Inside: This is what it looks and sounds like to be brave and weary and here’s how I can you remember your way to freedom.
I work as a Joyful Living Educator and writer yet I spend a lot of time talking and writing about pain, struggle, loss, anxiety, and emotional growth. This is because to get to joy we must tell the truth about what it really means to be awake and alive, human, in a messy world. The journey can be hard.
Joy does not come from bypassing or putting on a brave face. It does not come from acquisition beyond necessity, keeping up or measuring up, or living perpetually on the mountain top.
There are many layers to Joy but it comes in part, for many of us, in knowing intellectually, physically, and emotionally that we are rooted, whole, brave, and on purpose. We lean into joy more and more comfortably as we deepen our roots of self-awareness and self-compassion and, rather than setting up camp in suffering, discontent, or despair, we say yes to continuing our journey to freedom.
My Heart is for the Brave and Weary.
My words and work are not for those who feel they have it all together, nothing to learn, or they are not yet feeling safe to do some soul-stretching work. (By the way, this is not a criticism – first, gather in the support you need to feel safe in your body and life!)
It is not for the person who is not yet ready to turn toward their pain or messiness, to learn to love themselves well and live deeply rooted in self-compassion, or not yet ready to practice taking consistent, intentional, imperfect action toward what they most want or need.
My work is not for people unwilling to make space for questioning, for honouring the beauty of diversity in ourselves and others, or for grappling with complex issues and staying open to joyful possiblity.
My work is for the brave and weary. Those who feel a bit beat up by life but who are growth-minded, possibly stubborn like me, those who choose to face the messy and beautiful reality of their lives, who choose to show up fully to life in every season and to the privilege of “becoming more fully ourselves.”
If you aren’t sure you’re in the right place, this will help.
What Might it Look or Feel Like to be Brave and Weary?
1. To live both/and (paradox, messy truth, to find hope in the in-between spaces) including a choice to make space for joy and delight in the midst of pain or discomfort and to be brave and weary. Willingness to experience both.
2. To be a truth-teller. To live the privilege and responsibility of bearing witness and being witnessed (Ariel Burger).
3. To choose to believe that you are loved in all your messiness, hurt, and becoming and to know that you are on purpose. Sometimes we choose to believe something and then we practice and water over and over until it puts down roots in us.
4. Willingness to “live the questions” (Rainer Maria Rilke) and to mine for the beauty and wisdom in every season.
5. Persistence (one might call this stubbornness).
6. To understand that not one of us will get through life without challenges or limitations and you are not doing it wrong simply because life is hard right now or because you do not easily fit into the western culture of hustle, bigger, more, and faster. There is another way.
7. Acknowledging your right and building the skill of establishing and honouring intentional, firm boundaries around whose voice you listen to, who you allow into your inner circle, etc. To choose a path of self-trust and to live the truth that you are the expert on your own life.
8. Remembering your strength and capacity to do hard things even as you continue to grow in strength and resilience.
9. To befriend yourself and learn to honour your wiring, to allow for seasonal ebb and flow, and to recognize that you’re allowed to be in progress.
10. To practice presence in every hour, day, and season without rushing, bypassing, or wishing it away. To own your self-protective patterns and fear, shame-free, as you seek healing or desired growth in life-giving ways.
11. It probably means you are still in need of learning to rest – to allow for deep rest. To trust that you can pause and rest and make space without falling apart or coming undone. Though in learning to rest we often do need to decompress, deconstruct, and disentangle ourselves from old patterns that no longer serve us.
12. To need and want support. To advocate for yourself and know that you do not have to do life alone.
Can you see yourself in this list?
“Slowing downwards means growing down towards the roots of one’s being and the ground of origins. Life, at times, must turn inward and downward in order to grow in other ways. There is a shift to the vertical down that can return us to the root memories and root metaphors, to the timeless things that secretly shape our lives from within.” —Michael Meade
At 18 I decided to live (with some bumps along the way) though back then what that mostly meant was I decided not to try to die again. I had no idea how to live fully, heart-open, brave, messy, curious.
At 48 and 49, as I traverse the pain of separation from my son, I have felt the desire and need to recommit to my decision to live. But in this season of life, suicidality is not an issue. Instead, what this means to me, is that I have said yes to feeling it all, being present to it all, to loving myself in it all. It also means slowing down even more, circling back to my roots to bury what no longer serves me and reconnect with parts of me that I forgot along the way, and going deeper not wider or “slowing downwards.”
All along though, I’ve been journeying to freedom and inviting others to join me. Slow and steady. Deeper and deeper as I circle through the seasons of my life. One tiny step or breath or choice or laying down what is not mine to carry, at a time. I want to live fully awake, alive, and willing but I will not pretend the journey always feels bright and easy.
In my experience, truth-telling breaks shame and births freedom.
I’ll Help You Remember Your Way to Freedom
Here’s an important caveat – many brave people cannot see their own strength and bravery. They might easily witness it in others. They might get glimmers of it in themselves now and again, or know they want to feel brave.
If this is you, or if you are weary, you likely need help to peel away layers of story, conditioning, behavioural and thought patterns, and old baggage that isn’t yours to carry so that you can uncover the incredible beauty, light, and gifting within.
Brave community helps. It helps us know we are not alone or bad, wrong or broken. It helps to practice together and to see bravery and wholeness modelled messily but on purpose. I only learned to ask for help in my 40’s and I choose to offer to others that which I myself have needed.
The HOPE Map offers a bit of light for the journey and a weekly invitation to pause and consider.
The Brave & Beautiful Membership Community is an invitation to build meaningful relationships, stretch, practice new tools and habits together, and enjoy the journey in compassionate and growth-minded community.
My 1:1 work is an invitation to come aside and rest awhile, to be nourished, patched up, strengthened and equipped to continue the journey with more clarity, hope, and agency.
The ALIP shop offers food and tools for the journey: mini-courses, seasonal mindfulness journals, printables, and more (I have two books in slow progress). You’ll also find many free resources to support you.
My spirit and body are scarred, I walk with a limp, and as a Highly Sensitive Person, I ache deeply. I also love to belly laugh, I’m curious and desire adventure, and I feel alive when I’m learning, teaching, and helping others see differently and feel safe, seen, loved, and heard. I am in a hard winter season of life but know that there are beauty and wisdom to be mined here, and that spring always comes again.
From one brave and weary sojourner to another, whatever season you are in, I’m happy you’re here.
NOW WHAT? If you’re looking for a bit of guided support as you embrace the truth of the season you are in and mine for the wisdom and beauty here, you might be interested in my Journey to Freedom mini-course or one of my seasonal mindfulness journals.