Delete, delete, delete.

I’ll be honest, I’m being reinvented right now.

This is what Martha Beck would call ‘Square One’ - the dissolving stage of change. Old ways of being, changing.

All the things that don’t fit any more, falling way.

An experience of inner autumn if you like - letting go, dropping, falling away, like a tree knowing it doesn’t need to hang onto those beautifully browning leaves - because they will grow anew next Spring.

I had a coaching call this week where my buddy Hannah helped me realise I needed to make some space, put my ‘big rocks’ in first, and stop cluttering up my time with sand and debris.

So when had a clear out of my gmail account yesterday whilst waiting for my car to be serviced, and I deleted something called ‘archive’ - I was surprised to see the teeny tiny message in the bottom left corner of my screen saying ‘deleting 24,500 messages’ but didn’t really know what it was. But more ‘hmm, that’s mildly curious’ as opposed to ‘holy shit what I have I done’, if you know what I mean.

It was only later, when finding myself blink-staring at a blank inbox that I realised what had happened.

Memories of all the things I’d saved and stored over the past decade that I was planning ‘on coming back to’.

Entire online courses I’d signed up to and kept the materials but never finished.

My train and hotel journeys for next week.

A copy of a family will that needed safekeeping.

Messages from my Mum.

Notes from coaching buddies from when I asked them to tell me my impact and they gave me some delicious, kind and spontaneously heartfelt words.

Stuff I meant to reply to but didn’t get around to.

All my login and subscription details for being a coach, a psychologist, a facilitator, all my Continuous Professional development details. Access to my ‘professional identity’.

Stuff that people had written and I’d kept because I was going to use what they’d done as a template that I wanted to do - invitation pages for workshops, for example

A million things I subscribe to but haven’t read.

All gone.

And although I’m shocked and horrified, in that kind of attached-to-our-inboxes kind of way, I’m surprised to find that I’m much, much more liberated and free.

Lighter. Much lighter.

Permission to admit I don’t need those online courses any more.

Trusting that the right information will always find its way to me, or I’ll be able to look it up.

Permission to let go of the idea that I’ll get back in touch ‘someday’.

Knowing that who I am at my core, is much more magnificent than any amount of evidence I need to gather in the form of qualifications, certifications, and external validations.

Knowing that the kind words from my friends lives inside us, our relationship, our hearts, not in some words on a screen.

And it’s inspired me to create a new way of being with my inbox.

Unsubscribe. Unhook. Let go. Delete, delete, delete.

And even if I knew of a way to bring it all back, I don’t think I would.

My wish for you.

 
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If we were sitting together with our backs pressed up against a big old wise tree, the sun dappling through leaves that are rustling softly with the breeze, musing about the magic and mystery of life, I'd tell you that you are more powerful than you ever gave yourself permission to believe.

I think you are incredible, with your deep thoughtfulness, your tenderness and fierce courage, your craving for quiet, your vision, your longing to have a deeper impact in the world.

I'd acknowledge that something deeply-buried is shifting in you, and the calling to something new is getting louder.

That all the stuff that's happened to you is rocket fuel for your transformation and evolution. That there is alchemy in transmuting that energy, that narrative, into something more potent, more empowering, more alive.

I'd tell you my wish for you is that you know that you belong here, in this miraculous life.

Right now, and just as you are.

Real, messy and magnificent, with high, strong energy and fire in your belly.

And in fact, the world may just be depending on it.

 

Just say it.

 
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I experienced someone being true to themselves this week when they told a group they had been leading for years, they were no longer going to be fulfilling that role - things had changed, they were reaching a birthday milestone and evaluating their life, they wanted to spend more time with family.

As they started to say the words, even before they got the words out, someone in the group had shouted out 'OH NO!' and I thought that have made it much harder to say. But the person did it, they didn't falter. They got the words out. I could see that they were shaken by having spoken, feeling all the feels of the vulnerability, the uncertainty, the risk that had just been taken. A necessary one, for them to be true to themselves and to follow what felt right, but one that rocked them deeply, nevertheless.

This is ordinary courage in action. No loud fanfare, no bells and whistles. Saying what we need to say. Trusting who we are, what we value, what we need.

We're all in it together.

Managing identity.

 Photo by  Sydney Jackson  on  Unsplash

"Yeah, of course, I'd be annoyed, but I wouldn't say anything!"

