Tag Archives for " personal growth "

Grace, Vulnerability and Joy

A piece that I wrote two years ago popped up this morning as a memory on Facebook. It’s a piece on vulnerability that I wrote as I was in the midst of creating radical change in my life (you can find the full blog post HERE).

Not only did accessing a deeper state of vulnerability contribute powerfully to this change, but it opened me up to a much deeper state of grace. And then that heightened state of grace allowed me to be more vulnerable, and so forth and so on in this beautiful dance that I’ve been engaging in over the past several years.
 
Lately I’ve been really feeling this again. I chose FULLexpression as my word for the year, and as intentions will do, I’ve been nudged over and over again to express myself in ways that have been challenging. I’ve had to be even more forthcoming with my emotions and be even more present to what is happening within me.

It’s been hard and it’s also been ~ again ~ full of grace.

Vulnerability seems to be revealed in layers and with each one that we strip away, a new rawness emerges to be addressed. This excerpt from what I wrote particularly struck me as I read my post again, two years of growth and development later:
 
“It takes courage to be vulnerable because it is really terrifying to open our hearts and expose them to the world. It is fiercely powerful to be seen without the armor, to come out from hiding with our hearts on our sleeves. It takes strength, resolve and maybe even a dash of insanity. But as we do the work, as we get stronger and feel more empowered from our core, our ability to be vulnerable begins to show itself as a gift rather than a danger.”
 
I am in awe when I see people being open and vulnerable because I feel like I’m receiving a gift from them…It is the true pearl within the oyster, the wisdom and strength that inspires me to grow and stretch myself even more and even when it would seem easier not to do so.
 
And I aim to do the same, through my words and one-on-one with my friends, family and clients. By sharing from my heart, I allow others to know that they are honored and held by me and that they have permission to do the same.
 
Sometimes it is really hard, but it is always liberating. I love more deeply, more fully, more richly when I open myself up in this way.


 
Sharing from the heart creates relief, space and connection. It opens us up to experiencing a vast array of emotions, which ultimately leads to a greater capacity for joy as well. It allows us to be fully US, our awesome, lovely, sloppy, clumsy, authentic selves.

I absolutely adore that version of you! 

10 Pearled Wisdom

I’ve chosen intentional words for the last few years and they have proven to be very powerful for me. In 2015, “expansion” brought me a business coach, a healing space, and huge growth in both my personal life and practice. In 2016, “activation” brought me even more growth, a hugely opening and expansive relationship, and a new course and program actually called “Activate Your Superpowers.”

Through these past two years, I’ve learned that there is deep power in setting intentional words and because of that I’ve taken a lot of time to allow the right word to settle within me this year.

Initially, because I have experienced such an expansion of energies over the last few years, I wanted to continue along the same vein. But as life and my higher self would have it, a much more introspective and subtle energy came through.

I wrote recently about my experience in New York with my business coach Monica Shah, in which I had an epiphany around how I tend to hold myself back in many ways. I’ve become very open and able to be vulnerable about topics that I used to shroud in secrecy and shame and because of that, I have felt confident in my voice.

But full-expression of ourselves is more than just our voice. It is the way that we move through the world, the manner in which we share ourselves in all ways. It is how we hold ourselves, offer ourselves, shine our lights, and even how we dim them.

So the truth is that I’m fully expressing myself in some areas of my life, but not all. I still hold back in some ways out of fear of being “too much” to others.

And so I was holding this thought in the back of my mind and I asked my team and Spirit to guide me towards my word. “Expression” was being whispered in my ear, but I wasn’t allowing it to take hold within me.

A few days later, at my birthday celebration, I received a beautiful gift of an oyster shell from one of my dear friends. And while an oyster shell might seem like an odd gift (even she claims she had intended to get me a piece of jewelry, but felt drawn to get the shell instead), I was mesmerized by it.

Then, when we got home, I opened a gift from Scott: The Wild Unknown’s Spirit Animal Deck, which I have had my eye on for a good while. I was SO excited to pull my first card. (Y’all, this deck is amazing!)

