“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” ~ William Shedd
One of the classic stages of the Hero’s Journey is the Call to Adventure, where a person stops living an average life, the separation from society and life as you know it begins, and shit starts to get interesting. And check this out: it’s not just meant for Luke Skywalker. This journey is meant for you as well.
You are not here on this planet to be bored, to sit in front of a TV watching other people living epic lives. You are not meant to be wasting moments of your precious life slaving away for someone else’s dreams. You are not meant to spend all your time indoors safe and cozy and totally comfortable in an insulated lil’ life. Au contraire, mon amie.
Sorry to break it to ya, but you are a ship built for adventure, and if you’re in harbor, you’re going to hear this calling pretty damn soon – if you haven’t already.
What does this “call” sound like? Well, according to Joseph Campbell, it’s like a phone ringing. Isn’t that convenient?
Unfortunately, it’s not always what I’ve noticed. Sometimes this call is a bit – ahem – less pleasant than a ringtone. Sometimes, this call to adventure manifests as full-blown panic attacks, night sweats, low-level anxiety that has you feeling things are not as they should be…a restlessness that can’t be verbalized that has you feeling you are not living your life to the fullest…but you don’t know what else you’re supposed to do.
That’s what I’ve seen it feel like – in myself, in my clients, and even in movies! There’s this flick I totally stumbled upon called Wanted, with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, and this guy has panic attacks and medicates himself to keep them under control…but you end up learning that it stems from the fact that he isn’t living his purpose, which is as a gifted badass spiritual assassin of sorts. He had all these superpowers pent up inside, and they were telling him to let them the hell out – in the form of anxiety.
You can see this stage in every epic story, like the Star Wars series (in particular, Empire Strikes Back – my favorite!), the Matrix, Lord of the Rings…but what we forget is that ALL of us – yes, all of us mere mortals – are called to undertake the Hero’s Journey.
Have you been hearing this call but ignoring it? Or have you heard it and taken action? The Separation that occurs with the Call to Adventure can be kind of nerve-racking, to say the least. But the coolest part is knowing that it feels that way because things are about to change – for the better. You leaving harbor is always, always better – because THAT is what you are built for.
I’d love for you to share your thoughts about the Call to Adventure, Separation, and what YOUR ship is going to do once it leaves harbor below. I read all of it, so know I’ll respond to you!
Wow…coming back from Africa hasn’t been easy. We got back, I worked in Oregon catching babies and visited with friends and family over the holidays, then we came back to Alaska and were here all of one week before leaving to go work in a village out in the bush. I also managed to launch the 2013 Freedom Sessions Mastermind group in those two short weeks, and am THRILLED that almost all the spots are filled! So that gave me a lot of energy, but then I started to get tired with packing and unpacking yet AGAIN. After traveling for three months and coming home to the yurt for only 2 weeks since then, I am craving nesting, like a pregnant woman in her last month, like a sailor returning home after being at sea for years – except with a slight flavor of Gidget on crack.
I know. Scary, right?
Alas, we have also planned a trip to Mexico with a group of friends NEXT WEEK. What was I thinking? I was thinking I hadn’t seen many of my friend’s for months, and we wanted to be someplace warm with each other. Since I had been in Africa for so long, I was focused more on the “with each other” part than the warm part…but it is starting to get chilly here;)
We actually have many friends coming down for the trip – even friends from other states! So in this whirlwind of movement, it naturally crossed our minds to ask: What if we kept things simple and got married in Mexico? A small intimate ceremony then have the big party back in the US this summer? Our parents would actually be OK with it because, well, parents who have kids like us are pretty easy-going about spontaneous big decisions. As long as we had the party;)
However, the reality is, with all this travel and with all this moving around after our return, I am feeling like I am not ready to also rush into planning a wedding in Mexico. Even if it would be simple and amazing and undoubtedly entertaining with the motley crew we’ve conjured up. And I don’t want to keep things SO simple that we don’t give it the proper attention for it to feel sacred.
I am cleansing deeply over the last month, and that has left me with clarity and energy, but on the deep-cleanse days I only have energy for self-care, a bit of yoga, and connecting with my peeps. The fact that my soul hasn’t caught up with me yet from Africa has caused me to feel less present in my relationships, and that is the LAST state of mind I want to be in for planning something like this. Thai has also noticed we are under some stress and pressure, and planning this might make too crazy.
It would be “easier” in some ways to try to do it in Mexico because our friends will already be there in a beautiful place (we rented a PHAT pad on the beach with – get this – and infinity pool yippeee!). Yet we have to honor where our energy is. If it feels right when we are there, and we feel deeply it is the right thing, then we’ll do it. But right now it feels freakin’ CRAZY to try to plan it;)
I have also thought a lot about if I should share this next part, but I figured someone can learn from my process, so why put a kaibash on my vulnerability now, right?
