Viewing entries tagged
Authenticity

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I Know This Much Is True

I know this much is true flowers

I know this much is true flowers

So many thoughts lately. I want to share all of them and I want to share none of them.

While I’m waiting to see where those balls land, a story for you.  One that is deeply simple and simply deep, like all the best stories are.

You may or may not know that I've been doin’ my fair share o' soul-searching lately.  Asking the deep questions, breathing the deep breaths.

When I last wrote, I was about to embark on a two week adventure in the woods wherein I, much like the Indigo Girls, went to see the doctor of philosophy.  “I went to do the doctor, I went to the mountains. I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains…”

I lost myself and I found myself.  Found more of me than I left with—the good parts that I had forgotten existed—the parts of me I most treasure.

I've since misplaced those parts again.

But I know they're not far from me now.  I just had them.  They'll turn up any day now.

More adventures have ensued.

I’m leaving no stone unturned, no demon unseen.

In some quiet moments amongst the chaos, I see that my teacher is right:  joy really does follow peace.

And peace is everywhere.

I feel that, and I remember it.

My peace.

Our peace.

The Peace.

Other moments suck the wind from my lungs as if I have croup.  I grab my seat--white knuckles squeezing for anything that will keep me here--I grab at my seat for dear life.

Awakening’s a bitch, I tell you.

My ego is not going down without one hell of a battle.

Luckily, neither is my heart.

Last Saturday I was on a hike with our five-year-old son and I was chewing on some deep thoughts about worthiness and worthlessness, self-love and self-loathing, when I remembered that kids are the very best teachers.  They probably know innately the keys to self-love and self-worth, I'm guessing.

So I asked him, “[Son] - what do you love about you?”

Without skipping a beat, because kids are wicked sharp like that, he said, “What I love about me is that when I ride my bike, I feel the wind in my face.”

Stay there.  That sentence brought you to your knees, yes?  Stay on your knees and chew on that.

Let it settle in.

“What I love about me is that when I ride my bike, I feel the wind in my face.”

I may still be struggling to put into words and into consciousness the truths that I have always known in my heart.  I may have travelled thousands of miles seeking answers when really the only distance I need to traverse is the vast and nonexistent space between my head and my heart.

But I do know that this much is true:

The answers we seek: we will find them by feeling the wind upon our cheeks.

More love than our tiny minds could ever possibly quantify is as real, as close, and as accessible as the breeze upon our faces.

Also I know this:

The fact that I, too, pause on occasion to feel that breeze tickling my nose...despite all the noise and all the shadows and all the "shoulds" and all the screens vying for my attention...

I love that about me.

That's really something.

That, maybe, is everything.

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I Can See Clearly Now; the Pain Is Gone. - My Messy Beautiful

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I Can See Clearly Now; the Pain Is Gone. - My Messy Beautiful

Bethany_O_for_Glennon_Melton's_Messy_Beautiful_Warriors_Project-592.jpg

Bethany_O_for_Glennon_Melton's_Messy_Beautiful_Warriors_Project-592.jpg

Our gym has mirrors in front of the cardio equipment and I like that.

Narcissist?  Doubtful.  If I have narcissistic qualities, they're probably more the "blogger" flavor than the "mirror" variety.

I like those mirrors at the gym because they remind me of my strength.

Sometimes I forget my own strength, you see.

But it wasn't strength I noticed in those mirrors last summer.  Last summer, I saw tears streaming down my cheeks while I ran.  My knees kicked high and my arms swung strong but what I saw in that mirror was that I was too sad to give a damn that I was crying on the cardio trainer.

Or maybe I thought I was actually a bit bad-ass, what with all that sprinting through tears and all.

Either way:  tears.

When Katy Perry yelled into my ear buds that, "this is the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me," I lost her in translation.

I was in the midst of a doozie of a battle with depression and I thought Katy meant that THAT was the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me.  That no matter how many tools I employed to keep my head above water in the sea of sadness, I would always be fighting the undertow.

