You run a business AND you have a baby–how in the world do you do it?
You’ve got your shit together.
I can’t believe how much you can get done.

These are the things that people say to me. They are not totally untrue statements–more like top-layer statements that speak to pieces, but that don’t completely express the entire picture.

I’m a fan of the entire picture. This is what would bring any blurry edges into full focus:

I carry within me an essential strength. That is what people are picking up on, when they make these statements. Strength brings with it an energy that can be felt. I have had a baby, and I am tired most of the time no matter how much sleep I get, yet there is an essential foundation to who I am that remains unshaken.

That strength has been consciously curated over the past decade. When I think of the difference between how I looked at life ten or fifteen years ago, versus how I look at it now, I see that my entire psyche has been under renovation. I have rebuilt my internal house, one room at a time. Lots of dust and rubble. “Consciously curated” means a thoughtful, intentional process of rebuilding.

I make faster strides whenever I am not self-conscious. This is true of all of us, of course, but it occurs to me that this is important to share. On a deep level, I give little energy to reclaiming my pre-baby waistline, or to whether or not my house is messy, or to whether or not I’m wearing yoga pants for the umpteenth day in a row.

What I Care About

I care about coming up behind my husband while he chops the salad, after the baby is asleep, putting my arms around his waist and burrowing my head against his back.

I care about my daughter’s laughter; I care about how many different contortions I can make with my face so that she’ll laugh again, and again, and again, and again. I care about how she feels against my body when she’s snuggled close, asleep.

I care about the little ding in my inbox that someone is starting the Courageous Living Program. I care about how I smile and send them a prayer that they didn’t even know they had coming, that it will do good for their life and the people they love. Ripple-effect courage; my favorite kind.

I care about my life coach training trainees, and their hopes and dreams for themselves. I care about them waking up in the morning and looking forward to Monday, to their work, to their day. I care about them moving past the fears that say “Who do you think you are?” and I care very much about the day when they’re going to say to the world, “I’ll show you exactly who the fuck I am–let’s change the planet.”

I care about eating fresh, unprocessed, good food. So I add to my list meal planning, grocery shopping, and then I chop-chop-sautee-stir-bake-nom-nom-nom.

I care about my closest kindreds and connecting with them and telling them about when I’m pissed and when I’m happy. I care about knowing that I have people in my life with whom I can tell the truth, and tell it clean.

I care about releasing anything or anyone that makes life feel less than fabulous, even if the release is painful. Even if there are some parts that are good and that will be missed.

I care about creating a life that gives back. I care about not telling anyone about the things I do that are about “giving back.” I hold those cards close to my chest, because getting credit isn’t the point. I do good because the world requested it by showing me that someone was in need, not so that I can score points or public approval.

I care about saying “no” when I mean “no,” and “yes” when I mean “yes,” and meaning it absolutely every single time, and not betraying myself by saying one when I mean the other.

Being Put Together

I have a business AND a baby, and I don’t even really know how I do it.
Sure, I have some shit together, in the conventional sense.
I can’t believe how much I get done, either.

And I get tired, or wish I were back in half-marathon shape, or look at my to-do list and think of how that equals so many hours in front of the computer and OMG I can’t look at any more fucking pixels, I just can’t do it. I snap at my husband: “Am I the only one who can remember to put away the fucking butter?” I get cut off in traffic and glare at that driver and think unkind thoughts and don’t care who he is or what is important to him or whether or not he had good reasons for rushing, it is only ME in that moment–me, and HE cut me off, HE was wrong, HE was the shitty driver.

I’m not so very put together, so much as I hold the different pieces with care, and don’t expect any of them to fit back the way that they used to, and most of all–I appreciate what shows up, for exactly what it is.

I appreciate my joy, my fear, my expansiveness, my soul courage, my insecurities, my confidence–all of the contradictions.

I exhale, bend forward, inhale, rise up slowly, arms over head, exhale, hands over heart.

I laugh and laugh with our daughter in my arms as my husband pretends to chase us, back and forth across the living room we go, laughing; to her delight we do it again and again and again, and he wraps his arms around all of us and it is everything–

and that’s when I feel most put together, most like I’m winning at life.