Monthly Archives: July 2014

Keeping Friendships Sacred

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friendsby guest contributer Kellie Stone

As a woman in my late forties, I’ve had many friends over the years—some closer than others but all important to my life in some way. I’ve seen some of those friendships flourish with time and also witnessed some crumble to the ground for no apparent reason. Well, there is a reason: Assuming, Predicting, and Projecting or APPs—three little, seemingly, harmless acts of ego that we, as modern day goddesses, should do everything to avoid. The tricky thing: they can hide amongst the most well-meaning and do-gooder scenarios; such as, religion, political agendas, parenting style, beauty and fashion style, and even health practices. Do you understand how forcing your assumptions, predictions, and projections onto others could send even the best friendships to the dump? If not, allow me to explain by first giving you a clear definition of the words themselves:

Assume: suppose to be the case, without proof.

Predict: say or estimate that (a specified thing) will happen in the future or will be a consequence of something.

Project: extend outward beyond something else; protrude.

Though, all three of these acts do have purpose and can even be useful, when it comes to relationships, they become a wrecking ball, destroying everything in its path. With all that I’ve experienced and how my life journey has unfolded, I’ve realized that people, not just Goddesses, deserve to be themselves without others deciding for them what will be, what looks best, what is the smartest, what won’t cause pain, what is pretty, what is ugly, what will bring love, what is right, and what is wrong. These examples are all ways that humans assume, predict, and project their ideals onto those around them, and you know what? We tend to do it the most with our closest friends and family because we somehow think that we have a right to. Though our intentions may be pure, it truly is a way to hurt the ones we love the most.

Being an authentic friend and having sacred relationships is one of the most divine experiences we can have as women. That said, understand, that in order for this to transpire, you may have to adjust some things about how you express your love and concern for others. I had a friend once who constantly projected phobias and dysfunction onto my life by saying things like “Kellie, I know you don’t do well with conflict.” or “You are way too sensitive.” or “That anxiety of yours will likely get in the way when you meet my friends.” And, creating an even worse division, I had a friend tell me that she was “concerned for my soul and that I was in spiritual danger” because I was posting material on my social media page that was outside of her religious beliefs. That pretty much told me that she felt I was wrong and that her “way” and being right was more important than our relationship. The fact is, we’ve all likely either been the projectors or the projectees at one time or another and, for this, we’ve experienced the painful detriment of our human connections.

What it boils down to is recognizing our ego and how it gets in the way of truth, love, and justice. The word sacred is usually used to describe something that pertains to God or holiness but can also refer to that which is considered worthy of deep respect or devotion, as in the case here while talking about friendships. I also happen to believe that the Divine and the Universe collectively act on our desires, purpose, and choices by bringing certain people and situations into our lives. This way of thinking allows me to see that all things are “sacred.” It’s when we reject others because of what they believe or how they live (their truth) that we may miss the lessons and growth meant for us. All things and people have purpose. Remembering, or at least considering, this helps us to bring more of our Goddessness to the table instead of our vexatious egos.

Even if you have been an assumer, predictor, or projector in the past, today is a new day! Let go of the need to be in control and to be right. Inspirational writer and speaker, Luminita Saviuc, said, “Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be.” It’s hard to do sometimes but, in the end, the payoff for remaining indifferent about the affairs of others will bring a peace and harmony to your life that surpasses any “rightness” glory you could ever receive.

One other thing that has to be removed in order to secure long-term friendships is the talking about others behind their backs or gossiping. It seems like a pretty “duh” statement, but I am still made shockingly aware of how this tragedy occurs in everyday life, especially on social media. “She did this and he did that” is carelessly spread far and wide by women who just want to be right and have support while doing it. I get it. I’ve done it, too. We want to be “involved” in the lives of others, and it feels good to be right, but where do we draw the line? My therapist (yes, I have a therapist!) shared an awesome rule that she and her family have: If it’s not your story, don’t share it! I love this simple way in which to “draw the line” and be faithful to the highest version of you.

