Blog

What Buoyancy Is and Why You Want it in Your Life

Flying in tandem with my instructor!

Yesterday, I flew for the first time at iFLY indoor skydiving. Every year we get together with a small group of friends in a different place for a short vacation. We always schedule something adventurous on one of the days and this year it was iFLY!

I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. After all, I’m a scuba diver who doesn’t much like wind. But I unexpectedly fell in love with the experience and am already planning to do it again.

The sensation of being lifted by the wind echoed the sensation of buoyancy I experience in the water, which is one of my favorite sensations in life.

When I shared my thoughts about buoyancy with my instructor, Eddie, he got it from the inside out because he experiences the same thing when he flies. Even though my medium is water and his, wind, the experience transcends both spaces.

My friend, I want you to have this experience, too. This is the deeper reason behind why I coach: to support women in cultivating a direct experience of buoyancy in their life, whatever it looks like to them.

What Is Buoyancy?

What I call buoyancy is that sweet spot between effort and letting go where we have the experience of feeling fully supported and we’re in flow with what’s happening moment by moment.

It’s a state of being out of control and in control at the same time.

It’s out of control because the thing moving and supporting us is infinitely more powerful than we are and in order to have buoyancy we have to let go into it.

It’s in control because we’re not passive. We have our part to do in order to set ourselves up to hit the sweet spot of effortless buoyancy.

In diving, our part involves getting the weights and air level right in our gear so that we’re not floating away or having to kick to keep from sinking.

In indoor skydiving, our part involves holding our body in the optimal position, which requires a fair amount of effort. If we’re off-center, or too loosey-goosey, we end up flailing around and potentially getting smacked into the walls of the wind tunnel.

In life, our part involves cultivating present moment awareness. It’s knowing when to effort and when to let go, and being willing to adjust what we’re doing on the fly to meet whatever’s showing up in the moment.

Yesterday, when I hit the sweet spot for the first time in my flight, I felt a soaring sensation in my heart, and a huge smile spread across my face. I learned that the sensation of buoyancy I experience in the water is available in the air, too.

What attracts me to these extreme sports? They invite the mind to stop its chatter and get present because they take us out of our regular bodily experience of being land-based creatures.

When we’re fully present, we access the place where buoyancy lives. We land in that sweet spot between effort and letting go. We have the visceral experience of being held by something much larger than us.

I think we’re all hungry for more buoyancy in our lives. Getting buoyant builds resilience in the face of adversity. It also builds our ability to meet the unexpected with trust because we’ve had a direct experience of being held and supported.

If our tendency is to grip too hard and control too much, getting buoyant allows us to release our grip and relax, knowing we’re held.

If our tendency is to go too passive, getting buoyant teaches us to meet life with agency and the appropriate amount of effort.

There’s no one way to get buoyant. The way will be different for each of us. Our work is to figure out our unique pathway and groove it into our system, so that we experience buoyancy as often as possible, no matter the circumstances around us.

What’s your experience of buoyancy and how do you get yourself there? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

***

Marie-Elizabeth Mali coaches creative, high-powered women who want to bring their full selves to their relationships and purpose. If you’re ready to explore working one-on-one with Marie-Elizabeth, click here.

The Surprising Way Being Nice Can Block You from Having a Great Relationship

There’s an epidemic of niceness going on and it needs to stop. Not in politics, certainly, but in the way we’re taught to communicate in dating and relationships, especially if we have a spiritual bent.

Though I’m speaking directly to women in this article, this idea also applies to nice guys who aren’t direct with their desire, so please change pussy to your favorite word for the male member if need be.

Were you taught to soften your communication to make it more palatable?

Are you afraid that the full force of your feelings, or your desire, is too much?

Do you keep a lid on it and show a brave face, no matter what’s happening inside?

Somewhere along the way we were taught to mistrust our bodies and especially our pussy. If we have any sexual trauma in our history, our pussy and heart may have disconnected from one another as a survival mechanism. If we want to have a relationship with a partner who truly meets us, our work lies in linking our pussy and heart back up.

What does this have to do with being too nice in our communications? Hang on, I’m getting there.

Those of us who are spiritually oriented or have done personal growth work have a lot of self-awareness about our triggers. We want to be self-responsible and not mindlessly throw our shit at others. We don’t want to react from a victim place so we make sure to handle our feelings. God forbid we ever get messy and lose our cool.

The problem is that if we’re angry or sad because someone we like cancels a date, and we respond with something like, I understand, have fun, catch you later, it’s confusing as hell and, frankly, a form of gaslighting.

SUPER TIP: People get confused when there’s a different emotional energetic simmering under our nice words because they can feel that the two don’t match. The kindest thing to do is not to hide our feelings behind nice words, but to let the person know how we really feel, as kindly and clearly as we can in the moment.

So instead of, I understand, have fun, catch you later, we could say something like, Oh bummer! I was really looking forward to seeing you and feel so disappointed right now.

It’s more vulnerable to say the real thing we’re feeling. It’s also way hotter. Our relationships suffocate under our need to be cool, nice, or self-responsible. The mismatch between our emotional and bodily reaction and what we communicate ties us up in knots. This mismatch also drowns others in confusion, which makes them keep messing up.

I can hear the cascade of potential objections: But they run when I’m too demanding! But I don’t want to be labeled high maintenance! But the other person isn’t responsible for making me happy, I am, so I should handle my own shit!

If objections came up for you, I invite you to ask yourself if you’re trying to avoid being vulnerable because you’re afraid of rejection.

I also invite you to consider whether your handling your own shit all the time could prevent someone from getting to feel and know the real you. When it doesn’t work out, it might not be because they’re an asshole, but because you never let them feel you, so they finally gave up on getting through your walls.

My friend, anyone who runs in the face of your disappointment or anger is not the one for you. And please run as fast as you can from anyone who would rather you be nice over being real. That said, being real is not an excuse to clobber people at every turn! Read on before you decide that I just gave you permission to spew all your unprocessed emotional material on others.

In my experience, good potential partners snap to attention when our communication and energy are clear and aligned, whether that communication is joyful and approving or disappointed and angry.

They do more of the things we like and do their best to correct the things that had us feel disappointed or angry. They invite and want to feel our joy and radiance, because joy and radiance are important nutrients for them.

