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Facing the Fear of Change: Big Risks Can Bring Big Rewards

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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ~Barack Obama

If someone said to you, “Hey, you know how you are feeling the need for change and you’re not sure what to do? Well, I can’t tell you what to do, but I can guarantee that if you follow where your heart leads you, you’ll create the possibility of more joy than you’ve ever felt before. All you have to do is walk through the doors that will keep opening up for you and trust, completely, that you are on the right track. You may question it at times, but keep going. You’ll be fine no matter what.”

What would you do? Would you follow the guarantee or would you keep doing what you’re doing?

What if the caveat was added, “Oh, you should probably know that if you do this, you run the risk of losing much of what you’ve known and who you think you are now will look completely different the next time you look in the mirror.”

Ummmm… hold up. Let me think about that.

That’s basically what happens when you know it’s time to change up your life and you’re innately scared to do so.

So, what do you do?

I spend a lot of time in deep reflection and introspection. And it’s not because I want to; it’s because I am constantly trying to understand myself, to figure out where I’m headed and what’s potentially holding me back from getting there.

Most of the time, I feel completely in the dark. And while my grandmother always told me that there is nothing in the dark that can hurt you, I’m human; I question this theory. And yet I continue to trust that she’s right. She lived over eighty years and was the most inspirational woman I’ve known; she must’ve learned something pretty valuable to be expressing these bold opinions.

So I had the nudge to change myself and I went with it. No, that’s not accurate—I had the internal and external shove and I went for it.

In the matter of a few short years, I got divorced, bought a house, lived alone with my kids, completely supported myself financially and then left my job, started a business, and changed the majority of my friends. I chose to start completely over in many ways.

On paper, I looked a bit off balanced. Keep Reading...

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Making A Big Decision When You're Not Sure Which Way is Right

Over the last two and a half years I have made some big changes in my life. And by big, I mean enormous.

First, I moved with my husband and our children from a home I loved for ten years. Shortly after, my husband and I ended a twenty-year relationship and marriage. With that separation, I made the decision to buy the house we had moved to, which on paper, I shouldn’t have been able to buy.

Apparently ending a long commitment and beginning a large financial one on my own wasn’t enough for me though. The following year I resigned from a secure job to pursue a dream I hadn’t fully envisioned and started a business without projected goals.

When I list out all the changes, I start to question my own sanity.

I have never been one to make quick decisions, especially ones that I hadn’t thought through. I was raised by my father, a self-proclaimed workaholic, who spent his career as a high powered executive for a high risk industrial insurance company.

I was not bred to believe in taking chances, to live on instinct alone, and to leave anything that resembled security. You just don’t do that. But something was stirring in me that kept me unsettled.

I knew it was time to make changes, and I knew those changes were absolutely not guaranteed to work in my favor. I was scared—no, terrified—to alter the course of my life, but standing still gave me even more anxiety.

How do you make the decision to change your entire life and know it’s truly right for you?

I have a secret, one that I’ve used consistently in recent years when making decisions that weighed heavily on me.

It’s a technique that simplifies the agonizing back and forths of “should I or shouldn’t I?” One I wished I learned when I was younger to ward off some major bouts of indecisiveness and internal torment. Although in retrospect, I would not have been ready to use it until I was actually ready to hear it....Keep Reading

The Growing Pains of Becoming My Authentic Self

I have been writing two or three paragraphs at a time for weeks on various topics and I couldn’t figure out why. I have so many things to share and ideas I know would be helpful, but I just can’t seem to get them out. And no matter how much inspiration I ask for, it’s just not coming.  Why? Because as of late, my world is small. I used to write about experiences I saw and learned from others and right now, most of my experiences on a daily basis are mine and mine alone.

I am in a healing phase of my life and have been for many months now.  I have been processing years worth of discomfort while trying to get my life in order. It has been a wonderful time of growth and a challenging time of allowing the emotions to come up and out.  I have had to look at my demons and question their purpose as well as hone in on my strengths to see what skills I want to sharpen.  Most days I am equally focused and driven as I am lost and confused. 

The other day I woke up with a determined purpose. I had unfinished business regarding the end of my marriage I had to attend to and I’d been dragging my feet. I had been getting the not so gentle internal nudges, but I can be a turtle when it comes to finalizing painful things.  This was one of them. 

