Blog.

Success = Expression & Fulfillment.

When you think of the concept of success, what are some of the ideas that immediately come to mind? Accomplishment? Achievement? Triumph? Being #1?  Being the best? Standing out?

I think it fair to say that for many, the above list is a fairly accurate representation of what success entails. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, from the time we are young we are taught to believe that success is about standing apart from the rest. We are told that success is about making the grade, winning the game, landing that job etc. About things that warrant praise, invite the approval and validation of others, and ultimately conjure up those “good feelings”- empowerment, elation, satisfaction and so on. We become immersed in the notion that true success is only found when it is appreciated, recognized, and rewarded by others. The idea that “I’m only as successful as the recognition I receive” becomes the stuff of obsession and addiction, and we inadvertently put ourselves in a place of unhealthy striving. Personal authenticity takes a back seat, and disingenuous expression rides shotgun because we start doing “whatever it takes” to attain external validation. Feelings of misalignment begin to run rampant because we start to lose sight of ourselves in the pursuit of these elusive “good feelings.” In short, we lose a sense of control over our lives. Ironically, we begin to feel disempowered, dissatisfied, and dejected.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying that recognition, praise and acknowledgement from others is inherently bad. I’m saying that when the pursuit of those things overtakes the pursuit of personal fulfillment, a problem arises. Really, it’s when “looking good” for the sake of distinction becomes far more important than our own sense of happiness and wellbeing.

So what is success? Well, in my books, it’s about selfish selflessness. Allow me to explain…

True success, in my opinion, is all about nurturing our gifts- making our personal evolution our top priority.  Honouring ourselves by allowing individual expression to be what we ultimately strive for in all that we do, and in all that we create. It’s no longer about “them”, and when it’s no longer about “them”, authenticity shines brightly, because we are freed from feeling we need to seek external validation. We can fill ourselves up. Success is about selfish fulfillment- a good and beautiful selfishness that serves to uplift the planet.

When we practice selfish fulfillment, we become happier, gentler, and softer, because we recognize that we here to give of ourselves. That we are in fact, gifts to the world just by being who we are. We recognize that personal expression is, in and of itself, an act of service. We move away from a mentality of competition and move into a mentality of contribution. It becomes about how much we can give, not about how much we can get. It’s about where we are now, not where we’re going to be.

For me, success is about:

  • Extending compassion. Always.
  • Infusing love into everything I do.
  • Practicing fearlessness and taking risks (even if it scares the s**t out of me).
  • Writing from a place of vulnerability.
  • Making fun a necessity, not a luxury.
  • Making an impact in the lives of others.
  • Practicing gratitude… Every. Single. Day.
  • Telling people how I feel about them. Often.

Success is to be measured internally, not externally. It is to be personally defined. Grant yourself the permission to nurture your gifts and live your passion. Go forth and contribute of yourself. The world needs you in all your authentic awesomeness. After all, you are the only you there is on the planet, and you have a responsibility to shine.

 

Actually, There Isn’t Anything Wrong with You.

I have experienced two significant losses in my life- losses which effectively shattered my worldview, robbed me of my sense of security and normality and forced me to question everything I once oriented my life around. I felt completely and utterly overwhelmed as the reality of the finality of the deaths of those I love so deeply began to sink in. I felt as though I was in hole of hopelessness, helplessness, sadness and despair, and the prospect of ever being able to climb out seemed highly improbable. I was terrified- I was no longer the happy, outgoing person I was before they had died, and I was plagued by the worry that I would never be again. I felt lost. I tried to reach out, but the responses I received felt judgemental and unsympathetic. Each time I would try to speak about my experience, people would become visibly uncomfortable, oftentimes rushing me to another topic of conversation, or attempting to comfort me with “words of wisdom”, highlighting the positive rather than focusing on the reality of what was. I began to loathe phrases like “Be strong” and “Keep your chin up.” That was not what I needed to hear. I needed someone to validate my pain, not try to rush me to a resolution. I needed to hear that however I felt was okay and acceptable.

