Is your life your own?

3 Ways to Offer our Life Story Well

In his book, Let Your Life Speak, Parker Palmer talks about his noble ambitions to live up to a high standard by observing great lives and emulating the loftiest of ideals.  However, in his quest to achieve a high standard of living, he realized how false his life began to feel. In his words he had “simply found a noble way to live a life that was not my own, a life spent imitating heroes instead of listening to my heart.”

What does it mean to listen to our own hearts and live the life that only we are meant to live?

1-We take the time to pull away and listen to the whispers of our hearts.  

What is important to me?  How am I aligning my time and resources to listen to my heart well?  

2-We honor all that we have lived and anticipate more story yet to be written.

How do I honor my failings and my successes?  How do I get to use what I have lived to finish writing my story well?  What is my best to offer the world?  What am I anticipating?

3-We OWN the responsibility of writing our life stories and intentionally offering it back.  Where do I need more support for the story I want to offer?  How do I want to finish well?  What is the legacy I want to leave?  How is Divine Love guiding my story?  What is blocking me?

Why is it so important to be intentional about writing our life stories well and offering it back?

Because just like our own unique fingerprints…so is the story for your life.  The world is waiting for you to show up and offer your story well.

I learned this life lesson well teaching in East L.A.  With a low socio-economic at-risk community of middle school children, I was hired to teach English.  As I learned to trust my intuition by incorporating the arts and integrating the right side of their brain to both soothe their spirit as well as energize their creative thinking, I watched the test scores go up.  I witnessed a population that had consistently failed begin to succeed at high rates.  What if I had passed over this position?  What if I had ignored my instinct to incorporate art?  What if I had dismissed the whispers of my heart to find creative ways to support the journey of these children?

We each have the joy of living fully present with our lives to offer the story that only we can offer.

My heart is with you and for you as you step nobly into your story and offer it to our world, Heather

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Life as a Journey – recognizing the value of both the process + the outcome

Books.

As a child, I couldn’t get enough of them
I read them cover to cover
I was drawn to the stories they held
to the beauty and heartache in the pages.
Those stories taught me about love and loss
hope and truth
courage and strength.

Today, I still love stories
but I have come to understand
that my love for books stemmed from a deeper desire to know people.
To see a glimpse of their heart through the vulnerability of those personal stories…

Everyone has a story,
it speaks to your life journey.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has a quote that reads:
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you…”

Yes.
I have come to understand that this is so true.
13 years ago I kissed my son’s beautiful face for the first time,
and the last…
He was stillborn…
and it broke my heart wide open.
unimaginable grief and love poured out
and I felt this incredible need to share the story
of how his little life had so touched mine…

Sharing his story, is how I could authentically honor him,
and speak to the deep pain I felt with every breath.
The grief so raw.
The longing so deep.

Looking back now, I recognize that this journey was a process
A process of acknowledging deep loss,
of crying the tears that needed to be cried,
of asking questions,
and coming to peace with the unanswered questions.
Of acknowledging my son, who was not in my arms,
but will always be a part of our family, and of my heart.
I lived from a vulnerable, honest place
and that journey was oh so hard
and so very sacred.

The outcome of that process is: I changed
How could I not?
Today, I breath in deeply of what each day has to offer.
I smother my daughters with kisses
and remind them that they are loved.
I trust my intuition
and listen to my heart.
I choose to speak truth
and live from a deeper place of awareness.
I am kinder to myself.
I honor this journey of grief that I will forever be on
and I bravely share our story of loss with others,
not only to honor him,
but in the hope that it will encourage them
to step into their brave,
and live with vulnerability
and intentionality.

I believe that we were created to love and be loved.
To share our stories of life with each other.
These beautiful stories
help us understand that we are not alone…
not alone in our struggles,
and not alone in our hope.

Stories…
They speak to the journey of life.
They matter.
Your story matters.

– Sharon

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“Doing It Afraid”

{Title inspired by A&B’s biggest advocate: Margo Souza}

For weeks and weeks I’ve been thinking, thinking, thinking, trying to find something inspirational to write about; and for weeks and weeks nothing has come to me. Plain and simple, you can’t force inspiration. So, I waited….and I waited…. And I waited….

And I {finally} found it!

Well, she found us, to be exact. Margo Souza: entrepreneur, author, speaker, contributor. Margo walked into our lives with a pep to her step and a steadfast belief in our grassroots organization, Arise & Be. She is teaching us “how to fish” rather than “handing over the fish on a platter.” Priceless. If you don’t know who she is, Google her! Her accomplishments and achievements to the community are countless. In the mean time, let me share a little tidbit about this amazing 75 year old woman that you won’t find on Google.

