The Power of Prayer

The first time I saw this post, my soul raised her fist up in the air and said
“YES!”
but then the next minute she lowered her head and said
“Wait a minute… no! We are losing something so valuable here…”

I came across this post for the first time after the Parkland school shooting, which was the event that sparked March for Our Lives. And then I saw it again… and again… and again.

The atmosphere that encompassed the image as it moved through the internet was filled with the huffs and puffs of people who were tired of watching horrible things happen while waiting around for someone to DO something. Myself included.

However, this image gives a visual to the fact that “thoughts & prayers” are now seen as a passive way to deal with the trauma our country faces today.
It completely frustrated me.

 
Thoughts & Prayers are anything but passive. 
Thoughts & Prayers are the first things you do before you stand up to fight.

The truth is that our thoughts and prayers should be the starting place for policy & change.
When prayer is intentional, clear, and direct it helps to mobilize our souls to make the biggest impact, & reach our ultimate potential.

I mean honestly, I hope future change makers take a minute to reflect and ground themselves before deciding on policy that impacts hundreds and thousands of people. Just like how students took time to organize themselves to march. (Just imagine how much stress would be saved if Trump decided to reflect before he tweeted lol)

I know, in the midst of hardship, it’s easy to turn to prayer as an emergency escape button…
but in my experience, it has NEVER worked that way.

Prayer does not give you superpowers and approaching spirituality with the expectation to get a quick fix to a problem that might have been developing for a long time doesn’t make much sense. To treat it this way will lead to constant disappointment. 

Instead… let prayer be the starting point.
The fuel to the rocket.

Let me explain the way it’s worked for me…

When I first started coming into my faith, I was surrounded by Christian friends who liked to pray for me out loud.

Instead… let prayer be the starting point.
The fuel to the rocket.

Let me explain the way it’s worked for me…

When I first started coming into my faith, I was surrounded by Christian friends who liked to pray for me out loud.

“God, redeemer and gracious king, thank you for my friend, Annabelle. Thank you for bringing her to my house tonight to spend time together. Thank you for gifting her with her love for people and her openness to learn about you. I ask lord, that you surround her in grace as she moves through these struggles, open her eyes to see you when things get hard. Give her strength to move forward in her journey, and remind her that she is loved. Amen.”

It was a really weird thing at first
but now I love it because every prayer looked something like this:
– Acknowledge who/what God is (which is awesome)
– Acknowledge what you are grateful for
– Acknowledge what you ask and how you know God will show up.

* Newsflash * none of the stuff my friends would say was crazy or outlandish (except for maybe the language – Christian lingo still weirds me out sometimes) and it certainly wasn’t passive.

It was simply a reminder.

After hard conversations about my healing, this prayer reminded me that I was loved and that I had the choice to show up, and the choice to accept the strength to move forward… a strength I would later realize was inside me all along.

Another Example…
Last week, I found out that my dad had attempted suicide. I shared the news with my mentor and in the middle of my tear filled text, I started to pray. My prayer was this:

“… I’m not waiting for God to show up because it is already here. & that is a beautiful comfort. God is all the good in the darkness & it is faithful & it is relentless. & I already see good coming from this.”

You see, prayer is different than what we think.

Prayer is not asking for something we don’t have…it’s not asking for a miracle. Prayer reminds us that the battle has been won, that the power of light & good is on our side, and that we already have everything we need to get through this moment. Prayer is a moment to reflect and express gratitude for the strength & gifts within you that were created to overcome this specific hardship.

The deeper your pain, the louder your worship.

It’s important to call upon this type of prayer in the midst of chaos because this is what grounds you. Prayer reminds you or truth & because of that, it will give you the clarity needed to move forward.

They key is, that you MUST move forward. Nothing will move through you if you sit still and do nothing.

Water won’t ripple without the stone.

so next time you pray…
pray with conviction
pray with hope
pray with expectation
pray with gratitude

and then go out there and be the conduit to manifest epic goodness in midst of darkness.

because God has already given you the answer to your prayers.
In most cases, the answer is YOU.

