Tamara McCleary inspires and motivates the attendees of Business Honoring Spirituality at Mile Hi Church in Lakewood, Colorado to Shift their life from ordinary to extraordinary. Tamara shares what has inspired her life and how to shift yours using the concepts of The Hero’s Journey and her RelationShift ® process. Recorded 1/7/16
As I was observing Independence Day this past weekend with my family, I was reminded of the search we are all engaged in every minute of every day even if we are not conscious of it. What we’re all looking for, what we all seek, is freedom. Not freedom from the world but freedom in the world. The freedom to be ourselves right now in this world, unvarnished and still loved and appreciated for who we really are. The freedom to make mistakes, and still find redemption and love. The freedom to speak, to write, to create, to do or to do no-thing at all. Freedom to be ourselves without condemnation. Freedom is the expression and the experience we yearn for as partners, lovers, entrepreneurs, writers, speakers, teachers, artists, (insert anything here). As spiritual beings seeking a human experience, we crave the freedom (and safety) to explore the boundaries of our vulnerable self-expression.
Freedom for Writers
As writers write, they write to communicate, to express an idea and tell a story. Many times a story is completely fabricated from the delicious depths of a free-to-be mind and soul. I find writing which is unabashed and devoid of worry, concern for applause, acceptance, and fear of retribution or judgement deliver the juiciest prose to the page. Most writers struggle with attaining this kind of freedom from their own internal critic. Writers wrestle with their angels (and demons) from pen to page. A writer’s quest is to accomplish spinning their own brand, their unique voice onto the page for the reader to ingest, internalize and connect either in truth or in sheer entertainment sizzling the senses. The best writing is wrought from fearless self-expression. Writers crave to be free. Free to pursue their craft, free to express the polarity of their soul from dark terrifying depths to enlightened illumination, encompassing all the terrain in-between.
Unfortunately writers, just as anyone else, can get ensnared and caught in worrying about their audience and who will or won’t swipe their credit card on Amazon.com. The surest way to strangle the life out of a writer’s creative voice before it’s made manifest on the page is for the author to write for the sale or to write for approval. This type of writing was always referred to as “workshop writing” by my MFA writing professors. Technically the structure is correct, but it’s missing a soul, nobody cares when they read it.
You don’t have to be a writer to understand the value of fearless writing. I’m speaking of writing that compel’s a reader to connect to the author through an invisible thread. This is a brand of intimacy between reader and writer, fueled entirely by an author’s vulnerability. Freedom to weave words in complete abandon is the secret sauce to putting a soul onto a page. I love reading this kind of writing, but as a writer this kind of writing takes risk.
(Any fellow Speakers out there? This applies as aptly to the Speaking Profession as it does to writing and publishing.)
Become the Author of Your Best Life
If you aren’t a writer, you may be wondering how talking about writers exposing their voice may be relevant to you. But you see, you are the writer and author of your own life. Right now you’re actively writing your memoir, engaged in mapping out your own screenplay for the movie of YOU. Right now you’re weaving the tapestry of your legacy. What does it look like? This is your life. Do you like it? Is it what you want? Are you living a life fully self-expressed? Are you afraid of being exposed for who you really are without the mask you wear to navigate socially? (We all have them.)
It matters not our age, race, gender, or national origin, life has parallels. Consider the concept of writing in order to “sell” a book. Writing, (or speaking), for a paying audience may constrain the writer if the author feels that they must deliver in a way that is not entirely they way they’d like it to be, but it’s what sells so they do it anyway. If we’re honest, we’ve all done this in our every day lives on a daily basis. Take relationships for example. If you’ve ever dated or been in a longterm relationship…or if you’ve ever applied for a job and were hired…you “sold” someone else on YOU. It was you who made that initial impression, but also you on your best behavior. What about when the less than perfected version of you shows up?
Hiding, not telling our truth, afraid of being too raw or exposed, we often abandon ourselves in exchange for love, acceptance, and approval. In so doing we diminish our own creative spark feeling trapped in a life that does not feel like it is fully “us” or representative of what we could truly be or demonstrate this lifetime.
These parallels abound throughout human life. What freedom do you seek? Are you diminishing yourself in any subtle ways? Do you feel free to be unashamedly you? Can you speak your truth? Can you live each day free to be all that you are and all that you’re not?
This is it. This is the time for you to be who you came to be. Make the unique contribution this lifetime that you came to make. What do you have to say? What is your message? There’s no one like you and everyone like you…and precisely why most of us are attracted irrepressibly to those who’re courageous enough to show us their tender underbellies. Yours is unbelievably gorgeous. What a shame if you don’t share it with us.
