There are secrets that make our life exciting and are full of positive energy, such as waiting to surprise someone with the perfect gift.
There are secrets we keep out of necessity; secrets we aren’t ready to share with the world because they’re too painful to talk about or we fear we’ll be judged by others if they’re brought out into the open.
The third kind of secret is the secret we keep from ourselves; the things we can’t or won’t face or admit to ourselves that keep us prisoner in our own mind. The third kind of secret can be the most damaging to our mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
The third kind of secret stays with us because of something we aren’t yet ready to face (addictions, the REAL relationship between you and your mother, an abusive spouse, how you really feel about your boss/job, your level of self-worth, etc.)
We keep the third type of secret because we aren’t ready to face the reality of our situation, or we have a belief that, “that’s just the way life is so I’d better suck it up and get stronger or I’ll fall apart.”
The third kind of secret is often the most damaging, can be kept for years (or our whole life) unless we’re open to asking ourselves one question: “Is that true, or is it simply what I’ve always believed to be true based on what I was taught and who my teachers were?”
Once you ask yourself this question (and are open to the answers), the third kind of secret will have little or no power over you. You have the power to eliminate any secret based on a limiting belief, but first, you must admit the secret exists.
How do we begin to dig up long buried secrets that we buried out of fear, shame, guilt or the lack of knowledge that anything that brings on a feeling of negativity is never a burden we’re required to carry?
You can begin to let go of the negative energy surrounding the third kind of secret by asking yourself these 4 questions:
Life Is All About Choices
Nancy Mueller ~ Empowerment Sensei for Women
I remember wanting to learn karate as early as the 6th grade. I thought if I could fight like Bruce Lee; no one would ever take advantage of me again.
It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I chose to become a student, competitor and teacher of the Martial Arts. My reason for wanting to study was strong; I was sick and tired of being afraid; I wanted to learn to fight.
In his book titled, The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker states: “Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect while most women fear rape and death.”
I was tired of being afraid of the man who took advantage of my childhood innocence. I was sick and tired of work environments where I had to look the other way or pretend that comments didn’t bother me.
Women and girls should never have to learn to fight just to feel safe in their homes, relationships, jobs and daily routines. I was angry that my childhood innocence was robbed from me. I was angry that the people who were supposed to be there to protect me were the people I needed protection from. I was angry that I was married to a person whose temper I did not trust. I was angry because I saw myself as a victim. I was angry that I had to work alongside men who did not know how to think before they spoke or had very little regard for women. Most of all, I was angry at myself for keeping quiet.
So, I learned to speak up. I learned to stop keeping quiet. I began my Martial Arts training because I wanted to learn to fight; I stayed because I learned how to fight so I didn't have to fight.
When you embrace the philosophies behind the Martial Arts, you travel a path of awareness and an understanding of self. The journey from white belt to black belt includes taking 100% responsibility for every single one of your choices and to face your toughest opponent; the person in your mirror. The opponent in our mirror is often our harshest critic and seldom shows compassion or love. Learn to love her, she is amazing!
Every single woman has an inner warrior, just waiting to be unleashed. Not because we are here to fight, but because we have an opportunity to show the world just how powerful the divine feminine is.
As women support other women, stop victim shaming, stop judging and stop trying to prove our value by trying to take another person’s value from them; this is how we honor who we are as women.
As we stand behind every woman who has the courage to speak out; regardless of how she shares her story, she will gain strength because she knows she’s being heard. When we’re angry, hurt, ashamed, fearful, resentful or vengeful, our story is often told from those same emotions.
To all my sisters who have a story to tell, you are a woman of inner strength. Share your story. Speak your truth, no matter how much your knees wobble or your voice shakes. Share passionately without maliciousness and your message will inspire, motive and empower women everywhere.
My sister-in-law, Deneen, was working in her bedroom in preparation for her new bed to be delivered. I stopped by to see how things were going and decided to help.
We wrapped the old mattress in plastic (per the city’s requirements for pick-up) and started to tackle the frame made of wood and slats covered with fabric. I suggested we take it apart instead of lugging it out in one piece. Deneen loved the suggestion and said, “that’s a great idea; teamwork, two heads are better than one!”
We removed the fabric, then started using the hammer to take the slats apart and Deneen asked me to, "go in the other room and get the wedge thing.” I knew exactly what she was talking about, located the tool and said, “here’s the crow bar. Why do you think it’s called a crow bar?” To which she answered, “I think it’s called a pry bar!” We laughed and went back to work.
As we worked, I couldn’t help but think of my brother and how he would have been tackling this project. I know my brother well, we think alike in many things (my sister-in-law refers to me as “Michael without a penis!).
As Deneen pounded the slats apart and the frame started to come apart, she yelled in a victorious voice, “see… we don’t need a man!” And we kept going until the frame was completely apart and easy to carry out of the house.
My brother Michael, her husband, was in a motorcycle accident a year and a half ago which left him with severe traumatic brain injury and he has been in a rehabilitation center since the accident.
My sister-in-law has learned just how capable she is without her husband, not out of choice but out of necessity. More than once she has had to unleash her inner warrior not only to be my brother’s advocate, but to make sure she doesn’t lose herself in the process.
As we tore up the old carpeting and I was using the pry bar to pry up the strips of wood bordering the room I said, “you’d think someone would invent an easier way to tack carpeting to the floor.” To which Deneen replied, “yea, if a woman were in charge of that, it would probably be held in place with Velcro!”
As we laughed and kept working, I started thinking how men and women work differently. We will use a high heel for a hammer, call a tool a “thingy” and worry about someone showing up at the front door when the house is a mess! The beautiful thing about the difference between men and women is the fact that there is no right or wrong way to complete a project.
As women, we owe it to ourselves to stop saying things like, “we can make it in a man’s world” because it isn’t a man’s world. It’s a world where we all live together. It’s not about gender, and every woman would be more empowered if she would give herself permission to stop trying to prove she's every bit as capable as a man while trying to discover exactly what she’s capable of.
As women begin to identify with their inner warrior and realize that she is able to unleash her at will, we will have more women linking arms with like-minded women who finally understand that there is no such thing as competition and that collaboration will take us farther into the future as women of power and strength. This is the legacy that future generations of women deserve to grow into.
We owe it to ourselves to stop waiting for death, sickness, divorce, injury or loss to finally understand what we’re capable of. We owe it to ourselves to unleash our inner warrior and encourage other women and girls to do the same. As we unleash our inner warrior, we empower our sisters around the globe to stand up and shout, “she was in there this whole time. My inner warrior was just waiting for me to release her, so I could live up to my full potential!”
Since the time I first had an awareness of you, I knew I wanted you to love me!
From that moment on I begged you, as though I were waiting for a handout, to see my worth, my value and my willingness to do whatever it takes to be worthy of your love.
I’ve made so many mistakes in my life and every single time I made a wrong decision, a poor choice or simply had no idea what I was doing; I knew you saw me as a failure and it hurt so much!
How can I explain how much your love means to me? To have someone who sees me for who I truly am, flaws and all, is the best feeling in the world!
I ask you, how could I find value in myself when my own mother couldn’t stand the sight of me? We had so many terrible arguments and confrontations; finally, I got to a point where I just had to stop letting her into my life and I felt so horrible about making that choice. What kind of daughter won’t even talk to her own mother? I have to admit that I really doubted your love when I made that decision.
When I got pregnant the first time and my daughter was born, I had no clue about parenting or being a good mom. I was so scared; because it was important to me to do a good job and be a good mom I really needed your assurance and you always found a way to reassure me I was doing a good job.
Remember that time I quit my job? That was a rough time; my boss was out of control and blaming everyone in the office for her mistakes and I always seemed to be in her line of fire. I came home every night, crying, about how much I hated working there. You always helped me find a way to have the courage to go back the next day and face it all over again. Finally, I decided to quit and I had so many doubts about myself. I know that every time you looked at me you thought I was a quitter. I just couldn’t figure out how to stick it out any longer even though we really counted on that income every week. If I had only known it would all work out so well and lead to a new career that I love so much, it might have been easier for me to be calmer and given you a reason to love me during that transition.
