Opening to Creative Possibilities

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When you feel stuck, trapped, isolated… 

I want to remind you,

This is a feeling. 

It’s feeling like your current reality, it feels so “TRUE,” but can you step outside of that?

Can you back up and see the bigger picture?

Can you remember that feelings are feelings and not necessarily the truth of your situation?

Can you honor the feeling inside of you, not negate or invalidate what you feel?

They come up from inside of you for a reason, you know. 

There was a point in time where believing these things helped you, guided you, assisted you through the place you were in. 

And can you see, they’re here again, trying to help because they helped you the last time you needed guidance. 

Maybe this time they’re off, it’s feeling untrue, and the way you can tell is that it doesn’t feel true. 

These feelings that emerge within are describing an old version of you, and this current version of you is ready to move onto something new.

Are you ready to step back now? Can you see the bigger picture at hand? 

Can you describe your situation from a new perspective, gaining new insight, seeing new land? A new horizon, a new beginning, something that’s helping you move forward now? 

What is it that you crave? Allow that to guide the way.

Your desire is here to help you, to help you find your way. 

So when you’re ready, let go of what the past offered to you in the now. The present has a new offering, and you can choose your acceptance of either gift, but don’t get them confused. The past will keep you where you were at, if you keep trying to bring it with you in the present. 

The present will guide you to more of who you are, who you have become. 

Choose you now. Honor who you were, release the identity you were holding onto, and embrace the newness of the you that is.

It’s Not Your Job

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It’s not your job, you know, to make other people pleased. 

It’s not your job, you know, to fix their perception of you.

It’s not your job, you know, to try to change their experience, or make their experience a more pleasant one.

It’s not your job, you know, to figure out what they need. 

It’s not your job, you know, to meet their needs.

It’s not your job, you know, to fix their sadness, worry, grief or despair. 

It’s not your job, you know, to make their life easier. 

None of this lies on you, my dear. 

You can stop trying to do it all now. You are free to let go of that heavy burden you picked up so long ago.

You can listen.

You can understand.

You can empathize.

You can reflect what they’re saying back to them.

You can hold space for what they’re feeling and experiencing without trying to fix anything.

You can sit in that discomfort with them.

You can sit in that scary place with them.

You can hold them. 

You can love them in this way. 

You can let go of loving them in ways that drain your soul, that no human has the capacity to sustain, that crosses the line of where your responsibility ends, and theirs begins. 

You can learn to love in a new way.

From Hurting to Healing

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Have you heard the saying “Hurt people hurt people?”

Being hurt is a part of our world, part of our human experience. It may bring pain, but think of all the beautiful things that can bloom from it as well… Flowers grow through shit. Beautiful things can come through hardships.

(Beautiful things can also come with ease, without pain or suffering. Just wanted to clarify.)

When people are hurt, it is easier for them to project their hurt outside of themselves in order to feel better, to protect their hearts.

In a reactive state, when a person is focused on survival, the projection of pain can come in the form of more pain, more suffering, more hurt.

This cycle can keep repeating. When a person’s pain is triggered, this reactive, survival instinct kicks in again, and up goes walls, and other forms of protection.

 

Let’s take a step back.

Why do we get hurt? What is it exactly that hurts us?

I’m not entirely sure of these answers, and I think the answers to these questions may be different for everyone.

 

I would venture to say that we get hurt because when a person we love is having a difficulty or hardship going on in their lives, we somehow turn the situation around and make it about us, and what hurts us is that we give truth to the judgment placed on us.

The person going through a hardship reacts in hurt, and we are on the “receiving end.” If we can take a HUGE step back, and remember that this person we love is going through something, that this outward act of “meanness” or hurt is actually a cry for help, we would be better equipped to show up in that relationship in a way that can stop the hurt cycle. We can then be there for our loved ones, being an example of love and encouragement in a time when they need this support the most.

So, we somehow are in the position to get hurt, and instead of allowing that hurt to sink in and take root, we take loving action.

