Hey everyone! I hope you are having a great week and doing all the things you love. If not, hey, it's Friday, so this weekend is the perfect chance to change things up and start living your best life.
I wanted to make a quick announcement that my new book - Fragments of Hope - will be available for preorder today and will be out in paperback, hardcover, and kindle on March 28th!
And I couldn't be more excited to share this news with you all!
It's been a long time coming honestly between having COVID twice last year, causing months of brain fog, and the worst case of writer's block I'd ever experienced.
But I pushed past it, and here we are!
I thought I'd read you the blurb and what the book is about if you are interested in picking up a copy for yourself or someone you know dealing with the tragedy of grief and loss.
Despite having everything to celebrate after years of infertility, the next chapter of Hope Austin's life is suddenly fragmented by sorrow. The future she envisioned is shattered without warning. When her world implodes, and she cannot see a way out of the darkness that encompasses her every waking moment, she is faced with a critical choice - to remain anchored to her trauma - or face the merciless demons of her past to heal. Unspeakable grief, crippling anxiety, and outright anger toward God become relentless snapshots of pain that crush her spirit as she pleads for an end to the suffering. As she clings to whispers of light found in chance meetings with angels unaware, she begins to pen the first threads of hope - a memoir of loss, survival, and recovery.
Join Hope as she rewrites her story of tragedy through profoundly moving and deeply intimate chapters of finding grace, a second chance at love, and a purpose born from her journey through grief.
Again, that's from my new novel, Fragments of Hope, and I hope you will grab a copy and that it leads you to a place of recovery and finds space in your heart to allow you to heal.
So before I started getting ready for the podcast today, I sat with my emotions and asked that the universe lead me where it will. I asked Spirit to lead me where my trust is, without borders. I asked that I might walk upon the waters of change, where I am called to serve.
I also pulled an oracle card from our Enchanted Map deck by Colette Baron-Reid after I'd meditated a few minutes longer.
I pulled card 52 - upright. Magical Map Shifter.
Okay, so we have an incredible show lined up today and it's on a topic that many of you have said you struggle with, especially inside the parameters of the last two or three years of the pandemic.
I think we can all agree that there are times in everyone's life we have felt tired. Stuck. Not inspired to be the best versions of ourselves that we have been called to be, right?
For many, life's detours and tragedies is the reason behind that stuckness.
For others? It's trauma, pain, grief, and loss of a loved one, a change of life circumstances such as divorce, or even menopause.
While there are many causes for feeling uninspired and shrouded by anxiety, doubt, or fear, what I want you to know is that it's okay to feel those emotions and acknowledge they have a purpose for this season, but they are not meant to stay - or to define who we are.
So how do we find ourselves again after losing ourselves to darkness, or pain, or trauma so deep we feel like we might never recover?
I want to show you how to unearth your true potential and purpose and find your authentic self again by rewriting your story - line, by line, by line.
Now, let me ask you a question. It's one I've been considering a lot lately.
Do you know - beyond the shadow of a doubt - who you really and truly are?
I have my doubts that you do because I feel the exact same way if we get real about things.
I am the person that is shaped by my childhood, my past, my religion, my country, my state, my family, and my trauma.
Without all of those things blocking my vision, I guess I'm not so sure anymore who I really am.
So let's take a step back and peel back those layers to uncover who we once were - our authentic selves.
Now I listen frequently to The Mel Robbins Podcast, and I urge you all to look her up and follow her. She is #1 on my list of inspirational influencers to listen to. She's real. She's honest. And she's amazing.
But, like you, her greatness wasn't born because she's perfect and has it all together. It developed into the wholeness that you see today because she's not, and neither am I.
It is at ground zero - the very bottom of the messiness and heartache that we are often forced to take a step back and look at ourselves honestly for the first time.
No matter how painful this step may be, it is essential that we go through it to find our truth. To change. To grow.
So I'm going to ask you to do an exercise that Mel did. I think you will find it helpful in uncovering the person you might want to become again.
Pretend like you are going to write a screenplay about a main character.