What an awfully depressing thing to sing about, non?

But I just wasn't seeing things clearly.

I am remembering a moment of clarity that took place last fall.  I was not at the gym, I was…elsewhere…and someone really got my goat, which obviously led me to wordlessly ask her with my eyes and face only, "what the hell is YOUR problem?"

This, of course, was what caused my AH-HA moment, because it was neither the first nor the fourth time that morning that I had to use my face to ask someone that very question.

Could I really have encountered so many goat-getters in one morning?  Did EVERYONE wake up that day and put "Get Bethany's Goat" at the top of their to-do list?  Or was I GIVING the goats, per se?

Didn't yo momma teach you never to give goats, B???

Prepare yourself, Kind Reader, for now I shall push this goat-getting expression far beyond its intended threshold for the pushing.

It will be beautiful.

I had to catch a goat when I was 15.  The real kind.  I was babysitting on a farm and they said to make sure the goat didn't get out and wouldn't you know it but that goat got OUT. So I chased that kid (of the goat, not the child variety) around that farm, dove a few times to catch him, and when I finally grabbed his collar THAT was when the goat-catching process got DIFFICULT.

Goats do not like it when you grab their collars, you see.  They'll drag ya in the herbiest of jerkiest ways that they can think to drag ya.  They'll buck up and they'll jump up and they'll do their goat-iest to not be GOTTEN.

And so it is from real-life field work that I can tell you it is no easy task to "get" a goat.  In fact, I'd wager that if you were going to get someone's goat (of the literal, not the idiom variety), the goat owner would need to actually GIVE you her goat.  On a leash.  Inside a fence.  Surrounded by a moat.  By deeding you her land.

For that is the only-est way that a goat can be gotten.

Ya follow?  If someone "gets your goat," that's your work, not theirs.  

Or maybe it's their work too, but since you can only do the work of one, stick to yours.

So please consider my relevant field experience before the next time you go casually throwing around the "that person really got my goat" expression.

[So EN VOGUE you are with your expressions, you!  So FUNKY, so RAD!]

Listen.  Sometimes I grow weary of writing about DEPRESSION and STRUGGLES up in here.  I write about these things with the intention of helping anybody who feels scary-alone in their struggles, as I did for so very long, and also because NOT writing about these things feels a lot like I'd be HIDING (ashamed of) them again.

I REFUSE to stand any longer for the shaming of depression.

F*CK THAT.

But the word "self-sabotage" has been lobbed at me a couple times recently, and I am a smidge concerned that if I keep writing stories of sadnesses (which is actually EASIER than celebrating our victories, innit?) I may begin to IDENTIFY more with the messy part of me than with the part of me that really shines.

I may begin to cling to it.

So I'm navigating that.  I'm tweaking it.

BUT.  AND.  Every time I've done a swan-dive into the deep end of the sea of sadness, I've learned something.  MANY THINGS, really.  These things carry a heavy price-tag (payable only in grit, sweat, time and tears), so today I'm recording just one more of the bigger take-aways from The Great Swan Dive of 2013 before I go writing about The Great Strides Forward of 2014.

Here it is:

When we are not in our healthiest place mentally (whether due to clinical depression or to the occasional human condition of simply being "off"), we don't see things clearly.

The catch is:  we don't KNOW we're not seeing things clearly for the simple reason that WE ARE NOT SEEING THINGS CLEARLY.

SOit is imperative that we take it upon ourselves to watch for clues that our lens is dirty.

Here is one clue.  When we're not on our A-Game, we're more sensitive, more easily insulted, more quick to give goats.  

In my humble opinion, the concept of a "bad day" is [usually] less a statement about the day itself than it is about the person who is having it.

When we ask, "what the hell is HER problem?" we really should be asking, "what the love is MY problem?  What am I neglecting?"  