I laid the cards out and asked to be shown what I most needed to see. And then I pulled…

OYSTER.

Frankly, I was wondering why I hadn’t pulled something more glamorous, like Unicorn or Eagle or the Cosmic Egg. Seriously, oyster??? I wouldn’t even have thought about putting an oyster card in a deck!

I didn’t initially put it all together…And then it hit me: I had JUST received an oyster and I had been reflecting on not holding myself back. My guides were being loud and clear with me:

It’s time to come out of my shell and to reveal the pearl within. It’s time to open and express fully, to not take my inner gifts for granted, to move away from my tendency to hold back and withdraw.

I’m realizing just how powerful FULLexpression can be. I also realize that just as my last two intentional words pushed me to challenge myself in big ways, 2017’s word is already asking the same of me.

So I will be louder, bolder and brighter this year in a way that feels aligned and in integrity to me. I will do so even when my tendency might be to pull back. I’m committing to my word and I’m excited to see what sort of magic will unfold as a result. It scares me, but it lights me up at the same time and that is exactly what the best intentions for growth will do.

What about you? Have you chosen an intentional word for 2017? Hop on over to my blog and share if you’d like. I’d love to hear from you!

2 Releasing the Bondage of Toxic Shame

Recently it’s been brought to my attention that my “openness” can be uncomfortable to others at times. It provoked an interesting reflection for me, since I spent most of my life buried in secrets.

I remember even as a young child thinking that I needed to keep aspects of myself hidden away as sharing them would show me to be the less-than-perfect human that (of course) I was.

There were always little droplets of shame dusting my existence, since the very beginning of me.

So when I was raped, I knew right where to place it. I took the event, twisted it around in my mind to try to maintain some sense of power in the face of this devastating situation, and then I tucked an entire tome of self-blame and denigration right there along with the rest of it.

I buried it amidst a pile of secrecy and I left it there and I fed it. Each and every day, I added at least a little more. Sometimes I added a lot. Even when I shared my dirty little secrets, it always started with, “Don’t tell anyone this, but…”

The fear of judgment ruled my shame and bled into all areas of my life.

And for a long, long time nothing seemed to help it. I knew that I wanted it to leave me. I was aware that it was harming me, but I struggled and struggled to release it. It wasn’t until I did the deeper work of releasing the repressed emotions along with a lot of energy and body work that I began to feel myself swimming up to the surface.

Once this happened, the shame released. The bundle of emotions that had kept the shame locked into place had moved and with that a tidal wave of energy poured out of me. The place that had been full of all that fear and self-judgment became a beautiful and open space, a neutral vacuum ready to be filled. I knew that I had the say in what went in there and I did not want to go back to the space I had been occupying for most of my life. That had NOT worked for me and I was ready for something new.

I also knew that I wanted to help others who also felt locked in pain, trauma, toxic shame and fear and that I couldn’t do that unless I openly and unapologetically revealed myself to others.

It was scary to very publicly share my experiences. Once on the Internet, always on the Internet. I was aware of this. I knew that the words could not be retracted. I had a few people in my life who really worried about this for me and that was challenging as well.

But I could not repress it again and I couldn’t help others experiencing this same pain if they couldn’t find me. They had to be able to identify me. It was my choice how that could play out: I could put on a modern day Scarlet Letter or I could speak with the voice of someone who had claimed her healing and her power. I chose the latter.

Being open feels natural and normal to me now. I don’t keep secrets and I don’t feel shame in the way that I used to. I don’t share every aspect of my life with every person I meet, but I do get to be authentic and true and genuine about who I am and my experience here in this lifetime.

And honestly…It feels good. I am so much lighter and I breathe so much more freely. I don’t have to cover things up or pretend or hide. I just AM. At times it’s uncomfortable and hard, but mostly it’s freeing. I can just show up and be and hold my space in a way that allows others to also be vulnerable with me. My openness gives others permission to be open too if they choose to accept that invitation. And I like that. It keeps it simple.

