Shared Stories

It’s important to share our stories.

No matter where we are at,

or whatever it is we’re experiencing or going through,

we are never alone.

Our stories create bridges, showing others in the midst of chaos a way out.

Words have the ability to link and unite.

So often, though, people bite their tongues and swallow their words.

Afraid to share, fearful of vulnerability and judgment.

Sometimes assuming that their words won’t matter, they choke them back instead of sharing.

Once I let someone tell me that I shouldn’t share my words or tell my story, that some things are meant to be kept secret and private.

So, I silenced my voice and didn’t listen to my own inner knowing.

Someone else’s projections were permitted to taint and stifle me.

What it took me too long to recognize in the wake of this is that another person’s criticisms, judgments, and rash reactions are merely reflections of the other person’s inner world…

Of the work that they need to embark on and the choices that work in their life.

Not yours, and certainly not mine

Frequently the judgments of others have very little to do with us, and everything to do with whoever is doling them out.

So, tell your story, friend.

You, and only you, determine what words you give voice to and which you tuck away.

Please know that I, for one, have found solace and comfort in our shared stories.

As well as encouragement, a deeper understanding, a different view, and a new perspective.

Our words are our bridge, but we must be bold enough to share them and brave enough to reject the criticisms that may come as a result.

Your words, friend, could be the hand that helps someone out of the darkness,

but only if you give them life.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥️

‘Good’ Enough

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

At some point I adopted the idea that I was supposed to be ‘good’.

Breed into me by societal expectations, familial obligations, or my own encumbered sense of ‘measuring up’ to those around me.

This need to be ‘good’ served as a guide and compass for many of my choices and decisions.

I thought way too much about what others would think of me, how they would judge me, and if I would be perceived as ‘good’.

Often this idea of ‘good’ was often accompanied by ‘enough’.

There was this deep desire to be perceived as good enough.

I let outside perspectives, views, and opinions mean too much, weigh too heavily.

These things became determiners in the steps I took and the path that I followed.

My own internal voice was one I had no idea of how to listen to or check-in with.

Until life derailed me.

For it has been major life disappointments that have unveiled and revealed me.

Layer by layer.

Each piece that wasn’t my own was painfully ripped away, leaving me raw and bleeding.

To do everything I thought that I was supposed to and fail forced me to take long hard looks at the wreckage left behind.

To then make reparations to myself by getting rid of attachment to anyone one else’s expectations.

This false ideology of ‘good’ was one of the things that needed to be removed and stripped away.

The striving for being ‘enough’ another.

These things are of no use as compasses.

They serve only to lead us farther away from ourselves.

I am enough by myself.

There is nothing I need to prove or earn.

And good…

Good is another prison that you can be trapped within if you don’t take the time to define what it means to be good to you.

For so many people, myself included, self-worth becomes tied to being perceived as good by others.

So, our decisions are driven by what we discern others will think of us and, in this, fail to fully permit ourselves to be authentic.

So afraid of letting people down that, instead, we let ourselves down.

It took losing myself almost entirely to recognize this as a flawed and limited way to live.

So, define what being ‘good’ means to you.

Remove this from the hands of any other opinion, perception, or expectation that doesn’t come from within you.

Next, know that you — as you are — are enough.

You, my friend, are always enough just as you are.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥

The Space Left Behind

Life changes.

Sometimes you rail against these changes,

denying them and fighting them.

Trying to bargain and trade to get back whatever it is you’ve lost.

I have found myself in this space.

Begging for second chances, swearing I’ll change myself to fit a mold and ideal of someone else.

Just so they’ll want me.

Love me.

Accept me.

Stay.

Life changes.

Love is lost

Friends leave.

These people that became pieces of you decide to pack up and go elsewhere.

A space left behind that was once filled with them.

I’ve mourned these exists.

Shed tears and felt I’d never be whole again.

Only I filled, I grew, I evolved.

I became brand new.

