Don’t Numb Out

Please. I know it’s hard to live this life.

I know there are times that it hurts so much you think you might not make it through another day. When you’re certain that nothing will ever change or go your way. When your body is tired and your soul is broken. When the people you love hurt you, or you’ve done so much wrong it may never be possible to make amends. When you’ve slipped up so bad you feel a shame you’ve never known.

I know there are people you’ve lost, in one way or another. People you thought would always be there, who are suddenly a memory or a stranger you once knew. I know there are hard things you have to do to create what you want, and just thinking about them makes your bones ache. I know that it’s scary out there, because people can be cruel and the world can be so strenuous you don’t know why you bother.

I know that sometimes you love so much and give your all and you still end up alone. That sometimes you do everything right and it’s just not enough. I know that failure stings and rejection leaves marks on your heart. How being misunderstood makes you question yourself at the core of your being, and makes the ground seem a little unstable beneath you. I know it’s hard to find your footing when everything seems to be crashing down around you.

I know that sometimes everything is so “fine” and “okay” that it hurts worse than the most spectacularly heartbreaking moments. That the normalcy and details of the day to day are so simple and straightforward you think you might actually implode. I know it hurts how far you might be from the place you want to be. That it seems like a such a long distance between where you stand right now.

But please, don’t numb out.

This world is not an easy place.
Loving is not painless.
Failing and succeeding take so much from us.
Loss is shattering in ways you only know once you know.
People can be cruel and hateful.
There are roadblocks around every turn.

But stay here with us.
Stay here with me.
Breathe.
And then breathe some more.

Breathe it in and feel all that hurts and stretches you in ways you didn’t know you could stretch. That bends you in places you weren’t supposed to be bent. That takes those tiny fractures and splits them wide open. I know it hurts like hell and you’re not sure you can survive.

You can, if you just stay here.
If you choose not to go numb and disconnect.

Take my hand and tell me the things you need to have heard. Be willing to let others see you for who you really are, scars, and bruises and all. Cry or scream or curse through the parts that sting and burn and break you open a littler further.

Here’s the thing about what hurts in this life… it’s beautiful. It’s what teaches us to be wiser and smarter and more discerning. It’s what shows us who we really are and who’s meant to walk beside us. It’s how we connect with the people we most want to connect with, and it’s how we are shaped into the people we’re here to be.

pain-guides-us

Pain is there for a reason, we need it to guide us.

To show us where to go and where not to go. To tell us that this isn’t the right relationship, or that our job is actually killing us. To let us know when things aren’t working how they’re supposed to, so we can actually work towards things that bring us true joy and fulfillment.

If you’re numbing out, you’re missing it.

You’re missing the joy and the depth and the connection. You’re missing the people who will really show up and love the shit out of you. You’re putting up walls where there should be windows, and barricades where there should be doors. You’re ignoring the things that desperately need to be addressed.

You’re missing this one short life of yours.

I spent so much of my life numb and disconnected, because it hurt too much to be here and to try and find my place. It hurt too much to love openly and put myself out into the world. And people… people were hard on me in ways I didn’t think I could survive. So I numbed out. I stepped back. I hid deep inside myself. And because I was so numb, I spent years with the wrong people, doing the wrong work, and making big decisions that were so far from aligned with my truth.

I know it hurts to open and be present. I know what it feels like to face pain that’s been tucked away for years. I know how it makes you sick to your stomach and uneasy in a way you can’t describe.

But I also know that when you open and face the pain, when you choose to connect and show up fully and presently in this life… that’s when the amazing things start to happen. When you meet the people you’re meant to know and love and walk through life with. When you find the work that lights your soul on fire. And when you start to understand that “joy” isn’t just an annoying word you don’t understand, but a way of being in the world… a way of experiencing everything, even the hard stuff.

It’s worth the pain, I promise. And you can survive it, if you allow yourself to open and unravel into your life and those around you.

Will you take my hand and join me in this life? Present and connected and feeling all there is to feel? I hope so. Because it’s pretty wonderful.

I’m Going to Piss You Off

You or someone else… it’s going to happen.

All because I’m going to touch on the things that make people feel unsettled and unsteady, and it’s going to make someone mad. They may unsubscribe, unlike my social media pages, and tell the people around them that I’m the worst. Sometimes they may even send me a nasty email or comment letting me know just how angry I made them. How wrong I am for what I said or did.

The thing about doing this kind of work — work that’s in service of supporting others in making amazing things happen in their lives — is that it’s going to trigger things in people that they don’t want triggered. It’s going to force them to face what makes them most uncomfortable, the things they most want to avoid. Blocks and taking personal responsibility and how to make changes where we most desire them in ways that may seem a little strange or against the norm.