If we are to truly act on our deepest desire to be good friends, we must look closely at the root causes of the need to be in control and to communicate in a way that can repel and hurt others. Why do you think we assume things about our friends and family? Why do we share with uninvolved “others” our loved one’s stories and private information? Why do we predict how someone will negatively respond to a situation based on how he or she previously did, instead of believe the best of that person? These are tough questions that deserve an answer. I believe it is simple: We have hang-ups about our own lives and have not completely come into our authentic Goddess selves. We are not happy with some part of ourselves.

Being a modern day Goddess with satisfying, loving friendships doesn’t demand perfection or knowing it all, but it does require learning how to let go of that which does not serve. And, I guarantee, damaging your precious connections with ego-based acts does not serve anyone. The most sacred gift we can give ourselves is to know and understand what it is we truly desire from our lives and relationships. Who are you and why are you here? The answer to this question can seem elusive but, if you want to keep your relations with others pure and your heart uncluttered, you owe it to yourself to pursue it.

Building sacred friendships is about being the real you in everything you do. It’s about believing the best in people and realizing that they are on their own path, even though it may cross yours. Create a place in your heart for acceptance and forgiveness that covers yourself and others. Trying to change those in your life or forcing your ideals onto them will not bring positive energy to your existence. Exploring yourself on a deeper level and facing your shadows is the only way to express the Goddess within and to truly keep relationships safe and fulfilling.

For more on Kellie, go here.

Everyday GODDESS: Marianne Soucy

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marianne soucy

Marianne Soucy is the founder of Give Your Dream Wings where she helps spiritual entrepreneurs, healers, intuitives, and authors manifest their dreams. Marianne guides you through the practical steps to create and fulfill your dream while staying deeply connected to spirit and self. Marianne is furthermore the founder of Healing Pet Loss and the author of “Healing Pet Loss – Practical Steps for Coping & Comforting Messages from Animals and Spirit Guides” and host of the Healing Pet Loss Podcast.

 

 

What does being an Everyday Goddess mean to you?

If I was going to describe an everyday goddess in one sentence, I would say that she is a woman who connects with and shines her light in the world. To many of us getting to that place isn’t easy – if it ever happens – because it is not something we are generally taught while growing up. Connecting with your light requires going within, discovering your talents, purpose, passion – your true self – and then going without, sharing your gifts in the world. Both going within and going without takes dedication, perseverance, and courage. My spirit helper mentions some other important aspects of this in my guest article on your website.

 

At what age did you awaken to the presence of the Divine Feminine and would you describe it as a sudden awakening or a gentle unfolding?

I have always had a yearning; a feeling that something was missing; a striving to become whole. You could say it has been an unfolding, generally not gentle, but slow and at times painful. I guess that is where my stubbornness, or you could say perseverance, comes in handy, because it has prevented me from giving up.

 

What roles in your life had to transform in order for you to live authentically?

In order to live authentically I have had to move past my shyness and develop the courage to take action and be ‘visible’. The biggest transformation has happened since I have begun to take action. I discovered that waiting until everything was in place and perfect won’t get me anywhere, and that I am in charge of my own life.

 

What have been some of the greatest inner gifts you’ve experienced since stepping into your feminine power?

Since stepping into my feminine power – or as I also like to describe it – stepping into my true self and beginning to shine my light in the world – I feel more in charge of my life; my life has more meaning; I’m definitely more creative, and it is a good feeling to be able make a positive difference in the lives of humans and animals.

 

Can you share some of your favorite sacred feminine rituals?

To me it is very important to do yoga and meditation in the morning. It prepares me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I have a program that I like and have done for years. Another thing that is an important part of my life is to connect with my spirit helpers, often through shamanic journeys. And although I might not characterize it as rituals, spending time in nature and going for walks is an essential part of my life.

 

Is there a particular Goddess that you are intimately drawn to and why?

The Goddess of Compassion (Kuan Yin) has been the most important Goddess for me. She showed up often in my early shamanic journeys and sometimes still does. My main power animal is also an embodiment of compassion – that’s the best way I can describe it. He teaches me constantly about compassion.

