Who Wrote the Creation Story of YOU?

It is no mistake that the very first line of the Christian Bible reads: “In the beginning, there was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” (John 1:1) In the Popol Vuh, the religious text (“Book of the People”) of the Guatemalan K’iche’ kingdom, the first line reads, “This is the first account, the first narrative…” For the Diné (Navajo), the creation story begins with the line, “Of a long time ago, these things are said.” In the Taiwanese creation story, the first line reads: “Who passed down the story of the far-off, ancient beginning of things?”

Every culture has its own tale of how the world and all the creatures came to be, and pretty much all of them are clear: Before there was anything, there was a story of something. All that is, has come into being because of a story the creator decided to tell of it. This is not only true for cultures, but for families. Social scientists tell us that the stories families pass down about their own ancestors and members, generation to generation, are more than story – they are rulebooks of behavior and expectations for that particular family.

The same is true for individuals. We each carry around a Creation Myth of Self. This story defines who we think we have been, are, and who we believe we are entitled to be and become. Unfortunately for many of us, our Story of Self was written for us by others, long before we were able to decide whether it was accurate or helpful or not. For instance, if we had parents who neglected us, the story written in our child mind, which we still carry, might be “I am unworthy to be loved.”

In my SUCIA Empowerment Workshops and Weekends, I help people just like you to improve their lives through story. I ask them to begin by taking a hard look at the story they tell themselves about their origins. How do you describe your childhood or family of origin to people you’ve just met? Do you focus on painful experiences, and present yourself as a victim? Or maybe you do the opposite, and pretend that everything was perfect even when it wasn’t? Maybe it is something in the middle. Whatever it is, the story you tell of yourself is shaping your life in a very real way, constantly. Your story repels and attracts energies, and it is quite likely that, if you don’t like the way your life is going, you need to change your internal landscape by editing your story.

One of the most valuable things we can do to empower ourselves as human beings is to take an honest look at our Personal Creation Myth, and examine the types of words and stories we use to describe ourselves to ourselves and others. Many of us don’t realize that our Personal Creation Myth is a story that can change without becoming a lie, just as many of us don’t realize that the “true story” we constantly tell of ourselves is, in fact, untrue. We must realize that we can all begin to make informed choices about what to include or remove from our story, what to focus on and what to leave in shadow. We must start to choose the words carefully that we put into our minds and mouths in our story of self, and by doing so we can literally begin to rewire our minds and souls for more happiness, abundance, forgiveness and love.

Would you like to learn more about how to use the power of story to create more good things in your own life? I would love to help you! Please click here to get more information about my empowering story workshops. I can’t wait to meet you.

Want to Stop Overeating? Then Stop Using This Four-Letter Word

For many years, starting in my mid-20s, I overate. Sometimes I just sat there alone in my apartment afterwards, feeling like a detestable lump of garbage. Other times, I’d try to feel less like lumpy rubbish, by forcing myself to vomit into the toilet. I did this for almost 15 years, until my own stomach acid began to erode my esophagus, and doctors said I either had to stop being bulimic, or face a future that involved esophageal cancer.

I stopped purging, but continued to overeat, for years, until quite recently. What changed? I read a book. That’s what. THE HUNGER FIX: The Three Stage Detox and Recovery Pay of Overeating and Food Addiction, by Pam Peeke, MD, literally changed – and possibly saved – my life.

In the book, Dr. Peeke offers tons of great advice for conquering overeating and food addiction, but for me, as a storyteller and wordsmith, the single most salient piece of wisdom was the following: Instead of telling yourself that you “can’t” eat certain things or certain quantities of things, say that you “don’t” or “won’t” eat those things or quantities. Change one word, fix your life.

This shift exposed the root of overeating, for me. Saying I “can’t” do something conjures a sense of external control, carried with me from childhood. Because food addiction was all tied up, psychologically, with issues of being controlled by others, for me (emotional control, mostly), the idea that I “couldn’t” eat certain things only made me want to eat them more – like, I’ll show you! I realized that overeating in and of itself was a self-defeating form of rebellion, a cry from deep within me, for control.

