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climbing back into the box

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climbing back into the box

Tanya Geisler - Instagram Graphics - Nov 18.png

Remember Paddington Bear?

The marmalade-loving, welly-wearing bumbling sweetheart found by the Browns at Paddington Station with a “please look after this bear” note?

Yeah. He was my main squeeze. Literally. I was given him at the age of five. Maybe six.

I loved that he was soft and gentle and sartorially splendid in said yellow rubber boots (that you could actually take off!),  jaunty red bush hat and blue duffle coat. I loved that he loved elevenses and enjoyed two birthdays a year, “just like the Queen”.

But most of all, I loved our adventures.

We had a big cardboard box that transported us everywhere. We'd fly to the mountains of Nepal, the badlands of South Dakota, the outback of Australia and the moon. Obvs. At the end of every adventure, we’d cry “tally ho to Darkest Peru”. (Neither of us knew what the hell it meant. Which was more than fine.)

It felt cruel and unusual to hoard such delight from my loved ones, so Paddington and I would often reenact our adventures on the stage that was the living room after dinner.

Into the box we would climb and regale (ahem) our audience of friends and family with the sights, sounds, smells of our escapades and keep them rapt with our witty repartee (he was the naïve sillyheart to my sage straight man). And, always knowing how to keep ‘em satisfied, we’d ask them to shout out where they’d like us to go next. To Marrakesh! To Mimico! To Miami! And we’d see what we could see and get ourselves into scrapes, as only a bear and a little girl in a box could.

When it was clear that the audience had had too much of a good thing (my mother's wrap it up gesture and the guests' glazed-over countenance were the telltale cues), we’d “tally ho to Darkest Peru”, take our bow and retreat to my bedroom where I’d remove his boots, hats and coat (long since lost), and we’d rap about the performance and plan for the next day’s adventures.

In short: my parents were the most excellent kinds of parents.

They fostered my uniqueness, encouraged my creativity and celebrated my desire to express what was mine to express.

They engendered in me an inherent belief that whatever was being created in that box was good and valuable and worthy of witnessing. No matter how rambling, drawn out or, if I’m being brutally honest, entirely aimless it was.

I was worthy of their time and attention.

I’m thinking about my mother in advance of mothers’ day, as I always do. Missing her and her unconditional love. And I’m thinking about the kind of love my father had, and still has for me. And feeling completely and fully blessed.

And. This.

Even with the creative colostrum of support they nourished me with at such a young age, somewhere between that last “tally ho” and now, I had lost that innate sense of worthiness. I started to believe that there were rules I would never be able to fully grasp. That I was missing the heart of the artist. That it wasn’t my job to do. That creativity was for others.

Somewhere along the line, with the compositions, then essays, then theses, then proposals, then pitches, then video scripts, then sales copy then editorial calendars, then posts all written from a deep and earnest desire to be useful and helpful and heard, I lost the delight, the flutter, the adventure and the wonder I felt in that box, with my beloved bear by my side.

No where is this more apparent than in my book writing process.

I currently have 63,129 words written for my book on the Impostor Complex. Good, thoughtful, smart, helpful, useful, insightful words.

Words that defend the answer to the question: Who am I to write this book?

(The question is both internal and external. Agents want to know. Publishers want to know. But more viscerally, my own Impostor Complex wants to know, sneeringly derisively in the asking.)

So yes. Every last word is good and smart.

But I’m writing them from the wrong place. I’m writing them from my bubble.

IMG_0696

It’s from my BOX that I need to write from.

Back to where I knew that innate sense of worthiness.Where I knew the enduring power of what’s possible.Where I knew that my heart had more to say than my head.Where I knew that joy wasn’t a nice-to-have. It was everything.

So that’s where I’m going now. Climbing back into the box. Ditching many of the 63K words and starting fresh.

Undefended. Leading with my creativity. Knowing that this is where the magic happens. And where there is magic, there is flight.

(Say hey to my newest writing partner, and oldest pal, Paddington.)

 


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Risk the vulnerability hangover. You will survive it.

Tanya Geisler - Instagram Graphics - Nov 2.png

Okay.

Hi.