In a recent journey my power animal said: “In order to embody and walk to path of compassion, you need to accept your whole being – that means all aspects of yourself, including the so-called negative traits like, for instance, anger. When you start on the path of compassion, all your issues, blocks and whatever has been preventing or stopping you from being and expressing your true self, will come up. They need to be seen and dealt with, so you can move beyond them. It is not about suppressing but accepting, watching, moving through into a place where you are You. Ultimately it is about becoming a whole being. It’s about shining your light. And while all lights come from the same source, they all have different qualities and express different qualities of the one. Compassion is one of them, and it happens to be yours.”

So it is not a choice, as such, on my part, but more of a natural unfolding, because that’s what happens in my journeys. I have discovered that I learn what I need to learn.

 

Is there a personal message that you would like to share with women?  

That would be to emphasize the importance of incorporating into your life a daily physical and spiritual practice, for example, yoga or Zhan zhuang (standing Qigong). Make it a daily ritual. Work on your whole self. And stop trying to be perfect. Develop the courage to take action – even if only baby steps. If you can’t see where you are going, remember that when you take a step, the next step will reveal itself.

 

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Going All In

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Diver

It's A New Dawn, A New Day, And I'm feeling good. 

Words to Nina Simone's Feeling Good float through my head this morning; yesterday's moment of grief and tears a reminder that I am no longer the woman I was and my man is not my ex.

I told you a few weeks ago that had come to terms with my infertility, that I had decided I didn't want to have a child. Then I met Rio.

5 weeks in, I realized something. Just because I didn't want a child with my ex doesn't mean I don't want a child period.

That shocked me. Floored me, actually. I thought it was settled between me and the Universe. Infertility. No child. I was okay with that. Apparently I'm not. And that brought up a whole host of issues for me – baggage I thought I'd settled.

So when my period started yesterday – 2 weeks early – I found myself crying. Blaming myself. Apologizing. Feeling like I had let my man down. I was back in ‘it's my fault mode.' Again.

Then it dawned on me. He didn't blame me. Didn't criticize. Didn't feel like I had let him down. That was all me. This man – water to my earth, fire to my air – this man is not my ex. There is no expectation. There is no white picket fence dream. There just is. And it is beauty-full.

His response to my news that I started my period and therefore wasn't pregnant? ‘More love making. Yeah!'

I'm tears and sorrow and focused on a missed opportunity and he's happy we get to keep trying. Funny how perspective changes everything…

My second aha moment came today. I am in New Jersey at Stacey Martino's Relationship Breakthrough Retreat. When I signed up for the retreat in early May, I was ‘in transition' (aka divorced and not dating anyone). I hoped I would get as much out of the retreat as I was getting out of Stacey's 8-week on-line relationship transformation program.

This morning we were talking about the four levels of love and how most of us operate from level 2 – the equal-partnership-with-a-scorecard-so-you-can-make-sure-you're-not-getting-shortchanged level. That certainly described my marriage and that of my parents. I didn't know there was another option. But through Stacey's courses, I learned another level was possible: level 3.

Level 3 love is ‘all in' kind of love. You show up. 100%. No judgement. No measuring. No scorecard. It's the risky, vulnerable, raw kind of love. The kind where you could get hurt. A lot. But it's also the kind that you dream of; the kind you read about in romance novels. The kind I never thought was possible. I was too practical to believe in that kind of love. I had  never been with a man that went all in. I certainly had never gone all in myself.

I'm not sure when it happened, or why the Universe decided to finally show me what I'd been missing all these years, but not long after Rio and I started dating, he told me he was all in. I wasn't entirely sure what that meant, but it sounded good. So sign me up!

It turns out that Rio's ‘all in' is the same as Level 3 love. He loves me. All of me. Unconditionally. Fully. Completely. It's beauty-full, and a little scary. I've never felt quite so loved, cherished, vulnerable.

So I went all in too. Or so I thought.

But what I realized today was that I wasn't all in – more like 80%. Enough to feel ‘all in' compare to how I felt in my marriage, where I was at best 50% in, but not 100%. Because that would be too much, too scary. I still had to protect my heart, you see.

