Category Archives: Self-Growth

9 Mind Tricks for Conquering Overwhelm

9 Mind Tricks for Conquering Overwhelm

9 Mind Tricks for OverwhelmOverwhelm is messy. 

Life can feel like an endless sea of to-dos, responsibilities, chores, deadlines and appointments. 

Sometimes it all just feels like too much. Like you just can’t keep up. Like the world is asking for too much. 

You’re exhausted and you’re not getting the time your sensitive cells need to recharge.  

I’ve been feeling like this a lot lately. I’m currently a full-time lawyer in New York City, the very capital of overwhelm. I have an hour and 15 minute commute every day that involves a bus, a train and a 20 minute walk (sometimes run…).

I’m a never-enough-time mama to the most magical 17 month old pixie in the galaxy who fights sleep with comet strength and stands firm in the belief that I should be her mattress. I spent the first 13 months of her life in utter chronic sleep deprivation and it still often takes me 2 hours to get her to sleep at night.  

I have my darling hubby, our Chow/Shepherd rescue dog, and an abundance of friends and family who I want to nourish and cherish.  

And then there’s all the cooking, juicing, cleaning, dishes, laundry, bottles, bills, mail, email, doctors, dentists, blogging, plans, decisions and general mayhem screaming for my attention. Oh my!  

So yeah, I am very familiar with the ingredients that cook up overwhelm. And my sensitive cells need peace and relaxation, perhaps more than others.  

But it’s also very important to me that I not embody overwhelm. I did for many years of my life, always feeling like life was running me over. That is no way to live. 

I’ve learned that overwhelm is a choice. It’s a state of mind that can be adjusted. 

1. The Zen in Overwhelm 

I used to be an extremely stressed out person. I was constantly short of breath, I had anxiety attacks, and I knew nothing of living in the moment. I lived entirely in fear of the future and regret of the past. 

And then something happened. I lost my best friend tragically. It was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. 

I was in the middle of law school and her loss brought my world to a halt. Reality as I knew it changed completely. 

It took me awhile to get out of the black haze that is death. But once I did, life was different. I understood its impermanence. I felt its gift. I knew there was a better way to feel everyday, no matter what reality I was living. 

From then on, life stopped running me over. And I started living in the moment.    

Overwhelm happens to all of us. But you can give two different people the same exact scenarios and one will rise to the occasion and handle things with joy and the other will crumble and drag everyone down with them. 

So I constantly ask myself, which person do I want to be? Sometimes I fail and fall into a pit of despair and anxiety, but I work hard to find my way back. And I surround myself with people, like my loving husband, who help me get there. 

It’s up to each of us to find the zen in our overwhelm.  

2. The Truth About Overwhelm 

The truth about overwhelm is that much of it is self-created. 

With the schedule I’ve been keeping for the past year as a mama who works full time at a demanding job, I’ve often felt I’ve earned the right to declare an unfair amount of overwhelm. 

So I had to take a hard look at the chaos I was facing and admit to myself that a lot of it, I was creating. On top of my job and baby I was trying to burn the midnight oil, squeezing everything I wanted out of life into the few nighttime hours I had. And I burnt out, badly. 

So I looked at all I was putting on my plate and started drastically eliminating. It’s what my current situation required. 

No one can do everything and when we put that kind of pressure on ourselves every day feels like a disappointment. 

If we keep our goals simple and achievable everyday can feel like a win and overwhelm won’t win the battle.

3. The Importance of Honoring Your Needs

When I was burning the midnight oil and burning out I was blatantly ignoring my body and mind’s needs. 

I’m a sensitive soul with a side of fire. I’m an introvert who also loves to socialize. I’m all about fairness and self-improvement while working in the ego-filled corporate law word. I need daily emotional detoxing to rejuvinate and reenergize my cells from all this back and forth. If I don’t get it, I don’t function. 

No matter what your schedule, finding time for exercise, down time, reading a book, watching a movie, doing yoga, or whatever else it is that rejuvinates you, is essential. 

When I wasn’t doing this for myself, I couldn’t be the employee or mother that I wanted to me. You must take care of yourself first to do the best you can for others. 

4. The Strength in Asking for Help 

I would be lost without the people in my life who make up my support system. I do what I can and then I ask for help with the rest. 

It is not heroic to take on all burdens. It’s not empowering to be the martyr of your own life. It takes strength and a humble sense of self to know when you just have too much. 

Hire out and automate all that you can. And surround yourself with the right people and you’ll find an abundance of helping hands. 

5. The Force Created by Envisioning Your Future

Doing your best to handle the overwhelm you’re facing does not mean you have to accept it forever. If things aren’t working in your current situation, change them. 

Sometimes that takes patience. Sometimes it takes work. And it definitely takes a lot of vision. 

Imagine your future reality. Play it out. Go deep into the specifics of it. What conversations will take place to make it happen? What are the exact words that will be spoken? What life decisions will need to be made? When will they need to be made by? What will need to be cut out of your life? What can you do right now to start down this path? 

The more you envision it, the more you make it part of your reality. And so you slowly creep towards it until suddenly you’re walking in the version of reality you had been imagining. 

6. The Never Ending Power of Breath

Your to-do list is overflowing. Breathe.
You’re late to pay those bills. Breathe.
Someone else wants something else from your, ASAP. Breathe. 

What absolutely needs to get done, will get done. What can wait, will wait. And it will all be okay.  

Breathe to remind yourself of the abundance within you. Breathe to remind yourself that you are in control. Breathe to remind yourself that you deserve to be prioritized. 

7. The Lessons in Overwhelm  

Overwhelm is a teacher. It shows us what we want and what we need out of life. And it shows us all the many things we can do without. 

Find the lesson in everything. Learn from it. And let that lesson guide you down the right path. 

It’s the people who drown in their own misery who don’t grow. Those who fight through and find the light at the end of the overwhelming tunnel are the ones who win at life. 

8. The Joy in Living Fully

Life may sometimes seem like a ball of chaos, but that means you’re living it. 

Life may seem like it’s getting the best of you, but know that you’re giving it your best. 

Overwhelm may feel exhausting, but it is far better than idleness. 

You are living. You are experiencing. You are gathering information and making powerful choices everyday about what you want for your life. 

You are not sitting around doing nothing. The word “bored” isn’t even a part of your vocabulary. 

You’re living, actively. You’re engaging, constantly. And you’re growing, spiritually. Every step of the overwhelming way. 

 

9. The Power of You

No matter what overwhelm you’re facing, it is not greater than you. 

You bring a life time of experiences and wisdom to everything you face. Use that experience to rise to the occasion. Challenge yourself to find the joy. Find ways to constantly nourish yourself. 

If things aren’t working, envision the change. Let the lessons you’ve learned guide you to greater paths.

