For the last three years, I've made my living as an entrepreneur. I launched a company based on Love and Sexual Health with the goal of creating and distributing organic products and valuable information and it was a miserable, beautiful, failure.
Spending the better part of my savings and my soul on optimism, love and health, only to have it come crashing down around me when I learned the pedestal of love that I stood righteously upon was far different than I imagined was terrible. I simply was not up to the task.
While failing delightfully at selling a "good for the body, good for the world" product, I made another part of my "living" working with entrepreneurs on their own strategic business development and teaching courses in Social Media Marketing for my alma mater, UCLA. The truth is, I am actually incredibly gifted at those tasks. I help people and have a unique skill at untangling their messy opportunity and streamlining it into abundance for others The key phrase here, is for others. I meditated, prayed, soul searched, and as many of you know, hid in other people's chaos. I retreated into reflection of others. People who are beleaguered by excuses often do this.
Last month, on the New Moon (because yes, I look to the moon for rituals and experiences) I joined a Facebook Live conference with Anne Ribley, Writer, Inspiration Trails and Soul Inspirer. She encouraged us to figure out the reasons we are prevented from living our most glorious soul inspired lives.
The truth is, for a lot of us it's baggage we are still carrying from journeys we no longer have to travel that hold us back. This weight of suitcases full of old memories, painful trauma, and heartbreak makes it very difficult to navigate the beautiful cobblestone paths ahead. Ann challenged me (and the hundreds of other people on the stream), to write it right and release in a couple of ways. If your interested, you can find her stream here:
Step One: Writing it Right
What is writing it right, you ask? It's writing an open letter about all the injustices you have experienced, composed for absolutely nobody other than yourself. It's diving into to the pain and nitty gritty of your heart's most unjust experiences. It's getting angry at the paper and yelling with your pen about everything that has stopped you in your tracks and left you sobbing on the bathroom floor or punching a wall. (Both of which I have done a fair amount in my life).
When I asked Anne if we were allowed to get really angry in our letters, she replied with a resounding YES.
I found this so incredibly refreshing. Between you and me, I am really fucking sick of what I call the "gratitude platitudes". Every time I feel angry or resentful, someone tells me to remember everything I am grateful for and just how lucky I am. Oh if they only knew... I think that there is certainly a place for gratitude, but if we never actually shout about our anger - gratitude is a freaking mask. Yes, everything happens for a reason and there is abundance all around me, but seriously? Some things that have happened and are happening just really suck.
So I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. I exploded with all the hate, deception, resentment, and disgust at the obligation that I was drowning in. I tore through pages like a wild woman with so much coming from inside, it was like my pen was channeling the great beyond. I wrote about my family, my career, my marriages, my failed businesses, my terrible bosses, my deceivers, my detractors - everyone that had ever been unjust to me exploded in purple ink.
(I mostly write in purple, it's a branding thing).
It felt so very good to call everyone out, to say to everyone who I am too polite or too conformed to confront in human form, "FUCK YOU! "
And when I was done, Anne told me to burn the letter. Hooray! I love burning things!!!!
But there was more.
Step 2: 33 Excuses
The next step of this practice is to write a list of all the excuses that are preventing you from living the fullest and most brilliant life you want to live. Now, it's time to take stock in the stories we tell. I have to face all the reasons I have convinced myself why I can no longer shine. That part was much harder and each time I tried to start, I was filled with "buts".
Now, I won't share my letter of "Writing it Right" - because frankly it was worse than the Mean Girls burn book. You know what you did if you think you are in it. Yes, I mean you. And yes, I burned the shit outta that letter.
But I will share my 33 excuses, because I imagine they are a lot like yours. For me, this abundant life goal is about being fulfilled, financially liberated, adventurous, and having the broad and joyous voice -as a truth teller. It's about experiencing passionate, faithful, and kind love for my partner, my family, and those in my community I am fortunate enough to serve. It's about a house in Summerland, a trip back to Kilimanjaro, a position that offers me the opportunity to problem solve and create opportunity for others while being compensated abundantly. Yes, that's the goal. So WTF?
