The Dangers of Teflon vs. A Good Wok (not really about cooking...)

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Several years ago, I was sitting in a circle of people in an exquisite outdoor jungle yoga studio at one of the most beautiful retreat centers in Costa Rica, maybe the world.  During an exercise about connecting and relating, one of the teachers, whom I had studied with earlier that season, told me that her experience of me was like Teflon. You know, the slippery, non-stick coating used on pots and pans. It wasn’t exactly a compliment. She made this observation with love as a direct and insightful way to make an impact with me.

It worked.

I’ve spent a lot of time with that statement.

The way I received it was that my humanness, my ego, my lizard brain, whatever you want to call it, is really good at looking good. It’s hard for me to know when my looking good is up to looking good because she’s so good at looking good it’s hard for me to see! Partly because I’d always done what anyone in a position of “authority” told me to do and wanted to do it better than anyone else. Teacher’s Pet to the core. You call me on me, I’ll have the right answer.

The other part was that in the process of processing, of deep interior work and inquiry, or attempting to connect at a deep level, people can have the experience of me being “slippery” with criticism or observation or feedback or connection. I didn’t let it land in me or allow myself the full experience and depth of feeling. I was great at taking it, “Oh yes, I can see that,” and holding it just far enough away to not let it touch me. It might sting, and cause a jolt of emotion, but taking it in and using it to scan my life to see all the places it might be showing up, and who it might be impacting, could cause extreme pain. I couldn’t let it connect. And I couldn’t see it. Didn’t have access to it at all. Perfectionist to the core.

I was so good at letting everything just slide right past me. I took pride in it. Yep, nothing sticks to me. I can handle anything.

What I learned was the distinction between letting things go from a place of distancing myself from pain, and taking the learning from the pain of what’s happening, then letting go of what doesn’t serve me. Surrender to what is ... then let go. Instead of projecting a constant state of slippage. There’s a huge difference.

At the time, I was not equipped to handle what I might find if I let it sink in and really looked at myself. (Later in this trip, I had an experience that changed my life. You can read about that here.)

I could talk theory and philosophy and information and witness others all day long. And I could give you the answer of what I thought someone like me should say.

But not what I had to say. From a place of deep connection with my Self. From the Who I Am, which is underneath all the layers of who I think I am. From what I feel. What aligns for Me. Being in the totality of darkness and light and all shades in between.

Now to be clear, I’m not saying we take something we see to upgrade and have it “stick” in order to beat ourselves up with it. No. Let it land. Feel the full spectrum of what happens in your relationship to that thing. Swirl it around. Then use it as an ingredient for creating a full-flavored experience. Let it pass through you and around you. See it for what it is without judgment. (Hmmm...salty.) Use it. Alchemy.

I was so afraid of what might happen, who would see me, what they would see, what they would think, if I allowed myself to fully embody and show up as the depth of who I am, with all the layers and flavors, and where I can go.

The result of not allowing? Of letting go of the control I thought I had?

No flavor.

No texture.

No color.

No vitality.

Vanilla.

Nothing or no one has the full experience of me. Including...well...me.

 

Teflon.

One simple word. One great teaching.

Through the years, Teflon has caused me to be with these questions, and I invite you to enter them as well:

  • Am I fully expressing who I am with every body of my Being?
    • Physical body? Emotional body? Mental body? Spiritual body?
  • Am I giving ALL of me in my relationships?
  • Am I holding back? Am I slippery?
  • Where am I holding back?
  • How is this impacting the other person(s)?
  • What would it look like for me to FULLY embody and show up as the flavorful, colorful, vibrant, radiant feminine Being that I am, in all the areas of my life?

 

With the appropriate care and attention, a good, authentic wok is meant to last a lifetime. It’s made to allow things to be held and cooked with different levels of heat in different placements on the pot. Food sticks some places and not others. The more the wok is used, the better it gets. More flavor. Well-oiled. It has history. It is capable of holding everything it is given at once, for the purpose of nourishment.

A wok is cleaned only with warm water and a cloth, then lightly oiled during storage, to keep the flavors and textures (and love) of all that has been cooked infused into the surface to be transferred to future meals. If it’s scrubbed with heavy soap and made too clean and slippery, the depth and layering of flavors will be lost. The meal won’t taste quite as rich.

Scrape away the excess, keep the essence.

