Society tends to dictate what we should believe in, who we should be and where we should go. We grow up within social systems that tell us about ourselves, rather than allowing us the freedom to decide who we are. Motivational speaker, author, workshop facilitator and freelance travel writer, Lysa Allman-Baldwin, knows this all too well. She was living a life dictated by what society told her about her. In this episode, Lysa shares her pivot story as she set out in search of her purpose and ultimately found her own worth. She talks about overcoming her controlling behavior, coming to terms with her worthiness, finding forgiveness and building resilience. Follow Lysa through her revelatory experience and be inspired to know that you are enough just the way you are.
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Finding Your Worth With Lysa Allman-Baldwin
I am feeling very peaceful and very blessed. I had an opportunity to meditate. I probably called this out before and admitted the fact that I am a very poor man. I’ve been a crappy meditator to the point where I gave up even trying to meditate. I don’t know if you all can relate to that, but at a certain point, having tried it a few times, I don’t know how much real effort I put into it. It’s seemed feudal that somehow my mind was such a torrent or that there were caged animals in there or something. I couldn’t control what was going on inside of my head. It didn’t make a lot of sense.
Instead for me, it became a practice of trying to become still a little bit, a practice of prayer. I’m a very spiritual person. The opportunity to pray was always welcoming. To this day, it’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s such a pleasurable thing that I maybe even felt guilty that I’m always supposed to pray for a reason but praying just feels good. It’s only that a business partner of mine gave me a book on mindfulness and I started reading it out, took it into the sauna. I love to read in the hot tub and the sauna was a new place for me to start to devour some books. At a certain point, I decided I’m going to try this again.
This book about mindfulness is a book about meditating. It gave some simple ways to look at it differently. One of those little distinctions was the fact that every time the mind wanders, every time my mind would wander away and think about this or that. You’re like, “Why on earth is that popping into my head?” as opposed to judging it or feeling that somehow I was doing it wrong. This is the perfectionist in me trying to do things perfectly again. In reading this book, I realized that the whole practice of meditation is about every opportunity, every time the mind wanders, it is an opportunity to gently, lovingly, kindly draw it back into the present moment and not get sucked into whatever that thing was, this little chasing the rabbits down little holes and directions. I don’t have to do that.
It doesn’t mean that the rabbits won’t be running around. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t these distractions because at least in my experience, they don’t go away. The practice of meditating, I didn’t realize was this practice of guiding my mind back to the present moment. It wasn’t about trying to stop those things from happening and somehow getting good enough at it or perfect enough that those things wouldn’t happen any longer. It’s quite the opposite.
That took a lot of pressure off of the process and it became quite a bit more enjoyable. For the last few months, I’ve been sitting quietly in the morning and allowing for meditation, which has been a joy. I got to do that. It was beautiful. It was sunny outside in Southern California. I was very much looking forward to a variety of reasons, including the fact that I have this incredible guest on the show that was introduced to me through someone else that I absolutely adore. You may have checked out the episode where I interviewed Judy Whitcraft, who was the author of the Namaste email series for many years. I love and respect Judy in her work, her devotion, her spiritual path and the ways in which she has touched so many people’s lives and touched my life, touched the lives of my wife and our daughters. By extension, I have a very special woman that I get to interview and speak with, have a conversation about.
For almost many years, Lysa Allman-Baldwin has fed her wanderlust for everything the world has to offer by writing, travel and feature articles for numerous print and online publications. A few years ago, however, Lysa’s travels crossed paths with a very personal inner journey, which resulted in her book, I Cried: And People Loved Me Anyway. It’s a story of how due to a series of events that happened within a very short period of time. Her life completely fell apart and she was literally ready to check out. However, through faith, self-forgiveness and a lot of unconditional love, she moved from the depths of despair to living a truly authentic life. Lysa’s website, AuthenticityandPurpose.com showcases her experience as a gifted and sought-after motivational speaker, writer and workshop facilitator. Lysa, it’s wonderful to have you on the show. Welcome.
Thank you. It’s lovely to be here.
We’re grateful to have you. The bio says quite a bit about you and some of the paths you’ve traveled, but what’s not written in this introduction that you would love for people to know about you?
