the courage to be sacredly unapologetic

Like peeling layers to get closer to the core, every successful person has to learn the art of becoming more and more sacredly unapologetic.

The courage to be sacredly unapologetic is in knowing that even when people, perhaps even people you love, feel blecch about your choices, you’re still going to choose to be grounded in them–without apology.

What it is, what it’s not

To live in a space of being sacredly unapologetic, is this: you know what your priorities are, and the highest among them is to make choices that feel good.

That means:

  • You don’t hang out with people who don’t bring out that feeling within you. You don’t make obligatory phone calls to those people. You don’t opt to spend holidays with them. You don’t pretend not to notice when they’re rude or unkind.
  • You desire connection, so you do wish to practice compassion, forgiveness, and all the other pieces that go along with messy human relationships.
  • You ask for what you need in group settings.
  • You have clear boundaries and you throw down on them when someone blows past them.
  • You’ll only work with service providers who are impeccable, who deliver.
  • You go after what you most desire.
  • You price your work in alignment with its value, and you give, because giving feels good.

 

It doesn’t mean:

  • That you write people off with a big “fuck you.” That’s a huuuuuge misconception about what it means to live powerfully, and it’s a prime example of the abuse and mis-use of self-help.
  • That your needs and preferences trump everyone else’s. They don’t.
  • That you aren’t open to negotiating (some people see negotiating as a form of backtracking on their desires for self-care, like if they compromise anything then it’s all out the window).
  • That you do it all for the money.
  • That service providers are your servants.
  • That you put other people’s lives or standards of living at risk in the pursuit of your own goals. For example, if you leave your job so that you can pursue a career that lights you up, awesome, but someone who has kids has an ethical responsibility to find a way to do that while still putting a roof over their heads.

 

Being simply “unapologetic” often translates to steamrolling right over people and only looking out for Numero Uno.

Being “sacredly unapologetic” is about being in the fine glow of connection, with your choices supporting more connection–connection to yourself, to others, to what you’re up to in the world.

The Backlash

People who don’t practice being sacredly unapologetic in their own lives haaaaate it when others do.

They’ll tell you that you’re too picky, too precious, too sensitive, that you think too highly of yourself, that you’re narcissistic, that your prices are too high, that you expect everyone else to bend over backwards, that your work isn’t worthy, that you’re selfish.

I spent years of my life fearing being called “selfish.” Then I figured out that a.) I was being called selfish even at times when I’d tried really hard to be accommodating, and b.) I was being called selfish as a maneuver, when someone else wanted me to do things their way.

(So there’s a clue.)

What’s hard about being sacredly unapologetic is the backlash. You’ll have a day where you’ll price your services higher and in will roll an email from someone who asks how you dare to charge what you charge. You’ll decide to opt out on a family gathering and then suddenly this throws a big, shiny light on the fact that the relationship is strained.

The first few times this happens, it’s going to feel ridiculously awkward and painful, the slow peeling off of a band-aid that you’ve been clinging to, to avoid just this very feeling.

You breathe your way through, until you realize that the worst of it is over. It never feels quite as bad to be criticized as it does that first, shocking time.

You stand in your courage, your shaky tenderness. You understand that prolonging the moment when you’ve gotta pull off that metaphorical band-aid does not actually make the pain any better when inevitably, it’s gotta be done.

The Bridge

When you get more practiced with this, something pretty amazing happens: you look around at your life and realize that a helluva lot is going the way you’d always hoped it would.

You might have fewer super-close friendships, but those that you do have, are all quality–they’re people who respect your “yes” and your “no” without questioning your character.

You’re making the kind of money you always wanted to make, doing the kind of work that you always wanted to do.

Your wardrobe looks and feels like “you.”

You feel an expanded capacity to give something back, to be part of the worldwide community, to be a healer.

You have less resistance to your personal commitments–you don’t bail on meditation, or that daily walk you said you were going to start, or making time for art each day, or eating in ways that nourish your body.

Most importantly, you get it–you get unapologetic because you understand that this is the one lifetime that you’re consciously aware of. There are no do-overs for any particular year. You want to make them count.