Truth V. Lie

Written April 8, 2018

“The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity.” – Brene Brown

I managed to take some time today to write – despite my hangover.

I actually had been avoiding it – feeling totally uninspired, so I decided to read instead.
I’m working on 3 books right now.
Rising Strong (my first Brene brown book)
The 60/60 Experiment
& The Artists way.

I read a bible verse  – it’s the commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself”
and had a weird feeling immediately, so I decided to reflect.
I realized that I absolutely do not want anyone to love me the way they love themselves. Most people I know have a really hard/damaged/broken/disconnected relationship with who they are – their souls & their bodies…

So how do we fix this?
You can’t come to love others until you learn how to love yourself.
And that’s really fucking hard to do
We live in a culture that celebrates self-destruction. We make money off of people hating themselves. They pay for a quick fix after quick fix.
They become so self-consumed that it becomes hard to see others.
It’s easy to become like a torpedo of “not enough”
Trust me, I’ve been there.

It really comes down to the

You do love others the way you love yourself.  & It’s totally unconscious – have you ever thought as you set the capacity for how much love you both give and receive?

My faith tells me that I have to boot the lies out of my head.
My faith tells me that there’s something that happens bigger than me around me and with me
My faith tells me that the universe is constantly sending love to me
My faith tells me that love is a choice. and so is accepting it.
We need to accept that we are being loved whether we think it’s possible or not, whether we deserve it or not, whether we are good enough or not.

So how do you love your neighbor as your self? You know your truth, and respect their truth – THAT opens the gateway for real, authentic love.

Full of Emptiness

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN MARCH 22 2018

I feel full… and not the happy, warm kind of full.

And definitely not the food baby kind of full.
I’m the kind of full that feels more like overwhelm.
Except I don’t feel overwhelmed, I feel like I can handle it.
Which is probably even worse.
When you’re overwhelmed you KNOW you’ve reached a limit & have no other choice but relinquish control.
But my newfound organizational skills keep me on top of everything despite my unstable emotional state.
I’ve been near tears this week.
One day, I cried 3 different times.
Another day, I felt tears emerge before facing a whole group of people & had to dart into the bathroom to cry with tissues under my eyes so my mascara wouldn’t run.
I’ve been snapping at people
I’ve been feeling immediately irritated if someone asks for help or needs something from me.
I’ve been negative.

I’m not myself.

It’s the kind of full that’s really empty.
I’ve felt unloved, undervalued, overworked, underprepared, under qualified for pretty much everything I’ve been doing.
And I keep finding myself wanting to blame things on other people, but today I realized I’m doing it all to myself.

It’s scary because I don’t know how I got to this point.

My roommate came into my room last night. She sat next to me on my carpet and handed me a cup of tea. “I’m worried about you.” She said. “Your energy has shifted, what’s going on?”

I immediately buried my head in my hands and to no one’s surprise, I started crying.
That was the first time someone had asked me how I was doing, and meant it, in at least 2 months.
She and I talked for a while. We pinpointed the shift. It was around the time I started my new job.  But I REEEALLY like my job? How can that be?
After some reflecting, I realized I had been internalizing and pushing down a lot of fears…
I feel like I’m not worth what I’m being paid (Which is a modestly average amount). I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing & I’m making things up as I go along, which makes me a fake. (AKA Imposter syndrome)
I feel a lot of pressure to be perfect at this job that I feel underqualified for because if I lose it, then I’m financially screwed.
AND all of these fears and driving me to pour everything I have into this work…. which didn’t seem like a bad thing until I was walking around totally drained.
After this conversation with my roommate, I realized that I’m only getting better at my skills, not actually pursuing my purpose.
 
What the hell is my purpose?

I’m realizing that I’m not JUST a businesswoman, I’m an artist.
An artist who happens to be good at business.

 

And the only thing being an artist means is that I create things in order to translate my love, energy, and purpose into the world.
It’s a spiritual thing.

But this season I’ve realized that being an artist has to come FIRST if I’m going to stay balanced.
Being an artist & cultivating my spirituality has to be a priority.

I think back to a conversation I had with my friend Emma recently.
“The world needs your writing Annabelle.”
She compared my written thoughts to some of our favorite role models in the business & personal development worlds.

