Making your 2017 awesome

Several years ago I created a three pronged approach letting go of the year that just ended and creating awesomeness in the year to come…by honoring the past in order to set the stage for the future I desire.

And since I heart you and want you to have an awesome 2017, I present them to you.

Prong 1: PURGE

You know that I’m all about the celebrating (and we’ll get to that, I promise)…and yet being human involves regrets, unfinished business, challenges, and other less than ideal stuff.

And really, pretending that those things aren’t true, that bad stuff didn’t happen or that we don’t have regrets SIMPLY DOESN’T WORK.

Ergo…we need to purge it out.

Purge out things like…resentments. Sadness Regrets. Relationships. Money. Career. Health. Love. Unachieved desires. Fights with people you care about. Frustration at the political landscape. Spirituality. Creativity. Social life. Stuff.

I know we’ve all got at least 20 things on that list—I definitely do too—so get out a piece of paper and write ‘em down. Purge it out.  Acknowledge it and mourn it so you can let it GO!

Your mission: purge out and list at least 20 things that you regret or are bummed out about from 2016.  (Do more if you’ve got ’em.)

Write a paragraph for each one about what you would have wanted and what it means to you.

And at the end of each paragraph (note: this is very very important), write: AND I LET IT GO.

So you can let it go, and create room for the awesomeness to ensue in 2017.

Note: you can do this for stuff too!  If it doesn’t bring you joy, let it go.

Some things on my own list:

Losing my grandmother. The presidential election results. Not advocating for myself fiercely enough with the Antarctica company. Not prioritizing my fiction writing. Eating too many biscuits. (Damn you, Asheville!) Being inconsistent with my newsletters and blogs. Hiding. Too often, hiding.

How about you? Purge that out and let it go so you can move onto…

Prong 2: CELEBRATE!  (Of course!)

Now that you’ve purged out all the ick from last year, you’ve got room to truly and deeply CELEBRATE the awesomeness that was 2016. Phew!

Because even though in many ways 2016 was a human dumpster fire of a year, there was immense awesome too.

So take out your anachronistic pen and paper (it’s preferable to write by hand rather than on a computer), and write down all the good stuff about…

Relationships. Money. Career. Health. Love. Achieved desires. Connecting with people you care about.  Spirituality. Creativity. Social life…and everything else!

Your mission: List at LEAST 50 things that you want to celebrate from last year!  I KNOW you can do it…and you can probably do even more.

How to do this:

Step 1: Grab your calendar or planner and review 2016. Write down every smidgen of awesomeness that happened last year. You went to the doctor on July 18th? Sweet! Celebrate that.

You went to lunch with friends on March 31st? Awesome! Celebrate that!

You had a Fierce Cheerleading session with me on June eleventy-third? YAY! Celebrate that!

And so forth.

Step 2: Look through your photos on your phone or wherever you keep them. What were the moments and experiences you want to honor and celebrate?

Step 3: Look through your credit card and bank statements. (YUP. I’m making you do this.)

What did you spend your money on that you want to celebrate? And…did you have debt that you paid down? Did you create new savings accounts and/or contribute to savings accounts? CELEBRATE THAT SHIZZ, because that is awesome.

And: super important: celebrate every cent that came into your presence last year…and every cent you spent.

Step 4: Look through your journals, your various social media accounts, and wherever else you might have info stored about the year. Maybe you wrote something on a piece of paper and stuck it on a bulletin board. Maybe you keep a jar of pieces of paper where you write down what you’re grateful for or what you received (that’s highly recommended, btw).

Note them all down.

Step 5: Close your eyes and tap into your memory. We tend to remember the harder, less awesome stuff more easily than the good stuff (oh human nature), but with your mind primed by those prior steps, you might actually be bursting with memories of awesomeness that you need to celebrate. Write all those down too.

FINAL STEP: read through everything you’ve written down. EVERYTHING. And when you’ve done that, say to yourself…

“I celebrate that all of this awesomeness happened in my own life and my own world.”

