I probably rushed her off the phone too fast, but only because my mind was racing ahead to getting to her and my siblings.
It’s been 3 months since I woke up to several missed calls and texts from my mom and sister, starting at 2:30am. My heart sank and my head swirled with all of the horrible possibilities. I knew something had happened, but was it my dad, my brother, my other sister?
It was my dad.
Thank heavens for friends who volunteered to find me a flight and send me the information, and even drive an hour in a freezing rainstorm to pick me up and drive me another hour to the airport.
Once I got to the airport, and was navigating on my own, it started…
I should have called him when I thought about him a few weeks back…
I know the relationship was strained, but I could have…
Suddenly, my Soul brought that train to a screeching halt. “You’re not going to be any good for them if you continue on this path. You know you did the best you could. If you have to, clear it up now, before you get there. He can hear you.”
“Okay,” I said out loud in the middle of the airport, “Let’s work this out.”
Deep breath. Tears streaming down my face. Suitcase in tow.
I walked toward my gate…and started talking to my dad.
“Dad, I’m really sorry that I…” Before I could finish, I could feel his presence walking beside me. And then, a dialogue of sorts began. I didn’t hear his voice, but it was as if I could hear his thoughts.
“Mandy, stop. There was no way you could have made any of that better. I couldn’t hear you. I couldn’t see what you were trying to show me. I was trapped… in my body and my mind. I told you some of my story, but you have no idea the degree of pain and trauma I experienced in my early years. I was never able to escape that pain. I had no tools, no framework for healing. The one tool I did have made the pain go away so I could perform and achieve, but it didn’t erase the pain. I saw how the hurt caught up with me physically and mentally, how it affected my relationships, and how it seemed to sabotage my efforts to get my message and tool to a wider audience. But I just couldn’t see how to resolve it, and by the time I started to see the way, it felt like it was just too late.”
I nodded my head and took a deep breath as I turned a corner and arrived at my gate.
I know, Dad. I know. I saw it.
“Well, I see you now. I see all the work you’ve been doing, and I understand why you’ve been doing it. And maybe now I can be an ally.”
And then he was gone.
Peace washed over me, from head to toe, as I stepped onto the plane.
Twenty minutes later, I realized that the movie I’d rented to keep my mind distracted during the flight was not a romantic comedy – but the story of a young man who had become a quadriplegic and felt trapped in a body and life that no one could make better for him. As the credits rolled and tears streamed down my face again, I finished my conversation with him.
I know you were trapped. And I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you experienced. That’s why I’ve been doing the work I’ve been doing. I know, because I’ve been your daughter and because I’ve worked with other powerful messengers, that those old stories and wounds trap us and create a mess if we don’t heal them.
The first time my pain completely paralyzed me, I was twenty-seven.
I’d just been hit with a lightning bolt vision to write several children’s and parent books and partner up with a powerful messenger to get the message out. That messenger walked into a restaurant behind me and invited me to a workshop only 3 months after I got the download for the books and set the intention to attract her.
It was pure magic.
At the workshop, it became clear that I was holding too much pain to be able to help others without doing more damage than good. My truth shredded my throat on its way out, and I decided to focus on healing my own life while building a relationship with the messenger in her train-the-trainer program.
When I received the notebook with her curriculum in it, I thought, Piece of cake. I memorize everything quickly with my dad’s tool. I’ll knock this out in no time.
It took me 3 years to complete the program. The goal-achieving tool he shared with me was incredibly powerful for ‘performing;’ but in order to do this transformational stuff, I had to stop setting my emotions aside to perform…and start bringing them to the forefront of my life to feel and heal.
There were lots of times I felt completely trapped and paralyzed, but I’d found a community that saw the real me under all of the pain, and refused to let me quit.
Eventually, I wrapped my head and heart around the process of transformation, and ventured into my own business, trusting that what I’d learned in those rooms would help me stay the course.
Over the next 4 years, I experienced metric tons of growth, magic, and joy as I built True to Intention and my own community with beautiful souls that refused to let each other quit.
But I also experienced some events that made me realize
there was still more story to heal and more pain to release.
There were several minor incidents with clients, but I chalked those all up to the CEO learning curve.
There were some challenging relationship issues, but I chalked those up to the fact that transformation doesn’t happen overnight.
In 2013, with a bestseller under my belt, and a thriving community, I was positioned to take my business to the next level. All of my coaches and colleagues told me, “It’s time to put the pedal to the metal.”
But then there were two rather scary incidents that occurred – a painful business betrayal and an actual spiritual/physical attack on my well-being that resulted in a health crisis.
I could see that I was the common denominator in all of these events and stories, and I was beginning to see the themes emerging – patterns that would ruin my business, my community, and me if I didn’t get to the bottom of them.