This kind of work bumps up against people’s deepest “stuff,” rubbing on raw spots that have been there for years. Kicking up things that have settled deep into the cracks of their heart and soul. Things they aren’t ready to have kicked up.

Pissing people off is part of the work sometimes.

I used to worry about upsetting people, because I genuinely believe that no one person is right about anything, and everyone’s opinions and experiences are valid and true. But the world doesn’t need me to be so considerate of everyone that I shrink myself down and let my voice get lost in the shuffle of making sure everyone feels heard and happy. The world doesn’t need me to fit in seamlessly, never bumping up against anyone else, because I was made with a very unique perspective and beliefs/views of the world. As were you. As is everyone.

pissing-people-off-with-blogs

The world needs us to embrace who we are and what we believe, so that we can have the impact we were born to create. So we can really show up and do the work we’re here to do.

I have a fierceness inside of me I’m only beginning to embrace. It’s the part of me that has no tolerance for people taking life for granted, for settling for less than they deserve. The part of me that has no patience for the excuses we make to avoid doing the work to bring our dreams to life.

For a long time I set this fierceness to the side, trying to guide with a more gentle approach. Trying not to ruffle any feathers or make anyone mad. I did good work… and for awhile that was enough. But I’m ready to do great work. Work that transforms lives and changes the world around us for the better. And gentle is not enough, at least not for who I am.

I’m intense. I’m fierce. I’m outspoken and I call it like it is.

Am I also loving and gentle and kind? Absolutely. But without bringing all parts of me to my work, I wasn’t living true to who I’m here to be, and how I’m here to work. I wasn’t showing up fully. In order to live true to our purpose and be in service of others, sometimes we have to be a little fierce. Sometimes we have to speak up and say what’s true so that others are forced to face what they don’t want to face. Sometimes we have to call it like it is, with just enough love and compassion.

All this to say…
Don’t be afraid to piss people off.

I’ve received some of the angriest emails after writing the things I believe in deeply. I’m not going to pretend the words haven’t stung from time to time (especially those first few), but I always remember that it’s not about me. I’m here to speak my truth and to call people on their shit so they can start living lives they really love, doing work that lights their soul on fire. That’s why I’m here, not to make people like me. And in the process of doing so, some people are going to get mad… because they’re not ready to face it.

That’s okay.
I’m not a bad person or coach.
I didn’t do anything wrong.
Not everyone is going to like me.

This isn’t permission to be a jerk. This is permission to live true to what tugs at your heart and fills you with intense passion.

For me that’s helping people build lives and businesses around their passions and aligned with their souls. And I won’t tolerate anything less for the people that wander into my orbit. For you, it might be something similar, or it might be something different. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid of the fierceness and intensity that comes with that passion. Don’t be afraid to speak up and speak out.

Don’t ever be afraid to piss people off.

The world isn’t going to end, and if you’re worried about pissing off those few people, you’re going to miss out on helping so many more people.

For every one nasty email I get, I receive at least 20 – 50 positive emails thanking me for telling it like it is. For speaking what’s true for me. For sharing myself and my mind. For showing up fully.

Are you willing to show up more fully and passionately in your work?

When Healing is Hard

It was a Saturday afternoon and I was sitting on his couch with my eyes closed, sobbing harder than I had in months. I had stopped breathing, resisting the next step of the process with every cell in my body. I could literally feel every inch of my being saying “oh hell no, we’re not going there.”

He was speaking to me clearly and firmly, pushing me to do what I needed to do to heal what had been broken. Pushing me to say what I couldn’t bring myself to say so that I could finally move forward with a little bit of peace.

“I don’t want to,” I sobbed.

“You have to, SAY IT,” he pushed back.

An hour and a half and I was spent. My eyes covered in mascara, my voice was fragile, and I could feel the exhaustion in my bones. He asked if I was sure I could drive home or if I wanted to stay awhile, and I felt like I floated out to my car, collapsing into the driver’s seat. The rest of the day is still a blur.

The following night I took another step by releasing some items that needed to go. Things that only brought me back to the hardest moment of my life and were keeping me stuck energetically. As I burned the things I needed to burn, letting go of what no longer belonged in my space, I got so nauseous I could barely stand up. Standing on the side of the road, after the ashes washed down the creek and there was only one thing left to release… I was bent over with tears in my eyes, not sure if I was going to throw up or pass out. Not sure I had it in me to fully let go.

