Perfectionism is a lame excuse for procrastination.

Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash

I often hear people say, “Someday I’m going to write my novel. Someday I’m going to travel to Europe. Someday I’m going to (fill in the blank).”

Someday never comes. They get busy being busy. They put off their dreams for another day, which becomes another year,  which becomes…never.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t take action on their dreams is because they are waiting for the perfect time, to have the perfect amount of money or to be perfect themselves.

Imagine a baby waiting to walk until they can do it perfectly, that’s like waiting to write a book until you’re writing is perfect. Ha!

Perfectionism is lame.

You gotta start somewhere.

But yet,  for many of people if it can’t be perfect or they don’t know how they will accomplish the whole enchilada, they won’t even bother starting. That’s sad.

They also think they can do everything on their own. Guess what? They can’t.

You know how many movies were made by one person? Well, I don’t know exactly, but I can tell you most movies are made by an endless number of people. Just watch the credits next time you’re in the movie theater.

When we want to make a significant change or take on an important project it’s important to take these five important steps.

1. Get a mentor. Find someone who has done what you want to do or who knows how to coach you through the process. This could be a life coach or a teacher.

2. Take baby steps. Plot out the steps you need to take. You can’t do everything at once.

3. Create a Timeline. You need a game plan and you need to create a realistic timeline in which you will take the steps, whether it be to write the pages of your novel, or build your new business.

4. Get support. Find a group of supportive people, a community who is doing something similar. Don’t go it alone.

And you may have noticed that there’s no step 5. Wanna know why? Because you don’t need to be perfect and 4 is plenty of steps.

Don’t Wait for the World to Give You Permission to Shine

“If we wait for the world’s permission to shine, we will never receive it. The ego doesn’t give that permission. Only God does, and God has already done so.”—Marianne Williamson-A Return to Love

For much of my life I felt uncomfortable taking up too much space, talking too much, receiving compliments, taking in people’s appreciation, etc. In the past, I have intentionally turned away from attention and praise and at times, I have dimmed my light for fear of making others feel  less than, uncomfortable, or jealous.

How often do you dim your light so as not to stick out or make others uncomfortable?

Sometimes I’ve even hidden my light behind other people’s lights because it felt more humble, more spiritual, to be behind the scenes, rather than play a starring role in my own life.

Sadly, this has led to my blaming others for circumstances in my life and giving my power away, power that was God given.

Somewhere along the way we get the message that it is more polite to be humble, meaning “invisible,” to not “hog” all the attention, and to not “get too big for our britches.”

Some of us through the world’s teaching, or by our own distorted thinking, came to equate self-love with the tale of Narcissus, self-care with selfishness, and healthy self-esteem with arrogance.

I have come to realize that the light inside of me seeking to be expressed is God.

So, when I dim my light, I am dimming God.

I am dimming the impact of the Divine to speak through me. I am not allowing myself to be a vessel for God’s love and light if I am intentionally putting a kink in the rope so that the Divine cannot flow through me with ease, grace, and power.

Since we are all God, each one a unique imprint of Spirit, we all have the light of God shining through us.

The more we allow our light to shine, the more we are allowing God to shine through us. God beaming God.

Our egos tell us to play small and be safe, while our souls have come to Earth to surf the waves of love, joy, and beauty, and to boldly express the glory of God that is in each and every one of us!

Affirmations:

Today I shine my light full on and with full permission.

I stand center stage, starring in my own life.

The Divine is my Director and I am here to be bold, authentic, open-hearted, and courageous.

I turn up my light knowing that as I do, God’s love fills me and draws out the shadows, illuminates the dark, and sparks the fire of love ever brighter in my soul!

Thursday Nights Are Sacred- In Memory of Myra Smith

I’ve just gotten off work. I’m doing 35 in the fast lane, nothing but tail lights ahead of me. It’s the usual 580 rush hour stop and go crawl. Hard to believe that in less than an hour I’ll be out of this business suit and feeling the cool moist earth between my toes. It’s Thursday again, and Thursdays are sacred.

