Vulnerability is My Superpower: My Life on the Internet

Sometimes people ask me why I share so much of my life on the internet. Can’t you just share pictures of your kid and funny memes? If I am being honest, sometimes I wonder why I do it too. It is incredibly difficult work. I regularly find myself sitting behind a screen pouring out some of my deepest secrets, publicly wrestling with my mess. This work often leaves me emotionally spent, opens me up to lots of criticism, and for what? Rarely is there a clear and definitive benefit. Is anyone reading? Is anyone growing? Does it even matter? What do I hope people get from engaging with my work? Those questions feel impossible to answer at times.

Then, inevitably just at the moment that I think “maybe this is all a waste”, someone reaches out and says “me too”. Sharing my own mess and publicly wrestling with my emotional baggage opens the door for others to wrestle with theirs. It lets them know that they are not alone. It affirms their feelings. It shamelessly invites them in. To the core of my being, I believe that the best thing we can do is learn to be honest first with ourselves and then with others. There is freedom in owning your truth. I believe that a lot of conflict happens because we fail to recognize that we are all doing our best to navigate murky waters, waters that perhaps we could help each other navigate if we’d allow people in. I think lots of us miss out on truly experiencing unconditional love because we won’t let people see our chaos and love us in it. Vulnerability is my superpower, it is the gateway into every single good thing in my life. And that is why I share. I have found a sense of freedom in being unapologetically myself, in doing the hard work of self-reflection. I want you to know the freedom of laying down your facade, letting go of other people’s expectations, and leaning into self-awareness so that you can build the life that you want. It seems counter-intuitive at first, that there is freedom in owning your mess, but there is only one way to let go of the weight of something and that is to learn to accept it.

Thank you for bravely and generously trusting me with your stories. Thank you for engaging with my work. That you for wrestling and for watching the mess of my own wrestling. I hope we all are better for it.

vulnerability is my superpower.png

Living on Purpose: Life as a Choose Your Own Adventure Story

As a child, some of my favorite books to read were from the Give Yourself Goosebumps choose your own adventure series written by R.L. Stein. Throughout each book, there were several opportunities for the reader to exert some agency. If you wanted your character to walk through a door, you’d turn to page 78. And if you wanted the character to turn and run, you’d turn to page 52. Depending on the series of choices you made, the story could be slightly or drastically different every time you read it. I loved those books and others like them because it drew me into the process, begged me to be an active participant rather than just a consumer. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the choose your own adventure concept would be a perfect metaphor for navigating life. We can either be passive consumers of our experiences or we can actively shape the story.

Every day we make hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tiny and massive decisions that shape our own story. Turn here, eat this, accept that job offer. Each one has the potential to lead us down a slightly different path. Here’s the catch….in life, we already know the end of our story. We all meet the same ending so the question becomes, what do we want to do along the journey? We cannot always control the outcome of our decisions, and much like the choose your own adventure books, sometimes life throws us an unexpected twist, but we can live with intention, with an idea of what we’d like to experience on the way, and we can control how we react to those unexpected twists.

Living with intention simply means doing big and small things on purpose, with purpose. Here are a few things I do to make sure my own adventure is lived with intention:

  • Every morning I try to meditate on a single word that I hope to carry into my day. Grace. Humility. Boldness. It’s amazing how thinking about that one simple concept for even just a few moments can shift how I interact with the world.

  • I am intensely curious about myself and carve out plenty of time for self reflection. If you don’t know what your hopes, fears, desires, motivations, pitfalls, hangups, etc are…how can you live with intention? You will spend your life in a reactionary state, motivated by things within you that you do not understand.

  • I have a vision for the legacy I want to leave. I periodically reflect on the statement “Because of me, my son will know __________________”. What am I teaching him about the world? What is most important for him to understand? What will he say about me when I am gone? Knowing how I want to fill in that blank gives me guidance on how I navigate relationships, how I spend my time/money/energy. It is a filter through which I can run every decision. How does this help build the legacy I hope to leave?

  • I know some areas where I want to have an impact, some social problems I want to draw attention to. I cannot do all of the things, so where can I be most effective? These questions have led me to my most exciting opportunities and have kept me from spending too much time and energy on perfectly fine things that would keep me from having the strongest impact possible in a few select areas. Your life is going to have an impact, but you get to decide whether that’s an intentional impact or a haphazard one.

  • Meditation. I can’t tell you how much meditation has changed my life and how much better my whole experience is when my meditation practice is healthy. Sitting still is hard. Quieting your mind is hard. There are so many lessons to be learned in that stillness that we carry into the chaos.

Are you living with intention, actively and purposefully shaping your own story?

Or are you just a consumer of it, turning the page to find out what comes next?

legacy & impact.png

Visioning & Setting Intention for 2018: Living My Best Life

Parker Palmer's A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward the Undivided Life begins with this story: "There was a time when farmers on the Great Plains, at the first sign of a blizzard, would run a rope from the back door out to the barn. They all knew stories of people who had wandered off and frozen to death, having lost sight of home in a whiteout while still in their own backyards". I worry that in a culture that constantly encourages us to do more, be more, and have more that we sometimes wander out into our own metaphorical backyards, chasing the things we think we need to be happy, or mindlessly moving with the wind, and lose sight of our way home, back to people and things that give us life. I am in the midst of my own reckoning. I am learning to let go of what it is I am "supposed to be", putting down the broken mirrors all around me that are giving me a distorted view of myself and my life, and trying to find my own way. I am slowly finding my way back in from the blizzard, from the do more/be more/have more hustle, and I am laying a rope for the times I will inevitably find myself out in the chaos. I hope you'll join me. 

blizzard-1972645_960_720.jpg