On December 18th, 2018 by Stacy

Dropping the Weight

Posted In:
blog | Ego

We all keep secrets.
I’ve never in my life met someone who hasn’t kept a secret from someone. Maybe it’s a huge one like being a victim of sexual abuse or having a drug problem. But maybe it’s just a smaller one like how you really feel about something.

Why do we do that? It’s not harmless. Secrets make us feel like liars, like frauds, like inauthentic versions of ourselves. Even the smallest ones leave a dark smudge on our hearts. It doesn’t feel good to carry secrets around. And yet we all do it.

Sometimes we like to play the martyr card and convince ourselves that we’re just keeping that secret to protect other people. Protect their feelings, protect their reputations, protect their experiences.

Other times we tell ourselves that it doesn’t really matter. We don’t want to tell anybody, because that’s just giving the secret power over us. We don’t want it to matter so we bury it.

That’s all fine. Go ahead and do that. But the dark smudge stays. The weight remains.

We really keep our secrets out of fear.
Fear of judgement. Sometimes, we're afraid other people will judge us or feel judged by us. Other times we’re afraid of our own self-judgement. When we touch that secret with our thoughts, we feel shame. We see evidence that we actually are everything we fear to be. And whatever flavor that is, it all boils down to “bad.”

So we come to the conclusion that we can never tell. We can never share that part of us. We can never let anyone know that secret. And the dark smudge stays. The weight remains.

People join my 21-Day Heart Cleanse for a lot of different reasons. They want to become less guarded. They want to love themselves more than they do. They want to bring real healthy love into their lives. They want to move on from something painful or a relationship that isn’t working. Whatever the reason, they all go through the same process and that requires them to look back and reflect.

Guess what they sometimes find? Secrets. Which makes sense, of course, because the purpose of the Heart Cleanse is to do exactly that…get rid of those dark smudges. It can surprise them though. Secrets are buried underneath all kinds of things like revisions, rationalizations, even lies. They can be buried so far down that they’ve been forgotten, completely dismissed or ignored for so long the bearer of the secret doesn’t even realize they are still there.

Acknowledging our secrets can be painful.
Honestly, it can downright suck. But the pain can unlock liberation. Our hearts weren’t meant to wear those dark smudges.

And here is one of the most beautiful things I have the great honor of witnessing. The brave ones, the people that go all-in, they share their secrets. Sometimes with a person in their life and sometimes in the safe place we create together on Facebook. But either way, this is what they report. They feel lighter. The weight they’ve been carrying is lessened. Read that again.
They don’t have to share. It’s not part of the Heart Cleanse. But some do it anyway because they’ve committed to cleaning off the dark smudges. They want to liberate their hearts.

That’s the thing about secrets. No matter what you’re telling yourself about it, the dark smudge stays and the weight remains as long as you keep carrying it.

Excuse: You can’t share it because the world will know you’re “bad.”
Truth: You’re not “bad” and you never have been no matter what you’ve done or has been done to you.

Excuse: You can’t share it because it will hurt someone.
Truth: As long as you carry a secret, it’s hurting you.

Excuse: You don’t need to share it because it doesn’t matter.
Truth: It matters because you matter and your freedom from it matters.

Carrying secrets stands in the way of loving yourself.
So what can you do? Here are some possibilities…

First of all, acknowledge it. Look right at a secret you are keeping and say, “I see you.”

Then, tell it.

Take a baby step and write it down. Just telling it to a piece of paper will make the weight start to lift.
Take a bigger step and tell it to someone you trust, someone who will receive it with love and compassion (this can even be a professional).
Take a huge brave step and share your secret with the person you feel really needs to know this thing about you.

You don’t need to carry this around anymore.
Your beautiful heart was meant to be shiny and light, my friend.

Join us for the next 21-Day Heart Cleanse here.

On May 22nd, 2018 by Stacy

Pointing Fingers

Posted In:
blog | Ego

Relationships go through unhealthy and disconnected phases.
And some relationships are largely unhealthy where the people are not truly connected with each other. Phases like that and relationships like that are usually fraught with blame and fault.

