Doggy Paddle Like You Mean it.

Last week I had a few business meetings I  needed to attend, however, I woke up one morning feeling inadequate and unprepared for them. I found myself feeling like I had no idea what I was doing. I recognized this wasn’t an uncommon feeling for me, there have been many times I have felt a sense of inadequacy. I was about to have meetings with people who were far more knowledgable about business than I was. They were going to eat me alive.

If you’ve heard my testimony, then you know I talk about being in the ocean during this time of my life. I often feel like there are moments I am floating, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery, then there are moments when I am swimming for my life trying not to drown. But what about those in-between moments?

I am doggy paddling.

What I have learned while being in the ocean is I am not a professional swimmer. I don’t know how to do any professional strokes, all I know how to do is doggy paddle.

If you were to swim by me in the ocean, on the top it would appear like I am perfectly fine, coasting along, but underneath the water you would see my legs kicking and kicking and my arms wailing, a complete struggle to stay afloat.

After attending my first meeting, I realized everyone in the ocean is doing the exact same, we are all simply doggy paddling trying to stay afloat.

The thing about living life beyond the walls and in the ocean is we don’t really know how to do it. None of us have been taught how to live a life free of conformity, free of boundaries, free of other people opinions. Most of us are trying to figure this thing called life out. We are all trying to learn how to become professional swimmers in the ocean. While it may appear that others around you have it all together, chances are they are doggy paddling too.

The difference between one persons doggy paddle and the next is the confidence they paddle with. Some people understand that doggy paddling is just as effective as swimming. It may take them a little bit longer, but they are making strides and movement through life just like the person doing butterfly strokes. Some people realize if they are going to doggy paddle, they have to paddle with a certain kind of effort. They have to paddle like they mean it, like they really want to get there. If you want something in life you feel totally unqualified for, you have to walk into like you want it and deserve it. You can’t go in feeling unqualified and unworthy. You see, most people feed off your vibes and energy. When they see you in the ocean, they aren’t looking at your strokes as much as they are looking at your energy and vibes. Someone can watch a person and not know anything about their lack of knowledge or skill level, but if what they are doing seems effortless, passionate, beautiful, and they bring a type of energy that makes them feel just as excited then what they are doing no longer matters, the person is  sucked into the energy force.

If I was capable of walking into my meetings with a level of confidence and excitement then people wouldn’t focus on the fact I was doggy paddling, in fact many time they wouldn’t even know I was doggy paddling. They would be focused on how quickly and efficiently I was moving and how great my energy was while doing it.

It’s all about the energy and vibes. I am less likely to jump into the water with someone who seems panicked, scared, and unsure even if they are a professional swimmer. However, if someone seems completely at ease, happy, confident, and have a positive vibe and energy I am more likely to jump into the water without even asking if they know anything about swimming.

I realized just because I am doggy paddling now doesn’t mean I will still be doggy paddling in a year. Every single person has a starting point. There will come a time when I would be able to back stroke through some parts of the ocean and then have to doggy paddle through other parts. The same way I am able to float. The key is to do it like I mean it, whole heartedly.

After realizing this reality, I decided to doggy paddle like I meant it. If I was going to doggy paddle anyway, I might as well doggy paddle with pride. I decided I would add some simple strokes to my doggy paddle.  Practice would eventually make perfect. I no longer was going to feel embarrassed or less than because I was doggy paddling. For the remainder of the week I doggy paddled into every meeting like a professional swimmer!

I doggy paddled into my meetings with confidence and energy. I held my head high above the water while my legs kicked and paddled and with all their might. And if my head happen to dip for a second under water, I would keep my eyes open and look around noticing everyone else doggy paddling too! We were all equals. All trying to get to our island of happiness.

Now that you have broke down the walls and jumped into the ocean of the unknown, doggy paddle with a purpose, doggy paddle to your island, doggy paddle like you mean it! And when you run into others who seem like more competent swimmers, remember everyone is and/or has doggy paddled. So be kind, give them a boost, show them a stroke or two that you have learned along the way, and speak life into them so they are able to continue their journey along the ocean with the same type of confidence.

