Guilty and gentle

What I should be doing and what I am doing right now are totally different. Right now I’m sitting in an airport hotel in Los Angeles, alone in a huge suite, surfing Amazon for ceramic travel mugs, when I know what I should be doing is hobnobbing downstairs with some of the bigwigs I came here to learn from and hobnob with.

In fact, I’m going to walk outside my room right now, hang off the balcony and snap a pic, and show you just what I’m missing in fancy-hotel-bigwig land.

There, I did it. I’m sticking it at the top of this post.

And now I’m sitting down again and getting into the core of this lack thinking I’m in.

I’ve only realized what a state I’ve gotten myself in because it’s dawned on me that I’m still sitting on the couch in my high platform shoes and conference outfit (you know the look) and it’s been an hour since I came back to my suite. Apparently, some part of me thinks I’m still going back out to Hobnob and Make Great Deals and Connections. And this part of me is also screaming how I suck because I’m such a bad networker that I’d rather be in my room alone searching for travel mugs.

Isn’t this a familiar feeling? “What I should do” vs. “What I am doing.” And the well of guilt and insecurity that lies in between. The well of lack thinking that tells me … ”Oh Summer, if you’d just put on your big girl pants you wouldn’t miss this opportunity.”

I know we all have this going on inside us. The “what I should do” and “what I am doing” dialog, and how much we suck because we aren’t doing what we should do. We have a big long list of what we should be doing.

And this is when I hear myself in my own ears: “Be gentle with yourself, Summer.”

Be gentle with yourself.

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My hate mail

I get hate mail all the time. I’ve gotten it for years. It started at least a decade ago or more, when I created Hay House Radio, and people would send me, the Network Producer, hate mail about the particular shows I aired and how I should run them better or even kick certain hosts off the station. (Yes, Wayne Dyer got hate mail, Louise Hay got hate mail….it’s pretty universal). It taught me a lot about people.

So for no particular reason, I found myself trolling my old book reviews this morning, and getting a laugh out of the particularly hostile ones. Book reviews can be a form of hate mail.

Here’s a condensed excerpt of a book review I stumbled on that’s so bitter, I even forwarded to my mom (she gets a laugh).

Apart from coming across as abrasively full of herself … in fact it is apparent that Ms Summer has lived a very nice life and apparently has no concept of how bad life can get, how little control ordinary people may have over certain things. It seems to me that Ms Summer is the lucky owner of a newly minted soul, a first lifer (you get them), still reflecting the in glory of wholeness. How nice. Enjoy it while you can.

If I were you Summer, I would have a serious chat with my ‘guides’, your higher self or wherever you are getting your guidance from, because the info you are getting is flawed. Also, read a bit perhaps. Find out what’s out there before making sweeping statements about life, the universe and everything. A considerate person would hedge her bets, show some humility (none here!!!) and show some understanding for the common human experience, which is in fact not all colored roses bubbles and bliss.”

If I were this woman, I’d have thought, “No big deal. I don’t like this book. Move on.”

But this person got deeply triggered, and this is where things can actually get dangerous. She wants me to get triggered with her. She wants me to feel how she feels.

And if I’m not careful, this means that not only could I get really upset or sad, but even worse . . . I could begin to subconsciously hold this other person’s opinion of me inside myself.

If I believe her, and feel hurt by her, then I’m accepting her opinion inside me of who I actually am.

And if I did that, I’d be letting this stranger have power over me, from inside me. Then I’d start to fail to me be, and become a little more like her.

I’d have given her that power over me. Follow that? That’s the Big Daddy concept here.

It’s not about whether or not you’re hurt by words, it’s the slow build-up of doubt they can create. It’s someone else telling you how to think and feel, and if you believe them even the teeniest bit, then you start living a little less like yourself, and a little more like them.

Her words remind me of other emails and reviews I’ve received, most of which tell me how in some way or another I’m fatally flawed, selfish, insensitive, or ignorant and then prescribe how I should fix myself.

Which leads me to remember another email I got a few years back in response to a newsletter just like this one, which, I’ve started to realize, did in fact affect me.

Here’s how that one went down:

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The emperor wears no clothes

It’s cold — as in air-conditioning cold — in the hotel conference room. I’m gathered with a bunch of other women at a self-development conference, and we’ve been picking apart our lives (in between shivering or baking) all weekend.

