“Your journey has molded you for your greater good and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.” - Asha Tyson
It feels like everyone I’ve talked to lately is in a period of transition.
In and out of careers.
In and out of school.
In and out of their healthiest selves.
In and out of relationships.
In and out of love.
In and out of friendships.
In and out of faith.
In and out of town.
If I had to assign a handful of words to describe the overwhelming majority of conversations I’ve had recently, it would be these:
This is shocking to me, this recurring theme. Mostly because the last several months of my own life have felt like a complete upheaval.
Heartbreaking, at worst. Trailblazing, at best. Transformational, consistently.
I don’t know if it’s some freak coincidence. Or the law of attraction. Or if everyone in the world is operating on a collective wavelength that is stronger than any of our individual ones.
All I know for sure is that this feels like a time of transition for many of us.
So, this note is one of encouragement for anyone going through a season of ambiguity, uncertainty, doubt, transition, transformation. Myself not excluded.
I know this sucks right now.
I know you’d rather just know. That you’re anxious for perfect clarity. You’re ready to land a new job. You want to move quickly past the heartbreak. You want to complete things that are incomplete. You are frustrated because you feel so unsettled, lost, indecisive.
I really do know. You’re not alone. Everyone around you is fighting their own private battles, too.
We’re taught in our culture to seek out immediate clarity. Fix everything as soon as possible. Check things off our to-do list. Don’t get down on yourself. Chase after joy. “Good things come to those who work their asses off.” Stop procrastinating. The answers will come to you when you start to move. Move faster. Start making some decisions. Do what feels “right.”
Not that you need my permission, but just in case you’re waiting for a sign, this is it:
Fuck all of that advice.
You know what happens when you listen to those motivational maxims that play in our culture on repeat?
You lose touch with your inner voice. You know, the one that belongs solely to you.
You start to break promises to others and yourself under the guise that something doesn’t feel “right,” when really, you’re just avoiding the inevitable pain that comes along with transition.
You start to read self-help books instead of giving yourself the space to b.r.e.a.t.h.e.
You make rash decisions because you’d rather decide something than admit that perhaps the greatest lesson in this season of your life is learning to find comfort in the midst of delicious ambiguity.
You check the wrong things off your to-do list. Stuff that doesn’t even matter to you. Stuff that isn’t aligned with your values or desires.
You begin to numb yourself with food or alcohol or bad television or overspending on crap you don’t even want or need, because you’ve been taught to avoid pain at all costs and immediately gratify yourself instead.
You forget that some things will be massively incomplete in your life, and remain that way for some time. Not everything can be “fixed.” Once things are said, done, experienced, they cannot be taken back. Stop trying to erase things you’re meant to learn from. Stop trying to take a Neosporin stick to scars that make you more beautiful and real than you know.
You move faster, when what your entire body is screaming for is STILLNESS. Time to calm your heart and mind. Time to grieve the things you’ve lost. Time to do absolutely nothing for a little while. Time to take in the current season of your life. Time to process. Time to cry. Time to forgive. Time to love yourself again.
Everything you’ve encountered up until this moment is perfect.
I know that’s hard to see when you’re feeling confused, exhausted, heartbroken, anxious, and unsure. I really do know.
But I’m also learning that things turn out to be exactly what they need to be. Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. You won’t always understand everything that’s happening to you. Maybe not now, maybe not ever.
If you’re in a period of transition, you don’t need to be anywhere but where you are. It’s okay to take some time to savor nothingness. It’s okay to not know the answers. It’s okay to be unsure about what you want to do next in your career. It’s okay if you’re procrastinating about something. It’s okay to be going through massive amounts of pain.
Every job, relationship, friendship, family member, unfortunate circumstance, health situation, birth, death…
All of it is perfect. All of it is full of extremely important lessons that, if learned, will make you stronger, wiser, more open-hearted, more open-minded, more free, and more yourself than ever before.
All you’re responsible for is trusting that.
It all brought you to the now.
Now is right on time.
