Believe In Bunnies

Believe Purpose Teacher Life

Speak.

I wasn’t going to write today. I haven’t been in the spirit of it. I haven’t felt like I have much to say. And, for the first time maybe ever in my life, I’m not forcing myself to do, to produce, to go-go-go. I’m allowing myself to just be.

That said, this is not the time to be silent.

Name a riot in our history that happened for no reason. I didn’t say to name one that happened for a reason you don’t agree with. I didn’t ask for your opinion on riots. I didn’t ask for facts on the consequences of riots. I’m just asking: has there ever been a riot for no reason at all?

I can’t think of one.

I also can’t think of one that didn’t explode from perceived injustice.

I don’t use the term “perceived” here to indicate that those injustices were not real; I just acknowledge that not everyone in the world saw or sees the injustice. But those who were compelled to speak up, to protest, or to riot certainly perceived the injustice.

And they fought back.

This is not the time to be silent.

And I’m no keyboard warrior. My work does not end here.

A former student wrote to me on Thursday. She wants to know what she can do in these intense times.

I simply reminded her to make sure that she treats herself and every single being she encounters in person and online with kindness, respect, and compassion. Her behavior, her choices are all she can control.

And if everyone made the commitment to treat themselves and others with dignity, what a different world we would live and breathe in.

Small right actions add up to lasting change.

This is not the time to be silent. Be safe. Much love.

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Believe Coaching Energy Healing

Lighten Up

I felt some relief when I saw a post from Glennon Doyle this morning about how she hasn’t written a word in a while. I know better than to seek validation from the outside but there was something comforting in seeing that the most-talked about writer right now is also a bit blocked.

I can take that post as permission to continue to stand still… or I can exhale and see things differently (which clearly I did because I’m writing to you today). Glennon’s words just took the pressure off… taking the pressure off has been a theme for me lately. Release that self-inflicted pressure valve.

Two weeks ago, a memory popped into my head of my mother telling me to “Lighten up” when I was younger. Mommy, if you’re reading this THIS IS NOT A BAD THING. You were absolutely right. You never said it as a put-down. You said it when I was being ridiculously hard on myself… but I didn’t really know what that meant, to lighten up. That’s exactly what I needed to do, and often still need to do. Just like RuPaul’s 10th grade teacher told him: “Don’t take life so f…ing seriously.” I find it no coincidence that I too teach 10th grade.

I just never knew how to lighten up. Sure, I could have fun… but I always craved, and often still do, this intense structure, control, a formula to know for sure what would happen next. I needed to choreograph, to conduct, to construct. Lighten up… I would love to! But how? This is how I felt programmed to be. This is what feels safe, or at least predictable.

Lighten up. Be the light. Love and light. “Slow down, sister”, as my teacher Gabby Bernstein says. Messaging all in the same vein… take the pressure off. Flow.

And I’ve done that, in spurts, in moments, as I’ve grown in my spiritual practice. Take today, as the perfect example. I could have sat at my desk and forced myself, self-inflicted pressure valve tightly closed, thinking: You haven’t written in weeks. it’s Sunday morning. Sit here and write! But instead…

I’m sitting on the steps of our backyard deck right now, laptop in my lap, as the name intends. I would be sitting in a chair but they are zip-tied to each other and to the table from our last crazy storm. I’ve never written out here. I was stuck in the pattern of writing at my desk because that’s just what you do. But, my goodness, lighten up, loosen up! There’s a whole world out there. Charge the battery and go somewhere else (safely of course). Sitting at the desk for the last 9 weeks, or is it 10 now, I’ve been all in my head. Grabbed a hoodie, walked a few feet outside, and bam… it’s all flowing onto the electronic page. Ah, sweet release.

In those moments, where you find yourself clenching, perhaps your shoulders are up to your ears, your tongue is mashed to the roof of your mouth, your jaw feels wired shut, your thoughts are nearly paralyzing, try lightening up with me. Now, we don’t want that to become the equivalent of telling someone to calm down when they are upset, so let’s craft a practice to Lighten Up (or am I controlling again? See how quickly self-judgment kicks in for me?! Lighten up, Denise).