By simply reframing the issue as “I won’t eat too much” and “I don’t eat too much” instead of “I can’t eat so much,” I gave my injured inner child POWER and CONTROL, the very things she had been trying to find in overeating to begin with.

And it worked.

Just. Like. That.

Now, when I start to crave apple fritters (my kryptonite) I don’t say “I can’t have that.” I say: “I don’t eat those.” And just like that, the craving goes away.

What about you? Are there things in your life that you could reframe for yourself in this way? What do you tell yourself you “can’t” do? What would change for you if you said you “don’t” or “won’t” instead?

Give it a try, and I promise you will witness the magic of story in your own life. A subtle shift in wording can mean the world.

Did you find this post helpful? Would you like to learn more about how changing your own narrative can change your life for the better? Click here to learn about my SUCIA Empowerment Weekends, coming to a city near you! I’ve helped thousands of women change their lives for the better by learning how to tell better stories about themselves, to themselves, and I can’t wait to help you! Already know you want to attend? Click here to request your application!

 

Three Great Reasons to Quit Rejecting Compliments

So, tell me. How do you respond when someone compliments you?

If you’re like most people I know, you shake your head like a dog with water in its ear. You might even back up from the person who has praised you, waving the terrifying commendation away with your hands, as though it contained anthrax.

Most of us seriously suck at taking compliments. But why? That’s easy. Fear. We are afraid, as Marianne Williamson so beautifully put it in her poem Our Deepest Fear, of discovering we are powerful beyond all measure. Being a loser is easy. No one expects anything from a loser – least of all yourself. And if there are no expectations, you can’t let anyone down.

But I am here today to ask you to please, for your own good, stop swatting away heartfelt accolades like poopy flies. Start to say “thank you,” instead of arguing against your own self worth, and watch what happens.

YOU WILL STOP BEING A JACKASS WHO INVALIDATES OTHER PEOPLE’S PERCEPTIONS

Put politely, it’s impolite to reject a genuine compliment from someone who cares about you. Even if you don’t immediately agree with this person’s adulation of you, arguing with them is actually inconsiderate and invalidating.

YOU WILL QUIT BEING A LOSER WHO UNDERMINES HERSELF

Even if you think you’re “just being humble” when you argue against a compliment, your subconscious mind will believe you. If someone says “You look great in that skirt,” and you reply with “Ugh, no, it makes me look like a sausage in a sock,” the hidden parts of your mind and spirit that determine how you feel about yourself will take your self criticism to heart. This undermines your self-esteem, which undermines your actual life.

YOU WILL EMABLE YOUR OWN GIFTS AND ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES

Every time you thank someone for saying a positive thing about you, you accept that positive thing as a real possibility. This, in turn, boosts your self-esteem. Stop feeling guilty for actually thinking good things about yourself. You are allowed. In fact, you are required. You are the only you you’ll ever have, and you are your own best advocate. Accept the compliment, and own it.

Did you find this post helpful? Would you like to learn more about how changing your own narrative can change your life for the better? Click here to learn about my SUCIA Empowerment Weekends, coming to a city near you! I’ve helped thousands of women change their lives for the better by learning how to tell better stories about themselves, to themselves, and I can’t wait to help you! Already know you want to attend? Click here to request your application!

This One Word Ruins Lives. How Often Are You Using It?

Lately, I’ve been channeling my inner teenager, messing around WAY too much with a hair color app on my phone. Why? Because I’m curious about what I’d look like with the bright hair colors so many young women are sporting these days. I flippin’ love the “suicide girl” look, and if I could hack 20 years off myself, I would go full Cosplay Mamita in the blink of a Katie Perry strip-lashed eye.

But as a woman of 48 – a mother, no less! – I am told by society that I should not use silly hair color apps, or wish for bright blue hair and sexy tattoos. But the truth is, I love both these things, even if I “shouldn’t”…and I’m having a blast with it all. So, seriously, just stfu.

This brings me to the point of today’s post: The word SHOULD sucks, and it’s ruining your life.

