I had an identity crisis…and maybe not the kind of identity crisis one usually hears of.
While meditating yesterday I had a revelation that shook me.
I heard someone ask a question about identity.
So I took it to my meditation.
And slowly, in the silence outside of me, I heard a voice inside of me.
It was little Shannon, and she was sharing moments where she felt embarrassed and ashamed in childhood.  And how it was in those times that she made the embarrassment and shame a part of her identity.
She associated with shame and embarrassment…and had a belief that those things lowered the value of her identity.
And then an older Shannon shared memories of making identity a priority.  She didn’t feel good enough or valued enough or enough enough so she would try to connect her identity to the people and things that would elevate her identity to others and to herself.
She sought to change her identity in order to decrease her smallness, her unimportantness, her incompleteness, her shame, and sense of undeservedness. To associate with the right people, the right jobs, the right education, the right products, the right behaviours, the right attitudes, the right choices, the right whatever…for it was all those things that would impress the world and ensure her identity aligned with what was expected of her, thereby qualifying her presence on this earth, or at least justifying it.
And all of this because I believed identities were evaluated, and then based on their score, they reflected the value of the person who held that identity.
I believed my identity was me.  Or part of my identity was me.  And so in order to be in the good graces of the people or the establishment I was currently connected with or trying to impress, I would shift or curate my identity to match.  It was as though I was making a bowl of soup and didn’t think it was soup enough with just the broth, so I had to keep adding to it in order to make it a valid, unquestionable bowl of soup.
So, my meditation brought something huge up for me.   And I think in bringing it up, it brought it out.  Out to look at, to recognize, to throw some love and acceptance of, then to gently dismiss it in order to make way for new understanding.
I am learning something about identity.
I am learning that my identity is not me.  
It’s not even part of me.
But rather it’s the vessel that I am carried in, it’s the patterns by which my physical mind and body move throughout this life.   It’s not my soul.  It has nothing to do with my value.  
My vessel bears my appearance, my personality, my choices, my genetics.  My vessel created patterns and expectations and desires.  Therein lies my identity.  The very combination of things that connects me deeply to tangible ideas, values, and traits, but also defines my uniqueness and distinguishes me from anyone else.
I am not my identity.
My identity and its value are fluid.
My identity can change.
Someone may like my identity one day and then not the next.
My identity may align with an individual, a group, or a cause and then not.
I am not my identity.
This doesn’t mean my identity isn’t important.   In fact, yes, identity is so important.   And we need identity to make distinction and to live out our best life through passion, love, and purpose.
But identity does not determine the greatness of you.  Identity does not determine your value.
Identity is merely the shell that holds your soul, the means to be an active member of this place we reside for now.  It’s the way you share your soul and the way others share their soul with you.
So regardless of the blip, glitch, or blunder…despite the chips, cracks, and holes in the vessel, your soul is pure, it’s whole, it’s 100%.  It is no better or no worse.  It is no bigger or smaller.  It is no quieter or louder.  It is no happier or sadder.  It is never put into any qualifier.  It can’t be challenged or defeated.  It doesn’t compete against others.  It holds no anger or resentment.  It cannot be measured.  It doesn’t care to be recognized by anyone but its vessel.
And because of this, you are free.  You are so free.  Your identity does not determine how valuable you are.  And the fact that you have a soul offers you a God-given right to fully create your identity, with all the inspiration you’ve been given, avoiding all fear and hesitation.

And hey!  If you want to join a community of like-minded women who are always challenging you and supporting you to live your best life, hop on over to my facebook group!

On Creating Future

You can create a predictable future by waking up and thinking, feeling, and doing what you did yesterday (and the day before and the day before...).

Is that the future you want?

Or you can decide that today (and the next day and the next day) is going to be different and you are going to create a new exciting, empowering, and purposeful future.

In order to break the pattern, we have to wake up and notice what we are doing...and venture into new unpredictable thoughts, feelings, actions, and situations to create that big life we truly want.

You are not your choices. ⁣
You are not your mistakes. ⁣
You are not your achievements. ⁣
You are not your mood. ⁣
You are not your relationships.⁣
You are not your bad hair day. ⁣
You are not your favourite song. ⁣
You are not your habits. ⁣
You are not your past. ⁣
You are not even your future. ⁣
But what you are is a being holding space right now. ⁣
Someone with unlimited potential. ⁣
Someone with unblemished existence.⁣
Someone who can have incredible connectedness to God, to the universe,
this planet, and other people. ⁣
Someone who can choose her thoughts, emotions, and actions to fulfill a life that feels light, simple, purposeful, loving, and ultimately deeply rewarding.

And hey, if you are looking for more life and business inspiration for the passionate female soulpreneur, join us over in my facebook group.  You'll love it in there!  

Have you ever dyed your hair and HATED it?

Yesterday my daughter headed back to university (boo).  And before she left I took a selfie with her, to which she stated, "Please DON'T post that!!"