Like a lot of people, we have grown up in family systems where we weren’t always supported and being our authentic self, whether we talked a lot or we were dancing around and wouldn’t sit in the chair. It’s no fault or blame on our parents are our relatives where we grew up because everybody was born into their own family system and that people before them were born into their own family system. We live in a society where everything says you’re not enough the way you are. Even if you don’t subscribe to that, we’re marinating in that all the time. Turn on the TV and you see you need to drive this car. Your weight is wrong, your height or your age, your educational experience, where you live, how much money you make, all of that.We live in a society where everything says, 'You're not enough the way you are.' Click To Tweet
First, on the religious or spiritual, and again this is no blame on my family or anything, but I grew up in what I would call a fire and brimstone type of environment. As a child, I never could reconcile this person they said God that was benevolent, sent you here for a purpose, would do anything for you and is supporting and loving. If you don’t do the right things, you’re going south of the border. If you do walk the straight and narrow, whatever that means, you’re probably still not going to get all the way to the pearly gates because we were born sinners. I never could reconcile this person that was loving and everything on this side, but on this side was waiting for the hammer to fall.
As a child, we don’t have words to language that. We just understand that the people taking care of us, they must know what they’re talking about because we intuitively know they’re feeding us, clothing us and putting a roof over our head. Whenever they’re telling us that must be it, but still, in here, something is off. We’re not old enough to be able to language that. We had to continue going to church and like a lot of people, they turn eighteen, we don’t have to go anymore. My sisters and I stopped going.
For many years, I didn’t go to church, I had no spiritual background. I wasn’t even sure there was a God because I couldn’t reconcile this person. Several years ago, my then-husband and I moved from San Francisco to the Midwest and his family went to a Unity church. It’s called Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. They asked, “Do you want to go with us to church?” I said, “Sure, why not,” thinking it’s going to be a one-time deal. I went to Unity and their messages were all about what they believe in Jesus as a way-shower, but that we have all the abilities that Jesus had and that he was only showing us all the potential that we have that he also has. He was not an exception; he was an example.
There were many paths to God, whether it’s Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic or Jewish. There were none of that were wrong and none that had the one way to that. It was, “This is what we believe. What do you think?” I remember thinking nobody ever asked me what I thought as far as the spiritual community. I was like, “This is a little bit different.” We went back another time. In the back of my head, it’s like, “This is how they get you in the door.” The next week, it was the same thing. It wasn’t like a black church. A lot of black churches, you’re there for three hours and in what I call getting the beat down for three hours, hammered. The Unity Church was an hour. They had some music. They had a little meditation. They had a twenty-minute message, a little more music and then, “Bye-bye, have a good week, we’ll see you soon.”
I was like, “Okay.” That got me started on, “Who am I if I take all the layers of these things off? I’m a sinner first of all.” That put you way down the list of whatever the list is. Who am I? What do I think? What do I believe in? Is there a higher presence somewhere that maybe the name is not God, maybe it’s the spirit, maybe it’s people called Buddha? I had no exposure to any other religions other than I knew of Jewish, Catholic, Presbyterian, and Baptist. I didn’t know anything about the name. That was a different awakening of who am I in this flesh body. Is that it? Learning that many traditions believe that we are linked in a chain of consciousness that goes on forever and ever was a different trajectory of my life.
That’s quite a pivot moment in the spirituality compartment of our lives. We compartmentalize things from time to time, but we either feel ourselves to be spiritual beings that are connected to everything or we feel something else. When you start to feel that way and that is your experience, or at least it’s the experience that you want to have, it’s hard to imagine those two things not being one and the same. Your perspective on life changes.
That’s a pivotal moment for you especially coming out of a background where you had one experience of what religion or what spirituality was like. You at a certain age of maturity or of emancipation, you go, “Not for me.” It’s been an exodus from the church. I don’t mean the church. I mean from all organized religion, there has been an exodus across the board for a lot of years, which is not a good trend if I was a religion business. Here you are having almost turned away from that. Did it cause you to turn toward it? Is that where this has gone? You start to ask these deep questions of yourself.
