I remember years ago, maybe in junior high, learning the definition of an entrepreneur. There was the traditional definition — one that starts his/her own business — but my teacher would always insist the real definition was this: A Risk Taker.

I never considered myself one of these risk takers. My dad owned his own business and he worked hard, long hours. He worried about money and stressed about jobs. It seemed he never took a day off.

But somehow I found myself gravitating toward that role several summers ago. Actually it was around this time in 2011 that I started my own marketing business.

And gradually it has dawned on me that I am exactly that. I am a risk taker. And this time of year happens to be my habitual risk-taking time.

mark calendar

Yep, it’s about time for another adventure.

In 2009, I moved to California without a job or contacts. In 2011, I gave up a ridiculously well-paying (albeit soul-sucking) gig to work part-time and start my own marketing biz. And in 2012 I wrote this:

“I guess things are really coming to a place where I realize that I need to take some risks. I’ve definitely spent some time being comfortable.

Now it’s a matter of pushing a bit more — not looking at junior level contract jobs. I deserve a higher level of pay and respect. I dunno. I feel like right now is such a weird time. I’m getting to a settled point and I want to push for something new.”

It was around that time that I signed a new client and ended my part-time gig, working full-time on my business.

And then came 2013, writing in a hotel room in Connecticut, halfway to Germany:

“Failure is a part of success. The only real failure is not to try. Isn’t that the truth? I so often wouldn’t write something because I’m afraid it’s not good and will make me feel bad. But really, it’s the people that take risks who live life. I mean that’s what we’re doing now, taking a risk.”

sante n rebecca germany

A calculated risk, being that I married an engineer. But a risk, nonetheless.

And this week I’m taking another risk, pursuing a dream I’ve been wanting to try for more than a year now. I’m finally becoming a life coach!

And I’ve tied it in to my life’s mission, which is to help people through my writing. If you’re interested, you can read more about it here.

Taking risks is what evolving on this planet is all about. If we really want to win life, we’ve got to get used to being outside our comfort zone some of the time.

And it’s also how we learn. Because even if we’ve failed, it’s not a mistake if we’ve learned from it. And failure can teach us (and others, if we’re open to public failure) more sometimes than success can.

Not that I want to fail, of course. This endeavor really fulfills part of my life’s purpose, I believe. After being a sober pen pal for many months, I think I’m going to like this line of work. I’ve been told by many job aptitude tests that I’d be a great therapist. So we’ll see how it goes.

Risk isn’t always quitting your job, or starting a new project or moving across the globe. There is risk in everyday changes as well. I took a risk when I quit drinking. Heck, you can take a risk by wearing a skirt instead of shorts.  It’s more about getting outside your comfort zone.

What are you doing in your life to take risks? Are you getting too comfortable or do you challenge yourself in different ways?

Wondering what this Monday Morning Pages thing is all about? Read how it started. Or check out all the archives. Also, special thanks to Jean-Claude Killy for the title. Alpine skiers really do have a way with words — at least the ones I know.

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In the summer of 2009, something very special happened to me. As I was lying in bed journaling at the end of the day, I was struck by a strange feeling. I’d been writing a particularly emotional passage, but this felt like something more.

I set down my computer (I journaled on my computer at that point), turned off the light and lay there, waiting and listening with anticipation. What happened was intense. I was approached by an entity from the spirit world, or so I thought, and we spoke for quite awhile.

It was only when I felt this spirit lay down into my body that I started to get a little freaked out. I came from a very conservative church.

Am I being possessed by a demon?

No, it said, plainly.

Then who are you? 

I am you. I am your soul.

reunion

Sweet reunion.

Since that day, I’ve come to learn how easy it is to become disconnected from your soul and how absolutely marvelous life is when you find it. It’s changed how I live in every way imaginable, from what I eat to the music I listen to to who I spend time with and what I value.

Those of you who read my blog on the regular know that I’ve been taking some classes to move toward life coaching. I’m super-excited to share that I’m doing a complementary class next week, and it’s all about connecting to your soul through writing!

This isn’t about becoming a professional writer or blogger or even about sharing your writing with others, so anyone can join, whether you fancy yourself a “Writer” or not. In my opinion, we’re all artists of some sort and journaling is an important part of our creative process.

fingerpainting

As is eating cake and making messes. At least it’s that way for me …

The class is called Five Secrets for Connecting to Your Soul Thru Writing, and it’s perfect for:

  • Those who feel disconnected from themselves
  • Folks who have harsh inner critics
  • Anyone who doesn’t like to ask for help
  • People who feel disconnected from their spiritual guidance
  • Those who lack clarity on what they need and want

I divided the class up into two parts, with a little time in between for you to process and begin/hone your writing ritual. Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  • Steps to develop a basic writing practice to connect to your truth
  • How to understand and release your inner judge or critic
  • How to accept the vulnerable nature of writing
  • How to connect to the divine while writing
  • Reading and interpreting your writing — your soul’s message to you

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, I encourage you to sign up below! It’s gonna be a lot of fun, and if you come to the live call, I’ve got something pretty special planned, so try not to miss it!

If you can’t make it (time zones can be tricky), of course I will have the recording available after so you can listen to it at your leisure :)

The other thing I’d love for you to do is share this with anyone you think might be interested. Use the share buttons below the post. I would really appreciate your help. I’m so looking forward to this and hope you’ll join me!

Yes! Sign Me Up
for Five Secrets for Connecting
to Your Soul Thru Writing!

This two-part complementary class will teach you how to find
and listen to your truth through writing.
Live a more authentic and harmonious life!

Part 1: Thursday, July 24 at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET
Part 2: Thursday, August 28 at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET

* indicates required
First Name *

Photo Credits: Vincent H., Tim Elllis

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When I was little, I was taught the phrase “Shame on you” in German. I’ve got some German ancestors, and well, I guess it was one of the few phrases that stuck through the generations.

Shame on you translates to Schäm dich, but I’d always heard it pronounced “Shame a dish.” Now that I understand a bit of German, I can see how that pronunciation evolved.

weltmeister 2014

Not only do I speak German, but I celebrate football championships! Yay Deutschland!

This phrase became something I repeated quite often to my sisters, my friends and eventually my partners, more or less without thinking about it. In the past several years I can see that it wasn’t a kind or honest thing to do, either to them or to me. To anyone really.

Shame is a tricky beast. Guilt isn’t a fun one either, but at least it has some productive purpose. I’ve heard guilt and shame described this way: Guilt is what we feel when we’ve done something wrong. We feel shame because we think there is something wrong with ourselves.

In the past week or so, I’ve been working really hard on releasing shame I’ve carried with me for a long time. And I think it’s working. This has been a long process, and one that comes up around this time every year.

In 2012:

I had a crazy shame spiral last night. I wonder if I could work on those recordings [meditations]. It might really help me, because I feel like I’m gonna die the way its attacking me. Like it WANTS me to die. WTF?!? That’s the toxic shame for sure. So yeah, you should work on that. It could help.

meditation

Some of you know I’ve been divorced (twice). I’ve guest blogged about it. Reading something from last year showed me more about that shame:

I am so embarrassed that I’ve been married so many times, like I am just the poster child for bad decisions.

But also I’m embarrassed that I didn’t say no. That I wasn’t strong enough or smart enough at that point to look around and see that I wasn’t happy and that marriage wouldn’t change that.

Of course, I also wear the family shame, like I somehow bear more of that “What’s wrong with me?” everyone is wondering. Why couldn’t I just figure it out and either stick with one guy or just have the good sense to say no?

Well, because those aren’t the only options. When you think about your “failures” — well when you call them that it’s part of the problem. They’re only failures if you didn’t learn from them and I surely did. Barely at times.

But I did learn that abuse is inherited. I learned a lot of people don’t want to change. I learned denial is a powerful thing. I learned the people closest to us can hurt us most deeply. I learned that there is such a thing as spouse-rape.

I learned not to be a victim, and then I learned to be a predator, to create victims. I learned that not everyone loves or wants to be loved in the same way.

OK so you learned a lot. Why do you hate this part of you? Because it shows my weakness. Because it makes me embarrassed. Because I feel like I failed. Like it was all my fault and I’m some sort of pathetic creature who isn’t deserving of a real relationship. Who didn’t even know what one was. I’m SO embarrassed.

THAT’S shame.

