Dear Business Coach...

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A few posts back, I mentioned that I've thrown away all of my old journals. Not only were they totally irrelevant and unnecessary to hold onto, I could never get through one page of one journal without turning to my imaginary friend, opening my mouth and my eyes wide wide, as if t say "Oh.... MyGod. What a loser!" But that's not to say there is no value in revisiting words, videos or photos that represent who and where we were at a point in time; I just didn't need twelve books all written in the penmanship of a retired Pharmacist, explaining how shitty my upper-middle class teen-aged life was. I mean...right?!

But as I sifted through some old emails today, I came across one that I wrote to a Business Coach I hired almost exactly one year ago. My relationship with her came to an end shortly after I wrote this, but maybe the point of hiring her was to have a reason to get all this out. And that's what I did.

I'm sharing this email with you for a few reasons:

 1) I share everything else with you, so why not this?
2) Even "Coaches" and creative entrepreneurs (like me) don't know what the hell they're doing with their life, sometimes.
3) I'm not the only relatively neurotic human being who's had these thoughts and feelings.
4) I'm no longer in the same place I was when I wrote this email and I thought I always would be.

This Coach's name is irrelevant so for the purposes of this post, I'll call her

"Business Coach."

Without further ado...Happy Spinning!

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January 4th, 2015

Subject: "Spinning"

"Happy New Year, *Business Coach! I hope 2015 is finding you well.

I'm emailing because I'm spinning today. I feel so anxious and scared about my future and I don't know how to navigate any tools to put things into perspective.

I've always been able to see a big picture that I deem to be my destiny or an ultimate dream of mine, but I am impatient when it comes to taking the necessary steps to get there.

Blah blah blah. I could go on typing, trying to over think things and express myself in  practical, self-loving, compassionate, forward thinking words. But I feel more compelled to list the cycle of thoughts that occupy my mind and my body 24 hours a day, leaving no room for anyone or any thing. So, here goes..

I'm 28 years-old and have not been able to financially support myself, despite all my education, experience, talents, willingness and ability to work hard.

I love working with children and I'm good at it. I love my title as Director at My Gym, and I'm frustrated I am accepting only $18,000/year.

I feel guilty about believing I am worth more, since there's so much hype about wanting money as an American is a bad thing. And how greedy we are as a culture. I feel like I need to prove to the world I'm not trying to earn millions, I'm just trying to pay rent.

I'm an excellent writer and public speaker. I have always articulated my thoughts with sincerity and clarity. Not everyone can do this and I wonder how I can put this skill to good use and/or profit from it.

I may be sensitive as a person, but I am also tough. I'm fearless in many ways and terrified in others.

I'm terrified I won't ever be in a loving relationship.

I'm terrified I won't ever have children.

I'm terrified we've done so much damage to the human psyche that Coaches, Counselors, Therapists and Social Workers who want to help, will always be spinning their wheels.

I will fearlessly check behind every door, in every closet and under the bed for someone hiding, waiting to kill me. But I am too fearful of getting my heart broken or being a failure in business or relationships, so I avoid them.

By default, I am always on Craigslist, looking for jobs, to feel safe. But I don't want to just work for a paycheck for the rest of my life. At least at My Gym, I'm making a difference and get to be active. No, I'm not getting paid what I'm worth, or enough to live, but at least I don't feel like a drone. The next tab I open, right after Craiglist, is PadMapper.com or any other apartment website, looking for a place with cheaper rent. I pay $1450, which some days seems like a lot and other days seem reasonable, considering any other apartment or studio in the South Bay will only save me, at most, $200, to which I think I could just become a prostitute for an extra $200/month and BOOM, there's me making up the rest of my "outrageous" rent.

*Business Coach, I'm so scared. During our first conversation you mentioned that our country comes from a state of scarcity, thus that's why our country is poor. So, like, all I have to do is keep 'coming from a place of abundance'? What the hell does that even mean? And as a side note, I don't want to do only ONE job. I have lots of things I'm good at and want to work toward. I wouldn't even want to be a writer full-time. Full time equals "fast burnout" to me. But that makes me sound like a spoiled little child, because I don't want to saturate all my time in just ONE thing. Who the hell am I to think I have a choice?

