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."

 

Revealing: Where The Wild Things Are

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I've been on an odyssey of self discovery lately.  Some parts of the journey have been beautiful and enlightening, and some have been equal parts messy and terrifying. 

Here's what I'm learning: 

Abandonment is a huge trigger for me. 

It runs so deep you guys. 

Are we all afraid of being left behind? 

Also, I've learned that feeling unseen, unheard, or misunderstood makes me intensely angry, even to the point of rage.  

Rage scares me. 

Rage has always been a place I've avoided because it seems so WHITE HOT and... 

DANGEROUS.

But it can also be transformative. 

That is if you allow yourself to get curious about what's beneath...

Rage (often called fury or frenzy) is a feeling of intense, violent, or growing anger. It is sometimes associated with the fight-or-flight response, and is often activated in response to being in the presence of a threat. The phrase “thrown into a fit of rage” expresses the immediate nature of rage that occurs from extended exposure to a threat. If left unchecked, rage may lead to violence against the threat.

and then later...

Cases in which rage is exhibited may directly be related to cognitive dissonance in relation to an individual’s ability to manage the terror associated with death and dying..

Ahh... cognitive dissonance,  terror of death and dying. There it is.  

Recently we experienced a health scare in my home, and while everyone is ok, and it ended by being the best case scenario for an outcome, it still sent me whirling down a dark and ugly rabbit hole where my monsters live.

I found myself going through this strange cycle as I processed. 

First I was calm and concerned about the person I love.  Then, grateful.

"WHEW, that was a close one!" 

and then, "We have so much to be thankful for.."

A day later, I'm feeling a bit anxious and withdrawn, then I noticed that I was in fight or flight. 

"What the heck? How could we not have seen that coming, and what if it was worse, and..... ?"

Then the rage visited me, like a tsunami, and suddenly the person I love the most , who just narrowly escaped something that could have been horrible, was suddenly the object of my rage. 

Where was it coming from? 

Why was I so angry? 

Monsters.

I remember them well.  They lived in my bedroom at night and started to visit me when my life became confusing and scary. 

I recall that they were linked to all the thoughts I had about myself, the things that were happening to me, and when I considered losing or disappointing the people I loved most in all the world. 

The monsters became the faces of each new fear and before long, there were too many to count. 

After hysterically waking my parents night after night, my fight or flight fully activated, they became exhausted. Their way of finally dealing with it, was to lock their bedroom door.

I'll never forget the night I ran through the dark hallway like a bolt of lightening, only to splat flatly against their unyielding door while scrambling frantically to turn the uncompromising knob. I could hear my dad state firmly from behind the door; 

"ENOUGH! GET TO BED!"

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and then I knew for sure.. 

No one is coming for me. 

No one would save me. 

No one would hear my cries.

This must have gone on for quite some time because I recall developing coping strategies.

For example I had a strict policy for using the loo after dark. I would carefully adhere to this protocol as a prudent matter of safety.  If I had to pee at an ungodly hour, then I had to L-E-A-P from the bed to as close to the bathroom door as possible because then I could simply step on the tile because monsters can't work with tile, they dissolve instantly. My brother told me. 

I shudder to think what would have happened had I not known this critical fact.

IF, and only IF,  I managed to attend to my business without incident, I would then have to make the trek back. Obviously, I would need a running start to L-E-A-P back into the bed and burrow myself under the covers as quickly as possible, and then I would need to squeeze my eyes shut immediately while saying three times:

You can not see me, I am invisible. 
You can not see me, I am invisible.
You can not see me, I am invisible. 

It was a process to be sure.

As time went on, the monsters escalated, and seemed more threatening then ever, and no matter what I would do to try to sleep at night, they would bump and thump and grind their teeth and smack their lips, making terrifying and disgusting sounds. The circles under my eyes resembled the bruises on the bananas I peeled for my morning cereal, and Miss. Borrowski sent a note home to my parents to let them know that I had been falling asleep in class.

My mother tutted at me, and my father scowled as he folded the pink paper, referring to my night terrors as "utter nonsense". 

I became desperate to do something about it and knew that I needed to employ a bold new strategy. I found it quite by accident that night while lying in bed as a deep smoldering shame began to arise while thinking about my parents disappointment in me. 

I was tired of this. I was being a stupid baby! I was dumb for letting this keep me up at night and an idiot for letting everyone see how scared I was. 

This was going to stop. 