I am trying to get pregnant. I am 39 and going to be 40 this year. I have been involved in Women’s Health and midwifery for over 9 years, and have too good of an understanding of my odds. Did you know the medical term for women over 35 who are pregnant is “Eldery Gavida?” Yup. Elderly.
I know the best I can do is to keep up my self-love practices, continuing to eat well, exercising, decreasing my stress, surrendering to the Universe, to the acupuncture needles, and also surrendering to the fertility specialist if this shizzle doesn’t land a zygote in the next 6 months. In short, don’t be elderly-like unless it’s Yoda-style elderly.
I don’t think I’d do IVF but I would certainly try some other things…I think.
I’ve got a lot going on, to say the least. And it can be easy for me to want to throw my hands up and say, “Whatever! Whatever happens is what will happen!” Like a spontaneous wedding in Mexico. Or not even thinking about this pregnancy thing and not taking extra steps to improve my fertility. But the bottom line is, some things just can’t be THAT simple. Some things deserve a little discomfort and effort (the good kind – not struggle). Sometimes, when you really want something, you can’t just wait and see. You need to move on that shizzle. Be proactive. DO.
When you’re interested in something, you try. When you’re committed, you DO.
I’m going to nest now, so I can save some energy for doing – and BEING me. I’m going to full-on find that balance between surrender and action. Are you with me?
And by the way, I am only 1 week from completing my year of commitment to Full-On living – and as of now, it has been too sweet to even think of stopping!
I like my hands now. I didn’t always used to. They were never long and dainty like the models’ hands that I saw in dishsoap ads growing up. They weren’t sinewy and powerful like the climber chicks’ I spent years hanging out with, either. They were…hands. Didn’t hide ‘em. Didn’t flash ‘em. Didn’t think they looked really cool with rings on.
Once, I got a manicure and I thought they looked pretty cool, but I was 11, and even then I knew that I wasn’t going to be spending my time getting manicures. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with manicures. But with the things I do every day, a manicure would get messed up pretty quickly.
In any event, during the last few weeks, I’ve been noticing I catch a look at my hands and I think of one thing, and one thing only – my dad.
I really see my dad – who died at the age of 83 in the year 2003 – when I gaze at my hands. My mom used to comment on how she was glad I got his hands. She liked how they weren’t bony, or too rough. He played the acordion and the harmonica. His hands were musical. He wasn’t much of a handyman, but he could hug. Big time.
I’ve been spending the last 3 weeks on the Island of St. Paul in the Pribilofs, a remote archipelago in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. I usually scatter some of his ashes when I go someplace cool – someplace where I think he would have liked to have gone with me. He was an older dad and so by the time I had discovered the outdoors, his mobility was decreased by age and cardiovascular disease (or shall I say, 60 years of smoking?) and he couldn’t come with me on many adventures that I would have liked to have brought him on. But I forgot his ashes this time.
Perhaps that I why I finally saw him so vividly in my own body. I had a need to share all this with him on a physical level, and it wasn’t until now – at 39 years old – that I saw how much of him was a part of me. I suppose 50%, to be exact. But I didn’t get it until now.
I smile deeply as I watch the fur seals at their rookeries on St. Paul and think of how he used to marvel at even starfish, gazing at them and running his fingers along their legs.
When I pause to watch the wind waves that form in the tall grasses as they are blown in every which direction, I recall how he used to ask me to pause when I pushed his wheelchair under a grove of old growths in MuirWoods and say, as he gazed up at the suns rays peeping through the branches and took hold of my hand, “This…this is my cathedral.”
As I hang out in the clinic laughing boisterously with my patients in the waiting room, people wondering why I was hanging out there and not in my office, and chatting with teenage girls about their sex lives (in private!) and asking them questions that bring a look of shock to their faces, I remember my dad pretending to be a squirrel in a park once, looking really stupid but making me laugh so hard. He didn’t care what people thought. He just wanted ME to be happy. And that taught me a big lesson early on in the importance of not caring about what people thought of you if it meant compromising your values. That gave me courage to do things that may seem inappropriate or uncomfortable for the greater good.
Living Full On these past few weeks has been a lot about slowing down, breathing, paying attention – to my heart, my head/thoughts, my body, my friends, my partner…the guides that exist in all forms around me.
I’m glad I slowed down enough to look at my hands long enough to recognize my dad in them. I wonder what else I’ve been missing?
Have you noticed anything lately from slowing down? If you’ve been going going going, what do you think you might be glancing over without knowing?
