What would you do if you didn’t feel bad about yourself?

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“What would you do if you didn’t feel bad about yourself?”***

Let it sink in.

“What would you do if you didn’t feel bad about yourself?”

What do you feel when you ask yourself this question? 

It might take some time to get clear. Or maybe not. Maybe you instantly see and know something.

When I first started to ask myself, I felt incredibly free and happy and almost giddy. Like suddenly this big heavy blanket that had been covering me for so, so long was gone.

Here’s the thing. In this western culture, feeling bad about oneself is an epidemic. It’s in our ancestral lines. It’s in the collective soup. Most of us push it down to where we don’t have to hear the voice or feel the pain. But when you are in this line of work, you become very aware of the taste of this soup.

It’s here. So how will we be with it?

 

In a very simple way,

you have two competing voices – the voice of the Self – your essential nature, an inner knowing that often speaks in a quieter tone – and your personality or persona or ego. The ego isn’t bad or wrong. But it is a young voice that is centered in a kind of self-protection. It is immature. It favors either self-inflation or self-deflation. The true voice is neither. It is simply Self.

Every ego knows both inflation and deflation, but one is usually predominant. We have all seen people who tend toward self-inflation. And we’ve all seen people who tend toward self-deflation. Notice which you tend toward.

I tend toward self-deflation. Hence, when I ask myself this question and feel what it would feel like to simply be in the world without any deflation, “without feeling bad about myself”, this beautiful bright world of possibility opens up. That bright world is what is always here when we aren’t fixated in egoic ways. This is the bright world of Essence which is alive and often hangs out in a kind of soft joy when asked this question. 

When I see the collective pain body, I see a heavy blanket of self-judgment and self-hatred. In our Western culture, we carry so much baggage around suffering and a sense of unworthiness. It’s handed down, generation to generation. We grow up in households steeped in it, even if it is never talked about and not even in family members conscious awareness.When we begin to wake up to this, we begin to see how heavy the path of clearing this kind of toxicity can feel. We begin to see that it’s not who we are, yet the blanket finds its way back over us with such seeming ease.

 

So, what does it mean to wake up into the human experience?

When we come down into the body and are doing work to wake up as souls in the human experience, we come into direct relationship with this old human lineage of the traumatic personal sense of feeling bad about oneself.

We begin to experience being conscious in a sea of feelings about the self that do not feel good. The more we wake up, the more we know that these feelings originally were not ours. They were those of our parents and other family members, going back down the line of ancestors.

Becoming human is to become awake, as Essence, in our beautiful body, in our lives, in our relationships, just as we are. Becoming human is to bring the ego closer to hold it in love so it begins to trust that being here, on earth, is something to dive into rather than fear and flee.

And this is where we must find the courage to decide for ourselves how badly we want to be human. That’s right. How much do we want to have the full human experience?

When I feel bad about myself, I am reluctant to dive into life. When I feel bad about myself, I hang back, often isolate, and fear being seen or heard or known. When I feel bad about myself, I don’t say what I want to say, I don’t express what I’m longing to express. When I feel bad about myself, I don’t let others know that I am longing to be loved, to be touched, to be held…and I don’t let others know that I am feeling bad about myself.

To be human is to be in the middle of life, not hanging back. To be human is to honor the very important need to be loved and connected, to touch and be touched with kindness and tenderness, and respect. Often, we feel bad about our needs, the very ones that make us human. But, there is nothing wrong with you for wanting to be loved. Nothing wrong with wanting to be loved so deeply, without conditions, without fear of abandonment. Nothing wrong with wanting to be touched with kindness, tenderness, respect.

There is nothing wrong with you for being human.

When we honor our deepest hunger for connection, love, touch, and caring, we are more likely to realize that this voice that needs to feel bad is simply longing to be loved. Deeply. Completely. Tenderly. Without fear of being abandoned or rejected.

This is what it can be to be human. This is what we are waking up to. Being love in a human body. Able to ask for love. Able to give love. Able to receive love.

Hold yourself in love. Fully and deeply. Every part of yourself. No exceptions. Especially with the part of you that feels bad. Without turning away. And if you do turn away while you learn how to do this, turning back again to yourself. With love. Always with love. It might feel hard at first. Parts of you might not trust you. They are protecting themselves from more pain. Reassure them. Stay with them no matter what. Be the abiding love you’ve longed for. Decide to stay with yourself and then stay. And, watch how your own love heals the sense of separation within you. This is the way of love. It’s the way I work as a coach. But more like a guide. A guide that guides you back to yourself. With love. In love. Through love. Always love.

“What would you do if you didn’t feel bad about yourself?”

***

togetheroceanwavesTogether begins next week. It’s an opportunity to dive into life. We will meet every other week, face-to-face by video to be with each other. To be real. To be human, together, in all our humanity. This is an opportunity to be with this question in a deeper way, to show up in a group of women with the possibility to say and do and express what you would if you didn’t feel bad about yourself – as well as to be together when these feelings are present.