I was feeling proud of myself mid morning for getting it done and then out of nowhere, the pangs of sadness started to jab at me. “No thank you,” I said to myself, “I’ve felt those already, we’ve been over this. Move on already.” I successfully pushed them down to move on to the next task. I had things to do.

It had been snowing all morning and I decided I would get some fresh air and exercise and begin to shovel my 700 foot driveway.  I had my music playing loud to drown out the thoughts and use my anxious energy for a purpose.  It was cold and my back was sore, but that discomfort was nothing compared to what I felt brewing underneath.  

After thirty minutes of shoveling, I realized there was a layer of ice below the snow that was going to make clearing off the rest of the hilly driveway difficult. I stared down the snowy path and questioned if it was safe to even drive on.  How will I get out? What am I going to do? How do I fix this? 

My immediate inclination was to call my ex-husband. The man who was once my practical fixer for all things I couldn’t figure out.  He’d walk me through it. I pondered how we would fix this problem together.  And then a tiny stop sign made its way in my head. “No, you can’t call him. It’s not his job to bail you out. You need to figure this out without him. That’s not your life anymore.” 

“Yes, but I could really use his help. He’ll know what to do.” I argued.

The stop sign grew larger and the voice bolder than before. “Stop! You know it’s time to accept the change. Accept it, Lynn. You’ve got to break this pattern.” 

“But he’s what I know. I can rely on him to fix this.” I wouldn’t back down. 

“Then go ahead and call him. Start the pattern again. You know how it goes.” I calmly replied.

The urges were so strong and I felt myself crumbling under the pressure. One warm tear rolled down my cheek, then another…and another. Little waves of emotions seeping out of me slowly.  I couldn’t stop them. They wouldn’t stop.

I sat on the steps of my garage in the house I bought alone and sobbed.  How did I get here? What am I doing? This is not the life I would have chosen. I felt completely defeated and alone. I prayed for help. I asked for support. I needed to pull it together.

I took enough deep breaths to call my best problem solving side kick…my sister from another mister.  As usual, she calmly took control and offered to fix my problem without even taking a breath.  Only your closest friends can decipher your needs through your sobs.

Seconds after I ended the call with her I heard the teenager I’d recently hired to plow my driveway come flying up it. I hadn’t asked him to come, he just did. Fifteen minutes later my driveway was cleared and additional help was on the way.  Problem solved. 

Once the tears stopped, I re-visited the harsh questions I asked earlier. 

How did I get here? I chose this path.

What am I doing? Following my internal direction that is stronger every day.

This is not the life I would I have chosen?? This is exactly the life I have chosen and I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I am exactly where I need to be and figuring it out as I go along. And forward I will go. 

As for feeling alone, I had help within thirty minutes of asking for it. That’s some seriously good service. I am never, ever alone. 

In my life as a counselor, a healer, a mentor, a mother, a friend, I find it easy to see the patterns in others. I can sense and solve a problem that is not my own in record time when needed. I can feel the pain in others and process it. I can also take the emotion out and see it for what it is. But when it comes to my own life, I am as human as it gets. 

Sometimes I learn from my mistakes quickly. Sometimes I have to repeat them numerous times in various ways to really, fully get the gist.  But always, I am learning and growing and living and teaching everything I pick up along the way.  I believe these are the growing pains of coming into my own authenticity.  I can only imagine it will get easier with more practice and continued dedication. 

And if it doesn’t, I will always have more to learn and learning is one of my favorite things!  For today, I am grateful for the opportunity to practice and to reframe and for the invaluable experience of learning how to heal myself. 

Skeptic Turned Believer

As a young child, I watched way too many horror movies. Way too many. I was obsessed with scaring the crap out of myself.  I played on Ouji boards, followed my horoscope, attempted to do séances with friends and did reports on Witches, until I was so freaked out I couldn’t read anymore.  I remember reading once in my horoscope that I lost a parent at a relatively young age and that I liked the occult. Creepy and disturbingly true.

How did the stars seem to know so much about me?

My mother’s mental illness had her looking for solace anywhere and I was one of those objects of solace.  She would tell me of her deep sadness and I would say positive, encouraging things to her often. Most of the time, I had no idea what I was even talking about. I was in elementary school, I hadn’t learned too much about the world. Yet, she would always say I knew exactly what to say and when she asked how I knew, I would reply, without hesitation, that God told me to say it. Ain’t no big thang.

