A Fully Permission-ed Life

I coach people who are wanting to live a FPL, “Fully Permission-ed Life” in expression, relationship, creativity, career, and BEING!

This is a messy business to say the least.  But, not as messy as when I was a child, always trying to please everyone (8 siblings, 2 sets of parents) on top of being a chronic apologizer.  It was exhausting to be on high alert trying to meet everyone where they were, and ignoring my inner soul voice. Today, I no longer deny my Self a "FPL", except for when I do.

These last several days have been challenging my “FPL”.  It’s humbling, and it is kicking my ass.

How do I give my Self full permission when I am searching for a good enough excuse, a concrete explanation, or a defense around the reason for not being able to show up.  I find myself “sorry-ing” my kids, business partners, and friends. Where is my permission without the excuses, guilt, the should’s, the shame, and the stress?

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I have to dig a little deeper, and wrestle with what I know to be true. I need to notice when I’m defending my life, instead of living from my personal truth, and stop allowing others to define me. Yup, it’s a very messy inside job. I have to dig deep into the sludge of should’s and defensive living, as I rummage around my soul for the well buried truth, weeding out the excuses, yeah but’s, and shame.  Digging deeper still, through the hot mess of personal with-holding, to finally reach the decaying Fully Permission-ed Self.  There She is, hiding in a tight corner of my Being. I recognize the faint flicker, reminding me of the fire fly that caught my sleepy eyes just last night, when I looked out my bathroom window.  This is when I heard my soul voice whisper, “Wake the fuck up, Girl!” I feel that something give, and my FPL is ignited, and my truth sayer is choosing, “NO not today."  I breathe in my reckoning; the punishing banter that delivered my own damn truth. It isn’t someone else’s truth, it is all mine.  I get to be exhausted, spent, confused, unhappy, nitty, and beaten down by the world for a few days.

She’s back, a Fully Permission-ed Glorious Mess! The magic that arrived at the end of this day's reckoning was a note I received in the mail from my niece, and it read, "darling, a beautiful thing is never perfect."

 

What If The Pain Never Ends?

Lately, I've been coping with more pain than usual and trying in vain to find some relief.  I've noticed that by the early afternoon, I'm exhausted, tight lipped and short.  My only escape from it has been to sleep.  

My Dad, the original cynic, used to tell me that:

"Moniker, pain builds character, ... for more pain."

If I am left to interpret his prophetic statement, then I'll assume he means that it's a given, like paying taxes and breathing, it's part of life.  As pain continues to have it's way with my psyche, the fear burrows into my dreams. In middle of the night, last night, I recall sitting up and asking Austin in a panic..

What if the pain never ends? 

oh, my Dad would have a good laugh at that one, deeming it rhetorical, no doubt. This morning I considered canceling my appointment with my coach, Jessica, because I knew "pain" would end up being a topic, because, that's how we roll. 

I discovered that exploring pain is even more painful then the pain itself, but it's also productive in providing relief.

Some ground we covered: 

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Being with pain: What is that like for me? 

  • Sometimes it feels too big for me to handle or hold.
  • It makes me feel powerless, trapped and imprisoned. 

What does this feeling of prison bring up for me?

  • It makes me think about my life and having come so far in terms of being free from some pretty heinous emotional pain, only to now be plagued with physical pain. WTF is THAT all about? 
  • Feeling like a pain free life is always somehow just out of reach for me.  (Just you Monica!  everyone else has a pain free life!)
  • Feeling like the self-compassion well is dried up, or like the last drop of self- compassion essential oil has been used up, it's essence, GONE. 

If pain had some geography what would it be? 

  • A Wall. 
  • I just come to a place where there is a wall of pain.
  • There's just me against the wall and I'm so tired of coming up against "the wall".

What else? 

  • The pain makes makes me ashamed, it makes me needy, and I fear being seen as if I'm somehow broken and useless.
  • That this pain is being "done to me" or perhaps I choose the pain in another life (lol- because that's the sick twisted thinking you can count on me for!).

What would pain be if it were something to practice being with? 

  • Patience. Oh how I hate you. 
  • Patience can be a useful practice when one is healing. 

What can "be" in the meantime? 

  • Rest
  • It's ok to rest when I can't do anything else. 
  • It's ok to be tired of the pain.
  • It's ok to be pissed off about it. 
  • It's ok to to be afraid.

Still in pain with no resolutions, and yet somehow, I'm feeling way better than I was. 

MASKS : Are You Wearing One?

Authenticity and transparency are buzzwords in the Coaching Industry, Corporate America, and Political culture. And, there is no doubt there is tremendous value in honing the skill of showing up "real".  But- it's not always that easy.

As human beings we learn at a very young age how to morph into what ever will serve us, protect us, give us more attention, make us more seen or less, make us more likable, lovable, valuable, cool, smart, attractive, acceptable, and enough. We are trained in our formative years to work at “fitting in”. This is when we begin to build our repertoire of personalized masks. Growing up I had slew of them. I had the giggle mask, happy mask, fearless mask, capable mask. As I grew older I added the apology mask, daring mask, I got it all handled mask (a step up from the capable mask).  I had a plethora of masks to choose from and they served me well, until they didn’t. I found myself feeling hollowed out, insignificant, which of course motivated me to create more masks, until my life hit a wall and I was smacked down by my own in-authenticity. My non-transparent, co-dependent nature had created so much exhaustion, and such a deep profound loneliness, that I was breaking out in hives and becoming physically ill. My marriage was the mask of all masks and I was suffocating under it, my Being was dying a slow death. This may sound dramatic but I kid you not, it is how I felt.  I had de-selfed, detached from who I was, so much so I couldn’t remember who I was. That is what happens when we use masks to show the world what we think it wants from us, instead of Being who we are. It is no wonder that often times I will have a client show up to a coaching session with the expression, “I don’t know what I’m feeling, or how I feel about that, or what I want.” It gets tricky to identify what feelings are authentic and what is a projected feeling from what we think the world wants from us. 

