let people be wrong about you

Here’s a little secret: one of the most relaxing things you can do for yourself – better than a spa vacation in a remote mountain area or trolling a fishing line by your kayak in the Sea of Cortez – is to let people be wrong about you.

I know – it sounds crazy, right? But think about it. How much mental energy goes into protecting our image, defending our stance, or worrying about what other people think about us?

Answer: a shit-ton.

Here’s a quirky thing you might not know about me: I received a near-perfect score on the “logic” portion of the Graduate Record Exam (the GRE is a hideous, multi-hour test you have to take for most graduate program admissions). You might think, “Wow! That’s awesome, Ana! You’re life much be so much easier because you’re all logical and shit.”

Not.

Life is actually harder when you not only feel you are right, but know you are often right. This is because most of the time, us humans are super illogical, so no amount of logic can easily change our thoughts, behavior or how we feel. We do things not based on our rational brain, but on how we think something will make us feel. And most of us want to avoid hard feelings, so we do super illogical things like overeat when we are stressed out about trying to lose weight, or snap at our partner when we want to grow closer to them.

Silly humans!

So you see: the way people think – and the way people think about you – actually has nothing to do with logic (which is super frustrating for someone with a very logical brain;) You will likely never be able to convince them they are wrong, because they don’t actually think what they about you because they have a logical reason for why they are “right.” They think what they do about you because of how it makes them feel.

Mind-blowing, right?

So your partner, who swears you never told them about the party tonight and defends it to their core (even though you know you told him 2 weeks ago)?

It likely won’t help to repeatedly describe the exact details of when and how you told them. Why? Maybe they need to believe it wasn’t their fault that they forgot so they can feel good about themselves. Who knows! But the point is, life will get much easier if you let go of trying to convince them otherwise. Just help them get their pants on and get out the door.

Your (read: my) online hater who writes you a scathing email about how lovely your life must be since you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth/have a rich husband who supports you/(insert made-up story here)?

It won’t matter to write back and say, “Um, no. I grew up poor and in the ghetto and with a schizophrenic father and a mother that took her stress out on me. And I make more than my husband, thank you very much.” They need to think that about you for a reason. Anything you do or say likely won’t help, because they don’t want to feel differently.

This goes back to one of the main things I teach in my Ziji Up! confidence course: our thoughts create our feelings – and only YOU can change your own thoughts. When people have a thought about you in order to avoid experiencing a hard feeling, trying to change their thoughts about it with logic will be like Sisyphus rolling the proverbial boulder uphill. Don’t bother.

THEY need to go in there and change their thoughts when they are ready and willing. When someone is avoiding a hard feeling, they are NOT going to let you in their head to mess with that unless they are good and ready.

So you see, it’s easier to just let go of what other people think of you. It has nothing to do with you. It’s them. It’s about how they not just want – but need – to feel about themselves in that moment. And trust me: we all do this.

When I know I am right about something and my husband thinks otherwise, I often say to him, “But that doesn’t make any sense!!!!” (followed by a deep, guttural growl and the suppression of the GRE-style logical reasoning to accompany it). And truly, it doesn’t. But that doesn’t matter.

The reason I think it’s so important for me to be right is because I am doing the same thing! Oh, the irony…

I think correcting his thoughts about me will make me feel better. Loved, seen, heard, understood…all those “good” things that seem like important and valid reasons for arguing back. But what’s really happening is I am creating more distance between us, and more suffering as a result – in him, and in me.

Silly humans.

So next, time, I can focus on letting go of what he thinks about me, even when it’s something wrong and “bad” about me. The ironic thing is that allowing wrong thoughts about me would allow us to grow closer. I can let go, move on, and he will feel a nice “victory” and we can get on with having fun in life.

The same kind of freedom happens when we don’t react to anyone else who has negative opinions about us – and when we don’t let what others think about us affect the way we feel.

The next time you start obsessing about how someone is thinking something “wrong” about you, remind yourself that it isn’t about you. They want to feel better in that moment, and they need to think that about you to keep it going.

You know the truth of yourself.

You have the capacity of a big, open heart that can let people think wrong things about you – because you know they are hurting in a big or small way, and that they need that “win” for the moment.

So go on: let people be wrong about you. There are way better things to be thinking, feeling, and doing.

That is true freedom…

Here’s to you feeling it!

***

Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

the mother wound + healing

I’m writing this post on Mother’s Day, and I know that not all of us have had deep and fulfilling relationships with our mothers. If your relationship with your mother is intimate and warm, I hope you celebrate this day with her in your heart or in person! Consider yourself blessed. And if you are a mama, I celebrate you for choosing that courageous path and growing little humans that will eventually be caretakers of our planet (no pressure;)!

However, our mother is the one person in our life capable of creating one of the deepest wounds possible – known as “the mother wound.” This email is for those of you with a tender mother wound.

When we share such deep bonds with someone, growing inside their body and relying on them so deeply, and then hopefully  being nourished by them physically and emotionally once we are born (or not, if they had to give us up, or weren’t capable of doing so)..when they hurt us, it cuts deeper than any other pain.

We can spend our whole lives suffering this wound. Or not.

Instead, we can choose to know this wound is shared in our humanity. Like many wounds and types of suffering, it is only possible because of the depth of love that is possible. It is precisely because we can love so deeply that we can suffer so deeply. It’s part of the deal of being human. All mothers are bound to let us down at some point. It is up to us to know they are human.

Instead of focusing on what was missing, we can choose to focus on the love that was there…that our mothers kept us alive and nourished us – however imperfectly – despite their own suffering and pain.

We can choose to create the love we want in our lives – by nourishing friendships and relationships, and even with healing our mother wound when we are ready.

Know that your happiness does not depend on your mother, or anyone else. You can choose to create happiness in your life now. You can choose to think new thoughts about your life – to write a new story about your wound.

You can start to see the ways in which your wound has shaped and forged you in alchemical ways to be someone with your unique gifts. Indeed, some theories suggest the mother wound happens to us in exactly the way we needed it to to shape us spiritually in this life – when we are courageous enough to let it.

Let it. Let your past be the thing that helps you grow into the phenomenal person you are destined to be. Shape your mind and soul to look to the present and future with a bright heart.

***

If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

Days 338 to 358 Keep It Simple, Stupid – but maybe not that simple

Full On 365Wow…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!

Who Are You Hanging Out With Freedom Junkie? Your Tribe Matters.

That’s right – it’s official, and not just what your mother kept telling you when you wanted to hang out with the bad boys: who you hang out with matters, and studies have shown that your success will be equal to the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Crazy! This goes beyond birds of a feather, peeps. This affects you on ALL levels of your being, not just where you’re at in the present, but also who you BECOME.

This concept applies not only to levels of success, but to health and wellness as well. We now know that wellness behavior is “contagious.” People who generally are heavy eaters will eat less when eating out in a group, and those who are light eaters will eat more. We tend to meet people in the middle when out in a group. By the way, this happens with money too: heavy spenders will spend less when out in a group, tightwads (no offense) spend more. And if you have a friend who is obese, you have a 50% higher risk for obesity, and if you have a friend of “normal” weight who has an obese friend that you don’t even know, you risk of being obese still goes up 25%.

So hang on – does this mean we shouldn’t spend time with people who are not at the level of success that we want to achieve, or who are not in perfect physical condition? Hell no! The risk isn’t 100% 😉 And if that was how it worked, peeps who were where we wanted to be at technically shouldn’t hang with us, right?

What it does mean is that we need to be aware of the influence that others have on us, even on an unconscious level. It also means we need to consciously create our tribe and make sure we have plenty of positive influence in our lives.

What can you do about it, Freedom Junkie?

If you want to experience more adventure, make a conscious effort to meet and spend time with people who are active in doing the things you want to do more of (tango? skinny dipping? ice climbing? war-zone travel? wearing more lace and leather?).

Do you want to create a successful business? It behooves you to spend more time with people who are where you want to be. If you want to take your income to the next level, you need to hang out with mentors who did what you want to do and are at where you want to be financially.

It doesn’t work to want to start living a more adventurous life or create a thriving new business, and then hang out with slackers on your couch talking about your dreams all day. Or worse: spending time with negative people who shoot down any possibilities for change or growth. Yuck.

So now the tough question: Are there people in your life that you need to let go of? Or people that you need to spend less time with so their level of influence isn’t so strong?

The fun question: Who do you want to spend more time with? Who is that person whose radiance makes you smile, whose joy lifts your heart? Who is that person whose business totally inspires you? Reach out to them and try to get together for coffee, or yoga. If they can’t hang out, no worries. They are probably busy because their lives are so full! Keep asking and setting the intention to attract more amazing people into your life, and continuously work on becoming that person you want to be.

To create the life you want (and deserve), you need to spend time with people – aka other Freedom Junkies – who have the same goals as you and are taking action to make it happen. We are impressionable beings, for better or for worse. That’s why every successful entrepreneur i know is a part of a Mastermind group. That’s why people are more successful at losing their goal weight when working with a personal trainer, or completing the marathon when they train with a group or training partner. That’s why in addition to having clients work with me 1:1, I create group programs for Freedom Junkie, like the Freedom Sessions Mastermind and the Ziji Up! Mastery Program. It really makes a HUGE difference! Let’s make a conscious choice about who gets to make those impressions on us, OK?

Love,

Ana
PS: Do you have big dreams for the next year and want a tribe to help you get there? Check out joining our group of 10 amazing women during the next  Freedom Sessions Mastermind Group. Head on over now and see if you likey! You can also be a more active part of our Freedom Junkie tribe by taking part in our free monthly Jedi juice calls and hanging out on Facebook and Twitter with us. See you there!

Days 236 to 252 The Freedom of Realizing You Are Not “Wounded”

Full On 365It has been longer than usual since my last entry, and most of that is because my mom came all the way up to Alaska and slept in a red shack and smiled the whole time – and I owed her my full attention;)

During this time, I have been in awe at how much my relationship with my mom has changed – and how much she herself has changed.

You see, I had a lot of anger about my childhood for many years. I was uber-pissed, and for objectively good reasons. I won’t go into details, but you can imagine the myriad reasons people feel wounded and broken. However, in the end, I knew that deep down, despite their mistakes, my parents were indeed doing the best they could in the moment with what they had available to them.

So, as an adult, I had a choice to make:

1) I could keep reminding myself and my mom that things really sucked growing up and about how much she hurt me, and that I was all sensitive and defensive because of her, and that she really screwed up royally with some things. Then she’d apologize and feel shitty about herself and I’d feel guilty and all upset after re-hashing all that crap. And we’d do this over and over, as I strived to get back at her for hurting me the way she did through guilt-trips and passive aggressive behavior and not-so-passive aggressive behavior…

OR – I could stop thinking that I was deeply wounded and broken, wanting to make those feelings go away until I allowed myself to move forward...Wanting to “understand” everything and have it make sense – and have everyone understand and agree that I was wounded – before I allowed myself to be happy. I could stop that and instead…

2) Say, “Well, that sucked. Royally. But now it’s time to create my new life.”

Needless to say, after years of #1 and hanging out in therapy wondering why I was still having panic attacks, I decided to try #2. And it kicks ass.

I can’t describe the shift that happened when I stopped thinking that in order to heal, I had to wallow in the past until some magical moment when things would feel right.

I realized that insight and understanding don’t fix everything. They feel good, sure. They’re useful, sure. But what created real shift for me was changing what I DID. How I thought, how I responded, the situations I created.

It was ACTION that allowed me to grow and change…and ultimately, heal.

It was ACTION that allowed me to see myself as whole, and perfectly resourceful and creative. That I was indeed perfect as I was. Not broken. Not wounded to the core. Not in need of more therapy or days of crying to feel seen.

Action, baby.

Of course, I found therapy helpful for some things, especially learning how to notice what I was feeling, and being able to share my story with someone who wasn’t going to try to explain it away or justify things. It helped me make sense of certain memories and I felt incredibly safe sharing deeply with someone that seemed “qualified” for me to lose my shit in front of. At that time, I had very real fears of losing my mind.

But in hindsight, which is always lovely, I realize that maybe I just needed one round of that. Then I needed to get off my ass and do things differently.

I needed to create a different relationship with my mom, or walk away. The latter wasn’t an option for me, because I love her deeply.

I asked her for what I needed to hear in order to be able to forgive her. I asked that she reflect on it and come back to me if and when she felt she could say it with full sincerity. She did. And I tried letting go then and there. It was awesome!

Of course, I still get my buttons pushed and some tender spots are still there, but I realized that I could simply DECIDE to move forward!

Brilliant!

It took patience (on both our parts), and I fell into some old patterns a lot in the beginning, but I was committed to doing things differently.

Now, instead of feeling the need to hear my mom apologize every time we hang out, or to want to process something with her, we get to enjoy each other. I allowed her to do things differently. And she allowed me the same.

We allowed ourselves to grow, to change, to EVOLVE.

We are having our best years together yet, and I know it will just keep getting better.

Life is too short to be perpetually wounded or to believe you are broken. It is impossible for those to be true.

Create space and say what you need to say, feel heard by a good counselor or coach or therapist or mentor. If you feel deep emotional wounds that manifest as severe depression or other serious mood disorders, address that with a qualified therapist. But remember:

You are not broken. You may hurt – deeply – but you are not broken.

You were wounded in the past. True. Stop picking at the scabs.

Move forward. Do things differently.

Be patient.

Be compassionate – with yourself.

You. Are. Enlightened.

I bow to you. For realz.

(If you’d like to read another post about changing mindsets that are tough to change, click here)

Are you interested in taking this to a deeper level? Keep an eye out for my 2013 Freedom Sessions Mastermind. We will spend 6 months as an intimate tribe, working with our minds and inner beings methodically and metaphysically, learning what our old stories are, skills to unravel, debunk, and oust unhealthy thought patterns and beliefs, and rewriting our new life stories – making change more permanent and lasting. This helps us effectively creating the lives we desire – finally! – and we’ll be having FUN while we’re at it;) Contact me here if you’d like to learn more. It will be juicy!

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)!

Days 110 to 113 Loving is Awesome and Scary

Last night I got home from an awesome biz conference in the gorgeous town of Asheville, North Carolina (there are fireflies! FIREFLIES! little tinkerbells!). I had an very cool time at our “Come As You Are In 2017” party. I pretended that my vest was of camel fur that I found in Mongolia, and that I worked 6 months a year and traveled and hung out with my family in epic places the rest of the time. Ooooh there is more. It was juicy.

Here’s a pic of some of us. To the left are some pretty incredible women entrepreneurs. To start is there is AudreyReynolds, epic travel consultant, of BeYourOwnTravel Hero.com. Then there’s post-partum botique doula, Devon Clement, of MamasBestFriend.com, (me of Anaverzone.com) and Lani Harmon – supah natural light photographer and inner radiance capturer of, duh, LaniHarmon.com. There were also women helping families with the challenge of autism, travel photography coaches, legacy story capturers, gluten-free mentors…on and on!

a few of us at the Come As You Are in 2017 party

The biggest lesson from that: many of us tried to think about what to wear or what we’d look like, but in the end, it was about how we were feeling in 2017, what we had accomplished, what we were creating, what we had learned...and, for me, how we had loved.

When my partner, Thai, opened the door after I arrived from the airport at 1am, I was soooooo happy to see him. Like, hugging and cuddling and holding-for-several-minutes-before-tearing-the-clothes-off kind of missing. And as we fell asleep, I found myself wanting to stay awake, just holding him and being held by him, reveling in being able to totally be present with experiencing my love for him.Wanting to stretch out the minutes into hours and days. I wanted to so KNOW this feeling inside and out, so that I may recognize it as it passed me by on the street, or to sense it in the air.

I played with opening my heart more and more. I felt this warmth overcome me. I had flashbacks of when we first met 12 years ago, his helping me open my first email account in Kathmandu (“anapurnas” my username;), the subsequent love letters sent over that email…the struggle to try to make it work, but the distance that made it so difficult. The 12 years between during which we were friends. And more recently, hearing him tell me as we fall asleep by rivers and mountains that sometimes he can’t believe he is finally with me, that’s it’s me next to him.

I am brought to tears as I can’t believe the same thing. He’s here. Right next to me. Let me feel this fully and deeply.

Thank fucking god he’s asleep, cuz this would look kinda weird, me all pretzled around him with wet eyes and wide awake staring at him.

Then I got scared. My heart wanted to close. The idea of loving someone so much was kind of freaky. I was full-on basking in love, but not full-on opening my heart.

I don’t even have kids…but the idea of loving another being so much is so powerful, and it created a pause.

I let myself imagine what it would be like, to love completely and with reckless abandon, mindful presence, and respect. There was a sappy movie called, “The Vow” on the flight home, and the one thing said in it that stood out the most to me was this phrase:

I promise to fiercely love you, in all your forms

Deep breath. Don’t we ALL deserve that?! And, we all MUST experience loving another in that way, whether it is our parents, or our children, or our partners. And then we need to extend it to ourselves. Ironically, perhaps we need to start with ourselves…

So the protecting, the pause…I’m OK with it for now. This is juicy, precious stuff. I AM juicy, precious stuff. And so are you. I choose to see this pause as a bow to myself, my sacredness.

I will love fully. This I know because, as Hafiz says below:

Your love
Should never be offered to the mouth of a
Stranger,
Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.

…and he has done this 🙂

Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, mentor and FreedomJunkie™ She helps individuals awaken their lives of freedom and personal success with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. 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 FullOn365.com Her new site and blog, Anaverzone.com, will be up to rock your world soon!

Days 87 to 90 – Flipping the Kayak and Getting Connected

Living Full-On Every DaySo…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

My packrafting superhero look

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

Here we are hanging out by the river…My 76 year old mama and me!

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?”

Holy sh*t! Now THAT’s a rainbow! (along the Rogue River)

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

Days 83 to 86 Feeling Disconnected

Living Full-On Every DayMonday I danced in the warm rain. It felt so grounding to have raindrops landing on my face, feeling my body interact with the elements and with my surrounding environment. Being indoors (by that, I mean in a temperature-controlled house) felt stifling after I had spent so many of the last few days in Alaska sleeping outside, in a rustic cabin, yurt, or on a boat (where I was lulled to sleep as I felt the water make subtle shifts below me). Playing outside, I had been feeling the biting wind, the hot sun reflecting off the beautiful white snow, the cold ice running down my back and behind my bum when I flipped trying to make a tele turn on something slightly over my head. Here, indoors, I was feeling disconnected.

So I went outside as soon as I heard the first raindrops. I was going to just bring something to my car, when I head a bird fly overhead and looked up. I felt the first drop hit my face, and it was YUMMY! I put my things in the car and turned around to go back in the house and I paused at the first step on the walkway. I looked up again and felt more drops hit my skin. I was waking up! I took off my hoodie, and let myself take BIG deep breaths. The scent of fresh warm spring rain was intoxicating. I got soaked, and it came down even harder in a huge dump, and I laughed! Well, perhaps giggled is more appropriate of a descriptor, then guffaw.

I loved how something so simple could help me feel so connected and grounded again.

Recovering that feeling isn’t always so easy in relationships.

The past few days I have been feeling disconnected from my partner. We were both so busy, and we have only been able to catch 1-2 hours of awake time together this week. I missed him. And worse, I didn’t feel like he missed me. Even though he sends me cute texts and makes me dinner and we have yummy quickie sex because our morning schedules don’t permit anything else.

Of course, this is because I tend to catastrophize when I have too much coffee and because sometimes, I tend to convince myself that awesome things in my life are too good to be true (which, by the way, ultimately sabotages them – so watch out for that in your own life!). I even remember having this same feeling come up a few months ago, and it all ended up being nothing (this, of course, I discovered after putting myself through my own personal hell for a few hours).

I’ve learned that in recognizing habitual patterns and reactions, it is important to ask yourself, “What triggered this?” What emotion am I trying to soothe? Where did it come from?  What is the root cause (usually something having to do completely with your own shit)? What am I needing right now that I can give myself? It is important to know how to get your needs met without expecting someone else to do it for you. Friends and family and partners can help hold the space for you, but ultimately, you need to go there yourself.

Even with knowing that experiencing this feeling before was a drama of my own creation, I still REALLY want to have some deep conversation about my shitty feelings and what’s wrong and is there some god-awful truth I am not aware of and other such distracting questions. Is there something OUTSIDE of myself that I can’t control, or something so at my core that is so ME that is causing this, so that I can throw my hands up and give up and say, “Whew! I knew it! Glad I don’t have to work on being vulnerable and uncomfortable anymore. Bye!” Because while it is a whole lot more dramatic and exhausting, closing off the heart can seem a whole lot easier than staying open with your heart and being painfully and frighteningly vulnerable sometimes. Turning towards something can often feel harder than turning (or pushing) away.

So yes, that is why, in an I-am-completely-aware-this-is-an-upper-limit-problem kind of way, I still really want to have A TALK. But wait…

Is there a version of dancing in the rain that I can conjure up  in this scenario? I’d much prefer that. I find that when I can self-soothe when stressed or bummed out, that once I feel better, I have a healthier perspective, and if I STILL want to talk about something after that, I can do so in a much more productive and compassionate way.

Hmmm. What a clever idea.

So what grounds me and connects me to MY soul? Nature, adventure, being outside.

Today we are going to kayak. Well, he will kayak and I will be in the packraft (which I LOVE because I can plow through scary things more often than get flipped over). It might even rain on us while we’re out there. Sounds like a recipe for helping me feel connected.

Maybe the two of us, dancing on the water together in our boats, will do the trick;)

Stay tuned…

 

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 on the Law of Attraction at anaverzone.com/jedi-juice

Days 27 and 28 – The Box: Letting Go of a Poverty Mindset Around Love

this is the postcard my soul mate gave me over a decade ago that was in The Box

Do you have a Box? I mean, THE box. The box that holds all those old pictures and love letters, cards, newspaper cutouts, plane ticket receipts, foreign money etc. Some would say Pandora’s Box;)

I had one of those boxes. Today, I went through it and – gasp! – threw stuff out! Full On.

It was a bittersweet tenderness. I looked at maps I collected over the years, ferry passes from sea crossings on my early travels, held money from various parts of Asia in my hand, and ticket stubs collected from fun first dates or with people I idolized (like my first ticket to see H.H. the Dalai Lama in person). I admitted, for example, that I really didn’t need the bulky napkin from a crazy guesthouse in Bangkok where I had stayed up all night with my friend dancing in wigs and sipping various concoctions with this “new” drink called Red Bull. I mean, really…I wasn’t going to bust that out with a grandkid on my lap one day. Maybe the story, but not the napkin;)

I also read beautiful letters from past boyfriends…many from more than a decade ago. I went through little packages they had made for me, sending them across mountains when I was working abroad or in the middle of Alaska or the Sierra Nevada in California.

As I read the loving words and saw the care put into the gifts, my heart twanged as I thought about how they might be doing now, how I feel so blessed to have been loved in such a beautiful way by them, and – yes – I wondered if they hated me.

For realz? For realz.

It takes a lot to disappoint another to honor yourself. Some of those breakups were ones that I wasn’t sure should happen, but I was trusting myself and what I needed, and honoring a future that would be better for both of us if we spent it apart. Inevitably, it was the right thing to do.

But still, I wondered if they hated me for breaking up. I really did love them, and I really wanted them to know that. I just, frankly, also loved myself more.

There…I said it.

While those relationships did indeed come to an end, it was good to remember that I have had some pretty amazing men in my life. I’ve been fortunate enough to generally have relationships in which we communicated well, were trusting, passionate, and involved a lot of life adventure in all shapes and sizes (pan to montage of me in couplehood laughing and frolicking in the mountains…).

Gag. I sound like the female version of Julio Iglesias right now. And I lack the accent to make up for the sappiness. Sorry.

In any event, they were great men, and I just didn’t want them to hate me. But ya know what? You can’t control something like that. I reminded myself that while I like to think of myself as a Jedi on some level, mind tricks were not my forte and I had to simply let go.

Then I wondered: why had I been holding on to all those letters and photos and poems etc anyway? Yes, part of it was lovely and sentimental.

But if I’m being Full On Honest with myself, the other part is because of the remnants of a poverty mentality around love. On some level, my holding on to these keepsakes was similar to the folks with financial poverty mindsets who hoard things, filling up a garage of items they never use in a poverty mindset because they are afraid they may never be able to afford to get another one should they need it someday. And things still sit there, never to be used.

It was like Chris Rock’s description of women’s “plutonic friends” being a – excuse my vulgarity – “Dick in a Glass Case.” Break in case of emergency. This was my Love in a Glass Case. Open, read, and maybe even call in case of a heart emergency.

I say “remnants” of a poverty mindset around love because I have proudly moved through the grittiest part of that at this point in my life (one of the COOLEST things ever about getting older!). I am very clear about who I am and what I want (at least a whole lot more clear than I’ve ever felt before!) and KNOW that I deserve every bit of it. That means I am much more willing to disappoint another in order to honor myself, and this is also more possible because I know there will be someone who will celebrate me and love me even as I fully honor myself: Myself. So, I have less of a need for Love in a Glass Case should an emergency arise.

It is indeed one thing to read through such letters and look over the photos and have internal sounds of “To All the Men I’ve Loved Before” going through my head. It is a whole other beast to toss things out. But I did.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of those things? Hell no!

OK…I admit…DID hold on to a handful of the cutest most intricate little gifts mostly because they seemed like art to me. At least that’s the bullshit excuse I gave myself. But I bet deep down it is because there is still the tiniest remnant of that poverty mentality left. And one day I am sure those final pieces of past loves will also leave my presence. In fact, I bet it will happen pretty soon. Like waiting one more month to bring that sweater you never wear to Goodwill.

The coolest part of this whole thing was finding a card from my current partner from over 12 years ago. We have finally arrived back into each others’ lives after many years – and many interim relationships. We met in Kathmandu when we were wee little ones (mid-20s). I recognized his writing on the back of a postcard and turning it over there was the old photo of an iconic Buddhist stupa he took me to on the back of his motorcycle in Bodhnath, Nepal. He had glued the photo to a thick piece of paper, sending it off to me as a postcard when I was in graduate school at UCSF. I held this in my hands for a long time, amazed at how a part of me always knew we’d end up together.

I stuck that postcard on the fridge for him to see when he came home. And I put a lot of other things from that box into the recycling bin, and others I burned ceremoniously. They deserved more than a landfill parting.

I sat there, quietly, happy that I was not feeling empty as a result of having let go. I felt more full, and at the same time, more spacious allowing love in the present to fill my cup.

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

Days 15 and 16 How to Talk Money With Your Partner

Full On 365™ took it to the mountains, and it was awesome! However, the most full-on part of the past few days was going deep with my partner. We spent our first Valentine’s Day together, even though we’ve know each other for years (12, to be exact!). We both had to take big risks to take action to finally be together as a couple after all these years, and it has been an amazing journey so far.

Since we’ve known each other as friends for so long, we both knew that we had some – ahem – “differences” that we’d have to work through. One of these is how we perceive money. In my life and in my coaching others with finance challenges, I’ve learned money issues are never about “money.” Money issues are about what money means to you, what it symbolizes for you.

For me: money is energy: I get it, I send it back out, I have fun with it, I create it, I don’t stress about it as much as the average person because I believe I will always have at least enough. Always have. Always will. I’ve lived out of my car simply (and intentionally!) for years, I’ve grown up in a very poor and violent neighborhood, I’ve stayed in 4-star hotels, I’ve stayed in huts where rats ran over my face as I slept. I’ve had lots of it, I’ve had little of it, I worked through the issues imbedded by my father that money makes people corrupt and, well, evil. With money, I know having it doesn’t mean it will make me happy. I’ve been happy with and without it, and I’ve been unhappy with and without it. I know I need it for some basic things, and I know the rest is bonus and can be really fun and inspiring if I use it well.

For him: money is an inconvenient part of life and you earn it to build security and allow freedom. And you don’t really need more of it than what is needed to meet those two needs. Having lots of money and having “things” as a result is excessive (meaning lots in the bank is OK though). Having lots of nice things (and “lots” is a subjective term!) is being greedy, and challenges values of living simply and not buying in to the consumer culture. For him, having a lot of it is somehow bad. There are so many with so little, and having things (especially nice things) ultimately takes more from them. People with less stuff were more…cool. Of course, I am paraphrasing his opinions, but this is about how I perceived it and tried to stay full-on with it all;)

I’ve been in his mindset. Once I became successful, I used to be ashamed of having money. I knew how I perceived people who had it when I had none. I admittedly judged them, and felt they were missing out on the “real” meaning of life because wealth was a distraction to knowing the suffering in the world and learning the truths of life. Wealth was a distraction to being a true participant in humanity. It separated you out. It made you less…spiritual.

