Yesterday I facilitated one of my favorite coaching calls ever. Like ever. It was pure magic.
Six women scattered across the US and Canada. All total wholehearted, badass, soulful entrepreneurs doing the very best of work.
I’ve been a part of Jennifer Lee’s RBBP (Right Brain Business Plan) tribe for many years. There are many reasons. One reason is the group of women that circle within her mentorship program. And somehow I’ve been blessed enough to not only participate in her programs but to also be one of her lead coaches.
It’s no secret that I’m a dreamer.
That I LOVE my business.
And the idea of anyone following their dreams and making the leap into entrepreneurship.
Not a day goes by that I ever wish, “Man, I wish I could go back to that 9-5 job.”
I learned everything I know about being in business by being thrown into the fire.
And bit by bit, I learned. And I still learn something new about being in business pretty much every single day.
It’s not easy always easy (and often times, it is).
It’s not for the faint of heart. Being in business for yourself quickly exposes all those hidden beliefs and judgements about yourself, your business and life in general.
So when I gather on the phone for calls like yesterday, I know that any topic is fair game. There is no script to follow. The rules go out the window. And we all just show up.
The times of complete magic (like yesterday), we show up and talk with such fierce love, with knowingness, with magic kick-assing abilities, with such beautiful human being-ness that it makes my heart skip a beat right now just typing this up.
One woman shared about a book titled The Art of Possibility, and spoke about getting past fear, and getting “beyond the fuck it”. Author Ben Zander offers the idea of BTFI (for my friends who do not enjoy a good four lettered word as much as I).
This is a simple idea: What would happen if you stopped worrying, stopped holding back, and stopped avoiding the possibility of mistakes and just said “Fuck it!” and then just did it.No thought of technique or of victory or defeat…just the moment.
That’s what entrepreneurs do over and over again.
That’s what you/we do when we go against the grain and so, “No. I’m gonna do it this way.”
And we follow through.
We freeze up with fear.
Our monkey mind runs crazy with possible scenarios.
We say we can’t do it. We won’t do it.
I’m not _________________(insert word of your choice) enough to do it.
But deep down inside we know we must do it.
We must do the thing that scares the shit out of us.
We get to “beyond the fuck it”.
And we leap.
Then a whole new story begins.
Rinse & repeat.
PS:: It only seems appropriate to have a photo of my beloved Mama as she/we navigated her cancer journey. Because all you need is love and a healthy does of “fuck it”, I’m doing it my way.
This morning I taught class. The same class I’ve been teaching for years and years and years. I adore this class. Mostly I adore the women who attend. They have been with me and yoga and the treehouse and their practice for many years. Sometimes they line up in a row. Sometimes they are quiet. Other times they fill the space with laughter and chatter.
This morning somewhere between sharing words by Pema Chodron on how gloriousness and wretchedness need each other and namaste-ing, I felt a strong call to get back here.
Back to the place where my heart find the words and the words find this page.
Back to the place of telling stories and struggles and triumphs.
Back to the place of sharing my processes, what I’m learning and how I’m loving.
The last few years have been filled with highs and lows. So much joy and unbelievable sadness. I’ve come undone and been put back together piece by piece. It feels like I’m coming through to the other side of the tunnel. This tunnel of motherhood, of new identities, of loss and love and grief.
Dear lord, I have so much to say. I can’t keep waiting for the time or the energy to spill the words. They just need to come, however fractured and fragmented they may be.
Blogging (which has always felt more like journaling) has always felt like a dear, close friend of mine.
And I miss Her.
My heart longs for the words. I want to capture the essence of my moments, of my days, of my life in all of their messy and glorious imperfection.
And I know that this messy proclamation, this true heartfelt desire that makes her presence be known and felt, is most certainly a big, bold and beautiful first step.
Toddle on, dear One.
Are you alright?
‘Cause you took off without a word
Are you alright?
You flew away like a little bird
Twelve days since my beloved Mama took flight to another world another land, another time and space that I can only dream up.
Twelve days of picking up and the phone to call her, only to feel the sharp slap of reality in my face.
Twelve days of reorienting my world.
Twelve days of choosing love, which sometimes tastes like ice cream and feels like sunshine in my eyes.