Really take a moment and pause to honor that. Because it’s true. It’s SO TRUE. All of that awesomeness happened in your life and in your world, and honey, it is WORTHY OF HONORING.

Breathe in the awesomeness. I mean, YOUR awesomeness, so you can be ready to…

Prong 3: DREAM!!!!!!

Now that you’ve purged and celebrated, you’ve created the space and energy to dream!

How do you let yourself dream?

Take some time and space over this weekend, get out your journal or some paper and ponder these questions:

~ What do you want for your life this year?
~ What do you want to experience?
~ Where do you want to go—either travel-related or personal-growth-related?
~ How do you want to feel?
~ What do you want to do?
~ What do you want to set the stage for?
~ Did you desire something last year and it didn’t happen? Well, maybe you still desire it for 2017!

No dream or desire is too big or too small…it just has to be YOURS!

Your mission: dream! Dream big, dream small…just dreeeeeam!

This is where you create your intentions and your roadmap for this year, so give yourself the time and the space to deeply go inward and consider.

NOTE: Do. Not. Worry. About. “How.”
Just allow yourself to desire and dream!

Most of all, let yourself have fun with this!  If it starts to feel not-fun or it’s anxiety producing to write down your dreams, take pause. Jump around, listen to some energizing music, drink some water. Celebrate a few more times, and THEN come back to desiring and dreaming!

And that’s how it works!  Now you know what you want for this year, so you can figure out how to make that happen.

If any of this is hard or you want to go deeper, reach out. You’re worthy of support and making your life and year as amazing as possible.

xoxo

Eryka

Your most expensive possession. (Hint: it’s not your home.)

It’s been a looooong time since I’ve written about…money!

Money money money. (Cue Abba’s Money, Money, Money! song. 🙂 )

When people take my programs, I make a point of saying that abundance is about more than money. Because it is. 🙂

And yet, money IS an important part of cultivating abundance. After all, many (probably all!) of us have desires about money and abundance: desires for financial independence, freedom from stress about money, higher income, more savings, less debt, and…the list goes on.

So how do we make all of those beautiful money and abundance desires happen?

Believe it or not, the first step to achieving financial abundance isn’t earning more money, saving more money, creating a spending plan and all that (although all of those are pieces of the puzzle).

The first CRITICALLY important step is changing how you think about money.

For soooooooooooooo many of us, money has all sorts of emotional ick attached to it. We have a plethora of limiting beliefs and fears about it.

I looked over ALL of the limiting beliefs and fears I’ve come across in my work with my clients—and my own issues too—and…there were hundreds.

Seriously. HUNDREDS! Actually, there were 349. 349 limiting beliefs about money!  How messed up is that? For something that is so intricately intertwined with virtually every part of our lives, a lot of us have a lot of issues with it!

So over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the limiting beliefs I’ve heard from clients—and have had myself—so you can see them for the costly nonsense they are and create the financial abundance and awesomeness you desire in your life.

Because the truth is, limiting beliefs about money cost you. In fact, your limiting beliefs about money are your MOST expensive possession.

Think about it.  They cost you money, confidence, security, stability, and yes, abundance. Well, screw that! That is way too expensive, and you deserve better.

Here are the first two limiting beliefs about money:

1. Not smart enough. Oh man. The number of UNBELIEVABLY SMART people who have told me that they’re too stupid to understand money…that money is too complicated for them, too hard for them, that they can’t make decisions about it  because they’re afraid of doing the wrong thing or making a mistake…

OMG. So frustrating.

The truth is, women in particular tend to have this belief. A LOT. And there’s a reason! The reason is that women have been told for millennia that they are, indeed, too stupid to understand or handle money, to not worry their pretty little heads about it and let their fathers/husbands/brothers/sons/money guy (emphasis on guy) handle it.