Likely answers:  Sleep and/or exercise and/or gratitude and/or vegetables and/or meditation and/or other self-love goodnesses of all varieties and whatnots and whathaveyous.

All of those activities clean our lenses.

[PSST!  When I say "we" here, really what I mean is, "I."  But really-est, I do actually mean "we."]

Stay with me, you.

When we/I/WE are slam-dunking the above whatnots and whathaveyous, we have very few goats for the taking.  The person who done-and-got-my-goat last fall could have made that same comment to me today, and because today I am in a great place [please--knock on ALL THE WOODS], my face would have only shown her love and concern.  And light.

My lens is clean.

When we give it time, our messy always has a way of showing us our beautiful.

Today, I went to the gym--the same messy, beautiful warrior I have always been--and I listened to that same Katy Perry song.

Today, I locked my black pupils on my own in the mirror as I sprinted hard and triumphantly, and today I saw my truth more accurately.

Today I saw that I am diligent--INSISTENT, even--about putting one foot in front of the other--not only on the cardio machine, but IN LIFE.

Today I saw that even on days when it feels too painful to get out of bed--when I'd rather lay prostrate, clawing at the earth because the world is moving so very SWIFTLY and the air is so very THIN for the BREATHING...even on those days, I get up.  I MOVE.  I do what needs to be done.

I sprint through tears.

This TENACITY?  This INDESTRUCTIBLE, ORIGINAL, FIERCE, KIND and LUMINOUS spirit?  THIS is the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me.

And when I say "me" here, I really-est mean "us."

Don't get it twisted.

*** 

Bethany O Momastery Messy Beautiful Warriors Project.png

Bethany O Momastery Messy Beautiful Warriors Project.png

Hello, sweet friends.

I wrote this in case your own lens is cloudy today.  I hope it helps.

Remember that post that went viral a few years ago called "Don't Carpe Diem?"  Glennon Melton wrote that.

I could not possibly say enough nice things about Glennon Melton, which is why I was tickled pink when I received the invitation to participate in her latest project.

This essay and I are part of Glennon's Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project - to learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!

And to learn about Glennon's New York Times Bestselling Memoir, "Carry On, Warrior:  the Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life" (just released in paperback), CLICK HERE!

I am not making this up when I say that "Carry On, Warrior" is my favorite go-to gift for ALL Mommas:  Brand New Mommas and Less-New Mommas too.  I keep a stack of these on hand because Lawd knows I do not ever think to buy gifts until the last minute.

Glennon's team has given me a copy of her beloved book to give to one of my beloved readers.  Because they are thoughtful and kind like that.  

To enter the raffle for the book (YOU WANT THIS BOOK, YOU DO), simply leave a comment below this post.  

All comments count as raffle entries.  If you're feeling short on words today, just write, "LOVE THIS!"  

That will do nicely.  :)

With so much love and light, Bethany

***

Bethany_O_for_Glennon_Melton's_Messy_Beautiful_Warriors_Project-591.jpg

Bethany_O_for_Glennon_Melton's_Messy_Beautiful_Warriors_Project-591.jpg

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Aint No Shame in That Game:  A Truthful Chat with Jacob Sokol, Sensophy Life Coach

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Aint No Shame in That Game: A Truthful Chat with Jacob Sokol, Sensophy Life Coach

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JacobBethanyScreenshot
JacobBethanyScreenshot

Do you want the long of it or do you want the short of it?

First, here's the short of it, for all ye blog-skimmers out there:

Today's podcast might be one of my favorites by anyone ever.  (I say this while dancing in a cloak of modesty, of course.)

I kick off the call by listing a few of the many ways my dear friend Jacob inspires me, so I will spare you the redundancy of listing those again here.

Let me tell you, instead, about the call itself.

You’ll see I elected not to remove the parts I was tempted to cut:  apparently when you preach about authenticity, you’re not allowed to polish your podcasts.  Go figure.