It was not necessarily, in the beginning, turning toward it, but realizing there was something else because to me, it was this way with the rules, the regulations. You’re going north if you follow the rules and south if you don’t. Now I’m in the middle like, “Maybe there is something else.” Hearing that if we choose to believe that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, that’s totally different from humans that you have to get it right. You have to get it perfect. Whatever your personality is on top of that, that all fits in there. That was very different and eye-opening. I was around 40 when that happened. You’re navigating a life 40 years believing whatever it is you’re believing about yourself or the systems you grow up in and what society tells you about yourself is totally different because I have the choice of what I believe or even to think about it. I’m being asked, “What do you think?” What do I think? What do I believe? Why do I believe that? Why do I don’t believe that? It’s a completely different paradigm of how you live and question what’s your purpose here.
Looking back on that, what’s been the ripple effect? There’s a lot to you that you could cover there, but maybe pick one or two things because this show is great in that for me, it’s interesting that everybody’s got so many pivot stories. We’ve all pivoted so many times in our lives, some micro pivots and you go, “At that moment, it was right for me. It was the right thing to do. This was where I learned this thing or that thing.” That to me is a macro pivot that you’re talking about, to go from a non-interaction or a non-spiritual orientation at that point at 40 years old into one that is very open and asking these questions and inviting more of them. I would imagine a lot of things change for you.
Also, up until that point, you feel like everything is up to you. You’re out there alone. If I choose not to go with the side that says the hammer might be falling, it’s all on me. Everything from support, spiritually, emotionally, physically, everything’s up to me. On top of that, I don’t know if this is attributed to Virgos, but I’m a Virgo. Virgos have everything very organized. We know what’s going on and all that stuff. I learned controlling behaviors from my family of origin. What I know is that it was a coping mechanism to protect yourself from being hurt. I can see how my controlling behavior has affected everything in my life, probably from early teens all the way up to being 40. It shows up in your finances. It shows up in your relationships. It shows up in your jobs. It shows up in everything because you’re trying to control everything. You’re out here on your own. No one has your back because you rejected this other thing. You don’t think there’s anything else.
I want to get this clear. The experience is being out on your own without a safety net because you’ve rejected these dogmatic rules about how you get north and end you up in a different place.
I felt like I have to manage everything. No one has my back. You’re out on the ledge with no safety net. It’s my job to make sure I don’t fall off the cliff. You start with controlling behaviors because that’s your thing to help you feel safe. You don’t know what you’re doing. When you look back, it’s unfortunate. I can look at the people and things in places I ran over, but I didn’t know at the time that was me trying to protect myself from being hurt because if I can control everything, I can’t get hurt.
Does that mean you were playing it safe? I feel that this conversation becomes more universal. There are a lot of people who are probably either slowed down on the walk or gotten off the treadmill or maybe they’re reading a little more intently because they themselves have control features. Like I said at the beginning, I’m recovering control freak myself. We know control is all about fear. Ultimately, it’s the other side of the coin of fear. We can control stuff. We don’t to be afraid of stuff. That was true for you. What did it do? How did it show up? Was it you were so safe in things or sticking with things that you would otherwise have not stuck with, but the fear had you doing that?
It’s a little of both. It shows up in your finances and your relationships.
How did it show up in your finances, for example?
One of the families of origin, things I was told was you’re not going to make money at that, or my career choice was wrong. I always had a fascination with foreign languages. I lived in California for 30 years, my formative years and was always fascinated that there could be people in the room that spoke a different language, had different food, different music, different religious traditions. Living in California, there are a lot of people who obviously spoke Spanish from all over the world and that’s what stuck with me. I knew in eighth grade that I wanted to be a translator.
I took Spanish as my major all through high school and that’s what my two degrees are in. I have an AA degree and a BA degree in Spanish language and translation. I had it for thirteen years, but I was told you’re not going to make any money at that. It had to be something that seemed corporate or something like that. I don’t think the person that told me that was trying to be mean about it or anything. It was their experience of your work, you save for retirement, you need to bank up your money. That’s where it was coming from. At the time, you don’t know that. All you hear is you’re not good enough.
The society I lived in is a suburb. This was in the early ‘70s is LA and we had moved there from a different state. This was the year before busing started where the inner-city kids were brought to the suburbs. We lived with primarily white people. I have two sisters. It was everyday life for us. We noticed, but where we lived before, it wasn’t an issue. There were smatterings of others and there were a few other black people, but the busing came. I say it in the book. It was an experiment fraught with disaster from the beginning because there was no cross-cultural understanding of the two groups.We talk down our own greatness because we don't believe that it is there. Click To Tweet
There was forced. The suburb people were forced to take these people in. The inner-city people were forced to go somewhere that they knew nothing about. The messages were because we live with white people, we sound like them. We dress like them. They assume we had money like them. Here’s another layer of you’re not good enough the way you are. We’ve got a childhood one. You add that one. You turn on the TV, where you live, how much you weigh, how tall you are, how old you are. That’s around you all the time.
