Drugs and Alcohol Bury Your Wisdom

The title of this blog may feel like a harsh judgement, a declaration that I think drugs and alcohol are bad and if you do them you’re a bad person.

You couldn’t be more wrong. Most adults I know have enjoyed one or both and continue to do so and I completely understand why they do. With many years of hindsight, it makes so much sense why I have chosen to dabble myself.

Common wisdom says drugs and alcohol are bad. It’s not exactly true. They are very good. They are exceptionally good for many things.

They are awesome for dulling pain. They are awesome for escaping your reality. They are awesome for instant relief from the nagging truth.

Who doesn’t want that? 

Yet here’s the longterm consequence of dulling, escaping, and relieving yourself from truth: You start living lies.

I’m ok with this. This isn’t so bad.

This is as good as my life will ever be.

It’s ok for that person to treat me that way. I probably deserve it. 

What I want doesn’t matter.

Other people are better than me. Prettier, more athletic, smarter. Not me.

The statements above are all lies. And if you’re anything like me, then when you think them, you’ll want to drink. You’ll want to escape. You’ll want to peace out of your current reality. Because it’s a lie.

Here are the truths you may want to face soberly:

I can have a beautiful life.

My life will continue to unfold and grow in incredible ways.

I deserve to be treated well by myself. I can slowly stop being mean to myself. I can turn to myself in love. I can listen to myself with compassion. I can soothe myself no matter what. I do not expect other people to love me and adore me. I do that for myself and set myself free.

What I want matters more than anything in the world. I matter. My desires matter. My dreams matter. My presence matters. The way I walk in the world day to day matters SO MUCH.

No one is better than I am. I am a unique and incredible human being. I get to decide that. I get to look and feel good. 

It’s time for me to wake up.

It’s time for me to face reality.

It’s time for me to turn toward my incredible power.

Hey, boo! Drugs and alcohol are always an option we can choose. I have chosen to drink away a lot of pain and grief and lies.

However, lately, I’ve been getting sober and clear about my need for dulling, escaping, and avoiding my life and my brain. I see what’s going on. 

I often run away from myself because there’s a lionness inside of me. She likes to roar. She is big game beautiful and ready to rule. 

That realization is sometimes scary as shit and sometimes terrifically exciting. Do I want to drink her away? Frequently. But she’s not going away. And she doesn’t like being told to shut up. It makes her louder.

Beautiful reader, powerful human: Suspend dulling, escaping, and running for a minute. Get still and get quiet. Tune in. Is there a truth that you’ve buried? What does it say?

Loving you out there. Turn toward the sober truth. Face it. Be courageous and brave. It’s time to listen to the wisdom of you. XO

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I’m Glad You Have Imposter Syndrome

Everybody loves a juicy drama. A weird diagnosis. A strange and twisted mind. A “syndrome.”

Disease. Disorder. Defect. Dysfunction. We have books full of them.

We love to think there’s something wrong with us.

There’s something wrong with me! I have a label! There’s a diagnosis! I feel better knowing that what’s wrong with me is legit something wrong with me!

Feels better to know you’re legit broken, am I right? Maybe…

Or is something about that totally wrong?

I work with a lot of powerful women. CEOs, JDs, MBAs, MDs, PhDs, sometimes even MD PhDs! And so many seem to think there is something wrong with them and their power.

Who am I to make so much money? Who am I to lead so many people? Who am I to take that job or ask for that raise? Who am I to have this amazing life? Do I deserve this? Why me?

“Imposter syndrome.” That’s what we call it. Because our culture is obsessed with drama and juice and dysfunction.

I understand the thing called imposter syndrome. I know what it feels like. I am just a fan of identifying it by its real name. Calling it out. Keeping it real and grounded. 

Let’s drop the drama.

You are making an identity shift. That is all. And I’m glad. I’m glad you have imposter syndrome. It means you are stepping into a newer, bigger, extraordinary version of yourself.

And you’re scared. I get that. And it’s totally normal to be scared when you level up your life.

And you’re unsure. I get that. And it’s totally normal to be unsure when you haven’t done something before and you’re new at it.

And you’re worried. I get that. And it’s totally normal to worry when you’re promoted higher and higher and the stakes are rising.

Hey, boo. I get you. I am you. I get that you are growing. I get that you’re stepping into something new and badass and exciting. I get that you’ve been in a pattern for a while and now the pattern has changed. I get that change and uncertainty and the great unknown can stir up a lot of emotion and make you think there’s something wrong with you.

Let me say this gently, firmly, and loudly: You don’t have a syndrome. You are being called to a new you. 

Do you want to take that call? It’s up to you.

How do you handle identity shifts? You face them. You bow to them. You thank them for the opportunity to grow. You feel the fear. You feel the insecurity. You cry your eyes out. You tremble. You soothe yourself. You get help from friends and family. You get professional help. You feel anger and resistance and you keep going. Only if you want to grow.

Growing keeps going. Tiny step forward. Sometimes back. Ugh! More emotion. Now forward again. 

Breathe. Move your body. Take a rest. Have a break. Eat a snack. Get some sleep. Tiny step tomorrow.

