Hidden in plain sight

Hidden in plain sight

Ready…set…run.

Ready…set…hide.

Ready…set…blend.

Ready…set…invisible.

These are my default.

If you were to meet me or see me out and about after just knowing me from my blog I think you would be surprised. I am the girl who stands away from the crowd. I am the one who doesn’t speak up. The first to arrive and the first to leave a party. And if you do get close enough; if you do get in I find myself making sure there is distance…sliding just a little out of reach.

-Solitude matters, and for some people it's the air they breathe.-

It’s not that I am afraid of anyone seeing me; really seeing me. I don’t ever hide anything about myself anymore and what people think doesn’t keep me awake at night either; I barely give it a second thought, but I think it is knowing that if I do let you in that there is the possibility of hurt. The hurt that comes when someone I would like as a friend may decide I am not worth keeping. I don’t know; maybe it’s just the introvert in me. Needing distance. Needing space.

“I_m very picky with whom I give my energy to. I prefer to reserve my time, intensity and spirit exclusively to those who reflect sincerity.”

There are people who I trust. People who are my safe landing-place. I have lost friends like these in the past; the relationship falling out from under my feet. No ledge to cling to, just dropping and flailing after being on stable ground. Maybe that’s the feeling I am trying to avoid.

Or maybe it is that lately, I wonder if some people want to know the real me or the medium me. Knowing a medium is interesting; knowing a small town girl who stands in the corner; not so much.

I don’t know why I keep the distance or add it to a relationship. I don’t know why my default is run, but it is. If something goes wrong I shut down. I hide away and avoid confrontation; unless it is about my kids then I will speak up. That mama bear instinct triggers my temper and I can say things I normally wouldn’t. Other than that I am the girl who likes to hide in plain sight. I am most comfortable there. In view, but not attracting attention.

As we have settled in this small town over the last six years there are people who I have grown to love. I love them something fierce. Maybe that’s what makes me keep my distance, being afraid how much I love them will scare them away. So instead I try to act lukewarm so they don’t think I am too overboard with affection.

I know I have written here about letting that love shine and just scooping people up, and I do try to do that, but my default kicks back in and I create a distance. Distance becomes my security blanket.

Writing my thoughts out here I thought might untangle them and make them clear. Maybe it will, maybe this is just the beginning to unravelling them. Maybe I am just supposed to accept this about myself and the people who accept it become my tribe; make up my safe landing-place. But part of me wants to be not so far in the corner, just a little more out in front. A part of me wants to embrace those I love with full force. Maybe I will and my default will change. Maybe I thought I had already changed my default.

I don’t know.

I'm not ditching my running shoes just yet.

Not ditching my running shoes just yet,

Spiritual Awakenings and YouTube

Spiritual Awakenings and YouTube

Do you know your truth?

Lately, I have been working on listening to my inner voice and trying to be deeply observant of what it tells me and what the universe places into my life.

Since the beginning of this blog I have been trying to document my journey to an authentic life and share the lessons that I am learning and today it hit me: I am unlearning. What does that mean? 

It means that we start out knowing an awful lot. As children we are deeply connected to light and spirit. We are connected to one another and trusting. That is how we are meant to be, you know? That is what the Universe/God wants for us (I use Universe and God interchangeably, but really whatever divine power you believe in I believe it is all one in the same so you can input your word for the Divine in place of mine as it suits you).

We are born knowing the light and basking in it. The world changes that in us. But the good news is we can always reconnect to that light; we just have to choose to do so. We can do it through choice, grace and being present to witness the light. Then you just hit repeat on that cycle, and baby you got it. 

That is what I have started to do. I am surrendering my life to love and light and allowing the Universe to deliver me to where I need to be and the things I need to know. You have to be present. You have to be watching. I know I am getting somewhere when the signs show up and say, “Hey Michelle, you are NOT losing your mind. You are right on track. Keep paying attention and I promise you are going to change the world.”

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I had to go into San Jose today and I felt like listening to something uplifting. I figured why not listen to some TedTalks.

I happen across Gabby Bernstein’s mini Ted Talk. You can watch it here.  It was definitely a sign. Her truths resonated so clearly. So clearly in fact, I had a spiritual awakening listening to YouTube. So many things fell into place and I had an epiphany of understanding. I know what I know and it is the TRUTH regardless of what anyone else might think. It is my truth and if I choose to live it I will lead an extraordinary life filled with love and joy. Come on who doesn’t want that?

I am going share a little of that epiphany with you.

