Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for poor sleep.  No, it isn’t something I want to experience often, but I am grateful for the things that kept me up most of the night because those are the things I can work on.  Those are the things I need to address in my waking life in order to get where I want to be.  Those are the things I can no longer suppress or repress because they aren’t as far beneath the surface as I thought.  The hyper-independence isn’t working, the “everything is under control” BS isn’t working, the feeling that everything is falling apart isn’t working.  There is a reality between the world of dreams and the imagined failures we feel.  There is the day to day where we can close the gap and that is most easily done through acceptance.  If it takes a rough night to get a step closer to where I need to be, I will take it.

Today I am grateful for control.  I’m not talking the illusion of control because I know it doesn’t exist.  I am talking about the level of opportunity and the amount of options we have.  We are literally never stuck no matter what it looks like.  Yes, some circumstances are harder to remove ourselves from, but we always have the option.  In that regard, specific to my brain, I’m grateful to have enough control to come to terms with things that happened.  My body is literally running hot with the waves of energy and emotion and it is physically one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever felt.  But sitting with that discomfort, raw and whole exposes a new approach.  No, it isn’t pretty.  But we do have a say and in the grand scheme of things, that’s all we need. 

Today I am grateful for the infinite chances to start over and try again.  We all have moments when we feel like the most terrible person in the world but, in my experience, I have always woken up again the next day to start over again.  Rough days come and we have little say in their arrival.  We also have little say in what constitutes rough because different things happen at different times.  Rough days at work or with our kids or with our partners or families or friends.  It was a rough week (and that may have also been part of the issue with last night’s sleep) but I am still awake and still have the chance to start again. 

Today I am grateful for routine.  So much of the irritability and the anxiety of the last week has been because I’m off of my routine.  That’s a story for another day, however, I am so grateful to know this.  When we aren’t in alignment with ourselves, even if it is something as simple as listening to affirmations, our world tends to tilt a bit.  Getting back to routine, even if it’s only a small step in the right direction, a small reminder of why you started the routine in the first place, that is enough.  Having patterns that keep me sane and healthy are essential to functioning.  It doesn’t make me weak or basic.  It keeps me on a solid foundation.

Today I am grateful for acceptance.  This is one of the hardest things to do, especially when coping with anxiety and perfectionism, and quite frankly, just getting through the day in this society.  Any opportunity I can work on accepting myself and taking care of who I am at my core is welcome and necessary.  It is welcome and necessary for everyone else as well.  Any step you can take whether it is feeding yourself healthy food, talking a five minute walk, taking a bath, or even being able to step out and help a friend.  Anything you can do to embrace who you are and where you’re at is so necessary.  How can you accept yourself more today?

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead!

The Process

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When we are in the process of becoming, it’s easy to allow fear to take over.  There are countless unknowns, it doesn’t feel familiar, it can be lonely or isolating, and there isn’t a familiar gauge of “success” or knowing something is working.  I listened to a meditation by Jay Shetty about not letting fear take control.  How often do we want to do something and we find ourselves stuck in the same position?  Jay even said, “Imagine you’re sitting on a couch watching TV and you take a picture of yourself.  Fast forward a few years and you are on the couch looking at pictures and you see yourself doing the exact same thing—you haven’t changed.”  That struck me. 

There are so many things that hold us back, fear among the top of them.  I’m guilty of repeating the pattern for years, not looking at whether or not it moved me forward or if I was repeating the same cycle.  I’d sit there wanting things to be different, daydreaming about something new, but nothing ever happened.  For many things, I watched time go by thinking I would do it later or that the right resources would come, but I never stopped the pattern of what I was already doing.  How can new experiences arise from doing the same thing? They can’t.

Jay then posed a question.  He said, “What decisions move us forward or keep us where we are?”  The truth is the process of becoming is more about listening and understanding who we are.  It’s about finding the path to our intuition and following that road.  Listening to our own internal guidance system.  This is when you let go of who you are supposed to be and simply be who you are.  In order to do that we have to focus on the process, not the outcome.  In the process you will become great.  So if you take the time to learn how to be yourself, the things you want and need are clear and so is the path to attaining them—because your path serves other people as well.

It can be so challenging to trust ourselves when everything around us from the time we are born tells us not to.  We are taught to trust everything but ourselves.  Finding that path back to our intuition can be muddy at first, but with practice, it becomes clearer.  We have to learn to take the road of the unknown and embrace the unfamiliar, learn to rely on ourselves, and not worry about the success of a thing.  We have trust it is all part of the process no matter the result.  It isn’t about the result, it is about the residual you leave in your path and the trail you leave.  So choose to do something different and unlock the path to something different.  You never know where a different decision will lead you.      