"I've never liked parties, but I feel like I should at least go and show my face."

"I handed him the finished report and he said 'that's twice this week I've had to correct some things in your work. I didn't say anything, but I felt flat and upset and wanted to punch him in the face."

"So I went and brought a navy blazer - even though I don't suit navy and hate dressing formally, because I'm a manager now, and managers wear suits don't they?"

These are the kinds of things I've heard my clients say in the past month, all to do with the hustle and struggle that is trying to manage the perception that others have of us, based on the way we'd like to be seen, versus who we actually are.  

We humans are incredible. We are miracles in human form. There is only one of each of us, with our way of experiencing the world. And don't get me started on the amount of amazing things our bodies can do. (Did you know that it's not possible to tickle ourselves? We have brains that will NOT BE FOOLED!)

And we often ignore all of that and put a load of energy into trying to be something different, something better, something comparable to someone else's standards.

What's that all about?

Have a go at this little exercise: ask yourself the following questions. 

  • Do I love everything in my wardrobe?
  • In the past week, have I said anything that wasn't true, or that I didn't fully believe, in an attempt to try and control someone else's opinion of me?
  • Do I say 'I should do, really', a lot?
  • In the next week, have I got anything in my calendar that I am going to, where my heart's not really in it?
  • Do you keep doing something that makes you feel drained?
  • Do you hope people don't guess that you haven't got a clue what you're doing half the time?
  • Do some people just seem to leave you feeling intimidated?

If you've said yes to more than one of these, it's likely there is a gap between how you actually feel inside and how you want others to see you.  It's not just you - it's part of the built-in mechanism for having us stay 'part of the tribe' and belonging.  

[As I'm typing this I just heard on the radio the news about North Korea and it's missile testing: the report that 'they don't want to be seen as negotiable with, they want to be seen as 'world leaders'. Even whole countries are doing identity-management.]

But here's the thing. You don't need to me to tell you it's EXHAUSTING to manage the daily hustle for feeling good enough, ready enough, competent enough, smart enough, and before we know it we've built a life and work around an identity that doesn't really feel like us. 

The good news is, who you actually are, with your gifts, and strengths, and what matters most, and your preferences, is all right there, waiting for you to stop, breathe, and notice what feels best.

It's a bit like the 'hotter/colder game' - start noticing what feels better, like relief, like resonance, like the tiny flickers of excitement. They might be tiny at first, especially if you've been ignoring them for a while. And it's much easier to respond from that place - when you are being fully present and clear about who you are and what matters most to you.

Let go of that old identity that isn't who you are these days and put the real you in charge more often. Double-dare ya. Let us know what happens, will you?


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You are cordially invited to join us for an open workshop, find out about working 1:1 with me, or get in touch to commission a The Daring Way or Rising Strong workshop for your team or organisation. Click here to find out more about me. 


[guest post] Wholehearted living.

I can’t wait to take part in Jacqui’s Wholehearted Living course in September to help me live in a braver, bolder way.

I have gratefully soaked up her influence over five years of friendship: I strive to Show Up, Be Seen and Live Brave in family life, church life, relationships and especially my role as a Mokyfit dance fitness instructor.

We met in class and clicked right away as we both threw ourselves into each chest-pop, kick and whoop with gusto.

So before I become client as well as friend, I did some homework on wholehearted living by seeing my favourite band Coldplay in concert at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

What did my pre-workshop research teach me?

1. Keep re-discovering afresh.

I saw Coldplay’s incredible performance at Glastonbury last year (on the telly) and couldn’t believe how much the four musicians wholeheartedly performed each song.

See how lost lead singer Chris Martin is when singing Clocks, not caring a jot about his bizarre piano-thrusting.

His delivery at Cardiff was just as exciting, and he will have performed that song hundreds of times. I had never seen anything like it.

I want to be that carefree, absorbed and energised, like I’m living something for the first time each time I do it. It all seems very Jacqui-esque to me!

2. Be humble, and inclusive.

Chris genuinely thanked everyone for coming and acknowledged the effort it takes to attend a concert: “the traffic jams, the weather, the million pounds you have to pay for a hotel.” He was constantly on the move, singing to each section of the stadium to make everyone feel part of a shared experience.

