Tag Archive | personal growth

Surrender

Until your knees hit the floor you’re just playing at life, and on some level you’re scared because you know you’re just playing. The moment of surrender is not when life is over, it’s when it begins. ~Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

One warm, sunny weekend in early September, 2013, I found myself in my car, alone, headed for Asheville, North Carolina. I had a stack of CDs, my phone, a few changes of clothes, and a full tank of gas. I also had with me a full complement of amino acid and magnesium supplements that were going to replace the antidepressant and Xanax I’d been taking for the past five years. I left the prescriptions at home. At about hour six of the 14 hour drive, I started to cry. What the FUCK was I doing? I was driving 14 hours, alone, for a weekend, alone, in a place I knew little about that I had chosen randomly (or intuitively). And I would have another 14 hour drive back home. It was one of those really deep cries that turned into a prayer, simple and raw: I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing and I’m going to need your help.

Knees hit the floor.

I’d been through a lot the couple of years previous and was considering moving to another state, running away, really. I had been on an unfamiliar path. I had dreams for the future but had no idea how to get there. So I took off for a weekend with excitement which turned quickly into fear. Tears. Surrender. I ended up having a great weekend. Spending time with myself, getting to know myself. There would be, and will be, more tears, more surrender, and more joy as my path unfolds.

Surrender is one of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned on my path and something I’ve learned to do even when life isn’t so bad.

Surrender presupposes a belief in a higher power, who I’ll refer to as God. The creator, the divine energy that connects everyone and everything, with whom we are are all one. A higher power that can make things happen. An energy that is pure love.

Surrender is completely giving up control over the circumstances and trusting in a force more powerful that we are to make things happen, to fix the problem, to help us realize our dreams.

Surrender is complete faith that somehow, we don’t know how, but somehow things are going to work out for the better.

Surrender is the acknowledgement, without judgment, that this problem is bigger than we are, knowing that if we could fix it by ourselves we surely would have already, so please help me, God.

Surrender is not sitting on the couch doing nothing and waiting for life to happen, surrender is taking one step and trusting that we are going to be shown the next step. And the next.

This is more than prayer. If we’re honest with ourselves, we pray a lot more than we actually surrender. We go through the motions with good intention, but we like to control things most of the time and are not good at surrendering the details to someone else. It can take a real shit storm to get us actually down on our knees in surrender. Crying in the shower. Bawling in the parking lot of the rest area. Surrender isn’t poetic and it isn’t polite. The prayer of surrender usually goes something like: “I’ve really fucked this up, please help me.”

There’s real beauty in surrendering. Finding that peaceful place withing ourselves, finding our true strength. We connect with our higher selves, we find our connection with our Creator and with all of creation. This is Love.

What actually happens when we truly surrender is God really does take over. I’m talking magic, miracles, and synchronicity. You’re at peace. You don’t have to worry about this anymore, someone way smarter is taking over. Phew. You have a chance conversation with the neighbor you never talk to and the next thing you know, you’re in a job interview with his ex-wife’s brother’s best friend’s therapist’s daughter. You go to the mailbox and there’s a refund check you weren’t expecting. You win an all expense paid vacation. Really good ideas pop into your head. Somebody sees your artwork hanging on your mother’s wall and wants to buy it. A song inspires you to call somebody who leads you in a new direction. A conversation leads you to start your own business. You’re meeting the exact people you need to meet. You’re in the right place at the right time. Magic, miracles, and synchronicity.

This is not the first nor the last time you will surrender. You will go about your life and hit another rough patch and end up on your knees again. It’s called living. Eventually you’ll start to figure out that all the good stuff starts to happen when your knees hit the floor. You’re getting help and this is starting to feel good. Even fun.

When you’re living your life to the fullest, your knees need never leave the floor. You’re not only surrendering, you’re also in deep gratitude for the many blessings in your life.

You don’t have to wait for the shit to hit the fan to get down on your knees. You have dreams and desires, plans and goals. But when you don’t know how to get there, you let go of the dream. Or you get so attached to your plans of how you’re going to get there that you have no flexibility when life (or God) steps in and throws a wrench in the plans. We leave no room for magic. Sometimes God has a better plan, so when she throws a wrench in yours, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Or get down on your knees.