When you’re told for decades for a variety of different forums, you’re not good enough the way you are. That stuff gets weighed down in there. It’s so far down there, you don’t even know the level of how that’s affecting you. I’ve got this Unity. I also ended up going to Centers For Spiritual Living, which I also went to for seven years. I’m still a member of both organizations, but it’s the same thought teachings that you get to choose what you believe. You have all the tools necessary to live a happy and fulfilling life. Here are some guidelines of how you can apply them to your life, but by the way, you were born perfect. There’s no striving that you have to do to be perfect. If you like this music or you like this food or this., there are things that are common or traditional with whatever your race is, your religion, your language or your country of origin. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but still within that we’re all individuals. Like what you like and like what you don’t like. If there’s something you want to change about yourself, go ahead. You don’t have to strive for this perfection.
We’re living inside of a box based on identity rules. Let’s say you’re supposed to like this or you’re supposed to be like that.
You’re supposed to date this person. You’re supposed to have this sexual orientation. It’s the have, the should and should not. It’s more rules and more dogma.
You can’t throw religion under the bus because that’s one aspect.
There’s nothing wrong with religion. People should be able to choose what suits them. There are some very great things out of each world religion. If you decide that’s your guiding principle, there’s nothing wrong with that. Society says, “No, it needs to be this one or needs to be this one. You were born into that one. You’re rejecting your family if you don’t do that.”
You’re a round peg. You’re supposed to be in that hole.
Here we are in this unity and center for spiritual living, new thought environment. It’s like, “I don’t have to believe that about myself.” What do I think? How do I want to be? Why do I think I’m here as supposed to someone telling me why I’m here? Why am I here on this earth? At any given point in my life, I can change my mind about things. Square the circle, get in another peg that I think, “This works for me or this one that works for me.”
You may not even be locked in. It’s not even like you have to make a choice that’s going to last the rest of your life. Here you are, you’re in your early 40s and you’re having what feels like a revelatory experience. This is a complete revelation to how you’ve been brought up to think, what you rejected and how those rejections of those things ended up keeping you on another track. It’s so interesting how in child and looking at the things that we reject, how those things have as much control over us as if we had gone the path that people had told us to go. We just followed someone else’s rules of the road and you ended up at some point in life and go, “It doesn’t feel like my life because I’ve been living according to these other rules; my parents’ rules or religions’ rules or whoever’s rules.” There are also these people that have rejected those things and now are living in rejection of those things because that was another set of rules that enabled us to break free and feel like we’re emancipated. In actuality, we’re still not living according to free choice.
The thing is that it’s finding our own voice. You don’t feel like you have a voice if you’re trying to control everything or you’re trying to make people say, “This is who I am,” and you’re banging the table.
You’re proving your worthiness. Everything is sending a message to you as you’re a young woman growing up and you keep hearing, “I’m not worthy.” You suddenly have people say, “Two things that you get to determine whether you feel worthy or not.” That’s where you stand. For everybody reading this, you go, “Whatever the past has been, I get to make a choice to simply take a breath. Take ten seconds ago, I’m deserving.” Worthiness is a funny word. In many ways, it relates to proving. We’re proving our worth. I’m a TEDx speaker. Our company trains people to do TEDx Talks, get them and deliver them. It’s interesting because in training working with a client, we were looking at her message, which has a lot to do with the distinction between worthiness and deserving. We were looking at the actual statement that TED has. The statement is more than a motto. It’s a talk that’s worth sharing or worth spreading.
It’s not even a talk, it’s an idea worth spreading. That’s what I believed the exact language for TED. The word “Worth” is an interesting word in that motto because there are a lot of people that look at that and think immediately, “I don’t have an idea worth spreading.” I have an idea I’d like to share with people. I have an idea that might help a lot of people, but is it “worth” spreading? There’s this whole worthiness thing that’s tied up in that whole deal. People go, “I’m not Brené Brown. I don’t have a message as she does. I’m not Elizabeth Gilbert or Simon Sinek.” They’re done.
