One of the ways I work with clients is to help them let go of stories that keep them small or a victim to their past. We can hold on to being a victim or needing to be right or needing revenge OR we can hold on to LOVE.
This is work for the spiritual warrior. It isn’t always easy to let go of those old stories. But when we can move closer to LOVE, we move closer to who we really are.
I love when I find quotes like this one by Gabrielle Roth. Each day we have the opportunity to choose to make each moment in our lives sacred. How are you turning your life into sacred art?
“Life is sacred. Life is art. Life is sacred art. The art of sacred living means being a holy actor, acting from the soul rather than the ego. The soul is out of space and time and hence always available, an ever-present potential of our being. It is up to each of us to celebrate and actualize our being, and to turn each meal, conversation, outfit, letter, and so on, into art. Every mundane activity is an opportunity for full, authentic self-exploration. The soul is our artistic self, our capacity for transforming every dimension of our lives into art and theater.” Gabrielle Roth in Maps to Ecstasy.
© Ragne Kabanova | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Is there an area of your life where it would be helpful for you to shift from focusing on measuring up to exploring and diving into the adventure of being you?
It is easy to get caught in a measuring up mindset but that mindset often brings fear that keeps us from fully embracing who we are.
I caught myself with one of those measuring up thoughts the other day. I am doing a new radio show on the Creating Calm Network on BlogTalk Radio called Soulful Sunday mornings. I am one of three hosts each Sunday morning who share inspiration. Even though I have a radio background and tons of things to talk about from my book and my experiences, my first thought was, “What if the other two hosts do it better than me?” This wasn’t about them—this was about me and a basic instinct to be “the best” at what I do, even though that worry about being “the best” often stops me before I begin. If I can’t be the best, “Why bother?” that ego voice will say trying to keep me safe. I sat in that fear for a while before I realized that if I made that my focus, I could never fully share who I am and my message. That voice of fear wanted to stop me because it had an outer world focus rather than a soul focus. The outer world focus is that focus on winning and being the best in comparison with others. The soul focus is about exploring the best you in your life and allowing that to come forth. I laughed when I realized what I had been doing. How tricky those voices of fear can be.
When we try to measure up, we are looking at all the gifts other people have and there is always some way to find ourselves lacking. We aren’t successful enough, thin enough, curvy enough or talented enough because there is always some unattainable standard that tells us “You aren’t good enough.”
When we explore who we are, we connect with loving ourselves and allowing our gifts to be expressed in the world. There may be areas where we have not allowed our light to shine and those are opportunities to step in and explore.
It takes courage to put yourself out there in any area of your life where you are learning to embrace your gifts and it can be helpful to look to others for inspiration. The trick is how we look at others. If we see others success as evidence that it is possible to live our gifts rather than a demonstration that we weren’t given the gifts, looking at others can be empowering. But too often we forget to return to our own exploration of life and get stuck with that measuring tape in our hands.
Is there an area where you need to put down the measuring tape and go explore who you are? What’s your experience with measuring up versus exploring?
PS. My show on Blogtalk radio airs on Sunday Mornings at 7am PST and is available to listen to anytime on demand after the show airs. Here are links to the first two shows:
March 31: It’s okay to be human
April 7: What if this moment is perfect?
Several of my friends have new babies or new grand babies. I’m in love with these new humans–many of whom feel like very old wise souls. I was contemplating the journey we take from innocent beautiful soul to where we are as adults, where many of us feel broken and “not good enough.” This thought came through my mind,
”Babies remind us of the beauty within all of us. Perhaps life has fooled you into thinking you’ve lost your innocence, but pure love and light is still within. Your job is to let go of the thoughts and heal the wounds that trick you into believing that you are less loveable than you were as a small infant.”
My mission in life to help people come home to themselves, to find the innocence and love within so that they can be fully present as the soul they came here to be. It is said that a shaman doesn’t heal people but sees who they really are and allows that to come forward.
What can you do today to remember that you began and still are one of these pure beautiful souls?
