Coming Out

No, not the rainbow kind... I'm coming out from shame. From the shame that an abuser manipulatively uses to keep his (or her) victim quiet. For nearly 3 years I have been healing through whispers, sharing pieces of my story with those who have also been through it, or those whom I trust implicitly because of the emotional safety that they create with their presence. And only a little, tiny bit more with a group of conscious creators that I like to call, "Passionistas." 

We have been divorced for over a year; separated for nearly 3. He periodically goes on text tangents (because he is unable to speak to me in person without losing his.. temper) about how I should look up the definition of shame; that I am shame; that I should be ashamed. He wrote recently, "Shame is all over you. Shame is what you are."  My goodness, I am only just now realizing that he - my abuser, my husband for 15-years and the father of my 3 children - is right. 

He is right, after all. I am ashamed. I am. 

I am ashamed to have allowed him to shame me. I am ashamed of the hate for him that boils up inside of me when I work so hard to find some aspect of love for him for my childrens' sake and for my own soul. I am ashamed for staying silent for so long. I am ashamed for believing him when he says that it's me. That I am the crazy one. That I have made it (the verbal, emotional abuse) all up in my mind to justify my behavior. I am ashamed for the times that I believed... believe... him. 

Part of what keeps us quiet is that we... let me try that again. After a deep breath... part of what keeps me... no, what has kept me quiet, is the shameful belief that maybe they are the ones telling the true story. They are so convincing. He is so convincing. He is so sure that I am the one who has done all of the wrong that I have believed it, too. Even after two years out from under his thumb, a few sessions together in co-parenting counseling late last year had me questioning myself again. Maybe I was the one making up the story! Maybe he is perfectly fine (mentally intact) and I am the one living in an alternate reality! 

And fear. Fear for the repercussions of sharing my story. I don't know if he visits my website. I don't know if he looks at what can be seen publicly on my Social Media. I very rarely share anything directly about him, except in private conversations with  my closest friends. I don't want his anger to impact my children more than it already does. And I don't want anymore irrelevant, spiteful texts from him! 

And fear. Fear that the people who I love and who I believe love me won't believe me. That they'll say because he only hit me once or twice (and I hit him back) that it wasn't, and isn't, abuse. Verbal abuse doesn't count. Silent treatment for days at a time doesn't count. Angry outbursts and broken dishes don't count. Tiny, little (emotional) cuts don't count.

Yes, they do.

When I first told someone close to me that I was thinking of leaving my husband, she told me to "sex him up." That they're always happier when they're getting some. I was devastated. I provided that service for 15 years. It rarely made a difference in the level of alcohol he consumed or the number of insults he spit out. Apparently, I'm just too sensitive.

And No. I am not.

I am, however, someone who appreciates peace and calm and moderation. All of my life I've been a peacemaker. That, too, has kept me quiet. And no more. I can't. It is my responsibility to show others that they are not alone. That this happens. That it is real. That it is devastatingly painful and impacts the victim in ways someone who hasn't been through it can't even imagine. In ways that those of us who have been through it can hardly admit. 

So, I am coming out today. For myself. And for you. Verbal-emotional abuse is real. It is impactful. It happens all of the time and we do not deserve it. I do not deserve it. You do not deserve it. And like I did, you can find a way to leave, whatever it takes. What it really takes is simply courage. The courage to leave. 

Courage

Shadows and Light

I have this tattoo. It's on my left shoulder blade. I've always described it as two souls intertwined. Today, a new knowing emerged. It isn't two separate individuals at all. It is one. My own. The dark and the light parts of me. Those that I reveal to you and those that I have hidden even from myself. 

This week I've been delving into my shadows. Not the shadows of the world, simply my own. 

The Shadow is where the light is hiding. - John Newton

I've had this tattoo for 20 years. Today, for the first time I understand why I was so called to the artist's design; compelled to permanently mark my body with this expression of rapture, this linking, full-body embrace. The spirit body. My Spirit body embracing, loving, accepting all of who I am. 

The shadows are where the light is hiding. The other day I jumped into the darkness. A visualization, of course. What I found there was beautiful. What I found there wasn't a shadow at all, but the truth of my light. It is our light that casts the shadow, my loves. It is the contrast of life. these contrasts, as Esther-Hicks talks about frequently, that move us to discover more of ourselves, move through more of our growth, reach for our higher and highest states of Being

When you willingly open yourself to all of the things you think are your shadows, when you look, you'll see that there is nothing there at all. The shadows are the fiction of your Mind. Your light is the truth of your heart, your soul, your I Am. 

Deepak Chopra asks us to sit in meditation and simply as the question, "Who am I?" Ask until you know the answer. It isn't a finding out of the answer or a discovery, it is a revealing of all that you are. You are Love. You are the light. You are, simply, light. 

Until you can clearly see and feel that, keep shining your light into your shadows. See what you find. 

Embers Under the Ash - Reigniting Your Passions

Mother Nature gave Michigan a taste of Spring 2 weeks ago and I took advantage of the mild weather to finally clean up the back yard and flower beds. I raked mountains of leaves and collected dozens of fallen branches from the towering Maple that has seen many more years than I have.