We talk down our own greatness because we don’t believe that it’s there, that we have to have this bright idea or that I have to be an author to be able to effect positive change. I have to be someone who’s up in front of people. You can make a huge change in someone’s life because you pass them in the grocery store and you said, “How are you?” You could change somebody’s whole perspective on the rest of their day. They think, “Somebody cares, somebody sees me.”
There are these ideas of being seen and being heard. Do you also see yourself for who you are? In ten seconds, you can go, “I’m not broken. There’s nothing broken.”
I never was broken. There’s nothing to fix. That’s what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to fix.
To be more perfect, to someday be worthy.
We can easily see the worthiness in other people, but we don’t see it in ourselves. Even when we are able to do that, that’s not living into accepting who we are. If we’re all one in the chain of consciousness that goes on forever, that means we’re all on some level on that spiritual plane. If you see beauty, love, worthiness and everything in another person, if we’re one link, that means you too. You can’t say, “That person is this, this and this, but I’m not,” or, “I wish I was like them” It takes years to accept, to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m awesome. I’m beautiful. I’m cool.”
I’m hardly perfect, whatever perfect it, but I’m still awesome. With my belly fat, I’m still awesome. With my receding hairline, I’m awesome. There’s not another being exactly like me, not even close.We can easily see the worthiness in other people, but we don't see it in ourselves. Click To Tweet
They never will be. I want to lose ten pounds, but that doesn’t make me unperfect or unworthy. That’s a goal I want to do for me, but I’m all that and two bags of chips.
Have you seen this movie about Mr. Rogers? Have you checked that out?
I haven’t seen it yet. It’s with Tom Hanks.
In his career, he doesn’t have to choose anything but a great role. He delivers on what you’d expect from a quality actor like that experience. The story itself is pretty remarkable. I recommend checking it out for everybody is a good idea. The work he was doing. For so many years, he impacted so many of our lives. Kids probably might not even know who the guy is. They’re not growing up. Our kids grew up more with Rafi and with Barney than they did with Mr. Rogers. He was working at that root of worthiness.
I haven’t seen the movie and I’ve only seen one or two trailers, but I do remember there was one trailer where there was somebody that was trying to say that Mr. Rogers was a fraud and wasn’t that happy. That brief snippet I saw, that’s a perfect example of people who don’t know their own light. You’re spending time trying to discredit someone who has nothing but a wonderful outlook on life. To discredit that and spending time to show how someone else is a fraud, if you believed in your light and your worthiness, you don’t have time for that. That wouldn’t even come into your consciousness because you’re so happy and full of life like Mr. Rogers. You’re trying to help other people feel that same way. When I saw that clip, I thought, “That’s where most of us are walking around.” We’re that little five-year-old who got smacked on the hand for twirling around in their little tutu being happy. We’re walking around as kindergarteners in adult bodies and picking up all the things that this is the person, this is not real. Who does that person think they are instead of what’s going on in here?
We are walking around, all of us. Our self-images and other things are dinged up from very early on. The trauma of adverse experiences in childhood are so diverse. Give a kid the wrong impression of him or herself and not allow for that child to understand or have a real felt experience of what love looks like or what unconditional love feels like for them. Meaning love for them regardless of whether they were good, were bad, got good grades, bad grades, were tall, were with a disability. It’s like any number of things. It’s so interesting how that is still a thing ongoingly that we are all still mostly working on the same stuff we were working on or would be working on if we were conscious of it 500 years ago or 1,000 years ago.
What a lot of us do is we grow up and we’re blaming our family of origin. I didn’t realize this until I became a parent. When we were little, we don’t realize our parents are people, they’re parents. In our minds, they’re supposed to know everything. They’re supposed to do it right. They’re supposed to do everything perfectly. They should have, would have, could have, should have known. You become a parent and you’re like, “No, I am a parent, but I’m still a person in there.” I think where our work needs to come from and our understanding of ourselves is those, first of all, our parents may be coming from their own places of woundedness because that’s how they are a person. They came from something and they’re working through their own identity, woundedness, who knows what they came from and their parents.
