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From Broken to Badass Step 3 - Release

Welcome back for step 3 of the From Broken to BADASS series, Release!

You’ll recall, step 1 discussed the critical importance of rest and allowing ourselves to let go of non-essential responsibilities when we’re recovering from a painful setback.

In step 2 we committed our energy to unearthing and refocusing on what matters most to us, our driving purpose, our WHY.

One of the unifying themes of both of these steps is realizing and HONORING what's at the core of who we are, what we value most, and what we want to GROW in our lives.

As I mentioned, what we focus on in our lives grows, so placing our focus on what we WANT, rather than what we DON’T want, is key.

How easy is it to allow thoughts of guilt for things we screwed up, or thoughts of resentment toward people who have hurt us, thoughts of worry about the future or thoughts of lack when finances are tight. Thoughts of our lack of fitness or insecurity about our bodies, thoughts of concern for what others think of us...

The list of the thoughts that take up precious space in our beautiful mind goes on and on. But when we stop to really analyze those thoughts, we realize that the vast majority of our thoughts are of things we DON’T want.

So everywhere we look we see more of those things we don't want, leaving little room for the things we DO WANT.

Here's where Step 3 of From Broken to BADASS comes into play:


Again, such a simple concept in theory, but not so simple to implement.

Settle in my friend, this is a long one. I’ll try to make it as short as I can, but there is so much powerful stuff here!

And most of us have a lot to release.

We might understand the need to release the hurtful, unhelpful thoughts, habits, people and commitments in our lives, but it's a whole different challenge to actually do it. But releasing what holds us back is CRITICAL, if we want to RISE into our true power.

Remember, progress not perfection. Every little bit of release helps, and you’ll find as you release more and more, the snowball effect takes over. Your eyes open to so many unhelpful things in your life, and releasing them becomes so much easier. In some cases, even effortless. In time.

And remember, you don’t have to commit to letting go of something forever, just while you’re building yourself back up. Once you feel completely reconnected to your power, then you can decide whether to completely release or hold onto some of these things. (Though you may find you’ve actually outgrown many of them in the process.)

So where do we start in this process of releasing?

First, we need to get a good, honest look at the things in our lives that are draining our energy, that are NOT serving our WHY.

Take a moment now and re-write your WHY at the top of a fresh page in your notebook.

Now, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to clear your mind, then open your eyes and re-read your WHY.

Without thinking our analyzing your words, write down everything that is getting in the way of you living your WHY. Everything that distracts your mind or your actions; everything that feels cloudy, heavy, weighing you down as you try to focus on what brings you fulfillment.

This might be negative people who offer unsolicited advice or criticism or habits that drain us (wine was a big one for me). It could be commitments you’ve made that you dread, or even clutter in your home or surroundings that distracts you and bogs down your energy.

This one is often overlooked, but when we have too much in our homes to take care of, there’s a constant subconscious drain on our energy. Each time we try to rest or focus, our eyes take in everything screaming for our attention. As a result, our minds become divided, clouded and unfocused.

So get to it! Set a timer for 5 minutes and don’t put your pen down until the timer goes off. And if it goes off and you’re still writing, keep writing! The point is to get it all out.

Deep down, your mind knows what’s holding you back, what you need to release.

In your heart you know what’s not working in your best interest. Write it all down. Don’t judge or edit. Remember, you can shred the list when you’re done! Go!

There it is. You now have a list of the primary things that are keeping you from rising into your true power. Identifying them is the first step.

So, how do we release them?

It's all about momentum. Even a tiny release frees up energy, and that energy gives us more energy to continue to identify and release even more! So don't let this process overwhelm you.

The four primary areas of release that I want to focus on here are: Surroundings, Commitments, Habits and People.

My advice is to choose the one that feels easiest for you and focus there first. Once you feel stronger in releasing those things, move on to the next easiest category for you.

Category 1: Releasing SURROUNDINGS

For our purposes here, I’ll focus on our home, though workspaces also have a huge impact on our subconscious minds. If you find this is the case for you, just expand your efforts to your workspace as well.

For some people, releasing things from the home is terrifying. For others, like me, it’s the most liberating feeling in the world.

Start easy.

Cruise around your home with a bag and literally toss anything that upsets you or is useless. If you haven’t done this before, you may need a few bags. If anything you come upon makes you pause, leave it for now. We're looking to build momentum here. Just toss the easy stuff.

(Side note: In order to maintain peace in the home, it's best not to toss anything that belongs to someone else without their permission.)

Once you finish, quickly sort through the bag and decide what to pitch, what to recycle, and what to donate. Then toss the trash and take the donation bag to the church or thrift store IMMEDIATELY. Don’t stash it in your garage or closet.

Release it from your possession.

Then rest. The last thing we want is for this process to add stress.

You will find, even with this quick purge, you’ll feel lighter and even a little more focused.

Continue this process, going deeper each time as you feel stronger. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This little book is a game changer. The main idea in the book is that if something in your home doesn’t bring you joy or isn’t useful, let it go. This allows us to honor and love what’s left.

For me, when something does the opposite- when it brings back bad memories or upsets me in any way, it goes! See ya!

Our homes are meant to be our sanctuaries, places that lift our spirits and allow us peace. Of course if you have children or a rowdy partner, peace is a relative term but you get my point.

If you commit to this practice, you will find, over time, you also become more selective of what you bring into your home. Your space is precious. Surround yourself with things you love, things that bring you joy, motivate and inspire you. And let the rest go.

Category 2: Releasing COMMITMENTS

Maybe this is an easier place for you to start than your surroundings, and if so, start here.

