Breaking the Silence

My father passed away last month.  I couldn’t get myself to write about anything else and the wound was fresh, the emotions bubbling up.  I always stand for authentic communication and was wondering how do I do that when it involves other people.  How do I write the truth about myself without mentioning people in my life who are part of my story?  I wonder this a lot because I am committed to living in the truth.

In my younger years, I learned that “rising above” was a better way to be about things in life.  I learned a few years back that being kind and keeping my mouth shut, protecting people from their own poor behavior was only shooting myself in a foot.  More often than not, people believe the story they are told.  They are not invested in finding out what everyone else’s perspective is on the subject and I find that unfair.  I no longer think that being silent or stepping out of the equation is good in and of itself.  On contrary, I believe I am responsible to tell my side of the story.

Years ago, and I think through this blog, I shared a story about my dad.  I sent him a link, thinking, it was appropriate that he knows about it.  I was proud of the way I’ve written it, I thought there was no shame and blame just simply my perspective on life as I lived it.  I remember him telling me that his younger son, my step brother, already told him about it and that when he asked if I was harsh with words, his son answered: “so-so.”  I was a bit wounded.  People walk around blaming other people for their lives, here I was, reframing my dad’s absence into a story of my becoming the person I was and it was still not good enough.  I was wondering, can anyone ever saying something personal without it meaning something bad about someone else.

We are all connected.  While this sounds like a total cliche, it actually isn’t.  We really are in this together.  People in our lives are merely mirrors for what we need to discover about ourselves and move through, evolve.  Perhaps all those fingers pointing at me for sharing my stories are making me stronger because in absence of approval, it is that much harder to stand for something we believe in.  And I, I simply believe in truth, in writing, in art, in being with one another.  We all make mistakes, we all mess up, but owning it allows us to transcend it, to stay present, to learn from it.  And there, I broke my silence and my concerns about writing.  I have a voice to use it. And so do you… woman

 

 

 

PROMISES

IMG_2613

Last week of the year, this space between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is one of the most sensitive times of the year for most people.   We cannot help but reflect back on the year, what is done or isn’t done, which promises will sneak into the next year because we know there is no chance in hell we can pull it off in the next couple of days.  I have one of those, it’s called my Online Program.  Some time in late October, I stopped even playing that game, I realized, with everything on my plate, I can’t do it in a way that works so I wasn’t going to do it just for the sake of doing it.

There are, however, promises that sneak up on us, those we promise to ourselves but don’t say out loud, like: I will do yoga every day, do a long walk outside rain or shine and stop eating processed foods.  How is that one working for me? Not so well.  You see, the problem with promises we make to ourselves is, they are safe from scrutiny, criticism and accountability but they don’t make us feel any less shitty when we don’t do them.  And this is because our promise to OURSELVES, has far more weight than any promise we make to someone out loud.

The promises we make to others, we do with much more ease, because if we don’t, we look bad and people will do just about anything to look good. It’s one of the strongest forces that gets us to do things (that and belonging).  And promising things to others, or having people hold us to account is powerful, because we will get things done, but keeping our promise to ourselves is even more important.  It isn’t easy, but it matters because when we relate to ourselves like we are not our word, or we don’t matter, it is that much harder to complete things in life.  We are always having to overcome an already established story about ourselves: we don’t do what we say we would do.

So think about those things that you already promised to yourself.  Write them all out, check off what you kept, cross off those that are irrelevant, acknowledging that you didn’t do them and re-promise the rest.  As you do, you will be giving yourself another chance to do it right.  Will you succeed? That’s up to you, but at least, you have a way bigger change at it than if you just swept it under the rug.  Because things swept under the rug are still in the room, we just can’t see them.  And often, we don’t even forget they are there.

Give yourself a gift of clean slate this holiday season.  Keep your list.  Even if you mess it up, at least you know how to reset it.  Wishing you the best.

Happy Holidays to all,

Love,

 

Marija

It’s never too late …

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”   George Eliot

I went to see a healer a few weeks back, it was a friend’s recommendation and a treat, so I couldn’t refuse.  I can’t say much about it because some of it was fairly confusing and I’d rather let it sit, but he did say something to me that keeps replaying in my mind over and over again.  He said (or rather channeled), that I will become even more successful when I acknowledge and appreciate all the successes I already have in my life.

I’m not a pessimist by nature, at all, but if you listen to me talk sometimes, you would think I could be, because I would often point my gaze in the direction of things that aren’t working yet, rather than look at all the miraculous things that do.  I often do this simply because I want to be acknowledged once and for all for everything I do.  This was missing in my childhood; it is a father who opens the door for a daughter’s success and breaks her away from mother’s nurturing and in my case, he wasn’t around.  This deep wound had followed me like a shadow always whispering softly: “you are not enough.”  While I am among the rare aware ones that can acknowledge it and get passed it, the wound is really there and sure as heck it had an impact.

marija w make up art.

If you are in late 30’s, about to hit 40 like me, or already in your 40s or even 50s, you must deal with some version of: “it’s beginning to be too late for me to do some things.”  I swear, when I was pregnant, both with my first one at the age of 35 and the second one at the age of 37, I felt that my body would never be the same, that I would never be able to move it as quickly and as gracefully as I could before.  I felt that my breast would forever stay huge and I’d never fit any of my silky tops that I always liked to wear.  In fact, I gave most of them away.  I am not kidding when I say that when my younger one was at the hospital at birth and I listened to lactation consultant (instead of my own motherly instinct) to pump every three hours, and at some point my breasts were a size of watermelon.  I felt so strongly like stabbing them with something to release an enormous pressure of breasts too full with milk.  Thankfully, I’ve already done this once at that point so I knew all the tricks, pain killers, cabbage wraps and hot water hand expressing.  (It’s ok, you probably only get this if you were a breastfeeding mamma.)

To get to the point, so many things in my life seemed like they just timed out.  I could write a longer list of things no longer possible than anything creative to counteract it.  In fact, I often visit that space even now and it’s hard to be in it.  I just know to allow my emotions to teach me instead of stepping on it and pretending that all is well.  In fact, I have spent over $20K learning about ways in which it is safe to express emotion as a woman so I can be free, so I can use it to fuel my creativity and increase my light and not dim it down.  In fact, I became a better human being altogether after, because the more I let myself be me, the less I am really concerned by what the others are doing.

And no offense, I still don’t fully enjoy or directly benefit from ton of photoshopped (and sometimes real) pictures of women expressing their freedom by being almost naked right there on the screen, wearing ton of make-up, coloring their eyebrows like they are using sharpies and reporting on every single thing they do in their day as if us, real people, really care.  I get annoyed and surprised daily that the Kim Kardashians of this world have millions of followers and I cannot get over 600 unless I literally post at least 2 times a day.  I feel deep anger when I bump into social media accounts, from FB, IG to youtube where young girls and Millennials are asking the audience what they should post about.  Really?  You want me to give you the content so that you can keep on telling me how to live my life.  I find this contradictory at best.  I almost never watch it to the end, I can’t, it provokes the part of me that is pissed off for having worked really hard for what I now have, for actually thinking things through and posting things that make a real difference for me and at least a few people who I know will read or see it.

But that anger and frustration brings me nothing good.  Sometimes I feel that having 2 small children is a perfect distraction for being sucked into the reality show world and garbage that I feel is bombarding us every day.  And while I judge all this and claim it is not really worth my time, I am also facing the reality of getting older, of having grown up without internet, cell phone, and being gifted my first computer when I was already in college.  It is hard to know this reality and not feel like it may no longer be my time, that perhaps, my posts will never attract a wider audience and my writings will never really be read by more than a few loyal readers who probably also personally know me.  Some will even feel bad for me, think that I am sharing too much, revealing things that are best kept under the radar, but that would, in my view, take me even further behind than I already feel I am.

So what can we do? what am I doing about all this? How am I fighting this reality?  I am actually not fighting it at all.  I am allowing things that come my way, that I read or am bombarded by via social media, and I allow myself to feel what I feel.  I let the anger come up, the annoyance, the sadness even.  I let it all come up so I can fully acknowledge its presence.  I grant it space, I allow it to be.  Then, I look for mirrors, for lessons, for the buttons that got pushed on me because the truth is, not one of those media posts was ever created only to annoy me personally.  And then I break it down, until I can feel the emotion release its grip on me, until I see something about myself, often not a very pretty insight, that resonates.  It is usually one of these flavors:

I am envious that someone else is doing it successfully and I am not.  I am comparing myself to them and think that I deserve better.  I feel like I have so much to say but I don’t want to be humble to acknowledge and ask for attention.  I am still living inside of the fear of what would the others say.  I don’t want to be judged.  I hate it that most of them don’t care and I do.  I don’t want to look amateur.  It’s hard to let myself be a beginner at this age… etc

Here is where I start feeling some release and even some creative energy flowing.  You see, the platforms are there and available to all of us.  What we want and who we want to be can be created now easier than ever before.  And even if one doesn’t use social media and all the things that we have at our finger tips, go do that something you always wanted to do: take a course of French, learn how to drive, take a painting lesson, go to a choir, travel to that place you always wanted to see.  Write a long list of things that you want and see which one excites you the most and go for that one.

Perhaps it’s easier said than done, but you are either playing the game of life or sitting in the stands.  I have been in both places and I know that I come alive when I am in the game.  Sure, as soon as I come back to the stands I hear all the criticism of what I just did, but so what.  For when we are in a game, nothing else matters, we are fully alive.  There is no day like today, there is no time like now.  You can be what you always dreamt of being even if you haven’t yet gathered the social proof for it.  If you do it long enough, though, I am sure you will.