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If we aren’t careful, it’s all too easy to get caught up in a mindset of “never enough.” Author and speaker Lynne Twist says it perfectly:
“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something.”
It’s as if a scarcity mindset has been wired into our society, into our minds, into our lives. I don’t know about you, but I sure can relate: ”Look at everything I don’t have!” I find myself repeating day after day like a broken record.
I’m single, so I don’t have enough love. I’m starting a new business, so I don’t have enough money. I struggle with rheumatoid arthritis, so I don’t have enough health. There’s never enough time. I can never be good enough or pretty enough or live up to the standards that I “should” be living up to. Never enough, never enough, never enough!
And yet if there’s one thing that this apparent lack has taught me over and over again throughout the past year, it is simply this: Whether I recognize it or not, ”enough” is already right here, in this very moment.
I don’t have to make more money or achieve more or get more of what I think I need in order to experience “enough.” I don’t have to go looking to external sources of validation or approval in order to find it, and I certainly don’t have to go looking for it in the future.
I’ll never find it in any of these places because — get this, guys — I already have it.
If only I can look closely enough, I come to realize the fullness of this moment exactly as it is: The love in my dog’s tail-wag as he greets me at the door. That $5 bill in my pocket. The carpet beneath my toes. The softness of my sheets. The warming, flickering fireplace and the soup simmering on the stove.
Oh, the richness of this moment — it’s as if “enough” is spilling over every which way! Love. Money. Warmth and health and wealth. I already have it all!
It is in these moments that my heart swells with gratitude for what is here now: for the smallest sights, sounds, tastes and touches that bring flashes of joy into my being, as if I’d somehow never noticed how ridiculously awesome life has always been…
Why hadn’t I noticed these things before? How is it that I’ve gotten so caught up in what isn’t that I’ve failed to recognize what already is so full and rich and beautiful?
Life, I realize when I’m thinking most clearly, is so dang good. Even when I’m not yet with the man of my dreams, and even when my salary isn’t what I wish it was, and even when things aren’t quite going exactly my way, I can still look around and say, “Wow. I already have more than enough.” As cliche as it may sound, it’s the small moments that fill me with joy, not the grand achievements, and it’s the journey that’s fulfilling, not the destination – or as Abraham-Hicks would say, “Do you like the journey on the way to where you’re going?”
So, do you? Do you like the journey on the way to where you’re going?
Are you lamenting over the fact that you aren’t there yet, or are you celebrating the fact that you’re already on your way, one small step at a time?
Are you crying over the “not enough” that you don’t have yet, or are you appreciating the enough-ness that is already here in this moment — even if it’s not yet what you want or hope it to be?
Because appreciating the inherent “enough-ness” of this very moment? Without fail, it breeds more of the very same.
The more we notice and appreciate the love that’s already in our lives, the more love shows up.
The more time we take to nurture and appreciate our own health, the healthier we become.
The more we pay attention to the money we already have and that is already circulating all around us, the more we become open to new sources of wealth.
What we desire comes about not through a grasping for more or from a place of lack; rather, it comes from a place of love and appreciation for what already is. It comes from a place of “enough,” from a place of fullness.
You cannot reach enough from not enough. There will always be more and more and more to attain.
- Amber Rae
So as the holidays fall upon us and we find ourselves thinking that we don’t have enough time, money, love or whatever it may be, let us declare otherwise: Let us remember to fully live from a place of “enough,” even long after Thanksgiving has passed.
Let us remember that the point of Christmas is not to fill our lives with more stuff (nor is it to throw the best holiday party or to be the most perfect version of ourselves ;), but to more fully appreciate the love and joy and goodwill that already exist within us and within those we love.
And in the new year, let us resolve not to grasp desperately for what we think we lack, as if we don’t already have enough of what it is we seek. Instead, let us come from a cup that is already filled to the brim, fully recognizing the power of “enough.”
Can I get a “hell yeah?”
