Monday, July 11, 2016

On being BRAVE ...

I attended BRAVE Girl Symposium last week and it was amazing. Fabulous speakers sharing such incredible messages. Truths revealed. Intentions identified. Important conversations for this scary world we're living in. Meeting people I had only known on-line. So much love and sistering in one place. Those three days filled my soul with love.

I was amazed at the number of Symposium attendees who came alone, not knowing anyone else, not really knowing anything about Brave Girls. Some came just because they receive the Daily Truth emails, some because they've taken a class in Brave Girl University, some because they're fans of one of the speakers. I was able to meet several of these new BRAVE Girls - a couple of them were widowed and I was able to share important widowed resource information with them. And one lovely gal approached me in the hallway after the Soul Restoration Certified Instructors were asked to come on stage. She wanted to know when and where I would be holding my Soul Restoration Retreats because she had noticed me and my 'energy'. Wow - that really made my day.

One of the group art projects was a paint stick quilt. Each attendee was given two paint sticks to write their "She Did It Anyway" words which were glued onto a wall. Really powerful to read all of the words. I was late turning my sticks in, so I think mine are mixed in with those on the floor.

I'll share one of mine with you: "She felt invisible, but she walked into the room with a smile anyway."  That may surprise some who know me - or who know of me - but I really struggle with this and felt it much of Symposium. Never feel quite 'enough' ... even in the midst of lovely old and new friends. I didn't get a photo opp with Melody or Kathy or any of the speakers or 'high profile Brave Girls' and was only asked to be in a couple of group photos. So this is me being BRAVE and speaking my truth for those other gals who were there and felt the same. I'm rather sure I'm not the only one and sometimes just knowing that is enough to help us work on those feelings.

My Symposium experience was tempered by a deep sadness in my heart. Just before leaving for Boise I received word that a dear friend was nearing the end of her cancer battle. Robbie has set such a loving example of kindness and bravery through all of her life's struggles. I debated whether to cancel going to Symposium and instead fly up to Reno that day to see her. But after many discussions and lots of prayer, I decided to head to Boise to fill my empty cup so I would be better able to lovingly say goodbye to my sweet friend. I left Boise for Reno early Saturday morning and returned home Sunday evening. That short time with Robbie was hard. So many triggers taking me back to my time with Vern in hospice. But I am so very grateful I was able to say goodbye, tell her how much she means to me and reassure her that I will be there to support her husband through the coming hard months. Robbie is the BRAVEST woman I know.

Note:  Please see that I've placed links in this blog post that will take you to registering for next year's Symposium, signing up for the Daily Truth emails, checking out Brave Girl University, seeing the list of Certified Instructors and linking to my 'under construction' website about the Soul Restoration Retreat I've scheduled. Some of these are affiliated links for me.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

My Brave Girl Adventure

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I recently spent 12 days in Idaho for some amazing Brave Girl training. Beautiful location, beautiful women, beautiful souls.

I honestly don't have the words to convey all that I received from my time in the mountains. Unconditional love, for sure. But so much more. Women supporting and encouraging one another. No comparisons. No judgment. No gossip. No complaints. Just lovely women openly sharing their talents, their knowledge, their hearts, their stories. What a precious gift.

The Brave Girl University (BGU) Teacher Retreat took place first. I was rather intimidated going in because these women are already well known for their work and have existing classes and websites. But it didn't take very long for me to be able to put away my "less than" feelings. Serendipitous moments. Kind comments spoken just when I needed them. Offers to help me where I'm struggling. And then there's Melody and Kathy and each member of the Brave Girl team. I know that my life would be very different if I hadn't found them back in July 2012. I am forever grateful.

I'm now working on a BGU class that I would never have thought to do if I hadn't been at this retreat. Lynette listened to my story and immediately said I should prepare a class on it. Of course, I pushed back - but she didn't budge. She recognized that I'm willing to do things for others that I won't do for myself and used that insight to convince me that there are others out there who need to hear this and learn that they are not alone in their struggles. So I will share my little secret and work alongside my students as we each climb our mountain.

