Tag Archives: being stuck

Yes, Samantha, You Are In The Flow

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Yes, Samantha, You Are In The Flow

I hope you get on this site soon Samantha. We met last night in a serendipitous turn of events and had a lengthy conversation covering so many topics. I want you to know that you are in the flow of life and more importantly, you are the flow. And, you inspired my flow here on my blog.

I have been where you are and when so many doors close then it is easy to reach out and close more of them – making the assumption that this is the outcome that will happen anyway, so let’s just get it over with. It becomes an instinct to hesitate walking through another door, fearful that it will close on our nose too.

You are resilient and strong. Just from a 2 hour conversation, I know this about you. Be bold. Put yourself out there again with your voice and your musical gifts and say Yes when doors begin to open.

We talked about Efforting vs. Being. Efforting is when we struggle to make things happen, exhausting ourselves, and sometimes others, in the process. Being is allowing action steps to be inspired and intentional that feel good rather than heavy and burdensome. Our to-do list comes from our mental mind more than our heart when we are full of efforting – and we feel weary when we think about doing these things. When we shift into having our heart engaged, we shift into inspired actions that leave us feeling excited and hopeful.

You are a beautiful being that I am happy to have met you in the alley behind Goodwill on a lovely Friday night in Boulder, CO. Start asking yourself, what if I am doing everything right? What if I am right where I am supposed to be all the time? What if this experience is to help me learn more about me and about the world around me? What if this is to help me grow and stretch myself in ways that I cannot imagine?

Stay tuned, Samantha for posts about other things that we spoke of that I feel compelled to share here –  neoroplasticity, pain and letting go, movement and stillness, there are no guarantees, why did this happen to me?, travel and serendipity of events, and more. Thank YOU for showing up and getting my voice rolling again – YOU inspired me to publish some shit!

You are having a Great Life Samantha. Enjoy.

Love, Angela

 

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Forgiving the Unforgivable

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Forgiving the Unforgivable

My grandpa sold me for sex when I was a child. There is a poem here.

It is okay. Really. This story will show you how I am more than okay.

My grandpa also sexually assaulted me many times before he sold me. In navigating my healing, I found a level of compassion for him that was beyond my human capacity. I wrote about that here. But in early 2014 I realized my forgiveness had hit a wall. I saw his act of selling me as:

U n f o r g i v a b l e.

My journal says: “Grandpa, my forgiveness will not extend that far. I am pissed that I have so much damage to navigate from your evil-ness. If you were still alive, I would send you to jail. I want to feel safe and you stole that from me. I hate that I cannot still the voice that says I am less than the other people in the world. I hate that my worth, my value was put into dollars. Will I ever be able to forgive you? My anger is so huge, it feels like the Earth will shake and buildings will crumble if I let it out. I cannot imagine this rage being replaced with forgiveness.”

Even thought it seemed impossible, I wanted forgiveness for what it had to offer ME even though I had no idea of what it would feel like or look like. I did not know how unforgiveness was holding me back because I had carried it with me since I was 5 in an unconscious way. Now, I was willing to let go. But I needed help.

This was the condition of my heart and mind when I went to a Dances of Universal Peace Retreat in May of 2014 with a simple prayer, “Let this retreat serve my highest good.”

The first morning I was up with the sun writing, singing, and praying by the stream. Once the morning dance was about to begin I entered the lodge and a friend of mine greeted me by falling on the floor and kissing my bare feet. This took my words away – I had not ever been greeted like this before. He said, “Isn’t that how we are to greet Goddesses?” I mumbled something, unsure of how to be gracious about such a gesture. He smiled and asked that I take it in. I said I would work on it.

One of the dances was about Mitakoye Oyasin, A Lakota phrase meaning All My Relations. Mitakoye: All beings in all levels of creation. Oyasin: Call you & draw you closer to the deepest love of your soul. Somewhere in the course of the song, God pricked my heart and asked if I could bring my grandfather front and center to sing this song with him.

After a few tearful rounds of the song, I told God I would extend the olive branch and take one small step toward my grandfather. That was all I could manage in that moment. The edges of my heart started to ache. I was completely okay with taking my time navigating forgiveness. I had deep compassion for myself first. After all, this was a biggie.