If you love movies - or books - as I do, you'll understand that there is almost always a deep, visceral connection to the main characters - you either love them or hate them, right?
And they play a vital role in leading the storyline all the way through from the conception of the story to the very last line.
Now, let's focus on the main character again because it's probably the most important one you'll ever write about - do you know why? Because it's you...
You are about to write a movie script about the real you without the pressure to conform to what others want/need you to be.
I'm going to give you some homework when you're done listening today.
I want you to find a quiet place to write and settle into your favorite chair so you can focus on YOU while you do this with no distractions.
I want you to write a character description - write your new story.
Describe a day in your life - of who you are at your core.
Here are a few questions to consider -
When you would wake up?
Where you would live?
Where you would go? What would you do?
What kind of work you would do? Or would you work at all?
What kind of friends you would have?
What would do without any limitations that you've always wanted to do?
Who fills your thoughts?
Are you laughing? Are you crying? Are you everything you thought you'd be and more?
How does that feel?
This is such an important exercise because I don't think we know who we truly are beyond the expectations everyone else has put on us.
For me personally? I've spent my entire life pleasing other people, being too scared to say no, or shutting down toxic family interactions and dialogue because I was afraid of what others might think or say. That they would reject me. That they would love me less than I already feel they do because I've never felt like enough in their eyes anyway.
I've never been good enough for them and then in turn, for myself.
It's time we are honest with ourselves for once and stop hiding behind our comfort zones - we NEED to feel the discomfort and it WILL COME when we start getting real with ourselves and unpacking the reasons behind why we don't feel enough and unearthing the trauma that got us here today.
It's in this pause - this moment of serenity and reflection, that we find balance and finally, peace.
Let's take a moment to talk about this pause - this chance to start over and rewrite and ending of two of our life stories.
Again on The Mel Robbins Podcast from this week - the episode was titled, Are You the Driver, or the Passenger, of Your Own Life?
As I listened to her analogy of life being like a road trip, my mind began to spin in all sorts of directions and I had to take a step back and consider my own life.
I, myself, have been a passenger on this road trip for far too long. I don't know exactly where this road leads in the immediate future, but I was meant for much more than just this - I know that for sure.
At 53 years old, I'm just learning to find myself again in the messy in-between of my life. In this season I didn't expect would change ME so radically.
We are on the cusp of empty nesting - and this leaves me with more questions than answers about who I am now without everything else I used to be. A mom. A wife. A daughter. A homemaker. An employee. A bill payer. A Chef. A woman who lost herself and her own identity somewhere along the way.
Now there were detours, and pitfalls, and black holes I fell into that were rooted in trauma and threatened to undo me at times on the road of my life.
How about you? What were your detours? Your roadblocks? The mountains that stopped you from becoming everything you hoped to be?
How did they lead you to the road you are on now? What lessons did they teach you along the way?
It's hard to imagine that those lessons, those traumas we've experienced and are still trying to overcome and heal from serve a positive purpose in creating who we are. Whether we realize it or not, they've helped push us toward this exact moment in time and have given us a wonderful opportunity to grow as a catalyst to change.
Let's talk a little more about the metaphor Mel Robbins used about life being one big road trip.
I don't know about you, but some of my favorite memories of childhood and even adulthood center around road trips.
So let's unpack this and break it down a little further.
Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a dark desolate road. There is no one around but you. And no one to get in your way. No noise from anyone else's traffic to muddy your vision or keep you from moving forward.
Honestly? This is where I am right now. Perhaps, like me, you even see two forks in the road, like in the poem by Robert Frost about two paths diverging.
I want this next chapter of my life to be incredible. So how will I chart a new course to get there?
The thing is - lately, something has been pulling at me. Ticking my imagination. Whispering to 'be prepared' because it's coming. I know this is true because I feel it in my gut so strongly that some days I can think of nothing else. And I realize now that the prospects of the road that lie ahead of me are endless.
But first - I have to do the work to release myself from my past - and, I need to step aside and get out of my own way!
Let's go back to that road we are standing in the middle of. The one with two choices to face.
