Tag Archives: ancestral blocks

Discovering the Secrets We Hide From Ourselves (Or, I’m Turning 45 and It’s Freaking Me Out!)

This is part of an on-going series about secrets, truth-telling, and my boyfriend being in prison. The essays that follow are a raw, open, deliberate look at life lived and liberated. And occasionally just a touch uncensored.

A guy I dated a few years ago took prescription meds to help him sleep and I thought that was a very bad idea. Why? Because by day he was frustrated with his work life, and he would constantly say that he wasn’t “living the dream”.

I told him that knocking himself out with a sleeping pill would forever stop him from figuring out what his dream even is, not to mention getting uncomfortable enough with the status quo to ever go after it.

But guess who was – just a few short weeks ago – sleepless, angst-ridden, and downing over-the-counter sleep aids?

Um, yeah. (Me.)

What the hell was going on?? I asked myself once I remembered what I’d told him.

What’s the message here? What’s the truth of why I’m feeling this way?

All the answers I came up with – the weather, living with my sister in a house that needs a lot of repairs, my man being in prison, having the soul of an artist, but needing to work – seemed to make a basic sort of sense, but not answer the question completely.

That’s the tricky part of dissecting your inner landscape to uncover the truth. Your mind will interrupt your search with all sorts of fancy, reasonable-seeming ideas.

Oh, it’s just been cloudy for a long time. Of course you’re feeling this way, it’s hard to live with other people. All artists struggle with everyday life, this is actually a badge of honor that you feel this way! Your boyfriend’s in prison (gasp!) of course you’re feeling wobbly.

But one strange truth I found out many months ago is that I secretly sometimes like him being in prison. He’s away, but he’s here, if you get what I mean. Being alone, but with someone is a very different feeling than all those years of wondering if true love was ever going to come my way.

So, privately, a part of me has been relishing my alone time, sleeping with the shades up so I can see the stars, with no one snoring beside me.

Not having to pay attention to anyone but myself.

And what about those sunny days when I’m cranky and miserable?

Yeah, exactly.

There was another message under all the obvious ones. In fact, there is always a deeper voice trying to come through, but it’s almost always going to clash with your ideas about things.

So I kept seeking, uncovering new layers – like, Oh, I really need to be asleep by 10 p.m. to feel rested in the morning! And following my soul desires to sit in the woods or read novels in bed in the morning.

Which is what led me to realize, as I opened the third book in week where the main female character was wrestling with her dawning middle age, that, Wait a damn second, there’s something here for me.

Because I chose those books at the library. I don’t remember choosing books with the theme of middle age, not consciously at any rate. But there it was, last night, staring me straight in the face.

I’m turning 45 this summer. And it’s freaking me out a little bit.

I feel terrific, my life is interesting, I’m involved in work that’s of my own design. And nobody even thinks I’m the age that I am, including me. So it wasn’t that obvious.

But it’s something that my subconscious has been dealing with, unbeknownst to my thinking mind.

It was like being struck by lightening, when this realization hit me where I sat propped up in bed, under a yellow striped comforter, with the lamp lit and dogs barking in the distant countryside.

I woke up to this truth very all of a sudden.

It made me think about a play I saw in the East Village years ago, where there was a voiceover that played throughout, saying, Wake up. Wake up.

I suddenly woke up to the truth of what is really going on with me.

Turning 45 means dreaming new dreams. It means saying good-bye to old dreams. Or turning and grabbing on hard to those near-dying dreams and trying to bring them back to life.

Am I wanting a baby? Could I even have a baby at this point? I’ve been pregnant twice, do I really not regret those abortions? What about those dreams of speaking foreign languages? Should I have done more with that? What about those manuscripts I’ve been carting around for decades, but never published?

Is it too late? Do I even care?

All the crossroads of my life kept swimming into view, as I imagined taking a different path, choosing something different.

And I realized that doing this work – this heart-pounding, doubt-inducing, emotional, ambivalent, unsettling inner seeking – is the hallmark of change. It’s how the bell is rung, signaling the advent of a new chapter.

It’s not pleasant, and it’s not pretty and it’s definitely not clear … but somehow knowing what the truth is of what I’m dealing with is galvanizing. It’s relieving to understand what the hell is actually going on here.

And with that knowledge came a lifting of my grubby mood, because it had done its work and gotten my attention.

In fact, just now, as I walked down the stairs to make myself a late morning cup of coffee I heard my mind say, “Life is good!”

So where in your life are you uncomfortable? Angry? Sad? Mournful? Hungry for more?