After that song we had a silent meditation time and I opened my journal to write and God asked, “Could you kiss the feet of your grandfather and call him Beloved?” Then I wrote: “God prepare my heart. I want to run away right now.” And then I did – I ran to the stream and sobbed. Sobs that shook my being on every level, loosening the roots of unforgiveness.

All day my prayer was, “Prepare my heart.” I could not fathom how forgiveness might occur. My grandfather was dead so how would I know I had truly forgiven him? And because he was dead, a small voice said, “Well, you don’t have to really kiss his feet.” Part of me was relieved.

I also was being incredible gentle with myself with messages like:

“I might not find forgiveness until the last breath I take, and that is ok.”

“It might take 20 or 40 years to figure out how to forgive him, and that is ok.”

At the end of the first day I was exhausted.

Day 2: My heart chakra literally ached – it was being opened and stretched and expanded.

My prayer by late morning was, “Oh God, Sustainer of my Soul.” I felt the weight of my anger in my being and it was heavy and frightening. Once again I ran to the stream, dropped to my knees, and this time I threw rocks in water yelling “FUCK YOU!” over and over – covering all the reasons I was angry with him. My anger spilled out into the quick moving stream and she carried it away.

Then I climbed on some huge trees that had been pulled up by the floods of the previous fall. I wrapped my arms and legs around the trunk of one and cried into the tree:

I am sorry for
my little girl inside,
all 5 year old children with out love,
what you did to yourself grandpa,
what you did to humanity,
the beautiful trees that are dead now from the flood,
the space in me that seemed dead for 41 years,
the effort it has taken to resurrect that space, to learn to breathe in that space,
all the physical pain that I feel,
the land torn apart by the flood water,
my little girl that has felt uprooted and lost since that very first time of being sold,
my Self having felt displaced, not valued, unloved, and unlovable.

Then I said “I LOVE YOU” to all these aspects. This emotionally laden process just kept unfolding. Yes, it was painful – and beautiful. I was surrounded by God’s love and Mother Earth, offering infinite support. God was totally leading the way to forgiveness – these sure weren’t my ideas!

Then I had a picture enter my minds eye: a ceremony where my friend stands in as my grandfather and I kiss his feet and I hug him and call him Beloved Grandfather. I immediately gave myself permission for this ceremony to be many months, if not years away from happening. And perhaps, the first time it is done, I call it practice.

By the end of day 2 I asked my friend to stand in as my grandfather. He said he would be honored. I explain that I have no desire to rush this process, it could be the next day or many years away.

Day 3 I woke with a headache from all the emotional processing. The dances that morning were soothing and I continued my prayers, “God, prepare my heart, sustain my soul.” During the silent meditation time I wrote out my Healing Intentions:

1. Heal ME. This is for me and only me. I feel the ache and the weight of unforgiveness and I am tired of dragging it around. Fill up that space where unforgiveness has lived with love and wisdom.
2. Reach across TIME and extend the choice of healing to my grandfather, because it is never just about me and my healing.
3. Let my forgiveness ripple out into the WORLD to further heal all crimes against humanity in this spectrum.
4. Allow me to remember this was a crime against himself and all of humanity as much as it was a crime against me.

At the end of the morning, we were seated in a circle sharing our retreat experiences. There was a silence and God prompted me. I shared that my grandfather had committed crimes against me as a child and God had prepared me to forgive him. I had asked my friend to stand in as my grandfather and I invited anyone to witness this ceremony. My friend started removing his socks as one of the leaders said, “How about now?” My reply was, “I am ready.” My heart really was ready – I was not forcing anything to happen, it was completely ready in all ways. It was miraculous.

I kneeled, kissed his feet, and called him “Beloved Grandfather” in an embrace. I felt infinitely lighter immediately.

I went deep inside and stretched my heart so much it felt like the sun had taken up residence. I am still in awe at the way God supported me in this process. It was not practice. It was, and is, forgiveness – the real thing.

Forgiveness is freedom. I took a chance, I said yes, I want this healed. I trusted the process and stepped into the opportunity that God provided, and I found JOY.

Keep reading: Part 2 What Forgiveness Meant to Me, Literally

Read more about who the heck I am: https://iamangela.org/about/

Day 6: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 6: The Yoga of Self-Care

Why am I writing about self-care? All I had learned and understood was how to live in survival mode which is chaos and mayhem. Very exhausting. Self-care was a vague and foreign concept – something I am still cultivating an understanding within myself. I believe listening to my body is the foundation for learning how best to take care of myself. It has taken me years to develop healthier habits. And I am still very much a work in progress. Consistency is my challenge. I find myself in a state of resistance or flat out self-sabotage regularly.

