Dear World, You May Keep Revolving

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Today was the first Big Day – anniversary or birthday or holiday – since Russell died 4 plus years ago that the driving thought all day wasn’t “World, WTF?  How are you still revolving? Russell isn’t here!   Everything should stop!”  It was the first Big Day I didn’t brace myself from beginning to end waiting for the crash into the darker, despairing side of memories. It was the first Big Day I didn’t feel the need at the very start of it to “rally” my troops and make specific mention of what is missing. It was the first Big Day that I just moved through my day with flashes of memories that brought only smiles, joy, love and peace.

Big Days are WICKED hard for people who are grieving.   And, those Big Days stay wicked hard farrrrr longer than the first year that the world seems to think is the “okay” time to grieve and be sad.  It’s incredibly hard to understand how the world doesn’t come to a screeching halt, when it feels like that is exactly what our hearts have done.  I’m at the tail end of year 4 and just now experiencing a Big Day as one I can simply breathe with love and joy through, without expectations that the entire world stop for the day.  4, ALMOST 5, YEARS!  And I am in no way the exception.

We MUST find ways to love people as fiercely in the years after that first one as we do in the first shocking one.  We must gently walk with people with compassion and patience until they one day walk through a Big Day without a thread of pain woven throughout.  We must allow people their own journeys, in their own time no matter where they are.   We must remember that grief has no time frame or blueprint for how to navigate through it.

So tonight Dear World, thank you for continuing to ebb and flow around me as I navigate this still new, often strange journey I find myself on.  Thank you World, for loving me gently, fiercely, unendingly as I dance my dance between joy and sorrow, dark and light, love and loss.    Dear World, you may keep revolving.

When you lose your mojo…

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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”

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“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!

 

Returning and Rising

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Returning and Rising – that is what has been running through my mind all day. Really it’s been moving around inside of me for awhile, but today especially I’ve been thinking about my journey and the ways in which I am returning and rising all in the very same movements.     It’s as if with the inhale of my breath I am returning to myself at the time when I first me Russell which was a time in my life I felt the most confident about who I was in my body, heart and mind.  And then in the next moment as I exhale, I am rising into a new, on fire me who is once again gaining confidence in herself body, heart and mind.  Returning and Rising!

Today this is especially true as it is the 20th of the month.  Russell died on the 20th of the month of March and so every single 20th day since then I have been uber aware of him, like the tingling of skin with a mild sunburn.  There is a kind of constant awareness that occurs, sometime super painful and at others just an enhanced awareness. This is what life is like for me on the 20th of each month.   Most of the time recently it is just an enhanced awareness, but I can still slip into that super painful place at a moment’s notice.   Today was just an enhanced awareness kind of day which brought more thoughts of him and what he would think of who I am becoming.

Today also marks my 1 year anniversary of becoming a health coach, which was a flukey kind of undertaking simply because my friend, Kathy, wanted to get healthier and my coach, Carrie, told me I should try it.   I went into last year not thinking I’d do anything more than “coach” Kathy.  Heck, I live a busy life with one business I run already. Who needed two?  Not me.  But now, a year later, I am in love with OPTAVIA and the profound opportunity it provides for people just like me who are wanting to get healthier but just need  the extra support, the extra education, the ease of a program to help them on their way. I am in love with getting to be part of people’s journeys to awakening to what a healthier life for their body, minds, hearts and finances can look like. I’m in love with being part of a ginormous community that is ALL about positivity and empowerment.  In an entire year, I’ve experienced not bit of negativity and that is astounding to me.  I am in love with how cheerleading other people helps me stay on my best path.

I am in love with the person I am rising into as she is also the one I am returning to.   She is a woman aware of her own power to influence her world.  She is a woman falling in love with her body again and finding joy in it.  She is a woman who feels confident about her path forward. She is a woman who knows that cravings are only temporary and so she chooses healthier options most of the time (margaritas and chips still call like a siren to me – lol).  She is a woman whose creative brain is so awake and energized that sleep is becoming less of a priority – what?!  She is a woman whose body feels stronger, younger and more capable than it has since it started birthing children. She is a woman whose body and mind feels like her own again, not just an extension of others.  She is a woman who is falling in love with life and seeking new adventures because her body can handle it again.  She is a woman whose heart is healing more rapidly and more deeply because it’s no longer hidden under layers upon layers of comfort food clogging it all up.  She is a woman who is rising from the ashes of her grief with a passion and a desire to help people live their very best lives in whatever way they dream of .  She is a woman who is a warrior, refusing to let fear of what others will think stop her from speaking her truth and going after her dreams.

So today on the 20th day of December I am remembering Russell, missing him and wishing he was here, while also knowing he would be my biggest cheerleader for my own health journey and for the ways I am using my greater health to pay it forward to the world.  He would cheerlead me loudly and persistently as I dreamed of a world where people were healed and whole and believed in themselves as much as I do.

So today I am returning to that woman he fell in love with as I also rise into the woman I can once again be in love with.   What a massive reclaiming of who I am and who I want to be is happening right now in this time and in this moment.   The gratitude I feel goes beyond words.

