One of the things that most fascinates me about the human experience is its endless variations and vantage points. Even when we attempt to put our best foot forward, we step on one another’s toes simply because we each have our own rhythm to follow.
Conflict used to scare the shit out of me. In my twenties I fought the good fight only with myself, the emotional residue of my childhood left me paralyzed in the face of dissonance of any kind. So I morphed myself into someone who took great pains to please the people around me. It was an exhausting and relentless pursuit... all to avoid hurting anyone. Unfortunately, I was beating myself down in the process.
I have since learned that in order to lift the veils of protection, you have to be willing to take a hit from time to time. That is how you come to know your edges. We discover sovereignty and self-dominion by giving over our power, then reclaiming it again.
Tremendous growth can also happen when we are vulnerable enough to reveal something of ourselves that hasn’t yet seen the light of day; and sometimes that shadow truth shows up as a white hot mess. It doesn’t come out right. We feel exposed. Feelings get hurt. Some less than flattering aspect of ourselves is revealed. We wonder at the point of it all.
Yet regret is rarely helpful; it is powerlessness disguised. It often impedes self-empathy for what is done, is done. There is no point in holding yourself hostage to avoid facing the truth of what now lies before you. Accountability as an internal process contains within it the opportunity for needs to be revealed and a more honest expression of self to emerge... IF we are courageous enough to gaze upon ourselves and take the medicine being offered.
I can’t think of any greater power in my life than that of humility. When life knocks me on my ass, I may bitch and moan for a time... but I no longer stew in it for long because humility reminds me that pain has its purpose. It invites adjustment. Focusing on how to take the reach being offered is a far more worthwhile pursuit, as the mystery of growth reveals itself to us sooner when we are less resistant.
Particularly in the realm of relationship, sovereignty is key. I’m still learning how to love with an open heart, how about you? What to share... where to draw lines... and how to be present when wounds overlap and rub raw against one another. Join me as we dance this dance together... allow your pain points to show you how to navigate the world around you more consciously while healing your tender heart. Be humble to your own evolution, however bumpy the ride, and open to a larger vantage point beyond what you can see. Yet never surrender fully your core truth to the perception of those around you. When it comes to reality, we all see through a different lens. Seek not to convince others that your gaze reflects what is most real. Honor variance, tread lightly, and own what is yours (no more, no less).
And when you have no clue what to do, divorce your role as dramatic storyteller. Instead, find a safe container and tell the deepest truth you possibly can. If in doing so, you still make a mess of things, lean into the knowing that every dark explosion contains within it the potential for rebirth. Yet humility requires you to turn on the lights. Look around you; invite a new response to an old paradigm. And bless the mess that has revealed who you might come to be.
What are you waiting for?
Clarity? Time? Money? Permission? Perfect Love?
I’m calling your bluff. When you continually want something and you refuse to rise and claim it, you’re not waiting for anything or anyone. . . hesitation has you in a holding pattern.
Don’t get me wrong... a healthy dose of contemplation is wise. However, at times, you are sure to get caught in the infinite pause... putting off what you know you need, denying what you dare want. And as a result... you find reasons “not to.” Excuses to postpone getting on board with what would light you up like no other.
And most of your excuses are total and complete BS. Sorry my dear, but it’s the truth. They are just stories based on faulty assumptions. Habits to stay small... to avoid the risk of exposure... to question being an actual exception to the mediocrity of the masses. Hesitation can be exhausting. Denying your right to be ridiculously happy and free can be a ton of work.
As a coach, I continually encounter individuals who are overwhelmed. They are dog-tired and perplexed at the way life seems to be delivering blow after blow... they can’t seem to put their finger on why “x” keeps happening to them... they feel like an emotional wreck. They wonder at the challenges stacked before them... why can’t life be easier?
Upon closer examination, it becomes clear...
They are stuck waiting. Deliberation has become a debilitation.
It’s what I call a “riverbank moment.” The flow of their life is calling them forward... urging them to trust and GO... and yet they hesitate anxiously... anchoring themselves to a reality (or pattern of indecision) that no longer serves them.
At times, something (or someone) refuses to move with them, and they use it as an excuse to stay put. Other times they await the perfect invitation, losing faith when “it” doesn’t show up. Most often it’s a simple shift of perspective that will set them free and get their life moving again. Regardless, they cling to the sidelines as life lovingly fights to free them from inertia... flowing forth like a river, faster and faster and faster... at first offering a gentle invitation, but eventually beating them with a force that aches.
It is tough love at its finest.
Boats pass by again and again... vessels offering passage to freedom... yet still, they cling to the rocks in white-knuckled terror... so damned scared to make the wrong move... terrified of getting into the “wrong boat.” They keep fighting against the currents of their own desire...
Sometimes we prefer the safety of dysfunction
. . . to the mysterious journey around the bend.
But in the end, the Universe will force its hand upon us... and we WILL have to let go.
Eventually we will be ripped from the shore.
Why? Because life will bang our drum of discontent with a bitter-sweet rhythm until we listen. Growth is the perfect contender... offering resistance... something to push against so we can grow stronger. If we don’t back down and yield to our own desires, it offers a knockout punch... one that pushes us to yield to the ultimate power - surrender.
It won’t hurt so much if you surrender... you can let go at anytime. You don’t have to be tormented by stagnancy’s cry and its taunting echo. Heed the call of your desires for more... trust in the flow of your life. Let go. Movement is progress. Release is rebirth. Any freakin’ boat will take you forward...
Can’t see what’s around the bend?... reach forward anyway. Risk the reach.
Don’t like where you are headed?... steer the sails. Own the flow.
Find your vessel unfit for the journey?... make some repairs or find another.
Therein lies power... to understand that you always have a choice.
Do you know what kills my mojo every time? Shoulds. I hate those deceptive little suckers. That's why you haven't heard from me recently. I fell prey to the pressures of popular business models and began beating the passion out of my work. As I'm sure you know, it's easy to become distracted by supposed paths to success. Thankfully, creative sizzle-fizzle is always quick to remind me that true fulfillment is a subjective pursuit tethered to the heart of its seeker.
So after a very clumsy pas de deux with conformity, I have found my footing again. And, thanks to all of those missteps, I have learned a few things. Nutshell: I gotta be me. I am never really happy working according to someone else's formula. While I love to be inspired by those I admire, I promptly wither under the weight of convention. I prefer my creative containers be unique to my nature, elastic vessels that swell and eventually shatter under the pressure of my new growth.
I believe many of us live out lives in soils that no longer feed us. We continue to squeeze ourselves into planters that are long outgrown or designed by others. We are barely able to breathe as our eager roots edge against walls that feel as if they are closing in. We lash out violently at the elements above and around us for relief from a pressure and pain that lies deep beneath the surface.
Holy hot damn, I gotta tell you, ... there's nothing like the overwhelming relief of breaking out, into new rich soils. You don't have to leave it all behind; you bring with you the fertile compost of experience, designed by nature to ignite your new life. While it may be shocking to be unearthed from who you think yourself to be, it's beyond worth it once nestled deep within the expanse of new possibilities. Upon entering new ground, I always have to remind myself to breathe... as feelings of fear and exhilaration naturally surge at the wonder of just how far my roots are now able to stretch. w h o a... Yep, that's why they call it bated breath, it's laced with the awe of an unknown finish.
Which bring us to this moment...