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and Freedom Junkie™ She helps passionate people awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. Her monthly Freedom Junkie™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her “Full-On 365” blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting anaverzone.com
This has been my birthday month, and I have just turned 39 awesome years old! For the 5 weeks after my birthday and before my boyfriend’s, it appears I am robbing the cradle – or maybe just borrowing from the cradle – when he says he is 37, which sounds like 2 years younger, hee hee;) I quite revel in it.
It has been important to me to spend my birthday in the mountains. I have been in the mountains in one way or another every August since I was 18. However, last year, when I went to the Palisades in the Sierra Nevada and my bestie, Kristen Cates, and I frolicked in alpine lakes and scrambled up glaciers wearing Chacos sandals, I realized I fill my cup most when I am with my girlfriends in the big mountains. Suffice it to say, Kristen graced me with her presence by flying to Alaska for a couple of weeks. It was awesome!
After she left (and after our adventures of sailing, hiking, crossing cable bridges over rivers, yoga in the forest, etc) my friends Monty, Ole, and my boyfriend Thai and I went to the Tustumena Glacier and explored this area on the Kenai Peninsula, accessing the infamous Harding Icefield and making out way to Truuli Glacier. It was epic! We took an armada of boats to a seasonal island (otherwise an isthmus) in Tustamena Lake where 10 of us hung out together for the eve. We grilled halibut on the top of the wood burning stove and played music late into the night…and the cabin was a surprise! An uber- nice blessing for sure.
Only two of the boats were “sea worthy” enough to make it through the rough waters of the rest of the lake traverse the next day (I think the lake is near 25 miles long!). This left 8 of us at the base of the Tustumena Glacier, where we cooked moose meat loaf (!!!) over a fire, and had other amazing meals as well. Yes, we had more than one meal in less than 6 hours. It was awesome. In fact, we may have had three meals.
The next day, our friends Don, Burt, Shane, and his son, Simon, dropped us off at the mouth of Tustumena Creek, and we hiked up to the base of the glacier. It was gorgeous! But seemingly impassable. Steep rock walls lined the sides of the glacier, and at the base was its terminal lake and steep ice fins and ice walls, with the lake filled with icebergs and silty slush.
Well, I lied. We did have the option of bushwhacking at least a mile, through the usual Alaskan up-and-down terrain, which takes hours in the thick alder. We were up for it…but mañana.
But wait! Thai says, “OR, I can get energized and run back to basecamp and get the packrafts and we can paddle around and find a way to get onto the glacier. Maybe.”
That sounded way better! For us at least. What took us 4 hours one way took Thai 2.5 hours round trip. He ran most of the way, and slept well that night. (The pic of the lake at the base of the glacier is above).
The next morning, we loaded two to a packraft and explored, finding one finger of morraine at which we thought we could safely dismount the packrafts and get onto the glacier. It worked! Shuttling the gear took another 2 hours, then we were off towards the Harding Icefield and Truuli Peak. The packrafts saved us hours. Love them! And Thai;)
I’ll keep the story short: it was freakin’ gorgeous! We had epically good weather (rained once and we were asleep most of the time), and the views were utterly spectacular. Truuli looks stout. We would definitely need better alpine gear as we were only prepared for a snow-slope or moderate ridge options, of which there were neither. Two of us had Kahtoola microspikes which were THE gear of choice for this trip. The others had less-than-ideal crampons and we all agreed the Kahtoolas rocked for glacier travel and even some moderate slopes for experiences peeps.
We ate like divas (sorry guys) and had warm soups for lunch, and scrumptious dinners, and even an Asian coconut custard birthday cake for Ole. That’s a long story.
On the way out the boys did a little sheep hunting. Sited six, but they were too small. I was somewhat thrilled about that. I scattered my dad’s ashes in the most surreal of places, spots where lush alpine tundra meets views of the stark and dramatic Harding Icefield, and another where two glorious glaciers parted like a frozen sea past the rock outcrop we were camped on, above an ephemeral lake jumbled with blocks of ice, like the eddy of the glacier if ice could indeed swirl in geologic slow-motion.
There’s more, but this is my “Full On 365” blog, and not an Outdoor Magazine article, so I’ll save more juiciness for another time.
Suffice it to say: it rocked my world. The whole month. All the people in my life. My boyfriend. My mom. My friends. My family. My self.
Indeed, myself. I am glad – and even a bit proud – to know I am still adventuring, and also still growing spiritually. Life is amazing. I truly love my life.
During this month, I have to admit I did notice that I wasn’t 24 anymore. And not all of that is bad.
Here’s what I notice is different now that I am 39 years old that is a little inconvenient:
I seem to need more sleep. I used to feel “fine” after 5-6 hours now and then. Perhaps what it really means is I expect more out of how I show up in the world, and that requires a cup that is more full
I need to stretch and do yoga. Before it just felt good and I thought of it as a great part of my workout. Now I neeeeeed it.