I turn on my blinker to signal my right turn and I pull off to the end of the block. As I grab my stuff and open my truck door I can smell the smoke, its primal smell, mixing with car exhaust and the scents of home cooking in the neighboring houses.

I pull back the wooden gate, it scrapes against the side of the house, and I catch my first glimpse of the fire. I notice the men and women sitting around the fire and smoking. I approach cautiously. Even though I have been coming here for a year, I am still an outsider, I know I’m still a guest. I walk lightly and smile.

The fire is hot tonight and I notice there are many rocks in the fire pit. I watch the Firekeeper, a young man in his twenties, already ravished by hard living. I count the scars, as numerous as tattoos, on his arms, neck, and face. He has taken himself out of that lifestyle for now and is learning that he is a sacred and necessary part of this ceremony.

There’s always lots of laughter and discussion about who is sick, who has passed on, and who is in trouble or in prison. I used to think of it as a gossip, now I know it’s a reminder of who is in need of prayers.

When the leader arrives we go into the garage and change. Most of the women wear skirts or dresses, I self-consciously don a T-shirt and shorts. We wrap our towel around our necks or legs and line up. I enjoy the feel of the cool earth under my bare feet before crawling into the lodge. The lodge is made of bent willow branches and covered in green tarps. I crawl on all fours in the darkness until I find where the woman who entered before me has stopped. I sit still breathing in the darkness and the moist smells of Mother Earth. Once all the women are seated we will begin.

It always amazes me that the lodge can hold 22 to 24 women and it can’t be bigger than 7 by 7 feet. I imagine how much space would be needed for 24 women in a regular room. I imagine 24 women trying to fit into my living room which is 11 and 14 and I can’t imagine seating more than ten comfortably, but the lodge holds us easily. Maybe we are smaller in the darkness, because our egos take up so much room in the light.

Once we are all settled in the rocks come. The laughter turns to silence as we great the first Grandfather. The rock is red hot, it glows in the darkness and I can begin to make out a few of the features of the women around me.

We are sitting in a circle around the pit. As each rock enters cedar is sprinkled on it, and as it burns it lights up like shooting stars, like a sparkling diamond that shimmers when the light hits it as various angles. The lava rocks are a fiery red-orange with round holes in the sides and veins and other marks to identify it, to distinguish it from the others. Nowadays, I recognize many of the rocks as they are brought off the fire and placed in the center of the lodge.

The leader sprinkles more cedar over each new rock and the lodge begins to smell like a forest.  Then she places a braid of sweetgrass against the rocks and it fills the lodge with the most fragrant aroma of a spring meadow or a hayfield after a hard rain. My nostrils delight in the smells and I am momentarily transformed to my childhood home in Oregon.

Once the rocks are in, the bucket of water is blessed on the rocks and the flap is closed. We sit in the darkness, our sight illuminated only by the orange rocks. The heat warms my skin and my face. The singing begins and the water is poured on the rocks. The water envelopes the rock back into the darkness and begins the purification process bringing forth the sweat and cleansing our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits from the pain and toxicity of the week. It feels good to be home. I hold my slippery knees to my chest and try to pronounce the Lakota words correctly. It’s not my language, but the words feel comforting to my tongue.

Just last month when I was on a flight across the ocean and it seemed like we weren’t going to make it to our destination, I closed my eyes and sang the sweat songs over an over for an hour and a half. I stopped only when the pilot turned the “fasten seat belt” sign off four hours later.  The sweat lodge leader had said “Life is like the sweat lodge, when it gets too hard, too hot in here, lay low, pray and sing, and it will get you through.”

More water is poured and just when it feels overwhelming and my voice is straining to keep my mind focused on the words of the song, the refrain ends and we all rejoice in the announcement “All my Relations!” in Lakota. The men rush to open the front and back door flaps. We laugh, joke, breathe in the fresh air, and prepare ourselves for three more rounds.

At the end of the ceremony I leave with the important teaching that life is like an Inipi ceremony, when in gets too hard, lay low, pray to the Creator, and keep singing, you’ll get through it!

