As a kid I had a natural bent toward discovery. You probably did too. I was naturally creative, expressing life through art, singing, song writing, dance, jewelry fabrication, acting, writing and imagining an unlimited world.
By the time I was sixteen, I had an insatiable hunger for curiosity and learning and began reading books that expressed ideas I didn’t find being explored in classrooms, pulpits, at home or through the many innovative thought leaders of our day. I couldn’t get enough of the ‘Self-help’ section in bookstores offering up thoughts on spirituality, successful living and creative thinking long before I'd heard of the coaching profession. I was a proactive seeker looking for answers and tools to navigate life.
It wasn’t until recently that I recognized this natural bent and curiosity around the way people think and the structures that have caused the perceptions and the stories we make up. Like many grown up women I've spent a great deal of time dancing between my natural wide-eyed curiosity and trying to appease puritanical poo pooing that refuses to challenge the way we think and what we think we know. That dance is exhausting and only keeps us disconnected from who we truly are.
I don’t particularly love the term ‘Self-help’, because I believe in a power much greater than myself. Honestly, without spiritual grounding and guidance, I wouldn’t have made it out of my twenties. I understand that it's never been about willpower. However, if we refuse to help ourselves we will scrape through life as a victim, thinking we will magically arrive at a desired location, yet all the while we will simply arrive where we're heading.
Many people are unaware that they're actually living with a kind of magical thinking, believing a magical power will help them instead of growing the skill set to shift themselves. Fear keeps people cycling around a familiar cul-de-sac unable to awaken to the illusions that keep them there. I find it a quandary to see those that never take responsibility for investing in their personal development, because of cultural groupthink that keeps them immobilized. Year after year hanging out in the same malaise that manifests through a disconnected heart, desires and gifting.
Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.”
That is why I do the work I do. I want us as women to claim the power to invest in our lives to the measure that we invest in others. I want us to love ourselves so we can truly love others, but that can never happen if we don't hold the space for ourselves!
I want women to learn to practice what I have coined "personal hospitality," learning to love ourselves from the inside out. This is far more than a beautiful vacation, a trip to the spa, or a facial.
The kind of personal hospitality I am talking about is an inside job. Interestingly, it's most easily recognized when it's not in place. The lack of it is what keeps women in the 'have to's', dutifully performing, striving, and hustling, so they don't have to get still and address their deep inner incongruence. Inner incongruence reeks of personal betrayal. I call this identity whiplash! Yet a woman who loves herself invests in herself at a deep level.
I can’t tell you how often I hear women express their lack of funding for personal development and then walk into a store and drop the bucks they’ve claimed they lack. Where we spend money expresses where we place our value.
I surely didn’t recognize incongruence within myself until that very word started bubbling up within my spirit. That's when I couldn't help but get curious, with spirit's guidance I began to listen to myself at a whole new level. I began to discover the many things my head dutifully demanded I do, good things, while my heart was being betrayed.
It takes time and space to get connected with the truth of our inner world at a whole new level of authenticity and vulnerability. But until we do there can be no real congruence in life, merely bumbling from one coping mechanism to the next like a bee flitting from vine to vine, aching to fill the gaping hole inside. Sometimes coping is learned so well that it can even look quite holy, parroting niceties, while the heart is thoroughly prostituting itself.
Taking the time to nourish ourselves from the inside out is how we begin to practice inner hospitality and wellbeing. Giving ourselves permission to invest in our lives at a deeper level means allowing for the space to get still and reacquainted with ourselves, to stop and address our fears shouted through ego's song and dance, so we can get real.
"Before I am your sister, your daughter, or your mother, first I am myself and I will not set fire to myself to keep you warm."
You are the only one who can invest in yourself and I am the only one who can invest in myself. Through the small groups, workshops, retreats and individual coaching I offer I help women tend their heart.
If this blog post resonates with you and you know you need to pull aside into a space where you can listen to your heart, soak up ample hospitality and nurture, through creative play and processing, join us for the Untamed Creative Retreat. You will be so glad you took the time to invest in yourself, because you are worth it! Participants were elated with the fun, refreshing and inspiring time of creative unsticking and personal enlivening they experienced with us in the Delta at our family farm. Hurry to join the other women eager to untame more of their creativity and wholeheartedness. To register and find information click here.
If you’re in the Charlotte area check out the new Rising StrongTM group based on Brenè Brown's material that will be starting this fall. Hurry to register, space is limited at both events.