If you’re in, I invite you to join me for the month-long “Year of Enough Challenge” event that I’m putting together in order to kick off the new year, including interviews with 23 of the wisest, kindest people on the interwebs, 23 daily “challenges of enough,” and a private Facebook community — all free.
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Someone gave me Oprah’s 20th Anniversary DVD set when I was 24. If I remember right, there were (are) 6 DVDs in the set. I watched all of them in one sitting.
I wasn’t a particularly fantastic fan of Oprah. It was actually a weird-ass present for someone to give me. But man, that chick knows how to get shit done. So it was there, in my studio apartment in downtown Tacoma, Washington, where my passion to do something was ignited. I just didn’t know what. I did know that sitting on my floor, eating microwave popcorn, and weeping into a paper towel whilst nodding at Oprah on my 19-inch tube TV was not the answer.
The fire would flicker for years until it would focus.
I’ve always been a bit of an odd bird. Growing up wasn’t the easiest and I was an awkward, albeit delusional adolescent. I knew I was dealt a hand out of favor by the time I hit my mid-teens. After some angsty, stumbling, mistake and anger-ridden years, I pulled my head out the whiskey barrel and decided I had a whole lot to say with no audience. I was also irresponsible, immature and too pissed off for my own good.
Flash forward about 7 more years, and I got a little education under my belt, a few courses of anger-management, some faith, some humor and some well-earned humility. And Oprah.
There’s always room for Oprah. (That’s how the saying goes, right?)
So, cats and kittens, this is ultimately a story about failure. Now I could go out on my Human Resources limb and say that failures are opportunities right? Well…yeah. That’s right. But saying that is also annoying. And I’m a pinch too sardonic and cynical to ever write that with a straight face.
A few years ago, my ‘do-something’ fire ignited into full on flames to help young girls not get so damn lost (see what I did there?) in their own shit. I wanted them to see beyond. Beyond adolescence. Beyond addiction. Beyond abuse. Beyond the mirror. Beyond their bodies. Beyond media. I knew that I had a story to share. And I knew my story could help pull some girls out from under the weight of their own life. My easiest filter became the church I attend. And I thought to myself, ‘Hey girl, how about Youth Group?’
And yes. I really talk to myself like that.
Are you laughing yet? You should be. Well, if you knew me-knew me, you’d be laughing. Let me tell you all the reasons I should NOT have been a Youth Leader: I cuss too much, I’m covered in tattoos, I’m uncomfortable around women (and yes, I’m a woman), I’m sarcastic and impatient, I cuss too much, teenagers drive me nuts, annnnnnnnnnd I cuss too much. But the Doublemint Twins of the Youth Leadership… I don’t know, management?… said that I was what the church needed; that I was ‘real’ enough for the kids to relate to. (I know I’m saying ‘Doublemint Twins’ all casually and whatnot, but I-kid-you-not, these two were both mid-twenties, petite, aesthetically pleasing and blonde. And they were married. To each other.)
So, I did it.
And holy hell did those girls flock to me. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the fervor of a group of 16 year old girls, but it’s ****ing intense. My introversion alarm went off like gangbusters and didn’t shut off for a solid six months.
And the next six months went like this:
The church would give me script to follow during our meetings. I would start in, and then get interrupted by one or all (usually all) of the girls wanting to talk about something else. Most of the time, they wanted to talk about life. Like, their struggles at home and homework and school and cutting and self-mutilation and drugs and eating disorders and sex and abuse and fear and love and real. life. heavy. shit.
And you know what? I thrive in heaviness. It’s my Colosseum. And I’m a mother-effing gladiator.
And every month or so, I’d go back to the Doublemint Twins and tell them that there is a bigger thing going on than what they’re trying to offer. I told them they needed more support groups available to adolescents. I told them that I had two girls in my group alone that had admitted to being abused. I had one girl pull me aside and pour her ever-living heart out to me about the unsafe sex she was having with her boyfriend in her parents’ house. Another asked me to stay after our group meeting so she could just have someone listen while she cried and told me that she bounced between cutting herself and snorting lines in her bedroom at home, everyday.
