A few days ago I was looking ahead to a pretty difficult day, not just for myself, but also for my husband. We were dealing with some family issues on top of his Grandma passing and the funeral was later that same day. About 6 weeks ago I committed to starting my day with reading something that would help to connect me to God and my Higher Self more. This could be anything from reading the Tao te Ching to the Bible.
I have always tried to start my day with connecting to God and my high self but I hadn't always done it through reading so it was a new fun challenge. As I read through a bible study that morning titled, "Here be Lions" I checked in with myself and saw how much I was desperately wanting to avoid today. I was desperate to stay in bed, watch TV, eat food, and basically do anything to distract myself from the funeral that was to happen in just a few short hours. As you know from previous posts, grief has been a big part of my life and my development over the last 5 years. It has taught me so much despite how much it hurts. At the end of the bible study it goes through the verse that it is based off of, and then this time it actually asked me what "God was saying to you" and it had a little place I could type it into my phone which I thought was neat (the whole bible study thing is new and fun to me). Before I could even think about it, I heard this voice say, "Lean In." Before I knew it, I typed it into my phone and sent it to who knows where into the ethers of bible study internet. I sat there and paused. "Lean In..." What does that even mean? As I contemplated what I had just heard and done, I started to get ready to go to the funeral and to help my husband get ready. Without going into details, lets just say it was a rough start. At one point I was so mad at him, we were running late, and I saw how easy me trying to blame him or be mad at him for something so stupid would be, as well as such a great distraction to myself and my fear at the moment. Before I said anything, before I could act on that stupid self righteous anger, the voice said again, "Lean In..." With instant humility I looked at him and said, "I know this is hard, and I know this sucks, but I'm here for you today no matter what." I realized that I was wanting to lean away when really, I needed to "Lean In" for him and for me. I tell my clients all the time that we have a choice with our emotions and our actions at all times. At first, they never believe me but eventually begin to see what I mean. This was the same choice I made in that moment. My husband and I without any fighting or arguing got into the car and headed to the funeral. Once there, the tears started. I kept seeing myself want to run, to hide in the bathroom, to not smile or say hi to family members. It was actually impressive the level of my desire for avoidance. I watched myself instead stay with my husband and hug family and smile little smiles of encouragement to everyone. The service started and everyone did a beautiful job honoring my husband's Grandmas memory. During a slideshow they played a picture of my husband's father and grandmother together. My husband lost it and started to sob really hard. (My husband's dad passed away 5 months after my dad passed). I felt this hideous tug in my heart and wrenching feeling in my soul and the voice said again, "Lean In." So instead of wanting to desperately run to the bathroom and hide at that moment, I sobbed with my husband and held him. Toward the middle of the service, they opened the floor for anyone to say a fond memory or story they had of his Grandma and many people did. I was totally and completely floored when I saw my husband not only raise his hand, but grab the microphone, stand up (many had just stayed sitting), and walk to the front of the room to face everyone. Now, for those of you who don't know my husband, he is a massive introvert who doesn't even like to order food over the phone, let alone stand up in front of a room full of people and talk! He told the most beautiful story in the most beautifully amazing way. I have never heard him speak like that before. It was as if my husband had transformed and here stood before us a professional speaker that moved the room to both laughter and tears. My mouth was literally wide open as he sat down and the room mirrored the same. After the service, nearly everyone came up to him to thank him for sharing his beautiful story and that he had such an amazing way with words. As I watched person after person compliment him I realized he "Leaned In." He leaned into the fear, the discomfort, the pain, the anxiety, and he did it anyway.
The voice telling me to "Lean In" has continued since then. Always showing up when things feel impossible, or fear rears its ugly head, or anxiety threatens to take my breath away. As I contemplate these words more, I'm moved by how important they are for our society right now. We are so afraid to "Lean In" anymore. Our senses are constantly distracted by social media, TV, You Tube, etc. It is a rare day when we have silence and no connection to a device of some kind. As uncomfortable as things can be in our worlds, we need to "Lean In" more. When we "Lean In" we can begin to face the fear. "When we "Lean In" we can hold space and compassion for each other. "When we "Lean In" we give ourselves the chance to feel, to heal, and to have Grace.