My Mokyfit audience averages 20, not 70,000, but people give up time and money to attend. I owe it to them to deliver each routine wholeheartedly, no matter if I’m bored of the song or feel tired. I have to keep an eye on everyone and adapt how I teach for all abilities so everyone can feel included and do it wholeheartedly too.

3. Live in the moment.

Guitarist Jonny Buckland played the opening chords to the bouncy Charlie Brown where Chris encouraged everyone to jump to the beat. We enthusiastically obliged. But before he sang the first verse, Chris stopped the band and urged everyone to put their phones away.

Rather than experience this unique moment through a small screen, we should feel it wholeheartedly in the here and now.

“Forget social media,” he said. “Really jump together.”

When the song began again, the atmosphere was totally different.

It was super-charged, electric, euphoric. It reminded me of Jacqui’s description of being “fully alive”.

4. It’s okay to make mistakes.

Another of Jacqui’s mantras, because we become stronger through our mistakes and no-one else cares, so there’s no shame in making them.

The opening notes of the iconic Fix You sounded out as Chris walked along a walkway to the main stage.

He started singing.

Then he stopped the song.

“I’ve messed it up,” he said (in fruitier language). “It’s the second time I’ve done this,” he admitted to 70,000 people, who now admired him all the more.

He re-traced his steps and started again, and our hearts soared as we all sang along.

In my Mokyfit classes, customers love it when I forget the moves because it gives them permission to slip up too.

5. You can stray from plans and go with the flow.

Another Jacqui-ism about not resisting the present moment. The fan who held up a sign pleading with Chris to let him play Everglow was initially turned down, but then Chris beckoned him up and said: “Sod it” (or something similar). “Why not, let’s try it.”

The delighted fan did a decent job playing the piano intro before Chris thanked him and diplomatically took over again.

How generous of him to share his stage and audience, and how brave to try something with such an unknown – potentially disastrous – outcome.

The crowd loved it.

Finally.

I’ll never forget watching my son Charlie pogo-sticking for two hours with his arms raised, singing with his eyes closed and playing the air guitar with all his being.

What a lesson to learn at just eight years old.

May he live the rest of his life with such carefree joy.

I look forward to progressing my Wholehearted Living journey with Jacqui in September.

Nicola Roberts, MokyFit instructor - www.mokyfit.co.uk

Help yourself to support.

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For someone who advises and guides others on matters of the heart, I’m not very good at asking for support for myself. Practical help? No problem. Rounding everyone up for a girls night out? Easy. Saying ‘I’m struggling and could do with some support here?’ Not on your nelly.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that has a hard time with this.

I was so surprised last week when sitting with a friend by the estuary off Morecambe Bay, on a blustery July day (yes, I know those things aren't supposed to go together but this is the North of England), sipping our steaming hot tea out of paper cups as the muted greys of the sea and sky shifted and changed and as our eyes watered with the wind.

I’d just told my friend that I’d been feeling flat and tired and, to my surprise, in the kindness and openness of her eye-contact and sitting alongside me, close enough that our arms were touching, I felt my eyes well up and a little bit of grief came up. Well, more of a fair chunk, actually.

I was mortified. I didn't want to feel it and I didn't want her to see it.

I recognise it well these days - by it’s ebbing and flowing, and welling up from the dense, heaviness I feel in my chest. I couldn’t stop the tears, but I noticed they stopped not long after they started, like the latest layer of healing that just wanted releasing.  This story is not about grief - telling that tale is like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble - but about what I noticed later, after I’d left my friend and driven home.

I felt better! I actually felt lighter and clearer, and the heaviness and flatness had gone. I noticed my appreciation for how my friend had just sat with me a while, no fixing, no major talking, just loving, kind presence. 

I had wanted to run away or change the subject or spill my tea or ANYTHING rather than sit there in my pain and worse, have someone see it and know I didn’t have it all sorted out and couldn't find my happy. But staying and feeling it actually helped it shift. 

I know that connection is what it’s all about - how important connection is to why we’re here - but hadn’t realised the power of that ‘space-holding’ as we coaches call it - and also my resistance to being seen in my tenderness and my sadness. I didn’t even consider the pleasure my friend would have got from being with me in deep trust like that. 

Physician, heal thyself. [Insert raised eyebrows here]

I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to ask for support sometimes and why we make up that we have to do this all on our own.