Sink into it. Excavate the layers for the deepest, most hidden meaning.

We tend to be scared of the truth before we let ourselves see it. But once you allow yourself access to what you don’t even know that you know, it’s pure freedom. And that always feels really, really good.

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Want more freedom from your dark secrets & access to your juicy hidden depths?

The courage to get bold with yourself and others in truth-telling?

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Juicy Secrets, Dark Secrets & the Sweet Freedom of Fierce Truth-Telling (Even When You’re Scared As Hell!)

Wednesday, June 21st

8pm ET/5pm PT

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They Told Me Not to Tell But I Am Anyway (The Secret Freedom of Fierce Truth-Telling)

This is the first in an on-going series about secrets, truth-telling, and my boyfriend being in prison. The essays that follow are a raw, open, deliberate look at life lived and liberated. And just a touch uncensored.

I remember the first time I was told to keep a secret. My mom said there were some things you don’t share outside the house. In this case I had announced at the local general store that my parents were fighting. I was three years old.

I kept a lot of secrets after that. Secrets about my neighbor’s stepfather performing oral sex on us. We were four years old. Secrets about my best friend’s father sneaking into the den where we slept and fingering us. My favorite live-in “uncle” holding me on his lap while he had an erection. When I spoke to him about it many years later he told me, “You were a very provocative five year old.”

I made sure not to tell anyone.

I felt disgust growing inside of me, a plague for one. My body held onto all those secrets and turned them against me. When I was twelve, I lied about having a boyfriend at summer camp, so I could feel worthy. Because something always felt terribly wrong with me and I was desperate to hide it.

I talked a lot to deflect attention away from that feeling of wrongness. I ate too fast and too much, in an attempt to bury the secrets and the lies. And I threw it all up again so I could feel light and free.

But the disgust always returned. Because I kept the secrets. Even from myself I kept the secrets, and I replaced my knowledge with the belief that there was something wrong with me instead.

And then I got tired. It took a lot of years, but finally I couldn’t hold down the secrets anymore. And I started telling all of them. To everybody. To myself.

And I discovered something amazing.

When you tell the truth, you feel better.

So I don’t keep secrets anymore.

That’s why I tell everyone I meet that my boyfriend is in prison. I just announce it everywhere I go. To the guy helping me choose the right jumper cables at the local tractor supply store, I tell him I’m happy he’s here to help me because my boyfriend’s in prison. To the young teller at the bank when she asks if I live with my boyfriend, I say, No, I don’t, because he’s in prison.

I tell them the whole story if they’re interested, and I have every intention of telling the whole story publicly at some point. Not today, because I’m not ready yet, and we’re right in the middle of it, and because I don’t feel entirely safe sharing the details openly when there are legal proceedings happening.

And that’s part of the process of becoming a fierce truth-teller – being patient with yourself, letting things unfold, noticing new truths as they surface. Allowing the flow of truth to happen, and being loving with the parts of you that are scared.

And finding people who are guardians of the truth to support you. That’s hugely important.

My boyfriend would be fine with me sharing it all openly.

“Tell everybody anything you want!” That’s what he says.

If I had to name one reason I am crazy about this man it wouldn’t be his flashing blue eyes or unbelievable confidence. His ability to build beautiful things by hand. Or even his hunky biceps and the way he says things to me like, “If you were a flower, every petal would be a different color.” No, it would be his unflinching honesty and directness. The idea that I’ve finally met someone who loves to tell the truth as much as I do is the biggest relief I’ve ever known.

“I can’t do it anymore,” he says when I ask him why he’s so direct. He says he startles a lot of people (I know the feeling), but he just got tired of pretending, and doesn’t have the time to waste anymore.

Exactly.

I don’t have the time to waste anymore either. On lying to myself or making myself look a certain way to outsiders. On overeating and purging in an attempt to feel ok.

Because what happens when you start to tell the truth is that you clear out all those old lies you’ve been dragging everywhere with you. Lies that tell you you’re not good enough. That you’ll never get it right. That what other people think about you is more important than what you believe about yourself.

Once you start telling the truth, all those lies disappear. And you’re left clean, right down through your center. You have an open heart. Your bones and teeth and blood sing with the lightness and freedom of truth, instead of being clogged with pretending.

And you become a clear channel for the voice of God. You finally get to claim your birthright as a beloved child of the universe. (That’s the biggest truth of all.)