 

This action says “I’m here for you. You are loved. We are on the same team. You are beautiful and glorious and perfectly imperfect. Your presence in this world is for a reason. Your light is brilliant.  You are guided by the Creator. You are more than enough.”

And by sharing Love, we’re spreading Love. We stop the cycle of hurt, and we start the cycle of Love.

 

 

Your New Stress Story

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A question I was asked recently and have been pondering ever since:
“So what can we do to let go of the stress that makes us a way we don’t want to be?”
When listening to Cathy Heller’s podcast featuring Jen Sincero (author of You are a Badass), Jen said something that brought up this thought in me: Stress is a story that I hold onto. I am completely able to rewrite that story. It definitely does not serve me. It’s time to rewrite that story.
This is super intense for me. Stress has been part of my story for so long. But I have some really great news… We create our own reality.
We get to choose our own beliefs. We get to decide. (Insert me screaming like a little girl here, because that’s how excited I am about this.)
So, Amber, you’re telling me that I don’t have to live with this overwhelming, never-ending, sometimes debilitating stress that takes over my body and life?
YESSSS!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!! Freedom!!!!
So here’s the fun part… take out your pen and paper. We’re gonna do this together.
What is your story around stress? What were you taught about stress? How does it impact your life now?
Here’s mine:
Growing up, I saw lots of stress around every part of life. Money, marriage, kids. Those are the things that stick out to me. Those are the things that made up everyday life for me, so it seemed that everyday life was stressful. I was taught that we always have stressors, and I may have taken that as “you will always be stressed,” because this is how life had been for me since becoming an adult several years ago. (This is why I’m so excited about this! I have believed that this is just how life is for like, 11 years. And then today when I had this revelation, I was like “wait, what???? This isn’t how life has to be? There is another way?” Talk about shattering a paradigm!!)
Ok, now that that’s done, let’s shift gears. What is your *new* story? Write it down! (Seriously, take as much time as you need and write out ALL of your thoughts! This is how we change our beliefs about things that we were taught growing up, things that we thought were absolute truths that are absolutely opinions!!!)
Here’s my new story:
I cope with stress in freaking amazing ways. I AM a badass (thanks Jen Sincero; I’m so going to read her book). When stressors come my way, I take deep, healing breaths and step into my flow and truth. My life is beautiful and I enjoy it to the fullest every single day. I radiate peace, and joy, and light, and love, and abundance. My body and mind can relax, because I feel safe wherever I go. The world is my playground and I am an explorer, an adventurer. My body takes amazing care of me and I love to live life in a vibrant way.
Now it’s time to write down your new story. Go ahead! Do it!
Now write down a short affirmation that you can say anytime your old story comes up. Here’s mine: “I breathe deeply and trust myself. I relax and let go of stress in vibrant ways.”
I am way excited about the shifts that are going to happen here!!!! BEST DAY EVER.
I hope this helps you break free and live life soaring like an eagle, as bold as a lion. You are loved.

Responsibilities

When you’ve been taught,
That things in your control
Are actually out of your control
And
That things out of your control
Are your responsibility
It’s normal to feel
Overwhelmed
Out of Control
Stuck
Hopeless
Unfulfilled.
And, yet, there is hope here still:
You have freedom in this realization;
You are free to claim your responsibilities,
And let go of all that’s not.

Dissatisfaction

I used to believe

There’s a certain way to be

Now I see clearly,

There are so many options. 

The person who tells you 

You have to be a certain way

Is themselves, just trying to stay

Above the waves of imperfection

Gasping for air when they can’t swim

dissatisfied, always

But this is The Way

So it is here they “have” to stay

But… what do you say?

Thoughts from a Lifelong Caretaker

What do you mean, my needs? Can you translate that, because I am not understanding. 

There isn’t anything to give to me, no really, I insist, I just love being here with you.

Let me take care of you, really, that’s all I want. I’m such a great cook, what’s your favorite food?

I can step up to the plate, I know I stayed up way too late, but I feel so needed, if you’re not feeling well, let me step in and take care of you, too.

My dreams? Well, to stay home with my family of course. If I left, they would need me, I can’t do that.

