How to Open After Breaking.

I want to know: who flung those arrows into your heart, how did you escape the pain, and what have you learned about walking in this world?

I wish to rip off your mask and talk deep with ease.

If you wish to know me, see me. If you wish to see me, look beyond the maintained by the manmade.

If you wish to make your way into my heart, open yours. I’ll look past your label, your name, and my subconscious assumptions I’d rather deny.

Please don’t put me on a pedestal unless your destination is disappointment.

I won’t dismiss you—today, but don’t book your expectations on me. I offer you no promises and tell you I’ve broken plenty in the past.

I promised forever and failed—twice.

I’ve also lived in the moment and given full-on, exercised-in-delight love.

I’ve changed men. Some woke up and others shattered.

With men, I’ve both expanded and become completely undone.

I’m the phoenix. I fly into the fire and come out transformed.

That’s why I leaped off a 50-foot telephone pole and walked across 40-feet of hot burning coals. Metamorphosis is what I do.

It’s my chosen path even when I attempt to avoid it, which I do less and less as I age. I welcome change because it’s coming.

I’d like to invite you with me, but I don’t know how long your destiny is meant to intertwine with mine.

Some main characters of yesterday are no longer on the page.

This isn’t a novel. I’m the author of this true story.

I have a say, but how many actors and factors come into play in a life? Prediction seems preposterous.

I’m a risk taker, but today I cling to certainties.

You’re on my path. That’s all I know.

I want to know more. I want to know: who flung those arrows into your heart, how did you escape the pain, and what have you learned about walking in this world? How did you learn to sing and what drives you to get up in the morning?

I want to know the answers below the answers. I yearn for soul connection.

It starts with the eyes. Yet, sometimes I turn away from yours. It’s the intimacy I crave colliding with my protection mechanisms.

I want to ask, why are you still here? And, thank God you’re still here.

Yet, I look away. I look away? Forgive me.

I’m afraid of the unknown, disappointing one more man, and death—yours—even though I don’t know you that well yet.

Only beyond words. From that other lifetime where we meant something to each other that’s been carried over here—in coincidences, synchronicities, habits, and conversational patterns.

So, lean in and tell me what you see in my eyes.

Maybe I need to go to the mirror before I can meet you where you are.

I wish to know you, to see you. I wish to rip off your mask, talk deep with ease, and listen like life is speaking.

Finding Comfort Outside the Comfort Zone

I started this Lose 10 Pounds in 7 Days Diet along with several girlfriends. By the way, it’s nothing crazy. It’s all fruits and vegetables and I’m just looking at it for a health restart. Plus, I’ve gained weight since moving in with my sister.

It’s interesting to see how our resistance to change and our fears arise in the face of something hard. Day One: I gave into coffee, because yes, I’m addicted. My sister asked did she have to eat all four oranges and all four apples? Our friend Steph had hardly eaten, but had finished her ten glasses of water. Crap, at 8 p.m. I still had seven waters to go! Yep, it was actually hard to eat fruits and vegetables and drink water even though I love fruits and vegetables and water. Just because we love something or it’s a great idea doesn’t make it easy. Just because something’s hard doesn’t make it unworthy. Anything outside of our comfort zone is hard.

If we’re going to make a big change (like losing 10 pounds in one week) it’s going to take moving outside of our comfort zone. Because what’s inside the comfort zone? Chocolate. Law & Order. Beer. Scandal. Facebook. Moving outside of our comfort zone is sometimes as simple as just getting outside. Simple, obvious steps to a better life aren’t always easy.

A lot of things sound good in the moment of decision. Fruits and vegetables for a week, no problem! I’ll do it! This is going to be great! Let’s all do it together! Then, we realize since we’ve been living on pizza and French fries and nachos and drinking beer and coffee, the change feels uncomfortable.

It’s in the uncomfortable where we find out what’s truly important to us. My friend in the group who probably had the most weight to lose questioned the whole thing on day one. I care so much about her health and happiness and want her to remember feeling good in her body. I encouraged her and reminder her, of course we knew this was going to be hard, right? But, that’s the thing. Sometimes we don’t.

We focus on the end results and forget the difficult process. We do this in several areas of life, but each of us tends to embrace or resist the uncomfortable differently. For example, my sister is a phenomenal manager. She’s into having courageous conversations and managerial integrity. She easily confronts situations that her boss avoids.

For me, I’ve had the habit of exercising, at least sporadically, throughout my life. So, even if I go months without working out, I bust through the uncomfortable more easily than my sister who’s never felt the runner’s high. We’ve each got to prioritize which areas we’re willing to push through the uncomfortable. What’s the price of this change, really? How much discomfort? Am I willing? Do I believe? Am I ready? What would be the reward? Is it worth it to me?