May you be encouraged this day to live fully self-expressed. Whether you write, speak, teach, coach, mentor, create…may you feel the courage to deliver nothing less than your succulent self. You are a gift, a miracle, a bright light and we need your contribution.
May you be blessed.
What I’m about to share with you as a secret of life, the secret of joy, happiness, clarity and success may seem to be a contradiction in terms, but it really isn’t anything more than the bare truth. Living a life of mental equilibrium, happiness, and success is simply living a life that accepts what is and doesn’t argue with what is showing up, (a.k.a. reality). You’ll often here me talk about taking action to re-invent your life or reignite the passion for your business or your writing and take a stand to create what you envision for yourself, but how does that match up with accepting what is? What if you don’t like what’s showing up lately? Is acceptance defeat?
Accepting what is, doesn’t mean that we have to be doormats and roll over to do nothing about what’s showing up in our life circumstances. On the contrary, we create our future through the action we take today, including the decision to treat our mind to positive thoughts and our body to positive life-enhancing chemicals created by our thinking. Stepping into our authority and not abdicating it means actively co-creating our experience by responding to our circumstances instead of passively being tossed about by them and flung into reactivity. A reactive state is a neurotransmitter trip flooded by damaging chemicals that’ll bathe our brains in sadness, worry, anxiety, overwhelm…and ultimately inaction or even pharmacoloogic-intervention. (a.k.a. popping a pill for what ails you.)
Life can show up with things that are out of our realm of control, but it’s how we respond to them that makes all the difference in our experience. Often times our life circumstances present us with challenges that can potentially drain our life-force energy and seemingly take possession of our minds having a very negative effect on our mood as well as our energy.
There’s another way and it’s free as well as life-affirming.
By accepting that which we can’t change, we proactively remove the power that it holds over our life. We can accept and we can decide to act and we can choose to dwell upon or release negative, dark or uncomfortable thinking. When has worry ever helped our cause? When has anxiety ever healed our loved one? When has despair or depression ever drawn us closer to others for a deeper experience of connection?
In all of my early years as a pediatric RN working with dying children as a hospice cases manager and years actively involved in bereavement counseling with parents, I experienced miracle upon miracle delivered through acceptance and consciously choosing a different experience. I witnessed love, faith, hope, and deep healing through incredible life situations of pain and suffering.
All of our experiences are merely that…they are experiences. We choose what we experience. We really do. I know it might feel like something you’d like to toss out and especially when faced with deep challenges a statement like that might make you desire to reject it outright. But feel into this nugget without judgement for a moment. We may not be at-choice for physical pain, death, and the consequences of another’s misperception, prejudice or unconsciousness. We can choose how we respond to pain, loss or what has been brought to us as a result of someone else’s unconsciousness.
We are always at-choice, we are strong, resilient, incredible miracle-makers walking around in meat suits. (A sage woman I used to know used the phrase meat suit to describe the human flesh and I never forgot it!) We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Often we forget the human part and the experience part and want to jump ahead to spiritual enlightenment. Isn’t this our journey…the experience piece? The human-part is fallible and makes mistakes, the experience-part suggests that we are learning. All of us.
Without pain we know not pleasure. Without sorrow we know not joy. Some of the most interesting people, gifted poets, talented writers, hilarious comedians…all knew their opposite in order to find their own unique treasure.
As a writer I know that my fictional characters are far more interesting to my reader when they have flaws as well as obstacles on their journey. It’s no different in real life than it is in fiction. (I’ll admit there are moments when I’ve fantasized about a life less like a page-turner. Can you relate?)
Opening ourselves to the mindset of acceptance allows us to let go and release anything that doesn’t serve to bring us joy, happiness, or success along our path. We can accept what shows up in every moment. We can take action on what we can do, even if all we can do is shift our mindset about the experience we are having in the moment.
My words are not hollow and empty. I’ve spent 27 years steeped in this work professionally. Part of my journey as counselor, teacher and mentor has been to practice this with my own life experience. The practice becomes a gift the more you are able to use it in times of seemingly impossible life situations.
Practical Tools for Accepting What Is:
- Stop. Breathe. Reflect on what is causing you struggle, discomfort or suffering. (Chances are it is a thought that is at the root of your struggle and suffering)
- Make a list of the parts of your life you can’t change, and gain clarity around what you can do to respond and what is not in your control.
- Notice your feelings without attaching to them, ask yourself if these feelings are supporting your desire for increased joy, happiness, clarity, or success. If your emotional body is not in alignment with what you want to create, then practice letting go of what is not within your control and take action on what is in your control. Practice responding to your situation and resist any knee-jerk reactions. For instance: If you need to get a job to pay your debts and decrease stress, get a job. If you need to write to stop that writer’s guilt, then write (write anything…even a grocery list). Do ONE thing a day that you can do to remedy your life situation or the experience of your life situation.
