in the mire of my ego, worry and struggle? Basically- fear. No, wait, abject terror. That's it, really. Terror.

The thing is, I've done this before. I've taken many leaps, and continue to take leaps, and every time I do, I'm always fine. So, what's up with this "stinkin' thinkin'" as they say? What about all of these questions? As I look back over them, I realize that there is a thread through all of them, through all the doubt, and that thread is this fear.

My ego wants to cling so desperately to what it knows. And rightfully so - its job is to help me survive; any good citizen would talk someone back from the edge of a cliff, right? It makes perfect sense my ego would be doing everything it can to keep me safe; it makes perfect sense to my ego. But, in the questioning and the doubting and the living out of my fear, what is actually dying is my spirit. I believe that, on some level, my ego, always the eager achiever, wants to win… at any cost, even the cost of that which keeps it alive.

In a way, our egos are like a cancer or a virus. Our egos believe that they are growing and getting stronger by feeding off of the host, the spirit; but, in fact, the stronger it gets, the weaker the host and, eventually, the ego can end up killing off the very thing which keeps it alive. That's when we die with regrets, with unfinished business, without harmony and peace. That's when we haven't said, in the words of John Mayer, "what you need to say." I know that it seems like we are these bodies walking around housing our spirits, but what if, instead, we looked at it like our spirits are actually the houses for our bodies and the body is simply the matter-result of the desire to learn and grow in human form? If that's true, then all of my worrying and stress are simply illusions and I could just be... right here, right now.

Ah, but there's the rub! We do live in the world, we are embodied of flesh and bone, and we have responsibilities. Is this just a privileged person's conversation? I mean, how do folks who live with the daily threat of deportation like the characters in The Visitor or who are dealing the lack of clean water in Sumatra handle these issues? Do they have the luxury of pondering these questions or are they so busy surviving that they are just putting one foot in front of the other trying to get by? And, maybe, just maybe that's all I need to do- all any of us needs to do- put one foot in front of the other and see what happens. What if I stopped thinking about it all so damned much and simply did what needs to be done? How would that be different? What kind of results would I get?

So, after all that, this circular little conversation comes back around to willingness... even more, to surrender. And, in the end, I think that what it's about is being willing to surrender. If we can do that, let go of standing at the edge of the cliff with our toes curled over the corner, arms stiff at our sides, maybe we won't fall. But maybe, if we take a deep breath, spread our toes, lift our arms from the center of our being, put one foot in front of the other and jump… we'll fly.