Just F***ing Own It!

IMG_2120.JPGOur deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Marianne Williamson

I have always loved this quote and over the years I would read it, tape it to various bathroom mirrors, and re-read it.  But, it wasn’t until this past week, during the Advanced Course at MITT (mittraining.com), that I realized just how many years I have spent shrinking and hiding from my brilliance, creativity, beauty, courage, power, height, and worth, in some bizarre attempt to keep others from feeling insecure, but really because it scared the crap out of me. “Who am I to be so much?” I whispered.

I built a persona based not on shining authentically, but on being nice, responsible, not rocking the boat, and basically taking up as little space as possible, believing in some way that would benefit myself and others the most. The ironic part is that in trying so hard not to appear selfish and ego driven, I was exactly that, believing deep down that my loved ones, and the world,  were so little they wouldn’t be able to handle my biggest self. I didn’t think of it in those words but, same difference.  “I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, ever, including myself, so we can all just survive, get through, wait, wish, and see what comes our way. It’ll be fine.”

But, I am done with fine.  I’m done with anything less than risky, courageous, vulnerable, joyful, fun, authentic, gigantic living. I, and everyone I know, happened to win the lottery in this go around at life and to then turn our backs on those gifts seems like a big, old slap in the Universe’s face.  What do you want to do? What makes you happy? Why aren’t you doing it? When did you stop doing it? What did you want to do when you were a child? It is possible to get back to when the answers felt clear and there was no hesitation when asked.

Yesterday, as I was driving home from LA, I heard the news that Prince had passed away.  Another authentic, creative, beautiful soul taken too early and all I could think was Thank You. Thank You for rocking us to our cores and for showing us how gigantic and fearless we are capable of being, before heading back to party in the stars.

Prince’s sudden passing was just one more reminder that life is short and oh, so precious.  I am committed to speaking up, showing up, playing big, and just f***ing owning my beauty, power, and worth as a leader. And, lucky you! You get to do the same, starting now.

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La Vida Bizarre

It must just be one of those nights where the world is seeming especially bizarre. Not in a bad way, just in a “what on earth are we all doing on the small round sphere, spinning through space, being happy, feeling sad, getting old, making movies, fleeing war, dying from Ebola, falling in love, building houses, meeting friends for tea, becoming obsessed with TV shows on Netflix, carving pumpkins, dressing up, electing officials, winning baseball games, listening to music, writing stories, escaping volcanoes” kind of way.

Tonight as I watched the news, there were stories about Hawaiian volcanoes, solar flares disrupting Earth’s technological infrastructure, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the upcoming elections, and ongoing tensions between Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Jerusalem. The newscaster felt it necessary to remind his audience that certain things, like solar flares and lava, can not be controlled. I laughed. What can be? I couldn’t help but feel that it all seemed a bit unreal and I watched as if in a dream, thinking periodically, “wow, this is life.”

Outside it was an absolutely gorgeous fall day, brisk turning to warm and back to brisk. As I contemplated upcoming work projects, story ideas, whether or not my plants need food, and what to make for dinner, others did the same. Watching the last episode of what surprisingly became my all time favorite TV show, (I thought I was too cool for teenagers, football, and Texas until “Friday Night Lights”), I cried and then simultaneously laughed at myself for crying. As I carved a pumpkin to match an emoticon, 😍, neighbors decorated their houses with cobwebs and skeletons.

And all I could think was, here we all are. What can be controlled? Our actions. Our thoughts (with practice). That’s about it. We do what we can, try to be happy, and let go of the rest. And periodically we come across places or projects or people that touch us in some way and help us make sense of the apparent random chaos. As I thought about it all, I kept coming back to the idea that it is, and we are, all simpler than we like to believe. Kindness, health, love, beauty, connection, food….

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Where’s The Map?

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There isn’t one. That’s the answer. The reality of this has been catching up with me lately in a way that it hasn’t for a while.
For the past several years, I have been completely at home and comfortable with the idea that all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and make decisions based on what you know and feel at that moment and time. With very little actual planning, I’ve watched my life unfold in ways I don’t think I could have conjured for myself. Through a combination of saying yes when opportunities presented themselves and having some vague idea of where I wanted to end up, my years twisted and turned, eventually bringing me to this moment in July, 2013.
I was recently talking with a friend about life, plans, and visions for the future, and I became acutely aware of how foggy my plans felt. The idea of a five year plan made my head want to explode, with one year not much better. Six months seemed barely manageable. Beyond just feeling unclear about where I saw myself, I actually felt uncomfortable trying to predict where I might be by then. One thing I did feel clear about was that the universe seemed to have bigger plans for me than anything I’d been able to imagine for myself and I didn’t want to get in the way.
This fogginess led me to wonder if there was ever a time that I remember seeing my future clearly. The answer was no. I have no memory of where, as a child, I pictured myself in my mid thirties.
And yet, somehow I have been able to manifest a beautiful life. I have a career, albeit a crazy one, that works for me on many levels, a newly renovated home, and friends and family who I adore. And I really couldn’t tell you how any of that came to be. It just did.
Without a map or an idea that A would lead to B and then to C, I’ve lived my life from some place in between faith and instinct. By staying present and making choices based on gut reactions, I find myself where I am. And, though I love the idea of an all knowing map, I’ll just have to trust that what I’ve been doing must be working.

Landing

It always takes a good crash to realize how high and ungrounded one is. A nice long nosedive back to earth.
My recent landing left me looking around, asking myself what I really want and how did I get so far from the things that I know help to bring me balance and happiness.
For the past few months, my method for living has been all about keeping busy and high, jumping from jobs to trips to plans for the future, anything to keep from really being present and looking at where I am right now. I knew somewhere in my gut that this was what I was doing, but didn’t care, happy to postpone the inevitable crash a bit longer.
Now, as I try to answer the question “what do I really want?”, the answer is the same as it always is. I want to be happy in a way that comes from within me, not dependent on outside circumstances and therefor not at the whim or able to be taken away by those either.
I’ve had glimpses of that happiness at times and there is a stillness that comes with it and an acceptance of what is, rather than what I think should be. And the times that I’ve experienced this feeling were always the same times that I was truly taking care of myself. Doing my stretches in the morning, meditating, eating well and cooking, exercising, and connecting with friends. These are all the exact things that I let lapse in my hyper, adrenaline infused quest to stay high, hoping the answers to all of my questions lay in the relationship, the job, the city, and so on, rather than in me.
I believe that all any of us truly want is to be happy but that it is too easy to look for that happiness everywhere but within. So, as I try to reset my internal compass and be truly present in my life, I will also try to be extra compassionate towards not only myself but others, realizing we are all on the same mission.