I have just unleashed a labor of love that is so near and dear to my heart, it causes my pulse to quicken every time I think about it. This offering is not for everyone... it's designed for the countless women who - like me - have struggled with the expression of their truest voice and most authentic power in the world. Those who have too many times surrendered their will to something or someone else, hoping for validation or salvation. Let me be clear. This program will not ensure you a perfect body or promise to bring you your next relationship. A bag of money will not fall from the sky. However you'll be astounded at the expansive glory of becoming your own personal hero.
You choose your life. Learn to choose wisely. This program will give you endless resources and insights to leverage your gorgeous and perfectly-designed imperfections for massive power to DO whatever the hell YOU want with your one precious life.
And the best part... it's completely self-paced, offers 1:1 guidance, and can be experienced from anywhere in the world. Technology kicks some serious ass, dontcha think?
I will offer you context for the program's genesis in the coming days. But for now...
Learn more about the first ever Powerhouse Program. Please be advised: SPACE IS EXTREMELY LIMITED so don't hesitate... the wait is over. It's high time for you to GET YOURS...
It has only recently dawned on me that, in comparison to most people, I am radically honest. I don’t just mean in terms of the words I speak. True, I totally suck at white lies, half-truths, and packaged promises.... so now I don’t bother. But nor do I like being boxed in by someone else’s convention or way of life... I pace like a lion if I’m out of integrity with what works for me. I am willing to change everything if my life doesn’t sit right. That, I am finding, is a less common form of honesty. Truly authentic living.
I dare to live my life for me, which seems totally selfish to some people. I agree that, sometimes, humility can be found through sacrifice. But it can also be actively created by getting out of the damned way and simply living for your expression and your cause. In fact, I think it is far more arrogant to be agreeable. To assume that the world needs us to tip-toe around, so as not to rustle any feathers is a very self-centered sentiment. Rock your truth. People will judge you for playing too small. People will judge you for playing too big. Which one sounds like more fun?
That’s what I thought. ;)
True, it’s a bit scary sometimes. Not everybody likes it when I say what’s on my mind. But there are some of you out there that seem to love it... so I’m taking on more exposure. If you want to free yourself from the B.S. and dare yourself to live a life on your totally-kickass terms... you might be inspired by some of my recent realizations:
Doing One Thing Makes Me Nauseas
There’s a reality that’s dying-off in our culture... a myth fed by outdated stereotypes and student loan debt. It says: “pick one thing and stick with it.” Ugh. It kinda makes me wanna hurl. I hate to upchuck all over the American Dream, but I’ll never be able to do that shit. I’m simply not wired for it. I’d much rather juggle three balls at once... while skipping up a mountain... with a koala bear on my back... singing You Are My Sunshine at the top of our lungs. (yes, the koala beer can sing.... and you get the picture ;).
I change careers and creative pursuits almost as often as I change addresses.
I’m a chameleon with a cause. And I’m okay with that.
The “one thing” I love doing is me. And I like re-doing it over and over and over again...
I was born to move.
Some are. (mad love to all the ADHD peeps out there... may your restless leg find a drum pedal and/or a wise ally who sees the inherent magic in your medicine).
Why I Never Wear Makeup When I Write
Hey. I’m a huge fan of some shiny Mac lip gloss and sexy black eyeliner (mrowr!). But you won’t catch me wearin’ it when I hit the gym. Why? Because it’s not practical given my purpose. In the same way, I don’t want to get pretty when I write to you. I’m not interested in perfectly polished blog posts that ooze with flashy promises, because that’s not what my work is about. I vow to uncensor my fiery fingertips, revealing my blemishes and scars. Yes, I am an entrepreneur... so I do have to present a case for my products. But really, the #1 thing I am interested in selling you is YOU. Not just you, but the you that is unveiled of all pretense. It is the possibility of your liberation that gives me the courage to run around these pages (and others) without mascara.
Heck, one of these days maybe I will reveal my metaphorical cellulite... and under florescent lights! yikes!
Yep, I’ve got it too! (P.S. I said “metaphorical” so all photo requests will be denied. ;)
Sometimes Really Good Advice Sucks
My recent business training with Marie Forleo (which has been AHmazing) has really got my wheels turning. I have had more entrepreneurial ah-hahs in the past three months than I can count. Yet no matter who you elect as your guide or guru, I can promise you this... they can’t give you the perfect map for you. Ever. They can only offer suggestions based on what works for them. You’ve got to take what fits and leave the rest. (Side note: never take advice without making sure your source is walking the talk. Props here, Marie is da’ bomb.)
One example of a really simple piece of advice that had me tied up in knots for weeks: “create an editorial calendar and stick to it.” Um... please shoot me now. That’s like telling me to take my favorite dark chocolate and dip in it dirt.
Don’t get me wrong. I get it. I understand the need for discipline; I get that you have to show up to write. But it makes me wanna cry, regimenting my greatest joy. I know it works for some people, but it’s not for me. I don’t create juice from that place. Yes, I am a professional. I could crank a little something out every week... but I don’t want to send you a bunch of fluff. My email box is overflowing with fluff and it makes me dizzy. I want to feel completely ablaze with a message when I write to you.
For over a decade I have been a dancer. And I have never fit convention. I don’t dance at home alone... and studio-time is not something that I do. I choreograph only in my head, and I dance only with others, when I love the song. And ya know what... it has worked for me. That’s how I art.
And I muse only when I feel moved. So I’m crossing that editorial calendar off of my list right now. Boo-yah!
What are you forcing yourself to do that you can cross off your list?
Tell me about it in the comments below...
A few years ago I was teaching a class at Multnomah Athletic Club, a premier fitness club here in Portland. In a short break between songs, something caught my eye just out the side window. A female member wearing a body harness and dripping with sweat was moving across the floor like molasses, using her full physical strength to propel herself forward. She was near impossible to ignore, as she sweated and strained against whatever it was she resisted. Just as the other students in class turned to look, a man (her trainer) came into view. He was at the end of her rope, leaning back against her might... resisting her call to action.
Without even realizing it, I muttered aloud (but mostly to myself)... “wow, that looks a lot like my last relationship.” Just as I was about to blush with shame, the entire room of women erupted in laughter. I was immediately put at ease and smiled along with them. Apparently I wasn’t alone in that sentiment. ;)
Of course, there are a number of reasons why we choose to tie ourselves to relationships leave us panting for air (that’s another post). Yet, I am way more interested in HOW we can open our eyes and untether ourselves from unnecessary strain.
While a certain degree of tension is to be expected in our relationships, all too often we are pulling around more than our share of the weight and/or participating in a co-dependent tango with co-workers, friends, partners, and family members.
So... who’s at the end of your rope?
You may want to blame whoever it is for being there, but in truth you are at fault. YOU are the one trying to force them to get somewhere they don’t want to go. You aren’t straining against them... you are actively fighting against yourself and your innate desire to act as an independent entity. While it may seem like a loving act to pull them along, you’re not doing anyone a favor here. While you might be getting stronger, sacrificing your power to a force that opposes the direction you want to go in inevitably breeds resentment.
Here are some examples of strapping on a harness and giving your power away...
(sigh) I have to pick up my friend at the airport.
I should go to the party because I will be expected.
I don’t want to do it, but I said that I would!
My boss always does this to me; he is such a bully!
I have to stay and work late because nobody else is gonna do it!
I tried to get out of it, but she just wouldn’t take no for an answer.
I really want to go on that vacation. I wish he was into it, too.
The reality is... it’s only true because you say it is.
You don’t “have to” do any one of those things.
