WALK THE PATH FOR 21 DAYS WITH ME AS YOUR GUIDE
I AM AUDREY GORDON
I never wanted to be a writer. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a Supreme Court judge. I had a deep desire to see justice in this world and I viewed judges as wise counselors whose job it was to uphold the morals of humanity, to give a voice to the voiceless and when two people just couldn’t agree on something, to mediate and bring peace and harmony.
But early on, I discovered that my destiny didn’t involve a bench or a robe and that my natural strength lies in communicating ideas and concepts. As a designer, I use images. As a marketer, words. I am now using my skills to start a dialogue about what matters most to me: understanding ourselves as we come to know God. I am picking up where religion has left off, by sharing my own personal experiences and anecdotes to remind us of the valuable lessons and stories we still need to hear.
That desire for justice I had as a child remains the same: to uphold the morals of humanity, to help others speak their truth, and find peace. Turns out, it’s an inside job.
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” – Jill Jackson Miller
When my business partner Michelle and I launched our company I AM. creative, almost a year ago, we noticed right away that the needs of our clients and potential clients reached far greater than a brand strategy, mission statement, logo and website. I am not sure if it’s the nature of the mind/body/spirit industry in which we serve, or the fact that a lot of the people we meet with are leaving a stable career to pursue their passion – regardless, the one common thread is that our client base is comprised of what Forbes has called the new feminist movement, they are all entrepreneurs.
Let me first give a shout out to the few men we have worked with, but let’s be honest, we are surrounded by lady love. Women ages twenty-something to 60+ have logged one-on-one time with us in pursuit of what has not only been a clear action plan to get their new business off the ground, or announce a new product, but unbeknownst to them, they have also been seeking permission. Permission for what? Permission to be who they long to be, permission to go for their dreams, permission to be seen and heard and supported unconditionally.
What comes to mind immediately is one of my all time favorite passages from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
I AM. creative was created out of a desire to be fabulous and talented. We too wanted to rise and shine and manifest the glory, for ourselves and for others. Fortunately, Michelle and I saw the reflection of light within each other to roll the dice, pass go and play full out. We see that some of the people we meet with aren’t so lucky to have that support and aren’t comfortable with only the whisper of knowing. Unfortunately we sometime have to jump before we find out we had wings the whole time.
As we continue to lovingly support our clients and the community, we are commonly giving the same advice, well Michelle is, this is her favorite one liner, “The time is now!”. It is so true though. Every workshop or seminar I attend, that is the call to action. There is only now and there is no better time. To quote Dr. Wayne Dyer, “Excuses be gone”, Marie Forleo, “…keep going for your dreams, the world needs that special gift that only you have” and Tony Robbins, “Never leave the site of inspiration without taking action”. Powerful!
But words and thoughts are only that and the fear can be stagnating. Being retreat junkies ourselves, Michelle and I think that’s nothing a little personal mastery work can’t fix. A little Tony Robbins’s Unleash the Power Within, Landmark Forum, Donny Epstein’s Ultimatum or even Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. There are thousands upon thousands of programs, books and workshops and it’s all the same dish made with their own unique spices. The main ingredients; loving yourself, deeply, truly, madly; trusting your own inner truth; believing in a power greater than yourself and then having a routine in which you make these things a daily practice. As soon as you even begin to explore what that next level of transformation looks like for yourself, there is always an awakening. You will notice then, the permission has been granted to you, by you, for you, unconditionally.
In whatever stage a client arrives, we will meet them there. If it requires a little hand holding, a little tissue passing or maybe it’s already time for high-fives and high kicks – we love the process. We thoroughly enjoy watching stars shine and are so grateful our job is to help make them more brilliant and gorgeous.
(This blog post was written in February of 2013. I am no longer with I AM. creative, but wisdom shared still stands).
I was born in 1973. As a child, going to church on Sundays and Holidays was something we just did. My father was more religious then my mom, so we ended up in a Catholic Church rather than the Lutheran one my mom didn’t really connect with. I was baptized, had my First Communion and was Confirmed. Confirmed as what? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you, but my guess it has something to do with coming of age. Fast forward to high school when going to church was more of a thing we did at Christmas, I remember the moment we looked at each other as a family and decided that this just wasn’t something that served us anymore. During the Christmas Eve service, after we received communion, the people of the congregation wheeled out a birthday cake and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. The Gordon Family was out.