In a healthy and loving relationship, there is no need for blame or fault. Sure, there are instances where one person hurts the other person’s feelings (because we're human!), but those cases are ideally solved in open conversation without pointing fingers in anger and blame. It’s so much easier to stay connected that way. Maybe it's as simple as clearing up a misunderstanding or as serious as a need for apology and forgiveness.

But c’mon, we’re not always that mature and evolved. And one way to tell that is the presence of blame and fault.

Why do people feel the urge to blame?
As a recovering blamer, I’ve noticed why I can fall into this trap. Sometimes I feel like I'm at fault. This is painful from my ego’s perspective and gets tangled with my feelings of self-worth. Pointing fingers outward is a way to ease that pain. If I can just get someone else to take the burden, then I’ll be off the hook. Another reason I resort to blaming is because I feel hurt or rejected. When that happens, I may try to make it about the other person to hide my own fear that I'm unworthy of love.

What I’ve learned is that in all scenarios, blaming is always about the blamer. It's a protective instinct. If I'm blaming you for something, that is not about you. It’s about me. My ego is responding to something.

Ironically, blame is actually you giving away your personal power in a relationship. In the moment, it feels like you're standing up for yourself. But you're never really satisfied until they accept that blame, so you walk around angry because you’ve given that power away.

I need the other person to admit they are wrong so I have validation that I am right. And if I'm right, then it isn’t about whether or not I am worthy of that person’s love.

And what if you are the one being accused, the one being blamed for something? Are you willing to take that on? The moment you engage in that battle, you’ve given away all of your own personal power. It’s all a hot mess with no winners.

So what do we do about it?
First, look for the red flags of blame and power. When they show up you know something less obvious is present. Recognize them for what they really are… hurt feelings, fear, and maybe both.

You can’t control the actions and intentions of other people, but you can be the one in the relationship who models loving connection. You can do that by being vulnerable and honest and talking about how you feel, without blame or fault. No weapons or lines of defense necessary if you want to be intimately connected with this person. Just truth and real feelings and maybe they’ll let their guard down and follow suit.

Or maybe they won’t. In that case, you have to avoid taking the bait. Accept responsibility without wrong-ness. Assign responsibility without wrong-ness. Lead with love. All we ever have control over is how we show up and love.

Hey, let's connect! I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

If you're interested in joining the next 21-Day Heart Cleanse, you can find info on that here.

And if you'd like to sign up for my weekly newsletter, The Love List, scroll to the bottom of the page.

On May 1st, 2018 by Stacy

Grown-Up Values

Posted In:
blog | Ego

Do your values have boundaries?
Let’s talk values for a minute. These are the qualities and characteristics that we think are more important than other things. They have a higher priority for us.

Living our values is wonderful, as long as we don’t cross into judgment. Let’s say someone values ambition. If so, ambition might drive a lot of their actions. It only becomes a problem if they see other people who are not ambitious and judge them, as lazy perhaps. It can also present a problem when they judge themselves harshly in their less-than-ambitious moments.

It could be that the root of their value is fear-based. Maybe the value of ambition is tied up with the need for power, influence, or accomplishment in order to feel worthy. It could also be that they just don’t see that judgment line and how easy it is to cross it.

It could also be both. I’m certainly guilty of that. I’ve had plenty of fear-based values that have created right/wrong thinking for me. I also have love-based values and can be very tempted to judge myself and others against those.

I grew up in a religion which, like all religions, has its own set of values. But the word “judgment” was thrown around a lot. And I came to see them as inseparable. There was also morality (which is basically right and wrong as dictated by a certain authority) and then you’ve got your sins. I sinned all the time. The whole thing was confusing to me as a kid, because Jesus seemed like such an accepting guy. I felt like the church just didn’t get Him.

But I was just a child. I didn’t have the ability to discern between values and judgment. From my immature perspective, the judgment in all of the teachings was too heavy for the love to penetrate it. At least I can now see the love in the teachings, the love in the community, and the love in the people within the religion.

Let's separate our values from judgment.
Values are wonderful things when we use them as guides to live a more loving life, but there are two very important things to consider. First, we want our values to be love-based and not a response to a fear we have. Second, we need to be super careful to avoid the judgment that can so easily and invisibly become tangled up with values.