Coffee gives me worse panic attacks than ever. I am learning to love tea more and more.
I have to hear, “OMG you SO don’t look 39! You look, like, 32 at the most!” all the time. As if I was supposed to be haggard at 39. As if the possibility of someone being youthful in their late 30s is such a shock to a 20-something who you also have to talk to all night and keep hearing, “I can’t believe you’ve done so much! Oh, I keep forgetting you’re SO MUCH older than me!” Funny thing is I used to do (kinda) the same thing. Karma’s a bitch. I know, I know…if I really had my shit together I’d see all that as true compliments. But its rather like saying to someone, “Oh! You’re still skinny! You’re supposed to be fat by now.”
Things I like about getting older that are freakin’ awesome:
I like to read before bed
I have a growing acceptance of doing nothing and feeling good about it
I am less controlled by a need to impress others
Sex keeps getting better. Who EVER knew!!!! Yay!
I am happier
I have more skills with which to help others
I am still sexy and pretty and am growing into my womanhood more and more, with grace
I am more in love than I have ever been. Ever.
I trust the Universe
I am a better person
My body’s new “needs” keep me aware of how I treat it, and I take care of it better and better
My friends are still around, and still love me and celebrate me – and they know me even better!
I have a better understanding of my shit and how to deal with it
I have a better understanding that we all have our shit, and how to help others deal with theirs
If you ever fear getting older, don’t. Take care of your body, your soul and your mind. Show up in the world with integrity and compassion. Do the right thing. Have fun! It gets better. For realz!
BTW to the left is a photo of what my boyfriend did while I wrote this blog post. Men are awesome;)
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and Freedom Junkie™ She helps passionate people awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. Her monthly Freedom Junkie™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her “Full-On 365” blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting FreedomJunkie.com (note: it’s new look will be up to rock your world soon)!
I am so freakin’ happy I can’t stand it. Literally! It’s like my brain is so “logical” that it immediately starts calculating the statistics of how long this could exactly last.
It is terribly annoying.
I know I am not alone here. A lot of us, when things are going really well, remind ourselves that it can’t possibly last forever. Well duh. But constantly reminding ourselves of this doesn’t help us to enjoy it while it IS here.
The ebb and flow of happiness is an age-old truth. We feel joy, then something happens and we feel a funk. Then something happens and we feel joy again. And on and on. The key is to not be attached to one or the other (oh yes, many people get attached to the funk just as much as others get attached to the joy). Still, not being attached to a state of mind being that way forever and ever doesn’t mean to not enjoy it!
So here I am in Alaska, happily building a home with my partner, going for hikes in alpine mountain scenery, planning trips to the Aleutian Islands and Uganda and East Africa…dancing at the local pub a few blocks away, watching Freedom Junkie grow and grow, and Hellz Yes! I earned this shit! Better yet, I created this! I am sooooooo happy!
I step back from my life, and remind myself of what I teach – that we create our experience – and I am in awe of it all. I am in awe that I have visualized every bit of this happening, and now it IS happening. I visualized, and surrendered, and some things manifested immediately and some took years/over a decade, but – just as I created the challenges in my life, I created this magnificence. It feels so amazing.
I used to reminisce about those days when I would sit in silence in my 20s, maybe watching a sunset cozy in my sleeping bag in the desert somewhere, and think, “I am so happy. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but whatever it is, Source, please let me keep doing it because I am so grateful for all I have right now.” That was when I lived out of my car and made about $11,000 a year.
For awhile I realized I hadn’t felt that way – that feeling of being utterly BLESSED – for a long time. A really long time. Then, it started coming back more and more. And here it is, full-force again. And what do I do?
Freak out that it’s going to end.
Well, I’ve been down this path before (remember: we revisit our challenges as in a spiral, over and over again, with a little different perspective and skillset each time) and I realize that I need to simply keep doing good work, being authentic, and fully enjoying the present. I need to not be afraid of when the tides shift. I need to be fully present and in the NOW. When I focus on what is going on in the present – and not fear what “might” happen – I am so freakin’ psyched!
I am blessed.
Sometimes I am embarrassed to say that. To say that I am so freakin’ in love with my life that I can’t stand it. Like I shouldn’t be this happy when others I love and care about are not doing so well. You know, feeling guilty like a good Catholic girl should;) But in the end, I know that it is the purpose of all of us to shine, and to manifest our magnificence, and I can’t wait for all those around me to keep on taking the risks they need to take to grow and to step into their creative power.
I know that I will be in a funk someday, and I’ll likely write about it here. But in the meantime, I am going to be so grateful for this joy.