You are NOT powerless. You are NOT a victim. Unless, of course, you choose to be.
You can take off that freakin’ harness any time you like.
How? Stop pretending to be without strength. People can only take advantage of you if you believe that they have more power over your life than you do. And that, my friend, is very unlikely. It is high time for you to flex your true power. And remember, power is not a four letter word. It can be expressed with kindness and compassion.
Let’s turn the former scenarios around...
I’m so sorry, Mary... I’m super swamped. Meet me for a drink when you get into town?
As much as I would love to make it to your party, it’s just not a good night for me. Have fun!
No can do. Hope you find someone.
Thanks, Boss. I’ll get to that when I can. Probably next week.
If the work doesn’t get done, so be it. It’s not my business, so it’s not my problem.
I can’t do you that favor. Please don’t ask me again.
[sound harsh? yep! pushy peeps need clear boundaries]
Hey! What if I took that trip to Hawaii with my BFF? It would probably be more fun anyway!
You can do this! Turn your reality around. Put your power into your own words, and take of that harness once and for all. It works. I haven’t worn one in years, and I’m stronger than ever.
Still not sure how to untether yourself from a specific dynamic? Ask me.
Do you ever feel like you're posing in life?...
or maybe just squeezing yourself into a box you've outgrown?
Is there an avenue of your everyday that brings up a dull to acute anxiety within you?...
one you avoid whenever possible?
Do you ever feel your face warm - your body flood with pent-up energy
or frustration - when interacting with a particular person?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, there IS something you can do about it...
Doesn't sound like anything you haven't heard before, right?
Reveal more your brilliance!, she urges...
• more of your opinions
• more of your gifts
• more of your values
• more of your body
• more of your talents
• more of your love
• more of your light
• more power...
blah blah blah...
Heads up, Guru-smiley pants! You can put a freakin' rainbow on my workbook and tell me to breathe deeper, but it still hasn't stopped me from eating potato chips or snapping at my kids...
Let's face it. That cheerleading angel perched on your shoulder can sometimes feel like a nag... buzzing around your brain with affirmations and positive psycho-babble. Ugh. Would someone please shut her up?!
You've got it.
Sometimes "positive thinking" is just a cover for holding yourself hostage.
Let's look to the other shoulder. You see that sarcastic lil' devil in that smart suit or red dress cut way too low?.. pouty lips, indifferent stance, eyes rolling? Yep. She's the one for you. Her delivery may need some work, but she's got the juice.
I want you to fall head over heels in love with your provocative little shadow vixen. Why?
Because then you will begin to unveil:
• more of your (unpopular) opinions
• more of your (secret) gifts
• more of your (selfish) values
• more of your (naked) body
• more of your (underdeveloped) talents
• more of your (courageous) love
• more of (the real) you
• more (authentic) power
And that, my dear, is the key to your liberation.
Owning. It. All.
Anxiety is the offspring of self-denial. Period. You are buzzing with discomfort because you are not allowing the full expression of what is real for you. The surge of energy that we know as anxiety is the body's natural realignment mechanism. It is urging you to move your pent up power.
The more you consciously exorcise your true voice and full power - however undesirable or divergent it may be - the less anxious you will feel. The irony is, you have to walk through the anxiety of exposure to find freedom from it. For best results, I suggest deconstructing your lil' devil in order to reveal it's saucy medicine. That's my favorite part... showing you how your own unique brand of crazy (what you are likely hiding from the world) is just what you are here to share.
And nope, I'm not worried at all about you aligning with that lil' devil. What if you start running around like the Queen of Destruction, lopping off heads without care?! Come on... we know you. You are WAY too ahead of the game... way too conscious... way to savvy... and way too smart for that shit.
I trust you to handle the power you were born with.
Step out of the dark.
And into to your true power.
Off you go...
Need some inspiration on how to get in alignment when it might create upset for others? Here's how I embraced the art of disappointing people, just this week!
Want to see one way I exorcise my vixen? Check her out. She's a fire-cracker. Mrowr!
Today I disappointed a lot of people. And I mean to say that I really bummed them out. I keep getting bitter-sweet emails to prove it.
You see, I am changing the course of my life. Yep, that’s what I said... I am changing the course of my life. In order to do that, I have to let go of some things. Unfortunately, that means people are disappointed in the process. Such is the path of following one’s heart.
For over a decade, I have been a dance fitness teacher. But it’s only in the past five years, that I have begun to really excel. Having finally learned to step into my true voice and full power, I can honestly say that I am damned good at it. Of course in the beginning I spent a period of time sorta sucking, then time paying my dues as a copy-cat rookie teacher, a few years honing my voice, and then (eventually) I found a groove that works for exactly who it is I am as a teacher. It feels wonderful to be in that space of effortlessness around something you love to do. And now I even have a following of gorgeous women (and even a few men!) who love to get down with me. It is wonderfully rewarding. I am so grateful and humbled by it all.
And... as wonderful as it is... it is not my big dream.
Not when I have so much else I want to share. While my body has made it clear that it is time to move on (reality check and details on that here), that’s really a bit of a cop out. I know from experience that my body really only speaks as a vehicle for my soul. All success aside, my soul is calling me to other things...
You know deep inside you that you will never be fully satisﬁed until you have anchored yourself in your Zone of Genius. To do less would be to hold back, and long ago you made a handshake deal with the universe that you wouldn’t do that. The seductive comforts of success, though, can lull us into accepting the status quo. In that state of comfort, it’s easy to forget the deal you made with the universe to use yourself fully. – Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap
I just began reading this book, and it could not have come at a better time. I highly recommend it for a number of reasons. He talks a lot about how we get in our own way, limiting the amount of happiness in our lives through a variety of “upper-limiting” behaviors. Big ah-hah’s for me there!
And he specifically talks about how easy it is for successful people to get stuck in what he calls the Zone of Excellence. You see, we all have areas that we excel in... things that we do very well and may even be rewarded generously for. However, it is in our Zone of Genius that we thrive on every level. We are not only successful, we are fulfilled by doing what comes most naturally to us. In reading his book, I realize that THIS is how I feel when working with my clients. Pause. Did you hear that? My clients. Two of my favorite words. I freakin’ love my clients!!!! Holy cow. There is literally nothing that jazzes me up more than sitting with a client and seeing new awareness form in her eyes... watching as she accepts the fact that she can have more... witnessing her as she step into her power and makes serious shit happen. Oh, I could go on for days... I am head over heels in love with my clients because they allow me the privilege of doing my work.
I used to gaze intrigued and perplexed at Oscar winners when I they would say things like that: “Thank you for allowing me the privilege of doing the work I was born to do.” It always sounded kinda corny to me... and almost too good to be true. But I can tell you that lately, I know just what they are getting at.
It’s a phenomenal feeling, to fulfill your genius...
It lights me up from bottom to top... offering personalize power training for women. This is where I feel most like myself. I am built for this work. I guide self-empowerment that results in tangible expression. I am wired to cheer people on and to see the stuff that seems hidden from view. I was born to demonstrate and encourage raw and authentic truth. While I also do that as a dance teacher everyday, I have so much more power within me. My attention needs to go toward a loftier expression of my big dream.
As a result. I will have to let go of some classes. Release my current path of success, and have the courage to invest more in what I really love doing with every ounce of my being. That second part is easy, by the way. When you are doing the work that you are REALLY meant to do, it is so damned easy, it’ll make you giggle til you pee. Being yourself is a snap. You say to yourself... “Whatev’s! No worries. I’ve so got this!”. You’ll even work 16 hour days without even batting an eyelash, simply because you can’t stop yourself from doing what you love.