What are you doing out of sense of obligation that you secretly dread? In your work life, social life, parenting life, home life... I'm talking here about things that aren't required, dinner parties you don't enjoy, committees you've signed up for out of obligation that your heart isn't in... you get the idea.

When my kids were little, I volunteered for every field trip, class snack, project and carpool. I have friends who THRIVE on these things. I did not. I did them because I thought that’s what “good” moms were supposed to do, but I secretly dreaded them.

As I released those commitments one by one, I realized, since those things had felt like weights to me, I felt lighter around my kids. And that lightness translated into my having more energy and joy when I was with them. So I was actually able to feel like a “good” mom without all those commitments.

Sure, I still helped out when I could, but I no longer pressured myself into saying yes to every request.

There is so much power in the word “no.”

Perhaps for you the commitments look different, but the idea behind them is the same. If they are not absolutely necessary and don’t bring you joy, politely offer to help find a replacement so you can focus your precious energy in places that serve your heart, your WHY.

What commitments can you release?

Category 3: Releasing HABITS

This one is a doozie. We have so many habits that pull our attention from what matters most to us.

Let me be clear; I’m not talking about the little things we do that bring us a moment of peace (hello iPhone solitaire). What I’m talking about are the things that throw our energy out of balance.

These could be habitually checking social media or email, plopping down in front of the TV for a little too long each night, or stress eating. For me, wine was my distraction of choice. Especially when life felt too heavy.

Some habits are helpful, like exercising each morning or having morning rituals before we start our day.

But others, like the ones I mentioned above, add very little, and in most cases actually detract from our experience of life and the time and energy we have available for what truly matters to us.

These are the focus of our release.

When I gave up my nightly wine, I won’t lie, there as a bit of discomfort at the beginning, because it had become very strongly associated with winding down and letting go of the stress of the day. But I started to realize I actually felt more stressed and unfocused the morning after my wine.

So I committed to the work of releasing that habit, and I replaced it with new habits that help me relax AND help me feel even more focused the next day. (If you haven’t tried golden milk, I HIGHLY recommend it! So many benefits on so many levels!) Side note: I use oat milk in it instead of dairy milk and it's amazing!

Social media is perhaps the sneakiest habit for most of us, and breaking this habit is tricky. Especially now, when we don’t get to interact with friends like we used to, social media can help us feel connected to the people we enjoy.

But when checking in becomes a compulsion, when we realize our loved ones in the same room are trying to talk to us and we aren’t hearing them, when we begin to compare our everyday lives to the highlight reels of the people we follow, this is when this habit has become toxic.

So how do we release this habit?

The most effective way I’ve found, short of permanently unplugging, is to take a temporary clean break. 10 days works for me, but it could be shorter or longer for you. Find what works and commit to doing it whenever you feel yourself being pulled back into the negative aspects of social media. And then when you do return, stay aware. Set limits.

A HUGE trick is this: Don’t check socials or email before breakfast. Period. Just don’t do it. Allow your mind and spirit to awaken to the day, focusing on what and who truly matter right in front of you.

For the sake of brevity, I’ve touched on two of the more common habitual distractions, but draining habits take many forms. Releasing those habits is critical to free the space in our lives for the things that lift us up.

What habits sprang to your mind as you read this? Identifying our distracting habits is half the work! Now, what can you do to release or tame those habits in your life?

Category 4: Releasing PEOPLE

This is the area most of us have the hardest time with. Identifying the people in our lives who weigh us down can be painful. These are the people who give unsolicited advice or undermine our confidence, or who are perhaps even toxic.

Our relationships provide the most powerful opportunities for growth in our lives.

This bears repeating:

Our relationships provide the most powerful opportunities for growth in our lives.

As such, even the hardest relationships bear gifts.

But sometimes, once we’ve learned the lessons we’re meant to share with someone, the energy between us becomes stagnant, or even toxic.

The simplest way I’ve found to identify people who are depleting me is by noticing my energy after an interaction with them. When I have toxic people in my life, even after a neutral conversation, I feel utterly drained. I can’t focus and sometimes even feel like I need a nap!

One of the most powerful ways to infuse power and joy into our life is by surrounding ourselves with people who ADD to, not deplete, our energy.

And releasing, or at least creating strong boundaries with people who deplete us is key.

We need to create space in our lives for the people who support us, by taking our energy back from those who don’t.

I want to share with you the number one most powerful tool I’ve found in releasing the energy I have wrapped up in people who don’t serve my highest good. It's called a cord-cutting meditation and it is so powerful. There are many versions of this particular meditation, but Carolyne Bennett's version on the Insight Timer app is my favorite.

Warning, this meditation can sometimes get emotional, but remember, the only way through the process of release is to experience it, then let it go. I've repeated this meditation daily for weeks with some people in my life, those with whom the connection was strongest. But eventually I am able to free myself of the toxic energy, even if the person remains in my life.

There are so many other ways of releasing negative people from our lives, from abrupt cutting off of contact, to simply setting very strong boundaries.

Just know that it’s ok to NOT welcome everyone into your inner circle.

And if someone is undermining your power or wellbeing, you don’t have to apologize for setting boundaries or taking care of YOU by releasing them.

RELEASE is critical to our comeback from broken to BADASS. Even just reading this and simply allowing your mind to consider all the things that distract your attention and drain your energy, you’ll likely have a huge realization of how much time and energy you will free up by releasing even a fraction of the things that have been holding you back.

The work of release can be exhausting, so please revisit the first step, REST, as needed. Be gentle with yourself; this is powerful work.

Next week we begin the process of REBUILDING, so rest up, my friend!

Xx Jen

As always, if you know of someone who has been struggling, please share this article with her. Thank you!

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