Depending on how traumatized we are, bringing our pussy and heart into alignment can require deep inner work to clear the past out of our emotional, energetic, and physical bodies. This work can be challenging and may be best done with a coach (like me!) or a therapist.

If we lead with a disconnected heart, we tend to be loving, cuddly, and sweet at the expense of stoking sexual fire. We tend to attract matching, wounded partners who need a mother more than a lover.

If we lead with a disconnected pussy, we tend to have hot sex at the expense of emotional connection. We tend to wonder why lovers disappear, or we discard them. We might even look down on them for being into us, all because we’re disconnected from our innate worth.

Our innate worth naturally arises from an aligned pussy and heart. It’s not something we have to create, grow into, or make happen. It’s what’s left when all the crap we believe about ourselves falls away. That aligned sense of innate worth is gorgeous, magnetic, and who we really are.

Once we realign the link between our pussy and heart, and learn to communicate the impact of someone’s actions directly to them—without sacrificing the bodily knowing of our pussy or the tender knowing of our heart—we’re on our way to emitting a clear, undeniable beacon that calls to us the right person for a juicy and real partnership.

 

Please join my email list for access to growing and helpful resources! XO

***

Marie-Elizabeth Mali coaches creative, high-powered women who want to bring their full selves to their relationships and purpose. If you’re ready to explore working with Marie-Elizabeth, click here.

What To Do When You’re Not Getting What You Want in Life

 

Photo by Max Bordovskii from Pexels

 

You know that thing you want—the relationship, financial success, the car—that you’ve been wanting for ages? That thing plastered all over your vision board and peppered through your affirmations?

Maybe you write gratitudes every day in the present tense for this thing you want in your life (but don’t actually have yet), because you understand that feeling the sensation that you already have it helps pave the way for it to come to you.

Maybe you feel stuck in wanting, since wanting tends to beget wanting. It feels like you send a beacon out into the universe asking for this thing and the universe says, Okay! You love to want! Here’s more wanting for you!

You double down on your efforts to emit the feeling that you already have what you want. You contort yourself into who you think you should be to have that thing. You chant to yourself about how abundant your life is, how all your needs are met. And still, despite working your ass off, the thing doesn’t show up and you’re fucking tired.

Here’s the thing: For every conscious desire you have, there’s likely a conflicting unconscious desire also at play, especially if your conscious desire hasn’t shown up no matter how hard you’ve tried. You don’t know what the conflicting unconscious desire is because it’s unconscious!

Do you want to be financially successful but can’t support yourself? Maybe you have a shadow belief that struggle makes life meaningful. Or maybe you think poverty in the name of your creative expression is noble because it means you’re not a sell-out.

Do you want a relationship with a partner who truly meets you and with whom you can grow but you keep attracting broke people who drain your energy and bank account? Maybe you have a shadow desire to feel powerful and needed because that makes you secretly feel worthy.

In this case, your shadow is drawing relationships to you where you get to feel powerful, needed, and wise to help bolster your worthiness. It’s a protective impulse at odds with your conscious desire to be fully met. Being fully met and growing with an equal partner requires you to know your worth already, instead of having worthiness that’s based on being needed.

This is not to say that situations you don’t like are your fault. Ancestral, cultural, religious and collective energetics are at play here, not only personal shadow stuff.

While it’s not useful to look at a situation from the standpoint of blame or fault, it’s useful to bring the unconscious or shadowy needs that are met by the situation needs to light. In order to cultivate the power to create what you want, you likely have to become aware of shadowy or unconscious inner conflicts you may have with that stated want. Unconscious inner conflicts tend to have the upper hand and will muck with your ability to create what you want.

For example, fifteen years ago, I thought I wanted to be well-known and teach on the spiritual circuit, as well as lead kirtan (devotional chanting) all over the country. I started to travel and lead kirtan at yoga centers and retreats, and was excited to experience my dream coming true.

Then I lost my voice. Sure, there was a mechanical issue that damaged my vocal cords, but the real thing going on was that my shadow was ambivalent about spiritual fame and didn’t want to deal with projections people place on their teachers.

My shadow didn’t want to play the game and felt that if my desire to sing and teach wasn’t totally pure (it wasn’t) then I shouldn’t do it. So my shadow made sure I didn’t do it for long by setting me up to wreck my voice.

I could call it self-sabotage and keep feeling like a victim. But I know that every situation in my life, whether I like it or not, has emerged out of a conscious or unconscious desire of mine, even if that desire turns out to be to develop tenacity and determination in the face of a total shitshow.

To be clear, it’s never about wanting the shitshow. It’s about wanting the emotional experience that happens in response to the shitshow.

Maybe you want the experience of feeling squashed by it, or persevering through it, or having equanimity in the face of it. Your life then obliges you by providing the circumstances through which you get squashed, or persevere, or find equanimity.

 

 

Instead of owning your contradictions, when you don’t get what you want you’re going to tend to want to blame God, life, or the universe. Until you develop approval for your shadow, it’s hard to admit you got something it wanted.

There are some ideas to keep in mind as you explore getting to know your unconscious desires:

  • Every character in your conscious and unconscious wants what’s best for you. But they have differing ideas of what that is. Some of them seem malevolent, like self-hatred. But even self-hatred, if approached with curiosity, has a positive desire for you. It just (mistakenly) thinks that shredding you is the way to make it happen.
  • The more you disown a particular voice or desire, the more power it will wield behind the scenes and the more you will appear to self-sabotage.
  • Learn to befriend your contradictory and competing desires and find approval for them. Let them all co-exist. This is not to say that you should act on every desire you discover, but the permission to be a person who contains multitudes allows you to evolve an integrated adult self that can leverage more concentrated power in the direction of what you consciously want.

 

One of the things I do with my clients as we Deep Dive together is shadow integration. If you want to get to the root of why you’re stuck or having trouble creating what you want, hit this button to request a conversation with me. XO

LET'S TALK!

 

Please join my email list for access to growing and helpful resources!

 

 

 

Follow Your Bliss: Reflections on a Week in the Red Sea and The Power of Myth

 

Three oceanic whitetip sharks circle our group, turning from diver to diver as they make the rounds about 15 feet under our boat. A group of striped pilot fish scurry to keep up, following each shift of the shark’s attention.

I consider the position of the sun, find different angles to photograph the circling sharks. I aim for the precise moment where the shark’s closest to me just before it turns. Sometimes I nail it and sometimes I only catch a pectoral fin or a tail.