We’ve all been there. We shared from the depths of our souls. Our fears. Our worries. Our hopes. Our dreams.

In the sharing, we were effusive, euphoric, unbridled, and even - dare I say it? - emotional. Because, I mean, it felt so good in that moment.

Walking around with your guard up all the time is exhausting.

So letting your guard down and letting loose felt so… right.
Both reckless and safe at the same time.
So… intoxicating.
So you shared one more thing.

 

And then you felt the surge of heat in your cheeks. The room started to spin and you had to make a hasty retreat from the conversation. Or worse... you leave feeling euphoric, only to wake up in a puddle of your insecurities the next day.

"Oh hell! Why did I share that?” “What was I thinking?” And, worse, “What must THEY be thinking now about ME?”

You think you said too much.
You think you were too much.

You, my friend, are eyeballs deep into what has been called the “vulnerability hangover.”
[term coined by the Queen Bee of Vulnerability, Dr. Brené Brown]

Dude. Totally been there.

As a chronic hugger of strangers, the first one to say I love you, an over-sharer by nature and a woman living inside a desire to live so fully that most of her filters have been removed, I get it.

Brown posits that if you don’t feel any vulnerability hangover, then maybe you didn’t go far enough.


If we’re going to use vulnerability hangovers as a metric of courage, here’s a super quick survival guide.

First of all, you will survive this.

You will absolutely survive this. Anyone who has stepped out and risked sharing what was true has experienced this and (you guessed it) survived.

Next, Hydrate.

Simple. Just hydrate. No tricks. Just drink water.
(You aren’t drinking enough, you know)

third, Compassion-ate

kəmˈpaSHən, āt/verb

As in, fire compassion beams on yourself. Be kind. Be gentle.

You shared because you had a full tank of thoughts and feelings and sadness and joy and despair and whatever else you had and were looking to connect with someone. Maybe with several someones. You needed that. We all need that. So beating yourself up is no good.

Find the same compassion for yourself that you would give a sweet little girl who told her crush that his eyes were nice and now feels awash in shame for her confession.

Last, Calibrate

Recognize that the impulse beneath the sharing was connection (it was, trust me). Where else can you get this need met in a way that will not send you to bed dizzy and wanting to hide because you are flushed with hot panic? What’s another way forward? Who can you surround yourself with?

Because what I worry about is this: if you endure one too many vulnerability hangovers, you just may stop showing up.

And, honey? We cannot have that.


Listen. We are living in a messed up time.

People walking around believing that guns are keeping people safe.
There is actually a NEED to have hashtags like #blacklivesmatter (this brings tears to my eyes).
The unbelievably messed up legacy of residential schools in Canada (so does this).
Politicians politicizing climate change. Reality TV asshats who believe that walls are the answer.
Social media filled with snark at best and hatred and vitriol at worst.
Children afraid of their pillows because they think they are the cause of the raids upon their hometown.

It is time to say what needs to be said. Now more than ever.

We can’t have you in bed not saying what needs to be said because you are afraid of the repercussions of a vulnerability hangover. Click to tweet this.

I’m scared. I know you are too.

Above all:

Please don’t apologize for feeling the depths of your experience.
Don’t apologize for expressing the depths of your experience.
And don’t stop sharing what needs to be shared.

It’s time for humanity. Not immunity. And certainly not silence. Click to tweet this.

I repeat: we’ve got work to do.


*A note about coaching. With ANYONE.

I’m always amazed when a new client apologizes for being emotional in a session. Worrying about what I’ll think. It’s an epidemic - worrying about how we’ll react to each other.

People… I’m a professional.

THIS is what I do. This is what ALL coaches do. All that deep-listening and ideation and strategy and compassion are God-given gifts that I nurture and tend to. No doubt. SELF-MANAGEMENT is the skill I paid tens of thousands of dollars for and spent thousands of hours mastering.

So bring it. Bring the mess. Bring the tears. Bring what you think is a shit show.

I’ve got it all. I’ve got you. That’s my job. That’s ALL coaches' jobs.

We’ll find your way forward. Because we are going to need your voice, at top level. We’re going to need your arms, your heart, your soul and all that you have got if we’re going to turn this thing around.

