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The Secrets of the Universe

FML-P

 

I love NY resolutions. Unabashedly.

Christmas is magic, but truly, New Years is my favorite. The day is simply stuffed with possibilities.

My husband pointed out last night that it’s funny how we’ve assigned hope and new beginnings to this certain time of year. In reality, we could have it every single day.

And he’s right.

I launched #theotherFML last April. And I was super stoked. Until two days before I opened registration, when we found out that Jermaine scored his Army dream job in DC! We had exactly 29 days to pack up all our stuff (again—we’d just landed in NC the previous December), find a new home, and move our happy bums back to Maryland.

Moving for the third time in 10 months was traumatic. And my brilliant idea now felt like a burden. It is a content-intense class. New curriculum six days a week for 12 weeks. I’d planned on writing as I went along. I had most of it in my head and in the books I’d been pouring over for the past few years, but I needed time and space to get it all out of paper.

Suddenly, there was no time. And the show must go on.

I did it. I got all the words out. I don’t know how, but I did. When it was all said and done, I had 84 days worth of material all focused on how to transform your mindset and habits around food and money.

It wasn’t the cleanest work I’d ever done, but it was rich in useful content.

It’s funny. I ended 2013 nearly swearing off ever teaching an eCourse again. I’d sort of screwed one up, and my only eCourse related resolution for 2014 was to finish well what’d I’d started.

But I didn’t just finish that one. Over the course of 2014, I created and orchestrated FOUR brand new classes.

Some went better than others, but each I poured my heart and soul into. And, if I do say so myself, it showed.

I think the secrets of the universe have been whispered to me through New Years resolutions. I set out at the top of each year with a goal—or 20. I commit because it means something. I’ll be honest, some of them don’t stick. But then there are the others. The ones that cling to my leg like sweet, bright toddlers. They grab hold of my imagination and lead me to places I’d never considered going before.

I hate boring resolutions. I hate shoulds. The ones you do because you feel like you’re supposed to. Funk that. Life is too short.

I choose resolutions that invite me to become the person I want to be. I choose pipe dreams and then I refuse to believe that they’re impossible. If they’re possible for someone, they’re possible for me.

What do you want to accomplish in 2015? Maybe you don’t call your goals resolutions. Whatever. That’s fine.

What is it you really want?

On my list this year, I have plans, once again, to sink deeper into a life that is full of generosity and health.

Occasionally I find myself feeling like FML is out of context for me. That it doesn’t fit in the brandyglows brand. I see posts all over social media body shaming women and nearly shouting from their platforms about how to make $100k THIS YEAR. And I cringe. I don’t want to be that. Ever.

It’s almost embarrassing that I have an offering to help you lose weight and make more money. Because I’m supposed to be the shalom chick. What the what?

The thing is, when I really think about it, I’m convinced that FML more than aligns with my purpose. It’s so on point with the message I want to share.

I believe in shalom in all the areas. I studied sociology in college and I’m a big picture person. Systems are a thing for me. The more I read about food justice and eating disorders and how corporations are becoming bigger than nations and how businesses—especially micro-businesses—have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to use their products and services to make the world a better place.

For years before I opened this up last April, I’d been brainstorming, trying to figure out how to create something that comes at health from a whole-minded, shalom-y point-of-view. FML does that—and more!

In the months that we’ve called this new place home, with all the spare time I have not packing (no joke—we’ve been in this apartment for a full seven months—two months longer than either of our last two places) and with my newfound resolve to not ship just good enough, I had the chance to look over #theotherFML. To view it as a whole. And then, to clean it up—adding the new research I’ve found, and omitting the chunks that felt too fluffy. To streamline and polish the rough edges. I’ve turned it into a DIY class—FML Pocket. With a few extra perks not all do-it-yourself courses have.

I officially launched earlier this week. So that people with FML-type New Years goals could buy the class for added support and how-to information. When you sign up now, you’ll start receiving emails on January 1st (and pay $35 less!).

What would it look like for you to have a vibrantly healthy relationship with both food and money?

One of my favorite quotes is “Today is wild and it is yours.” It speaks to Jermaine’s idea that each day could be chock full of the possibility we’ve pinned all over January 1st. “Practicing possibility” is one of my New Years resolutions this year. I know what it’s like to give up on a day before you even get out of bed.

I think that until we get to a life filled with daily possibilities, packing even just one day with the secrets of the universe is a solid place to start.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write in this space regularly, sharing resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every week, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

P.S. Back in August, I made a commitment to blog every day until the end of the year. Last week, I shared a little bit about why I’d decided not to finish that quest. I feel good about my reasons. But I had created a couple of blog series that I’m not finished with yet—Brandy Blogs the Bible and writing through each chapter of Immortal Diamond. Those will be back in January! I’m trying to figure out how to balance writing regularly and giving myself the time and space to only share top quality content. I think that will likely look like posting 2-3 times a week in 2015, but I will let you know as soon as I’ve made a clear decision. Thank you for being patient with me as I sort it all out. And thank you for supporting me as I evolve and grow, make gorgeous mistakes and learn from them. Micro-business in real-time, man! Working it out with fear and trembling. Amen.