This is heaven on earth to me: getting to engage with one of the prettiest sharks on the planet, sun rays filtering through the warm water, as I feel for the moment of connection with this creature that will transmit through the image to have a viewer feel something.

I climb back on the boat and share my excitement over the sharks with one of the Egyptian crew. He says they have an expression in Arabic for the mixture of awe, joy, and gratitude that I’m transmitting: hamdulillah. The rough translation is Thank you, God, but the essence goes deeper than that, since the expression applies to any situation, joyful or not.

As I roll this new and delicious word around my mouth, it feels like hallelujah’s cousin.

Behind the scenes, the crew prays five times a day. I love knowing that even while working on the boat they maintain their devotional practices and that we can connect with one another across cultural and religious lines through this word I’ve now taken into my mouth and my being.

As the week unfolds, the crew and I say hamdulillah to one another at every turn. Since most of them don’t speak much English it’s a beautiful way we beam joy at one another. Woke up in the morning? Hamdulillah. Had a great dive? Hamdulillah. Stub your toe while putting away your gear? Hamdulillah!

In the series, Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers interviews Joseph Campbell in a wide-ranging series of conversations about ways that cultures all over the world have used to connect with the mystery at the heart of all life, the myths and rites that they created to get close to the ineffable. Originally broadcast in 1988 on PBS, it was recently re-released on Netflix. I watch all six episodes as I start the long journey home at the end of our dive trip.

We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about.—Joseph Campbell

As I emerge from a week off the grid, I find out about another unarmed black teen shot by a police officer, this time in Pittsburgh, and a shooting in a newsroom in Annapolis. Though I’m cheered by the Families Belong Together marches, it’s hard to stay in the bliss I felt underwater as the world seeps back in.

While acknowledging the shitshow that is the world, Joseph Campbell speaks of rapture, awe, and wonderment as our birthright, the aliveness available to us if we learn to connect directly to the divine.

Follow your bliss, he says, those things that bring you alive, and you won’t get deadened by the system and the pain of life. If each person were to choose to orient toward what brings them alive, it would change the world.

My bliss takes me under the surface of the ocean where I commune with the water, the fish, and the sharks. Hamdulillah.

My bliss takes me into coaching sessions where my clients’ lights come on when they realize something they hadn’t seen before and we sit in awe together in that naked space of freedom. Hamdulillah.

My bliss takes me into writing, poetry and prose, and shudders through me when I get to the essence of what I’m here to say. Hamdulillah.

In the West, we’re currently locked in a collective experience that is the outgrowth of a long-standing inherited cultural and religious belief that we’re sinful by nature and separate from a personified God and each other. This sense of separation allows us to do the most heinous things to one another.

In contrast, Eastern religions have a belief that an impersonal God, or field of consciousness, is an animating and unifying force shining through everything in this world. While either view can be argued for or against, what cuts through both is the direct experience of it. Experience both replaces and bolsters faith.

Still in Egypt, I watch an episode while waiting in Hurghada for my flight. Moyers asks Campbell if it’s possible to relate to an impersonal God. Campbell snorts a little and says, Well yes, just go east of Suez. Watching the show thirty years after it first aired, I’m practically standing on the geographical line of division Campbell draws between the Western and Eastern ways of relating to the mystery. It feels like consciousness just winked at me. Hamdulillah

The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life.—Joseph Campbell

It’s not about turning away from the world, it’s about learning to step back and center ourselves first in wonder, awe, and consciousness instead of staying stuck in the suffering around and within us. In doing so, we can better face that suffering and create room for change. Centering first also helps us see which part of the juggernaut is ours to tackle instead of getting paralyzed by overwhelm and doing nothing, or getting demoralized by trying to fix more than our share.

In other words, we train ourselves to turn to hamdulillah no matter what, and learn how to stay steady through the ups and downs that are a side effect of being alive in a time-bound body in a culture in the world.

Activism becomes more effective when coupled with deep inner work. Each person who does the inner work to follow their bliss, as well as integrate the parts of themselves that they’ve historically disowned and projected on others changes the world.

This is not to say not to march. It’s to say the inner space out of which we march matters as much as the march.

More synchronicity: as I was writing this article I came across this blog post by Hiro Boga on how to heal a fractured society, in which she says, Remember, your own wholeness is the ground on which you stand, the ground from which you contribute to the restoration of wholeness in your society. So, do whatever is needed to remain whole, present, healthy, vital and engaged.

Happy Independence Day. May you follow your bliss and work toward creating a kind and just global society from a place of wholeness, wonder, and hamdulillah. XO

Thanks for reading! Join my email list for access to growing and helpful resources.

***

Using her Deep Dive Process, Marie-Elizabeth Mali works with unconventional women who feel stuck and dissatisfied to find freedom in the truth of who they are. If you’re ready to explore taking a Deep Dive, click here.

 

 

Keeping Your Side of the Street Clean: A 3-Part Guide to Inner Freedom

 

What does it mean to keep your side of the street clean? It means being clear and self-responsible in your life and cleaning it up when you mess up.

Dog owners in New York complained at first, then got used to scooping their dog’s poop when the laws changed. Just like dog owners, don’t leave your emotional poop stinking up the sidewalk for others to have to step around or step on.

That’s easier said than done. You might have voices that feel justified in holding a grudge, withholding affection, or feeling victimized. And other voices you picked up from your family and culture may criticize you when you do your own thing.

But somewhere in the cacophony there’s a quiet, clear voice that knows, moment by moment, what’s right for you. You can’t control which voices clamor the loudest but you can choose to prioritize the clearest one and teach the others to fall back.

So many practices serve to improve clarity and boost freedom that it can get overwhelming. Should you light a candle, sit cross-legged, and watch your breath? Should you journal in a comfy chair? Should you stand on your head and eat only vegetables? Should you run 100 miles? Should you create a despacho and bury it in the woods? What if you live in the city? How do you hear yourself in the midst of all that noise?

To simplify things, I’ve broken down the work of keeping your side of the street clean into three parts, with examples of practices that serve for each.

1. The Street Itself

A house needs to have a foundation on solid ground in order to stay standing through the storms. And (surprise, surprise) so do you. The first part of keeping your side of the street clean is investigating the ground you stand on.

