it’s my “good god, i can’t believe i’m doing this” anniversary

"Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen." - Brene Brown #courage #quote #brenebrown

One year ago today, I got brave and told the truth – knees knocking, voice quivering, angels dancing.

And as soon as I let courage take charge, everything changed. 

Though I’d been posting stories here about my personal journey – from magical moments to massive sinkholes – since 2006, I’d been holding back on one small (okay, major) thing. “What I haven’t shared publicly,” I wrote in a blog post called The Sixth Sense: There’s Something I Need To Tell You,  “is the extent of my own life-long intuition.”

It had been a lifelong secret, shared only with close family and friends, and in circles I deemed super-safe. For so many years I was scared of being labeled as crazy, worried I wouldn’t be taken seriously in other aspects of my work, and unsure how to put those gifts to good use. So, I quietly worked to hone it, experiment with it, set boundaries around it, and share the gifts of it with folks I trusted. By the time 2013 rolled around, it felt like I was leading a double life; downplaying my intuitive connection with some folks while letting it flow with others. I could practically see the crossroads before me.

"To reach a crossroads is to realize we must choose which map to follow: the one drawn in fear or the one crafted by faith." - Liv Lane

 

Ultimately, my decision to come clean with all of you was born out of faith, as I realized that hiding the truth – letting fear win – was no longer working. Why would the benevolent God I believe in give me this, I wondered, if I’m not meant to put it to good use? It was so much bigger than me. So I surrendered to it, devoted my work to it, and let the universe take the wheel.

And holy wow. The response was crazy-amazing. Not only from dear hearts like you who celebrated my announcement and intuitive connections (thank you so much!), but from the Great Beyond. From the get-go, opportunities arrived, ideas flowed, my calendar filled with readings and speeches and projects. And their impact on others over this past year has been awe-inspiring for me; it is an absolute honor to usher in meant-for-you messages and bear witness to the transformations, the aha moments, the soul-deep truths that result from these connections.

It almost seems silly now, looking back on how fear nearly kept me from this. It is so easy to get in our own way, to be the one thing that keeps us from experiencing the big things, the brave things, the meaningful things. Truth is, we can’t experience magic while hiding from it. That’s what this year has taught me and I’m eternally grateful.

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Divine Interventions weekly email from Liv LaneBRAND NEW! This morning, I unwrapped an anniversary gift for YOU!  Divine Interventions is a brand new, FREE weekly email with brief but powerful channeled wisdom to help you get unstuck and cultivate joy. See the first issue by clicking here. And to add yourself to the list, please click here.

DON’T FORGET! Spark*Sisters Online starts Monday and so many amazing women have signed on to find and create sacred circles for expanding their passions, purpose and prosperity. Get all the details over here.

when following my heart feels hard

life gives us speed bumps #keepgoing

This spring, it seems I’ve been hitting every speed bump and pothole possible in my path. Big decisions, hard conversations, and a neverending toothache the dentist can’t figure out. It’s all made for a bumpy ride and slowed me down. So it seems pretty perfect that I came across the poem below, which I wrote in early 2011.

Actually, I know it found me to deliver this reminder: Sometimes I forget that each rest stop, detour or distraction is part of the master plan. 

Oh, right! The starts and stops are not there to destroy my path, but to get me where I need to be with greater clarity, relief and gratitude. It’s like surviving another Minnesota winter; when the snow FINALLY clears and our breath stops appearing in front of us, we are so happy that we all-out rejoice. We feel like freaking gladiators, victorious after battling the deep freeze. Every orange-breasted robin, every blade of green grass, every chance to walk outside without bundling up feels like a little miracle.

That’s how it feels coming out of a deep freeze phase of my life. I feel victorious – stronger, wiser, grateful. I see purpose in the pain. My wings feel sturdier. That’s why this old poem found me; to help me ease my tension around the hard stuff by recognizing that it’s there to lead me to the good stuff. I love when a message from my old self finds its way to my current self in order to help me move toward my future self. Here’s hoping you’ll find something in it for your self, too…

how i follow my heart

restless soul syndrome: finding the cure

are you suffering from restless soul syndrome? here's how to find a cure...