(Written February 3, 2003)

Growth Can Be Messy

“Sometimes people think that calling on God means inviting a force into our lives that will make everything rosy. The truth is, it means inviting everything into our lives that will force us to grow-and growth can be messy.”`–Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

I was one of those people who thought that choosing to follow my spiritual path and letting God lead would mean that my path would be easy with clear guidance. After all, I was choosing the higher road, right?

Imagine my confusion when as I more deeply aligned myself with Spirit, my life completely morphed and the challenges mounted. Things that appeared to be “sure deals” dissolved, ceilings caved in on me, people disappeared from my life. Poof!

Sometimes we think if we give our lives to God or affirm our sacred “yes” to the Universe that God will bring us our good in a shiny package with a bow on top!

I thought that tuning into the Spiritual channel 24/7 meant that the things I wanted to manifest would unfold with greater ease and harmony.

I was so naïve!

Spiritual surrender is about releasing attachments to form and allowing Spirit to provide the perfect experiences for your soul’s unfoldment.

These are not however, the preferred experiences of your ego. Heaven knows!

Conditions that are not in harmony in your life will be revealed to be healed or released, that could mean your house, your marriage, your job, your friends, even the town you live in.

Whatever beliefs or habit patterns are keeping you from loving yourself or being a channel for God’s love to express through you, they will come up to be “adjusted.” Your “sacred yes” activates a wave of transformation in your life to restore you to wholeness.

From the human perspective it can feel like all hell’s breakin’ loose as foundations crumble and structures disappear.

Yet out of this wreckage, your raw spiritual nature shines through and the radiance of it’s beauty reflects your Divine essence.

When the walls come crumbling down you get to know who really are and what you are made of.

So breathe, relax, and take it all in, because your life will never be the same again and it’s alright!

Affirmation:

I know that whatever is happening in my life today is part of the Divine Blue Print of my soul’s unfoldment.

I know that this is a Divine Remodel, Divinely Guided, Divinely Timed and allowing me to be even more at home with myself in God.

I bless the mess!

Take off Your Cape and Focus on Your Own Life

On the road to living an authentic life in hot pursuit of our dreams, we need to stay focused on our lives. When we start doing for others what they need to do for themselves we’re no longer focused on doing for ourselves what no one else can do for us.

Setting boundaries is critical if we want to create our own fulfilling lives.

If we waste energy enabling others, rescuing others, when they need to rescue themselves, we’ve taken our focus of our own well-being and our own dreams.

It’s just like if you’re bowling and you take your ball and use your turn to help the other person in the lane next to yours knock down their pins. If you do, you’re no longer focusing on what’s happening in the game. You’re not playing in your own lane.

Many of us have been taught to put the needs of others before our own.

In fact, this is the expectation for women in many cultures. We may have been taught this by witnessing the selflessness of a parent or having grown up with religious teaching that admonished us not to be “selfish,” instead advocating selflessness, even martyrdom.

Setting limits and boundaries is about focusing on what we need to do to care for ourselves and not doing for others what they can and should be doing for themselves.

It’s not that we don’t help others, but we don’t engage in helping that hurts us. That’s the definition of codependency.

In her book Codependent No More, recovery expert Melody Beattie writes,:

“We rescue people from their responsibilities. We take care of people’s responsibilities for them. Later we get mad at them for what we’ve done. Then we feel used and sorry for ourselves. That is the pattern, the triangle.”

How do we keep our eyes on our own lane and not get caught up in the drama of the lives of others?

We set limits.

Limits let others and us know what we can handle and what we can’t. It’s what allows us and others to know what is enough and what’s too much!

Setting limits and boundaries is an essential part of living your authentic life. It is an essential element of self-care.

When we set limits at work or with friends and family members, we keep ourselves from becoming overloaded, overscheduled, overcommitted, and thus, overwhelmed. This is important for our physical and mental health and emotional stability.

If we’re spinning too many plates in the air, it’s just a matter of time before they all come crashing down.

This month make it your goal to set limits and boundaries in the important areas of your life.

If you find that people aren’t respecting your limits and boundaries make time to explore this with them. If people are repeatedly trampling on your boundaries it may be time to rethink those relationships.

Be the Love You Wish to See In the World

How often do you tell your friends or loved ones you love them?