Although that's a request I hear frequently from my kids these days, this time it was a little different, so I dug a little.  Turns out, the new hair colour she had done a month back, she now hates.  And there on the doorstep she let me know that every time she sees a picture of herself lately she feels not herself.  She feels dark, washed out, and  absolutely can't stand the colour of her hair.  To the point where she hasn't enjoyed herself as much as she usually would and...that really bummed me out.

But it made me think of myself and many women I know.  We make a choice, then get stuck in it.  We think that because we invested time, money, and energy into that choice, that we have to stay with it.  We go out for dinner, don't like the taste of the food, but then keep eating it so it's not wasted.  We make a friend, and even when they stop being supportive, stick with them because of loyalty and history.  We buy of pair of pants in 1999, and think we have to wear them today just because they aren't falling apart yet.

But let's think about it.  The reason we spend the time, energy and money is to enjoy the journey we are on.  To take pleasure from it, and when it stops serving us, isn't it ok to let it go, to pivot into something else?

So I told her to fix her hair...like Sister, go get happy with your hair!!

I like to think of it like trying to get across a river.  We take steps and hop from rock to rock.  And just because we get to the rock in the middle, we don't say, "ok, I took the energy to hop on this rock, so this is where I have to stay."  No, we keep stepping and hopping to the next rock until we cross the river.  And even if we thought we'd only need to step on three or four rocks, maybe we actually had to step on ten in order to get to the place we wanted to be.

So on your hair journey, it's ok to cut your bangs, only to start growing them back on the way home from the salon.  And on your pants journey, it's ok to give away a perfectly good pair of pants if they don't suit you anymore.  And on your friendship journey, it's ok to let a friend go if your relationship no longer gives you what you look for in a friendship.  And on your job journey, it's ok to find a new job after 25 years and a loyalty pin, if you are no longer inspired, challenged or excited at that job.  And on your business journey, it's ok to drop that network marketing biz you've been struggling with and move into something that lights you up and feels more rewarding.

You're walking across a river, and each step adds up in your favour.  Don't feel like you are stuck on a rock that you don't like...just hop to the next one.  And you will get where you are going, I promise.

Maybe They're Not Gonna Do it Anyway

Mama...there’s a lie out there. It says that your kids are “gonna’ do it anyway.”  You know...kids will be kids?

Don’t believe the lie.

I’m in a few moms groups...and I’m reading so many posts about how kids/teens will do it anyway so we may as well make it easy for them. Uh uh. 

Family values. The things your family holds most dear.

We all have them. 

And we will all have varying combinations of family rules and expectations.

As families, we are different. And it’s no one’s place to judge.

We all prioritize differently. And that’s cool cool.

Like, I prioritize baths. 🛁 But I prioritize respect for self and others above cleanliness.  My family. My prerogative, right?

So I’m here to encourage you. When you set out on this journey of parenthood...yes, be open to growth and change of perspective. Be flexible.

But don’t ever feel like you need to compromise on the things you once considered important.

If you invest the time, love, and energy, you can be the most prolific influencers in your children’s lives. You can set an example they want to follow. You can make it easy for your kids to choose the lifestyle and values you exemplify.

Don’t believe you need to be accepting of all and everything. Just because your kid asks for it doesn’t mean they really want it.

They are often too young and their brains are too underdeveloped to know what they really want.

Help them respect your and others’ boundaries. Help them create boundaries. Show them that you’re not willing to submit to the parental peer pressure to just allow or promote behaviours no one is ready for.  How do they learn how to say no if they have no one modeling it?

Be their best friends. From the time they are young be available. Create expectations and consequences for all behaviours so they know what to expect. Be consistent and follow through, establish and reinforce trust.

There are always exceptions and I’m of course not covering those here, but I want to encourage all mamas that you get to decide how you raise your family, and if you don’t like how it’s going you get to change it. 

And I want to empower you and your children by reminding you that it’s not true that your kids are destined to “do it anyway” and you don’t have to just concede and accept that your kids will undoubtedly choose dangerous or compromising behaviour as some sort of rite of passage.

Communicate, ask questions, listen, go for drives, grab Starbucks together, laugh at their jokes, tell them how proud of them you are, make saying no to others easy for them...and give hugs generously.

In it together.