And I’d carry their secrets with me to the Leadership office. And I’d plead for the church to let me do something. Anything. I had a crapload of ideas and a burning belly full of love and fear and fight for these girls. And the church would nod, and say ‘Okay,’ and write some things on a pad of paper.
And then nothing would happen. And that was it. On replay.
June came and I decided that being a caged bird was no longer my deal. I couldn’t help from the behind the red tape. And I couldn’t double-talk my way out of answers to the girls anymore. I couldn’t look into their faces every week while they waited for an answer, any answer to any question they had, and fail them over and over again.
So, I walked away. And I feel like I failed the girls and the church failed the girls.
I’m uncomfortable with failing. It doesn’t sit well in my gut. Especially when I chose to leave with a fire still burning.
But, my takeaway is that I’m meant for something bigger. And I’ve always known that. Even before the failure. And this failure was a necessary fork in a necessary path.
What forks are you facing? And did you know that it’s okay to fail? Because it is. And that should be what you take out of me blathering on about youth group, cussing and Oprah DVD box-sets. Get comfortable in the ‘I don’t knows’ of your life. In fact, square dance right in the middle of your uncertainty. Who cares if you fall on your face? As long as you get up, take a curtsy (or bow, whichever you prefer) and move along, little doggy.
I don’t fit a mold, and I never have. And I’m pretty sure you, my reader friend, don’t fit a mold either. I need the freedom to be myself, love fearlessly, defend endlessly and have my voice heard. And heard. And heard. And heard. Kinda like Oprah.
By day, she works in Finance. She is a writer by hobby and ballerina by years of painful training. She might start a blog one day.
If you got somethin’ to say, say it to: AM.firstname.lastname@example.org
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So I know I told you I’d be pretty silent on the blog for awhile, but I
lied changed my mind already.
That said, I have something ridiculously, let’s-all-jump-up-and-down exciting to share with you.
See, ever since the beginning, I’ve been saying that The Unlost is not just a blog — The Unlost is a community. And, well, it seems that the time has finally come to take The Unlost to the next level.
Enter the thing that you’ve always wanted but that you’ve never been able to put into words: The Unlost Community.
I’m sooo stoked to tell you all about it.
But before I do that, let’s see if you’re the right kind of person for this community.
Are you someone who:
If this is you, then… well, I think we were made for each other. (And if this isn’t you, then you can go back to eating your Cheerios and scrolling through your news feed. Just sayin’.)
It’s like a gym for your soul… a recharge for your psyche… a compass for your wandering heart…
OK, so let’s get real for a moment: Everyone knows that if you don’t regularly plug in and recharge your iPhone, it’s going to go dead.
Everyone knows that if you don’t drop into the gym and work out on a consistent basis, you’re not going to stay in shape.
If you don’t shave your legs all the time, you’re going to have hairy legs.
Etc., etc., etc. … right?
And so of course, the same goes for the rest of your lovely self, even if those things might not appear as obvious to the external world:
The point is, discovering and living out the truest version of who you are is not a one-time thing. Finding contentment and purpose and love in your everyday life is not a one-time thing. Finding your way out of difficulty or questions or suffering is not a one-time thing.
These things don’t happen through reading one book or one blog post or taking one course — rather, they come about through a lifestyle shift: through dedicated practice, regular reflection & self-awareness, and connection to a community.
And that, my friend, is precisely why I’ve created the new Unlost Community.
It’s a place you can plug into every single week in order to stay on track… to remember and rediscover your sense of self and of community... to stay connected to what’s real… and to help you find your compass if you’re feeling lost at sea (or to help you stay on course even if you’re feeling just fine right now, thankyouverymuch).
It’s a place not only to gain insight and get grounded, but to belong and to recognize that you aren’t the only one who thinks and feels the way you do.
It’s like coming home.
Each and every Monday night from 5-6 pm PST, join me on a live conference line to plug in, reconnect and recharge. (Note that if you can’t make it on Monday nights, you’ll also have access to recordings of each session that you can work through on your own time.)