And please, don’t confuse Lighten Up with making a joke of something or ignoring something. Let’s make Lighten Up our mantra for when we need to see more clearly into a situation, illuminating what’s really important and releasing the judgments and needs to control.

Our Lighten Up Practice

  • Gently close your beautiful eyes, if you feel comfortable. On an inhale, observe the clenching, gripping, grasping, whether in the physical body or in the mind.

Often, you’ll find it’s in both and you’ll notice patterns within yourself. Noticing the patterns is a good thing! It will help you feel better faster when you slip into the tough moments.

  • Exhale, sending your attention and breath to the physical tension. Envision those parts releasing, flood them with a soft purple light.

 

  • Observe your thoughts. Ask yourself: What’s at the core here? How can I “lighten up” the situation?

 

  • Inhale, seeing the situation in your mind’s eye. As you exhale, see the issue flooded with a soft, healing light. Put yourself in the center of this vision.

 

  • Sit in this light, in this vision for as long as you need to feel better, just one notch better, one turn of the pressure valve released. As little as 17 seconds in this vision can bring relief.

 

  • Return to your Lighten Up practice as your body and minds calls for it. YOU are the light.

 

Much love.

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Believe Coaching Guest Blogger

Fasting to Freedom

You know that person who’s just… kind, genuine, everybody’s buddy? I do. He’s Rob Cohn.

Rob radiates compassion. He’s an excellent listener and a scholar of wellness. He’s been on a journey of fasting, a topic that fascinates me because… frankly, it scares me. I, like many others, have an emotional and mental attachment to food, thankfully not in a debilitating way… but the idea of fasting is intimidating to me.

I asked Rob to tell his story here because I suspected there was more to all of this than, “Hey, let’s skip eating for a few hours!” My suspicions were correct. Take it away, Rob.

 

“YOU WILL NEVER SUCCEED”

Those words are never something you want to hear especially when you are visiting a neurosurgeon for a spine surgery consult.

Let me back up for a moment.  I have had back issues for many years. In part they were caused by a car accident I was in 32 years ago as a passenger. The car I was in was t-boned by another car making a left turn, going about 60 miles an hour, slamming into my door.  I shattered the top part of my femur and broke the ribs on my right side. I had a total of four surgeries over the next four years with three of them being within the first year.

That’s not the whole story.

The story actually goes back to less than two months before my 13th birthday. My mother passed away from a battle of breast cancer. It was soon after that my love affair (which turns out to be my addiction to food) began.  I grew up in Jewish family that was all about food. I recall having access to all of the food you could possibly imagine! a After my mother died nobody really knew how to help me, so I turned to the one friend I always had which was food.  Food became more than my friend. It quickly became my lover and the one thing that I could always find and feel safe with.  As you can probably imagine, this is also the time when my journey with weight struggles began as well.

I yo-yoed up and down for years and years. I probably have lost and gained hundreds of pounds of weight over the years.  I tried every single diet I could find and each and every time they worked. What didn’t work was me, because I was never healing what I was trying to stuff with food. I was not changing my behavior. In fact, looking back what I was doing was punishing myself for my mother dying. You see, secretly I never wanted to leave my mother. As I am writing my story, I am struck with awareness that deep down inside I was wanting to join my mom in heaven. It is a profound feeling coming into realization that I was subconsciously sabotaging my own life because I missed my mother so much. This is not the case any longer. My passion and vigor for life is back. My goal is to live the happiest and healthiest life possible.

In 2012, I was involved with a group of people who were practicing intermittent fasting. I thought they were crazy.  Who the hell would want to purposely not eat for hours at a time? Who ever heard of stopping to eat at 5 or 6 PM for the rest of the night? They must be crazy, really something wrong with them.  I totally rejected that idea.  I then found another way of eating and lost the weight again, then you guessed it, slowly came back on.

