Making Better Use of My Energy

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Today was an interesting day.

For months, I would look at the calendar and my stomach would sink. For months, I knew that I had to do something that I didn’t want to do – something that needed to be done.

And while I won’t get into the specifics of what that something was, I will say that I did it.

And all of the worrying beforehand and stories that played out in my mind about how it was all going to play out didn’t come to pass. Not even close. 

I have lost sleep over this. I have cried about this. I have gotten angry about this. I have felt anxious about this. All before it even happened.

I had worked myself up into a complete tizzy over this thing that I needed to do.

And when I actually did it, it was easy. It went smoothly. Everything was fine. Absolutely fine. No friction. No feathers ruffled. No hurt feelings or resentments or anything even close.

So basically, I feel a little bit silly now for wasting so much of my precious energy on this moment.

I started looking at other times in my life when I followed a similar pattern and found that this was pretty typical for me.

Before my husband and I started our business, we taught middle school for a semester. We quickly realized that our dreams of working for ourselves were ready to be brought to life, and we dreaded telling the kids that we were leaving so soon. While we became close with many of them, our souls were speaking so loudly to us and saying that it was time to take our leap of faith. I made myself sick thinking about telling them. I felt like I was abandoning them and that they would be devastated. What actually happened was that we told them (expecting tears and sorrow), and within five minutes whey were asking if that meant it was a free day and wanted to see if they could play computer games.

I was surprised at how well they took it, and I realized that I wasted so much energy worrying about something that never came to be. Fearing how upset they would be was something that I had made up in my mind – a story I told myself that had no basis of truth. A story that I had believed – even though it wasn’t real.

There are also times when I would expend tons of energy worrying about something that actually did end up with the outcome I worried about – such as having a root canal or being in a car accident or getting sick or getting divorced or losing a loved one.

But I’m realizing more and more that worrying is powerlessness at its best. Worrying didn’t change the outcome of any of the examples above. The outcome was going to happen exactly how it was meant to, regardless of how much energy I put into worrying about it beforehand.

What a wake-up call that is for me. If the outcome is going to be the same, then wouldn’t I rather be happy and positive and joyful and grateful leading up to whatever it is that I’m afraid of? At least then I would be enjoying my days beforehand, regardless of how the actual day that I had been worrying about went.

I am so tired of making up these stories in my mind. I am so tired of creating outcomes that rarely come to pass. I am so tired of working myself into such a tight knot because I’m positive that I know how something is going to turn out, when in reality I have absolutely no idea and never will until I’m actually in the situation.

And today’s situation helped me see how all of this energy that I expended could have been put toward more positive, uplifting, healing things. And that’s where I want it to go from now on.

So while I’m not sure if this is something that I’ll be able to change overnight, I am going to be much more conscious of it. I’m going to start noticing the stories that I’m telling myself and the worries that I’m fretting over and the thoughts that are circling in my mind about an upcoming situation that I’m fearing. And I’m going to give myself permission to breathe, to trust, and to do my best to stay in the present moment. This is where life lives – not somewhere in the future. And if I can focus on being grateful right here in this moment, then the rest just tends to work itself out. And on the rare times that the outcome isn’t what I had hoped for, at least I wasn’t completely miserable leading up to it.

It’s definitely worth thinking about. I am just not okay with giving away my precious energy to worrying about what may or may not come to be. I would much rather focus on joy and love and gratitude in this exact moment.

That feels much, much better. :)

Hugs,

jodi

P.S. – A new post is up at my new A Year of Silence blog! I would love for you to read them. This project officially begins on January 1st. You can learn more about it here: http://www.ayearofsilence.com.

christine weekly special copyP.P.S. – One of my dearest friends, Christine Callahan Oke, is offering Laser-Focused Empowerment Sessions for just $29.95 (normally $97) this week only in the Soulful Life Sanctuary!

During your session, Christine will help you move forward in a chosen area of your life. Her practical, real-life wisdom and positive perspective will inspire you to step into your power and embrace life.

This special goes through the 29th, so be sure to order your discounted session before then! Click here to learn more.

Leaping into Silence

background for silence1 copyIf we’ve been connected for a while here on Soul Speak, you may have noticed a shift in me over the last year. I’ve been doing much less and reflecting much more. I’ve been listening to my soul more often and have been doing my best to take my ego out of the driver’s seat. I’ve been taking better care of my tired body by resting and disconnecting from the outside world as much as possible.