Maybe it’s because we see asking for help or receiving support as a weakness.

Maybe we worry that if we ask for help, people will think we owe them.

Perhaps we haven’t yet learned of the balance between dependence and intimacy.

I had a look at what research suggests about social support. 

I found this useful distinction between Emotional support and Informational support.

The former is the offering of empathy, concern, affection, love, trust, acceptance, intimacy, encouragement, or caring. The latter is is the provision of advice, guidance, suggestions, or useful information to someone. This type of information has the potential to help others problem-solve. 

Imagine, if you will, how it feels when you are offered information by a well-meaning helper, when actually what you wanted was to be seen and cared about. Alongside these two are tangible, practical support, and companionship support, which helps with a sense of belonging.

Current mental health research is well-aware of the benefits of a good social support system for our physical and psychological health, and resilience to stress. More oxytocin, and less cortisol running through our systems.

During the same visit, my friend talked about ‘getting some support’ from her coach because she was dealing with some challenging things at work and knew she would need some extra reinforcement.

I honestly had never considered the power of coaching as support in the same way before. Light-bulb moment.

Having someone in your corner, cheering you on from the sidelines, sometimes offering guidance, mostly asking good questions and providing a big old kind and wide open space within the safe boundaries of the coaching container - why I didn’t realise the power of this before I don’t know. I’m guessing it’ll add a new layer to my facilitation of the Daring Way too - I’ve often been moved when the group include me by asking about my experience or by buying me flowers on day two of a workshop to say thank you - the boundary of ‘facilitator’ or ‘coach’ is softening as I include myself as ‘fellow human’  in a deeper way. It’s all about the beauty of giving and receiving.

So, get some support! From a friend, or a colleague, a manager, a family member, a coach, a group of like-minded folk. Online, or in person. Learn to ask. Know where you are likely to try and go it alone and try asking for some support instead. What have you got to lose?

Mud, nets and cheers.

Sometimes you just have to dive in.

Go for it.

Get dirty.

Forget about how you look, or what Everybody Else is thinking, or about tomorrow’s plans or yesterday’s laundry.

Launch all of yourself into all of your life, with full commitment.

Say yes, with your heart pounding, because it feels good, although also scary and messy.

So you can feel fully alive!

Present!

All senses tingling.

Connected with others.

In touch with something greater than yourself.

Last weekend, my ‘brave’ was running two Gelt Gladiators in a weekend – the 10k for the stretch and challenge, the 6k for the team experience.

We did the 6k last year so I knew I could do that distance. Even so, I was afraid of being cold, wet and tired, of not being able to get over the fences, of the slide (oh man was I afraid of the slide. Both days 😊).

And the discomfort.

Pulling yourself along backwards, head first, in a foot of muddy water with a metal grate an inch from your face.

Plunging into icy water and swimming for three long minutes. Running through electric shocked wires.

Summoning upper body strength to get over the 6 foot fences.

Getting a good pace on the running parts.

Coming down a steep slope with only your bottom for padding.

Knowing that the sludge that just went up your nose and in your mouth was almost definitely cow poo.

It was so brilliant. Mostly.

So much fun, and so much stretch and challenge.

This is the reward - The freedom. The fun. The spontaneous laughter.

The first noticing of my grey roots when I saw the photos and then thinking ‘wow! I look so happy!’. The best feeling.

The achievement – not for glory but for sheer pleasure and the appreciation of life.

The gratitude – for my friends and the team spirit, for the atmosphere of helping and encouragement from them and from fellow participants and bystanders. For hot baths and proud husbands.

The ‘happy tiredness’ – the after-effects of a cold, wet and muddy endurance run and the associated feelings of deep satisfaction, contentment, fulfilment.

Lingering over memories of hearing people saying ‘I can’t do it!’ followed by a helping hand on the bum to hoy them over the wall or ‘here, use my hands as a step!’ followed by the cheers of the team and the rallying cry of ‘yes you can!’.

Yes, You Can.

When was the last time YOU felt this alive?

I’m so curious about that.

What makes us feel that alive? That purposeful? That brave? That strong?

Where do we get in our own way? How do we stop ourselves from living the full colour of our lives?

What stories do we tell ourselves about not being ready, or not being able to, or not knowing how, or how being afraid is a good reason not to do something?