How else will we find our way to being human if we cannot do so Together???

You can read more and register here. This link will take you to JulieDaley.com, my new website.

 

*** I became very aware of the power of this question after watching Matt Kahn’s video. You might appreciate what he shares.

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On Being Human

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beinghuman

 

“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world,
an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control.”

~ Martha Nussbaum

I’ve been talking with a friend lately about being human. How do we do it? and do it well?

It seems like a funny thing to talk about, but when you start to see how often we bumble things up –  get things ‘wrong’, say the wrong things – being human can feel like walking through a quagmire.

We seem to be funny creatures – not just my friend and me (yes, WE are) – but all of us human beings. Sometimes, it just feels really hard to be here on Earth – vulnerable, soft-soul creatures walking around in fleshy human bodies.

Especially now. We’re living in amazingly turbulent times. The rate of change makes my head spin. And I feel great grief with the direction we are headed as a species.

So how do we cultivate an openness to this world that feels so beyond our control?

We have to develop a practical, embodied relationship with the unknown nature of Life and we do this by becoming aware of and skilled in the expression of our own internal creative Source. We do so by becoming aware of our unique creative process and how to take action by being in direct relationship with this Source.

“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the human condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from its fragility.” ~ M Nussbaum

When you are rooted in the firm foundation of your creative Source, you can trust in the uncertain and have this willingness to be exposed.

I like Nussbaum’s analogy of being like a plant – or a flower – “something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from its fragility.”

This is what I’ve been writing about for years here at UnabashedlyFemale. This beauty. This fragility. This tender softness of our human souls. To be human is to be flesh and soul. It is vulnerable.

And yet, this vulnerability is so much stronger than we think, because the main qualities of our creativity – our sacred nature – are strength, will, joy, intuition, love, compassion, generosity, caring, and power. Consider these qualities. The more we will our vulnerable, soul-soft, felshy selves, the more these qualities come to the fore.

When we live in a dynamic relationship with our own creative Source, we become reacquainted with these qualities of Being that we have mostly lost touch with from living out of fear and self-protection. It is by entering into this direct relationship and living it in the world that we remember these qualities – that we remember who we are and what we are made of.

Trust is the very important piece here. We have to learn how to trust again. And what is it we must learn to trust? Ourselves. The uncertain and unknown. And our capacity to meet whatever comes. We must relearn how to trust our relationship with Life, and with that comes relearning how to trust our relationship with other human beings – and really humanity itself.

Nussbaum writes that “Being a human means accepting promises from other people and trusting that other people will be good to you.”

But, if we no longer trust other humans (and ultimately ourselves, meaning our relationship with the unknown) then our life “is not a human life any longer.”

Here’s the part where it gets dicey. There are people in this world, right now, who wish to do us harm. How do we stay human in a world where other humans want to destroy life? How do we be a human being in today’s world where so many humans are violently against each other, and against Life? My answer leads me right into the unknown because “I don’t know.” And, I do know we have to find our way back to our humanity or we will not survive.

[Edited to add: And I do know we must see the highest in every human being, meaning we must see the Source that is within them, even though we meet their actions with our own appropriate action.]

I can honestly say that trusting the unknown has been one of the greatest challenges of my own life. I’ve fought it. Yet, I am completely in love with the mystery, with the creative process. I think I am not alone in this dilemma. We love adventure but we also do not like to lose control. Yes, we are funny creatures.

I agree with Charlotte Du Cann who writes,

“I realise we are not in a political crisis; we are in a spiritual crisis, an existential crisis. We don’t know what it means to be human anymore. We have lost contact with the meaning of time, our presence here. “

If our fear of each other is causing us to lose our humanity, then you can bet this is a spiritual crisis, an existential crisis. Our being human is directly tied to our spirituality. To be human we must be in direct relationship with the Source that gives us life, the Source of our creativity. We must be in dialogue with the Source of this great mystery, which means trusting the mystery – out there in the world, inside within ourselves, and within every other living being.

It’s all really very practical. The unknown is a fact of life. It is when we deny the facts of life that we’ve lost touch with the real.

If we are going to be agents of love and change, then we have to trust that which IS love and that which is the source of change.

 

***

Just next week, I open registration for my new course R I S E. This course is the culmination of my teaching over the past decade plus. The core of the course is the curriculum I teach at Stanford, and the same curriculum I taught when I worked with families directly affected by 9/11 and people directly affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy. It is the work I teach in companies. Originally offered to MBA students at Stanford for 25 years, it is powerful work.

I’ve named it R I S E because it is time to rise up. It is time to bring all of our knowledge, experience, and purposeful intent to create a more humane world. The beauty of R I S E is that it offers a practical and potent container to support YOUR work in the world. It gives you the interactive experiences, tools, and practices to come to know your own creative source so you can meet any challenge you face as you R I S E in this new year. We truly are facing a time of challenge, but at the same time we are facing a time of possibility – pure possibility.

