Recently I read an article on Tara Brach, a well-known meditation teacher, where she told the story of a woman who works doing palliative care. It seems that the most common thing this woman hears as people are dying is that they were not true to themselves.

Really, really take that one in. Let it penetrate so deeply that you cannot possibly ignore its impact. Let it disturb you enough to make a change. For if you can imagine what it would feel like to be at the end of your life, and realize that you had not been true to who and what you are, you are in a position to change that fate. So, imagine the personal regret. The devastation. The heartbreak. And then, take it further by imagining the loss as not only being your own, but being the loss of everyone you ever met or were in relation to. And imagine how that loss would keep rippling out; emanating from a center point of falseness, while reaching further and further and further into the world.

Devastating is not nearly big enough, not even close, to capture what we are talking about here. For what we are talking about here is missing, due to mislabeling, THE VERY MOST IMPORTANT THING OF YOUR WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. In Truth, there is nothing else you are meant to be doing here other than to figure out who and what you are, and to find ways, large and small, to be true to that. And only that.

And yet, we find endless ways to chip away at holding true to who we really are. We find numerous avenues to get so sidetracked that we no longer even know what it would mean to be true to ourselves. We take on versions of who we are, lacking in truth and resonance, because that is what we were told, or because we find it far too arduous to dig in and commit to throwing off the lies: all of what it is, that is not us. We then go on to not only accept, but to defend with all our might, what is false. And we then go on to call it who we are.

Regularly we forget that this most sacred and time-honored endeavor is far more important than how much money we make. Whether or not others agree with us, or even how much they like us. It is more important than where we live, what our job is, or how much we weigh. It matters more than where our kids go to college, the ring on our finger, or the car we drive. Whether we had good luck or bad luck, whether others got us or not, and whether or not we were famous. It is more important then the latest iPhone, putting someone in their place, or keeping up with the news or latest must-see episode.

We “sell out” all the time and for all kinds of reasons. We then go on to legitimize why it is OK to diminish, hide and falsify who we are. And we act as if all of the diminishments and dings we submit ourselves to are not that important. Are no big deal. Are worth the cost of belonging, safety, and other worldly measures. But a day of reckoning is surely coming for each and every one of us.

Will you be ready? Will you be able to measure up to the unwavering, the unapologetic and the unforgiving clarity of death in terms of who and what you have been? For what we all know, deep down inside, but somehow choose to ignore, is that there is no clearer lens, no truer test of how we have done in this regard than being at the end of it all.

But being at the end of it all leaves no time. So what do you say? How about now? How about not letting another moment go by where you leave being untrue to yourself, unchecked.

Taking Hold

“Take hold of what is being offered and work with it.”  I come across this gem as I am re-reading my notes from an Ayurvedic training I did last Fall. Seeing this on the page before me, stops me. Suddenly, I have no interest in plowing through with self-study; recognizing how far superior these words are to any specific information I might glean about the particulars of Ayurveda.

Take hold of what is being offered and work with it.

Can you imagine? Can you imagine turning what comes your way into something you work with? One that instead of deciding that you do not want, you nod “yes” to, recognizing the offering before you? The counsel here being not to push away, ignore or deny what you do not want or wish was not happening. But instead “take hold of.” Like shaping yourself willingly and comfortably into a big bear hug around what Life presents.

And what of that phrase “being offered?” When I hear that, it feels holy, vital, rich and essential. It feels like a gesture that I want to receive. One that I want to pull in close. And then, “work with it,” in an open, appreciative and meaningful way. Seeing it as an abundant opportunity to transmute, grow and heal. This as opposed to resisting, refusing and returning (or at least trying to) all the things that come my way each and every day that I want no part of.

Take yesterday:

I don’t want the logging trucks ripping up the dirt road.

I don’t want another gloomy, overcast, rainy day.

I don’t want to be teaching in front of tired and checked-out students.

I don’t want any part of the college’s new system for tracking students.

I don’t want to keep being run by old survival patterns of the past.

I don’t want, I don’t want, I don’t want…

I want it to be different.

Return it all something inside of me demands. Give me something else. Something better. I don’t want to hold what is being offered, I want it to go away.

My God, the effort. The effort of pitting one’s will against The Great & Undeniable Reality.


What If?


What if the things you struggle with most, the personal issues, feelings, challenges, foibles, problems, habits, downfalls, etc., are not actually yours?

