Money. Is it a reason not to?
Some adamantly argue that it shouldn't be. They say that getting what we want is up to us; that it's a function of pragmatics and priorities. Others tell us to clean up our energies, unconsciously shaming us for not thinking or behaving more abundantly.
As someone who has experienced negative net-worth more than once in my life, I'd argue that both arguments are grossly oversimplified. While we can ALWAYS take greater responsibility for our choices, money itself isn't always fair trade. Work that satisfies the soul doesn't necessary leave a surplus in the bank account. For many of us, there are seasons in life that place basic needs at the forefront - transitions that require we tighten our belts a bit. Sometimes we simply don't have access to the support we desire and - look out new-age generalists - perhaps we aren't to blame for that. When did money become a metric for how spiritually or emotionally advanced we are? I'm not buying it.
I sincerely wish that Personal Development could be a viable line item in everyone's budget, but it's simply not the case. There are many times in our lives when we desperately need support, and we can't responsibly justify the expense (especially with necessary regularity). When our financial reality perpetually trumps our needs, we endlessly postpone what matters to us most.
That's why I'm rolling out a new offering. Each month I will be opening a handful of pay-what-you-can dates and times. Book one of these limited-availability time slots and you'll be able to name your price (whatever that might be) for one full hour of 1:1 coaching. You pay what you can safely and honorably afford. No more & no less. No strings attached.
If you're interested, act quickly. These limited timeframes are filling up fast! I've only got two openings left for July... August & September dates will be announced via Facebook soon (LIKE my biz page to stay in the loop).
Existing clients, email me to inquire about dates. New clients are also very welcome following a short intake Q&A (to ensure we are a fit).
Coaching isn't a recipe for salvation; it's alliance with your potential. I offer depth of clarity, and the support & accountability you need to move toward what truly matters to you. And btw, I specialize in difficult truths.
Contact me if you feel ready to take action around what's got you feeling stuck.
heads up, shadow sister
shame is on your sweet provocative ass
she's a righteous nag who wags her finger at your wild truth
critiquing your crazed animal heart
until it crouches in the corner
quivering with doubt
wishing to be
f r e e
I see you
you (with)hold it in
when you could
p o u r
you suck it up
when you could
b l o w
secrecy smothers the breath out of life
faking satisfied succulence drains a life dry
I see you
for we see what we are
nothing more. nothing less.
therefore the biggest lie
is that you are
you’re not alone
you are a silent refuge
an orphan separated from her sister tribe
a revolutionary cast behind the bars of pretense
what if you could
safely wear a tender heart rubbed raw
right on your sleeve?
what if everyone woman
who thought herself a fucking mess
could be held in a share of her story?
the very wounds that hold us hostage
were actually rebel forces meant to ride us
you don’t have to squeeze yourself into a life
that doesn’t fucking fit
scared to let go?
afraid of what people will think?
have the power to
set us free
PHP Enrollment is Now Open
Includes TribeNectar™ Community Access
And then yesterday happened. Life stepped in to put me evermore to the test. My stepdad, who has been ill for some time now, died early Tuesday morning. I woke to a message from my mom sobbing; no matter how old I get the sound of my mom crying tears me to pieces. I won't go into the countless layers of emotion surrounding his death for me, but suffice to say it's complex... since then it's been roughly 24 hours of on/off self-torturous inner dialogue.
As it typically is with emotional surges, deep cravings rose to meet them on cue - techniques of self-soothing I have used most of my life to medicate through emotional pain. Last night, I wanted to crawl inside of a loaf of bread slathered with butter and let it cushion me forever. Lattes, martinis, french fries... they called out to my heaviness with familiar and intoxicating recognition.
And I said no... I said, "no thanks" to every. single. urge.
Not because I have to say no. Nor because I believe it's wrong to engage the pleasures of food and drink. (ha! I'm a total foodie, are you kidding me?!) I'm not at all interested in being some sort of nutritional martyr - self-righteous denial has nothing to do with my choices here.
I won't give into my cravings because I made a promise to myself... 30 days, no matter what. Every single day that I wake up in integrity with any vow I make to me I gain - not just greater health (that's just the icing) - I gain confidence that I have the power to design my life as I see it. Not to mention I gain access to yet another beautiful-ugly blessing; this time I deal with my emotions by looking at them versus drowning them in denial. I'll let you know how that goes. ;)
In the meantime, how about you? Are you keeping the promises you make to yourself?
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!
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If you have an issue in your life or body and could use support,
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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.
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.