How do we connect with that part of us that says ‘yes, you can!’

Yes, you can sign up! For the mud run, or the art class, or whatever is calling you.

You can say yes to the conversation, the interview, the new project or business.

You can say no, to anything that makes you feel sadder, or tireder, or less-than.

Even if we’re not feeling ready, or good enough, or we worry that we won’t fit in, we can choose this way of being.

And we can do it for the joy and the aliveness and the vibrancy of it.

We can get our hands in that magnificently muddy messy life of ours, and feel ALIVE.

 

If you'd like some help being braver and happier - a group of us are gathering in September in Penrith to share the curriculum of The Daring Way - a supportive and challenging non-residential intensive workshop retreat - you don't have to do this on your own. We'd love you to join us! You can read more about that here.

In praise of slow

 Image credit: Miriam Miles at unsplash.com

Image credit: Miriam Miles at unsplash.com

I'm just four days into 2017 with the guiding light of SLOW as my word for 2017 - and already I've discovered something really interesting about what goes on inside my head.

As some background - I recently read Carl Honore's excellent 'In praise of slow' (alongside Susan Cain's 'Quiet', but that's another tale for another day) and watched his TED talk which you can watch here - it's less than 20 minutes and is well worth it if you're a recovering 'hurry-upper', like me. 

I'm making SLOW be about slowing everything down, taking deeper breaths, doing less, consuming less, taking more time to really feel into decision-making, generally being more present, and hopefully in turn, connecting with the underlying joyful nature that I am sure exists under all the busy-busy-hurry-upness, that leaves me feeling flat and uninspired.

I noticed really clearly that the voice in my head doesn't actually represent the deeper inner wisdom voice I've come to recognise, but not always live from, and it seems to be running a commentary like this in my head:

On day two of my happy choice to go back to running, because I feel strong, and free when I run..

 "I don't want to go for a run. Running feels hard."

And during that same run:

"oooh, the floor's icy. What if I slip and fall in the road and a car comes and doesn't see me and might run over me and... " Wise, true self cuts in at this point with WHAAAAT?! check out that catastrophising! Stop that, fast-thinking voice!

On seeing one of my favourite mentors has launched another course, just as I promised myself to consume less this year, and to show up fully to the online courses I've already signed up to but not completed:

"I've got to sign up! I don't want to miss out! Never mind that I'm going back on my promise to myself! Sign up!"

On receiving an invitation to deliver a session at a local conference, that I loved doing last year:

"I'm not sure I can be bothered. It's all too much effort and I'm just making myself really busy again."

In my hurry up days I'd probably have skipped the run, signed up to yet another course that I won't complete after promising myself that I wouldn't, and declined the offer of presenting to a local group - something I know is really fun and fulfilling for me.

(In case you're wondering, I went for the run, didn't sign up for the course [but did connect with the course-leader which resulted in deeper connection and leaving the door open], and committed to the presentation :))

 view from the run!

view from the run!

This is an example of how it feels when we're caught up in fast and slow thinking - check out here and here - slowing our thinking down gives us access to deeper processing which isn't governed by that lazy, fast, often inaccurate voice that happens in our heads when we are speeding along through our lives.

Slower thinking requires more mental resources, but gives us access to greater agency, choice and concentration in our lives.

I'm sure for me there's an element of my instant gratification monkey at play too - slowing things down means I really have access to decision making that will lead to a happier, more fulfilled me - not one who managed to avoid discomfort in the instant it was triggered, but who missed out on something that was going to have me feeling stronger, happier and with more integrity, longer-term.

What I'm learning is we've got to get present so we can hear the voices and tell the difference in how our thoughts feel.

Deeper, resonant wisdom over instant-gratification, is what becomes available when I'm not speeding through life with my stress-head on.

At a slower pace, I can feel into my relationship with everything, and really tell what truly engages my spirit and what I can gracefully let go of.

Does this resonate?

Could you be served by slowing down a little and getting in touch with your inner tortoise? :-)

I'd love to know your tips and tricks for slowing down.

 

Why you'll never be alone in a fitness class - lessons from Moky

When we value being cool and in control over granting ourselves the freedom to unleash the passionate, goofy, heartfelt, and soulful expressions of who we are, we betray ourselves.
— Brene Brown
 just a couple of foxes comparing pom-pom techniques after class...

just a couple of foxes comparing pom-pom techniques after class...