With love,

Marija

Being Seen

One of my former clients, a comedian, once told me about the dilemma he was forming into a show.  He said “if you tell a joke in a forest, is it funny.”  I thought, of course not, if you tell it and nobody can hear it, find it humorous, of course it isn’t funny.

I was reflecting back on my past year or so of life when I began to realize more and more how much I like attention.  I was shamed for it at the very young age when I convinced myself that becoming a doctor or doing something worthy is better than being famous.  I didn’t suffer from wanting fame, my mother was fairly known while I was growing up and she raised me alone so I had a chance to meet many artists, musicians, actors and politicians then.  In fact, being VIP was the way things were, I didn’t have to worry about my fake ambivalence to fame.

When I moved to NY after my high school, I slowly began to understand what being a nobody was like.  In some ways, it protected me; I didn’t have to live up to the standards imposed by the people I knew.  I had total freedom to be myself and also, to define what that was going to be.  Luckily, not being able to travel frequently to my home country allowed me to create myself over and over again.  On another hand, it began to feel slightly weird to always have to think about getting tickets for something in advance, to not be  just “let in,” to have to know I can pay for everything I spend, to find my own way and spend my money where my mouth is.

I slowly began to desire to be seen for who I thought I was – worthy of attention and VIP treatment.  However, my pattern of pretending that I didn’t really want that was still going strong.  In fact, even during the transformational leadership course, when I got to be the first one to breakthrough and qualify as a leader, I spent time helping other people get qualified instead of mastering my game of leading.  My game was leading, no question about that, but it took me suffering for months to recognize and fully own it.

It seemed to me that wanting to be seen was just not a cool thing to admit.  I even read a Huffington post article a few weeks ago written by a psychologist who was defining narcissism.  I was shocked to see that I was nowhere near being one regardless of my Facebook and Instagram activity that I sometimes worry about would make me seem lame.  But the actual change happened in one of the courses for women that I took over a year ago.

As other women were owning their desire to be seen, taking attention when they could, occupying the space, I began to feel the grudge inside.  I was hating them, hating their power, wanting so badly to diminish it so that someone, out there, would see me instead.  It seemed so clearly to me that for as long as they shined, nobody could ever see my light.  I felt deep pain, I was miserable.  I kept thinking how much I have to offer, how deeply I wanted to contribute to people, how much I am wanting to write, to create art and know that what I do makes at least one other person happy.  I was looking for validation outside of me, and, it didn’t work.

So, after crying to my husband, who is also a coach, and to a couple of my closest friends who I thought knew me deeply, I realized, my hate came from envy, but my envy came from pain, the pain that I felt so deeply as a new mom, as a double mom in fact, for missing out on life, for not living it fully, for not sharing all that I truly wanted to share.

Don’t get me wrong, I had to get over the: “who am I to do this?” and “I am not good enough” and “people will laugh” and “I don’t want to be hurt!” But the truth is, I was already hurting, deeply, from letting my talents and passions go to waste, for killing possibilities before they could ever be realized.

Finally, this is what I learned, “is the joke funny if you tell it in a forest?”  Well, that depends on who is telling a joke and why they are telling a joke.  Being heard cannot be a guiding light, it is only a bonus.  Finding the light, humor and passion inside and then doing the work, that is the game.  So if you do tell a joke in a forest, and you enjoy it, you find it funny, I would say: it is funny.

It is not wrong to want to be seen, recognized and even famous.  I just think that being driven by that desire alone is not a mighty cause.  But I do think that people have a lot more to offer than they are offering.  At the end, I don’t write because I want everyone to read it, although I appreciate every single person that does so.  I am writing because I don’t want what I have to say to die with me in a case it will matter to someone who may read it.

The Cure for FOMO

IMG_1681-1

I am not exaggerating when I say that I suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out) my whole entire life.  I was a single child and although my father had more children after me, neither him nor them were in my life, so I was pretty much on my own.  Everyone around me had siblings, it seemed.  Most people also lived surrounded by other kids, in buildings with neighbors, in communities where everyone played together.

I was a busy child, between music school, elementary school, language courses and numerous school activities, from choir, drama, basketball, math team, I really didn’t have so many consistent friends.  This is why to this day, people that I went to school with are some of the most intimate relationships I have.  I wasn’t lonely, by all means, but I tried so hard to be everywhere and be everything for everyone.  I tried so hard to please.

Looking back, reflecting, I have compassion for that little girl that wanted so badly to “belong” to be a part of something bigger.  I understand the yearning even now as I am approaching 40.  Yet, I think that yearning had me look for the outside sources for my own personal happiness and that’s, ultimately, what needed to be rewired.