Emails at 9:45PM

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I got to work the other day and saw that one of my coworkers was still sending emails at 9:45pm. Our departments close at 6pm at the latest, so there is no reason to be working nearly four hours after close, especially given the content of the email.  I got pissed.  My first thought was this person is showing off in the absence of our boss.  Then it was along the lines of wow, they’re really trying to climb here.  Then it was who the hell wants to work that late?  Do you have nothing better to do?

Within seconds I heard a voice in my head say, “This isn’t your problem.  This is ego.”  I have never had a message hit me that quickly when starting to spiral with guilt.  Because that was it: I felt guilty that I wasn’t working that late and honestly that I didn’t care to work that late.  I still have some of those people pleasing habits and I know my boss would work 24/7 if given the option—she practically does already—so I felt the rush of, “I need to work that late too! I have so much to do, I need to do everything I can!” wash through me.  But hearing that voice say it isn’t my problem helped me put it in perspective: it doesn’t matter if they work that late.  It doesn’t matter if I do.  If they find joy in doing that and yields results that work for them, great.  I need to find my own thing.

So that is level two: I know I want to create a life where I find joy in every moment and time slips away because I enjoy what I’m doing.  I want the project that keeps me awake with joy and purpose, doing something I WANT to spend time on.  For my coworker, if that means checking emails at 9:45pm, then I won’t begrudge that.  At one point I wanted to take over the industry and fix it.  I wanted to make it work how I saw fit, to make it fair. That is no longer my goal so I don’t need to be awake until 10pm answering those types of emails.  For my purpose, spending time that way is a waste.  My joy is elsewhere, my coworker can keep the thrill of that climb.  My joy comes from a different place and that is ok. We are simply different people in different places in our lives.

I want to acknowledge it can still be frustrating to see things like this, especially for guilt-heavy, people-pleasing, accolade addicts.  Those things take time to heal and to learn to find worth from within.  Human nature is to feel like we need to keep up with those around us, especially when they do things we don’t want to be doing—we somehow think matching what they do will work for us and get the same result.  That isn’t always true.  It is time to let go and be free of the weight of other people’s expectations.  I remember my boss saying at one point the rest of us needed to pick up on something but it had nothing to do with my teams and she threw in that this one person is always picking up.  Well, she left out that those projects belonged with that person. 

Which leads to the last point: we are not all the same.  We can’t be expected to perform as someone else and we can’t hold that over someone when it literally has nothing to do with them.  It’s like demanding you speak another language when you haven’t had any type of training and you aren’t going to any place that requires it.  There is no point to it for them.  Worse, then not demanding the reciprocal.  I’ve had to fill in for areas that have nothing to do my work but other teams haven’t had to help me—so why would I hold myself to the expectation any longer?  That’s a boundary.  We are not the same and working the way you do doesn’t work for me.  So this is a lesson in acceptance and allowing.  My coworker’s actions are no reflection on me and it shouldn’t bother me if that isn’t my path regardless.  We need to walk our own paths and take care of our goals—don’t get distracted by others.  Allow and watch the doors open for you.

Beyond Our Means

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I was at work the other day reviewing some old disaster plans (immediately post 9/11/2001) after cleaning out some drawers in one of our offices.  The language struck me.  I mean, I clearly remember the events of that day and I understand the response needed in anticipation of a similar event—the entire nation felt it.  But what got me was the phrasing related to healthcare workers.  The expectation that they would be available for as long as needed as soon as called no matter what happened. The expectation that their children would come with them if no alternatives were available.  The idea that these people would march to any order when called.  Again, I’ve been in healthcare for 20 years, I’m no stranger to the expectation of the work.  But to see the demand on paper disturbed me and got me thinking about boundaries.

The way the words were written clearly set the tone that the individual’s needs were last (again, in some cases I completely understand this), but it demonstrated that those in healthcare service were merely servants.  These people are not to be treated as someone stepping up in a crisis and doing something good, they are treated as a commodity to be used until they couldn’t perform anymore and the next one stood up.  Why is that those who are called to serve and help are put in a position to go beyond their means at all times?  Why is it the norm for them to experience burn out in the face of stress and crisis?  This isn’t normal.  Altruism should not be met with expectation of draining all energy. 

