**Read the Children’s Book: The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes
How many of you grown ups could relate to Beatrice? Yeah- Me Too. I have decided I like me too instead of Ahmen….
So Let me tell you about the first time I realized I needed to give up the world of perfectionism…. Perfectionism is like the devil driver ridin’ shot gun while the emotion you struggle with the most (whether it be people pleasing, anxiety or raging anger) is that nasty back seat driver raging in your ear- right out of your peripheral vision.
I was working at the Bill Ireland YDC and frankly (STILL) a little hell bent on my making the whole world a better place when I tried a little family sculpting work with a group of my boys. This is where you have one person position or even act out family members behaviors. They had struggled through processing their issues around their own families when they asked about me and mine. I initially thought, ‘Oh No! They do not need to know about MY Family- cuz if they did, I would be found out! A complete Imposter and the Imposter Police would surely show up and lock me up with them. I would be stuck wearing their tacky shoes. (And if you know me, tacky shoes are NOT an option).
Well, I decided to tell them about my family, trying to pick out the pretty parts… you know like when you pick through a package of three day old raspberries…..When Literally, they hammered out the juicy stuff, made it their own and ran with it.
So please. Just imagine six African-American “juvenile delinquents” riding around in my car of perfectionism…..DEMONSTRATE
They had transformed Alicia’s perfect car- Oh, I dunno, a Honda Accord….. into a low rider with lots of bling (they heard my Aunt has money). What was once my White-white grandmother and my very Victorian prim and proper White Great Aunt were now 15 year old black boys with gold blingidty-bling and cruizin’ in their dream car: a sparkly blue ’73 Chevelle.
I walked away having no idea what actually happened, but I laughed. Really, really laughed at myself and the ridiculousness of my family’s need to paint pretty for the very first time in my life.
LIFT THE SPOON UP #1
I believe it took me many years later to recognize what those young men were telling me and it is something I have come to value above most things in this life and it is this:
You ARE Already Good ENOUGH. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. RIGHT NOW. ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTIONS. NO BUTS. NO WHEN I AM…..(ATTACH WHAT EVER)
OUR WORTH IS A BIRTH RIGHT. When we do not see ourselves as enough, we attempt to cover it up with perfectionism and pretending and we steal time because the sparkling gems that we are have no opportunity to shine- and I believe we sparkle best because of our flaws, our quirks- those things that make people smile and glad that they are in our lives.
That opportunity to shine in the glory of who you really are gets lost in pretending to be perfect, to make everyone else happy. It gets lost because we forget about what we really value because there is just one more thing to make pretty….when really, relationships are always a complicated, beautiful mess.
LIFT UP THE SPOON #2
I have come to believe the #1 emotional struggle that often leads to the #1 mental health problem is our inability to see ourselves as enough. For myself and many of the people I have had the privilege to be in relationship over the last 14 years as a therapist, the spiritual path to waking up to this life and BELIVE we are ENOUGH is the most glorious gift we can give ourselves each day.
In doing this work, there is one person who I believe speaks volumes about not only the problem, but as well the practice of Good Enough.
Brené Brown is a researcher and story teller at the University of Texas and has now crossed over into national recognition. I had the pleasure of working with her team earlier this year to become certified in her work along with many other professionals around the world.
But let me tell you how I originally found her:
TELL The Story of doing the Ethics Workshop and Meeting April
(I always feel like I am last to know things….especially living with an astrophysicist—ya just can’t keep up)
Probably about five years ago…..
*Workshop on Practicing in a Rural Community
*Knew I needed to be Open
*Talked about the Controversy of LGBT community
*Spoke about being UU- Welcome Claudia
*Reminded her of BB
*Holy Crap!- This won’t be good……(not in the negative sense, but more of the “I am about to get a reflection of myself back at myself that perhapsI am NOT ready to see yet”
She was living her life attempting each day to be her most authentic Self.
LIFT UP THE SPOON #3
But, here comes the hard part…..and I won’t LIE. The road to Authenticity is difficult.
Perfectionism and pretending are body armor. Some of us sleep and shower in it. Rarely if ever, taking it off.
We paint pretty with our education, our big words, saying we prefer to just be alone. We make sure we say just the right thing to keep everyone else happy while we have no idea what makes up happy anymore. We try to wear the right clothes, make-up or have that perfect muscles..long after gravity has told us otherwise.
