Meeting my Spirit Animal: Liz Gilbert

Good Morning from the International Women’s Summit in Phoenix Arizona! Just hanging around with Laverne Cox (no big deal), Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, and Glennon Doyle. NO BIG DEAL! You know what I realized this time around however, is that I am not as star struck as I used to be. I realize that due to their bad ass ness I have these power house women available to me all the time anywhere I want. Elizabeth Gilbert for instance has been downloaded into me (this is actually something she spoke about here, about her beloved Rayya). Her words are literally a part of me now, and so too I am realizing is her spirit. So when I was able to have the courage to show her some words I wrote about my experience in 2015 and receive an amazing nurturing hug from her, I absorbed it into me and it just gave me more encouragement for my own journey as a bad ass.

I’m just sitting here trying to wrap my mind around this experience. I was going to write that even words fail to capture it, but that simply isn’t true. Words haven’t failed me before and I am willing to bet they won’t now either. I just don’t know which ones will come forth at this time. Isn’t that exciting?!

Isn’t that the very definition of magic, that we don’t know what is going to happen next?

It can be magical. And for people with anxiety it can be terrifying. I am both. It depends on how grounded I can find myself in any given moment and what I am facing down in the mirror that day. These events have a way of doing that to you. Bringing you face to face squared off with any existing feelings of unworthiness. Four years ago at one of these I could barely make eye contact with anyone. I was so afraid they would see straight through to all the hurting parts of me and decide I wasn’t meant to be there. At the same time I was desperately wanting to be seen. We can be both, ALL, all at once.

Elizabeth Gilbert ended up telling us a very intimate story (that she stated she hadn’t planned on) about her beloved Rayya, that she lost two January’s ago. By the way if you haven’t read Rayya’s Memoir, “Harley Loco”, I highly recommend it. Harley Loco !!! She describes the process she needed to go through to come to terms with losing the person she always went to for everything. How could she exist in a world without her, and she ended up saying at the end of the story that this process made the download complete. She talked of radical mercy, the kind that defines who we are as people, not the person we are being merciful with. She keeps Rayya inside of her now, and can access her voice at any time, because she knows her so intimately, that she knows exactly what she would say in any given situation.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. This idea that we can keep people well beyond their expiration in a variety of ways, not just through the written word.

Also at the panel lunch (that only gold tickets have access to, something I can hardly believe I am able to do, never would have been able to before), they talked about this idea of leaving a legacy and how much pressure we women feel to do that AND all of the other things on our plate. One of the bad ass women said something along the lines of rather than thinking of some large scale way to do this, the end result our biggest dream come to life. We leave our legacy anytime we touch another human life with connection, mercy, kindness, integrity, anytime that we see someone that needs to be seen. This idea was so comforting to me. It gave me the sense I am exactly where I should be RIGHT NOW. Not that I am somehow desperately missing some imaginary mark that was set for me. A way I have always felt restless and disturbed about.

I am experiencing more peace, even amongst all of these very big emotions, and so many different energies, here this time. In my personal journey peace is probably the thing most would describe could seem the most unattainable for me. I do not have a peaceful mind, often I have a vicious one, but I am learning to love it/her right into submission. She is melting into a puddle of positive thoughts, and solidifying into a beautiful deeply rooted willow tree. Strong and grounded, and capable to allow her branches to be lifted and moved by life’s experiences, without fearing total annihilation at every turn.

I barely even recognize myself on this trip.

So for this morning I will share one defining moment from it, there have been many. At the top of this post I shared a passage I wrote in September of 2015. At that event I wandered around, not knowing whether I was doing peace or being spiritual correct or not, feeling very insecure about my place in the world.

This time I took my shot and I asked Elizabeth Gilbert to read these words in the front of my very worn copy of Big Magic. She READ MY WORDS! And she gave me the best hug, she didn’t let go first she just held me. My hero held me for a few moments and read my words. I can do anything now! She saw me. And that was enough. It didn’t need to be more. And so perhaps maybe I too can entertain the idea that I am enough, and nothing needs to be more, and then hopefully I can model that for all of the women who look to me. My daughters, my wife, my friends, my clients, my found family, and anyone I come into contact with: WE ARE ENOUGH! We are exactly where we are supposed to be, and life can be full of magic if we are willing to face off with our fears enough and to keep going when it burns enough to see the horizon over the next difficult spot.

Keep going my friends. Dreams do come true. Here is what it looked like when one of mine did…

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