There’s a light and I can see it in your eyes. There’s a memory of the way you used to be. Nothing’s gone, it still shines. Every time you turn it on.” – Serena Ryder

Light is my one little word for 2013. It can mean “buoyant” or “airy” or “open” or “bright” or “divine”. It is a word with lots of room for interpretation. (That’s just how I like it.) This word found me back in October. Light became a real struggle for me and it is for this very reason that I am liberating myself in 2013 through this word.

I have focused on a few ways in which I can integrate the concept of “light” into my business, home, health and family life. And I thought I had it down.  Little did I know.

Only three weeks into the start of 2013 and I have already suffered two different illnesses (one which I am still working out of my system) and experienced anguishing delays on moving forward with work which has been enough to drive a results-oriented-control-freak like myself up the wall. What gives 2013? Geez, lighten up already!

Warren Buffet said: Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. Oof. That’s a sucker punch to the gut, if there ever was one. I thought I would strut into the New Year all enlightened (ha!) but little did I realize that there were a couple of chains I needed to break first. There are so many ways in which we burden ourselves through unhealthy, unhappy physical, mental and emotional habits. Days turn into months which turn into years and we hardly realize the toll.

There are 2 little demons that haunt me in the dark. They are habitual fears. By bringing them out into the light of day, I hope to break free from them. (And in doing so, perhaps offer some perspective to others.)

The fear of “playing big”. With this one comes a whole whack of complicated realities. If I “play big” with my business, will I lose control over the tiny yet manageable little-company-that-could I have created? If I “play big” with my work, will the results of my professional efforts and entrepreneurial risks seem not nearly as impressive as I thought? If I “play big” with my family life, will that change the dynamic between myself and my husband or parents or in-laws or friends? If I “play big” with my public service aspirations and actions, will I not only invite recognition but also judgement?

I think the honest answer to all of these questions is “maybe”. Now if I left it at that, this would suck as a pep talk so here is the addendum: anything is possible when you risk it all to play big. It is just as probable that playing big with my business could offer greater satisfaction by letting go of my tight grip and opening the doors to fresh and capable talent. It is just as plausible that playing big with my work will surface greater self-recognition, even better standards and bigger lessons. It is equally as possible that playing big and growing my family will change the dynamic of my relationships in ways that are unimaginably positive and more fulfilling. If I play big with my service to community, I am just as likely to create a legacy from which others can benefit – regardless of preferences or politics. Playing big is a bit of a gamble. It’s a choice between my desire for change and my love of continuity. It’s a challenge to myself to rip off all of the bubble-wrap taped to my ego and heart. It’s an experiment in truth: the greater the risk, the greater the reward.

The fear of “having it all”. Yes, I really am a contradiction in terms. This might sound crazy but there is a little demon sitting on my shoulder at times that surfaces a fear of success. If I “have it all”, then what will there be to work towards? Many of us spend all our lives working toward something- life goals, career goals, family goals, etc… I would love to be more hedonistic but I know myself well enough. I am a future-thinker. I love to work toward something and then achieve it. Sometimes I don’t even realize how extraordinary the journey was until I reach my destination. Along the way I rationalized that I should “stretch out” the awesomeness and bide my time.

There is a sub-text here of unworthiness. Do you hear it? How many of us have little devils running through our minds telling us that we are undeserving of our dreams and accomplishments? Too many, is my guess. There is nothing wrong with feeling like you have to work hard for your achievements. But at the same time, there is nothing wrong with the ease that comes from leveraging personal or professional strengths built over time to reach your summit. Not every mountain is an Everest. Right? So let’s ditch the self-deprecation.

Next, let’s remember that there is no (known) limit to the number of dreams one can have in each lifetime. Surely the dreams I had as a child have expanded, changed, and multiplied. And arguably, I have already “had it all”. Twice probably. If the fear of “having it all” will somehow mean that I have accomplished everything too early and then just be sitting around for the rest of my life, the solution is simple: dream new dreams.

So there it is. A short yet effective exorcism to start the year. The equivalent of a colonic for the mind. Out with the old, in with the new.

Unchained. Boundless. Light.

p.s. This post was inspired in part by Chapter 2 of Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit. Check it out!

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