So Strong

I have not underlined this much in a book since graduate school.

Bright Spirit, the spiritual book club that I co-host with Dina of Crystalicious NYC, studied Rising Strong by Brené Brown as our most recent pick.   This book quickly became a part of my soul.  I, too, struggle with vulnerability.  I was the girl who knew all of the answers in elementary school.  That girl became the young woman who never asked any questions because she didn’t want anyone to know that she didn’t know something.  That girl-turned-young-woman equated knowing and being right with being accepted and loved.  She may not have been able to do it all, but she sure knew her stuff.  And no one could peek behind that all-knowing curtain.

Rising Strong is the first of Brown’s works that I read, although I was already familiar with her through Her Royal Highness Ms. Oprah Winfrey.  I enjoyed Brown’s talks that I watched but didn’t really “get it” until I read the book.  It’s always about timing.

Here are just a few of the thousands of words I underlined…  literally picking these for you by opening to a random page and sharing.

On “reckoning with emotion,” Brown directs the reader to, “Give yourself permission to feel emotion, get curious about it, pay attention to it and practice… awkward, uncomfortable practice.”  For me, this was a clear reminder of what I teach but don’t always remember to implement myself.  We must attend to our feelings, emotions, joys and pains if we want to grow.  If we are good with sitting exactly where we are right now, then just ignore the tough stuff.  Stuff it down.  Keep busy and try not to feel.  But, when we are ready to thrive, we must examine those feelings, white, black and every stormy shade of gray, to work, heal and flourish.  That often takes help.  Remind me to ask for help when you see that I need it.

Brown writes, “…our silence about grief serves no one. We can’t heal if we can’t grieve; we can’t forgive if we can’t grieve. We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend.”  When we lose someone or something, it’s like there’s this designated period we are supposed to be sad for—no longer and definitely no shorter.  At my day job, we get 5 bereavement days when a family member dies. I have a sinking suspicion that it will take me more than a week to get my head together after one of my parent’s passes.  In that same vein, if someone is back after 1 day, I’m not sitting in judgment.  I’m just hugging in support.  Face it on your own time.

Brown enforces from C.R. Snyder’s research that “Hope is not an emotion: It’s a cognitive process… Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our abilities to act.”  Hope carries varied connotations.  I’ve heard people instruct others not to hope because that’s giving an option for something not to happen—like I hope I get the promotion vs. I will get the promotion.  While I agree that we should manifest our desires with unwavering certainty, I feel like hope is a beautiful thing.  I hope for a beautiful future for everyone on the planet.  I hope everyone can find the peace that I feel right now.  It’s kind of mincing words… but that’s what we do, isn’t it?

After this… I’m jumping (albeit backwards) into Brown’s Daring Greatly.  Join me?  Much love.

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The Great Slow Down

Alternate title: How We are Crushing Our Goals

As I write this, the Rescue group with which I volunteer is processing its 40th adoption in 2018.  40. 4-0.  In 2016, we completed 51 adoptions.  For 2017, we set a goal of 52 adoptions; we completed 55.  For 2018, we set a goal of 56.  Here we are, less than 4 months into the year, and we are CRUSHING our goal.  Every adoption is another life saved.  Every adoption is another family made complete.  Here’s how we are making it happen, from my perspective.

We, the collective of volunteers, supporters, adopters and foster families, believe so deeply in our mission.  Just above my desk is my vision board.  At the center of my vision board: Domestic rabbits are safe and protected.  That is the center of all of the action that I take.  Our group is rich with like-minded people who will stop at nothing to carry out this mission.  Belief and inspiration in action.

On November 30, 2017, I went to hear my mentor Gabrielle Bernstein speak at her “SuperAttractor Workshop.”  In talking about her principle of taking spiritually-aligned action, Gabby said, “You speed up by slowing down.”  That struck me—and not just the juxtaposition of words.  Do you mean to tell me that I can accomplish even more if I just slow down?  Even me, who needs to go-go-go (and maybe go some more) so I don’t feel like time is precariously wasting away?  Ok… I’ll give it a shot.  I’ll breathe.  I’ll stop working with a sense of frenzy and choose a peaceful mood.  And I’ve made it part of my practice to work on one task at a time, to use my laser-sharp focus with more grace.

In early 2018, I started reading You2 by Price Pritchett.  I wrote to you about it.  Plain and simple: it works.  It was recommended to me by my business mentors and the Universe started showing me its power immediately through the Quantum Leaps in Rescue.  I even wrote on the bottom of page 1 of my copy: “Slow & steady is not necessary!  Rescue had a leap in January 2018 to show me the possibilities.”  Now, I am in no way taking full credit for 40 (any minute now!) adoptions in 107 days.  But I sit at the hub of this incredible group and we energize each other.  We made a committed decision to save as many lives as we possibly can.  Radical honesty: some of the team wanted to set the 2018 adoption goal much bigger than 56.  Fear-based, I thought, let’s just add one more to last year’s record.  I was playing small.  The Universe has shown me that we can add more than +1 in a year.  I may be going slower, but the Universe is not.

So, here’s to slowing down.  When I slow down, I get even more done.  When I slow down, I receive clarity about what needs to get done.  When I slow down, the Universe speeds up and brings my vision to me.  We are crushing our goals with ease, belief and inspired action.  I am beyond proud to be a part of this team.  Much love.