Then I figured out why I was hesitant to go all in. I was still convinced at some level that the failure of my marriage was my fault. Between the infertility and me not being ‘all in,' I had convinced myself that I wasn't good enough. I didn't deserve the ‘all in' kind of love – even when it was offered with no strings attached. Self-blame is quite destructive.

Tonight I made a decision to leave my baggage here. Or better yet to kick it back where it came from. These things that are preventing me from going all in – the notion that I'm not good enough or somehow flawed and don't deserve it, the self-blame – those are old stories.  Myths, if you will, that don't serve me. But if I've learned anything over the past year and a half it's that the beauty of stories is that you can rewrite them – as many times as you want.

My story of intimate relationships, of what love is really like, is a story that I have decided to rewrite. My new story goes something like this…

In the past, I allowed myself to get in my own way. I shamed and blamed myself into thinking I didn't deserve happiness in romantic relationships because I was flawed. Today I know that I am perfect, whole, and beauty-full as I am and that I deserve ‘all in' kind of love. I deserve to start a family at age 40 with a man who loves me 100% unconditionally and accepts me completely for who I am. And he deserves the same from me.

Today I leave my baggage at the door.

Baby, get ready; I'm going all in!

 

 

Pieces of Me

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pieces of meSeveral months ago my therapist gave me a picture of a human puzzle. The idea was this: after I shattered last fall, fell apart, I got to decide which pieces of the puzzle I was going to pick back up.

The beauty of this was that:

  1. I got to choose which pieces to pick up

  2. I could choose to leave some, or all, of my pieces behind – like baggage you no longer need or want

  3. I could design totally new pieces to create part or whole of the new me

I dutifully (and a bit anal-retentively) filled in each of the pieces with a word or phrase that described who I wanted to be. I chose words that symbolized my goals, things I wanted to be or do.

My therapist gave me the puzzle back last week and asked me to look it over and make changes where I deemed fit. As I looked over my puzzle, however, I realized that was the problem. I don't want to be a puzzle. I don't want to label pieces of me. It feels too restrictive, too forced. I want to be free to be me, as stable, yet ever-changing as I may be. I don't want to fit the whole of me inside a human puzzle ‘box'. I want to be free to flow, change, evolve. I know who I am at my core, but I don't want to have to put words to it.

I want to paint it, dance it, live it, be it, know it, but not necessarily have to describe it.

So who am I – right here in this moment?

Today I’m a bad-ass spelunking, sexy, rock star goddess, nurturer, mountain, lover, best friend you ever had, who loves to write, sing, paint, dance, be outside, go on road trips, spend time with my dog and with my man. I’m a poet, blogger, fashionista, raw dessert creatrix, yogi, new-awesome-Subaru-named-Athena owner, 40-year-old-in-a-16-year-old’s-hormonally-driven-body when I'm with my man. I flow, I speak, I love, I live, I create. In gratitude and with humility. I am blessed and a blessing. I am innocent and wise. I know nothing and everything I need to know all at once.

Who will I be tomorrow? Who knows? It doesn’t matter because I will be me and I will be happy – with or without a puzzle that tells me who I am.

 

Everyday GODDESS: Alexa Linton

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Alexa-Bellyfit6A modern day cowgirl with a mission, Alexa Linton is known for lighting up her world and her clients with her infectious personality, bold coaching style and her secret sauce, the BodyTalk System. A fire-starter by nature, there is nothing Alexa loves more than seeing people light up from within and their lives change as a result. It is Alexa’s big mission to help people find their fire and truly live a life they love.

 

What does being an Everyday Goddess mean to you?

It absolutely means stepping out of your comfort zone and showing up powerfully and authentically in your life, finding the yumminess and magic in every moment and moving ever towards a deeper state of both embodiment and transcendence. It means learning from every moment, embracing it all, receiving the nourishment from each and every experience. But, most importantly, it means being a mirror to other women on their journey – to live and model what is possible, a life full of goodness, play and love, a life that is greater than imagined.

Inspiring our sisters to act, to believe in their dreams and to see themselves as the fine and fabulous beings they are, is perhaps the most vital gift of being an Everyday Goddess. Imagine the ripple to their children, relationships, careers, friendships when they begin seeing themselves in this kind of light.

