Cuckoo Luckoo Land – I’ve Walked Here Before

grief

I am not stronger than you. I am not living with some magical power special only to me.  I am not doing “okay” because I live in a fantasy world.  I am not better than anyone else out there trying to make sense out of what is happening in our world right now.  I am no less afraid than others who are doing all they can to keep the demons at bay.  I feel no less in control or less helpless than many of us are feeling.  I feel no less confused and spun around like a top out of control than anyone else.

I am feeling hopeful because I have walked this road before.   We are all, as an entire world, in the middle of Cuckoo Luckoo Land, in the most radical experience of collective shock, loss and grieving the world has probably ever witnessed.     We are all in the place I described so long ago when I first stepped into the rabbit hole with Russell that dropped me into a dark world.  It’s like Alice’s Wonderland only wayyy darker and more confusing.   What I wrote 5 years ago of my experience of this place after Russell got sick and died is eerily true of what our world finds itself collectively living in today.

In Cuckoo Luckoo Land, not only are things bizarre and weird, but even the most joyous of events like birthdays and holidays are twined up with pain, confusion, and grief.  It is such a bizarro place.  What’s up is down. What’s in is over. What’s under is out. What’s out is in between.  There are no clear opposites.  There is no straight forward path to get from here to there.  There is a little of everything in life – light, darkness, pain, joy, hope, despair, love, loss – and you never know which  you will find as wander the dark, twisty paths of this place. It’s simply Cuckoo Luckoo!

Walking along through life, in this new reality, we don’t know where the next rabbit hole might be.  Just when we think we have a “new normal” figured out, the world spins and down the hole we go again.  These are the hidden places that we drop into, often sliding as fast as lightning down into a warren of twisted up paths.  The trip down into a hole feels like someone suddenly and without warning has pushed us down a really steep slide greased with oil.  It is almost impossible to do anything on this slide but breathe.  In this space we can feel like we must be on hallucinogenic drugs, as everything is very, very twisted up and confusing in this space.  Following one path that seems to be going forward can lead to a multitude of paths going in every direction.

Am I less afraid and more awake because I am stronger than you?   NO.  I feel less afraid and feel more awake because this Land is soooo familiar to me.  I know that those dark corners just around the bend don’t necessarily hold more things to fear, but might actually hold the answers we just can’t see yet.  The whispers in the dark aren’t always the demons of our fear and our nightmares.  Some of those whispers in the dark, are the wisdom and warrior parts of ourselves seeking to remind us that we are far stronger than we’ve ever imagined.

I walk this time with confidence because I know, I mean REALLY KNOW, that I can survive walking through this place and even find ways to thrive.  I believe I walk with less fear strangling me each day because I was offered the gift of grieving within a community and surrounded with abundant love for so long that my heart felt like it was that love acting as a light to lead my way through the dark paths of Cuckoo Luckoo Land.  I have walked this place before and survived what once seemed unimaginable to survive.

Am I afraid? Oh yes, I am.   The thoughts of fear about $, getting sick, others getting sick, when will the answers come,  how long will this last, etc., etc. niggle at my mind and my heart.  When those fears take hold of me I escape to Netflix or scrolling Facebook and Pinterest, or eating too much.   But, do I know I can survive my fear?   OH HELL YES!  I stand in this knowing I am a Warrior for love and hope BECAUSE I have walked in Cuckoo Luckoo Land before and I have come out the other side.

I didn’t survive because I was stronger than anyone else.  I survived because I have gathered tools and wisdom along my life journey that could help me navigate through the darkest of paths.  I have learned to feel my feelings and focus just on my breath alone until I have the strength to move forward to the next place.  I know the power of being willing to give and receive love and help from others along the way.  I know how to listen to what feels okay for ME and tap into what is good and tap out of what isn’t without feeling the need to explain why to anyone.

The journey we are on is not a straight forward one.   It will twist and turn and flip us all around as we learn to navigate this new reality.  We will move through shock and fear and anger and helplessness and joy and determination sadness and hope and loss and defeat and gratitude and grief and love, over and over and over and over again.   Slowly but surely we will learn how to survive in this cuckoo luckoo space of time. We will figure out how much we need each other and how strong we really can be.  We will walk this road together.

Though radically different circumstances, I have walked this road in Cuckoo Luckoo Land before and I have come out the other side.   The path ahead of us maybe a very long, twisty, dark one but I am ready to walk with you every step of the way, sharing my tools with any who want them.  I believe in our strength and our resilience and can see the glimmers of light on the other side.  I believe we are not alone and that we will one day walk out of this place.   I believe because I stand here having survived this place before.

How Will I Show Up?

highest self

How will I show up?