Button Lady

8 When You Stay Stuck in a Story…

…you give your power away.

Truth be told, most of us love a good story. An account well-told captivates us; it brings us together and allows us to feel solidarity and connection with others.

In fact, a catchy story played over and over in our own heads can be just as mesmerizing. Typically the plot lines of these stories follow one of two general layouts, either the I’m-the-victim-of-all-of-it plot or the I’m-to-blame-for-all-of-it version (which is also really a variation of the victim story). Sometimes there is even a middle ground that shifts between the two.

Regardless of which adaptation we are telling ourselves, when we hit repeat on the player, we are in effect keeping ourselves in a place of disempowerment. We are telling ourselves over and over again that: “this ~ and only this ~ is how it is.” Much of the time, we’ve written our version into a tragedy because drama sells.

So when the version of the story is one that doesn’t serve our growth, not only can it quickly become stifling ~ it can seemingly smother us. When this happens, we begin to feel anxious, overwhelmed, isolated and alone.

For years I told myself that life was a struggle. I had been victimized and I played that reel over and over again. As a result, the story bled into most areas of my life. I truly believed that I wasn’t enough and that I didn’t have enough value and so, in turn, I never perceived that there was enough available for me.

Turning this belief around was huge. I was attached to my story that life was hard and that I was a perpetual victim of circumstance. And so I continued to struggle and I continued to be victimized. Becoming a single mom further perpetuated the myth I’d created because I then bought into the societal belief that being a single mom is really hard.

And it is really challenging. I’m not downplaying the amount of dedication it takes to be a single mom (or any type of mom or dad for that matter). But I did stop buying into the international best-selling version of the story, which is that single moms don’t have enough money, time or support to raise their children the way other families do.

I decided to rewrite my as-yet-uncharted history ~ to create the unfolding that I truly wanted to claim. Now, updating this story didn’t happen overnight. I had to unravel years and years of personal and societal brainwashing.

I had to heal my emotional wounds. I had to process, cry, scream, laugh, journal my big ol’ heart out, and really dig deep into my psyche and my awareness. It was a complete overhaul of my raison d’être. It was messy and sloppy and so so so beautiful all at once.

But I did it. And thank goddess ~ because I’m not struggling anymore.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments that are hard because there are plenty. What it does mean is that: I’m not defined by not being able to get through my hard moments. I get through them by moving the emotions and energy around them. And when I do that, the record changes. It’s a living and breathing story that allows for expansion and growth rather than holding me in a pattern of stagnation and constriction.

I’ve moved from victim to hero in my story. I say hero because I saved myself. And in the saving of myself, I created a better environment around me. This means that my child benefits, as do my friends, my family, my clients, my neighbors and the world at large. How wonderful it has been to take one more version of the stress/lack/scarcity paradigm out of the field and to replace it with a vibration of faith!

I’ve rewritten many stories in the last several years, and one of them is my money story. A part of that was giving up the idea that there isn’t enough and that I didn’t deserve to receive what was out there. I did loads of healing around this and then once I started working with my business coach, Monica Shah, my mindset shifted considerably. Here is a photo of me sharing my now ever-evolving money story ~ the one that I am actively creating ~ at her Master Your Money event in Atlanta this past weekend.

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When we claim a new story, we create a new reality.

What story are you ready to rewrite? I’d love to support you. Share in the comment section below and I will hold your intention to shift along with you!

4 Eliciting Intimacy

When I set the intention to journey into more intimacy in all of my relationships, I wasn’t certain what that would mean for me and others in my life.

A part of me thought that I would be met with wide-open arms, and in some instances that was the case. A few of my relationships deepened immensely and there is a beautiful richness to them that allows for soul-baring honesty, profound support, and limitless love. These connections are nourishing me in ways that I never even knew possible. In addition to the increase of emotional intimacy in these friendships, the openness in my heart has fostered an even deeper connection with Spirit, which has spilled over into all of my interactions with others.

