The Path to Living Your Best Life

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We each have our path of healing. The path that brings us to live our fullest and best life. And that path, it will be different for each of us. The things that may work for one may not work for another, or perhaps the timing is not quite right. I believe that we each have an inner knowledge of the path best suited for ourself, and when we learn to quiet the noise and listen we can find that path. 


I wanted to share a bit about a friend of mine; one who I have watched on the path to living his fullest and best life. 

Many, many years ago I was working in a bar in San Francisco, when I met Austin Lucas. I was managing and bartending and he worked the door. He was a musician that one of our coworkers nicknamed Buttercup. My strongest memory of him was of us hanging out and him playing and singing the song “I saw red” by Warrant.

Fast forward 3 lifetimes to September 2014.

I am not sure what made me think of him, but I typed his name into the facebook search engine, and we connected. About a year later he was going to be playing a show here in Brooklyn, so I took a shift off of work to see him. At the time, taking a shift off of work was a big deal. I remember thinking I needed to allow myself to have more fun, and not let money and work rule my life. It only took 4 years for that lesson to really sink in. haha.

Watching him play was surreal. I remember being blown away by how beautiful and powerful his voice was, so different than I remembered. We were kids (early 20’s) when we met, and now he was a man. A man that had lived a lot of things in his lifetime. He had loved, lost, hurt, thrived, and struggled. He was a long lost friend, and we still had a powerful friendship after so much time.

He shared with me a little about the dissolution of his marriage and how he had stopped drinking, because it compounded his already difficult depression. Over the next few years I met up with him when he played in town and we shared stories of our lives. He never said so, but it was clear that he was on the journey to live his best life; he had changed his eating habits, started a working out, took up Muay Thai, started taking anti-depressants, let go of a relationship that was no longer supportive to his growth, and start playing with a band again.

It seems as if I saw him in between most of these changes, and I was able to notice the shifts each time we connected. We never spoke about all the work it took to make the decisions and stick to them. We never talked about how many times in the past he had tried to make these changes. We never talked about all the times he had to shut down the voices and noise in his head that tried to get him off track. We never talked about the darkness that came before each of these decisions. But I know Austin is human, and just like the rest of us he went through these things. I also know that Austin is strong, and somehow through everything he has been through, the world around him, and the noise inside of him, he was able to listen to that part of him that is fighting for his greatest good, his best life.

The other night I was lucky enough to see him live again. We didn’t have too much time to catch up before the show, so I can honestly say that I had no idea what his day was like, or what was going on in his head and heart before the show, but I can say that he brought to his audience the man he is supposed to be. I can barely remember the kid with his guitar singing I saw red, because the man he has become is powerful, fluid, open, JOYFUL, dedicated, funny, open, self assured, loving. I feel lucky to call this man my friend, and I look forward to staying connected as he continues to follow his path towards his best life.

Austin Lucas has punk rock roots. He has been playing country music for many years, and has recently started playing with his band The Bold Party, bringing a good time rock’n’roll vibe to his songs. You can check him here https://www.austinlucas.com/

If you would like some support quieting the noise so that you may hear what your heart is guiding you towards, reach out for a free consultation. If you have an internet connection, we can work together.

You are responsible for the outcome of your communication

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Let that phrase sink in for a minute. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OUTCOME OF YOUR COMMUNICATION. You may be thinking, but Genea, I can’t control the other person in the conversation, how can I be responsible for the outcome of my communication? Well, you can’t control the other person, but you, part of you, or multiple parts of you has a desired effect for the outcome of the communication, and it will do what it can to achieve that. The trick, is to know what you want from your communication, and be aware of the different parts of you that may be subconsciously contributing to your conversation. What does that mean? I will try to explain using an example in my life.

I consciously tried to not talk about the normal everyday struggles in my relationship. I am aware, that when you only talk to your friends about the bad stuff, they get a warped idea of who your partner is. I never wanted to vilify my partner, because I loved him, and I wanted my friends to love him too. But sometimes, I needed to talk to my friends about what was going on. Quite simply, I wanted some support, some empathy, and to feel like someone had my back.

Here we see the CONSCIOUS objective of my communication was to receive empathy and support. However, I would often leave these conversations feeling that my friends took his side, that they did not have my back, and it hurt. So how am I responsible for this outcome? What I did not realize was that the part of me that did not want to vilify my partner, the part of me that did not want my friends to dislike my partner, was playing a big SUBCONSCIOUS role in my conversation. I would subconsciously frame everything in a way to make him look good, even when I was complaining or feeling hurt about something that he did. This action resulted in my friends having empathy and support for him, which was the opposite of what I was consciously looking for, but dead on what that subconscious part of me was looking for. At the time, I felt my friends were not supportive of me. I did not realize that I was RESPONSIBLE for that outcome.