Do you hold back sharing your appreciation and telling people how much they mean to you for fear of being too intense, vulnerable, or looking sappy?

Our loving words and gestures are being called forth NOW.

To paraphrase Dr. David Hawkins in Power vs. Force:

One person vibing at the consciousness of love (level 500) counterbalances 750,000 individuals vibing below level 200 (the consciousness of courage).

Your love lights up the Universe!

Your courage to say “I love you,” and “I appreciate you” uplifts the vibratory field on the planet.

Yes, beloved  YOUR LOVE moves mountains.

YOUR LOVE melts the frozen glaciers of the heart. The only glaciers we want melting on Mama Earth.

Loving others means having the courage to be open-hearted. 

Loving others means having the willingness to speak lovingly and act lovingly,.

Loving others means being compassionate  and forgiving,  and it means sometimes being the person who expresses love first.

Loving others means choosing to remain loving even when someone else isn’t meeting your needs or is disappointing you.

Loving others means extending warmth to another, though we fear we might be rejected.

Loving others means being vulnerable and opening our hearts, though we fear we might be found inadequate or unworthy.

Love is a choice. 

Why wait to express our gratitude and love until our friends have “left the building” so to speak?

Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you, including your barista, your dry cleaner.

Don’t wait for someone to mirror love to you, be the eyes of love.

Be the love you wish to see in the world. 

Onward and Upward in Love!

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t go on?

Have you ever felt totally stuck in your life, trapped by your obligations, and wondering how did I get here?

Sometimes we can find ourselves so committed to climbing the ladder and creating the American Dream that we lose ourselves.

We become more focused on how the outside looks and lose touch with our essence. We’re so busy being do-gooders, or raising kids, or being the most successful entrepreneur, doctor, lawyer, creative, mommy-prenuer, whatever it is, that we become totally disconnected from our core Self.

Around 2006 I realized that the daily grind of living the good life was taking me further from my freedom and self-expression, which led to a growing sense of self-betrayal that plunged me into a deep sense of dissatisfaction with the life I’d worked so hard to create.

The dissatisfaction would come in sudden waves of inexplicable sadness or a longing to be free.

One time I was driving home from work and listening to Keith Urban’s “What About Me.”

         I’m livin’ in a world that won’t stop pullin’ on me

         I’m not complaining but it’s true

         It’s like I owe my time to everyone else

         ‘Cause that’s all I seem to do.

         Sometimes I can’t help thinkin’ what about me

         Some days go by that I don’t even see

         Yeah I’m doing everything right and I can’t break free

         Oh is this the way it’s always gonna be

         What about me?

The song’s lyrics touched my aching soul so acutely and deeply.

I was working so hard as a psychologist in a women’s prison to help other people break free of their inner prison’s and helping LGBT people get marriage equality, yet I felt totally trapped by my life. I didn’t have a moment of freedom. I just wanted to go camping. I wanted to stay in bed on a Sunday and drink coffee in bed and read a book. I wanted things to slow down.

My life was on a super highway and I wanted to meander the backroads. I wanted to make a positive difference in the world, but I didn’t want to be a martyr.

I cared deeply about everything I was doing, but my priorities were ass-backwards. I put other people’s needs and priorities ahead of my own. It was unsustainable.

It led to BURN OUT! And BREAK DOWN!

Two years later, in 2008 I quit my government job. I needed to create my work life in a way that was authentic to me. I’d done my best to create groups and programs to help the women I worked with in the prison and in turn the prison did it’s best to undermine those programs and return the focus to guard duty and human warehousing. It was the way the country was going at the time and I was tired of going against the stream.

I got clear how much more energy and joy I would have when I was going with the flow working for myself allowed me to focus on doing therapeutic and healing work and not be called away to handcuff or pat search someone.

I also decided not to work full-time for any one company so I wouldn’t be forced to do anything that didn’t mesh with my values just to keep a roof over my head. I decided multiple streams of income were safer, and the recession ultimately proved that instinct was on target.