These spaces that were vacated created space for new love and friends to come alongside me.

A me that is stronger, wiser, better.

More equipped to appreciate a love and friends that can join me on my journey and stay.

I don’t beg for people to stay anymore, nor do I attempt to morph and change to appear more pleasing.

These are things you lose yourself in.

That you that should, instead, be setting free.

I don’t want to be lost, I want to be found.

Continually digging deeper and deeper into myself for a truer more authentic version of me and giving it the space to spring forth.

The love I invite waters this and rejoices.

The friends that walk beside me feed this and celebrate.

Constantly becoming stronger, wiser, better in tandem.

Looking back I can clearly see why life needed to change, why there was the space left behind by leave taking, because these are the things that brought me here.

Each life change awakened me further, bringing me closer to who I want to be and to the people that I desire to surround myself with.

The lessons taught by former friends and lovers have prepared me to meet people from a space of greater understanding and compassion…

as well as to deeply and unapologetically appreciate magic when discovered.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥️

Flow with Integrity

Photo by Lua Valentia on Unsplash

I’ve been an unbeknownst coward for a good deal of my life, friend.

Striving to control, grasp, and cling to things in an attempt to avoid the wreckage caused by pain and shattered illusions.

In many ways, I would define these acts as cowardly.

I trimmed my own wings and confined myself to a cage of my own making mistakenly thinking it safer.

Illusions are not meant to be lived within and the simplest things bring them crashing down around you.

Again and again this year I was reminded to let go; reminded that what is meant for me will come and stay without convincing or manipulation.

This requires so much faith.

Sometimes I’ve struggled to believe I have the required resources in reserves to have the kind of faith letting go and flowing with life has demanded of me.

Every plan I’ve made has been canceled, lovers have left, friendships have reached a conclusion, and the only consistent part of my job has been the fact that it is constantly changing.

Surprisingly, in these events I have found massive amounts of peace and calm.

I found a truer, more accurate, more authentic, and genuine version of myself only arrived at by letting go in the middle of the storm.

One that doesn’t lay claim, but who accepts what comes and what goes.

Stabilizing my energy and letting life pass through me without either force or resistance.

One who waits and ensures my actions are in integrity at my deepest core before acting.

How?

How do I do this, friend?

  • Slow down and listen to my inner knowing.
  • Release expectations and attachment to outcomes.
  • Flow with what arrives and what stays.
  • Shed what isn’t me and whatever doesn’t resonate.
  • Surrender.
  • Wait for peace.

These words (slow, release, flow, shed, surrender, peace) have become a mantra of sorts that has been paramount in recent months. Reasserting itself with each moment of uncertainty that I would normally attempt to control, force, or run from.

Instead of control, I seek peace.

Peace comes when my mind, body, heart, and willpower are all in alignment — whole and undivided.

Only when this happens will I act from a place of sovereign discernment, clarity, and connection to my innermost self.

This is what it means for me to flow with integrity.

To not force or coerce, but to value discernment and being chosen in connection.

I’ve been a coward, though, and have tried to bulldoze my course and swim upstream for so long.

It’s only now when I’ve been forced to relinquish control, that I have found the beauty in the surrender to the current and have allowed it to carry me to more beautiful spaces, places, and people than I could have ever envisioned.

When you flow with integrity, allowing your own inner voice to guide you to the right outcome — when you are able to patiently listen and follow where it leads — will you make space for your own personal brand of magic to arrive.

There is no need to rush, to fight, to resist…

it is already on its way.

You merely have to flow with integrity.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥️

Radical Acceptance

Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

I’ve spent some time running from reality,

so much so that I am an expert in sugar-coating people and situations in a false attempt to be optimistic, to see the glass as half full, to cast a rosy glow onto a situation that is undeserving of such light.

For a long time, I thought that this was my superpower.

I could see the positive in any situation, person, place, or thing.

It took multiple people telling me that this was, in fact, my flaw for me to stop and see the truth.

