You Are The Gift.

You Are The Gift.

Dear fierce ones,

It is officially the Holiday season. All my life I have struggled during the holiday season with the materialistic side of it. All the shopping and spending. The stress of buying more and more things we don’t really need and that don’t really matter. In a couple of months the gifts are even forgotten about as our minds shift towards the next thing we want to have. It just gets to me. The focus being on all the things instead of on all the people in our lives. I didn’t grow up with “all the things” and yet I had the best things in life that can’t actually be bought…they can only be felt inside your heart.

I was discussing my feelings about this to my dad. He spoke up immediately and said something that had already been whispering within my own heart. He said…”YOU gotta be the gift. YOU are the gift. The gift of giving yourself is the greatest gift of all. The gift of YOU. Being present. Being yourself. YOU are the gift.

Well, it hit me pretty hard.

I was speechless.

My throat constricted and the tears started to slip down my cheeks BECAUSE THE DAY BEFORE THAT…

I held a wreath workshop on my little farm that was a lot of fun! It was just incredible to see such different results. These women arrived somewhat unsure of themselves because they had never made their own wreath before. This was a DIY wreath workshop. Over and over I heard the words “I’m not very creative” and yet, each person was very creative because everyone received the same materials to choose from and yet each wreath looked completely unique…AND beautiful! It was amazing! Every person that made a wreath left that workshop feeling empowered and encouraged in their abilities! That was my favorite part. One lady was putting her wreath together and I thought to myself  “Oh My Lord…this isn’t going to look good”…I felt concerned… I mean the way she was putting it all together and some of the choices she was making well…I NEVER would have picked that combo! I was aghast. LOL. (sorry for judging but I just could not imagine that it was going to look good!) I am happy to tell you that I was proved WRONG! I was totally amazed at how nice it was when she was done! And it was SO HER! I could not have been more delighted. I just wanted to dance a jig. It was thrilling. I just loved it and SO DID SHE! It was JOYOUS. At one point I actually started to cry and we are just all laughing and crying and giving hugs and I was BLESSED down to my boots. Then…it got even better.

As the last lady was leaving she came to talk to me. We talked for awhile and she thanked me for a really great time and then she said these EXACT WORDS...“You gave a lot to us today…because you gave yourself!” OMG…I started super-crying…and talk about GOOSEBUMPS Y’all!

So, that was my week here at herb and flower farm and I just HAD to share! It was also a perfect introduction into this blog post I have been working on for a few weeks.

As you know, (if you read this blog regularly) I am a huge proponent of vulnerability, authenticity, intimacy and connection. Over and over again…I witness people afraid to be vulnerable. To express their hearts, their dreams, their goals, their creativity! I just want to SCREAM from the rooftops to everyone who has ears to hear.

To suppress ourselves out of fear is to suppress all that gives us LIFE and fuels our SOULS.”

The essence of our souls craves true intimacy, connection and love. At the same time…we are often too afraid to reach out with our true selves. We are too afraid to become vulnerable. Instead, We settle for what feels safe and secure. We settle for what seems easier. We portray ourselves the way we want to be seen…using filters.

Party shots

Glam shots 

I’m having the best time of my life.

Instagram proves it.

Facebook proves it.

So many likes…

Right?

Instagram is a lie.

Facebook is a sham…

behind the filter…

behind the cam…

I am lonely. 

I am unfulfilled.

The smile does not reach my eyes.

I am empty.

INSIDE…

I feel

lost and alone 

afraid and ashamed

CRUSHED by feelings of

hopelessness

fear

anxiety

depression

loneliness

envy

insecurity

NO ONE KNOWS…

Who I am.

the REAL me…

The one who cries to be seen…

The one who is longing to be…

just

ME.

Too ashamed to be

seen “AS IS”

Yet…

Desperate.

to love and to be Loved.

to accept and be Accepted.

to embrace and be Embraced.

Too risky to reveal..

my less than perfect…

SELF.

I am.

who I am.

according to

Instagram.

Does that resonate with you?

Do you know anyone like that?

OR…

Maybe it is you?

It is fascinating to me to observe people. I love people watching. I love going to events just to watch the people. Lately though, I observe most people with their faces glued to their phones.

It seems like everyone is glued to their phones or devices. I walk down the hallway at work and I see people everywhere walking with bright faces, all lit up by their phones. I drive in my car and I see bright faces sitting in traffic or at stop signs. It is an epidemic.

My 15 year old daughter has a lovely friend. A couple of months ago, we were all hanging out and talking together. I listened to her talk about how she was at school that day and none of her friends were there on that particular day…she was alone at lunch. Her phone was dead. CRISIS. All around her everyone else was on their phones. She actually picked up her dead phone and pretended to be on it because she just felt so lonely and left out to just be sitting there, eating alone. I listened to her tell her story and while I empathized with her feelings of isolation, at the same time I felt an icy shiver travel up my spine. What is happening?

Life is moving faster than ever. In this age of information and technology, I can’t seem to get a grip on it. By the time I figure one thing out…the next thing is already happening and what concerns me the most is how this current culture is affecting our kids?

One of my greatest concerns with the devices and phones is that we have created a FALSE intimacy addiction loop through our facebook and instagram feeds. I want to expound upon that a little bit and show you what I mean.

