The Confidence to Focus On All the (Right) Things

It’s just past Labor Day and everything is ending and beginning all at once. I find myself brimming with *All The Things.* This particular kind of internal motion and infinite possibility is as comforting as it is overwhelming.

Part of me is longing to find the superpower that enables me stretch these stories, experiences, and opportunities over a year, not just a handful of warm weather months. It’s a long winter, after all. All too soon, we’ll find ourselves shuffling from bed to kitchen to car to office, hoping that the grey skies might give over just enough sun to reveal some life beyond the windowpane.

But we haven’t reached that long dim hibernation yet and there’s too much to do to burn energy wishing for time bending tricks.

The harvest is just beginning.

Collectively, we’re invited to live in the bounty of right now and challenge ourselves to embrace it, be it, do it, and care for ourselves along the way.

I'm taking this chance to tell you all about my summer bounties and autumn challenges in hopes that you'll be inspired to join me, celebrate with me, and, in the process, uncover your own.

Knowing (and Breaking) the Rules When It Comes to Spreading the Word

Once upon a time, I was in the website creation business and I used to spend a lot of time writing about online marketing. Times have changed, and now my work is a whole lot more creative, soul-filled, and magical, but I still need to think about the marketing stuff - for myself, my Sovereign Writers, and for my healing & coaching clients.

I'm betting that you have to devote a fair bit of your brain to cast a spell of self-promotion and making connections with people too. Along the way, you've likely come across the rules of writing good emails and blog posts:

  • Brilliant subject line/ title. (Confession: after years of crafting subject lines for myself and clients, I'm still convinced they're un-openable every time. I’m trusting that “All The Things” resonates with you, vague as it is.)

  • Timing is key. (Confession: I was supposed to publish this in the midst of Labor Day weekend, which was  probably a bit counterproductive and counterintuitive. I'm not getting this out on the (unofficial) first day of fall because it's strategic but because I just couldn't get it all polished when I meant to.) 

  • Focus on the reader. (Confession: As you may have gathered, this posts borders on the "all about ME." I'm aware of that and hope you'll see yourself in it and the overuse of the "I" will work out for both of us - just this once.)

  • And then, there are the guidelines about writing about just one clear topic per message. (Confession: I see the reasoning behind this, but we are expansive, creative, holistic beings who speak, live and work at so many levels… Sometimes one clear topic is “the everything.”)

The rules are about to go out the window, friends, because...

All. The Things.

“I don't want to eke out my life like a resource in short supply. The only selfish life is a timid one. To hold back, to withdraw, to keep the best in reserve, both overvalues the self, and undervalues what the self is.”
- Jeanette Winterson

For quite some time now, I have been coming to grips with a naked, unpretty little truth:

I have been playing small.

Seeing as I have been raising small people and I have been coping with any number of challenges behind closed doors, I forgive myself. I understand.

And I also know that it’s truly and deeply time to change my approach, my actions, and - goddess help me - my results.

This summer has been a season of growth and change and finding out that my life isn’t nearly as small as I feared. As the next chapter opens, I am realizing that, throughout my thirties, I really had been laying the groundworks for the next year and the next decade of life.

And I’m good with that. Finally.

Let's Limit "All the Things" to “4 things I would love my community to know”

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1) What I Did On My Summer Vacation

“Camp GLP is always simultaneously a point of arrival, and a point of departure.”

- KC Carter, emcee, yogi, dad, executive coach, unicorn guy

A week ago, I got home from a fan-freaking-nom-en-al experience at Camp GLP during which:

 Image by Darlene Hildebrant

Image by Darlene Hildebrant

  • I defied my fear of heights (and lack of upper body strength) and took on a ropes course 30 feet in the air.

  • I sang in front of 450 people -  just me, an old Irish song, and a dear guitarist friend who believes in my voice and my passion for the stage.

  • I attended workshops that stretched my mind and sense of possibility, meditation sessions that stretched my consciousness back in on its clearest sense of self, and yoga classes that stretched my body back into a sense of at-homeness in my own skin.

  • And, woven into every moment were relationships and connections I know will sculpt my life.

2) What Got Published When I Wasn't Paying Attention

In the midst of Camp GLP, I got an email from the editor of Feminism and Religion. They really liked the submission I'd sent in the month before. What's more: they were publishing it in two parts and making it the weekend feature

Read: What Your Learn When Your Voice Shakes (Pt. 1) and When Silence & Speech Both Burn Too Much (Pt. 2)

These pieces were tough for me. They forced me to come to terms with what I really wanted to say about all that felt too hard to say.