Grief is a natural response to loss, but it has been my experience that it is often framed as something to be fixed.  It is seen as problematic- it is to be treated, and done away with as quickly as possible. We live in a death denying culture, best exemplified through workplace bereavement leave policies that attempt to quantify and contain grief to 1 to 3 “bereavement days,” after which we are expected to “be strong and soldier on.” Following the allotted time, we are no longer given the implicit permission to express our grief publicly, and if we do, there is surely something wrong with us. And so, we often retreat- isolating ourselves, becoming fearful of reaching out to others due to the judgement we may receive. Furthermore, we become judgemental toward ourselves and thoughts like “Why do I keep dwelling on this? There is something wrong with me,” “It has been weeks/months/years, I shouldn’t be feeling like this anymore,” “I need to get closure, so I can move on,” etc. begin to manifest, and we consequently begin to avoid and deny our grief for the sake of looking like we have put our grief behind us and moved on. But the reality is, the pain is still there, waiting to be heard and felt.

Grieving is not a timed process, as pain of such deep magnitude simply cannot be confined to a number of days, weeks, months or years. You will be sitting in the pain of your loss for the rest of your life. Of course, the pain will transform the more you move toward healing through expressing it, but it will always be there, because your love for the one who has died will always be there.

The normal you once had can no longer be found, because it no longer exists. The focus of the grief journey therefore, is not resolution but integration. It is about integrating the reality of your loss into your life, not putting it behind you.

Rest assured that your grief is not a problem to be fixed. There nothing shameful about it, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. However you feel is okay- today, tomorrow, and the countless days after that.

The Vulnerability Remedy.

A few months days ago, while having a conversation with a good friend of mine, I crossed a boundary. I used a story which wasn’t mine to share, to illustrate a point.  Although the story fit with the nature of the conversation we were having, as soon as the words left my mouth I felt utterly disgusting. I knew, based on the physical reaction I was experiencing that I had made a huge mistake. I immediately went into shame mode. Narratives akin to “I am a horrible person” started to swirl in my mind. I felt that what I had done was in such stark contrast to my core guiding value (fierce compassion) that I couldn’t take it. I literally wanted to crawl out of my own skin and hide. Huge, huge shame.

I let a few more minutes of conversation pass.

The thoughts kept going. “What is wrong with you?” “How could you have been so careless?”  “You are a bad person.”  On and on. And, I knew that these thoughts would continue for days. I would punish myself in this way for hours on end until I felt that I had paid for what I had done. Interrupted nights, and days spent in a bad mood to follow. This cycle was all too familiar to me.

I desperately didn’t want to go down that road. So, instead of condemning myself for days, I decided to purposely break the cycle: I called on my self-compassion. I instantly knew what I had to do. I had to bring this up. I had to get vulnerable. And so, I brought it up. I told my friend, that I was very uncomfortable with what I had said and that I was experiencing some heavy shame about it. I told her about the thoughts that I had been having in the last few minutes of our conversation.  She listened, and I immediately felt better. I told her that I was fearful of her judgment of me, and that what I had done was out of alignment with who I want to be. The more vulnerable I got, the better I felt. She responded with compassion, and assured me that we all make mistakes and that what I had done, she believed was not a reflection of my character.

And, there it was: my ticket to freedom. It was in her speaking those words that I knew that the next few days would not be colored by self-punishing thoughts.

Healing happens in the space of vulnerability.

Yes, vulnerability is uncomfortable. That’s why it’s a reflection of courage, not weakness. But as uncomfortable as it may be, it comes with the greatest rewards life has to offer. It allows us to feel connected, reassured and united. Vulnerability is deeply empowering and enabling. It is the birthplace of freedom, because it is inherently risky, and what is risky is profoundly liberating.

 

 

 
 
 

 

Why Death is One of Our Greatest Teachers.

 

Living life with the end in mind is the most powerful route to personal freedom and authenticity.

