My Body No Longer Lets Me Lie

tell-the-truth-anxiety-grief

My body has been the keeper of many lies over the years. I never considered myself a deceitful person until I began truth telling on a much deeper level. You see, I spent years lying. Lying through the smile plastered on my face, the “fine” responses to “how are you” questions, and by not giving air time to the simple truths that surfaced within me.

The simple truths that said…

This is not the right relationship for you.
This job is killing you slowly.
This client is not the right fit for you.
This sadness is eating you alive.
This career path is so far from aligned.
This life is not truly fulfilling you.

I was a master of deceit. Not a soul in my sphere knew the levels of my unhappiness… and I kept my cards close to my heart. I blended in. I let people see who they wanted to see in me. I made myself small. And I did this for far longer than was healthy or helpful.

These days my body doesn’t let me lie.

She doesn’t let me sit through small talk with people I can’t truly connect with. She doesn’t let me pretend I’m “fine” when nothing is okay. She doesn’t let me play small or blend in. And she certainly doesn’t let simple truths surface without adequate air time soon after.

When grief sucker punched me in the heart a year and a half ago, I was incapable of anything but truth. I was raw and cracked wide open. Any shell or wall I’d built around me was blown to smithereens in an instant, with many pieces still missing to this day. I didn’t know which way was up, I couldn’t put time in order, and I had no memory at all.

Grief showed me that people want us to lie to them.
They may say they don’t, but many actually do.

When you’re going through something challenging and uncomfortable, they don’t actually want to hear about it. They want to hear that you’re “fine” or “okay.” They want to know that “work is good” and “we’re hanging in there” or that “God never gives us more than we can handle” with a smile and a strength you couldn’t possibly embody.

I had my first major panic attack at a family reunion seven months after my loss… and my second at a cousin’s wedding. Answering “how are you” with “fine” or “good” more times than I can count. Smiling while everyone carried on as everything was normal… and yet, everything for me was far from normal. I couldn’t use my brain. I couldn’t stop the slow bleeding in my business. I couldn’t make money. I couldn’t put time in order. I couldn’t make peace with the gaping hole inside my heart. I couldn’t reconcile the gifts and gratitude that came from the most awful and tragic kind of loss.

And my body had enough.

So I started telling the truth, whether people wanted to hear it or not. I stopped spending time in situations where it was almost expected that I lie through my smile or my words. I started spending more and more time with people who could hear my truth, and who would not only listen, but help me. Hug me. Guide me. Cry with me. Hold me. Give me tools and resources and take a stand for my grief and healing.

My body guided me to a community and healing path and life that I never could have navigated to on my own. And still, to this day, my body will SHUT. IT. DOWN. if I try to deviate to any degree from my truth.

And for that I’m grateful.

If you’re still reading, maybe don’t wait for your body to shut it down. Anxiety and panic attacks are no joke, and they’re certainly not fun. Tune into what’s true for you, what’s surfacing in your life right now, and honor it. Answer “how are you” with truth. Wear whatever emotions are true for each moment. Put it all out there. Ask for help. Be transparent and vulnerable in everything you do and say. It’s hard and it’s scary… but I can tell you with certainty and experience that it’s worth it.

Need support? Click here to learn more about my signature program and process, Foundations for Unshakable Joy™.

It’s Going to Feel Like You’re Dying

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“I don’t know how to get back to that happiness,” she cried as she rocked her beautiful baby in her arms. She shared with me that she had reached a blissful state of happiness and positivity, feeling like she could always choose it no matter what. But it was gone now, and she crashed so hard there were weeks when she couldn’t get herself out of bed. She had to be bathed and fed and she was fighting like hell to get back to happy. “People tell me it wasn’t real.”

“It was absolutely real,” I smiled. “But if feels like there’s a dark side you’ve been denying. And when you face into that and do the healing work, the happiness will come back fuller and richer than before. It will come back as pure unshakable joy.”

There’s power in choosing positivity. In choosing to be happy and grateful and only see life as a glass half full with plenty more water at the ready. It’s beautiful, really.

But it doesn’t always work.

Because some of us aren’t just “being negative” or working with a surface level layer of beliefs that need to be adjusted. Some of us have grief and trauma and scars that run so deep we wonder how we didn’t split straight in two. Some of us have holes and cracks and damage to our foundation that can’t be plastered over with polished positivity. We can’t just “fake it till we make it.”