Twelve days of opening my eyes and ears and heart to sensing the subtle presence of my Mommy.
Twelve days of feeling peace that in some way, shape or form, She is with my Daddy.
Twelve days to choose what I most stand for.
Twelve days of tears and laughter.
Twelve days to carefully tend to my heart.
A Twelve day crash course in all things life, loss, and love.
Because they’re all really the same, you know?
She was standing just in front of the back, facing the sun. Her small fold out couch and an assortment of dolls and stuffed animals at her feet. She would pick one up, give it a hug, place it on the floor, cover said baby up and say, “nite nite baby.” Over and over she repeated the process.
I don’t know if it was the way the sun was streaming onto her, highlighting her blonde hair, and casting a magnificent sparkle in her eye. The pure, sweet, simplicity of the moment, or the full presence of the (extra)ordinary moment. Perhaps it was all of that and nothing at the same time.
It was one of those moments that catches hold of your heart and time stands still.
You feel the familiar pounding. The expanding and the swelling of your heart. The perfection of the moment.
And then I thought so quick that I can’t even recall it now, flashes through my mind and just like that……the magic of the moment, it’s gone.
When your heart has been broken as many times as mine has, it’s so much easier to close down and shut yourself off from joy. To become hardened and dishearted. To let a cloudy veil cover your mind and your heart.
And no doubt, you’ve been there too.
Betrayed in a relationship.
Bullied on the playground.
Passed over for the promotion.
Days of failing as a parent.
The business that never took off.
Dreams that died.
You’ve lost pets.
And even your children.
You’ve been blamed, shamed, and belittled.
You’ve been grief stricken.
Unsure of which was to turn.
And what to do next.
Life experiences that are so strong, they shake the very foundation of your being.
And so I believe, that part of my purpose (and perhaps yours to) is to find a way to not only live through the challenge, but to draw strength and wisdom for it.
These experiences stand up to me and to you.
Face to face.
Shoulder to shoulder.
Heart to heart.
And asks “So what now? Will you choose to shut down? Or will you risk it all, holding nothing back?”
Adventure was my “word of the year.” At the beginning of the year I was a new mama to a three month old. Part of choosing the word, and more importantly the spirit of adventure was about me needing to stay connected to the part of me that loves and thrives on adventure.
I desired to travel.
To have experiences with my new growing, ever evolving family.
To embrace all things motherhood would present with an air of adventure.
I wanted to feel light and free and go with the flow.
I wanted to get back to teaching and leading retreats with my family accompanying me.
What I didn’t know was that by the end of the year I would redefine adventure.
True to Sharon nature, I saw adventure as one thing. Mainly plane rides, road trips, and (sleepless) nights in hotels. Adventure was all about the BIG experiences. Adventure was about excitement. We did visit 11 different states with Everly. And I’m sure we changed poopy diapers in the back seat of each state.
What I’ve come to learn (and continue to do so) is that there are many adventures to be had, close to home. Geez, I have a 15 month old. Adventure awaits me around every corner. And wakes me all hours of the night.
Some of our biggest and best adventures happened closest to home. In the backyard of the big blue house. In the cemetery we walked in. The bookstore we played in. The back seat of the car where those poopy diapers were changed (she pooped a lot).
Adventure always showed up in my professional life, where I gave myself full permission to try new things. To let go of expectations. To embrace my life, my work, my teachings as one big adventure. I led three retreats and took two. And after a two year hiatus, yoga teacher training returns to the treehouse.
And my gosh, this permission to let go, to embrace imperfection, to be open and curious…. that’s liberating my friends. Here’s a look back at some adventures::
I am trying to squeeze it all in.
The walking in the cemetery before winter takes her grip.
The leaves that crunch under my feet.
The tree that molds to my back as I sit under a blue-grey sky.
Time with Andy before we collapse into bed.
Space to breathe with the treehouse.
A darling girl who will soon be running.
I search for time to get my heart rate up and down time for my dreams.
I want to drink cold beer with my friends.
I long to hear Lucinda sing to me.
I want to capture my thoughts and weave them into a conversation here.
My old life is still playing catch up with my new life.
So much still doesn’t quite fit right.
Some days I find myself squeezing, grasping, and trying so hard to find my way. And that’s ok.