Margo Souza

In the early 60’s, Margo left everything behind and {fearfully} drove to Seattle to pursue her goal of getting her degree. Despite her car breaking down en route, having no money, no support and being completely terrified and alone, she could have chosen to turn around at any moment, but she kept on going. This was just the beginning of Margo “doing it afraid”. From there, she went on to achieve many more accomplishments {ie: check out MooMilk.com} and touch the lives of countless people along the way.

Doing It Afraid

Now, at 75, Margo is entering an entirely new stage of life. She is wholeheartedly giving back. Inspiring women, encouraging and supporting the arts in local communities, promoting leadership to the up and coming generations and fully living up to her giftedness of being a “conduit to success” for others.

This whole “doing it afraid” concept really got me thinking. Doing it afraid? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Why would I want to do something afraid? Why not stay in my bubble and do what feels comfortable and safe? Why would I choose to embrace such an unpleasant feeling?

And then it all made sense.

As I sat and thought about all the things I’ve done in my life that have been scary, heck, downright terrifying! {going away to college, surprise! I’m pregnant!, purchasing our first home, starting my own event planning business, buying our first car, being in debt, enduring two miscarriages, homeschooling our daughter, picking up our family & moving to Spain for 3 months, running a ½ marathon, running a marathon, having a home birth, saying “no”, paying off our debt}. All terrifying, all magical, all a part of my story.

It hit me! Had I not chosen to face these moments head on, fear and all, and do it afraid, I would have been choosing to not actively take part in my journey. What I’m doing right now, at this very moment is pretty scary. All of it. Stepping into a new business endeavor with three incredible women. My heart wide open. I don’t have all the answers or know what is to come. Yet…. I’m doing it and I’m doing it afraid.

My wish for you is that the next time you are faced with a giant decision, a monumental change, or searching for the courage to stand up for something great; that doing it afraid will no longer be a scary something in your mind. That it will instead be an identifiable something! Recognizing that the being afraid part isn’t a sign to turn away and run, but in fact it’s the opposite. It’s the sign of a door opening, a new chapter; asking, begging, pleading with you to be brave and step into your best life:-)

Now be afraid! And Go Do!

Hugs!

-Michaela:-)

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Our Stories

We believe in the power behind telling our stories to foster relationships across time and space. It’s why we remember stories over the years, but often forget the 3 points of a seminar or the 5 tips for success…and it’s why we, at Arise&BE, challenge ourselves to share our story with you, and why we want to hear yours’.

As our world becomes increasingly digital, and the organizations we support no longer maintain a brick and mortar presence, we hope our blog will serve as a connecting thread, a reminder that behind every website, every organization is an individual or team trying to show up for their best life. Today we invite you into our world to share some of our stories with you…who we are…and why we started Arise&Be. Your comments, observations, and thoughts are also welcomed as a story only comes to life when it is shared.

Stories

My Story…..

I was 9 years old when I started the Daisy Club with my twin sister and our two best friends. We sewed daisies on our clothing, met on the big rock after school, created positions for the club, and kept a ‘daisy diary’ recording all the important stuff discussed at our meetings. Honestly, who knows what the purpose really was except that it was somehow very important that we form a club. Reflecting back, it was clear in my young mind the necessity of girls coming together. Even from a young age, I yearned for the empowerment, the joy, and the synergy that happens when girls come together.

Decades later, I still carry that same passion for bringing women together. I have started many “Daisy Clubs” over the years to connect women and support their overall growth in areas of intellect, spirit, and emotions. Some groups were formally created where we had a mission to accomplish…and some were informally created because I desperately needed to know that someone was in my corner, and that I was in theirs’.

Like a bee attracted to pollen…wherever I go, I find myself drawn to the stories of women. I honor women by collecting their stories, sharing their inspiration, their heartache, and their courage. I am inspired to live better. To offer more….and to share a rich community with those living inspirational stories. In beautiful community, I believe we write better stories for our life. I believe community empowers more faith in ourselves…and in the abilities we have to offer. We see who we really are reflected in the eyes of those who are FOR us. And we become stronger…more courageous…kinder…and more intentional about how we live.

I believe this is the WHY behind my many Daisy Clubs over the years. And I am amazed how the journey brought me here to Arise&Be. Here, I am at home with this team of women and those who are joining us. I find myself daring to believe in new possibilities…dreaming bigger…smiling more…enjoying the journey of writing a new story. Isn’t this what we all want? An inspiring story to live? Listen to our stories…share your own…and may we all find what we are looking for to give us the courage to live beautiful stories.

– Heather

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