For years, I wanted out of sales, but I was so comfortable in a world where I’d mastered the necessary skills. For years, I wanted to complete my bachelor’s degree. I went to five different colleges before finally, at age 37 I completed something I’d started at age 17 and had found too uncomfortable each time in between. I had to finally get to the spot where I was committed to going through the discomfort: of feeling stupid, long nights of studying, asking questions and working in groups that intimidated me. Earning that degree did something for my identity, as challenge and change can do.

Sometimes, it’s the fact that something is hard that makes it worthwhile, whether it’s weight loss or education or writing. We forget that something we love and want more than anything in the world can be the most uncomfortable thing in the world, while things we care so little about can lure us into years of comfort but leave us feeling unfulfilled.

At age 49, I’m now pursuing my writing passion. It’s been my dream since the third grade. Some days, I have to remind myself, of course it’s hard! If writing a book was easy, people would be saying, “Yeah, I wrote a book, too” instead of “I always wanted to write a book.” If getting published was easy, the question wouldn’t be so irritating. If getting an agent was easy, people would be saying, “I’d like you to meet my agent.”

This going for goals and dreams and the things that are really important is hard. It’s uncomfortable. But for those things that really matter, the uncomfortable is worthwhile. And I find comfort in that.

Dear Girl Back There

Dear Girl Back There,

Thank you for trying. And failing. And falling on your ass when you were so sure you had it right. Again. In business. Relationships. Friendships. Decision making. Thank you for anything that resembles wisdom. It was hard-earned. You, Girl Back There, took harsh punishments.

You didn’t speak the words you wanted. At times, you spoke words that hurt and shamed. All in an effort to get love. Or at least a little attention.

Hey you, Girl Back There, thanks for helping me develop style, through trial and error and dollars spent on desires and designs that were never meant to be mine.

You endured people who rubbed you the wrong way and those who wished you’d go away. You took on heartbreak like a sport. You always won, even when you lost.

Sure, Girl Back There, your expectations evaporated like water on a summer sidewalk, but you obtained an education and you always caught the next train. Girl Back There, thank you.

You delivered me here, but I’m no longer you. And you, Girl Back There, scared of all the bad that’s been before, you don’t have to carry my bags any more. Let’s just set them down and play.

See, Girl Back There, I saw it all. I know how hard it’s been. Your struggle was my birth. I’m a new woman now. I travel light with less baggage. And my ticket to ride is stamped GRATITUDE. Here, I’ll hand it to you. It can take you anywhere. Even HERE, NOW.

How to Awaken Your True Self When She’s Gone Quiet

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How do we give birth to our own authenticity when we’ve gone unconscious under society’s rules and our chosen roles? When our true selves have gone quiet under our desire to serve others? How do we lift the blanket of pleasing others when it’s covering our true essence?

First step—we resist this one—admit to ourselves that maybe we’ve gone too far down wrong roads. Hey, we were enjoying the scenery. Maybe we missed a turn back there. Or several. It’s time to admit we’re not where we want to be, ought to be, or once determined to be. Then, we honor our good intentions and forgive our fears that landed us here.

No matter. No guilt. No regret. There’s no turning back or unriding roads ridden. You must start where you are.

Often, when I realize the choices I made took me to someplace I don’t want to be, I first blame others. I wasn’t even driving! But, I went along for the ride and didn’t speak up, at least not enough to be heard. Mostly, I told myself everything was beautiful, took a little nap, and awoke to say, “Where the hell are we?!”

Then comes the deciding where I want to go from here. I want to go someplace that’s going to make me feel good, allow me I to be myself, and welcome me to connect and grow. When that’s a foreign feeling, we begin small.

There was a time when all I knew was that I wanted to write. But, I felt angry and trapped in situations I put myself into and commitments I made that now felt fake. I needed a compass.

I asked myself two questions: 1) Is it good for my writer self? 2) Does it make my soul sing? Believe it or not, these two questions led me moment by moment to my authentic self. Suddenly, I was seduced into soulful days and blissing out on the basics—like sunshine, fresh air, and autumn leaves. And I was writing!

Returning to oneself when you you’ve betrayed her is like climbing a brick wall. There’s a door called acceptance. We all take roads that lead us to where we didn’t want to be—because we can’t see the future! We’re human! We can’t imagine all that comes with our determined manifestations.

That’s ok. Pretending otherwise is pushing away the lesson and gift of our evolving experiences. Stagnation is the sin. When we reset our internal GPS to head for joy, we run across our own authentic selves. Then, we reawaken.