There is ecstasy and there is desperation nestled into the nooks of my day.
And so I’ll keep squeezing it all in, figuring it out, and leaning back into love.
Over and over.
Bit by bit.
Breath by breath.
September 21, 2013::
A handful dates stand out in my mind with such vivid color and feeling. This is one of them.
The day she was due.
The letter I wrote to her, letting her know we were ready for her arrival.
Of course she didn’t come this day, or the day after, or even the month of September.
It was one of the lessons I keep learning over and over.
That I am not in control.
That I can breathe and move and hope and meditate with the truest of intentions. Then I give it up and let it go (on a good day).
I wasn’t able to walk her out, talk her out, dance her out, nor bounce her out.
She would arrive in her own time and in her own way.
My god, I’m so glad she did.
And one year later……
We’ve so got this.
I felt it coming. A wave of so much sadness that it felt like I was suffocating under water. For a moment it felt like I might drown. If sadness were a boulder, I felt like I was being crushed underneath it.
Then I remembered.
I knew of my tendency to push through, to run far and fast, to resist the big feelings.
My Sparkle Babe hasn’t been feeling well. I chose to stay at home with her today. I found a sub for my yoga class. I cancelled my coaching appointments. There was however, one appointment I had to keep. There was only one thing that would take me away from my sparkle babe today.
That was her brother Nico. I had an appointment to share my story with a group of professionals who work directly with those suffering from a baby loss. Nurses, chaplains, and social workers. I was part of a parent panel. There were six of us with unique stories and situations. We all had one thing in common…..we left the hospital with empty arms and a broken heart.
I sat there alongside the father who wept the death of one of his twins.
The mother who knew at nine week in her pregnancy that her baby had a five percent chance of living. She died twenty minutes after being born.
The mother who sobbed as she shared her story of stillbirth 34 years ago.
There were tissues strategically placed in front of each of us. I listened to the stories. I watched the reactions. I felt my own emotion bubbling up.
Then it was my turn.
“My name is Sharon Tessandori and I’m here to share the story of my son, Nico Joseph.”
I talked about how he was surely the world’s most intentional baby. And what a shock it was when we saw the positive pregnancy test. How my pregnancy was picture perfect and no complication. Then things got a little scary at our 20 week appointment.
Then the part that gets me every single time.
The doctor says to me, “Unfortunately, there is no heartbeat.”
I said it and as soon as the words escaped my mouth I felt the big crashing wave of sadness. It feels like water is pummeling me. It has completely taken me over. Covering my body, pushing and pulling, yanking and dragging me under. I don’t know what to do.
Then I remember. I don’t have to do anything. I can sit here and ride it out.
Even as thirty pairs of eyes are fixed on me. My friend in loss to my left hands me a tissue. I observe my almost uncontrollable need to say, “I’m alright.” But I don’t. Because in that very moment, I didn’t feel “alright.” To say so would have been a lie. I’m not sure how long I sat there, not saying a word. It felt like a long time.
Silently I say, “I commit to feeling this sadness all the way through.”
The same words I have uttered so many times over the past two years.
The words, the mantra, this practice that guides me back to the power of my feelings in the present.
Just like that the wave breaks and I feel myself coming up for air. The suffocating feeling of sadness has moved through. There is a sense of riding the wave out. A feeling of completion.
I can breathe again. I look up, make eye contact with a girl with tears in her eyes and I carry on.
And so I offer this to you, in this moment. There is space and permission for you to mad, sad, or scared.
Your feelings are asking to be heard. Maybe not to be wallowed in. Not to be swallowed by. But to be acknowledged and to be felt, even if for only a few moments, a few breaths.
This practice, this way of opening up to the full range of ALL my feelings has been a gift of grief for me.
I’d love to hear any words or practices that get you through those particularly hard moments.
Last Friday I did something radical.
Ok, radical for me. I removed the FB app from my iPhone. And I shut my computer down.
I was hot on the heels of a major vulnerability hangover (thank you Brene Brown). I needed time and space to hide away for a while. At least the weekend.
It was a BIG week around here last week. Andy’s first full week back at school. Everly’s first week at Mom’s Day Out (I guess the regulars refer to this as MDO). And I spoke for the first time in a public setting, to a group about my loss and my mindful grieving process.