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The work of deepening intimacy and vulnerability also afforded me the opportunity to experience a new type of romantic love, one that has shown me what it is to be held fully and completely in all areas of my life. This relationship precludes shame-blame energy, which in return, promotes honesty and truly open communication. It fosters a heart-to-heart connection that has opened me to experiencing myself in new ways.

This process was not easy. I had to be really brave and I had to constantly ask myself: How can I go deeper? How can I reveal myself in a way that feels authentic, true, and safe?

A part of what I realized was that as I have grown to feel safer and more secure in my own life, as I have embodied myself more fully, I have been able to create a strong foundation of self-trust and confidence that in turn has created an ability to trust the process of increased vulnerability. I feel safer opening to others because for the first time in many, many years, I feel safe in my body.

That doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt when my advances for more intimacy weren’t met. It also doesn’t mean that I didn’t experience sadness when it was revealed that the dynamics of some relationships weren’t equal.

It did convey that I had to look deep within my own heart to examine what it was calling forth of me to acknowledge and honor. I entered into another layer of healing and I looked at my pain as honestly as I could to see if and where I was holding myself or others away.

But even when others didn’t meet me head on, there was an overall increase in the depth of all of my connections and the flow of energy around me, from the teller at the bank to the drivers on the road around me to my family and friendships.

Sometimes this process was messy. And sometimes it was full of grace. At times I was triggered and at others I was embraced.

But it was always truthful. It was always heartfelt. It was always me, standing before another with my heart on my sleeve.

 

16 On Being Self-Full

I used to really struggle when it came to putting myself first, though taking care of others came very naturally to me. If I sensed that someone needed something, I quickly prioritized it, putting it above my own needs. I gave and I gave and then I would give even more, often to the point of depleting myself.

As a strong empath, much of my life has been experienced through the feelings of others. Within seconds of being around someone, I know exactly what emotions are processing through them, from the surface layer and all the way down to the most hidden.

At my best, this gift allows for me to be really good at what I do.

At other times, it has created confusion, anxiety, depression, exhaustion and a host of physical ailments.

Society taught me as I grew up to give selflessly while my empathy pushed me to try to manage everyone else’s emotions so that they would feel better. Initially, before I knew how to handle “being sensitive,” I had to numb myself with alcohol and drugs. The world always felt like it was just “too much” for me to handle and so I had to check out in order to manage it.

Once I got sober, learning to care for myself became a fast necessity. Valuing myself as my first priority was one of the most challenging lessons I had to learn, and it’s one that I’ve been working with for years now. Turns out, boundaries and self-care aren’t a one-shot lesson; they roll themselves out over and over again and with each step further into self-love, we extract a new layer to learn from.

For the longest while, it didn’t feel natural to prioritize my own needs, but what I realized was that unless I figured it out and put myself at the top of my own list, I wasn’t going to be good for myself or anyone else.

Even today, my primary impulse is almost always to over give, whether it’s of my time, my space, my knowledge, my heart or my energy. I have had to learn a lot of awareness so that I can step back and assess what areas of my life are pulling a little too hard on me so that I can adjust accordingly. I’ve had to assert myself in ways that have felt uncomfortable and hard so that I can understand my surroundings and the people in my life and find a way to interact with them in the way that best values my wellbeing.

And I’ve had to learn that self-care is non-negotiable. I still catch myself trying to circumnavigate this one at times. I’ll put it off or stick it behind a lists of tasks that I think are more important ~ and I can promise you that when I do this, it never ends well.

But when I am full because I have been nourishing myself and taking care of my own needs, the energy that I extend towards others is much more vibrant and alive. It is full of my own love of self that gets to spill over from a full vessel into the lives of others. It is infused with love and life and respect and honor because that is the energy that created it.

When I am around others who are doing the same thing: What a treat! We get to share in this beautiful exchange of energy that uplifts us both. Our hearts get to meet one another in a space of being self-full and we both are able to experience a richness of connection that is authentic and loving. Truly the best gift I can give to others is the highest version of me and it’s the one that I would like to receive from them as well.

