Heart to Heart: Courage in the Unknown
I share about courage, but rising from a beautiful story of new life that is ongoing life. On the
last day of a lengthy visit with my 21 month old granddaughter, a visit of love never lengthy
enough, I pulled up a chair next to her as she ate her lunch in her booster seat. She had a
cranky morning and the culprit was her endless energy to play and hear the grandparents read
to her. She was slowing down in her eating, gazing in one direction and her head began to tilt a
bit from her tiredness. I put an arm around her back and head. In a minute she went to sleep,
sound asleep, with her head leaning on my shoulder cuddled to my neck. I melted in love.
We took the tray off her booster seat and I carried her to the sofa where I laid down with her
nestled against me. I heard her breathing. I felt her breath on my neck. Her fingers would
move on my other shoulder. She was in complete utter comfort, the kind of comfort that wraps
us all in love.
I realized she was lying on my chest and our two hearts were beating right next to each other:
I was reminded that physicist Brian Swimme and Cosmologist Thomas Berry took me in
a joint dialog book from Big Bang to the simple statement that, “The Universe is Love.”
The Monk Thomas Merton who spoke of meditation as contemplation called us to acts of
Love which is Being, not an ego but a “Heart of Love” in the universe.
This morning I heard on a radio show that “When we cease to see each other eye to
eye, bad things happen.” Apologies for not knowing the wise person who said this.
Words, studies, thinking, does not always bring us to our deepest moment of life in meditation.
I taught World Religions at the college level, and have mystically related to a number of
religions and called them my own. Yet, it is not the words, high thinking, even the religiosity
that brings us to true Being and self-love. Self-love is at the core of courage, something we all
need sometimes in our lives because life can be difficult as well as beautiful.
I have cancer. Stage four. Incurable. Pain. Running out of options. I live, I have joy, I laugh, I
love, I will not surrender to an inevitable death, because I will continue to live. It is the Love of
the Universe, the touch of another being – my beautiful 21 month old granddaughter that has
taught me ultimately that the touch of each of us is the touch of our hearts and our hearts are
the Universe, and in that universe we shall travel an eternal path of light, love and joy.
No matter our difficulties, pain, suffering, it all melts away as our hearts melt together in life. So
we are told by a physicist, cosmologist, and spiritualist, but so we all experience heart to heart.
As the lyrics to an off Broadway show song called “Weather The Storm” go, “It’s the courage
we show, facing things we don’t know, it’s the way that we weather the storm. ”Please join me
in this great Universe, this life of love, this touch of another, for this is where I found courage!
Just as GO. YAS.
We all have that inner critic, those automatic negative thoughts. These are the parts of you hurt by the past that offer misguided self-defense and end up hurting ourselves again, stopping our progress, blocking our blessings, and making sure we don't live in joy.
Your anti-self is NOT you. But you are in a relationship with your anti-self, and it is time to talk. It's time to break up with your anti-self.
I recently opened the sign-ups for my first entire group coaching course built to help you break free from negative self-talk! It's ten weeks of deep sharing, exercises to build courage and let go of the attachments that hold us back, and structures to be kept accountable and succeed. This may be a little pitchy, and it is because I want you or someone you might know to get into their joyous blessings and live free from the negativity that comes from our minds.
This course has only ten slots to reinforce the safe space and ability to feel comfortable and empowered. Each person gets an accountability buddy and a free 1-on-1 coaching session with me. Just as well, an online community portal you can post, share, and connect with other's who are going YAS!
On top of that! You will receive a community self-care package with goodies from small queer / BIPOC businesses.
This group is a self-care initiative. It is a community builder.
I am so happy you're here reading this, and if anything, if could you head to @lew2therescue on Instagram and SHARE the posts about GO YAS? That would be amazing. I love you either way!
Happy Mother’s Day! Yup, I am talking to YOU!
I realize you might be reading this and think, “but I am not a mother” and that might be true in the literal sense. But this is Sunday salutations, so, let’s get metaphorical alright?
