You matter far more than you may think!

As published in Sybil Magazine, December 2015

As published in Sybil Magazine, December 2015

(#12 of a series of 12 articles on ‘Unlocking Your Sacred Power’)

How do you respond when someone disappoints you?  Maybe you don’t hear from friends when you’re sick or in crisis.  Maybe your best friend doesn’t remember your birthday. Maybe someone doesn’t return your phone call or show up on time.  In our disappointment and hurt, it’s easy to conclude that we don’t matter.

Sometimes there’s truth in the belief.  When someone isn’t there for us we may NOT matter to them as much as we’d like.  And we should keep in mind that their life may be far more complex and challenging than we know.  But when a friend or loved one consistently drops the ball on our relationship, time and time again, it’s time to look closer.  We can make excuses by saying they’re busy, preoccupied or whatever justification we can make to keep them in our lives.  But if they just keep on hurting us through their unresponsiveness it’s a sign we may be hooked into wanting them to be different than they are.

If we surround ourselves with such people we can forever be at the effect of ‘not mattering’.  When we get hooked into trying to placate others or trying to prove our worth it can send our mood, energy, vision and effectiveness into a downward spiral.  But when we acknowledge that not everyone is able to give us what we long for, without making it about us, we get to choose what to do about it.  We can choose to confront the situation or to set boundaries on our giving back.  Most importantly, we get to decide who we surround ourselves with and the messages we take in from others.

It’s important to surround ourselves with loving supportive people who encourage us, believe in our dreams, show up when they say they will and apologize when appropriate.  It’s the wind beneath our wings, the thing we need to remind us of our best selves.  Cultivating those relationships is far more important than constantly struggling with someone we wish would be different.

In the end, though, our relationship with others mirrors our relationship with ourselves.  When others don’t treat us well, it’s worth stopping to ask: “How am I not in right relationship with myself?”  How am I neglecting my needs, values, or dreams?  How am I not there for myself?  When we focus on these things the debris of bad relationships falls away.  When we stand for ourselves in our own heart and mind, no one can shake us.

We all matter, every minute of our lives.  Our words, actions and mood affect others automatically – either positively or negatively.  So next time you question your value to others, reach outward and touch someone else’s life with kindness.  Mattering is not always about changing the world or being important in the lives of others.  It’s about doing small things with great kindness.

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.  What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 

~ Jane Goodall

Healing ambivalence about power

CTH-logo-BTRMany healers, change agents and transformative leaders have a deep ambivalence about power and stepping into it.  In this radio interview I talk about some of the sources of this ambivalence and how it can hold us back in our missions to create a better world.

The core message is that redefining power in our own terms is crucial in claiming the ability EACH of us has to make a difference.

Thanks to Susan Jacobi from ‘Conversations that Heal’ for this interview entitled “How do  you use your power?”  You can listen to the replay here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/conversationsthatheal/2015/02/11/how-do-you-use-your-power

Why is ‘Shining’ a Daring Act?

COVER FEB. 2015 SIBYL MAGAZINE

As published in Sibyl Magazine, February 2015

(#2 of a series of 12 articles on ‘Unlocking Your Sacred Power’)

Shining our full light should be second nature. It’s what we did when we were newborns. It’s what we do when we’re relaxed or ‘in our element’ – whether that’s horseback riding, hiking trails, or when we’re in love. During those times we radiate joy, happiness and comfort – with ourselves, with others and Life. But for so many of us, shining becomes limited to rare occasions, those special weekends, holidays or times when we’re with our closest friends, rather than our everyday state of being.

We lose our light gradually as we accommodate to the needs and demands of our world, first to our parents, then to our teachers, and later to our supervisors at work. We hold back parts of who we are in order to stay safe, to fit in, to please others, to avoid conflict, to get ahead and earn a living.   Accommodation isn’t bad. It allows us to negotiate unfamiliar situations and helps us meet our needs for love, safety, belonging and more. Often, it’s the price of admission to success at school, in the workplace, in our homes and community.

The problem is this. As we put aside more and more of our true needs, values, desires and capacities it’s easy to lose or forget who we are in the process. We can end up identifying with the image we present to the world, the person our job or others want us to be, rather than the person we truly are. Or we can live our lives chasing a definition of success we don’t really believe.

A turning point in my journey was surfacing a hidden belief – that it wasn’t safe to be truly, fully visible.   Speaking with other women, I soon realized I was far from alone. Buried deep within is the fear that if we allowed ourselves to be truly transparent, we could risk our safety, security, success, and the support and nurturance of those we loved. It’s an ancient archetypal wound that many women carry – the fear that our tribe could abandon us to die us at the edge of the village if we dared speak our truth or be who were truly are.

But there’s a deeper truth. As the Earth and our world face unprecedented dangers and challenges, our old comfort zones and identities only offer the illusion of safety. There’s a larger definition of safety at stake. The future of our world asks women to own our full brilliance, to live by our most cherished values, and to speak our deepest truths. To live, speak and act not only on our own behalf, but for the entire web of life.

Shining our full light can entail risk and enormous courage. But fearing and refusing our brilliance can pose an even bigger risk.

The Truth About Hiding

As published in Sybil Magazine, January 2015
As published in Sybil Magazine, January 2015
(#1 of a series of 12 articles on ‘Unlocking Your Sacred Power’)

When it comes to sharing our gifts and our wisdom with the world – that is, really sharing ourselves in our fullest brilliance and expression – why do so many women still hold back? As Marianne Williamson has said, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”  But WHY? Why are so many brilliant, talented women – heads of organizations, academics, women launching their own businesses – afraid of their brilliance, light and power?

In the process of helping women claim their unique power and wisdom, and working with my own fears of visibility, I’ve found many reasons we hold back. Sometimes it’s fear of an embarrassing failure, of somehow being ‘not enough’ or ‘too much’. Sometimes we think we need more time to perfect our talents, believing we’re ‘not ready’. Sometimes we’re afraid we’d lose the approval of loved ones if we stepped out more boldly. Or fear what more power and responsibility could cost us – or our families. And sometimes we hold back because of the uncomfortable uncertainty we feel when we step into new roles and territory.

But the fear of our light and power reaches far beyond our personal psychology. It’s buried deep in our experiences of a world that doesn’t always value our unique gifts and perspectives, and in the collective history of women. As gifted helpers, teachers and healers, many of us have learned to hide our most treasured gifts so as to keep them – and us – safe. Safe from possible misunderstanding, ridicule, judgement, and sometimes even violence. The roots of those fears go deep – to the witch-burning trials and beyond.

It’s important to acknowledge our fears and the strategies we’ve adopted to protect us. But it’s equally important to weigh their cost. Dimming down can drain our aliveness, joy and fulfillment. It can dull our relationships, create a glass ceiling on our career success and our earning potential. And when we hide our truth from others, it becomes harder for us to see it too. But there’s an even larger cost. Holding back our light cheats the world of what only we can offer.

This moment of history is asking women to discover our unique gifts, to reach past our fears to our courage and power. To speak and live the messages of our hearts, intuition, and greater knowing. To act on behalf of what is most dear to us. And to support each other – as sisters rather than rivals – as we do it. Releasing our tender gifts into the world can be the most vulnerable act of courage and love we’ll ever take. But as we each step into our unique power, we give others permission to do the same. And thereby birth a new world.