Another one I have often been guilty of is wishy washy communication. That part of me that doesn’t want to rock the boat because I am afraid I won’t be loved anymore if I say what I really need. Then I get upset when I don’t get what I need. I am responsible for that outcome, because I let the part of me, that’s afraid they will leave, or stop loving me play the bigger role in my communication. I was responsible for not getting what I need.

We get to look at the communications that we have had that did not have our conscious desired outcome. We get to look at where we were responsible, look at the parts of ourselves that may have been trying to create the outcome we received. Recognize those parts, love them for working so hard for us. Moving forward we get to choose into the parts of us that can create the desired outcome, even if it is uncomfortable. And if we don’t, we get to own our responsibility in the outcome we created.

If you’d like some support looking at your own communication, schedule a free consultation.


The Need to FIX

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In this video I do some exploration and processing of my need to fix. This is something I have been working on letting go of for awhile. I am not sure when I first become aware of my need to fix, but as I look back on my life, it has definitely played a big role. In the last year I have been trying to push it down, and not torture my boyfriend with my trying to make everything better. I am sure that he was way more annoyed and burdened than he let on, and it may have made him feel like I was not happy with who he was or how he was in the present moment, but this was not true. What I have discovered, is that when anything happened to make me feel less connected, my subconscious would freak out and try to fix whatever it was that I perceived as the cause of the disconnect.

I am understanding that I have a core desire to feel connected, like I am one, with the people I love. That desire has been a source of some behavior that has not served me well. I would try to fix what I perceived to be the source of disconnect, usually something outside of myself, instead entering the situation from my own source of oneness and connection. 

So I get to relax and let life unfold. I get to stop putting so much energy into something that is may not wanted, and often pushes people away. I can offer support and help, and I can give it when asked. I can stop when I feel the need to fix creep up and explore how I can feel connected and oneness within myself. I can love and support my loved ones as they are in this moment. 

If you would like to explore getting to the core of your need to fix, or any other behaviors that seem to be getting in your way, click below to schedule a free consultation.

The money conversation (part 3-freedom)

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So often when we think about a problem that we are having, all we see is the surface. We don’t actually understand that most of our problems are caused by a spiderweb of interconnected threads. My issues around my debt and money carried threads from every aspect of my life. My money conversation, and the issues around getting into, and out of debt was multi layered.

  1. I was in debt for 20 years, although I was actually really good with money

  2. I felt massive shame around my debt.

  3. I was afraid, ashamed to ask for help.

  4. I would keep my word, even if it meant I would suffer.

  5. I was a money hoarder, I had to be prepared for the worst. Be in control.

  6. I was scared to spend my real money on anything I had not planned and saved for. Control.

  7. I tied my debt and the shame that went with it to the joy, spontaneity, and creativity in my life.

You can read more about this in the Money Conversation part 1, and part 2.

Little did I know that I still had more work to do. After all of this realization and growth, I plugged away, I worked mostly 6 days a week. I sold some of the photo equipment that got me into debt in the first place. I let go of a lot of things that I bought because I thought I needed them to “be a photographer,” or to be happy.

But, I was still hiding. Everything in my life became about “When I am out of debt, then I can…” It was no longer, “I need this in order to do this,” but it was the same story. Does that story sound familiar? Maybe yours goes something like this: “I will be happy when….”, or “If I have this thing, my life will be good”

I still did not do anything spontaneous, fun, or creative. It became: I will do those things once I when I’m out of debt. Then, It was going to happen. End of February 2019! That was going to be the day I would be out of debt! Mid February I did my taxes, and instead of owing $800 like I thought I would I owed $5500. I was devastated. That would set me back 6 months, or so I thought.

Its funny though, how when you’re really doing the work to deal with the underlying causes of your problem, the shifts come faster and with more clarity. It was the end of March, and I was still working way too much, I was thinking that even when I had the money, that I would work hard to save a cushion so that I would be okay, there’s that CONTROL thing again. But, I was tired, tired of my excuse that I had to work, that I had to make money, that I couldn’t do anything fun.

So, I got up off my ass and took a look at my bank accounts. I pulled an envelope of money that I had set aside for something else, and I realized I had enough! There would be no cushion, but I could do it…and I was going to do it! I was tired, tired of putting off what I could do now because of some fear or some story: the fear of not having enough, the fear of not having a cushion, tired of “I can live my life when this happens”, tired of running from opportunity, joy, and freedom. I always used money, debt and work as an excuse not to do things. I didn’t want to face the parts of me that were scared to take risks. But I was ready, I was ready to let go of these parts of me.