 

Not just playing

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I swear I never actively sought the easy way out. If anything, it went after me.

We were talking about dreams. He wants me to finish the novel I started in 2011 but I’m terrified. Making an entire world up out of my brain. Building characters with guts and stories and cellulite and dreams. Essentially, playing God. And I want it to be epic. Literally. I want to write an epic series.

But that’s daunting! So, I do other things.

We both know it’s funny, though. Because of how not scared I am of other projects I take on.

Creating eCourses out of thin air.

Traveling to India—pregnant—to work with survivors of human trafficking.

Going back to seminary on a whim.

Deciding one August afternoon that I should blog every week day until the end of the year.

Each time, I jump in with both feet and tell myself I’ll figure it out along the way. And I do, more or less. But I’m impatient. I get bored easily. I like shiny, new things. So I take a project that could be stunning and I sculpt it just enough so you can kind of tell what it is. A rudimentary image and the vague impression that there’s potential, if only I would attend to the detail work.

My biggest fear is that I’m not capable of handling the success I know I’m capable of achieving.

So I stay small. I pretend I’m sculpting the next Venus de Milo when in real life, I’m just playing around with some homemade clay.

A couple of months ago, I had audacity to apply for a job at the Washington Post. Pouring my heart into that application, something shifted inside me. I knew I’d knocked a piece of ugly comfort off my sculpture that I wasn’t going to be able to put back on.

But I didn’t fully realize the implications of that resumé until last weekend. It’s horrible and relieving at the same time to discover that your stuckness is your own fault.

We were driving to our friend’s daughter’s birthday party. He suggested, yet again, that I finish my novel.

“Oh! I think I just realized what it is. You don’t want to do it because it’s hard work.”

It wasn’t accusatory. It was the truth.

I love talking about real work. I’m a dreamer, right?

The doing part, though. That’s where I stop short. Where my knees start to shake and I feel like I need make more brownies. Where I run and hide behind my 10,000 blog posts because I know it’s going to cost me something.

It might use up precious creative energy I’ve been hoarding and leave me with nothing left. It could set me up for real failure. The kind that comes from conquering the world and losing it all again on a shoddy bet.

I’ve been using “do what you say you’re going to do” as an excuse to make bad decisions quickly.

To push out content I know I didn’t give my all to. I’ve been settling for “good enough to ship.” If ever there was an entrepreneurial sin, it’s that.

So, okay. This is me, standing up in front a room full of people, admitting that I haven’t always given it my best shot. 

Not looking for comfort or pats on the back. I’m not beating myself up. I’m just realizing that I went the wrong way.

This is me, turning around again. Putting down my play dough.

I don’t want to ship good enough shit.

I don’t want to make half-assed art. I want to sculpt the whole damn donkey.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write in this space regularly, sharing resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every week, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

I get to count all of it

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That moment, when you start to feel like you’re losing your magic. You question all the work you’re doing. You question if you’re even doing any work. And then little man wakes up demanding cake and popcorn. You tell him that the only thing left in the fridge is the ham from Thanksgiving and he needs to go potty before he can have that. He’s on the floor, screaming. Because ham is not cake and potty is for the birds. Somehow, you bribe or coerce him into the bathroom, singing a silly potty song. Sitting on the toilet, he screams louder than before, shrilly requesting that you stop, because your voice is hurting his ears.

20 minutes later, he’s still screaming because he may die if he has to eat that ham, but the coffee is finally ready, so it doesn’t really matter. You sit on the fluffy purple couch, the one that drowns out toddler shrieks, taking gulps from your steamy mug.

And think, it’s going to be a good day.

A few weeks ago, I lamented to some writer friends, the Storytellers, that I feel like I’m failing at all the things. I’m not as present as I should be with my kids. So I feel like I’m failing as a parent. It’s nearly impossible to get any work done with a little one always in toe. So I feel like I’m failing as a creative entrepreneur.

But earlier this week, I felt a tangible shift. Elora and I spent two hours working our intro video for The Rebel Diaries. I had to keep begging Brooklyn to play quietly in the other room, promising him we would play and cook together when I was done. I finally got off Skype but I was too tired to play. So we crawled into bed and I read to him. Later that day, after some significant nudging, I’d persuaded him to take a bath. He HATES to have water poured over his head. But I’ve taught him a thing. He tilts his head back as far as it’ll go and exclaims, “Oh-a, oh-a, oh-a, oh-a, oh-a,” as I rinse his hair. It’s such a weird coping mechanism, but it works!

I poured the warm water over his soft curls as he merrily “oh-a-ed” and thought, I’m not failing. This is my job, too. I get to count all of it.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday Tuesday Friday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Let’s Welcome in the Crap

Dad

 

[This is a reprint from a couple of years ago. I’ve used this particular prayer practice in the Shalom Sessions and in my Lent course. It’s powerful. If you’re smack in the middle of the suck, this might help. And with the holidays around the corner, we could probably all use a little extra shalom.]