That’s me, right here right now. That’s how I feel about creating this newly envisioned business that provides massive value to people who are ready to step in to more power, more grace, and more authenticity than they ever imagined.
Isn’t that worth a few people being disappointed? I think so.
Are you one of them? No worries. Why not spend some quality time with me? I’ve got a deal that will knock your socks off...
This special offer is ONLY AVAILABLE to my students. I adore you all!
1:1 Power Coaching Sessions
If you have an issue in your life or body and could use support,
it’s time to cash in! Apply and mention this offer.
(students-only offer; first time clients may apply)
In the meantime, tell me: What are YOU doing to get in your own way?
I’d love to hear about it... and what you plan to do to change it!
A Special Message to my Zumba Students & Friends:
There IS such a thing as too much of a good thing. And I mean a genuinely good thing... I’m not talking about binging on bon-bons. I’m talking about a thing that lights you up from the inside. Dance does that for me. Movement and the liberation it brings. I can honestly say that it has saved my life on more than one occasion. But that story is for another day...
Most of you already know that I love me some ass shakin’. My specific passion has morphed throughout the years (Nia, martial arts, hoopdance). Since January 2009, it has been Zumba.... liberating, joy-inducing, wild-woman, sensuality-celebrating Zumba.
It does a body good. To a point.
What lights you up can burn you out. Choose moderation.
Experts say that moderate exercise can boost your immune system and contribute to overall health. Moderate, folks. Now call me crazy, but 7-9 Zumba classes a week isn’t exactly moderate. As you know, Zumba is a crazy fun, all-out booty blasting workout that pumps high-energy from minute-one all the way to the end. Sure, we build in some dips here and there. But there is no room for deep breathing. Interval format, yes. Restorative movement, not so much. Heads up, ladies (and you rare but fearless hip-girating gents)... ya gotta balance your muscle with grace. I don’t know how many times I’m gonna have to learn this one. And you can step down from your pedestals mind-body practitioners... even modalities that promise both (ie. yoga, Nia, hoopdance) can be overdone in spades due to our incessant desire to push it to further limits. Trust me, I have severely scalded myself on all counts. Thankfully, my body is sending me a very clear message once again...
After three years of pretty much non-stop teaching each week, my immune system is crashing. Big time. I have been sick more in the past year and a half than I have in the ten years prior. No joke. My body is in crisis-mode, and I have no choice but to listen. Of course my dance schedule is not solely at fault. Far from it. As a multi-passionate entrepreneur I have created a rigorous work schedule for myself, balancing paying the bills (working late into the night) with building a business during the day. Add to that loss of a dear loved one two years ago, and you’ve got a prescription for an emotional and physical body teetering toward imbalance. Oh, and did I mention that my diet could also use some improvement?
Hang out long enough on the edge, and eventually you’ll fall over.
As a result, I will be altering my schedule and my priorities, effective immediately. I will be going down to teaching only four classes per week. Yep, I’m gonna workout like a civilian. ;) And I will also be taking of August 5-11 for my birthday and some much needed me-time. Damn straight, and I deserve it! I know some of you will be disappointed at the changes, but I can promise that the space afforded will expand into into bigger projects that will inspire you on every level.
The biggest change will be at NW Women’s Fitness Club, where I will no longer be teaching regular classes. I have been with some of you ladies for many years, and I will miss you dearly. I have received a tremendous amount of love and support in that space, and I am a better woman for having known and danced with you all.
As many of you know, in 2009 I launched the Zumba program there. It has been a massive success, an achievement that continues to be a highlight of my teaching career, even winning me an award! And now that same program has grown to include a magnificent team of women who are passionately committed to your fitness and fun-time. That being said, I want to use what limited authority to offer a couple more very important reminders to all of my students out there.
First let me say that I appreciate SO much your words of praise and love around my teaching. After over a decade of teaching and sharing what I love, it moves me to tears to think that I have such a loyal and grateful following. I truly savor each and every moment of celebration for the talents that I’ve worked so hard to develop.
On the flip side, it pains me when I hear that other teachers are being held to unfair standards. Don’t get me wrong, ladies... feel free to like what you like, speak your mind when you don’t get what you want... but please, let us remember not to alienate ourselves from connection by attaching ourselves to one way of doing something. It is perfectly natural to be attached to one teacher’s style, to resonate with someone. And it is also unreasonable to expect (or desire) that someone else emulate it. I passionately believe that every person has a unique gift to bring to dance and teaching. Please don’t miss all that good stuff oozing forth right in front of you by wanting him or her to be someone else. I am sure you know from a lifetime of relationships, that doesn’t bring out the best in anyone.
You will see better when you expect better.
In my early days I was the studio manager and primary guest teacher for Nia’s founders. It took a tremendous amount of personal power and courage for me to step up in front of a room full of people who expected me to deliver at the highest standard possible; to stand in and hold a candle to the experts. At times, I could feel boredom and eyes rolling behind me. I imagined thought bubbles popping up over the students’ heads: “I wish Debbie was here.”... “Has it been an hour yet?”... “Who IS she and why in the hell is she doing THAT?” Of course some of this was nerves and may not have been based in reality, but it zapped my energy and my joy nonetheless. I never taught at my best when I was distracted by an air of disappointment in the room. I eventually learned to plug into the students who seemed to want to be there... the ones who genuinely wanted me to succeed. By anchoring into my peeps, I regained my center and found my own style. Over time, the people who didn’t vibe with me moved on, and I slowly developed my own following.
The point is, if you want to see ANY teacher at her best, flash her your most winning smile... cheer her on and mean it... take charge of your own joy... lift the energy in the room. That gorgeous creature in front of you has every right to shine in her own way. Please do your best not to inadvertently make her wrong for her uniqueness or her learning curve. She is doing her very best to serve you.
That being said... if, by chance, her style isn’t polished enough or just doesn’t sit right with you. No problem! But please check-in with yourself before you make it about her... or the management... or about anyone else. It’s your experience. Own it. Speak your truth without complaining or making anyone wrong. Own your right to make a choice, and walk on. Or better yet, keep experimenting with an open mind until you find a right fit!
When you own your experience, THEN you have the power to change it.
Ok. I will step from my soapbox now. ;) I just hate for you to miss out on all the magic of the moment by wishing it could be different. It is a wonderful feeling to be appreciated by you all... yet my most heartfelt desire (far beyond fame or accolades of any kind) is to inspire you to live and walk fully in your power. That is my real work.
I love you all dearly... and my heart aches a little in the letting go. But such is the price of change. I am 100% confident (seriously, I am that certain) that we will all gain something in this transition. IF we are open enough to see it. As always, I welcome your comments below. xo!
And if you like what I bring to class, you will love what I bring to coaching. Why not spend some quality time with me one-on-one? As an incentive, I’ve got a deal that will knock your socks off...
This special offer is ONLY AVAILABLE to my students. I adore you all!
1:1 Power Coaching Sessions
If you have an issue in your life or body and could use support,
It’s time to cash in! Apply and mention this offer.
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WTF is Grace Anyway?