So what’s a secret you’ve been refusing to tell? Admit it right now, inside yourself. Then find somebody to tell. If they panic at your truth-telling or put a disgust vibe all over it, tell someone else. Move on!

People who insist on secret-keeping still believe in shame. They believe that what other people think is more important than anything else.

But you can believe differently. And you can always tell me.

Because you don’t have any time to waste.

When You’re Terrified You’re Not Living Your “Best Life” & What To Do About It (Plus Me Crying In My Car to Adele)

We’ve been seeing the phrase, “live your best life!” thrown around for years now, and if you’re anything like me, a part of you always feels like you and your (perhaps not so best) life are just not measuring up.

In this scenario …

> Magazines that are supposedly meant to uplift, lead to feelings of inadequacy.

> Social media that is supposedly meant to connect us more, leads to debilitating feelings of FOMO (that’s “Fear Of Missing Out” in case you’ve been living under a rock).

In fact, take a moment right now and check in with yourself about what the phrase “live your best life” conjures up for you.

Are you a wealthy goddess-like woman living in a mansion, hosting wondrous retreats for tons of money to adoring followers?

The sexy mother of three, married to a super successful man?

A famous speaker?

A best-selling author? 

Are you living on a tropical island??

And how closely does your current life resemble that … and how do you feel about it?

My “best life” imagery recently was me living in Hawaii, sun-kissed, with satiny hair (this is a fantasy, people, I get to have satiny hair!), going to galas, and feeling amazing all the time.

The specifics of this particular best life fantasy stem from an astrology reading I got a few months ago, where I was told that my best life took place in Hawaii.

(And, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with having the desires I list above! But, figuring out what is your true desire, and what is a false want that’s been sold to you by the “best life” people is what I’m talking about here.)

So, I was all set to go to Hawaii, and then some things in my family life completely blew up and I found myself relocating back to where I grew up, deep in upstate New York, in the exact place this astrologer told me all my old patterns and behaviors were most entrenched, and where my “best life” most definitely was not.

For the summer months I was a happy camper, running around living the country girl life-style I love so much … but then a cold fall set in, and I started to panic that my “best life” was passing me by.

And … how could I even call myself a life coach if I was living in some alternate, faulty life universe – because what is a life coach if not a person who helps you launch your Best Life??

I started to unravel a little bit inside, as this question took hold.

I was walking around with the feeling of, Oh, no, what if I’m doing it all wrong?? starting to build up, and I felt my confidence leaking out, which is not a good feeling when you’re attempting to self-motivate about anything, much less be a life coach.

I questioned everything I was doing.

From the validity of my work – because maybe it wasn’t even working!

To the authenticity of every Facebook post I wrote – because as much as I’d like to be truly authentic and not hide any gruesome, real-life details, I’ve been trained to show the glossier side things, because that’s what our entrepreneurial culture tells us to do, and I’ve studied with the best in the industry.

I spent a couple of days in a wretched state, lying in bed in the middle of the day and sobbing in my car listening to Adele (I usually boycott Adele, due to feeling emotionally exploited by her music, but in the middle of an ugly cry fest, she is just the thing).

After two full days of this, I woke up early and went for a walk down a dirt road. I talked out loud to myself. I asked the hard questions out loud, about whether I could still qualify as a life coach if I’m not living my “best life”.

And then a realization occurred to me.

I’m not simply about living your “best life”.

I’m about living your fullest life.

When I stopped and looked at my life, messy as it was, I saw that I was still living it full-out, even if I wasn’t in a shiny, photo-shoot-like scenario, (and things were kinda hairy, in fact).

But still …

I was feeling everything fully.

I was having deep, full-bodied, completely honest conversations with myself.

I was diving in all the way with my family situation.

I was in the beginning weeks of a brand new romance, and we were having all the big conversations – about intimacy, sexuality, his prison record, my childhood sexual abuse, babies after 40 and 50, marriage.

My life was full.

But was it “best”? I found, once on this train of thought, both that I couldn’t care less, and also, that yes.

My fullest life is my best life.

Yet again the results are in that what your life looks like from the outside has absolutely nothing to do with how it feels on the inside.

As a culture, boy, do we struggle with that one.

And I have found that even some of the most seemingly forward-thinking life coaches and entrepreneurs are still out there toeing the party line that how a thing looks has something to do with how it feels inside of you.

Forget about it. Their rules don’t have to be your rules.

Your fullest life might be messy.

But you’re not pretending.

You’re taking everything on.

You’re friends with your sharpest happiness and the depths of your despair.

You’re not running away any longer.

