becky pourchot

Toxic Aspirations

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Earlier today I met with a group of business women at an event called ‘Just Drop In’. I join them once a week with the hopes of understanding what being a small business owner is all about. They’re a compassionate group, who truly finds joy in what they do.

At our meeting I confessed to them my recent failure. Weeks earlier I had declared myself the “New Becky”. I told everyone the New Becky would focus on success. She would sell lots of books and give up at no cost. She would succeed because she was so dedicated to her cause.

I pictured the New Becky as this tall, slim, focused woman with a well-tailored dress. Her hair would be smooth and pulled back. I’d command people’s respect.

I explained to my friends how I pursued this new Becky for a month and a half. I bought business attire, posted goals on my office walls, and managed everything in my business life.

It worked great for a week until I found myself drowning in tasks. I was toggling too many projects. My shoulders were knotted tight and I was emotionally absent from my family. I kept on trying, kept on pushing, but I was irritable and anxious and had lost my sense of center. I was failing, I knew.   I hated myself for being weak and lazy and not being able to handle it all.

Finally, one day I broke down and cried to my husband. I was exhausted, and frankly I hadn’t been any more productive than when the “old Becky” was in charge.

After I told this story to my business friends, they all nodded. Everyone there knew the struggle…the balance of self-care and the drive for success.

It was suggested to me that perhaps I still hadn’t found the real me. Perhaps I was trying so hard to be everyone else’s version of me, I had no idea who I was. As my friend Daniella put it, “You need to find your authentic self.”

Each of the women I spoke with had a different way off being them. Some could work eleven hour days and that was fine by them, while people, like me, needed more reflective time. The trick to all of this according to Daniella was finding my purpose.

I thought on this. I decided my purpose is to bring joy to people through my words.

I know this may sound weak and lazy to some of you, like I’m copping out, but I know I cannot bring joy to others unless I am finding joy in myself.  This may not be true for everyone, but I can’t bring love to the world unless I have the time to find it within myself.

And so, today, in front of all of you, I declare a Newer Becky. One, who yes, keeps an expense report, and keeps up to date on her marketing material, but also takes time to walk on the beach, bake a batch of cookies, feel the beauty of nature, and revel in the love of my family and friends.

This ironically is the Becky I’ve been all along. The only difference is self-doubt has caused me to question who I really am.

If you ask me, life is too good to waste it on trying to be what we are not.

Work hard, love hard, and let peace rule the way.

You can find my books at www.beckypourchot.com

How do you balance spiritual life with your drive for success? Are they the same? Let me know!!!

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Of God and Unicorns…

unicorn be yourselfSometimes I journal as if I’m talking to God. I don’t even believe in God, at least not in the traditional sense, but as I was writing this came out.

God, I am burnt out on this writing thing, this author thing, trying to sell my books. It’s too much. It doesn’t make me happy.

Okay tell me specifically, what, in all of this doesn’t make you happy.

The trying. I mean I love the doing, but the trying to be perfect…

What do you want to be?

I want to be a woman who writes really good books, who tells exciting stories aloud to an audience and makes people feel good inside when they hear them. I want to write great articles, short stories…keep a decent blog…and keep creating That’s SO Bizarre..and love the people I interview for all their quirkiness.

God, I want to send light into the world. I want to send my heart and humanity to people…I want to remind them who they are!!

Don’t you see it Becky!!? You already are all those things. That is you! My God, Becky, you are living and breathing your dream.

The key is to stop comparing yourself to everyone… you are not them. You are on your own path. The minute you try taking their roads you fail….that’s when you crumble. Only you can be you, to be anyone else would be a lie. You hurt, suffer when you try to be someone else. You can only be you. Beautiful, sunny, heartfelt you.

Becky, my sweet love, you are fine. This is not depression, this is longing…and this is all good. Finally there’s room to look at this part of yourself deeply. There’s a lot going on in your life. Take a deep breath and know you are okay. Let go of the paths you cling to and float atop the one you are on.