I have learned that gratitude for what you DO have – whether you’re in a funk or in a state of feeling uber blessed – is your gift back to the Universe, to God, to Source.
What are you grateful for today? Let me know below. I’d love to hear about it so we can feel blessed together;) Misery may love company, but blessedness loves it even more!
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps passionate people awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. Her monthly eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her “Full-On 365” blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting FreedomJunkie.com (note: it’s new look will be up to rock your world soon)!
So…some of you may be wondering what happened after the kayaking trip? I flipped the packraft while following Thai into a rapid, and spent the rest of the trip mildly hypothermic, slightly pissed at him for taking me on a “float” trip with rapids (one called Horseshoe Falls or something!?), but also knowing mostly I was only pissed because it was cold;) I’ve been in the hypothermic bad mood before, so I quickly applied the antidotes:
I immediately got into the car after getting out of my boat and wet clothes, blasted the heat, opened a beer, turned on the radio which happened to be on Madonna, and practiced my Jedi Mindtricks of reframing.
I felt disconnected again, and cold, but I decided that instead of focusing on what I didn’t want, I’d focus on what I didwant. So I looked at the photo Thai took of me right before we got into the river and how smiley and magical I was feeling. And I will admit to you that I blurted out, soon after that photo, “Hey…I need to feel more connected to you, and I need to hear you express your love a bit more right now.” So he told me in poetic Spanish (he’s Italian and Vietnamese, by the way) how he has loved me for 12 years, and always will, and that he loves me like no other. And that he will love me, as always, forever…and did that now count enough
that I didn’t have to worry about it ever again;)
Funny how a cold-water flip can wipe away a memory like that for a bit. So it is important to have these skills to tap into the positive things in our lives regularly!
So now I am back to feeling connected. Yay!
Other things: I dropped my mom off at the airport today. It was a lovely 4 day visit, which is the amount of time we can spend together and still fully
appreciate one another’s awesomeness. So, as of today, I still feel she is awesome;) We went to a bonfire one night, we watched Thai kayak and had a beautiful heart to heart by the river. Nature and stillness is a beautiful container for opening the heart.
After we settled in by the river and listened to the rapids, she asked me, “Ana, what did you think of how I raised you?”
Hmmm. Trick question? I decided to be honest.
“Well, I know you always did the very best you could. I wish there had been less fighting, and hitting and yelling, but I am proud of who I am. And the most important thing you taught me was that I can do anything.”
Her response? “I know. I am sorry for doing those things. Back then I thought that’s how you got kids to listen to you. It’s how I was raised, and how a lot of people in my culture raised their kids. I’m sorry. I didn’t know then what I know now – that you can talk to your kids and explain things. So, I’m sorry.”
And she sat there all cute, by the river, and a red-tailed hawk flew overhead and I hugged her. I told her thank you for saying that to me.
Old dogs can learn new tricks. She is 76 (going on 77).
So, now I am reminded how hypothermia and getting older are not good excuses for staying in negative patterns…I LOVE getting rid of those 😉
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps individuals awaken their lives of freedom and personal success with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. Her monthly Jedi Juice ™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her Full-On 365 blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting Anaverzone.com (note: it’s new look will be up to rock your world soon)! Sign up for her next FREE Jedi Juice Training call at Anaverzone.com/jedi-juice
It has been a totally “normal” last few days for me. However, to most it seems quite abnormal. For example, in one day, I saw midwifery patients, had coaching clients, was the model for a magazine cover shot at sunset (I got to hike during it!), taught a super fun Ziji Up Mastery Program workshop in the evening, and then filmed a late-night video audition for an internet TV channel (no, not porn). Oh, and I also snuck in a yummy dinner and pinot noir wine flight at our local wine bar.
OK fine…that was kind of more busy than usual. But really, my days usually seem to be full of random things…and I LOVE IT! I also love how I love seemingly opposite things, and that I can have my cake and eat it too. I like that I can say, “I love this and that, even if it doesn’t make any sense to you.” Life is so much more fun that way.
Someone once asked me what kind of music I liked. I remember their amusement when I said, “Anything, as long as its good!” Made sense to me…
I love having days like the one I described above, where every moment is full-on. And I also love having days where the best and most full-on thing that happens to me is that when I am feeling overwhelmed and about to crumble a bit, I find a little love egg hidden by my partner (see a picture of the one I found two days ago above). And, despite my exhaustion, I can still feel his energy and passion and adoration fill me. And I cry a little but it feels good.
I had another day recently where I delivered 2 babies in 4 hours all before 5am – one a little teeny baby that was so tiny (duh…redundant), and she was miraculous and a little fighter and she did awesome – and I was so pooped but so happy! Then I designed a webpage for my audio and video files of my most recent Ziji workshop and had so much fun with everything I learned!
I do yoga and run, and also love sitting on my ass and watching movies. I drink wine and even take drags off my friends’ cigarettes when I am feeling particularly spunky and still do 3-week cleanses with no alcohol/sugar/processed foods/gluten etc. I love spending every moment of the day with my partner and also the stretches of days I have all to myself. I love my sweet home with a sauna and view on the hill, and yet I also love the simplicity of living out of my backpack and everything I own fitting into my car.
I love my fit body, and I also feel indebted to the lessons I learned from having cancer, and the person I have become as a result. I love getting stinky in the mountains and having battle scars of cuts and bruises from the climbs I’ve done, and I love shaving my legs and feeling them silky smooth. I love having bursts of energy (like when your puppy does sprinting laps around the house) that inspires me to dance naked in my kitchen (maybe with a wig on), and also I love surrendering to massages and long stretches of time staring off into space and watching the clouds or the stars so long that I see them move.
I love a lot of things, and sometimes that makes me a busy, whacky lady. But as long as I also take time to recover and rejuvenate and be present for the people in my life, it’s all good by me.
One day I caught one of my exes looking up symptoms on the computer trying to diagnose me. He concluded I had ADHD. I concluded it was high time for a divorce.
I am abnormal baby, and I freakin’ love it! In fact, I think I was born with an innate fear of being normal, or average, or (gasp!) bored.
I am meant to be extraordinary – and so are YOU!
So. Be. It.
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps individuals awaken their lives of freedom and personal success with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. Her monthly Jedi Juice ™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her Full-On 365 blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by signing up at anaverzone.com! Sign up for her next FREE Jedi Juice Training call at anaverzone.com/jedi-juice
A part of me was secretly excited that my site was down for over 24 hours (all was good – it was maintenance). That’s because I was way too busy to write a post. And that’s the way it has been for the past 3 days, actually. I’ve been so busy, in fact, that I have only slept 10 hours since Monday (and I write this Thursday morning).
Not all of this is due to something “stressful.” I had many amazing Freedom Junkie client calls, helped dozens of women with their lives and their health, and feng shui’d my house so that it looks like a freakin’ model home (it’s on the market, otherwise it would look like its usual bohemian madness self). I also brought multiple babies into this world in the wee hours, and that, albeit not ideal timing for sleep – is always a miraculous time of day. All this was not without the help of other amazing kick-ass women in my life, like my personal assistant Jenna, my medical assistant Claudia, and my organizers Kristin and Cathy (thank you!). But while those events fed my soul, the sum of the whole left me with my ass whooped. I was so whooped, I was brought to tears – yet I was too tired to cry. So I just thought about how good it would feel like if I did. Dang!
So what to do? I am guessing my future post about today – and perhaps even tomorrow – is going to be about Full On Rest. Amen.
I’m writing this as I head to Anchorage. Normally I would be super excited to get there. But being as tired as I am, I am not looking forward to having to build a fire when I get to the yurt, or shovel snow. So instead of focusing on that, I am going to book a massage (maybe even massages!), promise myself that if I don’t get to sleep in an hour after arriving I am also booking a hotel room with a jacuzzi tub for the night, and then I am going to plan a spa day with my Alaskan girls. They could use some pampering after all that backcountry skiing we’re going to do;)
It is funny how I have to give myself permission to rest. After ALL that stuff I accomplished, there’s still a little voice telling me I can do a bit more. But who cares if I could!? Just because we can do more, doesn’t mean we should do more. Yes, I am talking to YOU, fellow super-woman extraordinaire. YOU don’t have to either.
Well then, it is settled: today I am choosing to do nothing. I can be gentle with myself and do absolutely nothing. Let me rephrase – I need to be gentle with myself and do nothing. After all, on top of that sleep deprivation, I also passed through the anniversary of my first encounter with The Big C (8 years yesterday!). Yeehaw! C free baby! A cause to celebrate, but also an emotional experience to be reckoned with.
Which reminds me that I had another mole removed from my right shoulder Monday (Day 41), reminding me of my second run-in with the Big C. It was my four-leaf clover mole. I’ve had it forever. I even have a picture of it. But I wasn’t 100% sure if it was changing or not, and I would prefer not to dance with a melanoma again, so I had them shave it off. And to boot, this was at 7am. Ouch.
So yeah, I deserve every bit of rest I can muster.
Was it worth this degree of fatigue? I’ve already mentioned some Full On moments from the past 3 days. Thinking back on others, I also went for a morning run in the snow (while it was snowing!), and that woke me up big time and had me appreciate beauty first thing in the morning, which is always a blessing. I dipped back into my yoga practice, which escaped me for a bit these past few hectic months. I scored some sweet party wigs for a fiesta I am having this weekend, celebrating that 8th year of being free of my renal cell carcinoma, and visited with some girlfriends I hadn’t connected with for a long time (albeit on the phone!). Plus I spoke to my mom, every day, even though I was utterly exhausted.