What about the time when I had to face divorce; twice. That was such a low period in my life and I really couldn’t find much to be proud of during that time in my life. Two divorces seemed so wrong. You told me not to jump into a second marriage so soon but I wouldn’t listen. I doubted my ability to live life on my own and being married was what I had known for most of my life. When that second marriage ended, I was so afraid to admit it to you because I really felt the judgement coming from you about the decisions I was making in my life.
Everything I have ever done is because I wanted your love and approval and you have no idea how hard it was for me to admit that I had failed not only once, but twice at being married.
Now that all of those choices are behind me, I marvel that you’ve been able to look past the choices I’ve made and continue to love me!
Finally, no more begging...
Finally, I'm able to look in the mirror and say, “Thank you for finally loving me!”
We all have something in our past that we’d like to forget.
~ The office holiday party; when we had too much to drink and co-workers love to remind us about the fun we can’t remember having~ The one-night stand
~ The investment we didn’t make
~ The job we left
~ The job we never accepted
~ The traumatic childhood
~ When we bombed on stage, in front of EVERYONE
~ The person who broke our heart we still find ourselves plotting revenge
~ Yelling uncontrollably to our children
~ The hurtful words we hurled at our spouse in a fit of anger
~ The addiction that has hurt the people we love
~ The affair
~ The marriage that ended before it got started
~ The memory of the emotional, mental, physical or sexual abuse
~ Wishing we’d been a better parent
~ Wishing we’d been raised by better parents
These experiences and others like them, can cause us to feel so disempowered that we spend countless hours, days, months and years trying to put them out of our mind and move on with our lives.
After a while we convince ourselves that we’ve moved on, dealt with it, and we’ve even managed to become very successful within our career and professional life.
But… the memories persist.
Why do the memories stay locked in our mind and seem to surface just when our professional lives are at an all time high? What causes the memories to persist like an itch that we absentmindedly scratch until suddenly we realize the itch is something we can no longer ignore?
Just when we’re at the height of our career, why do these memories, feelings and emotions keep cropping up at the most inopportune times causing us to feel so disempowered that we suddenly realize our personal life has now taken center stage in our life and we find our self, scrambling to regain a semblance of control?
The answer is, “The Box.” The Box is an imaginary container that we stuff our feelings and emotions into when we don’t really want to look at them or they’re too painful to face.
Sometimes the box has been closed for so long, we don’t even know it exists but it’s there, lurking in our subconscious mind, hovering on the outskirts of our memories like the hazy memory of a dream you can’t quite remember. It never really goes away, and you recognize it when you’re at your most vulnerable state; when you’re tired, overworked, overbooked, overloaded and overwhelmed.
This is when the box bursts open without your consent, causing you to relive the feelings and emotions you really believed you’d put behind you. This is when your peers see you as the overly emotional female that is losing her grip, triggering them to back away and causing you to lose your edge in your profession.
When this happens you, cry foul, it’s not fair, it’s a man’s world, blame others and feel like you’re losing control. The answer is simple but may be the hardest thing you ever do; the answer is to let go and get rid of the box.
The box will disappear when you finally give yourself permission to do the inner work that will release the feelings and emotions surrounding the memories of a time you felt so disempowered.
Get rid of the box, it’s the only way you’ll ever gain power over what lies inside. Get rid of the box; give yourself permission to take back your power! The world needs more women in business. If you're a woman in business, you owe it to yourself to release the emotions surrounding past experiences that are standing between you and your ability to rise to the top of your profession; but only you can choose when it’s time to let go of the box.
I’m a genius!
That’s what my mom and her husband tell me every day!
Since my arrival, I’ve updated their WiFi and cable boxes. I showed my mom how to download the app to her phone for her cable company which allows us to troubleshoot her cable through her phone. Does this make me a genius? It certainly does to someone who lacks the technology skills!
My mom’s husband Vern is scheduled to have surgery to receive a pacemaker. The doctor’s office sent a heart monitor for him to wear to monitor his heart 24 hours a day. The monitor arrived in the mail and all you need is a little technology know how to get started; an easy task if you understand how to connect the device to the Bluetooth sensor.