No more, honey. We do not live in those times anymore. So please let go of that archaic and ridiculous limiting belief! I can assure you it is NOT TRUE. Are there some things about finance that are complicated? Of course! But basic personal or business finance is NOT.  And it is my MISSION to make sure you know that…and that YOU have the capacity to understand and rock your money.

I gotta tell you, one of the biggest joys I get in my work is when one of my clients understands the difference between simple and compound interest or the Rule of 72 or how to figure out investment risk tolerance or how debt and credit work, and then decides to take an active role in managing her own money. 🙂 Makes me giddy every time.

And if those words I just wrote give you a borderline panic attack (what the hell is compound interest ?!?!) take a deep breath. And stay tuned because I’ll be announcing something soon that could help you.

2. Money is dirty/evil/wrong. So…okay. I get that there are a lot of really crappy rich people out there who do really crappy things with their money. And the people who tend to have this limiting belief tend to be good people who want to do good things in the world. BUT they are afraid that if they have or want money, that makes them as evil as the Koch brothers. Au contraire, my love.

So I’m going to drop this on you and see how it lands:

Money is a tool.  It is simply a way for humans to exchange goods and services. THAT’S ALL IT IS.

Money isn’t intrinsically good or bad.  It’s just something that helps us exchange the work we do for food on the table and other things we need or want.

If you’re a shitty person, money will be a tool you can use to amplify your shittiness and do shitty things in the world. If you’re a good person, money will be a tool you can use to amplify your goodness and do awesome things in the world.

So I ask you, do either of these resonate with you? If these don’t, I’m guessing that some of the others I’ll share over the next few weeks will.

Here’s the thing about money limiting beliefs:

It is imperative that you see ALL these money beliefs for what they are: costly bullshit.

And that you recognize that maybe, just maybe, it is not required that you continue to believe them and take actions based on those beliefs.

Because if you’re anything like other people with these beliefs, you probably avoid dealing with your money and you don’t open up your bank or credit card statements. You might not negotiate your salary or ask for raises. And if you have your own business, you might not charge what your awesomeness is worth or you don’t know what your biz spends or brings in.

And more.

You deserve better. And you know what? Your money deserves better than to be treated like this.

Letting go of these beliefs is a process. But the first step is recognizing that you have a limiting belief (or several) about money and deciding that you want to let go of it.

Are you ready to let go of your limiting beliefs about money and start creating abundance?

Lemme give you a little assignment. If you have limiting beliefs about money, try to tally up what those beliefs have cost you. Have they cost you asking for a raise? Investing, so that you keep your money in a checking account that earns $.01% rather than something that (at least) keeps up with inflation? Charging what you’re worth if you have a business? Really try to get clear on how much your limiting beliefs have cost you. I am willing to bet that it’s more than you pay in rent or your mortgage!

And I want you to do this so that you can see just how expensive they are and realize that it’s time for you to let go of them. Because if I can do it—I, who went bankrupt and considered myself innumerate and had all of these limiting beliefs and more—then you absolutely can too.

I can tell you from painful personal experience that limiting beliefs about money are expensive…and overcoming them is quite lucrative. 🙂 In SOOOOO many ways!

Looking forward to connecting with you and blasting your abundance to the next level!

xoxo

Eryka

PS: Need some help with this? Contact me so you can let go of these limiting beliefs and start creating abundance…financial and otherwise!

#spiritualwhiteprivilege

Have you heard of #‎spiritualwhiteprivilege?

It’s where white people are too spiritual to fight for change because they’re choosing love and light.

Rather than take concrete actions to change laws or express solidarity with people of color and #blacklivesmatter, some spiritual white people are instead choosing to “choose love and light.” What this appears to mean is not talking about unpleasant matters or thinking unpleasant thoughts, because to do so brings negativity into their lives.

And apparently negativity is, well, BAD…rather than an acknowledgment of the reality that so many face.

Another term for this is “spiritual bypassing.”

According to Robert Augustus Masters, spiritual bypassing is

“…the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.”