So something that I’ve always been fascinated with is the exercises and conversations with my inner child. I’m sure you’re hear of this and maybe even tried it yourself; it’s a wonderful way to get to the root of some confusing feelings, lingering emotions, or frustrations you just can’t seem to shake. There is another exercise that is similar and pretty darn powerful as well. It’s the idea of being your own parent(s). Regardless of how smooth or rocky your IRL parents were when you were younger, there are always places where our parents taught us rules that weren’t the best for our development, like emotional exploration (ex; “oh just shake it off. Don’t cry!”). This isn’t in anyway to place blame on our parents, truth is, most were just doing their best and parenting in the way they understood. That’s okay! That doesn’t mean we as grown up humans have to continue to follow those rules.
A lot of the time, we are still acting, thinking, and reasoning with the way we’re were taught as children. I still feel as if I’ve shot someone in the chest if I am more than 1 minute late to a commitment. And finally I’ll ask myself, “why do I still subscribe to this rule that my parents put in place for me when I was 10?”
For Mother’s Day, I want you to sit down and figure out how to be your own mother. This mother know exactly what you need for comfort, forgiveness, safety, and nourishment. It’s a faultless plan because if you are being your own parent you know exactly what you and the different avenues on how to achieve that healing.
You don’t have to finish your plate before leaving the dinner table.
You don’t have to feel bad for no longer wanting to hold a commitment if it’s causing you emotional harm.
You don’t have to wear something that is acceptable to others.
You don’t have to bottle up your emotions while you’re around company.
Maybe some of these rules makes sense to you and you want to continue to subscribe to them—great! My mother has so many brilliant qualities that I hope to keep her spirit within me as I continue to gown; however, when it comes to who influences my actions? I want it to be me.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I think it’s time that we get into what I call the “nastier side of self-care”. Here is the thing, no one likes to be vulnerable. Certain occasions present easier pathways in and out of vulnerable moments, but they are never moments I think anyone looks forward to. Certainly, this is my opinion and if you wake up in the morning saying, “Oh I hope someone challenges my identity today and that I respond with the exact emotion I feel and only respond with my emotions in mind and nothing else!”, then I am in awe of you and wish you to continue on your path of bad-ass-ery.
My assumption is few, if any, feel this way. My truth is, the most difficult moments are when the veil of my presented persona is lifted and I am left bare, or in other words, I have nothing to shield people away from seeing my insecurities. Even more, I myself, have to look at them. Most days I think I present pretty close to who I think I am; and yet, thoughts run through my head that speaks the real truth. I am only as close to the truth as the vulnerable child that lives in my heart will let me get to the truth. And perhaps I get pretty damn close. Perhaps I have been pretty damn close for so long that I have gotten used to the illusion I have been presenting.
Perhaps the fact that there is just a small secret I am hiding, a secret of insecurity, makes it all the more terrifying to be found out. Being found out that I am human, that I must affirm I will never be as perfect as my imagination and society lead me to believe.
After a long week of work at a new job, I am so emotionally depleted that I don’t have even the energy to hold the facade. I had a stress cry on Monday, stomach aches from stress on Wednesday, fear of people thinking I am worthless on Thursday, and struggling to think that I will ever be able to get out of my own way and reach the potential I know I am capable of. Basically, I have been walking, eating, and breathing vulnerability. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I can say that while I was consistently checking in on my pain and exhausted spiritually, I felt lighter. One can say wearing the expectations of others, the environments, and the ego can be quite heavy.
So what does this have to do with self-care if it causes such an emotional reaction that feels unsavory?
Well, it has to do with WHO you’re self-caring for. If we are always putting on masks, self-defending, and hiding from showing ourselves; then we aren’t caring for ourselves, but the selves we created and reinforcing their strength making it harder to break down.
Being vulnerable does something different and more powerful. Being vulnerable doesn’t attack the negative parts of ourselves to let out truth shine through; it makes peace. It wraps its arms around everything, the good, the bad, and it shows empathy and love. This, this gives us the space and the ability to show our true selves to others. It’s transformative. It’s radical.
Love is more than you think it is.
I have often said to myself, friends, and clients that love and hate are both endless wells we can draw from. And even though I do love to dig into the yin and yang of life, today I just wanted to write about love and all it can be.
I like the idea of an endless well because it paints a picture of infinite depth. Moreover, the deeper you go down a well the darker it can become. The colder the water can feel. The more unsure you are of how safe it is. Does this resonate?