You are a part of something infinitely larger that moves in, through, and as you. Whether you call it Life, Universe, Love, God, Consciousness, Emptiness, Presence, Quantum Physics, or Purple Rainbow Unicorn Star, if you currently live on shaky ground, learn to connect with and deepen your experience of that larger thing.

Here are sample practices that support you in standing on something more deep and vast than your individual self: Meditation, prayer, journaling, visioning, reading and reflecting on spiritual books, spiritual counseling, spiritual community.

I’m not saying you have to get into religion. I’m talking about cultivating a direct experience of the benevolent aliveness of the universe. When you need to, you can lean on this foundation to help you remember that whatever you’re experiencing that feels huge is a blip when seen from that perspective.

2. The Street Sweeper

The street sweeper clears a path for you to walk on the street. These practices support you in clearing your mind and letting go of stories that keep you stuck.

This doesn’t mean avoiding or bypassing your feelings, it means keeping the bigger picture of the street in mind even as you acknowledge and feel your suffering and past wounding.

The street sweeper in your mind sees both the dirt and the clear street. It knows that dirt’s a natural part of life and isn’t bad. The street sweeper also knows that clarity—without obsessing about it—feels better than staying stuck in the dirt.

Clarity allows you to revel in living at your unique address on the street.

Here are sample practices that sweep your mind: Meditation, gratitude practice, journaling, forgiveness work, working with a therapist or a coach, The Work by Byron Katie, breath work.

Read Lynne Forrest’s article on the Victim Triangle to understand how your mind pinballs between victim, perpetrator, and rescuer, a triangle that prevents you from experiencing inner freedom until you learn to step off of it.

3. The House

 Your body is your house. Your body doesn’t have to be healthy for you to feel free, but it helps. Also, brain chemistry is a THING. Doing stuff to support neurotransmitter health benefits your whole system.

In thinking about your house, look at the basics, like plumbing, electrical, and structural design:

  • Do you eat in a way that supports your particular digestive makeup (plumbing)? No one diet works for everyone’s body. Experiment to find the right mix of fresh food and supplements that keep your plumbing and circulation clear and your body humming with vitality.
  • How’s your nervous system (electrical) doing? Does it fire appropriately or does it send too much juice through your wiring, so you short-circuit on a regular basis? Ground your electrical system with practices like limiting caffeine intake, eating enough healthy fats, taking walks outside, getting sunlight on your skin in the morning, breathing exercises, limiting smartphone and computer screen time at night, using blue-blocker glasses when you’re on the computer or under fluorescent lights for long periods of time, Epsom salt baths with 10 drops of lavender oil, and getting plenty of sleep.
  • What do you do to support your muscles and bones (structure)? A combination of cardiovascular work and strength training, plus flexibility work, prolongs your mobility throughout your life. Whether you like Pilates or yoga, pumping iron or the elliptical machine, pole or belly dancing, find ways to move your body that you enjoy. Getting regular bodywork, like massage or chiropractic, also helps your house have a sound structure. If you can’t use your muscles or joints, use visualization instead to imagine your muscles contracting and joints moving.

The more you set up your body to run well with good fuel, grounding, and movement, the more clarity you have in your mind and spirit. And the more you clear your mind and expand your connection to your spirit, the more you support your body in maintaining or returning to better health and function.

Notice which aspect(s) of keeping your side of the street clean you’ve avoided in the past or which one feels the hardest to connect with. You may want to weigh your practices slightly toward that one for a while until you feel well-connected to all three.

Also notice if you have a favorite and tend toward practices that amplify that one over the other two. You may want to reduce your practices for that one a little, and strengthen the ones you may have been ignoring, until you feel all three working in sync.

If you’d like to learn more, Joe Dispenza’s book, Becoming Supernatural, marries scientific information with ancient wisdom to show how you can experience a more mystical life that benefits body, mind, and spirit.

Ultimately, if you keep your side of the street clean by tending to the street, the sweeping, and the house with attention and flexibility, you’ll be well on your way toward experiencing inner freedom and having the clarity and vitality to create a life you love.

 

Thanks for reading! Join my email list for access to growing and helpful resources. XO

***

Using her Deep Dive Process, Marie-Elizabeth Mali works with unconventional women who feel stuck and dissatisfied. If you’re ready to explore a Deep Dive, click here.

 

Warning (Personal): Landing in Love in an Unexpected Way

The other day I was driving with my partner, Patrick, and I reached over to caress his cheek at a red light. I’d been tight and withdrawn for several days, so when I felt the impulse to reach out with tenderness, I acted on it because I didn’t know when I’d feel that way again.

I feared a response like, Now you want to show me love instead of shutting me out? Where have you been the last few days?, but was floored to be met instead with an undefended, loving look.

I grew up with a belief that I have to earn love. That I have to cajole love with good behavior, sexiness, or being thoughtful and kind. This belief makes me try too hard in every area of my life.

Here’s the pattern: I put in more effort than I get back until I hit the wall and feel defeated and resentful. I withdraw, feeling unwanted and unseen. My underlying fear that I’m unworthy of love is reinforced by the lack of reciprocation.

When I’m in this pattern, I’m not able to receive the love that’s actually available. I also don’t see that I created the imbalance and my own defeat by trying too hard instead of being present and meeting the person or situation with the right amount of effort.

Love that’s bought with effort can feel like love, but it’s like eating only frosted pound cake day after day. Over time our bodies break down from malnutrition. Just like our bodies need more than cake to live, we need more than bought love to live.

In the wake of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s suicides, I want us to think about the love and connection in our lives. I don’t know what they struggled with or what was happening with their brain chemistry. I don’t know what made them decide that leaving was better than staying and I’m not passing judgment on their choice.

But I do know what it’s like to feel alone, surrounded by people, unable to feel how loved I am because I’m locked in my own feelings.

I do know what it’s like to try to make myself feel worthy of love by over-achieving and to feel crushed when I don’t feel seen or known.

I do know what it’s like to feel depressed and think it’ll never change.

In her article, “Americans are depressed and suicidal because something is wrong with our culture,” Kirsten Powers writes, Rather than pathologizing the despair and emotional suffering that is a rational response to a culture that values people based on ever escalating financial and personal achievements, we should acknowledge that something is very wrong. We should stop telling people who yearn for a deeper meaning in life that they have an illness or need therapy. Instead, we need to help people craft lives that are more meaningful and built on a firmer foundation than personal success.