We limit ourselves when we attach rigidly to our plans. Sometimes you have to move forward without a plan. Stop, breathe, focus on your heart. What is your dream, your purpose, your passion? Feel it? Does it still feel good? Good. Now, how does this next step feel? If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. Listen. Is a different idea trying to get your attention? Take a break, go for a walk, get away for the weekend. Does something light up for you? Trust it. Start moving, but be flexible. Allow changes to your plan. Make room for magic.

Many of us learn about surrendering in our every day lives after our knees hit the floor in some dramatic way. Perhaps that’s the purpose of that moment, to get our attention. Once you’re down there, stay on your knees. Surrender. Gratitude. How is life working for you now?

The Space in Between

“You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.” ~Nina Simone

One thing I love about the tarot: besides being an intuitive tool, a set of cards that can answer any question you can ask, each card in the tarot deck tells a story and offers universal wisdom. And each time you pick up the same card, you see different nuances to the story. So, with the 8 of Cups that I was drawn to today.

8ofcups

Left: Rider Waite Tort. Right: Tarot of the New Vision

The man is walking away, leaving everything behind. The moon up above has his eyes closed. Where he is going is uncertain, but it is important for him to leave. In the card on the right, you can see the sadness on the man’s face. He has crossed the river, there is no going back. What he is leaving behind was once joyful but is no longer.

There are times in our lives when it is necessary to leave a circumstance or person behind, to walk away without looking back. When there is no longer any joy or love in the situation. When what was once joyful and exciting has become painful and exhausting. When we feel the loss of leaving but we know there is no other choice.

What captured my attention in the picture this time is the space between two cups in the top row. The space between. In any journey there are times of walking away and times of walking toward and there is the space in between. That space in between can be the hardest space to be in and the most beautiful, if we allow it. There is grief, there is loneliness, uncertainty, fear.

But this space in between is opportunity, if we allow it. When we process the grief and go through the loneliness, we have the space to look into our soul, to get to know ourselves again. What was the gift in the situation? What did I learn? What do I really want?

The space in between is hope. This space is an empty canvas. What are you going to paint on the canvas? Let your imagination run wild.

A few years ago, I was unhappy with just about everything in my life. I had lost my passion for my health coaching business, I was unhappy in my job, some friends had gradually drifted away. I decided I was going to move, but when I started looking for jobs in other states, I got nowhere. I saw an intuitive coach for guidance and was told that I wasn’t going anywhere until I found happiness where I was. Not what I wanted to hear. But I sat with it. I looked around me for happiness. I put everything on hold and picked up one thread of something that I knew had given me happiness in the past: dance. I had stopped ballroom dancing and when I tried to pick it up again, I didn’t find a place that felt right to me. I came upon a Salsa and Latin studio when I was wandering around Meetup, a circuitous and synchronous path. It never showed up in my searches for ballroom dance. It took a little time, but I found there not only the joy of dancing, but the community that I had been missing.

I never moved, I didn’t change jobs. I’ve been inspired, learning and growing, making changes, loving my life. I’m still figuring a lot of stuff out. I’ve been in this space in between other times since, the dance and the community have been there for me. I’ll be in the space again and I’ll know what to do.

This space in between the leaving of one thing and the coming of the next, it is necessary. It is a constant in our journey. When you learn to be in it, it’s a beautiful space full of promise and opportunity. Allow it. Take it in. Paint the picture on the empty canvas of what you desire and let the synchronicity, the Universe, God do the rest.

 

 

When you are about to give up

“Why are you telling me all this?”
“Because you are trying to realize your Personal Legend. And you are at the point where you’re about to give it all up.”
~from The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

I’ve been here many times, trying to realize my Personal Legend, trying to serve my life purpose, “And you are at the point where you’re about to give it all up.” But it goes on:

“And that’s when you always appear on the scene?”
“Not always in this way, but I always appear in one form or another.”

Feeling frustrated because I was only seeing what has not yet materialized, I “checked out” for a little while with some books and a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. And in order to “check out,” I had to visit the bookstore. And when I was gathering my books for my  vacation from reality, my attention was brought to the shelf a little distance away where The Alchemist stood, as if lighted arrows were pointing at it. The Alchemist, which I’ve been saying I wanted to read for years and never bothered to look for. And this time I bought it.