I know I’ve said this a hundred times, but I’ll say it again. Judgment is a major obstacle to love. When we are judging something as wrong or bad, we are finding someone or ourselves lacking. It is a rejection. And here’s the deal. We might love someone in our heart. But when we judge them, they can feel the rejection, or love that is being withheld. That is a tough pill to swallow, but it is true. Think about the times YOU felt judged.

And we all do it. It’s in our human nature and comes hand-in-hand with our ego and our thinking mind. But we can still make a commitment to work on it. Especially when it comes to our values.

So, ask yourself this.
What are your top five values? Are any of them fear-based? If you find they are, maybe do some gentle examining of that (In fact, join us for the next 21-Day Heart Cleanse if you want to dive into those fears a little deeper within a supportive community.)

If you’ve got all love-based values, that is awesome. Our world needs a lot more people like you. Here is the question I would encourage you to ask yourself. Do you judge other people or yourself as bad/wrong when not aligned with your value? And the follow-up question is… how can you live your value without judgment of others or yourself?

It’s all about the love, people. The quest I’m on that I would invite you to join is to embrace our unique-ness and hold the things we care about in esteem without using our values as a measure of right and wrong. I plan to be working on that for a very long time. Because, human.

 

Hey, let's connect! I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

If you're interested in joining the next 21-Day Heart Cleanse, you can find info on that here.

And if you'd like to sign up for my weekly newsletter, The Love List, scroll to the bottom of the page.

On February 27th, 2018 by Stacy

Maybe so. Maybe not.

Posted In:
blog | Ego

I heard this story a long time ago, and I’ve always remembered it.

There lived a farmer who had a horse. The horse was incredibly valuable because of how it helped with the daily operation of the farm. One day, his horse runs away. All of the villagers come to console him. How terrible about your horse!

The man simply says. “Maybe so. Maybe not.”

The next day, his horse returns and brings with it twelve wild horses. All of the villagers come to congratulate him. How lucky for you! The man simply says, “Maybe so. Maybe not.”

The following day, his son falls trying to tame one of the wild horses and breaks his leg. All of the villagers come to check on him. How terrible about your son! The man simply says, “Maybe so. Maybe not.”

Shortly afterwards, an army comes through town to take all of the able-bodied young men in the village to a bloody war far away. The man’s son is left behind because of his broken leg. All of the villagers comment on his good fortune, but I bet you know what he said.

We spend most of our lives like the villagers, judging what is happening and riding the emotions that go with our judgment.

If you decide something is good, you are happy. If you decide something is bad, you are unhappy. So, reality isn’t the problem. It is our judgement about our reality that leads to suffering. When we decide the reality we are in is terrible, we suffer terribly.

Since all of that pain is stemming from our judgement, what if we just accept the reality we are in? We don’t have to talk ourselves into seeing it as a good thing either. Seeing the facts as “good” is just a judgement of the reality too, right? What if we are able to just accept what is as what is?

Here’s where some of the resistance comes from… what makes us judge something as bad? Isn’t it just that we want something else? We have desires, and the reality we are experiencing is not measuring up to those desires.

But acceptance of what is does not mean that you don’t set out to change your reality. You can look at the picture and decide that it doesn’t align with your desires WITHOUT judging it as good or bad. If it isn’t lining up with what you want, what action can you take in order for that to happen? We can just skip the suffering piece.

If you think of it as a progression where you have to accept reality first and then decide to take action to change it or to leave it, what can happen is that a person can get trapped at the acceptance stage. They hate the reality. It sucks. They are miserable. All because they haven’t accepted it. And that can go on and on and on, if one lets it.

Once you accept it, you can ask yourself if you want to stay there. Does this reality align with what I want? If yes, what do I need to do to keep it going? If no, what do I need to do to change it?

What if we could remember the story of the farmer and react to our reality the way he did? I mean, we don’t really know how everything is going to unfold anyway. Let’s avoid the emotional roller coaster. When our thinking mind judges something as bad (or good), what if we simply say…

Maybe so. Maybe not.

On February 13th, 2018 by Stacy

Jealous Much?

Posted In:
blog | Ego

Sometimes I get jealous. Mel Robbins, author and motivational speaker, tells us that jealousy is a great indicator of what we want to bring into our own lives. It points at our passion.