I am More

 

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“You are more than you have become.”

I just started reading Rachel Hollis’ book Girl Wash Your Face and I got stopped right here.  Only page 6 of the intro and I mean I got stopped cold like ice water washing over me both waking me up and numbing/freezing me in place.   Flashes of insight flood over me so fast and furious I can do nothing but stop everything to write.  It’s either write or I will choose my comfort food replacement of choice – Netflix – because “I’m just too tired”; “It’s too late to start an engaging book”;  “I’m not ready to handle or deal with all that is flashing fast and furious through me”; “I just want to relax my brain not wake it up.”  The lure of Netflix sings like a siren call luring me to the sweet bliss of numbness.

But, my Muse has awoken and at least She is committed to moving forward with my life.  Even if my inner Sloth is saying “Shhhhhh, let’s just chill out and relax our brain”, tonight my Muse has won as she has both Dragon and Kraken – my massive inner movers and shakers – on her side.   So I jump deeper into the fire of insights created by one simple sentence “You are more than you have become.”  Buckling up and moving forward!

These flashes come to me as my Muse speaks, no more like shouts at me.   YOU HAVE BECOME…

*a half risen Phoenix.  One minute you are flying with power and grace, then the next you are fumbling around in ashes of your own making.  These aren’t the ashes of your grieving and loss.  These are the ashes from continuing to burn your own passion for a mission of empowerment to the ground.   You are letting fear clip your wings and leave you floundering.  BE THE PHOENIX RISEN, not the one in the ashes of dreams you don’t pursue with all you could be.

*a mess of doubt about speaking your truth; your own unique, powerful truth that is your gift to the world.  You are second guessing EVERYTHING.  STOP ALREADY!  Live it – your truth, your dream – out loud in every time and every moment.  Love it as the truth that is you.

*a hit or miss person.  Somedays you hit it and others you completely miss it.  Every single day, just do it! Hit your goals hard, taking you ever closer to making your dreams more than just dreams.  Only consistency and persistence will equal your success.

*a warrior woman dragging her shield and her sword behind her like an anchor.  Pick them up already.  Carry them like the badass, warrior woman you are and stop making excuses.   You ARE a warrior. BE ONE!

*a woman who is not using her full gifts for why?  Why? Why? Why?   Why are you not writing more? Why are you not shouting from the rooftops “I’ve found a way to greater health that WORKS! Who needs more for their lives and is ready to run with me?”  Why are you not running towards creating an empire around “I AM A WARRIOR”, your mantra and your deepest desire for all women?  Why are you selling yourself short every blessed damn (yes it is both and) day?!

I want to be the more I dream of, the more I write of when my Muse awakens.  I want to be the Phoenix who has not only risen but is flying towards all of her dreams.  I want to expand in abundance, love and success every day while inspiring others in my life to do the same. (The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks)

I WANT TO BE MORE!!!!!

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My Deepest Why

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(This photo is from Soulard, one of our favorite places, a few months before we got engaged.)

Well, the horses will have to wait a little longer this morning to eat because my Muse has awoken with a loud, very clear “Now, it is time now to write this!”  When she so strongly speaks to me that I can hear nothing else but her voice starting to write the words, I drop everything and start to write.  For she is the link to my deepest, truest, more powerful self and honoring what is ready to come forth into the world is essential to my journey.

I knew yesterday morning when I was with my mom, celebrating her amazing health transformation, that my Muse was awakening and formulating the words to write about “My Deepest Why”.  Because you see, my mom getting healthier, my dad now getting healthier, my sister-in-laws getting healthier, my brother exploring getting healthier, my friends getting healthier, my kids getting healthier, and my growing passion for encouraging everyone I know to get healthier in whatever way works best for them – all of this is twined around My Deepest Why.

My Deepest Why is the reason that I truly feel like a Phoenix bird rising up out of the issues as if on fire herself.   The ashes of my life created by the sudden burning up of the life I knew over 3 1/2 years ago,  have been the bed I needed to heal, to explore, and to sort through what must I let go of and what will go with me as I rise into a new life, a new me.   I love and honor those ashes for every bit of comfort and every bit of wisdom they have given me.   And now, I am rising from them to further live a life of passion and purpose and meaning – one of the greatest truths that Russell and I tried to bring to our lives in all we did.  As individuals and as a couple, we believed ourselves to be seekers and dream weavers, helping to create a world filled with love, peace, and hope.

I distract myself even as I write.  My Deepest Why, at this time this moment in my life, is to encourage everyone and anyone I can to create a life for themselves that is as healthy and as happy as they possibly can.  Actually wait, that’s more my purpose than my why.  Writing my WHY, my Deepest one, is scary I think because there is so much emotion in it and around it that saying out loud is feeling a little huge.  But my Muse says keep going, you can do this, say it, own it, feel it.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.   My Deepest Why for all that I do in my life and most specifically for my new found passion for helping people transform their lives  as a health coach, is that I never, ever, ever want to again watch someone that I love die who might not have if they had been healthier in body, mind and spirit.   I can wish all of the time that we had found this before Russell died.  But wishing won’t change the fact that we didn’t.  I want to have the people I love be able to be with me for as long as they possibly can!