My over-efforting pattern started to change when I realized that nothing and no one outside of myself can fill the 5-gallon bucket of love-need inside me. I got clear that the negative things I think about myself punch holes in that bucket and make any love or accolades that pour in drain right out. I had to learn to plug those holes myself.

I had to dig deeper to find a place inside where love just is. A place past the belief that I have to hustle to feel worthy and get love. A place where love isn’t a commodity to be bought with good behavior or achievement, but is instead a constant that hums along independently of our ideas and beliefs about it.

Revealing the love we are made of at our core asks us to strip away everything we think it is and everything we think we have to do to get it.

Love is what’s left after our layers of compensation and hustling fall away.

When Patrick and I first started dating, he was more of the withdrawing type, as I wrote about in this post, Three Ways We Sabotage Change in Our Relationships. He’d max out on the closeness he could handle and would need to pull back to regroup. I could see that happening and didn’t take it personally or freak out. Instead I gave him space to come back when he was ready.

This wasn’t another strategy to buy love. My own love-bucket was full enough that I didn’t have to try to buy love from him with manipulation. He could feel my total lack of grip, which gave him room to choose to open up to our relationship at a pace that worked for him.

But years later, I discovered in the car that I still brace myself to be met with resentment when I’ve been tight and withdrawn. Like shoe-prints left on a well-worn trail I no longer tread, I still show traces of the belief that I have to earn love by being good.

When Patrick leaned into my touch and beamed more love at me than I felt I deserved in that moment, another layer of that belief fell away, like a calving glacier falling into the sea with a loud groan.

I forgot where we were, that cars behind us would soon start to honk. I let his loving look land in my body, turned my face to the road, and accelerated through the green light.

 

Thanks for reading! Join my email list for access to growing and helpful resources. XO

***

Using her Deep Dive Process, Marie-Elizabeth Mali works with unconventional women who feel stuck and dissatisfied. If you’re ready for a Deep Dive, click here.

How To Safely Practice Getting Vulnerable in Your Relationships

Ugh. Relationships, amiright? Somehow, with all your wounds and your parental, societal, religious, and educational conditioning, you’re supposed to magically know how to relate to another person. That person also shows up with their own wounds and conditioning and is supposed to magically know how to relate to you. Like talking on a phone through security glass, your real selves rarely get to touch.

My partner, Patrick, and I got to know one another by researching different aspects of relationship for 7 days at a time. We were a part of a personal growth community and doing relationship research with a partner was a way to get vulnerable and learn more about ourselves in the safety of a container that we created using pre-negotiated conditions and rules.

Because we both tend to be nice and say what we think the other person will be open to hearing, for 7 days Patrick and I decided to research saying the real thing no matter what. Because we weren’t in love, we weren’t invested in controlling the other’s experience of us, which made it easier to be honest.

If you also tend to censor your truth to be nice, think about this: By controlling how you’re perceived by others, nobody really knows you. You start to believe that something’s wrong with you. You have to hide it when you feel stuff that doesn’t jive with your nice persona. You also don’t truly know anyone else because you’re only experiencing their response to your façade. It’s a lonely place to live.

On the TV show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Midge would wait until her husband fell asleep before jumping up to curl her hair, apply cold cream, and return to bed. Before he woke up, she’d get up, take out the curlers, wash off the cold cream, put on her makeup, and get back in bed, pretending to wake up once he did. It was an elaborate (and exhausting) ruse she’d learned from her mother to maintain the illusion that she always looked perfect.

You do the same thing when you present your best self to another at the expense of your vulnerability. Over time, you drift apart and lose respect for the person you’re with, because you’re secretly mad that they fell for the façade you’re now sick of having to keep up.

When Patrick and I researched saying the real thing, we were both shocked by what we discovered. How much I shook and how easily my tears spilled when I said something like, I want you to stay over tonight, or, I enjoyed hanging out with you today. How embarrassing to feel all this vulnerability under my independent exterior. It went against every conditioned bone in my body to share it with him.

To my surprise, as I showed him my tender side, he didn’t run. He didn’t reject it or shrink back. In fact, he came closer and began to open up more.

Patrick wanted to hide that he still had feelings for his ex-girlfriend, but he shared them because of our research. When he discovered he had room to express his mixed feelings and I didn’t flinch, he felt safe to continue revealing more of himself. He realized that his story of having to control my perception of him wasn’t true.

As we showed each other more of our real selves, we fell in love. To this day, almost three years later, if we catch ourselves trying to hide something, we soon come clean with it. The depth of love, communication, and permission we have is enlivening. We now live in the magic of true vulnerability because we developed our skill through this research.

Heads up: For some of you, sharing your fears and wounds is a well-worn path. You can talk about the worst experiences of your life and never hit real vulnerability. For you, it might be harder to share what you want, or something you like about the other person. Your vulnerability may lie in letting yourself want more and revealing how deeply you feel. Watch for what takes you to the edge of your comfort zone and share that.

You may fear that you’re too much. I had that fear, too. You may be afraid that if you show all of yourself you’ll be rejected. You may even have built up a lifetime of evidence to support this fear. Doing relationship research on vulnerability can help you work through this fear in a conscious way.

When who you really are breaks through your façade into a relationship, as it eventually must, the relationship may go through changes, or even end. Not because you’re too much, or bad, or wrong for revealing more of yourself, but because the relationship was a house of cards built on a façade and shit just got real. If you set up the relationship on a foundation of vulnerability and honesty from the start, you have more chance of it working out because you each know what you’re really getting into.

How to set up a research container to explore vulnerability:

Grab a willing friend and agree to do relationship research on speaking your emotional truth. It can be someone you’re lightly dating or just a friend. If you’re dating, watch out for feelings getting in the way of speaking your truth. If you’re just friends, make sure there’s enough at stake to keep you honest.

Agree on a length of time that feels good. We picked 7 days but you could choose 15, 21, or 30 days. Pick a small enough window that you’ll both be all in for it, but a long enough window that you build up useful data.

Agree that you’ll touch base every day and say what’s on your heart as directly as possible. If the recipient of the communication feels like the giver’s holding back or padding their truth, ask the giver to repeat the communication more clearly and directly after they’ve finished.

You could set a timer and have each person speak for a maximum of five minutes.

When the giver is speaking, the receiver listens. At the end, say, Thank you. Switch giver and receiver.

