I have been in the process of creating a new website, consolidating my business, and “putting myself out there” for over a year.  I keep putting off doing my part and I avoid following through with the help I’ve requested.  I could offer up a plethora of circumstantial reasons and excuses why the website project is not completed but they would not be the truth. The truth is that stepping into the role of “business woman” triggers tremendous shame stories in my head. 

For no particular reason, growing up I obtained the message that I should know how to do things before ever doing them.  If I took on a new skill and it did not come easily I would quit before anyone “found out” that I was a fake.  Anything that required practice or did not come easily was not for me.  As a young perfectionist I did my best to avoid anything that I didn’t get right away or wasn’t good at immediately.

I have spent a large majority of my adult life recovering from perfectionism.  I have taken on new practices that I swore I couldn’t do when I was younger.   I try new things, I speak kindly to myself more often than not, I let myself off the hook, and I enjoy the process instead of being obsessed with the product.  I practice daily to embrace the beginners mind.

However, periodically I still shame myself for not knowing how to do things that I have never tried.  I can still get down on myself when I do not understand something right away.  For example, I do not feel competent with technology so I have been spinning out in shame over this website/business venture.  I was at a multiple month standstill until I received the gift of teamwork.

I have a friend who I knew was feeling a similar crippling shame and fear around a different sort of project and so I reached out to her.  I asked her to come over for lunch and as we shared our struggles, I had an intuitive thought.  I asked her to grab her laptop and we sat laptop to laptop at my breakfast room table and did our work.

Periodically, one of us would look over our laptop and share our shame stories.  I would tell her, “I am feeling incompetent when it comes to website management” and the fear would lesson and I would get back to work.  A little bit later I would look up and tell her how much I struggle writing my own bio and “selling myself” and then again get back to work.

Each time I shared the fear and shame, its power over me lessened and the work was being accomplished.  I learned that I am more likely to live into my power of I’m willing to struggle and ask for help.  Even if it is a solo project, a little teamwork goes a long way.  We are not alone; let’s help each other out!


Bumps in the Road

Tuesday, I was grounded in grace and felt connected and at ease. I was committed to self care.  I was swimming in faith and trusted in the mysterious unfolding of life. I felt held and supported, a small piece of the oneness puzzle.

Wednesday, I packed too much into the morning routine. I made a few “wrong turns” that led me into traffic.  I hit every red light and I still held to the notion that “all is well”.

 I was late to my first appointment and everything worked out fine. I took a yoga class from a dear friend and then taught a class.  I felt alive and vibrant. 

Then I got a message that triggered me into a downward spiral.  After the phone conversation I was fearful, angry, and full of shame.  I felt terrible about myself and I then let that affect the rest of my day.  I chose to feel depressed and fearful.

I continue to be amazed how willingly and quickly I give my peace away. I remember I am connected and at peace when things are going my way and then a little bump in the road sends me spiraling downward into a pit of shame and despair. 

The difference is I don’t have to stay there for days or weeks.  I woke up Thursday morning again remembering that I am connected. I now remember that my worth is not tied to my actions and that I am loved, loving, and lovable. 

I do not know what the end results of this phone conversation will be but today my wellbeing is not tied to a certain outcome. Whether I get to keep things the way I love them or I am asked to change and let go, all is well! I repeat, all is well!

Gifts from God

My boys started school this week and I read my oldest a letter from Glennon Melton the night before school. The full letter can be accessed here:

On the way to school I gave the boys the abridged version. I reminded them that their classmates are gifts from God and that they want to do their best to remind their friends of this through their actions.  My oldest had a very interesting response.

What if they aren’t a Christian? Are they still a gift from God? Yes, definitely I said and this led to deeper conversation.

I let the boys know that I believe God is not only a Christian God.  We have chosen as a family to call God “God” and we choose to worship him in a Christian church. We believe in Jesus and the bible but that does not mean it is the only way to God.

I told them that some people find God through the practice of Judaism and go to Temple. Some people call God “Allah” and practice Islam. Some people find God by being in nature and call God “Universe” or “Love”.   Some people practice Buddhism or Hinduism and call God by many names or none at all.

We are simply humans seeking a deeper and greater connection to that which is much greater than us and beyond our understanding. I am doing my best to remember that I am a divine child of God and so are you. Everyone we meet on this path may be practicing differently from us but the Light within them is not diminished.

So whatever your understanding is of the Divine, may you remember today that God is within us all.  Some of us remember today that God is within us and some of us need a loving reminder in the form of a smile or eye contact.  Some of us have forgotten the Divine within our neighbor, like every living neighbor on this planet, but that does not diminish the Light either. We are God’s gift to each other; may we treat each other with tenderness and Love.

Plate Poaching

Growing up, my dad was consistently a member of “the clean plate club”.  It was a title that he claimed with much pride. Many times, I was also a member of the “clean plate club” due to his eating the food off of my plate. In fact, my father ate the food off of our plates so often we coined the term “plate poaching.”  

“Plate poaching” is when you take food off someone else’s plate either without their permission or when they are not looking. Sometimes I was happy my dad would plate poach, less vegetables for me, or sometimes he’d take something I really wanted to eat. Either way, plate poaching was a standard at our meals and my dad was the king.

It wasn’t until recently did I realize I came to depend upon my dad’s “plate poaching”.  My dad didn’t just take food off of my plate, he took responsibility off of my plate. In the name of love, he did for me things I could have done for myself.  In a round about way, I learned that I didn’t have the inner resources to take care of everything on my plate.  Often, I could become overwhelmed with a task and poof, he’d fix it.

Recently, I have been experiencing a lot of grief around my dad no longer being around.  Through the help of various people that God has placed on my path I have been given an opportunity to look a little deeper at these feelings.  My first instinct was to say that I didn’t know why I was missing my dad so much.  Then, I claimed I was going through a lot of stuff that my dad would help me out with and that is true but it is not the truth.

The truth is my dad was my rescuer.  If I had too much on plate, real or imagined, he’d poach it from me without even asking. I came to depend on my dad softening life for me without me having to ask for what I need. He could fix me and my situations sometimes before I knew they were broken.

The gift my dad is now giving me is learning how to ask for what I need. In reality, no one person can do it alone. We were designed to live in community, to share each other’s burdens. The catch is, I have to ask for what I need and the one I ask has a right to say “yes” or “no”.

I miss my dad everyday. Rarely does the grief overcome me but sometimes years later it still does. My dad was such an amazing father and he taught me so many beautiful life lessons while he was alive.  The gift of this loving relationship is that he is now teaching me a whole new set of lessons in his absence.