Follow the Cart

Ikea is one of the best shopping places ever! If you’ve never been to one, may I suggest you make this happen. We love Ikea, but we don’t love their carts Ikea carts are designed to roll front, backwards, and side to side. This on first sight may seem awesome because you simply pull the cart along with you whichever way you go. What we quickly learned and based off our people watching, what others learned, is this is not the case.

The carts are actually cumbersome and easily become a nuisance. You find yourself trying to force the cart to go the way you want it to go, all while the wheels are turning and rolling in every direction. You’re going left and the cart is going backward and right. If you make this highly suggested visit to Ikea or on your next visit to Ikea, take a moment to watch those around you struggling, I mean strolling around with their carts. You will see many of them complaining and discussing their dislike for the carts, you will see them trying to forcefully correct the direction of the cart, but then you will see some people happily following along. Sounds familiar? Sounds like life?

Some people follow the cart rather than trying to force the cart to follow them. 

I never noticed this until one of our recent visits to Ikea. We were waiting for one of our purchases to arrive at the pickup station along with a couple of other people. Our items arrived at the same time as another person items. My husband got our cart of items and the guy got his cart of items. I watched as my husband struggled to get the buggy to go the way he wanted it to go while the guy strolled by us letting his buggy go whichever way it choose. He walked by with ease, confidence, and a type of control that isn’t quite control. It was almost as if he maintained control of the cart by releasing control. Allowing the cart to do what it was designed to do, but still staying in control. It was eye opening.

What this moment taught me was that Ikea carts are much like life. We walk into many moments of life with excitement knowing that the situation can go anyway. There is a feeling of freedom, believing we will have a stronger grasp on control in the situation. However, once in the moment we begin to feel frustrated, irritated, worried, concerned, upset, stressed, angry, and/or depressed when we realize the situation is trying to go one way when we want it to go another way.

What if, we followed the moment? What if we allowed the moment to swing right while we held on with a since of confidence knowing the situation wasn’t going to swing so far right that we would lose control. Allowing the moment to go right, with a faith in the design of the moment. A faith that the creator of this moment knew exactly how to design the situation to go exactly the way it needed to go.

Follow the moment and allow things to unfold the way they are designed to unfold all while holding on with faith and confidence in yourself and the maker.

The guy following the cart in front of us wasn’t pushing the cart, but more so guiding it. He held on with ease as the cart turned in circles. For him, he knew without a doubt the cart wouldn’t get out of hand, he trusted the design and he trusted himself.

To push something in life that wasn’t designed to be pushed can cause friction and frustration. 

When you are presented with free flowing moments in life, the idea is to allow that moment to, well, flow free. If we take a moment that was meant to be free flowing, and  try to push it in the direction we want it to go, the moment is no longer free flowing. You are literally going against the grain. These moments become so frustrating and put a strain on our peace and happiness. So, how do you know when you are forcing a free flowing moment? Do things seem difficult, virtually impossible, does it seem like no matter how hard you push or pull you’re getting nowhere and in fact it gets harder. Does it seem like you are making zero progress? All these feelings are tall tell signs that you are trying to control a free a flowing situation.

When you let go of control and follow the situation, you will quickly see a drastic change in the feeling. The important thing in this is faith and trust. Because the situation will feel like it is going to go out of control if you don’t steer it, you have to have trust and faith. In the beginning it will feel uncomfortable almost unnatural. You will feel like you need to do something or should be doing more. It will feel like things are getting out of control.

HOLD ON

Soon you will start to feel a sense of ease, things will flow more naturally. You will be guiding the situation, but not controlling it which will allow things to flow more freely. This allows more opportunities to present itself.

The guy who followed his cart, got to his destination a lot faster and a lot happier.

When you follow and guide you arrive at your destination a lot faster and with fewer bumps and bruises. You are happier and less frustrated. You are able to see all the beauty in each moment presented because you aren’t tied up with pushing and pulling.

