It’s funny how life rises up to support us when we need it most. This support can come in many forms: encouragement from a friend, money that shows up, traffic lights that cooperate when running late, inspiration from a book. Although, not as easily accepted, our challenges are also "support". They provide growth and push us to become who we are meant to be.
The past 4-5 months has presented some personal and professional growing pains for me. Along with that, came a resource to remind why I am a life coach, yoga teacher, and workshop facilitator.
I reread “Return to Love” from Marianne Williamson as part of a Yoga Bliss mini-book club. Hands down, it is on my top 10 list of books that can expand your mind and change your life.
When I first read it (more than 25 years ago), it blew my mind. Specifically, I was introduced to three new understandings:
#1 - We have two ways to live our lives: from a place of love or from a place of fear. That’s it, that’s all. All other emotions fall into one of these two at any point in time. If you find yourself in desperation, sadness, guilt, resentment, anger, or any of the other negative emotion then you are in fear. Conversely, joy, happiness, compassion, inspiration, and other positive emotion are expressions of love. Now with that said, we are having a human experience. Bad things happen and we will have negative emotions. The idea is to not get stuck but to move through the emotion and return to love.
#2 - We get stuck in the negative spin cycle when we can’t accept what is happening or refuse to learn the lesson in the challenge. When in difficult times, we often pray for a miracle. The “miracle” is not a change in the circumstance…it is a shift in how we see the circumstance. It is far less effective to spend energy resisting the reality then to accept it, learn from it, and take action in the positive direction.
#3 - We can best serve others by owning and sharing our gifts. This is best expressed in the most quoted passage from the book.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?…Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do….and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Digging back into this book has provided me with some, much needed, perspective on how I often hold myself back. I realized that I am not only afraid of failure, but I am also afraid of success.
In April, I started offering a monthly series called “Women, Wine, and Well-Being – a New Kind Of Happy Hour”.
Operating from a place of fear, it took a quite some time to even start the workshops. With such a visible offering, I was concerned about failing and being embarrassed. What if no one shows? What would people think of me? Who am I to present topics on increasing success, health, and authentic happiness?
As Marianne says “who am I not to?” So I stopped the crazy self-talk, got over myself and returned to love.
Love is staying clear on my intention to create an event that cultivates community where I can share the powerful tools of positive psychology and provide an offering that requires a low investment (time and money) from participants but has a high return (practical action and inspiration).
Each month as I am preparing the topic, I dip back into these thoughts. Each month, I am convinced that no one will show-up. Then I catch the thought, shift from fear to love, and get back to work creating a worthwhile and wonderful workshop.
To my pleasant surprise and delight, it has grown each month. We are now tracking close to 20 attendees.
With that, I have had to find a new venue to accommodate a larger group. Starting next month, September 6, we will be meet at Beau’s Grille in Fairlawn. I have reserved The Atrium Room. The room is beautiful and provides us with more space and privacy.
Each month, I promise to show up in spite of myself (with my fear) and with an offering of love. I hope you join me.