I must say that motherhood kicked my ass.  Even when I had my first son, Adrian, I was beginning to see that I don’t have the freedom I once had.  We moved from Montreal to Florida and then back to New York City and I was constantly in search of people and communities to belong to.  When I had my second son, Marko, this is where having to stay at home, missing events my friends were going to, and having to say NO became more of a norm rather than the exception.  I was hurting inside.  It felt like I was going to be forgotten and the more I thought I’d be forgotten, the more I wanted to be visible, to share my life.

In a sense, that is what I am doing now.  I am sharing my life on Instagram, which connects to my Facebook.  I also recently revived this blog and started posting my videos on my Youtube channel.  So yes, all my actions are showing that I want to be out there, that I want to be SEEN, HEARD, KNOWN yet something deep inside shifted: this longing to not miss out on life.  I realized, my life is where I am. I created my business, my clients, my husband, my children, my home.  What I have is completely a product of what I worked for and instead of having to go out and mingle with people all the time, I am using this time to ground myself in who I am and what my life is about.

This weekend, there was an event where over 2000 women joined to celebrate what it is to be a woman and I was supposed to be a part of it.  I got sick and couldn’t let my husband, who also got sick, stay at home alone to take care of the kids.  So I cancelled and stayed “behind.”  This morning, when my husband took the kids to the park, I turned on some music and processed my sadness and feelings of missing out through my body.  I did what those women were doing in a room together (most likely anyway), but I did it at home.  It allowed me to accept myself and my life.  I truly believe that when we honor who we are and where we are in life, things can actually change.  I am not chasing that change anymore, I simply allow it. In a meantime, I am happy exactly as I am.

 

 

Motherhood is not for a faint of heart

I have always been intuitive which sometimes takes me on a ride because I feel that I can prevent things if I act early enough.  Last night when Marko fell and cut his forehead, I instantly knew it was a big deal (not in a sense of him being in danger, but as something that required immediate and complete attention.)  Luckily, my husband acted even more quickly, slapped a band-aid on his cut and got ready to take him to emergency.  I stayed at home, powerless.

Trying to justify why part of me freaked out so badly about this event, I realized, in the past week, minus the holidays, I received a call from my older son Adrian’s school every day, once because he threw up and I needed to bring him home, second time because he was coughing and insisted to see the nurse, and today he was bit by another child and it broke his skin so they had to let us know and advise to call the pediatrician.

On one hand, I get it, it’s a first world problem, there are people who are battling issues and sicknesses with their children that can hardly compare. Yet, I cannot deny that my heart skips a beat every time I get a phone call from school that I don’t expect or I hear something thumble where I know my kids are.  It’s an instant “fight” response for me and the one that provides me very little freedom to relax and just BE.

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”

This poem by Kahlil Gibran was a lot easier to understand and accept when I didn’t have children.  I had a lot to say about how I would raise them and what kind of a mother I would be.  In fact, for the longest time I had so much to say to my mother about mothering me, even though that is not my place.  It’s humbling.  Motherhood is humbling and it reaches deep into the places we didn’t think were there.  It uncovers the darkness we feel inside and it exposes it.  Children don’t do as we say, they mirror what we do.  There cannot be anything more glaring for us about us than that.

All this to say, mothering is not for the faint of heart.  We are not meant to be wonder women nor any other super heroes.  We are meant to love them with all of our hearts but give them freedom to be their own people.  If that means they will have a scar on their forehead or a bite on their shoulders, so be it.  Control will not provide them much.  I say this and I understand fully all of you controlling mothers out there because I belong to your club. And, I know, without a shadow of a doubt that this experience is transforming us into the people we are meant to become in this life time.  We just have to keep bring awareness to it so we can keep flowing with life and not against it.

Love,

Marija ❤

My Come Back

IMG_1287

Dear Reader,

I am getting close to being 40.  It has me self-reflect a lot.   In addition, working as a personal coach, I am constantly looking at ways to reinvent myself and my life.  Sometimes it’s not even a choice, it is what is needed for me in order to serve a client, but it never fails to be exactly the thing I need.

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for some time now, to share my life, my message, my life as my message.  Then last night as I was drifting asleep, I realized, I already have a blog, I just stopped attending to it.  So instead of starting fresh, I decided to continue.  I decided to accept what I have already written and just continue on.  I am not doing this to let things linger, on contrary, I am doing this so I can fully own all that I have been and all that I am now.  If there is anything to repair, amend, then it will surely show up as I continue to write and I will repair/amend accordingly.

I welcome back those of you who read my blog posts before and I welcome all the new readers with open arms.  You see, since I last posted, I had another child, moved back to New York City and have grown in ways I can’t even explain.  And I won’t explain, I will just continue to share my voice and continue to grow.  I invite you to grow with me.

With gratitude for life, love and light

 

Marija ❤