The goal with each moment is to let it be, let it flow, gently guiding the wheel and trusting you will end up exactly where you are suppose to!

 

Live Dangerously

I have talked a lot about the purpose of life. My belief is and continues to be the purpose of life is to “live”. But what exactly does that mean? I have given examples with trees and other metaphors, but somehow this idea is still a hard one to grasp.

I was recently journaling in my “The Circle Maker  Prayer Journal”, ( I recommend this book to everyone, no matter your religious beliefs) and the quote for the day was

“stop living as though the purpose of life is to arrive safely to death”

How profound this? I had to really pause in that moment and allow this quote to sink into my spirit. You’ve read my post on stop waiting and start living, where I talk about the idea of dying and how we are all going to do it. Is the purpose to arrive at that moment safely? Is the goal of living to arrive on your death bed and say, “whew! Thank goodness I got here with no broken bones, no horror stories, no exotic memories, I got here safe and sound!” Will this safe arrival to the one place many of us fear make the arrival easier and better? I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably not.

My guess is many of us will think about all the chances we should’ve taken and how we would’ve taken those chances had we known this was the ultimate outcome (as if we don’t already know this). No one really wants to play it safe. When we play games, we take chances and go out on the limb, because we want to win and we think it’s just a game so I’m going to go for it. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but no matter the outcome at the end of the game we have a story to tell and memories to share. We learn valuable lessons for the next time we play the game and we go into the game more confident than the last time.

Isn’t life a game?

NO?

Who told you it wasn’t?

When you think back on this great philosopher that told you life isn’t a game and we need to take life seriously and proceed with caution, how was their life?

All the greats I know, played life as though it was a game, a game to be mastered and won. Many of these greats lost the game of life several times, but in the end they won. I can assure you they didn’t arrive at death safely. They had stories and war wounds to prove it. Us, too afraid to live folks, marvel in their stories and think how can we live freely like them? The question I ask is, what are you afraid to lose? Me, I am afraid of dying and never had lived. I am afraid of dying with regrets. I am afraid of dying while still living.

I am afraid of dying while still living

Many people play it safe in fear of loss and death. I don’t or can’t do that because I might lose my job, I don’t want to do that because I might die, I don’t want to go because I might die, I can’t buy that because I might lose my car. The script is different, but the plot is the same. The ultimate goal is to safely walk through life. It is only when we are faced with loss or death that we throw caution to the wind and truly begin to play the game of life. It is in these moments that we truly begin to live. The  problem with this narrative is it’s still fear driven. Fear prevents us from living while also making us live. Isn’t that amazing how one single emotion can determine the path we choose in life?  What would happen if we removed fear? It is even possible? Do we ultimately need fear to live?

Yes! We need fear to live! Fear is what drove many of the greats to be great. Fear is ultimately what forced me to jump ship. Fear is what motivate us to do the unthinkable and move into the unknown. Fear is what drives us to change.

Fear; freeing  emotions, abandoning reason.

When there is fear present we tend to either allow our emotions free or we free ourselves of emotion. If you are a person that holds onto emotions and do not allow your emotions to be known, when fear is present you may allow your emotions to flow. You may say I love you to a person you never allowed yourself to say I love you too. You may express the feelings of concern or worry. You may allow yourself to say all the things you wanted to say before but didn’t. If you are a person that is always thinking about your emotions and assessing a situation, when fear is present you may free yourself of these thoughts and emotions. If you were always worried about something or someone, when fear is present you throw those worries to the side and move pass whatever is driving the fear. Fear causes freedom.

With this freedom, there is an abandonment of reason. When you are faced with fear, you somehow no longer wrestle with reason, you simply react to move pass the situation that is causing fear. When fear is present, you somehow are no longer scared or afraid. You don’t have time to think about what if.  There is no time to reason in a “life or death” situation. If you ever been in a fearful situation, then you know the feeling of abandoning reason. We often find ourselves saying “I can’t believe I did that” It’s as though we would have never done whatever that was if fear wasn’t present. Unlike being scared fear causes action. Being scared causes you to be paralyzed. Scared is a state of being, while fear is a motivator. When you are scared you are thinking, analyzing, reasoning. When you are fearful you are doing, reacting, letting go of reason. Again there is freedom in fear.