I sat up with gritted teeth and hissed my ferociousness to the monsters who lurked in the darkness of my room. 

"SHAME ON YOU FOR BEING SO MEAN!"

"PICK ON SOMEONE YOUR OWN SIZE!!" 

"YOU ARE AN UGLY BUNCH OF BULLIES AND YOU DON"T SCARE ME ANYMORE!!" 

I knew then, that I needed to show them that I meant it, so from then on, I walked deliberately to the bathroom completely disregarding the rules of engagement they had forced me to create. 

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I snarled at them over my shoulder: 

"I DARE YOU TO TRY IT!"

My heart would beat it's loud whooshing in my ears while I feigned boredom at them so as not to arouse suspicion. 

Never let them see you sweat. 

This anger tactic seemed far more effective in controlling my monsters, and eventually I would fall asleep believing that I had created a fortress of powerful explosive energy around myself. 

The Wisdom here
is that YOU have to be more ferocious
than the MONSTERS themselves,
to make them stop. 

Fast forward, and after my fit of rage the other day, it occurred to me that all these years later, I've been employing the same strategy.  

When I feel betrayed, invalidated, locked out, terrified, ... I lean into rage as a way of coping with my deep fear of being abandoned, left alone, or feeling inadequate. 

In some ways, the health event provoked the perfect storm of opportunity to go deeper into My Revelation Project, to see my reaction more clearly.

Anger and rage has become the mask I wear for the situations that terrify me or threaten my feelings of safety.  Unconsciously,  I've been baring my teeth to the darkness, to keep the monsters away. Except that I'm not a child anymore,  and these rituals of self preservation no longer serve, they only keep me from the truth of what's really happening: there are things I can't control, and this is scary.

These days, my monsters, while still hidden in the shadows, seem less threatening overall. That is, until I'm triggered by some deep, unconscious fear that's still rooted in my past.  The confusion comes from having to reach back through all those layers to reveal the true source of my upset.

It's surprising to me that there in the center of all of the swirling confusion, rage, & chaos is a very frightened and vulnerable little girl, standing barefoot, in a cotton nightgown, right where I left her.

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We don't realize the moments we toss our own selves out of the garden of belonging to ourselves, but we do it.  Usually based on an experience that brings us shame, or a sense of powerlessness.  We begin to loath ourselves for not being strong, brave, smart, worthy or lovable enough. We think we are deserving of our alone-ness. 

No one is coming for me. 

No one will save me. 

No one will hear my cries. 

Everyone gives lip service to this concept of "The Wounded Child", and I get it, but it's hard for me to see my own, and how entrenched she is in some of my less then stellar adult behavior.  

In this moment, however, I can see her so clearly:

She's lonely, confused and going through some big things. She's keeping secrets and and she's just not capable of putting language around what's happening. She's lost her sense of security and belonging, and she's utterly terrified. She's abandoning her true self for a mask that will hide the inadequate pieces of herself so that she can endure. 

As I sit here, I can taste the salt of my tears as I realize how separate I've needed to be from her pain in order to survive to this point.  I can see her standing there alone, so small, so innocent. 

From this vantage point, as an adult woman, I think of my own daughter at that age and so easily my instincts kick into gear ( it's so much easier to rescue everyone but ourselves!) 

Suddenly I'm running toward her as fast as my legs will carry me. 

"WAIT,  You are not alone... I'M HERE!"

My life seems like a hologram in these moments.  This is vaguely familiar, over the years, collecting the parts of myself I've left behind, betrayed, or disowned along the way. I've learned that these parts of our disembodied selves never stop calling out to us to bring them home. I just don't think I've known this version of my child-self, the one who uses rage to keep anyone from seeing her fear.

I allow a vision to surface:

My strong, courageous, kick-ass, grown-up woman-self is here now, and I can see that she's cradling the small scared version of my child-self in her arms.  As I pull her to me, I whisper the words she's been needing to hear from me all these years, and as I do, I release her from her prison of shame and isolation:

I SEE YOU.

I HEAR YOU. 

I LOVE YOU. 

Then I tell her that she's not alone anymore.

 

 

Truth is the Birthplace of Self Love

My first indicator that I have a hard truth to tell happens in my chest. 

It starts getting tight, and uncomfortable, and starts creeping toward my throat making it constricted and hard to breathe.

I use the tightness in my chest as an indicator along with a simple metaphor to locate myself because it’s easy to get lost in fear when I feel it happening. 