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Gabby starts her talk by explaining that she is worried about the time she has to give her talk, but after mediation this nugget of wisdom is revealed, “Tell your truth and time will expand.” You guys, remember when you were little and you felt like you had all the time in the world. That is because you were connected to the light. You had all the time in the world to learn what you needed to know. We need to let go of fear and believe and trust in the Universe that we have all the time we need to fulfill our purpose. Live our truth and time will expand.

She continues by saying that, “when inspiration is your guide you become a miracle worker.” Amen sister!

When we allow our creativity to run free without interference from fear of what other people might think amazing things happen…miracles happen. Think about the great people who have graced this world with their wisdom. Martin Luther King Jr. I am sure people thought he was crazy. Sure one day everyone will live in harmony. They probably still think he is crazy. But I believe him.

Mother Teresa. Come on, I am sure there were people who in the beginning were like, really you are doing to go live with the poorest of the poor and the sick? It took her two years to get approval, but that didn’t stop her.

I am sure we can think of a million others where the same logic applies – they followed their dreams and the calling of the Universe despite what other people thought and in doing so they changed the world. As I am listening to Gabby’s talk and thinking of people I consider heroes and mentors; they all have one thing in common they all follow their “crazy” callings. I am a medium. I speak to spirit. It doesn’t get any stranger than that, but when I lean into love, when I listen to my inner voice I see me speaking to thousands of people. I see me with a microphone in hand and several books under my belt. If I lean into love this life of my dreams is real. It is my truth. I know I am on my way to find it.

That truth can’t be any crazier than the advice I gave one of my dearest friends this morning…”It’s like Taylor Swift says, ‘the haters gonna hate’ which is basically what Mother Teresa says when she says, ‘do good anyway’. People are going to tear you down. People are going to say nasty things. People are going to disbelieve what you are capable of, but if you live in a way that you are constantly taking the next right step toward good people won’t believe them and so what if they do? You know you are doing the next right thing. God knows you are doing the next right thing and in the end that is all that matters.”

And if in one day I can compare the wisdom of Mother Teresa, Taylor Swift and Gabby Bernstein and see the sign of an angel on a Mexican Food Truck in front of me letting me know I am on the right path, than guess what?! Miracles can happen and we need to remember to believe in them just like when we were kids. Anything is possible. I believed in true love and love at first sight and I held out for it. I knew it had to be out there and it was. Did it show up like I expected? Nope. Was it when I expected? Nope. But that is how the Universe works. If you ask and believe it delivers, just in its own way.

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Miracles happen every day and every minute. Offer yourself the willingness to be open to them, the grace in missing them, and the knowledge that you will have the chance to choose again. Unlearn that misery and strife are a part of life. We are here connected to each other and the light to do good and be joyful. That is my truth and I choose to live that every day regardless of what else gets thrown down at my feet.

Hoping my truth, vulnerability and authenticity help you on your journey –

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I still suck at small talk and other things I probably shouldn’t write out loud!

I still suck at small talk and other things I probably shouldn’t write out loud!

So I am back on the kinder party circuit. You know the parties where parents stay and mingle while the kids party. Yep; that kind of party. As I watched my kiddos bowl yesterday I struggled with small talk. I did better mind you; I actually sought a couple of people out and chatted, but each conversation lasted two minutes at most because after “Hi, how are you?” I have nothing left in the tank. Instead I have to hold my tongue. My mouth and heart want to discuss Aleppo, the epidemic of parents who have forgotten to teach their children respect for authority, and how do we find a way to quell a nation of entitled youth.

See, I suck at small talk.

So my kids had a blast at the party and that is why I was there anyway. Sometimes, I just feel bad that they are learning social skills from an awkward introvert.

We leave that party and head to a Christmas gathering with our friends. We have all been friends since college, husbands and wives, but the other three couples had children six years behind us; live in the same city; and their kids attend the same prestigious private school. I on the other hand, have a child taller than me with a deep, rich voice and my youngest kids are older than most of their oldest kids.

They can socialize about what is going on at the school and have common interests and I still don’t fit in among people I should. While they talk about picky eaters and where they buy their kids clothes – I can’t even relate. I hear myself say, “I buy clothes at Children’s Place and Target because the kids grow too fast and are too hard on their clothes for me to spend a lot of money on them.” And the looks on the faces when I say that are like I am some kind of whackadoodle and maybe I am, but it makes me feel old. I remember caring about that stuff when my oldest was four and my youngest was almost two. I remember buying GAP clothes and worrying about them not eating their dinner. Now with four kids aged six and over I know they have to eat some of their dinner or they don’t get anything else that night; that they will live and most of the time don’t even remember that the struggle over dinner ever happened. I have learned that we care way more about brand when that is of so little importance. What really matters are that our children are clothed, fed and loved.