This is the question I am pondering this week as I navigate my way through anxiety around the massive unknowns right now, flashbacks to 5 years ago which also was a very dark time, a hopeful belief that somehow all will be well and a deep desire to not lose who I am and who I most want to be in this time, this moment. The whole world has stepped into Cuckoo Luckoo Land, the place I’ve written of where things are not only inside out, they are upside down, outside in, twisted up and ever spinning. Eerily, I know how to walk in this place. Heck, I can even walk in this place as if I own it when I remember who I am.

I am a survivor. I am a traveler of the dark places of the soul. I am a writer who can find words in these dark places. I am a light for others who walk these dark places alongside me. I am a grounding rod for the swirl that threatens to spin us out of control. I am a mystic who can move beyond the veils of what is to see the possibilities of what could be. I am a woman who finds joy in the simplest of things. I am a believer that we are all far more powerful than we will ever know. I am a hope dealer who believes in the immense power of health and healing. I am a Warrior who does not allow the darkest places of Cuckoo Luckoo Land to ever completely forget how powerful and beautiful we all are.

So, how will I show up in this communal time of walking in Cuckoo Luckoo Land? I will show up as a Warrior for light, hope, and belief that we WILL survive this. I will show up believing we are all doing the best we can with a whole ton of uncertainty. I will show up sharing whatever glimmers of hope, health and healing I can. I will show up honoring everyone who is digging deep to be light bringers, healers and hope dealers. I will show up staying true to who I AM! ☀️

World, we have got this! 💖💪💖

Vanity or Health? Which will I choose?

choosinghealth

“Vanity or Health?” Which will I choose? You’ve got to read to the end to find out. 😂

It’s about radical self-love. 💖

Okay, deep breath 🌬️ and in I go, into being crazy vulnerable and really real about something that’s been holding me back. I’m ready to dive deeper into what my healthiest self could look like; a self whose body feels so free and amazing I can barely imagine it right now. But, I have to choose – my vanity or my healthiest self.

You see, it’s my vanity about my face that has been winning for a long time. I spent 12 years working a horse farm. No amount of sun screen was ever enough to completely protect my skin. I knew one day I’d have tons of face wrinkles because of it. I just didn’t think it would be so soon. Since I’ve lost 53 pounds I can really notice it. And wowza, has it stopped me in my tracks. No way have I wanted to lose more weight and look like a prune. Even if losing more weight could be really good for the rest of my body.

Some of the thoughts that have pinged through my brain during this internal debate have really revealed how much further I can go to radically love myself exactly as I am.

“If I want to date again who would want a wrinkle faced woman?”

“Do I really need to lose more weight, even if I know it could be great for my aging body?”

“Will I get ugly?”

“Should I put more weight back on to plump out my face again?” (Answer is always, NO WAY!)

“Am I seriously this obsessed with physical appearance?”

“Am I in any way attractive anymore?”

“I miss my 25 year old self.”

 

WOWZA! I am a HUGE proponent for everyone to love themselves exactly as they are. I am a HUGE proponent for making choices that help us create our best selves. I am a HUGE proponent for recognizing our SELF is about soooo much more than our bodies.

I am also, quite clearly, a woman who is trying to believe in herself more, recognize her worth, find her beauty again, and radically love every part – the dark, the light, the wrinkled, the strong, the weak – ALL OF ME!

So, I am choosing my health! I am learning to love my wrinkles for the stories they tell. I am going all into turn my body into its strongest, healthiest, most Badass self. I am choosing to believe I am beautiful. I am wrapping myself in the love, hope and healing I strive to bring to everyone else.

That means my goal, now spoken publicly, is to lose the final 15lbs I’ve been considering losing by my birthday on July 30. Get ready to watch my journey as I go for my finish line! 💪💪💪💪

When you lose your mojo…

beachme

 

Stream of consciousness writing is one of the things I usually reserve for my journal only.  As inspired as I usually feel when I write one of my musings, they tend to write themselves almost completely in my head before I put them into my blog.  Not this morning.   My mind has been such a muddle the past week or so and I have no clear idea of what sent me spiraling down into the land of muckity muck but there I am.   Stuck, not really caring that I’m stuck, and yet feeling ickity enough that I want out.

I’ve created some amazing things in my life.   I consider myself a successful, inspired, dedicated to going after my dreams kind of person.     I think I am resilient, creative, resourceful and can be hard working.   I can usually motivate myself to go after what I want but also love the support of a community.   The last few years especially I have done some awesome things, especially in light of the dark thread that has woven through our lives.

You know what though, I am tired.  I don’t mean physically tired really as I am finally getting enough sleep most nights.  I mean emotionally, mentally, energetically tired.  I mean to the bone tired. Actually deeper than that even.    I am weary of being strong, of going after bigger dreams, of working, of staying connected, of trying to figure it all out, of trying to be the absolute best I can be, of doing anything more than just being in each moment.  I am afraid I have not only set aside my mojo, but that I have somehow completely lost it.   I am tired.