About Judgment & Gossip

I used to enjoy gossip.  I liked hearing about the plight of other people.  I enjoyed listening to people’s opinions on so-and-so.  I spent a lot of my time thinking about others.
And not in a healthy way.
I was never a nasty gossiper (I don’t think).   I just did my best to walk the line and tell myself it wasn’t gossip if it was true.  And with most people, I never really did a lot of the talking, but I sure listened.  I listened, I formed opinions, and I judged.
And it felt good, really good.  I could create a story in my head that worked for me, and often that story would help me by making me feel like I was a better person than them, that I had a better life than them…
When I say it that way I can’t help but think what on earth was wrong with me?
But I already know what was wrong.
Judging others is big business these days.  It’s like fast food.  It’s easy.  It’s cheap.   And it often quickly and voraciously satisfies a need.
But it’s not healthy. And after it’s all said and done, it leaves you feeling icky, gross, and like you want to throw it up.   Like you want to give back the information you ingested and take back the currency you gave in order to take part in that disgusting meal.
In my quest to explore who I am at my core, try to unravel some of the mental mess I made of myself, and become the person I know I was put on earth to be, I started to really look inward at some of my habits and default behaviours.
And one of the most predominant behaviours I had was judgment.  
And my predominant personal go-to feeling was insecurity.
Any wonder why the two of those rode so high in my life?
You see.
My predominant behaviour was judgment.  So I judged hard.  I had an opinion on everything and everyone, including myself.  
But when you’re really good at judging, you can be super hard on yourself, but then look around and try to find even worse in others.  And if you’re looking, you will for sure find it (even if it’s not truly there).  You get to interpret things the way you want.   You can use your very own filter and build your own truth.
And then when you’re feeling especially weak because you’ve judged yourself hard and you maybe can’t even stand yourself, you can pull out the judgment on others, ramp it up high, and because without some sort of antidote to your own self-hatred, a sort of mitigating factor, you create a situation where they are worse…you would not even be able to live with yourself. 
So you’re grateful for them.  Thank God they suck so bad.  And thank God you don’t know the real story behind who they are, because right now, the story you tell yourself about them serves you well.  It reduces your self-loathing, and in some ironic way creates a false sense of self-love and self-respect.
And now, to add the icing on the cake, why not have a conversation with someone else about it, because I mean, if they’re gonna behave that way, they should only expect people are going to talk about it.   And honestly, I could use a little support from a few friends right now…you know the things we say to ourselves.
There are only two BIG problems with all of that.
It becomes a cycle of habit.  And you cannot get out of it because the seed you’ve planted needs nurturing.  So in order for you to be able to manage the self-loathing, the sense of unworthiness, you have to keep feeding judgment on others.
But do you see how unhealthy this is?  It’s like you’ve already conceded to unworthiness, and now the only way you can live with how you feel about yourself is to make everyone around you unworthy too.  Your friends, your enemies, your partner, your kids, your boss, pretty much everyone, even the gosh darn mail carrier.
The second, very poignant problem is one that will harm you in more ways than you can imagine.  And this is the powerful and painful assumed judgment of others that you will place on yourself.
You see, when you live in a cycle of unworthiness, judgment on self, judgment on others, you can only assume that while your days are spent lost in thought over what others are doing, they are doing the same to you.  You can only assume that every mistake you make is being monitored, exaggerated, shared, and criticized by them.  You can only assume that people are laughing about you when you walk out of the room, that people are mocking your words, that people are spreading rumours about you, that people don’t like you.
You can only assume.
Because the pattern of behaviour you participate in, they must be too.
And the place your thoughts take your mind, their thoughts must take their minds there too.
So heavy.
And if you’re anything like me, the entire cycle screams bondage.  It does not feel good.  For the fleeting second that you feel justified or righteous or better than someone, it is not worth it.
So what’s the solution?
I don’t know about you, but I knew this was a me issue.   Yes, my upbringing and my experiences (trauma and all) influence who I am, but I’m a big girl now.  And I knew I had to pull out the weeds I had been nurturing in order to really grow into who I’m supposed to be.
So, I started working on the self-judgment.  I would catch myself saying things to myself that hurt (the same things I imagined others saying about me).  I would look at pictures of myself as a kid, and remind myself that that girl deserves love, forgiveness, and grace.  
And then I took on what I consider a greater task.   I started working on the judgment of others.  I realized how quickly I formed opinions and made up my mind before having all the facts or when I didn’t have a right to the facts anyway.  I saw how I often shared in gossip because it made me temporarily feel better.  And although I may have not been one to spread my judgments far and wide, I sure held strong thoughts.
I realized how for every conversation I spent talking about someone else I conditioned myself to believe that life is made up of thoughts, discussions, and opinions on what everyone around is saying and doing, so my default was to believe that if my time is spend in judgment on others, their time is spend in judgment on me.
I changed what I did with my time.  I decided to be in service to others, not a slave to my thoughts of others.  I chose to see the good in others.  To celebrate people.  To extend grace.  To understand mistakes.  To forgive.   To love.
And this transformed me in two ways.
It made it so much easier to do the same for myself.
And it made it so much easier to believe others were doing the same for me.
And even if they weren’t, I could believe they were.   Because my new default was to believe that if my time is spent in service and grace to others, their time is spent in grace to me.
And before I close this up, I want to note that I will never have this nailed down 100 percent, but what I’ve learned has freed me from the bondage of judgment and has given me a new way to fight off the temptation to participate in judgy behaviour, and ultimately nurtures my feelings of peace and sense of worthiness.

Hey, if you're not in my group yet, why not jump in today!!  Moxie, mindset, and manifestation - it's all in there to help you find community and make your every dream a reality. 
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