Summers 33 Excuses
1. I have too many responsibilities whether I chose them or not, and I can't just turn everything around.
2. My husband won't support me being the fully untethered and beautiful version of myself.
3. My parents will never accept me for the person I want to be, never have, and it's exhausting living in the shadow of the ever elevated dead sibling.
4. I am stuck. I keep getting stuck. Every time I get momentum, something comes along like knee deep mud, and I get stuck.
5. There isn't enough money to do what I want to do and for whatever reason whenever I earn money it runs out the door like an excited teenager on prom night.
6. My business failed and it's all my fault. I didn't work hard enough and not take it personally. I got too invested in the story I was telling and forgot I was selling a product not my soul.
7. I am not smart enough. No further explanation needed.
8. I am not pretty enough. If I was, would I have to work this hard?
9. I am too fat and I'm an asshole for thinking that because if Oprah thought she was too fat to succeed, there'd be no Oprah.
10. I can't seem to get past the drama and pain of the past. I am weak.
11. The kids need me to stay exactly where I am because anything different would be upsetting for their already delicate circumstance. I am not allowed to change.
12. If I tell the truth to the world about all the painful shit I have waded through, it will judge me for my choices. Friends already have and people are unable to accept that their stories are not my own.
13. I already have one failed marriage, and this is my last chance.
14. I am a drama addict at least that is what that stupid book on Co-Dependence and people have told me continually for the last decade.
15. I obviously chose this, so now I have to deal with it. Nothing happens to you without choosing it, right? We manifest everything we imagine, so even if I literally had NO IDEA something was about to happen it was entirely my choice.
16. My business failed and it's not my fault. The circumstances were untenable and I put so much of myself out there that when it came crashing in, I couldn't do anything but hide and cry and get quiet and weak.
17. I live in the wrong place, again.
18. I don't have a support network because my job is to support everyone else.
19. People always betray me.
20. I am not worth loyalty for some reason.
21. I can't start over, there is no such thing as starting over, you just carry your old shit with you and pretend it is something new.
22. I am not kind, graceful, generous, warm enough. I need to try harder.
23. I drink too much, but comparatively speaking it's not that bad of a habit.
24. I don't get up early enough. Successful people get up at 4:30 AM, meditate, exercise, and have completed their first ten chapters of their next book by 9 AM before they head to real jobs with real salaries. Yep, sleeping in is totally my problem.
25. Nobody listens anyway. I have no real voice.
26. I believe and trust the wrong people. I have a bad picker.
27. Nobody values how kind, warm, generous and full of grace I am. Seriously, how much harder could I try?
28. I am not valued, my truth is not valued, instead the characters I play are valued, but I am not actually valued.
29. I don't have enough information to make big decisions.
30. I haven't figured out what the right next move is.
31. I don't have the resources I need.
32. I don't have the respect I deserve.
33. I can't trust anything and that is paralyzing.
Oooof, now that's a hell of a list. That's a whole lot of reasons that I had absolutely no idea I held inside until I spilled them all out in a ferocious word explosion. I was stunned as I sat back and looked at my list of all the excuses I was using to prevent myself from stepping into my next chapter. Burn that crap. RIGHT NOW.
After all of that, seeing it there in purple and white, I realize, I have to shout in reply
"SO WHAT. WHAT'S NEXT?"
if those thoughts creep back into my head,
It's coming up on three weeks since I wrote that letter, that list and burned them both. Since then, I have felt stronger, more resolute in creating the life I want. I took a journey on my own for the first time in four years. I relaunched my writing and my voice. I got aggressive about my job search. I've taken real action and I am asking everyone to hold me accountable. No more excuses.
So now, if you've read this far - what do you take out of this? Follow Step One an Step Two and burn the excuses you are making. Ask yourself,
"Why am I not living the brilliant, joyous, abundant adventure of life I truly deserve? Why have I not stepped fully into my power?"
And then get to writing and burning.