I’ve been remembering how important self care and self love truly are. And I’ve given myself permission to offer this care and love to myself in whatever way I most needed. It’s been such a healing journey of growth and going within.

For several years now, I’ve been very present and very visible in the online world. I wanted to reach as many people as I could in order to support them however I could. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to write loving words that helped others. But in 2010, this dream was rocket fueled by a beautiful experience that cracked open my entire world. Four years ago, an old friend who had recently died began communicating with me. I was a complete skeptic and didn’t believe this was possible. (Until then, I had spent most of my life on the left side of my brain – focusing on logic and proof.)

Thankfully, he was persistent and our conversations continued over the course of several years. (We even wrote a book together, which I am  hoping to finish and release soon.)

One of the messages that he shared with me was that it was time for me to embrace my life and help others embrace theirs – joyfully. I took this responsibility very seriously and put my own needs aside in order to fulfill what I saw as my soul’s mission. I didn’t want to let him (or the universe) down.

I thought I was doing everything right. I was sharing a loving message with others and helping them embrace their lives. I was pushing past my fear by saying yes to every opportunity that came my way. I was reaching out and connecting with others constantly. I was helping others see the beautiful soul that I saw when I looked at them. I was inspiring others to reconnect with their own inner light and embrace each day.

But eventually, all of this connecting and pushing and not taking care of myself in the process got the best of me. And I got tired. Really, really tired. And I ended up on the couch. My body had had enough of pushing and simply wasn’t able to get up. This was such a wake-up call for me.

During all of this DOing, I forgot to breathe. I forgot to trust in myself and in the universe enough to remember that I didn’t have to push so hard. I forgot that loving myself and easing up on myself must come before anything else. I forgot to implement into my own life everything that I had been teaching to others for years.

I kept hearing a whisper from within say that I needed a year of silence to reconnect with my soul. I’ve heard this same whisper for years, which I quickly pushed aside. Or I moved it to the “Wouldn’t it be nice?” part of my brain where fantasies spent their time.

Eventually these whispers would start again, and my heart would begin to consider that maybe it would be possible to do this. But my brain immediately would list why it wasn’t a good idea. I make a living talking to people – connecting with people – guiding people (which I love). How in the world could I do this while being silent? So I would shut it down and ignore it and try to continue living exactly how I was. But this message was persistent. And it started getting louder and louder until finally I realized that it wasn’t going to go away. I have been connecting with my soul for long enough to know when to pay attention, and so I decided to give it a go and see what happens.

So I’m taking a leap and declaring to the world that I will be honoring silence for the next 12 months starting on January 1, 2015.

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I have no idea what will happen during this time. I have no idea what I will learn or will experience. But I do know that this is part of my journey to get back to me. I know that I can’t keep up this fast, noisy pace. I know that my insides are screaming for quiet and solitude. And I know that in giving myself this time, I will have so much more to give to others moving forward. My cup will be full. And I can’t wait to feel vibrant and joyful and all filled up again.

Throughout this journey, I’ll be blogging here on Soul Speak and also on my new website: ayearofsilence.com – keeping you in the loop about what I’m experiencing and learning. And I would love for you to join me in whatever way feels right within your own soul. I realize that not everyone will be able to (or will even want to) be silent for an entire year. But maybe this experiment will inspire you to embrace quiet and stillness in other ways.

blog2If you would like to read the first post on my new A Year of Silence blog, please click here.

(You can also read the About page to learn more about what I’m planning.)

We are all so deserving of a life that nourishes us. It’s my hope that my journey of silence will inspire you to look within your heart and give yourself permission to live the life that you most desire. You’re so worthy of that.

I hope you’ll take this journey with me in whatever ways feels most right for you! Here’s to stillness and solitude and expansion and leaping into silence!

Hugs,

jodi

 

 

A Quiet Strength

truthI received an unsolicited email from someone yesterday that prompted me to write this post. In the message, a woman that I don’t know said that she had just watched my video for the Soulful Life Sanctuary. She said that my speaking voice didn’t match the voice that she imagined that I would have. She said that she had perceived me to be a “strong, dynamic, heart-ful, and powerful woman” and went onto say that she knew for a fact that my soft speaking voice wasn’t my “true, authentic voice.”

Wow.

At first, I was completely taken aback. I was pretty livid, actually. (I am human, after all.) Thankfully though, because of the love bubble that I’ve created, it’s very rare for me to receive emails such as these. And I knew that this email wasn’t meant to offend – it was coming from a place of wanting to help and be of service. And, I know that there is a gift in everything that happens to us – even those experiences that don’t feel so great at first.

