Who Do You Think You Are??

Monday I posted a poem that was born from a week of doubting myself countless times. I returned from a week of rest and relaxation to a week where I questioned my abilities, sanctioned creative ideas, and quarantined my enthusiasm, shoving those ideas and that energy into a file and stamping it “Why would anyone listen to you?” or “Who do you think you are to do that?”

Yuck. Yuck. Yucky-yucksville.

And then I came across the newest Brene Brown TED talk about shame. Brene describes shame as a gremlin following you around as you try to carve your way through life, telling you ‘you are not good/smart/pretty/strong…enough to do this’. Had someone asked me about shame before hearing this I might not have answered “Yes”, but this week I shamed myself. As I got excited about possibilities and began working toward goals, I could feel myself getting tired, anxious, and distracted. I could hear all sorts of “not….enough” talk.

Brene Brown says in her talk that empathy is the antidote to shame. When I heard it the first time I heard it in relation to understanding shame and using to “finding our way back to each other” but the more I reflected on her empathy antidote statement, I thought about its importance in our relationship with ourselves. I think it is so much harder to have empathy with ourselves, especially as we are housing and feeding a gremlin like shame. We would never shame a friend right? So why do we do this to ourselves? We are our own worst critic. We keep ourselves small. A friend recently asked me “What do you do when it all begins to unravel? How do you deal with it?” After hearing Brene’s talk, I think I will try to add empathy to my cocktail of breathing and stepping away (perferrably outdoors). I will try to respond to myself as I would a friend – with love and empathy.

Here is Brene’s talk. And if you missed her talk on Vulernability (to which she refers in this talk, do check it out as well.


Sometimes (I can)

Sometimes I stop myself

from being




Sometimes I stop myself

from saying what I want,

from allowing my voice to be heard ,

by peers

by an anonymous group

by myself.

I stop myself

from asking questions

or answering questions.

Sometimes I dip my toe into the water only to pull it back

so as to not feel the icy cold shiver

or the slimy, squishy bottom

or the pull of the tide.

Sometimes I stop myself even though it might be warm

and liberating

and light will bounce off the water and on to my cheeks.

I stop myself

because once I drown.

because once I fell.

because once I screwed it up over and over and continue to screw it up

because once I didn’t try hard enough and everyone knows it

because once I only did it half way and then quit.

And everyone knows it.

And then sometimes,

I open my mouth

Knowing my voice will creak and my palms will sweat so much that the wetness bleeds all over my ballpoint notes

Knowing that what will come out may sound like a canned pop song when in my head it was an aria.

but that

birds may fly out :

Small perfect yellow canaries

and nurturing red bellied robins

and loud, wise crows.

They may fly out

 and amaze and delight.

Sometimes, I put my hand up.

Knowing that my thought is just one dull star in a milky way of brilliant light

Knowing maybe no one will pick me. That blood will rush from my hand from hanging in space for so long

But that I might put my hands up so high I touch planets

And that touching alternate atmospheres and firey gases will light me up brighter.

Sometimes, I jump in.

Knowing my bathing suit has nestled itself between my cheeks

Knowing my wet hair pressed against my head makes my large sticking out ears more large and more sticky outy

But that the saltwater will heal the cuts on my leg

And will rest on my lips making my beer all the more delicious at the end of the day.

Sometimes I can be salty delicious

And firery bright

And delightfully amazing.

Sometimes if I stop myself from stopping myself

I can.


A number of times this week I have bumped up against this thought: “Who do you think you are?” As tantalizing creative ideas surface, as aspects of my life shift, as certain desires grow stronger, I am met with that question. But I am working on pushing through – mostly because I know the reward out weights the anguish.

What fear is stopping you from catapulting yourself to a bright, new stratosphere? What small step could you make to push past the fear?

Click & Tweet This: This post/poem (http://ow.ly/9R7A1) has me thinking – what I am I going to do to move past fear toward my next goal.



Filling My Soul: the ocean, family, & chai tea

While you are reading this I am most likely drinking chai on my father’s deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean. (Ok. Lets be totally honest, I could also be drinking one of my dad’s killer margaritas or a big glass of red.) My family and I are on a must needed R&R trip to visit my dad in Southern California. My soul needs it. Really.

I digress.

When my father returned from a sabbatical to India in late nineties, he was pretty keen on chai tea. During a winter visit with him I recall a few nights huddled around his fireplace with a hot cup of chai. After this visit, chai became relegated to occasions where I met up with girlfriends at coffee shops and dessert houses. That changed recently when I came across a recipe for Spiced Chai Tea Concentrate mix on the blog A Wooden Nest. It quickly became a soulful go-to. And this year became my homemade holiday gift for friends and family given in Ball canning jars alongside some homemade granola.

photograph: Elise’s Kitchen

So…filling my soul right now is hanging with my family near the ocean drinking warm chai. Mmmm.