Now I understand that this is a delusion that only resulted in stifling my growth and, often, leading me to accept things into my life that did not belong or deserve that precious space.

I’ve also done this with my feelings; particularly the negative ones.

Sadness has been packed away, covered up with false cheer.

Anger, resentment, frustration, disappointment, jealousy all swiftly swept away.

Cleared away like debris and detritus.

These emotions not deemed necessary or worthy in the spectrum of my experience.

To be fair, though, I’ve stifled some of the good emotions and experiences as well, so ruled by fear that I have not let myself fall fully into them, afraid there would be nothing there to catch me.

What struck me today was the importance of radical acceptance, of the ability to accurately see whatever lurks before and within me, and accepting it for what it is.

Of allowing all emotions, thoughts, and experiences space and then consciously, actively, using my discernment to weigh and to evaluate if something is being revealed to me, or if something needs to be released.

Not dressing it up in niceties or false hope; but holding it in my arms, feeling it in my body, moving through it, and letting it go.

Without the ability to accurately see the reality I so desperately grasp and cling, to let myself experience it and move through it, I have no way of being able to unfurl my hold.

If I am unable to do this, the only thing that I am doing is holding myself back from what is waiting for me.

Until I can surrender and accept the situation I find myself, the true nature of the person before me, the gravity of the place, or the instability of the thing –

no matter how much I crave railing out and screaming against it –

I will not be able to move on to the next chapter that’s waiting to be filled.

That chapter that is coming will speak to my body, heart, mind, and soul in a song that’ll make it dance.

I can already hear its melody, and it’s one that comes from the peace of absolute alignment

To usher that in…

say yes to what is, in order to make space for what will be.

I commit to radical acceptance.

In this, I acknowledge and release, in order to create room for what is coming.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥

The Climb

Life is full of ups and downs and all the moments in between.

We know this, friend.

We’ve reveled in its peaks, suffered in it’s lows, and rested in its valleys.

Life is a perpetual climb, one in which we’re always striving for a destination that we will never reach.

We’re meant to continually be growing, evolving, and rising.

Except that sometimes we lose sight of this.

On a recent hike I couldn’t help but think of how analogies for life the climb was.

Starting new adventures we are always full of enthusiasm, aren’t we?

We are full of excitement at the newness no matter how difficult we – cognitively – know the journey will be.

I certainly felt this as I started my adventure.

Then the climb started to get difficult.

My muscles ached and I began to feel in my body the arduousness of the journey.

I may have even questioned the sanity of my choice to embark on the path at all.

In this moment I had to decide to place one foot in front of the other.

That was all I could do, all that I could commit to.

Just one foot in front of the other.

This was just the beginning of the difficulty, though, and just like many people in life (and on a climb), I started to have doubts.

I doubted my readiness.

I started to think that maybe I should turn back, wait for another moment – another day.

I even started to wonder if I was good enough.

Instead of stopping, giving in to the negative self talk, I kept climbing.

There were times I wondered if I had the capacity, the strength, and the mental fortitude to proceed.

Friend, I’ve had this thought in life; the questioning of if I have the strength to persevere, to go on. I’ve come closer than I care to admit to quitting.

While I allowed myself to stop and breath, to rest and acclimate, to enjoy the views and new vantage points, I didn’t give up. I didn’t stop.

My faith, on the climb and in life, has to be completely in myself as I envision the peak and look forward to standing there and celebrating the climb behind me.

Celebrating the struggles that gave me strength. Celebrating the valleys that provided me rest. Celebrating the accomplishment of a goal.

On this day, friend, I reached my destination and was able to celebrate my victory and accomplishment.

But, yes, this so reminded me of life.

Except in life there is no final peak on which to celebrate, there are many.

There is excitement in this for me.

That there will always be growth and evolution,

new views and vantage points,

challenging steps to find joy and peace in, and

ways in which to perpetually be challenging myself

as I embark on new paths and destinations.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥️

Emotional Exposure

Emotional exposure is terrifying.