- Let go of the negative feelings you have for what you can’t change and challenge yourself to move forward and even use these “challenges” for positive gain, growth, insight, or service to another who may be going through a same or similar situation.
If you’re not having the experience right now that you desire, take a look at what you can do to reinvent yourself. Is there something you can do differently in your life situation, your work, your schedule or your relationships to support what you’d like to experience? How might you respond differently to what is showing up for you each day to be able to create what you want? The most incredible thing we possess is also the most daunting…free will. What will you choose with yours?
Here’s to your journey, your path, your unique human experience. May you be blessed.
Are you looking to make some kind of change? Do you crave to experience more and live a life where you feel more tapped into your creative? Are you living a fully self-expressed life? You’re in the majority if you feel a in tug in your gut to keep searching for your best life.
The audience I speak to is an audience comprised primarily of professionals seeking to expand upon what they’ve already accomplished. Many are also desiring to switch gears entirely and try something new. In the many years that I’ve practiced as a business start-up maven and personal Re-Invention expert, I’ve noticed that many people will never take the steps to make the leap into what they dream of doing for fear of failure.
What you would attempt if you knew you could not fail?
Risk Mitigation Measures: Evaluate and do an honest self-assessment to ensure the best outcome.
When I’m considering starting a new business or making a change in my life, I put my idea or vision through an algorithm I designed to test the fitness of my dream. Maybe I should call it the Dream Fitness Test instead of the Re-Invention Algorithm.
The first step in my process is to evaluate whether my outcome is realistic and achievable for me in my current life situation. What at-first may seem like a brilliant plan, upon further scrutiny moving through my algorithm, I may discover my dream is not so stellar after all. This is where I either alter the original vision to fit what I can accomplish or abort the mission entirely and chalk it up to having an endless supply of ideas that bombard me constantly. Not all ideas do I take to market and not all of my fantasies do I really want to make manifest in my current reality. (Some things are best left as fantasies because in the realm of non-reality they are far juicier than then would be in actual form.)
Some of you may read this and think, is she a dream-killer? No, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m not a dream killer, I’m a realist who supports dreaming while also shepherding the way to the bridge of making it happen. I specialize in helping people actually achieve in real life rather than stay stuck in dreamland for a lifetime. Anyone who’s worked with me, knows me, or has heard me speak, understands that I’m not delivering a bunch of fluffy magical thinking about dream achievement. I live into results and results take a whole new kind of approach to living.
I think the reason most people get stuck in dreaming is that they don’t take the time to test their idea first to see if they’re able to achieve what they’ve conjured up in their mind as the Holy Grail of what they perceive they want. Someone might dream of being a famous actor, or making a BlockBuster movie but unless they’re willing to take certain steps such as investing in acting lessons, perhaps moving to Hollywood and being willing to make the sacrifice that aspiring actors make, it might not be plausible. Being “discovered” by a talent agent is probably not the best success strategy because it’s passive…it relies on someone else to make the dream happen. If you can’t be the one who orchestrates the action, it’s a weak ambition. To create a dream takes active participation, energy, dedication, devotion and time. It takes being honest with yourself around what you want and what you’re willing to give to get.
In the end, everyone is at-choice and someone may decide to press-on even if their resources are thin, but they move forward with awareness. Awareness to what we wish to create and what we are doing in the moment to either move toward that goal or away from it. This is really the recipe for success.
Perhaps to achieve your dream you’ll need to get more education or find a mentor and apprentice before jumping in. Great, now you know and now you can DO what you need to DO to achieve what you desire to experience.
Wisdom is asking the right questions.
The June 2014 Magazine edition of Psychology Today offers 6 important questions to ask yourself when testing your dreams for success achievement. I loved the article because it is in alignment with what I use in my own Re-Invention Algorithm that I use with clients and my national audiences.
- Does your goal match your values?
- Does it conflict with other priorities in your life?
- Will you be able to pursue it long-term, and for the right reasons?
- Can you gain satisfaction from each step?
- Are you sure you want it?
- Is achieving it within your control?
There is no correct number of right or wrong answers for these questions or a unique scoring solution. Each situation is unique. But asking yourself these key questions and answering them will serve to point you in the direction of your next steps.
If you would like help in knowing what your next steps are, how to organize your plan of attack or simply gain clarity around how you’d like to Re-Invent yourself personally or professionally, contact me by clicking here. I’d love to help and help you Get Off Your Ask! and get moving onto your best life now!
Here’s to taking a step in the direction of your Mastery and transforming your dream into your reality today!