I absolutely love my weekly dose of Moky awesome.

If you're not Cumbrian, let me give you a little background.

It's described as a "fun dance workout which uses big chart hits and easy to follow dance moves designed to give a fun but intense cardiovascular and full body sculpting workout".

I can't say I'm body-sculpted (there's still time) but I can vouch for the fun and intense part.

All shapes, all sizes, all abilities, whether you're co-ordinated or not, it really doesn't matter. As long as you're whooping and smiling and moving.

I once thanked Moky's founder, Shameem, for creating something that was so important and wonderful in my life. She told me that having fun and making people feel amazing was always the intention.

It's not just a dance workout class though.

It's an opportunity to let yourself go, to whoop, to rave, to party on, to dance like nobody's watching. 

To dance like a cheerleader complete with pompoms.

To thrust your boobs-belly-bum provocatively in the name of dance. Or maybe just hootlessness. 

To hustle like you're a member of Pans People (young Moky-goers will need to look that up. Here you go. Welcome.)

Even when how you think you look, and how you actually look, don't add up.

Whatever age you are. Even if you're more 'cheerio than 'cheerleader'.

Sometimes our Thursday class will see up to thirty, sweating-like-a-pig feeling-like-a-fox,  beautiful women, showing up and being seen at class, even when they're not sure of the routine, or the song, or the steps, or their left and right, or their forward and back,  or whether they are whooping too loud or not whooping loud enough. 

Or whether that chest pop was too.... chest-poppy.  

Or whether their whoop isn't at the right pitch, or length, or tone, or maybe it's more of a 'yeah' than a whoop.

Or maybe they whooped when no-one else did. I've done that and man, that's all the Awkward Feels.

But we're showing up, in all our sweaty, messy, imperfectly jiggly magnificent forms. That's courage, my friends.

Honestly, sometimes when I'm in the back row, I look at these women and love and glitter just shoot out of my eyeballs at how magnificent they are and by association, I am, JUST FOR SHOWING UP. 

To get to class, we had to get on our sports bras and spandex pants (you know who you are) and walk into that room and sometimes smile at people who we don't know very well.

We had to show up even if we're not sure we've got life or Moky all figured out. To sometimes stand in the room trying to look like we're okay when we're wondering if we really fit in, or have something interesting to say, or will belong with the bigger group.

Sometimes we just left a screaming child, or troubles at home, or a terrible day at work, or a health problem, or a sore back, or deep grieving, to come to class.

Sometimes, it took all our willpower to take the time for ourselves, to dance, to laugh, to move our bodies, to sometimes wish our pelvic floor muscles were a little stronger. To show up anyway.

Seeing my Moky buddies from the back row really ticks my 'common humanity' boxes, for all these reasons. That, and they're my tribe.

Sometimes, I think other thoughts, at the other end of the am-I-doing-this-right spectrum.

Of how I might be doing the steps too well, because I was always blessed with being able to pick up dance routines quickly.

Of how I worry sometimes about what other people think of me, and that maybe instead of whooping like a banshee and channelling Beyonce like a diva, I should perhaps tone it down a bit, in case I'm too much or too loud.

As my Mum would say when I was six and getting changed behind a towel at the beach: "no-one's looking at you!".

[The six year old me is certain that they were.]

These days I can catch my thinking early and make sure I'm saying something kind and encouraging to myself. Like - you go girl! Or - you have full permission to enjoy yourself! Or - it really doesn't matter if you went left there. Or - Dance to the beat of your own drum, lovely.

It's ok to do Moky (and life) YOUR WAY.

Given my historical tendency to prioritise getting things right over having fun, Moky's taught me to lighten up, stop taking myself so seriously, be playful, AND not to tone myself down, as long as I'm having fun and not hitting anyone in the face with my enthusiastic pom-pomming.

No surprise that this dovetails so beautifully with the Daring Way and Brene Brown's work around living wholeheartedly.

When we can let go of being cool and always in control and give ourselves permission to act goofy, life gets more fun.

When we let go of perfectionism, we get to go easier and kinder on ourselves, which feels WAY better.

When we let go of caring about what others think, we get permission to be real, to be ourselves.