 

At what age did you awaken to the presence of the Divine Feminine and would you describe it as a sudden awakening or a gentle unfolding?

For years I unknowingly fought against the Divine Feminine. I was deeply entrenched in the masculine and not the healthy kind, constantly in a state of inner conflict and outer competition and controlled by my inner judge, people pleaser and perfectionist. My greatest teacher in the ways of the Divine Feminine arrived in a rather unexpected form a little over a decade ago, as my beautiful horse Diva. She lives up to her name in many ways! Through the perfect combination of tough love and gentleness, and the rest of the universe lending a helping hand, I began the slow and steady process of awakening my Divine Feminine. I’m not sure I would call it a gentle unfolding, but more so many sudden awakenings enroute!

 

What roles in your life had to transform in order for you to live authentically?

What a great question! The one that comes to mind right away is my role as leader. I had decided that leadership looked like toughness and control, even criticism and of course, big and often impossible expectations. It was a “I know what's right and you have no idea” leadership style, so disempowering for myself and others. When my horse Diva came into my life, she made it abundantly clear that this outdated and ineffective way of being in the world was not going to work for either of us. The transformation to an empowering leader has been a remarkable one, allowing me to help others find their strengths and gifts through being open, vulnerable and authentic. This transformation is still occurring in small, beautiful ways every day. And it was the first transformation of many!

 

What have been some of the greatest inner gifts you’ve experienced since stepping into your feminine power?

If I was to cut right to the chase, which I will, the biggest gift has been getting comfy in my own skin as a woman. I realize now that when I first started learning body work for horses over a decade ago, that I was completely out of my body almost all of the time. I'd decided somewhere along the line that it was easier to live in my head rather than feel. The horses let me know in no uncertain terms (they wouldn't let me get near them) that that was not a great way to go through life and continue to be barometers for how grounded and present I am! When you’re in your skin, life just gets so much more full and so much richer as you’re able to experience the full spectrum of feeling and life becomes a sensual experience.

The ripple effect of this one gift, of recognizing myself as a sensual, sensitive and beautiful woman, is all over my life and has translated to thousands of woman. For a woman to see herself as she truly is and feel at home and safe in her body is, in my mind, a gift for not only her, but her entire world. Once she is grounded in the knowing that she is safe, supported, capable and powerful beyond measure there is nothing that can stop her!

 

Can you share some of your favorite sacred feminine rituals?

Absolutely! As a fiery sort of individual, one of my most important rituals is dance. I gotta do it! Latin dance is my current fave – I just love the surrender and the fluidity not to mention all of the shimmer and sparkles! I perform with a team called Sabor Asi, literally meaning the flavour and I can’t wait for our Monday night practices. I balance the choreography out with Five Rhythms, ecstatic dance or “flailing” as I like to call it. Just letting my body move me into opening and release whatever way it wants to. Yum!

As well, riding and working with Diva drops me into an incredible space of centeredness and meditation. When you connect with an animal in this way all else drops away and you are just fully engaged. I call it the Divine Ride and it is truly magic.

 

Is there a particular Goddess that you are intimately drawn to and why?

The goddess I resonate with most and always have is Kali. My journey on this path has been all about revealing my shadow and shining the light on the areas of myself that scare me, to open myself up more and more despite perceived struggles or potential loss. I work constantly with the interplay between life and death, endings and beginnings, holding on and letting go and am forever fascinated by this dance. Kali, represents for me the ability to dance through life, through all the changes it brings, all the moments that we might want to label as “good” or “bad”. She shows us how to be completely alive through it all, to embrace the ride and to stay in the heart no matter what.

 

Is there a personal message that you would like to share with women?  

Absolutely. I would tell them that the process of awakening to your divine feminine is well worth the work! It will more than likely be a little uncomfortable and you'll get pushed to your edges time and again. Trust the process as your body knows how it all needs to unfold. Sometimes all it takes is just getting out of the way and letting it happen. And always remember to ask for help. This journey was never intended to be made alone and you are so worthy of all the support you require and more!