I absolutely love the work I do. Companioning individuals as they grieve the loss of a loved one has been the most powerful, heart-wrenching, enlightening, and meaningful “work” I have done. Bearing witness to one’s stories of loss and heartache is an absolute honour and privilege, for I know that delving into the depths of one’s grief is the hardest thing one can ever do.

Doing this work has made death a constant companion. It’s ever-present reality in my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the fact that one day my life will end. At first, admitting this was terrifying. It evoked panic and a feeling of being trapped, with no hope of escape- and truthfully, it still does on some days. But, with loss comes forced reflection and subsequent insight.

It is for this insight I am extremely grateful for it has made clear to me that this life is a gift, never to be taken for granted. We are privileged to be here and to be given the opportunity to become the fullest expressions of who we are.

Here a few of the radical shifts/insights that have occurred in my life:

  • Everything is a miracle.

Living with death as an all too tangible reality renders everything and every experience miraculous. The “little things” become the “big things”, and material things lose their value. We also begin to recognize the mere chance by which we were granted this life, and as such we can see with greater clarity that we are not here by accident.

  • Gratitude expands

When we recognize life is a privilege, gratitude expands. Everything of which our life is composed becomes “thank you worthy.” We become grateful for what we have, and especially for the people who surround us. Death also allows us to become less inhibited, and simply say what’s in hearts. It becomes easier to declare our appreciation for the people we love, for we recognize that there may not be another chance.

  • Love and connection becomes all that matters.

Death makes love, and our expression of it, our highest priority. It becomes infused in everything that we do, in every choice we make, and in every interaction we have with others. It allows us to recognize that our attentive presence is what counts, for it through this attentive presence that our love is conveyed. It becomes about fully engaging with every single moment by acknowledging that time is a finite resource. We recognize that one’s time (an expression of love) is the most precious gift one can give another, for the giving of one’s life in this way, signals that the other matters-and that’s all we want to know at the end of the day anyway.

  • You are here to be the fullest expression of yourself.

Authenticity becomes fundamental. Death allows us to disengage from the (false) fear-based thoughts that so often limit us, thus allowing us to become the fullest expressions of ourselves- in an unapologetic way. We recognize that are here to learn, to teach, and ultimately, to expand. As such, living out our passion becomes essential to our personal sense of well-being.

 

Living Outside of the Assumption Box.

 

Life with a disability. Something I wouldn’t change even if I was given the choice. I have said it time and time again, my disability (if we really have to call it that) has been the birth place of numerous insights and reflections for me. It has opened the doors to a sense of personal liberation that has come as a result of the embrace of the imperfection that is this body I live in. It consistently pushes me to examine my priorities, and dig deep within myself to figure out who I am and who I want to be.

That’s the thing about living outside of the realm of “normal”- you often get put into a box built of labels and assumptions. It’s safe that way, because the labels and assumptions give other people a road map. It gives them a vague understanding of the rules of interaction- what to say, what not to say, what to do, and what not to do. Or at least, that’s the intention of the labels and assumptions- they are supposed to be helpful, and keep everything in the realm of the non-offensive.

For the sake of familiarity, let me ask you, what kind of images, words and associations do the words “disabled” and “disability” conjure up for you?

If you immediately thought of things like weak, incapable, to be pitied, unhappy, flawed, helpless, powerless, no social life, victim, unfair, unsuccessful,  no prospect of living close to the realm of “normality” etc., let me assure you that you are not alone. Many of us have been conditioned to think this way. It’s almost natural, and to some degree it is a faultless act. It almost seems harmless, except it’s not.

Labels and their associated assumptions can have severely detrimental impacts on one’s fundamental sense of self, for these labels often become internalized, and subsequently impact one’s thoughts, emotions and behaviours. For example, if a person with a disability is implicitly and repeatedly told they are incapable, through the nature of the interactions they have with those around them, it is likely that they will begin to think thoughts like “I can’t do it, so there’s no point in trying,” “I’m going to fail,” “I am powerless,” “I am a victim of my circumstances,” “There is something wrong with me,” “I’ll never be successful” and so forth. Consequently, that person may begin to experience feelings of helplessness, doubt, hopelessness, shame, defeat, inferiority, and frustration, which then directly impact their willingness to take action. As such, that person will likely begin to act in alignment with their thoughts and feelings by rarely or never taking risks or trying new things, isolating themselves, and so on, thereby never allowing themselves the opportunity to accumulate experiences to counter their thoughts and feelings. And so, a self-fulfilling prophecy ensues.