This past year I have had the great and good fortune to be working with someone who has helped me to see that many of the longstanding struggles, the things that have made me feel the worst about myself, the very things I have been working on for decades, were never mine to begin with. Instead, they were something that I took on as mine from another, a kind of mistaken identity if you will. Therefore, no matter how diligent, committed and widespread I was in my attempts to heal, because it was not mine and did not in fact belong to me, I had no power to effect real and lasting change. Further, it all gave rise to a kind of confusion, frustration and self-criticism around why things were not different given how hard I was working.

It was the equivalent of trying to clean out or rehab my own home by going across the street and working on my neighbor’s house. No matter how hard I worked, it was never going to happen.

It puts me in mind of something I once heard about the generations that followed Holocaust survivors. It seems that the children, and at least the children’s children of those who lived the horror of concentration camp life somehow bear that mark in their DNA; even though they themselves did not go through the experience. That somehow their wiring in terms of how they feel about themselves and the world got altered by an experience they themselves never had.

No baby comes into the world with self-esteem issues, a sense of wrongness, or not enough-ness.That is something we all learned. More to the point, something we all absorbed from those around us when we were more one than two. Growing in utero and as babies and children we did not experience what those around us were going through or how they felt about themselves and the world, as separate from us. Instead, we experienced what was happening for them, as happening for us. This is far more than a case of adult modeling, or even about the things that got said or done to us, and everything to do with us experiencing what they were experiencing. Believing it was ours. Their frustrations were our frustrations. Their sorrows were our sorrows.Their self-criticisms and resentments were our criticisms and resentments. Their fears were our fears. And their dysfunctions were our dysfunctions. On and on it goes. Pick anything, and watch where it leads.

Understanding it in this way gives rise to a whole new way of understanding yourself; particularly around those things you struggle with most. Those things you have put so much time and energy into. Those things that you know intellectually should be different, but never seem to change. Never is this about blame or abdication of our own free will, but instead it is a kind of redistribution where we carefully, lovingly and mindfully put things back where they belong. Just like we were taught growing up when we were done playing with something.

If you feel as though you have been at something about yourself for a very long time, with limited success, could it be a matter of properly identifying where it belongs? Could it be a matter of returning it to whoever it belongs to? As simple as asking, “Whose is this anyway?” Not with anger or animosity, but more like “Oh, sorry I got confused about who this belongs to.”

Now, of course this all happened before we had words or grown-up ways of looking at things which means that now, to really be with this, we will need to see beneath the words. We will need to listen for the echo or the shadow of the ways we are not good to ourselves. Maybe it will show up in not taking our share, or the subtle ways we diminish ourselves. Maybe it will show up in how we eat, sleep or relate. Maybe it will show up in what we believe we can expect from Life. Listen and feel deeply for what is below the surface. Just like an animal would. And when you get a whiff of something that smells off, something that leaves you feeling less than, ask with great curiosity and gentleness “Is what I am feeling right now even mine?” .


(Deep gratitude to Gabrielli and Infinity Healing)

“Just Because”


Do you ever do anything just because? We used to. As a matter of fact, many of us used to do it regularly when we were children. As in, just because it felt good. Just because the urge arose. Just because something bubbled straight up out of us in the moment. No reason. No explanation.

Everything does not require a reason. An agenda. A goal. Not everything is an opportunity to get ahead or to spin ourselves in a certain way. Take giving for instance. Do you ever give just because? Not in order to receive anything in return. Not because you have to, or because you think you should. Not because you are expected to or because it makes you a good person in your eyes, or in the eyes of another.

But just because. Like a child who has created something, and was thinking of you in the making.

This is not easy to do. We all have our ideas, hang-ups, and habits around what it means to give. Maybe you do it as a way to keep people close. Or keep others from rejecting you. Maybe it is how you feel good about yourself, or somehow superior to others. Maybe you do it to satisfy what you will not give to yourself. Maybe you do it in the hope that your gesture will be reciprocated. All of it creating an ends to a means where the true spirit of giving gets obscured.

In the season of the often loaded nature of gift-giving, and amidst all of the confusion and unconsciousness that can surround why we give, what would it be like to get more clear on why and how you give? Would it mean spending less? Obsessing less about the price of the gift and what it means about how you feel towards the recipient? Would it mean opting out all together, or partially, or creating a new tradition as a way to choose something more authentic?

It has long been a source of sadness to me to know that the average family will spend to such an extent at this time of year, that they will spend the next year trying to pay off the debt. Only to clear it just in time to start all over again. This does not seem like generosity or love, but instead a kind of insanity based on some very warped ideas around what giving is.