Sometimes we can use those techniques to get a boost. Things are better, we feel positive, and we’re shouting affirmations at anyone who will listen, convinced that we’ve “figured it out” and will always stay “up.”

Until we crash.
Because we can’t deny our wounds.
We can’t deny our darkness.

Positive Affirmation People love to tell us that “dark” is bad. That anger or grief or trauma have a silver lining, and that silver lining is all we should focus on. And yes, everything happens for a reason whether we like or understand it… but only facing into the “light” and looking at the “gifts” puts all our weight on one side of the scale. Eventually we’re going to tip over. And the more energy we put into that single side, the harder the crash.

If you want to be happy — and I mean a truly unshakable joy that bubbles up from your core no matter what’s happening — then you have to face into the pain. The wounds. The darkness.

And, truth be told, it’s going to feel like you’re dying.

Because, in a sense, you are.

When we face into what hurts, what’s messy, and what’s dark, we face into emotions and experiences that feel like they might eat us alive. The pain can be so deep and so overwhelming we don’t know which way’s up or down. The tears are so fierce and powerful we nearly stop breathing. The truths, the wounds, the aches, they feel like they’ll break us.

This is where we usually stop.
We bandage it up carelessly.
We turn back towards “the light.”
We suppress the emotions.
We hide from the pain.

But if we’re willing to face into it, to be absorbed by it, and to feel it all the way through… not sit in it, not let it fester and become stagnant, but move it through us with tears and words and full body screams… we’ll move right through that space that feels like actual death. And it’s only by going through that void, that dark pocket in between, that we connect with peace and joy and love and truth.

It’s only through that painful pocket — that moment of death and rebirth — that we find the kind of faith and trust that carries us into something even more amazing, joyful, and aligned than we knew was possible.

It’s going to feel like you’re dying… because that part that’s wounded and stuck and wracked with pain, that part of us will be released. And we’ll be reborn with more purpose, passion, trust, faith, freedom, and deep, deep joy.

As someone who has walked through that pocket, more than once, I can attest to its beauty and grace and divine initiation. And I also understand that it seems absolutely terrifying and impossible from where you stand. I know it feels like you won’t survive it. I know it hurts more than anything you’ve ever known.

But, I promise, you’re right there.
You’re so damn close to everything amazing.

You just have to face into it.
Feel and move it all the way through.

You can do this.

Play the Long Game

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When I was twelve years old, I felt like nobody understood me and there wasn’t really any place for me in the world. I got in a huge fight with my mom and didn’t go to dinner with the family, and I decided I wasn’t wanted, nor did I want to be around anymore. I thought my life was over.

When I was a freshman in high school, I had an intense and brief high school romance with a boy who lived in my neighborhood. He was a bad boy for sure, and I was smitten. He broke up with me at the end of the school year and I was devastated. I thought my life was over.

When I was in my early 20s and growing my first design business, it was bumpy, challenging, and completely inconsistent. We weren’t making enough money, and I fell three months behind on all my bills. The notices were piling up, the power got shut off, and I was certain I was going to lose my house. I thought my life was over.

These days, I play the long game.

I know that every moment and mishap, no matter how enormous and overwhelming, is simply a blip on the timeline that makes up my life. It’s a single frame in a giant, ever-evolving picture. And nothing is actually the end of the world. Nothing is actually the end… until it’s the end.

Playing the long game doesn’t mean it takes forever to get to where you want to be… it means you understand the road may be lengthy and there may be moments that appear impossible to overcome. Playing the long game means you’re committed to creating what you desire in life. It means you never give up, because you know it’s not the end. You find a way. You choose it.

If I’d given up on life at twelve years old, I can’t count the number of amazing experiences and relationships I would have passed up. If I’d given up on love in high school, I wouldn’t have found the most amazing man and partner a girl could ask for.

And if I’d given up on running my own business in my early 20s for the “security” of a job, not only would you and I not be traveling this path together through my weekly emails, but I wouldn’t have the honor of serving so many beautiful souls all over the world. I wouldn’t have found my passions or uncovered the work I’m here to do… and lord only knows where I would have ended up instead.