Here's the thing I am most proud of both from Jacob and from myself on this call:  while we are *talking* about the concepts of vulnerability, courage and authenticity, we are also *walking* those very same concepts at the very same time.  We are shedding light on subjects that have once brought *us* shame.

We are letting ourselves shine.

If I had wanted to lead you to believe that it was easy for me to discuss those vulnerable topics, my mildly-quavering voice would have belied my efforts.

But it's not my intention to portray vulnerability as something that is easy.  It's only my intention to portray vulnerability as something that is worthwhile.

Now here's the longer of it, for all ye who enjoy a lil' background before delving into a podcast:

If you are not familiar with Jacob Sokol or his website, Sensophy, his story "behind the glory" is a great place to begin.

Jacob and I first met about a year ago when he was assigned to be my trainer for some work we were both doing with the en*theos Academy for Optimal Living.  In my first few hours of knowing Jacob, we found ourselves on a three-way phone call between the two of us and Mastin Kipp (creator of The Daily Love.)

During that conversation, Mastin ran a quick "Love University" intervention on me--which was an incredibly rare opportunity, if you know anything about Mastin.  For better or for worse, I do nothing half-heartedly (especially interventions), so when Mastin asked me a very pointed question, I sobbed and uncovered that one of my core fears is that "PEOPLE WILL THINK I'M AN A**HOLE."  (Please:  when you picture me saying that to those two men, picture the type of crying where your words sound wet because of all of the liquids that are spewing from your eyes and your nose.)

I like to keep it classy.

A reader recently asked me how people who are new to the self-dev community can go about finding their "peeps."  When she asked me this, I immediately thought of the incident now known as  the "I Might Be an A**hole" (IMBA) Conversation of 2012 (for lack of a better term.)

The blubbering and vulnerable revelation in front of two men I barely knew was…well, it was a little embarrassing at the time.  And awkward.

It was awkward for *me.*  It did not appear to be awkward for them.  

In fact, that's exactly when my friendship with Jacob was born.  When Mastin had to sign off the call, Jacob held space for me.  I tried to make a joke to dismiss the awkwardness but Jacob didn't take the bait to move away from the uncomfortable moment.  He just held space.  I felt no judgement from him; only kinship.

To answer my reader's question about peeps-finding:  when I allow myself to be seen and I feel no discomfort from the other person, this is when I know I have found one of my peeps.

HERE'S THE IRONY, THOUGH:  if I had gone into that conversation *wanting* Jacob to be my "peep," I can almost guarantee you that a friendship would not have been born that day.  If I had known who he was at that time, I probably would have wanted to be his buddy, which would have made me more guarded and less authentic on the call.

Which wouldn't have given him the chance to hold space for me.  Which wouldn't have given me the opportunity to feel kinship from him.

Both I and Alanis Morisette want to know:  Isn't that ironic?  Isn't it ironic that when we *want* someone to be our friend, we don't show them who we are?  

So I think we've landed upon something big here, as far as peeps-finding goes.

Ever since that IMBA call, Jacob and I have scheduled periodic check-ins to nudge each other along in our personal and business journeys.  Our stories have similar themes but different scenes and characters, making us sort of like spiritual siblings, in a way.

Or, maybe, if we *all* had *true* conversations with more people more often, we'd find that we're *all* spiritual sistahs and brothahs from othah mothahs.

If we all spoke the truth more often, maybe we'd remember that we're *all* in this together.

On that note, I'm so excited and thankful to introduce YOU--my peeps--to my treasured friend Jacob and to his peeps.  I guarantee he will inspire you.

Light-Catchers:  meet Sensophizers!  Sensophizers:  WELCOME!!!

Stay tuned after Jacob and I sign off the call - I'll pop back on the mic with a quick summary of some of my favorite big ideas from the conversation!

Jacob:  THANK YOU!!  :)

***

Here's the podcast!

[powerpress]

SO:  will this call help to move you forward, or is it spiritual entertainment at best?

