7 Keys to Courageous Self-Expression | HUMILITY (Part 3 of 3)

In a final wrap-up of a three-part series, Candice shares intimately about her recent choice to sell her home and most of her belongings to travel indefinitely. She speaks about the limits of the rational mind, and invites you to align with your intuition - not as a reflexive mechanism, but as a soulular intelligence that can point you toward meaning-driven choices. You’ll soar with her on a paragliding adventure in Slovenia, and get clear on the difference between staying-put and staying-stuck. Plus, she’ll share a very special surprise; a teaser for next week’s bonus episode.

2:07 - Chasing Shadows (story)
7:54 - Intuition vs. Reason
12:39 - The River of Life
16:43 - Choice & Growth Mindset
19:25 - Staying Put vs. Staying Stuck
19:59 - Scrambling Toward The Edge (story)
30:55 - Hesitation & Humility

#6 | Staying Put vs. Staying Stuck

Hello. Welcome to The Deeper Pulse with Candice Schutter. Thank you for joining me again. Today is part 3 of our exploration of the second key of courageous self-expression, humility. We've spoken candidly about fear and tapped into five daily practices that can help us to make peace with the beautiful-ugly paradox of our shared humanity. So what's next?

Well, if that, isn't the question at the center of it all.

Today, we're going to explore the pragmatic side of humility, how to approach the changes we face in our lives. Today's episode could not come at a more opportune time. We're in the process of moving my mother-in-law from two homes to one. And I've been waiting through boxes and bubble wrap, getting all of her belongings of 15 years, packed into boxes. It's a crazy time. But the blessing, really, is that I haven't had much time to think about what I want to say to you. I'm feeling my way through this episode and doing, as I advise you to do, trusting the expression as it unfolds in real time.

Now, if you've listened to some earlier episodes, you know that I've done a lot of moving around in my life. And as a kid, whenever we would arrive in a new town, I would insist on unpacking my entire room the first night upon landing. Now, early on in my life, my mother would try to fight me on this, urging me to go to bed. "Save it till morning," she'd say; but I would willfully ignore her, pleas and continue to unload my belongings into the night. Eventually she stopped fighting me on it. She came to see that unpacking things. Well, that is my favorite part.

So today, I want us to unpack change a bit. And as usual, I want to begin with a personal story.

It was a morning in April. The sun was streaming into the kitchen through the floor to ceiling windows, and Calliope, our nine month old kitten, was chasing her shadow again. I was amused and humbled by her antics. It was as if I was suddenly peering into a corner of my own psyche. Each time she bounded off the wall with a thud, it reminded me of all the time that I spend running myself ragged, trying to grab ahold of all the wrong things.

You see for a while, I'd been feeling as though I was watching my own life from a distance like a spectator. I was going through all the motions, teaching classes, seeing clients, meeting my responsibilities at home; but all the while, I felt like a part of me stood waiting in the wings... patiently awaiting some critical moment when I'd stopped mid-sentence and exit stage left, finally admitting that my life no longer felt like my own.

It had been a little over a year since my partner and I had moved into our sprawling two-story dream house. It had checked every box on the Type-A wishlist that I'd drafted during our search for a home. That's right, I had a spreadsheet. Private lot with trees, check. Close to the city but feels like the country, check. Office in front for me, check. Man-cave for Chris, check. Open concept. Walk-in pantry. Potential for Airbnb income. Check, check, check. Now this was a pretty detailed list, but to say that my expectations had been exceeded would be a gross understatement.

Moving into this custom-built home with its two floors and massive attached garages, it felt borderline miraculous for this trailer park kid who never thought she'd see her name attached to a mortgage. We lived on 1.6 acres. We were surrounded by trees and our house was really fit more for a large family of five. So we'd converted the upstairs into an Airbnb. And my years in the food service industry had served us well. Our Superhost status had us booked solid most weeks. My home office was rotating a steady stream of new clients in and, for once in my life, I wasn't waiting tables on the side just to make ends meet. I had everything I thought I wanted. A full-time coaching practice, a partner who loved and adored me, and a beautiful home that was like a wooded Oasis.