I found myself doing something I never would have thought I would do; attaching a heart monitor to the someone’s chest! Since my medical know how stops at CPR I found myself in unfamiliar territory, but I managed to get it all hooked up only to discover they had sent two identical charging cords instead of two separate cords for the monitor and the sensor.
Once again, my mom and Vern called me a genius for knowing how to figure it out.
When you think about the word “genius” it’s all relevant. How does one get to be a genius? By not being afraid to try new things and being able to step outside of the box when you want to learn something new or create new opportunities.
Watch a 3-year old with an iPad and they will boggle your mind at what they can achieve because they have no fear of “doing it wrong.” They just keep pushing buttons and clicking different areas until they get the desired results.
As adults, our beliefs about what we “can’t do” often hold us back from showing the world the genius gene we possess! But when it comes to generations, how often do we find ourselves getting impatient with someone who believes they lack the knowledge or the understanding to learn new things?
When my mom chooses to lower her vibrational energy by convincing herself that she lacks the knowledge or the understanding to learn something new I find myself faced with two choices: either I can do it for her or show her how to do it.
Most of the time my mom is a willing student and is very eager to learn and celebrate at her own level of genius! When she forgets what I taught her (or convinces herself that she doesn’t remember) it gives us the opportunity to have new conversations with new questions, so she can understand how she allows her own limiting beliefs to hold her back.
Life is all about choices. We can choose to believe that we lack the genius that we see in others or we can choose to step up to our own brand of genius. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. What comes easily to some can be a struggle for others; patience, a kind word and a willingness to share our knowledge can go a long way.
Relationships are all about strength yielding to strength; where one is weak, the other is strong and together they compliment each other! If you find yourself in need of bridging the mother/daughter gap, it’s important that you understand how your own limiting beliefs can make this gap wider until you're ready to master your own beliefs around what you believe your relationship is all about!
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Empowerment Sensei
June 3, 2016; the date my brother had a motorcycle accident that resulted in Traumatic Brain Injury and another reason for my decision to move to Ohio.
Since my arrival two weeks ago, I have been in the emergency room with my sister-in-law three times to visit my brother. Unfortunately, there is not much information about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and now that my brother is physically fine, there is still the question on every one of our minds, “What happens next? Will he ever come home? What is to become of our brother, father, husband, son, grandfather?
It was becoming more and more clear to me that the help I could offer was very limited from my home in California, so the Universe has guided me to be with my family. My brother is an Army Veteran; who is also a 100% disabled Veteran. I am learning a lot about how the VA takes care of their Vets and the red tape is staggering.
People keep asking us, “why does your brother keep ending up in the emergency room?” My answer, “because he is well enough to want to explore his world without the knowledge of how to do that. When children explore their world, they have parents who are there to love them, guide them and keep them safe. But an adult who is trying to understand what is happening in his world can get just as frustrated as a 3-year old trying to figure out a new toy, except in my brother’s case, he can’t be redirected when he gets frustrated. Have you ever tried to redirect an adult who doesn’t want to be redirected? They get annoyed, then they get angry, then they try to get what they want through physical force. We are now at the point of trying to understand how to help my brother, Michael, explore his world while keeping him and those around him safe from harm.”
The doctors are attempting to do this with drugs. In my opinion, medicine can be helpful when used correctly but when it’s used to keep a person in a docile state, the results are heartbreaking. At least, that’s what it felt like today when we visited Michael. When we walked into his room, he was on the floor, on his knees, bent over his bed, with his head on the bed. He didn’t even look up at us. Last week, when we saw him in the emergency room, we were laughing, telling jokes, watching Michael eat his dinner, then eat my dinner, then eat his wife’s dinner. Today, we couldn’t get Michael to feed himself, but he accepted my help to feed him his lunch.
Is it selfish to say, “I want my brother back?”
Is it selfish to say, “I want the doctors to stop doping my brother into a docile state?”
Is it selfish to say, “I want the VA to step up to the plate and treat the person instead of the symptoms?”
If it’s selfish to want all of this, them I am very selfish.
I believe everything happens for a purpose, and I believe that one day we will know the purpose of this position every member of our family is dealing with as a group as well as individually.
I believe; I believe with all my heart, but today my heart is breaking.
