My best friend Marian and I aren’t related by blood, yet we share an aunt. Her name is “Aunt Liz”.
Marian and I send each other stuff we think Aunt Liz would like, we talk about what’s going on in Aunt Liz’s life, we tag each other in Aunt Liz’s comments section, and if we’re feeling stuck about something we ask, “What would Aunt Liz do?”
So, who is “Aunt Liz”? None other than author/speaker/activist/fairy-godmother Elizabeth Gilbert.
Yup, that Liz Gilbert; the one who wrote “Eat, Pray, Love” but also a BUNCH of other really beautiful and important stuff that you should check out if you haven’t yet.
Marian and I have both had a mutual admiration (OK, obsession) with Liz Gilbert since college. We talked about her so much over the years that eventually we started referring to her as “Aunt Liz”.
So last year, when Aunt Liz announced she was going to be heading a conference called “Brave Magic” with her bff Cheryl-freaking-Strayed (yes, the one who wrote “Wild”, but again, a BUNCH of other amazing stuff you should read!) we immediately texted each other and said something along the lines of,
OMFG WE HAFTA GO HOLY SH*TBALLZZZZZZZZZZZ ASKJAHSDFKJASDFLKHWKAFNKDFNL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We literally booked the tickets within an hour of them being posted and giddily looked forward to the weekend in September when we would get to bask in the wisdom of Aunt Liz.
And bask. we. DID.
But not in the way I thought we would.
See, Liz and Cheryl are both badass women authors. Marian and I are both writers. We kinda booked the weekend thinking it would be about writing and creativity, which, in part, it was…but mostly it was a weekend full of exercises designed to make you get REALLY FREAKING HONEST with yourself.
Lemme tell ya, there is nothing more jarring than getting *REALLY* honest with yourself.
And more than that, there is no scarier feeling that being fully honest with yourself and sharing what you find with others.
Every day there would be a session run by Liz, and one run by Cheryl. They were 3-hours long total. Most of the exercises went something like this:
There would be a topic or theme of the session that Liz or Cheryl would speak about. Then, we would whip out our notebooks and we would write some type of letter;
– A letter to ourselves
– A letter to ourselves as a child
– A letter to someone we need to forgive
– A letter to our fear
– A letter to our anger
– A letter to our creativity…
And so on.
And then, after we purged ourselves of all these thoughts and feelings and poured them out onto paper, we were encouraged to turn to a stranger and read them aloud.
I have never been more scared of anything in my entire life.
But you know what? There’s something very freeing about shining a light on the ugliest, most vulnerable parts of yourself. There is GREAT POWER in naming your thoughts and feelings, good and bad.
Aunt Liz and Mama Cheryl gave me a really amazing gift that weekend: the gift of a measurable, do-able exercise that I can go back to whenever I feel stuck, unmotivated, depressed, confused, scared, wired, whatever.
That’s why this year, in lieu of a “Resolution”, instead I’m gonna make myself a cup of tea, curl up in my comfies, turn off my phone and write myself some letters.
I know most “online Entrepreneurs” are probably trying to sell you on the idea of resolutions right now (probably to buy their stuff – which is totally fine). But in the spirit of being honest with myself (and with you!) I’ll come right out and say I hate New Year’s resolutions.
Besides the grim statistics (less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them) they make me feel depressed. Why? Because I know I’m not going to work out 4x’s a week, meditate every day, stop watching trash TV (I mean, The Bachelor comes back next week, guys, c’mon), etc. etc.
So if you’re like me and feel icky about the idea of setting resolutions, I highly encourage you to try the exercise of getting honest with yourself about where you *really* want to go and who you *really* want to be next year.
Grab a notebook and a pen and just start with:
Dear (Your Name Here),
…See what comes out. I bet it will surprise you.
Here’s some prompts if you feel stuck:
– I’m really proud of you for…
– It’s okay that…
– We never really talked about…
– You’re scared of…
– My favorite thing about you is…
– Have you noticed that you…
So, here’s to being honest with ourselves and with each other at the start of this New Year! I’m here if you ever want to share.