Looking back as an adult, with skeptical and questioning logic, I would say, “well, of course it was comforting. She was as depressed as it gets and I was young, hopefuland positive spewing whatever desperate ray of sunshine I could muster.”   But the truth is, I was far from hopeful and positive and not full of sunshine. I wrote one poem after another of darkness and misery, of sadness and anger, of living in a dark hole.  So what if, maybe, just maybe, God really was speaking through me to offer my desperate mother some sense of hope?  

My interest in the occult ended somewhere in adolescence after my mother died and was replaced with booze and numbing out any uncomfortable emotion.  If God had any chance of speaking through me, it was going to have to get through the layer of toxins I’d put in my body.

Somewhere in college, my beloved grandmother started talking to me about the afterlife and her spiritual beliefs and because I loved her so dearly and respected her so much, I jumped on board to the New Age train.  We traded books, talked of God, spirits, energy and strange, serendipitous events.  It was so fascinating and the more I learned, the more peaceful I felt.  Like the missing puzzle pieces were being handed directly to me.

The busyness of full time work, marriage and children distracted me from furthering my spiritual side and instead left me with lots and lots of anxiety.  Although I loved being married and being a mother and greatly enjoyed the work I did as a counselor, the pressure I put on myself to do even more was huge and the voids I felt were large and looming.  There were many whispers and opportunities for me to change my attitude and shake things up, but I tuned many of them out. After all, change is scary!

In the winter of 2013, I was in the darkest place of my life.  My marriage was ending and life as I knew it and dreamed it would be would never be the same.  Yet the entire time, I heard those whispers of support, encouragement of which direction to take and distinct ways to take care of myself. I began to meditate daily, withdrew from my everyday worries and spent months healing with my long time best friend I once married. It was both incredibly painful and incredibly rewarding. I began to understand myself and who I was and appreciate all I had to offer. I allowed my nonstop chatty mind to slow down so I could actually hear my inner thoughts and not just the babble that rambled all day. 

In the early Spring of 2013, I approached the hardest part of my new reality…the physical separation of my family. I dreaded it immensely and questioned myself daily.  It was at this point I was introduced to Integrated Energy Therapy, quite randomly I would add, at a holistic health fair I wasn’t even sure I’d go to.  But I was drawn to the table and the description of what the modality offered.  One empowerment session later and the warmth of the amazing woman who’d eventually be my teacher, and I was hooked. In my typical inquisitive fashion, I skipped receiving a full healing and chose to learn IET instead.  I was intrigued how this stuff worked! The first class was incredible, but wasn’t sure I needed to continue. In my also typical fashion, I questioned everything. Maybe I just needed a flavor…yet I continued to be intrigued.  I took the Intermediate class two weeks later. The class that changed my life.

A week before the classI was in court to officially announce my dissolving marriage. The following week my best friend purchased a house and moved out.  The night before the class I sobbed for hours. The morning of the class, I remember standing in the shower willing myself to move. I don’t recall ever being so depressed. I just kept telling myself I had to get there. I forced myself to go.

I can’t say there was an exact moment or a lightening bolt or anything, but the healings I gave and received that day altered me forever.  My natural skeptic wanted to believe there was something to this energy stuff, but I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t rationalize it, I just had to hope it was true. I knew it made me feel good, but could that be enough?  I could tell you how I physically pulled an energy block out of my friend’s third eye (with lots of angelic help) or how I received “messages” that were loud and clear for me to share. But what made me a believer from that day forward was how I felt, right down to my soul. By the end of the class, my despondent self was long gone and an excited, energized over the top happy me talked my friend’s ear off the entire hour ride home. We still laugh at how I was seemingly on speed!

I have since been trained to become a Master Instructor with lots of fun angelic energy tricks and am able to teach the modality I’ve come to love and immensely respect.  I know, with the utmost confidence that we all benefit from opening ourselves up and allowing ourselves to heal.  And with that healing and trust, our lives can and will change for not the better, but the best! 

Looking back, I do believe that God, the Universe, the Angels, my guides, whatever you want to call that Divine help, played a role in helping me help my mother and every other person who comes to me for help.  I feel so fortunate, so grateful, so blessed to be able to share my gifts.  After all, they are meant to be shared!