Acknowledging that you have privilege is difficult. Knowing what to do with it is even harder.

So I understand the temptation for some white people to simply “choose love and light” in order to protect oneself from the pain of having to deal with the responsibilities that come with privilege.

Just so we’re clear, here’s a very basic definition of privilege, per Merriam-Webster:

• a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others

• a special opportunity to do something that makes you proud

• the advantage that wealthy and powerful people have over other people in a society

Here’s the thing:

The very act of being able to choose love and light is one of privilege.

If you are worried for the lives of your children, your partner, your family, or yourself, you do not have the option of only choosing light. If you are worried that the people who are supposed to protect you from harm might actually be the ones to kill you, you do not have the option of choosing light.

Why choosing love and light is important…yet not enough.

Choosing love and light is important because people who choose love and engage in loving acts probably will not hurt others.

And in some ways, it could be said that this issue is not very important, especially when it comes to holding police departments to a higher standard and changing the racism so pervasive in the United States.

So why should we care about a bunch of spiritual white people? After all, they’re probably aren’t doing any active harm, even if they’re not exactly helping!

Here’s why: We all live in this world and have a responsibility to take actions to make it better. Choosing light is not sufficient. And it is especially not sufficient for white people, because it gives white people an excuse to be silent in the face of oppression.

The burden for ending racism should not and cannot be on people of color. Racism will not end without the active efforts of white people to educate themselves and therefore act differently and make change.

My spiritual friends (and I have many), please know this: your spirituality-induced silence actually makes you complicit in maintaining the current system of racism and tragedy. When you don’t speak up, you silently endorse. Don’t be complicit.

If you find yourself wanting to choose the light without doing anything else, be aware that doing so is a function of your privilege. You can indeed choose the light…just please do something else as well. Go to a rally or join one of the MANY groups on FB that recommend an action. Be an active ally. Don’t be complicit.

How you can end your complicity: 

1. When you see someone calling for love and light, gently call them out and remind them of what Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

MLK illustrates that you can be spiritual AND take powerful action. Follow his lead. Speak up and use your voice to create change.

2. Find and join a planned demonstration in your local area. Facebook and Twitter are great resources to find local actions.

3. Donate to the families of the victims and political coalitions.

4. Contact your local and national representatives.

Both Lousiana Governor Bel Edwards and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton have helplines for their constituents to contact them. We can too.  And contact your representatives to advocate for changes to policing. You can find your representative here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

5. Call your Chief of Police and ask how your local police department trains on gets on racial bias and de-escalation techniques. Ask them what they are doing specifically in response to police killings of people of color. Then call your governor and ask about citizen oversight of the police in your state. If none exists demand it gets created.

Together, we can ALL make change.

Why Adam Grant is so, so, so SO wrong about authenticty

A couple of days ago, Adam Grant wrote an op-ed for the New York Times: “Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice.”

And, just…no. I usually like his work, but this time…no.

His jumping off point is the advice he received when he was planning his TED talk, which was uniformly “be yourself.” This is admittedly seriously unhelpful advice for someone about to give a talk to millions of people!

But then he goes off the rails. First he conflates “be yourself” with being authentic.

According to Grant, authenticity/be yourself = “erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world.”

I have a different definition of authenticity, based on existential psychology (which, btw, is awesome). Authenticity means how true we are to ourselves despite significant external pressures. 

What I think he’s talking about is how we express our authenticity…which is different from authenticity. See the difference?

Authenticity is internal and requires self-knowledge; how we express it is whether or how much we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and let our authentic selves be seen.

So problem #1: I disagree with his definition of authenticity.

He then confuses authenticity with speaking every thought that meanders through our brains, kind of like reading the last chapter of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” or that Jim Carey film “Liar, Liar “ (I think, I didn’t actually see it). The example he gave was when AJ Jacobs spent a week being totally authentic (although AJ calls it “Radical Honesty”, which is different):

“He announced to an editor that he would try to sleep with her if he were single and informed his nanny that he would like to go on a date with her if his wife left him.”

