Make room for it all.

Last week I told a client struggling with anxiety and depression about a tactic I've come to find very helpful in battling my own anxious and depressed reactions.

I told her to make room for it all.

Often we feel anxious or depressed because we're consciously or subconsciously choosing to hold down or repress or suppress something we are feeling. Maybe we don't feel comfortable feeling it. Maybe it doesn't feel safe to express it. 

So we try to say, "sorry, not now. There's no room for you (feeling) at this moment."

And the feeling doesn't like that. So it waits for another opportunity to be heard and seen and felt. And if we don't make room for it, it demands our attention in other ways. 

Like insomnia. Or illness. Or anxiety. Or depression. Or some other ways.

What happens when we make room for it all? All those feelings we feel and all those thoughts we have? Who wonders that it would horribly scary and horrible? Who wonders if it would work to feel more relief?

Have you tried it? Do you know what would happen?

After years of unconsciously doing other things, I've practiced making room for it all.

I make room for feeling like a failure.

I make room for feeling lonely.

I make room for feeling confident and inspired.

I make room for feeling depressed and rejected.

I make room for feeling uncomfortable in my body one day and completely dysphoric the next. 

I make room for feeling annoyed at opinionated people.

I make room for feeling sadness about racism and sexism and all the other isms.

I make room for feeling hopeless and helpless.

I make room for feeling competent to educate and inspire others toward change.

With each day and month that I practiced this, making room for all of it, I saw that it got easier. It's not easy, but easier. Sometimes I have to sit down to do it because it feels like being on a ship at sea during a massive storm without any Dramamine. Sometimes a few tears fall. Sometimes I need to give myself a pep talk. Sometimes I do nothing and just notice the complicated nature of consciousness and how our minds work.

Deep thoughts by Dillan DiGiovanni. LOL.

The truth I've come to know is that I don't disappear down a big hole. I don't fall apart at the seams. I don't cry forever.

I don't die.

I just feel it and when the wave washes over me, I'm still there. Sitting and breathing. Really doing ok. And, like my client on the coaching call, I actually feel much better. Much lighter. More able to breathe and open my eyes a bit wider. 

Making room for it all actually helps us get better at making more and more room. More room for us leads to making more room for others.

But start with you. Because you make an impact each day on the lives of many people.

Start with making more room for all of what's happening for you. It's a good place to start.



Absolutes are much easier.

Keeping an open mind and allowing anything and everything to be possible at any time is tricky. It really stretches us. 

That's why absolutes are so much easier. And absolutes are what we humans cling to, it's how we're hardwired, so to speak. Absolutes are right/wrong thinking--when we think we are "right" and someone else (or a group) is "wrong". We know best. They are confused. Things should be done "this" way, not that way. 

We surround ourselves with absolutes so we can feel a sense of ground beneath our feet. We invest in absolutes to feel control, to have certainty.

So why don't we ever feel content? Why are we so restless and unfulfilled? Why are we so quick to frustration with others? Why don't our absolutes make the world work better? Why do we still have so much anger, death, loss, violence, and aggression? 

Because without absolutes, what we have is surrender. And many people associate surrender with defeat. And if we're defeated, what will happen to us?!

Maybe we think if we surrender we've given up and we lose. We're failures. We didn't work or try hard enough for the thing we believe in.

Maybe we think if we surrender, something really bad will happen to us.

So we fix so firmly to our beliefs and we see them as right and real and the Truth. 

Have you ever read the story, "Old Turtle and the Broken Truth"? It really inspired my thinking about what we see as good and right and how that actually impacts the world. I sometimes consider reading it for an episode of my podcast. Would you tune in if I did that? Or other books or snippets that might be inspiring?

While absolutes are easier, the wisdom is that there is no real ground there. There is no refuge, no safe space to hide. The absolutes we cling to only seem to make things more challenging because they limit us. And they limit other people. 

They limit what we can be, do and have. They limit how others can speak, think and act. 

And if it's freedom and love that we're after, limiting people and ourselves moves us in the wrong direction. It's the opposite of freedom. It's the opposite of joy.

So, Dillan (you're probably wondering), are you suggesting we just let people do and say whatever the hell they feel like? 

Perhaps, Because if you've noticed, they are doing that anyway--despite your feelings about it. Despite your feeling or thinking and living within your particular absolutes, people just keep peopling.

And it creates a lot of frustration, anxiety, and war. 