Scared=paralyzed 

Fear=action

So, how do you live in constant F.E.A.R? Ask yourself what emotion am I holding on to or hiding?  What negotiations and reasoning conversations am I having with myself? What am I scared of? Once you begin to ask yourself these core questions, you will begin to feel the fear emerge. Don’t run from it, that is scared rearing it’s ugly head trying to confuse you. Feel that fear and ask yourself what is my biggest fear? Once you allow yourself to feel the fear, you will without thought begin to take actions. Fear is jarring. One action will arise more fear and more fear will arise more action. All these tiny little actions will cause you to live! But not only live, but live in the present and live the life you want and deserve.

Remember being scared is being paralyzed, having fear is having action.

 

What’s The Name?

It’s a boy!! What a good-looking guy he is! What’s his name?

This is usually the course of conversation after giving birth to a baby. One of the first questions you’re typically asked as a mom is what’s the name. This question is asked so leisurely and carefree. As a mother, we have probably spent the last 10 months (if not years)  pondering over a name for our baby. Rightfully so, I mean this will, more than likely, be their introduction to the world for the rest of their life. A name is important.

You would think with all the weight and judgement that comes with a name, we would get more time and less pressure about naming our babies.

I personally think you should have time to get to know your little bundle before slapping a name on them. We need to see them, hold them, watch them and then we can attach a name to the person. I have luckily been able to do this with all of my kids except 1 and 1/2. The 1/2 child we named at the hospital (out of force) and then 6 months later legally changed her name.

While some of our kids names do not have a significant definition meaning, they each have personal and spiritual meaning to us. I won’t bore you with the naming process of all of my children, but I want to share our latest.

Let me introduce you to Eleven Ellis!

I know, I know eleven is a number not a name, right?  Says who? Who is the person that came up with what defines a name of a person vs object, thing or number. How did we all decide this was ok and we would go along with it? Why is hard for us to challenge social norms?

I must admit I initially was thrown off when my husband suggested the name Eleven. He and my kids are currently obsessed with Stranger Things. I personally have never seen a single episode, but they love it. My husband had taken on special liking to the character dubbed Eleven in the movie. So when we found out we were having another baby (what would be our 11th child on earth) He quickly and excitedly said we should name the baby Eleven! We can call them Elle or El for short. I laughed thinking he was joking, but quickly realized he was serious. So for 10 months we lovingly and me jokingly called the baby Eleven. We had no idea the sex of the baby, but kinda was leaning towards girl. Imagine our surprise when our daughter said it’s a boy!

Could we really and would we really name our baby boy Eleven simply because my husband loves a t.v show and this would be baby number “11”? That wasn’t enough for me. I needed to do more research, I needed to spend time with this guy. So, that’s exactly what we did. For the next 6 days I researched eleven and other names. I paid attention to my feelings and emotions. I watched him and his mannerisms. I thought about what I wanted for his future and what kind of person I hoped he would grow to be. As we did this soul name searching process, we realized he was our 7th biological child together. He was our 7/11!! (we even tossed up the name Seven Eleven)

While researching Eleven we realized the number 11 has some significant meanings:

1. it’s an angel number representing spiritual awakening and enlightenment. It tells us to connect to our higher selves and life purpose. Number 11 is usually called the messenger or teacher. This was so powerful for me! I believe each one of my children were brought into my life for a purpose and to teach me something. Many of their names represent this. This child came during a time of testimony for me. A time where I was and still am going through some major life changes. I was feeling like there is no way I can have another child right now. Number 11 is a message from my angel saying watch my thoughts and remain positive to manifest my prayers! Wow! I felt like Eleven was sent to me as a representation to continue to strive to live my life purpose, to remain positive throughout the adversity, to continue to trust. He is breaking a cycle of constant doubt and familiarity.

