Delicious Uncertainty

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“Tell me all about it,” Judith said with wide-eyed enthusiasm, we met at a function a few months before and finally reconnected. I knew she was a good person right away; I felt it in my bones. Both Judith and I are planning events in the same season, and we’ve tried to be supportive of one another. But I hit a snag in the road, my ticket sales stalled and I felt stuck, so I reconnected with Judith for some advice.

“It’s going okay,” I mumbled trying to convince myself taking a quick sip of my coffee. I decided to come clean and leveled with her. “Look. Truth is, I don’t know if I’m doing this right.”

She listened intently and even finished some of my sentences.

“I called, met with them and then…”

“…You didn’t hear back, yeah I know,” she said nodding.

A wave of relief came over me.

“Yes, exactly! What am I doing wrong?”

“Nothing. You seem like you’re doing the right things.”

And then she described the challenges she was facing. As she continued, my body rocked with nervous excitement. She understood. She really understood. I had found a kindred spirit in Judith.

We both left our coffee meeting that day recharged and a little less deflated. And I left with another understanding. I realized I’m living with uncertainty. Oh, the agony of uncertainty. The not knowing. The elongated pauses. The appearance of nothingness.

It’s awful.

Getting from where you are to where you want to be seems thrilling when you have a plan. I thought I packed appropriately for anything. I was even ready to deal with shame gremlins that told me I couldn’t do it, but uncertainty … it’s awful.

Did I mention that?

So there in the middle of the coffee shop, I pulled out my notebook and tried to shed some light on my situation. Without thinking I wrote:

  • I am certain I am doing the best I can.
  • I am committed to this cause.
  • I am certain that I will see this through, even it’s just me and my husband sitting in a conference room.

I then realized that it all tied back to a seed I planted earlier this year. I said my one word would be resilience. I knew then I needed to learn how to bounce back, how to cope with stress and adversity, my stick-to-it-ness. I needed to work on my “grit” muscle. Well, here it is!

Me and my big mouth!

It sounds good when you say it, living it is just, ugh. I won’t say it.

Cheryl Strayed said it best in, Wild, she writes, “I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”

So here I am feasting on delicious uncertainty while flexing my resilience muscle. I see fear over in the corner but I won’t let that bastard win.

How do you cope with uncertainty?

Here’s a promo video completed for the conference, let me know what you think. And if you’re on Google, subscribe to the channel.

The best defense is having a great offense…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about fortress building. Could you imagine having to stand in front of an audience of strangers to share the most intimate details of your life?

Impossible or easy?

Now imagine standing in front of an audience of people that you do know, family, friends or otherwise to share the same information.

A walk in the park? Or would you rather get your teeth pulled?

In both instances, we may be compelled to shield ourselves and build a fortress to protect us from hearing potentially harmful responses and reactions.

You may think:

Sometimes I feel inadequate as a mom. Brick.
I’m battling anorexia. Brick.
I’m old, and no one listens to me at work. Brick. Brick.
My finances are a mess. Brick. Brick. Brick.
I appear happy, but I’ve been depressed for years. Brick. Brick. Brick. Brick.

It can go on and on and on and before you know it you’ve imprisoned yourself with a barricade of shame hoping to hide your vulnerabilities.

Consider this for today: Not a day goes by that we aren’t tempted to fortify ourselves in some regard, either by virtue of perceived necessity or just sheer none of your business. No one wants to reveal those things we’ve worked so hard to conceal, flaws or failures…even the bruises.

Instead of creating a barrier around you, dismantle it by telling your truth and place shame under your feet. Stand tall on your vulnerabilities; those things that you consider your weaknesses are really your biggest attributes for an authentic life. It’s part of your life experience; it’s not who you are.

No, to shame.

No, to fear.

No, to doubt.

Yes to truth.

Yes to light.

Yes to life.

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Unlearning Fear and Foolishness

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“I constantly live in fear,” she said squinting her almond shaped eyes as she smiled nervously. “But that’s just me, I guess.”

Image originated from The Skit Guys.

I was talking with a friend, and she was crossed between a mother’s lament in protecting her child from unforeseen dangers and her inability to take chances with her own life. I’m not talking about bucket list chances (skydiving, bungee jumping or cliff diving), I’m talking about honest to goodness fear of doing something unassuming, like swimming.

“I never learned to swim. . . ,” there was a small tremor in her voice. “. . . and the thought of my baby in a pool. . . ,  ”she continued shaking her head.

What could I say, I couldn’t swim either.

Her gaze turned downward and lingered as if to seek an answer. Suddenly, her eyes widened like she remembered something. A muffled sound escaped her mouth and then a small puff of air.“I shouldn’t place MY fears on my daughter,  right?. . . ,” she smiled looking at me.

Right.

And then I thought about my life, I cannot begin to tell you about the dozens of inherited fears I have. These are burdens that I’ve carried around for years that were never actually mine. They were part superstition, part sound advice, and part just downright foolishness.

It’s more than not stepping on a sidewalk crack, breaking mirrors or splitting trees.  As kids we were taught to enter and leave the house through the same doors, to not sweep in front of our houses after dark,  and to not play with our shadows. 

I didn’t question, I just obeyed. Those fears and beliefs became my fears and beliefs.

Because of this inherited mindset, I try to be mindful of how I interact with my children, family and friends, not limiting their aspirations to my own insecurities or lack of understanding.

I decided that playing with my shadow is a good thing, hell, they even wrote a song about it. I come and go as I please in and out my house, and I honestly don’t have a reason to sweep outside after dark.

But I won’t test fate, I refuse to step on a sidewalk crack.

Think about your own life. What are some of your fears? Are they truly yours?