Stressed? My favorite way to drop it.

 

 

Once a month, I take a flex week. This is a week where I may work, or I may not. But I don’t schedule any of my normal work.

Instead, it’s my week to daydream, see my friends, go on a mid-week overnight trip with my family, or just chill out for a few days.

Pretty nice, huh?

I worked hard to create this life. Moreover, I Flowdreamed consistently and took committed, inspired action toward it.

But as with everything, I have to allow myself some regular downtime in between all my work and manifesting. I need to clear the space and detox.

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No more pretty

I’m standing in a juice bar stocking up on fresh juice for my 3-day cleanse. Not only am I wearing my baggy house clothes, but I’m bald. And I’m a woman. And I look pretty bad.

There are three other people in the tiny shop, all waiting on their juice orders. I suddenly realize that they are in the position I’ve been in so many times before: The “Oh gosh, that poor person. Look at them. They must have cancer. Or some horrible disease. No wait, don’t stare.”

I grin at them. They look awkwardly away.

I’m surprised at myself. For one thing, I’ve realized for the first time in my life that not worrying about being pretty is awesomely liberating. I realize I don’t give a rat’s ass how I look.

It’s a funny feeling having no way to hide. I could wear a wig, but I just don’t care enough. It’s hot, I’m tired, and chemo is kicking my butt.

Everything is fully exposed: forehead wrinkles, saggy neck, heck even the shape of my skull.

Here I’ve spent 30 years with my long blonde flowing hair and pretty makeup, fully invested in how I show myself to the world. Now I look 10 years older, bald, pale, and parched.

My ability to control how I look to others has largely been taken away from me. I can’t shape how people see me to the degree I used to.

The next day, I get a text from my mom about some new bald photos of me that have made it onto Facebook. She assures me I don’t look that bad in person and that I must really be getting a big test having to do with stripping away all my ego.

I whimper in response, “So you think I really look that bad?”

I hesitate. I could untag myself in Facebook. Or I could suck it up and get over myself. And that’s exactly what I decide to do. I leave the awful photos up.

By the way, this email is not about vanity, or feeling good about yourself. It’s about control and identity: Who we are and what we expect life to give us as a result of how we control how others see us. Identity is our deeper layer. Think vanity on the outside, and identity on the inside.

Vanity is fueled by lack-thinking.

Self-worth is fueled by feeling good about yourself.

And identity is fueled by many things, including your comfort with yourself at the deepest level, your ability to shift and flow with your changing identity, and by letting go of your need to control others’ perceptions of you.

I discover that I’m tired of trying to control everyone’s perceptions of me and my identity. I don’t need to look any certain way to do my work, so why did I ever think I had to?

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Uh…which one of us needs therapy in this relationship?

 

 

“Is it you, or is it me?”

“Am I letting you get away with too much? Am I enabling you? Or are you the one with the problem?”

“Why do you say ‘okay I’ll change’ and then a month (or less!) later, we’re just back to where we were before?”

“When should I just give up and walk away? How can I know that feeling with 100% certainty, instead of the constant confusion I now feel?”

These are questions I hear all the time.

The latest set came from one of my closest girlfriends, Jenny.

She’s sniffling on my patio couch, her bare feet tucked up under her, arms around her knees. She’s beautiful, super athletic, and a sucker for exciting guys who have the same strong personal growth trajectory that she has. The men she chooses also have a tendency to get very weird in relationships.

Three marriages later, you’d think she’d know by now how to spot the men who’ll eventually trample her. And for that matter, the close girlfriends she’s had who’ll also make her end up feeling in the wrong.

The latest is that she’s broken up with Jake.

I remember when Jake was so amazing. Then he started getting…odd.

It began with jealousy: Was she flirting with other guys? Was she having too much fun with her girlfriends on girls night? Had she ever slept with one of her oldest and best friends, who happens to be a guy?

Jake began rifling through her email and texts, and when he found her old Tinder profile, went full out on the offensive.

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8 investments that changed me as a woman

I’m jumping on a trend here before it gets too big. It’s just so good that I can’t pass it up! It’s the “8 Investments That Changed Me as a Woman” post.

The idea is to put down the 8 things you’ve done, bought, or allowed yourself to have that have massively upleveled your life. (And yes, it’s “for women,” but you fellows may resonate to this list too!)

The list is materialistic because it’s about things we acquire. But it’s also a huge lesson in receiving.

As someone who practices Flowdreaming, I’m always thinking about what I want to manifest/make/create/have/be/do next. So this concept fits right in.

Here are my Top Eight.

 

1. Retreats for My Own Personal Joy, Creativity, and Wellness

It took me forever to allow myself to go on spiritual or creative holidays. I had so much resistance to it. For one, my husband would be upset that I didn’t invite him. For another thing, how can I justify spending the cash on myself like that, when I have no idea if there will be any “return on investment” for it?

I used to be so ridiculous about this. Sure, I’d take a regular vacation and not worry  about “ justifying” it. But if I wanted to go off and do art for a week, or meditate for a weekend? Uh uh, that had to become a work expense or I’d find some other way to make it “ok.”

No more. Now I take one to two pure “me” trips each year. I choose things that I want to do or learn. I don’t invite anyone to go with me if I want to just be inside myself for the week. I’m not beholden to making anyone else happy when I gift myself these treasure weeks.

And you know what? These weeks infallibly end up cracking me open like a coconut. The point of these trips is to see what gets opened, exposed, or grown in me. I want to experience something that I don’t already know about myself.

These weeks accelerate my inner journey, which in the end, makes me far richer and more productive in my life. My well rarely goes dry as a result.

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I’ve never been a one-size-fits-all girl

A big tropical thunderstorm is rolling its way through the sky right now. The thunder was so loud, it woke the whole house at 6:30 this morning.

It feels like Hawaii here. Moist, wet, with the birds singing and big dark clouds pouring warm rain off and on onto my covered patio.

 It gets me in a thoughtful mood.

 Out of the hundreds of blog responses I’ve received in the last month, wishing me well, one has been clinging inside my head.

The sender, Karen, wrote:

 “I cannot wrap my mind around the ‘Why Summer??’ I have always known you to be a positive, happy, content woman. I thought cancer engulfed people who were worried and unhappy on the inside. This takes it to a whole different level for me.”

 Yeah, for me too, Karen. I admit to having harbored a bit of the same bias.

 People in personal growth often get caught up in the self-blame act. We look at everything and try to rationalize it.

“Cancer means lack of self-love.”

“Cancer is your wake-up call, because you were going down the wrong path.”

“Cancer means you’ve been stewing in negativity and a toxic environment.”

“Cancer means you weren’t paying enough attention to your body.”

Gosh, that sucks. Look at all I’m doing wrong!

Or wait a minute. Because, this is not at all how I’m experiencing this cancer.

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