Self-love keeps the soul humming.

What is one thing you can do to nourish yourself today? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Self-love keeps the soul humming.

4 Five Tips for Calming a Busy Brain (Besides Meditating)

We all know the feeling of the overactive brain and when we hit that moment of anxiety or overwhelm, it can be hard to remember our tools. Here are a few of my favorites that are easy to implement and highly effective at resetting the energy of mental chaos.

1. Stop, Drop and Breathe:

This is actually as quick and simple as it sounds. When you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, confused or ungrounded, this technique can provide a huge reset for you.

  • Stop what you are doing and sit down.
  • Feel your feet on the ground and settle into your physical frame. Notice your body without judgment; feel it and trust it as your structure and support.
  • Turn your attention to your belly and draw in a long breath. Allow your stomach to rise on the in-breath and fall on the out-breath. Repeat this about 5 times (or as much as feels good).
  • This is a great way to start a meditation if that is already in your practice, but it most definitely stands on its own as well.

2. Energy Dump & Refill:

A busy brain creates a lot of chaotic energy in your upper chakras, which in turn can manifest as anxiety and overwhelm. Grounding and cleansing is a great way to shift this imbalance.

If you have access to grass and a little time, go to it. (If you don’t, find some!) Lie on your back on the earth and settle into your body as in the tip above. Shift your breathing to your belly and take a long and full breath from it. Next, imagine that all of your cares, worries, fears and any energy that you are holding onto that doesn’t belong to you is flowing off of your body and into the earth to be transmuted.

You may find it useful to do a full body scan and to feel the energy flow out of each region of your body.

When you feel that you have released all that is heavy, frenetic and/or no longer serving you, set the intention to receive from the earth. In our busy world, we often forget to receive from others and it is vital that we refill as much if not more than we give. Feel the energy from Gaia flow up and into your body. Thank her and yourself for this opportunity to nourish and replenish.

If you have a grass allergy or find it uncomfortable to lie in it, this works standing or you could do the activity leaning against a tree. In both cases, release through your feet.

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3. Take a Real Time Out:

The busier the schedule and the more activities you have stacked up in your day, the more you can benefit from stepping out of your active life and into something that requires you to be in a receptive state. This could be an energy healing session, a massage, a manicure or a facial. The point is that you are in a still position and receiving love and nourishment from another. You and your body deserve it!

4. Smell Your Way to Clarity & Calm*:

Lavender is my personal favorite essential oil and when my mind won’t slow down, it’s the first thing I turn to. It’s also great in conjunction with any of the activities above. It supports relaxation, so be careful with daytime use. If my mind is racing before sleep, I put a little of it on my pillow. I’ll fall asleep in no time!

Product shots fro new catalog at YL farm in Mona

Rosemary and Lemon promote clarity and focus and if I need to get some work done, I will diffuse these two together. This combination is uplifting and grounding at the same time. These combined with an energy shake off (see below) can create a great shift.

5. Shake it Off:

This advice from my childhood soccer coaches really works. Stomp your feet, shake your arms, move your torso and your head. Feel the excess energy releasing. Dancing is a great way to get the same result. Both activities release excess while bringing you back into your body.

If you’re really clearing some energetic muck, spray or burn some Sage afterwards to help transmute it.

If you have any tips that you use, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section. Thank you!

* I use and recommend Young Living oils for their purity and high quality. If you use another brand, be sure that it is chemical free and that the company takes pride in its product. Lavender oil found in the grocery stores is often made from Lavandin, which has a completely different composition and may not promote calming at all!

 

 

8 Musings on Being a Badass

I did something super badass the other day.

The thing is, though ~ I almost didn’t do it.

I was given the task ~ along with about 20 other women ~ of breaking a pine board in half with just our hands. We wrote the limiting belief that is holding us back from creating more success in our lives on the side we were to break through and on the other side we marked down what we truly desire.

