We were trapped… my family, friends, and I were all trapped together in a dark, dank dungeon of a medieval castle. There was wailing, howling in fear, tempers flaring, people pushing other people as we all wondered what the future held. Fights broke out among us as one cast blame upon the other for our predicament. Exhausted from being in the middle of the ongoing drama, I decided to explore the cell… looking carefully at each of the bars, the stone walls beyond, the dim light that cast a yellow pall on all of our faces. I pushed gently against the cell door, and a breath went through me… IT WASN’T LOCKED! Is that possible? Has this door been unlocked the entire time?
“We can get out! We can leave! Everyone, this door isn’t locked!” I said. Nobody seemed to be listening. “Please, we don’t have to be here, THE DOOR ISN’T LOCKED!” The fighting continued. Time passed and my beloveds continued to cry, fight, and give up in despair. Nobody would listen. For years I stood at the door of that cell, trying to convince the others, beg them, show them that we could leave. Nothing changed. Then one day, with a heavy heart and extra dose of courage, I said “I have to go”. I was leaving with or without them, and I would leave the door open if anyone wanted to follow.
I pushed the door to the cell open wide and stepped out into an opening that led to a long, dark hallway. There were 2 guards standing against the wall at the end of the hallway and I thought “this will surely be when I die”. With my heart in my throat, I started walking down the hallway toward the guards. It was the only way out. They were talking, and as I drew closer they looked up briefly, acknowledged me with a nod, and then continued to talk. I walked past them in amazement. They didn’t stop me. They barely even noticed that I had walked by. Why had they been there if not to stop me from leaving? I worked my way up a circular stone stairway in the damp, cold castle. As I got to the top, there were two more guards. “Oh, this was a trick. They let me get this far just to lead me to believe I could be free, and now I will die” The second set of guards nodded, smiled, said nothing, and let me pass. I just had to keep walking. In the distance I saw 2 giant wooden doors. A ray of light peeking through the crack between the doors told me that I had reached the entrance. Do I dare? Do I push these heavy doors open and face whatever lies beyond? Yes. I had to know.
I pushed the doors open with all of my might, and there it was. Before me was a huge, open field of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen, beaming with color in the sunlight. Above me, billowy white clouds floated effortlessly in a crystalline blue sky, and in the distance giant trees swayed and danced together with their leaves shimmering like tiny diamonds in the breeze. I could breathe. Really breathe. It was exquisite. I was free.
I could have left at any time. The door was never locked, and the guards never meant to harm me. It was my own fear, my imagination, the rules we had made up together that we were living by, and my not wanting to leave anyone behind in their suffering that kept me in my own personal prison for so many years.
No, I was never really physically imprisoned with my family and friends, thank God. But mentally, psychologically, and emotionally I was imprisoned with false beliefs, unhealthy family agreements, hard wiring from my childhood, doubts about the possibilities, and decisions I had made long ago that held me back from exploring my full potential. It felt as if I was being held in jail.
This is the new journey I am embarking on. I am finally ready, still with my heart in my throat at times and legs trembling, to walk past the inner guards of my life and find out what is out there, what is possible, what beauty lies ahead with my hand in God’s hand and my eyes toward the future. I have to find out. Hold my hand, if you want to, and together we’ll begin our adventure and journey toward freedom. I love you!
I am beginning a campaign for love. It starts now, but this campaign will go far beyond November 3rd and beyond the election of my lifetime. This campaign will reach beyond a single country and political idea. This is a global campaign to remember who we really are, deep beneath the hurts, the anger, the misunderstandings, and the agendas.
This is a campaign to challenge those of us who remember to take the actions described in 1 Corinthians 13… “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. LOVE NEVER FAILS….. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
In my short film, “The Face, a film by Elizabeth Browning” the opening lines say “…the battle will end when you stop fighting. ‘Stop fighting?!?’ Her tribe had always fought. How else does one remain victorious?” There is a way to emerge victorious. There is a better way. Love is a decision, an action, a verb, a doing… not always a feeling. And yet, this I know… feelings follow actions. Will you join me? LOVE NEVER FAILS. My hand in yours dear friends!
It is September 27th, 2020 and I am BEGINNING AGAIN…again! No more waiting for the perfect time, the perfect format, even the perfect content…. just beginning with a commitment to LIVE IN LOVE TODAY!