You are greater, stronger and more powerful than any situation you might face. But you have to believe that for it to be true. 

Believe in the power of you and overwhelm will have no power over you. 

 

conquering overwhelm

Are You Too Quiet?

Are You Too Quiet?

Are You Too Quiet?You’re too quiet! Speak up. Project. I can’t hear you. Participate more. Anybody in there?!  

These are the messages quiet children hear. I received them everywhere, from teachers, friends, parents of friends, acquaintances.  

The emotionally hungry, eager to understand what could make someone’s voice so internal. Eager to devour those differences and make those perceived as vulnerable operate on their terms. Terms they understand, terms they’ve deemed the norm, the ideal. 

Each time I heard these messages, I resented them. I didn’t want to talk. Being asked to felt like an invasion. An invasion of my space, of my internal dialogue. A dialogue I wanted to share even less when talking was being demanded of me. 

I often sat and watched while outgoing children got praised and adored for their fiery attention-grabbing personalities. Personalities I envied but knew I could never possess, as my cells, at the time, rejected the mere thought of it.

One of my earliest memories as a child was of my kindergarten teacher yelling at me for not responding to her questions and then making me sit in the corner. I remember staring at her and taking her in as she looked down at me with frustration. And I remember feeling like words were not an option. 

I wasn’t being defiant. I wasn’t trying to cause trouble. I was simply living my truth.   

My truth at the time was internal. And it was sensitive. And intimidated. And shy. Quiet. 

I carried this truth into adulthood. I changed a lot, found my voice in many ways, but the quiet side of me remained, even throughout college and law school. To all but those who knew me well. 

I sat in the back. I kept my hand down. I wrote things down. And I listened. 

And I learned how to hear the things that words don’t say. 

The whispers spoken with our eyes or the delicate movements of fingers and corners of lips. The loudness of animated looks and exaggerated  gestures. The sereneness of the humble confidence. The posturing of overcompensation. The tensions of attraction. The subtleties of suppressed annoyance. The animation of pure joy. The uneasy air of the unsettled. The truth and generosity of the truly present.

Looking back on my quiet past, my only regret is the shame I inflicted upon myself for feeling like I was too quiet. For feeling like that was a flaw.  

Because it is in our quietness that we can find our deepest truths.

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It’s quietness that sharpened my emotional intelligence. That deepened my ability to empathize on deep cellular levels. That taught me to create safe spaces for myself and others.

And it’s from that quietness that I now challenge myself to think on a higher level, above my circumstances and insecurities, to find the real truth in any situation, to uncover life’s emotional mysteries.  

And as I grew out of my shyness, through deep rooted self-love and appreciation realignments, it is my quietness that I look back on and thank for making me who I am.  

Have you ever been accused of being too quiet? 

 

The Power of Focusing on the Magic in Your Life {& My Little Drop of Heavenly Rayne}

Photo of me and my babySometimes I can’t believe my daughter is mine. I literally don’t believe it. It was her 1st birthday yesterday and I continue to live in awe of her. 

She’s so much more than I expected. She’s so much wittier, more captivating, endearing, adorable and unique than I could have ever imagined. And so whenever I’m away from her and I pause to think about all her magic, I sometimes feel like she’s a dream. Like she’s not my baby. Like this is not my life I’m living. 

I got used to learning lessons from struggle. In many ways I am who I am today because I like to think about prior struggles, study them, learn from them, share them.  

I haven’t really understood what I’m supposed to learn from this little being that does nothing but make my heart sing. If it doesn’t feel like a tragic struggle, what lessons will I have to share? 

Of course there are struggles… sleep deprivation, what seems like an endless amount of chores, and, with balancing a full-time job, overall lack of any time for myself being major ones. Did I mention sleep deprivation? I now understand why that is a torture technique… 

But as far as she goes, all I can see is the beauty in her little being. The blessing.  

I’ve never been so deeply in love with both the perfections and imperfections of someone before. I’ve never given my deepest levels of strength and vulnerability to anyone so simultaneously. I am mercilessly wrapped around every little part of her soul and yet she is healing and strengthening every little part of mine.

So how can this be? What do you do when life gives you way more than you ever asked for, way more than you ever thought to want? What do you learn? Do you even deserve this?  

I’ve believed for so many years that we’re all here to learn hard tragic lessons about life and then heal. And that it’s through the tragedy and the healing that we elevate our souls. I spent a long time believing that life is supposed to be and always will be, hard. And sad. And lonely. And a struggle.

In the past, I never stopped to think about how life has the potential to just dump love all over you. To give so abundantly and ask for nothing back.   

The other night I found an old diary from high school. I bravely opened it to read a few pages. I couldn’t believe the words on the page… the sadness and anger I used to feel towards life.   

I wanted to reach through the pages and give that girl a hug. And tell her, that if you work on things, if you challenge your perspectives, if you believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who lift you up, if you own who you are and honor what you need to thrive, you can fill your life with magic. 

Magic of your own making. Magic of your own definitions. 

In reading those pages I realized I could view my life through that old perspective now if I chose to. I could lose myself in all the things that are so very hard and overwhelming. I could even go back to allowing things into my life that do not serve me, to perpetuate problems and patterns that harm me. And I wonder what life would look like now if I did.  Would I be married to such a gentle-man? Would I love my daughter in the same way?

Being a mom is hard. Being a working mom is hard. Paying law school loans is hard. Living in New York can be hard. And so many other things. There are times when it all gets the best of me, of course. 

But when I lose myself in those moments, I work hard to get myself back on track. Back to gratitude. Back to magic. Once I decided that that would be my track, I am always looking for it when it’s out of sight, always inching my way back towards it and moving things out of its way.  gratitude-1

What I’ve been finding is that when you immerse yourself in gratitude, life gives back to you in unexpected ways. Life brings you the people, the rewards, the courtesies, the mentors, the gifts you never would have known to ask for. 

My daughter’s not magical because she’s perfect. And I know our relationship won’t be perfect. But the one thing I’ll never demand from her is perfection

I decided that my daughter would be magical on the day she was born. And it was that decision, that commitment to that feeling, that has made every moment since feel just that way. And carrying that same sense of gratitude towards other areas of life, is creating similar results. 

It’s so hard to give a gift to someone who never likes anything you get them. It’s so much more fun to buy a gift when you know it will be received with joy and appreciation and love. 

I’m finding that life is just that way. When you believe in the magic of life and live in the gratitude of all the blessings around you (while also honoring and protecting your needs), life wants to give back to you, reward you with its gifts more and more. 

My daughter makes every today the best day of my life.

I decided that that’s what she would do. And so it is. 

What magic do you have in your life right now? 

And, happy birthday, my sweet girl. 