What To Do When The Rug Is Pulled Out From Under You
In November 2004 I was slated to move into an apartment with a friend and colleague. I had given notice at my current place, rented the truck, everything was set. Four short days before I was to move, I was sipping a latte at Starbucks when I got a call from my new roommate. For reasons outside of her control, the whole thing had fallen through at the last minute. Her current roommate was staying, and I had nowhere to go. Keep in mind, this was also three days before Thanksgiving... not exactly a huge hustle time in the rental market.
I was stunned. I fell perfectly silent. And then, for some reason I can't explain... I was completely calm. I thanked and reassured her with a graciousness that surprised the shit out of me, and I hung up the phone. I took a deep breath, expecting to be overwhelmed by panic. But it never came. An inexplicable sense of acceptance rolled over me, and what was that (relief?... ?!), followed by a sense that something was so RIGHT about everything in that f'ed up mess of a moment.
I got into my car to drive toward work. But I turned left instead of right. I drove straight toward the neighborhood I MOST wanted to live in. I drove and drove... weaving closer to the forest I wanted to be near. I called numbers on a few apartment complexes (per the signs posted outside). They were all out of my price range. And by a lot. All the while, a voice inside taunted me to quit... “give it up, girl! you can’t afford to live here. and you are going to be SO late for work! JUST GIVE. IT. UP!”
But instead, I ignored it. I kept driving. I kept calling numbers. Still nothing I could afford. And just as I was about to give up (mind you, only 20 minutes into this little adventure), I decided to drive to the end of the road. Almost to where the road dead-ended, I saw a set of lovely little red steps leading into a landscaped courtyard. It was an eight-unit complex where every unit had its own hand-carved wooden front door. I loved it immediately. And at the top of the steps was a “for rent” sign. I called apprehensively, and a sweet elderly lady answered the phone. I could immediately feel she was very kind... “The door is unlocked... go on in, honey." I toured a lovely little one-bedroom abode and anxiously asked questions: Would you allow for my cat? “Oh, I just love cats! Even more than people, sometimes!” she giggled. When could I move in? “Well, it’s available NOW, honey.” And the most dreaded question: (gulp) How much is it? (holding breath) “oh I try and keep it low.”... she then quoted me a price that left my mouth gaping open. It was $25 more a month than the teeny tiny studio I had been living in for the past year. I almost fell over with relief and amazement at how easy it had been. Too easy??...
Nope. I moved in three days later.
On top of that, it was hands-down the easiest move of my life. My friend and her roommate felt so bad that they had left me hanging, I had all the man and muscle power that they could call upon. It was a 3-hour move, tops. A total breeze. It still makes me smile remembering how few boxes I carried.
Living there was a pivotal time in my life... things wouldn’t have been the same if I had ended up anywhere else.
It was (and still is) a miracle moment in my life. That day I understood the sensation of grace. Moving forward, while letting it happen. I went from crisis to solution in 20-minutes... all by remaining calm and insisting upon something better.
Now I haven’t had that much grace in response to every crisis in my life (that’s for damned sure!)... but I do know that when I persist without forcing... when I keep driving in life... when I make the calls... when I become available to the impossible... and when I am willing to do my part to make it so, I almost always get what I want.
I really do get what I want, a lot of the time. Maybe not right away. But eventually, yes. Ask the people who know me. Many people see this as a positive, but I have been condemned for it more than once. Maybe it’s because I am stubborn to a fault. Sure... maybe I need to tone it down from time to time (when I become impatient or focus on the wrong things), but when it comes to insisting on a life that I love, persistence works for me.
Or better said... I work for life. So life works for me.
So when the rug is pulled out from under you, curse only for a moment, get your ass up, and get moving. The next chapter is in front of you... like an automatic door you can’t see. You have to step forward, insist on its existence... get close enough and it will S W I N G W I D E O P E N.
Grace is a delicious thing, but it can’t happen without you.
“Help! I am so unsure about what to do.
And it terrifies me that I may make the wrong decision.”
It’s not always apparent which direction we should go in. Sometimes we feel pulled apart at the seams by two distinct courses of action. Maybe the option we are faced with overwhelms us with perceived pressure or insecurity... we ask ourselves, “Is this REALLY what I want?” And in some cases, we’re just scared shitless. There is no perfect answer to serve all occasions, but I can offer you a few tried-and-true strategies that will help you to find your answer every time!
#1 :: Pay Attention to the Voice in your Head....
Are your reasons for doing it empowering or disempowering?
The first step to gaining clarity involves an exercise in self-awareness. Noticing the internal language you use around a particular course of action can immediately reveal your deepest truth. When you debate this issue in your heart and mind, what words do you use most?
For example, said-action is disempowering when you use words/phrases such as:
I really have to this because... (there is no “have-to” in empowerment)
If I don’t do this then... (indicates fear is guiding you vs. possibility)
I’m not sure what else I would do, so I probably should... (should’s are just shitty reasons, period.)
This worked for so-and-so, so it must be the right thing to do... (fyi, it’s your life)
On the other hand, said-action is empowering when you use words/phrases such as:
It’s so exciting to think about doing this because... (a feeling of exhilaration)
Even though I’m scared, the possibilities this opens me to are... (moving toward expansiveness)
If I don’t do this now, I just know I will regret it later... (guided by intuition)
Even if this doesn’t work out, I have a feeling it will lead to something great... (a sense of *optimism)
Essential aside regarding optimism: I find it an unfortunate (and misguided) use of optimism when people talk themselves into loving an idea just because it COULD work out. Of course it could! But that doesn’t mean that you want to do it! An optimist can talk him or herself into doing anything. Save your rose-colored glasses for another day. Making important decisions requires you be honest with yourself and what is really guiding your choices. What matters more that IF it could work is whether or not a course of action lights you up or dims you down. Do you feel more or less powerful when you imagine doing it?
#2 :: Ask Your Body....
What is your gut telling you? Literally.
It’s easy to get caught in the cross-fire of the heart and mind. A part of us yearns to do something driven by our passion around a cause... while our mind frantically tries to keep up with us while weighing the pros and cons. The result of this banter can be maddening, as we drive ourselves crazy with scenarios. The heart professes the pleas of the artist-within... the mind is ever-concerned with the logistics... and no one conclusion seems apparent. That, my sweet, is the time when you just gotta listen to your gut!
Your body speaks its own language, and when you learn how to listen to it... you’ll never make decisions the same. Sit quietly and breathe for a bit. Get your bearings first... and then go back to the place where the heart and mind are tossing this choice you are about to make. First turn down the volume on the mind... let lawyering fade into the distance a bit to create a little space for the heart to step in. Then slowly do the same with it... allow the passionate pleas of the heart die down as you place your attention on your lower belly. Stay there for a moment. What do you feel? Likely, a flutter of some sort... anxiety is common when a major choice presents itself. But here is the question you must ask your gut: Do I feel the sickness of apprehension?... or Do I feel the stirring of desire? There can be a fine line between the two, but with practice you will learn to discern between Lionheart Fear (that calls upon courage) and the Inner Sage (that tells us when to hold out for something better).
If you’re still not sure whether or not to trust your gut... then ask your most observant and trusted friend to do a body read for you. Say what?!! Yea... seriously. It’s easier than it sounds. Tell them that you want to talk it out, and you just want them to focus SOLELY on your body language, not the content of your argument. Then, just let it rip... I mean really pour out your thoughts and fears around this decision. Go on until you feel empty... then ask them this question: Did I seem bigger or smaller when I talked about do said-action? You may be surprised by their answer... honest friends are always a good read.