 I found my rhythm and my restless mind quieted. The whisper of the breeze and the bird calls provided peaceful music and my soul-gardening began. Cleaning, clearing, releasing. 

After my fourth trip into the woods with the wheelbarrow, I  built a small bonfire in the backyard fire pit. I had frustrations to burn. Anger to vent so that it didn't come spitting out around my children in words I might regret. 

The fire burned hot and fast and when I finished my work (my soul-gardening), I doused the ashes with water to ensure no heat remained.   

The old Maple is one of many tall trees wrapping around the expansive back yard, so the next day, I got back to work. Next Autumn, I thought, I'll do a much better job than I did last year. I'm learning; it's been decades since I lived here. 

  Photo by skhoward/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by skhoward/iStock / Getty Images

With only a few loads to go, I decided just to drop the leaves into the lifeless fire pit for the next time. I stood, relaxed from exertion, reflecting on a job well-done. Suddenly, I saw smoke. Beneath day old ash and debris, heat remained. Burning embers that looked cold, but weren't. Within minutes there were flames. 

Our Passions are like this... Life covers us with layers, hiding our fire. Some of us can barely remember what once made us come alive. We think that nothing lights us up anymore. That we're cold, disconnected, just getting through each day. 

Just like my pile of leaves, the fire in your heart can burn bright again. Anyone's can. The hot embers are still there, ready for fresh tinder and a breath of air to alight them. 

What would it take for you to feel alive again? For your embers to turn to flames? Reach for it. Wake up! Live. 

It's Good to Hear My Voice

"It's just really good to hear your voice," she said. She was one of my many long-lost, beloved friends, sacrifices in my attempt to save something already broken beyond repair. 

For 6 years I tried to fuse the cracks. I said goodbye to my most cherished friends, disconnected with my own sister, closed myself in to focus solely on the necessary work of restoration. 

Nothing moved the healing beyond a tough scab. It easily tore open again and again, each time making it more fragile than before. Until, finally, I gave up. Without the constant friction of two parts, my own healing progressed rapidly. 

The final pieces of my heart have been put carefully back into place by reaching out to this handful of beautiful, brilliant souls who were innocent bystanders in my marital wreckage. "I'm sorry," are words I've grown very comfortable with. 

Each sincere apology has been greeted with blissful forgiveness. Not just to and from them, but to and from myself. 

With each passing day I grow stronger and more whole. My Passion for uplifting, loving relationships has soared. I have the best people in my life today. 

My voice has grown stronger until, at last, I am sure once more that it is my own.  

My voice.

"It's just so good to hear your voice," she said. And I thought, "You know? It is."


Have you ever lost your voice? Share with us how you found it again, or reach out for help to do so.

Cooking Lessons

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
— Jim Rohn

The cauliflower was still in the fridge. It's the second or third time I've bought it since moving home. I could steam it. It's good that way. A little garlic and chili tossed in EVO and sea salt. Delightful. 

But I wanted it au gratin. I wanted it baked in the oven with that gorgeous, creamy Mornay sauce with a hint of garlic, a pinch of nutmeg and the cheese lightly grilled on top. At the thought of making it myself, my muscles tensed, my breath became shallow and I thought, "I don't know how." 

I spent 14 years side-by-side a very talented home cook, but 7 months ago I chose to start cooking alone. When I began to miss the diverse and delicious fare that I had come to love, I thought, "Well, crap. I don't know how to make any of that." I was what you might call the "sous chef" all of that time. I pretty much just minced the garlic and baked the bread. 

Yet, over the past several months I've been experimenting, making up my own dishes inspired by past (food) loves or whatever I am in the mood to eat. I've been feeling more like I did in my early twenties when I had my own kitchen to play in and good friends to cook for who were simply thankful for a homemade meal! 

Little by little, I'm regaining confidence in the kitchen. I can cut the veggies any way that I want to - imperfectly uneven, if it happens to turn out that way, and no one minds. I can breathe in the kitchen again. 

I thought of the quote that I shared in an earlier post, my mantra of late, and decided to attempt the cauliflower in the way that I craved. The sauce is easy enough, no problem. The method and the ingredients suddenly came to mind... I knew just what to do!

I reflected as I stirred in the milk, little by little, how wonderful our subconscious minds are. They store everything. Every. Thing. Things we want to remember and things we don't. Things we think we forget and things we wish we could. Stored. Imprinted. Forever in our subconscious, recalled as needed. 

When there is no one around to tell you that you can’t, you discover, deliciously, that you can. ‪

That stored knowledge came easily and I felt happy. I knew how to cook it! I reveled in this new awareness. I could do it myself, for myself. And I would. And I did. And, at some point in the oven, my sauce fell apart. It was fine when I poured it over the cauliflower, but broke while cooking and came out runny, separated. 

It was delicious anyway. Not because it came out right or wrong, but because I made it. I made it and no one complained. I tried to make something I loved and though the sauce fell apart, it still tasted good. 