That is wonderful when I can stop myself from becoming jealous and acknowledge the root of that feeling. When I do that, it allows me to turn towards my heart and my own desires instead of toward my ego which uses the abundance of someone else’s life as a shameful reminder of my own lack.

After all, jealousy is just an emotion. There isn’t anything wrong with it.  It is simply the result of some belief I have. I’m taking the evidence I see, weighing it against that belief to judge myself as worthy or unworthy, and experiencing the resulting emotion. No big deal.  That’s the way our emotional system works.

For more on the emotional system, get this free video.

There isn’t even anything wrong with the belief I might have. Remember, it might be based on my passion and what I desire to bring into my life. The only problem really is that my ego is judging what I see as lack and coming up with jealousy for me. That’s an ego-in-control problem.

Regardless, sometimes it arises. What matters is what I do next. What mental action am I going to take as a result of jealousy rearing its head?

Here’s one. I can make assumptions about the person. I can question the purity of their motivations. I can be skeptical about their sincerity. I can make excuses for why they are receiving the things I want. Basically, I can try to tear them down in my mind as a way to soothe myself.

This is a very normal human response to jealousy. People also have a similar response when they are feeling hurt in some way. It doesn’t have to be ignited by jealousy.

When I take that course of action, I am creating a divide between myself and others. My ego is operating on the idea that if I put enough distance between who they are and who I am, then it is okay that I haven’t received in my life what they have in theirs. Think about it.  If I saw us as the same, then what excuse do I have for not bringing what I want into my life other than me not being worthy of it? That is the ego’s thinking anyway.

For more on the ego, get this free video.

After undertaking that mental action, my ego is soothed but my heart is left lonely. The heart doesn’t want to be separated from others. By indulging in that behavior I have closed myself to love. It has to flow out in order to flow in.

I’ve made a commitment to keep my love flowing, so here is the course of action I try to take instead. I intentionally reach out to the person I am jealous of. Whether that is real human contact, online or digital contact, or even an internal one-sided heart message, I make a connection. Sometimes, I try to plan a way to connect with them one-on-one. Other times, I just send my love and support with a message or comment. And when it is the only option, I offer a silent little love letter.

Here’s what happens when I do that. Most often, the other person happily accepts the connection and love flows between us. Someone who could have been an adversary, becomes an ally and a friend. (Note that this might be someone who already is a friend.  It can just be an adversary for a moment in my own mind.) When my heart is open to the other person, jealousy turns into what I truly want to feel which is happiness for their abundance.

In fact, regardless of whether any connection is made, I am different. When I shift to support and love, I open my heart which also allows me feel joy for them.

So often we think we need to eradicate our emotions. Take jealousy. I used to see it as a weakness in my character. I wanted nothing more than to rid myself of something so ugly. But it has become a wonderful red flag for me, because it offers me an opportunity to change the course of action that comes next. If I follow it without intention, I know I am going to take the mental action of devaluing another person to make myself feel better which will result in me blocking love.

That goes against everything I believe, so I see it as a pivot point. It is an opportunity for me to acknowledge my own desires and to celebrate the abundance of others, which keeps my love flowing out and the love of others flowing in.

Do I hope someday that my love-based mental action will become such a habit that an emotion other than jealousy will arise? Of course. Will I continue to strive to over-power the ego so that the judgement that causes jealousy will not exist? Of course. In the meantime, I can accept it and welcome it as an opportunity to adjust my mental action to reflect my heart and keep love front and center.

On January 9th, 2018 by Stacy

Which Wolf Are YOU Feeding?

Posted In:
blog | Ego

I have two conflicting beliefs about love. One comes from my heart.

I am worthy of love, no matter what.

No matter what happens. No matter what I do, how I fail, who I hurt, what evidence is showing up, I am worthy of love. No. Matter. What. It sounds obvious, of course. You might even be nodding your head in agreement as you read this. Yeah! I believe that too, Stacy. But here is the problem. I also have a belief about love that comes from my ego.

I am worthy of love, as long as…

I know which one is true with a capital T. Truth is that I have been worthy of love each and every time someone has kept it from me or taken it from me. Love is our natural state and when it is not given to us, it is only because that person can’t be in their natural state. It's not about us. It never is. Love is not something to be earned. It is our right.