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The Paralysis of Striving for Perfection, My Confessions

The Paralysis of Striving for Perfection, My Confessions

Photo with baby In writing this blog I often try to find the perfect picture, which I’ll then edit just right. I look for a beautiful font, with the right colors. I work on creating the softest flow of sentences I can, with hopefully a touch of inspiration. I’ll make sure to research the ideal keywords for the best google search results. Then I’ll edit it all some more, and then some more again. Eventually I hit publish and proceed to share it on every social media network I’m a member of. 

I want it all to be as perfect as I can make it. I want to know I gave it my very best. Even if it is just a silly little blog post. 

And in that strive for perfection… I haven’t blogged for 4 weeks.

Life got insanely busy. Back at a law firm full time plus raising a baby and all the errands, chores, feedings, and sleepless nights that go with it, have left me… exhausted.

And so I couldn’t write, not in the Type-A can’t leave any detail behind kind of way that I like to.  I’ve had zero time for perfection. And so I’ve been letting more and more things go. More and more slips through the cracks, cracks that I’ve allowed to open, so that I have more room to breathe.  

And so I’ve been thinking about these little details and my obsession with them. And I’ve been asking myself tough questions like if I can’t do things the way I want, should I just not do them at all?

And I’ve started to realize that maybe one of the things that holds many of us back the most in life is our obsession with perfectionism.

We wait for the timing of things to be just right. We wait until we’re fully comfortable. We wait until all the stars align just perfectly. And in all that waiting, there is no forward motion. 

I’ve been wondering how I can do it all, trying to find the secret formula to getting everything done now that I’m a mama. Being a wife, a mother, a friend, a provider, etc. Trying to do each to my best yet often feeling like I’m failing at them all, and wondering what else I need to drop from my life in order to find balance. 

It took me some time to realize that perhaps what I need to drop is simply trying to get it all done perfectly.

IMG_3615Last Sunday I made my baby over a month’s worth of homemade organic baby food. I felt this need to go above and beyond. To make sure she’s thriving during all the hours I’m away from her when I’m at work.

And as I looked in my freezer at all the brightly colored purees I had stacked up for her I laughed at myself. Did I really need to do ALL that? Who am I trying to prove my good mama-hood to? Is it my guilt for being back at work and away from her that made me go to such lengths? All I know is that what I really needed to do on Sunday was take a nap, instead of pureeing for 4 hours… 

So in the wake of all this self-realization, I am going to make an effort to not bog myself down in the paralyzing quest for perfection. A quest that exists completely in our minds. A quest that sets us up for failure before we even begin. A quest that stops us dead in our tracks.

I write this blog because I love writing, and I love helping people to feel better about themselves. I would hate to stop doing something I love just because I can’t do it exactly the way I’d want to in my ideal fantasy world. 

So I’m going to try to be the best wife, mother, friend, lawyer, blogger, etc. that I can be while embracing that it’s all going to be a little rough around the edges. 

And maybe what we find when we stop waiting for perfection, is that perfection already exists within our imperfectly rough edges. 

Do you ever allow yourself to get bogged down in trying to achieve perfection? Does it ever stop you from even starting?

 P.S. I hope this post looks okay 😉

 

Silencing Your Inner Critic (& a love letter)

Silencing Your Inner Critic (& a love letter)

Silencing-Your-Inner

I’m reading an amazing book by renowned author Martha Beck called Steering by Starlight. It’s about finding the life that’s meant for you and it’s incredibly insightful, I highly recommend it (and all of her books for that matter). In it Martha teaches the most interesting trick to silencing your inner critic and I had to share it with you as I think you might benefit from it as well.

Martha explains the significance of the battle for our brain between the “lizard” and the “wizard”, as she calls them.

The wizard is the part of our brain that sees our endless potential, that knows exactly what our soul wants and is capable of, our purest essence, our childlike enthusiasm and wonder, our wildest unfiltered imagination. Our wizard is our truth, shining brightly as our core, before life came and smacked us around.

The lizard on the other hand is our inner critic. It is the neural structure in our brain that first evolved in reptiles. It literally wraps around our brain stem like a serpent. This part of the brain’s sole function is to trigger survival fears, constantly telling us that we don’t have enough and that we’re in danger. 

Back in our caveman days this part of our brain protected us from threats and starvation. But now we use it to control our perspective on so many other areas of life – love, friendship, time, money, occupation, etc.

It’s the voice that constantly tells you to hold on too tight to what little you have, to give up on love because it’s clearly not meant to be for you, to stop looking for supportive friendships because clearly everyone is really just out to hurt you, to not reach for your dreams because you’ll never get them. It causes you to approach life from a starvation, destitute, defensive, attack mode mentality.

We all have this voice screaming over at least one area of our life. It’s the root of all insecurities, jealousies, comparison addictions, love mishaps and career paranoias.

Martha’s technique for taming this beast is to give it a name and identity.

I’ve heard of giving this nagging alter ego a name before but I always brushed it off as somewhat silly. But Martha has shed some serious light on this tactic. She states that you can literally change the structure of your brain by naming your inner critic. In fact, the more clearly you create an image and identity for it the better.

She explains that by calling on your brain to observe this lizard identity you’ve created, “you subtract neural energy from survival fear and move it to a more highly evolved portion of the brain… The neuron pathways that carry lizard fears become weaker the more we observe them. Patients with ‘abnormal’ brains, such as those with obsessive-compulsive disorder, have actually reconfigured their brains to ‘normal’ by using self-observation techniques.”

So if you know you have a battle going on in your brain with the voice that’s constantly telling you you’re not enough, people are out to hurt you, you’ll never be appreciated, you’ll never find love, you’ll never get what you want, etc., stop and identify this voice. Name it, picture it, and observe it.

So many changes have been happening in my life over the last few weeks and I’ve found myself working back in a law firm (I’m an attorney and spent 6 years at a law firm before the economic collapse). It’s a good thing, I hope to write about it more soon. Being back in my power suits I’ve been thinking a lot about the battles I’ve had to win with my own inner critic and I’ve felt such a sense of pride in knowing it didn’t get the best of me.  

The battles within often throw the hardest punches.
Learn to love yourself and you will win the war. 

I want you to win those battles. 

Being that my name is Liz, I’ve decided to just go ahead and call my inner critic, Lizard. I was asked once to write my inner critic a love letter as a healing exercise. I’ve decided to share that with you here. It may seem silly but writing it did prove to be very healing.

I hope my love note helps change the way you speak to yourself when you’re feeling a sense of lack…

My Dearest Lizard,

Thank you. If it weren’t for you, what would I know of inner strength, of perseverance, of overcoming obstacles, of the power of positive thinking and self-love? Would I be able to empathize with others so deeply? Would I long to help others heal so strongly? Would I have truly understood that our greatest battles often lie within and that winning these battles is where true freedom lies?