By late Friday morning my head and heart were reeling. It was time for me to unplug, to disconnect.
It was, quite possibly, the best call I’ve made in a while (that and the chocolate coconut truffles I got today).
I got into this habit in my early days of nursing. In the middle of the night as Everly was tucked in bed with me, sucking away, I would spend time with my iPhone online. You know the posts from people asking, “Hey, is anybody else out there awake at 3:00 a.m.?”
Then Everly went to her crib and I kept the phone next to my bed. When she would wake up 19,000 times a night, I’d roll over, and check the time on my phone. I’d grumble and get up. Sometimes when I returned to bed I couldn’t fall back asleep, so there I was again…..snuggled up with my iphone.
Well the newborn I used to nurse in my bed is almost 11 months old (woah) and it’s time for things to change. Mindless social media surfing became a habit, a pattern then I don’t want to continue. I know it’s an issue (for me) when I am mindlessly checking FB.
Unplugging from social media means I’m plugging into me.
Friday night I was in bed before 9:00 reading.
We had a great family date day on Saturday. Andy and I had a movie date night at home.
Sunday I worked from Starbucks (and actually got shit done!) Later that night when Everly went to bed I went on a solo date to the bookstore.
I’m feeling so much more energized. More creative and inspired.
Because I’m actually sleeping these days (hallelujah) I am getting up earlier in the morning. Today I got up at 5:00. Those who know me know that it’s my preference to go to bed early and rise early. Quiet mornings are magic to me.
From 5:00 – 7:15 I basked in mama time. Total plugging in time. Two. Whole. Hours. Of quiet time.
I journaled and sit intentions for the day while drinking hot tea.
I did 3 of the 5 things I wanted to do for work.
I designed and ordered invitations for Everly’s first birthday.
I did some yoga.
I got on FB. Wha what? I got on for work. Both for Barefoot Works and as an Associate Coach for Jennifer Lee. It was limited time and when I finished, I shut the computer down just as my sparkle babe was waking to greet the day.
I’m whole body is still smiling just thinking about it.
Do you have any boundaries around social media?
Tell me, tell me tell me. I’m all ears.
My season of sorrow is fast approaching.
I feel it when I step outside and feel the cooler air on my skin. Coffee swirling in my hand. A whirl of emotions in my heart. Leaves are starting to fall. The light is changing. I feel ready and yet so unprepared at the same time.
For almost two years now I’ve been walking the path of grief. There were days and weeks and months when there was only one path. Only the path of loss and sorrow. Simply doing the best I could moment to moment while feeling the grip of grief.
I leaned heavily on yoga and mindfulness as I leaned into healing. Not the yoga of standing on my head. Not the yoga of attending group classes. Not the yoga of twisting myself into a variety of beautiful shapes.
The philosophy of yoga.
The part of yoga that claimed my heart and planted a seed there years ago. The part of yoga that keeps me immersed and intrigued.
I found (and continue to find myself) solace in the simple practices that were at times the only thing that gave me a few moments of relief.
This very thing happening in this very moment…..the sadness, the anger and guilt. The fear and the questions.
This is yoga.
Be here now. Be with it ALL.
Yoga is that one inhalation you take and feel the tiniest bit of calm. When for a moment you connect to the wholeness that on some level you know to be true. That moment when you are not lost in the memories of the past. Not feeling anxious about what is to come in the future. A moment of rest.
Yoga tells us that suffering is inevitable. Regardless of who you are and where you come from. Regardless of your gender, size, shape, and skin color. You will lose people and things. Jobs, relationships, dreams, and much more. Loss does not discriminate.
And so when life crumbles beneath our feet, we do the best we can at each moment. We try not to add another layer of hurt to the suffering already present.
Beating yourself up for how you feel.
Not giving yourself permission to feel how you feel.
Not demonstrating compassion and care…..
All of that just adds more salt to the wound.
Care for the tender wound in your heart.
Create a cocoon to rest and heal in.
Rest your mind.
Attempt to quiet your mind for a few breaths.
Read and reflect.
Stay connected to a few people that know how to hold your sorrow.
And perhaps most importantly…..
Surrender to this very moment and trust that in time meaning and healing and even happiness will return.