© Jxpfeer | Dreamstime Stock Photos
One of the most poignant memories of my early adult life was when my father had his stroke. I was 26 years old and living in Kansas City at that time. I hopped on a plane rushing to get back home to Illinois to be with him, my mom and sister at the hospital–praying all the way that nothing more would happen. When I arrived Dad was in the hospital bed with his hand and leg not functioning on one side. Tears welled up in my Dad’s eyes as I walked in the room–he realized in that moment that if my Mom and sister had called me home, his condition must indeed be serious. He looked at my Mom and said with slurred speech, “I never got to take you to Hawaii.”
My parents were practical working people who made a little money go a long way and yet in this moment there was a statement of a dream never realized and the possible end of life staring him in the face. Frightened as we were for his prognosis at that time, we assured my Dad that he would get better and would still have the opportunity to take Mom to Hawaii. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Dad recovered from that stroke enough to be back home and able to get around but he had a heart attack or another stroke that claimed his life 6 months later. He was 72 years old. I know my mom and dad had a good life together and I am grateful for having parents that modeled what it was to be each other’s best friend and partners in life. When I imagine talking to my Dad now, I hear him urging me to live fully and joyfully right now and not to put off all the opportunities I have to be present in this gift we call life.
This memory came back to me recently as I was having a heart-to-heart talk with two other friends who also have their own businesses. We had sat down to mastermind the next steps in our businesses and I could create a to-do list a mile long of actions I could take to advance the business but as I spoke, something felt off. I have spent the last few years so caught up in following the Voice that guided the book and trying to bring that vision to the real world that I had lost touch with some of the other things that make a full life. As I spoke to my friends, tears welled up as I said, “I don’t want to create THIS at the expense of my life.” I looked at my “to do” list and realized while passionate about my healing work, teaching and writing, there were many elements of my idea of a beautiful life that were missing–like a soulful life partner. Not going to find one of those if I stay at my computer coming up with more and more projects or am so focused on work that I don’t even let my flirty self out to play!
We all live with the illusion that we have unlimited time do accomplish all our goals, but that isn’t true. Each decision we make means we may be ruling out other options that are important to us. It’s never too soon to look at your life with the perspective that we might not be here tomorrow and ask some probing questions about what is important to us. The Voice that guided me to write the book, never asked me to become a slave to work. I created that all on my own. The beautiful thing about having one of these “aha” moments is we get a chance to ask ourselves life review questions such as:
- If I were in a hospital bed right now, would there be any important “I never got to __________” regret?
- What have I put off doing that I think is essential to a well-lived life?
- Is there a place that I am putting my energy right now that doesn’t feel important in the well-lived life vision?
- What’s most important to me and how much time am I devoting to that?
- What am I waiting for?
If we can look at our lives, knowing that we will die, everything that is important is put into perspective. I know my work is important. It is a deep part of who am and my calling in being here. But just as important as my work is being present in my personal life. Internally this is a big shift for me. It actually is easier for me to be a hard business task master than to think about what would nourish my feminine side. But that feminine side has been taking a back seat far too long. So out she comes! I’m letting that side of me have more say in how I spend my time and energy. She doesn’t really like the “all work most of the time” Carol.
A friend asked me if I was free to go to a concert on Tuesday night. Initially I said no because I had planned to be at a business networking event–but I realized that was the old “do-er” business person wanting to run the show. So I said yes to the concert because as many of you know, going to live music events is one of the ways I love to play. The fragile feminine part of me breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t going to break my new commitment to her so soon. After all, we have to make room for the things we really want in life.
What about you? If you were in that hospital bed right now—would you have a “I wished I had _______” moment? If you ask yourself some of those life review questions how do you feel? If you would have no regrets or nothing undone, bless you for being a role model for the rest of us! If you are like me and realize you have things to shift, there is no time like the present.
I’d love it if you would share your impressions and experiences in the comments below.
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom” Marcel Proust.
I love when I stumble across a quote that sums up the way I am feeling. This is one of those quotes. So many friends and family members went out of their way to share about the giveaway of From Scared to Sacred on Amazon over the last two days. New readers went out of their way to send me a note saying how much the book affected them. I felt my soul opening up and saying, “Yes!” This is how we are supposed to be. We are supposed to collaborate to help and lift each other up. I’m so grateful for the people who did that for me this week.
Now I know that no one really MAKES you happy. Happiness is a choice that each of us make on our own. But I do know we can create circumstances where cultivating happiness is easier. I’m so blessed to have people in my life that do this for each other. Thank you all you charming gardeners! I love you!