How many days this week have you woken up feeling anxious, fidgety, unsettled? How many nights this week have you laid in bed with your eyes wide open, even though you felt dog-tired? How many times this week did you feel wrapped up in joy? 

Two years ago, I wrote here about an all-too-common state of being I call restless soul syndrome. It remains one of the most frequently-read posts on the blog; women find their way to it every day, looking for any bit of relief from this perpetual state of unrest.

This is bad news.

Because it tells me restless soul syndrome is running rampant. Left untreated, it feeds off itself, spreading like a fungus and clogging the spiritual arteries to your heart. When a hot bath or good workout or great dessert doesn’t cure the unrest of your soul, it’s easy to beat yourself up and spiral down. And when it seems like everybody else has their act together – looking rested, happy, productive, focused – you not only start to resent the lucky jerks but use their joy as further evidence that you’re a big fat loser. Sound familiar?

In Soul Currency, Ernest D. Chu writes, “Any sense of restlessness is a sign your soul is ready to grow.” The problem, I hear so many women say, is figuring out where and what and how to grow. Actually, dear ones, the problem is assuming that there’s something to DO in order to embrace all you’re meant to BE.

Want to cure your restless soul syndrome?

you. are. light. Treat yourself to stillness every day, even if it feels scary at first. Put down the crossword puzzle. Turn off the computer. Close your eyes in the shower. Listen for light: instrumental music, the birds chirping outside, children giggling, wind in the trees. Imagine yourself standing in a beam of loving, brilliant light that has the power to heal what feels broken, calm your racing heart, ease your fears, melt away guilt. Feel the light moving from head to toe, warm and soothing, relaxing and renewing.

Every moment of stillness is soul balm; providing space for your light to expand, gently awakening your sense of worth, boldly inviting guidance to come (in nudges, in whispers, in synchronicity, in signs), quietly leading you to people and places and opportunities that allow for greater joy, for deeper understanding.

We move into March tomorrow; use this month to make stillness a habit (some of you will be starting this practice, others will be deepening it). Just as you would not take a vitamin one day and consider your body fully fortified, serenity will likely remain a stranger without regular doses of self-prescribed stillness.

All that anxiousness, all those worries, all that emptiness is actually your soul’s way of letting you know it’s time to grow. Your restless soul is calling you into the light – how great! And all you have to do is be.

Seventeen Magazine Gets Real…and So Do I

In high school, I wanted to look like this. Pretty in pink. Not a petal out of place. Like the cheerleaders with their toned calves and smooth pony tails. Like the girls who had no problem finding dance dresses that fit…nor a problem finding a date to said dances. Like the girls on the magazine covers with porcelain skin and dazzling smiles and tiny jean shorts. But I didn’t.

Instead, I felt like this. Like a misfit flower, trying my best to blend into the garden but painfully aware of my imperfections. Extra pounds, acne-covered shoulders, bitten fingernails and boobs so big they scared me. I draped myself in bulky sweat shirts and button-up blouses, and used what I had deep inside – leadership skills, creativity and kindness – to attain some semblance of popularity. I was the girl who planned the prom but never went to it.

I was even on an advisory board for Seventeen magazine – not because of my cover girl looks, mind you, but because I was tuned in to what my peers liked and wanted. They had an open call and I submitted my impressive, over-achiever resumé of activities and awards – and got picked. Though I always pored over the pages of that magazine, I never recognized myself in it; I just recognized what I wasn’t. I figured being on their advisory board – answering questions about my peers and what they liked – was one more way to look cool without being cool.