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The Perfection of Unconditional Love

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unconditional loveWhen my marriage started failing several years ago, I began writing and reading romance novels because I craved a world where unconditional love was possible and there was always a happy ending. My ending, you see, wasn’t all that happy. (I got divorced in August 2013 after 18 years of marriage.)

I yearned to escape into these fictional worlds, where people loved each other despite their many flaws. I would spend hours reading my romance novels (or writing my own) while my then-husband watched TV. It ‘worked’ for us. He escaped into TV; I escaped into my books and we could pretend for a while that everything was alright.

But it wasn’t. In the Spring of 2013, I encountered several couples that seemed straight out of a romance novel. Real couples who held hands and gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes after being married for the same length of time my ex-husband and I had been married. Couples who delighted in each other’s company. Couples who actually liked each other and enjoyed spending time together.

I was astounded.

I remember the last ‘vacation’ I took with my then-husband. It was my Spring Break. We went to Portland in a last ditch effort to save our marriage. It didn’t work. It became clear to both of us on that trip that we were through. My aha moment occurred on a tour of the underground tunnels. It wasn’t the tour itself (although that was fun); it was another couple on the tour. They seemed so happy; so in tune with each other; so in love.

I tried to convince myself that they were delusional newlyweds, but it kept happening. More and more couples who seemed to have what I never had but wanted with all my heart. Love. Pure, unadulterated, unconditional love.

And that’s when I knew my marriage was over. I didn’t think I would ever be lucky enough to find someone who loved me unconditionally, but I began to accept that it was possible. That unconditional love might be a real thing – even in romantic relationships. Albeit only for a fortunate few.

It took another year for me to realize not only was unconditional love possible, but it was possible for ME. All I had to do was ask the Universe for it and then be open to receiving it.

But how did I get to this point? What led me to realize that I too could have a partner who loved me unconditionally?

Three things:

1)      I had to learn to love myself. Unconditionally.

2)      I had to truly believe I was worthy of being loved unconditionally.

3)      I had to put it out there to the Universe that I was ready. And then I had to let go. Wait. Trust. Allow.

In January of 2014 I made a vision board focusing on love – what I wanted to embody in my life this year. I was thinking specifically of self-love at that point, though the words and phrases I chose for my vision board were about love in general. I also made my list of things I wanted to attract to my life in 2014 and started reciting it at the altar in my bedroom almost every night before I went to bed.

At the top of that list was a man that loves, honors, and respects me for who I am. Further down, I requestedhealthy relationships that allow me to be me.

And that’s exactly what I got – after a fashion. The Universe had to test me first to make sure I was serious this time. The healthy relationships with friends came easily. The Universe was quick to send me female friends who allowed me to be me, but I had a harder time being me with the various men the Universe sent my way. You see, I was still in people-pleaser mode when it came to romantic relationships. The Universe, of course, had to point this little problem out to me. There was the creepy guy I met at a wedding in California; the alcoholic guy who wanted me to fix him; the former high school and college friend who wanted me to be his mistress.

I had to turn all of them down; take a stand; realize that I was worth more than that. I had to realize my own value as a person, acknowledge that I was a good ‘catch.’ Most importantly, I had to love myself unconditionally before I could actually get what I asked for. I had to let the Universe know that I wasn’t kidding around this time. That I finally got it.

Not long after I turned down the guy who wanted me to be his mistress, the Universe sent me Rio. River in Spanish. A Passionate Pisces to my Perfectionistic People-Pleasing Virgo/Libra. Water to my Earth. Fire to my Air.

And I was leery. Who wouldn’t be with my track record? But I finally gave in. Went to meet him for tea. Three hours later, we closed the place down.

And I started to think, maybe… But I was still skeptical. Maybe he was putting on a front – I’d been fooled by men before. Maybe it was a fluke. I didn’t want to get my hopes up; didn’t want to trust. So I saw him again – after I was sweaty from belly dance class. And again – when I wore old clothes and did nothing with my hair or make-up (I was testing whether he’d be okay with the real me). And again – when I told him things I usually don’t tell people to see if he’d run away. He didn’t.