Smile. You are here. Right now. In beauty and light.

Forgive, my dear, for you already are perfect.

Make it So!

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A year or two ago, some friends on Facebook were discussing with starry-eyed optimism how easy it is to make change in our lives.

“Just choose it! That’s all it takes,” my friend said.

“That’s right!” the other one replied.

This pissed me off. That’s NOT how things work. I grumbled to myself.

The two went on and on with this discussion and frankly I wanted to vomit.

Give me a f@*$&ing break, I thought. Maybe these two freaks of nature think they can make their lives better by twitching their nose like Samantha on Bewitched, but that certainly was not me. No one has that much control over their lives.

I thought about their comments for days. Mulled over them. Steeped in them. And at the end of it I knew for sure that “thought control” wasn’t for me. I had baggage. A world of noise in my head…not to mention a diagnosis: General Anxiety Disorder. OCD. Bipolar. According to the people in my world I was clinically helpless.

I was taught that we have little to no control of who we are, where we go and where we end up. To the people in my world, life was like a bumper car ride. We may have a little freedom of movement initially, but in the end we’ll always be blocked from going anywhere.

Fast forward to today.

I’m out with a group of friends and I’m feeling my anger and sadness build. I hadn’t slept well the night before and I had some left over resentment boiling in me from the previous day. I was cranky and miserable.

Two years back in that situation I would have perpetuated it all: You are an awful person for having these feelings.I’d say. You should have stayed home.

I would have sat with my friends with my negative filter on, taking everything they said as an attack, or a sign of disapproval. I would have gone home that night and grumbled.

But this time I did something different. I decided to make change.

I excused myself from the group. Alone in the bathroom I breathed deep and I asked myself, What do you want?

I responded to my own question: I want to have a good time. I want us all to have a good time!

And in my calm state I heard the answer: Then make it so!

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I stepped from the bathroom and settled in my seat with my friends. I felt resolved not necessarily to have a super, crazy good time, but to be okay with where I was. I was no longer passive to my mood. I chose to be content.

Sure I was still tired, and yeah, the irritability was there, but I sat back and stopped trying. I stopped feeling guilty and mad at myself for the feelings that were going through my head. Instead of letting the dark and dank emotions grow, I released them. I no longer fought. The battle within me was over.

It didn’t take any magic, no nose twitching, or anything of the sort. I just redefined the picture.

I will have a good time, I told myself. And I did!   By shifting my reality, my visit with friends went from being potentially miserable to wonderful—one of the best outings I’ve had in a very long time.

I’m not saying this makes change easy—not for me anyway. Some days are bad. Some are worth grumbling over, some even require tears, but recognizing that we can take control of how we filter those experiences will ultimately affect the course of our lives!

I’m seeing that life is not like a bumper car ride, nor is it a merry-go-round…or a roller coaster. We are not passive! We are absolutely 100% active. I say ax the carnival ride metaphor all together and imagine yourself flying out over an open field. You have all the choice in the world, to go up, down, fast, slow. Yeah, it might be windy some days, but how that wind affects you is entirely up to you.

It’s your reality! Make it yours!

Wishing you peace and love,

Becky

Hey! If you like the ideas you see here you might enjoy my new book that’s coming soon! It’s called Open Souls. Take a peek. Sign up for my newsletter. www.opensoulsbook.com.

Sex is Awesome!

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If you’ve been following my blog, you’re probably confused a bit right now. Lately I’ve been writing a lot about self-awareness, connecting with the Universe, and all this fancy esoteric stuff, so my guess is that you’re looking at this title and wondering “Sex? Really?”

So, I’m here to confess, I’ve been thinking about sex a lot lately. I suppose I always do, but even more lately. To me—next to chocolate chip cookies and moonlit nights over the ocean—sex is the best thing the universe has to offer. (And hey, put chocolate chip cookies, moonlit nights together with sex and you may have found yourself the recipe for supreme ecstasy).

