A Deep Breath and a Shift

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” ~ Ecclesiastes 3

Deep breath

Another deep breath

One more deep breath

I am about to take a dive into the deep end. I’m about to share with you something significant and personal because you and I share a mutual commitment to live authentically, to lead with integrity and to be the best possible version of ourselves so we can do the work we are meant to do.

I hear the voice of fear nagging at me. “What if they don’t like it?  What if they think I’m wasting my talent? What if they think I’m crazy? What if they leave me? What if I lose all my income as a result?  What if they lose confidence in me?  What will they think of me?”

It helps to make the voice of fear visible.  It’s the only way I can counter it by asking different questions. “What if I can breathe life more deeply?  What if I model courage and commitment differently? What impact could my decision have on someone on the brink of allowing fear to rule their life? What if my life explodes into so much goodness and abundance that I could never have imagined? What if…?”

"When we understand, we are at the center of the circle and there we sit while YES and NO chase each other around the circumference."  Chuang-Tzu

If I cannot stand in the center, in my authenticity and in my commitment, how could I ever ask you to do the same?  The only grounding I have in times like these is to stand in the center and observe the inner conversations of my mind go around and around, going nowhere. I know that my power is in the center so I must stand there and be true.

Since April 2012 I have been on a personal journey, never knowing where it would take me.  There has never actually been a path. My own steps have created the road through the choices I have made.

Did you know that there are no answers but those we give to ourselves?

Did you know that there is no path except for the one you create for yourself?

I thought I knew this but I didn’t really know this…until now.

There are those I have watched courageously opening themselves to the world as they openly battled their demons or wandered through their lives seeking that center to ground them in their truth.  You know their names. 

These are the women I have watched transparently explore their fears in service of breaking the collective trance of not enough.  Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Glennon Doyle Melton.  And there are so many others, whose names we don’t know, who are doing the same. For the most part I see women stepping out of the shadow into a blinding light to share their journey giving other women permission they have not been able to give to themselves.  Their brutal honesty is what brings redemption. This I did know having reinvented myself so many times, having lost so very much that I held dear, having been kicked to the ground by life daring me to get up just one more time.

See, you didn’t know that about me did you? And therein lies the problem. I have been holding back. I thought I was keeping you safe. No, I was keeping myself safe and that’s the real truth.

But within this illusion of safety came a price to pay.  I did not follow my deepest desire, the dream I have held onto since I was ten.  I dabbled in it. I kept it close, a small journal by my bed, one folder on my computer, occasional scribbles on napkins capturing the bolt of inspiration when it suddenly came.

I wrote about topics that sell. I wrote about models, frameworks and ideas that were interesting. I even wrote a few things that were provocative and contrarian.  I met you more than halfway foregoing the prose that demanded to burst through, tranquilizing my imagination so it wouldn’t run amuck and damage the image I had so carefully created.

I was not false with you. I was incomplete. 

I didn’t give my all because I didn’t think you would want that or need that.  I didn’t go deeper because somewhere in me lay the fear that this waterfall of love might drown you.  So I stayed on the surface, sharing a glass of water or two but I kept us from swimming in the deep end to keep both of us safe.

Until now…

Deep breath

Another deep breath

One more deep breath

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ― Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver’s quote is engraved on the back of my iPad. The question is so much more than what it appears to be. It speaks of choice. It speaks of commitment. It asks, “Are you standing in the center?” and if not, why?  Tell me.

I am now in Ecuador, a place on my path that I never expected to be. I made a simple choice in 2012. It was not earth shattering.  It did not feel significant at the time. On a whim I decided to accept a friend’s invitation to Ecuador. And that one decision became one of the most significant decisions of my life.

Every day we create the path of our truth and it can leave us feeling fragile and vulnerable.

We may feel helpless and scared and that fear is only amplified by the messages we receive from out there. Only in the moment of our surrender to our personal truth can we stand in the center, observing the Yes and No, where even the path we traveled is erased opening us to the possibility of something more, a new and expanded way of being in the world. To surrender to my truth, to lay down my sword in front of something greater than the smaller version of the me I believed myself to be, gifts me with full engagement.  No longer limited by fear and conditioning I’m able to embrace all of me and all of you.

In this divine center is the source of creativity, the very source of life.  It is available to me and to you. We have but to choose it.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it. It’s not. It requires that we pay attention to every choice, every step on the path we are creating right now. We should not fear our true nature. This is the source of our strength and the essence of our life.  It is unique, not like anyone else’s, a gift.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

Deep breath

Another deep breath

One more deep breath

I am beginning a new story, the one that has been hiding behind the pages in my journal, in the file on my computer, on the napkins tucked into a silver box in the bedroom.  I commit to fiercely and openly sharing that story unconditionally.  I’ve been tentatively holding this story since I was ten years old tucking the first chapter away when the teacher told me I could not write, writing at night under my covers as a child or in the wee hours of the morning as an adult.  In that silence I could know myself.  Such a precious soul, I was not ready to risk it being exposed to the harshness of the light. Now I travel with the silence within me. The only risk turned out to be the risk of leaving that story untold. 

You will begin to see the changes soon.  My messages will change. The typical accoutrements of running a business and doing life will shift.  You may or may not choose to walk with me. I’m good with that.

But if you do walk with me, for a while, you may very well see your footprints disappear in the sand behind you. 

You may gradually find yourself going around and around, Yes, No, until the moment when you lay down your sword and surrender to your truth.  And there in the center of your circle you will discover the one who brought you here.  You will finally know who you truly are.

With deepest gratitude…

Alicia