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Change as Freedom

“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.”  Heath Buckmaster

Lately when I am up in the middle of the night pondering (some might say ruminating) on the sea changes moving through my life, I remember that if I can’t change my mind, I can’t change anything else.

It’s ironic — these late night self-chats — because often during the daylight hours, I am the instigator of change, the one leading the charge to shift the strategic initiatives of Good Clean Love, or the one haplessly leading a bevy of subcontractors in a new home construction. Yet even as I seem to the be captain of my own change ship, it is in the darkness of the wee hours of the morning when all this change catches up to me. And I lay awake, wondering (and worrying) about all that will be lost, and what will be left behind as I forge forward.

Although I have often taught a technique for eliciting gratitude by imagining today as the last day — the last moment you have with someone or somewhere — this same mental game is often where I get caught in my relationship to change. I fixate on these last moments in my old home, or the last versions of this newsletter that I have written seemingly forever. And then it is hard to imagine how what will come next will be better, more interesting than what I have come to know about how to live.

On the rare good mornings, before the sun comes up, I am blessed with a sense of grace that envelops and replaces the hamster wheel of my anxiety with a purpose-filled sense of freedom. I get a quick glimpse, a fleeting opening to the deep and mysterious ways that all change is actually the seeds of my past taking root, flowering in new and unexpected ways. And for those light-filled moments, I remember again that to become really free and most fully myself,I not only have to let go of what has been, but also be willing to walk toward uncertainty.  

I hope I am not making this sound easy. This ‘letting go’ and paring down is often heartbreaking — as it has been with my ongoing empty nesting whose progress is slow and uneven. Each day when I arrive home, I still have to remind myself not to look for anyone. (Thank goodness for the dogs.) And as I write this newsletter, knowing it will be one of the last in this particular format and version, I also feel like weeping. I know that our plans to make our communications to our friends, fans and customers will help tailor our messages better, but I will miss the nervousness and the thrill of sending out these weekly missives. Never quite knowing where they land and if they will hit their mark in anyone’s heart.  

I wanted to offer in this last version of this particular form of email a few ideas that help me navigate the space between the change and the feeling of freedom that rises up when we get on board:

Notice where your attention goes

Attention is life’s most precious currency. And in hindsight, as changes come upon me,  I realize how much of my attention I surrendered to the digital universe instead of paying attention to the people right in front of me and the time I was in... It brings tears to my eyes now when I remember back to how my kids would take their tiny hands and turn my face to look at them full-on when I was on the phone. Back then, my distraction drove them to their worst behaviors and my full attention made them sparkle. This is true in the process of change too.

Open up to what you don’t know

We all prefer to know than not know. We want certitude. We are committed to being right in ways that close the door to what we don’t and can’t know about a given situation. This is especially true about relating to change — there is always more than what we can see, especially when we are only looking through the lens of the past.   Keeping our mind open and curious will not only help us feel better, but hopefully will bring us into a realization of what is right in front of us in this present moment. Holding your attention on the unknown feels edgy sometimes, but it is also full of possibility. Try not knowing more often and see what opens up in front of you.  

Some exciting new things to come from Good Clean Love — and hopefully more ways to interact about what matters most to us.