Step forward and introduce yourself to the thing that calls to you but at the same time terrifies you. For the obstacles you perceive are not blocks to your path, but your spirit calling you to the spiritual, mental and physical work of having the experience of creating here on earth. They are not there to torture and stop you. They whisper to your heart, “Take courage and see how amazingly connected you are to the divine power of love, light and creation. Say yes and I’ll meet you in those moments of doubt. Say yes and miracles can happen!” (Journal. 1/19/13)
If you avoid discomfort like the plague, chances are good that you are also someone who also finds yourself stuck quite often and in relationships that feel inauthentic. Everything new or worthwhile involves taking a step out of your comfort zone. And every good relationship comes from being vulnerable enough to share the parts of you that might be rejected or hurt. It is so easy to play small.
There are no guarantees in life that when we try something new that it will be the answer to our problem or when we share from the heart it will be received with love. One thing is certain though, if we don’t try something new, our problems will never get solved and if we don’t share ourselves authentically we can never be known. If we don’t say yes to the whispers of our heart, whose life are we living anyway?
Have you taken a step this year that feels uncomfortable? You know the one I’m talking about—the one that will lead you to that goal of better health, finances, relationships or the experience that you’ve been dreaming about having but it is a bigger leap than you are comfortable taking? What are you waiting for? Say Yes!
Are you waiting for yourself to magically have the courage to do something? Courage rarely shows up when we are waiting for it. It shows up when we commit and step forward ready to make change. Are you waiting for change to feel good? If you aren’t naturally a daredevil who loves the adrenaline of taking those risks, you will probably be waiting a long time. So what can we do? We can make friends with the idea that we are going to have to go into the uncomfortable place when we want things to change.
When I assessed my goals for 2013, I decided this was the year to expand my courage. There are a number of things that I was disappointed to see on my goals list again this year. Even though I had accomplished some big goals last year in publishing my book, there were other goals that I honestly had to say that I could have achieved but shied away from. I’m not beating myself up for that. I just noticed that if I really wanted those things to happen I was going to have to do something differently this year.
This is year is my year of saying, “Yes!” I hired a business coach to help me step out in a bigger way with my practice and my book. A group of my friends who are business owners have recommitted to meet regularly to brainstorm and support each other as we envision and take action toward those goals. And one of those commitments is to call each other lovingly on the ways we see each other staying in our comfort zone and encouraging each other to move forward with brave hearts. It isn’t all about business either. I’m saying yes to other things that are personal goals, like consistent exercise and creating more time for relationships, socialization and fun!
As we take these new actions there is no guarantee that any one step that we try will be the step that changes things but we know if we stay where we are right now, nothing will change. Have you ever hear the saying, “When we step out and say “yes’ to life, life says ‘yes’ back”? It may not always feel that way, because we forget that the experience of stepping out of our comfort zone is the experience of life itself. Each day we get to choose whether we expand our experience of life or stay in the place we might perceive as safe. Our hearts whisper to us everyday to live bigger and love more, the question is are we willing to say Yes?
So what support do you need to say, “Yes” and to take the next steps in 2013? Do you need an accountability partner? A coach? A Mastermind group? Do you need to put patterns and stories of the past behind you? Do you need to find a safe place to unravel the blocks before you can move? An honest assessment of where you need help is the first place to start.
For the readers of this blog, I am offering a free half hour phone assessment of how I might assist you in taking the next important step past the blocks, out of your comfort zone and into saying “Yes” to your life. I work with clients in person in the Pasadena and Santa Clarita areas of Los Angeles, via phone and Skype and travel frequently to work with groups and individuals (contact me for details). Email me at Carol@CarolWoodliff.com to schedule your phone consultation. This offer is good for current clients and new clients.
I am inspired by the trees to ask, “Are you owning your beauty and gifts without comparing yourself to others?” Know your beauty and be assured that the beauty of another does not diminish you. Together, owning our gifts, we create a beautiful world.
Where do you need to allow yourself to express your uniqueness? Where do you compare yourself to others? These two trees reminded me that there is no need to compare. We can stand together in our awesomeness and together we create beauty.