What would be possible for you if you lived with fewer absolutes in your life? Would you feel less stress? Less reactivity? Less frustration? Less annoyance? Less limits--first and foremost for yourself--and then for others?

What would that feel like?

What would you be able to do, be or have?




What no one can tell you.

People want clarity and they ask for answers. I'm getting this a lot lately, especially since declaring how important "getting clear" is in my recent TEDx talk.

I'm noticing more and more people asking me for ideas, advice and solutions to areas where they feel stuck in their lives. I mean, I get it. I'm a coach. I help people get unstuck. It's what I do.

So it makes sense that they would come to me seeking help in the form of answers. 

And then some people become incredibly frustrated with me. They realize I don't give answers. Especially to the biggest questions in life:

-how do I quit my job for the dream I have?

-what is my true sexuality and what happens if I express it?

-should I be a vegan or Paleo?

-what kind of exercise is best for me and my body?

I have no clue, I tell them. That's something no one can tell you. For as much as I'd love to market myself as this know-it-all guru-type being who has all the answers (because trust me, that's easy to sell) my integrity won't let me do it. I can't sell some bullshit "four-step formula" to follow or pretend like I'm going to fix your life. 

I have a pretty decent track record of solving my own shit and have inspired some incredible transformations in the lives of my clients who sometimes tell other people about me. That's all I need. 

But my style isn't for everyone and like I said, some people become incredibly frustrated with me when they realize I'm not in the business of selling answers. It happened recently, in fact. I was asked to share some nutrition information and I showed up and did my usual spiel about us all being incredibly different with different resources available to us and how there's no one right way to do anything.

The folks seemed frustrated, maybe even a little annoyed or disappointed. I know why--and it's because most people are used to being told what to do. It makes it easier in a way, right? It takes the risk of failure and rejection out the picture---or at least supports that delusion. If someone tells us what to do, what steps to take, how to be/act/dress/walk/talk/live--basically how to be who we are--we can blame them when something doesn't work, right? YES! Then we don't have to be responsible for our lives!

And that's how most people live. They live in these "life boxes" that are really uncomfortable but safe because someone else is in charge.

Someone else is accountable.

Someone else pays our check or gives us orders/directives or manages us in some or many ways. 

And then we spend our miserable lives complaining about all of this. We limit ourselves and then cry disempowerment, victim and resignation.

I experienced this intimately this past year when, after spending many months extracting myself from a few situations that weren't right for me, I found myself completely and utterly disoriented. My internal compass was toast---broken and in dire need of recalibration.

"Let me ask these 'experts'", I said to myself. These marketing professionals who will tell me who I should be and how I should brand myself. I was struggling with something for which there was no paved path: I'm a health coach who happens to be transgender and I have little to no interest in being a poster child for the current "LGBTQ issues" bandwagon of political activism. Nope, not my chosen career. I am a health coach. And I thought I needed help to figure this out. 

All I have for you right here is a big huge L-O-fucking-L.

I ended up paying close to $1000 in consult fees (worth the investment if you get your damn ROI) to arrive at this answer: no one could tell me. I was looking for permission that I didn't need from people who had no capacity (or right) to provide it.

Seriously. They meant well, and gave it their best. But I was left with the irony or silliness of asking two straight, cisgender strangers to tell ME, a transgender health coach, how to brand and market myself. 

Yeah, I know. This is what WE DO! We ask other people who barely have the ability to get their own lives on track. Why do we think people know better than us? Because we don't trust ourselves. We don't listen to the truth and INTELLIGENCE that lives in us all.

Does this mean conversations, consults and even counsel aren't helpful? I'm not saying that. I have accountability coaches, a therapist and other colleagues who I pay, often, to listen to me think my shit out.

But I don't ask them what I should do. And you shouldn't either. Because no one can tell you.

You want to create something--a life of your dreams in some form or fashion. A relationship. A career. An identity you feel is integrated. Something else maybe? And that involves creating it.

Creativity is the result of destruction, chaos and construction. And it happens over and over. 

You can't create something or build something that is YOU by asking someone else how to do it. You can't cherrypick your beautiful, unique self into existence. Stop trying to do that, please.

Who are you? What do you want? What do you need to thrive and feel fully awake and GRATEFUL to open your eyes each day?

I don't know these answers. You do. Or start figuring them out. It's what no one can tell you.

So are you ready to stop asking?