When we first set out on a goal we are gung ho, overly enthusiastic and full of energy.
This is certainly true when we first pen our New Year’s Resolutions.
Setting out our goals and intentions for the year of all the things we wish to accomplish in the New Year.
Then life happens.
Perhaps we are wholly diverted off of our course, distracted by obligations, responsibilities, and … cheesecake.
You know, all the delicious parts of life.
Sometimes goals require reassessment in order to determine how realistic they are in the scheme of life and balance.
Additionally, goals should not be a deterrent from our intentions and how we want to move through life.
Goals focus on external accomplishments or finish lines.
They are a weight on the scale, a dollar amount in the bank, an accumulation of miles run.
Life can get in the way of goals.
When life gets in the way of external accomplishment we can beat ourselves up and feel our sense of worthiness at this implicit failure plummet.
It can be difficult to show ourselves grace.
Additionally, we can also prevent ourselves from enjoying and savoring the more delectable parts of life for fear of the negative stigma we attach to them.
Such as cheesecake.
Life is meant to be savored in all the little moments, and not denied or dismissed.
I’ve tied guilt to these moments, particularly if I’m working on a goal associated with my external appearance.
This is something I have worked to let go of as I have reevaluated my goals, as my worth isn’t attached to a number on the scale or to the size of jeans I’m able to fit into.
Moments, however, are temporary and meant to be enjoyed, savored, and treasured.
As important as goals are, they shouldn’t detract from our enjoyment of life or serve as a roadblock when life comes and sweeps us in an alternate direction.
Intentions, though, are about who we are and how we show up in the world.
Intentions can serve as an internal compass as we determine which goals we continue to value and which we need to let go of.
My intentions for this year have been peace, play, and connection.
As I work towards goals, friend, I can evaluate if my goals bring me closer or further from living in alignment with my intentions.
Do my goals bring peace, play, and connection?
If they do, then I will continue to pursue said goal.
However, if they don’t, I may need to reevaluate if my goal needs to be abandoned or put on pause temporarily.
For me this has been particularly true in how I tackle my fitness goals. Often my fitness goals have been extremely restrictive. Not only with what I consume, but in the activities I permit myself to participate in.
This has limited how I show up in the world and has not always been in alignment with my intentions for this year.
So, as I have opportunities that bring me peace, play, and connection I choose to say yes.
I say yes when life brings me all the moments that are meant to be savored and enjoyed…
and the cheesecake.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
We all crave intimacy, and yet it’s the scariest thing in the world to receive for it requires vulnerability.
Vulnerability — my friend — demands that we give up control.
It means that we allow ourselves the space to be raw and open.
That we show and reveal all the parts, even the ones we’re frightened of.
For so many of us control is a way in which we protect ourselves from pain, from hurt, from being broken.
Yet, I have been reminded again and again that control limits, stifles, and restricts.
It functions as a cage we confine ourselves within, keeping out the pain, hurt, and potential heartbreak…
but it also keeps out joy, love, and deep, genuine connection.
Control driven by fear is the material of choice for my own carefully constructed cage.
This became very apparent to me recently as I felt myself feeling the first stirrings and surging of love within a new relationship.
These feelings bubbled up inside of me, wanting to be voiced in words.
Instead of allowing them to be spoken, I jammed them down deep.
This was my attempt to control and retain power.
To not appear vulnerable.
I limited myself within the relationship because I was afraid to trust that I would be met in this.
In this, I withheld an opportunity for mutual understanding and respect.
All because I wanted to feel in control.
Love, particularly within a safe container, did not feel safe to me.
Security, comfort, safety has not been the norm of most of my romantic relationships.
I have been traumatized within relationships.
This has resulted in a subconscious desire to control in order to protect from further pain and hurt.
Here I am, working to remove the confines of my self-constructed cage and to let love in.
To listen to my deeper knowing and intuition that tells me that I am safe and secure, and furthermore, to not experience this as uncomfortable — but to instead allow myself to feel the deep peace that comes with it.
For so long my norm has been anxiety, apprehension, and insecurity in relationship.
Now it is time to be vulnerable in order to allow myself the freedom of peace…
and with that the deep intimacy of connection.
Your Trusted Friend ♥️
We are groomed to accept toxic love.
Perhaps this started with the story of Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lovers who were doomed to death at the onset?
For whatever reason, the stories we tell and are attracted to affirm these types of love stories.
Romeo and Juliet may have started it, but literature is rife with toxic love stories. From Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights to Edward and Bella in Twilight.
Romances that start in a whirlwind wreaking havoc on all involved or in close proximity to the danger zone.
Why are these the stories that have become the romanticized ideal, telling us that ‘real love’ comes with a price, and that price is often pain and suffering?
If you really love someone, you’ll live in misery for them in your yearning.
At least, this is what the stories we are shown ad nauseam tell us that love looks like.
If we continue looking at Romeo and Juliet we see an instant spark and chemistry between two people who are not supposed to love one another, families being sworn enemies and all.
Perhaps their love could bridge the gap of animosity and hatred between the two families, that is if they were not teenage codependents who really don’t know one another.
All they do know is that their genitals are tingly.
Let’s also not forget that just earlier that morning Romeo had been bemoaning Rosaline and his unrequited love for her.
Until he spies Juliet.
Then it’s love… err… lust at first sight.
And this story has been a blueprint for so many that have succeeded it.
This, my friend, has toxicity written all over it.
Love shouldn’t be a battlefield, sorry Pat Benatar.
True romance shouldn’t be consumed by doom and gloom.
Life is already difficult enough and we don’t want to make it more difficult by inviting toxic love stories in.
This isn’t to say that relationships are not complex and pose unique challenges.
However, relationships shouldn’t be full of drama, conflict, controversy, and angst.
Though oftentimes these are the relationships we jump into with both feet, groomed to think this state is normal, desirable, acceptable, and – dare I say it – sexy.
Perhaps there is even a belief that this particular strain of strong emotions is necessary for passion.
Mature adult love, the kind that provides peace, calm, comfort, and space for evolution and growth seems almost boring in comparison (especially if it’s falsely assumed to be devoid of passion and thrill).
One in which tension, anxiety, and butterflies are not the norm should be what we strive for, though.
The absence of these emotions is an indicator from our body that we are safe and secure… that we are home.
Perhaps it’s time we rewrite all the love stories?
Your Trusted Friend ♥
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.
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.
Your Trusted Friend ♥
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 is lost
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 exits.
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 set 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, and better in tandem.
Looking back I can clearly see why life needed to change, and 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.
Your Trusted Friend ♥️
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 do I do this, friend?
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.
Your Trusted Friend ♥️
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.
Your Trusted Friend ♥
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.
Your Trusted Friend ♥️
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.
Your Trusted Friend ♥️