I think I've covered just about everything that has me curled up on my couch in fetal position today. I don't know what I need from you as far as a response. If I were brutally honest and had my wish, I would want to hear

 "You're going to be more than okay, Erica. I understand everything you're saying and most people who are about to go through a huge breakthrough feel this way. I've seen it. I've given you a boost with my hand to get you to the very top of the fence, where you now have 1 leg on each side. This is the hardest part and I promise you're doing the right thing by going over to the other side. You don't need to move out of your apartment. That is your home and you have every right to stay."

Part of me wants to hear this from you, just because I'm investing a lot of money into working with you. But I know I need to be saying these things to myself.

I feel so alone in the world and I feel like I'm spinning, failing AND flailing, left and right...which always causes me to binge eat. And that opens a WHOLE other can of worms.

Thank you for taking the time to read my sincerest feelings. If you don't mind, I'd love to hear any thoughts you have.

Love,

Erica"

So, friends...please know that the way we feel about our jobs, our family, our relationships and the direction of our life is never permanent. Sometimes we're certain, sometimes we're not. Sometimes we're lost, sometimes we're found. Sometimes it takes a cup of tea and essential oils to bring us back down to earth. And sometimes dinners with friends and a very dirty martini, or three, helps smooth out the rough edges and harsh thoughts. It's okay. You're okay.

So much love to you, wherever you are on your path to wherever the heck you wanna go!

And as always, feel free to tall me where you are on your journey. Have you ever had these thoughts? Am I alone, here?

xo,

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The Red Circle Philosophy

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If I marked 2014 with an emblem or logo, I’d choose a Big Red Circle.  As a shape, circles represent wholeness, protection, initiation, mobility, all-inclusive unity, everything. Circles characterize revolutions around the sun as we waltz through rhythms of time. With not-so-primitive understanding, we saw our first circles; our Mother’s eyes, the moon, the sun, the dots in the skies as stars, and realized even beauty can be spoken in a circular language. As for Red, Red is high energy. It excites our senses and motivates us to take action. Red is the color of physical movement, and it awakens our life force.

Clearly, I’ve had quite a year.

As the Director of My Gym, a children’s fitness center, I have the incredible pleasure of connecting with over two hundred children and their families. And I mean the WHOLE family; parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nannies and distant cousins, twice removed. I also know and remember all their names, as if I've known them for years. I witness first steps and hear first words. I smile as parents sing “I'm a Little Teapot” with a sweet hint of nostalgia. I encourage my students to wonder about the world around them. I inquire about favorite sea animals, biggest fears and silliest memories. I hearten imagination, patience and kindness. All of this happens within the Big Red Circle in the middle of the room. From this circle, I am consistently challenged and inspired to see the world through a different lens. Its heart work, but someone has to do it.

If you've been following my blog for the past year, it should come as no surprise to you I'd die to speak at a TED conference. TED is a non-profit global set of conferences, welcoming people from all walks of life to give short, powerful talks. TED operates under the slogan: "Ideas Worth Spreading", and it’s no surprise TED’s logo is indeed a Big Red Circle. Ironically, if all I need is a Big Red Circle, something powerful to say and a willing audience, it appears I've in fact given about 1,152 TED talks this year. (I wish you could have been in my head during the 15 minutes it took me to calculate that.)

Cool story, Erica. What's your point?

For 2015, I challenge you to find YOUR Big Red Circle; that place where you are forever changed and enlightened. Find the spot of genuine intimacy and memory-making where you feel most comforted, tested, inspired and needed. In so many ways, I have found my circle and I wholeheartedly invite you to find yours. And to me, THAT is anIdea Worth Spreading”.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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a name for her hunger

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"Storytellers speak in the language of myth and metaphor. They tell us a truth that is not literal, but symbolic. When we listen to stories with our outer ear, they can seem absurd and untrue, but when listen to a story with our inner ear, they convey an inner truth that can be understood on a very personal level and absorbed..." -Anita Johnston

This week I have written a story in the language of metaphor. I ask you to listen to it only with your inner ear, in hopes it resonates with your own story.