But it is still like this to this day.  Everything in healthcare constitutes an emergency and there are no boundaries.   There is also a lack of critical thinking.  I don’t save lives by any means, I’m not clinical, but my life is constantly disrupted and turned upside down by the demands of the field.  It’s no wonder that I feel frustration and anger all the time.  There is no reason that all of my energy need be focused on a place that doesn’t replenish that energy.  I’m not a battery designed to serve you until I need a recharge. Humans are multi-faceted and we have myriad of needs and setting the precedent that other people’s needs always come before your own is a dangerous thing. 

Why is it ok to set the expectation that some have to give all?  Or that in order to get what we want we have to give all?  To some degree there is truth—in order to become who you are you need to give up who you were.  But our time is finite and we need to prioritize how we spend it.  Time is one transaction you can’t fix.  You can change the direction moving forward, but you can’t change what happened.  So when it comes to the environment you’re in, make sure it is something that fills you up.  There are genuinely people who don’t mind being available 24/7, they love responding to the call of crisis.  I am actually one of them—but my definition of a crisis is different.  Staffing is not an emergency.  You forgetting to close a drawer is not an emergency.  I am setting that boundary.  That means being ok with being different from the group.  So be it.

I’m not a commodity.  If I give you my energy it is my choice and it is not to be taken advantage of.  We need to respect each other and appreciate each other.  I’m not talking lip service and saying thank you and then ignoring the person until we need something from them.  I’m talking about hearing what they need and actually fulfilling that need (I have a piece on this coming up).  It’s a mutual reciprocity and I know not everyone works like that.  But even the most giving of people need to replenish every now and then.  We need to ask ourselves why we do what we do and what we can do to make it better.  To make ourselves feel better.  To function better.  To not burnout.  That starts with respecting ourselves and setting the boundary.  With knowing who you are.  I’m not a disaster commodity, I’m a human.       

Transition Time

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Tabitha Brown put out a couple of videos the other day about finding “you time.” She spoke beautifully about how we constantly do, and we are doing for others.  So many of us deplete our energy in the service of others whether it is at work, helping friends, or with family.  All of those are necessary things at times, but we have a tendency to put aside what we need because we don’t want to get in touch with the chaos inside to hear the honest voice.  We don’t want to acknowledge that voice because, for many of us, we are afraid those needs won’t be met or that we aren’t worthy of having those needs met.  We are afraid that the people we’ve helped won’t be there in the same way we were there for them.  We don’t want to be disappointed in not getting what we really want.  But a funny thing happens: sometimes we don’t get what we want, but we end up getting what we need.  That only happens when we slow down enough to hear what that inner voice is saying.

I want to talk about this time between being who we were and being who we are…and finding who we are meant to be, the time you are learning to recognize that voice.  When you’re in transition, it’s a remembering who you are along with becoming who you were meant to be and struggling to put away what you’ve always done or have been told to do.  It’s a confusing transition.  It holds a lot of weight, some of which you didn’t know you carried. It’s hard to see who we are becoming when we are still putting away who we’ve been.  There are facets of familiarity in the past version of ourselves that cling tightly, or perhaps it’s that we cling tightly, because we know it so well.  We believe that’s who we are, who we have to be.  So when we finally start taking the steps out of our comfort zone, things feel different.  We don’t know how to react to things because we only have our previous framework.

Becoming someone new is messy because we have to redefine everything.  We are being poured into a new mold but we are breaking every boundary we’ve been put in or that we set before.  This in-between can be confusing because we can’t quite see the finished product yet.  We don’t know the reaction this person has to a familiar circumstance.  We don’t know how we feel being someone new.  But the more you spend time being you, welcoming you, the easier this becomes.  That is why Ms. Brown tells us to take this time and really get in touch.  To honestly listen.  No judgement, just open ears to the sound of our own voice. 

It’s a beautiful thing.  The sound of our own voice is so present within us that it’s almost easy to ignore—it’s just always there.  Ironically it’s the easiest voice to dismiss because it has something to say about EVERYTHING.  So while we hear it, we aren’t really listening to it.  There’s also this need for validation, like what we believe of ourselves has to be confirmed and deemed appropriate by others.  We focus so much on being heard by others that we don’t notice the impact of not hearing ourselves.  Whether it’s seeing someone step boldly out of the realm of what you think is a standard or trying on an old dress and wearing it to work (see previous two posts).  The point is, unbecoming/becoming can be an awkward transition but we have to see it through.  So get selfish and take that you time to find who you are and fill your cup enough so it runs over.  It isn’t selfish if there is a purpose.