This morning, I read that Seventeen has pledged never to airbrush their models and to feature more diversity on their pages. Girl empowerment organizations like SPARK Summit and the teens who follow them used the power of social media to demand change – and they got it. Now they’re going after other teen-focused publications, too. God, wouldn’t it be lovely if this generation of girls and the ones after could recognize glimmers of themselves celebrated in the media? Wouldn’t it be awesome if today’s girls {and boys} grew up with a sense of worth and belonging – not for how they look but for who they are?

All these years later, I still have days when I feel like the girl decorating for a dance I’m not attending. On those days, surfing the blogosphere feels like jumping down a rabbit hole; my self-consciousness spins out of control if I let myself focus on how trendy, how darling, how super-fit, how uber-healthy, or how polished certain bloggers are. I feel like I’m back at summer camp in 1988 – the first and last time I wore a bikini in public because all the girls, I decided with great angst, looked so much better. It’s amazing to me that my sense of self is still so warped by those image-conscious teen years.

Me today: sweaty, sleeveless + happy

But this is what I wish I could tell my 17-year-old self {and every other teen}:

I also have plenty of days – including this day – when I know, deep down, that I am enough. Today, I’d rather be a creative misfit than a perfectly-petaled flower. Today, I’m not wearing what somebody else deemed to be cool; I’m not waxing, buffing, fasting, cleansing, or planking just ’cause “everyone” else is doing it. Today, I still use those beautiful skills I leveraged years ago – leadership, creativity, kindness – to create a happy, fulfilling, BEAUTIFUL life.

I’m a work of art and a piece of work. This is me – airbrush-free.

 

 

 

Clearing The Clutter, Living The Dream

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a thing of beauty: a drawer perfectly organized with my cards. I hyperventilate a little just looking at it. That’s how great it feels. After several days of massive decluttering and reorganization, there are drawers for cards, for magnets, for cellophane bags, for envelopes, for bubble wrap. There are hanging files for order forms, receipts, research. And binders with hole-punched notes, vendor info, design drafts. This is the most buttoned-up I’ve felt since becoming my own boss five years ago.

Wondering what the heck took so long?

 

Well, the truth is that even though I left my full-time corporate gig in 2007, I didn’t totally leave corporate work behind – nor the feeling of working for someone else. See, I was able to leave my job knowing I could count on steady income from my freelance copy writing work. It wasn’t what I loved to do, but I was good at it – and it paid well. Seemed perfect: I could pursue my creative passions and grow my own brand while relying on the money I made for writing about stuff I didn’t care about. Like disinfectant wipes. And canned soup. And toilet paper.

Having that work and money to fall back on was a huge comfort. But it also turned into a huge crutch, all but dousing the entrepreneurial fire in my belly. At first, the work felt creative enough. {Hey, you try to make toilet paper sound lovely!} But as the years flew by and more writing assignments rolled in, those gigs took priority over my own projects and passions.

When people would ask me what I did for a living, the true answer – “copywriting for big brands” – made me cringe. My other creative endeavors – blogging, art, speaking – felt like floundering side businesses since my livelihood depended on my freelance writing. It was a constant tug of war between have-to-do and love-to-do.

Heading into 2010, I started to flirt with a new – or maybe enhanced – dream. I found evidence of it as I decluttered my dudio this past weekend: I came upon a worksheet I filled out during a meeting with my Intention Circle in 2010. It asked me to name a secret wish and here’s what I wrote:

To make enough money with my own creative work that I could leave my writing clients behind.

I realize now that the simple act of writing down that dream helped me transform it from a wish into a goal. Soon after, I began to make business decisions with that goal in mind. I gave myself permission to say “no” to certain writing assignments if one of my own creative projects or work I felt particularly passionate about required my full attention. Pursuing my own loves and building my own brand no longer felt like a luxury, but a necessity.

It took time, hard work and discipline {and, honestly, a few bounced checks}, but eventually I began to see results – a turning of the tides. A little over a year after I wrote that secret wish, it came true. But things have been so crazy-busy, that I didn’t even realize it until stumbling upon that old worksheet. I love how that reminder found its way to me as I cleaned out the clutter and cleared the way for new ideas and new “wishes” I’ve already written down. Now for the fun part: making them come true.