 

With bold, juicy love,

ANGIE_Signature.png
 



 

Doing it all

Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

But how do we do it all? 

. . . all those things that have to/need to get done. Those things that come from our desires and dreams playing beside the needs of daily modern life. 

We don't.

We do one thing at a time. In a sequence that is meaningful to us. In a way that aligns with who we are and what we are up to.

We don't do it all, all at the same time.

We create space in between. We get clear on what we are doing and why we are doing it.

The all happens one clear, deliberate, calm, focused step at a time.

The One, in service to the All.

All love,

ANGIE_Signature.png
 

 

 

 

About this marriage thing -- Revisited and Revised

May 2015

May 2015

July 2017

July 2017

About 2.5 years ago, I wrote a post about marriage that seemed to resonate with many people.

And life happens. Time passes. Relationships change. People change. I thought about rewriting this post from where I am/we are now. But as I reread the words, much of it still stands. 

With respect to my relationship, so many conversations we are in with individuals and couples, and our process of evolution and growth, I have edited the original post, and made notes which are in parentheses and  italics


Marriage is an interesting endeavor. Two humans join together, supposedly for life, many times not TRULY knowing the other person, not knowing if they can actually LIVE together, and each participant being on their best behavior (for the most part) in order to woo the other. Most importantly, and likely most truthfully, neither of them

discovered who they are, first.

Additionally, if you’ve been married for over seven years, you’re very literally not the same person you were when you got married. Neither is your spouse. Your biology, the entirety of your cellular structure, turns over completely every seven years. You’re not the same people.

Sever year itch?

More like seven-year switch. (And 14, and 21, and so on)

Then, take into consideration the myriad of life situations that happen within a relationship over a period of time that have the potential to cause tension:

who sleeps on which side of the bed, one develops a love for fly fishing, the other for jigsaw puzzles, childbirth, how many kids to have, who stays home and who works, do both work?, (what are our roles), in-laws, sex, job stress, (sex), moving, (money), career changes, (sex), death, betrayal, (sex), the kids are all out of the house – now what?, (sex), vacations, friends, family dynamics. (Did I mention sex?)

Add these fun elixirs to two people who have not yet measured their own way of being. Before tying the knot, they hadn't given five minutes to figuring out who they are and what they want out of life. They run on autopilot of what marriage is supposed to look like. Give it a shot of fear, a (twist of expectation),  and two shots of insecurity, (shaken with assumption and judgment.)

How can that possibly be successful?

Does anyone ever stop to ask:

What do YOU want?

What do I want?

Who are we?

Do we want the same things?

(There are so many questions to ask your partner, and yourself, these are a good beginning. I would now add, "What's it like for you to be married to me?")

We HAVE asked those questions. It’s not as easy as you think. It might be easy for one (Scott), and not so easy for the other (me). Or maybe it's difficult for both. 

These are intensely serious questions that go way beyond the immediate, non-thinking, knee-jerk answer, “Oh yes. We are married. We love each other and there is no other way. I know exactly who my partner is (maybe with an eye-roll.) We took an oath in front of God. (This is just who we are.” SIGH.)

(There is much more possibility for life within your relationship. Honor yourself and each other with radical honesty.)

Look back at those questions.

Sit with your partner and look into their eyes. Then ask those questions of yourself.

Marriage is not always easy, but it has the potential for unlimited spiritual gifts. (Truth.)

I happen to be ... (scratch that old language -- I have created myself to be) in a marriage with someone who challenges (in a mature, constructive and necessary way), and loves, me greatly. Sometimes, it’s exhausting and I just want to walk out the door. Not forever. Just for relief. But that’s because I don’t always like to face things and I just want to punch him in the face. But I don’t because I do really like his face. (Now it's mostly me standing in the face of my resistance and punching that bitch in the face.)

From the time we met to the day we got married was only 18 months. And we never even lived in the same city prior to our honeymoon.

He is much more aggressive, and I am much more passive and cautious. He is the hare and I am the tortoise. He’s always looking for his keys and his wallet, I always know where the keys are. He is big picture, and I take care of (and can get mired in) the details. I fill out the paperwork and program his watch and all electronics. He is the one who wants to talk. I am the one who needs to be coaxed out of myself. He is all about action and power. I am more woo-woo Spirit/Nature driven. He is very much outward in his processing, I am the classic introvert with my thoughts banging around in my head like a pinball machine. He has no filter. I wear my filter like a fucking suit of armor. (I'm laying down my armor, freedom is where it's at.)