 

I once had a conversation with one of my Moky buddies who confided that she just wasn't able to find her voice, not just in singing or whooping out loud at Moky, but also in life. We had a giggle as she practised 'stealth-whooping' in songs where we knew lots of people would whoop so that she wouldn't feel so self-conscious. She later reported she had found her voice in a kick boxing class requiring some serious badassery in attitude and power, and after that things got a whole lot easier.

So if you're ever new to class, you're probably not the only one to ever feel out of your comfort zone or to be thinking those things you've been thinking.

And if you're showing up at one of our Moky classes - you belong with us.  You're in excellent company, you foxy thing.

 

I would love, love, love to know what your fitness class stories are in the comments below.

I run workshops around topics like these - please see the Daring Way pages for details!

Like this? Please consider sharing it! Thank you.

Self-compassion mantra for ultimate shame-shit-storms

A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.
— Christopher K. Germer

I'm on a call with my Daring Way tribe last night and we're talking about the body of work that was the online part of our training - all the posts and sharings and trust-building that happened there. My buddies are agreeing that going back to re-read the messages is valuable and rich and how much they value still having access to that material.

I have the absolute opposite experience to everyone else.

I haven't been able to look at it since we finished in January, I say.

Something that happened in that online training triggered the mother of all shame-shit-storms for me at the time.

The most responsible way I can talk about it is in me making my entire being Wrong-With-a-Capital-W because someone took exception to a response I had written.

The visceral shame response I had in that moment - insides disappeared, everything slowed down, holding my breath, thought loop of 'idiot', all while saying 'fine!' when hubby asked if I was ok - took a few days to pass.

It was three weeks before I could go and revisit my message to really find out what went on there, and once I'd 'circled back' and practiced what we'd learned and committed to about empathy, I never visited that message thread again.

Going back to the online material, even nine months later, would be too painful. I just don't want to go back there. I notice an invisible, powerful reverse magnetic aversion to even thinking about it.

That's not the point of this story though. It's what happened next that was fascinating.

Me too, says one of my buddies. I had a six week shame-shit-storm and I couldn't look at the logo of the company of the other person involved without feeling sick.

And me, says another. I have a dress I had to throw away because I'd had a shame storm in it and I couldn't bear to wear at it again.

Me too, says yet another. I'm going through this right now. I disagreed with my client for a full 20 minutes before asking a question that would have been useful to clarify at the start of the session, and made up that I am an idiot and I should have known better.

I'm in the same boat, says another.  I just royally screwed up my first meeting with someone important because I was more interested in being understood than listening. Have cried more than a few tears since.

Maybe you know that feeling, too. That's exactly what shame does.

Shame gets us all triggered by something and then tells us we're stupid and worthless and nobody else is anywhere near as stupid and worthless and wrong as we are in that moment.

So we're sitting on our call last night, eyes brimming with the tears of connection and being seen, of sharing our most painful failures, and of being loved right there in our beautiful, raw, messy humanness. It makes my heart swell every time, with gratitude for this work.

Here's the truth. It's impossible for shame to bring you down for longer than a millisecond when your 'back is got' by army of empathy-warriors (or even a single gladiator).

Shame hangover?

Brene talks about 'vulnerability hangover' as that sense of having over-shared, and I think we can have a shame-hangover too - so much so that it anchors us to places, people, thoughts, dresses, that can re-trigger that painful experience.

The antidote?

Share. Speak shame. Tell someone you trust your story. Practice self-compassion. If that's hard - try these words for yourself.

Self-compassion mantra for ultimate shame-shit-storms

Ok - shame alert.  I'm doing shame. It's happening right now.

Shame Shame Shame.

It's okay. I'm okay. I'm just going to breathe deeply over here. In. Out. In. Out.

What do I need?

Who shall I call? Who has earned the right to hear my story?

Self-Hug.

If needed, insert one or two 'sweethearts' or 'my darlings' or childhood endearment/pet name with happy and comforting associations. If that's too 'fluffy' for you, you might need it even more. Let the inner five year old you and the twelve year old you know they're ok :)

I'm okay. This will pass.

May I be peaceful. May I be loving. May I feel free. May I know I am worthy of love and belonging. Breathe.

 

Or as my wise buddies Pam shared the following day after our call:

"Help me to believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is".


Over to you.

What's your experience?  Want to share your story?  I would love to hear what you have to say.

 

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