Each community call session will follow the “BALER” format (because we are all ballers. I mean, obviously):
And it’s all centered around The Unlost’s core values of authenticity, connection, inherent worth, personal growth/evolution, and of course, FUN! (We love our fun around here, you guys.)
The introductory beta price of fifteen buckaroos.
(That’s the price of less than one peppermint mocha per week, for all those of ye who measure in the currency of Starbucks. (I can’t be the only one, can I?!))
Totally worth it, right?!
(Note that this is a special “beta” price. After the initial month, membership will be regularly priced at $29.99/month.)
Membership open until this Friday only – I’m going to be closing community membership at the end of the week, and I don’t know when I’ll be re-opening again. So if this sounds like something that was built for you and you want in, click the button below and I’ll be waiting to welcome you with open arms :).
p.s. If you’re on the fence… seriously, just do it! I can’t even stress how much your life could change just by the simple act of listening and joining in each week. Try it for yourself and you’ll see: Even just one hour per week of “recharging,” when done regularly over time, can make a huge, ginormous impact on the way you live, work, love, and on the person you’ll eventually become. Don’t let your battery-soul die, guys. Because, I mean, I’d be really sad if that happened.
And lastly, if you’re even thinking about joining, there’s a very good chance that it might be just the thing you need. So I know you might be all like, “I dunno, Therese…” or “This doesn’t sound like something I’d usually do…” or “I’m kinda scared of trying new things,” but what have you really got to lose by just giving it a try? (Except your life, of course. And your happiness. And your soullllll omggg…)
Anyways, I dare you to give it an honest try and see what happens. I think you’ll be surprised at the effects you’ll see.
p.p.s. Got questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below!
p.p.p.s. If you want to join the community but live in a country where the exchange rate makes the USD price unaffordable for you (e.g., India, Philippines, Thailand, etc.), please feel free to send me an email and make a researched, well thought out case for pricing that would be roughly equivalent in your country.
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I mean, the chick was naive enough to eat a poisoned apple (given to her by a witch… I mean, really?) and then she played dead in a coffin for, like, seven years, waiting for some hot prince to come kiss her.
How useless is that?!
That’s why today, in honor of Tim Manley’s new book, Alice in Tumblr-land: And Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation, I’ve re-written the fairy tale my way. I surmise that you’ll thoroughly enjoy my rewrite, if not simply the hilarity of my “skills” as an artist ;-).
Here we go…
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“Dammit,” Snow White finally said, opening her eyes and sitting up from her slumber, “I’ve waited long enough, and tonight’s the Macklemore concert, for Pete’s sake. It’s time I stopped obsessing about Prince Charming and started living my motherf***ing life.” And so up she stood, and off to the concert she went. YOLO, right?
From that day on, she resolved to start doing all the stuff she’d always wanted to do back when the seven dwarves were forcing her to make pies and sweep floors: She went to hot yoga. She participated in a flashmob. She even started painting.
That’s where she ended up meeting him, of course — in art class. Prince Charming was a hottie, and best of all, he had mad skills with a paintbrush ;).
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This blog post wouldn’t be complete without including a few of my favorite modern-day fairy tales from the book itself, as well. Enjoy — and if you like ‘em, grab a copy for your coffee table. (It also makes for a great Christmas gift. Ahem…)
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Robin Hood was questioning his decision to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Sure, it helped on the local level, but what was he really doing to promote equality on a national level. Or on a global level?
After thinking for a while, he determined that even though the work he did was very small, there was a ripple effect, so it was still a valuable endeavor. Plus the ladies loved it.
(Originally from Fairy Tales for 20-Somethings)
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Chicken Little feared the sky was falling. She also feared that when people “liked” a photo she posted, they didn’t really like it.
(Originally from Fairy Tales for 20-Somethings)
* * *
Grumpy worked at the mine with the other dwarves, but he only did it because it gave him health insurance. His real passion was dance.
(Originally from Fairy Tales for 20-Somethings)
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Like these? Buy the book!
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