Part-time was fine, but full time allegiance to a company that could ask you to do something unsavory, fire you for being LGBTQ, withhold your paycheck (as they did with the government shut down), or lay you off before Christmas to raise profits. No thank you!

This is another reason why I’m grateful for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) because it meant I didn’t have to sell out just to get health care.

So what do you do if you find yourself burnout, stressed out, stuck?

Call a TIME OUT!

You need to pause the action. Obviously, you can’t pause everything, but you have to PAUSE something.

First, you have to make TIME and SPACE for yourself.

Step off the proverbial hamster wheel.

How do you do this?

You’ll need to look at your specific situation.

  • Take a day off! Do you have sick leave or vacation days you can take? If so, TAKE ONE.
  • Schedule a massage, a facial, a spa getaway. Go nurture your body.
  • Turn off all the devices sweet darlin’, even the old Victrola. Now it’s you just you. Close your eyes. Breathe. Keep breathing. Just breathe.
  • Ask for help. For God’s sake stop trying to do everything yourself You can ask God for help. You can ask a friend. Maybe you’re pulling someone else’s weight. Doing your share and theirs. Stop it!
  • Update your resume. If you’re in a crappy job, start updating your resume. This will give you a chance to reconnect with your accomplishments and get you ready if you need to seek new employment.
  • Make a coffee date. Connect with a friend or colleague. We all need connection. People to talk to. Talking can help us figure things out. I’ll talk about therapy and coaching next. Sometimes venting with a friend or connecting with a colleague can help us find the next step. Sometimes they’ll have great ideas or insights we wouldn’t get to on our own. Sometimes they’ll have leads for employment options, babysitters, real estate agents, whatever it is we might need.
  • Get some exercise. Take a walk, take a hike (not off a short pier). Go for a bike ride. Hit the slopes. Do something physical to get out of your head and to your body that’s been filled with stress hormones a chance to expel that crap.
  • Basic Self Care. Get some sleep, make and go to your doctor’s appointments, and eat some healthy food. When was the last time you ate a fresh vegetable?
  • Don’t indulge in addictive substances. A piece of chocolate is fine, but if you’ve started using wine, marijuana, or junkfood as your main method of reward or coping at the end of the day you’re only adding to your troubles. Instead take a hot bath or shower in the evening to wash the weight of the day off of you.
  • Take off Your f***ing Cape! Stop trying to be Wonder Woman or Superman. I’ll be writing more about this later.
  • Get Support! Make an appointment with a therapist or life coach so you have support. You need support! WE all need support. Get some! Especially if you’re in crisis, depressed, overwhelmed, addicted, heartbroken, suicidal, deeply stuck, conflicted, being abused, totally confused.  Don’t’ try to do it all by yourself.
  • Get a copy of my book It’s Never Too Late to Be Your Self.  You need some time to start considering your next move. You can’t change everything overnight. However, once you’ve stabilized yourself, you can start taking steps to take back your life and create it in a way that works for you!

Here’s a link to Psychology Today to help you find a therapist. If you’re in crisis and need to talk to someone now the National Suicide Hotline # is 1-800-273-8255.

In Honor of Dr. King

I was conceived a year after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee.

I never met the man. I never skipped school to hear him speak as many  advocates and activists the generation before me did.

Yet, when I stood in that hotel room in Memphis where he had his last meal, now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum, I cried.

Or more accurately  I wept, as I listened to the last speech he gave. It was a prophetic speech. He knew God was calling him home.

I wept because I could feel in his words, and in his presence captured on that scratchy tape, that this man embodied our most sacred teaching-do unto others as you’d have them done unto you.
Dr. King was the leader of a non-violent movement.
He led a movement for civil rights for African Americans, and beyond that he led a movement of sacred reverence for all of life. He was doing God’s work.
Like Jesus, Dr. King stood up for the poor, he stood up against war. He stood up against greed.
He asked the suffering and oppressed to turn the other cheek as they did their liberation work. He asked us to Love our enemies. He was Christ-like and he was crucified.
Today his words still have power. They are still relevant moral, spiritual directives.

 

  • “Darkness cannot drive our darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
  • “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
  • “God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty.
  •  “The time is always right to do what is right.”
  • “The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.’”