I was having lunch with a friend today and she was telling me that recently she had hit this point in her life where she was more aware, more confident, and as she was searching for the right word, she uttered this incredible phrase, "I'm just ready to be unapologetically me." In that moment those words struck me as powerful and true, but as lunch continued and as the day went on, I kept reflecting back to those words "Unapologetically Me." What does that mean? It resonated within me so deeply.
3 years ago on September 16th my dad passed away. It wasn't unexpected but the Doctor's had told us that he'd have another 6-12 months and well, a month later it was his time to go. His passing wasn't just hard. It has been at times down right torturous. I had never experienced a loss of this kind before and while grief and loss is different for each person, losing a parent is something so unreal, so hard to explain... I remember the first 3 months I somewhat ceased to exist. All I could do was go to work, feed myself (drive through meals because cooking or socializing at a restaurant was 100% not going to happen), and shower. Some days I didn't even brush my teeth. I know that was gross but hey, I'm here to be authentic. After the 3 month mark, I started to come out of my house more and could also occasionally be social but not much. It took a year before I didn't cry each and every time I thought or talked about him. It took a year before this pressure around my heart and chest started to dissipate but not completely leave. At a year I remember consciously choosing to "put some of this grief away" because I felt like I couldn't possibly handle another moment feeling this way, and a year of my life had flown by and was gone. I had a lot of beauty and connection in that year, but I missed a lot of things too. So, for the last 2 years, I have been grieving in pockets of time so that I could still give myself time and space to grieve, but to also become more of a functional human being again.
Now, here is the thing that people don't tell you about grief. It often comes with a whole side dish of guilt. And not the normal guilt of, "If only I could have said goodbye one last time or I love you..." I"m talking about the guilt for still being alive. The guilt for having choices and opportunities to live when your loved one who has passed doesn't. The guilt for enjoying ice cream when they can't, the guilt for smiling and laughing when they aren't here to share it with you, and the guilt for simply just being here when they aren't. Now, I don't want you to think that I've been miserable these last few years and not living my life. On the contrary, I have had incredible moments of building an amazing business, meeting some incredible people, and getting married to my love! I have enjoyed all of these wonderful moments and so many more while at the same time also having moments of grief and guilt. For the longest time I couldn't articulate the guilt, I couldn't understand it and so I avoided it. But recently I started seeing it more clearly and today when my friend uttered those words, "Unapologetically Me..." It was like a light bulb going off.
I realized that I had been apologizing to my Dad subconsciously for living my life and being happy. Wow! Some truth tears fell and they come again now as I write this...Here is the crazy thing. My Dad would 100% not want me to apologize for living. In fact, my Dad was often really good at pushing me to be better and to take chances, even in ways that maybe weren't always so nice. As the truth tears came faster and as these revelations hit me, I realized that it isn't only in grief that we allow guilt to apologize for living, it is wrapped up in so many of the roles that we play and the expectations that others have placed on us.
Why on earth should we ever feel guilty for being who we are and living our life as we see fit? But it happens all the time with gender, race, sexual orientation, culturally, and so many more... So much sadness...So many people who are holding back their beautiful selves out of guilt, fear, shame... It has to STOP!
"Unapologetically Me" IS GRABBING LIFE BY THE FREAKING HORNS AND STANDING FULLY IN YOUR AUTHENTIC GLORY OF EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU WHO YOU ARE AND LIVING THE CRAP OUT OF LIFE IN ALL OF YOUR RAW AND POWERFUL BEAUTY!!!
Why are we waiting? Think of what were missing and what the world is missing because we're apologizing for who we are. How different would life look life if we stopped apologizing for who we are and we instead stepped up to the glory of being "Unapologetically Me?"
There is only one way to find out my beautiful amazing human beings...See you all there! ;) xoxo
Self care is a foreign concept to most of us. It certainly was to me until about 3 years ago. To most people the word self care becomes synonymous with selfish. The thought of caring for ourselves first, of putting ourselves first, may simply seem like an unrealistic luxury and selfish fantasy. I used to think that way, but today, I disagree entirely.