You will want to turn around. You will want to go back. You will want to Netflix. You will want to slip back into comfy old you with the same old patterns and problems. 

Face that. Feel it. Question your self-imposed limit. Question your comfort. Look forward again. Take another tiny step.

I love you!!! You don’t have to do any of this. Know that. Relax in that. Change is optional. You get to do whatever the hell you want with your one, precious life. Feel the truth of that land in your heart.

However, if you want to change, I invite you to NEVER let a made up “syndrome” stop you.

Keep going, love. Be courageous. I’m so glad your identity is shifting. It’s absolutely beautiful what is happening. 

I see you out there. I’m saying hello to the new you. XO

Stop Asking if There’s Something Wrong With You Because Everything is Just Right.

  • Why am I so ambitious? 
  • Why am I always chasing dreams?
  • Why can’t I be more like other people?
  • Why don’t I want to do the “normal” thing?
  • What am I doing? Is it ok?

These questions exhaust my active brain. They are sneaky little soul stealing inquiries all designed to come to a terrible conclusion:

… Because there’s something wrong with you.

Without realizing it, for my whole life, I have been asking myself versions of these questions and bumping up against that terrifying conclusion:

… There’s something wrong with you.

Over and over, I have believed that there is something wrong with me. I don’t want what I’m supposed to want. I don’t live like other people live. I’m not doing life right.

… Because there’s something wrong with me.

Sometimes it’s just so alluring and easy to believe the voice that says something is wrong. It can be authoritative and mean. Commanding. Chilling. Intimidating.

Until you gently inquire: “Who are you? Why is something wrong?”

Until you gently ask: “Why does it feel so bad when I think something is wrong?”

Until you wake up one day and wonder: “Who gets to decide what I do with my life?”

Until you question the voice and say: “What if NOTHING is wrong?”

HEY, VOICE: What if nothing is wrong with me? What if nothing is wrong with you? What if everything is right? What if you are the way you are because that’s you? What if you pursue what you pursue because your heart leads you there? What if language could never explain your heart? What if other people’s standards had nothing to do with you? What if their opinions were totally unimportant? What if, right now, you are doing exactly the right thing at the right time for the right purpose? 

What if the wisdom of your mind, body, and heart were sure? What if you could trust yourself completely?

Dear questioning, worrying reader: I’m tired of questioning myself. I’m exhausted by thinking things are wrong with me. Are you?

Good. Let’s practice trust in our journey. Let’s practice believing that everything has been, and will always be, just right. Loving you out there. XO

WHO CARES???

“If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important Rule of Beauty: “Who cares?””

Tina Fey

I was in Nashville taking a line dancing lesson when I heard people say:

“I can’t do that. I need a few drinks.”

Do you? Really? Why?

You probably have the human tendency to worry about people watching you, looking at you, assessing your beauty or coordination or whether you’re “good” at dancing.

I worry about what people think sometimes. And come on, we all worry about what other people think sometimes. It really begs the question:

WHO CARES???

I ask myself this often: Who cares? 

You don’t want to wear a bathing suit in public? Why? Who cares?

You don’t want to be wrong? Why? Who cares?

You don’t want to say no to that person? Why? Who cares?

WHO CARES???

Who are you worried about? Who has that power over you? Who gets to decide what is beautiful, “good,” “bad,” or successful?

Sure, there are people out there who have created material measures of all of these things. Sizes made by designers. Beauty decided by mass media. Experts in every field to compare yourself with.

But have you answered my question yet? Have you really asked yourself?

WHO CARES???

Beautiful, sometimes worried, humanly concerned reader:The answer to that question is who is controlling your life. The answer to that question has a lot of power. The answer to that question is helping you or hindering you. The answer to that question is EVERYTHING.

I hope your answer is this and only this: I care.

Loving you out there. You care about you for a while. Leave everyone else out of it. How does that feel? Like freedom? Good. XO

You’re Supposed to Feel Uncomfortable

“Oh my god,” my relay teammate moaned, “I feel so gross. I’m so uncomfortable and achy.”

We all looked at her in sympathy except the toughest member of our group.

In a matter of fact tone, with a totally straight face, our tough runner said:

“That’s how you’re supposed to feel.”

We all dropped our jaws.

That’s how we’re supposed to feel?

Yes. Racing is uncomfortable. That’s how it’s supposed to feel.

A fun run? That could be fun.

A group hike? That could be leisurely.

A race is gonna be uncomfortable. That’s how it’s supposed to feel. 

We human beings have human brains that want to seek pleasure and avoid pain. We want instant gratification and pleasure for everything we do.

When you want to feel instant pleasure all the time, you end up fat and numbed out on the couch watching Netflix every night. You will likely develop addictions and avoid anything difficult.

Welcome to Basic Human Brain 101: Stay safe. Seek pleasure. Avoid pain.

But if you want to run a race…

If you want to make a change…

If you want to be stronger, tougher, smarter, braver, richer, skinnier, healthier, better at that skill, more influential…

You need to rewire the neural pathways of your brain. You need to use the high order reasoning of your pre-frontal cortex. You need to understand your urges for instant gratification and plan around them. And guess what?

