Life is For the Living, Make Sure You Are Still Breathing
I’m returning from a week-long adventure. I set out to the mountains to find answers. Answers that are often hidden behind the busyness of everyday life. So I boarded a plane, and I rented a car, and I drove—and along the way to and from the mountain, I had encounters that have changed me; encounters with strangers, animals, friends, acquaintances, and people that I love.
In the still of the morning, I was reminded of the sound of my beating heart, that I have one, that it is very real and vibrant. In the apprehension and nervousness of others that I love, I was reminded of my own humanity and my desire to be seen and understood. In the eyes of the horses and the whisper of the wind, I was reminded that life is about stillness, not activity—that less doing is more living. In the sunsets and the darkness, I was reminded of the morning my mom took her last breath and how in a singular moment, one tiny little moment, she slipped away. I was reminded that we can often find ourselves so stressed that we can’t remember how to breathe, so we stop breathing even though we are still alive. In a conversation with a stranger I was reminded of our one and very important duty on this earth—to love—love with everything we have, even when we aren’t sure where it will lead. And in the familiar wagging tail of a golden furry friend, I was reminded that time has no place here—that love transcends time, and we never forget the people that we love.
When I arrived home afters days of contemplation, prayer and observation, the answers were waiting for me. Don’t chase. Don’t run. Don’t force. Don’t fix. Don’t beg. Don’t clench.
In the efforts to expand my true mission I began running a marketing company. “Be on”, the blogs tell you. Write more, post more, share more, sell more. In a world where everyone is telling us what to do and where to go and who to be, why would I begin to do the same thing? I don’t know what is right for you. I don’t know what you should do. I don’t know who you should be, only you know that. Only you know what exists deep down—only you know what you are being called to do with your life. And if you don’t know? Even better! Just start living. Go out into the world and meet people, try things and discover things. Love someone passionately and wildly without concern for whether they can love you back. Give yourself away to joy and adventure and nights under the stars. Don’t take the job that fills up your schedule and makes you forget how to breathe. Don’t give yourself away to a race that you will never win. Don’t look at achievement as the measurement for your life. Look at how much joy you create around you. Look at how the people feel when they are with you. Notice them. See them. Be with them. That is what will lead you to who you are. That is how you find yourself. Not by joining a rat race. Not by seeking answers from others. By being, and listening, and touching and feeling and expanding.
Strip down, the universe whispered. Strip it all down to your core. Start again. Begin again. Build again.
Door closing, the universe whispered. No need to try to run through it, that path is no longer for you.
I abandoned my daily joy of writing for stressing about instagram posts. I abandoned my deep spiritual calling for the stress of having something to say, even on days when I have nothing to say.
I abandoned myself for likes and accolades and a paycheck. My schedule became meetings. Conversations about nothing. Ego driven agendas that are hurtful and painful and isolating and selfish.
I ignored my own self, and spent so much time chasing in an effort to be seen, because when I was little, no one ever saw me. The little girl inside of me, she wanted so badly to be seen, and no one had time for her. So I spent the next twenty years of my life begging for people to simply see me.
It was an internal story and dialogue that led me on the grandest adventures. It led me to Hollywood and film sets, and the halls of Nike. It lead me to friendships and love, and mentors and giant goals, and TV appearances, and my name in the newspaper. It lead me to leadership and community. It was a wild and grand adventure. It served a beautiful purpose, and it is not something to regret. But now it is over.
Do less, the universe whispered.
I am a coach because I believe in the emotional and extraordinary power in our individuality. Your uniqueness is why you are here. You are here at this time due to a rare and unlikely set of circumstances. Truly, it is a miracle you are alive and that you are this person, in this moment, in this lifetime. My big business background can help you start a business, it can help you get a project done, it can help you choose an excellent career, but that is not why I am here.
I am here to give words to the things that normally cannot be explained. I am here to create space for more feeling, more aliveness, more authenticity, more expansion. I am here to show you, actually demonstrate, that through the storm, whether it is a big or a small storm, you can and deserve to find joy. Suffering is temporary. By accepting my clients where they are and mirroring back to them who they already know they are meant to be, I am doing the work I was born to do. I am here to create more love, more joy, more adventure, more opportunities for sharing and helping and expanding. I am here to remind you that you do not have to chase, that you do not have to run, that you do not have to beg or fix or clench. What we truly need more of, what we truly need at a time like this, is for you to strip down—to slow down—to breathe—to heal—to love and to soar.
Be afraid that the job will eat you up and make you someone you don’t want to be. Don’t be afraid to love—don’t be afraid that you will be rejected or dismissed or judged. That fear it is why you take the job you hate—it’s why you work the extra hours or reach for distractions when you arrive home alone. You’ve given up on love, so you fill your time with things that won’t remind you how much you really just want to love and to be loved. But to be truly loved, we have to be willing to be seen which means we must risk being rejected. Fascinating, right?
I created walls of overachievement, fixing, overcompensating, all in an effort to avoid not being seen, which at the end of the day, made it impossible for me to be seen. My conditioning was that no one would ever see me, because that is what the little girl inside of me learned. She learned that waiting for someone to come means you wait forever. She learned that her feelings were not valid and that there was no time and space for her to have feelings. She learned to take care of everyone because everyone was hurting and they needed her. She covered her ears and her eyes when the negativity around her became so big she could no longer take it, and it made her an adult who could stand tall in the face of the grandest heartache, pain, and rejection, and she got really good at accepting that as normal.
But in the mountains the pain disappeared. The noise and the chaos evaporated into the crisp mountain air. That little girl, she laughed and explored and she loved. She decided that in every single person she encounters there is an opportunity for love. Perhaps waiting to be seen by a certain person was blocking all of this opportunities for her to be seen by every single person in every single place she was brave enough to venture. She learned she doesn’t have to engage in negativity and suffering and sadness. Not because she may never feel it again herself, but because she is no longer taking on the negativity of those that refuse to heal and find joy.
I was not brought here to this time and this place for instagram likes and newspaper accolades. Those things have actually been a distraction and a deterrent from me being strong enough to do the real work. I was meant to put pen to paper, to look into the eyes of my fellow humans and remind them to breathe and to live. The pain and suffering that I encountered as a little girl and on my grief journey has all led me here—to this place where I can proudly stand, with confidence, and say, “I know what I am meant to be doing.”
With that I have silenced my social media accounts. I have begun to search for a way to live a life without constant email and expectations and meaningless meetings. I will find more time for writing, more time for healing with my clients. More time, more trust, more expansion—and expansion in this case, is releasing and stripping down and letting go. And as I let go, I welcome in the things I wanted all along—more people to help, more clients to impact, more time for living.
This does not mean less from me, it means more. It means when I choose to show up it is to show up fully. It means better care with my clients, more mission aligned work, and a better life for all of us. As always—I am here to connect with you and get on the phone and talk about where you think life is trying to take you. If you are seeking yourself—keep going, keep exploring.
Do not settle. Please do not settle. Life is for the living, make sure you’re still breathing.