There are a couple of gifts that this email brought. First, I am on the cusp of moving even more toward my authentic self – becoming even more quiet so that I can get in touch with my soul in deeper ways. And this contrast helped me anchor this longing even more. Second, it was the perfect catalyst for me to start a conversation around this notion of power and authenticity, which I’ve wanted to have here for quite some time.

So here’s what I know for sure:

Power comes in all forms. Authenticity shows up in many different ways. And assuming that someone hasn’t fully stepped into their authentic power simply because they are soft spoken is such a huge misconception.

I’m not sure where or how this myth got started (and I don’t even really care, to be honest), but it’s become pretty mainstream in our world to think that in order to be powerful and successful, we must be loud and hard and masculine (whether we’re men or women).

And I am here to say that this is just not true. I am a powerful woman. I have a vast amount of inner strength. And in my quietness, I am connected to the universe – the ultimate source of power.

I have loads of marketing experience. I know how I’m “supposed” to act if I’m going to be “successful” in this online world. And yet, I love myself enough to know that this seemingly calculated method of sharing my message isn’t for me. I just couldn’t bring myself to do something that didn’t feel authentic. And thankfully, I have evidence that when we show up as ourselves, we are supported in such loving ways.

For years now, I have shared from my own authentic, soft-spoken space of strength. I have created a successful life where I have followed my heart and stayed true to my soul. I feel very blessed that thousands of you are able to hear my words – soft as they may be (not just sonically but also energetically). I know that that those who are looking for someone to inspire them through a more outgoing and boisterous approach simply aren’t my tribe. Because I will never be that type of person – it’s just not who I am.

I have never been a loud person. I have always had a quiet voice and demeanor. I don’t say a lot, but when I do speak it’s because I think what I’m saying matters and is important and deserves to be heard.

There is such strength in softness and quietness and in not feeling the need to shout in order to be heard.

Yes, you can be powerful by getting in people’s faces and being domineering and shouting and using fear-based tactics in order to get others to submit to you.

But you can also be powerful by exuding a quiet confidence and showing up as your true self in the world so that others will feel your strength and will automatically be attracted to it – much like a magnet.

I love my voice. I love it because it’s a direct expression of my soul. It is my authentic self.

I do my best to share my most authentic self with the world because I feel that it gives each of us permission to do the same. It’s not always easy, and it definitely takes a leap of faith and a whole lot of bravery to show up from this space. But I will continue doing exactly that because it’s so important.

We all come in all shapes and sizes. And we also come with vastly different personalities – some loud, some quiet, some thoughtful, some playful.

Here’s what’s true: 

When we are brave enough to share our true authentic self with the world, we make room for miracles. When we remember that we’re all different and that it’s okay to not look like someone else or talk like someone else or share like someone else – it’s actually preferable that you are in your own lane doing your own thing following your own heart. Because that’s where the true magic lies.

If you are naturally loud, be loud. If you are naturally quiet, be quiet. Whatever you naturally are is exactly perfect. Because it’s YOU. And nothing could be more perfect than that.

I’ll continue to share in the only way I know how – softly and quietly and soulfully. And I trust that those who are meant to hear my voice will hear it.

And I hope that you’ll continue to show up exactly as you are as well.

Thank you, as always, for being such a loving community that makes it so easy for me to show up as myself. I’m so grateful for you all.

Hugs,

jodi

 

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Going Down Memory Lane

downloadAfter recently watching a wonderful documentary called Mortified Nation (where willing participants go on stage and read from their teenage journals), I took a trip down memory lane and read through my old journals. My first entry was when I was 10, and let’s just say that I wasn’t happy with my brother at the time (a theme that continued through many of the entries). :)

I continued to write regularly throughout my teenage years and well into my twenties. I used my journal as a space to vent my frustrations, share my feelings, and express my truest self. I treated my journal as my confidante, my best friend. It was the only place that I felt safe enough to show up as the “real me.” On the outside, I was always the happy one, the outgoing on, the confident one. And I felt that my journal was the only place I could go to share the turmoil that I was truly experiencing on the inside.

As a teenager, I used to write from deep inside the closet in my bedroom. I wanted to make it as private as I possibly could. It was an amazing space with a secret cubby on the other side of my clothes – perfect for getting in touch with how I was feeling.