This actually started a week before my 65th birthday. I was walking alone in the woods in angst over turning 65. I was talking passionately to God: “I don’t get it! My whole life I’ve been waiting to do something really special… that special thing I came here to do… waiting to step into my full potential! And this time next week I’ll be 65 and I’m still waiting!!! There is so much I still want to do, to create, to say! Did I miss it? Is it too late? What exactly is that thing anyway? WHAT HAPPENED!?!” (I’ve actually done a lot in my life… but that wasn’t the point (-;). Then God answered. “Elizabeth, I don’t think the problem is that you have missed it. I think the challenge has been that you have missed so many of the moments along the way waiting to do that spectacular thing. I highly recommend that for this birthday you decide not to miss any more of the moments. And no, it isn’t too late.”
I stopped on the path right there in the woods and looked. Everything was glistening. The dew drops from the morning rain made the trees look as if they were covered in diamonds. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and smelled fresh pine and wood all around me. This was one of those moments. Then I saw it. In front of me were 2 huge trees framing an opening just ahead, and it looked like a portal. I said “I’m going through that portal and beginning again. And this time, I am going to pay attention to the exquisite moments of life itself all along the way.” I had one more question before I started. “What exactly am I here to do anyway?” The answer came. “Love. Live in Love. That is what you are really here to do”. So I stepped through that portal and have decided… I will commit to love. I will dance love, sing love, speak love, write love, live in love. And by the way, at 65, I’ve also decided to retire from doing anything I don’t want to do. The new adventure begins!
January 1, 2018
HAPPY NEW YEAR! HAPPY NEW BEGINNING! HAPPY EVERYTHING!
After 3 years, I am returning to my blog, Olympic Luminaries. I want a place to share with those of us who choose to shine a light in the world and work toward change as if we were athletes in training for the Olympics. I first started this blog to teach, to share wisdom, to lead others. Now I am here to learn how to do this amazing journey myself. This year I will lead by example, and I invite you to come with me… which could be a hot mess or a glorious adventure (or both), but nevertheless, it is my turn to “be the change you wish to see in the world” (thank you, Gandhi, for that brilliant quote). It is now time that I learn what I’ve been teaching others for years. Feel free to add insights, inspiration, ideas, or funny stories.
If you don’t already know me, I am 62 years old, I feel like I should be about 27, and in truth, my life is eternal. I am a filmmaker, actress, acting coach, public speaker, small business owner, entrepreneur, mother, wife, and caregiving daughter of my 96-year-old mother who has been living with us for 17 years. Sounds like a lot, right? It is all true. I have done all of those things. Some of them I could list on one page the number of times I have done them, and a few I have made a career out of. But here is the thing. I’ve been playing small. I’ve been hiding out. I’ve been waiting for some unknown miracle to happen and for someone to tap me on the head and say “Okay, now you have permission to step boldly out into the light and really go for it”. Well, I am officially tapping myself this year. It is time to go for it. It is time for all of us to really go for it (especially if you have any love or light to bring in the world).
Time is too short to spend any more time struggling with the tedious, self-induced issues that have kept me stuck and playing small for most of my life. What will others think? What if it doesn’t work? What if I fail? Well…. let’s find out. I have gifts to be shared, stories to tell, trips to take, friends to meet, and so much love to offer the world. I have opinions, ideas, longings, and life to be lived. I know that you do too. So let’s just do it!
Today, I start anew. I woke up to the image of my mother on the nanny cam, lying there, eyes open, waiting for me to bring her breakfast in bed. (Yes, she is spoiled and grateful). I sighed and started with the same old tired thought “Poor me, the moment I get up I have to start to take care of her”. Then I stopped it. No! NEW YEAR, NEW MINDSET! So I am starting with gratitude and committed to controlling my thinking upon rising. Thank you, loving God, that my mom is alive and relatively well. Thank you for my warm house, my kids at home for the holidays, my sweet husband, the fact that I get to start a new day and a new year. I will bring her breakfast, spend some quiet time with You, and set a new course. So here I sit, returning to my blog, looking toward a new beginning, and leading from the front this time. Buckle your seatbelts, it is going to be an awesome adventure!
My view from the nannycam:
My view for the future…
I read something really interesting today from John Assaraf:
“Remember that your self worth determines your net worth”
I got to thinking about that…. what is my true sense of self worth…. not what the world says about me, but what I secretly say to myself about me? What is that dialogue with myself based on? How do I change the inner dialogue it if it isn’t as “rich” as I’d like it to be?
Am I kind to myself?
Am I gentle and patient with myself?
Do I pay attention to what I need in terms of my wellbeing?
Do I give to myself what I give to those I care for the most?