You want to do it yourself? Oh, but let me show you this better way! I’ve tried it before, all the different ways, so you could say I’m an expert, and I’ll guide you along the way.

Oh God, I have to stop. 

I can’t write like that anymore. It’s repulsive to every single cell in my body.

It’s so hard to go through life, being so finely attuned to the needs of everyone around you, and then you realize this isn’t the way you were designed to live. Not who you are at all, just who you thought you were supposed to be, in order to be good and get love from those you depended on. 

So finely attuned, that you almost can’t break away from it whenever you’re around other people. You have to be alone in order to hear yourself think; you trained yourself to hear everyone else’s voice over your own.

Your own needs? “What needs?” you ask. I’m not even sure where to find the answer to that question. 

I have needs? No, I don’t actually. I just meet everyone else’s, because that’s the only thing I’m needed for… 

I depend on other people for my life’s meaning… because I care for them. I offer help. I offer love. I offer support. 

I have lost myself. 

Me? Who is this me, outside of and apart from everyone else? 

In church, they say give to others, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, love your neighbor as yourself, don’t be selfish, give away your life in service to the One, my life is not my own, you do not live by bread alone, but from the word of God… 

I get a 100%. Checked all those boxes. I’m a selfless motherfucker. The most selfless person out there. I don’t need anything, see? I’m always giving away to others. All of my time, all of my energy. All of… well… ME.

I have lost myself. 

I succeed in evangelical christianity. 

If the goal is to rid myself of my flesh, erase my self in service of something “higher,” mission accomplished. 

Enter into motherhood. 

This infant, completely reliant on her parents for all of her needs. Oh perfect, I can do this. Once again, I’m needed. Yes, I am needed. My purpose in life, of being needed, has been met again. 

Oh, and I am getting crying from this infant… non-stop crying… so… despite my best efforts, all the love and care I can give; more than I can give, actually, I have found within myself to give; and still, it is not enough. The crying, the upset; my love is not enough to make this other person happy. 

This worked before, why isn’t it working now? What is different now that I can’t get my needs met by meeting this other person’s needs? 

“Our children are our greatest teachers.”

Okay. Soooo, what is it that I need to learn?

Dear one: You are not only valuable because you are valuable to others. Your worth isn’t based on what you can do for other people. You have a self separate from your loved ones. Who are you when you are by yourself? What are your own thoughts, desires, dreams, aspirations? What is it that YOU actually want

I know you don’t know how to answer that question, but it is something that you must learn. You giving your life away to make the people around you happy is an impossible task. You don’t have that power. I know you thought you did, it seemed like you did based off of your past experiences, but now you are being shown something different. Now you are being shown that YOU are valuable, worthy, just because you are you. Not because you do anything for anyone else. Not because you bring joy to others. Not because of how happy you are all the time… (oh and by the way, you don’t have to be happy all the time. I know you thought you did, in order to help other people be happy, but like I said earlier, that isn’t actually how life works.)

You are the only one who can bring yourself happiness, contentment, joy, love, peace. You see, these things are self-sourced, when  you are connected to your source. When you are grounded in your heart, standing in your truth. Blazing your own trail. 

Likewise, you have no impact on the lasting happiness of other people. Only they have that power.

So practice standing in your own self. Practice making choices on your own. Practice doing what makes you happy even when it has the opposite effect on others. 

Practice finding yourself, my love. You are in there, somewhere, and I promise you, all of that seeking, all of that searching…

You’re worth it.

Releasing Hope, Finding Truth

Dear One,

There are things that you wish were different; I understand. It’s hard to have things happen, that you don’t want to happen. It’s difficult when you want to have a good relationship with someone and they don’t know how to move forward with you, with your intentions. And, my love, it’s okay to release them from any expectation that you had of them. To allow them to be on their path, exactly where they are, without expecting them or judging them for not being where you may want or need them to be. To trust their path and their inner wisdom, to lead them to the exact places they need to be in for themselves, not according to anyone else’s timeline or expectations. 