What happens if the fog rolls in while you're driving? Or it starts raining, then storming, and hail suddenly pelts your windshield and you can't see the road ahead?
We'd pull over right? To keep us, and others, safe?
So let's think of this season in your life that same way.
Let's pull over, pause, and reset as we consider the things we need to change before we get back on the road - destination unknown.
Right now, you might have a flat tire - or, like me, a slow leak, lol. Some days feel like all of my joy is slowly leaking out a little bit more each day.
Now I have no doubt that my mindset is deeply affected by menopause and all of the hormonal changes I'm experiencing all at once.
I am learning to let them rise up and FEEL them as they come, but I need to learn not to stay stuck in that space. I need to fix the flat and move on!
Like you, I'm at a crossroads, too, and I realize that I've been spending more time lately wishing away the things I didn't want or regretting the things I haven't done than getting my act together, setting my dreams on fire, and MOVING into a space of change and DOING things to make it happen.
How about you?
Are there crossroads you are facing?
A change you need to make but you're too scared to try it?
I urge you to be still for a moment in this space and let it settle in your spirit before you take action.
Have you ever had a major meltdown and tried to drive while you are overcome with sadness and bawling your eyes out? You can't do it, not safely anyway, can you?
Again, I urge you to pull over to the side of the road, pause, and reflect on what it is that is making you so unhappy. Why are you so sad? What are you afraid of?
Is it possible that someone else has influenced you to feel like you're not good enough?
Told you that you shouldn't be something you really wanted to become?
Is it a past trauma that triggers you every time you think you're almost there, then drags you right back to that moment it happened and keeps you paralyzed in fear and anxiety, afraid to move forward?
Whatever you are feeling, whatever the reason - it is okay to feel those things.
And none of what has happened in your life and your trauma story has been your fault.
YOU are not broken. Perhaps it's that someone else veered into your lane and hit you head-on and nearly totaled your car - your physical, spiritual, and emotional car, right?
When that happens in real time what would you do?
Do you rent another car until you can get a new one? Or, if it's worth it, the insurance company pays a big chunk of change do you fix the one that's damaged and you move forward?
Now for a while after the accident, you are in shock, aren't you? Still reeling from the fact that it even happened in the first place and questioning if there was anything you could have done to avoid it.
But then you make a few calls and figure out what to do.
Now, let's unpack that analogy a little further.
No matter how that crushed car LOOKS, you can still drive it with a running engine, fluids kept in check, and 4 tires, even if they are a little low, and even if seems to be a disaster on the outside, right?
I found an article by Ronda Gates that she titled "Your Car: A Metaphor for Your Life" I thought I'd read it to you today:
I have always been intrigued by how easy it is to use a car as a metaphor for explaining the importance of self-care. After all, because our cars are so important to our quality of life we take good care of them. Doesn't the vehicle that transports us through life deserve the same? Consider these:
A car engine that's well tuned operates at peak efficiency. If your body is tuned up with exercise, your metabolism will be in top form and you will get peak performance from your body.
You use high quality products to fuel your engine to assure a smoother ride. You'll get a smoother ride from your body when your diet has more nutrient dense vitamin and mineral filled calories and less empty fat and sugar filled calories.
Your car's radiator must have enough water to prevent overheating. When the water levels are low you add this important coolant. Water is integral to life. Drinking water, juice, milk and watery foods keeps you from overheating.
When the battery in our car runs low, we recharge it. When we are low on energy sleep, time for self-reflection and recreation can recharge our body and mind.
Your car runs best when there is proper pressure in the tires. Living life so the pressures of work and home don't become overwhelming keeps us on an even keel.
The tires on your car must be balanced. So must your life. Like a car, a life out of balance can predispose you to physical, mental and emotional danger.
You must limit the weight and passengers in your car to a level it can handle. Keeping your weight at a healthy level is important too.
You have to keep your car clean and protected from the elements to assure it doesn't rust and decay. Bathing, brushing, flossing and protecting your skin from the sun assures you stay healthy too.