Spiritual practices fascinate me. Sadly, many days I think about these disciplines much more than actually doing the deeds. I’ve struggled lately with uncomfortable feelings – mostly money and babies. Sometimes together—having a child is expensive!

Finding out I was pregnant this past January was considerably more fun than the first time I peed on a stick. Still, I’ll admit, I was hoping I’d be in a safer place financially the second time I brought a life into this world.

Whatever. He’ll be just as funky-cool as our other child (spoiler alert, he’s amazing). And whether we have money or not, I’m sure we can still find a way to screw him up somehow.

That’s why we pray. To remind ourselves we’re not alone; Someone’s got our backs, the backs of our children, even the backs of our enemies.

I hate asking for directions. Really, I hate it. Call me a guy, I fight it at all costs.

Last Saturday, I went to a breastfeeding information party (bytheway, if you were wondering, this is how to tell you’re officially a mom). I drove to an unfamiliar neighborhood so new it’s not on Google Maps. My friend  had written out directions for me, but awesomely, I’d left them at home—along with her phone number.

I remembered the street name, so I just drove around, hopelessly lost, over an hour late. I wasn’t upset, I like exploring new neighborhoods. I have a pretty good sense of direction; I knew if I found the street, I’d feel all shiny and proud. However, 20 minutes into my expedition, I realized I could be at this for a looong time. I said a little prayer—dear God, can You please help me find this road?

Shortly after, it occurred to me that I could ask for help: I could call Jermaine at home and ask him to get the directions and the number for me. My ram-shaped heart bucked ridiculously. If I asked, then I wouldn’t feel the satisfaction of finding it all by myself.

Heh, and now I knew I needed to call.

I picked up the phone, pushed his name. It rang just once when I saw it—that beautiful guidepost—the street sign I was looking for. In less than a minute I was parking. God answered my little prayer. I don’t think it was a coincidence the divine reply came right after I’d released my pride.

God is funny that way. So willing to give us what we need, if only we’d ask.

Today, thinking about the money and the baby stuff, I remembered Patsy. She was one of the pastors at my old church and one Sunday she’d walked our congregation through the Welcoming Prayer:

 

Find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. Pay attention to your body. Are you tense? If so, where? What emotions are you feeling? Do you have pain anywhere? Mentally take note of what you’re feeling. Sink into these sensations. Don’t fight them. For now, just become aware that they exist.

Next, welcome them. Acknowledge the Divine presence in this negative space. Welcome your anxiety, your pain, your tension. Continue to breathe deeply. Sit with your feelings.

When you are ready, let them go. Repeat the following sentences:

“I let go of the desire for
security or affection or control.”**

“I let go of the desire to change
this feeling/sensation.”

 

The exercise will only take a couple of minutes. It’s something you can do every day. The underlying belief is that the three desires listed above—security, affection and control—cause our scary feelings. If we can let go of these yearnings, our tensions will release us.

** Can you tell which one you’re working with?

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday Tuesday Friday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Immortal Diamond :: Maybe We Do Not Know the Message Yet

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Reading through Richard Rohr’s Immortal Diamond. Today we’re in the second part of chapter two—pages 36-48. You can read my take on the Invitation, the Preface, chapter one, and the first part of chapter two.

“Your False Self is how you define yourself outside of love, relationship, or divine union.”

Hmm. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it. So, in this way, my False Self is a business owner but my True Self is a mother, daughter, and wife? A friend? A child of God? Is that what he meant?

The first part of the second chapter was easier for me to summarize. This part is kind of all over the place. In a good way. But since it’s sort of overwhelming me, I’m just going to pull out my favorite quotes and let that be enough. Feel free to chime in the comments and share your thoughts and feelings!

“Much of the Christian religion, in misunderstanding and seeking to avoid the major death of the False Self, became moralistic instead, piously and falsely “sacrificial” about many arbitrary and small things.”

“The only important question is always, ‘Is it true?'”

“[Jesus] knew that sins of the flesh are usually not sins of malice but sins of weakness, whereas sins of the spirit proceed from a cold heart, a superior and separate False Self, and thus a denied soul.”

“This is the precise denotation of the phrase ‘the world’ in the New Testament (1 John 2:15-17). The word world as it is usually used the New Testament is a way of speaking of the corporate False Self. ‘World’ is not speaking of creation, the planet, or nature, but what we might call ‘the system.'”

“But the world is tired of hateful religion, as well it should be.”

“God surely knows that most people are not malicious as much as mistaken, not deceitful as much as deceived, not ill willed but just terribly ignorant of their True Selves.”

“The True Self has knocked on both the hard bottom and the high ceiling of reality and has less and less need for mere verbal certitudes or answers that always fit. It has found its certainty elsewhere and now lives inside a YES that is so big that it can absorb most of the little noes.”

Enough to chew on. To say the least.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday Tuesday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

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