Many of the women are coaches. In fact, I’d say 80% are, which is why this weekend has been so difficult for us.

You know the old saying: “The emperor has no clothes”? It refers to a fairy tale in which an emperor is hoodwinked into believing that two tailors have made him the most handsome outfit in the world. However, if you’re stupid or ignorant, he’s told, you can’t see the clothes. Of course, this is all bullshit and the tailors made nothing. The emperor walks naked down the street in a procession, yet all his townsfolk except one honest child are afraid to say what they really see.

Today we use this phrase to mean that we sometimes portray things about ourselves to others that are deeply untrue, because we’ve hoodwinked our own selves into believing them. It means we can be hypocrites, that we’re false under our own words.

I find that coaches often carry this energy in their own Flow. It’s embarrassing. Here we are, leading people into knowledge and guiding them toward their desires, while our own desires are unfulfilled and we fail to follow our own advice.

Think: the plumber whose own pipes are always broken. The accountant whose own accounts are a mess. You get the idea.

The question is: Does this mean we’re truly illegitimate? Hypocritical? Are we sipping our own Kool Aid? Are we wearing no clothes?

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Will I live five more years or fifty?

You know that feeling when you haven’t talked to someone in a long time, and each time you try . . . you think about how awful you’ve been that you haven’t talked to them in so long?

And so your fingers stick on the keyboard, and the phone remains untouched in your purse or pocket. You just don’t know what to say. How do you begin?

That’s how I feel now.

I left you all somewhere in the middle of December, after my last chemo, bald and floppy and utterly wiped out. And then … silence. Nine months of it. Holy cow. Where have I been? Where did my life go? Where has yours gone?

Here a brief catching up: I’m in remission from Stage 2 breast cancer. I had six months of chemo, two months of daily radiation, three months of lymphedema therapy, and three surgeries in just about one year. Add on heapings of the alternative therapies and healings (herbs, qi gong, acupuncture, Reiki, rebounding, juicing, shamanic journeying, and emotional cleansing) and you can see how busy I’ve been.

Being sick and getting well can really take up your life.

Right now, it’s a gorgeous Sunday morning. My orange and pink roses are firing off blooms in front of my window, my family are all still asleep, and I feel like I’m just waking up.

I mean, really waking up.

Waking back into life.

I’ve leaned a hella lot about cancer this year. And I’ve learned even more about the way we think, feel, and anticipate (or brace for) life. My own personal life goals jumped tracks and landed in all new territory.

“Go with the Flow” has a much richer, deeper meaning.

The concept of manifesting is much more nuanced and interesting.

One thing I learned is that cancer, or any illness that can come back, plays with your head. Is it gone or isn’t it? Am I safe or am I still in danger? Will my body cooperate, or is it going to kill me?

I jokingly refer to this dynamic, and the uncertainty that’s always bubbling below the surface, as the 5-year and 50-year plan. (My husband hates it when I talk about this, because it’s … you know … talking about death.)

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As elusive as a unicorn

Lately I’ve been thinking that our search for balance is right up there with finding a unicorn prancing in our back yard.

We all yak about being in balance as the Holy Grail of personal growth, but most of us never get close to having it. Why is that?

As in: “I’d love for my life to be in balance. Because OMG I’m so stressed out!”

But somehow, finding that balance is as elusive as ever. No Holy Grail. No 4-leaf clover. No unicorns.

This year, I found balance. It was unexpected. And more surprising was what I didn’t have to lose to get it.

Here’s how the conversation about balance goes:

YOU: “I am SO overwhelmed. I just need more balance in my life!!’

ME: “Why don’t you just get your life in balance right now?”

“What, now? I can’t do it now. I have two papers due, my daughter’s school called because they found her with a vape pen if-you-can-believe-that, and if I don’t get some cash flow I’m going, I’m going to max out the credit card I need to pay for some medical bills!”

“OK, so it sounds like you can’t stop for balance or really bad things will happen, right?”

“Yeah that’s about it.”

“So when will you get some balance going?”

“As soon as I get through all this.”

“And when is that?”

“I don’t know.”

The problem is that balance becomes an ideal — something you can’t have until you’ve done all the hard work getting there.

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