Our country is hurting. As much as I am an optimist who looks for the good and the growth in all things, you can’t have a week like this one and not feel like you have been kicked hard in the gut. When you attack anyone’s child, the horrific trauma of an unimaginable situation knocks us, especially a parent, to the floor. Immediately, we go to that place of how this could be real and what if that were my child? But in the aftermath of horror, we struggle to find answers we can agree on, and our ability to take to social media and broadcast our thoughts and feelings are real.
This is America, we all have the right to say what we think. For me, I needed to sit with this one. In part because there are no words that can undo another unimaginable tragedy, and because every problem within ourselves and our society has a symptom and a root. My mind always looks for the root.
As I walked through the WWII museum in New Orleans on Thursday, the tears rolled for the price we have paid for our freedom. Men my son’s age were shot down from the sky and sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The loss of life was immense, the heroism, unlike anything we hear about on the news today. My junior in high school just took an AP History exam and there was nothing from the 1900s on it. What are we teaching them? The difference between now and then is that as a nation, we were united in what we were fighting for; an American way of life, and our freedom. Today, there is a giant divide between what we are teaching them about America, and what our story is about that will translate into the way the next generation feels about being American. The words American exceptionalism are rooted in the human spirit’s desire to be free, not the egotistical way it is portrayed in the news and taught today. Freedom isn’t perfect, but it is the way every human being, at their core, wants to live and it’s the only way we find our path to our greatest potential. I am grateful for the exposure and understanding I have gained from my travels around the globe, but I am always proud and happy to come home because I believe that every day I can get up, I can make a difference.
Before you stop reading because you think you know where I am headed with this, I ask you to take a deep breath, decompress and settle your nervous system.
We are a country of diverse opinions and a power structure that has forgotten its roots and its people. Do I see a need for reform in gun laws? Absolutely. And I have friends that wouldn’t agree with me on that. Do I see a need to protect the Second Amendment? Absolutely. I understand the escape from the tyranny that birthed this country. And for that, I would be dubbed a gun lover. I am neither. Am I a law-abiding citizen that follows the laws in place? Yes. Criminals don’t. So to demonize the gun without talking about the hypocrisy within the government and the mental health and identity crisis we are experiencing as a nation will not solve the problem.
Do I trust the people in power to handle these incredibly important issues that set America apart from the rest of the world? No, I do not. Our leaders take to the airwaves in dramatic fashion, alarming an already traumatized public, with the full knowledge the outcome of this discussion lies between Congress and the NRA, not ‘We the People’. So while we argue and divide our homes and neighborhoods with no real ability to affect change, they seize the moment of our anxiety and pull at the fabric of what it means to be an American, thinking we will be scared into submission.
Yesterday, as we rode back to our hotel after the museum and the French Quarter with an African American uber driver, we shared stories. He told me that he was independent and free in his younger days, and now, from underneath his N-95 mask, he is more afraid of the world. I told him how my life experience had produced the opposite story. He was a chef and a musician, and clearly had some stories to tell. There was no judgment in our differences as we chatted back and forth. His message:
“This is New Orleans, be real, come as you are, we love you.”
Let that sink in, how does it feel? It felt good to me.
Where do we connect and find inspiration to BE BETTER these days? I see it when generations connect through music, the American table, and sports, but to feel it we have to be able to come down and experience American life on a cellular level. To feel safe in society, and with each other, we have to learn how to breathe, listen, and process even when we disagree and sense all of the things that are out of our control. Each of these experiences and habits take center stage in my life every day.
The tragedy experienced in Uvalde this week is immeasurable. The anxiety and heartbreak we feel as Americans are real. There are no words that make it ok. Today I trust people, not power, and work to be part of the parallel universe of kindness, connection, and community that creates the safety that the human spirit needs to thrive and do good in the world. This Memorial Day Weekend, as we celebrate those who have died for our freedom, I find myself asking the question again that has been in my mind for the last few years…what would happen if a growth mindset and mindfulness were a part of American politics? There are so many things wrong, and rIght now the only answer I can come up with that feels right is to breathe, connect, and tell the stories that inspire us to BE BETTER.
Sending love and prayers to the people of Uvalde, Texas. I don’t know what it is like to stand in your shoes, but you are in my heart.
With love & optimism,
I usually don’t have the title of a blog when I sit down to write, generally speaking it comes last. But I have leaned into something new that has given me so much peace in the hardest moments of transition that I knew it was time to write about it. I’ve been working with Emily Hightower, a beautiful mentor who helps so many with her deep knowledge of the intersection of biology and psychology. To have time with her each week to process and apply what I have known intuitively forever has been a gift. Just like every athlete has a coach that says something in a way that instantly changes their process, Emily had a zinger for me a few weeks back:
“It’s about alchemy, not strategy.” she said.
Instantly I knew what she meant, and I connected with the truth that strategy is exhausting. When I fall into it, It doesn’t take too long until inspiration and energy feel tapped out.
Do you know what alchemy is? According to Webster it’s a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation or combination. But I have a new definition.
Alchemy is what happens when we lean in and trust our mind, body, and spirit and all the energy around us to support us in a process of growth and change…which life always seems to have in store for us in one way or another.
Whether it’s a graduation, new job, new team, beginning or ending of a relationship or launching a new venture, we can often get stuck thinking there is just a technical strategy to get from Point A to Point B. When we become aware of our own special alchemy though, we develop what works uniquely for us in the midst of all the data and universal truth out there. Alchemy is freeing and never forced and gives you the energy and ability to trust in transition. It’s what I depend on to create stories and coach others along the journey too.
