What if love isn't the answer?

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

In the movie Contact, starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McMcConaughey, the two main characters have an ongoing science vs. faith conversation. Foster, being the scientist, only believes that which can be proven. McConaughey, a minister, understands her point of view, and also leaves room for the mysteries of life and a foundation of faith.

During one particular discussion, Foster referenced her father, who died when she was just a girl and she expressed how much she had loved him.

In the midst of their science vs. faith battle, McConaughey poses the question to Foster, “Did you love your father?” He repeats this a couple of more times to her as she stares back at him confused.

She replies with a quizzical look, “Of course. Very much.”  In which McConaughey responds…

“prove it.”

………………..................................................................................

When I was a young girl, I would often ask my mom who she loved most in the world. And she always said me. As a mother myself, I completely understand her answer. But at the time, I didn’t get it.

I would ask her if she loved me more than her own mother. More than my dad (they were still married at that time.) More than her sister. More than her best friend. She always said yes. I asked if she loved her mom more than my dad. My dad more than her mom. One sister over the other. When I asked why and how (which I did quite often) she would say…

“it’s different.”

Back then, I thought that meant there were different kinds of love for the different people in our lives. And I was a prove it girl. I wanted to see it, touch it, feel it, smell it.

Now, I don’t experience love as different. Or maybe my 6-year-old brain couldn’t put the pieces together and now I understand what my (brilliant and highly intuitive) mother was saying...Love is One. It is Unified. There is only one True Love…the space between, the great field of possibility. I love my kids, my husband, my parents, my friends, my friends’ kids, my dog. It’s all the same Love, just expressed ‑ accessed  in unique ways, specific to the giver and receiver.

What if love isn’t an answer, but an eternal question?

Where is love? What is love? Is it chemical? Emotional? Physical? Mental? How does it happen? Does it die? Does it always exist or can it be created? Can it be proven? 

My experience looks like this, and I encourage you to explore this question for yourself. It’s in entering the question, where you find access to something...well, possibly something magical.

Love.

All people, at their deepest truth, are inherently good and have an equal ability for creation. At the center of a human being is Love. 

*There is also an awareness that a human being can be so asleep they take action out of a completely opposing place.

Love being the unexplainable feeling of connection to everything and everyone, without separation, for which there is no language. It is not a feeling but a way of Being. It is The Center. The Core. The Soul and/or Spirit. And, in a human being, it commonly presents itself as a feeling. It is felt in a spontaneous moment of presence when the world falls away and the only thing that exists is you and another. Or you and an activity. Or you and what it is that brings You forth into life. 

It can be in the observation of children. A place of deep relating to another person. Uncontrollable laughter. The way your pet looks at you and doesn’t look away and the only thing there is unconditional love.  

It can be sitting in a forest, listening to nature’s symphony play its original score — without thought or instruction or resistance — all the creatures and leaves playing together through Being what they are. 

Dancing, moving your body without inhibition or thought as to what it looks like or if you’re doing it right. There is no right or wrong in a human body moving freely to the beat of its own truth. Every step, twist, shake, turn and bend is beautiful. 

Being with someone in a way that both of you become so present, so engaged in a conversation (no matter the topic) that the language falls to the background and the feeling of connection becomes the means of communication. 

There are an infinite number of ways to be Love, to be in(side) Love. It is always present. It is always available. It is in everyone. It is a field to access, an ability, not a solid thing to be given or received or taken away.

Love is a place to come from.

Not a theory to prove.

all my love,

 

Fire-lighting conversations and what to do now

 

Several weeks ago, I took a walk after having a beautiful conversation with a client. This client, Kristen, completely inspires me with the speed and focus with which she takes action. There is no time wasted. She sees something in herself, or something she’s working on, and BOOM. It’s done. Decision made. Action taken. Shift occurring. Plus, she’s highly creative in her life, her business and her family. She operates with intention, squeezing every drop out of life.

The following thoughts were what came to me during that walk. Then yesterday, Kristen and I had another conversation that brought me back to this same place. We were swooning over a tremendously exciting thing for her. Another area where she saw something, took action and created a powerful experience that opened the door for brand new, earth-moving possibilities.

This further solidified a theme that keeps coming up in so many of my circles right now... 

the IMPACT we create. Whether we are aware of it, or not.


There is a message from generations of our foremothers that is coming through so many of us to share in our own voices, at this time.

The origin is from Creation herself. For me, it feels like it’s coming through the center of the Earth, through the ground and the trees. Through animals and children and art and movement and humans and language and conversations. 