I felt pretty calm about the whole thing and wasn’t worried about whether or not I could do it until we actually got down to doing it. I watched my mentor, Monica Shah, lead and then a few others follow. Witnessing so many powerful women really focus and bust through the boards was inspiring. It was joyous. Their exhilaration was palpable.

It was also intimidating. I had started to worry about whether or not I could do it. I have a weak wrist from years of injuries and bartending, and I began to worry about hurting it. When it was my turn, I stepped up and I lined myself up and I struck at it.

Nothing happened.

I hit it again and then again. Still nothing and my wrist hurt from the repeated force against the board.

I stepped back, unsure of what to do. My injury was the result of not listening to my body when I was younger. For years, I had ignored its cues and pushed through pain, both emotional and physical. Even with years of healing, I’m still unraveling some of the repercussions from that.

I also knew that there was something that I was missing. I was aware that it wasn’t about force and that my apprehension was getting in my way.

I was stuck.

That was when this beautiful community of women reached out and lifted me up. My soul sister, Elicia, suggested I try with my other hand and encouraged me to play with a different mindset. She saw into my heart ~ as she does ~ and sensed that I needed an out-of-the-box solution. Another dear friend and colleague (and exceptional body worker), Susan, assured me that she could correct anything in my wrist that needed support. More girlfriends rallied and Big Bob, the man who facilitates this work, was called to assist.

He showed me what I had been missing. I was lacking force from my lower body, trying to push through with my hand, without accessing the simultaneous strength and thrust of my legs to facilitate the process.

I tried again and still I missed. By now, all eyes were on me.

Oh the beautiful and divine irony of it all! The limitation I was breaking through had to do with success and fear of failure with eyes upon me.

But Bob encouraged and inspired me, and the women around me cheered me on.

Then, as if it were nothing, I knocked that damn board and belief right in half.

I was greeted with hugs and I cried and I felt so so so supported. My wrist hurt less when I allowed myself to surrender and move through the belief. Susan worked some magic on it and it actually feels better than it did prior to the board breaking. (Imagine that!) Another Lady Love, Ina ~ channeler extraordinaire of The Alchemists, captured this great shot of my personal victory.

Attachment-1

When I was young, I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t think I could master. I’ve spent years healing that sense of not-enoughness. It still rears its head at times and I thank god that when it does these days, I have people in my life that will support me and show me my potential.

I have opened myself up and allowed myself to be vulnerable ~ real honest-to-goddess, authentic vulnerability ~ in a way that has come full circle so many times.

When I show my heart, others hold it up for me to see.

What a treasure.

Dropping the Stone

I want to make an amends. This is an amends that I’ve wanted to make for the past many years and I haven’t been able to locate the person. And then last night I was inspired to look again and this time Google took me in a different direction and within just a few minutes a familiar yet grayer face was looking back at me from the computer screen.

I’ve been thinking a lot about compassion lately and the mistakes that we make, sometimes over and over again before we finally get it right, before we finally have a shift in perspective that allows us to create a more positive impact in the world.

I’ve been trying to hold space for others to make the same mistakes that I’ve made or that others have made millions of times over since our soul bodies began inhabiting this particular species of life. Sometimes it is really hard. Sometimes I just don’t understand the who, how, what, why or where, and every once in a while, because of that, I want to cast a stone.

Every day I ask myself how I can hold my heart open even a little bit wider than the day before. I see how we are all just humans here having human experiences, which includes making a lot of mistakes and hurting, sometimes intentionally and sometimes inadvertently, others who cross our paths. It doesn’t make it right, but it is human. We all have different ideas of what is right anyway, and we are all creating a unique and individual path that is taking us to exactly where we need to be.

Until I knew better, I didn’t do better. And then sometimes, even when I did know better, I still didn’t do better. These days I’ve got a pretty good track record, though, and that is mostly because I made a decision several years ago to love myself more. Once that became a reality, after a lot of soul searching and deep healing, it became easier to love others and to hold space for them to be uniquely them. Sometimes holding space means listening to them, sometimes it is allowing them to make their own mistakes, at other times it is accepting them exactly as they are instead of thinking they should be how I would want them to be.