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See I let my kids dress themselves. This is how we roll to school.
And now I can’t really complain about private education anymore either. I used to think when people paid for private school they were paying for status. On top of that, I truly believed public education was just as good as private. In some places I still believe that is true. But alas, after my daughter was choked by a boy at school to the point where she couldn’t breathe; enough was enough. What was so sad to me was the teacher was so desensitized to the actions of this young boy she just asked my daughter to document the incident and nothing else came of it. Her teacher was so used to that boy’s behavior she didn’t even think it worth mentioning to me. This was the last straw in a sting of incidents spanning a year and a half. We knew she needed a safer place to learn.

We toured a private school and decided to send her there. She starts after the break and I feel like a weight has been lifted. She is finally going to be in a classroom where the students respect the teacher and are excited to learn. That I have to pay an arm and a leg for that still makes my stomach churn, but she needs a safe place to thrive.

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This girl deserves her best chance. All kids do.
Hmmm…what else is running around in my head these days that you don’t want to hear about…well you may not get a Christmas card from us this year. Yep; I have been late in the past, but I am not even close to getting started this year and Christmas is Sunday. You might get a Happy New Year card instead. It isn’t that I am feeling Bah Humbug toward Christmas; even though this post probably sounds that way; it is more that I am feeling like I just wanted to slow things down this year and savor Christmas. To really hunker down and feel the Spirit of the Season and it got away from me again. I am not finished with the shopping or the wrapping and it is a week away. None of the Spirit of the Season stuff happened. And I guess I am struggling with traditions a bit and what I would like Christmas to look like and what actually happens.

Maybe it is just that my oldest son only has six more years in this house with us before he goes off to college and while that seems like a good while the first twelve of his life have happened in a blink and even though I have tried to savor it; it is flying by faster than I can catch it.

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This is as close as we get to a family picture these days

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Yep nose picking shenanigans
I know I am writing about first world problems here when much bigger world problems take precedent, but when these nonsense, first world problem words started to flow through my brain I just had to write them down. I just had to think about something else for a brief second. I think that is really why I feel like Oscar the Grouch. When innocent women, men, and children are being killed and no one is stopping it you just feel helpless and when you feel helpless and sad sometimes I think it manifests itself into anger and I am just angry that we live in a world where yet another holocaust can happen and the people with the ability to stop it can’t or won’t. So I thought maybe my first world, nonsense spewing would relieve some of that distress and Oscar-ness. Maybe that is the real reason I can’t whip up the Christmas card; I can’t send out a smiling happy picture of my children when in their faces I see the safety, love and security that all children should feel in the world and yet so many don’t have access to it. It breaks my heart into so many pieces I can’t complete the task.

And that my dear readers is a whole lot of junk I probably should not write out loud, but did any way because that is what I do. I do things any way.

Love your people tight and if you can love other people’s people tight, too. And teach your little people to love other people’s people. I know that is a whole lot of people, but that is what there is…a whole lot of people and all of them need love.

Until next time,

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Permission to say no thank you

Permission to say no thank you

It’s Friday afternoon and I am beyond looking forward to the weekend and a little relaxation. As I sit in this safe, cozy chair I want to bare my soul to you. See you my dear readers are family and friends who support me. You have come to mean a great deal to me as I journey to find my most authentic self.

Lately my life has felt like a ball of yarn that someone grabbed the free end of and let unravel all over a hard wooden floor. As I have tried to scoop it back up and wind into back into a neat, little ball I have done a great deal of praying and introspection.

Is this where I am supposed to be?

Was not teaching this year the right thing?

Should I have shut down my side business?

Am I making the right choices?

I waited for God or the Universe to answer me back, but there was only SILENCE. But I have deep faith, and I knew God would answer back. So I just kept patiently listening…show me which step is next. I thought of all the ways God could answer me. That is when I remembered my very first prayer on this journey of authenticity; I prayed for friends. God had answered with abundance as he usually does. So I started to think about what I was hearing from them.

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Strung together they may still seem random to you, but to me it was all the answers I had been looking for.

I am going to back up a minute because I think the whole picture is important. For the last decade and a half, which is most of my adult life, I have been preparing for WHAT I was going to be; not ever really focusing in on the WHO I was. See I only lived on my own for two years out of college and the majority of that time I was dating my future husband and just starting my career as a teacher. We were married and in that first year of marriage I was pregnant and preparing for motherhood. We went on to have four kids in the next seven years. I was always preparing to be…

a teacher

a wife

a mother

The twins were two before the haze of my life was starting to wear off. Don’t get me wrong I loved all the moments, but they moved by at warp speed and I was so busy being WHAT I was that I never did stop to define the WHO. Maybe this didn’t happen to you, maybe you had it all figured out. But I sure didn’t.

