Disease of the mind, the heart or the body is dis-ease of the spirit.
I find that it’s a cycle of mine to re-evaluate things right around the end of each year. After the hustle bustle of travel, feasts and fodder, when it gets quiet you can hear the whispers of your body saying “please no more toxic crap”. Is it food? Is it family? Is it your environment? Perhaps it’s your relationship to your work, your lover, your finances, yourself?
A series of questions that sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed by injustices but in truth, who resides over our court?
This past year I’ve reconsidered who I can be in the world a thousand times over, in fact I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. When I was three years old I wanted to be Sleeping Beauty. From four to six year old I wanted to make my grandma feel good and not be sick any more. At nine I wanted to be the best speller in my school and win the math trophy too. From eleven until fourteen I wanted to be Juliet also I desperately wanted to be Mexican, have breasts and one day win an Oscar. At 18, I wanted to be an actress, singer, psychologist, fiancé and graduate from NYU Magna Cum Laude. At 19, I wanted to move to Los Angeles and work as a music supervisor for film.
Finally around 24, I got really ill while working in the Hollywood machine and started seeking teachers, healers, alternative paths and how I could serve the world, offering my heart’s gifts. Then I wavered on whether or not I had the courage to do go a road less traveled and moved to Seoul, South Korea for a year to teach English (how that seemed more “responsible” and reasonable I’ll never know).
At 28, with over 30 resumes on my hard drive, I once again sought the path of becoming a speaker, healer, teacher and doula. The meaning of doula is “woman of service” and I knew that this was my life long journey but didn’t quite understand that everyone has a different definition of service.
Full service, self-service, server, “the help”, free, pro-bono, of no value, charitable acts, hocus pocus, love, light, servant.
We are all in service to some degree. What are we serving though?
-an expectation from our parents, a purpose, ourselves?
Go Ask Ella was my first attempt at world-wide service and after nearly two years, I’ve had a few clients that have opened my eyes to what work can be and I’m so grateful. I’ve also learned that without clarity on the definition of service, you can easily be mistaken as a doormat, an afterthought, a fixer, unpaid and undervalued.
Where we fall out of alignment is where we haven’t asked a question. So I asked myself today – where am I out of alignment? Struggling to make ends meet causes so much undue stress that it affects all of my relationships, my clarity, peace and this little light of mine doesn’t shine.
Witnessing and supporting two lives come into this world this year made me also see that there is so much fear around not knowing. We often start in a hospital setting where we hand over our well-being from the get go to someone else. “Who should I be?” “What should I do?” “What’s wrong with me?” “I’m uncomfortable. Make it better.” No one holds authority over you though, absolutely no one knows better than you moment to moment.
If we don’t feel, if we don’t have the space to ask, then that’s the root of dis-ease.
A wise woman once looked me square in the eye and said- “You’re your teacher.” Some of the best postpartum and birth doulas I know are celebrated because they never tell the family what to do but they ask questions that lead them back to empowering choices. We can always make new choices and change our minds but knowing that we were the ones to do so makes all the difference.
I now have the choice of renewing Go Ask Ella’s hosting domain in the next week. Being a safe, real space to discuss ideas, current issues and concerns with wellness and relationship. Not sure if the site should stand. $75+ to maintain each year it’s been up and less than that has been donated to keep it running.
“By 2012 I intend to empower 5000 people to fall in love with themselves. in other news… food, sex, travel wisdom at your service.”
Did I reach my goal?
With over 20,000 visits to just the site alone not including my twitter feed, YouTube channel, Elephant Journal articles, workshops, women circles, over 200 complimentary support sessions via phone, skype or email.
I receive 1200+ word emails from askers who want a quick answer for their problems and I’ll tell you all now, there is no email reply I could ever give you that could act as a magic wand and poof! –all better.
Doing the work, inquiring and committing to taking care of yourself is a life-long journey that begins and ends wit you. There are thousands of people out there who will hold it down for you while you peel off your masks, it’s up to you to decide who you do that with. Who do you trust? Who do you feel you can be totally vulnerable and completely yourself with? Whether they’re friends, family, a therapist, a coach – what’s important is that you value the relationship, the exchange, the time, the richness of what unfolds because it will be a direct reflection of how much you value your self and that person or people.
I’m choosing to do what excites me and be paid well for my time, energy and heart (as we all should be).
Perhaps the Go Ask Ella chapter is coming to an end or perhaps it’s just the definition of what Go Ask Ella has been.
Posing questions, posting on Facebook, and sending email blasts haven’t really ruffled feathers or got much response. Even asking you questions as a new approach didn’t really take. And that may very well be because I’ve not really been throwing it down, slicing it up and serving up hot freshness.
Maybe by just laying it down today and being vulnerable will dust off the drawing board for me, for you, for “everyone”.
The world is a blank canvas, what do you want to paint?
Everything you see is a creation from someone’s doodling in their notebook or from a conversation they had with a friend or a spark of thought that emerged in a dream.
If life doesn’t look or feel good to you right now, what’s the first order of business to change that?
Be real, lay it down, get down to the heart of the matter and open up to what’s possible…