One cool and damp morning a little girl awoke to find the biggest, softest, most complex-looking animal sleeping right next to her. She was startled, of course, but she quickly realized its harmlessness. In fact, its giant body was its most comforting feature. She ran her hot pink polished nails through its thick, shiny fur and traced her hand over the intricate and unique peaks and valleys of its face. Her big brown eyes were alive with curiosity, as she tried with all her might to roll the animal onto its side to see if it was a boy or a girl. But this great, big animal would not budge. She let out a frustrated groan and to her surprise, the animal groaned back. When she took a breath, it too cycled air. When she smiled, the animal mirrored and so on. Lacking the knowledge of its gender, she decided to name this animal, Life.

She felt excited, giddy, as all little girls do when they've met a new friend. She could not keep this a secret. She threw on her favorite purple knitted sweater, her grandmother made for her last winter, rushed into her village and cried, I've found the biggest animal I've ever seen!  It's name is Life. I'm going to keep it and you're welcome to come over and visit us anytime! The village people --not to be confused with the music group-- laughed, as one big headed, short sighted man said, Well, just don't let it grow too big, it may very well swallow you whole! An equally arrogant woman chimed in; you'd better starve that animal to make it smaller or else it might kill you. They told her she'd soon lose control of Life.

Confused, rejected yet resilient, the little girl rushed home, to the safety of her new companion. There, in the 'castle' she'd made of sheets and blankets in the middle of her room, began a friendship, a support system and a deep fondness for this wild animal. When Life seemed hungry, the little girl fed it, when Life had difficulty falling asleep, she sang lullabies. And on super chilly days, she made soup and layered homemade blankets on the animal. She took care of her Life the best way she knew how. Naps, imaginative play, reassuring hugs, delicious meals and belly laughs described their typical day. Everything was lighter. It was like a film had been removed and she could see her friends more clearly. She felt more graceful and accepting of her family. She was easier with her love and in turn, her family was easier with theirs. The bigger the animal grew, the fuller the little girl's heart became.

Then one day, something changed. A parasite of sorts crept in and burrowed itself in the carefully knitted web of solace and joy, that had become the little girl's truth. Everything looked different, especially the animal. This dear friend, confidant, nurturer now looked and felt like an enemy, something not to be trusted. She realized in that moment the villagers could be right; this animal is certain to control me. This animal could kill me. She decided in an instant Life wouldkill her. She began to grow inward, isolating herself from her loyal friends, her loving family and especially her monstrous companion. Her world was small and windowless, no room for light, no space for learning. All she wanted was for the animal to go away but as it turned out, Life had grown too big and her body would surely break if she tried to move it. So she decided to starve it. She stopped feeding the animal, only to find its growth had nothing to do with food. She stopped signing lullabies and discovered it fell asleep faster without her song. She took the warm blankets off the animal and learned nakedness was it's truest, most comfortable form.

Despite her efforts, there was nothing to do, except continue loving Life. So on they continued, filling their days with belly laughs, delicious meals, reassuring hugs and imaginative play. Despite everything else that everyone had said, the little girl knew in her heart that her friend, this animal she'd grown so fond and trusting of, is no monster at all. It's just Life.

*When my life was governed by the notion that smaller is better --smaller portions, a smaller body etc-- my life was smaller. The more I tried to tame my hunger and restrict my food, the more uneasy I was with my love. But when I was willing to be vulnerable in front of a larger plate of food and unafraid to accept my body exactly the way it is, I was able to provide myself a heftier helping of life, as well. I now actively acknowledge that as a human on the earth, I will always have an appetite. I will always be hungry for big, colorful and delicious meals, long, firm, meaningful reassuring hugs, imaginative play and great, big, loud, obnoxious belly laughs* 

What are YOU hungry for?

Wholeheartedly,

erica

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