We danced because he knew I loved to dance and hadn’t in a long time. We went to the Rose Garden because he knew roses are my favorite flowers. We climbed up a mountain and saw a rattlesnake and too many dragonflies to count and he challenged me to step close to the ledge despite my fear of heights.

And that’s when I decided to dive in. To open up my heart again. To accept the possibility that I was worthy of love. Pure, unadulterated, unconditional love.

And I am. And so is he. And so are you. We all are. We only have to believe and allow. Will you become vulnerable, open your heart, take the challenge to love yourself unconditionally, believe that you are capable and worthy of receiving unconditional love, and trust in the Universe to provide it? Join me? I promise it’s worth the wait.

 

Dance Like No One’s Watching: Lessons from A Year of Transformation

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butterfly transformationI had coffee with a local magazine publisher and friend today.  She commented on how much I've changed in the last year. How my talks have become more authentic and real.

“It must be because you've finally realized you're an expert,” she said.

“No,” I said. “It has to do with me becoming me.”

Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, the last year has been one of incredible transformation for me.

Fall 2013 was my hibernation period. Newly divorced, I was on crutches for 4 months followed by 6 weeks in a walking boot. Given my limited mobility, I dove into developing my on-line presence, blogging, launching two websites, and writing articles for magazines. I spent a great deal of time journaling, reflecting. But it wasn’t enough.

My Goddess Wisdom blog has always been a cleansing for me, a purging of whatever I am working through at the time of writing. And what I learned last Fall was that I am great at introspection and giving advice. I am not, however, so good at taking it – even my own. So while I wrote blogs about the lessons I was learning, the transformations I was experiencing, it was more from a third-party perspective. As though it didn’t apply to me.

And so, I did not heal. The Universe wanted me to start listening to and taking my own advice. It took me until January of 2014 to figure that out.

January 2014 was a turning point in my transformation. I was no longer dormant, but I wasn’t ready to emerge from my cocoon yet either. For 23 years I had been in denial about my eating disorder. It took a good friend getting in my face and confronting me about it for me to admit that I had a problem. Having learned in Fall 2013 that fighting against the Universe and ‘talking the talk’ doesn’t work nearly as well allowing and ‘walking the walk,’ I dove headfirst into recovery. I hired a therapist, psychiatrist, and nutritionist. And over the course of Spring 2014, they helped me put myself back together. Helped me realize that although I fell apart, shattered, in Fall of 2013, I had the choice of which pieces of my life – of me – I wanted to pick back up. And, most importantly, that I needed to take exquisite care of myself if I wanted to have the opportunity to choose.

About a month ago, I emerged from my cocoon. I’m not quite sure when it happened, what ultimately changed for me. But somewhere along the way I decided to give myself permission to be me. To stop trying to please everyone else and just be. To dance to the beat of a different drummer. And that everything would be okay. If people didn’t like the new me, then I’d wish them well and send them off with blessings. If what I said didn’t resonate with them, they could choose not to listen. That what other people thought about me really wasn’t my concern.

And when that happened, my world shifted on its axis. I started dancing again – my boyfriend introduced me to ecstatic dancing (it’s like clubbing without the alcohol and cheesy pick-up lines). I started belly dancing again. I learned how to revel in my amazing body, learned how sexy it could be. I stopped coloring my hair – grey stripe be damned. I started dressing to flaunt my assets instead of hiding them. I stopped trying to please everyone because ultimately the only person you can please is yourself.

And you know what happened? I started getting compliments on how real and natural I was. How I was so moving and passionate about what I do. About how watching my transformation had helped give other women the courage to do the same. I attracted a wonderful man in my life – someone so different from anyone I’ve ever known before – so refreshing. Someone who loves me for me and appreciates me for who I am rather than what I do. And I started loving my life again. All of it – every bump, hill, and valley.

Do I still have bad days? Of course! We all do. But now when the Universe nudges me, I laugh. I sing. I cry. I dance like no one’s watching. And I learn. Oh, how powerfully do I learn.

What have you learned this past year? Are you ready to emerge from your cocoon yet? Share your thoughts below.