And so, I felt chronically shameful that I wasn't really feeling fulfilled by it all. It didn't help that we seem to be facing one tiny crisis after another. Everything from the benign - like the expensive inconvenient sewer system failure - to the absurd.

After months of hard work renovating the upstairs and creating a small apartment, we finally hosted our first guests. On the second night of their stay, while Chris and I were out catching a meal and a movie, a mentally unstable man wandered onto our property, broke into our home and began rifling through our guests' things... playing their guitar, drinking their kombucha. He even wrote in the guestbook.

When they arrived back to the apartment, they immediately called us when they discovered a bomber jacket draped over a chair in their kitchenette. They could still hear him in the house downstairs. We beat the police back to the house, and arrived to emotionally traumatized guests and a naked man sleeping in our bed. Fortunately, he was harmless; but needless to say, our guests decided not to stay another night.

This is just one of many strange events that occurred during this time. Life was delivering up a never-ending laundry list of WTF moments. And each time the shit would hit the fan, one of us would joke aloud to the other: "screw this craziness, let's just sell the house and travel." It had been a running punchline for months.

So, on this particular morning in April, I suppose the paradoxical numbness of incessant drama and deadening sameness... well, I guess it all caught up with me. Some part of me deciding, without my conscious consent, that it was time to choose my own plot twist.

Chris was preparing his tea (and himself) for another traffic heavy commute into work. He heart-sighed heavily, making the now familiar quip... "I'm so tired. I just wish we could stop everything and travel for awhile."

I felt a particular electricity in the air. Kind of like growing up in Kansas, the way the atmosphere would shift before a storm would blow in. Without thinking, I heard three words spill from my lips.

"Why don't we?"

"What?" He laughed under his breath, not even turning to look at me.

"Why don't we just sell the house and travel? What's stopping us, really?"

He turned toward me to see if I was serious, and I held his gaze without flinching. My stomach did a somersault.

Gauging my expression for a moment he paused, lifted his eyebrows and turned back toward the kitchen counter. He stirred a teaspoon of honey into his cup, then began to nod very slowly, eventually turning toward me with a pensive smile. I smiled back. and a weight immediately began to lift between us.

That night, we spoke for a long while after dinner about the why's and the why nots of doing such a thing. The next day, after a good night's sleep, it was decided. No further deliberation was needed.

Some people are analytical by nature. I happened to be one such person. I'm innately wired for rational examination of practicalities. And, when it comes to adulting and the realities of life, there are great many times when I can still get behind this approach. As I said, I love me a spreadsheet. When it comes to the actual doing of things, I rely heavily on well-constructed plans.

But, I have learned that in the choosing of something, reliance on reason alone usually just gets me into trouble. And not the good kind.

In high school, I lettered in debate. Ha. Yes, you can letter in debate. And I discovered three things about myself.

1) I would wear my leather jacket once and once only; for my senior photo shoot.

2) Even though I idolized Claire Huxtable as a child, I discovered that I couldn't actually be a lawyer. I have very little patience for the tedious amounts of research required.

And 3) I can very persuasively argue either side of an issue. In fact, my junior year, at the final debate meet of the season, I cooly and pointedly leveled my competitors carefully planned rebuttal. She became so outraged by my ability to anticipate her next move, she flipped the desk right there in the room when I was declared the winner. And the real kicker is... in that particular moment, I was arguing against my own point of view. True story.

Seeing both sides is my super power. I can exhaustively lawyer any side when it comes to an issue or decision. My mind naturally simultaneously lays tracks for trains running in two different directions at once.

Which is why, for me at least, reason has its limits. Facts aside, we can find a reason to do or not do anything. When I rely on reason alone, it keeps my mind spinning in an endless and anxious loop of yeah-buts and well-then-what-ifs. I'm waiting for the most compelling argument to win me over, and sometimes it does. But rarely before exhausting me in the process.

I can't tell you how many times I've done the reasonable and rational thing, only to feel a sinking sensation once I'm steeped in whatever circumstance I have chosen. So I've had to learn to rely on my other brain, the one that connects my heart and my gut. Intuition, if you will. Which I do not experience as a magical ability, but more as an emotional intelligence that moves through me like water carving a clear channel through the rock bed of reason.