I believe with all my being that sex is one of the most divine acts in the universe. God (or whatever you believe in) made it fun for a reason. Sex brings us closer to who we really are and when we let it, it can take us to a place of unstoppable joy. Sex is not something to feel ashamed of, nor is it something to condone in other people. Whatever way you choose to do it, whoever with, whatever position, sex is wonderful.

And so, I came up with this idea. Why don’t we put two really great things together—two of my favorite: sex and words. Let’s put them together in a context where people can come together, celebrate, laugh, and swoon. And so I approached Inspired Mic creator, Michael Ray King and said, “Hey, let’s do an open mic event that’s all about sex.” Needless to say, he was all for it!

We found seven writers (and a dancer!) who aren’t shy to the subject. Turns out there’s a lot of writer’s out there who’ve been itching to read their erotica out loud. So, on February 14th at 6:30 pm we will converge at Change Jar Books in Flagler Beach Florida, to tell saucy, seductive tales in an event we’re calling In the Prose of Passion.

For me an event like this is much more than just a chance for people to come together and get their jollies. It’s about celebrating sex—the desire, the tension, the playfulness!

We are all beautiful, sexual beings. There’s nothing to hide. Nothing to fear. Sex is beautiful, and yeah, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

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We’ve got an amazing line up for the night…

Anna Zaires-USA today best selling author will be featuring some of her saucy sci-fi erotica.

Melanie Neale, St. Augustine’s premiere writer and author of Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, and Fiberglass will be reading her seductive poetry.

Renny Roker– Former Hollywood actor (and the first African American to appear on Gomer Pyle!) will surprise us with some romance. You wont believe this guy’s bio.

Robin Soprano will be reading from her debut romance novel A Soul Mate’s Promise.

Michael Ray King, publisher, author, poet and MC extraordinaire, will lead the show and taunt us with his poetry.

And then of course the lovely dancer Sammy Sutra of Bada Bing Babes Burlesque out of Jacksonville will be flirting with us all.

I’ll be reading too! www.beckypourchot.com.

Be sure to join my mailing list, to get updates on my dark romantic thriller Open Souls. Coming soon! www.opensoulsbook.com

Falling in Love

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Late in 2014 I decided something big…something life changing. I decided I was no longer going to live my life in fear. This is big stuff coming from a girl who was diagnosed with every anxiety disorder known to the psychiatric world by the age of twelve.

But here I am in the new year and it’s working.

The changes are subtle, and probably not noticeable to even my close family and friends, but I feel a shift. Sure, the fear is still there, however what’s different is how I respond to it.

As the anxiety grows, I take note of the tension in me, my wild heart, my racing mind. Then I look at my fears and I say, “This has been nice and all, but it’s time for me to move on.”

And I do!

I’m a busy person. I love to take on lots of projects, set lots of goals, see lots of people, and connect with the world. It’s who I am…and it’s the way I learn and grow, but a full calendar will also get my anxious brain spinning. A busy life is food for anxiety. If I don’t keep my worry in check it blossoms into something ugly and very unhealthy.

Love is the opposite of fear. I’m finding when I nudge fear aside, I can make room for love and when I do really good things happen.

With this in mind, when I start feeling scared I stop and say to myself, “Hold on a second! Take a breath. Now look around for the love.” And when I do, it appears—in the way my husband holds my hand, the way the light from the sun shines between the trees, the way my body feels resting beneath my favorite blanket.

Love is all around. It’s not always big and monumental. In fact it’s usually small and delicate, hidden in the places we’re afraid to look.

And so in celebration of love I’ve been writing love letters to myself. Using the model created by Neale Donald Walsch in his series Conversations with God. I’m allowing myself to do the same and talk with God.

God thinks I’m great. “He” thinks all of you are amazing too. He’s our biggest fan! What I like most about this God that I channel is that he speaks without fear. He is pure love. He’s the voice that we’re all scared to listen to, because we’ve been told our whole lives that we’re subpar, that we’ll never reach our goals because we’re just not good enough. That’s bullshit! You and I know this. It’s fear at its finest.

