Go One Deeper

The answer is never obvious. Even the question isn’t always clear.

Sometimes the revelation is one deeper.

Let me give you an example. For years, I thought I was afraid of heights. I once hiked to the top of a very large hill, with a cliff overlooking the ocean. As I climbed higher, I started to get vertigo, or something strange like it, like every cell in my body was raging against the tiny trail and my proximity to the edge and how far down it was. But oddly, the higher I climbed, the freer I felt. So I looked further, and discovered that it wasn’t the height I was afraid of, but falling from heights. And even further: it’s not falling I’m afraid of, it’s breaking at the impact of the fall, the pain, the possible end of everything. And so I had to face not a fear of heights, but a much deeper fear.

I do this exercise often, every time I come up again a fear or hesitation or when I’m looking at what might be holding me back. I do it when I’m trying to understand what I want, what I really want. Because it’s never about the money or success — those thing don’t drive me. It’s always about something deeper, more tender, more raw.

So I keep going deeper. Another step, another level down, chipping away at what layers I must to see the truth of it.

 

Healing the Source

My friend Soshy and I were chatting on the phone yesterday as I drove home from Pennsylvania. Last year, she had a baby, a super sweet little girl name Rosie, who is both a blessing and a challenge (as all babies are to sleep deprived parents). Soshy has spent the past few months adjusting to being a mama and trying to catch up on sleep and told me that she’s ready to dive back into her business again. She needed advice.

If you had told me four years ago, I would be dispensing business advice to people, I would have laughed. But I was only starting out then and had very little idea that my freelance work would turn into a business. It was supposed to be just me, wild and free and making money in a slightly less traditional way. Yet, here I am with a business and a team and a whole wealth of knowledge I’ve gathered from past experiences, wise mentors, and friends.

Soshy had two problems. First, she wasn’t sure what to focus on — getting clients or the backend of the business? We may be reluctant to put ourselves out there, but when you’re getting a business going, you need to focus on getting clients. Your clients keep your business running. We talked about different ways for her to do this and I gave her some homework.

The second problem was much juicier, in my opinion. Soshy works with people who want to change unwanted eating habits and transform their body image issues. She is brilliant at what she does. Doing this work, potential clients often ask her about weight loss. Soshy’s past response has been to tell these people that weight loss isn’t what she does.

Except it is. It so is.

Here’s the thing (and I know this having been through my own eating and body image issues): If you don’t heal the source, you’ll never fix the symptoms.

I gained and lost weight repeatedly over a stretch of years until I finally took the time to work on the issues that were hidden beneath the few extra pounds. And I’m still working on it. But I was done with the wins and losses of weight loss, because I knew that as long as I was at war with myself, there would always be a loser. So I do the work.

It’s true everywhere, not just with regards to eating, body image issues, and weight loss. It’s true in business and relationships and friendships and hobbies. I could give you examples and tell you stories, but in the end it comes down to doing the work, to ending the fight, to healing the source.

If you’re curious to learn more about what Soshy does, check out her website, Embody Nutrition.

Lost Girl

I’ve always been one of those women searching the world for answers.

In your 20s, it’s acceptable. But most people have it figured out enough by their 30s.

And then there’s me: mid-thirties, single, and taking a path rather different than most.

I walk lines between naiveté and wisdom like the lines don’t exist at all, like the same force that spills brilliant words from my lips keeps the wonder in my eyes and foolishness in my actions.

Caution and I don’t play well together for very long. I’ll give it a step or two before I throw my whole heart in, because I know how resilient and strong I am, because in some ways I want the world to break me open to let more in.

I can be a scientist and a mystic and find a place for both logic and pragmatism to dwell alongside the mysterious and occult. I can read and solve equations that tell us about the world at its most fundamental levels, but I let my mind dive deeper than the math goes, into a realm where there is no proof, only intuition.

The challenge has been to accept that others may be disappointed with my decisions because it will, at times, appear as if I’m not, because I’m not choosing motherhood or security or prestige or wealth.

Instead, I’m choosing wildness and freedom and magic.

And that’s a path I’m creating as I go.

Stepping In

I hold myself back all the time. 

Sometimes, I’m holding myself back from myself, sometimes from my desires. Sometimes, I’m just holding myself back because I’m terrified of the power I could step into, or what I’ll find when I let go.

I think about letting go a lot. I’ve always been fascinated by Jean Grey from the X-Men comics. If I could be any superhero, it would be her, as troubled as she is by her power. Maybe I can’t move things with my mind, but something about having that expanse of power inside of us has always resonated with me.

We simply live within the walls built by society.

We are told that we should be these things and ought not do those things. We are regulated and indoctrinated with theories about wrong and right.

We are shamed into smallness.

Obviously, there are some things we cannot unleash. There is anger and rage and destruction that need to be directed in constructive ways.

But there’s always a darkness inside us. We may spend our lives running from it, or we many choose to contemplate it. What I’ve found is that the more I’ve sought to understand the darkness, the softer it becomes. It is not bad or evil. It does not make me, anymore than the light does.

So what are we made by? 

Is it our DNA? Our stories? The routines we live our lives by? Our deepest desires? The impulses we give in to? What we unleash when we are angry, or create when in love?

I’m listening to it all. And I don’t know what that will bring, but I’m done holding back. 

I’m witnessing the expanse of who I am, and I’m not containing it anymore simply because it may be judged.

Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.