Only 24 pages in, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” And the very next page: “And you are at the point where you’re about to give it all up.” “And that’s when you always appear on the scene?”

Yes! Frustrated, wallowing in my perceived failure, just about ready (but not too seriously) to give it all up, this book shows up, lit up with fireworks and a band: “Because you are trying to realize your Personal Legend. And you are at the point where you’re about to give it all up.” Wait, are you talking to me? Hello, did we not compel you to buy this book?! Yes, we’re talking to you! “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Do we need to say any more? Look around you, you can see the truth.

My dream is to make a living as a writer, coach, speaker, including some energy healing and tarot reading. I’ve had challenges, made wrong turns, lost my passion, found it again, almost giving up. Every time I’ve almost given up, I’ve had sudden inspiration, an idea, an opportunity that came seemingly out of nowhere, to bring me back onto the path, leading my closer, getting more clear. It can be frustrating and scary. But living the life of unrealized potential, living with NOT realizing my Personal Legend, is scary as hell.

Once again, I’m here, “at the point where you’re about to give it all up.” Because I was guided to write, just write, every week. All you need to do right now is write. Not only is it hard to see how just writing once a week is going to lead me to my dreams, it’s also scary to put myself out there every week, having a subject every week, trying to write well and say something meaningful every week. So I checked out, and still, I was reminded that the universe is conspiring to help me. Oh yeah, the opportunities to join a writing group, the opportunity to submit a guest blog, the 10 day writing challenge, the book with the message I needed to hear, do you think that’s the universe conspiring to help me?

I’ll tell you, the signs are clearer and more numerous this time around. I’m on the right track. I’ve also opened my eyes, I’m noticing signs, and I’m open for opportunity. I’m clearer on my passion, my Personal Legend. I’m committed this time, blood, sweat, and tears, whatever it takes. The universe’s support is matching my commitment.

What is your passion? What is your Personal Legend? What are your dreams? Open your eyes, look around, the universe is conspiring to help you.

What if it’s all Bullshit?

InPursuitofMagicThe thought has crossed my mind that all of my spiritual beliefs, the basis for how I live my life, could be complete and total bullshit. Baloney. Delusion. God, the Universe, the idea of a benevolent, loving, power much greater than I that wants to help me. Angels, spirit guides, fairies. Reiki, energy healing, being affected by the energy of the moon, humans continuing to evolve. Reading tarot, listening to my own intuition, messages from loved ones in spirit, the soul’s immortality, soul mates, reincarnation. Law of Attraction, the power of positive thinking. Magic. Miracles. What if it’s all a lie? What if I’m wrong about everything?

Not exactly a crisis of faith. More of a brutal questioning by my inner critics. Where’s the logic? What can you prove? Does this shit really work? How does this make sense? It may not be scientifically provable, but it does make sense to me. It’s a way of living my life that is working better than anything else did before.

For instance, while there may not be any scientific evidence of Angels, the fact that I have never set myself on fire, gotten hit by a car, drowned in my own kitchen, or fallen off of the rickety chair I stand on to change lightbulbs is evidence enough for me that I am protected by guardian angels. And they probably deserve a raise.

I’ve stood on a mountain in Sedona and it’s hard for me to believe there is not a higher power who created the beauty, the majesty, an energy I cannot describe. I’ve walked in the woods, been out in the middle of the ocean, watched the sun rise and set, and it’s hard for me to believe there is not a higher power. I’ve held a newborn baby and watched him grow into an adult and it’s hard for me to believe there is not a higher power.

I can go on. I have felt the power of reiki and other types of energy healing. I have focused on love, and let love guide me through fear, and experienced the transformation. I have created vision boards, made lists, set intentions, and repeated affirmations, and I’ve watched the magic and miracles occur. Soulmates? When you meet someone and you instantly connect and you feel like you’ve known them for a thousand years? Because you have. It just makes sense.