Notice yourself as you make choices around giving. What qualities are present for you? Pay attention to the feeling you are having in the purchase, the anticipation of, and then the moment of giving. The thoughts and feelings you are having are an important piece of information; giving you clues about when you are coming from the “just because” place of a child, and when you are coming from obligation, resentment, conditioning, debt and the like.



As part of a training I am in, a group of us shared an experience of looking at a cup and saucer; naming out loud what was factual about what was before us. On the surface, it seems like such an easy, obvious and simple exercise. As in, it was small. But small in relation to what? You would be amazed by how many of the comments made were not actual facts, but instead interpretations. Going even deeper, interpretations based on who was doing the interpreting. It was eye-opening to see the array of projections and perspectives that could be laid onto an inanimate object; one that would ostensibly have very little charge in the life of a human being. It was after all, just a cup and saucer.

It got me to thinking that if that level of “story” could be imposed on something inanimate, what are we doing with and to ourselves and others where the stakes are higher, the emotions run deeper, and where the need for things to be a certain way is a whole lot more intense. Because this so peaked my interest, at the end of the day when we had to choose something to work on for homework, this is what I chose; to fact-find in my relationships with myself and others. And as is so often the case, I had no idea how deep this one would go.

For instance, when I am fact-finding, I see that person’s face has changed expression. I feel a tightness in my gut. I notice the thought that says I have done something wrong. This is different than assuming what that other person is thinking, different than ignoring the sensation in my belly, and definitely different than jumping to “I am wrong” as opposed to I am having a thought that says“I have done something wrong.” Just a thought, and nothing more than that. No, “I am wrong.” No, “That person is awful for making me feel this way.” No needing to be in a bad mood or think less of myself when I am staying with the facts.

Try it for yourself. When something is disturbing you, can you take a step back and label what is there as plainly and directly as you could say that the cup has a chip in it? As in, “I see…I feel…I notice…” whatever is there? And then hardest of all, put a period at the end of that sentence; letting it stand as is, with the facts, versus an assumption, projection, or interpretation coloring what is actually there. Easy to say, yet so much more difficult to do in practice given how many of our interpretations are based on the past, as opposed to what is actually before us.

It has been amazing this past week to stand in front of more than 40 college students, all doing whatever they are doing, showing up however they are showing up, participating however they are participating, and to be ever more aware of the spin I will put on what they are doing. Or not doing. And how often that spin is because I want things to be different. Further yet, where I need things to be different so that I can be OK. What a terrible predicament to put myself in. Basing my life on what others are, or are not doing; based not in fact, but in my need to perceive things a certain way.

When we are established in the Truth of who and what we are, and when we are established in the Truth of the moment, everything else takes care of itself. Not only that, but everything, absolutely everything, gets to be exactly what it is, as is.

And isn’t this precisely what we all most long for? The space to be, and to be seen, for who we are? As we are.



One of the most life changing things I have ever done was to see my life and what I did as having meaning. A purpose. Even when I am uncomfortable. Even when I do not know what to do or what it all means. Even when what I am doing goes against the status quo, or what it is that someone else expects of me.

It wasn’t always like this for me. For many, many years I had no sense of purpose. That meant that I made destructive, trivial and nonsensical things important. Very important. It was all that I had. That meant that things like partying, how I looked, what other people thought of me, and what degree I had were where I put all of my energies. Were what I made my purpose. These things defined me. They said, “This is who I am, and this is why I am here.”

Then I became a mother. Unexpectedly, the experience culminated in what St. John of The Cross called “The Dark Night of the Soul.” A time of total upheaval. A time when everything I believed in and valued got called into question. It was excruciating. And it was disruptive. It felt like I was being torn limb from limb from the inside out. What prompted it? A vow to value the life of my children. A vow to live on purpose for them.

This heartfelt commitment put me on the path of purpose and meaning. One far greater than I had ever known. One that while being done for another, gave me back to myself in a way that I had never experienced before. But not before passing through all of the ways that I had made the wrong things be the most purposeful and meaningful in my life. But in the end, through committing to valuing and protecting the life of my children, I came to do the same for myself. And then, for the world. I would never be where I am today had I not made a firm commitment to show up for them. Relentlessly and tirelessly.

Showing up for another is some of the most powerful personal medicine on the planet. Showing up in this way has nothing to do with being a martyr. It has nothing to do with being co-dependent. It has nothing to do with sacrificing yourself in some distorted way where you ignore your own needs. Or where your over-doing somehow manipulates the other into giving you what you need. What I am talking about here is real, healthy, good old- fashioned sacrifice.. A kind of subjugating yourself to something more than yourself. And it does not have to be big, flashy, visible or institutionalized. As a matter of fact, at its best it shows up as needed. No questions asked.