Problem #2: Um, authentic doesn’t mean spewing out every thought we ever have, without any filter or regard for how it might be received by anyone else.

Authenticity and expressing our authenticity might be something more along the lines of “hey, honey, can we have a talk about an open marriage? I need to speak from the heart about how hot I find my editor and our nanny.”

I’m kidding, but hopefully you get my point.

He then explains that the extent to which we share thoughts depends on “self-monitoring.” High self-monitors tend to check their environment constantly for cues on how they should act. Low self-monitors, on the other hand, act/share according to their feelings and check for those social cues less.

Problem #3: Honey, choose your citations better. 

The study he cites about self-monitoring says it’s controversial and raises questions about the Self-Monitoring Scale. But putting that aside for now, I think he misses the mark on how self-monitoring interacts with authenticity.

Granted, I haven’t done a formal study of this, so this is a hypothesis (if we’re going to get all researchy). He seems to think of being a high self-monitor as a good thing because it apparently leads to more promotions and acknowledgment in work situations.

But in my experience, high self-monitors are always, always, always monitoring what they’re doing and saying AS WELL AS how others are responding to it because they’re afraid of being judged, are afraid of rejection and overly emphasize how others see them and constantly choose that over expressing their authenticity.

(I say this as a high self-monitor who is constantly struggling with letting myself be vulnerable and open for exactly those reasons.)

So a high self-monitor is constantly looking for ways to avoid judgment or awkwardness, and might very well not fully express their authenticity because they don’t feel safe being vulnerable and open. And a low self-monitor might appear more authentic because they share their thoughts and feelings more readily. 

Or they might because they’re extroverts. The problem with this whole theory is that it doesn’t take into account any other factors! Urgh.

(Also, I feel the need to point out that for this segment of his article, he cited a research study that followed the career progress of MBA grads. That’s a pretty specific and small sample, one that calls to mind when my statistics professor SO embarrassingly called me out for misusing stats during a presentation. The lesson held: be careful with statistics because most people don’t understand them and they can be twisted to suit whatever hypothesis you’re making.)

He then goes onto say that women are more likely to be low self-monitors than man because “women face stronger cultural pressures to express their feelings.” I don’t agree with this at all; I think women expressing their feelings is more tolerated than men expressing their feelings, but I don’t agree that women’s feelings are overall acceptable. Just take a look at this article on how highly women are medicated for depression and anxiety and tell me how acceptable women’s emotions are!

Look, this might not be what’s in the research (I’d reached my limit of reading dry research articles that were outdated and only peripherally on topic), but in my experience, women tend to be high self-monitors. Women are constantly gauging the environment for their physical and emotional safety. To not see or acknowledge that reeks of male privilege, alas.

And are women fully expressing their authenticity? Um, no. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have to do a “Be Seen Challenge” to encourage women to step into their power and allow themselves to be fully seen!

Thus problem #4: So very unconsciously gendered. 

I’m almost done. (There’s a lot more I disagree with but this is already going to be long enough!)

So then he says that if we shouldn’t be striving for authenticity, we should instead strive for sincerity:

“Instead of searching for our inner selves and then making a concerted effort to express them, [literary critic Lionel] Trilling urged us to start with our outer selves. Pay attention to how we present ourselves to others, and then strive to be the people we claim to be.”

OMG, WHAT?!

MAJOR PROBLEM #5: The only thing that matters in Grant’s world is how we’re perceived by others. 

And I fundamentally disagree with that. Too many of us put waaaay too much emphasis on how others perceive us, to the extent that our self-worth is entirely based on whether we have others’ approval.

As a coach, as a former social worker, as a human being, I have seen (and experienced for myself) how profoundly damaging this is.

This makes us hide our authentic selves, because we’re so afraid of losing that approval.

It locates our power outside of ourselves, which is inherently disempowering.