I’m sure this break with my old self will be messy at times, and those parts of me will rear their heads, but now I know better. Now I know those old stories are coming up out of fear, and that opportunity is right in front of me. Freedom requires a willingness to choose something different than than I had in the past, and a willingness to live in the present.

If you would like to work with me on creating freedom, schedule a free phone consultation with me here:

The money conversation (part 2-it goes deeper than money)

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The realizations and steps forward in my last post were huge for me. ( click here to go to the Money Conversation part 1) Facing my shame, stepping through it to a place of vulnerability, and making a commitment. It was very difficult, and a part of me, a part of the story I made up about who I was died. I was creating change. Brené Brown says that vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.

I was on the right track, and I did everything “right” I opened up, I was vulnerable, I became okay with my situation. But I still was hung up about money. I thought about it all of the time. Which money I needed to put in which pile so that I could do the things I wanted to. I hoped I would have enough to go on vacation. Why wasn’t I making more at work, You get the idea. Money was still a big part of my life.

Next came some big realizations. When I was growing up I felt like we didn’t have any money; to what extent this is true is beyond me. Parents don’t usually share the actual state of family finances with their children. We reused foil, and I remember my mom sending the utility companies only partial payments. As I grew up, I was scared to not pay the bills, and I always made sure that I had a cushion.

Realization #1: I was a money hoarder. I did not want to let go of my money. I wanted my savings account to be full, so that if something happened I would be okay. Yes, this is a product of my need to control things so that I don’t have to feel pain or trauma.

Next I started thinking about what I actually used my credit cards for. For me it was printing and framing for art shows, photography equipment, artistic endeavors, (you might think to yourself, hey that’s okay, she’s an artist, and sometimes you’ve got to do what you got to do). I also used credit cards for anything I really wanted to do, but had not been saving for. This included concerts, dinner with friends, a new pair of jeans. And lastly, I used my credit cards for any unexpected expenses that came up, fixing the car, new shoes for work. Now remember, I had a savings, but there was something in me that couldn’t bring myself to use my “real money” to do anything fun or creative.

Realization #2: I used credit cards to pay for unplanned life, and my creative outlet. I had tied my debt and created shame around having spontaneous fun, and my creative outlet. On the surface I knew I felt shame about my debt, but I had no idea that I had intertwined it so deeply into the things that brought me joy.

You see, it goes deeper than money, as do most issues we have in our lives.

Click here to read The Money Conversation part 3.

If you would like to work with me, and look deeper, schedule a free phone consultation with me here:

The money conversation (part 1-facing shame)

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For those of you that have known me a long time, you know money has been a huge part of my life. It has been my biggest excuse. I had been in debt for about 20 years. No, not the student loan kind of debt. Everyone always seems to hold an air of forgiveness around that one, but good old fashioned credit card debt.

I told myself it was okay, that most of it was accumulated from printing and framing for art shows and buying photography equipment. You see I was a photographer, and someday it would pay my bills, so it was investment debt…or I kept telling myself.

I was paying $1000 per month for the longest time. But never seemed to make any headway, I didn’t really understand it. I mean I was good with money in many ways. I always had money saved (the cushion), and when I wanted to do something, I would plan and save. I never paid a bill late. On the surface I was very good with money, so why couldn’t I get out of debt.

It turns out there’s a lot more to money than just money. It wasn’t until I examined these issues that I was able to let go and make progress. For me there were quite a few steps, and probably more to come.

  1. Recognize my shame- I wanted to be perfect, I didn’t need any help from anyone else, I wanted to do it all by myself, because admitting that I needed help, or that I was in too deep would be the death to a big part of who I was.

  2. Ask for help-this was scary. It meant that I had not only acknowledge my shame, but move through it. There were many tears and it was so hard. The funny thing, is that on the other end of that conversation was kindness, and no judgement. I felt to ashamed to need help, but the help was there, all I had to do what ask and be willing to receive (willing to receive is another tough one for me)

  3. Make a commitment-I had to commit to do things differently. For me that meant, changing all my auto payments to my bank account and not using a credit card again…no matter what.

I had made commitments before, what was going to make this time any different?

At first I could say it is because I gave my word. For me that works, I will bend over backwards and endure the worst stuff in an effort to keep my word. And for the start, that was a good enough place to start.

Click here to read The Money Conversation part 2.

Click here to read The Money Conversations part 3.

If you would like to work with me on facing shame and being vulnerable, schedule a free phone consultation with me here:

Excitement and Fear

In this video I invite you to explore the concept that excitement and fear are the same thing. Take a moment and think of a time you were very excited, and notice what that felt like in your body. Now do the same with fear. The feeling in the body is the same. The difference, is what our brain is telling us about the situation. In these situations you are about to step into the unknown and the body reacts. With excitement, the brain predicts something good, and in fear, doom. Our thoughts and brain are very powerful things. They shape our perspective and the way we experience our circumstance. We have the power to change our thoughts, therefore changing how we experience circumstance and life. If you would like to work on changing your perspective and your thoughts set up a free consultation.