It has depth, but it’s not heavy. It’s a familiar sense that is asking to be uncovered, dusted off and breathed into with new life. It’s powerful and soft. Gently nudging (and sometimes punching) us more strongly and consistently and persistently.

It reminds me of what Elizabeth Gilbert refers to in Big Magic as catching an idea, an inspiration, as your own. The creative impulse is out there for everyone, for any of us to harness. We’re being given the clues, the signs. The whispers. The warm breeze that gives you chills. The synchronicity we can’t explain. The desire to make a difference, to use our lives in a way that feels like living.

It's the Feminine Essence of Power saying to us all — 

NOW. It's time. 

Pick up your camera, your pen, your brush, your laptop, your keyboard, your microphone, your megaphone, your kettle bell, your yoga mat, your spreadsheet, your sword, your badge, your keys.

Pick up your canvas, your document, your project, your day job, your side hustle, your passion. 

Pick up your notebook, your pencil, your telephone, your hammer, your crystals, your platform, your big idea, your gems, your gifts.

Pick up whatever is YOURS.

It doesn’t matter which tools you choose. There isn’t a perfect tool, or way.

What matters is that you choose. 

What matters is recognizing your soul's call that

you. matter.

No more sitting on the fence. On the sidewalk. On the sidelines. In the audience. In the shadows.

Get on the stage. On the field. In the arena. Create intentional impact from your Being.

 

AND GO.

 

Get to the work of leading.

Get to the work of playing.

Get to the work of working.

Get to the work of building.

Get to the work of creating.

Get to the work of transformation.

Get to the work of your Being You.

Get to the work of LIVING.

 

 

NOW. 

 

 

There is no other time.

 

 

{YOU MATTER.}

Crazy fire Love,

 

It all matters.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Everything. 

When building a life experience that includes passion, feeling alive, living into your full potential, dare I say -- purpose . . . the details matter.

Think about all the tiny decisions we make every day. Most we don’t even consider as actually being choices. Because we’ve done them so many times, the exact same way, they don’t seem like decisions at all. They appear to be just what we do. It’s just our lives. Our schedule. Our routine. Our comfort zone. It’s what works. 

Or so we think.

Consider:

  • When you get up.
  • How you roll out of bed.
  • Is your phone the first thing you touch?
  • Do you have coffee or water first?
  • What do you put in your coffee?
  • Do you run your day or does your day run you?
  • Every item/liquid you put in your mouth. (It’s your fuel ya know. It makes a tremendous difference.)
  • How many times do you let stress take over your consciousness? Never? Rarely? Consistently?
  • Which shoe do you put on first, left or right?
  • Do you send an email, send a text or pick up the phone and use your voice?
  • Do you take the time to stop and connect with the cashier? Your partner? Your children? Yourself?
  • Did you sit on the same place, on the same sofa, watching the same thing as you have the past 47 nights? 
  • Is your phone/computer the last thing you touch?

 

Choices surround us in each moment. Being cause in the matter is always a possibility if it can be seen.

The ability to constantly make decisions that will alter our life experience is at our fingertips moment to moment, day to day, asking us to participate.

Each of these moments string together to make a life.

Looking at the multitude of choices in front of you everyday can seem overwhelming, if you choose to see it that way. It’s so much easier just to keep it all the same. Why change anything? There’s no time or space in your brain to make that many changes anyway. What a hassle. Not really necessary.

But what if you changed one thing? Have water first. Don’t touch your phone first. Eat more vegetables.

It might feel strange and uncomfortable in the beginning. Your lizard brain will resist and be very insistent on going back to “normal.” But what is normal? 

What’s your intention for your life? Do you have an intention?

The experience of your life is always your choice. 

It all matters.

 

Because you matter.

 

Love,

 

 

 

The XPT Experience : lifestyle vacation with intention, power and purpose

In late December 2016, Scott and I were sitting on our sofa one evening discussing where we wanted to take a trip together in 2017, but not a typical vacation. We wanted to be challenged. We wanted it to revolve around fitness. We wanted to be intentional about how we spent our time together. We wanted something really different.

I had heard XPT mentioned in a podcast a few days earlier, and after researching it online and seeing what all was involved, we knew it was the right atmosphere, the right place, the right activity for us. Not to mention, it is led by big wave surf legend Laird Hamilton, his former professional beach volleyball player, first Nike female spokesperson and gorgeous wife, Gabby Reece, and world-renowned strength and conditioning expert, Brian Mackenzie.

Um. Yes please.