I can’t be the only one that does everything in my power to attempt to control it?

To refine, diminish, and play small in order to avoid potential pain

In order to regulate vulnerability?

Something wonderful comes into my life and I shrug my shoulders at it in mock ‘mehness’, not allowing myself to feel too much joy or excitement.

Instead, I feel fear.

I feel fear that there is something in front of me that I actually care about.

There is something that I care about that I could fail at.

So, I pretend it doesn’t matter as much as it does in order to limit and offset any future pain or disappointment.

Really, it’s the brain’s fault.

It works overtime to protect us and it does this by magnifying any risk and talking us out of discomfort and away from the ledge of the unknown…

of those things we could fail at, the situations that could hurt us.

Maybe by giving up that illusion of control, for that is all that it really is, and just practicing gratitude for the moment, as Colin says in his video above, we will give ourselves permission to fully lean in and enjoy?

Versus that other idea of “rehearsing for the potential tragedy”, or waiting for the other shoe to drop…

this is great now, BUT

I anticipate a lot of buts.

But what if I’m abandoned?

But what if I’m found lacking?

But what if I’m used and forgotten?

But what if this doesn’t work out?

But what if this fails?

But what if no one likes this?

But what if no one reads this?

But what if…

But what if…

In these “but what ifs” I lose sight of the joy, I give up my ability to enjoy right now, I step away from the ledge of possibility and back into the limiting comfort zones I’ve outgrown.

In my anticipation of the other shoe dropping, I die a thousand deaths.

“Cowards die many times before their deaths.” (Julius Caesar)

We die a little bit every time we run from something difficult, new, or challenging, something that stretches us in a new way that isn’t quite comfortable.

“The valiant never taste of death but once.” (Julius Caesar)

When we are brave, the only death we face is the physical one.

We are not killing our souls little by little every time we run from discomfort and vulnerability,

every time we deny ourselves joy in the anticipation of it not lasting,

and every time we attempt to anticipate the but.

In many ways, friend, I’ve been a coward.

I’ve tried to predict and avoid pain by not allowing myself to become excited,

by backing away from the ledge.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥️

I Used to Leap

Photo by Sammy Chaffin on Unsplash

There used to be a time when we called for someone to catch us with no fear or trepidation.

A time when we were filled with wild abandon.

We trusted completely in the fact that the one we called to would catch us. We had no doubts.

Filled with such certainty, we were, we’d leap again and again.

Now I cannot help but wonder what happened to this absolute trust.

Maybe it disappeared with the disillusionment that came with false promises?

Instead, it seems that my heart remembers the pains inflicted on it much more clearly than the tender handling.

Perhaps because the injuries feel like a result of being lured into a false sense of safety by these instances?

Now I find it increasingly difficult to be vulnerable, to open my heart, to trust myself to leap.

When I do, it results in a very real desire to run and flee.

To escape and hide myself away.

I don’t leap as I used to.

My imaginary wings were stolen away from me.

Now my feet have lead.

Visualized there by a brain that perceives the hurts to come, not the joy in the flight, nor the potential safety in that waiting embrace.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥️

To Be Found

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

I don’t want to lose myself in someone, I want to be found.

This thought struck me with such clarity the other day, like a bell ringing clear and pristine.

This, remember this, it said.

I felt the truth and rightness of this immediately, friend.

You’re probably wondering what the difference is, and I am glad to explain, I really am.

You see, losing yourself in someone is finding your place and worth in the other.

Perhaps you’re like I’ve been, and this means that the more someone needs you, the more you feel loved.

So, you make yourself indispensable.

Making the appointments, cooking the meals, folding the clothes, remembering the birthdays, playing an important role crossing all those literal t’s and dotting all of those metaphorical i’s.

Satisfying our need to be needed and significant beyond ourselves.

