My Night with 2,000 Women (and 7 Men)

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On Tuesday night, I walked into the Pantages Theatre, which was filled with 2,000 women and 7 men.

Before I sat down in my seat, I went to the bathroom. There was another man in the bathroom, just one, who looked as if he’d just been forced to walk the plank into stormy seas.

Ghost-faced, he said to me, “Be careful out there.”

It was a women’s event called TOGETHER, to “bring women like you together for an evening of storytelling: sharing heartbreak, celebrating hope, and finding purpose.”

The featured speakers included Glennon Doyle who wrote the book Love Warrior, which shares the story of one women overcoming her husband’s infidelity and resurrecting her marriage.

Another speaker was Seane Corn, my very first and very favorite spiritual teacher who has become a worldwide force for activism.

Seane invited me, so of course I was going to attend. She could have invited me to a Trump rally in Nagadoches and I would be there!

Immediately after stepping out of my car, I felt very, very out of place.

But then Seane took the stage, started her speech and I quickly remembered why she inspired my life on the spiritual path.

She recalled in vivid detail the moment when her dying father called her into the room, and invited her to lie down next to him on the bed.

It was the moment each of us fears most, or maybe have already experienced, when you have to say goodbye to someone you love so deeply.

Seane stood on the stage in front of 2,000 women and 7 men, and told the story of her dad speaking directly to her heart, sharing his regrets, his life lessons, his deep love for her, all the things you say when you say goodbye.

Seane described how hard it was to sit there with her dad, to stay in her body, and actually listen to him. In the midst of such intense emotion, you want to duck, hide, run.

So many people in the audience, like me, must have been thinking of their parents or maybe their children, and that one day we will all face this moment of saying goodbye.

Hopefully it will come very late in life, and hopefully it will be comforting and beautiful.

But life doesn’t always work out that way. And the story Seane told was not comforting, nor beautiful. I could only think that to have to say goodbye to a parent at a relatively young age is…well…brutal.

And then Seane shared a detail that made the story incredibly comforting and beautiful.

Her wise father called her back in the bedroom for a farewell speech, not once, not twice, but nine different times before he died. Hearing her share this little detail was much needed comic relief for everyone in the audience.

Whether her father was being intentional or delusional, it was beside the point.  Seane slowly learned to sit with him and stay in her body and hear each word and find the strength to experience her own emotions.

Listening to her, watching her, feeling her stand in front of thousands and relive this memory, I learned another lesson from my greatest teacher:

When you are going through something difficult, maybe even impossibly difficult, you have to be strong, courageous, and GREAT. It may take you a little bit to figure out what that means. It took Seane nine farewell speeches. But always keep that at the forefront of your mind. STRONG. COURAGEOUS. GREAT.

I used to think those qualities were optional. But NO. It is not an option to get down on yourself and your circumstances, to turn away from your life. When you turn away, there are no breakthroughs…only breakups and breakdowns.

If you are reading this right now, it’s not an accident. There are a million emails you could be reading, and websites you could be surfing, and teachers you could be following. BUT YOU ARE READING THIS

So let me say it again: In the face of your particular challenge, you HAVE to be strong, courageous and GREAT.  It’s the only way to grow.

Now of course, this is easy to read, and sounds nice,  but when you are grinding and stressing and freaking out, what can you do?

On that note, I have something for you.

It’s a gift to help you SLEEP.

Because we need to shut down the mind every night to have any chance at feeling strong in the face of our challenges.

When you lie down to rest this weekend, especially if you have a hard time quieting your mind, or falling to sleep at night, this is a mindfulness session to help YOU sleep.

Just press play. I’ll take care of the rest. It’s best at bedtime, although you can enjoy it anytime.

And if it’s not just you who struggles to rest the mind…

Here is mindfulness session specifically to help your TEENAGERS rest their minds and fall to sleep. I know, the teenage mind is a tricky thing. Just have them press play and relax. Again, best at bedtime, but ok anytime.

And here is a mindfulness session to help your KIDS fall to sleep. Just press play at bedtime (i.e. bedtime story).

These meditations are a way to spread some peace and rest around your home this weekend.

And they provide a way to start a new conversation.  Instead of “behave,” “be quiet,” “be on time,”…try this:

Be Strong.
Be Courageous.
Be GREAT.

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