My Own Kind of Pink

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After I saw the woman in pink, I decided to go against the grain a bit (my grain, that is).  I work for a very conservative woman and she has clear, firm expectations of our dress code.  I stick to black, white, grey, maybe some navy most of the time.  I went through a phase some years ago where I really enjoyed wearing dresses to the office (I was working for a different person then) so I still have a decent collection to choose from.  One of them is a bold red wrap with minimal pattern, long-sleeved, and requires a tank underneath.  It looks great with a neutral colored heel or a black flat.  The weather has been warm here so I went with it. 

I walked in the office and the first thing I heard was, “Look at you all fancy!”  from a co-worker.  My immediate response was to declare I’m not fancy, it’s just warm weather wear.  My boss peeked around the corner and saw me.  She smiled.  Truth be told, I felt a little relief.  The dress is office appropriate, but it isn’t like my normal slacks or skirts (the skirts I don’t wear that often either).  My boss told me it was a good color on me so I went about my day.

My staff noticed as well, coming across as shocked when they saw me but offering compliments.  Keep in mind we are all pretty much wearing uniforms all the time so the color does make an impact and it’s noticeable, especially when you don’t wear it every day.  As the day went on, I felt more confident.  I can’t say I like dresses as much as I did when I got them, but I like that I can still wear them, I like having the choices, and I like that I am able to change my mind and switch up my wardrobe based on what I’m feeling that day (or the weather). 

I also like that I found a bit of my spark, like the woman in pink.  In my work environment, the red dress was as noticeable as the pink hair.  I know this isn’t a big thing for most people, but it was a start for me.  It was also a rekindling of self to a degree.  I used to be much more lax about the rules and it really didn’t bother me to be the one who stood out when it came to vibrant color etc.  My old office wardrobe was impressive with bright colors, patterns, variety of styles and all the makeup to match it.  In some ways I always wanted to be the one against the grain.  So now the question is, what happened?  Where is that spark?  I still feel it but I know I still hold it back.  So I’m working on some “me time” to let it fully come back to life.  We’re going to talk about a transition period next and what that looks like when finding self.


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Vibrant hot pink reflected in my rear view mirror.  I looked a the woman in the car behind me and realized it was HER.  The steering wheel, the seat she sat in, her nails, her long hair, her fitted coat—all of it blindingly, hot pink.  I thought to myself, “What could she be doing on the road at 6am?”  This woman looked larger than life, clearly she didn’t have a 9-5 that she was getting to.  I would have thought it may have been some type dare based on how bright she was, but it quickly hit me, I have no place to question or judge.  Plus it was too big of a commitment with everything being that color, so I started thinking about HER. And I got jealous.

Yes, I’ve seen a ton of people with awesome hair colors and clothes that stand out, but I haven’t had that experience on the road with a group of people typically heading to the office or some type of labor job.  So I realized all this judgement and questioning was legitimate curiosity.  Beyond making a statement with bold colors, this woman clearly lacked nothing in confidence.  There was no way to miss her, she was literally and figuratively that bright.  She carried the appearance of someone who knows exactly who they are and what they are doing with themselves.  She never needed to ask permission for anything and she wasn’t about to start now.  Her life belongs to her and she owns it and pulls no punches—this woman was in the moment. This is EVERYTHING I express and preach about here.  This is exactly what people need to do.

After seeing her, I will tell you I felt a sense of liberation because this was the living embodiment of what I want to do: to be that free, that aware of who I am, that open in expressing myself.  That is the light that needs to be shared with the world.  Life is supposed to be fun.  It is supposed to be filled with things that bring us joy even if it doesn’t make any sense to anyone else.  This woman may be fortunate enough to work for a company that allows her to come in with pink hair.  That made me even more jealous.  I’ve realized that for my entire life I’ve literally had to live by someone else’s standards.  I had to dress, wear my hair, put on makeup, choose jewelry that wouldn’t offend anyone.  I’ve always wanted to break out of that pattern, but it’s deeply engrained—I like to take small steps, but even those are noticed and commented on so it’s easy to fall into old habits.

But this woman was the reminder we all need that freedom of expression does exist and we can live outside any box the world tries to put us in.  Sometimes life hands you the key in the most unexpected ways.  I am an open person, I love seeing different expressions of self—but I still had a judgement that someone wouldn’t be dressed like that for a “normal” job at that time in the morning.  So that is a barrier I need to break through.  A lot of it is I know I receive pushback when I do something outside the norm—or I’m at least questioned about it.  That doesn’t mean I know a thing about what this woman was doing with her day.  Accept who someone is wherever they are: that is the next step in true acceptance and bringing forth gifts.  We all have that spark inside of us.  For some it’s words.  For others it’s hot pink. 