There are so many reasons why we, as a culture, resist premium self-care habits in the midst of our platinum and luxurious lives. In my opinion, the lives we are working so hard to maintain, are layers of distraction for avoiding ourselves. I am ready for something different.

I choose to give myself permission to take extraordinary and exquisite care of myself. I give you permission to do it too.

Why all this emphasis on yoga? It spoke to me. Attending weekly Trauma Sensitive Yoga classes taught me what consistency meant for my body. Anytime I see a mat, I feel my body hum. It longs to spend more time on the mat in various states of rest and stretching.

TRAUMA YOGA

Contrary. Oxymoron.
Like me.
Two halves that should not fit.
But must reside in the same body.
The wounded half. The healed half.
I wonder, “How is this yoga different?
My curiosity invites me.
My trauma qualifies me.
My trauma body shows up.
Longing to find my yoga body.

No Eastern ambiance.
Just a conference room.
Filled with a sense of safety.
Created just for me.
And the millions of eligible souls.
Small classes, by design.
No challenge for perfecting the pose.
No call for deepening the experience.
My eyelids shutter closed.

It is just me and the teacher’s calm voice.
My body responds with a small rocking motion.
My self-soothing visits each pose.
Resources on Suicide Prevention keep me company during tree pose.
I smirk at the irony.
Memories of my 15-year vigil with Suicide.
And now I am doing yoga with Suicide.

Several weeks go by uneventfully.
Then my whole being hears the word “choice.”
My body shudders in response.
My mind keeps repeating:
Choice, choices, choice, choices, choice, choices
This is my awakening
I can move a little
Or a lot
Or not at all
The past is not here

Today means
No violent authority
No need to resist
No one holding me down
No one demanding, expecting
It is just me

I immerse myself in the experience of safety and choice
Body memories spasm and sputter, ready to escape
Captive no more
A spinal twist wrings out ancient tears

Yoga connects me to my body
Helps me feel whole
Shows me the path of gentleness
I begin to see a wider landscape of the future
To feel more freedom than pain
To resemble healing more than trauma

Only a teacher than understands
Trauma is ready to witness the depth of my pain
Only a teacher that understands
Yoga will appreciate the stretch of my courage
Today
I practice
The Yoga of Courage
I practice
The Yoga of Choice
I practice
Freedom Yoga

Photo, of the author in tree pose, is by http://www.brittripleyphotography.com/

Previously published on http://givebackyoga.org/trauma-sensitive-yoga-for-rape-survivors-reflections-from-a-poet

This is part 6 of a 7 part series on self-care.

Day 4: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 4: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Always begin with the breath – take it   d e e p   and   s l o w. Your body dances when you breath mindfully.

2. Post your intentions. Sing them, chant them, have FUN with them, do art with them!

3. Make the ACTION LIST. Do the EASY items first.

4. Work through the IMPOSSIBLE.

The items left seem IMPOSSIBLE or they wouldn’t still be waiting for attention. Getting to the root of IMPOSSIBLE will take time, effort, and, emotional attention. Healing these roots will make all the difference in the current situation and create different outcomes in the future. The same old shit won’t trigger you into fear-based thinking. I am cheering you through this shift – it is such a worthwhile journey.

Fear is an awesome manufacturer of procrastination. Likewise, anger can be an awesome springboard for action.

I give you permission to be pissed at the situation or circumstances. Allow the emotions to flow. Just take the piss (and the victim) out of your voice once you are enlisting the help of others. The goal is to navigate this with as much grace and healing as possible, which means how to treat others through this process is important. Keep your civility and integrity intact.

When facing the IMPOSSIBLE, it is time to remember you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, learning how to ask and receive help might be an important lesson for you. It certainly was for me. Now is the time to reach into your toolbox or see a practitioner that can help you find the source of pain, hurt or trauma that is probably at the root of IMPOSSIBLE. For me, Emotional Freedom Technique (aka EFT or Tapping) is a wonderful self-help tool that will take me to the root of my blockage. Use what works for you. I also highly recommend therapy and counseling professionals that can help you navigate shitty times especially if you have PTSD, complex trauma, anxiety disorder, or severe depression. I have a history of all of these and the professionals in my life always helped me pull through. Remember, it is Your Turn to give yourself the experience of courage and freedom using whatever tools make you feel safe and comfortable.