We’ve been married now for 22 years and have essentially grown up together. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing or who we were when we got married. We made a shit-ton of mistakes, and hurt each other, and loved each other and had amazingly gorgeous experiences. We have two wildly wonderful children who light up our sky every day. (So incredibly true.)

By some greater Divine plan, (intention, work and love), it has worked. Not always smoothly, but we are still together. And dare I say, now in a beautiful, more mature, relationship. Far, far, FAR away from how we began. (And even farther still. There is no limit to how far we can go.)

We have spent over twelve+ years working on ourselves and our relationship, mostly with him leading the charge. Much more than anyone outside of us knows.

Sure, early on we spent our fair share of time numbing, running away, looking away, pushing things down, bickering, avoiding…but not anymore.

We have conversations that crack us open, shine a light into a seemingly dark place, and heal what could have remained an insurmountable fissure…

all before lunch.

(Now with much more flow and intention.)

I subscribe to the idea that everything is in Divine Right Order. We are exactly where we are supposed to be at all times. It’s not that nothing is perfect, it’s that everything is perfect, always. When things get tough, we just might not understand and or see it yet. We sometimes forget who we truly are (Love) or can’t always see through our beliefs to the Truth.

In the times where I feel challenged and exhausted by the relationship, it’s my responsibility to remember that is MY perception of the situation. Not the reality.

I have my worldview, and he has his.

The reality is I am supremely fortunate to be with someone who exercises so much patience with me. (And I with him.)

We desperately want to understand each other, so that we can rise through this life together. And raise two more human beings with these principles of what real relationships are and what Love is. (Truth.)

For me, Love is the infinite source of Life. The great field. It is from here where we tap into our power. It is from here that we receive patience, understanding, compassion, and the ability to see through another’s eyes; feel through their heart center. (It is not a thing to be given or received, but a place to come from. An experience. An ability. A way of being.)

(Love is where being present lives.)

There is no building, structure, gospel, doctrine, document or round jewelry that keeps me committed to my relationship.

It is a choice. Every day we have a choice.

A piece of paper doesn’t wipe my tears. He does.

A ring doesn’t give me power. I do. (Yes.)

We don’t stay together out of stubbornness or greed or laziness or fear.

We make a choice every day to walk through this life together. No matter what. To join in communion as One…two like minds joining together to further the growth of a shared experience.  (The individual "I" in service to the "We.")

To live through love, to learn, to have fun, to laugh, to feel, to grow, to be free – to FULLY experience and express life with a soul partner.

My relationship is my greatest teacher about life, love and ultimately, realizing my Self through another. 

I believe the purpose of marriage is to clear the channel to Love with another person from whom you have the most (or something) to learn. Sometimes, when you’ve learned everything you can from that person, the relationship is complete and you move on. It’s just done. And that’s OK.

I am grateful every day that I continue to learn from my relationship. That we continue to make the choice to walk with each other through this beautiful playground of life.

And every time we make that choice and face each other and see the crack and jump in and shine the light and forgive ourselves for forgetting who we are and chip away at the channel…

We are lighter. And we rise.

Together. In love. With love.

Not always easy. But always worth it.

(While having some fun along the way. I love you babe.)

 

The Fallacy of Thinking

Photo by Alyssa Crouse on Unsplash

Photo by Alyssa Crouse on Unsplash

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

~ Albert Einstein

“I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”

~ Joseph Campbell

 

Information. Knowledge. Learning. Technology. Study. Research.

All noble and necessary pursuits in the furthering of our lives and planet.

And all come with risk.

For example, the implications of and conversations around Artificial Intelligence, cryptocurrencies and private space travel are fascinating topics that live somewhere in the future, but are eerily close to current reality.

There is no argument that deeper knowledge, science and technology can change our lives for the better.

But are we forgetting what life feels like? Do we look up long enough from our phones or keyboards or books or tasks or travels or monitors or lists to stop and …

Pause.

Look around at life: nature, trees, flowers, animals. At our people. To experience what living from our deepest alignment feels like.