What, where is that shame coming from? A misdirected aim to please our parents? That was at least the first one. I mean, I definitely thought they’d love and accept me if I married [Husband No. 1]. That they’d love and accept us — my choice, my relationship.

It seemed like that was where that came from. People pleasing. But do you see the shame is two-fold because you felt you never got their love and acceptance and because you divorced, you believe you failed in their eyes so now you’ll never get that love and acceptance.

And that is the bottom line about this shame. It all comes down to: I’m not good enough. I was told that story and I’m perpetuation it, carrying that shame over my past.

I can’t change the past and I don’t know that I would, especially because I love how my life is now. I just wish I could let go of that shame.

I am good enough. Keep doing your [meditations]. It’ll work out well in the end — or just in life.

Holy. That’s some heavy shit. Like for realz. And you know what? I could type all that out and see it pretty objectively now (I assure you it was a mess of scribbles when I wrote it), and it’s OK. I don’t feel that shame anymore, which is such a gift.

Of course there are other sources to my shame that I’m still working on releasing, but to say that this one is completely gone makes me feel so light and full of awe.

awe inspiring nature

Like the kind of awe I feel …

waterfall

… when I realize nature won’t be captured with photos.

Because I’ll tell you a secret: I thought I’d never get rid of it. I thought I was going to carry those horrible ideas to my grave, and I don’t care how old you are, that is a scary thing to believe.

I guess I’m sharing this because I think many of us carry some form of toxic shame. It’s been passed down through the generations as unconsciously as “Shame a dish” was passed down in mine.

What’s good to know is that it doesn’t have to continue. We can let go of these big, bad hateful thoughts about ourselves and know that there isn’t anything wrong with us.

We can know that our imperfections are actually works of art. That everything we’ve done in the past was just practice for what is happening now, and that if we can learn those lessons and live in this moment with love and acceptance, then we are living the dream.

Wondering what this Monday Morning Pages thing is all about? Read how it started. Or check out all the archives.

Photo Credits: My dear friend Ashley, Moyan Brenn, My dear friend Amy

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Lessons in Acclimating to A New Country — or — Four Things About My German Therapist

July 11, 2014

Moving to a new area can be a nerve-wracking enterprise for anyone, regardless of whether it’s across a state or across an ocean. Will the stores carry the food I like? Is there a yarn shop? Are there abundant supplies of cheap avocados? (The answer for Freiburg: Mostly. Yes, several. No. Not ever. You will […]

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MMP: Thrown Up Against the Past

July 7, 2014

This weekend I had the house to myself, and I decided to do some mind-body healing around the shame and guilt I carry around with me. This burden has decreased significantly since I stopped consuming alcohol like it was my job, but there’s definitely still a lot of residual stuff coming up. I read somewhere […]

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My Creative Habit in Ten Questions

July 4, 2014

As a journalist, blogger and marketer, I’ve done many interviews in my life. It didn’t dawn on me until several years into them that someday I might be the one answering questions. In the past week I’ve been invited to an interview (more on that in a few weeks) as well as to answer the […]

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MMP: Honest-to-goodness fun!

June 30, 2014

I just got back from Zürich last night and spent most of today catching up and doing errands, as is usually the case when you go away for the weekend. The trip was quick, but it was such a satisfying time. We arrived Friday night and got settled in with the friends we were visiting. […]

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This Week I Am:

June 27, 2014

Listening to: Air Traffic Controller: My favs on this album: Hurry, Hurry  and You Know Me and RadioLab, What’s Left When You’re Right? A particularly exciting episode about extreme opposites and what happens when they clash. Stories about game shows, creepy moments in a cabin in the woods and left-handed folks drew me in for the entire episode. Reading: Stones […]

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MMP: Trust Yourself, Have Faith and Get Big Results

June 23, 2014

Who would’ve known that a dream I had this weekend would have me digging through old journals? Apparently giant elephants in a zoo attached to my former employer is a good reason to read through some of my stuff to try to relearn some old lessons. Back in the day I used to read through my […]

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Gluten & Dairy Free Cinnamon Roll Recipe

June 21, 2014

I woke up this morning to the bright sun, and I woke up early(ish). It’s the Solstice and I’m celebrating! I went on a walk/run (wun? ralk?) this morning before it got too warm and decided today was the day that I would finally finish editing my video and share with all of you something […]

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