Let’s say you had a horrible childhood, to see the gifts and the lessons in there that you would not have had if you didn’t have this experience. How you can use that to figure out what it is you’re here for and how you could help somebody else who’s out there striving that’s suffering. You would not be able to help them if you didn’t have A, B, C and D happen to you, but it did. There are lessons and blessings in there. As a spiritual person, maybe I didn’t have it as a child because I didn’t have the language, but where was my responsibility to have my voice in that if it was possible? Every situation is different. There’s no way that I could be doing the work that I’m doing without having those very hard challenges of my childhood, which were numerous things. I’m grateful for them. I’m grateful for the people who, not in a way that I would have picked, taught me those things through their own woundedness. I understand that they are people too.
That’s a lot of compassion. The language that you’re using, it feels like compassion.
It still works because we want to default to, “They should have, they could have, they would have,” if they had.
What is blaming? Remember you said in that movie, there’s somebody who wants to find what’s wrong in Mr. Rogers and call him out as a fraud. I want to talk in this context about the politically-correct world that we’re living in. A part of our world is hell-bent on political correctness. That deserves a little nod especially in what we’re talking about. I want to use our remaining time to talk about forgiveness, in particular, where forgiveness dovetails to any of this and how it builds resilience or where you think it fits in how we move forward as individuals and as a world as well. Let’s start with the political correctness thing.
That’s another way where we’re trying to manage our outside circumstances to make ourselves feel better. If we discredit somebody else or they should be doing this, they should be wearing this, driving this, that’s all so we don’t have to deal with this.
We shame them on Twitter or we call them out for their crap or their inconsistency.
If I can chip away at them a little bit, it’s an unconscious way I’m trying to make myself feel better about me. If you feel good about yourself, you’re worthy and you’re happy. Granted there are stressful things that happen in the world. There are fires, floods, murders. If you’re coming from a place of understanding, worthiness, compassion, empathy and standing up for things that you feel are wrong, that’s totally different from the blame and trying to peg down everybody else. Why do we have these shows after all the big awards ceremonies that are the blacklists of the dresses, the wrong dresses? Why are you spending time on that? If you didn’t like the dress when she went by, “That wasn’t something I’d wear. I don’t think it looks that flattering,” move on.
We have websites and shows and we go through the whole thing. Who was dressed right? Who was dressed wrong? Who fell getting out of the limo? Who had to go through the back door because they weren’t welcome on the red carpet? Is that all we have time for? How does that affect your life day-to-day? When you’re all done talking about that, how does that affect how you treat your family? How does that affect how you make your living? How does that affect how much money you make? Are you seeing these people in the grocery store? The answer is it’s not, but that’s what we’re spending time on.
To answer your question about forgiveness, years ago someone showed me a book called Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping. I use some of the examples in the book when I do my motivational talks. He talks about the difference between traditional forgiveness and radical forgiveness. In traditional forgiveness, he says, “We take the stance that we were wrong to somehow. Somebody did something to us or took something from us or robbed us in some way and so we need to forgive them, which we always hear forgiveness for ourselves to move on.” He says that radical forgiveness is taking the stance that nothing that ever happened to you, you were never wronged. Nothing was out of order.
It’s hard to say that somebody was raped or know something like that. It’s hard to grab the concept and it says radical forgiveness. It’s a radical concept to accept, but that nothing was wronged. You weren’t wronged in some way. There was some divine order that there was something for you to learn or glean in that either about yourself and/or how to help other people. The part of it is forgiving yourself, forgiving myself for not having a voice or for not seeing that these people were coming from X perspective or that there was anything wrong in the first place. There were lessons and blessings that I was supposed to learn. It’s radically forgiving the overall picture as opposed to individual things.
The distinction there is looking back and saying there was nothing wrong or bad, to begin with. That is radical when you think of the level at which some people have been intentionally harmed by other people. How does forgiveness either contribute to being able to go forward in an empowered way? How does it contribute to resilience? Is it a big part of the work that you do? You speak publicly. You work with people and do workshops.When we were little, we don't realize our parents are people. In our minds, they're supposed to know everything. Click To Tweet
There’s a thing in the book that he talks about. He calls it forgiveness centrifuge and he equated it like if we put something in a juicer, spin it around and separate the parts like a plasma machine. It helps us separate the facts of what happened in our life from our interpretation of the facts. Our facts may have been like your father left the family when you were little, but your interpretation is because it was because of you that you did something bad or wrong or you should have been this or been that.