#3 :: Reality Check - It’s Not WHAT you choose, it’s THAT you choose
I often offer my clients The River Metaphor as a way of understanding how essential it is to keep moving in life (more on that soon). Essentially, your life will move with or without you. When you go with it, it’s a much smoother ride. Choice is one of the greatest gifts we have been given, and it is the most essential aspect in our evolution both individually and collectively. When we refuse to make a choice around something, it postpones our growth. Growth is inevitable, while grace is defined by how we choose to go about it. Movement requires saying YES and saying NO... over and over again and again. The sooner you allow for an answer (any answer!), the sooner you free yourself up for the next opportunity. There is no right or wrong in movement... there is only forward. Whether you say yes or no, you have spoken and the current of life will move you that much faster. More on responding to the now, and release the how.
Still not sure what to choose? Then, quite honestly, it’s not a decision that warrants your energy. Let it go. Say yes... say no... say anything(!), and move on. Being stuck is far more detrimental to your growth than any direction you might choose. You can’t mess this up. The lesson will be learned, either way.
“Why do I keep avoiding the life I want?!”
“Start before you’re ready.” - Marie Forleo
It is really freakin’ easy to put things off. I mean, seriously easy... I myself can spend hours planning [translation: postponing!] something I really want to do. Literally. I am a compulsive list-maker... and it’s seemingly good cause to feel productive when not much of anything is actually going on. Ironically, many people would describe me as a go-getter - disciplined and responsible. Ha!... I’ve got them fooled, eh?! ;) Nah... it’s true. I can be counted on to get shit done, that’s for sure. It’s only the things that require the most heart and soul that I avoid. Curious, eh?
Case in point, many of you know that I am a writer. I have shared bits of pieces of myself via articles here and there. I even have a blog dedicated to my love of poetry and prose. (RecklessNectar... and yes, it’s as raw and succulent as it sounds.) But lately I have been wanting to more actively incorporate my writing into my coaching practice, in bigger and bolder ways... and with consistency!!! So why haven’t I done it? I love to write, so that’s not where the resistance lies. My blog is a perfect place to start; I clearly have the platform. But instead of sitting down to write, I put it off or plan it... I make lists of topics... I get distracted by what is urgent... I continually postpone my bliss. WTF?...
I see this phenomenon all around me. Clients that can’t keep themselves from crossing their arms and rolling their eyes when I mention the thing they’d most love to do with their lives. Friends who are wickedly skilled in a great variety of things that light them up, putting off the baby steps in exchange for happy hour or a Facebook session. Millions of people settle for lives that don’t-quite-suck and put off what would make them GLOW. In fact I have found that almost anyone, if you probe long enough, has a latent passion they’ve dreamt of stepping into for as long as they can remember.
So what gives, yo?!
Why do so many of us resist getting on with it?
Why do we AVOID doing what we would most love to do?
Conventional psychology would say that “fear of failure” is the culprit. Many would argue that our insecurities are what terrorize our will to act. Perhaps, in some cases. But if we examine more closely, I think we will see an even deeper fear at work. I call it Fear of Exposure.
You see, what we love the most, reveals us the most.
Essentially, our deepest passions are connected with the most intimate part of us. When we unlock their expression, we are completely exposed. Offering exposure to what is most real for us is the scariest thing we could ever do. Ironically it is also the key to unlocking our greatest joy. We are our most free when we are our most vulnerable, honest, naked, and real.
It’s scary, isn’t it?... being so exposed?
True. It takes practice, stepping into the light in all your naked glory. But let’s be clear, it’s not the fear that stops you from doing what your heart yearns for. Hesitation does that. What’s the difference, you ask? Fear only has the power you give it. It’s just a handy surge of energy that rises up when we feel a real or imagined threat. It’s a subtle (or sometimes paralyzing) sensation that you can learn to navigate. It’s not fear that is the problem, it is what you do in the face of that fear that defines how the moment will unfold....
When faced with exposure of self... Do you hesitate? Or do you ACT? Giving vehicle to your authentic desires... acting in the face of fear... this will conjure up more power than you could ever imagine.
Uh... okay... but but... but Coach... what about my insecurities?... processing my core issues?... chanting affirmations?... making vision boards?... reading the latest and greatest self-help book? Great! Do those things if you feel they light you up in a meaningful way. But none of them, NOT A SINGLE ONE is a substitute for action. Trust me on this... I’ve done the legwork.
It’s GO TIME....
I commit to:
Writing. It is the passion I mostly intimately connect to. It is what I was born to do... and therefore, it scares the shit out of me how naked I become when I do it. And that’s EXACTLY why I have to do it. I plan to walk my talk, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
What about YOU?
What are you scared shitless of doing... that you are going to just do anyway? I’ve got your back. Seriously. You don’t have to do it alone. And trust me. The Nike brand is timeless for a reason. Just Do It. These three words will change your life forever.
Action transmutes fear into pure, raw POWER.
So go kick fear in the ass!!
You will be judged (or you will be ignored). Those are pretty much the only two choices.
- Seth Godin
Okay. I’ll admit it.
I’m scared. Scared shitless, in fact.
I have a vision of where I want my life to be. I know what I am capable of, and it is so much more than I am currently living. Playing small has gotten me by, it has paid the bills, and it has kept me safe. But I am sick and tired of playing it safe. I am over being underwhelmed. And I am ready to take some big actions that I know will catapult my life to new heights. Seriously big, y’all. Bigger and Bolder than Ever.
That stubborn little voice within taunts me... reminding me of all the many ways in which I am likely to fail (or be judged). Do you have one of those? It tells me to wait just a little bit longer... wait until I am more equipped, less vulnerable, more developed in this and that. It asks me who I think I am to do such and such... it sends down torrential rains on my pride parade.
But it’s no longer fooling me. I know it’s just Fear rummaging through my closets... dressing up in all my clothes, pretending to know me better than I know myself. Fear is a wounded child... acting out, begging to be acknowledged and loved whole again. Don’t we all want that?
To My Dearest Fear:
I see you. I acknowledge that I am afraid. I am afraid of being seen for who I am, afraid of being called out as what I am not... and most afraid of being condemned for either. I am scared of being loved, hated, criticized, or elevated... deified or demonized... laughed at or serenaded... all of it, I am afraid of it all. Because either way, it means I am seen.
And that, my friends, is the fear at the heart of it all. Can I bare it all, be cast fully into the light, and accept the consequences of living out loud? Can you?
I do have a choice. I can keep my voice at a hush for fear of offending others. Or even just live peacefully within my close web of friends and family. There is nothing at all wrong with modest living... with simple joys and private celebrations. Nothing at all. But that’s not what I am here to do. It goes against the very fiber of my being. I am born for something that requires exposure... and there is no denying it.
So yes, I am afraid. But I’m gonna put my ass out there anyway.
I’m gonna to chase my dreams right through the dark... and into the spotlight.
one by one...
over... and over...
until I prove to Fear once and for all that there really is no dragon I that cannot slay.
Off, I go.
feature article :: Subject: To Change
Candice Schutter :: News That Moves You :: April 2012
When things fall apart, it may feel as if it is you that is broken. When you finally let go, the life you’ve outgrown is allowed to drop and shatter at your feet. You are all that’s left standing, staring down at the debris. It’s easy to confuse the broken bits you once identified with... with the you that feels naked and vulnerable. Yet, remaining whole is a matter of perspective. Change is a bitter-sweet inevitability involving sharp edges. When we allow it, we are stripped naked... then chiseled and reshaped by nature's hand into something more honest and real. I have spent nearly three years in an unknown and barren landscape. Questioning everything, wading through the shrapnel of my former self in hope of finding some solid ground on which to build anew. I have felt everything from freedom to despair, mostly inhabiting the space in between. Some of you have witnessed me for years and it is safe to say, I am not the same woman who wrote to you then, or even a year ago. I am brand new; and my fresh skin is still wonderfully pink and tender to the touch.
