(mostly) intact. It was an eventful 31 days filled with ups (Oprah for president!) and downs, but it’s always a useful and enlightening exercise to check in with all of you to see what’s resonated.
Here are the top five posts that got you talking and reacting the most from the month of January. Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful questions, comments and insights -- keep ‘em coming! And do join me on our subscriber list. More and new articles will preview there as well as invitations to subscriber-only events (the first of which is coming soon!) and general joy and inspiration...
- Speaking of Oprah, early in the month I got the good news that the Super Soul Sunday conversation I had with Ms. Winfrey was being turned into a podcast -- hooray!
4. I shared a seemingly simple story about a friend accidentally breaking my favorite bowl … which was really about learning to embrace imperfection in all its glorious forms.
3. One of those “downs” I referred to earlier came via a Facebook ad that someone was running, using my name as a disingenuous way to make a name for herself. I saw the situation as a unique opportunity to “go high,” to paraphrase Michelle Obama:
I’ve heard (thank you, those of you who have let me know) that someone who calls herself an emotional eating expert is posting aggressively unkind Facebook ads about my work and that they are popping up on your pages.
I’m sorry to hear this and would like to take a moment to respond, not to her particularly, but to the notion that tearing someone else down will build us up. That being mean and aggressive is a winning strategy.
We’ve all tried that one. We’ve all blamed and fought and, from a lost or lonely or desperate place inside, cut other people to shreds. Or at least, I have. And when I wasn’t doing it explicitly, I was thinking about doing it. Blame was one of my favorite strategies and make no mistake: tearing someone else down is a way to blame. It’s a way not to take responsibility for our own feelings, our own decisions, our own actions.
It’s challenging not to go to war, either with ourselves or with someone else. It’s challenging to notice when the voice in our heads takes over and says, “War is the only option. Being unkind is the way to go. It’s my turn and I deserve to win, no matter the cost."
Everything—and this situation is no exception—is a chance to question where we stand.
Do I feel personally attacked? No.
Do I feel the need to write to her and call her out? No. (See below about taking action.)
Do I notice that the tactic she is using is familiar to me and that I’ve done it many times myself? Absolutely.
Can I find the place inside me that wants to go to war with myself? Fight with the parts of myself I think would be better vanquished? (That’s the war part. "Let’s destroy what we don’t agree with and what will be left will be only the good parts." How many times have I done that, starting with "let me lose weight and what will be left will be a happy, relaxed, thin person").
At least a million times…
Which doesn’t mean I don’t take action or speak up for myself. I do. Often. Although in this case, many people have already contacted Facebook about the aggressiveness. Also, the ad has not popped up on my page and I would need to be served the ad in order to report it.
The bottom line is that in any situation, I look and see what action I can take and if it feels in integrity, I take it.
And all along, I keep questioning what in me gets triggered and reactive, turning towards those feelings with as much kindness as I can muster. And I keep strengthening my resolve to untangle what’s left of the web of self-loathing and blame because the less and less I do it to and in myself, the less I do it with anyone around me.
It's working. Sanity and clarity are constant companions these days.
2. Silence that voice and let love in:
1. And, finally, I did manage to sneak in a little R+R this month (although even that precious time away was tinged with uncertainty). I hope you found some time to yourself, as well, even if it wasn’t “perfect”:
Matt had a conference in Hawaii last week, and I went along as the wife. (I love doing that. Fading into the background. Hardly opening my mouth except to say hello and support him). Well anyway, we landed in Oahu on the day of the nuclear alert. Our plane touched down a few hours after everyone found out it had been a mistake, but not before many people — sales people, waiters, gas station attendants, cashiers, mothers, fathers, kids — thought they would only be alive for a half hour after they got the first alert. As we walked off the plane, my phone was lighting up with texts from friends who had been here and were brought to their knees by the thought that everything changed in a second: Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.
Being, um, somewhat death obsessed, I started asking everyone we met — the person at the pharmacy at Target, the waiter at dinner, the front-desk person at our hotel — how they were, where they were, what they felt.
Their answers were of course stunning (and I am writing a longer story about this and will let you know when I’m finished with it and where to read it), but in the meantime, and as always, when something like this happens, it’s always a chance to take a long breath, and ask what we would do if we had half an hour to live … what would be unfinished, what we wished we would have said, if we have any regrets and in what area.
None of the people to whom I spoke woke up that morning thinking they were going to be hit by a nuclear missile. And while there is much to say about the political climate and how this exacerbates the already simmering fear, that is not what this post is about. It’s about our interior lives. It’s about how we live day to day, where our priorities are. And you. What about you, all of you lovelies?