At the end of the daily back-and-forth, debrief for a few minutes by each saying how it felt to say the thing and how it felt to receive it. The debrief is an opportunity to continue being transparent and getting even closer to your emotional truth, while also learning how your communication lands with another.

At the end, thank one another and move on. Don’t process it. You’re researching how to reveal yourselves more fully and how to receive someone who’s revealing themselves, not getting into the story of the emotions that were revealed.

 

Thanks for reading! Join my email list for access to growing and helpful resources. XO

***

Using her Deep Dive Process, Marie-Elizabeth Mali works with unconventional women who feel stuck and dissatisfied. If you’re ready for a Deep Dive, click here.

Lessons from the Ocean: The Scuba Diver’s Ultimate Guide to Life

Earlier this year I celebrated my 800th dive, which got me thinking about what I’ve learned from spending that much time underwater. Here are 9 things the ocean has taught me about life:

1. If you do your part, buoyancy is effortless.

Perfect buoyancy is a balance between effort and surrender. When I get the balance right, I have the experience of feeling held and my body relaxes.

My part is to get the weights and air right in my gear. If I do that, there’s no floating away and no sinking. I’m effortlessly held. It feels divine, like the direct experience of being supported by the universe.

Working skillfully with your mind is like getting the weights and air right in your gear. Our practices don’t create the experience of support, but they set you up to let go into it, which reveals the support that’s always there.

2. If you’re bored, up-level your attention.

Not every dive has fireworks of activity. Some dives are downright sleepy, especially after lunch and you’re thinking you should have taken a nap instead of getting wet for this lame-assery.

But there’s always something to notice, even if it’s your breath. Listening to the sound of your breath underwater is so meditative and calming, you can surface renewed even if you didn’t see a single cool critter.

If you’re bored, how could you up-level your attention? The moment we think we know what’s going on, or think we fully know another human being, is the moment we blind ourselves to the miraculous and deaden our sense of wonder. Mind-blowing things happen around us all the time. It’s up to us to notice the wow in the ordinary. It’s not life’s job to kapow through our dullness and complacency to get us to notice how amazing it is.

3. If it’s not a good time to go in, be patient.

Sometimes we get to a dive site and the current’s flowing in an unsafe direction, so we wait. Eventually it turns. As it’s turning there’s a pause, called slack, when there’s no current, which is a great time to dive.

Maybe lunch gets pushed back, or another activity gets rearranged, but in the end, we have a better dive because we were flexible about time.

Be respectful of the changing currents in your life.

4. Be willing to work for it.

There’s a site in Palau called Blue Corner. If you hit it when there’s a strong current, you can hook into the rocks and hang out there to watch sharks hunt. Schools of jacks face into the current, clumped together to look like one big organism, and the sharks come barreling through, scattering them until they re-form again. It’s exhilarating.

If you avoid all current to only do lazy daisy dives, you’ll miss an amazing experience. Sharks hunt when the current’s strong. If you want to see an apex predator of the ocean do its thang, you have to be willing to work for it.

5. Keep going even when it’s not pretty.

I’ve seen female sharks with bloody gashes around their gills where males bite them during sex, mantas with chunks of their fins missing from shark bites, sharks with fishing hooks embedded in their mouths, and a starfish with a short, lumpy arm in the process of growing back.

Nature isn’t romantic and beautiful all the time. It’s tenacious in how it works around obstacles. In the way a manta missing half a fin keeps swimming, we can keep going, even if we’re barely hanging on by our fingernails.

6. Don’t grip.

When I’m too attached to a specific interaction I want to have, it often doesn’t happen. It’s as if the animals stay away because they can feel my tension. Animals are limbic creatures. They feel everything.

On my 800th dive, I went in with celebration and joy, with no attachment to what we might see. A hammerhead made several passes as if to say hello, a pod of dolphins came by, and two mantas showed up and circled our group as we were headed to the surface. Total magic.

Even with our hefty frontal cortex, we’re still limbic creatures. Our bodies respond to everyone and everything around us, even if we don’t always listen. We can feel when someone’s gripped and it tends to make us want to get away. The more we learn to relax our grip, the better our relationships feel and the more daily magic we experience.

7. Gender is waaaaaaay fluid.

In each anemone home, a group of clownfish has a large, dominant female and smaller males and juveniles. If she dies, a male turns female and grows, becoming dominant.

A harem of female parrotfish lives with a dominant male. If the male dies, one of the females turns male and becomes dominant.

Nudibranchs are hermaphroditic. They sidle up to one another and become the sex necessary in order to procreate. I’ve seen them have sex in both directions at once to fertilize each other’s eggs. Then they lay their eggs in a spiral that looks like a gorgeous flower.

Let’s chill around gender and accept that we, too, exist on a continuum, m’kay?

8. We need each other.

In Costa Rica, at Cocos Island, we dove a site famous for schooling hammerheads. We descended to 80 feet holding a rope because of the current, then swam around looking for hammerheads. On that particular dive, we had to pull ourselves from rock to rock to crawl around the site because the current was too strong for swimming.

Hanging onto my heavy camera gear with one arm and pulling myself forward with the other, I got exhausted in 25 minutes. Luckily, a strapping Spaniard near me had enough strength left to haul us both back to the line.

Once I got to the line, still at 80 feet, I ran out of air. Disoriented, I couldn’t process why air wasn’t coming into my lungs when I breathed. The divemaster saw me struggling and shoved his regulator (airpiece) in my mouth, grabbing his spare for himself. We ascended the line together, sharing his remaining air.

I used to resist diving with a buddy and a group. As an introverted only child who self-soothes by being alone, I wanted to be free to shoot the critters at my own pace without having to keep my attention on others. But if it weren’t for my two buddies on that dive, I would have died.

I’m alive today to tell to all the other loners out there: we fucking need each other. Life’s better lived in connection. Maybe we’re loners because we never learned how to ask for what we need or set proper boundaries. Time to get over ourselves and let people in.

9. Everything is interdependent.

Diving reveals over and over again how much symbiosis exists in nature.

The remora that hitches a ride on the shark, eating parasites on the shark’s skin that would otherwise irritate it, while downing leftover food the shark doesn’t eat and getting a free ride through the water.

Cleaner shrimp that venture into the mouth of a sharp-toothed moray eel to clean it without getting eaten because it’s a service the moray needs.