I grew up in a pretty religiously diverse town compared to some. It seemed it was equally Jewish as it was Christian, but I don’t know the true stats on that. Mostly I remember in 7th and 8th grade going to a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah every other weekend, getting to wear a new dress each time and playing spin the bottle at the after parties. As an adult I’ve gone to a couple of church weddings and recently went to one in a Temple. (Side note: for purposes here on out in this blog post, what I am talking about does not apply at all to that wedding.) Lots of traditional type mass services, big beautiful white dresses and readings with the occasional sermons that resonate with me. When I am visiting my mom these days during the Holidays, I enjoy taking her to church. It sort of reminds me of my childhood and creates a sense of community and celebration which is a special experience that I get to share with her. Reflecting back, when I review all of these religious bench marks and traditions I have witnessed in life, I keep coming up with the same question. Where was God in all of this?
Maybe it was my short attention span or my low reading comprehension SAT testing scores that kept me from getting it, or maybe it was the way that these Priest’s and Rabbi’s spoke about God, but having a true understanding of what God is didn’t come to me or even interest me until I found it on my own in my mid 20’s. I wasn’t in a church, I wasn’t in a Temple and I wasn’t tripping on acid. I actually think at the time I was considering myself agnostic and didn’t think of God much at all. I was however, a year or 2 into a journey that was just about “finding myself”. I had moved from NYC to San Francisco because I was miserable and wanted to make sure I was “me” because of my choices, not because of my friends, my family and my socio-economic environment. I wanted to make sure that the 25 year old I saw in the mirror who was heartbroken, miserable and beyond being done with it all, was everything she could be — that having successfully created the illusion of having it all; an amazing social life, a sweet job at a design studio in SOHO and killer apartment in Chelsea and still being disappointed with life, was how it was supposed to be. I remember writing in my journal, “This life is so pathetic, I can’t believe I actually have to live it”.
The idea of moving to San Francisco came to me one afternoon on the beach, just like that. I had a beach house with a bunch of friends on Fire Island for the summer (I know, I know… horrible life) and announced to my friends late one afternoon, on the train ride back into the city, that I was going to move. I had been praying for help, crying a lot and was also seeing a therapist. It only took 3 months of therapy and the support of an adult other then my parents, to give me the guts to make the decision. At this point, while I had been praying to a slightly less structured God of my childhood, “he” was still no where to be found and had nothing to do with any of this. An escape plan had been hatched and in January of 2000 I left everything I knew to be true behind as I stepped onto a plane to a city where I knew 3 people, had no job and no place to live.
A Priest, a Rabbi and a Life Coach walk into a bar…. Part II
When I moved to San Francisco in the beginning of 2000, it didn’t take me long to settle in and get a glimpse of an alternate reality that existed on the other side of the country. While my first year or 2 in the bay area were a struggle, I eventually found my people, a great freelance design career and a type of chiropractic work that eventually lead me to God. Wait? Did I loose you there? I know… what? Yes, Network Chiropractic (NSA – Network Spinal Analysis), the work of Donny Epstein was the impetus of my spiritual journey.
I was working with a Creative Director in the Marina and one day while I was straightening up before I was headed out to work, I was in the living room and was about to move the coffee table over, didn’t even touch it and my back went out. I fell to the floor, face down and laid there for a while thinking I’d be there until my roommate came home from work which was about 5 hours later. I managed to crawl on my elbows over to the phone to call my client and told her I could barley move. She immediately told me to call “her guy”. I buzzed over to the offices of Dr. Peter Fisk and they told be to get there when I could. Once I arrived, on my own, in tears, I sat with Dr. Peter in a room and he asked me a series of questions. The trigger for me was a basic one – – what’s been going on in your life lately? As I opened my mouth to explain that it had only been a few months since my roommate Mark Jones had died tragically, the energy in the whole room shifted. I could feel the heaviness in my heart and sadness consume me.