In 2015 I had back surgery which was very successful. I don’t know how much I weighed then, but it was more than it should be. Fast forward to 2019 and I started entertaining the idea of intermittent fasting.  After I began researching and listening to audio books and podcasts, it actually made sense. I learned that our bodies need a break from digesting food.  We are really not designed to have food so readily available.  It is ok to not eat for hours at a time.  I started with extending the hours past sleep a couple hours and then started adding more hours a little here and there until I made it to 16 hours fasting a day.

On February 18th, at my surgeon’s office he did me the biggest favor by telling me if he operated on me that day, I would not be successful because of my weight.  He gave me a goal to work on before my surgery.  That motivated me even more. Let me tell you being in constant pain, not being able to walk pain free for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time is not fun.  At 54 years old I get to a point where it is more important to take care of myself than to have that food that will make me sick and keep me obese. I dug in. I started extending my fasts even more. I went 18 hours, 23 hours, 26 hours. I have done a couple of 36-hour fasts, 40-hour fasts and my longest to date is 46 hours.  Let me tell you it is a mental game. I have never focused on something so much in my life to have that determination. I was never willing before to go through the discomfort of being hungry. I will tell you as a result I am beginning to feel the FREEDOM of not being tied to food 24/7 and it has freed up time to pursue other things. A side benefit is I am saving money on food too. More importantly I am creating a new relationship with food I have never had before. I am boosting my confidence and self-worth because I am creating that mental strength, which are outcomes I never imagined.

I am proud of myself and I am keeping my word to myself. If I can do this so can you!  Now I BELIEVE AND KNOW I CAN SUCCEED!

If you would like to learn more about fasting, there are many experts out there to learn. We all have to find what works for us as we are all different.

If you would like to follow me:

Facebook – @robcohn

Instagram – @rob_cohn

I have also created a group of friends where we support each other in our fasting goals, Fasting with Friends – https://www.facebook.com/groups/fastingwitfriends/

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Believe Coaching Energy Purpose

Ask.

Nearly 15 years ago I read Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. It was one of the first books on my personal and spiritual development path. If you’re a loyal reader of this blog, you know that I’m faithfully on that path and it’s a journey that never ends… in a good way! Growth doesn’t end until… well, the end.

In March, I taught an online class about emotions. In prepping for that class, my guides all but dragged me to the book shelf and ejected my copy of this book at me. Okay, guides… I’m listening. From the day after the class ran, I’ve been studying a chapter per day as part of my morning routine.

Today, I’m sharing with you some gems from those chapters I’ve studied:

“We write this book to reawaken within you your memory of the power and inevitable success that pulse through the core of that which you really are… to assist you in returning to your place of optimism, positive expectation, and expanding joy; and to remind you that there is nothing that you cannot be, do, or have” (8).

If you don’t get chills reading those sentences…

“Your motion forward is inevitable; it must be. You cannot help but move forward. But you are not here on a quest to move forward- you are here to experience outrageous joy” (14).

Now, I know there are some eye-rollers out there… but after those beautiful eyes make their 360*, go ahead and ask yourself: Do I feel worthy of joy? I know I didn’t for some time… but I’m in a place now where I know I deserve it, I know every other being deserves it, and I know for sure that there’s enough to go around. We just have to choose it, takes the steps to be joyful, and give ourselves grace when we fall a few steps astray.

“By paying attention to the signals of your emotions, you can understand, with absolute precision, everything you are now living or have ever lived. And, with a precision and ease that you may have never before experienced, you can use this new understanding of your emotions to orchestrate a future experience that will please you in every way” (23).

I love the use of the word “orchestrate” here. Where some people get tripped up then disappointed by the Law of Attraction-type work is that they think they just think about something once or twice and boom it appears… or the law is a hoax. Orchestrate… coordinate, arrange, organize, compose… believe, hatch a plan, take the steps. That’s how it works. Listening to your emotions, letting the vibes guide you along the way shows you the path… and that requires trust in yourself.

I believe in you, even when you don’t yet believe in you.

Time to get clear on what you’re asking for… because it can all be yours. And there’s more than enough to go around. Much love.