 

 

 

The Gift of Seven Days

Seven days.

That’s all it took

to grow into your potential,

to go from timid to tenacious,

to open yourself to whatever comes next.

Seven days. 

How, again, might you change between now and then?

What will appear to test your courage,

to strengthen your roots,

to enhance your beauty,

to allow you to bloom?

Note how you feel in this day, in this moment:

the stickiness, the somberness, the liveliness, the messiness, the happiness.

Return to yourself  one week from right now.

Lift your face to the sun,

breathe in the sweet air,

hold on to your heart

and then close your eyes

till you see how much you’ve grown.

Bask in the glory,

yearn to see more.

Seven days from today,

you’ll be you – only better.

Repeat and rejoice 52 times a year.

Free Gifts!? What’ll You Do With Yours?

This is not normal. The plants are budding, the grass is greening and birds are singing – all ushering in a new season with pomp and circumstance. And it feels so…weird.

I’ve lived in Minnesota nearly my whole life; I know the seasons like the back of my hand. Winter is long and hard, but when spring finally arrives in April or May, it feels like the sweetest reward for surviving brutally bitter temperatures and mountains of snow. But this past winter was neither long nor hard – and there’s no sign of it returning for one last bitter blast {which it usually does}.

So, we’re all tiptoeing around – as if we might stir winter awake or curse our good fortune – as the earth springs to life around us. Yesterday, my cousin Nate said it’s like finding $40 at the ATM, unsuccessfully looking for its rightful owner, and then feeling too guilty to spend it.  So true; we feel undeserving of this gift, unsure of how to bloom without suffering through a dark winter first, worried that it’s too good to be true.

This is how most of us approach unexpected blessings; we let guilt overshadow gratitude and let our past dictate the present and future. We spend countless frigid winters begging for mercy – and then feel bad when spring arrives early. We spend years hoping for change in our work, our relationships, our finances – and then question any change that comes too easy.

I know this may sound craaaaazy…but what if we just choose to receive it all with grace and glee, like the trees and flowers that are rising up to meet spring’s early arrival? The buds are popping here, joyfully embracing the chance to be in the world earlier than ever before. Wiser than most us, happier than most of us, fulfilling their mission to bloom and grow. I vote for following their lead.

 

Are You Missing From Your Own Pictures?

Last month, as I was skimming my 2011 photo files for great shots to feature in our Christmas card, I noticed something pretty important was missing.

Me.

There were plenty of shots of the boys with Brad, with relatives and with friends. But it looked as if I hadn’t bothered to show up for a single birthday party, school function, or family get-together. I was there – I swear! It’s a shame, because each photo tells a story about the time and place and people in it. I love flipping through pictures from my childhood – especially those with my parents included. Each one is like a little gift; a treasure chest of memories. And I want my kids to have that; for them to have evidence that their mama was truly present. But last year, I disappeared from our photos. Time and memories I can’t get back. And there are two reasons why I went missing…

1) I was almost always the person taking the pictures vs. posing for them. 

I think most mamas can relate to #1. We’re so engrossed in getting good shots of our family and friends that we forget {or feel too shy} to ask someone to get good shots of us.

So, despite not being a huge fan of resolutions, I’ve resolved to stick out my neck from behind the lens and ask to be included. On New Year’s Eve, we walked the candlelit trails at a local nature center; I took photographs throughout the evening, trying to capture the sweet outdoor celebration. Just before we left, I asked Brad to take the camera hanging from my neck and snap some pictures of me with the boys.  When he showed me the shots – with all three of us looking so cozy and happy – I squealed with delight. I was so relieved to have proof I was there, ringing in 2012 with my boys, knowing someday they’ll have that photo to remember the night, our bond, our joy.

2) If I was in any pictures, I deleted most of them.   

