I’m having a hard time putting into words what yesterday meant to me. None-the-less, I want to share it, even if the words fall short of the truth.

First there was the conversation with a coach/magician

After a full day of meetings (Aside: What the heck is going on? Meetings seem to have exploded all over my calendar lately! I can barely catch a breath!), I had a coaching call with Randi Buckley.

Honestly? I’ve been a little skeptical of the whole coaching movement. Any time anything becomes too trendy, I start sniffing it for snake oil and I tend to distance myself somewhat. Not that I don’t believe in coaching – I’ve taken several “coaching for leaders” workshops and have found them quite helpful – it’s just that trends often bring out the people who like to jump on the bandwagon and aren’t necessarily the genuine article. On top of that, hiring a life coach seems to have an element of narcissism that doesn’t sit well with me. (My apologies to my friends who are coaches or who hire coaches! You are all wise and wonderful, so I’m not talking about YOU!)

Needless to say, I’ve never worked with a coach, even though I know people who swear by it. But when I won Randi’s free sessions, I thought “why not approach it openly and welcome whatever might come of this?” Since it was free, I had nothing to lose.

Well, it turns out that Randi is the real deal. Seriously? I think she’s part magician. Or at least mystic. It wasn’t very long into our conversation that she started voicing things that she picked up in my words and energy that were so dead on they were scary. And with only a few well placed questions, she had me digging into demons, identifying the places where I deal with “imposter syndrome”, and voicing big crazy dreams I’d never dared whisper to anyone.

One of the things Randi encouraged me to do (which, I admit, I resisted at first) was to examine some of the negative voices in my life to find the truth hidden behind them. I didn’t realize how powerful that was until this morning when the real live negative voice (not just the ones in my head) I talked to her about made a significant energy shift and actually paid me the FIRST EVER compliment I have heard coming out of those lips – and all because I’d started the conversation with an acknowledgement of the wisdom that person had put into an email the day before.

Then there was the “Sisterhood of the Burning Bra” party last night.

Again and again, I am blown away by the incredible energy that a group of like-minded, open-hearted women can welcome into their space when they gather in a circle. There were fewer people in that circle last night than I expected, but they were the RIGHT people.  (The gremlins wanted to convince me that people don’t really like me and hence hadn’t made my party a priority, but I banished those gremlins from the party pretty quickly and they had no choice but to whimper on the other side of the gate.) More importantly, they were MY people – the women who I know will always come into my circle when I need them, to share their warmth, strength, wisdom, and energy.

I felt a little silly about following through on my desire to burn my bra, but Michele built a lovely fire and the women who were there held me in such a safe space (not to mention cheered me on!) that I couldn’t resist. Before the bra was committed to the flame, I talked about what I was releasing and how I was newly committed to treating my body as a sacred space. And then we all watched it burn until there was nothing left but the underwire.

What came afterward was more than I could have dreamed of. Each of the women in the circle wrote whatever they wanted to release on a piece of paper and committed it to the flame. Fear, procrastination, regret, past hurts, and ego were all swallowed up by the fire. (Yes, there were pictures taken, but the files seem to have corrupted themselves in the downloading process, so you’ll just have to trust me.)

At the end of the night, I shared a little story of the necklace that hung around my neck that I’d just purchased. It’s a silver lizard. Martha Beck talks about the “lizard brain” – the part of our brains that lives in a world of “lack and attack”, where we are always tempted to focus on what we are lacking and what is attacking us. I am determined, in this next year of my life, to get better at the practice of silencing the lizard brain that keeps lying to me about my shortcomings and attacks – hence the reminder I wear around my neck.

Tomorrow marks the end of another year of gathering wisdom along this journey, and the beginning of another year of practicing to get it right.

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