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Believe Bunnies Healing Rescue

Paisley

I catch myself saying the sentence, “We can’t save them all” often but I’m realizing as I sit to write this that I need to change up that mindset.

So, from now on I’ll say, “I’m looking for ways to save them all” or “I’m working toward a world where they are all safe.”

For the time being, I’m the one who prioritizes the cases, decides which rescues are the most pressing… and takes the backlash from people who don’t like my decisions. It’s okay. I’m built for this.

Toward the end of March, our Rescue group received an email about an abandoned rabbit in a south shore Nassau County town that is one of the highest dumping grounds for rabbits on Long Island. I was prepared with my standard response of:

We don’t have a shelter facility; all of our rabbits are fostered in private homes. If you or someone you know can provide an indoor, long-term foster home, we can help catch the rabbit, provide supplies and food, and help search for a more permanent placement.

…until I opened the video attachment to this email. I’ll spare you the visual… but it was bad. This rabbit was seriously injured. I knew we needed to rescue her.

She then disappeared for 4 days. The gentleman who spotted her in his yard promised to call me as soon as she showed up again. He did. I told him to keep eyes on her while volunteers headed over. Volunteers were on the scene within 25 minutes. They were able to scoop up this seriously injured rabbit and transport her immediately to a rabbit-savvy veterinary hospital.

Based on the initial video and volunteer reports from the scene, I was sure this rabbit had a broken back. I awaited the call from the vet with the bad news and anticipated having to make the toughest decision… but this story hops in a different direction.

X-rays and tests showed nothing broken. I was shocked. The team was shocked. I kept asking the doctor, “Are you sure we rescued the right rabbit?!? Is that the rabbit from the video?!?” She was terrified and hungry… but not broken. Her body was very wobbly and she couldn’t hop well… but there was far more hope than anyone anticipated. The daughter of the volunteer who rescued this rabbit named her Paisley.

A few days after her rescue, Paisley came to stay with us for a bit. The first few days, she cowered. Her appetite voracious, we kept her pellet bowl full, her litter box overflowing with hay and her salads appropriately plentiful. She started to relax a bit after a few days. We let her out to play and exercise in a puppy pen. She would pensively stretch forward, shake, wobble and fall over. She couldn’t turn to the right. Luckily, we earned her trust, keeping the room quiet and safe, and I was able to massage her hips and back gently, some makeshift rabbit physical therapy.

Her first night at our house

Fast-forward 16 days… today Paisley can hop without falling over! She can clean her beautiful face with her front paws. We’ve yet to see her run or binky… but it’s coming. Her wobble is all but gone. Her progress is remarkable.

On this day where traditionally (and unfortunately in my opinion!) rabbits are given as gifts for children, I look at Paisley and my heart breaks for the many like her who will be neglected and discarded days or weeks from today. While she’s doing great now, while she’ll be safe and loved forever, there are hundreds on Long Island, thousands (at least) in this country who will suffer… and for what?

I am… we are working toward a world where they are all safe.

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Believe Coaching

50 Things

Before sitting down to write today, I grabbed this “Wordsmith Deck” that my dear friend Cassy-Anne bought me for my birthday last year… or maybe it was for Christmas… inconsequential. Cass and I were wrapping up a phone call as I turned on the laptop. I told her I was going to pick a card to write from today.

I pulled a card and kind of pouted at the prompt. I said, “Well that’s crazy. I’m not doing that.” In retort, Cassy-Anne said, “I bet you could.” I’m not one to walk away from a bet. So, my dear readers, here are 50 things that make me smile.