So when I started to try and find my authentic self to see who I was, I figured out a couple of things quickly. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to have deep relationships and have a life with purpose. I thought that meant career, home, and self all at once. So I set out to do all the things.

And I did. I performed well at my full-time job, now in sales, but none the less I rose to the challenge of a new career and was executing it well. I was raising healthy, well-mannered, kind children. I had a solid partnership and loving marriage with my best friend. I started a side business that was beginning to flourish. And last, but certainly not least, I was writing. A dream I have had from a very young age and to my surprise people were reading my little blog. Slowly at first, but more and more with each passing year.

I really was doing it all and doing it well. But with so many balls in the air at once things were slipping and falling. Unfortunately, my focus was on the things that dropped, not the things that rose to the surface. I was just noticing the things that went wrong or didn’t get accomplished.

I was running on empty.

It was too fast. I was on a hamster wheel and I needed to get off.

Fear gripped me though. Wasn’t I supposed to fill up my life with the things I wanted? And I was successful, so why pull back? Outside looking in; I had it all. But…

I was in the worst physical shape of my life and nearing an emotional low. How was this happening?I had listened to my intuition and by some blessing or luck I was achieving all of my dreams. But the problem was in the whirlwind of doing it all I wasn’t actually enjoying them. So I have started stripping things down. If something didn’t feel right no matter the public humiliation or sense of failure at the time I stopped doing it.

I needed to put my oxygen mask on first.

Maybe saying no to soccer so we weren’t gone all afternoon was saying yes to the precious down time we needed to re-energize. 

So I stripped it all away – learning the things I didn’t want to do.

I’m still a work in progress, but I knew being a mom was what I really wanted. So I chose to put my family first. I am home afterschool and at bedtime. If my kids need me, I drop what I am doing and make sure they get what they need.

I am also putting me first. I am trying to find my way back to running. I am writing again. I have made overdue dentist and doctor appointments and am trying acupuncture to put myself back together again.

I am also taking stock in my success. My mediumship gift is just that a gift. It belongs to me and God will continue to show me when and where to use it. If it is meant to be a business again when my kids are older it will be. Just because others are demanding it of me doesn’t mean I have to share or answer their demands. My family and myself need to come first. Each of us is a gift. We must nourish ourselves, too.

I was “fucking crazy” not to like myself. I may be an introvert and run and hide. But I am kind, hard-working, bright, determined, compassionate and contrary to what I said on an Internet questionnaire 10 years ago – I would LOVE to be my friend.

So the last of what I heard hit home, too. I know that what I am doing is the right thing. When I got to hold my friend’s infant son for the first time, I was “glowing” holding that baby. I felt a sense of peace wash over me. God was answering me. Yes, taking the time for my friends and family – this is right.

I can say no thank you or maybe later. I do not have to do all the things all at once.

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So I guess what I am hoping to share with you all is…

have faith…

If you can’t find or see your answers, don’t stop looking for them. Handle yourself with kindness. You have permission to NOT do all the things all at once or ever if you don’t want to.

A wise person always tells me, “You can do one thing really well, two things okay and three things not all.” It is okay to slow things down and focus on the one to two things you really want to do well; the rest will fall into place.

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What’s it all about anyway?

click photo for original source
click photo for original source

Exactly two years ago I decided to become the best version of myself because I wanted to be the kind of grown-up I want my children to become. Most of my life has been spent wishing I was more like this or had more of that. Or wishing I hadn’t done or said something stupid. Mostly I wanted to choose happiness and find joy even though I was mostly AFRAID. That is how this little bloggity-blog got started.

I needed to have a way to hold myself accountable and to track both the successes and failures on this journey to what I call “LIVING OUT LOUD”. I always wanted to be a writer and so naturally blogging it out seemed to be a pretty good idea even though I was mostly AFRAID. Afraid because I am not grammatically correct (it’s like politically correct, just with grammar), run-on sentences are a specialty of mine, and I love inventing random new words. I figured since this journey was about being authentic and wide open writing something imperfectly fit even more wonderfully.

Plus, I figured if I wrote it down and shared my stumbles and triumphs that I could help others like me. LIVING OUT LOUD is scary, hard work and I can’t be the only one who wants to do this better…there must be more of us out there…at least I think there are. And so this blog was born.

I want it to be a place you can visit and know that motherhood, marriage, love, courage, fear, food, hair, clothes, and everything else will be discussed with complete authenticity – out in the open. And maybe, just maybe that would not only help me be the best version of myself, but help you all, too.

Authentically yours,

M