The world SHOULD has far too much power over us, in the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and others, and in the stories others tell about us that we accept. No other word brings about more needless shame and suffering than SHOULD, which is only invoked for these purposes.

Most women I know are SHOULD ADDICTS. They walk around should-ing all over themselves, all the time. You can see their shoulders droop a little with each utterance of the blasted word, until they’re as wilted as Charlie Rose on a bender.

How about you, my love? How often do you should yourself? I really shouldn’t eat that. I should call my (abusive) dad just to see how he’s doing. I should just be quiet. I shouldn’t say what I really think, they might not like me. I should be thinner. I shouldn’t wear that. I hate my boss but I should just stay in this job because I probably can’t find anything better. I shouldn’t love him. I should clean my bathroom instead of reading this blog post…

Dios mio. Women use “should” when we want something, but don’t feel entitled to have it. Usually, the thing we want is perfectly reasonable, but we are worried about how other people will judge us for thinking we deserve it.

My challenge for all of you today is this: I want you to think about how you THINK and what you SAY, and right now, right this second, weed your personal narrative of the word SHOULD. Pull it out. Throw it into the linguistic compost pile. Get effing rid of it, like a used tampon. Quit worrying about the judgements of others, and, most of all, quit judging yourself. Let it go. Embrace who you are, what you want and what you enjoy, with no apologies.

Cut that should out, girl.

Throw that SHOULD away. Replace it with empowering language instead. Let “I shouldn’t eat these glazed donuts” become, instead, “I’m eating donuts, and they’re delicious,” or “I’d like to eat these glazed donuts, but I won’t because I am making myself healthy” or “I don’t eat anymore.”

I’m not telling you WHAT choice to make. Okay? I’m not saying eat donuts or don’t. Eat what you want.

I’m saying stop judging yourself through the words you choose to tell your story, no matter what choices you make.

Make the choices that feel right to you, and own them. Don’t change who  you are; change the vocabulary you use to describe your choices – and that will AUTOMATICALLY change who you are, for the better. You’ll feel lighter, better, happier and more empowered, and, really, what’s more wonderful than that?

Did you find this post helpful? Would you like to learn more about how changing your own narrative can change your life for the better? Click here to learn about my SUCIA Empowerment Weekends, coming to a city near you! I’ve helped thousands of women change their lives for the better by learning how to tell better stories about themselves, to themselves, and I can’t wait to help you! Already know you want to attend? Click here to request your application!

STARZ CEO Chris Albrecht Announces the Network is Developing My Novel for Series

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Two days ago, at a press conference in Beverly Hills, Chris Albrecht, the CEO of the STARZ network, announced to the entire world that his company is developing my novel THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB for a half-hour TV series. Of course, I’d known this for a while, but had not been able to talk about it because we were all awaiting the official announcement. Now, it’s here! Hurray!

The half-hour series will be fun, sexy and smart, focused on the intertwined lives of six diverse women friends in New York City.

I am thrilled. Like beyond thrilled. I could not have asked for a better team than the one STARZ has put together. Anne Thomopolous and Lucia Cottone are Co Executive Producers. Ligiah Villalobos is the showrunner, Co Executive Producer and head writer. I get to tag along as another Co Executive Producer and paid consultant. We will also have Robin Shushan on board as a writer for the show. From the get-go I have been incredibly impressed by the intelligence, compassion and insight demonstrated by the executives I’ve met with at Starz, including Marta Fernandez and Carmi Zlotnik. Even though we are still very early in the development stages, I do feel pretty confident about this show eventually getting made, just because the assembled talent and experience is too incredible for it not to.

It has been a surreal week. There are a few days that stand out in my mind as being formative, careerwise, and this is on that short list. My first staff writing job for a newspaper felt a little like this, as did the day I found out I’d sold my first novel to a major publishing house. I am just so so SO happy that Starz gets my material, my voice, my message of empowered and authentic Latina experiences.

I will keep y’all updated as development and, hopefully, production progresses. Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have here, in the comments section.

A big thank-you to Starz for their support. This is going to be SO MUCH FUN!

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