It was delicious. Not because it came out right or wrong, but because the only thing they said was, "Thank you." Dinner wasn't ruined. The evening wasn't ruined.  And I healed a little. 

And I discovered something; something I learned a long time ago and could only finally, now, fully understand - you truly do become who you spend the most time with. When you are surrounded by people who tell you that you can't, you begin to believe it, even if you don't think you do. 

When the critical voice is silenced by time or separation, and you invite more supportive people into your life, your inner voice becomes more supportive, too. And you discover you can. You can cook. You can... anything... and that is the most delicious thing of all. 

Getting Vulnerable

I used to be a parenting blogger, blogging 3 or more times a week sharing my experience as a mom. Then I became certified as a coach and facilitator and turned all professional, separating the "mom" me from the "coach" me. I stopped writing, because, frankly, I didn't know how to write for my coaching website without getting personal and I didn't want my mom-blog readers to feel like I was trying to sell them my coaching services. 

My perfect clients are moms, too, yet I was having trouble bridging the gap within myself. Currently, my number 1 Passion is to "feel fully, freely and authentically me!" As I've delved into what being "authentic" means to me (see The Question of the Month post from a couple of days ago), I have realized that I simply can't do that without bringing my journey as a woman and mother into my coaching and website blog. 

For months I've been meditating on how to move forward in my business, asking for clear guidance so that I serve my highest purpose in the world. The funny thing about guidance is that you have to actually pay attention to receive it and because our minds are so beautifully protective of us, they often filter out the very messages that we asked for! 

I keep getting signs to create, relax, release, express... well, finally I get it. It's time to start sharing my experience again, as a woman, mother and professional coach. Because that's how you'll know if we resonate. You and me.

It's how I'll unfold into the most authentic version of myself, relaxing and releasing into me. Writing is how I find my voice. 

That also means being vulnerable and vulnerability is scary. But like I'm always saying, 

So, I'm going to start sharing more of who I am, not just what I know, with you. My ego feels afraid, my heart feels free. Join me on this new adventure, won't you? After all, I am you and you are me (more on that another time!). 

 

The Question of the Month

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I have decided to take a short break from Your Monday Minute as I put my attention on learning the ins and outs of my business, and myself, for the next 8 weeks in Marie Forleo's B-school. Even though I won't be appearing in video on a weekly basis (though you may get a few, just because I love you so much), I intend (intention!) to write here on the blog more frequently. 

Writing is the way I process. Writing is meditation. Writing is how I explore within. 

I'm exploring the concept of authenticity at the moment, to find the greater truth of what being authentic means to me, so I can show up authentically for you. 

A couple of years ago, to me, the word "authentic" merely applied to things, not people. And it doesn't just mean, "I am who I am and you can all just.." you know the rest. It is more than that. It is showing up in the world speaking your truth, growing into that truth and doing so in the energy of love. 

Today, this word is paramount to my entire existence. Purpose... Meaning... Authentically bringing those things to life passionately within myself to be a light for you to do the same is why I am here. Yes, I believe in purpose. I believe everyone has a life-purpose. For some, the purpose is only to live and experience and learn in preparation for the next life. Their next life.

For others, much of the learning has already been done and they are here to teach, to guide, to reflect, to love, to light the way. 

Word Origin: Authentic
from Late Latin authenticus coming from the author, from Greekauthentikos, from authentēs one who acts independently, from auto- +hentēs a doer

So this month, I'm asking the question, "Who am I?"  Who am I when I am my authentic self? What does "authentic" look like to me. How do I show up in the world and to the world when I am being and feeling, fully, freely and authentically me? From The Passion Test:

When you are clear, what you want will show up in your life, and only to the extent that you are clear.

Who are you? What does being authentic mean to you? Please share in the comments below. I appreciate multiple sources for any endeavor into deeper knowledge.  

Leap Through Your Fear

Everything you want is on the other side of fear... leap and the net will appear

I've made a practice of leaping this past year or so. It's kind of fun. Exhilarating, really. All of my life I subscribed to the boxed-in mentality that most of us are raised with. The predetermined who you can be, what you can achieve, how much you might possibly earn in your lifetime... I'm stripping away the programming, dropping it piece by piece. 

I once thought that I was stuck, then I learned that my thoughts are not reality. I once believed that I couldn't leave an unhappy situation, then I did it anyway. I'm starting to realize that it is actually true... anything is possible. 

Intention. Attention. No Tension. The formula that I've been living by for the past 2 and a half years works. It seems like magic and it isn't. It's you. It's me. Making up our minds, getting clear on the how, what and who of our lives and drawing it into existence. 

If you won't join me, I invite you at least to watch. See this regular girl create an exceptional reality. It's happening now. B-School, here I come. 

  I signed up through Danielle LaPorte's affiliate link, because the bonus is simply the best. Are you ready to join us? Enrollment closes at 3pm EST today.   bit.ly/DLPbschool

I signed up through Danielle LaPorte's affiliate link, because the bonus is simply the best. Are you ready to join us? Enrollment closes at 3pm EST today. bit.ly/DLPbschool