You’re not buying into somebody else’s rules for how to do your thang.

You’re not afraid of missing out.

You laugh easily.

You feel fulfilled.

You feel free.

Your mouth is full of life.

And you know that whatever craziness life throws your way, you’ll be able to handle it.

So, take another moment right now and check in to see how you feel around the idea of living your fullest life. What images come up for you? How does it feel to live your fullest life?

For the record, I’m still planning on visiting Hawai’i and seeing what happens. But while I’m here, I get to do this full-out. You get to do the same. Wherever you are.

Can you give yourself permission to start right now?

And what are you going to give yourself permission to do fully right now??

I’d love to hear in the comments below.

If  you like what you read here, please pass me along to your friends. Anyone who desires a full life, is a friend of mine!

Me stacking firewood in my full (but not necessarily best) life.
Me stacking firewood in my full (but not necessarily “Best”) life.

Life Lessons from a Country Girl Summer (Decide Shit. And Other Helpful Gems.)

I spent the summer in rural upstate New York, bouncing between unfinished houses, dog-sitting gigs, and camping out in the wilderness. Oh, and sleeping in my car.
I wanted a wild summer, time in nature that would remove the comforting cover of predictable, indoor living, so that I could have a true encounter with myself, and go deeper with some healing on old, stuck places.
It was amazing.
Healing. Riveting. Terrifying. Bottomless. And truly fulfilling. I’m in a totally new place.
And I want to share with you the things I learned that made new transformation and fulfillment and a vaster experience of inner freedom possible. Take it and run!

img_4842A few of the most life-altering things I’ve learned/re-learned this summer:

  • You don’t have to be happy all the time. It’s alright if sometimes you feel not too great. You’re not a failure, you’re a human being.
  • If you cook this morning’s eggs in last night’s hamburger grease you will really, really like breakfast.
  • When you do the absolutely crazy thing that you’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time you will like yourself more.
  • Life can be extraordinarily messy. You’re not a loser because of this. Don’t believe everything you see on social media. Mess is okay, it’s part of living full-out and well.
  • You have friends. People you forgot about love you and will be super excited to see you again. They will invite you into their home and cook you dinner and make you cocktails if you let them. It’s amazing to let in the flood of love.
  • Children are wild creatures and worth spending time around. Even when they pee on the trampoline or cry over rice. You will find them fascinating examples of how to live full-out and embrace being human.
  • You have to decide shit. Life will happen to you, randomly, otherwise. Decide.
  • Fear is looking for an in-road. You are not available. Why not? Because fear is NOT REAL. Stop pretending like it is.
  • Shame is not real either. Your objects do not quantify you. You are an immortal essence. Live like it.
  • You have something staggeringly beautiful and singular about you. Let it out to play.

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Encountering Myself, Alone in the Woods at Night (Or, How to Find Your Freedom By Embracing Your Dark Side)

I’ve come to the woods to force a confrontation with myself. With those parts of me that are pulling me down, the dark undertow of my being. Keeping me from striding forward, sure of myself and my place in the world. Stopping me from finishing projects and launching my dreams.

Rainbow + Cemetery. Gathering courage to enter the woods at dusk.
Rainbow + Cemetery. Gathering my courage to enter the woods at dusk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’re a dissonant medley of complaints lodged in my cells by older versions of myself. Tracks of pain and doubt, hammered into my DNA by my ancestors’ lives of loss and lack. Stories of fear that keep re-telling themselves inside my mind.

I want an encounter. It’s time. We’ve been circling each other for forty years, maybe more. Perhaps for lifetimes.

My intention is to remove the cover from my life. Not to commune anymore with distraction. But to meet myself, with no mediating force between us. No electricity. No late nights. No booze. No movies. No house to clean or organize.

Just me. Alone in the dark, in the quiet of the forest.

Scene of the Crime. A photograph of the inside darkness of my tent at night.
Scene of the Crime. A photograph of the inside darkness of my tent at night.

It unnerves me to even consider it.

Not the alone time in the forest.

The encounter with my innermost self.

I’ve become amazingly adept at avoiding her, despite the years of intense personal growth. There always feels to be a harder threat lurking just beneath the surface. A foundational truth that something is horribly wrong with me, the confronting of which would destroy the illusions that I’ve worked so hard to construct.

Not that I’ve ever actually bought into my illusions.

That would mean having ever once really believed that there’s nothing wrong with me. Nothing to hide. That I’m fine.