How about you? What is filling your soul right now? What is filling your belly?


We have everything we need in us. As we are. Right here. Right now.

Don’t believe me?

Take yourself outside and move. Do whatever comes naturally to you or is within your capacity. Move at a pace that feels invigorating but not strenuous. Move for at least 30 minutes and then slow it down for a few minutes before coming to a complete stop. Find a bench, a stump, a porch, some steps and just sit. Feel your body from the inside out. Feel you blood pumping. Feel your chest rise and fall. Feel a pulse and vibration all through your body. You know what that is? That is all you. Your blood, your organs, your body.

Do you feel stuck in life and your in pursuits?

Know that you are capable of moving a machine such as your body. Whether you do it with a limp, or with a crutch, in a wheelchair, or without an arm, or with skin grafts, or with a broken heart, or with a debt load that is coming in so fucking fast you feel like you can’t breathe.You did breath.

You did it. You moved in a direction. You breathed. Your body is humming and ready and willing. Feel it. Know it. You have everything you need. As you are.

Feel it. Then take another step.

If it helps listen to this:

Currently Filling My Soul: Smashing Stuff & Dancing in his Tighty Whiteys

This month at {so full} life, I am thinking/writing/discussing/marinating on feeling – just feeling what I am feeling because I am feeling it. And getting down with that whatever comes up – getting naked and rolling in the sheets with my pains and my joys, slam dancing with vulnerabilities, and having laughing fits with my fears.

When a tweet alerted me to this video, my ears, my eyes and my heart filled right up. This guys got some feelings and he is not afraid to share.

Filling My Soul: the line “To fall is connected to try”, the act of physically destroying from a place that is not anger but something much more complex and achey, and a boy dancing in his tighty whiteys always fills my soul. And that real time / slo-mo stuff is sick!

What is currently filling your soul?

Five Minutes – A Beginner’s Guide to Sitting Still

I’ve done it in bed. I’ve done it on my sofa. I’ve done it in the bath. And today I did it with my down coat on.

It was my father who told me to take 5 minutes every day and breathe. It was his answer to my perfectionist, classic type A, charge ahead, fix-it declaration of what I should do to get over my overwhelm: “I need to meditate. I need to start going to a meditation group or something.”

Really, it seemed like everyone is doing it: business coaches and life coaches I admire, yogis, my dad. Everyone is meditating. I knew I needed to get out of my own head. I knew I needed to breathe. But adding one more “should” or “to-do” to an already overwhelmed me seemed so daunting. And scarily, if I did find the time, I would have to be still and listen to my own thoughts? Ack.

“Five minutes”, my dad said. “Just sit still for five minutes.”

I last two minutes. I sat in the bathroom on the toilet with the toilet seat down. I took one deep breathe in followed by another.  The quiet sank in. And it was deafening. I filled it back up with lists, to-dos, as well as some hooey about “being too busy for this”.  That was the spring of last year.

Every few weeks or so, I would try to carve out five minutes for myself to sit, be still and be quiet.

In February I pushed myself to start again. Five minutes.

I begin every five minute meditation by affirming to myself that I have five minutes for myself.  “I am worth five minutes.” “I have five minutes to give to myself.” “I can afford five minutes of my 16 hours of awake time.” “Five minutes is a gift I choose to give myself.”

And then I take deep breathes. In. Out. In. Out.

Do I find my mind wondering what time it is? Definitely! Do I find myself thinking about what I am going to do next? For sure! But I sit there, straight up, with my eyes closed, for the five minutes I have set aside for myself.

Five minutes.

As thoughts come up, I acknowledge them like I would as if I were up on a balcony above a party happening below me. I notice my thoughts like I would the party-goers. “Oh. There’s Nancy.” “Susan looks lovely.” “Stewart’s here.” I try not to allow myself to go beyond the observation point.  If strong feelings come up, I try to just sit with them around me and not analyze them. And when I lose focus (which happens every time I sit), I go back to my breathe.

In. Out. In. Out.

For me, the experience has allowed me to be still enough to feel what I am feeling. I have no distractions of computer, paperwork, kids, television. And even though there is ambient noise all around me, those five minutes allow me the quiet to be, as is, feeling all those crazy emotions that I have been having lately.

For those five minutes, I am. As is.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or unclear or just have a feeling that meditating might serve you, do it. Don’t attempt to sit for an hour or solve all the chaos in your life with one enlightening thought. Just sit. Sit for five minutes. Start with five minutes.

photograph by me
How did that feel? Let me know how it went for you. Or if you are well-versed in the way of meditation and have some insight to share – please do.