We speak about emotional instincts all the time without even knowing it. Feel your way. Trust your gut. Do what feels right. All of these point us toward decision-making that is intuitive, nonlinear, and sometimes entirely irrational in the moment. When we learn to rely on the mind and its reasons alone, sometimes we further entrench neuroses, prejudice, and implicit bias... things that often pretend to be intuitive. Knee jerk reactions that keep us from being present and available to intuition, empathy, and understanding.

It's not always easy to discern between intuition and reactivity, but this particular day in the spring , I was not confused. There are times when inner knowing is like stepping foot first onto a rake. There's no denying it when the truth hits you in the face.

And so it was with our decision to sell our house and travel. I knew it seemed crazy having no idea what would be on the other side of our travels abroad, but I also knew it was exactly what needed to happen.

Now, Chris is more slow going than I, and he wanted to wait a year before we sold the house. I insisted we act sooner. I wasn't sure why. I just knew we didn't have a moment to waste. So we sold our house and the majority of our belongings within two months time.

Did I know that six months later there would be a global pandemic? Hell to the no. But nevertheless, something in me said: now. I had experienced firsthand, far too many times, that when change is certain and imminent.. hesitation usually only creates more problems.

In your mind's eye, I want you to imagine a massive river flowing through a valley toward an unknown end. As you witness from your bird's eye view, the river and its course, notice that there are times when it flows peacefully... crawling lackadaisically through the landscape... moving ever forward, yet never in a rush.

As you follow its path, you wind a corner; and, out of nowhere the river current picks up its pace. You see rapids, perhaps even a waterfall, ahead; and it sends your heart racing... witnessing the tenacious push of nature ever onward.

Life is like that river, and you are being carried by it. Life is an invisible force that moves us. Like a river current, its forces shift with terrain and weather patterns. Sometimes we float along the surface of the river, pleasant and content. And at other times, the elements begin to push us forward, forcing us to move at a terrifying pace through terrains that leave us breathless and unsure.

When I sit across from a new coaching client, more often than not, she is in some way at odds with the river of life. Now don't get me wrong; she's brave and capable and willing. But the overwhelm of the unknown expanse ahead feels daunting.

She is mistaken in that she thinks that it is her job to figure it all out. Because she does not trust the river, she fights against its currents. She experiences a daily discomfort. The discomfort that comes from holding on when the current of life longs to carry her forward. And the longer she holds on, the more fatigued she gets... and the more the river will pick up its pace... beating and battering her to let go of her white knuckle grip on what once defined her, made her whole, or has since been outgrown.

She sits across from me because she has a choice to make. She can continue to be bruised by her own unwillingness to let go. She can attempt to opt out of the river excursion altogether, dragging herself to the shore only to suffer daily deflation when she loses vital engagement with her expression and life itself. Or, she has a third option. She can release her hold on what is certain, so that the river can carry her to unknown possibilities.

At some point she will say to me: "But if I let go, I will lose something." A job, or a relationship, a sense of security, or even just a stubborn need to be right. "What if in letting go, I make the wrong choice?"

Yes. I understand this fear. And I will share with you a quote that my teacher shared with me:

"Everything I've ever let go of in this life has claw marks."

It is true the earthly self clings to stability. Yes, fear keeps us holding on. But Dear One, the river is far smarter than you are. And regardless of what sort of craft you choose... be it a canoe, a sailboat, or a raft you fashioned together with the small amount of resources you have available to you... however you go about getting back into that river, know this... you are headed in the same general direction no matter what you choose. Onward. What is important is not that you make the perfect choice. What is essential is that you release the tension enough to follow the current where it leads.

You will never be able to see around the next bend, so you might as well let go and follow the current where it leads you. Of course, this is in some ways a spiritual directive... for it is about trust in the benevolence of life itself. But it is also about faith in self.

Science offers evidence in support of a fundamental shift in thinking from what is called a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. A fixed mindset argues for the status quo and our own limitations. It is essentially a this-is-as-good-as-it-gets mental set point that keeps us stuck.

A growth mindset, on the other hand, encourages and welcomes personal development as a part of life. It reinforces belief in our own potential and, through our everyday choices, inspires us to grow and create change. In our hearts, minds and everyday lives... a growth mindset is essential to personal development.