Do you see my point?

You have to play the long game.
Always… no matter what happens in life.
No matter how much it hurts.
No matter how impossible it seems.
No matter how dark and hard certain chapters may be.

At the end of 2014 when my entire world came to a crashing halt in a single moment, when loss cracked me open and turned me inside out… despite the devastating, heart wrenching pain that was my grief… I did not think my life was over. Despite how broken and fragile I was, how numb and shattered I looked and felt… when I did nothing but cry in bed for hours instead of eating or sleeping, terrifying my family… I knew, one day, I would be okay.

I knew it in my bones.
In every fiber of my being.
There was simply no question.
No other alternative.

And I remember in those early days of my grief, how I committed to my work on a far deeper level… because too many people believe their life is over, that there’s nothing left to live for or work towards… when really, they’re just a few steps from love and passion and fulfillment. From uncovering who they’re here to be and they work they’re here to do. It’s literally right around the corner.

Today I have a simple invitation.

If you’re ready to uncover the resilience that’s hardwired into your very soul… the kind of of trust and faith that carries you through the most challenging times… the real, raw, true self you’ve lost inside of life and obligations and expectations, and the deep passion the fuels your calling — your true work in this life — then I have five spots available for a new version of Foundations for Unshakable Joy™.

This program is the core “work” that changed my life many years ago. It’s everything I walked through and uncovered when I was fumbling around in the darkness, desperately trying to reclaim myself and build a life worth living. It’s the reason I know in my bones that no matter what happens, I will not only survive, but I will thrive in the aftermath.

This is a combination of my signature six week program, some phenomenal bonuses from my own friends and mentors, and three one-on-one coaching sessions with me. Click here to learn more and grab your spot, or shoot me an email with any questions.

And in the meantime…

Remember to play the long game.

Life is short, it’s true. But it’s also far longer and more awe-inspiring than those hard, challenging, and devastating moments or chapters lead us to believe.

We can always begin again.
We can always recover.
It’s a choice.
So choose to be here.
Choose to thrive.

The world needs you.

There Is Wisdom Within Our Wounds

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I used to worry that I was broken… that I wasn’t a “super sensitive empath” anymore. When people would talk about their deepest, most painfully dark chapters or experiences, I couldn’t cry. I used to cry, but in the last few years that natural empathic response to cry with them had disappeared. 

But, no… I wasn’t broken.

You see, something else started happening as I listened to heartbreaking moments and tales of worlds falling apart at the seams. People in tears. People who are completely deflated. People who are on the verge of giving up and giving in to the fear or failure or struggle.

I become completely overwhelmed with love.
My heart swells with excitement.
An immense pocket of space opens inside of me.
There’s pure joy down to my bones.
And I simply can’t help but desire to smile.

Basically a super inappropriate response to what I’m hearing.
And yet, perfectly aligned with the truth of those awful moments.

It’s not because I’m insensitive… I’ve tried to leave this world at my own hand. I’ve slammed hard into rock bottom more times than I can count. I’ve walked through the kind of grief that cracks you clean in two and turns you inside out. I’ve been taken out at the knees by life and love and loss. I’ve failed spectacularly. And I’ve watched, more than once, as my entire world came to a crashing halt.

What I’ve come to learn is that in our darkest, hardest, most painfully heartbreaking moments, we’re the closest to truth and source and purpose. These are the most powerful and beautiful moments of our lives. They’re the catalyst for creating an amazing, impactful, awe-inspiring life, career, love, and experience. They are everything.

There is wisdom within our wounds.
Purpose within our pain.

As awful and frustrating as it is, everything happens as it’s meant to. Everyone plays the role they’re meant to play, no matter how ugly or hurtful or upsetting. Every experience is meant to shape us into who we’re here to be, no matter how awful or painful or intense. And every fall and failure and spectacular misstep is meant to guide us to our true path, no matter how ridiculous or overwhelming or uprooting.

And yes, sometimes that really, really sucks.
For us. For the ones we love. For the world around us.
I’m not denying that really terrible things happen.
I have lived through really terrible things happening.

I’m simply saying that those really terrible things shaped me into a person who is fierce and passionate and full of a joy and love that is truly unshakable. They’ve taught me gratitude and presence. They’ve guided me to the most beautiful souls and communities and mentors. And they’ve clarified my calling in a way that nothing else could have.

