If I were to create a list of things that I believe are important for you to know about me, I would start with 3 truths, which would quickly swell to 100 if I let it. 

But for the purposes of our current arrangement, I will share just these 3:

One, I am not a patient person and I never have been. 

Two, I hate cringeworthy, uncomfortable situations and tense silences.

Three, I hate unsolved mysteries and generally not knowing how things are going to end.

I am the person who will raise her hand first in class just so we can break the tension and move things along.

I am the person who gives a friend or loved one their unwrapped present 30 seconds after I buy it because I simply cannot wait for them to have it.

I am the person who skips to the end of the book or looks up spoilers on the internet because I absolutely cannot stand not knowing. 

(I am also the person who cannot stand not knowing what happened to JonBenet Ramsay.)

I am the person who pulls up her hoodie, ties it tight against her head, and quietly rocks herself back and forth if she feels the slightest bit of tension or discomfort in any situation.

I hate not knowing what I’m doing. I hate not being able to do it well from the beginning. And I hate not knowing if I’ll ever do it well so why bother at all?

I’d say I’m fun at parties but all these qualities make me someone who often avoids parties at all costs and, in fact, they have made showing up for new things, hard things, unknown things, or potentially uncomfortable things a lesson in, what I call, “how can I get out of this?” creative and sophisticated excuse-making. Which will surely be the title of my memoir.

The challenge with these qualities is that they also make for a very small life. A life that is filled with wishing and dreaming and also of regret. A life that is predictable except that life is not predictable which then makes life hard. 

These qualities of impatience, an unwillingness to sit with discomfort, and a need for certainty means that throughout my life, I have created what I call “impossible conditions for success.” In order to build new skills, to become a more resilient person, to live a round, juicy life filled with wonder, creativity, and awe, I have had to learn how to hold the tension of waiting, to get comfortable with imperfection, and learn to sit with the discomfort of not knowing. I have had to learn that I must show up not only for myself, but for Spirit, which nourishes and sustains me. I must show up for the commitments I’ve made for myself to walk this path of devotion—the commitments I’ve made to my teachers and fellow travelers who are on this journey with me. I must show up and attend to the health and wellbeing of my body, mind, and soul, no matter how resistant I may feel in the process.

This is true not only for me but for all of us.

But as a culture, showing up is not something we’re all that good at. In a nation that promotes and values rugged individualism over healthy community engagement, that values personal freedom over collective liberation, that values the American Dream over the reality of the widening wealth disparity that makes that dream impossible for most Americans, we have forgotten how to provide spiritual sustenance to ourselves and to one another. To support each other and travel together. To make compromises and commitments to do this liberatory work together.

The commodification of every facet of our lives has led to short-lived, superficial, and transactional relationships that value currency, accumulation, immediacy, and short-term gratification over community, endurance, resiliency, and healthy, rooted sustainable relationships. 

We want our results to be immediate.

And our relationships to be fun and easy.

We never want to feel uncomfortable.

And we cannot stand to be wrong.

We don’t want to have to think too hard or feel too deeply.

And we want to feel better now.

In other words, the state of our nation, the qualities of our economy, and the nature of our society have created impossible conditions for success. 

“For what,” you might ask.

“For everything,” I will reply.

We are so deeply insecure in our connections with ourselves, with each other, and with Spirit and so incredibly uncomfortable with the mere perception of failure—even more so than failure itself— that we resist. We disappear. We procrastinate. We delay. We don’t show up. For ourselves. For our fellow travelers. Or for Spirit.

The industrial era, which has been the bedrock of our nation, has ruined us. It has turned time into money and people’s bodies into commodities to feed the machine of productivity and achievement that has fueled the grueling and greedy growth of our country. It has created nuclear families cut off from community care, policies that promote organizational well-being over the well-being of our citizens themselves, and in its place sold us all an idea, a concept, an aspiration of success that most of us can never achieve because the systems required to achieve them simply don’t exist for most of us. 

Yes. In other words, “impossible conditions for success.”

It has weakened our connection with the spirit of our people and our planet, and forced us to always be in service to faceless, nameless corporations at the expense of our own nourishment, our own knowing, our own dreams. We are told that we have to earn a living as if a life is something that needs to be earned, all so we can help a billionaire buy a yacht for his superyacht so his helicopter has a place to land. 

Our industrialized nation has made machines more important than humans and when we cry out for liberation from the tyranny of our mechanized overlords they sell us a pill or a potion, a quick fix or fast-acting remedy to sooth our frayed nerves and tired bodies. They place us in front of screens, put tiny computers in our hands, and flash pretty pictures in front of our faces to numb us while they steal our souls, raid our bank accounts, and poison our wells. 

And the hardest part is that we know it. 

