shining too bright

March 13, 2014


This was my office this afternoon. Seriously.

It is thrilling beyond comprehension that I have been able to cover most of the costs of this trip through our retreat and working with my coaching clients over the last few months.  I have made this life happen through the power of my own brain and the belief in my own heart. Bloody hell!

And yet. I hesitated posting that pic.

Because I remember so well what it feels like to look at someone living this kind of life, and to feel feelings not exactly consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

I remember feeling resentful and confused and like there was something wrong with me. I was sad and scared because I felt like time was running out. And every time I read something on the internet about how awesome and free the life of a contemporary was turning out, I wanted to stab her. Repeatedly.

But this was nothing to do with anyone else. The truth is that I did not believe that I could have that freedom, that awesome life. And I was super-pissed with myself, the universe and everything.

It all turned around in a moment. Just over two years ago, when I allowed myself to take a break from all the shitawfulness,  I wrote this post – about a cafe in the countryside. I thought it was a literal place but I realise now that it was a giant metaphor. I wanted to create somewhere for you and I to meet for coffee and a real conversation in front of a cozy fire. And if you wanted something a little more filling, that was totally on the menu. It was a place that supported adventures and creativity and stories and nourishment.

Since I had that vision of a future me, I have taken a million little steps towards here. Sometimes its been sheer crapola when I felt like I was standing still, like it would take forever. But I just had to keep going, to trust that my gut feeling was right – that this was all leading somewhere really great.

And it was. The Place is now my whole freakin’ life!

Interestingly, I have noticed this irritating mosquito bite of a fear right now, that you will only see the recent shiny surface stuff.  And you will be repelled by all this freedom and joy, and you won’t want to be friends anymore.  That somehow if I am not suffering, I won’t be interesting.

But instead of buying into that-which-I-know-to-be-bullshit, I am just going to take a million more little steps forward. And trust that you are along for the ride.

The warrior’s approach is to say yes to life: yes to it all. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy – Joseph Campbell

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44 Responses to “shining too bright”

  1. CJ says:

    Hello! You’re an inspiration. I’ve been de-cluttering an apartment I’ve had for 8 years, getting rid of almost everything, and I am moving to another state to be closer to my sister and good friends. I have the tools I need to work for myself – I was once paid over $300 an hour for an 8 hour gig – but have felt that I don’t have what it takes and kept going back to a dreadful career in the medical field that was so bad I spent a lot of time crying in the bathroom after 10+hour days without a break. I’m 44 now (a young 44 thank goodness) and left my last crappy job 2 weeks ago. It’s a big leap and I am up for it. After expressing harsh disapproval in one stern “Amen” when I told my father of my plan I let him know that I only have room for hugs and support right now, nothing more, nothing less. He responded with an email saying “Everyone suffers in their own way – I hope that your suffering is calmed and you lead a happy life following your own needs and dreams.” Not exactly the unabashed support I’d really love to hear (seems like he has dim hopes that my suffering will be calmed? Is that really a blessing? But I’ll take it). And more importantly I am finally seeing how the stodginess and fear-based living of my own parents – who have been in the same home for almost 25 years but constantly talk about wanting to downsize – has affected my decisions. It’s exciting to see that I don’t have to live with the mentality of a depression-era or blue-collar worker (as my ancestors were) and that I can actually create something better for myself. And getting out of this blue-collar town is the first step. Thanks for listening!

  2. Britt Reints says:

    Happiness guilt, success guilt – it’s almost like survivor’s guilt, I think.

    It’s very cool that you shared this and decided to work on letting that go.

    (Found this post by way of Tammy Strobel. HI!)