It’s not easy.

You’re gonna want to quit. WHY ME??? I HATE THIS.

You’re gonna struggle and get cranky and whiny and sad. FEED ME, SEYMOUR! FEED ME ALL NIGHT LONG!

You’re gonna have to sit with yourself and feel “negative” emotions. HERE COMES THE SHAME.

It’s going to be uncomfortable. UUUUGGGGGHHHH.

Why?

Because that’s how it’s supposed to feel.

Gorgeous, human, pleasure seeking reader: We all want to eat all the things and stay safe and hide out and delay doing difficult things. That’s really normal human stuff.

If you want to change, if you want different results, you have to retrain your brain. Hello, challenge.

Change and improvement is always, every time, going to feel uncomfortable. And that’s ok. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with you.

That’s how it’s supposed to feel. And you can do it. You have done it before. You can do difficult things.

Loving you out there. You know what’s on the other side of discomfort? Everything you’ve ever wanted. XO

Let People Be Wrong About You

My mother was mad at me this year because I didn’t call her on Easter. Or the day after Easter. She talked to most of my family on Easter… except for me.

I was in Southern Utah hiking and squeezing through slot canyons. I didn’t think to call. I was exhausted and pleasantly dusted in red clay sand.

My mother thinks I’m thoughtless. That I don’t care about her that much.

She’s wrong. I’m incredibly thoughtful. And I love her more than anyone in the world.

So, I said I was sorry and I told her I love her. I’ll call her next year on Easter now that I know it’s important. And that’s that.

My mother has her opinions, and she is often wrong. If I argue with her, she defends herself and I get frustrated. I don’t enjoy feeling frustrated. I see that it is a choice to engage in this pattern or not. So now, when she sets in on me, I try to let her have her opinion, let her be right or let her be wrong, and let it go.

It’s hard not to react to opinions. It’s hard to listen to someone be wrong about you. It’s hard not to be defensive. But is it helping you? Does being defensive help make the situation better? 

I care about my mother and our relationship. She is often right. She has good advice sometimes.

Yes, I can be thoughtless.

Yes, it would be nice if I called her more often.

We can own the truth. We can admit our own weaknesses. We can apologize for our mistakes. We can try again. 

But we don’t have to own all the opinions. We don’t have to defend against all the opinions. We can let people be wrong about us.

We can let it go. We can be like Teflon: non-stick.

You don’t have to react to everyone. You don’t have to react to anyone.

Let people be right, and let them be wrong.

My mom also thinks I’m dynamite. Dynamite. That’s the word she likes. Dynamite. Just… Dynamite.

She thinks my job is incredible and my house is cool. She thinks I’m beautiful and exciting and she’s wide eyed blink blink blink flabbergasted at who her little silly girl has become.

I’m not so sure I’m as dynamite as my mom says, but hey…

Maybe I am wrong about myself.

Maybe I’m wrong about me.

Beautiful, critical, criticized reader: Who is right about you? Who is wrong? Who gets to decide? Who cares? Why get so defensive? Does it feel good to you? Is it helping?

Let people be right. Let people be wrong. Let everyone have their opinions. They’re going to anyway. Your reaction is optional.

Loving you out there. I think you’re dynamite. Am I right? XO

Just Don’t Do It

Next month, I’m visiting my mom in Florida. I have some predictions for you!

  • She will say she needs to get organized.
  • She will say she needs to clean the garage.
  • She will say she needs to cook new recipes.

Does she do any of the above? No. Have I tried every possible way to help her do the things above? Yes. Does everyone in her life try to help her do the things above? Yes. Does anything ever work? No.

My mother has been worrying over the same things for decades. 

I think she should give up.

That’s right. Time to quit. Nike always says “Just Do It!” and yet I have another plan.

Just don’t do it.

It’s time to quit.

Yes. Seriously. You may be waiting for my disclaimer to come. It’s not coming. I seriously think she should give up. And I am giving up trying to help her with things she doesn’t want help with.

Our culture constantly urges us to work hard. To fight. To suffer for success. It is exhausting and unnecessary.

If you keep draining your finite energy saying you should do things you don’t do, please give yourself permission today to stop. Full stop.

Quit trying to do that thing.

I’m my mother’s daughter. Here are the things that I repeatedly worry over:

  • I need to fix up my house.
  • I need to be a better guitar player.
  • I need to be more productive in the summer when I’m not teaching.

Guess what? I give up. I’m not going to do any of that.

Beautiful, aspiring, worried reader: You don’t have to do that thing. I know everyone is telling you to do it. I know they’re pushing you. I know you’re insecure and think you should be different than you are.

You know what? That’s ok. You don’t ever have to do anything you’re not ready or willing to do. I give you permission to quit.

Watch what happens when you free your energy from worry. Watch what happens when you stop seeking people’s approval for your choices. Watch what happens when you choose what feels good TO YOU.

Maybe your spirit will rise. Maybe it will rise above worry. Maybe other things will flow that feel mmmmm so right.

Loving you out there. You are free! It’s your life. Just don’t do it. XO