You’ve played such a prominent role in my self-growth and for too many years I wasted energy hating you, pushing back on you, fighting you, resisting you… which only made you stronger. I see now how exhausting that was for me, for both of us. How unnecessary. My hatred of you merely reflected how much I was listening to your harsh words and how much I was letting you win our inner battle.

You never intended to hurt me, as much as your words did in fact burn. You were simply trying to protect me, from failure, from disappointment, from others, from myself, from life… You were going about it the only way that you knew how; loudly and brashly.

But my dearest critic, you don’t know what I know. You’re buried so deep within that you don’t see anything other than darkness. That’s not your fault. Occupational hazard.

If you could see what I see you would know that there’s so much light and beauty in the world and that in trying to protect me so vigorously, you were actually robbing me of all the world has to offer and of all I have to offer it. And in spending so much time fighting with you and succumbing to your darkness, I was also robbing myself. We were both at fault.

I want you to know that I forgive you and I truly understand why you treated me the way you did for so long. I also want to tell you that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the years I spent hating you, resenting you, wishing I could vanish you. Because in hating you I was really only hating myself, which hurt us both.

You are a part of me dearest critic. And to truly love myself, I have to love all of me, the good and the bad, the light and the dark. I don’t get to pick and choose. So, while this has been really hard for me to say, I’m just going to say it, I love you.

I hope you’re not offended that you no longer get quite as much of my attention. I hear you, I really do, but now that I’ve accepted you, your voice is a bit softer, a bit kinder, and a bit less persistent. Were you just looking for a little acceptance all along?

Since deciding to love you, I’ve felt more free, more alive, more bold and more empowered. And you’ve played a big role in that. You seem more comfortable allowing me to shine my unique light. It never occurred to me that all of your yelling and harsh words throughout the years may have just been a cry for help, a longing to be seen, to be loved.

Well, I see you. We don’t need to battle so relentlessly for me to remember that you’re there. You will always be a part of me. I’m just so glad that we’ve learned to respect each other more and set some boundaries. I know we’ll still fight sometimes, but I’ve accepted that too so even our fights don’t seem as overwhelming.

You’ve taught me so many important lessons about myself, about life, about love, about self-worth, and for that I am truly grateful. For in your harsh dealings with me you deepened my soul and gave me insight into the complexity of humanity. In “seeing” you, you’ve truly helped me to see into others. I often wonder if I’d have any of the gifts I have if it weren’t for you.

So hopefully we have no hard feelings and we can go forward together in harmony. Here’s to our future together, one of peace, acceptance, respect and understanding, with the occasional rough and tumble.

Thank you, for everything. 

xo

We all have inner critics. They put us down, sabotage us, and block us from achieving our potential, if we let them. But in resisting them too strongly, we often just fuel them on.

So once you give yours an identity instead of fighting with it and hating it (because that really just means you’re hating a part of yourself), I challenge you to make peace with it. Stop focusing on the ways that dark voice inside your head has held you back and instead think of all the ways it has actually helped you to grow as a person.

Identify your inner critic and accept it. In the process you’ll change your brain and change your life.

In what ways has your own inner critic held you back? Can you make peace with it? 

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9 Actions to Take When You’re Feeling Nervous & Insecure

9 Actions to Take When You’re Feeling Nervous & Insecure

9 Actions to Take When You’re Feeling Nervous & Insecure

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind.
If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained. 
~Arthur Somers Roche

We all battle nerves and insecurities, and when we lose the battle, they rob us of our potential.

Personally I’ve battled insecurities quite a bit in my life. I know what it’s like to go from feeling as powerful as a lioness, to feeling as meek as a caterpillar. And when you feel meek, you act meek, and so people perceive you as such. Little do they know there’s so much strength inside of you.

I’ve had situations, one extremely embarrassing one in particular, where nerves and insecurities took me over so tremendously that I could barely speak. My body shook, my words stuttered, nothing I said made any sense, and my ego walked away with its tail in between its legs. Not my most impressive moment.

I’ve come a long way in learning how to fight my security attacking demons but it’s taken years to learn the tricks and maneuvers that help me find my strength when I feel weakness starting to surface. In a world where first impressions are so important, it’s so imperative that we put our best, strongest, bravest foot forward. 

Below are some of my best tips for battling the nerves and insecurities that arise just when you really need to shine the most. Since I started using these tips I haven’t had one of those crushingly ego bruising embarrassing moments that I wish I could erase from my memory. And each tip is incredibly easy to implement so I hope they help you a bit as well.

1. Breathe Deep.

Breathing deeply is one of the absolute best ways to calm a nervous mind. Bringing in an abundance of oxygen deep into your diaphragm is a well proven way to reduce stress and anxiety (especially if you feel an anxiety attack coming on).

When we’re anxious we start to take fast shallow breaths directly from our chests instead of our diaphragms. This prevents your blood from being properly oxygenated which throws off the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance. This then signals a stress response which results in an increased heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension and other physical symptoms of anxiety. So when you’re starting to feel anxious you need to consciously ensure that you are taking deep, long, even breaths straight into your diaphragm. 

If you have an interview, or you need to speak in front of a group, or you want to approach someone you admire, or any other situation where you feel your nerves and insecurities starting to take over every cell of your body, stop and take a series of long deep breaths (preferably with your eyes closed) where you hold the oxygen in your diaphragm for a few seconds each time before releasing it. There is no faster or easier way to calm yourself down.

It sounds too good to be true but trust me, it is so effective.

2. Check Your Posture.

When we’re feeling insecure, we often try to make ourselves appear smaller. So we hunch over, fold our arms, and let our eyes fall to the floor. Your body is simply responding to how your brain feels.

What I’ve found is that your brain can just as easily respond to what your body is telling it. So when you’re feeling your insecurities come on immediately check your posture. Are you slouching forward? What are your arms doing? Be aware of your body. Throw your shoulders back and extend your neck upwards as if a string is lifting you up.

If you can, do some stretching exercises before the event that’s causing your insecurities to rise up. Stretch with your arms out and open wide. In doing so you are not only relaxing your muscles but you’re also making yourself as physically big as you can possibly be. Instead of letting your body cower in fear you are using your body to tell your brain that you are big and powerful, tall and proud. You are worthy.

3. Smile.

Another incredibly easy yet effective way to use your body to get your brain to relax – smile. Smiling is one of the most powerful ways to not only enhance the moods of those around you but to completely alter your mood in the process.

If you’re about to meet someone or do something that’s incredibly scary to you, start smiling. You may not feel like it, every cell in your body may be telling you that the last thing you want to do is put a smile on your face, but do it anyway. It will immediately relax you. It’s like a energy zap to your brain telling it that all is okay, there’s really nothing to fear, and you’re going to enjoy every second of what you’re about to experience.

