Over the years, I’ve admitted SO MANY scary things here on the podcast and in my writings. Some highlights: I’ve been battling depression since 2001. I once lost $43,000 on a massive business event, the $20,000 mastermind I signed up for hurt my spirit in ways I couldn’t even begin to articulate for years afterward, and long Covid wrecked my spirit in ways I can only just now begin to see, let alone articulate. I’ve studied breathwork (a free class for you is waiting here!), gotten divorced, fallen in love, written poems, shared advice, and seen the depths of the human spirit – all while sharing what I’m learning with you.
Talking about what’s tripping you up doesn’t make you wrong, bad, a ‘loser,’ or whatever else asshole brain has to say about you. It makes you HUMAN.
You find being committed to nutrition, exercise, healthy sleep, self care, and/or taking time away from work to be a challenge? Me, too.
Your life looks nothing like it did before pandemic, or EXACTLY like it did before pandemic but with much harder circumstances surrounding your day-to-day existence? Me, too.
You failed to plan for a global pandemic starting in 2020 so now your 1-year, 3-year, or 5-year plan is ruined? WELP I never had a 5-year plan, but if I did I imagine mine would also be fucked.
Failing to acknowledge what’s true in this moment doesn’t make it any less true.
There’s nowhere on the planet you can go that gets you away from…yourself. So let’s turn inward and see what we find, okay?
Answering the following questions will help you find a way through the tangles of your own heart. You’re human, so please don’t beat yourself up about your answers. It’s year three of pandemic, so again – PLEASE DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT YOUR ANSWERS. What Kasia Urbaniak calls ‘self attack’ will only prevent you from moving toward health.
What keeps tripping you up?
Meaning, what do you find yourself struggling with again and again? I’ve had turns of the spiral with depression, with money habits and skills, with creating structure for myself in business, with isolating when connecting is the healthiest option, and lately, with pandemic itself. WHEN WILL IT END/WHY GOD WHY happens more frequently as time goes on.
Places where you routinely trip up are like red flags encouraging you to ask for help. (Related: how to ask for help.) These tripping-up places are not places for shame or despair to take hold! They’re simply places where you can seek help, because completing one more turn of the spiral on your own is unlikely to return an amazing result. (You’ve tried that already, ’cause you’re one of my people and OF COURSE YOU HAVE.)
Where do you routinely lose time, money, and/or energy?
Common time sucks: social media, doomscrolling, planning and re-planning and re-re-planning in lieu of taking action
Common money sucks: courses/books/programs/offerings that promise a silver bullet or a vague ‘More,’ particularly if they can promise that YOU WILL make SO MUCH more MONEY if you just A, B, C, D, E, F, and G according to our Very Foolproof System.
Common energy sucks: worrying about what’s going to happen three steps from now, or six months from now, or seven years from now, email in all its forms, contorting yourself into the version of you that people will ‘like.’ (Related: let out your meows.)
Simply identifying where you lose time, money, or energy is the first step toward reclaiming those things – even now, smack dab in the middle of Omicron having its way with the globe. This is NOT a way to beat yourself up, but to acknowledge that reclaiming some time, money, and/or energy is available to you starting right now.
What is quietly a dumpster fire that you hope goes away on its own?
Sources of dumpster fire-y ness that I’ve witnessed most often include: ignoring mounting debt, hanging on to unhealthy or dead relationships, overeating to avoid feeling feelings, pretending your current circumstances are ‘fine’ when internally you’re FREAKING OUT, or admitting that you’ve changed your mind about X but asshole brain convinces you to white-knuckle your way through your commitments. (See: that time I wanted to end my marriage in 2006 but hung in there til 2014.)
Which parts of your being or your work have you given up on or decided to ignore away?
If you’re an artist, making your art will save your life. Your creative impulses aren’t going to disappear just because you’ve decided to let them go dormant. Likewise, pretending that numbing your emotions means you’ll never have emotions again is a recipe for failure. Acting like you’re FINE THANK YOU VERY MUCH in the face of whatever your heart is telling you is also likely to go…poorly. (Related: don’t you dare settle for ‘fine.‘)
A poem to highlight this particular issue:
Pen to Paper
I stopped writing.
It was the first to go.
I was too busy building walls
to record any words for posterity’s sake.
I stopped asking.
Because I didn’t care
what you were thinking,
or why, or whether I made you that way.
I stopped fucking.
Because what’s the point,
it will end in rejection. Quiet,
shame, tears. The bathroom floor.
I stopped touching.
It’s easier to give it all up
than to hug everyone you adore
before going home to your husband.
I stopped trying.
Because if love is all work, it’s no longer love
but something darker. Obligation,
retaliation. Endless compromise. Domestic warfare.
I stopped singing.
In the car, in the shower, in line. I didn’t even notice
until that day, months and months after,
when my voice returned. It startled me.
But, really. Really.
I’d give just about anything
to read those poems I never wrote.
Last question, and it’s a fill-in-the-blank!
If I wasn’t censoring or sabotaging myself, I would…
This is not the time to be sensible, reasonable, or responsible! If your first answer is ‘write a novel,’ please let that answer stand. If it’s delete social media or double down on social media, great!
Whatever it is that you routinely do to censor or sabotage yourself…please identify the pattern. You’re capable of changing that pattern, and of doing so without it costing eleventy-billion dollars or taking the rest of your life.
You’re capable of making changes in your life starting right now, and it’s possible for those changes to bear fruit in the coming months, even if pandemic goes absolutely nowhere or a new variant emerges. To put it another way…
Enter into the dance.
The dance of the universe,
this endless world looking at, observing,
and interacting with itself —
only itself in endless forms —
every single day.
Your job is to be you.
Your job is to evolve
your consciousness by entering in,
every single day.
Even when you’re tired.
Even when you’re scared.
Even when you’re sure it’s useless,
or there are bigger fish to fry,
or your tiny scraps of goodness
add up to nothing at all.
Your job is to enter in and become more of yourself,
to find out more of what you already know,
to dance with everything both as the universe
and as your own, separate, self.
The error comes in thinking there’s a ‘there’ there:
believing it will all be solved when
all better when
all work out when
all be ideal when
all be painless when
The dance is good and hard and painful and messy, always.
Don’t sit at the gate and charge for tickets
or claim to know what’s going on inside because you visited yesterday
or stand along the sides and watch others dancing.
Rest when you need, of course,
but enter in.
It’s the only way to know what is and isn’t true, today,
and what you might do to aid the universe
in its unfolding at this very moment.
You are freer than you know, now.
Just enter in.
Telling the truth about where you are and what’s going on – without shame, guilt, or judgment — is the whole point of my latest in-person workshop, The Imaginarium.
I’ll see you just as you are in this moment – paused, unpaused, freaking out, super calm, trying not to feel, or feeling every damn thing.
We’ll identify places where you’re committed to making progress.
We’ll put structures in place to hold you accountable for doing what you say you’re doing to do.
We’ll work together to find the more hopeful and alive version of you that’s been hiding away during pandemic, and we’ll bring her to the forefront with more joy and ease than you thought possible.
Says Laura, an Imaginarium attendee: “I tried to explain to my mom what it was like to be held so gently and with so much support and non-judgment. I said it was like putting a spotlight on my heart and soul, but it wasn’t scary; it was healing and filled with encouragement. I felt very safe.”
Again – book a tiny call to see if working together might be just what you need in 2022.
P.S. I dare you to shoot me an email with your answers to the questions in this podcast! I’m 0% going to judge you and 100% proud that you took the time to sort out an internal tangle or two. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org!