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How do you choose to show up?

Are you wearing a mask or are you being transparent?

Are you using your authentic voice or saying what others want to hear…

The way to begin to identify if you are wearing a mask or being “real” is to notice if there is another conversation going on within your Self, while you are performing on the outside. Notice how you feel when the conversation is over, and what thoughts you are having about the exchange. It is that simple, it’s simply noticing where you are in your body. Are you feeling exhausted or energized is another indicator. Even a fierce conversation (Susan Scott, founder of FIERCE, https://fierceinc.com/about/leadership) can leave you feeling energized when you are authentic because you are speaking from your truth, instead of making up stuff that is in-authentic and has nothing to do with who you really are.

Ask your Self to step away from the mask, and dare to be you. Train the world to be in relationship with you, instead of the world training you to be someone else.

 

The capitalized words above are not an editing error.  

If You Can Feel It, You Can Heal It.

Sometimes there are no words to describe the beauty and wretchedness we bump against as we walk through our lives. 

The only thing that can convey such things that I know of are art, photography, poetry & music. 

When we’ve lost our access to creativity or enthusiasm, we usually can’t be moved much by any of the above. Usually this is an indicator that we have unprocessed pain or emotion.

People who are hurting don’t need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witness. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpful vigil to our pain.
— Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior

Recently, my brother called with something that was weighing heavy on him and that had been haunting him for years. He shared that he had been unable to listen to music or access his creativity for many months. He described feeling numb, a feeling we’ve known over the years. Numbing helped us survive when we were growing up. As adults however, numbing has stopped serving us and we’ve had to revisit and reveal the pain of our childhood in order to heal and release it.

When my brother and I seek each other out to talk, like- "hey, I really need to talk"  we don't skim the surface.  We usually dive deeply into what's happening in our lives.  We are both familiar with deep emotional work including therapy, but sometimes it takes time to get to all the layers. It’s amazing to think of how many times we’ve had to revisit a past trauma once again in order to heal another piece.

I feel blessed to have a couple of family members that can hang with me in places where the emotional abyss might normally send others running. My brother and I have learned that running never works, even though we still try from time to time ;)

The thing is, all of us have moments when we hit the wall.  When our hurts rise up from our past to lay us out.  Sometimes we need someone to help us out of the dark, or in this case, walk beside us when it's time to go in to take a good long look at what we are running from.

Healing emotional pain is not a linear experience. We heal on multiple levels at different times- spiritually, physically & mentally.  Even our dreams are working to help us heal or to deepen our understanding of something that occurs in our waking life. Emotion is energetic, so If we stop it from moving through, and don’t feel our feelings, the trapped emotion can create dis-ease.

The first thing my brother had to do was feel his own feelings. Each time he tried to intellectualize his pain, I reminded him to go back into his body- to describe the sensations, the memories, describe what was surfacing. As he visited each new layer of emotion, I simply held vigil. We went together, deep into the well of grief where everything feels black and hopeless. I knew that all I needed to do was listen and remind him that he wasn’t alone.

To allow someone to process their pain without fixing it, we commit the greatest act of love for another human. By mirroring his words back to him and witnessing his journey through the labyrinth he eventually found his way back out again. It was a profound gift for both of us.

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The expression I've always loved; "No Mud, No Lotus", makes so much sense.

I don’t think we can have access to the true depth and profound gift of life without knowing the mess of it (the dirt).

The genius of this deep place inside ourselves, the place we bury our pain, is that it's fertile ground for greater possibilities if we dare reveal it. As we dig into the inner wound and shed light there, we transform our lived experience into something far more rewarding.  When we’ve buried pain, we've usually also buried our vitality and creativity so when we get the opportunity to process it, it's like popping the cork out of the bottle-neck. The frothy bubbly essence of our true selves comes teeming back to life and we are reconnected to our source.

Usually after processing emotion at a deep level, an exhaustion follows. The most compassionate thing we can do for
ourselves is to rest and sleep (another deeply healing practice).

After we finished,  I told him to wrap himself in a blanket and take himself to bed. 
Later in the evening after he woke, he sent me the piece of music I posted at the top of this page

It knew then that he was no longer needing to numb.

Good work my Brother. You are so Brave. I love you.

Do you have unprocessed pain or trauma that haunts you? I'd be honored to walk with you to the places that are causing you pain.  It may sound scary- but I promise it's not nearly as scary as you think.   Feel free to contact me to set up a time to learn more about Co-Active coaching.  If you've never heard of it, I'm happy to tell you more and how it can benefit you at any stage of your precious life. 

I'd like to dedicate this post to an incredibly talented coach & therapist Courtnay Meletta who helped me to process a deep childhood wound through her own practice using techniques that helped me to heal when all else had failed.  I learned so much from this experience and it gave me the courage to continue on my coaching journey so that I can help others do the same. I am forever grateful.

Does Life Dream Us?

Does Life Dream Us?

Here I am at the age of almost 47,  and my love has never waned.  What made me trade that natural tendency in for a chance at practicality? Which, the last time I checked has never once ignited passion in me.  I realize that we are not trained to follow natural skills and talents that fall outside the traditional career path.

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