I spent the next four days sicker than I’d been in years. Burning up at night with a fever that brought chills and sweats and aches all over. A throat that hurt so bad I could only tolerate tea and popsicles. Work stalled and things fell behind. I slept and slept and slept some more. My skin actually, physically hurt, both to the touch and just to be inside myself. People worried. He reminded me that this was a deep and intense healing process, and that it was normal… even though I was sick longer than most people. Even when he started to worry too.

“I feel like death,” I squeaked to the one who held me through every painful moment of the days that followed, who brought me juice and tucked me in at night. “That’s because you had your soul ripped open,” he replied gently and knowingly.

On the last night, I went to bed packed full of anti-inflammatories and with a 102 degree fever, chilled to the bone and intending to go to urgent care as soon as it opened the next morning. Instead, I woke up drenched in sweat like nothing I’d ever experienced. Sopping wet, with sweat pouring out of me, my skin as pale as snow. My throat stopped hurting, the aches in my bones went away, and my fever was gone. I felt like I’d been through an exorcism.

And when I could finally step back into my life and work fully, I was back. Really, truly back. I could remember all the things I had forgotten, and I could function in ways I thought I may never be able to again. I could talk about things without crying, and I felt so energized I worked until 3am without a second thought.

healing-is-hard

When we think about healing, we tend to only think about the gentle parts.

Rest and recovery.
Massages and a lot of naps.
Juice and healthy, nourishing meals.

But sometimes healing is hard.

Sometimes it hurts as much as, if not more, than the thing that damaged us.

Sometimes healing is about breaking what didn’t break all the way through, so that we can put things back together the way they’re supposed to be. So we can finally mend.

And let me tell you, when healing requires that you break first, a lot further than you thought you were capable of handling… it’s hard.

Oh my goodness is it hard.

There are things in this life that hurt us so deeply we don’t realize what’s been broken until well after the fact… until (like I experienced) you can’t run on the fumes of the aftermath anymore and the things that you didn’t notice become unavoidable. Until you can’t function at all, spending most of the day in a mess of your own tears, wondering if you’ll ever understand what it means to feel whole and healthy again. Wondering if you’re just too broken to be fixed.

Sometimes we have to walk into healing prepared to be bruised more deeply than the thing that hurt us, and broken in the places we’ve mended poorly and carelessly. Sometimes we have to walk through the pain in ways we never could at the time, so that we can actually, truly move through what needs to be moved through. So we can put it behind us.

Sometimes healing is hard. And that’s scary, I’m not going to lie. I didn’t walk into this healing thinking, “this will be fun.” I walked in with hesitation and resistance that made me tense. I walked in filled with nerves and wishing I was anywhere but in that room. Wondering if maybe I could fix myself, but knowing that I had to face what was next. And knowing that it was going to hurt like hell.

It takes a lot of faith, trust, and strength to walk into a healing that you know will hurt like hell.

But I can promise you that it’s worth it.

I’ve never been through such an intensely painful experience. I’ve never had to face the pain and the ones who hurt me in such a raw and challenging way. I’ve never been pushed with such forceful love by someone unwilling to let me step back in fear. I’ve also never been so ridiculously sick after this kind of work.

I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I would be equally as nervous and resistant.
I wouldn’t be the least bit excited about any of it.

But, I would absolutely do it again.

Because when we’re willing to face the hard stuff in order to heal and release, we grow in ways we couldn’t grow otherwise. We learn things about ourselves and others that we could never know otherwise. And we heal ourselves in powerful ways that we could never do otherwise.

Band-aids aren’t enough, and you can only outrun the damage for so long. The broken parts will only stay glued and taped together for so long. It’s better to walk into it with everything you have and a loving guide to hold your hand. It’s better to choose to become healed and whole, no matter what it takes.

No matter how much it hurts.

Around Here (Zion National Park)

11896275_10153200406503315_1922123268465843660_o
11264851_10153200405138315_4133480695882152437_o
11885308_10153200406868315_6349964894022657538_n
IMG_8427
IMG_8429
IMG_8428
IMG_8460
IMG_8461
IMG_8473
IMG_8459
11838834_10153200406958315_3441572685916133381_o
IMG_8464

This past weekend we went to Zion National Park to play with some of my family.

Utah is crazy gorgeous, I had no idea.

I mean, wow. Driving out of Colorado we stopped in Palisade and bought a case of fresh, juicy, delicious peaches… along with a bunch of peach pastries from a little local bakery. We were in awe as we watched the landscape change around every bend all throughout Utah. Wow.

