I have been subject to a lot of direct and indirect messages about how to be in this world. Messages, both subtle and in my face, that simultaneously offend and oppress.
Who do you think you are?’
The world doesn’t revolve around you.
Just suck it up.
It doesn’t really matter does it?
Don’t rock the boat.
What if they hear you?
What if they don’t like what you have to say?
Can’t you just get along?
Let’s not talk about it.
On and on these messages of don’t say, don’t act on, how I feel or what I think. Play it small. Stay hidden. Don’t cause a scene. Figure out how to pretend rather than learn how to negotiate my experience and emotions and interact with my world in a clean and forthcoming way.
It is soul crushing. Whether it happens at home, in school, out on the playground, with friends, at the job, from a stranger, these messages have been coming at us for most of our lives. And it is all about keeping things ‘just so’.
These directives to ignore our feelings cause us to question our impulses, question our right to say something and to share how we feel. They make us pull back or push forward with a sense of disconnection because we feel like we are skating on thin ice. We can’t trust the ground beneath us. Essentially, we can no longer trust ourselves. We start manoeuvring through our days with a sense of disguise and looking out for what might be the next reaction we need to stifle.
As essential as breathing is our need to feel and our need to express ourselves honestly. We need to move through the world from a place of belonging, not aloneness. When we stop paying attention to how we really feel and start to operate from what we are told we are supposed to feel, we become robotic and isolated because, amazing as we are, we cannot simultaneously disconnect from ourselves and feel like we belong.
We can only connect when we embrace ourselves for all of who we are. What we think, what we feel, what we crave. All of what we experience. And while we are all connected, each of us filter and engage with the world in our unique way. Like a thumbprint, we imprint ourselves in a design that is all our own. I call this our feisty. And we need to embrace our feisty. This spark inside that knows it belongs and that there is enough space for it flare bright and bold.
I believe we are meant to show up in our entirety and then to share what it feels like to be us. We are born creators and storytellers. We thrive when we gather around the fire and tell our stories. Voice, gesture, body postures, drawing in the sand, adding fuel to the flame all in an effort to connect with our tribe mates and convey what it is like to be human on this spinning planet.
This desire to let out what is brewing inside is what I call freeing the feisty. And we all must do this if we want to thrive.
So what can this look like? It can be tending a garden, standing on stage, teaching children, running a marathon, blowing glass, bird watching, writing a memoir, composing a song, cooking for your family, healing touch, scrapbooking, crunching numbers and on and on. Start with something that yearns to be expressed and go from there. Try. And try again.
In my late 20’s I realized my feisty wanted to come back out. I had squashed this creative, loving and bold energy down thinking it was all trouble and would mean I’d be alone and unlovable if I let her out. I realized it was by keeping her hidden that I had become very alone and very unhappy. I was living in a city I hated, working a job I was bored to death with, trying to get a boy to love me that didn’t know the real me, inhabiting a body thirty pounds overweight and basically loathing my life.
I hadn’t been accepting of myself, so my life was a clear reflection of this rejection.
So I freed my feisty.
What I did:
1. EXIT STAGE
I decided to get real. I was so unhappy and my mood and my body were showing me that the methods I was using were not working. I started to get honest. I started to pay attention to what and who actually made me feel good vs. what made me fell like crap. I started to seek the truth by paying attention. I started to take responsibility and instead of looking out I started to look in. I questioned my addiction to external validation, instant gratification and numbing and avoidance behaviors so I could simply listen to what I needed to hear so I could leave the drama.
2. SEE THE TREASURE
I learned to see what lies within and all around me. I moved from fear to love. From broken to whole . I learned to trust myself and engage with my essential self. Where I used to only see a big hunk of inanimate rock, I now recognized a treasure waiting to be claimed. A dynamic jewel whose flaws were actually unique facets and genuine characteristics of worth.
3. FREE THE FEISTY
I reconnected with my eternal spark and I learned how to nurture it, to fuel it and I started to show up. As me for me. Day after day. Like this:
• I speak my mind vs. swallow my words
• I listen vs. wait for my chance to be heard
• I ask questions vs. demand answers
• I invite my body to show me what it is capable of vs. demand it look or behave like someone else’s
• I initiate hugs vs. lean away
• I smile or say hi to strangers vs. pass by with my eyes down
• I try new things vs. stay stuck on the side lines
• I wear clothes that make me stand tall vs. ones that have me hunched and hiding
• I seek people and places that light me up vs. bide my time in mediocrity
I say yes because it feels right vs. explain why it probably isn’t.
This feisty and bold energy is the boundless, loving and wild potential within you. It feels like freedom. It burns with possibility and leads you from one discovery to the next. It is where you find the will, ditch the doubt, make connections and claim your place.
If you wish to rekindle your spark or are ready to blaze like the sun but feel stuck, uninspired or know you need someone in your corner, get in touch. I’m good at this. So are you. I know it.