  1. Coffee
  2. Watching Peanut do anything (yes, even chew the couch)
  3. French fries
  4. Talking to my parents
  5. Reading
  6. Writing (particularly with a pencil)
  7. Sunshine
  8. Super-hot days
  9. The Office
  10. Alf
  11. Schitt’s Creek
  12. “The Jason Ellis Show” on SiriusXM
  13. The Golden Girls
  14. Pretzels
  15. Spending time with my uncles
  16. Public speaking (put a mic in my hand and I shine)
  17. Halo room spray (recipe in The Chemical-Free Home for House Keeping by Melissa Poepping)
  18. Giving and getting gifts
  19. Shoes (the higher the better)
  20. Fresh-clean sheets
  21. Organized cabinets
  22. Clear surfaces (like counter tops and the dining room table)
  23. The feeling of bunny paws resting on me (very treasured feeling)
  24. Carefully curated music… especially when I can sing along
  25. Planning classes and workshops for my wellness team
  26. Naps (bonus points for bed-naps)
  27. Fresh flowers
  28. Watching squirrels play on the lawn
  29. Bethenny Frankel’s Instagram stories
  30. Gabby Bernstein’s voice
  31. Yoga with Adriene
  32. Talking with my friend Adrienne (the OG from junior high!)
  33. Any time spent with or any memory conjured of my Megan
  34. Our incredible Rabbit Rescue team
  35. Making plans and changing lives with the aforementioned Cassy-Anne
  36. Cozy sweatshirts
  37. Studying with my Mastermind squad
  38. Tattoos (once they are healed… I don’t often smile while getting tattooed)
  39. The color purple (as in things that are that color, not necessarily the book… but the book is important, too)
  40. Challenging myself
  41. The morning
  42. Quiet
  43. Being in the company of confident people
  44. Fuzzy slippers
  45. The aromas of jasmine, geranium, rose… I can go on and on with these…
  46. Watching someone skateboard
  47. Connecting with people… having authentic dialogue
  48. Games
  49. When people say thank you and give recognition
  50. My readers, the dedicated and the newly-arrived

There you have it… and I think it’s time for you to write your list of 50 things that make you smile! Bonus points if you write it with someone who makes you smile.

Much love.

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Bunnies Purpose Rescue

Throwback: Found but Still Lost

Around this time every year, I publish a story that I wrote in 2016… a reminder to some, new knowledge to others, about why Rescue exists.

We won’t stop until they are all safe and loved.

Found but Still Lost

I am the initial point of contact when someone emails information@longislandrabbitrescue.org.  This month, the number of “finder” emails we have received is more than double the number we receive in a typical month. We define a “finder” as someone who has either spotted a stray domestic rabbit or has rescued an abandoned domestic rabbit and is reaching out to our group for resources and recourses.  I have typed the following sentences an alarming number of times this month: “We don’t have a shelter facility; all of our rabbits are fostered in private homes. If you or someone you know can provide an indoor foster home, we can…”  And it’s not even Easter yet.

We get at least a hundred emails to the aforementioned address per month—only three times in my almost three years of being at the email helm has someone reached out because their rabbit had actually gone missing. So I can safely conclude that these “found” rabbits are abandoned, dumped, neglected.

Abandonment happens one of two ways, from my perspective.  There are the scarily misinformed, who think their rabbit, who no longer serves a purpose in their family, will survive in the woods or in a park because other rabbits live in the wild.  Yeah… those are wild rabbits.  Not domestic rabbits.  Domestic rabbits will not survive and will face the harsh elements of the seasons and starvation, and predators.  A horrible fate.

Then, there are the heartless, who just don’t care, who need this “thing” out of their house.  Sometimes these people try to seek help before abandoning their rabbit, but most town shelters aren’t equipped to handle rabbits and most rescue groups are overloaded, no matter the animal on which they focus.  For these, about whom “careless” is the nicest word I can muster, the living being they once chose to care for has passed his/her expiration date and must be tossed out.  Just a note—if caught abandoning an animal, one faces $1,000 fine and other legal consequences.  If you see something, take pictures. Send them to me.  I’ll turn them in for you.  I’m not shy.

We need:

  • Stores and breeders to stop selling rabbits.
  • People to make more informed decisions before adding any living being into their families.
  • Foster homes, donations and volunteers to save the abandoned animals.
  • You to speak up, if you know someone has dumped an animal.
  • Compassion for all things living.

