Last week was my first Reconnect & Reboot workshop with Kate Snowise!
If you don’t know Kate, I strongly encourage you to check out her podcast, Here to Thrive, and the resources on her website, Thrive.how. She’s a life and executive coach with an MS in Psychology, and she describes herself like this: “I’m your get-to-the-heart of the matter sidekick. I’m here to help you sort the shit out and move forward into a life that makes you feel alive inside.” Doesn’t that sounds like someone you’d want to work with?!
The first week’s focus was on CLARITY: What Matters Most. We talked about personal values, and holy cats did I get some crystal clear, bonked-over-the-head clarity! Let me walk you through the steps that helped me reach the realization that I desperately needed to realign my life with particular values.
Unsurprisingly, the values I identified for Kate’s workshop were similar to the Three Keys I listed last week (time, love, and spirit). Using a list of values Kate had provided for us, I first chose these as my main values: Abundance; Authenticity; Beauty; Community; Creativity; Empowerment; Friendship; Growth; Kindness; Learning; Love; Nature; Productivity; Security; Self-Love; Thankfulness; and Tradition.
I then narrowed down to this list of seven: Abundance; Kindness; Learning; Love; Nature; Tradition; Community.
Kate’s exercise asked us to imagine that our values each have buckets we can fill with our energy and focus. The value group that I currently feel is most full? Joyful motivation, which includes love and learning. I’m so jazzed about The Tending Year, the brilliant books/blogs/podcasts I’ve been taking in, and my own research, that this comes as no surprise! However, Kate reminded us that, while a full bucket may signify that we are living in line with our values, it might also mean that other buckets may be lacking. I noticed that my spirituality buckets, particularly “turning it over to a higher power,” were looking dim.
Now, if you know me well, you know that I’ll be celebrating my FIVE YEAR SOBERVERSARY this coming March. Insert all of the celebratory emojis here! You might also know that I never worked a 12-Step Program (although I am amazed by those who rock it out). I never really got past Step One: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” Yep, my drinking was 100% unmanageable. I am one of those alcoholics who can’t stop at one. I’m beyond grateful that the beauty of sober living and working my path have helped me get and stay sober.
Okay, but how does this connect back to values?
I was always resistant to commit to Step Two: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” [I do not support the ableist use of “sanity” here, because it suggests “still drinking” or “relapsed” = mentally ill, which also pathologizes mental illness as bad or something to be ashamed of.] Because people I had perceived to be caretakers or authority figures had let me down in big ways on individual and systemic levels, I learned to handle everything myself without asking for help. This ranged from taking on WAY too many responsibilities to telling myself I didn’t deserve the kinds of “birthright” things that we all deserve, like love, safety, or sustenance. Keep me in my little box where I set the rules, and nothing goes wrong. Except, things of course go wrong, because hello, this is life! My personal go to when that happens is to blame myself for screwing up, as if it was somehow my responsibility to have known “rules” ahead of time–even if no one told me the rules, even if no one expected me to know the rules, even if there were no rules in the first place. This mindset prevents me from growing and advancing on my path.
Now, I wasn’t raised religious or spiritual. I didn’t come into spirituality until my mid-twenties. My current spirituality is ever evolving, but to roughly describe it, I’d say it is a beautiful mixture of faith in the Goddess or divine feminine, time, queer community and queer ancestors, love, hope, cycles of birth/death/rebirth, and a heavy dose of nature/the elements. There’s something very special about knowing that the elements have been here long before us, they will always be here, and they are so humble and yet so powerful. There’s something immensely powerful about knowing that femme and butch and gay and queer and trans ancestors loved and laughed and protected one another, even during dark and violent times (and these times do persist for many, particularly for QTPOC).
I recently noticed that some of the self improvement speakers and writers I follow are very open about their relationship with “God.” Now, I would not say my spiritual relationship is with “God,” but rather with the Goddess, divine feminine, and nature. But, regardless if these light workers are speaking about a capital-G Christian God or naming Stevie Nicks as their Higher Power (Michelle Tea does this in her book Modern Tarot), they are loudly announcing “I trust my higher power to take care of me, and here is why….”
Cue me crying in the car while driving to my Sweetie’s house the day after the workshop on Clarity and Values. Why had I so often felt scared to turn my worries and concerns over to a higher power? In my notes for the workshop, I had rated my “trust in a higher power” bucket a measly 3 out of 10 and wrote “want to grow” next to it. I think that I’ve been resistant to turning things over to a higher power for so long because to do so would mean that I was accepting that I was no longer responsible for everything. If I chose to turn things over, I would no longer need to hold myself to unrealistic standards. Heck, I’ve even resisted meditation until recently, because I was worried about what might happen if I stopped grasping at control and allowed myself to be vulnerable, even for 15 minutes of guided meditation. The same thing goes for intuition: if I chose to let go of control of micromanaging, I might be able to listen and trust that guidance would come to me.
Don’t get me wrong; I do have a relationship with my higher power. I call on Goddess when I’m driving through heavily falling snow at night, when a loved one is sick, and when I hear a bump in the night. But my lack of regular prayer means that muscle is weak, and it’s because I put up walls against vulnerability. I worry that I’m not a good enough witch. I’m not seasoned, practiced enough. I’m not good enough for Spirit.
…I worry I’m not good enough for Spirit…
What am I even saying? Where is this terribly sad, shameful ego coming from? I know that spirit is telling me, “Girl, you are absolutely perfect just as you are because you are a being of love and light,” because she would say the same thing to any of my loved ones—to any acquaintance, to any living thing or ancestor. Also, who am I to speak for Spirit?
TALK ABOUT CRYSTAL CLEAR BELLS GOING OFF FIREWORKS CLARITY! Spirit is powerful. So much more powerful than me, but also Spirit is invested in me. Spirit is not only one of my Three Keys, but also I associated it with five of my seven workshop values (Abundance, Community, Love, Nature, and Tradition). All this time I had been externalizing Spirit, and now I had some clarity about the relationship I want to have with her. It will take some vulnerability, and I’ll have to accept that it will likely feel uncomfortable at first to try not to micromanage or blame myself for unexpected results, but that growing pain will be so worth combining my Joyful Motivation and Spirituality buckets. After less than a week of practicing turning it over and trusting Spirit when I felt nervous or confused, I feel more present, grounded, and purposeful about my path.
I don’t expect everyone to have a “come to Goddess” moment after reading this post, but I would like to leave you with five mantras from Kate Snowise’s list, “21 Positive Mantras to Help You Live Your Best Life”, that might help you feel more grounded and present and in touch with the Universe if you are dealing with anxiety, confusion, or are just looking for some purpose:
Faith & Trust
- Everything is happening for me, not to me.
- The Universe has my back [thanks Gabby Bernstein]
- “I am exactly where I am supposed to be.” – Shannon Kaiser
- I choose faith over fear.
- I trust myself. I am making choices that are taking me in the right direction.
Check out this link for more of Kate’s mantras on happiness, self-love, and courage and motivation.
*Please note that the original version of this blog post was published here.
If you want a little extra help with changing your habits, I’m currently accepting new one-on-one coaching clients. You can read more about my coaching practice here and email me to book a session. You can also download a FREE guide to habit formation and maintenance by subscribing to The Tending Letter in the pink box below this post.