Once we got to Zion we stayed at the Majestic View Lodge, which had stunning views of the park and a perfectly cool pool for swimming (10 hours in a car with no A/C will burn you out a bit). I had family in from Washington DC, Seattle, and Hawaii, and it was so much fun to have everyone together for some adventuring.

We went canyoneering as a group, lowering ourselves down steep crevices inside the rocks. We also went “stemming” and “elevatoring” through some really narrow passages. So. Much. Fun. We hiked the Narrows, which was refreshing and gorgeous. We camped one night under the stars, catching the tail end of the meteor shower that had been going on all well. I ooooohed and aaaaahed at the clear milky way, because stargazing is one of my favorite things.

I will definitely be visiting Zion and parts of Utah again. Holy beautiful!

It’s Not About You, and That’s Exactly Why It’s About You

Service oriented and purpose driven entrepreneurs often run into the issue of “being in the public eye.” We just want to change the world, leave our mark, and make the difference we know we were born to make. We don’t necessarily care about recognition and praise and awards. Sometimes, sure. But mostly, we care about doing the work and making the changes we want to make.

So there’s something that feels yucky about social media and sharing so much about ourselves online… like it’s narcissistic and detracts from the work and serving other people. I get it, I do.

You might not think I really get it because I share so much. Because I post selfies and share things from the darkest corners of my soul, the deepest wounds in my heart, and the most raw and vulnerable spaces of my life. Sometimes I share pictures of my cats and — gasp! — even my food.

Here’s a thing you need to know about me first:
I exist in this life in service of very specific work.

I’m as purpose-driven as they come, and I’m incredibly devoted to being of service in the ways I feel called to lead and teach and support others. I know why I’m here, and that’s made all the difference for me over the years in so many ways.

When you’re truly aligned with your purpose and the work you’re here to do, it’s easy to devote yourself fully to it. Being of service to that work is a total mind, body, heart, and soul commitment. It’s unlike anything else.

sharing-yourself-online-marketing

So when it comes to things like social media and putting yourself out there, it’s more about being of service to the work than about serving your ego.

The fact is, we crave real, human connection.

We’re tired of being marketed to and interfacing with corporate feeling companies. We want depth, story telling, and truth. We want to feel like we belong and that there’s someone else who’s been where we are. We want to know we’re not alone. And yes, we even want to see what other people eat, because we want to know that there are real people on the other side of the screen.

It’s true. I’ve had clients tell me before, “I love seeing pictures of your cats and what you’re eating, it lets me know you’re a real person doing real things.”

Sharing ourselves online is a part of the work.

Of course it depends on you, your business, and your audience, but for most of us it’s a part of connecting and relationship building. It’s how we begin building our communities and creating lasting bonds with the people who believe in what we’re doing or need what we’re offering.

Tell your stories.

Stories are how we connect, not well written marketing copy or sales pages. Real stories from our life experiences, or from the people we’ve worked with in the past. Stories are how we relate and find common ground. It’s how we go from strangers to kindred spirits and new friends. It’s how we see ourselves in one another and feel safe in opening up ourselves. We all have stories… some are juicier and crazier than others, some are simple and straightforward, and some will make you belly laugh harder than you ever have before. All of these are perfect and awesome. Start sharing some of your stories with the people in your sphere.

Share a little bit of your world.

You don’t have to share everything, and you get to decide what parts and pieces make sense to put out into the world. But start sharing a little bit more than you have been. Don’t pretend to be perfect or only focus on business and marketing messaging. People want to know YOU and that you’re a real person, so give them a little something every now and then. Show them the adventures of your summer or the laziness of your Saturday morning. Show them the foods you love and the friends who get your time. Peel back the curtains and let them see your home or office. It’s one of the simplest ways to start connecting.

Be a real person.

This one’s easy… because you’re already a real person with interests and guilty pleasures and hobbies. With family and friends, and fun adventures in your free time. A person who maybe reads books or has an obsession with succulents. Whatever it is that makes you unique, be willing to let others see that. And whatever it is that makes you human (the missteps and oopsies of your days), share that too. We try too hard to appear perfect, and all that does is create a sense of separation between us and our audience. When we’re willing to admit we’re human and make mistakes, it’s far easier to connect with those around us.

It’s not about you, it’s about the work. And sometimes that means you need to be front and center and willing to share a little bit of yourself.

How will you start sharing more today?

If you asked me two months ago what topic I wanted to base my business on, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. With her guidance and support, my business is up and running and I have created my Individual Coaching Package and two Transformational Quick-Guides. I’m currently coaching my own clients and there are several other products and packages in the making. The best part is that, by working with Stephenie, I have been able to overcome my own mental blocks so that I now feel so much more in-tune with my own creative flow.