We're getting deep today. I blame the full moon. But first, a story...
Can I tell you the story of when I started dating my husband? It was a decade ago and we'd known each other professionally for years. I was equally shocked and thrilled when he emailed me and invited me for drinks. When I asked where, he replied, “let me come to you and let me feed you too.” Direct, clear and sexy. SWOON.
Then he arrived for our first date driving his 10-year old Mercury Sable that looked like a boat. We was wearing a dad sweater and loafers without socks. I'm not proud to admit this but I was judging. Up until this point I had chased men with fancy toys/clothes and fickle hearts. My future husband had none of the above. He had so much more though. He valued experiences more than possessions and he would come to show me the fulfillment that comes from presence, pleasure and connection. But, I had learned the opposite and old patterns die hard.
I grew up believing that the acquisition of things was the goal of life. And I'm not alone. This is the capitalist mindset that runs rampant in our culture rooted in scarcity that says “there's never enough" so we learn to fill and fill and fill.
I watched my parents fill their lives with stuff that seemed to give them a sense of security and value but never true fulfillment. And I followed suit because this was what I thought life was about.
Just look at all the ways we learn to fill up and ask yourself which resonates most….
…filling our resumes with certificates and degrees because we are taught logic is superior to our intuitive gifts
…filling our closets with the latest trends because we learn to fit in instead of to cultivate the courage to stand out
… filling our calendars with all the things so we don't miss out (FOMO is a real joy squisher) & because doing is praised more than being
...filling up on relationships that sadly don't often nourish/honor us because we're taught something and someone is better than nothing
…filling our bodies with food because we are starving for something we can't name
…filling our fine lines and wrinkles with chemicals because we are taught to resist aging and therefore the gifts of wisdom and power that come with it
…filling our minds with all the posts/books/podcasts/noise from the experts because we don't trust our inner knowing
…filling our bank accounts with money that we confuse with our own worth
…filling our garages with the fancy cars because we've been taught that labels define us
…filling our homes to the brim so then we need to fill up some more on storage bins and baskets to hold all the things we've collected because society teaches us that bigger is better
…filling our bodies with substances to help us numb the feeling of emptiness and quiet our overactive minds
…filling spreadsheets with calories consumed, minutes exercised and pounds lost in a culture that teaches us to track our value in numbers
…filling our days taking care of everyone and everything at the expense of our own needs because this is what we are taught to believe love looks like
**this list is compiled from my own experiences as well as what clients have shared with me. And there's nothing wrong with having or wanting any of the above. I'm simply asking the deeper question, does it truly fulfill you? What are the intentions behind the choices you make?
Y'all, my husband was trying to show me another way but I wouldn't have it. It's not easy for me to admit but he was right. Instead, I pushed for the brand new car, the big house, all the stuff to fill it, the brand name clothing, the expensive products and when we had kids I filled our schedule to the brim in my attempt to be "the mother I never had."
I measured my life in what society said it should look like instead of what I truly desired. This plus trauma which is complicated and often makes us seek outer comfort to compensate for the lack of inner safety and refuge.
I had everything and felt like something was missing.
I carried so much shame around this. I felt ungrateful. I believed something was wrong with me. It got so intense that I began to feel like a fraud in my life.
Three years ago I had an awakening and I blurted out the words, “I feel like I'm living a lie” in our couple's counseling session. Holy hell those words hung in the air and there was NO GOING BACK.
I had spoken my truth and set into motion the events that are unfolding today.
My husband was laid off in late September. It was a shock and an invitation for radical re-alignment. With intention and rooted in our highest values, we are paring down our life to reclaim simplicity, ease, presence and connection.
Which has got me thinking about the word sacrifice which is to make sacred.
I always hated the word sacrifice. It made me think of all the ways women are conditioned away from our authenticity in pursuit of approval, connection and love. There is a big difference between sacrificing ourselves and sacrificing the false comfort and belonging that stuff and relationship often provide.
Releasing is a sacrifice worth making. Releasing what no longer serves you and releasing the stuff that weighs you down is necessary to creating the life you truly desire. This can be both possessions and relationships which is why there is grief in growth. And grief is sacred.
To sum up, here's the cliff notes edition:
+Fulfillment is an inside job. Nothing outside you can bring you lasting happiness if you feel empty within.
+Stuff is like frosting. If the cake (err your life) is really good you don't need it but it can absolutely sweeten things.
+Gloria Steinem got it right when she said, "the truth will set you free but first it will piss you off."
+Busy is a great hiding place. I used to claim that being busy made me happy, turns out accomplishing stuff made me happy because I believed that my value was sourced in doing.
+Constant consumption will keep you from creating the life you truly desire and deserve and creating the legacy that you came here for.
+Living a life that is not aligned to who you are and what you value feeds anxiety and overwhelm as well as depression and burn out.
+There is always someone to support you when you decide to choose you and your true fulfillment.
Your turn! Below are some questions and writing prompts to support you in your self-discovery journey.
1. What's the most honest thing I can say right now?
2. What are my core values? Does my life align to these?
3. What's my relationship to scarcity and “never enoughness”?
4. What have I been filling my life with? Go through the list and notice if each item creates a sense of expansion in your body or contraction.
5. What's my relationship to sacrifice? What is ready to be released?
Being witnessed in your truth is some of the most powerful medicine which is why I want you to know that your responses are always welcomed. Please share below and let me know what this sparks in you.
And if you're ready to create a life that deeply fulfills you, I'm now accepting applications for my 3-month Transformational Mentorships.