It creates a fertile ground for resentment, depression and anxiety (hence all the overmedication), substance abuse, overeating, and a life where you don’t know your desires or core values and therefore can’t live a life in alignment with your desires and values!

Screw that. The thing to do is to realize that the first step to authenticity is self-awareness and self-knowledge. Know what you value, know what makes your heart and soul sing.

Once you know your authentic self, you can decide how much of that authenticity you want to express to the world.

And that is empowering!

I look forward to your authentic thoughts. 🙂

xoxo

Eryka

Saying “screw you” to my inner critic helped me achieve a major life goal

This time of my life is such a weird amalgam of the awesome and the unclear.

On the awesome side:
I published a BOOK!  Yay!  My first ever!

On the unclear side: I’m moving out of my cottage in Mendocino in 3 days…and I’m not exactly sure where I’m going next. (!!)

(I just wrote an entire newsletter on being in a state of transition or ambiguity, so I won’t repeat myself. You can check it out here.)

This book thing is a big huge honkin’ deal for lots of reasons, but mainly this one:

I’ve considered myself a writer—or an aspiring writer—for most of my life. Ever since I was a kid, I knew I was good at writing and that I liked to create pictures with words.

But…writing has also been one of those areas where I felt it impossible to put myself out there into the world.  I felt way too insecure and vulnerable about it to let it be seen.  And each year that I did not actually take my writing seriously and make moves to write and then publish…well, my self-esteem diminished even more.

As I constantly say to my clients: the best way to destroy your self-confidence is to set a goal and NOT MEET IT…either because you’re not taking action to meet it or because the goal is so crazy unrealistic it’s impossible to meet.

In my case, I was so paralyzed by fear of judgment and rejection that I didn’t take action. And that, therefore, was toxic to my self-confidence.

But you know what? Eventually I had enough of that crap and decided to say “Screw you, inner gremlins!” about my fears and the icky things my inner critic would say to me.  

Things like:

How could you consider yourself a writer? You never write!
How can you consider yourself a writer? You’re not published!
How can you call yourself a writer? You’re a bad writer with nothing to say!

And more.

Man. That inner critic sucks, right?

(In case you’re not familiar with the term, the inner critic is that critical inner voice who tells you all of the reasons you’re not good enough, what you’re a failure at, and all that.  Of course I go extensively into it during all my programs…and my book! Because it really, REALLY sucks.)

The empowering thing about recognizing that we have an inner critic and that our inner critic is separate from us is this:

We get to decide how much we’re going to listen to it.

Yes, we get to choose how much or whether we’re going to let our inner critic determine our thoughts, our actions, our behaviors…and therefore our lives.

And that is just soooo freeing!

Just imagine what it could be like for you if you were saying something mean to yourself, you realized what you were doing, and said…”Screw you, inner critic!”

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Lemme tell you, it IS. It’s so empowering. It’s an entirely new way of going through the world and it is MAGICAL.

Is it easy? No. Is it doable? YES.

Isn’t that so fricking exciting?!

Because the inner critic SUCKS. It saps us of our life force, it keeps us small, and it keeps our light from shining as brightly as it could shine…and should shine!  (That’s the only time I’ll ever use “should” on you!)

Here are a few ways to let go of that inner critic.

1. Separate yourself from your inner critic.
This step is crucial so you recognize that your inner critical voice IS NOT YOURS. Make it a separate entity. Describe what it’s wearing. What it looks like. What does it remind you of?  Can you draw a picture of it?

2. Describe your inner critic.
Pick five words that describe your inner critic. (For example: anxious, people-pleasing, avoidant, persistent, judgmental, impatient, critical, mean…)

3. Respond to your inner critic.
Your inner critic always attempts to collect and present “evidence” that you’re not good enough.  So you need to counter that baloney with the TRUTH:

For everything your inner critic says to you about how much you suck are aren’t doing something right, counter it with a celebration that proves it wrong. If your inner critic says that you are always late, celebrate yourself and say: “I celebrate that I am awesome and that my timing is perfect…and that I am on time more than half the time.”  And so on.