In our current culture, we are settling for false intimacy more than ever and in doing so, we are setting ourselves up for a very fragile sense of self-worth.

Our self-esteem is becoming based on an extrinsic validation of one’s own filtered self. So if you are filtering everything and only showing certain things and everybody else is also doing that…I wonder what we can believe. What is actually real? I have observed self-esteem hang in the balance with every “like”. I have observed self-esteem crumble when the posted image doesn’t get enough “likes”. The magnitude of the negative emotional impact from people we barely know (and many times don’t know at all) is staggering. It is no wonder we all feel afraid to put ourselves “out there”. This is why so many girls in high school find their clique of friends and pretty soon they all look like little clones of each other. Same shoes. Same yoga pants. Same i-phone. God forbid if you only have an android…you might become a social outcast (at least in my neck of the woods). As a parent, I am very concerned.

Simultaneously…all that I have described isn’t limited to the kids…parents are also succumbing to the insidious lure of false intimacy.

These social media conditions are the reason we are all craving authenticity more than ever.

On one hand it seems obvious to me how crazy this current culture is, and on the other hand… it really is just an echo from the distant past. It is the same age-old song being sung from a different platform. The same fears and doubts…the same feelings of fear and disconnection…

NO ONE WANTS TO BE A SOCIAL OUTCAST ON THE ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS.

Somehow we fear we don’t belong if we are simply ourselves because somewhere along the line in our lives we were made fun of, or rejected, or ignored. We experienced the pain and shame of disconnection. Of not belonging. Of unworthiness. We experienced the pain of being isolated and dumped by our friends or lovers. In response to our hurt, we automatically believe there is something “wrong” with us and we try to fix it to “fit in”.

We fear that we don’t have the right “WHATEVER”.

Clothes.

Hair-Style.

Car.

House.

Neighborhood.

Career.

We fear that we are not ENOUGH

pretty enough,

skinny enough,

smart enough,

good enough,

qualified enough.

rich enough.

We fear the opinions of others.

We fear the criticism of others.

We fear the rejection of others.

We fear making mistakes.

We fear the unknown.

We fear the future.

We fear that there is nothing we can do.

We fear speaking up.

We fear MOST THINGS actually!

We fear.

We fear.

We fear.

One truth about me is that I so deeply longed for true intimacy and belonging that I was far too willing to sacrifice my “true” self. In doing that…I compromised and settled for false intimacy because I was not willing to be seen “as is”. I was not willing to become vulnerable. It felt way too risky. It was too hard to be able to trust someone at that level. It has been a lifelong struggle for me to find that emotionally safe harbor where I could freely be the unashamed version of myself. I still struggle with the whole “approval thing”. Nothing makes me feel worse than when I think about what others might think! UGH! Try writing about anything with that mindset. Well, you can’t. You just can’t. I go through these paralyzing periods of time where I simply can’t write. OUT OF FEAR.

I have come to realize that there are 3 kinds of fear response. Fight… Flight… and deer caught in the headlights. PARALYZING FEAR. All my life I have been in the latter two categories. Flight and deer caught in the headlights. FROZEN. Waiting for the proverbial axe to fall. It is honestly…THE WORST FEELING. When I am afraid…I often just refuse to move. I shut down. Secondary to that I am a RUN AWAY (flight response) person. Over the last few years, I have started to face my fears. Confront them. Deal with them. Squash them! Still, like anything…it takes PRACTICE.

So here I am…practicing. Putting myself out there. Writing my thoughts. Dreaming my dreams. Living my life. Being myself. Sharing and caring. Loving and encouraging. Using my gifts. My presence…not my presents…to impact the world in a positive way.

All my life I have felt this overwhelming desire to help others. But I often felt like there was nothing that I could really do to change anything. I am only ONE person.

But then I think…

What if Mother Teresa had thought that way, or Martin Luther King or Abraham Lincoln?

We are all only ONE person.

We are all only able to change ourselves. But when we do…we change the world around us.

This is GREAT NEWS!

We don’t have to be afraid of all the things we can’t control…

the things that paralyze us and shut us down

OR

anger us so all we want to do is FIGHT

OR

make us long to ESCAPE by running away.

Notice how each fear response is different… but the result is the same.

FEAR keeps us from sharing our lives.

How can we give of ourselves when we are shut down?

How can we give of ourselves when we are fighting?

How can we give of ourselves when we are running away?

We CAN’T.

So what happens when we are ALL AFRAID?

The world gets shitty.

Who is the world?

WE ARE THE WORLD.

Stop excusing yourself.

Stop blaming others.

Stop being afraid.

We must forget about all the things we cannot control and focus on what we can control.

Our thoughts. Our actions. Our reactions. Those are all things we can each control and change.

You matter.

I matter.

You make a difference.

I make a difference.

I am a gift.

You are a gift.

Give presence…not presents.

You are enough.

Be the gift this season.

Be yourself.

The antidote to fear is love so remember to love yourself.

All my Love,

Stacie

#findyourfierce #empoweryourself #takethejourney #Givethegiftofbeingyourself #Bethegift #youarethegift #Presencenotpresents #herbandflowerfarm #youareenough #loveyourself #selflove #beyourself

 

 

I Met My Husband on Tinder.

I Met My Husband on Tinder.

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Simply Bananas: