From Guilt to Greatness Week #5: The Formula for Greatness

Hello again warriors,

First things first: I have two spots left in my Winter 2016/17 Self Care 101 course.  Would you like to talk to me about joining?  It’s a life-changing self-care immersion that will give you a solid toolbox of self-care practices (think: energizing morning routines, a grounding meditation practice and nourishing sleep hygiene) and will help you wake up essential self-awareness (you’ll understand your anger in a whole new way and learn to set real boundaries).  All of this happens within an amazing community of inspiring women.  I’ve taken over 150 women through this process and I believe in its power so deeply.  Apply here if you are ready to make a real change.

It’s hard for me to believe it was really a week ago that I woke up in rainy Washington, DC, and felt like our world was falling apart.  The world I envisioned before the unexpected election results feels like it was so long ago, while the loss of that world is still quite immediate.  

Since then, I’ve focused on taking good care of myself.  Every day I go outside and squint at the sun.  Some nights I go to sleep at 9pm, and it feels like heaven.  Poncho still has no idea what is going on, but maybe he notices that I cling to him extra tight these days.

My mind can wander into catastrophe, and it does.  Yet my heart knows how to pull it together when I get too demoralized.  Meditation helps.  I sit each morning and breathe deeply.  Into the abyss of fear, my heart sings sweet little secrets of the universe.  I don’t understand them all, but there’s peace in the transfer and it gives me energy to keep going.

Last weekend, I had a good friend visit with her baby, and we wandered through Catharsis on the national mall.  We were among the odd assortment of Burners and tourists mixing together to process their feelings from a very intense year in our country.

While I was there, I taught a workshop on “Transforming Anxiety into Joy.”  The crowd gathered last minute, but everyone was open and ready to dive into the material.  Each person in the circle spoke of their deepest fears and the anxiety this created in his or her life.  I was touched by how the members of our impromptu circle were so ready to share with vulnerability, and how open they were to reframing their fears in a more empowering way.

What I notice and what I continue to notice in our election reactions is how much we care about each other.  Most people I know are not talking about their own interests being at risk, but rather, those of people who are more vulnerable than them.  We care about immigrants we don’t know being deported and about hate crimes in states other than our own.

I know these fearful realities are scary, but I also see how our response is beautiful.  I’m touched by our tears and our anger.   We wouldn’t be so angry if we didn’t care.  We wouldn’t be so scared if we didn’t care.  Personally, I’ve noticed how little I say “I don’t care” these days.  I do care, so very, very deeply.

In a time when care is almost always equated with weakness, it’s inspiring for me to see how we are claiming our care for ourselves and for our world.  

Starting my business on improving self-care has taught me so many things.  One of the most important lessons has been that if we don’t care for ourselves, it’s almost impossible to care for others.  Taking responsibility for our own lives is anything but selfish.  Tending to ourselves, and making sure we are well-aligned so we can thrive is what opens the door to truly being of service.

My hope is that we will all use our most abundant arsenal of self-care to help us engage in the long battle which I believe is ahead.  My guess is that we are on the brink of a huge cultural change that could go a number of different ways, depending on our sustained energy.

This journey ahead is probably going to look different than what we have experienced before.  Our collective disillusionment with the system means we have the potential to create new ways of doing and being.  This will take unprecedented leadership and collaboration.  It will be an empowerment like none other.  We will have to dare to be great.

This week marks the final podcast episode in the From Guilt to Greatness series.  Over the past month, I’ve had a series of important conversations with empowered leaders about their personal journeys, from the smallness of clinging to control to the enormity of embracing true power.  

In this final episode, I talk with Michele from You’re Single We Get It about how implementing very basic self-care habits changed her life.  Her new ways helped her confront the loneliness that was controlling her overtaxed schedule, and her realizations eventually gave her the courage to leave her prosperous but unfulfilling job.

Please listen to the podcast here and learn the new formula for greatness.  It has nothing to do with bolstering our egos.  Rather, it involves surrender, support and a deep vulnerability.  

It’s self-care as feminine leadership, and it’s the change I so believe we need to be moving towards.

Thank you for your attention and support for the From Guilt the Greatness series.  I felt us move together into taking up real space in this world.  I hope we continue to do it, more and more each day.  

This means eating sweet potatoes and laughing too loud and getting angry at the injustices of our world. This means daring to be great and supporting others who are willing to take this risk. This means using our voice to say hard but beautiful truths.

As we move next week into Thanksgiving -- such a beautiful moment in the USA in my personal opinion -- I will be practicing intense gratitude for all the support I have in my own life.  There’s no way I could take such big creative risks and dream unstoppable dreams without the support of you all.  

So we’ll close here with A GREAT BIG vision of mine.  My vision is that we can all feel this essential support from each other.  Supported, we can continue the scary journey of walking forward without knowing exactly where we are going.  It’s only in this way that we can become our most authentic selves.  

The good news is that our authentic selves are already formed inside of ourselves and desperately ready to emerge.  The harder part is the deep work it takes to let go of false layers of being.  We strip them away and cry and rage and keep looking deeper and deeper as we free the light that emerges from inside.  

This is the light of the the universal heart.  This light lives on, beating in your chest and mine and every living being.  It intensifies each time we are willing to look toward the truth.  As we gaze and squint, we can remember the wholeness of ourselves and the oneness that will never stop calling us forward to become more.  This is care.  This is love.  This is our lives.