As a rescue group, our resources are limited but trust that we use them to their maximum potential!  Thank you for being one of our resources.  Spread the reality about rabbits as pets—10-12 year commitment, specialized veterinary care, bunny-proofing (As I hear my chief destruction worker bunny Tater Tot tearing in to what I hope is his cardboard tunnel in the next room…).  As awareness is heightened, I hope there are far fewer rabbits out there to save.  But for now, many rabbits are found but still lost, as the number abandoned far surpasses the number of foster homes and adopters.

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Believe Coaching Energy Teacher Life

Resources for Peace

As for the news… Get the facts from your trusted source then shut. it. off. And stay home, if you can, please.

Behold the possibility of the days. Here are some of my favorite resources for breaks and self-care while working from home:

The incredibly relatable and generous Adriene Mischler, star of Yoga with Adriene, will help you find what feels good with Yoga for Uncertain Times, a curated playlist of 34 yoga practices of varying lengths and intentions.

Find that here: Yoga for Uncertain Times

 

Binge watch The Bold Type. While it’s nothing like The Office, Melora Hardin is one of the principal actors in the show. I like to pretend that her character Jacqueline Carlyle is everything Jan Levinson imagined herself to be.

Find that here: The Bold Type

 

My teacher Gabby Bernstein is hosting a free online Anxiety Relief Workshop on Sunday, March 29th at 1 pm & 8 pm ET, with free replay through April 5th.

Get registered: Anxiety Relief Workshop

 

Craving an intense workout? Look no further than Kelsie’s Barre. Kelsie is offering free classes via Zoom… trust, her workouts are like no other!

Find that here: Kelsie’s Barre

 

Revisit that one video that makes you laugh without fail… mine is a clip of a local newscaster who didn’t realize she was still on the air and said something she did not intend for the world to hear. I’m not linking it here because of the language… but I’m playing it now and laughing… not at her but at the circumstance!

 

Scroll through Cameo and brighten someone’s day with a video from a celebrity. I had William Hung, of American Idol fame, send a message to my best friend last week… it was worth WAY MORE than I paid for it! He even sang a custom version of “She Bangs.” Seriously.

Find that here: Cameo

 

And, as always, I’m here for you. Whether you just want to vent, to chat or if you’re ready to set some goals and hatch a plan, I’m available to you.

Book a free call with me: Connect with Denise

 

Much love, always.

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Believe Coaching Purpose Teacher Life

An Interesting Time

The idiom “worried sick” has been around since the 1800s. Worry, stress, anxiety, and fear can lower your immune system. It’s reasonable to concerned as there are so many unknowns right now… but worrying yourself sick over the current situation (or over anything) does not serve you or serve the world!

As schedules and settings change for the upcoming weeks, it’s easy to feel displaced, uneasy, or even distressed. I’m sending lots of love and strength to those who have to make big decisions, like closing schools and canceling events or seasons. I had to decide to postpone a school event last week and it was not an easy choice—and I’m typically the most decisive person in the room!

I, like many of you dear readers, have a change to my regularly scheduled programming for at least the next week. The school where I teach will be closed. I’ll still have some work to do (those research papers aren’t going to grade themselves!) but my days will look and feel vastly different from the typical work week. Peanut will be happy to have me home… at least I tell myself that.

Now… to find the balance between “wasting” the whole week and pressuring myself to do all the things while I’m homebound. And if I feel this way, I’m sure someone out there feels this way, too.

You’ve heard me say it before: You can’t manage time but you can manage activity. So, let’s capitalize on this time of different routines by maximizing our self-care and productivity.

Daily Must-Dos

  • Rest and good nutrition
  • Personal development and study
  • Move! Go for a walk, hop on the yoga mat, whatever works for you
  • Laugh, have fun, dance (if you want to… and you know you do)

 

One a Day for the Next 8 Days (in no particular sequence)

1. Clean off your desk or your coffee table or your dining room table… whatever that one area is that collects everything. Nature’s first law is order.

2. Make 2 phone calls you’ve been putting off. Mine: Grandma and rescheduling the dentist. I’m telling you to keep myself accountable.