Let’s dig into the depth of the well. When I think of love, at a first glance, I do think of beauty, warmth, comfort, and all those other feelings that can come from a romance novel. And I’m not knocking a good romance. In fact, I love to love. If you know me, you know that I enjoy going the extra mile to make someone feel loved. And yet, there is a depth to love that is always been mystifying. There is the pang of love, like when someone you love is hurting. When you begin to realize you are falling for someone, it can be like the loop-de-loop on a rollercoaster. An unsettling and exhilarating feeling when your stomach is both in terror and joy.
And then we can look into the unlimited potential of love. I liken to love like life force energy. If you want to give it, you can. If you want to receive it, it is there. You can even simply look around and find love being born, shared, and enjoyed around us. Sometimes motivation isn’t there. Sometimes sadness consumes us and makes it more difficult to feel positive. And yet, at any of those times love is always readily available. Case in point, no matter the limiting belief that can exist in our minds, love IS always ready to wrap its arms around you.
You might ask me, well what if I feel like I cannot give love? What if it feels like I am unable to let love in? Isn’t it okay to let yourself feel the way you feel?
What I would offer you, and myself is that love isn’t something you have to work for. Like air, rest, and the permission to love yourself; it is always yours to weave into your existence. Yeah, I said it. It is always ours to bathe in and enjoy its beauty. Why?
Because we are love. We were made from love, from the connection. So here you/we are a being of love. And if you are made of love, all you have to do is remember that; and there love is.
Brought to me from an angel. Thank you, Z.
In an amazingly warm conversation about feeling good and bathing in joy, I shared an anecdote about how I had prevailed ANTs in the morning. ANTs, being Automated Negative Thought’s. These thoughts that just seem to pop into our heads and, without awareness and acknowledgment, can lead to a downward spiral of pity, anger, and despair. Thoughts like, “Oh, I didn’t get enough sleep; my day is going to suck.”
“I look horrible today, and I don’t want to be seen.”
“I just overslept. I never get up in time.”
“This is too hard. I just know I will fail.”
“Why bother? Someone else probably already thought of this.”
“I’ll never be good enough.”
To name a few, I have felt before.
My dear friend Z offered some wisdom that I cannot seem to shake out of my head. Z said, “Are you even aware of your thoughts that are the first thoughts in the morning?” The truth is, a lot of mornings of mine begin with a kind of criticism that is not helpful nor healthy. I wondered what my day could be like if my day started with affirmation, hope, and, if anything, love. Who would I be if I lead my life starting from a place of grace toward myself and the world around me? Who would you be?
Here is how I feel about it, when you speak negatively, it doesn’t just affect you. It affects everything around you and transcends you like mud tracking in the house. It goes everywhere. Let’s dissect that. A scenario:
You wake up in the morning, and you say, “Ugh. I just hate this day. I don’t look forward to it at all”. The words, spoken with the oxygen from your body, spray into the room. The air spreads that negativity into your pillows, chairs, bags, shirts, things, and more becoming examples of the world you claim to live in. Your outfit is no longer just a piece of self-expression, but the worn outfit on the day you hate. The breakfast you eat is riddled with thoughts of what’s to come. Dare I say you are ingesting a meal that will fuel your disappointment with how the day is. Someone running late for work cut’s you off in the street or on the subway train; their action is like kerosene to your self-fulling prophecy that this day is straight out of hell.
So, let’s see what could have been. But I’d like to be clear; the day could probably still a tough, unexciting day.
You wake up in the morning, and you say, “I know today may be difficult, but let’s see what we can do about it.” The words. spoken with the oxygen from your body spray into the room. The air spreads that possibility into your pillows, chairs, bags, shirts, things, and more become examples of the world you can hope for. Your outfit is no longer just a piece of self-expression but an outfit that is armor against negativity. The breakfast you eat is energy. Energy for what’s to come. Dare I say you are ingesting a meal that will fuel your ability to aid you in your power. Someone running late for work cut’s you off in the street or on the subway train. Their action is met with understanding. “I’ve been there,” you might think.
I cannot deny the difficulty of waking up in a country where we see so much pain and venom and not let that affect our days. I know it will; however; I do believe in a world where maybe if we start from a place of goodness, a place of kindness, and a place that speaks to healing and love--perhaps we can then go out into the world to slay the demons, shout for equality, push for joy, and influence peace not hate.