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Empowerment Sensei
I watch her as she continuously checks her surroundings to make sure she maintains her balance; my mother walks with a cane, thus she walks very slowly.
I am a very patient person, and I have found ways to help (i.e. getting a shopping cart for her to lean on) but my 7th day in town, I found myself feeling very impatient with the amount of time it was taking for her to walk from the car to the store.
I noticed my feelings of impatience, I asked myself why this was a problem. Why now? Why after 7 days of experiencing how slow she walks was I feeling impatient at this time? As I rushed to get a shopping cart for her to lean on (in the hopes of speeding up her walk from the car to the store), I continued to check in with myself as to why I was feeling annoyed. I felt a huge urge to go into the store and wait for her from inside the store instead of walking next to her.
I resisted the urge to wait for her from inside the store, but I could feel my impatience mounting!
When I arrived in Ohio, the weather was unusually warm for December in Ohio. I enjoyed the fall like weather that hovered around 60 degrees and dipped into the low 50’s at night. But on this day, 7 days after my arrival, winter was truly upon us and my California jacket was no match for the cold Ohio temperatures; it was time to buy myself a winter coat.
I chose a stylish TAHARI black, down filled coat that went past my knees. Add to that some warm gloves and a fluffy scarf (both purple of course!!!) and I was ready for the cold weather that had suddenly found its way to Canton, Ohio!
As we stepped up to pay for our purchases, the clerk seemed rather confused when I asked her to cut the tags off my items, so I could wear them out of the store. She looked around as if to say, “where is the coat you walked in with?” I smiled at her and said, “I just moved here from California and my jacket is no match for the weather.”
As we walked outside, my mother walking slowly and me all bundled up in my winter wear, I felt toasty warm and comfortable. It took me a moment to realize that I was no longer impatient with how slow my mom was walking! That’s when I understood the basis for my impatience. It wasn’t that I was impatient with my how slow my mom was walking, it was the fact that I was cold and uncomfortable.
How many times have you felt frustrated, angry, impatient or resentful? The problem is never the problem. Whenever we think a problem exists, it’s usually the end result of several things we chose to previously ignore. Had I purchased a coat when I first arrived, I would have been prepared for the cold weather.
Whenever we feel the urge to take out our frustrations on another person, we are giving in to negative energy. How we view our circumstances is a choice; we always have the power to change what we believe is a negative experience into a positive experience; simply by taking 100% responsibility for every thought, action or situation we create.
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Empowerment Sensei
The last time I googled Mother/Daughter relationships there were 2,840,000 results; that’s a LOT of women looking for answers!
Whether you love spending time with your mom or do everything in your power to stay away from your mom, mother/daughter relationships create both positive and negative energy.
Among the many things that can make unfulfilling mother/daughter relationships are drama, resentment, abuse, abandonment, trauma, neglect, feeling trapped, anger…
Unfulfilling relationships with your mother can be the cause of low self-esteem, low self-worth, low self-confidence, low self-image and a lack of self-love.
I know this to be true because most of my childhood was spent attempting to avoid my mother and most of my adult life was spent trying to understand her parenting choices while working to get past the mental, emotional and physical abuse that escalated to sexual abuse by the age of 12.
I never went so far as to stop speaking to her but the fact that she lived in Ohio and I live in California made it easy to avoid my mother until I had a life changing event that brought her back into my life!
But this isn’t about how my mom and I healed our relationship, this is about my choice to move from sunny southern California to Ohio and “Life With Mom”! My mom and I talk on the phone at least once a day and it was becoming more and more apparent to me that my mom and her husband could use my help. We talked about them moving to California but they have a home, friends, commitments, and roots in Ohio.
I work from home and work with clients via the internet, but how could I leave my life in California? That was the million-dollar question on my mind; I did a lot of meditating and asked the Universe to give me a sign, so I’d know what to do. I got my first sign, and immediately asked for another sign (after all, this was a BIG decision!). The Universe answered my request with another sign that Ohio was in my future, so I stopped resisting and prepared for the move.
When you are in true alignment with the Universe, everything seems effortless. I left the sunny beaches of California and have already experienced my first light snowfall. Now that the move is over, I am settling into “Life With Mom”. This is our opportunity to pick up where we left off when I published my book about mother daughter relationships.