While the retreat had a more laid-back schedule, the Soul Restoration Certification Training was very intense. So much really important material to get through, so we started early and finished up late each day.  This course has already changed so many lives and I'm honored to be entrusted to teach it. I'm not sure yet how or where I'll be sharing this course ... whether in women's or teen shelters, a 6-week long weekly class or at a retreat. Lots to figure out with business licenses and insurance and possible venues. Not to mention coming up with a name for my business. I'm working on it and believe that the answers will come.

On that final evening at the lodge in McCall, after all of the hard work had been completed, we stepped outside to view the night sky in all its glory. So breathtakingly beautiful. Countless stars in the dark night. And then we found ourselves in a circle in the middle of the road, embracing one another and softly singing "this little light of mine".  No photo could have captured the exquisite beauty, peace and sisterhood of that precious moment that will forever remain in my heart.

Would you like to learn more about all things Brave Girls? Just ask me and I'd love to share - or click on the links below:

  • Brave Girl Symposium?  Click HERE
  • Brave Girl University (BGU)?   Click HERE
  • 30-day FREE trial for BGU?  Click HERE & use my coupon code:  diannewest
  • Sign up for Daily Truth emails?  Click HERE

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Brave Girl Symposium July 6-8

I recently spent 12 days in McCall, Idaho for the Brave Girl University teacher retreat, followed by their Soul Restoration certification training session.  I cannot emphasize enough how amazing it was to be in the company of all those Brave Girls.  Powerful. Life-Affirming. Supportive.

Can you just imagine what it will be like to be surrounded by HUNDREDS of Brave Girls? Wow!

You don't need to imagine it ... you can live it ... July 6-8 ... by attending the very first Brave Girl Symposium in Boise, Idaho.  I'll be there - and I'd sure love to have you join me.

Click  HERE  to see the preliminary Symposium schedule and all the details. Hope I'll see you there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

You need a death certificate for that? Really?!?

I donate blood regularly. I have for many years, but I especially understand the importance after the many, many, many times my Vern needed transfusions to stay alive. So I headed off to Sunset Station this morning for my scheduled appointment and was in and out within the hour.

They were giving a free breakfast or lunch buffet coupon if you donated, so I took my voucher over to the Rewards Center to get the actual coupon to use sometime this month. Easy, right?  You would think.

I handed the voucher to the nice gentleman along with my driver's license and mentioned that I didn't have my reward card with me. He said that wasn't a problem and proceeded to pull my info up on the computer. He verified my birth date and printed out a new card and handed it to me, along with the buffet coupon.  The name on the card was Vern West.  Ummm ... "That's my husband." ... "Oh, your card is printing out now."  "He died."  "Oh dear, I am sorry."  "It's been 5 years."  "That's ok, just bring in his death certificate and we can remove him from your account."

What????  Are you kidding me???  For a casino reward card?  Ack!!!! There aren't even any points on the card.  (No - I didn't say any of that out loud. My experience this past weekend with the delayed/cancelled flights and seeing how badly others behaved is still fresh in my memory, so I'm practicing kindness these days.)

So Vern will be staying on my Sunset Station rewards account. He's still on the Verizon cell phone and DirecTV accounts and our gas and electric utility bills. They're all paperless and paid automatically from my checking account, so seeing his name on monthly bills isn't an issue. And it's not because I'm procrastinating about doing this (I do have a rather long list of THOSE things). It's because having to pull out that stinkin' death certificate is hard. Even at 5 years. Trust me, I know he's dead. I'm living with that. Every day.  But I can choose to not have to handle that piece of paper that authenticates the death of my forever love just to have his name removed from an account. It's a choice I can make quite easily, thank you.