Resistance

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What is our resistance really telling us?

Sometimes, when we feel resistance to a person or a situation, it is clear, we know what it means. We feel something in our body, and KNOW that a persons intentions are bad, or a situation will put us in harms way. Sometimes, our resistance if just fear, and it is preventing us from growth, it is shutting down opportunity. The brain does not like to be in situations that are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or emotionally painful. It will make up any excuse to avoid it. The brain clicks into fight or flight, it literally thinks you are going to die. One must ask themselves: What is my resistance? What am I feeling in my body? Is it fear? And if so, is it because I am in danger, or is it something different? What lies is my brain telling me? Most of us do not even notice when we are in resistance. I invite you to start noticing, and ask yourself the above questions, Check out this video, and reach out if you would like support in dealing with your resistance.

Heartbreak

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Heartbreak

It’s been just over 4 weeks, since the love of my life and I ended things. It wasn’t pretty, and my heart hurts so much. I chose to go through it differently this time. No drinking to numb things down, no watching endless movies/TV to dissociate, no emotional eating to hide from the pain. Just sit in it. And boy does it feel uncomfortable. It literally feels like there are a million locusts between my skin and the muscles underneath, I want to crawl out of my skin, and run to the edge of the earth and into the void. 

This person used to really see me. He used to listen deeply to me. He supported me in facing a lot of my shortcomings. He helped me grow in ways that can not be measured. I felt loved and adored. He was open, and when he would shut down, he would fight so hard to return to openness. A few dominoes fell the wrong direction, and things began to move differently. I did not always do the “right” thing, the perfect thing, but I did my best. I am facing myself, and owning the parts of me that came from my ego, and MY shit. Doing my best to own my responsibility in the situation. If I could go back would I change my actions? Maybe, I have more knowledge now, but who knows if it would change anything. So I move forward instead of reliving the past. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had. I loved and still love him more than I’ve loved another human being. It will take time to heal. 

I am noticing huge parallels in my life now to 6 years ago. I was getting ready to move to New York, I was preparing for an art show featuring my ghost bike work, and my heart was broken. It was a time of massive change. I arrived in New York open and excited, but heartbroken and sad. I drank a lot through that time, numbing and stuffing the pain. 

Today I am also in a period of big change. I have paid off my debt, which led to a death of a huge part of myself, remarkably more difficult than I expected. I have let go of some of my bartending work, not letting my fear of scarcity rule my life. I have chosen to step fully into being a life guide, something that my heart has wanted for a long time, but I was too afraid. I am preparing for another art show featuring my ghost bike work. The relationship with the love of my life has dissolved and I am heartbroken.

So many things changed in the span of only two months. I feel as if I am being turned inside out. I walk down streets I’ve walked for years and it all looks so different, feels so different. I am different. Most of this change is exciting, hopeful, uncomfortable, but the heartache is devastating.  

 So how do you deal with it, when it feels like there is a hole where your heart is, when you are so very sad, when so many pieces of who you were disintegrate? You sit in it. You trust that you are shedding a skin, and that the skin underneath is more brilliant than the one you’re crawling out of. You trust that although the skin is super tender to the touch, it is only so because it is still growing. You trust that it’s going to be okay. You resist the urge to crawl back into your past skins. You remember all you’ve been through, and you remember that you did not die, that you are here now, in this present moment and time. You remember that you are not the heartache and the sadness, that these things are only passing through you. Growth lies in the uncomfortable.

So we sit.

Anger to Sadness

Anger and Sadness

What do these emotions have to do with each other? They seem so different; one full of movement, and fire, the other low energy and moving slow. What if I told you that anger is actually the culmination of sadness that has been stuffed down deep. That the things you are angry about are due to a deep sadness that you have been carrying. Maybe you have been carrying this for just a little while, or maybe you’ve been carrying it since you were a child. It is like a glacier that grows below the surface, and eventually, if the sadness is not released, the tip will rise above the water. When the tip touches the air it manifests into anger, and depending on how much is built up below it may explode.

People say that we should manage our anger, perhaps what we really need to do is allow the sadness to move and release. Getting angry does that. Once the top of the glacier blows off, movement has begun. It is important to not run away from the sadness that follows, but instead allow yourself to feel it. Allow the feelings to move through you so that you can release them. Nobody wants to feel sadness, but it is a part of our lives, and when we deny our feelings and don’t allow them to move through our bodies they will manifest in ways that are more volatile or harmful to the body and self. (rage, depression, and physical illness).

If you would like to work with moving your sadness, contact me for a free consultation.