Simple solutions that have used: I made an appointment with a close friend and ask them to be with me during the hard part, whether it was a phone call or appointment. Sometimes all I need is an accountability friend. I ask them to poke me to make sure it got done when I promised it would be done. I have friends that would just let me talk about the possibilities out loud, sometimes giving helpful suggestions, but mostly listening. Talking it through (out loud to yourself even!) can be an important shift. Make a list of trusted professionals, friends, and family members that you can call upon as you navigate this shit storm.

As you read through the IMPOSSIBLE ACTION ITEMS, I have some self-help tools to share:

Where do you feel the tension in your body? What happens if you breath into this space? Use the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath to open up space in your body and mind to navigate this differently than you have before.

Notice your self-talk during this process. Can it be addressed by one of the new intentions you created?

What personality of fear is showing up right now? Panic, fear, anxiety, overwhelm, frustration, anger, shame, guilt, intimidation? Stretch your body – do any movement that will help your body let go of the physical tension that has been launched. Dance, shake, laugh, walk, run, stretch and be vocal during this process.

If you feel comfortable doing this alone, ask yourself what is the earliest memory you have of feeling just like this. This might be the root of this trigger. Once you have identified a situation (typically from childhood or young adulthood) then start using the tools you know to begin to work through this old hurt. Again, totally cool to work through this with a pro if that feels best.

Journaling is a great tool right now. It can be as simple as a list of how you are feeling. You can send an email to your self or use pen and paper. I believe your body needs for you to acknowledge these feelings and emotions to begin the healing process. Here are some prompts:

This makes me feel ____ or feel like ______ or remember ______
I don’t know why but this word/action/emotion makes me ________
When I think of ______ I hear/smell/taste/feel/see _______
My <body part> hurts and has a message for me ___________

Honor yourself with some yoga. Find a community that takes care of themselves and you will find a community that cares about you.

This is part 4 of a 7 part series on self-care.

Day 3: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 3: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Keep up the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath work to connect you with your body. Use calming mantras to help bring balance into your body and mind. Practice yoga.

2. Define your intentions using Contrast and Clarity statements. Let these begin to saturate your awareness and open up your energy to a new way of living and being. More yoga.

3. Take action.

Whatever your situation is, chances are that you have some literal action steps to take to find resolution. Make a list of all the things you can think of to help resolve the mess and create a desirable outcome. If you don’t know literally what to do to solve your problem, gather information. Google it – we have so much information at our fingertips. Read up on the topic if it is foreign to you. Call professionals.

I once took advantage of a legal firms free consultation only to have the attorney tell me I didn’t need to hire him because I had done the action steps needed and just needed to continue on the path I had started. I went to see him because I had let self-doubt creep in and decided I should use a pro. I love the integrity of that attorney!

Now that you have your ACTION LIST we are going to use a simple green light, yellow light, and red light system to get them done. Is there one or two that are time sensitive? Prioritize and tackle these first. (Don’t worry if one of these is a red light item, I cover that in the next post.)

Go through the list and highlight or circle all the actions items that are EASY for you literally, emotionally, and mentally. Set up a schedule and choose a reasonable time frame for them to be completed. Do one of these items today to experience success.

Go through the list and highlight or star all the actions items that require a measure of RESOLVE for you to complete. With each item note what the obstacle is: logistical, emotional, mental. Sometimes success on our EASY items make this set of items seem more do-able. Set up a schedule and choose a reasonable time frame for these to be completed.

I know, there are still items on your list. We cover the IMPOSSIBLE tomorrow. For today, stay focused on what you can accomplish.

As you talk to folks that you need to talk to, such as, the banker, the lawyer, the social worker, etc. Be polite, kind, humble, grateful, courteous, and NOT a VICTIM. Lots of situations in life make us feel victimized and I am here to challenge you to not be a victim in the way you to talk to people. Listen to yourself as you talk, be mindful of statements that blame others or lead you to shift responsibility. You will recognize it when you hear it.