An example would be when someone I care about is projecting something upon me that I’m not in agreement with, or who tells me something about how I am, or how I am feeling or “should” be feeling, when I’m not that way or feeling that way at all.  In other words, it’s not my truth.

Speaking the truth can be risky because it separates us from being in agreement with what’s true for everyone else, and it’s ok for our own truth to be different from everyone else’s.  In fact, it’s our birthright. 

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Our survival instinct kicks in to belong and to be loved and accepted. It's so strong in us, that it will often have us sacrifice or side step our own truth to preserve harmony, but we do so at the cost of our own freedom and autonomy.

So back to the chest getting tight;

Right before I’m about to tell a hard truth I think about a metaphor I call "The Swimming Pool" because it helps me get my bearings. My chest tells me that it’s time to get out of the deep end of the pool where I’ve been swimming, and go back to the shallow end where I can find a place to stand and feel my footing beneath me.

I imagine that I’m standing there, just up to my shin’s in the pool, all vulnerable in my bathing suit (no hiding that shit) exposed, but also stable.  There is no need to tread water in the shallow end, and there is plenty of air when you don’t have to work so hard to stay afloat.  This is the place I imagine taking a deep breath before moving back into some deeper water to do the work.

Just like when I was a child, I imagine looking to see where the sun is located in the sky above me. That way I know which direction the light is in, so that when I go under and while I’m below the surface, where it’s hard to breathe, I can still locate it’s presence.  It’s a trick I play on myself to orient myself before I go to the truth telling place.

It helps me.

The Truth Place

If we are raised to do the proper thing, the right thing, the "good" thing, and told to be a certain way, we are often cut off from our own truth. It happens endlessly from the time we are children.

I’ve noticed that by the time we enter adulthood, few of us know how to hear our true voice anymore. It’s can be hard to locate where the truth is when it sounds like everyone else’s voice but your own, but if you pay attention and listen for it, you’ll start to hear it’s hum.

The truth place can be a messy place when you begin,  but it’s also a birth place.  Thinking back to my pregnancy, and the delivery of my first child, I imagine nothing can be more messy and brutal than that, and then, there she was, in her "true form", and her beauty was blinding. 

That's what truth does. 

It makes us beautiful.

Truth can be be painful, chaotic, ugly, upsetting, and unbearably messy…and then beautiful.

The expression:

"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off".

True that.

Why do we expect that life’s truth is any less messy than our own?  Why do any of us believe that we can just skim along the surface of our lives always making it pretty, without the brutiful parts?  

I’m thinking of what we are requested to oath before a lawful hearing that’s dependent at times on life or death:

"I vow to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God."

Yesss. Help me GOD to tell this hard truth I have to tell because otherwise,  I die a little more inside each time I deny it.

Please stay close with me as I tell this hard truth because I am so afraid that when I say it out loud, that I will risk belonging and love.

And God, Please be my witness as I go back into the deep water to do my work, and help me tread the waters and weather this storm without forsaking myself. 

Please be the constant sunlight through the darkness to greet me after I dive deep and come back to break the surface, reborn in my own true and radiant self. 

Amen.

 

Exploring Potential Over 50+ Years Old

At what point in our lives do we take the foot off the gas and say...

"That's it, I'm too old, weak, fat, tired.."

When do we put the breaks on and stop exploring our potential, or trade in our dreams, or goals for a routine day with nothing much happening.  

I don't want to ever stop exploring my potential. I never want to stop growing and becoming, because each year I get better, wiser, stronger, more in tuned with my dreams and more inspired by my potential.  

There is no end to our potential.  That's a myth. 

Keep believing, keep dreaming, keep growing. 

Life is a revelation. 

Just click on the little You Tube logo below this video and it will take you to the site to play...

What Gender Inequality Issue?

What Gender Inequality Issue?

I was reading to my twelve year old son in his bed, he pointed out a part in the greek myth where Helen of Troy runs off with Paris. Her "husband" refers to her in the story as his property, and sets off to re-claim her.  

"Is a wife like a house, mom?" 
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Remember the Moon

Remember the Moon

Sometimes I have hopenings in my life ( hope + openings), when everything seems to sound, taste, and move me in ways that are more intense. Times when I feel my life and all thats around me at a cellular level. I used to call those openings a "vortex" until I realized that they are attached to a great sense of hope. They usually last for a couple of days, and sometimes they have themes. 

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We Were Made For These Times

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

By Clarissa Pinkola Estes : American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.