So sure, maybe this God I’m talking to is just an aspect of me, but I don’t care. There’s something so deep and empowering about these letters. This is me at my finest—without fear.

And so I’m doing this, this weird soul searching path to freedom. It’s kinda nuts, I know. Even the people I love had deep doubts about it. But for the first time I have faith in me. My life is about growth, becoming who I really am. Amazing things are happening as I open up to love.  What’s really cool is that I’m realizing these amazing things have always been there, but now I’m just allowing myself to see them.

Love is there. It’s there because we believe it’s there, because we allow it to exist.

There’s no need to be afraid, because when you fall, love is there to catch you.  Let yourself fall in love!

Peace,

Becky

Confessions of an Agnostic: Why I Believe in God

Twice in my life now have I had the odd feeling of waking up…not in the literal sense, but more, I suppose in the metaphysical sense.

It’s very weird, and difficult to talk about because it is so personal. We’ve all experienced it, I’m sure, we just deny it because it messes with everything we take to hold true.  I’m not crazy, though I have certainly been treated as such for most of my life. In fact its the exact opposite of crazy.

The first time it happened it was very abrupt.  It was terrifying.  I literally thought I was dead.  I was sitting on my boy friend’s bed talking with him when I was hit with this sensation of divine stillness. The chatter in my mind stopped and I was just there. Purely Me. It was beautiful and frightening at the same time.

The self I had spent 19 years with, listening to her strive, worry, and grope and  was gone.  I mean completely gone, leaving me with this thing, this feeling I suppose one could equate with God.

I remember two friends of ours knocked on his dorm door and we let them in.  As they spoke I could hear everything.  Beneath their words I could hear their fear, their need for love and acceptance.  They soon left and I told my boyfriend what was going, crying for the loss of self.  He assured me I was okay.  He had known this feeling himself.  This in fact was something to welcome, he told me.

The months went by and like a good student I l asked questions to my boyfriend who seemed to know exactly what this was all about. But time passed and the magic of his insistent wisdom wore off.  It was all replaced with a new fear–a fear that I was loosing God, that it was slipping out of my hands, leaving me in the world alone.

Anxiety engulfed me like a raging fire and I plummeted into my own personal hell.  Suddenly no choice seemed like the right one.  I was paralyzed with the fear of failing God.

The boy friend and I went our separate ways and I eventual found my balance.  I did the only thing I could do, resorting to the comfort of psychiatric drugs and talk therapies that brought me back to this world.  I do not look back at this period of my life as not good or bad.  It is what I needed to do at the time.

So life went on.  I grew and learned, and continued to hold the unspoken knowledge in the back of my mind that this God-ness I experienced might very well be real, that love is all there is, but whenever I thought too much about it I was sent literally into panic attacks, for fear that the demons wouldn’t slip in again.

So now 20 years later I have an amazing family and devoted husband, life couldn’t be more perfect.  But for a long time I was not satisfied.  I wanted more.  I wanted the other, not what I had, but everything else.  I complained incessantly about people..my friends no less.  I didn’t just expect perfection from myself, I expected it from everyone else.  While I could feel God on my walks on the beach I couldn’t control my fear and anger.

So, this next part I’m hesitant to say, because it just feels so odd.  In the reality I help for 20 years this was not supposed to be.  I was not supposed to feel God every second of everyday, to look at everyone I meet with compassion and love.  These are not things meant for this little neurotic Jewish girl. My story went like this: you are helpless, the world is out to get you, you will try but never suceed.  Yuck!  I’m done with those thoughts.

I’m letting go of my need to be good. No, I’m not turning into some crazed sociopath.  Good is something that is my essense, I don’t have to try  I am good, because I let myself be…and sometimes I’m bad. If you saw what I ate for dinner, or what thoughts jjust crossed my mind, you’d see) But bad is all part of it…so ultimately that’s good too.  Does that make any snese?