You walk through your life with this abandonment story, “He left because of me,” making meaning out of things. In my case, that is what happened. He didn’t leave physically, but he left emotionally and mentally. My abandonment story, that carried out through everything, especially with relationships with men later on. In the back, even though I did get married and did have relationships, in the back, it’s always like, “This person’s not going to stay.” In your mind, you’re saying that the one person that had a real stake in your success left. Whether it was physically or emotionally, no one’s going to stay. That always shows up because you attract people either who leave or you do things to control to make sure they don’t leave.
That’s why the relationship might not work out or you end up doing that with other things. That same thing happens with your job or this, that and the next thing. It’s separating the facts from your interpretation of the facts. It works the same way with positive things. I have a friend who when she was growing up, she got nothing but wonderful support. She was told she was smart and she was resourceful and she played well with others and all of the great things we want to hear. Her interpretation was with all of those accolades, she had no room for error. If she messed up, everyone would see. She didn’t have it all together and that she was a fraud. The played out in her weight. She had gained a huge amount of weight over a lifetime. It’s no blame in her family. They did all the “right things.” It was her interpretation. That’s nobody’s fault either way. It’s how we interpreted it. Once we can understand the difference between the facts and our interpretation, your life changes altogether.
There’s freedom. There’s a liberation. What’s interesting too and it’s always difficult to look back on circumstances where it’s such a black and white thing. You go, “There’s no way that thing should have happened.” We can think about children that are molested when they’re young and there’s no way on earth that should have ever happened. Yet at this moment, which is forward, it’s not as it’s happening. You would never watch something or stand idly by. It’s now, and looking back on something like that, there’s no changing it at all. What can happen is the owning of that experience and not putting it through that lens of judgment of right, wrong or otherwise, but the owning of the full experience itself. Do you believe that creates a liberation, that there’s a freedom that comes from simply owning as opposed to what a lot of us do, which is to suppress through a variety of means? Whether it’s eating, drinking, drugs or some other controlling feature of our personalities that have created this bubble of safety for us. Whatever those things are, we’re not owning that experience. We’re doing everything in the world we can to stuff it down, to avoid it ever happening again or to even forget that it ever happened in the first place.
We get stuck in that because there is no recognition of what it was here to teach us, what we learned from it, the blessings from it. We stay stuck in our victimhood. That’s the whole thing. We get too stuck in our righteousness and our victimhood. “This is where it is. It shouldn’t have happened when, wouldn’t, couldn’t and I’m going to hold on to that.” That’s a heavy backpack with a lot of rocks in it to wear. As soon as you start opening up that backpack and looking at the rock and like, “That one’s not serving me anymore. Put that one over here. This was a good teaching I got from my childhood. Let’s leave that one in there and pull all the other ones.” You’ll find there’s a whole bunch of them that don’t belong in there.
You can start putting the light stuff that does belong in there. That’s what we do. These things go in phases. I’m several years into this thought. I’m not saying life is perfect, but life is certainly different aspects and unraveling a lot of my old stories. We get to the point where all these things happen in a row and you forget. I can look at things and the book I have, which was not in my plan life plan at all that way. All the things that happen at the time they’re happening, we can’t see like they say the forest for the trees and you forget it. All these tools and everything, they went out of the window. You get to the desperation point and you’re ready to check out.
It can happen to anybody. It doesn’t matter who you’re talking to or where you think they are in their life or where they might be on some level. This is a human condition. I have enjoyed this conversation. I know our people have as well. We talk a lot about the power of rituals on the show and in particular how those rituals create resilience in our bodies, our minds and the emotional places that we live that landscape. What is a ritual that is either something new that you’ve been doing or something you’ve been doing for many years that have helped you to get grounded?
Like you mentioned about meditation, I’ve been meditating many years when I started coming into Unity. It’s not about trying to control your brain from thinking all over the place. It’s pulling yourself into the present moment. I meditate every morning, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, sometimes longer, however I feel that particular day. Sometimes it’s in the silence. There’s a meditation app I use called Insight Timer where they have recorded messages. It’s bringing me back to the present moment. No matter how long we’re here on this earthly plane, how many revolutions around the sun, it’s always too short. Make every moment you can, whatever it is. Even if you’re facing financial troubles or trouble with your kids, or looking for a new house, you always have the present moment.