Fast forward to mid-July of 2017, Scott and I boarded a flight to LAX and headed to Malibu to experience three days of highly intensive, highly intentional fitness. This was a vacation like no other. It was truly...an experience.

This was one of the most transformational things I've ever done. (I would say we, but I can only speak for myself. Although I know Scott feels the same way.) Honestly, the best way to explain what happened, is to see it. I'll give notes along the way.

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DAY ONE: early morning at the Malibu home of Laird and Gabby. A fantastic group of 23 people and staff get ready to embark on a journey of a lifetime. I was really nervous and really excited. I think it's safe to say we all felt that way. We knew what we would be doing, but the actual performance of it was the big question. What the hell would this be like? And will I be able to do it?

The thing that stood out for me here was how warm, inviting, encouraging and downright real Laird and Gabby were. No pretense. No hoopla. Before this shot, as we walked into the yard, they took each one of us by the hand, looked us in the eye with a brief pause, and welcomed us to their home. They were truly connecting. They created each one of us, in that moment, as moving through the process with success and support. (Lesson 1: we are always creating.)

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We started with breathing. Laird taught the procedure and methodology of the specific performance breathing techniques we used throughout the week. Oxygenating the body is one of the most important things we can do for our physical health. And we do it through breathing. Breath is life.

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Yes, those are weights and we are working out in the pool. Swimming with weights. Underwater squat jumps with weights and other exercises that pushed me in incredible ways. I knew the pool would be a challenge for me, and I was right. Even so, it was really fun and gave me a new appreciation of water workouts. And the stuff the super-ripped guys were doing in the deep end of the pool was mind-blowing. (Lesson 2: being uncomfortable won't drown me.)

Annnnnnnnd, this was the sauna/ice bath rotation, or recovery therapy. The ice was one of the aspects that terrified me the most, and ended up being one of my favorite segments. First, you go into a 212-220 degree sauna for about 12 minutes. Then, rinse off in cold water. After taking 3 deep breaths and bracing for ice hell, you step into the tub, dunk every part of the body underneath the ice water (face, head, everything) come back up and sit in the tub for 3 MINUTES. We did this for 3 rounds. 

It was invigorating and exhilarating and completely awesome. Every cell of my body was tingling after coming out of the ice. Literally, I felt every cell. Also, before you come out of the ice, you dunk BACK under the water and stay there for 2 seconds before slowly coming out of the tub. It's intense and really wonderful. (Lesson 3: When I am focused, I can accomplish anything.)

Why do this thermal contrast therapy? There are many claimed benefits, which you can read more about here, but the basic premise is to aid in overall recovery, to mitigate inflammation and boost circulation. I felt all of those things and then some. I assumed I would have painfully sore muscles all week, and while they were tight at times, it was completely manageable. I'm convinced it was the ice bath lowering inflammation.

At one point I remember thinking, I'm really f*cking cold, but I'm in a tub, in Malibu, at Laird Hamilton's house, looking at beautiful scenery and people, and Laird Hamilton is talking and laughing with me. Ehhh, not so bad. I think I can make it. (*Hey, that one picture, I'm laughing not crying...)

One more thing, they have a commercial grade ice machine outside. They live what they teach. 

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DAY ONE part 2 (yes, still day one...) we went to a serious - serious - gym called Proactive Sports Performance where top pro athletes go to train in the off-season. This was only a small shot of the gym and some warm-up exercises. Even the pre-workout stretching was thorough and completely effective. The workout itself was a supremely developed circuit of functional training and weights. Super intense, quickly paced exercises that were challenging to the mind and body. Just awesome.

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After a post-workout recovery smoothie, we went back to Calamigos Ranch for a nutrition talk by Gabby and then on to the Malibu Cafe for a wonderful and nutritious dinner. During the meal, a few of us were talking about how just after one day, we felt as if we had known each other for a year. When you sweat, are scared, freeze, melt and sweat some more with people, it forms an unbreakable bond. I really love these people.

Day one complete.

(Lesson 4: I can do waaaaaayyyyyy more in one day than I think I can.)

DAY 2: Started with a 90-minute hike in Malibu. This was a great workout all by itself. The environment was absolutely stunning. I think all days should start this way. But the very best part, was the conversation with my new friend Ann as we walked down the mountain. We talked about our lives, our families, our children. This is my favorite part about these types of adventures. The people who put there lives on hold and are willing to push themselves and share themselves with complete strangers. Ann was a warrior on this trip and she is a warrior in her life. It is an honor to know her.

