What is “picture perfect” anyways? The importance of loving ALL of yourself.

A little over a week ago, I brought a vision to life; a vision that I went through all the growing pains to birth :). I was blessed with the opportunity to lead nearly 60 beautiful souls on a journey of growth and transformation at my 5th-annual free workshop event: The Expressed Woman. I am still reveling in the magic of the day, and to be honest, it’s hard to put into words the depth of what we experienced together.

In feeling into what’s most present for me and what I’d like to share with you, I sense what will be most powerful is to reveal to you some of the behind-the-scenes details about what I moved through spiritually and emotionally leading up to the event.

There’s a big trend out there in the coaching and lifestyle brand industries–a dangerous trend in my opinion–of coaches, yoga teachers, and leaders making it seem like they always have it together. In our social media world, it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that what we see in our feed–snapshots of successes and beautiful moments–is the whole truth.

Personally, I feel it’s important to be real, and that’s why I’m choosing to share more than just the “picture perfect” portion of my journey. I want to be witnessed in all of it–the highs and the lows, the expansions and the contractions, the “wins” and the bumps and bruises it takes to get there. After all, it’s the totality of our journey that makes us beautifully soulfully human.

Whether you ever lead a big event or not, I imagine that at some point in your life, you’ll take a risk. My hope is that when the time comes to do something that scares you, my words can remind you: you are not alone.

More than anything, I hope that in sharing some of my own experience, I’ll inspire your knowing that no matter how big your vision is, you can feel scared AND still make the choices that move you towards creating what you want, whatever that may be.

So, here are some of my biggest learnings from these past few weeks leading up to the big event:

  1. Trust your transmission. Leading up to the event, a beautiful mentor of mine asked, “Melanie, if for some reason you lost your voice and you couldn’t speak the day of this event, what is the transmission you want to transmit?” At that point, I had gotten really caught up in worrying about what I was going to SAY as the leader of the event (and fearing I might not “say the right thing”), and yet, my mentor reminded me that the most important thing always is the energy we bring into a room. She reminded me that my embodiment is so much more essential than any words I have to say, and that as long as I’m grounded in my embodiment, the right words will always come through.
  2. Surrender to repeat learning. Leading up to this event, I became soberingly aware that even though I have done soooo much work on releasing the pattern of needing to “prove my value,” it still shows up for me. I could choose to be frustrated by this, especially since I’ve put so much effort into letting go of that conditioning, and yet, what I am finally realizing is this pattern is here for me to love, acknowledge, and continue working with in this lifetime…for as long as it continues to show up. Thankfully, I’m learning to do that with more and more ease. I can now say, “Hey, I see you pattern. I love you. Now what wants to happen? How can I help us through this?” This time, as I was resting in this space of awareness and willingness to work with this lesson that keeps coming up, a new choice emerged. Rather than pushing to prove myself, I relaxed into a new knowing: “I am willing to enjoy my essential value no matter what happens.” When I came home to this new mantra, I felt a sense of relief, and I was able to use these words to keep me grounded throughout the event every time I felt that “proving” energy creeping in.
  3. Befriend your fear and use its essential gift as a form of expression. No matter how many big events I’ve masterfully led, I still get the good ole reliable fears popping up: “Will people get value from what I have to offer?” “Will I be rejected and judged?” “Will I do it well enough?” “Do I really know enough?” “Who am I to think I can teach this?”  Just like patterns we’re called to work with again and again, experiencing fear and self-doubt is a natural part of the process when it comes to creating your vision and owning your full self, especially when you’re playing your edge! This time, instead of trying to “manage” all these fears on my own during the course of the event, I outed myself. I shared my big fears, right away, in front of the nearly 60 souls in attendance, most whom I didn’t know. After claiming my fears–acknowledging their presence with love and allowing myself to be witnessed in the fullness of who I am–the shame, embarrassment, and feeling of trying to control things softened. I was able to just show up and be me, and the women in attendance were able to see that being a leader isn’t about being “fearless”; it’s about bringing your fear with you. Meeting the fear and befriending it, instead of disowning or hiding it, and remembering that your desires and your essential expression are far more important than your fear.
  4. Just show up. I have always had a planner and perfectionist in me, but at the end of the day, there is only so much one can do to prepare. In my experience, letting go of the need to control, breathing into the moment, and being present with other humans is far more powerful than saying/doing everything perfectly. What’s more, trusting that the preparation we’ve done is “enough” is what enables us to show up fully. On the day of the event, I actively moved through fears of not being “prepared enough,” by making a commitment to connecting fully with each woman in the room. After all, this is where the magic is. And showing up in the moment felt so connected, alive, and authentic that any “gap” in my planning honestly didn’t matter at all. The more we are willing to have fun and to meet the moment, the easier it is to trust that regardless of whether we really feel like it, everything is always going perfectly according to plan.
  5. All parts welcome. In a world where we are so conditioned to categorize, label, and measure ourselves and others through the paradigms of good and bad, right and wrong, success and failure, it can be really easy to feel a powerful limitation around what we say, do, or create. Fear of falling into the perceived “bad,” “wrong,” and “failure” categories can really keep us playing small. These past five weeks, I’ve really been playing in the energy of “Yes AND” as I’ve shown up for loving and acknowledging all parts of my experience. “Yes, I am nervous, AND I am excited.” “Yes, I feel scared, AND I am prepared.” “Yes, I want to be seen, AND I feel scared to be seen.” The list goes on and on. Because I allowed space for the fullness of my emotional experience leading up to the event, I was able to show up on Saturday as having owned all of it…more fully me. In fully embracing myself AND my fears, I was able to show up in a way that I haven’t ever before in front of such a large group: fully, authentically, unapologetically me.

There’s so much more I could share, and for now, I’m going to trust that this is enough.

I’d love to know what’s resonating for you. Do you see yourself in what I’ve shared? How can you enjoy your journey even more fully and let yourself just be? Where are you ready to own more of your experience so that you can show up as even more of yourself? What kind of support are you ready and willing to call in to facilitate that shift?

with love,

P.S. I plan to share more about this intimately with you in the next few weeks, and if what I am sharing is resonating for you and you’re craving the time and space to really deeply and more fully unapologetically own all of who you are, and receive guidance on how to be-friend your fears, clarify your vision in your life, and feel deeply satisfied in your connection to your essence and body and self, then I invite you to check out my upcoming retreat in Ojai. Here’s the link and more details:http://melanieelkin.com/retreat-2018/

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