We’re a part of nature, too. When we go in the ocean, it enlivens us and clears our heads, because our bodies were meant to move and be in direct contact with the elements. While I enjoy my creature comforts on land, when I interact with a sea lion, giggling at the joy and playfulness they exude, I feel totally alive and connected to my own joy.

I hope you also find out what brings you alive to your joy and do it as often as you can, because your aliveness and joy benefit everyone.

Thanks for reading! Join my email list for access to growing and helpful resources. XO

***

Using her Deep Dive Process, Marie-Elizabeth Mali works with unconventional women who feel stuck and dissatisfied. If you’re ready for a Deep Dive, click here.

How To Create Real Optimism Instead of Magical Thinking

It’s hard to be optimistic when it feels like humanity’s gone off the rails. For every glorious moment that signals change, like Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, there’s another school shooting and more innocent kids dead.

It’s tempting to either transcend and tune out or take on all the horror and weep and rage to anyone who will listen. But this is not a time to turn away from the world and say affirmations, nor is it a time to wallow in despair. It’s a time to both feel our pain and do the work to shift our consciousness.

Creative solutions become available when we change the mindset that created our current problems. As Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Choosing to cultivate real optimism opens up a new way of seeing that can change the world.

As Cari Romm reminds us in this article, it’s possible to train ourselves to be more optimistic. There’s power in envisioning the world we want to live in and taking action to make that vision a reality.

Here are 10 ways to cultivate a grounded kind of optimism that doesn’t ask us to suppress or bypass our feelings.

1. Stop re-traumatizing yourself.

No one forces us to open news websites, Facebook, and Twitter over and over again. That’s on us and our addictive brains looking for a fix. It’s like rubbernecking when we pass a car wreck. Do we have to bog down traffic to satisfy our morbid curiosity? Let’s be deliberate about when to take in the news and for how long.

When we close the computer, let’s think about what we want to create, go outside and breathe fresh air, and connect with an actual human or a pet. We have choice here. Let’s use it.

2. Shift your mind’s focus.

We’re hard-wired to remember pain and suffering more than pleasure. A gazillion times a day our minds notice what hurts, when we feel slighted, and what went wrong. Because of this wiring, we tend to forget what went well and what we did right.

How often do we give thanks that water comes out of the tap when we turn the handle? When I was a kid visiting my family in Venezuela, we only had running water for a few hours a day. Each morning, we filled pots and the tub with the water we needed for the day. We boiled what we needed to drink. To this day I appreciate having hot, cold, and filtered water on command. Being grateful for what’s working now helps us build up resilience for hard times.

3. Be conscious about the kind of attention you ask for from others.

I used to think that if I didn’t share my pain we wouldn’t feel connected. There’s some truth to that, in that if we gloss over our inner world to stay “surface-safe” we end up malnourished. But there’s real danger in bonding over our wounds.

If we bond over our wounds, we have to continue making our wounds primary in our lives to keep relating to each other. When one of us steps off that cycle toward healing, the friendship has to shift or it will end.

Let’s base our friendships on love and creative vision instead of our wounding. In this way, we can hold each other through both ups and downs, and, together, create the world we want to live in.

4. Notice when you complain, then ask what desire that complaint points you toward.

Every complaint is a veiled desire. Instead of stopping at the complaint, let’s take the extra step to ask ourselves what the desire is underneath it and move toward making that desire happen.

I used to complain when my partner would play games on his phone. Once I shifted my focus to the desire under the complaint, which was to have his attention, I simply asked for his attention. This worked better for both of us than the complaint ever did.

Finding the desire behind the complaint increases our power to create fulfilling lives instead of keeping us stuck in suffering. Moving toward our desires, and supporting others in moving toward theirs, moves us all toward co-creating a world that works for everyone.

5. Choose pronoia instead of paranoia.

Pronoia is the view that life is happening for us instead of against us. Whether we believe in pronoia or paranoia, we’ll find evidence for the viewpoint we choose, so we might as well choose the viewpoint that supports our agency.

When I’m stressing out, I’ve learned to ask, “How could this be happening for me?” Then I wait for an answer to emerge. Sometimes it feels contrived and awkward, but often I gain a useful insight into the situation that reduces my stress.

6. Be honest: are you addicted to struggle?

My business mentor recently called me out on this one. I’m transitioning to new software for my business and it’s been a nightmare. I’ve been staying up into the wee hours chatting with tech support for weeks, trying to get to the root of why parts of it don’t sync right with my website. I feel paralyzed, exhausted, and over-the-top stressed.

My partner is good with computers and offered to figure it out, but I refused to hand it over to him. My business mentor has someone on staff who could handle the setup for me. Even after she offered, and I said yes, I didn’t make the phone call right away to get the ball rolling. I kept struggling to fix the issue myself for another week, at the expense of the business activities I enjoy that are in my wheelhouse, and at the expense of my physical health and happiness.

When we’re addicted to struggle, it’s as if what we accomplish feels more worthwhile because it was hard. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s just as worthwhile to ask for help, so we can prioritize what comes naturally and evokes joy.

7. Find or create a supportive community.

When we’re trying to cultivate real optimism it helps to find a tribe that’s passionate about the same things. Even as it’s essential to do our inner work to cultivate an unshakeable baseline of self-love, the reflection we can receive from and give others on a similar path is instrumental, too.

If you lack a sense of community, what action could you take today to create more of one? It could be as small as commenting on a friend’s Facebook post that you resonated with, or as large as starting a tribe of your own. Take an action today that opens you up to feeling more connected with others.

To create a world that works for everyone, we have to lift others as we climb. The old model of success at others’ expense has gotten us into the mess we’re in today. It’s time to shift our concept of success to include the well-being of everyone in our sphere of influence.

8. Stop arguing with reality.

Byron Katie says, I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.

Optimism doesn’t mean glossing over the way things are. It also doesn’t mean pretending to be a more together or enlightened superhuman than we are. Until we learn to love and accept the parts of ourselves that we wish didn’t exist we’ll never have integrity.

When we stop resisting reality and get really honest about what we can and can’t control, we begin to have peace of mind. As our clarity grows, so does our power to change our lives, and by extension, the world.

Byron Katie’s The Work, a series of questions to deconstruct our thoughts, is a great place to start. Here’s a link to free tools so you can get started on getting right with reality and getting free.