This works in the workforce, but not in relationship.

Relationship requires two equal partners and no one is indispensable.

Being found, friend, that is something else entirely.

To be found means that you are repeatedly asked to reveal yourself, layer by layer.

It’s an invitation to shed the inauthentic and a welcoming of your best self.

This is an, “I want to see YOU.”

How often do we meet people who extend us this invitation, to bloom more fully into ourselves?

Who, by their mere being, inspire us to do both the shedding and blossoming necessary to stand naked before them?

I say naked intentionally, friend, because that’s how it feels when you let go of all the things you put on in an attempt to be more pleasing or likable

or to be and feel needed.

This isn’t about need, not in the sense that someone requires you to budget their checkbook, stock their fridge, return overdue library books, and mend whatever might be broken.

No, this is only the need to see you.

That.

That’s what I want.

To see and to be seen.

To invite and to be invited.

To shed and to bloom.

To let go of doing, and – instead – do more being.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥️ 

The Lesson

Friend, I will always be a stalwart supporter of creating and cultivating close, deep, meaningful connections.

These are the people that support us when we are down, encourage us when we face insecurities, and buoy us when we falter.

We need to build a community of people around us that support us, believe in us, challenge us, and help us to become better versions of ourselves.

However, people are not infallible.

People are flawed and susceptible to the baser and more destructive sides of human nature. 

There are times when, no matter how much you try to do the right thing, these efforts will never be reciprocated.

People can and will let you down.

There will be empty promises.

No matter how much another person promises to love you, assures you that you matter, or that you’re meaningful to them, there will be times that these words are not followed by action.

They, the individual, cannot always follow through or hold space for you.

There will be times when they will have to choose themselves.

To feel good.

For attention.

For affirmation.

Or a myriad of other reasons.

Until they escape a pattern.

Until they learn a necessary lesson…

That, while we can provide buoyancy and support, people are not personal flotation devices to provide an escape from the pains of life or to inflate depleted egos.

Friend, I am tired of being that lesson.

It is exhausting to be the one hurt so that someone else can be fulfilled.

Sometimes we are meant to be placed in the path of another for a lesson, and others are placed into our lives to teach us something as well.

Yet, I’ll be honest with you, friend, I’m tired.

I’m tired of being a lesson.

But, maybe, after all this time,

this was meant to be my lesson?

To reflect on how I have continually broken my own heart again, and again, and again?

So, the question I now ask myself is this; how do I change the way in which I show up in people’s lives?

How do I escape my own pattern?

How do I learn my own necessary lesson?

First, I will not take responsibility for anyone else’s healing or sense of self-worth. Those things are the responsibility of the other.

Second, I will establish clear boundaries for myself and how I show up, as well as how I allow others to show up in my life.

Third, I will listen to my body, my gut, my intuition. I will wait for my mind, heart, body, and soul to be in agreement, and – if they are not – I will lean into myself and ask why. Then, I will listen.

The human experience is messy but beautiful.

Made even more beautiful by the encounters that we have with those around us.

However, when we abandon ourselves to appease a need for connection we do a disservice. 

True meaningful connection, I believe – friend – can only happen when people can show up as authentic versions of themselves, ready to let go of any sort of need of others to fulfill or satisfy any inner shortcoming or longing.

I’ve already revealed that for so long love to me existed in this state of feeling and being needed.

That, in some ways, is quantifiable and much more easy to accept and believe than that someone has chosen to love me as I am – imperfectly perfect, flawed, and bumbling.

To believe that and accept that is an absolute release of control, which is almost paralyzingly terrifying.

Fourth, I will show up in authenticity with myself, with a firm belief that this is more than enough, without self-abandonment.

There are so many lessons, the ones you offer and the ones you are able to take away.

Perhaps now you can reflect on your own lessons…

the ones you teach,

and the ones you’ve learned and, in so doing,

play a more conscious role in what it is you choose as your lessons?

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤️