Greetings! And apologies. I apologize for disappearing (whether you noticed my lack of communication or not).
In addition to a whirlwind of consuming challenges and changes (some of which I just might share next newsetter), I was also grieving. As some of you know and others may have guessed, the Embodied Joy retreat was canceled. And to be quite honest, it was hard on me. Despite how good I am at being a big body of Love and seeing silver linings, it felt like a huge loss, a big failure, and I had a hard time tapping into my own sense of embodied joy.
Ironic, right? Ironic. But also human. And ok.
I thought about sending out a notification, but in addition to the whirlwind of life taking over, I felt too tender and raw to share what was going on. And anything less wouldn't have felt authentic.
So I chose to go silent (aka not send out any newsletters for a while).
Now that I'm breaking that silence, I want you to know that one of the most important things I ever learned, I learned in improv, and it's about celebrating failure.
On the first day, we learn to throw our arms up in the air while saying, "I failed!" as if it's a good thing, and then take a circus bow. And then? Everyone applauds, there's smiling and laughter, and life goes on.
I employed this approach. I did. And sometimes it worked or at least helped take the edge off; I certainly had moments of grace and acceptance and life was definitely going on in some very big ways, but the truth was that I also needed to grieve the loss of this retreat; I'd put 6 months into this beautiful vision, and now I needed to let myself feel the loss and disappointment of it not happening.
And so I did. I let myself feel sad
. I threw myself a pity party....or two....maybe more. In addition to counting pity parties, I also counted my blessings. I surfed the waves. And now I'm feeling better, just like I knew I would. I learned so much along the way that could help me do better next time. Plus, I see that just by planning the retreat, I succeeded in not letting fear of failure stop me from taking that initial big leap of faith. And in all of my promotional efforts, I reached thousands of people with this message of "embodied joy" and Sheng Zhen.
How cool is that?! Pretty darn cool. And definitely worth celebrating.
I also learned a lot about how I handle, and how to
handle, failure and/or fear of failure. So now I want to share some things that might help you, or someone you know:
1) First of all, let yourself feel your feelings.
Be gentle with yourself. Take some extra time and space for self-care and for listening to and feeling into what's going on inside. If you're feeling pain, you can use this technique I just learned from my teacher Shakti Malan; it works wonders:
Place your fingers on your sternum. Breathe in the pain you're feeling, accepting it rather than rejecting it. Breathe it into your Heart. Allow your Heart to transform it. Let Love come out on the exhale. At first, put most of your focus on that inhale, on taking in the pain and accepting it and allowing for transformation; let your Heart do its job.
2) Remember that just because it didn't happen this time doesn't mean it's not meant to be or won't happen another time.
Does a baby give up learning how to walk with the first stumble and fall? No. Absolutely not! What's that old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again?" That being said, wise coaches of mine, Thomas and Bonnie Liotta
, once pointed out that the word "try" implies failure. So next time, don't just give it a try
. Do it. Make the decision, and commit. Keep at it. Even if it leads to failure again. Expect a learning curve, as well as success.
3) Write down what worked well and what didn't.
Journal. Find a way to evaluate the experience and use it to learn and grow.
4) And if all of this Heart-centered, personal growth stuff isn't working for you, or even if it is, go ahead and stroke your ego; write a list of all of your successes, your accomplishments, your wins.
Remind yourself how awesome you are, because you are. ;) You could also, or alternatively, count your blessings or start a gratitude practice.
5) Throw your hands up in the air, exclaim "I failed!" and then take that circus bow.
Smile and laugh. And if there's nobody around to witness this display, go ahead and clap for yourself. :)
Sound good? Yes. Good.
That's all for now. Be kind to yourself. And to each other. And as Thoreau says, go confidently in the direction of your dreams.