  3. Thanks for this great post… For me it was more a feeling of despair and longing when I saw pictures like this…it made me dream about winning the lottery and wishful thinking… Many years on, after peeling back layers of crappy issues and greeting to the fire of ME..I realise that these pictures are a seed of desire within me and signposts about how I want to be and feel and it invigorates me to keep taking those baby steps even when things are hard and a bit stagnant or difficult to see what is on the horizon…;))))

  4. leonie says:

    totally along for the ride. cheering you on from here {always}

  5. Helen says:

    Oh Sas I love that you are shining in your place. You and all you are doing so serves to encourage me to let go of my mediocrity and lift myself up to a place of my making too. Keep going Sas I love you for it. Soak it ALL in xxxx

  6. Zoe says:

    Super happy for you – keep shining bright! There is hope for us all! And please keep sharing your wise words and perceptive insights 🙂 So happy to have found your blog! x

  7. shannon says:

    The greatest part of this life that you are sharing, is simply knowing IT CAN BE DONE. You made this life happen and it gives me such hope and strength to keep pushing and taking those tiny little steps. We are all your cheerleaders, Sas! xx

    • sas says:

      Yes it totally can be done! I am so SO excited about helping you find your thing love. Its going to be awesome xx

  8. Em says:

    From someone currently taking those baby steps into escaping from her own circle of hell which is the office cubical, please keep on sharing your world in the way that you do. It’s very inspiring to see that escape is possible if you just look up, around & follow the path which glows ahead 🙂

    I may have booked a place on an introductory course in order to retrain for my soul job & there may have been an inner happy dance after I paid the money. Looking around & seeing that these big changes are possible led me to that point.

  9. Debra says:

    Dude, I absolutely know that horrible stabby feeling. I’ve actually un-followed people because I couldn’t seem to control it. I WANT to be happy for them. I actually AM happy for them but I can’t find a way to do that without wondering what in the sweet hell is wrong with me. It’s ugly stuff. I’m in that “I want out” place in my life, but I’m not quite sure what I want to go to. I remember so vividly your countryside cafe post without even clicking the link. Maybe I need to do some life scheming and dreaming of my own.
    And you, my dear, go on living your shiny life and sharing it with us. I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled for you (in the most non-stabby of ways). xo

    • sas says:

      we all need a Thingfinder to find our thing 🙂
      just knowing you want out is the perfect place to be. then comes dreaming and scheming – i wonder what my thing is? and leaving room for surprises xx

  10. oh love. thank you for writing this post. i’m thrilled that you are able to be where you are and it’s also a whisper of encouragement for those who want to be there someday. it IS possible. congratulations. the only thing missing from the photo is a pretty face belonging to hands rubbing your feet. 😉

    • sas says:

      Yes yes – it really really is possible. All of it!
      I think we are MEANT to live in joy and creativity, learn and grow, love other people and not get too attached to anything. Those monks knew what they were on about 🙂

  11. Kerstin says:

    This is why you are so good at what you do! And as someone who often feels like she is looking in, longingly, from the outside I totally appreciate your sensitivity. It’s not possible to be jealous of you! Having witnessed your journey over the last couple of years from the other side of the internet I feel such pride in you for where you have landed, and such inspiration for what is possible. Hugs, Kerstin xo

  12. Jo says:

    I never felt the stabby about anyone – and obviously not you, darling. I put it down to lacking the competitive gene. The downside is that I have always semi-happily ‘settled’ and endured. Nowadays, reading about others success and happiness is hugely inspiring. Never stop, ever. I love you.

  13. Cherie says:

    Ahhh! this is amazing. I love the sheer possibility that we all have this crazy potential in us to make whatever we want out of our lives. I think the jealousy or bitterness towards another’s success comes in when those people are getting smacked down by their fears or not-enough-ness. They don’t see a way out of wherever they are in their life. But it’s not like you just swanned your way to where you are. Life isn’t a montage where the main character walks down streets & alleys & fields with a rad music score & they manage to figure their stuff out in 3 minutes. You’ve worked for where you are. I’m sure there was fear and anger (because they are friends & travel together always), hope, determination & sheer dang stubborness to break on through. Also, courage. Shine on!

    • sas says:

      Oh I do love a good montage! Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just leaner some stuff and then power through the crappy with a Rocky theme tune?!
      Thanks for being here xxx

  14. Joan trench says:

    To honor yourself means to make a commitment to keep the truth of who you are visible. Well done Sas , you give so many others permission to so likewise Joan x

  15. xanthe says:

    Beyond inspiring.
    Thank you for these words.
    For the encouragement that it’s possible to make stuff happen and the joy we seek is out there.