Whether you’re feeling insecure, stressed, anxious, down, bored, whatever, just start smiling – big and wide – throw in a little laugh if you want to, you will immediately see things through a new, happier, more secure and relaxed light.

4. Remember A Time When You Felt Really Powerful.

Even the most nervous and insecure have had one time or another where they were at their best self, their most powerful, most self-assured, most secure. If you’re about to meet someone or do something that rattles your chakras, take a moment and close your eyes. Think about that time when for whatever reason all of your demons faded away and you were able to accomplish just what you hoped to accomplish, with an elegance and grace that suprised even yourself.

Who was that person? What allowed her to be so relaxed, so self-assured? What was she tapping into?

That person was you. And you were tapping into your core. The true essence of who you are before all the life circumstances and ego bruising mishaps came along that try to smother your true potential.

That strong version of you is still there, there are simply a few layers on top that you need to learn how to peel away. Picture yourself removing those dusty layers, one by one, so that the you underneath can shine.

So as you step forward into the big, bad and scary situation that has you feeling the jitters, picture the core you, dusty layers peeled away… the you that has shown so brightly in the past when you were feeling your best, picture that person stepping forward.

5. Accept it. Don’t Fight It.

When I used to struggle endlessly with nerves one of the biggest mistakes I made was to try and fight it. And so the internal dialogue would go something like this “Stop it. Relax. Calm down. Do not mess this up. OMG my body’s shaking, I’m not going to be able to speak, I suck.”

How do you think the end result of that internal dialogue went? Not good.

I’ve learned that if I’m starting to feel nervous, instead of fighting it and yelling at myself internally to calm the heck down (which only ever backfires), I’m way better off acknowledging my nerves in a loving way, respecting that they’re merely there to show me how important something is to me, and then giving myself permission to feel nervous.

We all get nervous, it’s human nature, by accepting it you can lean into it, gently and lovingly, and then it simply does not take you over. I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times by now – what you resist persists. Once you stop resisting you stop becoming your own worst enemy.

I’ve learned to accept my nerves so much that I can now even joke, with a big smile on my face, about my own nervousness. And shockingly enough, instead of feeling like it’s doomsday when my nerves start to overflow, it can even feel fun and exciting. Yup, I said it, it can feel fun and exciting to feel nervous – sometimes 😉

6. Ask Yourself These Questions.

A little perspective goes a long way. So whenever you’re feeling like your nerves are going to take you over, ask yourself what you’re really afraid of? What is the absolute worst case scenario? If that worst case scenario were to come true, would it be the end of your world? In five years, would you still be hating yourself for it? Would there be absolutely no lessons you could learn from it? Would it just completely annihilate your life?

Chances are, you’d live, you’d love and you’d move on. As they say, the greatest fear is fear itself.

7. Think About Who or What You’re Trying to Help.

Usually our insecurities come up when we’re hoping to get something from someone. Whether that’s attention, a better grade, a new job, a new client, admiration, applause, you name it.

The more we want something from someone the more reason for our nerves and insecurities to spike.

A very simple way to take the edge off of that wanting is to reframe it in terms of how you can help the person you’re hoping to get something from. Chances are you are in fact trying to help them in some way. Maybe you’re helping them with a problem, or you’re helping to make a discussion they’re leading richer and more interesting, or you’re offering the skills that could make someone’s life easier.

Reframe what you’re presenting so that you’re coming from a place of generosity. The less you feel like you’re trying to take from someone, the more you’ll calm down and present what you have to give in a stronger and more abundant light.

Nerves and insecurities come from a feeling of lack. Focus on what you have to give and how you can help and your nerves will fall to the wayside.

8. Don’t Over Compensate.

When we’re feeling really insecure sometimes we try to overcompensate with extremely bold statements and outlandish promises or we try to be someone we’re not, because heaven forbid we just be ourselves.

Remember your core, the true you, you at your greatest potential. That you is not flashy, cavalier or arrogant. That you is calm, composed, graceful, relaxed and strong.

If you’re being fake it will be transparent and will only increase your own feelings of lack. You are better than that. Use these tips and you’ll be able to shine just as you are.

9. Breathe.

Lastly, we’re back to the number one tip. If you forget all other tips above, just remember to take deep long abundant breaths into your diaphragm. That one thing alone will make whatever scary situation you’re walking into feel not so bad after all.

Do you struggle with nerves and insecurities? What tricks work for you?

 

 

 

How to Use Your Gentleness as Your Strength

How to Use Your Gentleness as Your Strength

photo of my dog in the woods

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”
St. Francis de Sales

I’m not always gentle. But I love to be.

My mother-in-law was in town for a few weeks after we had our baby. My step mother told me that she warned her ‘not to be fooled by Liz, she may come across as sweet and shy on the outside but don’t think you can push her around, she stands strong for what she wants.’ 

The very next day my friend told me that one of her friends said to her, ‘I can’t picture Liz as a lawyer, she’s just soooo sweet.’  My friend quickly corrected her saying ‘she is, but don’t be fooled, she’ll take you down if you mess with her.’ 

While I found these back to back stories to be kinda funny, I wondered what the shareable message was. And which am I, sweet or fierce? Can I really be both simultaneously?

People don’t usually associate being gentle with being strong. And I get it. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to wonder if there’s really anything stronger than being gentle

I used to think that to be a good person, a gentle person, I had to put up with everything, be nice no matter how I was treated, no matter how harmful the environment, no matter how unhappy I was inside. Now I know that in order for gentleness to be my true strength, I need to show it, and myself, the proper respect. 

Personally, I view gentleness as a choice, a powerful one. I choose to be gentle, but that doesn’t mean I’m a pushover. And by making gentleness a conscious choice, I am making it my strength, instead of allowing it to make me a victim.   

When I’m able to be gentle with others, I know I’m with my people, because I get to be me, at my best, at my most peaceful, at my most helpful, at my strongest.   

When I’m with those who make my gentleness fade, who place me on guard, who make me abrasive, or who transform my being gentle into a self-inflicting wound, I know I’ve strayed off course. I am no longer with my people, I am no longer in a healthy environment, and I am no longer at my best. 

I view gentleness as a barometer. Environments or people that don’t let it thrive get quickly avoided. Environments that allow it to flourish get indulged upon. But it took me years to respect my gentleness in this way.

Like most people, I haven’t always been surrounded by gentleness. And in many ways I’m grateful for that. Maybe you can never fully appreciate the power of something if you haven’t experienced it’s opposite. It’s because of this that I choose gentleness whenever possible, always knowing that fierceness has got my back if I need it.     

One definition of “gentle” is being “free from harshness, sternness, or violence.” When people are harsh, stern or violent with others, they’re coming from a place of weakness. Weakness that leads them to try and control, manipulate, overpower, condescend, criticize, demean, etc. 