Tell me one helpful idea you're taking from the conversation!

 Don't forget to sign up for Jacob's email updates and also for mine!

Shine on, sistahs and brothahs!  :)

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I Want to Knock You Over (Practices in Avoiding Vulnerability)

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www.bethanylee.com-1-54.jpg

My boy and I?  Here's how we hug:

As soon as I sit on the floor, a glimmer hits his eye, eager anticipation lifting his eyebrows.  He collides into me and we tumble backwards, his heart landing on mine like a defibrillator charging my soul.  His delighted shrieks land warm on my neck and I laugh from a combination of feigned surprise and actual, verified soul bliss.

It's delicious.

On the rare occasion that I do NOT tumble to the floor when he hugs me [WHY, Self?], he steps back, looks into my eyes determinedly and says, "I want to knock you over."

Ahhhhhh yes, my little apple who has not fallen far from its tree.  I can SO relate.

Lately, I've been hesitant to make time for writing.  I've pointed an accusatory finger at my busy schedule, but let's face it:  blaming "busyness" always smells like avoidance and self-congratulations, does it not?

Whenever I hear someone say they can't do something that is good for them because they're "too busy," I wonder if they realize that they are somehow avoiding vulnerability.

Silly, silly humans.

But--oh, wait:  there I go calling the kettle black again.  Guess I should swan-dive into self analysis to figure out the real reason I haven't been writing.

It probably starts here:  knowing that your time is precious and that I want you to find time for my little blog, I asked myself, "Self.  What characterizes the things that I make time to read?  I read things that are inspirational.  Or funny.  Or authentic.  Or educational."

"I know the solution!" said I.  "I shall make every post informative and funny and authentic and inspirational!  And each post shall include a soulful professional-quality photo taken by moi!  That is all!"

There are three major troubles with that line of reasoning:

1)  It is insane

2)  Sometimes it is not possible to be funny and authentic at the same time, and

3)  The very suggestion that I would need to be anything more than authentic to "deserve" readership flies directly in the face of my "Let It Shine" mantra and message.

When we allow ourselves to shine, we find security in knowing that our ESSENCE is divine.  We are beautiful--not "in spite" of our "humanness"--but BECAUSE of it.  Our "imperfections," our mistakes, the parts of us that we feel inclined to hide from the world--those things CONTRIBUTE to our beauty.  

As I sit down this morning, pondering the real reason I haven't been writing so that I can find the lesson in it, the thing that keeps popping into my head is that my son wants to knock me over.

What he doesn't realize is that he knocks me over whether or not he tries to do so.

He knocks me over with love and pride and joy and tenderness when he colors quietly by himself in the corner.  He knocks me over with love and pride and joy and tenderness  when he dances like an elephant in music class.  He knocks me over with love and pride and joy and tenderness when he gets upset because his sister ruined the zoo he was building with blocks.

When he physically knocks me over, it's because I've allowed it.  It's ME who's different when we don't tumble backwards:  not him.

All he has to do to knock me over is be himself.  

And it's not his responsibility to knock me over anyway.

AH HA!  So there's the lesson.  I set out to be authentic here and immediately shielded my vulnerability by requiring that I also be funny and informative so as to merit readership, which sets the bar high and makes me reticent to write.  As if I'm afraid that my authentic self is not enough.

That insight, this morning?  It knocks me over.

***

Two updates for you, friends!

1)  I have a new writing commitment.  My only requirement for my posts is that they be authentic (which hopefully is intrinsically inspirational.)  I hope that funniness and informativeness slip in here frequently, as they are welcome guests at any party I throw, but the only way I can encourage people to allow themselves to shine is by modeling it, so I'll throw parties here even when Funny and Informative don't RSVP.

2)  I am indubitably grateful to have recently been featured in the en*theos daily Optimizer.  Check it out if you're feelin' it!  :)

***

Please say hello in the comments!  How are you doing?

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