“Life With Mom” includes doctor appointments, health issues, home maintenance, dietary needs, errands, and the joy of learning who we are as individuals and who we are as mother and daughter all these many years later, now that we’ve learned how to heal the child within!
If you want to read more about how I was able to heal my inner child and why my mom asked me to teach her how she could do the same, CLICK HERE or visit amazon.com and look for HEALING THE CHILD WITHIN Life Is All About Choices.
Once a woman understands she holds the power to create fulfilling relationships, rather than believing she must endure the toxic relationships that have been a part of her life, it becomes clear that her failed relationship was simply an illusion!
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Empowerment Sensei
When I was 12, our family lived with my widowed grandmother. One summer day, while my mother and my grandmother were away at work my father sent my sister and brothers outside to play. They were given strict instructions not to come back in the house until he gave them permission. While they went out to play, I stayed in the house to finish my chores and my father told me he was going to go take a bath.
A little while later, my father called out to me and told he wanted to see me. I walked into the bedroom and found him sitting naked, on the bed. He told me to sit on the bed beside him. As he started talking to me, his breathing changed, and then he pushed me back on the bed and took my clothes off me. His breathing was heavy, and he told me that he needed to teach me something very important. He told me that if any boy or man tried to touch me the way he was touching me that it was wrong and that I should not allow it.
The events that took place after he removed my clothes will be forever seared into my memory; from the beginning of the attack until he was through. When it was over, he told me to clean the bedspread to get rid of any evidence of what had taken place. Getting rid of the evidence didn’t mean it was over; there was still the memory for me to deal with.
Afterward, I was so confused, scared, repulsed, and afraid. He kept telling me over and over that I could never tell anyone what had happened. He told me if I ever told anyone, he would get into a lot of trouble. I could sense that his fear of getting into trouble made him angry and his anger was something I wanted to avoid at all cost.
I soon realized that there was no help for what had just happened, but my bigger concern was finding a way to keep it from happening again.
Finding a way to keep it from happening again was exhausting; living day to day trying to out think every possible scenario where I might find myself in the same situation and trying to stay out of his reach, constantly weighed heavily in every decision I made.
There were others; the college boy who asked to take me ice skating, the father of the children where I babysat, the teacher at school, the man at the public swimming pool, the boss at work. I questioned my worth and wondered why these men kept showing up in my life. Was I putting out some sort of signal that attracted these events in my life? I kept asking, “where was God in all of this,” because he certainly didn’t seem to hear me when I cried for help.
I was wrong. God was there every step of the way. God was waiting for me to find my voice.
I found it when I was 18 years old.
I was tired of carrying the shame, guilt and humiliation of my father’s secret and one day I had had enough; it was time to speak my truth. To my surprise, every single fear I had carried with me since that summer day when I was 12 years old did not come true. The world did not open up and swallow me, God did not strike me dead and my father had no power over me.
I soon realized that finding my voice was not enough. Sharing what I had been through was not enough. While talking about it brought it out into the open, the memories were full of thoughts, feelings and emotions that ego uses to keep us trapped in the belief of our low self-worth. It was like drowning in a soup full of thoughts, feelings and emotions where sometimes you find a way to keep your head above the soup but too often you keep getting pulled under. I wanted out of the soup.
I also realized that there were too many times when I did not see the value in who I was because I allowed the experiences in my life to measure my value and my self-worth. This led me to discover the “inner me.” The “inner me” was sabotaging my belief about how I should show up in the world. As I continued to understand the value of “me” I stopped believing what others told me would happen if I use my voice, and started trusting my intuition.
I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become. ~ Carl Jung
There is one thing that I am absolutely sure of, every person has value and it’s your belief in your value that arrives just a few seconds before you speak, who you see in your mirror and how you present yourself to the world.
Your value exists inside the love you have for yourself.
You have the inner strength you need to choose self-love over self-doubt. I know this because I’ve done it and I continue to do this. If you’re having challenges choosing self-love over self-doubt I’d be honored to share my strength while you are finding your way out of the soup.
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Empowerment Sensei