And here’s the thing, I used the example of disability here because I know it- I have seen this pattern play out within myself and with others. But, even for those of us who are not living outside of the realm of “normal” these patterns still manifest. We all carry beliefs that have resulted from the interactions we have had with others and the assumptions they have placed upon us, either knowingly or unknowingly. And, if we’re not careful, these beliefs can begin to rule us, robbing us of our sense of freedom, and rendering us fearful. Fearful of expressing our authentic selves. And so, we become confined to a prison of our own creation.

So, the question becomes, how can we get back to freedom?

  • Examine your thoughts.

Write down the thoughts that tend to dominate your mind. Ask yourself, when did these thoughts originate? From whom did they originate?

  • Recognize that these thoughts aren’t facts.

As difficult as it may be to believe (because we have been attached to them for so long) our thoughts are not facts. They are in fact, changeable.

  • Be willing to recognize humanness.

Once you have determined where and from whom your most dominating thoughts originate, ask yourself why you are giving them the power to define you. What makes their word and perception more accurate than yours? After all, they too are just human. Any power they may have is a result of your decision to give them that power. We are all equal.

  • Choose to live by your definition of you, for that is freedom.

Your definition of you is just as valid as the definition that others attempt to place upon you. Choose to live in the space of authenticity, remembering that you can choose whether or not you buy into other people’s perceptions of you. For example, just because a person is disabled does not mean they are incapable. Aligning with the assumption of “incapable” is their choice. So I encourage you to ask yourself:

  • In the absence of the limiting thoughts which hold me, who do I know myself to be?

Are you compassionate, outgoing, passionate, spontaneous, loving, hilarious, kind, adventurous, quirky, fun, bold, strong, hardworking, witty, etc.?

Choose to make your definition of you the lens through which you see yourself, and welcome freedom.

You Are Your Own Guru.

 

Seminars, workshops, countless self-help books, all intended to open the doors to your best life. Intended to re-connect you with yourself- your dreams long forgotten, your deepest desires and your core values. Intended to motivate, uplift, inspire and push you into action. To push you past the blocks which have stood before you for far too long…the fears, the excuses, the perceived limits of reality etc.

We collect pearls of wisdom from the ones who teach and motivate us- the workshop/seminar leaders, the authors, the speakers. We cling to the words they speak and write, taking notes feverishly, thinking that they hold the answers- the key to those doors. We begin to think that it is through listening to their ideas of how our lives should be- how we should think, feel and behave that we will finally find that freedom we crave. We look to these individuals to show us the way to happiness and fulfillment. Consequently, we often place them on that metaphorical pedestal, and label them “gurus,” and “experts.” We begin to idolize, and re-shape our lives to fit that which they promote. Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing- they are writing, leading and speaking to help you come into your best life, after all.

It is all well and good, until we become too attached to the voice of the “gurus” and “experts,” clinging too desperately to their words and ideas, because we want to prove ourselves “good students,” committed to unlocking the doors to happiness and fulfillment that they have set before us, losing our sensitivity to our own voice of expertise in the process.

We begin to lose trust in the voice that tells us what’s best for us. We begin to doubt ourselves and compromise on what we truly think, feel and subsequently do, because it may not align with what we have been taught…and that is never a good feeling, because we are actively participating in acts of self-betrayal.

And so, to me, it comes down to this:

The only person to whom we are an expert, is ourselves. We are the expert of our own lives- no one else can or should be, because to give someone else that power is to do ourselves a grand disservice.