What would it look like to fall in love with me?
When I feed myself whole, clean, nourishing food… that’s a beginning.
When I give myself enough sleep rather than drive myself into the ground with work, responsibilities, pressure… that feels pretty yummy.
When I remember that all the problems of the world are not personally my responsibility to handle in a given day… that is really nice!
When I stop to look and see that life holds a much bigger and more beautiful picture than I usually focus on, and that a precious moment of laughter with someone I treasure, or a simple act of kindness makes me feel deeply happy… that’s good.
When I breathe… stop and take in 3 beautiful breaths and give thanks for anything… my ability to taste, see, touch, move… I begin to wake up to me.
I find it interesting that when “an expert in the law” asked Jesus what the greatest commandment of the law was, he answered that there were two… love God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and to love your neighbor as YOURSELF” Maybe that is where a lot of the problem lies… that final piece of the puzzle… LOVE YOURSELF Hmmmmm….
WHAT DOES LOVING YOURSELF LOOK LIKE TO YOU TODAY?
With so much love and respect for you!
It has been a long time since I started this blog with the intention of growing a community of visionaries interested in making a positive and lasting difference on this planet; and wanting to be a shining light of love, hope, and possibilities for others.
Thanks to the http://www.wellnesswindow.org and the lovely Ilana Davidson, I am back! If you want to challenge yourself for 30 days to share some kind of love and inspiration with others, and aren’t up to blogging yourself, please feel free to post your inspirational quotes, thoughts, insights, and love letters to life here. The mere act of having to say something of value each day will help you begin to look at life a little differently. And if you just want to read and enjoy… welcome as well!
We will train together as athletes training for the olympics… but the games we are playing and determined to win are the inner games and the victory will come each and every time we find a way to bring a little more love, compassion, inspiration, and hope to our world. I am going for the gold… how about you?
With love and respect,
The great thing about taking consistent action toward your goal, every day, no matter what… is that things begin to happen! Doors open, people show up, miracles occur! The down side… I don’t have time to keep up with my blog! (-;
Sending you all love wherever you are! Remember to be kind to yourself.
Congratulations Brave Team… we have completed our first 8 full days in training for our special event… Winning The Inner Game!
Time to Check In:
1. I listened to or read something inspiring… not what I had planned or said I would read… but something inspiring or positive or mind changing for 15 minutes each day. Check!
2. I took a daily walk of empowerment and possibility, sometimes just across my living room floor on my way to bed, but powerfully walk I did. Check!
3. I asked at least 2 people every day to take a look at this amazing opportunity we are offering (except for Sunday where I officially asked only one person but I did a lot of other talking that day… it really doesn’t justify anything, but that’s my story and I’m sticking with it (-;). Check (with compassion)
So let’s assess how training went, and please feel free to share your breakthroughs, insights, and wisdom you gain along the way as well. What did I achieve or learn in practicing to become an Olympic Luminary this week? Well, almost every day, I didn’t feel like it. What?!? This was supposed to be exciting, inspiring, fun, and lift me to a whole new level! HOW CAN I NOT FEEL LIKE DOING IT? I don’t know, and the truth is, it doesn’t matter.
I can spend a lot of time contemplating why I don’t always want to do what I know will make a positive difference… or I can just not feel like doing it, and do it anyway. Why do we let how we feel hold so much power over doing something proactive? And at what point will we realize that feelings follow actions, not the other way around?
So here is my big lesson of the week: activity solves most problems.
I don’t feel like it so I spend an hour arguing with myself about whether I’ll do it or not. Then I just pick up the phone, call someone I have that knot in my stomach over, and we have an amazing talk. She is open to hearing what I want to share, she tells me about a school in Florida that might be the ideal school for my son, and we remember how much we have in common. I don’t feel like going out and inspiring a group that might not be as big as I expected (after all, I was up all night with a sick mom and ridiculous leg cramps wah wah wah)… but I go anyway and leave refreshed, excited, and so grateful for the perfect combination of people who showed up.
I hate to say it, but I’m beginning to think that every time I say to myself “I don’t feel like it”… then it is in that very moment that I must do it without delay. Perhaps my mind will decide that if that is the consequence of complaining, it is better to just quiet down and let me get on with my life. Let the inner games begin! Either way, I am going to commit for the next week to continue to DO IT ANYWAY! Serious athletes in training just keep at it, until it gets easier… and then they raise the bar. Who’s in? Game On!
And by the way, I love you all!
