I’ll be honest y’all, 35 did not come gentle. It came raw, and loud with muddy boots and a magnifying glass, amplifying all the things I was afraid of, regretted, or had shame about. And for that reason, I was not excited about this birthday. Indeed, there was a part of me that kind of dreaded it. To compensate for the dread, I resolved to plan a huge party- charity event-a gala- you know something that would go down in history as this epic moment in time. It was a great idea, but even more than that, it was a distraction. Something to keep me from looking at what I had allowed myself to become: a stranger in my own life…
On January 1, 2017, I stepped on the scale and weighed 198 lbs. Seeing that number made my heart stop, and not just because it was so heavy, but because I immediately knew what it represented. You see, on a metaphysical level, weight is a barrier---a cushion. It’s a means by which we protect ourselves from trauma. That’s why so many people say they are emotional eaters. Eating makes us feel full, but it also makes us appear larger, and more unapproachable. Weight can be a means to keep everything and everyone out. Now, I won’t claim this is the case for everyone. But it was definitely the case for me. I had no interest in being seen and and the weight was my guarantee that no one would look to close or stay too long.
Beyond that, the weight was a representation that my long-standing battle with depression was not yet over. I needed to be honest with myself and get real about the fact that in an effort to achieve success, I had built a life that was no longer strong enough to support me.
What I mean by that is this:
My business is personal. My sphere of influence is global. My foundation is spiritual. So, I don’t fit in spaces (or in relationships) that only honor parts of me while rejecting others. I wanted everything I did or was affiliated with to mirror the fullness of my being as a woman, and that fullness was not limited to my race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or marital status. My life, however, did not honor this truth and I found myself stuck within the various dichotomies of my own identity. None of it felt true to me and I was constantly uncomfortable, unsatisfied, and anxious.
And all I wanted was to be free.
Free of the need to please anyone
Free of the pressure to be patient, mature, and pious ALL the time
Free from the mental, spiritual and emotional stress
Free of my the “weight” of it all
“I’ve seen what you’d do for fame, what would you do for freedom?”
For “fame,” I ignored gut feelings about people and situations
For “fame,” I neglected my own self-care to show up for everyone and everything
For “fame,” I convinced myself that my personal/spiritual goals should come second the needs of the business,my partner, my family, my friends...everything.
To get free, I had to be willing to flip the paradigm and to totally disconnect myself from everything and everyone that I was allowing to hold me hostage. I needed to make myself uncomfortable, get quiet and listen to what the weight, depression, and anger was trying to tell me.
And that’s where the fast came in. To be clear, I didn’t fast solely because I wanted to lose weight, I did it because I needed the discipline of it. Plus, food had become my biggest crutch. Next came the sobriety. Thirty days, no club…no liquor! (Yep, that's the real reason I missed your party, business launch, etc.). Buddhists believe that a sober mind is a healthy mind, and that Source energy communicates with us via mental messages and inspiration—so how can we hear God if we are constantly under the influence of alcohol? Not possible. And the last thing... was the social media. I had known that social media needed to go for months, but had been too afraid to cut the cord. The truth was, social media had become a source of stress and anxiety. I needed to free myself from the constant comparisons, and the pressure to "post" my life, instead of live it. So, I did it. I cut it all off--January 2—30 days before my new year.
Here's what happened.
I know how much we all like results, so I do want to say a little bit about what I accomplished over my 30 days of freedom. I share this not to brag, but as a testimony to the power of focus, clarity, and stillness.
Weight: Down 13lbs
Business: Secured 2 national sponsors for our upcoming #wehiketoheal event, and negotiated 2 contracts to design retreats for major companies in Atlanta.
Spirit: On my 34th birthday, my wife took me to my first reiki session. It was awesome. I wanted more than anything to be able to provide that level of healing to others. On January 30th, I finished the process I started over a year ago (that included learning to write in Japanese!), and officially become a Certified Reiki Master.
Creating a New Narrative
All that you see is the residual effect of you who you used to be. Not who you are. The people, places and circumstances that are around you are there because through your behavior, energy, vibration and choices you called them there. I want to be clear about one thing though. When people hear that they called situations to them—the knee-jerk reaction is to reject that fact. Because we want to think that “calling things to you” is an active thing. But unfortunately, it’s not. Beyond that, our pain calls things to us just often as our love does. This is an especially important point for women, who tend to be more emotional creatures. When we focus on something with strong emotion, we almost always call it to us faster. What that means is, if you feel something deeply (even if its negative) it will come barreling toward you even faster.
So, here’s the inconvenient truth. Our life, most centrally reflects our innermost feelings about ourselves. So when we search around to the most central issues in our own lives, we can almost always trace them back to how we feel (or once felt about ourselves). For example, people who tend to be intolerant and unforgiving of others are often perfectionist or very hard on themselves. By the same token, people who are loving, kind and compassionate toward others are often just as kind and forgiving to themselves. This happens because we see (and create) the world as we are…not as it is. I hope that makes sense. When you take all this knowledge and apply it to your life, you discover, that you are what needs to change not anyone else.
Honestly, I’d like nothing more than to help you make that change.
Next month, I’ll be opening a master class called The Grace in the Grit: A Digital Detox. The experience will go into detail about all the changes I made these last 30 days. During the class, I will also help you come to grips with your 5 most pivotal life moments in an effort to re-frame your view of yourself and your possibilities. This will be a very hands-on experience, so I will only be taking on 10 women. I'll share more info with you guys in the coming weeks, but If you are interested, please send me an email.
Today, my heart couldn't be more full. Things are not perfect, but I feel centered, happy and
overcome with gratitude for all that these 35 years have offered me. I especially feel grateful for all of you. Some time ago, I was given the advice not to be so candid with you all--to be more distant-and professional. I am rejecting that advice. I want you all to know me. I want you to know who are working with--who you are walking with- who is leading this organization. I want you to know how deeply personal all of this and all of you are to me. So for that reason, I will always be authentic, honest, and transparent with you. You deserve that from any of your spiritual leaders. And I deserve a safe space to create AND connect.
Michelle and I are off to Mexico for the next few days, so will be off the grid. Thank you for all that you are to me. I am so grateful to be a part of your personal evolution.