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How to live your truth when you don’t know what it is

July 1, 2016

A little over a year ago, I had the good fortunate to go on a restorative vacation at a family-friendly retreat center in a small village on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Surprisingly, a highlight was the restorative benefits of having healthy meals made for us. More than a vacation from cooking for three people with different dietary tastes and needs (moms – many of you know exactly what I am talking about) and from shopping, I loved the freedom of not making choices. I got to be like a child who could just show up and know that I would be taken care of.

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During the year, there are occasional evenings when I am so tired I ask my husband to take care of dinner (note: he does more than his fair share but logistically it works for me to make dinner since he gets home later). On these nights, I tell him that I don’t care what he makes or picks up as long as I don’t have to decide. I also trust that he knows me well enough to meet my basic criteria of healthy, fresh and preferably organic and no bell peppers (one of the few plant foods I really don’t like, with bananas as a close second).

Overwhelm can be the result of too many choices eventhough we usually consider choice a good thing

Can you relate? We are learning that decision fatigue and the paradox of choice are making people exhausted and paralyzed. Even children are experiencing this. What color socks to wear? What kind of sandwich for lunch? What flavor ice cream? Which friend for a playdate? What activity afterschool?

I overheard a former client describe working with me to another parent. She told her friend that the best part of hiring me was that she could relax knowing that she didn’t have to make any decisions, that I had her back and would tell her what to do. This surprised me because my work is informed by a fierce belief in women’s voices, autonomy, intuition/inner wisdom and choice.

Sometimes we don’t even know what we want

While I don’t see my role as espousing advice or telling people what to do, I recognize the space where people don’t even know what they want, what their way is or how to get there. There is value in in not knowing and it is not necessary to get lost in the overwhelm, confusion or pressure to figure it all out.

We can believe someone is their own best expert, that their way is the way and at the same time they want a map to work from, someone else to make sure they are fed or headed in the right direction.

The conventional approach is more choices or information or advice. More choices typically add to confusion and paralysis. More information adds to overwhelm or a heart/mind divide. Advice reflects the beliefs of the person giving it and can add social pressure, undermine someone’s ability to access their inner guidance and may lead to shoulds and shaming, people pleasing and regret.

I’d like to propose another way. Consider these ideas:

1) It is part of the process to be in the not knowing and wise to have someone who can hold you in that space. It’s in that emptiness that our inner wisdom speaks to us.

2) A true guide’s job is to know the territory and get to know you so they can help lead you there with new discoveries and an ability to change course along the way. Sometimes the path is made by following one foot in fron of the other without a plan.

3) A lot can get in the way of true seeing and sometimes we just need to clear the path to gain clarity, or build ourselves up so we can see over the obstacles.

I employ these ideas in my role as a Feminine Empowerment Coach and Self-Ownership Doula. I have spent years familiarizing myself with the inner terrain of women’s lives, particularly mothers, caregivers and creators. If this is the kind of support you crave, come take a look at how we can work together.

As always, I would love to hear your insights and how these ideas have been helpful for you.

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