You may feel hurt that things aren’t as you want them to be, that this relationship doesn’t look like the dream relationship that you so desire. You can grieve this expectation. And you don’t have to feel “bad” or judge yourself for having this expectation in the first place. It’s okay. You saw how that role is portrayed in so many other people’s lives, and you thought, “how beautiful that is, how sweet that is, I look forward to having that myself someday.” And my love, the “someday” you were hoping for may never come. I don’t tell you this in order to crush your hopes, but for you to reset what you expect. For failed expectations lead to frustrations; but another option is readily available. Are you ready?

Allowing the process of grief when a person you love doesn’t show up in your life in the way you hoped for, dreamed for, is necessary. For when you grieve, you release. You allow your sadness and anger and frustration. You mourn this thing that you most desired for yourself, and you desired it out of the goodness of your heart, from the best of intentions. You thought it would bring genuine good into the world, this coming together in relationship, communion, and there is nothing selfish or inherently bad in that. You are free to release yourself from any judgment that may arise there, dear one.

And once the grieving has occurred, once you’ve released that expectation that you held onto for so long, that hope and dream, you’re now brought to this most beautiful place: what is, right now, here in front of you. The reality of whatever is, the true person in front of you, not the person you dreamed they would be, but who they actually are. In this beautiful, most sacred place, you can see as they want to be seen, not with illusions, but simplicity. The witnessing of their heart is sacred, and when you come to this place, the old dream of what you had wanted may pass away, or it may stay, but this brings about a deeper, truer connection, one where the true witnessing of hearts may take place, not as they are wished to be. Practicing this true acceptance brings so much joy. You have what you need to move ahead in this process. You already have the strength. You can move ahead now, love. It’s safe to release the illusions and see yourself and others for who you all really are. And in this space, you are free to love more unconditionally. What a beautiful experience that is. What a beautiful life that is. 

With so much Love,

My Heart

The Myth of the “Creative” Person

“I am not a very creative person.”

These words have come out of my mouth, and I’ve heard them from other people as well. To be creative may have this separate meaning. By that, I really mean, we see it as separate from us. Creativity is something that some people have and some people don’t, am I right?

No. I’m dead wrong.

What if creativity is not something we are either born with or without, but something that is inherently within all humans, waiting to be cultivated and practiced? What makes someone so special, separate, and unique, that they have an ability to create something from nothing, but that ability is not available to others?

So, is it possible to prove that statement wrong? 

I said the above statement when I was comparing myself to my husband. He writes songs, lyrics, creates art. And, at the time, I played piano, but only the notes on the page. It was difficult for me to improvise, to play or color “outside of the lines,” because I was afraid. 

What would happen if I ventured outside of the lines and the results… sucked? What if whatever I played sounded horrible? What if I wrote something, and it was… mediocre?

Curiosity won out in the end. I started to trust myself to do things that I’d never done before; creating music on the spot; singing, solo, on a video, without lessons, and sharing it to social media; starting a blog without knowing all the details of what to write about; starting a business without knowing how far it would go. (It didn’t “go” anywhere, really.)

But worse than the pain of “failing,” was wondering what would have happened had I had the courage to do the things that I wanted to do, but scared me. 

Wondering, when I imagine myself to be old, and close to death, what would have happened if I put myself out there more and tried, even if it meant failing, or not succeeding based on the world’s standards?

No, I could not wait around and put off the curiosities of my heart. 

Yes, I would start on things I wanted to do, even if nothing was guaranteed. (Nothing is ever guaranteed anyway, that’s an illusion of perfectionism, grasping for certain safety.)

And most definitely, I would not hide what I wanted to create, because hiding reveals shame, and shame deserves no place in creativity. 

So here I am: Creating regardless of outcome. Practicing showing up with consistency. Trusting myself to create. Being okay with shitty art. Feeling proud of myself for letting go of feeling the need to hide, or to not create unless it meets some internal or external standard of perfection. 

“To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”

-Ludwig van Beethoven

The Chasm

When the things that feel true aren’t true, and the things that are true don’t feel true. 

This space creates confusion, and the confusion is necessary in unlearning old truths and adopting the new.