And in case you didn't know, my young widowed friends are required to carry their spouse's death certificate with them whenever they travel out of the country with their children. That just makes no sense at all. It should be noted on their passports so that awful document isn't needed.

I also received a t-shirt for my blood donation today.  If you're able, I hope you'll consider being a regular blood donor. It's so important to have a blood supply available for those who need it. Trust me ... I know that, too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Old? Not a chance!

I took a hard tumble last night and for a moment, as I laid there not sure I would be able to get up, I felt old. But only for a moment.

Lately I've been hearing a lot of "old" comments. Oh, not directed AT me ... but just casual references to others using that "old" adjective to describe people in their 60s.  I'm sure my friends aren't even thinking about their use of that word - even though in most every situation it is not used as a flattering term.  To my friends in their 20s and 30s, I'm old. I get that. Probably also to some in their 40s. My 50ish friends see me traveling the road just before them, so I doubt they'd like to use that word since it hits a little too close to home.  But really ... why do we humans feel the need to categorize ... label ... limit ... compare ... and judge others?

Perhaps you know some who have succumbed to the public pressure to "act their age" but, thankfully, I'm seeing so many who are living with 'their number' and not letting it define them. Go gray if you want to, or add some pink or purple to your hair.  Wear the clothes you want to wear - even if you find them in the young women's section.  Put on those bright colors. Live your BOLD life!

I happened upon a Facebook post yesterday that really caught my attention:

"She said I am not old; I have lived a hard life.
I have lived a long life. Has it been perfect, no. She said am I happy with where I am in my life right now, yes. Does she have any regrets, no.
She said I have amazing strength and courage, for which I discovered during my times of pain and agony. She said I also have tears of joy.
As she looks back on her life, she realized she had created a master piece, not knowing at first what a beautiful creation she would live to tell others about.
She said I slaved and sacrificed from the ones I love, loving them, she also found the love for myself that carried her through times of second guessing herself; she realized she is worth it.
She said I am whole, unique, lovable and real.
She said my body may have changed, my face may have wrinkled, but my heart and soul remain the same, giving love and having that love return to her.
She said that I may not have been what you wanted me to be, but I am not old, you still may see an old body, but I have come alive inside, the spirit of youth remains forever inside, and once you discover it, you embrace it and never let it go.
When you look at me, don't judge me and don't ignore me, for I have stories to tell. I will share with you where I have been and where I still intend on going, and don't tell me I can't do it, because you think I am old. After many years of trying to prove her worth to others, she has realized the one person that truly matters how worthy she is, is herself.
Don't tell her she is old and it can't be done at her age, for she will prove you wrong.
Accept her and love her for who she is, she is brave, bold and beautiful."
Mary Costanza   Link to Mary Costanza's FB post

And then today, Elizabeth Gilbert posted about an inspiring conversation she had with her 73-year-old Mom.  Here's a link to her Facebook post:  Elizabeth Gilbert's FB page

 and Melody Ross shared another relevant quote from Mary Costanza's page.

"As a woman gathers more years, she becomes more bold, which is not the same as brave: Brave is jumping in. Bold is jumping in led by angels. In age, we learn to know the difference. For certain, 'older is bolder'.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Don't you just love that?  "Jumping in led by angels."  Wahoo!

So to those of you who are fretting about turning 40 (really?!) or 50 or 60 ... how about we just forget those numbers. As a widow, I can assure you there are no guarantees how long any of us will live. So why not live each day the best that you can?  I miss my Vern. I will forever miss him. But I have to tell you, I hear him cheering me on each time I take another bold step in this alone life.

And yes, I did get up from my fall and I'm ok.  Actually, I was more worried about being able to get on that plane tomorrow morning to attend the Brave Girl University teacher retreat and Soul Restoration certification training. Because that's how I'm living my BOLD life!

If you'd like a FREE 30-day trial to check out Brave Girl U, just use my coupon code (diannewest) on the registration page. I've finally posted an intro video and will be getting my courses added after the retreat.