First finances. Then health. I didn’t want to know what would be next.
So I pulled back the business and went to work on my stories.
It took 2 years for me to see the core story and wound that was being recreated through all of these events…and where I was still living inside of the story.
As soon as I saw it, I started to rewrite the story – I wrote in better internal dialogue and more powerful conversations, I wrote out unkind and unethical characters, I adjusted the setting, and I closed the chapter on that part of my story.
It was the hardest work I have ever done. Facing the truth about myself and some of the heroes and villains in my life. Owning the truth that I needed to take my power back. Speaking the truth to the characters that would be the most affected by my new story.
And, truly, I could not have done it without a reliable framework for healing, energy therapists and tools that showed up at every turn, and a sisterhood that reminded me who I really am and refused to let me quit when it got rough. Cuz it did get rough!
As I think about my dad and what a powerful messenger he was – such an amazing message and tool to share, such a mesmerizing gift for storytelling and teaching, and such good intentions to help others – I know exactly where my gifts came from, and I know the dangers of doing this messenger thing without a framework for healing and gifted, truth-telling allies.
I know I can’t wait until I am completely healed to get out there and do my work, but I can do it mindfully by paying attention to the events/stories and the themes they are reflecting back to me; rewriting the old stories and healing old wounds when they present themselves; remembering that while I have really pure intentions (consciously), I also have old pain and icky conditioning that can create more of a mess than a message; and enlisting allies and truth-tellers to review everything I put into the world and tell me where it’s sticky…so that it doesn’t create an unintended mess for others or me.
The development of this blog series is actually a really good example.
When I sat down to work on it, I outlined the lessons my dad taught me rather quickly; but when I started to look for the stories to connect to the lessons, my neck went out. I was just sitting there, at the table, hands poised over the keyboard, and BAM! I felt a vertebrae slide and then the pain shooting down my arm.
Well, I guess I’m not ready to do this yet!
I closed the computer and went to my quiet place, inquiring what the resistance was about. It took me a few weeks of working on my own and with others to see it.
I saw that my conscious intention was to pay tribute to all of the good qualities in my dad. As I wrote out the powerful lessons and modeling, I saw how I could elevate him and his message in the minds and hearts of readers, and celebrate the one who taught me so much about my craft.
And…there was still this somewhat unconscious part of me that wouldn’t allow me to do that – a part of me that wanted to say, “Yeah sure. Amazing message. Powerful messenger. But the mess is real!”
And as I dug deeper and asked what it was going to take to write this powerfully, I kept hearing, “You have to learn to hold it all at the same time – all of the truth about your dad – that he was a divine soul with good intentions and a powerful message AND simultaneously a wounded human who recreated messes because he didn’t know how to heal.”
It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
But that’s not how the mind works. The mind tries to make us buy the one story that will keep us the safest. And my mind had deemed it ‘unsafe’ for me to focus on only his good qualities.
Why would it do that?
As the words and stories poured out of me, I saw one thing very clearly:
I am my father’s daughter in so many ways. My gifts. My superpowers. My skills. They’re the same as his. I also share some of the stories that kept him trapped and, yes, I have created similar messes.
And, then I saw something else:
Over the years, I had become determined (obsessed even) with eliminating the mess from my message.
It is a virtuous intention, and one that I will never give up, but I had gotten to the point where all I could see was a Mess OR a Message – a Messy Messenger or a Mindful Messenger. I couldn’t see them both at the same time:
- the One who makes a huge difference in people’s lives, and the One who sometimes uses icky manipulation tactics to achieve those goals because that’s how they were taught to motivate and inspire
- the One who commands a room simply by stepping into it, and the One who sometimes demands all of the attention and sucks all of the air out of it because it’s the only time they actually feel powerful
- the One who mesmerizes audiences with story, and the One who adds a little extra something to those stories to elevate themselves above the rest because the voices in their head say they’re not enough
- the One who teaches powerful lessons, and the One who makes you feel small and stupid in the process because they feel threatened when the student becomes their equal or even surpasses them
- the One who has potent tools, and the One who fails to see or admit their limitations because their identity is too tied up in the value of the tool
Because I couldn’t hold it all at once,
and see it all at the same time,
I couldn’t do that IN HERE either.
I was either messy or mindful…
When the truth is that I AM BOTH.
I work every day to become more true to my intention – to heal the old stories that make the messes.
I still make messes as I go, despite all of my efforts to keep it clean of the icky sticky.
By looking at the Messy Messenger only, and saying, “I will never be like that,” I was basically saying, “I refuse to be myself – to fully step into my power and gifts because that’s when I create those messes.”