When we R I S E to meet our challenges, we discover who we really are, we discover the vision we hold inside, and we discover the deep capacities we’ve been gifted with. R I S E will give you an amazing foundation from which to meet any challenge and opportunity, and living our challenges is how we discover who we are and what we are capable of.

Registration opens the second week of January. Sign-up for my newsletter to be notified.

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Reclaiming Flesh is Holy Work

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The innermost layers of a woman’s flesh hold stories whose endings can emerge as the most beautiful tales of redemption and liberation.

Redeeming flesh is not easy; yet it is holy work.

~~~

This is a vulnerable post. I won’t tell you details, but I’ll tell you I’ve been weeping – you know that kind of crying where the tears just run out your eyes and down your cheeks? It’s as if the tears have a life of their own. They just flow. You aren’t completely sure why they are flowing, but it is clear the tears know. They flow out from these innermost layers of flesh, places and pockets where pain from long, long ago were secreted away.

There’ve been many little moments this week that seem to be bringing forth these tears – moments where I can feel love wants to move through me, guiding me, yet I feel frozen because of fear. While the culture, and of course my own ego, would tell me I am right to trust my fear, my heart just breaks when I do…when I choose fear over love and offering myself to the moment at hand. These are real life moments, with people I do not know. Love wants me to move toward them in moments that might very well be unsafe. Yet, I can feel the love, and I can feel the grief when I do not move with love.

This week, though, rather than getting upset with myself for my responses, probably because I’ve been softened inside and out these past two weeks, I find these tears flowing from the heartbreak of seeing just how painfully, and beautifully, human I am. And, yes, it is painful when I see myself choosing between ‘staying safe’ and offering myself to an unknown I can’t know.

And there’s been a big moment, an experience that’s really accelerated this ‘undoing’, something that has me feeling into these deep places and pockets where I long ago secreted away experiences too painful to feel at such a tender age.  In the dark, stories of rejection and abandonment grow into what seem like beasts too fierce for reacquainting.

At some point, these stories wake up and begin to make noise. They don’t like being caged. Like everything else in this world, they long to be free.

 

I can feel love behind these tears, right behind them, trying to make its way in on the tail of my tears. The tears soften my flesh and love rushes in.

It feelings like a river of undoing, like the river that is rushing is wearing away my resistance to love. I can feel that to choose love is to let go of a kind of ‘forced certainty’ I can hold onto when I stay insulated. It is forced because I am forcing it. I get that.

The river is rapid and insistent. Love is that way.

It is in these moments of choice that I come right up against my flaws and learned separation, and the habit of responding from fear. The stories the flesh holds about letting love in to these darker places put up some strong resistance. And I see how deeply the pain and shame of past hurts is burrowed into the innermost flesh in my body.

And the flesh holds stories about power and instincts, about unleashing and unchaining, and all the things that could happen. So many damn stories about this power within me

I remember it as a young girl – this instinctive connection to all of life.

 

I remember the power dancing with instinct as if they’d known each other forever.

But now, I sometimes feel like a lioness that has lost her footing. Her power is there, but the instincts aren’t fully conscious, so her big furry paws step guardedly rather than assuredly.

I sense this is why there is fear in some of my choices. When the instincts have been deemed too much or too powerful or inappropriate, they get caged where they can’t roam free. Instincts need to touch ground, feel the wind and sun, and be nourished with breath. They need to be fed and loved. They need to feel the earth.

Four paws that are in divine relationship with the earth know where to take that next step, can feel into the next step, and can sense direction and speed and gait. Four paws that are bound know little of these necessities.

 

The deep love a woman has for life, and her ability to hold the space for it, needs her instincts to ground it. We need this instinctual self to sniff and taste and hear and feel what is so. This love, this power, these instincts – they are all part of our aliveness, our vital life force. They are part of our creativity, and redeeming them out of the stories in our flesh is our necessary work, necessary for our own emancipation and the emancipation of our planet.

The process of reclaiming flesh is intelligent. Tears falling shows us something, especially when they fall of their own accord, as if flushed out of flesh ready to be free again.

Reclaiming flesh is holy work. Your tears can lead you across the threshold into these secreted places. And even though the stories were created in a time when it felt like true love was nowhere to be found, a river of love is riding on the tail of each tear, ready and waiting to inscribe ‘The End’ at the end of each story.

~~~

Update May 18th, 2015:

bafonbadge300pxIf you are curious about the journey of embodiment and coming to know again this sacred creativity, join me for my new course, Becoming a Force of Nature. We’ll be walking on four paws, feeling our instinctual way through a magnificent journey together. You can read more, here. The Early-bird price ends Sunday, May 24th at Midnight PDT.

 

 

 

 

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