Someone said to me today “I don’t know if I have what it takes”. How many of us wonder that throughout our lives? Do I have what it takes to succeed and go to the top of this company? Do I have what it takes to be a great mom or dad? Do I have what it takes to make it to Broadway? And how will we know? What does it take really? Who decides and when? How many of us scare ourselves with imaginary hoops to jump through without ever finding out how hard, or possibly simple it might turn out to be? Are you creating your future based on your past, or will you rewrite your story and create a new future based on a powerful decision today? Anything is possible, and it begins with this moment.
You have what it takes. The question is, will you give what it takes? I have a sign up on my wall that my 92 year old mother wrote for me on a bad day. It reads: “You won’t know if you don’t KEEP GOING!!! I believe in you!!!”
I believe in you! I believe you are capable of greatness beyond anything you have yet imagined. I believe that you have been given gifts to bring to the world and it’s time to play big and step into your light. But you’ll never know if you don’t KEEP GOING! And I don’t mean by testing the waters, or tiptoeing in to see what happens… but go with real commitment, no matter what. Take bold consistent steps and find out what happens. I’ll end tonight with of my favorite quotes:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it.”
Here is my picture of the last two days of “doing the do” (-; Let’s talk about asking. Let’s talk about reaching out to others who don’t understand what the heck we’re doing and the emotional roller coaster ride it can take us on until we break through to personal freedom. Does this feel familiar?
I lovingly ask someone to take a second look at something she wouldn’t listen to 8 months ago, and she says okay. Up Up Up I go! I share with somebody the big picture who then gets excited and grateful that this could be an answer to her financial fears! OMG… we’re getting to the top, I can see everything from up here! I get caught in a weird energetic power struggle with someone… trying to convince her that this isn’t what she thinks it is. She has to get off the phone, I feel icky, she feels icky. I wind up sending a text: “I’m sorry to go on and on about this, I am just overly excited”. Elizabeth, what are you doing? You know better than that! Whooosh, down I go. Calls come in and people are excited and inspired and sharing with others who are now getting excited and inspired as well, and I zoom back up! And on it goes… “I like it!” Yay! “I’m not interested” Ahhhhh! “I love this stuff” WOOO HOOO! “Please tell me this isn’t one of those things” OH NO. LOOP DE LOOP! Day over… Whew! What a ride!
What is this emotional roller coaster we climb onto when we try to share with others something that is important to us? And this goes beyond business. What happens to actors when auditioning, writers presenting their work, students’ offering their work to the teacher, workers presenting to the boss? Why does our joy, peace, and the validity of what we are doing depend on what “they” think about it? If our own minds are often critical and not always rooted in some beautiful truth, wouldn’t it follow that their minds might be much the same?
We are sensitive beings. Sometimes that works for us, sometimes not. I believe that sometimes we share something important and we start to feel their fear, or doubt, or impatience. We actually feel or hear their fear and the problem is, we think it’s our own. Then we get scared too, or doubtful, or just want to get off the ride altogether.
What if we made a commitment to love and honor ourselves and what we’re choosing to do? What if we learned to celebrate our own possibilities, and hold a loving and safe space for everyone else, no matter what their reaction is?
What if we went in to give, and not to get… and what if the only thoughts that really mattered were the ones in your own head? Those are thoughts we can work with. If they’re scared, we think patience. If they’re critical, we think compassion. It they’re not ready, we love them anyway and move on, because someone is waiting for all that we have to bring.
Here is the proposal of the day. Let’s make it our goal to bring love, joy, and well being to whoever we speak to today…. If we are to be luminaries… we have to practice bringing light into dark places and holding it high rather than snuffing it out as soon as someone sneezes.
Please post this up somewhere where you can see it… it is from Shad Helmstetter:
HELPING CHANGE LIVES FOR THE BETTER TAKES DRIVE, BELIEF, DETERMINATION, AND A WILLINGNESS TO STAY WITH IT NO MATTER WHAT! NO ONLY MEANS NOT NOW. WHEN SOMEONE TELLS YOU NO, IT IS NEVER ABOUT YOU. IT IS A SIGN THAT THEY MAY NEED MORE INFORMATION… MAY NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND… CANNOT YET SEE THE BIG PICTURE… OR IS UNCONSCIOUSLY AFRAID TO PROCEED, BUT A NO HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.
AND FOR THE RECORD… IT DOES GET EASIER. I’m going to get off the roller coaster for a while, and head over to The Magic Kingdom! Want to come? I am grateful you are on this journey with me!
With love and so much respect, Elizabeth