Those old truths worked for parts of yourself, and those parts of you believe that truth, the old version of you that saw what worked and what didn’t and created a stance. “Prove to me otherwise,” that part of you will say. But here you are, in this day, trying to be and live and act and do in a new way. 

But that old part won’t let you. It’s grasping on for dear life. Letting go is scary as hell, the unknown is frightening, what happens if you don’t survive?

The now version of you wants more freedom, more of what you want to be true. So now you have a chasm, between the past and present, and what can you choose to do?

Can it be you don’t have a choice, your old ways will win out in the end? The feeling is strong, you have to hold on, and there’s no way you can let go and move through. 

But what if you just decide to choose what you want here and now? Can it be you are that powerful, what if it’s true, there’s only one thing you can do…

The courage that runs in your veins, vowing never to stay the same, you’ve chosen your path and promised to never go back. You’ve made your choice and now you know, that you can choose anew.

Self-Nourishment for the Soul

Give yourself the space you wish for, whatever you need.

There’s no prize in suffering the most, in trying to burn yourself out. 

There’s nothing waiting at that finish line except for resentment and frustration, anger towards others, but really anger towards the self. 

Give yourself what you desire, allow yourself to breathe.

Deeply, without limits, there’s nothing else more important. 

You’ve held it in so long, held your breath, just allowing enough in to survive. 

But now you can expand and allow it to fill you to the brim. 

Give yourself the gift of daydream, allow yourself to roam free.

Go where you’ve always wanted, let the stiff ridges warm into soft expanses. 

Think of the things you love, find the freedom that lies there.

It’s a little scary, imagining what you’ve longed for for so long, but there’s nothing there, except the feeling of open and free. 

Give yourself compassion, grace for all the times you’ll fall. 

When you go against your Self or others, just take the sting away by softening the harshness that you’ve practiced for so long.

It’s always okay to mess up and fall down, remind yourself of this, dear one.

It has to happen, it will happen, make peace with the happening of hurt and pain. 

Give yourself the sweetness of tuning into your needs, find the rest that lies there for you.

It never stops, the tuning in, and there you’ll be, again and again. 

But the practice of bringing your attention there will make sure you’re cared for.

This task belongs only to you, and the more you do it you will see how sweet it is to be loved by you. 

Controlling the Person in Front of You

It’s so difficult to not try to control the person in front of you. 

Let me explain.

The person in front of you is your child. A child that you care for. A person, small, and not yet able to understand so many things, because their brain is only so far in its development. 

They have their own will, their own agenda, their own things that they say are important in their lives. 

And we are the ones, the parents/caregivers, in charge of making sure they have what they need to grow into adulthood. 

How could you not have a clashing of wills? A battle, a struggle, conflict, difficulties that arise? Of course there will be. Constantly. There is a little person, a PERSON, in your care. 

(“Why the heck does she keep emphasizing ‘person’ so much?” You may ask. This is the point of me writing today.) 

A child is not a thing to control, but a fellow human, one who is just as much deserving of respect as an adult. 

One who is deserving of having their boundaries respected, their emotions acknowledged and validated, their desires taken into consideration. 

It’s impossible to do these things for another, if this is not something we practice for ourselves. 

To have our own boundaries respected, to have our own emotions acknowledged and validated, to have our own desires taken into consideration. To do these things, for ourselves. 

It makes sense, really. If we were brought up in a culture where it’s uncommon for parents to respect their children’s boundaries, emotions, and desires, then we grew up seeing that these things are not important. 

We would have adopted this way of being simply by it being modeled to us. So, to learn this new way, of respecting our own boundaries, emotions, and desires, we must PRACTICE the act of doing so, every single day, until it becomes something we really know how to do. 

“How can I do this?” you ask. Well, this is what helps me:

Slow down, tune in. Meditate. Listen to what you need yourself to hear. Trusting yourself cannot happen all at once, it happens step by step. Reflect, and see if you can respond to these questions: “What are my boundaries? What are my emotions? What are my desires?”

What other steps can you take to respecting yourself and your child(ren) more today?