  16. J9 says:

    Loved this post, especially the too-shiny-fear, but mostly I’m still laughing about “feelings not exactly consistent with the teachings of Jesus”. I am SO working that into a sentence before the end of this week 😀

    I read a lovely blog post a while back (kicking myself that I can’t remember where it was, or who it was by – if it comes to me at 3am, I’ll post it here) where the author was pointing out how we sometimes “filter” our lives (by only blogging/telling the shiny bits, taking photos that only capture the best light, or the most interesting angle, etc). She took some beautiful photos of a preserve that she was making, the fresh fruit,, washed and glistening, then bubbling in the pan, and then cooling in jars, and she wrote of how wonderful the process was … and then she posted more pictures of the chaos that her kitchen was in – the splats of preserve up the walls, the mountain of dishes just a short distance away – and, although I *think* (trying to recall) her point was not to get too caught up in the “filter”, what I actually took from that post what a much greater appreciation FOR those filtered pictures … like I knew what effort lay behind them, and what consideration and creativity went into choosing the angle/position of the initial photos. I think you have earned your right to show us all your shiny side, darling, as anyone who knows you appreciates, and can certainly vouch for, the sheer amount of effort, determination and risk that it has taken to get you to this point xxx

    • sas says:

      Such a brilliant point – and this was hammered home to me when the Guardian reported that Bashar al-Assad is on Instagram – and there are images of smiling people, family, adoring fans – the entire country is a freakin’ war zone, the military under his command have used chemical weapons on his people. He knows how to work a good filter.

  17. Inge says:

    Thank you for sharing that bright and sunny and glorious shine of yours! You´ve hit the nail with your words and ´m looking forward reading more about your next million steps. This morning while journaling I was finally able to pinpoint the necessity to take my own project step-by-step and to step out of this internal overrun modus. So reading your lines now is like a direct answer from *whatever you name it*. Thanks for confirming 🙂

  18. Moira says:

    Such honest words. You are an example of what can be. Those who know you, understand every word. May all our lights shine too bright one day! What others think, well, that is up to them. Sending you a long overdue hug. Xx

  19. Hannah says:

    Yes! This is it. It’s so easy to compare and find ourselves coming up short, when actually we’re the ones keeping ourselves in that stuck place. Love your point about how it’s the million little steps that move us closer to our “place” (as opposed to the one or two ginormous leaps). Beautiful post, thank you Sas!

    • sas says:

      I really really WANTED it to be two big steps – but no. And the thing is the gradual progression and the challenges along the way are the whole point – nothing ever grows bigger than you can handle – that universe knows what she is doing 🙂

  20. Keep on shinin’! It’s gorgeous girl!!

  21. sarah says:

    Oh yeah. Totally get it. Totally. Get. This. One.

    So happy for you. And I have no constricting weirdness when I say so. Honestly, so happy for you.

    Which makes me so happy for me because I’ve become so enlightened. So, there’s that.


    • sas says:

      There IS that. I really finally feel that enlightenment too. Its not like salt water at all 😉 Also – you have been a beacon for me for a while now – so its lovely to see your message here.
      And holy crap I get to see you tomorrow!!

  22. jane says:

    I am jealous I freely admit…. but the stabby – not at all… I want to know it is possible to live like that – to build something in Ojai and have people come and to sit by the pool and fill up your cup and become more of the magic that the world so needs all because you are doing what you love. I had a conversation with a friend who is receiving your coaching gifts and you are changing her life Sas… there is nothing about that that is shining too brightly… blaze on!

    • sas says:

      Yes it really really is possible. And its possible for it to be easy. To feel so natural and right and magic.
      Your friend is a total delight! I adore her and witnessing her journey is such an honour 🙂
      Arohanui xxx

  23. And depth does not mean despair. Here’s to smiling, loving, creating beautiful things and then letting them go. I love you impermanently. xx

  24. Sophie says:

    The thing that is so fabulous about you Sas is that you have the clarity to see really see others. Thank you.

  25. Marianne says:

    Yes. Thank you for expressing this so beautifully. x