Many of us can feel how indoctrinated we’ve become, how the truth of our history has been revised and redacted, how we’re still stuck with outdated roles, outmoded ideas, and oppressive systems of dominance and power that perpetuate our own imprisonment. But these impossible conditions that we’ve created for success—that our healing, our liberation, our freedom has to be fast, easy, and comfortable—means that we rarely can hold the tension required to transform as a society—as a culture—to have uncomfortable conversations, to face uncomfortable truths long enough to make a leap of innovation that catapults us beyond our current status quo into a new way of being and doing IN this world and FOR this world.

And because of our uncertainty, our discomfort, our impatience, and our fear, we don’t show up. 

For ourselves or for Spirit. 

But we want to. Desperately. We can feel there is another way, even if we can’t see it. 

We have read the articles. Watched the shows. Heard the interviews with yogis, gurus, and guides that tell us that there is another way. And we have bought into them. And most of us have forgotten about them. Instead we get distracted by our to-do lists or family obligations. We resist. We disappear. We procrastinate. We delay. 

We don’t show up.  We abandon our own needs in favor of others. We let  go of the boundaries around our personal healing work and disappear from the communities that support and sustain us. We carry the invisible labor of our families at the expense of our own care and regard. We return to the ruts in our life that make our lives feel small and dissatisfying.  

Because the part that those articles, shows, and interviews forget to tell you is that showing up for ourselves and for Spirit is literally the most important part of personal and collective liberation. 

No matter what.

Showing up and feeling bratty and bored. 

Showing up and feeling resistant and tired. 

Showing up and feeling frustrated and confused. 

Showing up and letting ourselves do it badly until we show up enough times that our ego—that illusion we maintain of separateness from others and from Spirit—begins to slowly become tenderized—softened—until we notice that we are changing, slowly changing. 

And we begin to notice that we have begun to hear once again our soul voice and to feel once again a connection with something bigger than ourselves.

When we hold the relationship between our soul + Spirit in the highest regard, we begin to notice that…

Our impatience has turned to compassionate understanding and presence.

Our perfectionism has turned to curiosity and wonder.

Our discomfort with not knowing has turned into the spaciousness of Beginner’s Mind.

And our dislike of the unsolvable mystery has turned to love and appreciation of The Great Mystery of life itself. 

We arrive into our own lives more engaged, more alive, resilient and ready.

In studying children who thrive in life in spite of adverse childhood experiences, there is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that having at least one stable and emotionally healthy adult show up for a child helps them develop more resilience and a healthy, adaptive response to adversity of any kind. 

Psychologist, educational consultant, and author Dr. Christopher Willard has said, “The number one predictor of resilience [in children]  is the adult, and a close second is finding meaning in something larger. The easiest way to create stressed-out miserable kids is to surround them with stressed-out miserable adults, but the best way to create mindful, present, and compassionate kids is to surround them with mindful, present, compassionate adults. Through the coregulation of their nervous systems, a well-regulated adult who has dealt with their own trauma and history can then lend that regulation to the child, who in turn practices and internalizes that skill for themselves, then hopefully for their own classmates, family, and community in a positive ripple.”

In other words, by showing up first for ourselves—and our own inner children—in order to cultivate a relationship between soul and Spirit, we build our own capacities—our own resilience. We learn how to be comfortable in the present moment. We feel more confident and capable to facilitate our own healing.  And we allow ourselves to be held and supported by something bigger than ourselves, which creates a ripple effect for our families, our communities, and hopefully, our nation and ultimately our world.

In her extraordinary audio program, “Making the Gods Work for You,” (which was gifted to me by Lisa Hatlestad) activist-astrologer Caroline Casey cheekily shares that there is an unspoken truth to her work which is that in order to “make the Gods work for you, you have to work for the Gods.” She goes on to explain that you have to show up and make some kind of offering to acknowledge and honor the numinous Spirit of life that infuses all things—be it with a prayer, a mantra, sacred smoke—any kind of ritualistic acknowledgement and appreciation demonstrated through a moment of mindful connection. 

In these urgent and precarious times, we have to make our entire life an offering to Spirit, the Beloved, the Great Mystery, to to allow it to soften our soul so it can be in communion with all that is and all that will ever be.

We have to show up especially when we are feeling confused.

We have to show up especially when we are feeling lonely.

We have to show up especially when we are feeling bratty and resistant and depleted.

It won’t always make sense. It won’t always be clear. You won’t always know how it will end.

But I can speak from my own experience as both student and guide that by practicing patience, learning to sit with my discomfort, and letting myself appreciate the ineffable magic of the Great Mystery, miraculous things have begun to occur. I feel clearer. Stronger. More peaceful. More joyful. More spacious. And infinitely more patient. 

When I show up for myself—and for the little girl who lives in ceaseless wonder within me—when I make my life a spiritual offering, it has rarely felt easy, has often been uncomfortable, and it has taken me far longer than I’d prefer, but I can tell you in all honesty, it has always, always been worth it. So please, won’t you come join me here in this moment?

The world is waiting for your arrival.