With love and raised fist,

TG

 

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The unconscious quality of judgment. And Mötley Crüe.

The overnight clerk at the grocery store apologized as she rang in the milk and cat food. Sorry to keep you waiting, she said. I was just over in floral wrapping the flowers. No problem, I answered. Are you often all over the store on the overnight shift?

Yeah…I just keep really busy to pass the time. If I sit, time drags on and I seriously just can’t wait to get out of here. I noticed her name.

I’LL BET. You must fall dead asleep the second you get home.

No way, she laughed. I have too many shows to watch on my PVR.

(I’m not proud of this. Not for a second. But it was in that moment that I felt the first unconscious stirring of judgment of the day. It tends to show up when I hear people rushing through life to get to their TV sets. How dare I? I know, I know.)

Oh yeah? What’s going to be waiting for you?

She scanned her memory for the schedule as she scanned my kale. Should be Dancing with the Stars and America’s Got Talent. I hope, she grinned.

Genuinely curious and thinking of my friends who are big dancers, I said: Sounds like you’re pretty keen on dancing. Do you ever get out and get your own boogie on?

She laughed again. Honey? I’m just not a ‘getting out’ gal any more. I used to go out and play darts almost every night. We’d even go to tournaments out of town twice a month. But now? I’m 52 and prefer to stay home.

Really? I asked as stirring judgment #2 had me feeling a pang of sympathy that she’d already started to “give up”.

Buuuuuuut. No.

Oh yeah. I love heavy metal and there’s no dancing to that, so I just crank it at home and rock out. I also have a dart board in my living room and if I have a six-pack and my man and some friends? It’s all I need. When I DO go out, it’s to a concert. Going to Mötley Crüe this weekend. And we just got tickets for Judas Priest in November.

(Her eyes were gleaming as she said that last part. It was...awesome.)

I am seriously in love how clear you are about what you want in your life, I said.

Sweetie, I was in an abusive relationship for 19 years. Never again am I wasting time on anything that doesn’t feel good or right for me.

Boom.

I paid up, she wished me a fantastic day and we parted ways. I sat in the car, realized how schooled I’d just been. Wondering why I felt so low after I went in feeling so high.

Because here was my morning up until that 5:50 am conversation.

Woke up. Said a welcoming prayer to the day before my feet hit the floor.

Went downstairs to feed the cats (saw we were out of food), drank hot water + lemon as I made a pot of coffee (saw we were out of milk), hit the meditation mat in front of my crystals-adorned altar, then kissed my husband and headed out to the store, feeling all high vibe + holy.

Walked the aisles feeling immense gratitude for my life, for the day ahead (settling back at my desk after some fantastic time away), house renovations nearing completion, husband feeling in flow, happy daughter heading to day two of horseback riding camp, incredible new clients and invitations showing up and generally, feeling the fullness of it all.

So it was with that beaming joy that I met her. And in less than one minute, I tripped over the rug of my unconscious judgment. Replacing the feeling of joy with the feeling of shit.

Judgment and comparison is like that.

Whether we compare up. Or whether we compare down.

So, I sat in the car, recognizing it for what it was. Giving thanks for my Mötley Crüe-loving Teacher this morning.

Reminding me to continue to do my work in transforming my own judgment habits.

Reminding me to deepen into the content that Lauren Bacon and I have so lovingly, patiently and attentively created with Beyond Compare. (More to come...stay tuned.)

Reminding me to bring consciousness to the unconscious.

Reminding me just how far I still have yet to travel.

High vibe and holyReminding me that high vibe + holy requires consciousness off the mat. (Tweet this)

Reminding me all that I forget.

Saturday night, I’m gonna raise a metal salute to her. In the meantime, I intend to bring full attention to where I go unconscious and judge.

Whether it’s someone else’s shoes, decisions, choices, car, taste, content, perspective, ideas. I’ll be noticing it all.

 

I may not love what I find out, but it will move me closer to my centre. And that’s where high vibe and holy ACTUALLY sync up. And where real change can happen.

Join me?

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Plant the seed.

It was 5pm on New Years Eve. A snowy, festive scene - the bottle of prosecco had already been popped, Lisa was assembling the cheese tray like a champ, the kids were playing Lego and the fellows were getting the Spotify playlist juuuust right. Present to my current joy but with an eye on the year to come, I followed my instinct to plant a couple of seeds that were germinating in my heart.