Might I also suggest another shift in mindset; a shift away from 'making decisions' about your future toward 'making choices.'

When we 'decide' we are definitive and fixed in our approach to change. We hesitate because the stakes are so damn high. We become binary and hyperbolic in our thinking.

If I say no to my boss, I will be fired. If I take a self care day, I'm neglecting my children. If I tell my partner the truth about this one small thing, he'll never love me the same again.

We become reluctant to express ourselves in word and action, because we've decided in advance how it's going to all play out. And this is where the 4th tenet of humility... remember from the last episode... comes into play.

Admit you don't know.

When we reframe our thinking toward a growth mindset and away from imagining our every expression as a decision about something... seeing it instead as a choice in response to what's alive in the moment in this now... we become more present and free to change our minds and make a different choice at any point along the way. Fear of making the wrong decision is often a misunderstanding of how choice inches us toward what it is we desire.

I'll say it again for the umpteenth time... we are not in control of this life we live.

But we are in control of our choices. And when we learn to trust ourselves, we are more courageous in our response to the currents that surround us. And if I want to learn to trust the river of life, I have to learn to give myself over to it. Even when... no, especially when... it seems an impossible thing to do.

Now, this is not me telling you to up-end every aspect of your life whenever you feel the urge.

No, staying put is an honorable choice. Staying stuck on the other hand, that is an unwillingness to go toe to toe with courage. Staying stuck feels different than the choice to stay put. It feels more deadening and hopeless.

You know, you're facing a growth edge when you feel fear and yet some part of you wants to do it anyway.

We were two months and 12 countries into our journey abroad, and Lake Bohinj was the perfect choice for six days in Slovenia. Quiet, not many tourists, as serene as could be. On our second morning we slept in, ate a delicious breakfast prepared by our host, and set off to roam the paths surrounding the lake. After wandering a bit, I spotted a quiet little nook by the water. Chris was about to leave me nestled in the tree trunks when, out of nowhere, a tiny little bird hopped up and sat on the tree branch just to my left. I greeted him warmly and invited him to hang awhile. And that he did. We named him Chester. Chris snapped a few photos of Chester and I before setting off to wander on his own.

I decided to meditate for a bit. I felt my body relax and soon after, my heart busted through the armor that had carried me through 12 countries, revealing pent-up fear that I had been denying.

I was scared. It wasn't the traveling that scared me. I was scared of the life that awaited me on the other side. Scared because I no longer had a home. Scared of the fact that I had let go of my jobs and my identities, and I didn't know how travel might change me. And, I was scared it wouldn't change me much at all. As I sat there with wet eyes, the bells of the church across the lake began to ring.

I hadn't even noticed it there before, that church across the water. It was directly across the lake from me and, as its chimes dance their way across the water and into my ears, two words drifted into my mind... one following closely behind the other.

Scared, sacred. Scared, sacred.

I was immediately struck by how the order of just one letter could make such a difference. Then a thought arose from this space of wonder.

What if my fear is just scrambling the unseen order of things?

A few minutes later, Chris and I met back up and continued to stroll along the lake path. At a distance we saw a woman walking with a baby goat on a leash. Intrigued and ever the Capricorn, Chris approached her and asked if he could say hello to her little 'kid.' The goat was shy and wasn't all that into his advances, so we smiled and waved our goodbyes to the baby goat named Vivi and her human, Lucy.

We walked a bit more before heading back to our rental car. When we arrived in the parking lot, Lucy was guiding Vivi into a Jeep next to a sign advertising tandem paragliding. Chris, an adventurer to the bone, was immediately intrigued. Lucy invited him to contact her later in the evening if he was interested in flying, and I knew immediately it was a done deal.

There was really no expectation for me to join him, because I was typically a hard-no when it came to extreme sports and the adrenal highs that accompanied them. But in this instance, as much as I fought against the impulse, I couldn't shake the feeling that this was something I was meant to do.

We got back to our room. I read every risk assessment and review of paragliding online. I didn't mention it, secretly hoping Chris would just forget about the invitation entirely. But no such luck. That evening, with my blessing, he made a call and booked a pilot for each of us the very next morning.