I wrote a lot of the typical things that any young girl would write about: feeling insecure about boys, drama with friends, what I was going to wear the next day…

But I also found a deeper part of myself within the writing – a wise, soulful part that was helping to guide me through some difficult moments. I wrote about what it was like to see my young cousin’s body at her funeral, which was my first experience with death. I wrote how I felt when my parents were constantly fighting: sad, powerless, angry, hopeless, scared. I wrote about feeling the need to be perfect – knowing that the pressure to do so was coming from me. I wrote about my own shame about being abandoned by my father – constantly wondering what was wrong with me to make him want to leave. I wrote a lot about feeling sick – I frequently had a fever or a cold and would stay home from school and write in my journal. I wrote about being my stepdad’s confidante and how hard that was to be put in that role at such an early age. I wrote about fearing that I didn’t know much of anything at all and feeling constantly afraid and anxious about my future.

Looking back through these years and years and books and books of entries helped me see that I’ve always been sensitive and empathetic and cared about others. And I’ve always been introspective and emotional and resilient.

It also highlighted patterns that I’m so happy to have worked through and stopped repeating (such as looking for love where it wasn’t available and bottling up my feelings until I thought I would burst), but it also shined the light on patterns that I’m still working to change – beliefs that run deep and have been perpetuated by unconscious repetition (such as pushing myself so hard that I get sick and wanting to please others and gain their approval even if that means hurting myself in the process).

Reading my heartfelt words from the past was like shining a light on my soul. I got to see the parts that I had forgotten about and bring light to the parts that it was time to pay attention to. I got to meet my younger self again. I got to see her from 20-30 years into the future and really feel her heart. I cried for her pain. I laughed at her silliness. And I relished each moment of it.

Going back down memory lane was such a gift in both recognition and clarity. I still see so much of myself in that young girl. I am that young girl and will always be. And yet, I am also a grown woman who has experienced so much life and lived and grown and will continue to live and grow.

Reading these words from the past was an invitation in self compassion. I really felt what I was feeling when I wrote each word. I was able to put myself back into that space and remember how lost I felt. And then I was able to transport myself into the present and be extra thankful that everything happened exactly how it was meant to.

In the documentary that I mentioned in the beginning of this post, the host frequently asks what each person would say to their younger self. And they usually say something like, “It’s all going to be okay.”

And it is. Always.

And I take so much comfort in that – especially seeing (and feeling) how alone I felt in my younger years and how much pressure I put on myself (and still continue to put on myself). To just know that it’s all working out. To embrace life. To have some fun. And to lighten up.

That’s what I’m taking away from this journaling journey, and it feels pretty amazing.

If you haven’t already watched this documentary, I highly recommend it. I know that you’ll be able to see yourself in some of the journal entries that are read. It doesn’t matter what our external circumstances were, we all felt the same insecurities and angst. Every single one of us. And knowing that (and admitting that) helps us connect on a deeper level and know that we are truly never alone. I love that.

Just a slight disclaimer: this movie can get a bit raw and raunchy at times because the participants are reading the uncensored journal entries. I feel that it’s what makes it even more identifiable though and even more relatable.

And if you decide to go down memory lane yourself and read through your old journals, please feel free to come back here and share some of the insights that came up for you! 

Hugs,

jodi

The Benefits of Exhaustion

livingroom couchI’m writing this post from my new “office” – the couch in my living room that I’ve been spending most of my time on for the past month. (My body decided that it was time for some enforced rest, which I’ve been giving it – albeit reluctantly and begrudgingly at times.)

I’ve postponed all of my Skype sessions for the time being, cut way back on my work hours, and have focused solely on relaxing, de-stressing, and simply allowing myself to BE.

I’ve always believed that there is a gift in every situation – no matter how painful it feels when we’re in it. And usually, I can go back to each experience and find the nuggets and learn and grow. But this time – with the help of a great book that I’m reading – I’m finding the nuggets while I’m still in the midst of what could be viewed as a not-so-great experience, which is pretty exciting.

It’s my hope that in sharing some of my nuggets, you’ll be able to look at your own present-moment life experiences and find some nuggets, too!

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We started a book club this month in the Soulful Life Sanctuary, and the first book that we selected is The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing by Abraham-Hicks. (You can learn more about it here.)

To be completely honest, I have never read any of their books before. I have come across them in the past and felt a strong aversion to them, actually, because of the channeling aspect. (Esther channels an energy/source called Abraham and shares the messages/teachings through her writing.) For my skeptical mind, they seemed too “out there.” However, during my own awakening over the past few years, I have gone from not believing in anything to witnessing such beautiful miracles that I want to remain open to see what else is possible.