When you’re gentle, authentically gentle, you’re not looking to gain power over someone or something, you’re just you, being you, at your best, at your happiest, your most helpful, your most supportive, your most giving, your most inspired. 

I meet so many women who seem to find shame in their gentleness. Shame in their sweetness. And unfortunately many of them have developed their gentleness because they were treated harshly or felt like an outcast at some point in their life. And because their gentleness arose from something bad, it gets casted with the shadow of shame. They forget that gentleness was their choice. 

It’s so easy to be harsh and mean, rash and cold, belittling and demeaning, dark and manipulative; in fact, there’s a laziness to it. It’s a lot harder to be kind; it takes more effort, more restraint, more consistency, more patience, more thoughtfulness, more determination, more soul.

gentleness is beautiful

There’s no shame in gentleness. Gentleness is beautiful, no matter how it arose, as long as it’s accompanied by self-respect. If you were treated wrongly by someone, that’s where the shame lies. The harshness was the disease, your gentleness is the cure, not the other way around. And it must include being gentle with yourself.   

Being gentle doesn’t mean being a pushover, or a pansy, or a doormat. It doesn’t mean letting someone hurt you, manipulate you, control you, or push you around. 

It means putting your best side forward, treating others with kindness, and using your unique strengths to help others. It means accessing all of your potential, all of your grace, all of your ability. It means tapping into your patience, your ability to forgive, your limitless supply of love. It means working hard to rule over your ego, instead of letting your ego rule over you. 

Being gentle is a muscle that you have to strengthen, nurture and respect. It takes work, patience and discipline. But tone that muscle and you’ll learn to appreciate the depth of the strength it can provide.

Being gentle because you choose to be, because you’re in an environment that lets you thrive, because you trust and believe in yourself, that’s when gentleness is a true power.  

Gentleness is a choice. A brave one. And in choosing gentleness, and respecting it, you are boldly accessing your most authentic strengths.

Have you often thought of your own gentleness as a strength or a weakness?

 

Nourishing Your Inner Introvert in an Extroverted World

Nourishing Your Inner Introvert in an Extroverted World

Nourishing Your Inner Introvert in an Extroverted World

“To have a quiet mind is to possess one’s mind wholly; 
to have a calm spirit is to possess one’s self.” Hamilton Mabie

Does too much social interaction exhaust you? You had a great time, saw old friends, wined, dined, laughed and reconnected. The next day, all you want to do is crash…

You feel depleted, run down, exhausted. Maybe you drank too much, stayed out too late? Are you just frail, weak, lazy? Why does it often feel like you have to recover from having fun while other people can just keep going? 

If social activity leaves you depleted, you’re likely an introvert (or at least fall somewhere close to there on the introverted/extroverted spectrum). 

I used to drain myself endlessly. I love socializing but I didn’t respect or even fully understand my limits so I constantly overbooked myself (I also happen to have a very social husband who books us up constantly!). And so I struggled with always feeling worn down. Once I embraced my introverted nature I became better equipped to maintain a schedule that set limits, maximized my strengths and didn’t leave me feeling so drained.

Introverts and extroverts are like an emotional ying and yang; we complement each other perfectly but we could not be more different. The interactions that drain an introvert, energize an extrovert. Introverts gain their energy from their alone time. Extroverts energize through social interaction. Introverts live inwardly. Extroverts live out loud; they think best when they can speak through issues with others. Introverts love to sit alone and think, quietly, pensively. Extroverts would rather talk to strangers.

We live in a live-out-loud think-out-loud society. Being an extrovert is praised and admired and being an introvert is often viewed as a problem that needs to be overcome or pitied, particularly in childhood. The invaluable benefits of being introverted are often overlooked when people don’t look deep enough. And because we’re often taught as children to be ashamed of our introverted nature by society, we grow up constantly fighting against ourselves instead of maximizing our strengths.

Does any of this inner dialogue sound familiar? “Stop being so lazy, so needy, so emotionally high-maintenance, so withdrawn, so boring. Battle through, power up, keep it moving. Don’t be such a recluse. Why can’t you be more like so and so? …”

Stop fighting yourself. Give your inner introvert exactly what he/she needs and your invaluable introverted qualities will thrive.

Introverts are introspective, deep and complex. We are full of insight and reflection. We forge strong long-term friendships. We focus on projects intently. We are extremely self-aware. We’re incredibly observant, often picking up on things others miss, meaningful but less visible subtleties. We think creatively. We problem solve. We have no desire to be the center of attention, nor are we comfortable there. But we’re very aware of what’s happening there and all around us.

Small talk can at times seem meaningless to introverts. We want to jump into the intimate deep end, talk about life issues, emotional battles, topics we’re passionate about. We want to bond and share deeply. We splash around uncomfortably in the shallow end and do the butterfly stroke in the deep end. And that’s okay, thrive where you thrive.  

The traits that distinguish introverts from extroverts are out of our control, our brains are simply hardwired differently. So wasting energy trying to change or be someone you’re not is just that, a waste of energy. 

Introverts can thrive in small talk and at parties, and we can be very social but our greatest creations, our deepest thoughts, our most powerful reflections, our most sustainable energy, will always come from our alone time, our power zone. The more we respect this power zone, the more we thrive.

I have a theory on introverts that has helped me become more accepting of my own introverted nature. I believe all living beings are connected, energetically and spiritually, and that introverts tap into this energy in a very unique way. It’s this particular energetic hardwiring allows us to see the things others miss, probe so deeply, analyze so intently, and self-reflect so thoroughly. And because we’re so internally stimulated by this energy, we get depleted quickly. The energy of others shoots us up like lightening to metal, and we need peace, solitude and quiet to recover and defuse.

So give yourself permission to be still, introspective, and reflective. And allow yourself down time to recover when you need it. Turn down social events when it gets to be too many. Set boundaries. Allow yourself to thrive according to your own rules. 

You’re not frail or weak; you’re your own energy supplier. You’re the Con Ed of your soul. If you don’t pay the bill, you run all your lights out. Pay the bills and your deep introspective magic will illuminate the mind’s eye.

There’s no competition between introverts and extroverts. One is no better than the other. We simply form an emotional and intellectual ying and yang, two pieces fitting together in perfect synchronicity. The world would not be as complete, as balanced or as beautiful, if everyone was only one or the other. Most of my closest friends are extroverts and we balance each other out perfectly.

Extroverts bring the pizzazz and sparkle; introverts bring the mystery and allure. Extroverts are bright and colorful rainbows, immediately capturing people’s attention with their beauty and shine. Introverts are the wind in the trees that touches your soul in profound, contemplative and peaceful (though less visible) ways. 

Both are beautiful and perfect. Each meant to live and thrive according to their own rules. 

So respect your power zone. Find the balance that works for you. Set limits when you need to. Allow yourself to be exactly who you are. Thrive in your pensive reflections, in your down time. And enjoy all the beautiful rainbows that walk through life with you.