But then I learned differently.

I learned that while not having it didn’t mean you were any less of a person, or necessarily any less happy, having it – even LOTS of it – also didn’t mean you were a lesser person, or any less happy. Money is energy. That’s it. What you do with it and how it affects you is up to you. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you need to be excessive or greedy, and just because you don’t doesn’t mean you are more simple or spiritual a person. Happiness and greed and selfishness are ultimately independent of money. I know selfish poor people and generous rich people. I know incredibly giving people living in poverty who went out of their way to feed me in Mexico despite the fact I earned 5o times their income, and stingy peeps who have millions in the bank that made me split a burrito dinner when I lived out of my car. It is about YOU. Not your money.

This difference between us that came up on this trip was heavy duty. We both share values of living simply, striving to create more socioeconomic equality in the world through the work we do and other actions we take, and have both demonstrated that we know “things” don’t make us happy. We first met when we made less than $11,000 a year and we were blissfully traveling the world. Now we are both successful professionals, blissfully traveling the world. This issue was there at both times in our lives!

This is because the issue was in how we perceived the motivation behind what we were doing – not in money itself.

I like my nice reliable Subaru, my condo in Telluride, my small 900 square foot cottage atop a hill in Ashland, my cute clothes that I feel sexy and fun in. He likes his Alaskan yurt with no running water, no “central heating,” his used Honda Civic that he drives through Arctic blizzards, and was perfectly content with one shirt and one pair of pants for 6 weeks in Africa.

Know what? I like those things too. I like it all. I find his traits totally hot, actually. I like how I have a reliable car but don’t need to buy lots of fancy jewelry or fur coats. I like how we BOTH spend most of our hard-earned money on plane tickets and adventures instead of accumulating things. I like that I can live it up with girlfriends in a nice spa, and also have the best time of my life in the Sierra backcountry, with all I need carried on my back.

It was hard to feel that he struggled with my desire to dance in my own version of the middle way. It admittedly hurt that my nice things made him uncomfortable. I felt judged, even though he swore up and down that he wasn’t judging me (hellooooooo, can you say “projection!”).

I grew up REALLY poor, man! I earned these significant luxuries in my life, and I know I am still a good person with them – or without. But what is the 1% truth that is always in what we think is not true? Ay ay ay. I had to go there.

So we talked about it. Some of the things we did to keep the discussion healthy and safe were:

  • Remind ourselves of our shared values – these were the same. The way we perceived money actually didn’t mean we had different values. It represented differences in what money meant to us individually. We both value living simply. We both value making the world a more equal and just place for all beings. We both value being as “green” as possible…and on and on!
  • Remember you don’t have to understand in order to accept. We trust one another, and who we are. I don’t need to understand “why” he feels the way he does. I simply need to do my best to understand as much as I can, give him the benefit of the doubt, and accept him. This has to go both ways, of course. And it did. Oh, and the other part is to let the other person be themselves as well. Not just accept, but celebrate!
  • Discuss shared long-term goals. This helps to keep the Big Picture in mind. You see how your differing styles can still work towards the same goals.
  • Focus on the ways differences are complimentary. He helps reel in my tendency to overspend, and I help him lighten up a bit (and learn to enjoy being comfortable from time to time!).
  • Remember to have a sense of humor. We crack up knowing that we were saying the same thing, but in different ways. We want the same things, and there are just some tweaks in the way we get there that we need to work through.
  • Remind yourself that while it’s important to share core values, mindsets and habits and behavioral patterns are malleable. Having money or not isn’t a core value. How we live – simply, generously, and in consideration of other beings on the planet – is.

We both stretched. We both went into it full on. He told me how he wanted to expand his perception of money and wealth to allow him to be more comfortable both with and without it. He stretched to understand how the way I saw living a life of simplicity, generosity and compassion was in line with his, even though it may look differently for both of us sometimes. And I stretched to admit I could do a better job at living more simply, and that I had moved away from some of those values more than I was comfortable with.

Whew! Sometimes living full on can be exhausting. After having visited friends in 4 cities, skiing in two states (Utah as well!) and hiking in the desert, this was the most full-on part of it all.