The morning hike was followed by a delicious lunch at the home of one of Laird and Gabby's close friends. The home was STUNNING on the beach in Malibu. Before we ate, we sat in the grass on blankets in the warm sun as the marine layer melted away and listened to a talk by Dr. Justin Mager. He spoke about his path to medicine, his thoughts on general health and how he applies "systems biology" to working with his patients. He also supported Tim Ferriss in the use of biomarkers in The Four-Hour Body. Dr. Mager was absolutely delightful to speak with and was a wealth of stories and information. Having conversations with him was one the highlights of the trip.

After lunch we took a short walk down the beach to another friend's home. From there we went paddle boarding. It proved to be quite the challenge for those of us novice boarders, as the waves were larger than usual that day. And it's the Pacific... Much different from my quiet, warm South Carolina coast! The surf instructors helping us get out were funny and extremely experienced at their craft. They took immaculate care of those of us that needed a bit more help ;) Just another chance to stretch ourselves beyond what is comfortable and prove how strong our minds and bodies can be when put to work.

Since we hadn't done enough that day, it was on to a complete sand workout! Functional training and conditioning in deep, hot sand. After a hike. After lunch. After SUP. No breaks here. We came to work, and that's what we did. 

Post sand workout, we had a gorgeous performance breathing session under the shade of the tents, with the breeze blowing off the ocean. It was truly special.

Then another nutritious, delicious meal on the beach and some beach games and conversation. Day 2 was a wrap.

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DAY 3! We started at Malibu Cliffs Park with Gabby's High X workout which was ridiculously fun and very challenging. She stood in the center of a circle, and had a number of different circuits/exercises fanned out in sections. Each section was a set of 2 different exercises for a total of 3 minutes, then we rotated immediately to the next section, for a total of around 45 minutes. We then went straight into another breathing session led by Laird. It's hard to express how incredible it feels to push a hard workout, then fully oxygenate the body afterwards. Amazing.

Ann, Gabby and me.

Ann, Gabby and me.

Back in the pool!

Back in the pool!

Then back to the house for another pool workout and sauna/ice bath rotation. We completed the experience with lunch and conversation at their home, then we all moved on with our lives.

There is so much more I could say about this trip. It was one of the most fun, impactful experiences in my life. Testing, stretching, challenging, moving every part of my mind, body and spirit. That's the beautiful thing about putting yourself in a completely unfamiliar, untested environment. The brain fires in new ways, creating new possibilities for your life you didn't know existed.

But perhaps the best part of XPT, was the people. Getting to be with those particular people, at that particular place, at that particular time was a real gift. All the tiny decisions that had to be made by each person there, including Laird and Gabby, to bring us together to create our XPT experience, is humbling. It inspires an overwhelming sense of gratitude for each of them as the miracle they are, how they showed up and who they are being in the world. 

And I have to say something specific about Laird, Gabby and their staff. They created themselves as family to us. I've never been involved in any event like this that felt so open and intimate. They authentically and appropriately shared themselves, and their lives, with us for 3 days. Each person on the staff was a superstar and left me feeling truly loved and supported. They really have something special here.

As scared as I was at times, as hard as it was at times, as much as my mind was resisting at times, I did it. Every bit of it. Not in record time or record weight or record anything. But the experience is recorded in my body and my heart.

Which is what really matters.

I would absolutely do it all again. And most likely will.

Now, I'm off to buy a tub and some ice.

Love and gratitude,

 

 

 

When are the conditions ever really right?

Conditions.

We wait for them. We try to create them. We covet them. We blame them.

The timing isn't right. It's too windy. Too cold. Too hot. I'm too tired. I don't do that. It's raining. I haven't heard back yet. I need more information. It's too wet. This isn't the right group. The music is bad. My head hurts. I'm afraid. I just don't know.

Are the conditions ever really right to do anything?

There will always be something. The weather. Your state of being. Your health. Money. Someone else's conditions. What the group wants. 

Today, I had jet lag from traveling on the west coast (unusual for me.) I made a commitment to myself on this trip to improve my physical state and fitness, in a big way. The conditions for me staying in bed a little longer this morning were ideal. I couldn't get to sleep last night. We've been traveling. I have so much to catch up on today. Do I even have any clean clothes? 

There will always be conditions. Reasons. All the things your lizard brain will tell you to stay comfortable.

Growth doesn't happen when you're comfortable. Change doesn't happen when everything is just right. It happens when you make a move. Get messy. Take a stand.

It happens when you do what you say you're going to do -- without complaining -- despite the conditions.

And yeah, I got my ass out of bed and worked out.

Me - 1

Conditions/Reasons/Excuses - 0

Love and commitment,