Including reaching out to the Wonder from Down Under, Julie Parker of Beautiful You Coaching Academy. I knew we would hug in 2015. Just didn’t know how or when.

Luckily…she did.

An hour after I reached out to her, she invited me to come and deliver a keynote to a group of the most lovely, receptive and generous women I’d ever had the pleasure of meeting. In New York. In June. Of course.

Inspiration Day was a dream of hers, planted long ago and tended to with love, support, determination, perseverance, faith and hard, hard work.

Thankfully, it was all worth it.

She writes in the most recent edition of her inspired COACH online magazine:

And when on the day our divine guest speaker and former inspired COACH cover girl Tanya Geisler said… “We are all witness today to a woman’s dream coming true. That’s something I would travel across the world to see any day” – I burst into tears at the realisation she was speaking about me. It took me a moment amongst all the planning and doing and creating but I got there.

Her planted seed bore fruit. The most exquisitely refreshing fruit ever.

My seed bore fruit too. We most certainly did hug in 2015. Oh how we hugged.

(Photo by Katya Nicholas)

And sometimes, we plant seeds for one another.

I was speaking with my friend and colleague Christine Francoeur. Feeling fried, tired, and weary, I was wanting something I couldn’t name.

She said, my wish for you is to take a break. Go to the cottage. Write and make carbonara.

Seed planted.

I’ve never made carbonara before. Until last night. After a full day of writing.

And what was I writing? No big deal… just the book that I’ve been holding in my heart for years. You know…the one the border guard wished into being?

Oh.

Haven’t I told you that story yet?

Right-o.

Last summer, on a long drive home from the coast, we were in that sweet and comfortable wordless space that comes from plenty of time spent together. Nothing needed to be said. Natalie Merchant crooned softly as we coasted through the White Mountains in Vermont on our way back to Canada. Present to my current joy but with an eye on the year to come (apparently, it’s how I roll), my mind kept playing out what's next in my business, chewing over options and vetting my excitement level. Wondering when I’d FINALLY make time to write my book.

The guard at the teensiest border I’ve ever come across asked the requisite q’s about alcohol, purchases, then looked me straight in the eye and asked me when the book would get written.

Dumbfounded, I sputtered that I hoped soon.

She said, I hope so too, Honey. The world needs it.

She then shook her head as if to break a spell, and waved us through.

Seed planted.

So.

Not all seeds come to fruition.

But many do.

Take a moment to look around and see the growth of seeds that you’ve planted…or have been planted for you. Relish the abundance.

And take another moment. Or twelve. And plant some wishes under tonight’s new moon. For yourself. For your loved ones. For those who challenge you. For those who enlighten you. For the earth. For the moon. For the animals. For the waters. For the babies yet to be born. For peace. For love. For yourself.

Then tend the seeds of your wishes into being.(Tweet this.)


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What if you trip and fall?

What if you trip and fall? You might.What if you get to the top and find out you’ve been climbing the wrong mountain? It happens. What if the expectations at the top are more than you envisioned? Could be. What if people are resistant to your ascent? Also possible.

Those are good questions. Sane questions. RESPONSIBLE questions.

They’ve kept you safe and that’s a good thing.

But I’ve got some other questions to ask you.

How much longer are you willing to wait? When does it get to be your time? When will you be ready enough to meet your desires?

Above all:

Given your drive to strive, your value of excellence and mastery, how can you NOT step up?

To be certain, the climb is high.

There will be twists and turns. (It’s part of the terrain.)

You will fall and you will rip your pants. (You will get new ones.) Along the way, you’ll meet naysayers. (And you’ll meet some yaysayers.) You will question, you will calibrate, you will course-correct. (That’s your job.) You will get tired. (Nap.)

You will amaze yourself and dazzle your soul and your heart will burst open and you will know, once and for all what emergent magnificence you are truly made of.

You will finally see what we’ve been seeing all along.

You will be changed for the experience. And you will never, ever look back.

Step up.

+++++

Registration for Step into Your Starring Role is now open.

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