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for knowing I am wrong.  Life is an evolution and to evolve means to grow.  Part of this is knowing when we are wrong.  Confession: as much as I work on/discuss/believe in growth, I am human and still struggle with it.  I still struggle with the discomfort and fear and falling into comfort patterns and familiar routines.  My family has been blessed with an opportunity that requires a lot of out of the norm behaviors and expectations.  During this transition, my husband has also made a decision regarding his career that impacts all of us.  He has no fear surrounding future planning or consequences from impulse decisions.  The truth is, we have survived everything so far—he isn’t wrong to take the leap.  In fact, that is more a demonstration of courage and willingness to change than me talking about it.  IF I want to be something/someone else, I need to do those things and jump. I have to demonstrate the same courage instead of playing it safe. 

Today I am grateful for change.  On the heels of the point above, I am grateful for these opportunities that have come our way.  We are meant to fulfill this purpose and take this journey.  We have goals and while this isn’t the route I thought we’d take to get there, this is certainly a way to something new.  This is a way to the change we’ve been looking for.  We can’t judge what we see because we never know what it will bring in the big picture.  Sometimes we just have to take that leap and know this is all part of the process.  Nothing HAS to look a certain way.  We just have to do it the way meant for us.

Today I am grateful for love.  Love is a tricky thing because we are human animals after all and that animal doesn’t always behave how we expect it to.  But love comes in many ways and I am grateful to give and to receive it.  My husband is having a difficult time with his side of the family because they aren’t behaving in a way he thought they would.  He is experiencing emotion around it.  I knew he felt these things but he never vocalized them before.  I am so grateful for the care we have with each other that he finally opened up to how he was feeling about it.  I am so grateful to offer support in an additional, less used, way for him.  I am grateful to offer what I have for him to feel secure and safe and loved and supported. 

Today I am grateful for fun.  Tension always goes up and down, it’s part of the natural flow of life.  There are moments when you can’t let those moments of tension that bring you down.  You have to focus on the good.  Today we spent some time together, just swimming in the pool and unwinding.  Enjoying each other’s company, goofing around, being together.  Those are the moments that remind us that we are headed in the right direction.  Life isn’t meant to be any one way or one path that we all follow, all misery or all joy—it’s meant to be what is meant to be for you.  We are meant to focus on the joy that happens when we do what makes us feel good.  So have fun.

Today I am grateful for things that make us happy.  The more we align and recognize the way we feel, the easier it is to recognize and follow the path meant for us.  We are so trained to believe that happiness is selfish or that happiness isn’t meant to last.  The truth is we need to find those moments that make us happy because they lead to a release of the weight we carry to be perceived a certain way in the world.  Life really doesn’t have to be that complicated.  We make it complicated by believing we need to be a certain way.  All we have to do is be who we are.  It’s really that simple and I am grateful for those reminders.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead!      

Watch You Fail

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Have you ever been with a group of people (or even one individual) where you know your moves threaten them?  I’m talking about the kinds of moves that propel you forward, moves in your personal or professional life that put you at a different level.  Things that trigger them and make them feel “less than” because they don’t believe they are capable.  One of my mentors/colleagues showed some true colors the other day.  This individual has a very different relationship with me than with other people in our circle.  She will spend all the time needed with another member of the group, coaching and directing, clarifying, gossiping and having fun, but when I’m around, it’s all business, “figure it out”, “you should know that”, “this person won’t like that”, “well let’s see if it works”, and “we’ll get you training for that” (which never comes). 

It took me nearly 4 years to see that this was personal on a different level.  It’s taken me another several months to understand that it has nothing to do with me.  It’s personal to her, not me.  I’ve noticed a common theme with the group is that my ideas are “too big” meanwhile we focus on what people wear as if that is some indicator of how they do their job.  Meanwhile when you ask for assistance to do it the way you’re told, you’re met with crickets and promises to do it eventually.  This isn’t a lamentation, this is a realization and a sharing of power with all of you.  I know I’m not the only one who has had this experience and I’m certainly not the only one who feels the call for something greater and feels stifled or rejected when others don’t jump on.

I wrote last week about knowing when it’s time to go and this is one of the other things I should have written about.  When people aren’t for you, leave.  When people don’t support you, leave.  When people pretend to help but never follow through, leave.  When people set it up so you’re left holding the bag (figuratively or literally), leave.  I realized with this group of colleagues, that we pick and choose who we help.  Those who support each other band together meanwhile a few of us are left on the outside but told we have access even if the doors are literally closed.  Any group that benefits from your struggle or seems to relish in it is not for you.  It isn’t up to you to make them understand or to continue to beg for what you need, it is simply time to leave.