When you are sacredly unapologetic, you are refusing to apologize for making choices that enliven you–because you are here, and you are here to truly live.

You’re not apologizing for that fact. You’re too busy living.

The Desire Map: Coming to San Francisco

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I’ve been a fan of Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map since it debuted. I’ve written about it here, here, and here. (Hey there–don’t get lost in that link clicking, because this announcement is big!)

When her team reached out and asked if I would be among the first people to bring the live Desire Map workshops to my area–well, that was a fast n’ full-bodied YES.

Desire Mapping is a fun process to do on your own–and it’s even more fun when it’s done in the company of others.

So, without further adieu…let’s do this, San Francisco! Two dates are available. Head here: http://www.yourcourageouslife.com/desire-map-workshops .

 

your courage is for all of us

“One of the things that has been inspiring to me is to realize that I am not alone in this process…I realize that I’m tied as if by invisible strings to billions of people, and that somehow my gesture of courage or bravery is also helping them. I also always think that when the courage comes, to actually stay open and receptive to my experience when it’s so vulnerable, so tender, so painful–I also know that my courage is the result of many, many other people, who all over the world, are lifting themselves up and walking forward, for the sake of all of us and the sake of the planet. So it’s not like we are all alone, me personally struggling to “be a warrior” to “face my fear” and not run from the shaky tenderness. It’s like we’re a vast society of training bodhisattvas, training warriors, we are all in this together. When I do it, I’m helping a lot of people. When they do it, they are helping me.” –Pema Chodron, Unconditional Confidence

When I was depressed, I was of little use to anyone. I didn’t feel I had much of anything to give, so I gave very little. I didn’t think that I had the power to create change, so I didn’t create any (in my life, or in anyone else’s life).

A story of isolation is at the root of all depression. In that far-away place where we don’t think we matter or that our lives amount to much, we don’t see that we are intimately connected with others, and that everywhere there are people in the wings who are rooting for us to not only survive, but to also thrive.

It’s not just your birthright to live a joy-filled, happy, courageous life. Choosing to live this kind of life is also how you help others. When your own well is dry, you don’t have anything to give. When you empower yourself, you teach yourself the very tools that someone else can use to empower themselves.

In other words: the world needs the kind of help that only those who have transformed pain and suffering can give.

If you are in pain right now, if you are suffering, if you are lost and alone and hurting and confused, you are not just in the experience of those states. You are also poised to train as a warrior who can come out on the other side of this, and help others.

Yes, there are people who are starving, who are abused, who suffer far more than you, and yes, it’s good to be grateful that you have so much.

Yes, it’s good to note any navel-gazing tendencies on the path of becoming more fully human (navel gazing narcissism isn’t so very human, anyway).

What’s dangerous is when people beat themselves up for their insecurities, isolating themselves further. Why can’t I get my shit together, be grateful, give a little back? Isn’t it selfish to work on myself? Those thoughts–especially of trying to give something to the world when you don’t feel you have anything in the reserves for yourself–are particularly exhausting. The shame of “not being grateful enough” weighs you down.

When you feel completely lost, or even just a little forlorn, it’s good to remember that there are people who only want your highest good. People are always doing things: meditating or praying, or creating art that will light up your life via the living room wall, or fighting for freedom in a war-torn country so that you don’t have to, or, yes, feeding the hungry.

In other words: there’s someone right now who is acting as a force of love. They act on your behalf, whether you know it or not.

 

In those particularly low moments, your act of courage is to simply remember. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve got it in you to make a single choice in the name of deep self love, just remember that there are thousands, millions of people who are making those choices on your behalf. They rise in the morning and practice courage and compassion and love because they know that there’s going to be someone who is positively touched by their actions. You might run into one of these exquisite humans in line at the grocery store, or reaching for the sugar at the cafe bar, or when you look to your right at a stoplight.

And one day, even if today does not feel like that day, you will be that exquisite human for someone else. You will be the link that helps someone find their way back from the darkest of emotions.

That, my friend, is reason enough–carry on, courageous warrior, carry on. Your courage is for all of us.
 


 
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