4. When you’re aware it’s your inner critic talking, tell it to go f*ck itslef.  Seriously. When you become aware that it’s your inner critic speaking and not you, tell it go screw itself…and then do what it’s holding you back from doing.

**Unless your inner critic wants you to hurt someone. In that case, make sure you listen to it and get some help.**

And of course, I go into more ways in my book!

Check it out here:
http://gumroad.com/l/50days50ways

Here’s to letting go of that icky nasty inner critic!

xoxo

Eryka

Exercising your power in a disempowering world

The reason it’s so important for us to connect with our own personal power is that honestly, in far too many ways, we live in a disempowering world.  The world is full of racism, sexism, ableism, classism, heterosexism, ethnocentrism, religionism, sizism, ism after ism after ism.  The world is full of war and violence, of fear and hatred of Other, and lots of other stuff that I wish it wasn’t full of.

And then there’s the ickiness of what we say to ourselves!  Horrible, terrible things about not being worthy, not being good enough, that we’re burdens, that we suck, that we’ll never amount to anything…

I’ll be honest: I am NOT OKAY with a world that is oppressive, a world that tells people they are LESS THAN, simply based on how they look or what god they worship or who they love or any other way people manage to find to judge others.

I am also not cool with YOU telling yourself that you are less-than or not good enough!  Whether you’ve externalized the nasty things that our culture has pounded into us from birth about how we’re supposed to look or act, or things your family told you or did to you when you were little, or your religion, your friends, your significant other have told you…wherever the source of these self-belittling beliefs, I AM NOT OKAY with them!

Phew, that felt good.

Having said all that, how do we change that?

It’s all about choice, self-awareness, and deciding the kind of world we want to live in.

See, just because someone else is a racist sexist homophobic fattist fundamentalist bigot doesn’t mean it has anything to do with your or my awesomeness.  Yes, their limiting beliefs and fears and bigotry are tragic because it makes them toxic and unhappy (have you ever met a genuinely happy bigot?) and can possibly impact our lives. Their beliefs can cause them to act violently toward people they are prejudiced against, say horribly cruel things that can’t help but trigger us, and so on.

But here’s where choice and self-awareness come in.  Because for every bigot, there are tons of people who want the world to be full of love and tolerance, and the icky people are exceptions.  We can choose to remember that, and to choose how we react based on awareness that someone else’s narrow-mindedness does not have to determine how we see the world, other people in it.

(I’m reminding myself of that too!)

Changing the disempowering world we live in requires a two-pronged approach: internal and external. You know, micro and macro.

Both are essential for transforming this world that we all happen to live in into something better, into a place where everyone can live up to their highest potential.

I deeply believe that doing so is the birthright for each and every one of us, no matter where we live, how much money we have, what kind of genitalia we have, how much pigmentation our skin has, who we choose to love, or whatever.

So on behalf of those who want to create that better world, I ask you to see your power so you can help all of us transform the world.

We need YOU.

Because despite all that horror that’s happening these days—wars, violence, oppression, churches burning, people shot, government employees refusing to issue same sex marriage licenses despite the Supreme Court’s rulings, constant assaults on reproductive freedom, on workers, and more (the list is, alas, long)—I choose to believe that all is not lost, that there is hope and potential for this world of ours.  And that potential lies in all of us…and in our collective power.

Collective power relies on each individual person recognizing and acting on their own power. 

So…let’s find and act on our power!

See my newsletter for 4 powerful ways to connect with your power…and change the world. 🙂

Thanks for reading…I look forward to your comments.

xoxo

Eryka

How “Strictly Ballroom” teaches us to step into our power and own our awesomeness

So I absolutely LOVE Strictly Ballroom! It’s one of my favorite films, and has been ever since I saw it many many years ago in college.