I had a hard time receiving such a huge compliment, but it stuck with me and has been ringing in my head lately.

I bought a 12-week reflection course called “The Artists Way” and started reading it today.

I stumbled upon this quote in the introduction and it stopped me.

“We see God as a creator but seldom see creator as the literal term for artist” – Julia Cameron

Wow.

My favorite argument for keeping myself in an unhealthy work situation is “but I’m learning a lot.”

 

The skills I’ve learned and am developing are only meant to be the supportive structure which helps me get my art into the world. Whether it’s writing, or creativity or … it doesn’t have to be for any noble cause other than out of the pure relationship with my creator.
Then all of this work I’m breaking my back doing is NOT my purpose.
THAT’S why I feel so full of emptiness.
I’m neglecting my creativity, the part of me that lives in direct communication with my creator.
 

I kept lifting my hands from my keyboard to my face as I wrote this because the formation of these sentences allowed me to process this concept & I feel so much clearer now than I did before.

I literally was figuring this out as I wrote.

And that’s what I was meant to do.

I was meant to be writing.
I was meant to be creating.

All of this to say, having a job I like isn’t a bad thing.
I just can’t let fear & insecurity take control of my life & neglect to cultivate my artistry in the process.

One is needed to survive, the other is needed to live.

Hater Spotting

Tonight I met up with my friend Galit to do some work.
I’ve been really excited lately about writing my new book, Letters to My Little Sisters.  I started doing IG Live conversations to work through some of the topics I want to write about, and even created an email thingy that people can sign up for to get updates on it.
Today my goal was to import all of the email addresses I’ve received from the questionnaire onto MailChimp, which means I have to sort through each entry, grab the email & enter it into mailchimp manually. As I was going through the entries I found that someone had spewed hateful things all over their form before pressing submit.
The results read:
“You’re a phony”
“This is fake – you’re only doing this to make money”
“I can’t believe the shit rich white girls do with their education”
“fuck this”
“you’re stupid”
My first thought was, LOL
Then I was like LOL someone spent their time doing this….
Then I felt sad that someone spent their time doing this.
Then it started to sink in…
& it definitely stirred something inside of me.
My stomach knotted up, my hands got cold & goosebumps popped up on my arms & neck.
I was hurt.
Then, by the grace of God, my brain kicked in and I thought –
I really upset someone’s comfort zone.
Then I went on to analyze what was in front of me.
The words this person decided to use sounded really angry.
In fact, that they called me “rich & white” means they CLEARLY don’t know me so really what they said probably had NOTHING to do with me and everything to do with something going on with them.
They must be taking something out on me, probably because something I said or did hit a tender spot for them.
But it’s not always so easy to logic your way out of how you feel.
Even after I got home the self-doubt I’ve been struggling with lately came out to play.
Maybe I’m not good enough, maybe I am stupid & I am wrong. Maybe what I have to say doesn’t matter.
But I’ve been training my mind of these moments, so instead of wallowing it (well – I did for a few minutes), I pulled out my laptop and decided to write.
I did that for 2 reasons.
1.     Writing is one of my tools to process confusing thoughts & emotions.
2.      This is Cyber Bullying. & It’s not okay & we are going to talk about it.
After the initial shock of the situation, I thought how could you be so careless with your words?
Words matter
I have a fucking t-shirt that says so.
Galit & I talked and she said “They must not know their power”
This hit me like a rock. & if it didn’t hit you, go back and read it again.
“They must not know their power”
Damn. This is so true.
If you feel like you’re not being heard, you scream.
If you feel out of control, you punch.
If you feel like you’re not being seen, you cause a scene.
This is the danger of someone who doesn’t know OR own their power.
They can be really damaging.
See, you have an impact whether you want to or not.
You have an impact whether you realize it or not.
You have an impact. & it can be positive or not.
YOU ARE POWERFUL.
Unfortunately for this person, I like to process things by sharing.
I’m sure they didn’t think that their entries would end up on my Instagram, or their words on my blog.
Actually, I don’t think they even stopped to think that I would see it at all.
Or that their words would affect me….
Probably because they aren’t used to being heard.