So, yes. When people talk about their deepest, most painfully dark chapters or experiences, I can’t help but want to smile. Because, oh baby — if we choose it with every cell in our being — this is the powerful, beautiful, painful moment right before things become amazing. Right before everything falls into place in ways you never could envision before. Right before your soul tribe shows up. Right before your purpose is made painfully and powerfully clear to you.

I know this might not be all that helpful.

Not when you’re deep in the depths of some of the most awful experiences of your life. Not when you haven’t found a sense of trust and faith that you can call your own, because you’re still walking through the darkness and the challenges and it’s hard to “see the light.”

I’m simply sharing what I’ve learned to be true.

Because I walked through a hell I’d never wish on anyone this last year and a half, and me, my life, and my work is unquestionably better for it. And you know what? That sucks. It took the most awful kind of loss to crack me open so that I can stand where I stand today.

So while I can experience immense gratitude for all that exists in my life, my relationships, and my work today… it’s the kind of gratitude you can never fully wrap your heart around. And that’s okay. That’s life.

While you may not know or understand what it means to have the kind of trust and faith that carries you through the darkness, you can choose to lean into it, just a little bit today. You can choose to open to the possibility that there’s a reason this is happening, and that reason will soon be revealed. Trust and faith take time to cultivate, but we can always make the choice to give it our best. No matter what’s happening around us.

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The Marrow Is The Message

spiritual-guidance

I’m going to write something super polarizing today. You’ll either love it, or you’ll hate it, and that’s okay. I’m still going to do it anyways.

Let’s talk about something we don’t like to talk about:
Religion. Belief. Spirituality. Faith.

I was raised and baptized in the Catholic church. I talk a lot about trust and faith and the power of surrender. I believe energy is everything and everything is energy. I read a wide variety of books, from varying people, backgrounds, religions, and faiths. I’ve read books on buddhism and books by Christian authors. I’ve had my chart read by well known astrologers. I own a tarot deck. I meditate and I pray. I worship in the church of Mother Earth to music that soothes my soul. I channel the divine in my writing, I play with gemstones, and I do yoga moves to open up my fifth chakra. I’m trained in several forms of energy work and different healing modalities. The Hindu Goddess Kali has been a huge guide in my life and work after coming to me in a dream. I work regularly with an amazing intuitive coach.

But, none of these facts actually matter. And if you can’t get past that paragraph and all the ways you disagree with what I’ve shared, you’re likely missing some important points in life.

All of the above is simply the bones.

The structure and format of the spiritual practices and education and experiences from my life. The tools and resources and communities that have held me, educated me, supported me, or pissed me off. The people and goddesses and guides who have appeared in my life to move me into what comes next.

The marrow is the message.

And if you spend too much time getting hung up on the bones and how they’re shaped or colored or who molded them into being, you can’t hear the message. The message is the only thing that really matters.

Whether you believe in God or the Universe or Buddha or energy or the flow of the seasons… you’re always being guided. And sometimes that guidance will come packaged in another faith or set of beliefs or culture or mythological story. Sometimes it comes in silly social media memes shared by people you barely know.

I truly believe one of the reasons I’ve created such powerful shifts in my life an work is because I’m always listening for the message. Not looking, because “looking” often equates to “forcing signs where there are no signs,” but truly, deeply listening. Being as open and loving and present as possible with everything and everyone that crosses my path. And inside that openness and presence I’m able to hear the tiny nuggets of wisdom that are meant to guide me.

The path to becoming who we are and stepping into the work we’re here to do is built with breadcrumbs, and the sooner we begin to open to the big wide world around us and all the ways the signs and wisdom and nuggets of guidance show up, the sooner we’re able to experience true fulfillment, passion, and joy.

So by all means, believe what you believe. Practice and serve and worship in all the ways that feel true to you. But start paying some attention to the messages that drop in from outside sources… and look deeper inside the bones.

It’s changed my life. It made me became clear on where I am heading with my career and now it’s all falling into place. I can see it going just the way I dreamed of. I’m full of ideas and creativity now and I can put those ideas into practice. I’ve got my fire back. I’m excited, happy and full of energy. Thank you.

— Charlie Oswin