Daily, I am grateful that I have transformed my own health so that, hopefully, I will live a very long life with and for my children.   Being here for them as the best mom I can be is so much easier now that I am not consumed with physical pain everyday.   I am bound and determined to do all that I can do to live my most healthy life so that I can stay with them.

Now, I do more than wish and dream.  I am acting and deciding to live my life with no excuses of being too scared, too busy, too unsure, too whatever gets in the way.  There are people I love and care about who need what programs, what wisdom, and what purpose I have found or created.   I don’t want to live my life “wishing” I had told them of another way, after they are gone.

I lost Russell and the dreams of us living our best life together for a very long time.   I lost myself for a long time in the ashes created when my life burned up in a moment.  I am now rediscovering the wonder woman I want to be for myself and the world.  I don’t ever want to lose myself so radically again.  I don’t ever want to lose anyone else I love because their weight and the unhealthy habits of their life led to a sudden and way too early death.   I want to impact live and constantly expand my heart work to love this world and all of the people in mine with all that I am.   I want to know that what I have gone through and my sharing it with others might just help even one person feel like they aren’t alone.  I want all of us to get healthy so that we truly can create the lives that we only dream of right now.

In this time, this moment, I choose health, hope, love, and living my life as bravely as I can.    It’s all I want for all of us!

Thank you my Muse! I stand in awe of my rising from the ashes.

On The Other Side of Fear

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Fear and the recognition of the things that I am afraid of has become quite a lively interaction within myself these past few weeks. I’ve never really thought of myself as a fearful person and have always worked hard to act from a place of thoughtful calmness rather than from an anxious, reactive place. Heck, all that I have gone through in the past 3 1/2 years with my commitment to living my life out loud has been about acting towards my dreams rather than reacting from my fears. While that hasn’t really changed some new awarenesses of myself are arising with the entry of Phoenix into my life.

Rising from the ashes indeed with new intentions of living my bravest, most daring life is what I am being called to do. This photo of me with my two horsey loves right now is such a perfect depiction of what they signify for me. And it speaks to the part of my journey right now of moving past comfort, even if that feels shaky and crazy scary sometimes. I will continue to speak my journey out loud as I move through my fears one by one because I must if I am to release the stranglehold they can have over me.

Karoly is all about comfort for me. Just riding him is like riding the comfiest couch – it’s 100 %safe, it’s cozy, it’s like being permanently wrapped in a perfectly heated blanket, it’s about bringing light into my dark days. There is never any fear in riding Karoly. In fact, he can dispel the dark threads of anxiety from me quicker than just about anything. Just grooming him warms my heart and eases my breathing into a gloriously balanced space. This photo of me with him is from a mere 3 weeks after Russell died and it was a day of laughing and joy in the midst of one of the heaviest periods of my entire life.

Phoenix, I am discovering, is all about tapping ever deeper into my inner warrior. I fell in love with him immediately and was drawn to the fact that he is the image of what I have wanted since I was a young girl. A black pony with a desire to explore and connect with everyone and everything around him. He comes when I call. He loves to be groomed. He wants to trust. He’s the perfect riding size for me. And he also has pulled back the curtain of comfortable contentment I’ve had with Karoly to reveal some real fears lurking in the shadows. Fears that I must face if I am ever to be free of them. Fears I must move beyond if I am every to completely become the empowering warrior woman I dream of being. In many ways, Phoenix is symbolizing the dark threads within the light. Fascinating.

Phoenix wants to go and be in charge at all times. He’s super willing to try and listen to me, but definitely has a lot of anxiety hidden behind a mask of confidence. (Hmmm, sounding like me). He is so forward and so quick to react I can too easily see falling if I can’t learn to stay calm and balanced on him. Staying balanced on Karoly is as easy as breathing. Staying balanced on a much smaller and narrower pony is not quite so easy. I often hold my breath as I ride, forgetting that the very act of breathing deeply will help me stay grounded and balanced. So many life lessons being opened up before me to embrace or to ignore. With every moment I feel scared of what might happen if he spooks or bolts and I fall, and then I keep going anyway, I add a small bravery thread to my inner warrior and I’m a little less afraid.

People often comment on how many white animals I surround myself with – my dogs and 4 of my horses have all been white. While I think it’s circumstance, there is also the reality that in all things I try to focus on choosing the light paths of life – hope, love, possibility, joy, positive spins on things. Intentionally buying a black pony speaks to my belief that the dark side of life – pain, despair, grief, fear – all of these hold just as much value and wisdom for me. Walking the place between light and dark is a lifelong commitment of mine to live all of life to the fullest I can.

I am committing to exploring my fears as they pop up then gently yet firmly calling myself to step forward through and past them. I imagine I will be sharing lots about this in the comings days, weeks and months as I seek to lie a brave, transformative, hopeful life. I am so grateful to have 2 horses who are facilitating such a radical part of my rising and transformation. What an amazing, absolutely precious gift that is.