Value, Purpose, Work: Lessons learned in the Workplace & on the 405.

A few days ago I was listening to a speech about Genius that my mentor Ruben gave at Creative Mornings ATX while I was sitting in traffic on the 405. (If you aren’t familiar with Los Angeles Geography it is literally the most terrible freeway ever. You can spend up to 3 hours on it just to go 20 miles)

While the audio played through the speakers of my car, I scribbled notes down on my iPad…

I wrote this ^ note down when my mentor mentioned that we are all searching for our purpose.

People say that a lot.
I say that a lot.

But what if we don’t HAVE to search?

What if we found our purpose in just BEING?
What if the answer is to just BE? I mean you are a BEING. It’s what you are – what you were created to be.

What if the secret to everything we were supposed to be and supposed to do was found in just being authentically?

Weird to think about right?
It goes against the notion that we have to “make something of oursevles” and “prove our worth”

It makes us almost uncomfortable to think that nothing we DO can make us more or less than who we are and THAT is our purpose. To be our beings. 

That’s what Jesus said to us.
“Nope you don’t have to do anything – you’re already loved.”
We forget that our BEING is enough

Well if we know that applied for being loved, then what about our purpose?

What if our purpose is to be loved?

*Brain explodes* (Feel free to add sound effects to that)

Now on paper (or on a screen), this idea is simple.
But in reality, the intricacies of being human make things complicated. (Talk about a paradox)

In my experiences, I feel like when I am contributing to the world in a way that is unique to my being, then I become indisposable because I am operating in a way that only I can.  It feels good to occupy a space that you know is yours.

The real truth is,  I am indisposable because I am a human being and there is nothing that can define my worth (not even my work ethic). But I’m still learning that.

The past few days I’ve lost sight of that being. I’ve felt disconnected from myself and the value I innately carry from being who I am. 

I was questioning what my position is in my work. Am I producing things and contributing ideas in a way that only I can? 

Becuase I feel like I’m just a body taking up space.
That my soul, bright and beautiful, doesn’t matter and is useless.
The part of me that makes me ME doesn’t matter and no one cares about it as long as the tasks are completed.

These thoughts have been accompanied by nightmares of becoming a slave laborer and victim in an invaded country, and people totally forgetting/not caring about my birthday. Both nightmares are about feeling disposable. They are rooted in this desire to be purposeful, and valuable and created in fear that I am lacking.

I had a long conversation about all of this yesterday morning with Zach. Zach is one of my best friends and the Founder of LIVE A GREAT STORY, where I’m the Community Manager, Marketing Assistant, Intern Coordinator and many other things. (When working with a startup, you wear a lot of hats.)

Anyway, he talked to me while I sat on the phone and cried. I told him I felt pretty banged up from working in a place where I am totally replaceable (This is about one of my other jobs). And in situations where the compensation doesn’t match the value of my work. (There’s a really good podcast about this)

He talked for about 45 solid min about all the things I’ve accomplished with him for LIVE. He talked to me about all of my responsibilities and the numbers.

But it didn’t help.

“Everything you’ve told me I’ve done could have been anyone. It could have anybody’s body checking off tasks and sending emails to people. What value do I bring? What does my soul have to do with this?”

Zach is a very logical person. It was hard for him to understand at first what I was feeling. (and I’m still not sure he totally understands) To him, my value is obvious. (That’s nice)

Eventually though, he came to a close and said  “I can’t do this without you. I want you around forever. You’ve allowed me to see things I’ve never seen before. That’s why I love you.”

Suddenly I felt seen. After almost an hour of talking about the quantifiable & numerical aspects of my role in LIVE, I still didn’t feel like I mattered until heard that.

Because that was about me. That was about my soul. These were things that made me irreplaceable.

You are not quantifiable. Your purpose and your impact are not things that can be measured so stop looking for ways to compare yourself and gauge your success.

Your success comes from being, authentically. 

I can’t do this without you. I want you around forever.
You have a unique perspective in this world, and I love you.

You matter.
Sometimes we need a reminder.