This exhaustion is leaving me with such a pervasive “whatever” mentality that I actually feel like I am going backwards in creating the life I want for myself and my family.   Oh, I am still going through the bare minimum things I need to do to stay afloat but striving to really create a life of massive financial and time abundance – pfffttt!   That doesn’t seem to be happening right now. I’m too tired.

I don’t even want to think about or do the things that I know may pull me up and out of this funky place.   Because when I am just resting in the place of being tired and not sure if I want to be a massive go-getter anymore, I feel less tired.   There is a peace in that space.  And then, I wonder if maybe I don’t REALLY want to be a massive go-getter.   Maybe, I just want to find a job that has insurance and a 401k, so I don’t have to constantly worry about these things.   Maybe I just want to go do my hours and then be done for the day.   Maybe I don’t want to do the constant work needed to create new businesses, even though I love coaching and retreat facilitating.  Maybe I am too tired to be constantly dreaming, doing and creating.   Maybe I am too tired because I’m done being in charge of everything in my life and I just want to be a minion for awhile.

There are lots of maybes and lots of things to explore within this muckity muck place. While I am here I will do what I can. While I am here I will write all the muckity muck in my journal. While I am here I will be gentle with myself and trust that I won’t be here forever. While I am here I will try to just be curious about all that is rising up in me. While I am here I will do at least 1 thing each day that gets me moving just a little.   While I am here I will be grateful that I have my writing which provides some magical relief for me.   While I am here I will just be tired and focus on one thing at a time, without expectation that I do a million things each day.  While I am here I will love myself and know that I am doing the best that I can even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

“Get over yourself already, Lara”

getbusy

“Get over yourself already, Lara!”

This is what I am repeating to myself over and over again today.   I’ve written it on index cards and posted it in several different places.  I will read it over and over and over again, for as long as I need to until I get my head out of the sand. Thought I was going to say something different there, didn’t you? LOL.   I almost did.   My head is definitely in hiding. So whatever image works!

I have never thought of myself as a particularly fear-filled person.  I’ve always thought of myself as one who sees the rays of sunshine and possibility and hope even in the darkest of places. I’ve thought of myself as one who seeks to spread positivity and encouragement and believe that for myself.    I’ve thought of myself as one who can stand strong and grounded in the face of adversity.

While I still think this leaning towards hope and possibility is true for and of me, it has become increasingly clear to me that I have allowed my deepest, dreaming self to get wrapped up in thorny branches of fear and anxiety that are twining so sharply around me that every move I make seems to cause them to tighten more painfully.  So for weeks, maybe even months, I have allowed this ever increasing fear and anxiety to leave me paralyzed.  I mean paralyzed into such a depressive, angry, terrified place that leaving my house seems near impossible at times.

Living out loud in this time and this moment – the profound commitment I made to myself about how I would live my life from the point of Russell’s death forward – has become like a shadow for me in many ways.   The more I feel anxiety around the Big Ass Leap I am taking and the fear that I am going to fail myself and my kids so hard we will end up with nothing I dream of, the quieter and more isolated I have become.   I come out of that anxiety in little, baby bursts of hopeful action; kind of like a dolphin coming up for quick breaths of air before diving back under the surface.  But leaping fully with trust into this new journey forward, with joy like a playful dolphin;  BWAHAHA  that just isn’t happening right now.

Instead, I’ve been locking myself up inside of my heart, inside of my head, and away from the world spinning around and around and around about every single thing that not only could go wrong, but also about everything that IS going wrong right now.   That fear just pours over me and through me and off me, as it twists tighter and tighter around me.  Except for those short bursts of confidence and remembering who I am and what I am all about, I am locked in a dark, thorny mess of a place with my inner critic who knows all of my red hot, “you are a failure” buttons all too well.  The terrifying, self-limiting talk inside of this place is awful.   I have felt so paralyzed by it all that I have stopped living out of my best self and have been living out of my scared self.   Ickity!

Today, I am saying “ENOUGH!  Get over yourself already Lara and start focusing on what could go right, that dream that you have to inspire the world and help people live their way into their best selves.   Get back to living it all out loud in every time and every moment, because that is where your gift lies.  Not in hiding the fear away but speaking it out loud so it loses its’ stranglehold on you.    Live it out loud all the way through into the life you are dreaming that is just waiting around the bend for you.   Be the fricking warrior already and stop being the wuss hiding under your covers.”