You are not a victim anymore. You are taking charge of the situation. Also, do not be self-condemning in your statements, nor shame-based in your language. You are being pro-active now – you deserve to hold your head up during this clean-up process. Intimidation is often projected in shit-storms and you can choose to not be intimidated. Shake it off – don’t allow someone’s judgment of you to enter your head. I will cover strategies that will help you let all of these things go in future posts.

Last, but not least, before you make these phone calls, I am going to suggest you set the intention to forgive yourself for being in this shit-storm. Begin thinking that this is all going to work out and release yourself from those harsh judgments that just cause headaches, stomach upset, inflammation, and a host of other dis-eases.

My experiences with shit-storms have taught me alot about myself and how I grab onto responsibility that is not mine and how I carried shame and guilt with me everywhere. I learned how to allow my fear to just exist and found it helpful to acknowledge it when talking to the person that is assisting me, when appropriate. I way over apologized too – I had so many regrets, but regrets are the contrast – let them go.

I allowed myself to be in the shit-storms of bankruptcy and foreclosure. I say allowed, because I believe that I could have chosen differently and had different outcomes. In the end, neither killed me. In fact, I sold my house and got a bit of the equity. The stress was overwhelming at times, but I would pull back and make a list and do what was EASY to work up the energy to do the IMPOSSIBLE. (We cover the IMPOSSIBLE in the next post.)

Did you find a yoga class yet? Yes? Fantastic! Go again. No? Seriously, get on it. Today is a great day to connect with your Self in the practice of yoga. There are so many types of yoga and thousands of teachers. Did you try it once and not like it? Try it again! A different teacher and a different type can make all the difference. Let yoga be part of your new life.

This is part 3 of a 7 part series on Self-Care. #yourturnchallenge

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Day 2: The Yoga of Self-Care

1. Keep up the   d e e p   and   s l o w   breath work to connect you with your body. Use calming mantras to help bring balance in. Do yoga.

2. Define your intentions.

It might seem silly to have to articulate “I would like to move past this pile of shit I am sitting in.” However, knowing what you DO want is an important part of the process. Taking time to reflect on what you don’t like often helps create the list of what you do like.

Make a contrast and desire list: I don’t like how this shit smells turns into I really like the smell of roses and lilacs. Feel free to tear off the ‘don’t like’ half of the page and have a burning ceremony. At the very least cut it off and keep the ‘like’ portion of the page to help you define your intentions.

This is a critical step that helps create a sense of safety. Be clear about your boundaries for self-work. Feel free to use the general intentions below as a guide to get started, however, I encourage you to re-write them to reflect you and your language, thoughts, and desires. Add in the important aspects of what you are working on being as specific as possible. I wrote out some intentions regarding healing from childhood trauma that you might find useful.

When reviewing my stinky shit, I only want to address the aspects of it that are critical to my moving past it. (Contrast statement: I don’t want to wallow in this any longer than I need to.)

When I feel stuck, I am choosing to be open to new solutions, especially ones that stretch and flex my Self in different ways. (Contrast statement: I have done this before and this revolving door is getting old.)

If a core belief of mine is challenged during this work, I am open to changing a core belief. (Contrast statement: I like looking at the same four walls, it has given me safety, but I am feeling very limited.)

When I feel stuck, I am open to asking for help and support from the appropriate resources. (Contrast statement: I don’t know how to get out of this shit alone. I keep trying and not succeeding.)

All during this healing process (yep, this is called healing) I am expecting the next right action step to feel natural and intuitive. (Contrast statement: I never know what to do next, I circle and spin but don’t do anything because I am afraid it is the wrong thing to do.)

I am going to surround myself with people and messages of hope, change, transformation, support, and love. (Contrast statement: Everyone I know is in this same shit or something that smells just as awful. Some of them have been wallowing in it for years.)

Remember, these are just samples – create your own. Words are just as powerful as our breath. Use them mindfully.

There is so much more living waiting for us – it doesn’t always come easy. There is pain in life, this much we know. Let’s start a healing revolution and inspire everyone to work with the aches and pains of life to find freedom and happiness. We won’t get there alone or in the same box of shit, but we can create a kinder, gentler life.