“The body weeps the tears the eyes refuse to shed.” – Donny Epstein
It was about 5 minutes into the car ride home from my first visit with Dr. Peter that the pain started to subside. I had a follow-up visit a week later and my back felt fine, so that was my last visit, or so I thought. A little over a year later after returning from my parents house for the Holidays, my back was killing me again. I went in to see Dr. Peter and we decided to try a longer term treatment package that was aimed at working on a few of my other physical ailments as well, one of them being vertigo. I knew I was where I needed to be and felt I had found a community and holistic practice that was nurturing, supportive and more aligned with my principles of wellness, which still hadn’t really been defined at that point. Network Chiropractic is not like other forms of Chiropractic. There is no cracking or popping… it’s a series of gentle touches along the spine. What seems to be a process that brings you deeper into your body, in the long term helps you loose your attachment to your body and all the stories that go along with it.
A year or so into care, the small life changes started to happen. I quit smoking, started a yoga practice and began the exploration of personal mastery. It wasn’t until started connecting to something that was greater than myself.
We no longer need to go to church or temple to fulfill our need for community. It is often filled by the urban tribes that we create and/or the extended families we have. We can also join book clubs, meet-up groups for almost any hobby… there are endless ways to make friends and meet people with similar interests who can support you. NGO’s and non-profits have replaced the role of the church/temple in th need for spiritual guidance is still there, but the roles have aren’t being filled by priests and rabbi’s anymore – – the life coach is the new
OK. So, it’s an almond milk shake and its more of a protein shake, and I suppose it eventually can bring boys to my yard. But what I know for sure, the shake I make every morning for breakfast brings me a daily dose of good stuff and regular BM’s. Are you thinking to yourself ‘Did she just say “BM”‘? Yes, I did and yes, I am referring to my poop. If you’ve had the pleasure of knowing me for a long time, you know I am unfiltered and will occasionally discuss the joys of a daily BM and how upsetting it is to me when I don’t have one. I’ve talked to a lot of people about how important it is, especially if you are a meat eater, not eating organic and if your diet consists of mainly processed, packaged foods. Imagine all of that just sitting in your gut, rotting, wreaking havoc on your body. That junk needs to move.
I am not going to go into the science of it, I’ll let the lovely people at the Chopra Center give you a brief Ayurvedic lesson on the importance of a properly functioning digestive system http://www.chopra.com/agni. What I do want to share with you is a great recipe that I got years ago from the lovely Debbie Ford. I’ve typed it up so many times and have shared it with many friends, old and new. People always ask for it, so now you can have it too. I am not really into supplements, and I try to eat my suggested daily servings of fruits and veggies, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. I’ll drink a green juice too when I can get it, but this way I can start my day off covered, for the most part. Her recipe is extensive and can get expensive. What I suggest is starting off with the full monty and remove what you feel is excessive. I’m including my version of it as well that has served me well. She calls it a love potion. I like that.
• Chocolate Soy Dream
• Equal amount of Vanilla Rice Dream
• Ripe bananas (or frozen bananas if you like your shake cold)
• 1 scoop of organic fresh or frozen berries
• 4 heaping teaspoons of organic cacao nibs (I use David Wolfe’s cacao nibs. Cacao is supposed to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet.)
• 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (I like chocolate. You can use any kind you like.)
• 1 big heaping handful of fresh spinach (It doesn’t seem like a likely partner, but you’ve got to get your greens in.)
• 1 big heaping scoop of Vitamineral Green (Be careful not to put too much of this in. You can ruin the whole thing and make it taste too green.)
• Some organic shelled hemp seed (Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and Omega-3s. The girls at VitaLife and my friend Cheryl Richardson, another queen of green drink, swear by it.)
• Some good water
Blend the ingredients for a minute. And voila, you have health and happiness in a glass. If you’re looking for more love, more passion and more inner and outer strength, this is a worthy recipe.
Read her post about it here: http://shadowblog-df.blogspot.com/2009/05/love-potion.html
• 1/2 banana
• handful of strawberries
• handful of spinach
• vanilla almond milk (I use unsweetened and then add a little agave, but if you use regular, you don’t need the agave) I use around 3/4 – 1 cup
• scoop of Amazing Grass Green Superfood, chocolate flavor
• 2 scoops hemp protein plus fiber*** (that’s the good stuff)
• hemp seed when I have them
• 1/4 cup water