So, what is self care then if its not the selfish idea that I once thought? To me, self care is the decision and commitment to nurture, care for, and love myself to the same level, or more, than I would with someone else. That's right! I said it! So why is this such a thing of guilt and shame? It make sense that in order to have love to give that we must also receive it. Why does someone else have to be the one doing the giving?
What helped me to realize that I could give love and kindness to myself, is that I could be THE BEST PERSON IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD TO DO SO! No one knows me better than me. No one knows the things that I like the most or the things that I dislike. One person's version of relaxing, loving, and nurturing may be completely different than mine.
It is my belief that self care comes down to a choice of empowerment. There are things that can keep my personal power intact, or there are choices that I make that can give that personal power away. Making self care a priority in my life has allowed me to be able to give more to my fiancé, more to my clients, and more to everyone else that is in my life. Wait, hold the phone! Did you just say that putting your self care first has allowed you to give more to everyone else? Yes... I sure did. That's the truth behind self care. It stretches and grows our natural capacity. No one believes me until I suggest this exercise to them in their coaching sessions. The client then goes out into the world and practices a small amount of self care, perhaps just even an hours worth and calls or texts me afterwards with elated happiness! One hour and joy and love is overflowing!
Here are some of my personal favorite self care exercises to get you started:
Read a fun book for an hour straight with cell phone off
Watch Netflix with no one home wearing my PJs and eating ice cream
Going for a hike alone
Bringing my laptop into nature and writing
Getting a pedicure
Getting a massage
Keeping healthy boundaries with myself and others
Snuggling with my fiancé and doggie and watching a movie
Sitting in pure silence bymyself out in my back yard
Listening to Music
Knowing when to say No
Dancing because I can't help myself once I hear the music
Not over booking myself
Getting enough sleep each night
Doing things because I want to and not out of obligation
Spending the entire day in my PJs because I can (yes I love PJs)
Taking an entire day away from my cell phone and email
Having a picnic
Cooking a healthy and yummy meal for me
Self care can come in many shapes and sizes and there is no wrong way to self care, just go out there and do it! Today however, I did some really special self care and headed to the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain for a spa day with one of my dear friends Marie. Now, before you all think that self care is expensive, you should know that I'm the QUEEN of finding a good deal and keeping my self care options either free, or very affordable. I bet most of you didn't know that $50 gets you into the Ritz-Carlton Spa for the entire day if you're a local Tucsonian. That means that for the entire day, I can sit by the pool, go for a swim, take a steam or sauna to sweat it out, sit naked in a hot tub (yup I'd rather be naked while swimming), lounge in their relaxation room, possibly take a nap, sip on gemstone-infused spa water and eat healthy snacks. Sit quietly and look at the beautiful mountains that surround me. Enjoy some hot tea, take a shower, and basically repeat and do whatever I want for the entire day. That's pretty awesome for $50 right? Right, but is that truly the best deal? The cheapest spa service they offer is a manicure for $40.00. Now, that is a LOT for a manicure but here is the catch. If you buy at least one spa treatment, any one of your choice, you can then use the spa for the entire day! Hahaha! Now I get a treatment and spend less than what I would have to simply come and enjoy! Self care is an adventure of joy and love, creativity and self discovery, and empowerment. What have you done for self care lately? What needs to change so that you're incorporating more self care into your life?
How different would life look if you took really good care of you?
Tabitha :) xoxo
Tabitha enjoys living in Tucson, Arizona with her husband Jared, and her adorable doggies Shadow & Scooby. Stay tuned for Tabitha's upcoming book Serendipity in which she takes us through her time in Africa.
"One of the biggest things I have learned about myself over the last two years is that my personal life is very connected with my professional life. Working with Tabitha has helped me find significant balance in my personal life, which in turn has made my professional life more balanced and stable. Just one session with her has inspired a lot of change in me internally. Imagine having completed over 40 sessions with her! I have full confidence in my potential and I have Tabitha to thank for helping me see that and to continue to strive to reach my goals both personally and professionally!"
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