I am the one writing this book. I choose where I go.  I have control because I have faith in myself.  I am God!  As are you! We are beautiful.

Some Thoughts on Mind Control

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I have a sticky brain.

At least that’s what I call it. I get thoughts and they stick to me, cycle in my head.

These can be good thoughts, like day dreams, planning for a big event or the outline for a new story. But these thoughts can also be bad; my mind riddled with negative self-talk.

The good obsessions are great. They fuel me, push me farther, inspiring me to do amazing things.

On the other hand the negative obsessions are awful. They’re like little gremlins that whisper in my ear, sucking me down. An inner dialogue emerges in my head, a thought loop, where a negative thought enters my brain, and I try “fixing” it by telling myself everything is fine. It’s like an alcoholic and his enabler wrapped into one head….yes, a little nutty.

It looks sort of like this-

Gremlin One: “Oh my god you’re so fat!”

Gremlin Two: “No. It’s just how you looked in that one picture.”

Gremlin One: “But you saw the scale. You gained two pounds in just a day! You’re a horrible failure.”

Gremlin Two: “Weight fluctuates. You’re fine.”

Gremlin One: No, I’m not. I can see the thickness on my thighs.

Thought loops never lead to anything good, because they’re just that. Loops. I’ve got dialogues for all sorts of problems. Each one embarrassing and torturous in its own way.

And so, after living with gremlins my whole life I’ve decided to try something.

Whenever I recognize myself in a loop I shout in my head “No!”   That’s it.Nothing more. I know it sounds silly.

I’m not a black and white, wrong and right sort a gal, so this feels very odd. I don’t yell at my kids in this way, nor would I yell at a friend, or my husband like this.

But these little gremlins are not friends, they feed off of ambiguity. They love the realm of “not knowing”:“Am I a good friend or a bad one?”, “Am I doing the right thing or failing miserable?” ,“Do they like me or hate me?”

The truth is everything in life is ambiguous. I know that no amount of gremlin banter is going to find an answer to my fears. So rather than feed them I’ve decided to give them a short abrupt, irrefutable answer. All there can be in that single moment of my little wild brain is a single word. “No.”

No questions. No worries. No reassurance. No fail. No win. Just NO.

To keep me staying true to my bizarre plan, I’ve randomly left notes in my phone calendar. Every day or two I get a message from myself saying “Just Say No” or “Don’t forget! Say No.” or “Are you still obsessing”?

I’ve started small, attaching the “no” rule to just one obsession. So far, four days in and its working well. The thoughts still come, but they don’t stick. I hope to add a new obsession today.

My poor gremlins are bored. I’ve taken away their toys and they don’t know what to do. So, I imagine myself taking their creepy little hands, sitting them on the couch with me and saying “There, there, nasty little things. I forgive you. Now run along and please, leave me the hell alone.”   Maybe one day with a little diligence I‘ll no longer be trapped in the quagmire of ambiguity and I’ll be able to step forward, confidently unafraid to say one simple word: No.

Janis, Grace, and Why I Don’t Sing

 

janisIt’s Friday. Garage sale day. I stop at the trailer park in town and step on a lady’s porch. She has maybe thirty items ranging from a dusty Christmas wreath, a plastic palm tree, a salad spinner and eight mason jars. Nothing I need—or so I think. Just when I’m ready to turn and leave I see it. A CD.

On the cover is crazy, wild Janis Joplin, her big round sunglasses and her puffy hair framing her friendly face.

I am 42, born two years after Janis’ death. It wasn’t until 1988 that I discovered her. I was in high school—a wannabe hippie who had enough Indian skirts and tie dye t-shirts to outfit the entire cast of Hair.   I wanted to sing like her, to channel my soul like her, but most importantly I wanted to move an audience like she did.

Then, some time in high school I had the rare opportunity to try and be a rock star. I’ll tell you now, I didn’t do so hot.