It’s a time of year that always reminds me that change is the only constant. Somehow that should make me feel better at this point, but change is hard. As human beings we crave what we know, we will even repeat patterns that aren’t healthy because we haven’t learned to work with the alchemy of change.
Here are some of the ways we can honor alchemy over strategy:
Embrace what Is and look for the beauty. I encounter things on my path everyday that remind me of what I want in the future and things that feel different than how I thought I wanted them to feel. But finding gratitude for what is always brings me back to the infinite possibility of change and gives me the energy to work for it.
Work with your limbic brain. This is the most primal part of our brain that functions to keep us safe at all costs. If this part of our brain hasn’t learned to feel safe, our executive functioning logical brain will not be able to convince our body and spirit of anything. To work with this part of your brain, try using the pronoun you with any affirmations you use. YOU will finish this project. YOU will make the team. YOU are loved. YOU is the specific pronoun that speaks to this part of your brain, try it. It’s worked wonders for me and I think you will feel something release deep inside of you that unleashes a calm through any change or challenge you experience.
Work with your biology. There are so many active recovery strategies that I highlight in my High Performance Zen Course that you can engage with to promote cellular change in your body that your mind and spirit will begin to embrace. Through breathwork, cold plunges, yoga, meditation and sound healing, I have used each of these to develop my own healing alchemy through so much traumatic change. Whether the transition to single life and parenting or the ankle reconstruction I have been healing through since February, each of these processes that helped me create peace, self awareness and forward progress instead of giving in to self doubt in uncharted territory.
Try Reiki - Working with the energy in your body and the universe, reiki is able to stimulate the natural healing process to promote deeper health and healing. I would love to show you how. It’s calming, safe and gentle and you will love it. It’s safe for athletes, kids, I even use it on my animals and brings deep calm and connection to your mind, body and spirit.
What I know at this point is that life is one long transition. It’s going to bring you things that are greater than you ever expected and deliver blows that knock you off your feet. But trust in the alchemy that will bring peace to the process and help you BE BETTER with each passing day. Feel into it this weekend and enjoy it. Rest in the knowledge that what you need to succeed is within you and keep your eyes and heart open to what will add to your process. We are bringing it to you at BE BETTER. Come join us on this journey, and add your alchemy to this amazing process.
With Love & Optimism,
Hi. I’m Wendy. Even though I’ve written over 200 blogs, you don’t really know me. I show you glimpses of me in my writing, if you have seen it. But even though I write openly about my life, you don’t know everything; I suppose that’s how it should be. I worry about exposing too much. But after my divorce, I discovered even though losing hurts, there is always something we can take from a loss to BE BETTER. I have been on this journey to help understand our generational stories and help create environments where we feel safe enough to share what we go through and understand ourselves and relate to each other BETTER. At the root of it all, that is what I know has to happen to make life BETTER. We have to be brave enough to ask questions, be proud of our strengths, and know where we can grow. At the same time, we must care about what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes and not be so quick to judge when someone thinks differently than us. The world is made up of so many different perspectives, and we have to know that ours isn’t the only one.
I’ve spent most of my life afraid of attention. It’s been my experience that when I stepped out of my comfort zone to claim some space where I felt that pull of authenticity, I would run into trouble. That fear has held me back in so many areas of life…on the court, in relationships, and in understanding my own vision and contribution to the world. One problem that I know I have encountered along this journey, and maybe you can relate, is that I believed there were two playing fields. I thought I had to play on the practice field and wasn’t ready (and may never be) for the Friday night lights. I knew how to prepare others for those places, I’m great at recognizing strengths in others and coaching them along, but I’ve come to understand that came much easier than recognizing my own greatness. We all have greatness, and that is why I'm so fascinated with what turns potential into performance.
As I have walked this road to understand myself BETTER, I realized that my relationships weren’t always aligned with my vision and, when they weren't, all this crazy chatter would start in my brain. Imposter syndrome, fear of failure, all the things that naturally occur in us as our energy looks toward the light. Today I also know that it is also just my nervous system trying to protect me, and I’ve done lots of work to learn more about how to balance and bring calm to the chatter so I can continue to follow my vision to tell stories that help humanity and connect people with their own greatness.
I believe that people learn through stories because they disarm the listener and help us zero in on the universal truths that unite us as humans. When we identify with a feeling we have had ourselves, we are less likely to judge, or jump to conclusions. My favorite ways that stories play out are through sports, music, and the way that they are both microcosms of, and inspiration for, American life. I’ve been so amazed to see that the things I thought were just pastimes for me turn into a full fledged vision to use my gifts and talents to help the world BE BETTER. No matter what you read in the news right now, what is going on in your home, on your team, or in any other relationships in your life, I know this:
Abundance > Scarcity
Growth mindset > Fixed mindset
Optimism > Cynicism
It’s not lost on me that both of my older kids experienced painful losses on the volleyball courts this past week as Stanford just barely missed a trip to the NCAA tournament, and TCU took an early exit at their NCAA tournament after going in ranked #2. What wasn’t lost on me though was that as much as defeat hurts in the moment, they were able to bounce back with musical experiences, strong relationships, and American life. Luke’s pictures from Stagecoach and Lauren’s text to me about the country music she got to take in after the loss remind me that it’s all connected to this amazing American experience we get to cultivate with our families if we focus on the right things. I’m here to tell you, those stories are not on the news right now, and I’m here to tell them. They are so much bigger than my life, or my family. From The Optimists Journal to What I Meant to Say, and more to come, BE BETTER is here to inspire with stories that fill you with optimism that gives you energy to work to make life and this world BETTER.
With love & optimism,