This is a harder pill to swallow. I love the ease of digital photography, but it also makes it so easy to instantly erase any photo I don’t love. Goodbye bad hair day. Goodbye extra weight. Goodbye zit. I realize, in retrospect, what a disservice I’m doing  – not only to my kids, but to me.

Each time I delete a photo of myself, I’m wiring a message to my brain that I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, radiant enough – not good enough. Even though, years later, I tend to love the photos I once hated. Don’t you look at pictures of yourself from 10 years ago and wonder why in the world you didn’t like the way you looked?

I’m starting to get there with this one: a photo of me and the kids last summer, up at Split Rock lighthouse as a giant storm rolled in. I remember I almost deleted it on the spot, but Brad wouldn’t let me. He LOVED the picture – the happiness on our faces, the wind whipping through our hair, me without makeup. So I kept it, begrudgingly. And now I’m starting to see past the flaws. Now I’m remembering that magical moment up there, watching the distant clouds move across Lake Superior, running through the rain to our car. Thank God I kept the picture, right?

So, part of following my bliss this year will be simply showing up and honoring my own beauty, my own place in this corner of the world. Not seeing past the imperfections, but finding the good in them. Capturing not only the beauty around me, but in me. And giving my kids the gift of knowing – and seeing – that their mom was right there with them, clutching them tightly and so happy to be there.

 

 

 

Take Time {10.26.11}

Slow down.
Ease up.
Give yourself a moment.
Or the afternoon.
Or the whole damn year.

Hit the snooze button.
Call in sick well.
Let guilt go.

Breathe deep.
Be still.
Feel your miraculous, beating, life-giving pulse.
Honor it.

Invite joy in.
Urge it to stay.
Let time fly
while you grow wings.

.

Honoring My Mama-Sized Growing Pains

Is it weird that I’m so sad my baby moved to a big boy bed this week? My little munchkin, my tiny love bug…is getting big. And his mama isn’t quite ready to face it. I mean, I’m thrilled too; after all, there was a time – not so long ago – when we wondered how Truman would ever sleep outside a crib. From the time he could stand, the only way Tru could get to sleep was by jumping. We would read stories, sing songs, tuck him into his crib – and within seconds, he’d be holding on to the crib rail and bouncing away, happy as a lark. Sometimes it took a few minutes, many nights {and at nap time, too} he’d jump for over an hour.

By this time last year, we began to understand why. As we learned more about developmental delays and disorders, we realized all that jumping provided Tru with the stimulation and repetition his brain and body craved. Add to that his resistance to big transitions…and the thought of moving him to a big boy bed seemed daunting.

That is, until one of Tru’s therapists delivered a little miracle: a weighted blanket heavy enough to provide calming, deep pressure on his little muscles. In May, on the first night we tucked him in under his weighted blanket, he didn’t get up; he fell asleep within minutes. That blanket worked like a charm and has almost every “night night” since. Totally amazing.

This summer, we occasionally asked Tru – now nearly 3 1/2 – if he was ready to sleep in the big boy bed. It’s a car-shaped bed that first belonged to Ryder, who has now gleefully moved his stuffed animals into the guest room, claiming the double bed as his own. Tru hasn’t been interested in the big boy bed, promptly saying “no danks” whenever we mentioned it {so adorable, right?}. I thought that would be the case for a while. But last weekend, he surprised us by climbing into the bed with Brad to read stories before nap time…and then he managed to fall asleep there. I worried about him the whole time, even though I was footsteps away.

He did great! And last night was Tru’s fourth in a row in the big boy bed, snug as a bug under his weighted blanket. Clearly, Tru was ready to make the move and had to do it on his own timetable. I’m so proud of him. Still, when I walk by his room with the empty crib and lonely rocking chair, it feels like somebody’s pinching my heart a little. So, I’m taking every chance I get to squeeze him tight, to sit him in my lap, to pick him up whenever he asks…reminding myself that growth is soooo good and that he’ll always be my baby. ‘Cause he will…right?? Please tell me he will! ;o)