I was hanging out with my boyfriend’s band in their garage (before garage bands were a thing), playing the role of groupie. The guy on the bass began a slow, creeping snake of a song.I recognized it. White Rabbit! Grace Slick was another idol of mine.

My boyfriend gestured me to the mic, suggesting I might give it a whirl. My stomach rolled. Here was my moment in the sun. Could I live up to it?

Turns out, no. I ended up squawking out a few sounds reminiscent of a drowning goat, throwing the whole band into disarray.  I wasn’t invited back.

And so, with deep regret I accepted the fact that I would never be a rock star.

Until…

I discovered writing.

I may not be able to sing the blues, but I’m not so bad at writing them. Even as a kid I was channeling all sorts of odd, tormented, awkward feelings into words. Eventually I started sharing my work and to this day I take great pleasure in bringing my readers on an emotional journey with me–sortra like Janis. To me good songs are like good stories. They draw us in, lull us into another state of being and at the end spit us out, rendering us ever so slightly changed.

So today after I left that garage sale, I slipped the CD into my car player and cranked it. Big Brother and the Holding Company roared out a raw melody and Janis began:

Come on, come on!  Didn’t I make you feel like you were the only man?
An’ didn’t I give you nearly everything that a woman possibly can…

And there in my minivan, in the year 2014, a married mother of three, I was feeling the pain, the torment of a broken hearted drug addict in 1968. I was there with her.

That’s what I really want for my readers–for them to be be moved. I want people to hear my poems and feel the aching pangs of lost love, the joys of stepping into the ocean, or the thrill of a bike ride at night. I want them to read my stories and say, “I know these feelings. I’ve been here too.”

So as I drove home this morning I sang out loud, presumably like some sort of wounded animal, but I didn’t care.  Janis was taking me on a journey and I was right there with her.

Becky Pourchot lives in Flagler Beach Florida, where she still secretly dreams of being a rock and roll legend.  You can find her books at www.beckypourchot.com.

 

A Taste of Humble Pie…. A La Mode

blueberry pieToday I got an email from an editor out in San Francisco. We’ll call him Frank. I had sent Frank a draft of a manuscript for a book I’ve been working on tirelessly, thinking he might be a good editorial candidate for me. He gave it a quick read to see if we’d be a good match.

Now let me tell you, I love my book. I love the characters and I love the world they exist in. Frank did not. He thought they were shallow, that the story line was vague, that the paranormal element was weak and…aieeeeee! Enough already!

But here’s the deal, Frank is not a mean man–I don’t think so anyway–in fact his email still showed me respect…he just thought my story sucked! Ack!

Editors are ruthless because they need to be. They give feedback so you can improve, so you can create a product that people love. It’s like the best friend who tells you you’ve got food between your teeth before you head out on a big date. If they don’t help you pull that schmutz from your teeth, who will?

I have not paid Frank a cent. He did this little read for free, generously giving me a taste of his merciless editing skills. He said the first thing I will need is an initial  review and one hour consult, which he can offer to me for the low, low price of $2500.00. Yes, you heard that right. I can only imagine what the full edit would cost.

Frank is a professional and from the looks of his résumé he’s been working at it a long time. He knows what he’s doing, he does it well, and is probably worthy of the $2500. His job is dishing out the truth whether you like the taste of it or not.

So I’m wavering here. There’s one voice in my head saying, “Give up now!” “Throw the book away!” “Jump off of the closest bridge!” But you know what? There’s another voice that still knows I’m very good at what I do. I tell good stories. I’ve just taken on a complex project that is challenging me in completely new ways. I may not be F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway, but I’m getting better every step of the way.

Today in my inbox I was served a heaping piece of humble pie—blueberry perhaps, with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. I learned that I’ve got a way to go on my book and that there’s always more to learn.

Now excuse me while I pull this bit of pie from my teeth.

Becky Pourchot is the author of five pretty darn good books. You can find them at http://www.beckypourchot.com.