This is something I’ve struggled with my whole life.  I’ve discussed my childhood many times, sharing the experience of literally doing people’s homework or going out of my way only to not be included in the day to day of their lives.  It’s amazing how these patterns follow us into adulthood, but the beauty is, there is more autonomy in adulthood and we are more easily allowed to make a shift and leave.  We just have to give ourselves permission and understanding to follow through with leaving.  Learning to trust intuition and recognize when things aren’t for us is key.  Believing you are on the right path and able to discern what IS for us is the other key.  Why stay with people who enjoy your failures?  Why stay in an environment that bores you and only returns the minimum?  Just because that’s what you were told to do doesn’t mean that’s what you have to continue to do.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if it doesn’t satisfy, sustain, bring joy, fulfill, create something positive, or support those activities it is time to leave.  It is time to trust your intuition and go where you can find those things, even if it means finding those things in yourself first.  We don’t always get the support we want from the people we want to see us—and that is usually because they can’t see themselves doing what you do.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t support ourselves.  We have to be our own biggest cheerleaders first and learn to garner the confidence to direct our sails.  Leave those behind who would anchor you.  Leave those behind who can’t see past the shore.  Leave those who would put holes in your ship hoping it makes theirs float higher.  Cast aside the dead weight and let yourself go forward—you won’t miss those who can’t see you succeed.  They won’t be happy either way so let it go.  

Head and Mind

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“In order to use your head you must go out of your mind,” Loren Ridinger.  Lately we’ve all been looking for something.  We feel there is more, we understand that there are different possibilities, and we are learning on a visceral and literal level that the way things are currently do not work for everyone.  We are awakening.  We know that we have a deeper purpose than what we’ve been told/sold yet we aren’t quite sure how to move forward and make that a reality.  There are a ton of unknowns.  Sometimes an opportunity comes along that makes zero sense in the scheme of your day to day life—it logically doesn’t fit, it’s counterintuitive to what you feel you should be doing yet there is an inner knowing that you need to follow.  That is what our opening quote is about.  Sometimes logic doesn’t work.  Logic makes sense of everything in the physical world but keeps us from what we know.  That is what this means.

When we start hearing the call of our souls, that is when we need to let go of what we know and follow what we KNOW.  There are certain things that don’t need to make sense logically.  When we are gifted intuition, we need to learn how to follow it rather than stifle it.  We are taught to fear our intuition and follow the logic we are taught because that is supposed to be the safer path.  We know now the truth of that: there is no safety anywhere.  Loyalty is a thing of the past for the most part—there is no need to care for employees or friends when they come a dime a dozen.  We’ve forgotten how to foster genuine connection. And I believe that comes from a desensitization to ourselves as well.  When we are taught our intuition is the enemy or something that can’t be trusted, how can we learn to read other people? 

These things take practice.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few brief moments of the type of connection where it didn’t matter if it didn’t make sense, I knew I had to do it.  Those were some of the most refreshing moments of my life, some of the most energetically freeing.  We are beings with a lot of energy and we are trained to waste it on distraction and other people’s priorities.  When we shift that energy toward ourselves, amazing things happen.  For instance, if you know a certain activity is either painful or stressful for you, but there is something you’re interested in trying and you do it, that is a moment of freedom.  We aren’t meant to stifle the things we feel.  Energy is powerful and we emit it at all times.  That isn’t something to ignore.  But we are able to harness that and the potential is unlimited if that energy is directed toward something we are aligned with. 

So when those things call, don’t worry about what you are “logically” supposed to do.  Answer from the part of you that wants to do it.  Amazing things happen, almost like magic.  Steps appear, resources appear, guides appear to move you forward.  It genuinely is magical to feel those things align.  I was recently gifted such an opportunity from my mentor and let me tell you, it feels surreal.  It felt fake.  In all honesty, the scientist in was piqued at the process of the brain and how it can reject a new reality.  The mind is a powerful thing, incredibly so.  I use this platform often to discuss the power of mindset and that is a perfect demonstration of trained beliefs/mind ruling our knowing.  Letting go of that and accepting a new reality is the next step.  In my case, I have leapt in.  There are parts I have no idea how they will work, but I’m going with it.  I’m following my head.  I hope you take the opportunity to do the same.