You might be drifting or bumping around in the space of seeking meaning in life, and not really have a clear idea of what that even means for you. You might not even realize this is what you are actually seeking. It most likely looks externally like anxiety, or dis-ease or the affliction of busy-ness or overwhelm or climbing higher in an artificial (yet seductive and productive) ranking. This is not a judgment, but an observation.

I have a few questions for you.

What’s underneath the striving?

What’s behind the thinking?

What do you want your experience of life to be?

Recently, I was at a conference for women, and was witness to one of the most powerful women I’ve ever seen. Her name is Clare Dubois and she is the founder of Tree Sisters, an organization that, “is a global network of women who donate monthly to fund the restoration of our tropical forests as a collective expression of planetary care.” Their mission is to plant 1 billion trees per year, resulting in the reforestation of the rainforests in 10 years. Trees are crucial to the quality of life on Earth.

A successful business woman for many years, this mission came after a car accident where a tree actually saved her life.

Her work and the work of the women involved is making an enormous impact on the quality of Life in our world. During her talk she was passionate, powerful, purposeful, emotional and every cell of her femininity was lit up. The core of her message was that our planet is being raped of its natural resources at an alarming rate, and it’s up to the leadership of women to save her. It was incredibly inspiring and a moment I will never forget.

It caused me to pause, and look at the times when I am most at peace. Most in my power. Most in harmony with the world. Most passionate about what I’m up to in my life. Most filled with love for humanity.

So, here are my answers to those three questions above -- the answers that are below my thinking mind:

  1. Service and love.

  2. A desire to make an impact, where women are empowered to use their voices to create an equal world. Where women see and experience themselves as mattering in every part of their lives. Where women see themselves as leaders in every part of their lives.

  3. A life where I feel, the meaning I create. I have an experience of living in full color, sound, texture, taste and love. In harmony with nature, the people I love, and the work I create using modern tools.

 

From this place, thinking happens from the Being of living.

I live in awe and wonder of Creation.

Full Love,

ANGIE_Signature.png
 

Where leadership matters most.

Photo by Kevin Delvecchio on Unsplash

 

We always have an opportunity to lead. To be a leader. To demonstrate leadership.

Whether within a family, a business, a friendship or any environment where there are people in relationship, we can lead powerfully with grace. This is our gift. We can even lead ourselves through self-leadership.

Sometimes we don’t always see a specific situation as a chance to lead. It may be so close to us, so personal, so triggering, that we feel like we are in the quicksand of the thing. It can feel as if there is no way out, or, so many choices we get stuck in the muck, afraid to make the wrong decision. Or we just flat out don’t know what to do.

Note: there is a huge, gigantic difference between control and leadership. Control is NOT leadership. Control comes from ego, from fear, from the needs of the “I.” Leadership comes from love, from service to the greater good, from the “we.”

(Purposely switching pronouns…)

This is when it is extremely important to be awake and have awareness of yourself. Any reaction you are having has everything to do with you. This is a perfect opportunity to look within, with wonder and curiosity, to make a shift and become the leader you are.

With grit, but in service of grace.

See yourself as a leader. See yourself not IN the quicksand with the person or circumstance, but standing on the edge, on solid ground, with many tools at your side to lead out of the situation. See from a place of objectivity of what is happening, without judgment. Keep breathing. Neutrality is the place to come from.

There could be an immediate resolution, or it may take time. Patience and stamina are required.

Some questions to ponder as you’re standing on solid ground:

  • Who am I being right now? Is this serving this situation/person?
  • What’s it like in there (in the quicksand), for them?
  • What must I be thinking in order to feel what I’m feeling? (This question may need to be asked several times to get to the core of what’s happening.)
  • Am I acting/reacting with force, frustration and/or fear? Is it working? What else could work?
  • How can I see this differently?

Leaders who operate with

Love          Grace           Commitment

Action        Power          Clarity

Intention    Presence     Humility     

Humanity   Patience      Listening

Heart…

 

Are precisely what our world needs.

These elements are naturally present in all women.  We just need to put down all of the old expectations and stereotypes and struggles and judgments and what the world has told us we are, and create a new way. A way that merges the best of the feminine and the best of the masculine.

“Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.” -- Brené Brown

Without highly visible role models of what this looks like (they do exist…) we must step into our power and BE what we seek.

Where we start is right in front of us.

With the people who matter most.

Love,

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