A Gift For Introverted Souls:

a gift for introverted souls

Have you struggled with embracing your inner introvert? 

If you liked this post, please “like” it, share it & leave a comment!

xo, Liz

 

 

 

 

11 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Sensitivity

11 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Sensitivity

11 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Sensitivity

Sensitive Soul, 

If you identify as sensitive, whether you’re introverted, extroverted or somewhere in between, your sensitivity is your foundation. Or perhaps it’s your softly sculpted flowery edge. Either way, you carry it with you, and it either guides or derails you.  

Sensitivity is so beautiful, yet so fragile and misunderstood. We spend so much of our lives resenting it, fighting it, trying to smother it down, instead of nourishing it. And the more we resent and dismiss it, the more it sabotages us. 

Sensitivity is a soft trait, with a powerful backlash if it’s not honored. 

I’ve always been very sensitive. I pick up on other people’s feelings, emotions, and energies very quickly. I absorb them. I feel them internally. And so my reactions to people can be strong. Strong but patient, sometimes too patient, sometimes not patient enough. 

There are so many ways I didn’t honor my sensitivity throughout my life. Ways I’ve been learning to correct. I thought I’d share some lessons here, for your own sensitive self… 

11 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Sensitivity… 

1. Flex Your Sensitive Fierceness.  

The funny thing about sensitive people is that they are some of the strongest people out there. They’re the ones you want around if you’re in a bind, if disaster strikes, if all hell breaks lose, if tragedy hits you. Sensitivity is often labeled as a weakness but in reality it cultivates a strength most people don’t ever experience. We’re used to feeling more so we can often simply handle more, when push comes to shove.  

Being stuck in our own heads sometimes gets in the way making us feel weak, but put us in a situation that gets us out of our head, and quite frankly, we’re unstoppable. 

Take a person who outwardly appears “tough” and put them in a sticky situation and you may find them running selfishly for the hills, trembling the entire way, leaving everyone behind. It’s the sensitive soul who’ll be there to pick up all the pieces with focus and determination.  

All the years we’ve spent feeling, absorbing, and internalizing, builds up a thick foundation of bravery and strength, despite a sometimes soft exterior.

Honor that foundation, tap into it, explore the ways it works in your favor.  

2. Know and Respect Your Perceived “Limitations.”

There are many areas where you’ll feel limited as a sensitive person. Certain energies won’t jive with you. Some situations will overwhelm you. Don’t beat yourself up over them, respect them, create space around them. Give yourself the room you need to breathe, to flourish.  

Here are some things that overwhelm me that I make conscious efforts to fix, avoid or reduce my time with: an overflowing inbox, too much time on Facebook (lately I prefer Instagram, feels more intimate), too many open windows on my computer, people who consistently put others down (even if they’re joking), people who only talk about themselves, letting my snail mail stack up for a month (did this for years! now I check it as it comes in), too much clutter in my home (I am constantly de-cluttering lately), too many social outings in one week, etc. 

I used to ignore the effect these things had on me. I just tried to deal with them because otherwise it must mean I’m weak, I’m “too sensitive”, I’m being selfish, etc. But no, I’m stronger and happier now that my inbox consistently has less than 35 emails in it and now that I no longer hang around people who love insulting others.     

My limitations teach me things, so I respect them, and it makes life feel better everyday and far less overwhelming. 

3. Treasure Your Radical Intuition.

in tune (1)

Your sensitivity likely makes you extremely intuitive – radically so, I’d say. Sometimes we’re so wrapped up in dismissing our sensitivity that we shove our intuition aside in the process. Don’t, it’s an amazing thing to be so in tuned with the world around you. 

People who follow their intuition the most, without letting themselves get in their own way, seem to achieve endlessly. Your intuition is your guide, it’s your compass, it’s incredibly accurate, but it will go haywire if you surround it with negative self-deprecating mental magnets (trust me, I know!). 

When you feel your intuition pointing you in a certain direction, stop and listen. Pay attention and honor it. As your mental magnets start attacking, stop yourself and focus only on the intuition. Let it guide you. 

4. Take Care of Your Health. 

If you’re sensitive, it’s likely not just mental, it’s physical as well. I’ve been meeting endless sensitive women lately and they have all experienced health issues throughout their life of some sort or another. Taking care of your health helps to take care of your mind. 

I’m not perfect and pregnancy has definitely affected my healthy eating habits way more than I’d like to admit – sugar and carbs call to me like never before in my life! And I can see the affect they have on me, on my mood and my energy level – or is that just the pregnancy, hard to tell! Either way, I’m eager to get back to the old me!

Pre-pregnancy, healthy eating and exercising was simply my way of life. There was no dieting, no starving, no resisting, just simply flourishing with healthy food. I’d get some weird remarks from people about my diet and I’m often made fun of at group gatherings, but it’s okay! I know what I need to thrive so there’s no apologizing. Instead I celebrate it and try my best to live by example. Now if only I could get my pregnant self to get more on board 😉 

Learn how food and exercise affect you. Prioritizing your health helps you thrive in every other area of your life. 

5. Accept that It’s Okay to Want to Please Others.

Sensitive people often put the needs of others before themselves. We want to please, bring joy, satisfy. I used to view this as a weakness, a flaw. But I realize now that this trait in and of itself isn’t the flaw, it’s when we take it too far that it becomes detrimental to our well-being. 

But in and of itself, there’s a joy in pleasing others. It makes us hard workers, thorough, detail oriented, conscientious, caring, easy to be around, helpful, and more.  

If we disconnect from that too strongly, we lose something that brings a deep joy and sense of accomplishment. The trick is to combine our need to please with completely honoring ourselves and what we want out of life. It’s not pleasing just to please. It’s pleasing with purpose, with intention, with self-awareness and self-love. It’s about finding a please-others-please-self balance.

6. Practice Putting Yourself First.

While it’s okay to find the joy in pleasing others, if you revolve your whole life around it you’ll be living according to other people’s agendas, and your priorities will get lost in the shuffle.

Practice putting yourself first. State your opinion. Put your foot down when you need to. Choose the restaurant you want to go to. Tell people “no” so you don’t overextend yourself.

You should always be your first priority. You’ll take care of others more effectively if your needs are being met.     

7. Pay Attention to Your Environment.

A chaotic environment for a sensitive person is like living a waking nightmare. That chaos could be in the physical aspects of your environment or the mental/emotional energies of those around you.

To me, this may be the most important way you can protect yourself. If you’re surrounded by ugly energy for extended periods of time (nasty coworkers, constantly grumpy family members, messy cluttered homes), it’s gonna be detrimental on your energy, happiness, sense of peace and overall well-being. Fix it. It’s imperative. It’s vital. You will absorb that energy more than most.  