Balance

I’m always Even Stephen (your inclination might be to spell Stephen with a V here but I must pay appropriate homage to my uncle/best friend/birthday buddy and remain PH balanced).  There’s something magical in balance of things.  Maybe it’s because I was raised by a Libra; my mother is the one always making sure everyone else is happy and their needs are met.  When you ask her where she wants to go to dinner on her birthday, she’ll invariably say, “Wherever you want to go.”  It’s not that she doesn’t care for herself—she just likes harmony and draws on her roots as the oldest of four children when she lets others make the decisions.  It’s not indecisiveness nor is it laziness—it’s preservation of peace and balance.  But enough about her.

We all joked and prayed that 2017 would bring us out of the hardships of 2016 (and yes, I know that a slew of celebrities dying isn’t quite a hardship compared to some of the actual tough stuff that this human experience can bring but ssshhhhh, I’m writing here).  2017 was like 2016+… or +++ for some people.  But, to paraphrase Mama Ru, a butterfly doesn’t know what’s happening in that cocoon.  Just a happy little caterpillar spins this intense cocoon and the metamorphosis is violent!  Then, out flaps this gorgeous creature that we marvel at… heck, I have 4 butterflies tattooed on me.  So here’s to hoping that 2016 and 2017 were our cocoon years and we bust out with pretty wings, using our feet to taste in 2018.

Whenever the transition is complete, we can’t forget the tough stuff.  That’s the necessity in the balance.  We are all energy, sitting or standing or lying on energy, holding energy, surrounded by energy.  That energy changes form and function but it doesn’t go away.  It finds its balance.  So if you’re feeling lonely, empty, too full, pulled in too many directions or even directionless, sit, breathe and allow the balance to rush in.  Surrender to the energy.  Do the next right thing without grabbing for 5 steps in the future or being tethered to a perceived misstep in the past.  It may take longer than you want or expect and it will often take a different form that you want or expect, but the balance will come.  Allow the peace to fill your heart, your soul and your space today as we transition into another glorious year.  Much love.

Missing Piece

I am no longer allowing this missing piece translate to missing peace.  I am telling a new story.  You are the first to hear about it.  Grateful to you for “listening” today.

I’ve been holding back from truly stepping into a component of this work and of my personal development because there is a piece to my story that I’m not ready or maybe not willing to tell.  I struggle with the idea of telling my story without telling that story.  Can I be authentic and leave out a big piece?  My answer to that was no.  I’ve held back so much because I didn’t think I could share my light fully without sharing that piece.  And I do not want to share that piece.  I’m not going to share that piece.  There’s no secret link embedded here.  I’m not going to do a big reveal at the end of this entry.  These types of thoughts and the struggle arriving here has robbed me of some peace and have stunted my healing.  Thus, I’ve felt stunted in sharing healing.  It’s cyclical.

As I sat down to write to you today (or do I write this to me and you just peek over my shoulder?) I opened to a page in my notes from the Spirit Junkie Master Class that I attended last June.  On that pink page I wrote, “Be not afraid— be empowered.”  Gabrielle taught us how our inner guides are begging use to release our resistance.  I’m sure hearing that six months ago, I interpreted that as a call to reveal my missing piece.  Now, I see it as permission to release the expectation of telling it all, the expectation of being as transparent as many others seem to be.  Gabrielle taught us to step into the darkness so we can dive into the light.  I am.  I am finding my peace privately.  I can do that and still share healing publicly.  Today I give myself that permission.

Gabrielle imparted on us, her Spirit Junkie disciples, that we look at our stories from a place of power.  My missing piece deals a lot with shame and guilt.  I will find the power.  You all help to lift me up.  Forever grateful.  Big stuff coming… Much love.

All Quiet on the Rescue Front

It’s amazing what freedom you can attain when you release things, habits (and people) who no longer serve you in a positive way from taking up space in your life or even just in your head.

Confession: I checked my email, on average, every 9 minutes from the time I took over the communications for our Rescue group up until just a few weeks ago.

Do you know how mentally crippling it is to check every 9 minutes?  Can you fathom how much time I wasted refreshing and clicking?  Guess what—we NEVER get emails every 9 minutes.  But there I was, for years now, ineffectively using my time, checking and checking for responses, for new communications.  A purely addictive behavior that served me, or Rescue, no positive purpose.

Compulsion is definitely in my nature but I think this particular compulsion started as a result of taking on such an important task, a task that I deemed highly time-sensitive.  Combine that with an aggressive overachiever and solutions maker and BOOM: you’re checking for emails 6+ times an hour.  Sometimes, I’m sure it was more frequently.

Sure, urgent issues in Rescue pop up (or should I say hop up?).  But thankfully, they don’t occur every day and they certainly don’t happen every fraction of the hour, daily.  Through consistent personal development, mindfulness and my precious oils, I am proud to say that I check my emails 2-4 times per day now.  Massive difference.  And when I check them at this frequency, I respond with more clarity and delegate more effectively.

In response to my energetic shift, “things” have quieted down on the Rescue front.  Our educational efforts are wide-reaching.  Our communication with perspective adopters or struggling owners who didn’t adopt from us still happens but, as I don’t feel the (although sometimes quiet) mania I used to, the intense situations just don’t show up any more.  And when urgency arises, my clear mind and focused intrapersonal and interpersonal skills enable me to handle the necessary steps with much more ease than ever before.

As easy as it sounds to check one’s phone less, it wasn’t easy for me to cease the compulsion.  But I did it.  All is peaceful on the Rescue front.pc-clarity