And because it is exhausting to slather on a new coat of paint EVERY MORNING OF OUR LIFE- We Numb out with
The “I’m Fine Syndrome”…what ever it takes to truly keep people out. We think we are protecting ourself, we believe we are working on being the perfect human being- so one day. JUST ONE DAY– we will finally be loved.
But we are also never seen- truly seen.
LIFT UP THE SPOON #4
So…….Many of you may be thinking…Geez Alicia…I am about ready to hide under this pew…… Because all of this requires Vulnerability and THAT is just so SCAREY!!
Frankly, if I weren’t playing spoons with the kids, I might want to too!
LIFT SPOON # 5
But there is a path ahead of us, there is a way towards Good Enough. AND we can relinquish the heavy HEAVY burden of emotional armor that exhausts us every day. I cannot tell you each step in one small moment- but I will leave you with hope.
Take just a moment. Settle into your seats. Sit up and get quiet. Now ask yourself, “If there was one value- one thing that I could cling to when I am trying to remember to show up and be present in my life—WHAT IS IT?
Perhaps you value traits like:
What ever it may be: Take a Moment and Decide, just for now- what will it be?
PAUSE PAUSE PAUSE
LIFT SPOON #6
Pause and hold your value in your mind for just a moment and move with forward with me…carrying your value with you…….
My two most trusted values in this season of my life are:
Authenticity and Connection.
I attempt each day to carry one in each pocket and call on them as I ground myself in my life. Leaning in and breathing through the difficult times when I desperately want to run and throw up my swords and shields of fakery. And when it does not go well….as it often does, I circle back and try again. Remembering that it is not in the doing it right every time that matters, but in the remembering of my values and trying again.
One of the many things I love about Brené’s work is that she uses metaphor to move the story along in our minds. So, one of the key steps in shifting away from the emotional armor we carry each day is to walk into the arenas of our lives differently.
Here is where I wish I had some visuals to show you. But, I am going to try to use my words well.
Brené likes the visual of the old Roman arena- a few have told me they even think it is the one in Pompeii (for my travelers). Given that I am a bit more of a glamour girl, my arena is more like one where Lady Gaga or Katy Perry would play…..I can only imagine what I am giving away about myself by saying such outlandish things!
So, imagine your arena…..
Okay…Now Take your Value and Begin to Walk into Your Arena….Armor Off.
Deep Breath IN……….Deep Breath OUT…….REPEAT
Of course the arena is not empty Right? The cheap seats are full of those that may say not so kind things. But if we are lucky and have done the work- we have seats of self-compassion and empathy….and our circle of trust, those that have earned the right to be in relationship with us are close and smile without judgement, routing us on…..
For some of us, this exercise may be easy. IT is NEVER Easy for me. I have to GLAMP out (No camping for this girl) in front of the entrance door….sometimes for a VERY long time before I go in. Pretty lights glisten, while I hear the cheers right along side the negative anonymous comments.
There is a trick that helps while you wait, while you get ready:
How many of you have a play list of favorite songs that help pump you up before you go into the “next hard thing?”
LIFT SPOON #7
Yes! So, it could be Eminem, A sonata by Bach, it could be old love songs by Al Green, or perhaps some classics like Queen or Aretha Franklin?
Or maybe I am just dating myself?
What ever the music may be that speaks to your soul….it can call upon us to lay down the emotional armor of the past, carry in our pockets the values we cherish most and at our best- perhaps dance into the moment feeling a lightness as we leave behind the masks that holds us back from being seen- truly seen in this one precious life we have to offer.
So with your value in hand, I invite you to dance with me- be free just in this moment to choose to be light- without armor. To help us- kids will you tell me how many times I lifted the spoon??
Now will you come and meet me and dance with me? Lyra has your very own dancin’ spoon just for you! Kids and grown-ups welcome!!
Check Out the Song we Danced To: J.O.Y.!!!
**I am sharing with you Lyra and I’s very favorite Anthem song that we have danced and sang together in the kitchen…
Everyone should have a Dancin’ Spoon at the door of your Arena! Can I get a Me Too!!
LIVE OUT LOUD, My friends. LIVE. OUT. LOUD.