And publishing them challenges me to keep showing up as part of The Resistance, as a voice advocating equality and social justice - even when I know my initial instincts as to how to do it might not actually be born of the most aligned, productive energy.

In the midst of everything else that is going on personally and professionally, I know that it would be easiest to take my eye off the Resistance ball. My relatively newfound Twitter habit - following every political and social outrage in real time - was a huge drag on forward momentum. It was a constant source of wounding too, really, and I'm feeling more whole now that I've quit. (Yes, this is part of focusing on all the right things.)

And so, in the midst of all the personal growth, the quest is to keep folding in the desire to create a just world, not only in my direct sphere of influence, but in a wider sense, reaching to help those who might never connect directly with me and my work...

3) What I Committed To Without Much Thought

September has long been the month I GET SERIOUS ABOUT THE BOOK.

I’m not yelling at you, honestly. It’s just that this has been an all caps kind of priority for me ever since I committed to publishing with Paper Raven Press and set The Book of Sovereignty's release date for April 30.

Eek. (And lots of other four letter words creatively strung together with -ing endings and references to fictional characters who get themselves in impossible messes.)

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Because of “all the things” it would have been easy to let the start of September slide by - particularly since it was smack in the center of this Labor Day weekend that’s all about recovery and reorganization. (Listening to Jen Sincero's You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life while clearing out pantries and cabinets is really good medicine!)

And so, late on Saturday night, I did something rash: I wrote on my wall calendar and I snapped a picture and tossed it up on Instagram for to amuse everyone who was bored during the Netflix “next episode is starting in 5 seconds” countdown.

1500 words on 9/1

1200 words on 9/2.

1000 words on 9/3.

Please help hold me accountable for day 4 and beyond...

4) What We're All Going to Make Together

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Many of you got to know me because of the #7MagicWords Challenge.

#7MW is back. And it’s simpler (and, I really think better) than ever! We begin together on September 14.

And, it’s free - again. (Just like it was in every round before I decided to charge a small fee for the June edition.)

I learned from the last go round that overcomplicating magic doesn’t make it more effective. By trying to make the magic fit into certain entrepreneurial expectations, I med the project something of a burden.

It's time to restore the project's light-hearted, possibility-laced sparkle.

To sign up for the simply magical seven day challenge that is #7MagicWords, just leave me your name and email address here.

Let's Close This Out With a Nod to the Whole “Confidence” Idea…

The word "confidence" appeared in the first draft title of this post without a second thought. But then I started to overthink it...

As I edited and wrote the conclusion, I really wanted to change it to "wisdom." I'm comfortable with the steady introversion of being wise. The great promise of "confidence" - that makes my playing small self squirm.

But what if "confidence" is exactly what's emerging after taking to the skies and to the stage, publishing a piece that feels scary, revamping and restoring the initial spark of the #7MagicWords project, and telling the world about my progress on the book?

What if I start embracing new superpowers and realize that I'm not faking it? Instead, what if I'm owning it?

What if owning my own story and my own confidence is exactly what the people in my community need from me?

Grounded & Lifted By All The Things 

My mentor, teacher, and healer has helped me understand that my creative magic looks and feels an awful lot like chaos sometimes. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. (Not if I own my creative process with confidence.)

Trying to force straight lines of “should” into my riotous spirals of actually getting things done is just going to send me into paroxysms of "not good enough."

And so, I am actively embracing all the things. Just not at the same time.

To make that happen - and actually find pleasure and security in the process - my newest mantra is “Grounded and Lifted.”

In every situation that threatens to grind me down or spin out of control, I remember that the magic is in the in-breath and the out, in the flesh and bones that act as the container as well as in the invisible, ephemeral air that enlivens it all.

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Lots of feminist luminaries have been credited with saying “Women can have it all, just not at the same time.”

I agree - especially when you’re on a mission to integrate the “all” in such a way that the motherhood, the couplehood, the creatorhood, and the livelihood all get invited to play at the same table.

Sometimes I'll carry and juggle all the things with grace and flair. Sometimes they'll all fly and fall and I'll need to rest, regroup, and reach out in order find the confidence to do at least some of it the next day.

I do hope you’ll come gather around the virtual table with me during the seasons to come…

There will be richness, abundance, and possibility and they’ll occasionally rub cheeks with depletion, fear, and overwhelm, but I trust that we'll constantly dive deeper into a shared cauldron of experience, support, and wisdom.

We'll find the magic, we'll find the words, and we'll find the way.