I believe in my own intuition, and that I am guided by loved ones in spirit, a higher power, angels, and fairies, because, let’s face it, left to my own devices, I royally fuck it all up. (Okay, I haven’t landed in jail, rehab, or homeless, but the mistakes felt pretty disastrous to me at the time) What’s saved me is paying attention to my intuition, being open to guidance from the unseen, being open to miracles,  and noticing synchronicity. When I follow the path that makes my heart sing, I am always, always successful. When I pay attention to my inner knowing, life just works. When I go in the direction of what lights up for me, what feels happy and sparkly, not only is that pursuit successful, but I end up finding other unexpected magic that keeps leading me in the direction of my dreams. I randomly meet people who can help me. Situations open up.

What I know for sure is, when I opened myself up to these ideas that were new to me, life just started making sense to me in a more meaningful way. I found more peace in my life, more happiness. Less anxiety, more love.

Maybe it IS all bullshit. Maybe I AM delusional. Maybe it’s all truth. Maybe there’s some truth and some baloney. Does it matter? It’s working for me.

Really, why would I want to live in a world where angels, fairies, and unicorns did not exist?

 

 

A New Story

I’ve started and stopped a million times, thinking it was time to tell “my story.” Not just the bits and pieces I give in blog posts and videos or on my website, but the whole story. Every detail. The years of dieting and all the reasons I gained the weight back. What it was like as a girl being not small, what it was like as a teenager thinking I was fat (I saw a picture recently, I wasn’t). The story about believing I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough as long as I had an extra ounce of body fat. About growing up in a society where you could never be “too rich or too thin.”About being highly sensitive, introverted, and empathic and eating because I didn’t know how to process any of it. About anxiety and depression, about not fitting in, about being too much and at the same time, not enough. About not knowing who I was or why I was here.

Maybe I should tell that story so that you will know that you’re not alone, so you will know I’ve been there, too. I know what it’s like. I feel your pain.

But that’s a book that I’m not going to write, because I don’t want to live in that story anymore. It’s time to let go and move forward. It’s time to write a new story.

The new story is about love and acceptance. It’s about being perfectly imperfect. It’s about being good enough. And it’s so much more. The new story is about an imperfect, human love for ourselves, about still hating ourselves sometimes, and coming right back to love. It’s about accepting ourselves the way we are at the same time that we are striving to be better versions of ourselves.

The new story is about showing up for life the way we are. It’s about not hiding, not waiting until we are the perfect size to do the things we love to do. It’s about paying more attention to the beauty in life. It’s about finding joy everywhere.

The new story is about getting to know our own body as well as our closest friend or our most intimate lover. Because she is. Because we love our own body, we ask: What gives her energy? What makes her sick? What makes her want to dance? When we love our body, it is our joy to nourish her as best we can, eating healthy and exercising not to punish her for being too fat, but make her feel good. The new story is about feeding our body in a loving way and moving in a joyful way instead of dieting and exercising to punish her for being fat.

The new story is about balancing mind, body, and spirit. It’s about allowing ourselves pleasure in food in a way that does not hurt the body. It’s about relentlessly pursuing our dreams and resting when we need to. It’s about taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zone. It’s about finding our purpose, finding out what we do best.

The new story is also about shining our light into our darkness. It’s about learning the life lessons we’re here to learn. It’s about being human, about stumbling, falling, and getting up again. In the new story, we may still cry in the shower and have days of feeling hopeless. But we move on from a place of personal power, we accept and learn the lessons, we experience the pain and let it go. In the new story, we focus on the getting up again.

The new story is about knowing we are divinely loved and we deserve all the love, joy, and blessings this world has to offer, just as we are. It’s about forgiveness, ourselves and others, for our own peace of mind.

I’m writing my new story, accepting my humanness, riding the waves, finding joy, living in love, crying in the shower, having faith in divine Love. I’ve also been holding on to the old story, almost a badge of honor, an excuse: see all that I’ve been through.

It’s time to let go and live in the new story.

Are you ready to write a new story?

Day 30: Endings and New Beginnings


We made it!!! Thank you for hanging out with me the 30 day challenge, it’s been an amazing experience. I hope something I’ve said in the last 30 days has helped you, inspired you to take the first or next step in realizing your dreams. My deepest gratitude to the friends who have been with me every day of this journey, have kept me accountable, and supported me in this challenge.

I invite you to share with me in the comments or email to julie@julieannsorenson.com any subject that I’ve touched on that you’d like to hear more about on video, blog, in-person talk or workshop.