2. Eleven’s (the very few) are inspirational, humanitarians, they care deeply about others and their family. They are giving and have strong intuition. They can be deep thinkers and hard workers. When they set their mind to something they do it! Traits I would love for my child to have.

3. We are not religious people by any stretch, however, I do consider myself to very spiritual, philosophical, and a believer in the universe, energy, and power. I believe in omens and messages. With that being said, Jesus had 12 disciples and when Judah betrayed him the remainder disciples were often called the 11. This screamed message to me. See, Eleven is technically our 12th child. We loss our 5th child. During that time, we felt betrayed by God, The Universe, and any other spiritual form. We felt empty and helpless. We were confused and lost. There were so many different emotions. I gave birth to him in December, I was due in April. In May we found out we were pregnant again and with another boy! We went through so many changes of ups and downs. What we realized was, had we not loss LJ there would be no Major and probably Eleven. The course of our lives would have been different without this “betrayal.” We had to loose 1 in order to manifest our life purpose. “The Eleven” will represent this.

So, you see for us, eleven is more than just a number, it’s symbolic, it’s the representation and name of our newest bundle of blessing! While some people will only be able to associate eleven with a number, we hope others will embrace and come to love it as a name!

Our Eleven is more than just a number, he is our SUN, our Ellis!

 

Stop or Keep Going

There is a quote by Gracie Allen that says “never place a period where God has placed a comma.”

I struggled with this quote for a long time. Trying to figure out when I should keep pushing forward vs when I should throw in the towel. Often times, we get confused on to quit or not to quit. You hear things like “nothing worth having comes easy” “you have to go through it to get to it” “Nobody every said it would it be easy.” These are the little motivating lines people will throw out to us when we find ourselves at the crossroads of wanting to give up.

The other side to that coin is “ask and you shall receive.” “when you really want something the universe conspires for you to have it” “nothing is to big for God” and so on. These seem to be conflicting messages.

Then there is the quote by Oprah “life always whispers first, but if you ignore the whisper sooner or later you will get the scream”

All of these quotes can leave any person confused. How do you know if this is a comma or period, a mountain you have to climb or a whisper you need to hear. But nothing is to big for God.

I believe all of these quotes are true. I believe when we are living our organic lives the Universe will give us exactly what we need to achieve our goals. I believe nothing is too big for God and God will use his power and strength to protect us from getting in the way of our organic selves. I believe sometimes we have to go through it to get to it and it’s not easy living an organic life in a world full of preservatives. I believe we have to listen to life whispers to know there is a period and the Universe is saying go the other way, God is saying stop.

But how Tanyell? How can I tell the difference?

The difference between a comma and period is challenge and struggle.

When God is saying not yet or the Universe is saying you’re going to have to go through it to get to it you may experience challenges. These challenges may throw you off, trip you up, cause you take a moment of pause. You may even question whether you should keep going and may second guess yourself. It’s going to feel hard, but not impossible. You may face one challenge and God opens a door of opportunity then face another challenge and the Universe gives you what you need to get through that one. Either way with hard work, determination, and tenacity you will get through those challenges. This is what a comma feels like!  It feels like pause, take a break, hold on, not yet, almost but a few more things. A comma lets you know you need to stop for a brief moment but more is to come if you keep going.

When God is saying no and the Universe is whispering stop, stop, stop it feels like a struggle. Struggles knock the wind out of you. No matter how much you push and pull there is resistance. You just can’t seem to get a break one thing after another. Rather than the Universe throwing you a bone, you have to make and create ways to try and move past the struggle. These ways may make the struggle even more difficult. If you are able to create a way beyond the struggle, immediately another struggle appears. It may be bigger and harder. A period let’s us know to stop this is over, something new is coming. It allows us to reset our thoughts and prepare for new information. A period says stop here but keep going in a different direction. This is the end of this.

See we look at these as road blocks as blocking us from our destination rather than, road blocks protecting us from danger. Road blocks are designed to protect us from accidents. These roadblocks may be inconvenient but they can set us on a path of beauty if we allow ourselves to be open to the new journey.