I tossed and turned well into the night, my mind rehearsing everything that could possibly go wrong. We would be jumping off of Mount Vogel. It's 1700 meters high that's almost 5,600 feet and over a mile above sea level. The plan was to take a running leap off the top, jump through the cloudline, and float over Lake Bohinj, strapped to a parachuted pilot who quite literally held your life in his hands. It seemed insane to me, it defied all reason... a totally unnecessary risk and an act reserved for people much braver than I.

Which is why I knew that I had to do it. Not for the thrill. Not for my bucket list or the Instagram photo op. But because it was an opportunity to transmute terror into something transcendent. Scared, sacred.

For months, I had been defying my fear in order to follow my deeper impulses... doing the unreasonable because it felt right. Jumping off of a cliff into the great expanse not knowing where I would land and if whatever was pulling the strings above me was actually equipped to carry me... this jump was the perfect metaphor for where I wanted to go next in life.

When we woke the next morning, there was a dense fog blanketing the neighborhood. I was immediately relieved. Surely the jump would be canceled! We couldn't even see our car outside, let alone Vogel in the distance. After a bit of texting back and forth, the owner convinced us that the conditions would be absolutely perfect a couple hours later upon launch time; even offering us a discount if we weren't completely blown away by the experience. So that was that. It was decided. We were going. So off I went to the bathroom to relieve myself. What I was about to do quite literally was scaring the shit out of me.

After an initial meetup and transport via van, we rode a cable car to Vogel's summit then took another bumpy ride in the back of a beater Jeep to arrive at the launch spot. Both pilots we'd been assigned were veteran fliers. I felt perfectly matched with Klemen. While it was his 26th year of soaring, he had a groundedness about him that made me feel immediately safe and comfortable.

After a few minutes laying out the gear, we were ready to fly. Klemen strapped in behind me. He and I would be the first to jump. He explained that it was imperative I follow his cues.

"Walk quickly when I do, and then run when I tell you... as if your life depends on it."

He chuckled at his own dark choice of words, and I laughed as hard as I could to loosen the fear that sat lodge deep in my belly.

Once we were set to go, Alen, Chris' pilot, approached us. He stepped in front of me and stood between my body and horizon. He stared me dead in the eye and spoke ten words I will never forget.

"If you hesitate upon takeoff, you won't go as high."

I nodded obediently and he stepped away. And then, true to form, on our first trial run I hesitated. As promised, it screwed with the entire operation. So we had to back up and start all over again. Alen reset our canopy behind us, then graciously reminded me once again.

"Candice, you're ready to do this. You must run without stopping. Do not look down. Look straight ahead, run out over the edge as fast as you possibly can."

Then without skipping a beat, he tugged at my harness encouragingly and walked Klemen and I backed toward the cliff's edge. He stepped aside and, as if on cue, the wind suddenly picked up. It felt an invisible force filling the shoot behind us, tugging at the harness. Klemen seized the moment and urgently pushed us onward, chanting in my ear again and again: "Run, run, run, run."

I ran full speed right off the edge of that damn mountain, my fear and my faith marching in time with one another.

And that's when I felt it... support like nothing I have ever known. Klemen invited me to sit back in my harness and rest my weight into the seat in front of him. As I looked out at my feet dangling freely over what felt like the whole goddamn world, all I could do was weep. I was utterly and completely awestruck.

"What do you think?" he asked.

"It's just... it's just so beautiful."

I managed to push the words through the knot in my throat.

"Yes. Yes it is," he replied softly. "I think I must have the best office in the whole world."

He invited me to let go of my hand grips, urging me to lift both arms to either side,birdlike. And just like that, I was living inside of a flesh and blood miracle. I was fucking flying.

We rode the wind toward a nearby peak, coming so close to it I thought we might surely be goners. Klemen explained that we were on the hunt for thermals... pockets of air that promised to lift us higher. And boy did they. We were well above our launch spot in no time. By some trick of physics I won't pretend to understand, we floated there for three minutes or so, waiting for Chris and Allen to take flight. Eventually they came soaring nearby with a wave and a hoot before we each set off on individual voyages through the valley above Lake Bohinj.

The high was a bit overwhelming, and I continually had to remind myself to stay present. I took only five or so photos before settling into savor the ride all the way to its end. As we rode along on invisible currents, my fear slowly faded into a deep calm. It still sent my body into a bit of fight or flight whenever I looked straight down at the ground; but when I chose to keep my eyes on what was right in front of me, a majestic ease fell over my entire body. It was a deep and abiding piece that I had never known, and I understood immediately why Klemen had devoted his life to helping others usher in such profound moments of grace.

After about a half hour, we landed at the far end of the lake's shore. Even though we had launched first, we'd skip the topsy turvy tricks that cost you flight time, so we came in after Chris and Alen. Chris was able to capture a video of my landing. It was remarkably smooth. Klemen effortlessly easing me onto the grass right on my bum. I landed like a lit up ladybug.

There were lots of hugs and high fives. Chris and I both raved about the experience, paid extra, and snapped a few photos with our pilots. Talk about a bonding experience. We were certain we would do it again if given the chance.

There will always be my life before that jump and my life after. It may sound overly dramatic, but dare I say, that was the day my new life really began.

Now I can't say that every fear is meant to be faced in quite the same way. But I do know now that, facing what scares me, even if it means crossing over the edge of everything that came before... this has the power to wake me up to a deep sense of presence and the sacredness of life itself. And if you ask me that's an edge worth scrambling toward.

When we are feeling stuck in life, change isn't the problem. But hesitation can be.

At its best, hesitation reminds us to pause and consider our next move. But at its worst, hesitation can cost us height and precious flight time. And likewise, if our leap of faith is performative or if the changes we make are superficial or reactive, we may end up looking around us wondering how it is we landed in such a similar place all over again. It is for this reason that deep engagement is critical when it comes to the changes we face in our lives.

Next week, I'm going to introduce you to a free tool that is a total game changer when it comes to navigating change and dialoguing with the deeper pulse within. This is a topic so rich and juicy that I will be rolling out a literal mini-course that I'll invite you to access for free to accompany the episode.

Uncertainty and change are, and always will be, constant in your life. As long as we live and breathe, we never stop growing. We rise high when we are willing to leap off the edge into the great unknown. Ironically, it is the fall that often rises us to the next great place in our lives; the next most expansive and expressive possibility.

It is right and natural to feel satisfied by something only to later find yourself wanting more. It is not a fault or a character flaw... the fact that you feel moved to reinvent yourself again and again... to move and change and shift ever onward. It is by design.

If you could possibly conceive of all the tiny miracles that have come together to create the life you are currently living, you would fall to your knees in the wake of such wonder. And this is the flip side of humility. Yeah, humility means wading through fear and braving uncertainty. And it also has the potential to reveal a level of courage and expressiveness that far exceeds your wildest imaginings. It is an opportunity to trust in a force much larger than you... one that need not be named, worshiped, or understood in order to be trusted.

Humility is allowing for movement even when doubt lashes at your heart. You will learn to believe in your own power when you get out of your own damned way.

Like me, you may not know exactly why you were here. Most of us haven't got a clue. We toss and turn and reach and ache for anything that will provide us a sense of belonging and purpose within the great mystery. We become plagued by questions.

How can I contribute? Who will love me as I am? What is the point of it all?

We look to others... some of them fumbling along and others pretending to have all the answers. We surrender our authority to the brave ones who seem to have it all figured out.

But let me tell you a secret. They don't have a damn thing figured out... except for the fact that some part of them understands they don't need to know what to do next in order to do the next right thing.

You too can do the next right thing. Don't make up a story. Just make a choice. Let go, and allow the current of life to carry you.

Next week, we'll get into the nitty gritty of change. It's a standalone session that I can't wait to share with you. Keep in mind, the podcast content itself will be brief, and it will point you toward a free mini course complete with videos where I describe the six stages of change. If you've ever found yourself feeling stuck in any area of your life, it's an episode not to be missed.

Until then, thank you for listening. I love you big, and it is an honor to walk alongside you through this beautifully unknowable and untameable world.

Until next time. Ciao.

© The Deeper Pulse, Candice Schutter