If you want your car dealer to fulfill promises for a warranty you must comply with regular maintenance schedules. You are more likely to get a lifetime warranty when your life includes periodic evaluation of goals and objectives.
You wouldn't take a long journey without a map and a plan. Life works best when we have short and long range goals and objectives and a plan to get us where we want to go.
If you want to learn more about the operation of your car you read the owner's manual and books that can teach you as much as you want or need to know. Sadly, humans don't come with an owner's manual, but there is ample information to learn more about how our body works and the lifestyle changes that can support lifetime peak performance.
If your car isn't running well you take it in for a checkup. When problems are revealed you fix them right away. If you aren't feeling up to par, a checkup can allay any fears and if there is a problem you can take care of it right away.
I could go on and on. Instead, this week I encourage you to pay attention to the parallels between your life and your car. Remember that it is often easy to repair and replace damaged parts on our car. That's not always the case with our body.
If you find your self-care is lacking, get back on track. Realign your priorities. If you park them in the right place you can care for your body as carefully as you care for your car. You will discover it is worth the effort.
Now, that's a pretty cool analogy, isn't it?
So, while we are learning to be still and re-evaluating our choices in life and the steps we need to take to get our physical, emotional, and spiritual vehicle back on the road, I have found that journaling helps me tremendously.
Writing those scary thoughts out on paper that maybe you are afraid to say out loud? Or to admit to anyone else. It's cathartic. Healing.
The path to healing, though, lies in looking those demons straight in the eyes and saying "You have no more power over me now. I am taking back my life, and nothing will stand in my way this time. Do you hear me? NOTHING!"
I want you guys to write that down and put it at the top of your journal. And I want you to repeat those words as you look in the mirror - hell, scream it from a mountaintop if you have to - until you begin to believe that it is true.
That you CAN move those mountains of pain and move past your trauma and into a space of emotional growth and healing, then eventually, you can learn how to thrive despite past trauma.
Some of those lessons (and traumas) are painful but they push you toward your purpose.
You are only responsible for how you REACT to the detour, the pain, and the trauma, (not the act of the trauma itself) and we are responsible for the upkeep, the maintenance, and the making new again of the vehicle we've been given to navigate this life with! And another thing I've suddenly realized that you might not be aware of - Do you know that we can kick the other driver out of the car and take the wheel to get back on the course? We alone have the power to take our lives back into our own hands, and I think it's about damn time to do just that! You, like me, are meant for more than we are in this moment.
My brain and my neurological responses are always a million steps back into the past as I'm triggered at different times throughout the day, or I'm a hundred steps ahead worrying and anxious over things I wouldn't be able to prevent even if they did happen.
So I'm focused now on being present in THIS moment and centering (anchoring) myself to THIS moment where I'm safe and free from those traumas to heal.
I listened to another podcast where the woman said it's so much easier to see the boogeyman and shine a light on it than be running scared, blind in the dark, and terrified of when it might sneak up and emerge out of nowhere to set me up and stop me from accomplishing every single one of my goals. Let's face our boogeyman. Pull those skeletons out of your closet, and remove the power they hold over you.
Stop grieving the life we were never able to live as we were chained to our past and tethered to our traumas.
This time, as we move forward into a new journey of hope, let's ignore all logic and allow wonder and synchronicity to rule our mindset and be open to the unknown to teach us lessons along the way to our path of healing.
Let's plot and chart a new course to fuel that spark burning under our feet to light our dreams and future on fire - so let's get back on the road and DO IT!
Be intentional in knowing that we are living on borrowed time - so why not do it all?
DESPITE still healing from the trauma - don't wait until you are through it.
Live in the messy unknown, the chaotic in-betweens. It's where you shine the most.
I don't know about you all, but I've had enough of the cloudy days. Enough of the storms obscuring my vision of the woman I choose to become now.
I'm done avoiding the storms and potholes that stop me in my tracks and derail me from achieving every single one of my dreams.
I am ready to put in the work, to fix my emotional, physical, and spiritual vehicle to find myself again and discover my true purpose - even in the messy in-between...
Until next time, I am unconditionally yours.
All my love,