When you find the strength to dive into the darkness and messiness at the core of your being, you learn to embrace the voices that scream in your head that you are wrong, crazy, not practical. You will give up financial/status/success stereotypes and create a spiritually rewarding life that allows for the spontaneity of creativity, intimacy and expression. You will disprove the notion that you can’t make a living from your creativity and intuition. You will trust your inner guidance and surrender to a more alive and juicy calling.
Sometimes what we fantasized was the “good life” turns out to be a trap limited by should’s and have to’s. But by embracing your dark fears is when the fierceness of your core nature will awaken and guide you through with faith and trust. The wildness of your creative dream which naturally draws you: to travel with a knapsack on your back to exotic places, stroll the beaches of the world without a cell phone in your pocket, create an organization that saves the whales, pursue that acting career you thought impossible, write children books, work from your home and wear pajamas as you rule the financial world and at the same time play with your children and roll around with your pet.
To get on a path to build an inspired life, you have to work through the defenses of sabotage, procrastination, fear, and thoughts of failure that keep you stuck. But then you will create universes and worlds beyond your imagination!!!! By not hiding from the dark parts you will get to integrate all of your emotions and imagination. You will have the tenacity to express and create and have the boldness and confidence to be truly independent.
From Nice to Authentic, Creative and Passionate
* Stop and Breathe.
* Feel where there is tension in your body.
* Ask: What is the feeling (fear, anger, sadness), notice how old you feel in this feeling. Usually when we are paralyzed or held back, we are nursing an old wound. Can you identify this wound? Does it really serve you to stay stuck in the fear, or can you find the courage to express? Remember, expression is always about a need, boundary or desire. It does not have anything to do with what the other person is doing or saying.
* Identify any thoughts, “I can’t say that”, “I’m not worthy”, “I don’t need anyone”, “How can I get their approval?”, “I don’t want to expose myself”, “That’s not nice to say that”, “I’ll hurt their feelings so I just won’t say anything”, “What will THEY think of me?”
* Make a choice…being nice…or asserting what is your truth, in your gut, without making it about anyone else. No blame here. Just expression of what lives in your body and soul.
When we go from nice to assertive, authentic and alive it changes our self esteem, self image and self worth. It is a transformation of our consciousness to live more fully and with purpose. It takes us into the unknown where we can begin to explore new possibilities of who we are and what we want.
How Nice is “Nice”?
NICE. My platinum blonde, buxom, four foot Russian/Polish grandmother Sarah, my family’s sole survivor of the Russian Pogroms, never thought about being nice. She thought about surviving. She traveled across the ocean, alone, terrified, the lone survivor of holocausts and pogroms. She hid that terror and toughened up to do what she believed God wanted her to do: stay alive.
Uneducated, widowed at thirty and left with three children, she used her talents as a seamstress to hoard hundreds of dollars that grew into thousands under her mattress, until my mother started a bank account for her savings. She funded both my father and uncle into lucrative businesses. They repaid her in idolization and unabridged adoration, and ignored that she drank too much vodka, spewed random harshness at her daughters and American society and had an affair with a man whose wife was in a mental institution. My uncle and mother bought her a condo on the water in Miami, where she lived out her days like a princess wading in the sunlit ocean. Between arguing at the politicians on the television show Meet the Press and rolling blintzes with a cigarette dangling out of her mouth, she volunteered for the Jewish Federation. Doing what, I never knew. My grandmother soaked her skin in baby oil to brown her tough, wrinkled face, unaware that she could ever get skin cancer. And even if she had realize the dangers of sunbathing, it wouldn’t have mattered. The sun was no match for my grandmother’s fierceness and determination to overcome any diversity that came her way. Her life was dedicated to her children and she never had a friend. She scorned idle conversation and hated wasteful extravagance.
My mother, Ray, was the opposite. She thought she was Lana Turner. My mother and grandmother argued in Yiddish like hungry cats scrimmaging over a bowel of milk. My mother was as brittle as my grandmother when it came to kindness and politeness. I grew up with these two women, trying to fit into the 1950’s American “nice girl” society while blundering on the cusp of the 1960’s “Free Love and Drugs” generation. I was told be “nice” by both my grandmother and mother, never knowing what the hell they meant. They certainly weren’t role models for “nice.” So I faked it by dressing pretty, forcing a smile and trying not to say f*ck too often.
My mother and grandmother never struggled with being nice. They lived by their own rules of social graces: damning my teachers, cursing waitresses and raging at anyone who tried to take their spotlight away. In rebellion of their loud mouths, candid attacks on others and obvious competition for control, I tried to find my own version of “nice.”
Totally intimidated by my mother and grandmother, fearful of a smack across my face or being dragged down the steps by my ponytail, my terror of them was mistaken for shyness and sweet niceness. But make no mistake; underneath the skin of my little girl’s frightened veneer was a pacing lioness waiting to break free of the constraints I placed on myself to avoid being abused.
I struggled relentlessly to be nice, trying to live by the motto “you get more with sugar than spice.” I loved both sugar and spice, and one without the other seemed to make life boring and repressed. For me, the tough, aggressive and opinionated gene inherited from a stock of crazy women was hard to hide. I didn’t know that “nice” was just a dictionary word, made up by a Victorian, puritanical and patriarchal culture that demanded women to stay in their place and not make a spectacle out of themselves. Just as a side bar, I am not eliminating men from their nemesis, the “good boy,” syndrome. They’ve got their own problems with nice.
Times have changed. Women’s liberation enlightened women to the fact that they could drink, have sex and climb the ladder of success. But still, women are criticized when they aren’t “nice.” In fact, they are called bitches. So what does “nice” really want from us? Why does “be nice” haunt us subconsciously when we want to give the finger to someone whose made us foam at the mouth with anger?
“Nice” wants us to be loved by everyone, make millions of friends and win awards. Nice tells us that if we wave our hand like a Miss America and talk about “world peace,” that we will win the diamond crown. “Oh, isn’t she nice? What a good girl, and beautiful too!” Nice doesn’t threaten, annoy or anger anyone.
However, look closely at the movers and shakers of our world. Donald Trump, Bill Maher, Michael Moore, Bill Gates, Hemingway, Anais Nin, Beethoven, Frida Kahlo, Joan Rivers, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Kathy Griffin, Angelina Jolie and many other infamous archetypes of our generation. John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, John Kennedy, Amelia Earhart, Golda Meir or Hillary Clinton: the list is endless. Nice was not their main motivation to change the course of history. They were, and are, compassionate, passionate, revolutionary, evolutionary, fierce and determined. They rejected public opinion and were unrelenting in their voice and vision. None of them were nice.
Why do we still chase after being nice? Being politically correct? Who told us that nice is what makes us “good and caring” individuals? Why is it so hard to be challenged by controversy, varying viewpoints, risky innovation and confrontation?
One day, while sitting on my grandmother’s plastic covered blue velvet couch that overlooked the gorgeous waves of the Atlantic Ocean, I asked, “How’d you get to America?”
Her steel blue eyes stared out, they twitched a bit and she blurted, “I came to America in a pickle barrel. I was alone. It’s nothing more to talk. Feh. Quiet.”
At that moment I was struck: a sixteen year old girl, no family, no friends, traveled in a hidden barrel to come to freedom. Could I have done that? It was because of her that I was alive and breathing in the Miami air. My grandmother Sarah, the bravest woman I knew, died from pneumonia at eighty-three. No, she wasn’t nice, but she didn’t have to be. She birthed a family, she continued the lineage of her heritage, just like Sarah of the Bible.