So when I choose to focus on those moments, yes, it was all worth it. I’d rather have had some of those moments than been asleep. I’d have done it a little differently in hindsight, perhaps. But sometimes we just have these bursts of time where we barely make it over the finish line. And that’s just life. Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do, and try to do it with as much grace as possible.
I am designing my life to have fewer of those stressful bursts, though. I know I can have both adequate sleep and kick-ass moments. “Sleep when you die” is not a funny phrase to someone who has had cancer twice;) And in reality, this was just one of those times in life where all those things HAD to be done – and I did them! So I am celebrating the fact that I kicked some busy ass. And I am SO not doing that craziness again for awhile. Promise. We need to remember to fill our cup!
When we find ourselves in those moments of being stretched to our max, this is where Ziji comes in: knowing – no mater what – that you can do it. Because you have time and time again. And you’re still here, having everything you need inside you to move through this, with grace and courage and a kick-ass attitude.
Add a spoonful of self-love and compassion for this gal. I am heading to bed…after booking that massage!
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps individuals awaken their lives of freedom and personal success with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. Her monthly Jedi Juice ™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her Full-On 365 blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by signing up at FreedomJunkie.com! Sign up for her next FREE Jedi Juice Training at FreedomJunkie.com/jedi-juice
I dropped him off at the airport, the man I love, and sent him to Alaska. I was actually OK with the whole thing because I’d be meeting up with him there Thursday;) THEN I went to my friend’s ranch, and met up with a bunch of midwives there. WE DID NOT DISCUSS WORK AT ALL. It was fantastic. We went for a hike along the Rogue River and drank home-made huckleberry and blackberry wine. We ate pretzels and watched the glorious bella Tallulah, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel (yeah I had no idea how fancy this dog was either), run with the big boys and sneak into a herd of cattle, chasing chickens around and around the yard, rolling like a pig in mud in a pile of cow poo, and all-in-all being a true dog, despite her fantastic pure-bred haircut. There was baby-holding the 10-week old baby girl, Viva, and good all-around girlie fun. This, of course, was Oregon style, so there managed to also be talks of shotguns, how to skin a dear, and the year-long food supply that would surely come in handy someday. Hah! And to think I once believed it was giving into the man just by shaving my legs;)
Then I went with a friend to eat steak and drink more wine. And it was yummmmmmmmmy.
I was so full on I even forgot my phone and got none of these fiascoes on camera!
Now I’m home and I’ll be sleeping in bed…alone. And I’m OK with it. THIS is how it is supposed to feel in a relationship, and I relish in my coziness. There had been so many anxious nights in one of my less trustworthy relationships a few years ago…anxious because my partner wasn’t beside me, anxious to be alone, anxious wondering “what ifs,” wondering what he was doing, and all that craziness that comes in a relationship lacking trust (or confidence).
This, conversely, was such a calm and centered place. A deep Ziji…a deep knowing and confidence in myself, a deep peacefulness that all was OK, no matter what. Not just because my partner was trustworthy, but also because I have grown in my self confidence and what I know I deserve – and what I want. That helps to rid of anxiety, no matter what.
Once, when I was getting needled for a near panic attack back in the day, my acupuncturist (Denise Vore) told me, “We are usually not afraid of what the other person will do to us. We are more afraid that we will let ourselves tolerate it.”
Word up, sistah! I find these days, when I get anxious, I tell myself, “Don’t worry. If it doesn’t serve you, walk away. You deserve to walk away if you want to.” And I relax.
This reminded me of when I used to sit through crappy movies because “I paid for them.” Then I went to one with a bad-ass woman I know named Flo Sandok. We watched a crappy violent movie’s first 5 minutes and she said, “I am not into this. Are you?” I told her I hated it. So she said, “Let’s get up and leave.”
I was like, “WTF? You can do that? Oh yeah!” It hadn’t crossed my mind to get up and leave.
Damn. I’ve come a long way, baby.
It pays to say “YES” to what you know you deserve, and “NO” to what you DON’T deserve or want. Knowing in your heart that you will do this for yourself leads to more calm, groundedness, centeredness, and an increased inner confidence in your ability to show up for YOURSELF. This kicks anxiety’s ass.