I also know that oftentimes when I feel such a strong aversion to something, it’s something to pay attention to. So when this book was chosen by the sanctuary members, I took it as a sign that it was time for me to dive in and see what it was all about.

I’m so glad I stayed open because it’s absolutely amazing. I haven’t even finished it yet, and I’ve already filled up pages and pages of my journal with notes and passages that I want to remember.

This book is about surrendering to what is – allowing ourselves to stop going against the current in our life and give ourselves permission to stop resisting whatever is happening and accept it. Because it’s in the resistance that we feel pain and attract more of that into our life. When we accept whatever is happening and find the positive aspects of it, we raise our vibration and align with the universal flow and our own divine nature.

Like I mentioned above, my first couple of weeks on the couch weren’t fun at all. I was in full resistance mode. I was thinking about everything that I couldn’t do – all of the negative aspects that this exhaustion was bringing into my life. I was feeling betrayed by my body and just wanted it to heal already – I had things to do!

And then, I began to shift (thanks in large part to this book) and also to endless chats with my husband, who is such a wise, loving soul. I began to shift from negative to positive. I believe that we live in a loving universe, and so that means that whatever I’m going through is for my highest good. And when I stopped resisting and started allowing, things began to flow much more easily.

One of the exercises in the book is to take a situation that you’re struggling with and write down all of the positive aspects of it. I did this a few nights ago with my struggle with feeling so exhausted.

I was amazed at how I wrote a full page of benefits in just a few minutes! It was like my soul was so happy that I had shifted my focus, and it was super excited to help me see all of the ways that this experience was helping me.

I saw that without this level of exhaustion, I wouldn’t have made the time to take care of myself. I always wrote about it and taught about it and told myself that it was something I should also do, but I never actually did it – at least not to the extent that my body and soul needed. Being this exhausted has helped me make self care my number-one priority, which felt really uncomfortable at first but feels really great now.

After spending the last 10 years working 80+ hours/week, I have now set boundaries around my time and am working no more than 25 hours/week and stepping away from all work completely after dinner each night. I have talked about doing this for years and never found the discipline to follow through – until now. Definitely a huge benefit to this exhaustion! It feels so good to slow everything down – to relax and have space in my day. To listen to my body and stop when I’m tired. And to work from the couch is pretty sweet, too. (Definitely an added bonus of working from home.) I’ve spent so many years being a horrible boss to myself, and I’m glad that I’m starting to treat myself how I would like to be treated.

I am also seeing that this exhaustion is helping me open my heart more to faith and to trusting the universe. I was so determined to create financial security, and I just assumed that I had to work around the clock to make it happen. I’ve found that the opposite is actually true. The more I take care of myself, the more the abundance seems to flow. And that’s such great evidence for me to continue trusting that it’s okay to relax – and that struggling isn’t a requirement for success (in any area of life).

Having this downtime has allowed me to get to know myself again. I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t taken the time to check in and really see how I’m doing – how I’m feeling. It’s been great to have this time and space to do this. It’s also given me much more quality time with Dan. We’ve worked together for 10 years, so we spend a lot of our time together. But this quality time is different. We’re not so braindead, and we can enjoy each other so much more.

These are just a few of the benefits that this current experiencing is bringing to me. It’s so exciting to see that in writing them down, I could feel myself immediately start to shift. Yes, I’m still tired. Yes, I’m still on the couch. No, I don’t know how long I’ll be here. But here’s what’s happened: I’m allowing myself to be wherever I am. I’m no longer resisting what is. And because of this, I am enjoying my life a whole lot more.

And that’s what it’s all about, right? I mean, I could go back to the way things were and work a million hours a week again and be super productive and super disciplined, but if I’m not treating myself with love and if I’m not happy, what’s the point? I would much rather be on the couch – taking it easy, slowing down, and learning how to treat myself with kindness and love – trusting that life will continue to flow beautifully because I’m allowing myself to step into the universal flow rather than continuing to resist it.

How about you? Would you want to try this experiment in your own life? Would you want to choose one situation that you’re currently struggling with and list all of the benefits that are coming from it? Would you be open to shifting from resisting it to allowing it?

If you’re feeling bad now, then you truly have nothing to lose! I think it’s definitely worth a try. If you do try it, please come back and share how it went in the comments. I would love to hear how you’re shifting!

Hugs,

jodi

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