Showing up for another means just that. It is a “come as you are party.” One where you bring yourself and what you have in the service of another. You don’t need much. Or anything specific. You do not need a degree, and it is not about being perfect. Nor is it about giving to the detriment of yourself. Or to the detriment of the other by doing for them what is best done by them.

Through your devotion to another life, you will find yourself at the center of perhaps the most meaningful purpose you will ever stumble into. It puts me in mind of a wise woman who when I was in the midst of doubting whether or not I had what it took to be the mother of a very difficult baby, said to me “She already knew what kind of a mother she was going to get. This is about you being the mother you are, for you.

And there it is. When we give ourselves over to something more than ourselves, at some point it takes a big U-turn and heads straight back for us. It’s a boomerang effect where what you receive is the equivalent of what you give. Only, that can’t be the reason why you do it. The powerful, fulfilling, and life-changing boon you will gain access to comes only when your intentions are pure. In other words, done in the service of another. Done in the service of real human needs being recognized, honored and met.

Try it for yourself. Make a commitment to show up for another. Give yourself over to it and watch. Watch how it helps you to get out of your own way. Watch how through the giving, you find yourself over and over again; beyond your self-imposed limitations, beyond your hang-ups, neuroses, failings, and self-preoccupations.

And isn’t this exactly the medicine of the day? One that considers more than our own limited agendas. One that has the power to propel us into the most purpose-filled lives we never could have ever imagined. One that prompts us to show up for another. What could be better? What could be more healing and satisfying than this?

A Witness


For many years now a car full of Jehovah Witnesses have made their way every so often to my home; taking the 3 mile trek down our dirt road to knock on my door. A section of the road, by the way, which has less than a dozen homes. Not much bang for the buck in terms of spreading the word.

Yet, they come anyway, and for the longest time that was OK by me. I got to know one of them, Patricia, a little bit. A kind, warm, grandmotherly figure. Part of me felt like it was really nothing to give them a few minutes of my time. More to the point, I do respect what they are doing (awkward and weird as it can be when they show up at your door). I also felt for them somehow; what it took to go knocking on stranger’s doors. Then there is the part of me that had a soft spot for them as my own great-grandmother, who I adored, was a Jehovah. And then one last part of me felt like to be the person I most want to be meant being open to these visitations.


Only, at some point, it really, really stopped working for me. The visits that began to increase in frequency, with less and less time in between. How in the beginning I might only see them once or twice a year, but then how that began to shift to every couple of months. And then, at times, even more frequent than that. Patricia started bringing more people to introduce me to. One time they even tucked their literature into my own personal writing and reflections that I had left spread out on a table on my back porch.

It was enough.

I went through all kinds of thoughts and feelings on this one. Many reflections on boundaries, and what it means to set one. There were times when I felt angry about what was happening. At other times I felt trapped. There were the moments when what was happening pulled up other boundary violations and troubles from the past. And then, my own “personal favorite,” the moments when I felt as though there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t just be OK with this.

By the time they showed back up again, I had done a lot of work on this one. When the boundary I needed to set with them came out of me, it came out clear and kind. It came out effortlessly and with grace. It came out in a way where she and I were actually on the same page; with Patricia already having recognized that this was no longer working for me.

In the end, it seems as though beyond all of my struggling with this one, I just needed to name it with her. I just needed to say out loud that it no longer worked for me for them to come by. The whole exchange was so natural that as we parted, and I have no idea which one of us initiated it, we both reached into the space and clasped hands.

I cried afterwards. The reason for my tears was the recognition that a big part of my struggle with this was that I actually and genuinely liked her.

It is so much easier to draw a line when we do not like someone, or when we are absolutely fed up. But oh how difficult to choose for ourselves (and ultimately the other) when we like someone, or when the mind keeps saying, “What’s the big deal, it’s not really harming you.” 

This is what we are left to decide in the day to day with loved ones and others we encounter. Those times and circumstances where sure, we could let it go. We could put up with it. Sure, we could tolerate it for all of the reasons the mind will come up with. But at what cost? At what cost to the Truth within, and between us?

I do not know where the line is for you, but I do know one thing; clear boundaries set the stage for a sense of personal wholeness and well-being, which translates into more harmonious and satisfying encounters with others. Even if that means doing something that feels hard. For whatever the reason.