But, you see, I know that I am irreparable. Damaged goods. I imagine a man beside me in the tent. I feel filthy at the thought. Not because I am opposed to men or great sex, in fact my body lights up at the very idea. But in my innermost self, I feel unworthy of such. Tainted. Not good enough.

So, no, I have no illusions about it.

It’s just that I also spent years trying to lie my way out of anyone seeing this truth about me, the terrible finality of the fact that there is something wrong with me.

And uncovering what those falsities – the carefree image, the adventurer, the claiming of sexual prowess – have kept safely underground so I can forget what I know – horrifies me.

I started very young with the cover-up.

When I was twelve, I lied about having a boyfriend at sleep-away camp.

I chose to name one of the camp counselors, an older boy named Philippe, whom I had not spoken a single word to, as my summer boyfriend when I returned home.

I staged a photograph with him, and it’s the one picture that didn’t develop, on the whole roll of film. I’m sure the friend who took it just didn’t know what she was doing, but it feels, in retrospect, like God intervened, and wouldn’t allow the lie to take effect.

I wept when I got the film back. I called to where my mom was, at a friend’s house for dinner, sobbing with the unbearable load of knowing that my damage was uncover-up-able. Her friend stayed on the phone with my almost 13 year old self, and asked me why I was so upset that this one photograph hadn’t developed.

“Because no one will believe that he was my boyfriend without the photograph!” I said.

I was so many layers deep inside the delusion, and the grief was coming from a place inside me so rooted in my being, that I couldn’t speak the truth of it aloud – the “truth” being that I believed I was unlovable. That there was something wrong with me, that would keep me from being accepted if anyone ever found out.

I couldn’t even fully acknowledge it to myself.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had boyfriends, I’ve had lovers, and some of them have been damn fine experiences. But the remains of that old belief still linger, and I don’t want to spend any more time silently wrestling those demons underground. I want to release them into the open, take them on, hear them out, and set them free.

Why is this important? Because all that energy aimed at attempting to keep our darkness buried, could be used for God’s good work. To carry out our soul mission here in this lifetime. To laugh more and be a better person. To actually enjoy life, hey, how ‘bout that??

Because – and here’s the part worth repeating endlessly – none of that awfulness we believe about ourselves is true.

None of it. Not a single solitary second of it. As terribly as you may have acted, and you may have done terrible things, committed crimes against yourself and others, it does not mean that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. Ever.

But we believe it. So we avoid it.

And that’s why I want to invite you – as I invite myself – to have that encounter.

Because I know what the truth is. The real truth.

Underneath all the perceived vileness is your liberated self, who is love.

Living from love looks and feels and yields extremely different results than living from its opposite.

I know all too well what the results are of living from its opposite.

When you’ve got a shadowy aspect of yourself crawling around your inner cellar, it unsettles you. You do terrible things to yourself with food and booze, you sleep with the wrong men and pretend you like it.

At least that’s the way it was for me.

The origin of that misbehavior is one of the things I’ve come into the forest to encounter.

I confronted her last night, as I lay in my tent, the night getting blacker as I lay there, unfiltered, nothing distracting me from my own existence. I felt her rise up inside of me, this black wave of self-disgust, as I let the fleeting thought of a having a man beside me in the tent flicker through my mind.

“Hello, friend,” I said inside myself.

This seemed to surprise her. She took form all of a sudden, a beaten down she-wolf, hunkering low to the ground, full of shame.

I stood over her, taking her in, watching her, feeling her there, feeling her so alive inside of me. I communed with this emotionally wounded she-wolf part of myself, holding her in my acceptance.

As of today, she is welcome here. I won’t deny her any longer.

And in doing so, I sense her beginning to perk up. We’ll spend some good time together, here in the woods at night. We’ll become allies. Friends, even. So she doesn’t feel the need to slink around in my subconscious, hiding out, pulling me down with the ferocity of her claim on me.

No, as of tonight, that harassed, shame-filled part of me is being called into the light of day, accepted as one of the family.

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What shame-filled part of yourself is calling out for your attention today?

Where are you ignoring and denying a whole part of yourself?

Is there an image you can see when you connect to this mystical part of yourself?

Remember, your liberated self speaks to you not only in words, but in the mysterious language of images and colors, the stuff of visions. Trust the mystery.

Tell me all about your darkness and your healing – and any crazy visions or encounters you’ve had — in the comments below!

If you like what you read here, pass me along to all your friends! And if you’re not already subscribed, please join me. I’ll gift you some amazing healing tools, and you’ll get all the insider tips and offers that my inner circle members enjoy.