Those workshop and seminar leaders and self-help authors? All they can really offer you is what has worked for them. What they offer is not to be received as infallible, for like you, they are students- they too are playing the game of trial and error that is life. We are all learning what works and what doesn’t for ourselves. That said, I do believe it is our duty to share what we learn along the way with those who we encounter, for as much as we are all students, we are also all teachers.

The job of the student (and we are all students) is to both learn and teach. We teach through we are in this world- the energy we bring to every interaction we have with another, in whatever form it takes.

We all have lessons to teach one another, but it is the task of those witness to the lessons we offer, to shape and interpret them as they see fit to align with their unique experiences and needs. That is the thing about lessons- people can draw from them what they require and disregard the rest, for ultimately people intuitively know what they need. That’s why each of is the expert of our own life and experience.

Never doubt that you know what you need at this very moment, remembering that your personal evolution is not a timed process- it is to unfold as you feel ready. It’s simply a matter of trusting your voice, and granting it precedence over those of others.

Take with you what “fits” from that which others offer, but remember that the only answers we really have are those within ourselves.

You are your own guru.

 

 

 

Grief is Love by Another Name.

Bouts of yearning, sadness, fear, desperation, anguish, hopeless, anger and helplessness overwhelm you like a tidal wave. Your world has come crashing down around you, and the prospect of lifting your head off of the pillow as the sun rises to welcome a new day is looked upon as an insurmountable task. Everything which you once regarded as beautiful now has a shadow cast upon it. The things that were once meaningful to you, are now no longer so.

You struggle to orient yourself to the new world in which you now find yourself. You didn’t ask to be here, and you despise everything around you. You tried everything you could to avoid getting here, but to no avail. You’re lost, scared and alone. You desperately search for a map, but eventually come to realize that there isn’t one to be found. You realize that you must chart your own course, not knowing how long it will take you to walk the path. Every once in a while your path intersects with another, and you walk together for a while, but eventually you part, for they must walk by themselves again, and continue to chart their own course.

As you walk, you ponder the “big questions.” You meditate on the meaning of life, of purpose, and your sense of identity. You think about the future in this new world and wonder if you’ll ever be able to embrace it as feverishly as you did your future in the old world. You wonder if this new world will ever feel safe as the old one did.

This is grief.

It is blanketed in the unknown, and chalk full of fear as a result. Each loss is territory yet to be navigated. There are no “rights” or “wrongs” in grief. There is no such thing as “should” or “shouldn’t.” Grief is an intensely individual experience which takes a vastly different form for each who endures it. It simply does not adhere to a set of pre-determined stages, and it certainly does not abide by a pre-set timeline.

Grief simply cannot be measured in this way because it is a matter of the heart, and such matters cannot be quantified. Grief is enduring and lifelong because it is a matter of love. We grieve for those to whom we are deeply attached, and such attachments cannot be intercepted- even by death. They are infinite and eternal.

So, do away with the notion that you must “get over” and find closure to your grief. You simply cannot get closure to love, for it is far too powerful to be contained. Grieve as your heart guides you to, trusting that you know what you need in order to adjust to this new world in which you’ve been placed. Trust that this love will carry you and guide you to a new sense of meaning, purpose, and identity. It simply requires you to surrender.

 

 

Why it’s Okay if the Metaphorical Glass is Actually Half Empty.

 
 

We’ve all heard them at one time or another, those trite phrases of wisdom intended to uplift and inspire when we turn to others in times of pain. “Every cloud has a silver lining,” “You just need to start thinking more positively,” “Look on the bright side…,” “You need to see the glass as half full,” the list goes on.

Well intentioned? Most definitely.

Helpful? Probably not.

When we turn to others in times of pain and distress, we are not looking for the quick fixes offered by such words. In fact, such words can often increase our pain, and make us feel even worse. Vulnerability is risky, and often takes all the courage we can muster to reach out and let others in, because our most precious, and deeply held stories – those which require the most vulnerability to speak- are typically cloaked in fear, fear that others will not truly understand, will abandon us, and judge us as weak. That’s what makes vulnerability so incredibly powerful, because we know that when we are truly vulnerable, there was a whole bunch of fear that had to be pushed aside. That’s why bearing witness to someone’s most vulnerable stories and experiences is such a deep honor. It takes an immense amount of courage to expose oneself in such a raw and unprotected way. When we render ourselves vulnerable, we are essentially relinquishing control, and placing ourselves in the hands of another. We have no way of predicting how they are going to respond to us- will they nurture, love and respect us or will they disrespect, hurt, and shame us?