Life often feels like the consistent rediscovery of the self. At many points in our lives, I think we are met with challenges, changes, and circumstances that lead us to forget who we are. Or perhaps, we are met with moments that we find who we thought we were no longer serves us (or even exists). We grow out of friendships, grow out of styles, grow out of goals, and grow out of ourselves. I think this has been my favorite part of life so far. Due to many personality traits and anxiety disorder, I often find myself in positions where I can either A.) Continue down a path that will keep things as they are and stay who I have claimed to be while feeling the dissonance, or B.) I can acknowledge that I have grown out of a self that no reflects who I am and can let change happen to grow into who I want to be.
In my unsolicited opinion, this is the most fantastic part of being human. Flowers emerge from a seed, grow tall, bloom, and then die in a matter of weeks, months, and if you have a green thumb like my mother, maybe they last years. As humans, we are like flowers that continuously grow and re-bloom, consistently evolving, and by doing so, our world becomes. Think how you feel during a rainstorm versus during a bright, shiny spring day. Just that mindset can alter your world. Now, I understand how this can sound as if I am suggesting we are consistently picking and choosing who we want to be. And in a way, I am suggesting that, but with a few boundaries.
There is a clear difference between making change happen and allowing change to happen. There is a difference between a feeling change being mandatory for freedom and that change is a chosen pathway. Firstly, most of the time, if we could choose to make change happen, we would. If we knew the step needed to make us endlessly joyful, wealthy, and fulfilled--we would take such steps. How come that doesn’t happen? My hypothesis is because change is a part of life, not something we can wield. Like a cold in the winter months, or a fight with a loved one, they just happen, and those are the moments where we can choose how we act, listen, and deal with a situation. When change interrupts the conversation of life, what will you do? Secondly, there is a big difference between just changing yourself to achieve something and wanting change to grow into who you are and honoring that person. The former suggests something to fix, that something is broken, or that there is a flaw to be smoothed over. The latter claims that what was once who you were held great value but is no longer needed for survival; this wanting of change to honor yourself look at your reflection and says, “You did well. Now, how about we take what you’ve taught us, and we make things easier, more empowered, and more authentically you?” Finally, the difference between thinking change is mandatory and it being a chosen pathway to freedom. Here is the skinny; yes, change is going to happen regardless if you want it to or not. The choice we have is whether a change will be made through our kicking and screaming, fighting against the pushback, or choosing to let change be a pathway to freedom. Imagine becoming aware of when change is necessary, and instead of hitting a low point in your life to realize you need to make a change finally.
Sometimes rock-bottom is the best teacher that motivates us, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t encourage you to force change, but welcome it. If you find you may be growing out of yourself, take a moment and think about who you might be growing into.
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else! Can I get an amen up in here?” - RuPaul Charles.
This saying has always caused conflict for me internally. I never fully resonated with the meaning of the statement. Then again, I have always had issues with self-love. I felt I loved others pretty well, yet still struggled to love myself while loving others.
It wasn’t until I was dating this guy who was so kind to me that I felt he was too much to finally understand what this saying meant. A comment I had received myself from other lovers, often I was “too much”. His consistent and seemingly genuine compliments made me feel uncomfortable. Therefore, I pushed him away.
I couldn’t share my love with him, which illuminated my lack of love for myself. And let me be clear, when I say love, I am speaking in the broad sense of kindness. I think when you wish someone a good day, that’s spreading love. When you hold a door for someone, that is showing love. So, don’t get it twisted--I don’t think we were in love with each other, but he gave me love that challenged my belief that I had unlovable parts.
In short, I didn’t love myself, so that I couldn’t love him back. His high regard for me shook me and made me feel, at first, turned off. Yet as I continued to analyze this dissatisfaction, it wasn’t because of him but my unsettled feeling in not accepting his kindness. I couldn’t take his kindness, for I didn’t feel I deserved it. It’s like he gifted me a beautiful yet extremely expensive jacket; I could not put it on for I thought I did not deserve it, but I also did not want to hurt his feelings. So, I just held the jacket awkwardly, then that awkwardness turned into resentment. I always wanted a nice jacket, why can’t I accept this! Stupid jacket! Stupid jacket!!