Strictly Ballroom is Baz Lurmann’s first film.  (He’s done The Great Gatsby, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and some other ones.)  It came out in 1992. And it is AWESOME.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s what it’s about:
Strictly Ballroom is about a Australian ballroom dancer, Scott Hastings and his desire to step outside of the mold of traditional ballroom dancing.  See, Scott comes from a family with a history of ballroom dancing and has been training since childhood—in fact his mother is a ballroom dance teacher herself. He is talented and skilled, but he encounters a ton of resistance when he tries to dance his own steps because Scott’s steps are not “strictly ballroom.”  Scott finds support and love in unlikely places—especially his new and unexpected dance partner, Fran—and transforms ballroom dancing in an odd corner of Australia.

I was rewatching it lately (as I do periodically when I feel like watching something that puts me in a good mood), and it struck me that it’s a great illustration of what happens when you truly own your awesomeness:

You change the face of ballroom dance in a (sort of weird) part of Australia. 🙂  Among other stuff.

(Note: what do I mean by owning one’s awesomeness?  I mean stepping into one’s power and letting one’s light shine.  Nice and simple, right?)

But seriously, here’s why Strictly Ballroom is such a powerful illustration of what can happen when someone owns their awesomeness:  

1. They have confidence in themselves. See, Scott knows he’s right.  He knows his steps are really damn good and that he is a talented dancer.  Even though he’s getting all kinds of pushback and drama from external forces about moving to the beat of his own drum and dancing his steps, he simply knows he’s right.  And he is!  His steps are AMAZING.  And when he dances them, it is inspiring and glorious.

Imagine what could be possible if you had that level of confidence in yourself that you were able to ignore the naysayers telling you you’re wrong and keep persevering with your dreams!

2. They let themselves be supported by supportive people, because supportive people rock.  Scott and Fran support each other in coming out of their shells and doing what’s good for them.  Fran has a domineering and overprotective father who ultimately supports her dream of dancing with Scott in the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Amateur Championships.  Scott and Fran both find support among the people in their lives and it makes the film all the more powerful.

What would be possible if you had people in your corner that were cheering you so loudly you could just ignore the naysayers?

3. They wear fabulous clothes with lots of feathers and sequins and rhinestones.

Dude.  Need I say more?  Imagine all your clothes having all sorts of bling!

4. They know the difference between arrogance and confidence.  Okay, so there is a good chunk of the film where Scott is kind of an insufferable cocky bastard because he’s just that good (and he knows it)…but he gets that knocked out of him by Fran’s dad and then he just becomes confident and an even better dancer, and partner to Fran.

So let that be a lesson: confidence and arrogance are NOT the same thing.

5. They know how to honor their inner wisdom and rhythm. In this film, Scott’s rhythm is his inner wisdom.  When he honors his rhythm and wisdom, his dancing becomes incandescent, and his relationships with Fran and many others deepen.

Tapping into your inner wisdom and rhythm can be challenging. But it’s a beautiful thing when you do.  Owning your sense of timing, and being able to listen to your intuition is an incredible gift to give yourself.

So the most important thing is to honor the inner wisdom and inner voice…not just hear it, but to honor it and listen to it.  Because that is when the most magical magic happens.

And really, the only way to truly honor that inner voice comes from owning your worth and your awesomeness.  Scott has the confidence to know he’s good and therefore he knows what he’ll dance will be good too. He has his moments of doubt and wanting/needing outside support (see: Fran), but overall he knew his gifts, he knew his strengths, and he felt worthy of expressing them.

See what I mean?

And a few words about Fran, the ugly duckling who becomes Scott’s partner and transforms into a confident and beautiful woman herself. While in general I’m not a fan of the ugly-ducking-turns-beautiful-and-then-the-man-falls-in-love-with-her plotline, in this case it works…because Fran learns to own her own awesomeness, stands up to her father. Most of all, she decides that she wants to be Scott’s dance partner and she makes it happen–just by the force of her desires and her force of will.

It’s all pretty awesome…go watch it!