I have asked the question... “So who in the hell am I now?” so many times my eyes have crossed. Of course, at my very core, I am me still. But when you stop drinking the kool-aid and finally release the bars around your shadow self... the result is a blend of stark sobriety and wild exhilaration bound to shake life up a bit! And boy, does it ever. The most wonderful by-product of falling... falling... falling... and never hitting the ground is simple. Freedom. Lack of anchors leads to bolder questions and bigger truths.
Yet, I struggled with how to come out to you. I am a coach, an entrepreneur. How do you build a business without a big fat take-it-from-the-guru promise?! I’m not entirely sure... but I don’t aspire to be a guru. And I have little interest in a marketing hook to cast as bait. That approach feels fabricated to me; and, frankly, I think you deserve better than that. My business plan is to simply build credibility by telling you the truth... all of it. That being said, I have to be forthright and say that I will no longer be your personal growth correspondent. I won’t write to you about new-age (or old-age) formulas for getting what you want. I won’t allege to have answers to the questions that plague humankind. In fact, my primary message will be plain and simple: all things are subject to change.
Principles and perceptions will come and go. Roles will be assigned and outgrown. Skills will be necessary and will eventually become obsolete. Capitalize on what is constant about you... and be willing to LET GO of the rest... because you will be asked to let it go at some point. Without question, you will have to let it all go...
One constant that I know I am good at - expressing change. I gain courage and strength through transition and self-expression. And I know how to help you to do the same. Is that enough? I am finally learning what I have been telling you all along... Yes. Yes, you and what you naturally bring is enough.
My Constants (my most innate impulses)?
Change. I change often. Incessantly, in fact.
Expression is my way and is therefore my gift.
Movement is my metaphor. For everything.
My natural impulse and temperament used to be what fought against. Stick it out; it’ll be impressive. Hold it in, you’re too expressive. Don’t say that, it’s too aggressive. These inner critics held me hostage for years. Now I am turning my back and throwing up my metaphorical middle finger to them. So long, suckers! (Note: I am not blowing them goodbye kisses on the wings of angels ;)... I told you, no more sugar-coating it... this is me... take it or leave it. Goodbye false prophets of principle... I will erect my own altars, thank you very much.
Why so demonstrative and brash? Because, though you may not know it, that’s how I really am most of the time. And I finally get that when we deny what is constant about us, we are denying ourselves happiness.
Nearly every instance of discomfort, dis-ease, and disarray in my life has been a function of holding back my natural aptitude for change, movement and self-expression. And as I work with client after client, I see that I am not alone in holding myself hostage. Stifled and/or fabricated self-expression is a chronic angst in our culture. Fear of change leads to falsified, muted, or stifled expression. And this chronic fragmentation of self leads to diluted progression (or movement forward). And, as nature proves in endless iterations... what doesn’t move gets tight, painful or stagnant... and it withers and fades with time.
Muted expression leads to muted outcomes. Tolerance of mediocrity is not your birthright. You don’t have to suck it up any more. You can finally exhale FULLY when you experience an honest release of who you really are. It doesn’t mean that you act/speak without regard to others and consequence... it means that you are honest about who you are and what you bring. Especially when it changes. It is the only way you will ever remain free.
You and I are aligned in our expression if you are open to embracing CHANGE as a welcome ally for growth... if you would like to experience true and honest EXPRESSION as an unfiltered affair... and if you look around you and can grow to accept nature’s promise: that MOVEMENT is as essential to our hearts and minds as it is to our bodies.
Do you want to liberate your vehicle and your voice?
I can help. Let’s get moving....
Omega Redemption :: Bullies Begone
The Expression of Personal Power
A continual theme in my work with clients is what I call the Omega Archetype. An omega archetype is what I am calling the mental framework and behavior response pattern that invites persons with large personalities to dominate our sensibilities and overtake our lives. It is a relational expression that results in codependent dynamics resulting in feelings of powerlessness and frustration as we unknowingly (and sometimes knowingly) allow the people in our lives to dictate our own expression.
Psychologically speaking, like most things that rule our adult relational dynamics, it can usually be traced back to childhood conditioning. While therapy (sourcing the wound) is a process that can prove constructive as a foundation for change (and is essential in order to move forward in some cases) experience has taught me that often even a basic understanding of what is at the root can be enough of a foundation to tackling this growth opportunity. As always, my interest as a coach is in what we can do NOW to respond differently and thereby create new relational patterns moving forward. Assuming a client is able to acknowledge and develop awareness that there is a problem, the omega complex can be revealed... and healed through ACTION. It’s one of my favorite themes in sessions as it reveals a tremendous opportunity for growth, confidence building, and personal expansion.
I call this archetype “omega” because those who wrestle with this pattern are in one or more area of their lives serving as a scapegoat or emotional outlet for a more dominant personality, much like the omega in a wolf pack community. Most omegas are naturally very empathic, sensitive to the needs of those around them. Sometimes (or consistently) they choose to be in close contact with people who tend towards an alpha (or dominant) constitution. Whether it be a family member, spouse, employer, or best friend, one or more primary intimacy in their life is marked by a distinct dynamic whereby they are consistently forfeiting their power to another. Of course, many of us wrestle with this from time to time. But for an omega, the pattern is clear... bullies gravitate toward them.
It is important to note that an omega complex can become active in even the most outgoing, boisterous and willful of individuals. It is not a character weakness by any means, nor does it define us in every interaction. While there are certainly exceptions, it is most times a learned response due to childhood conditioning; therefore, it can show up only every now and then given the right set of circumstances. Consider this: Both the bully-alpha and passive-omega can be born out of the same environment of perpetual conflict (be it outwardly or passively aggressive). The bully-alpha imitates the active-aggressive agent, reliving past dynamics through the flexing of power.... while the victim-omega rejects the active aggression, swinging to the other end of the spectrum becoming the passive agent in the drama. The bully restores internal balance through external means, seizing the sense of personal power that they were denied as a child. The omega does just the opposite, restoring balance through internal means, “sucking it up” in order to win favor or avoid conflict. Ultimately, neither response leads to functional outcomes. The omega response is the more typical adaptation for women, and is what I come in contact with most often. Needless to say, the tendency toward passivity leads to a specific brand of resentment over time as we continually yield to the strong opinions or motivation of others.
It is essential to note that rarely is it one or the other entirely. I am not big on labels; and this is an intentional over-simplification in order to describe a dynamic. In fact, quite typically an individual with an omega complex will act out each end of the spectrum in different areas of their lives. For example, the mom that allows herself to be passively bullied by her boss day in and day out at work may also be the alpha at home - barking orders at the family in an effort to affirm that her voice has its place in the world. She lives with the stressful fragmentation of these two personas, feels frustrated at work, and alienates those closest to her. In the end, this alpha-omega complexity has little to nothing to do with who’s in charge or the hierarchy being acted out. Like everything, it’s about self-expression. When who we are is denied, it finds vehicle. In short... power will find a way to express itself, always. It’s just most effective when used consciously. Thus, deny your voice in one area of your life, and it will leak or roar! (rather inefficiently) into another.