Note: Ana Neff is known as the Ziji™ Mentor. She helps individuals awaken their lives, their businesses and their success with radiant inner confidence. Her monthly Ziji Up! eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting www.Ziji Life.com
How long have you thought about leaving YOUR J.O.B? I say “leaving” and not “quitting” because doing so really isn’t quitting at all. You are simply choosing something different. In any event, I have wanted to leave for so long. SO DAMN LONG. I love catching babies, and I love midwives, and I love my clients, and I really do dig being a baby catcher. Alas, I do not dig being an employee.
Not because my job sucked. My job rocked! As did the people I worked with. But I just don’t do well when I’m not doing my own thing. On my own terms. At least most of the time;) I even went part-time more and more over the years. But, my soul spoke louder because, frankly, it was not enough.
So I quit! Ah. Big breath.
This does not mean I am never ever going to catch another baby. But I need more freedom in my life to live out the other things that excite me as well. I am now going to be more FREE to embrace the speed at which Freedom Junkie is growing, and spread the love of radiant inner confidence so people can live their dreams. And I get to continue to live my dreams, my life, on my terms.
As my partner said when he toasted me last night, “Welcome to the free world.” Indeed.
More risky? Yes. Worth it? For me, it is.
You see, I’ve been in the “free world” the majority of my adult life. I had been a climbing guide for 10 years living in the wilderness and out of my car as I traveled the world. I have also spent years working in various clinics and hospitals, piecing together three or four different sites so that I could make my own schedule. Yes, that was more of a pain, but it was worth it for me at the time. My recent career as a midwife was the first time I ever had a kind of “normal” j.o.b. and even then it was pretty amazing and unique. It had lots of freedom within it as well. So yes, I was used to the free world.
Someone once said to me (lovingly), “You, Ana, are a special case.” LOL. Indeed. And us “special cases” can’t be put into special cases. We need to bust out of them. Some people like special cases and they make nice beds for themselves and sleep soundly. Safe and secure. And they LOVE it! But me, I like being free and running around naked etc., even if it means I might get cuts and bruises where I prefer not to. I like to sleep on the ground, under the stars (literally and figuratively). I sleep better after a day of hunting and gathering, if you will, than after the grocery store. So I took the risks to be free. And it was awesome!
But then I got cancer. And then I got booted from every potential insurers “Please come be our client” list. Then I got divorced.
Then I got scared.
So I took a J.O.B., and I gave thanks every day that bringing babies into the world and caring for mamas and their families was such a fulfilling and rewarding career, and that where I worked generally celebrated my special case-ness (I know…not a real word). I enjoyed my safe bed and the secure sleep for a little while. It was worth sacrificing some freedom when I was scared. And I still think it was a good decision. When you’re scared, it is important to take care of yourself. But after a while, you need to step back out and take risks again. I was getting too comfy. And for me that was, frankly, boring.
Not everyone feels this boredom when things are predictable. When I see people who are honestly OK with predictable, I notice that it is usually because they are in fact living their dreams – which happen to also fit in with a predictable world. But my dreams never have fit quite so well into the predictable.
On the flip side, I think a lot of people do feel this boredom as well. It is there when you pause and take inventory of the NOW. What you are doing, and what you’d rather be doing. Finally, I couldn’t be OK with what I was saying “No” to while I was saying “Yes” to security. Until the balance got tilted in that direction, it worked for me, bu after that, I couldn’t be OK with it anymore. So I quit.
I am very aware I am giving up a coziness in career that many people long for. However, I am thrilled over the moon to regain my freedom. Security has its perks, but freedom – for me – has many more.
I’m not saying this is for everyone. Peeps need to do what makes THEM happy. And for me, it is worth it to take the risks of not having an externally guaranteed paycheck (and, ahem, many have learned that isn’t a sure-thing either) so that I can live with fewer regrets.
And if I regret this decision? I guess I’ll go back and get another J.O.B. But something tells me that is highly unlikely, and hell, you HAVE to do it scared anyway. I’ve learned through lessons I hope you will never have to experience that “What ifs” are a bunch of B.S. and you do NOT want to wonder that every day of your life. Life is too short.
(Oh, and the Full On 365 recap for the past few days? Day 32: Fully – and finally – purging my house of 6 boxes of books and 3 boxes of clothes and tossing hundreds of pounds of clutter. Amen. And if you can believe it, I can STILL toss more stuff. Clearing this clutter has been a HUGE part of living Full On that I’d been putting off. Now I have more energy as a result. Which means more Full On days;) Day 33: Deciding I would make some big decisions on my own, without waiting for my partner to decide anything or for some magical event to occur, and talking to my partner about all that in a way that left me vulnerable and strong at the same time. Day 34: Quit the job;)
Note: Ana Neff is known as the Freedom™ Mentor. She helps individuals awaken their lives, their businesses and their success with radiant inner confidence. Her monthly Freedom Junkie eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting www.FreedomJunkie.com