Our stories are abundantly powerful, and when they are met with quick fix phrases, it can make us feel that they have been robbed of their power and importance. Such phrases can be degrading and disrespectful because they fail to acknowledge the courage that is vulnerability. They dishonor the sheer valor it requires to let someone else in. Such phrases can make inspire shame and guilt, because they are wrapped in the implicit message that “negative” feelings are bad and therefore should be vehemently avoided. They send the message that we are wrong to have feelings that are not “positive.” Welcome disconnection, isolation and sometimes, self-loathing.

But here’s the thing, the idea that feelings can be labeled as “positive” or “negative” is a social construction. Feelings do not have a positive or negative value. They just are. They are all of equal importance. It’s okay to experience feelings of sadness, hurt, grief and so on because they are all part of the human experience, as much as happiness and joy are. We get scared. We get hurt. We can feel ashamed. We can feel lost. We can feel hopeless. And that’s okay, because it’s normal, and inherently human.

It’s okay that the glass isn’t always half full. It’s not supposed to be.

When we let someone see our pain, what we need is for them to truly honor our story and to meet it with empathy- a compassionate willingness to sit alongside us and delve into our experiences without judgment, as it is though this compassionate presence that connection is fostered. The walls of isolation are effectively shattered because we are made to feel “normal” when we begin to understand that all feelings are universal. We begin to understand that we are not weak because we are scared, hurt, grieving etc. We are in fact, just human, and that all we really need when we are in pain is for someone to sit with us and say, “I get it.”

 


 

 
 
 

Friends who Bring Coffee.

The Sunday morning hangover. Physically not feeling great, but running through all the events of the night before in my mind and thinking about how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life. Experiences had and memories made. The stuff that makes life so incredible. I turn over and look at my phone…I see a message from my soul sister- one that I have known for a majority of my life. The one who I shared a good portion of my childhood with. The one who was there for the rough stuff, the lessons learned through all those awkward times, and the countless laughs over something that really, isn’t/wasn’t even that funny (to the rest of the world anyway).  The one who just knows without asking. She asks if I want to get together.

She comes over about an hour and a half later, with two coffees in hand, and we spend the next hour talking, like we hadn’t seen each other in years. There is an ease to it, and a comfort in the feeling that neither of us has to be anybody but who we are. Pure and raw authenticity informs our interaction, as it always does. There is an unconditional acceptance of the other that lies at the foundation of our friendship. There is a knowing that even if one of us was to screw up that the other would be right there saying “I got you.”

It got me thinking about the independence myth that seems to inform our society these days…the idea that we must be completely self-reliant, and self-sufficient or otherwise run the risk of being seen as weak or “needy.” The idea that dependence is inherently bad, and that if we depend on others it means that we have failed. It can make us feel that we can’t reach out, even if we desperately want to or need to, for fear of the judgement that might be laid upon us, or for fear of the judgement that we might lay upon ourselves.

But here’s the thing: humans are not wired for complete independence, and to buy into the notion that we are, is to significantly truncate the size of our lives. We thrive on connection. We are literally wired for it. The need for a sense of belonging is as essential to our wellbeing as food and water is.

We need to be dependent to be independent.

It is only through cultivating and maintaining connections with others that we are truly able to commit to what makes us shine. It is through knowing that we have people in our lives in front of whom we can show our authentic selves that we are truly able to risk, and reach beyond our comfort zone. We need to know that we have certain people in our lives who are 100% behind us to facilitate our personal expansion. Without having these people, the risks become too big and too fear provoking, because we run the risk of being completely shattered and deflated if the outcome is not favourable. We need these people in our lives to remind us that a failure or a mistake has absolutely no bearing on our worth and that we are still just as inherently valuable and lovable as we were before we fell on our face.