Sometimes I think about the reasons I consider myself so happily married. And one of the main reasons (out of many, darling <3) is the unbelievable peacefulness of my husband’s personality, and of the home we’ve created together. It’s not our ideal home, it’s too small, but it’s calm and peaceful, always. My husband may be an aggressive attorney at work, and he can certainly keep me debating and on my toes, but our relationship and home are always peaceful. Even our bickering feels peaceful.

That’s not something I will ever take for granted and it’s no accident. I needed that so I followed my intuition to a man who could give me that.

Create peaceful environments for yourself and limit the time you spend in harsh environments.  

8. Be Selective with the People You Let Into Your Mental Space.

Similar to #7 above, it’s so important to be careful with who you let into your life. I used to not discriminate, at least not enough. I have an extremely high tolerance for annoying and selfish personalities. I spent years just keeping my mouth shut and subjecting myself to any personality that came my way and wanted to be in my space.

It’s taken a lot of self-honoring practices to learn that I can choose who I let in my life. And I find that the more that I choose, the more my life fills with wonderful, positive, happy, encouraging, nourishing, just plain lovely people. 

You only have a limited amount of space in your life. Make sure you leave that space open for those who truly lift you up. Fill up your cup with negative energies and there’s simply no room left for others to jump in. 

9. Treasure the Lessons Your Past Has Taught You.

Sensitive people often spend so much time caught up in the ways their sensitivity has held them back in the past. Understand that your past wasn’t always in your control. You were subject to the opinions, agendas, and preconceived notions of those around you. People weren’t taught to nourish sensitivity, they were taught to “toughen up”, “grow a backbone”, “be like everyone else”, “fit in”, etc. 

A lot of those lessons were simply just WRONG. And so we spent much of our lives fighting against our very natures. The very thing we should have been nourishing, we were condemning. And so we swam upstream and learned to resent the tide. 

The tide was going in the right direction all along, you just needed to learn to swim with it not against it.  Now that you know that, forgive your past. Learn from it. It’s not a reflection of your future, if you don’t let it be. It’s just shown you how important it is to swim with the tide.

10. Be Bold.   

Similar to #1 above, being sensitive does not mean you can’t be as bold as you could dream of being. Sensitivity is not weak. Sensitivity is not being a coward. Sensitivity is strong so take bold actions. Do things you never thought you could. Extend yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself.

Let sensitivity be your bold accomplice. Let it be your guide in unchartered territories. 

It’s not trying to hold you back, it’s helping you experience your life more deeply. It’s your subtle sidekick, the Robin to your Batman, the thing that separates heroes from the power hungry. 

Embrace it as you make bold moves in life. The more bold moves you make, the more you’ll see what an asset your sweet sidekick truly is. 

11. Choose to Love Your Sensitivity. 

Love it. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Treasure it. Nourish it. And you will love, embrace, celebrate, treasure and nourish life a little bit more fully! 

Soooo do you like or resent being sensitive?

To the wonders and joys of your beautifully sensitive heart!

Signature

 

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Autumn Stories: Transitions, Twists of Fate & a Baby Shower

Autumn Stories: Transitions, Twists of Fate & a Baby Shower

Autumn Stories: Transitions, Twists of Fate & a Baby Shower...

Autumn transitions photo


TRANSITIONS…

I find myself slowing down lately. I move slower. I walk slower. I breathe slower. And I let less in. 

I have just a few more weeks before I give birth. And I’m full of wonder. Curiosity, hope, worry, excitement, joy, anxiety, laughs, tears, love, fear. It’s all there, making me smile yet keeping me up at night. 

And more than ever, I’m full of protection, for myself… I tolerate less, I avoid more, I give less time to people and things that rob my energy, and I indulge in the positive love that surrounds me much deeper. And I wonder if I’m getting selfish, or if this is how I should have been living my life all along… 

I simply have less to give, less energy as my baby and belly grow bigger and bigger. And so in prioritizing the life I’m giving her, I’m prioritizing me far more, and it’s a strange feeling.

Greedy yet empowering. Full of relief, with a side of guilt.   

And with this big change coming up, the changes its causing in me, and the beautiful change in season, I keep thinking of the transitions we take in life. The curves in the road that weren’t planned for, the changes in direction that were.  

Student, to lawyer, to wife, to selling travel for animal lovers, to wanting to engage in more self-growth work, to getting my first coaching clients, to motherhood. To feeling found, and then lost again. And repeating that cycle, over and over.

And wondering when it all comes together in perfect harmony or if life is about constantly creating, experimenting, and challenging oneself, and seeing what road leads where. Wondering how safety and security join with dreams and creativity. Wondering what it is I want to give and teach to my daughter… 

TWISTS OF FATE…

I live in the neighborhood I grew up in. A neighborhood I left 16 years ago for college and swore I’d never come back to. But with twists of fate I landed here again two years ago, leaving behind the Brooklyn home I had turned into my sanctuary. We now live in the apartment my husband bought before we ever started dating, in this neighborhood I never wanted to see again, in an apartment we’ve had trouble selling and could no longer rent (darn coops rules…).

Ironically my husband also grew up in this neighborhood, yet we never met here, despite living just minutes from each other throughout our entire childhood. We met in college, after leaving here. Twists of fate combined with love to create our story

For years I envisioned having boys, based on certain fears I have about raising a daughter. And here I am carrying a girl, in the neighborhood I thought I’d vanished from my life, smirking at all the irony.

And yet it’s all perfect; imperfect twisted into perfect. Perfect because it needs to be, so I choose for it to be. 

This is my soul work. It’s the journey I’m meant to live; to heal and to grow and to create. To transition, from old stories to new stories. Stories I write. Love I nourish. Twists in the road that I learn and work hard to celebrate.

Soon my life will no longer be just about me and my husband. It will be about what we give to our child. How we love her and the life we give her. How we teach her to travel down her own beautiful roads.

To teach her to live independently, confidently, and with grace, I need to embody and embrace all the transitions, twists of fate, and lessons I’ve been learning along the various seasons of my life.

A BABY SHOWER…  

Autumn Stories photoI had my baby shower this past weekend. And it was wonderful, packed with all the people I’ve gathered throughout my many roads in life.

A friend said to me afterward, “Wow, there was a lot of love in that room.” And there was. Love I’ve created. People I adore. And feeling that love, from all my favorite people, I realized that my soul work is well on its way. Progressing beautifully, at its own perfectly imperfect pace. 

Transitions and twists of fate, however confusing they may seem at times, however curvy the roads may feel in our guts, are leading us somewhere. Somewhere beautiful, to a destination we can’t see yet.

And all the positive things and people in our lives are all flashing signs that we’re on the very road we’re meant to be traveling on… 

Can you see all the signs in your life?

xo, 
Liz 

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