3. Clean out the freezer or that one cabinet that needs order in the kitchen.

4. Time for a dream-walk. Tap into your wildest imagination, grab a piece of paper or a journal and plan the ultimate, most over-the-top dream vacation. Nothing is off limits, as long as it doesn’t hurt any other beings! Visualize and write about every little detail… who is there, what do the towels at the resorts feel like, what does the air smell like… take this luxurious exercise in visioneering. The more clearly you see the vision, the more likely it will be that you’ll be sending me pictures from this trip at some point, thanking me for inspiring you. #humble

5. Read. For 10 minutes, 10 pages, 10 magazines… just read, please.

6. Open the closet, the drawers, and wherever else you stash the clothing and accessories. Find 2 pieces you can donate, sell, or repurpose.

7. Curate a playlist of the songs that fire you up. If you already have a playlist like this, take a moment to edit it or add some new jams.

8. Unplug. Especially as the days go on, we’ll be checking obsessively to see what happens next… Will my job close for another week? Are we back to hugging freely again? Take some conscious time away from tech, an amount of time that feels right for you. Unplug from the screens; connect to you. Just get quiet… no phone, no tasks, just you. Bonus points if you can do this first thing in the morning.

 

We are living in an interesting time… cheers to using this time to grow, to heal, to catch up and to shine! Much love.

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Believe Coaching Energy

News Flash: Your Mentor is Human

I have several people I think of as mentors in different areas of my life, some I actually know and work closely with and others who are Friends/Mentors in My Head. A few who started out as In My Head are real life mentors/friends now… which is just manifesting at it’s finest… but that’s a how-to for another day, dear readers.

The other day, I heard one of my mentors say something that snapped me out of alignment… did she really just say that? Is that what she really believes?

In this time of Cancel Culture, where many are inclined to grab their things, storm away, unfollow and lambast on Yelp and any other platform they can access at the slightest unpleasant interaction, I took a moment to pause and ponder:

Do I completely write off everything this mentor has done for me and for my community because of one difference in beliefs?

A resounding no. She is not my guru or my goddess. She’s a person. One of my favorite things about being human is that we have the option of choice. I’m not trying to be her and she needn’t be a replica of me. Sure, it’s cool, affirming, even fun, when beliefs align… but I don’t think complete synchronicity is necessary in any relationship, particularly one of this nature.

We don’t have to agree on every single drop of life. I am fiercely socially liberal. I know it’s not always “recommended” to announce beliefs like that in my line of work but I am unafraid to say that I think every single one of you has the right to be who you are and live this life on your terms, including the right to make the choices that are best for you and your family.

If I relish that right and I work to empower others to embrace that freedom, why would I even consider writing off anyone who thinks differently* than I do?

(*unless they are doing harm… then, we can part ways)

In all of my work on myself, I’ve learned to snap back into alignment, to not let (most) things derail my spirit. Within two minutes of hearing her opinion, I was able to reframe it as just that, something she believes to be true. I believe differently. It’s that simple.

I completely acknowledge that not every situation, relationship, or belief is this simply reconciled, but I do think you can find understanding in even those more complicated or triggering issues through these steps:

  • Know your values. Right them down. Acknowledge what’s important to you.
  • Understand your belief system and convictions. When you truly believe, you have the power to stand confidently, without that frantic or combative nature to convince others to be “on your side.”
  • Take a breath. Cutting someone or something off radically can leave wounds. When you cut a piece of ribbon in half, both sides can get frayed… even if you reattach the pieces, the ribbon doesn’t look or feel the same.
  • Allow others the same grace and acceptance that you deserve in return. You remember that Golden Rule.
  • If you do react in a way that you wish you didn’t, own it. If you’ve been on the receiving side of a harsh reaction, forgive and delete. Mute, unfollow, snooze, take a break, block… tools that exist for a reason!

 

As I write this to you, I celebrate my mentor’s opinions and beliefs… all while still holding onto my own opinions and beliefs. This feeling is far more freeing and happiness-inducing than my (thankfully temporary) anger and dismay a few days ago.

After all… I’m not Judy, thus I cannot judge anyone. Embrace the humanness of your mentors, role models, colleagues, family… Much love.

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