Life is not meant to be a solo journey.

If you’re about living big, seizing the moment, and living a life of greatness, nurture your connections. They will enable you to shine.

PS:  A note to express my deepest gratitude to all those in my life who have helped and continue to help me be the best that I can be. I love you all deeply, and am immensely grateful to you for accepting me exactly as I am without expecting anything else. You all have supported me in making necessary changes in my life, and have given me the courage to reach beyond what I thought possible. Thank you for being champions of my growth and success, and it is my deepest hope that you feel that I am the same for you. xo

Dream with Reckless Abandon.

 

Yesterday, I was rummaging through the drawer in my night table to find notes written to me by my great-grandmother. I do so every year on her birthday and on the anniversary of her death, just to have a moment to really connect with her. As I was searching to find these precious notes, I also found a list of goals I had written about three years ago as I was finishing my undergraduate degree. I literally had not seen this list since I had first written it. As I started to review it, I started to realize that almost everything I had written had either come into form or are well on their way to becoming a reality.

I have always been one to live in the realm of possibility and idealism. I am all for dreaming outside of the confines of reality its seemingly inherent limitations. I have always been a believer in living life in a big way, and just going for it, despite the many roadblocks my mind can conceive. I am driven by a ceaseless motivation to make the most of this life that I have been given, regardless of self-doubt I feel and the fears I experience about what others may think.

It’s about pushing past, and giving myself permission to live my life for me. My life is my gift. Your life is your gift. It is yours to do with as you wish. You are the creator, artist, author, and designer of your experience. There is no such thing as right or wrong, for life cannot be dichotomized in this way. Your experiences just are what they are… inherently valuable, and there to facilitate your personal expansion.

In life, I believe, we called. We are called to dig deep. To grow by way of risk. By way of dreaming big. The purpose of life is to chase your wildest dreams and passions. To devote your energy to that which lights you up, fulfills you and allows you to live in the space of your highest self, for it is in this space that we can be of highest service to others.

Listen to the voice inside you which speaks your dreams, and give yourself permission to trust it. It won’t lead you astray.

Take some time to get acquainted with the voice. Take some space and get quiet. (Or blast the tunes. For me, it is time spent in nature and with my iPod by my side that gets me into the magical space of dreaming about what’s possible… a little Van Halen anyone?)

And so, as you sit and get more and more comfortable sitting in this mental space, you may want to follow these steps:

Visualize. Just let go. Do away with the limits of the realistic and just go for it.

  • If your perceived limits of what’s possible were no longer a factor, what would you be doing?
  • How do you feel doing these things?
  • Who do you want to be in this world?
  • What do you want your legacy to be?

Write. Commit your dreams to paper. There is something about writing our dreams down that makes them more real. Write down every detail, so you can start to feel how you will feel once your dreams have come into form. Go wild. These notes are usually chalk full of inspiration and motivation, so make copies of what you have written and post it where you can reflect on it every day. Stay saturated in the feeling behind each word…it’ll drive you.

Prioritize. All your dreams are of equal importance, but it’s crucial to figure out which dream(s) are most pressing for you right now, so that your vision can translate into doable steps.

  • What are you just itching to get out into the world right now?
  • What does your soul need to liberate today?

Identify actionable steps. Here’s where the ideal becomes transformed into the real. Break down your dreams so they remain big, but not overwhelming, as being overwhelmed breeds inaction and keeps you stuck. Set timelines…they’ll push you into action.

Make it happen.  Just execute. Even if you don’t feel ready. Don’t wait for perfection, it doesn’t exist.

It is without a doubt terrifying to put yourself out there, especially when you have invested your heart and soul into a particular pursuit. But, to me, the prospect of getting to the end of my life and sitting with the notion that I didn’t allow myself the opportunity to try is far scarier.

Launch. The world needs what you have to offer.