9. Figure out why you’re here.

Viktor Frankl said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.’” He survived the Holocaust by finding meaning in his experience, which gave him a reason to survive. If we focus on what gives us meaning, we have more power to survive adversity.

When living with chronic pain for a decade, I discovered that if I focused on discerning what I needed and asking for support, I could experience joy even in the midst of high pain because I stopped arguing with reality and created connection with others instead of isolating myself. My ability to hold my clients through their adversities became steady and exquisite because of what I learned by letting pain help me grow.

10. Cultivate self-awareness.

Viktor Frankl also said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Real optimism is born out of living in alignment with our deepest selves, which is a skill we can cultivate through meditation and self-inquiry.

The more people on the planet able to choose to respond to life out of creativity and clarity, the more we can innovate a sustainable world in which everyone’s basic needs are met, which is a world worth being optimistic about.

 

Thanks for reading! Join my email list for access to growing and helpful resources. XO

Parts of this article originally appeared on Elephant Journal, with the title, “How To Cultivate Real Optimism—Instead of Just ‘Thinking Positive.'”

***

Marie-Elizabeth Mali show women how to move from feeling stuck and dissatisfied to having clarity and courage to take bold action. If you’re ready to create a life you love, click here.

Stop Making this Fatal Relationship Mistake

Does your love interest keep having to jump through an increasingly complex series of hoops to prove themselves to you because you’re so slow to trust? Testing at the beginning helps you both see if it’s safe to go deeper. But at what point does continuing to test start to wreck your relationship?

I rescued a traumatized pit bull mix, Phoenix, three years ago. When my partner first started staying over, Phoenix was overprotective of me and terrified of men. Because of her sharp bark, he was afraid go to the bathroom at night in the dark, even though she was crated!

After he moved in, it took a year of his walking and feeding her before she even wagged her tail at him. But if he made one fast move, she’d still growl or bark. After two years, she greeted him for the first time with the joyful wriggling at the front door that she used to only give me. He almost cried.

It’s exhausting to constantly have to prove yourself worthy of trust.

After 2.5 years of living together, during which he took care of me through two major surgeries, my lack of trust took center stage again. He forgot to pick something up at the store that I’d asked for. I made it mean that he didn’t care about my needs and didn’t want to help me. I told him how disappointed I felt.

After a long silence, he said it felt like I was still testing him. I thought he was ridiculous, but soon realized he was right. I’d been tracking what he said he’d do and whether or not he did it in my time frame. When he did it more slowly, or forgot, my belief that my needs didn’t matter got hit. My trust in him went down, which he could feel, and he got nervous and made more mistakes.

Here’s the kicker, my friend: Whatever disappointing thing you’re afraid your partner will do, they’ll probably end up doing because you’ve infused that expectation into the subtle field of your relationship.

Here are four ways to work with your lack of trust and improve your relationships:

1. Start treating your partner as if they’re the person you want them to be, not the person you’re afraid they are.

Have you noticed how your partner shines when you’re filled with love for them? And how, when you’re not, they lose their luster? Own how much power you wield with your perception and use it gracefully.

If you focus on what you fear instead of on what you want, what you fear will most likely happen. It’s not that your partner is the bad person you’re afraid they are. It’s that you’ve grooved that fearful expectation into yourself so deeply that your life literally organizes itself around fulfilling that expectation and giving you the experience you fear.

This is not to say that you are to blame for the bad things that have happened to you in the past. NOT AT ALL. It’s to say that it’s time to interrogate the beliefs created by those painful experiences and change those beliefs if they prevent you from having the loving and trusting relationships you want now.

In a nutshell, you don’t get to pick at your partner for years out of your lack of trust, then blame them for fucking up. That shit stops now.

2. Make one small request a day.

To build the muscle of receptivity and appreciation, start making one small request a day. Ask for something that doesn’t carry a lot of weight, so you’re not crushed if it doesn’t happen.

For example, “Please bring me a glass of water.” If they do it, genuinely radiate appreciation and say “Thank you.” Keep your request simple and avoid justifying it with a bunch of extra words like, “Please bring me a glass of water because I’m so tired and have a cat on my lap.”

You deserve to ask for what you want without having to justify your request with why you can’t do it yourself. If you tend to over-justify, you have work to do around receiving. Do the vulnerable thing and ask clearly and simply for one small thing you want.

Write down successes like, “I asked for a glass of water and they brought it to me.” Train your mind to notice and appreciate when your partner does something right.

If you ask for what you want, without the charge of the 5,387 times you didn’t get it before, your partner will want to give it to you. If they don’t, that’s worth talking about. Maybe you both have some built up resentments that need clearing before the channel of generosity can open between you again.

3. Explore the terrain of trust.

You may need support for this exploration from a coach or therapist. It’s hard to navigate this terrain entirely on your own, especially if you have tons of evidence for why you can’t trust anyone. Our patterns run deep. When you get uncomfortable, you’ll tend to abdicate responsibility or overly blame yourself for things that aren’t your fault, so it helps to have a trained pair of eyes looking at the terrain with you.

If you’re in a relationship, tell your partner you want to work on your lack of trust. Ask them to gently tell you when they feel you’re not trusting them. Invite your partner to help you see yourself more clearly. This is tender and vulnerable work. Be sure you’re both ready for this level of transparency and that you won’t use it to clobber one another with resentments masquerading as truths.

Eventually, as you build your capacity to trust, you’ll be able to meet your partner with more of you present, instead of keeping your wounding in front of you like both dartboard and shield.

4. Stop testing.

No, really, just stop. If you’ve been in relationship for more than 5 minutes, and they’ve been there for you so far, you can stop testing. Looking for evidence that they’re untrustworthy and expecting them to fuck up is a shitty way for both of you to live. It poisons the present and doesn’t lessen the pain when a future fuck-up happens. To help shift this tendency, click here to read my blog about how to change the habit of anticipating loss.

I’m here with you, learning to trust, too. Seeing my partner help me with joy is well worth the work of shifting my patterns. As I stopped testing, he showed up even more fully than before. Our relationship has more room for imperfection and humor. We now meet life as a team.

Thanks for reading! Join my email list (see sign-up form below) for access to growing and helpful resources. XO

***

Marie-Elizabeth Mali helps women in life transitions reinvent themselves. If you’re ready to create a life that reflects who you really are, click here.