I have a writing buddy that I regularly talk with by phone. She is at the beginning of writing a book. I am at the end. Even though we are in different places in the process, it never ceases to amaze me that no matter what topic is up for either one of us, there is always much to be gained in a partnership that holds two ends of the same continuum.

Recently, we had gone a month without meeting due to scheduling conflicts and time commitments. We had agreed though to keep working on our projects, despite the gap in our regularly scheduled check-ins. When we finally did talk, what we both discovered was that neither one of us had done much. No submissions had been tended. No chapters edited. No calls or inquiries made. It was easy to see that both of us were feeling like we were coming to the call with not much to speak of.

However, standing in the reflection of the other, it was much easier to see the truth of what each of us had actually been doing, and giving space for. All of the ways that a lot had been happening for both of us. That we had indeed been “working” on our projects on some deeper, perhaps harder to see, below the surface kind of way. Recognizing this in both of us, my buddy proposed that we give ourselves total permission to continue doing the supposed “nothing” of the past month for another two weeks. That we give ourselves over to giving lots and lots of permission to what was already happening. That we, in effect, trust the process deeply enough to let the so-called nothing be a central part of all the doing that is required in getting a book written and published.

This is not easy to do in a world that demands productivity. A kind of “show me the money” mentality. A kind of “you are only as good as your last sale” attitude.  A world that applauds speed and how much you can generate in the shortest amount of time possible. A world that does not often recognize the slower, deeper and more invisible work of creating. A world that is too often blind in its ability to honor the pacing, rhythm and integrity of the process; favoring outcome instead.

Permission is defined as “formal consent.” A type of “authorization.” When applied to the process of giving birth to something, that part feels right. What I would argue with is where that consent and authorization come from. I say this because of how many of us have come to believe that permission is an externally generated bestowal we hope to god to get from another, or perhaps the culture at large. However, this belief has got it backwards. For at its truest and most life-giving, real authorization is granted from the inside out. It something you claim as a birthright. It is something you offer to yourself as a sacred and irrefutable fact of Life.

The permission to be who you are, expressing yourself as you express yourself in any given moment, is not only the greatest gift you can give to yourself, it is the greatest of what you can bestow to another. For in Truth, if each of us had the strength, the support, the inner recognition and the clarity of purpose to give ourselves all the permission we needed, all would be right not only in our own world, but in all the worlds at large.

My suggestion? Find a permission buddy. Someone you make a pact with to show up as you are, while offering them the same. Someone whom you can trust to bring forward ideas, thoughts, emotions, wonderings, concerns and more. A mutually agreed upon consent and authorization that gives the space required for a human being to be in a process, whatever that looks or feels like, where that effort is seen and honored, and where the end game is merely a by-product.

Can you imagine what it would feel like to not only give yourself total permission to be as you are, doing what you are doing, but to also be so blessed as to find that with another?

A Way In


Years ago, when I first started making changes in my life, I was looking for a way out. A way out of feeling awful in and about my body. A way out of negative and self-debasing thoughts. A way out of unbearable emotions. A way out of un-supportive and dissatisfying relationships. A way out of work that did not feed me. A way out of all of the habits that I had picked up along the way in an attempt to handle, medicate and get away from all that I was feeling. And while the impulse was to bring ease and greater balance through these habits, an attempt on my part to feel better, this band-aid approach of covering over what didn’t feel good, always left me somehow worse off.

My yoga teacher once said that the first impulse on the path is the urge to feel better. Different. Other than how you are currently experiencing yourself and life. Even if you do not have a clue about what the “better” or “different” is, or even looks like. Even if you do not know what it will take or how you will do it. Looking back, I can most definitely vouch for this sentiment. For it is not easy to be a human being, and there can be much that we are looking for a way out of. There is so much to feel. There are so many physical sensations to move through. So many thoughts and so many encounters to be with. Given the sometimes overwhelming nature of what it means to be alive, it is only natural to want to get away from certain aspects of living in an attempt to feel better.

Enter the choice to commit yourself to self-discovery and self-awareness. The intention and the subsequent grit you must exert to get out from under unhealthy patterns, conditioning, beliefs, attitudes and more. And while it is easy to believe that the way out is the name of the game, at its very heart, any attempts you make in this regard are always about, a way in. But because the suffering can be so all encompassing, this is an easy thing to miss, leaving us to believe that the point is to get away from something, when in fact, we are really trying to find our way back in to something.