But it’s in my human nature to constantly doubt it. When someone takes their love away or never gives it to us to begin with, we begin to wonder if we really are worthy. You might even end up with an ego belief like mine. I am worthy of love as long as … As long as all of the evidence shows that people are approving of me and acknowledging me. As long as I am doing all of the things the ego decides I need to do to get the approval, acknowledgment, and love.

The ego-based belief about love is conditional and relies on external validation. Whereas my heart’s belief is unconditional and comes from within. Remember, no matter what. No matter what evidence shows up, I am worthy of love. In fact, it is there within me and all around me as long as I am grounded in that belief.

When my ego-based belief about love is running the show, what happens when I’m not being acknowledged? That reinforces my belief that I am not worthy, because I’ve failed in some way. It causes me to not trust myself. If I’m not feeling the love, the world must know that I’m not worthy of it.

But that’s a bunch of B.S. I know that the heart-based belief is the Truth. So how do I deal with these two opposing beliefs?

It’s like the Cherokee tale of the grandfather who is trying to teach his grandson about hate and love. He tells him that there is a fight between two wolves going on within him. One is the wolf of love, beauty, and truth. The other is the wolf of hate, anger, and deceit. He tells him that it is the same fight that goes on within us all. The grandson thinks about that and asks him which one will win the fight.

He says, “The one you feed.”

For that reason, I work harder than just about anything on constantly pulling myself back to my heart-based love belief. And it is work. I would love to magically wake up one day and realize that other wolf had disappeared. But no. Not yet anyway. So I’m going to keep doing my best not to feed it, even though it keeps begging for food. I’m going to do my best to feed the one that keeps me connected to love.

For more on the ego, click here.

On December 26th, 2017 by Stacy

Rewriting the Villains out of Our Stories

Posted In:
blog | Ego

We sure do love our villains, don't we? We love them in our books, our movies, our TV shows. they are so deliciously diabolical. The drama! The intensity! They bring so much to a story.

A story.

Unfortunately, we also like villains in our personal stories, the ones we so often remind ourselves of, the ones we recount to anyone who will listen.  The traumatic ones, the sticky ones, the ones we use to explain why we are so messed up…those always have a villain.  They have to.  That’s how we get to be the hero!  The survivor!  The rescuer!  The victim!  Or whatever part we’ve assigned ourselves in the story.

But what would happen if we decided to ditch the standard formula and re-write our stories?  Without villains (gasp).  What if we re-write the memory of that person we have been vilifying with a new narrative?  We could develop a different character, one that might inspire feelings of empathy, compassion, maybe even understanding.

Believe me, our personal accounts of history are approximations of the facts at best.

What can re-writing the narrative do?  You might not like this, but it gets the villain off the hook.  We can’t place blame in their hands anymore.  That story only exists in the past.  They may have some responsibility way back then (whether that is 2 decades or 2 days ago) but we can’t continue to say, “It’s all their fault I’m like this!”.  And be honest, did they ever really feel on the hook or is that all in our heads too?  Most of our villains probably have an entirely different version of the story.  You might even be the villain in their account.

The flipside of them getting OFF the hook is that it gets us ON the hook.  If we can’t blame them anymore, then the only person responsible for the harm, hurt or betrayal is us.

Yes, it feels a little easier to have a villain destroying our lives.  When you grasp on tightly to a story where you are the victim, you don’t have to grow.  You don’t have to own it.  It’s so liberating to blame someone else.

Until it isn’t.  Until you are trapped in that story.  It will confine you.  It will keep you in a box.  But the absolute worst thing it will do is cause you to feel separation from others.  And separation is simply a lack of love and connection.  The only true liberation is love.

Here’s some more possibly upsetting news.  I hate to break this to you but if other people are playing the villain in your story, guess what?  It’s very likely that you are playing the villain in someone else’s.  I could tell you several people I KNOW have me cast as the villain in their story.  But so what?  Maybe I even was a villain and did something truly diabolical.  Holding myself in that role from the past in this moment now is no different. Separation, lack of love, lack of connection, all the yucky feelings that go with that like guilt, shame, remorse, blah, blah, blah.

No thanks. I can write my own version of the story. I can write myself as a character I can feel empathy for, compassion for, understanding and acceptance of ... I can choose to love her and in doing that, liberate her.

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