 

  • “For evil to succeed, all it needs is for good men to do nothing.”

We’re seeing more and more of this evil these days. We see it in the eyes of the young man who stood aggressively in the face of the Native American elder as he peacefully sang a prayer song. And in the eyes of the mob of young white men who surrounded him and made white supremacist hand gestures.

Our country’s values our under attack.

Dr. King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Are we going to allow white supremacy and fascism to flourish? Or are we going to stand up for democracy, equal opportunity, equality and diversity?

Today as we remember Dr. King let us not stand by silently. Let us take our righteous anger and channel it into education and action.

Let these injustices fuel our efforts to put an end to the propaganda that fuels the flames of hatred and division against our neighbor. If we are to end the violence we see outside of us, we must turn within and address the violence within our own hearts. This is the Christ-like energy that Dr. King embodied and exemplified and ultimately died for.

We can honor him today by treating everyone today as we would a guest in our home. We can treat our neighbor as we ourselves would want to be treated with dignity and respect.

Baby, I’m Worth It!

Much of what I do as a therapist and life coach is help people find their voice and  connect with their self-love and authenticity.

But often before we can connect with our essential nature we need to clear bramble.

What do I mean by bramble?

The layers of self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, the habit of comparing ourselves to others and finding ourselves coming up short, lacking in some important aspect or quality. That my friend is the bramble of our minds!

We need to rid ourselves of the negative habits of mind and mouth.

We need to put an end to self-attack thoughts, repetitive, self-deprecating and disparaging self-talk, repeated apologies for our very existence.

No more dwelling on the negative. Enough of  finding fault with ourselves, which creates a low vibrational reality.

We need to Marie Kondo our minds.

We need to tidy our minds and leave only that which “sparks joy” as she would say. Thoughts, self-talk, outside talk that sparks joy, sparks confidence, and self-love.

We can thank those old negative thought and speech patterns for whatever purpose they served and then clear them out of our mental space, keeping only the good stuff.  And when we find those old thought forms and self-loathing beginning to fill our mental space again, we can sweep them out the door!

What are the positive things you want to affirm for yourself?

What are some loving things you can say to yourself?

What can you acknowledge about yourself?

Keep at it!

If you find yourself listening to negative music turn it off.

Make a positive, self-empowerment play list. A playlist that buoys you up.

Believe me, Baby, you’re worth it!

Need a little boost?

Get a copy of It’s Never Too Late to Be Your Self and learn more about how to take back your life.

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January 2019 Upcoming Events

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Finding Freedom LGBTQ Symposium at The Riviera Palm Springs

Saturday January 26th 10:30 AM-12:00 PM

Workshop-The Psychological Cost of Not Coming Out to Your Kids: How Hiding Contributes to Addictive and Dysfunctional Behavior.

CEU credits for Psychologists, LCSWs, MFTs and more.

Finding Freedom:LGBTQ Symposium

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Follow Your Inner Compass and Take Back Your Life Workshop

Sunday January 27th 12:30-2:30 PM

$35 includes a signed copy of It’s Never Too Late to Be Your Self.

Palm Springs Center for Spiritual Living, Palm Springs, CA

Click here for more info:

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Past Life Group Regression at the Salt Studio Pasadena, CA

Thursday January 31,  7:00 PM

Ever wondered who you were in a previous lifetime?
Do you have memories from previous lifetimes or reoccurring dreams?
Met people you feel like you’ve known before?
Come experience as past life regression!

The Salt Studio 1380 Walnut St. Pasadena, CA

RSVP online or call  (626) 765-6180

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“Don’t just rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic of your life, make lasting changes that matter!”

Out of the Box Podcast Episode #121 

It’s Never Too Late to Be Your Self

Comedian Rosie Tran (@FunnyRosie) Interviews author and clinical psychologist, Davina Kotulski (@drkotulski) about her new book “It’s Never Too Late to Be Yourself.” Davina talks about the importance of being your authentic self. By using our inner voice as a compass, we can live a life full of freedom, love, and authenticity!

Listen to Out Of the Box Podcast Now