And while it can seem like the way out and the way in are two sides of the same coin, which they are, it matters tremendously which one you choose to focus on. For if you try and find a way out of yourself and what you are experiencing, that is a vastly different orientation than trying to find your way back into yourself. The first approach contains within it the underlying belief that there is something you need to get away from; a kind of separation from something, but without giving you a place to land. The second approach implies a moving towards; a kind of finding your way back to something that already exists. A homecoming, if you will; a place that continues to be there whether you choose it or not. A way in that awaits your notice.

Which side of the coin do you tend to live on? Are you trying to get over, away from, or past the experiences of your life? Or do you find yourself moving in and towards something? Watch yourself as you go through your days. Catch the moments where you feel at odds with something and watch your attempts to get away. And if you can, wonder what it would look and feel like to find a way back in towards yourself, as opposed to looking for a way out. Maybe it means softening something that has gotten too tight in body or mind. Maybe it means a gentle smile to yourself as you acknowledge what you are up against as a human being living in a vulnerable body and a mind that just won’t quit. Maybe it means forgiving yourself; making room for all of the reasons and all of the ways that you try and escape yourself and the life you have created.

And maybe, more than anything else, it becomes a decision on your part to choose to recognize that the way in is far more interesting and far more valuable than all of the things you are trying to find a way out of.



Be yourself. Just be who you are. Sounds good, right? Like a great hashtag or something catchy printed on a t-shirt. Who wouldn’t want this experience? But the truth is, this will absolutely be the single most difficult thing you will ever attempt in your life. If you even make the attempt.

Maybe it seems downright ludicrous to even be discussing being yourself as on some level who or what else could you possibly be? As it turns out though there are lots and lots of facsimiles, cheap copies and low-grade versions of ourselves that we take on. We do this for all kinds of reasons, but the result is always the same; our real self left out of the equation, MIA, downgraded, degraded, ignored, drowned and left for dead. Being who you actually are is not for the faint of heart; those unwilling to take responsibility for themselves, or those favoring an easy way out. Instead, it is for the whole-hearted. The bold-hearted. The brave-hearted.

Why? Because if you make the choice to be who you are, you must pass through all that you are not. This part alone is why so many of us stop. Or do not even begin. It is just too painful. Too arduous. Too complicated. Too confusing. Too demanding. Too provoking. And right along side that, too magnificent, too out of the box, too empowering, and too liberating to bear; with either side of the equation feeling like too much to be with. And so, we choose lessor versions of who we are.

I once had a practitioner I was working with say to me, “You are honest and you are transparent, but you are not always authentic.” She hesitated in the delivery of this observation, cautious and wary of my reaction. But I knew instantly and exactly what it was she was talking about. More than that, I knew it to be true. Instead of feeling hurt or defensive, this comment brought light to something that had always lived just beneath the surface.

That being, the regular and daily ways where I was most decidedly, not myself. Not authentic. Not true to who I was. Not true to my experience of being in the world. Maybe it was in the ways I pretended to like something when I did not. Or be interested in something when I was not. Maybe it was in the way I would smile that tight, forced smile when I was really upset. Or said yes when I knew the answer was no. Maybe it was in all the ways I pleased, placated and performed to appease another, to belong, to fit in, to feel safe, to avoid rocking the boat.

To be yourself is to choose and to choose and to choose again. Each and every day in ways large and small. In ways easy and seemingly impossible. In ways obvious and in ways hidden. Given the magnitude of this, how do we begin given all of the habits we have gotten into around who we need to be? How do we begin given how tied we are to what others expect of us? We do it by getting clear, courageous, and firm with ourselves, not others, that this is our one and only life. Our one and only chance to be our one and only self.

And then, we begin to practice. Every day. How might that look practically? One idea to try is something you can do while lying in bed right before sleep. Go back over your day. Not obsessively or critically, but in a curious-about-you kind of way. Locate a moment where you were definitely not you. Put a little circle around it in your mind. A red one. And then place that red line through the middle of it. This is not a judgment or a punishment. It it an awakener. A marker to help you remember what it feels like to not really be yourself. Something you want to become aware of so that you can catch yourself before you go in too deep.

Next, find a place in your day where you really felt at home in yourself. A moment where you were genuine, true to your feelings, authentic. Put a circle around that one. Let it be whatever color feels most true to you. Notice how that moment felt. Choose to remember it in any way that makes sense to you. And then, build from there. There is absolutely a very distinct feel to the real you. One that you want to memorize, get comfortable with, call in, and grow as often as possible.

As silly as it may seem, we really do have to consciously choose to build our way back into the truth of our authentic selves. One experience at a time.