You can take two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes for yourself to settle in. Some people are not breathing. “I’m breathing. I’m awake. Something else has my back. I’m struggling with whatever, but there’s a greater force at work here. I’m taking two minutes to pull into that.” I journal, getting everything out in my head, not trying to necessarily find the answer to things. I want to look back over my journals over the years and you say, “That seems so dark at that time.” Look at where we are now, but that’s just a daily thing. There was a picture of me when I was about six months old. I keep this on my desk with other pictures and I look at that little girl and say, “This is how you got here. This little girl got lost, but I’m here for you and I have your back. You will always have me. You have more enlightened me, a much older me. You’re worthy. You’re beautiful. This is who you came here to be. I still get to be that in a 56-year-old body.”
You’ve inspired me. It’ll be fun to have a picture of me as a baby and be able to look over and go, “Look at you. Look at how you’ve grown.” That baby is unaffected by so much of this complicated stuff, the confusing stuff that we could talk about for days. I have so enjoyed this. I love Insight Timer. We use Insight Timer before bed, before we sleep, which is terrific. In the present moment, there are so many things that are both inspirational, they’re motivational, all that stuff. Sometimes other people think they’re soft.
I share this a lot of times with business audiences when I do public speaking typically about how it is that we create greater resilience because it’s in greater resilience that we perform better and we can perform longer. These are good things in the business to be able to do better for longer periods as well. At this moment where we have that heavy bag that all of us do have, we have this satchel on our shoulders that are filled with stuff, some of us lighter and some of us heavier. There isn’t anything that needs to be made different. Much of our worry, our obsession, our stressing and things of that sort are about the moment next.
We’re worrying about the moment to come and somehow thinking that we can change the moment that passed. We can never change that. We know that, but yet we’re still get drawn into that. The moment to come is going to take care of itself. It doesn’t mean we don’t plan or think about the future. It’s that at this moment we can breathe a little differently knowing we’re totally good. I appreciate you, Lysa. I appreciate the goodness that you brought to this conversation. My morning ritual has a lot to do with before the morning comes, which is knowing when we wake up, I’ll ask you this, Lysa. Do you want to wake up?
I do want to wake up. I feel I have more to do here for however long I’m here.
Me too. When we lay down at some point to go to bed, to go to sleep, there won’t be a guarantee. We won’t go to sleep with a contract from our Maker to say, “You get to wake up.” There’s a good chance that that will happen, but there’s no guarantee of it. When we do wake up, that’s my prayer. That’s my hope for everybody that we all do wake up. There will be people who are not waking up at that same moment. It is a moment that can be sacred if we choose it to be. That waking moment doesn’t have to be an immediate jump to the feet or jump to the cell phone to check on things or turning on the TV or getting the coffee. It doesn’t have to be at that moment that much. It can simply be this recognition and this appreciation for that being a gift. The waking ritual is as we wake up, it’s the recognition of that gift, that gratitude in the moment for the breadth, for anything.
All-day I get to keep waking up to who I am. I get two things. I get the physical waking up and the gratitude that “Yes, I woke up.” Some people didn’t wake up, but I get to keep waking up and every moment I get to choose how I wake up to how I am, who I am, who I want to be. It’s constant.
That’s truly a gift that keeps giving. These four words are a part of my lexicon for many years. It’s this recognition that it is a gift that keeps giving if we want it to. Those four words are, “I love my life.” Do you love your life?
I love my life. I love myself. That’s where everything stands for.
Thank you. Bye.
- Judy Whitcraft – Previous episode
- Lysa Allman-Baldwin
- I Cried: And People Loved Me Anyway
- Radical Forgiveness
- Insight Timer
About Lysa Allman-Baldwin
For almost 25 years, Lysa Allman-Baldwin has fed her wanderlust for “everything the world has to offer” by writing travel and feature articles for numerous print and online publications.
A few years ago, Lysa’s travels crossed paths with a very personal, inner journey which resulted in her new book, I Cried. And People Loved Me Anyway. It’s the story of how, due to a series of events that happened within a very short period of time, her life completely fell apart and she was literally, ready to check out.
However, through faith, self-forgiveness and a lot of unconditional love, she moved from the depths of despair to living a truly authentic life.