Okay, enough with the jacket metaphor.
Loving someone doesn’t affirm you; it affirms them. This isn’t necessarily a negative, but it certainly can turn into one if you go looking for yourself within another person. Say you have a leaky faucet, and so does your neighbor; you can fix their faucet, but yours will still be leaking when you return home.
Dear reader, if I can tell you anything this Sunday, it is a little more selfish when it comes to loving yourself. I have no idea to what stands in your way of showering yourself with love on a regular basis. Whatever the reason (and if you don't know you reason, start there) remember how much you shower friends with love. Then think to yourself, "Why not do the same for myself?" Nobody knows you as you do, nobody knows what you need as good as you, and finally. If anyone sends love to you, it is up to you to accept it. You cannot get into a locked door without unlocking the door. Trust me; I’ve tried.
Who are you?
Some say, "I love my body" but that would imply a relationship with you and your body. So, there is your body and there is you. Who are you?
There is an odd tree that is growing a forest. Well, the tree thinks they are odd. Other trees of variation surround this odd feeling tree. Tall trunks were running up into the sky, green bushes at the top mimic the voluminous hair of a Greek goddess, and roots that dig more profound than this odd feeling tree wishes they could dig. In this forest, there are so many different kinds of trees that the odd feeling tree feels that they must consistently make sure their imagery is refined, so the other trees think highly of the odd feeling tree.
The odd feeling tree worries about everything the other trees might see, which happens to be the front of the odd feeling tree. The odd feeling tree pays close attention to their front; making sure the leaves are extra green, the bark is an even complexion, the roots look strong and sturdy, and most importantly, the odd feeling tree wants to look attractive all the other trees. For the most part, the odd feeling tree doesn’t mind all this anxiety and chaos of obsessing over their looks. It seems to make it all worth it. Other trees say, “Wow! You look so good!” “Those roots must dig to the rock layer of the earth!”
The odd feeling tree wants to soak in this love, but unfortunately, is too busy with the upkeep of all the looks, opinions, and the like that they don’t have time to take in any love that comes their way. Eventually, the constant pruning, over-analyzation, and self-criticism become overwhelming and painful to the odd feeling tree. Their leaves start to brown, the bark begins to peel, and the roots begin to dry out, for they are tired of working overtime.
“Oh, why is this so hard! Is it too much to ask for to feel good in my skin?” the odd feeling tree asks.
Days continue, and the odd feeling tree feels sad and more peculiar than ever. All the work, all the time invested in pleasing others to feel valid wasn’t working.
“My leaves are hideous! My bark is very unlikeable! I will never be the right tree…” says the odd feeling tree to themself. At that moment, nothing the odd feeling tree tried offered any kind of comfort. It seemed the odd feeling tree had become so good at wanting to be the right person for others; they had not yet learned what they needed to be the right person for themself. Indeed, they were not good at loving themself. And then, from behind, a beautiful tree shouted, “My, oh, my! You look amazing today! I don’t know how you do it!”
Perplexed, the odd feeling tree took their attention away from their front, which they so compulsively had focused on for all this time, and gave their attention to the back of their body. How weird, the odd tree thought. This odd feeling tree had not given much thought to the back of their body. They had just accepted it as it was. All this time, the odd feeling tree felt they were never enough, and only now, they realized, they were more than enough. The odd feeling tree was beautiful as they were. They felt a large epiphany course through their roots.
“I never think about the back of my head as I stand in the middle of this forest. And yet, it just might be the most enjoyable part of my body because I have not criticized it or claimed it wasn’t beautiful.”
The odd feeling tree found that there was no depth to their beauty in the front. It was a valid but false showcase of who they were. No wonder they could not accept the compliments they received before. They could not accept what was not true. Even when the odd tree felt like they were doing something for themselves, they were invalidating who they were and amplifying who they were not.
The tree still feels odd sometimes; however, the tree also knows there is wisdom and a purpose to the journey of feeling beautiful and enough just because. No reasoning, no argument, no comparison needed -- just simply perfect the way they are. Like the back of their body, untouched by critique and more beautiful than they could believe.
You are enough.