That last one can be hard. In my world, the one in which I inhabit the central space and the leading role, I’ve got a pretty clear idea of how it would all run a lot more smoothly if it all happened my way. Unhooking these preconceived notions has been both difficult and liberating. They still pop up, but when I can let them go and give the other person the space to have their own experience, there is an energetic exchange that takes place that feels clean and expansive rather than manipulative and constrictive.

And so as I contemplate this amends that I want to make, it takes me back to this place of appreciation for this person. Things didn’t end badly with him, but I have seen since I started my healing journey how some of my actions may have been hurtful to him. I want to acknowledge that and honor him and perhaps (hopefully) make it right because now I know better and because on an energetic level it clears some heaviness for all involved and as a result for the rest of you as well.

I doubt that I would ever act that way again. I start every day with an intention to be the best version of myself that I can be that day. But I will likely make other mistakes as I move forward and so the wider my heart is the bigger the circle of love and support I can cast and the greater the ripple effect for all will be. I want to hold space for you to be uniquely and exactly you, just as I would love for you to hold that same space for me. Then perhaps we can find our way through this thing together and with love.

dropping-the-stone

A Forever Person

I’ve been blessed with many relationships that have all served important purposes in my life and this last one was no exception. I’ve walked away from all of them, even (and maybe especially) from the dysfunctional ones, stronger than I was when I entered them. And as I’ve grown, matured, deepened my spiritual practice and lived a sober life, I’ve been able to gain even more clarity around myself and myself in relation to others. Through this work, I’ve also been able to move further and further from codependency.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday and sharing about my most recent break-up. “But you looked so happy in those pictures!” she said. She wasn’t the only one to say that, either. The truth is: I was happy in those pictures that were taken a week or two before we broke up. I was deeply and genuinely happy. I was also becoming more acutely aware, as was my partner I believe, that we weren’t moving along on the same path. We had fun together and he helped to bring my inner child out to play. I was smiling and joyous in those pictures because I and my little girl were having a good time. We were doing things my inner child hasn’t ever done before, not even when she was a small (because of her acute shyness and perfectionism), such as taking pictures with total strangers dressed up in crazy costumes, dancing and singing in the car, and laughing at many of life’s twists and turns.

Alternately, though, there were things between us that couldn’t be reconciled, as is the case in many relationships. We just couldn’t find our footing together, so to speak. I love him and he loves me and yet…

Ultimately, we were able to consciously release the relationship and it was a beautiful and loving break-up. We were communicating as the two people who love one another and who want the best for one another and for ourselves. There was no anger, no blaming, no trying to make one another feel at fault or wrong. We didn’t allow the relationship to overstay its welcome and we didn’t move into fear and defensiveness. It felt clean and it still does. Unlike in past break-ups, I don’t feel either of us trying to hold onto the other. There is no energetic pulling, clawing, manipulating or forcing of anything. It just feels – clean. And that has allowed me to grieve in a way that feels pure. The tears come and they flow and then I move forward. I’m not being held back by stuff – I don’t feel stuck and overwhelmed by my emotions. This is HUGE for me!

I so so so want to meet a man that I can develop a deep and lasting bond with. I want to experience intimacy at one year, five years, 20 years and beyond. I want to be able to continue to navigate deeper and deeper waters with someone. I think I had a lot to learn, though, before I could get to an emotional set point that could handle that. It’s taken me a lot of healing and so much introspection that at times it’s dizzying. I also don’t want to compromise my potential for growth or that of my significant other by staying in a relationship that doesn’t ultimately allow us each to fully flourish.

And it feels good to recognize that even though I love my now ex-boyfriend and that there wasn’t anything “wrong” in our relationship, we both honor one another enough to recognize that we aren’t the best other half for each other and that to stay together any longer would only hold us back from moving forward both independently and hopefully with someone else better suited for each of us. I feel blessed and my life was enriched by this relationship. I also feel even more clear about what I hope to create moving forward and inspired to continue to do the work I need to do to find my forever person.

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