Did you find a yoga class yet? Yes? Go again. No? Get on it. It is never too late to start yoga. Read stories on Huffington Post about yoga changing lives through Give Back Yoga Foundation

This is part 2 of a 7 part series on Self-Care. #yourturnchallenge

Day 2: The Yoga of Self-Care

Day 1: Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 1: Yoga of Self-Care

Ok, so the shit has hit the fan and you are in a mess – emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, and/or mentally. The only thinking happening is panic induced:
“Help. I need help.”
“What the Fuck – really? Now?”
“I don’t even know where to begin.”
“I am so tired of feeling attacked.”

 

Hit the pause button of your thoughts. Take an extra   s l o w   and   d e e p   breath – hold it for a moment – then release it slowly and completely. Make noise, or not. Do it again and allow a mantra to enter your mental space, such as peace and calm. Use it on the inhale and let the exhale take away as much stuckness as you are able to muster. Do it again for as long as you want, knowing that your breath, is your life force. Intentional breathing can help you co-create your homeostasis, your balance. Your body wants, and needs, you to pitch in and help out here.

Use this space you have given yourself, tiny as it may seem, to keep moving forward; to co-create a mental space that will provide a foundation for healing the shit-space you feel taking over right now. This is a critical mass moment – consider yourself in the ICU – cancel any non-urgent appointments and obligations to invest time in yourself. Now it is Your Turn as Guru Seth Godin, would say.

Too often we fail to do this – I know, I used to be the master of busy. It was far easier to show up for someone else than it was to show up for myself. I let life happen to me rather than taking charge. I deferred and procrastinated the ICU matters of my life until someone else made the choices for me or until the situation had deteriorated to such an extent that my options were severely limited. This is not Self-care. This is not, as a recent guru put it, Devotion to Self.

Have you ever been in a hard yoga pose? It takes an enormous amount of attention to hold that position. There is no choice but to be fully present in your body – the vehicle for movement, momentum, changing directions. This latest shit storm? It is your hard yoga pose. I know, it stinks and is terribly uncomfortable in all ways, but I am suggesting you “sit with your shit.” Being grounded and present and in your body is the first step to creating the life you desire.

I know you will find fertilizer for new growth and potential far beyond your imagined limitations of today.

Last, but not least, head for the nearest yoga class, immerse yourself in yourself, and find seeds of faith, hope, strength, courage, resiliency, wisdom, and love for your Self.

This is part 1 of a 7 part series on Self-Care.

Leaving the Known and Finding a Silo

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Leaving the Known and Finding a Silo

In the last year, I have had several friends tell me that I inspired them to make changes in their lives. They left jobs, sold homes, moved, left unhealthy relationships, took chances on new relationships and more. It is not easy to leave our known places that are comfortable. I am humbled, and inspired, by these stories.

I did leave a great home of 25 years called Des Moines, IA. I loved my friends, the local scene, the work that I did over the years, but I felt stuck in roles that I had created but could no longer support. I moved to save my Self. To find which pieces of me were worth keeping and to let go of other pieces. For some people, I jumped off a cliff into the unknown. It is true that I did not know a whole lot about my future. I had a temporary place to live, a few family members living near-by, a little bit of money, and no job.

I have heard over and over how courageous I am and I want to argue that many days, in fact, I feel terrified. Most of my fear comes from thinking I don’t have any choices.

In the end, I am reminded that more choices are out there than I can imagine. Most recently, I listened to a voice that said “Put it out there – your desire to live rent free and closer to work for the winter” and just a couple of weeks later, I found myself living in a silo 6 miles from work. I love this silo. It has shown me that I love a small, round living space, and that my needs are quite simple. However, as I packed up my things I wondered why I was leaving such a beautiful and comfortable home that I shared with a very kind and like-minded woman. Is moving somewhere for 2 months crazy? What happens in 2 months? I created a choice and in that choice there is discomfort of the unknown.

How do I discover my choices? I pray. A lot. The prayers have covered lots of territory in the last year: “What is next? Where is my next job, home, meal, tank of gas? What is the next strategy for healing this wound? And God? I am so relieved that it isn’t all up to me.” Then I listen and take the appropriate steps to find the next right thing.

I just want to point out that to live courageously often invites a relationship with fear. To step out into the unknown tells fear that I am accepting the lessons that fear has for me. This does not mean that I am not afraid, it means that I am signing up to practice being familiar with the unknown, uncomfortable, and the awkward. I honor the presence that fear has in my life and give myself permission to move ahead anyway.

It is in these places that I find some things resembling courage, resilience, healing, joy, and freedom.