The thing about nothing being to big for God is true, which means God can place a period in our life at any given time. He can see us trucking along on our path and he may see a ditch up ahead.

So what happens?

Life whispers STOP. Some of us are so attuned with life that we hear this whisper and we are able to stop. Some of us aren’t as attuned and may continue to drive and then suddenly we hit a road block. From here some of us are able to realize this road block is a period we need to turnaround and figure out a new direction. While a few of us think this is simply is a comma. How can I get through this roadblock. What is a period now becomes a struggle because we refuse to stop and reset.

Suddenly,  you find yourself in a ditch trying to figure out how to get out.

The key to life is knowing and having faith that God wants us to live our organic lives he wants us to have the best, and when we are living our organic lives or on the path to our organic lives the Universe will conspire to give us everything we need. But when God sees we are setting out on a path that is not conducive with our organic lives he will do everything in his power to prevent us from moving forward.

The trouble is…. free will.

Help is on the Way

I was at my local grocery store and decided to use the self checkout lane. These lanes are designed to make our life easier and assist with us getting out of the store faster. However, like most things designed to make life easier, they don’t always do that. Sometimes you go through the self checkout and you find yourself thinking, I should’ve just stood in line.

Thats the thing about life there are no real shortcuts.

As I was checking myself out, I probably had way to many grocery for the self checkout, I heard the machine next to me saying “Help is on the way!” “Help is on the way” over and over. The lady using the machine was frantically looking around for said help. The cashier was busy assisting someone at that moment. The machine continue to sing out “help is on the way!” “help is on the way”. The lady tried to hit a few buttons, move her groceries around in the bagging area, but still nothing. She sighed a loud sigh and looked around again. I glanced at her and gave her a gentle smile and she shook her head in frustration, as she said “where is help when you need it. I can’t get this stupid machine to stop talking this is ridiculous.” I smiled a smile of it will be ok  and said “Yes these things can be frustating. I’m surprised at how busy it is today. I’m sure she will be here soon.” She sighed another heavy sigh, poked the machine a few more times, and then finally gathered up all her grocery, “I’m just going to go get in another line, this is ridiculous. I don’t have time to wait around.” And she sped off.

No Sooner than she sped off, help walked up!

The cashier looked around and said where did they go? “she went to another line, I responded” The cashier cleared the machine and moved on to the next person. This moment was so profound to me.

In the alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes about the universe testing everything we have learned right before we are about to reach our destiny. He says things will get really hard and this is usually when most people give up. They give up right before the thing they really wanted is about to come true.

In life things will get hard, the road to success will be a bumpy ride it is only those that continue the road who will reach the success.

The key to staying the course is being patient and having trust that help is on the way.

When we are in the midst of a storm, it’s easy to get agitated, irritated, frustrated. It becomes the norm to complain. in fact, people expect you to complain. They say things like I don’t know how you are dealing with that, that is crazy how do you do it, better you than me, I couldn’t imagine, maybe you should go back to doing what you use to do, that’s why you don’t do things like that and so on and so on. Often times, they will hop on the bandwagon of complaining and even lead the path. (steer clear of these people)

You have to trust that you are on the path that God has laid out for you, you have to listen to your heart and persevere, you have to be patient knowing that good things come to those who wait. You have to trust the universe and believe that the universe wants you to succeed. You have to trust the lessons you are learning and believe there is something to be learned in every situation. You have to trust help is on the way.

“one dies of thirst just as the palm trees appear on the horizon”-the alchemist

Believing these things will allow you to continue to forge on during the moments of difficulty. The lady in line was just a few moments away from being seen. Had she taken just a few more moments to be patient and maybe ask herself what can I learn in this moment as I wait, her journey may have been easier and in the end faster. On my way out of the store she was still standing in line. Although she may accomplish her goal (checking out) it took a lot longer because she wasn’t patient and she didn’t trust help was on the way. There are no shortcuts to life, we will be tested, we will struggle along the way, but if we are following our hearts the journey will be faster than if we derail from the path, try to turn around, or worse stop.

In the famous words of Dory…..

“just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

And believe help is on the way!