My friend and I are talking, and you know that feeling when someone mirrors back to you something that seems obvious, but for a second you’re able to see it through that other person’s eyes? It’s kind of a marvelous “ah ha” moment. My friend said, “I really admire how you were able to get…Read More
Consistency is a bitch.
Let’s look at blogging and newsletters. If you’re a business owner in any sense, if you’re a writer, if you’re a coach . . . you’re supposed to ritualistically crank out illuminating advice every week ad infinitum.
You do it, or you’re supposed to hire someone to sound like you and do it and give advice on personal growth. Or astrology. Or Real Estate. Or healthy eating. Or your personal brand or vision. Advice, advice, advice. Insight. Scintillating ah-ha-provoking pieces of literature.
But this is what I see happening instead: Bright stars with amazing messages push out a month or three of amazing blogs or newsletters, then go quiet.
I know how they’re feeling: They’re wondering if anyone has noticed that they emptied out. They wonder if their precious audience, who read their stories and illuminations, are all scattering to the winds.
Right now, I’m struggling to think up three new fascinating topics for my podcast. And I just can’t. I’m 500 episodes deep. That’s 500+ topics. What more can I say? What haven’t I said dozens of times?
A teacher, a true teacher, does in fact say the same thing 100s of times. We mine our jewels in incredible hardship (often) then we begin to plant them along the road for others to pick up. We plant the same seeds over and over.
Wisdom isn’t cheap. It’s not a weekly marketing email.
We offer our wisdom, then we offer it again. And eventually, we have to stop and wait for more wisdom to incubate itself inside us. Unfortunately, this isn’t how the capitalist world is set up. In that world, there’s always someone peddling a product, or an idea. Keep up.
Self-development is different. Or at least it should be.
I know why I unsubscribe to so many self-growth and business-growth type emails: they become all surfacy. “Buy this and be that.” I can feel how gradually uninspired they are—how the person behind them is reaching to get to some truth, but they don’t give me THEM , the real them.
They want me to buy into them, but they don’t let me see into them.Read More
We sit in a teepee.
It’s moist and chilly. I had to drive down the mountain from the coast at 4 a.m. this morning so I could meet the elders as they broke for their morning fast.
At 5 a.m., they opened the teepee flap and Native Americans emerged. They all wore jeans and t-shirts (mostly). I felt my preconceptions crack.
I’m at my aunt’s house sipping badly flavored vanilla coffee before dawn and I’ve just been diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer a few days before, and I’m watching a bunch of Indians groggily exit a two-story-tall teepee on the edge of her property. Sur. Real.
It’s only been a week since my doctor called with those words you never want to hear: It’s cancer.
No, really, stop, I’m only 43. This isn’t supposed to happen for another 30 years. I’m right in the middle of shit. I have two kids in grade school. You can’t be serious.
And now, the sun has just woken and I’m entering a tent overfull with men, women, and kids who’ve all been awake all night — healing, connecting, and doing something I can’t put my finger on. Frankly, I’m too aware of myself to see what’s really going on. I’m a foreign intruder with my old aunt, mom, and uncle in tow, all entering someone else’s sacred circle because we own their land. How can it get worse? Which means in my heart, I’m feeling it’s still all about me, although soon it will be all about them and I will just have to catch up to that.
My aunt bought her house on what she discovered was Native American land — traditional land for celebrating and connecting. Years ago, some tribespeople approached her and asked if they could still celebrate on her land. Of course, yes (embarrassed that I own your land). So every month or two, a big teepee and picnic tables and Porta Potties appear, and an all-night ritual commences to connect us to the stars.
My aunt was blessed, right?
She called the tribe when she learned I was diagnosed. They said yes we’ll take your niece. Come before dawn.
I was with my radiation oncologist a few months ago as he examined me.
“Oh,” he says as he flips through some papers. “You’re fine. You’re not like some other people.”
I thought to myself, “Egads, what other people, and what’s wrong with them?!”
And it occurred to me, too, that you don’t really want an oncologist who’s dismissive of you.
Or do you?
I call what happened with Dr. L an “intuitive slip.” I can tell when someone is letting information pass through them. It’s an offhand remark, a casual observation they didn’t know they even spoke aloud. One of my other doctors does it too, and she also doesn’t know she does it. Nor will I ever tell her. (She’d be horrified.)
But this is one of the biggest reasons why I chose them both: they’re in touch with their guidance. It doesn’t matter if they’re traditional medicine or alternative: each follows his or her hunches. I want people like that on my team.Read More
As I’m lying on the massage table, the woman who treats my lymphedema each week leans down and whispers to me, “The muse is strong around you right now.”
I immediately think “the Force” and then remind myself I’m not a Jedi.
It’s the writing muse, she tells me. And Susan is pretty good at this. She maneuvers the lymph out of my arm every Thursday, and she slips in whatever else I need to know as I’m lying face down in the hospital room on the papery sticky table.
Sometimes she sings to me while she works. Sometimes she does myofascial release, which basically means she grabs two parts of my skin and stretches it as far as it will go.
I think about why I’m going to see her every week, and part of me knows that, while yeah, I’m keeping my lymph moving and my arm from swelling, I also just want to see what else might happen.
Sometimes she gets an intuitive message for me. Sometimes I get a message for her. We swap hits and guesses. We talk politics, and about family. And then maybe she’ll touch part of me gently and ask if this is the part that’s holding fear.
“Yes,” I gulp. And then we both think about what it would be like if that part of me had no more fear.
Susan is not in your normal demographic. She wears her hair long, straight, and gray, cusses like a sailor, slips around the massage table in her granny pants and tennis shoes, is one of about ten children, and is easily twenty years my senior. She is perfect and right in every way.
She’s perfect because she really doesn’t care if other people get her or not. This is why she’s a soul sister. I don’t need other people to get me either, or at least, not as much as I used to need it.
I’m thinking about just how awesome it is to be freed from What People Think.
We live in boxes — boxes that shape the walls of our houses, and boxes that shape the walls of our minds. The most evil boxes are the ones that shape the walls of our expectations.Read More