I myself spent my twenties with a severe omega complex. My childhood home, while loving, was wrought with tension and my stepdad’s unpredictable and raging mood swings. Coupled with our incessant moving from year to year, I ran into my fair share of bullies. Though I am naturally quite vocal and willful, I followed the models available to me as a child and I learned to keep my mouth shut. My voice became muted and I learned to take it. Unbeknowst to me, I grew into a natural target for the power hungry because I gave them exactly what they wanted - an outlet for their aggression. I allowed myself to be the omega, passive in the face of over-assertion time and time again... teachers, bosses, friends, you name it. And it seemed that no matter how fed up I got, no matter how many times I walked away (or ran in some cases) from the agent of my suffering, another would be waiting in the wings to lead me back into that space of emotional paralysis. A space where I felt powerless to change.
If you are consistently pushed around by someone in your life, well-meaning or not, you are allowing them to exert power over you. If there is one thing that I have learned it is that - emotionally speaking - people cannot take power from us that we do not grant them. Period. This is not about blame; this about taking responsibility for the relationships in your life. You teach people how to treat you by your responses, plain and simple. What’s the old adage?: “One time, shame on you. Two times, shame on me.”
As a survivor of bullying and recovered omega, I am here to tell you that you don’t have to suck it up any more. Overcoming the omega complex is a rich emotional journey through what I consider there to be three distinct phases of power-recovery and redemption.
Redemption Phase 1 :: The Power to STAND UP
REGAINING personal power by learning to get up when pushed and cornered. Recovering from old wounds by reclaiming the voice and power that was denied as a child.
Redemption Phase 2 :: The Power to STAND YOUR GROUND
CLAIMING personal power by trusting in the power of your own will, to stand your ground and no longer allow the opinions and emotional assault of others to dictate and define your responses to life.
Redemption Phase 3 :: The Power to WALK ON
EXPRESSING personal power by making more conscious choices about where to place your valuable essence, time, and energy. Relationships that seek to control are no longer useful, as you have grown strong enough to no longer need them in your life.
Do you think an omega redemption might be in order for you?
I can help.
Myth #1: Self-expression is narcissistic. False.
Expression is universal, constant and unavoidable. Self-expression is inevitable, and any attempt to deny it is futile. There is nothing narcissistic about living your life deliberately. Your life is constantly expressing itself, and you are continually demonstrating who you are through your choices in every arena: lifestyle, adornment, relationships, vocation, family life, etc. Your expression either affirms who you are at your best or who you are at your worst; therefore, you may as well become conscious of your choices. The difference lies in how honest you are able to be with yourselves and those around you. The most fundamental reason for shadowy expressions (jealousy, anger, vengeance, depression) is because a deeper expression is “dying to be born.” (more on this soon)
Myth #2: You have to be creative or artistic to be expressive. False.
Everyone is creative; intelligence and genius comes in many, many forms. Your personal brand of brilliance may be overtly expressive (through so-called “artistic” pursuits) or it may be a powerful form of expression through a medium that is cloaked in the mundane (ie: acting as a wife, mother, silent partner, or friend). It could even be through the continual shedding of labels altogether. Either way, it is never about the byproduct of your creation. It is about your expansion. Case in point: when we become lost in our expression - confusing it for who we are, or using it to win favor - it exhausts us.
Myth #3: Eventually I will find the perfect [expression] and be done with it. False.
You will never be done expressing yourself. This myth may be the most important one to dispel. The idea that we can be ultimately fulfilled by one perfect expression is a source of suffering for many. Certainly, if you pay attention, you will find IT [the expression you desire: job, mate, family, etc]. IT will fulfill you. IT will serve you. And then... you will outgrow IT. Such is the nature of your personal evolution. While our experiences and the people in our life are in no way disposal, all situations and/or relationships are mutable and our external realities must shift and grow alongside our interior world. You will always be reaching for more. Change is indeed a constant. Make peace with that, and it can change your life for good.
Myth #4: I need to master such-and-such before I take on that expression. False.
Expression outside your comfort zone is the fastest way to propel your life forward. The expression of a life is a funny paradox of sorts. Logic would have us believe that we need to become masterful at a certain something in order to claim it, and only then might it help to define who we are. I believe it is the other way around. I have found that the most profound shifts... the most potent successes... have come from people who are willing to take on something NOW that seems completely out of reach. Quickening self-expression is like planting a seed, diligently tending to it (ACTION!), and trusting it will flower in due time.
Myth #5: One expression can be “right” or more valuable than another. False.
Expression is for the sake of growth. Growth is a personal process that must occur in time and cadence with the individual. Certainly on a surface level it may seem that some expressions are more constructive or destructive than others. However, it is impossible to measure one life’s value over another for the value of any expression is measured in the growth it yields. Every expression has the potential to change a life. Whether or not that opportunity is taken is up to the individual. Judge not the expressions of those around you, rather use the contrast to help clarify your own personal trajectory.
My mission is to encourage self-expression through movement in life and body.
Expression is inevitable. Movement is inevitable. Together they shape your life.
You inherently long to express who you are...
Regardless of what your life looks like, you are naturally compelled to share yourself with the world around you.
When you offer yourself, your truth, and your gifts unfiltered in the moment, you feel vital and alive.
When you repress your authenticity repeatedly, over time it festers and creates imbalance in body and mind.
You seek to be validated in your expression in some way, shape or form...
You are a relational being who feels more real and intentional upon contact with others.
Your creations (in love, work, family life, or even in solitude) help you to define who you are.
Witnesses (be they supportive or critical) propel you forward and remind you that your perspective has alliance, contrast, and therefore meaning.
You continually change and evolve in your expression...
The creation of your perfect life will never be a completed project because you are ever-changing.
Your discomfort and disconnection with what you once felt to be enough is a natural part of your evolution.
You evolve by changing and MOVING THROUGH the various challenges/opportunities that come your way...
Move Your Body
Movement is as essential as breathing. A physical outlet is the body’s natural way of literally or metaphorically moving through tensions without need for identification or processing. Whether you appreciate it or not, you are a living and emotive being that requires some movement in order to release and shed stagnancy. Moving your body can take care of a lot of emotional baggage and save you the drama of processing. But it’s not enough in and of itself. Your body can be a metaphor for your progression, but it is no substitute....
Move Your Life
There is a cultural myth that eventually we will get there. Where exactly, we aren’t always certain... but if we just get that one job, that one partner, that one opportunity, everything will fall into place. So we strive to reach our goals, and often we do. And we are satisfied for a time. Then the hunger consumes us once more. Why can’t we just get happy and stay happy? Because we are wired to desire, and the wanting for more is at the core of our evolution as a species. Our lives are meant to continually reach forward. A time of respite is healthy, but when we linger too long stagnancy leaves us feeling restless and dissatisfied. Your life is meant to move through seasons, as long as you live and breathe...
Move Toward What Moves You
And so we learn we must change again and again - ourselves, our circumstances. Reaching again for something that could offer us more. Letting go of something that once was enough. Too often we substitute addictions for the more profound changes that are being asked of us because we are terrified of this natural compulsion to move forward. We are wired to desire experiences that bring about an expression of ourselves that is more than we ever thought we could be. When we stop denying our nature, we will find we enjoy the ride, though bumpy it may be at times. You must allow for the small deaths that birth new experiences. It is the nature of all existence. We must continually move toward that which brings about sensations of aliveness, exhilaration, and the thrill of new life!