Well, okay!  Facing my fear, naming it for what it is, writing it out to release it and then focusing on my dreams of everything that can go right is what I AM going to do; because those dreams are fricking amazing and I know that it is a life I both deserve and can create.   Watch for a whole lot more musings  as I return to living out loud in every time and every moment without worrying about what others will think (one of the strangling fears right there.)  It is my life and my mission and my dreams and my hopes that are the only things I can really live.

Here’s to getting over myself and getting out of my own way!

 

Crossing the Bridge: From Here to There

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Life doesn’t really happen in big leaps.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do firmly believe that we have to take big leaps of faith throughout our lives to get to the life we dream of living.   But those big leaps are really just one moment in a long line of choices and actions that stretch behind and in front of us.   They are scary to make for sure because going into the leap we have to take such deep breaths and tap into such radical trust that all will be well, even when we can’t see the other side.

What I am finding after having taken the big leap a few months ago to make the choice to step away from being the owner/manager of Avalon is that this transition time is wayyyyy harder than taking that first giant step towards a new dream and a new life.  I’ve never, in all of my life, made a decision to end one job to head towards another one that then created such a HUGE transition time.  The maximum was probably 3 weeks for past jobs.   This transition, from the moment my decision became public to the day I’ve set as my last day, is 4 months.   The swirl and dissonance and herky jerky movement this is creating for me is almost unbearable some days.

This is what I experience happens when we take those big leaps to move from the here of our life to the there of our life we dream of.  You want to be there, in that place of new possibility and joy, but you are here, in the place that no longer resonates as deeply into your heart as it once did.  Once you make the decision to step onto a new path the amount of testing and resistance that arises out of that part of you that doesn’t’ want to change is HUGE!  It can feel as if the universe and everything around is conspiring against you.

What I really think is happening is that your excited, dreaming self is wanting to run to the other side right now.  Your fear, stay in the comfortable self is trying to tell you to stay.  And every single thing in your life becomes an opportunity to get crystal clear about what you really want, what you really dream of, what you really believe in and how committed you are to the big leap choice you have just put out to the world.  Everything becomes layered with more emotion, more thoughts, more confusion, more possibility, and on and on and on.

The journey, then, from here to there is more like crossing a shaky, way too high in the air, questionable rope bridge than a mere leap from one side to the next.   Every step is a question – will you stay shaking here on place in this very uncomfortable limbo land; will you turn and run back to the “safety” of what you know; or will you keep stepping forward inch by inch no matter how scary it feels knowing that your deepest self is already on the other side waiting for you.

All you can do; well, I should really say all I can do is breathe and hold onto the pockets of joy and complete sense of rightness that will pop up every step of the way.   Staying in the excitement of the new path that is unfolding is far more enjoyable and life giving than being consumed by the fear within and swirling all around you.   Trust that the bridge will hold and you will get to the other side if all you do is simply keep moving foward.

BREATHE, TRUST, AND STAY IN THE JOY!!!

It’s time to ACT

 

“We are the most obese, medicated, addicted, and in-debt Americans EVER!” Brene Brown

Brene Brown’s words shared below ring so true for me.  For decades, I “knew” all I needed to do to lose weight and get healthy.  I’d tried so many different paths each one with varying degrees of success.   I “knew” if I could focus on meal prepping consistently with lots of good protein, veggies and little starches it would do the trick.  But “knowing” did nothing for me, because I didn’t want to do meal prep all of the time. I didn’t want to think about food so much. I didn’t really want to do any of the extra stuff I’d need to do.

See the problem wasn’t what I “thought” I knew about food.  The problem wasn’t even what I judged to be laziness about meal prep on my part.   The real problem for my steady, deep decline into the darker places of my health was my emotions.   The depth and breadth of my overwhelm finally took over completely and I used food to mask, soothe, “heal”, reward and deal with all of the pain and stress in my life.

I for sure don’t beat myself up about any of those choices I made as I firmly believe that was doing the best I could throughout it all.  But wowza, am I ever grateful that I am learning to feel my feelings in every given moment, instead of feeding them with foods that leave me feeling worse than I did before I ate them.  It can be a harder road to travel at times, but most of the time it is a freeing, joyous one to journey.  And the reward is spectacular – a body and mind that is free to move through the feelings and not allow them to become barriers to growth.

From the Gifts of Imperfection…

“We know how to eat healthy.  We also know how to make good choices with our money. We know how to take care of our emotional needs. We know all of this, yet…

We are the most obese, medicated, addicted, and in-debt Americans EVER!

Why are we struggling like never before? Because we don’t talk about the things that get in the way of doing what we know is best for us, our children, our families and our communities.

We don’t talk about what keeps us eating until we’re sick, busy beyond human scale, desperate to numb and take the edge off, and full of so much anxiety and self-doubt that we don’t act on what we KNOW is best for us.”

 

YES, YES, YES!!!!!  It is time to ACT!!!