Stripped of our Roles — Who are We?

When I asked some people recently who they would be if they were stripped of all their roles – stay-at-home mom, salesman, flight attendant, doctor, etc – most responded in the same way.  “You mean, what would I do for money?”  “My kids are my life.”  “I’d just find another job.”  Or my favorite, “Celebrate my freedom.”  You go, girl!

In truth, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all celebrate our freedom from these self-imposed roles we play?  They’re so ingrained in us, that we really don’t know WHO we are without them.

While working in television production people would actually introduce themselves at parties with their name and job title.  “Hi.  I’m Joe Schmoe.  Key Grip.”  “Barbara Stills, Wardrobe Supervisor.”  “Christy Jacobs, Writer.”  Yes, I joined in on the fun.  I couldn’t possibly be just “Christy Jacobs.”  The silence that followed my name would just hang there, waiting for someone to just fill it in with whatever they wanted—“crazy girl,” “the one who can’t spell,” “soon to be married to a much older man.”  I couldn’t take the risk. The thing is, we didn’t even think about boasting our job title.  It’s just what everyone did.  It’s as if we were all trying to prove our worth based on the job we did.  What if we all went further and confessed our personalities and habits?  Then things would really get interesting.  “Hi.  I’m Bob Jones.  Gaffer.  I work out three times a day and I’m screwing your wife.”  Simple.  Get it all out there right away!  No secrets.  Now, we’ll not only label Bob as a Gaffer – but we’ll also identify him as a “home-wrecking creep.”  Can men be home-wreckers?  Of course they can!  This is 2011!

But back to my original question: Who are we without our roles?

Some highly evolved enlightened folks might say – “I’m a spiritual being having a human experience.”  But try that one out at a non-USM cocktail party and watch the room clear.  “What?  Did I say something?  Do I smell?”  People just don’t “get” that.  But, on the other hand – they don’t seem to have another answer either.

When I left my TV writing job and got a divorce, I found myself without an “identity” or role to play.  Sure, I was still part of a family and played my role of Daughter, Sister, Aunt.  But my professional “role” was gone.  At first I was lost and went into withdrawals.  I didn’t know what to do with all the time I suddenly had on my hands.  What I discovered is that with all my doing, doing, and more doing (I was your classic 60+ hour-a-week workaholic) – I had no idea who I really was.  And now suddenly, the Universe had forced me into finding out. Forced me out of the “real world” of role playing and into solitude confinement.  I had no identity, nothing to “do,” no one to hang out with… except ME.

Now, yes, I know.  I AM pretty spectacular.  Who wouldn’t want to spend time with me?  Well, I didn’t.  I hated myself—well, hate is a strong word.  But I certainly didn’t love myself.  And, boy did I find that out fast, because when left alone with just ME, I panicked.

Now, years later—I have the benefits of knowing that this was a true battle between my Ego and my Authentic Self.  Well, my Authentic Self wasn’t actuallyin the “fight.”  It was just starting to shine through.  “Notice me,” it whispered in my ear ever so gently. “I’m here…”  My Ego was clearly worried that if I got quiet enough, I might actually start listening to its nemesis, The Authentic Self, and it’d be “bye-bye” for it.  For my Ego – this meant WAR.  It refused to lose control.  So it started feeding me thoughts like, “Without a job, you’re nothing. And you’ll never get another job because you’re not good enough.  No one will ever love you.  Why would they?  You don’t have a job…” and on and on and on.  So I bought it… for a while.

And then, something happened.  After about a year, I started to “listen” to my wise, loving, all knowing Authentic Self.  Yes, it took a year.  I had to decompress!  The Universe wasn’t going to give up on me.  It forced me to shut out all the noise that came along with the role playing, and all that damn “doing” — and in the silence, a miracle occurred: I found ME.   “Nice to meet you, ME. Maybe we can hang out and have a couple beers.”

And after spending more and more time with ME—I actually started to like ME. I even began to LOVE ME!  I would even hang out with ME voluntarily!  I know, it’s CRAZY!

But my point to all this babbling is this: When I was stripped of all the roles that I played in life and felt that I was left with nothing, what I found was even better than I could’ve imagined.  I found my true SELF.  I shut out all the noise, found peace, and got to know ME.  ME stripped of the titles, roles, game playing, identities — and sometimes ME stripped of – well, clothes.  What the heck, I live alone!  Don’t judge ME.  I don’t.  🙂

So my challenge for you as you go through your day, is to first notice how many roles you play.  Also, just for fun, pay attention to how you change with each role.  Are you friendlier with a stranger in the grocery store than you are to your spouse?  If so, why is that?  As you perform each role, is it possible for you to be your Authentic Self for the entire day – without shifting into different Ego driven personalities?

Since I realize that no one can strip themselves entirely of the roles they play in life, I wonder – if we are at least conscious of how we act in our different roles, will we begin to notice the differences and start to live more authentically – from our HEARTS?  From our Authentic Selves.

And after you’ve spent the day noticing your different roles – do your SELF a favor.  Get quiet, shut out all the noise and just BE.  Try it.  You just might like getting to know YOU.  Introduce your SELF.  Get acquainted.  Have a beer.  It’s on ME, Christy Jacobs– sans title, role, identity…  Cheers!

P.S. For the record: YOU ARE LOVE!

With Love, For the highest good…

xo, Christy

Never Say Good-bye — No really, I mean that… I know where you live, Oprah!

As The Oprah Show comes to a close this week, I took a moment to ponder why she means so much to me and to so many millions of other women around the world.  This was only after I cried, screamed, and held onto her virtual pant leg yelling, “No, Mommy!  Don’t go!”  I say “virtual” because I couldn’t “literally” hang onto her pant leg – as that would be crazy!  I mean, no one has quite figured out how to “go into the TV” and physically assault the ones we love the most – TV celebrities.  But when they do… I’ll get you Oprah!  I mean that with love, of course.
Only after my crying jab, was I centered enough to consider why we love Oprah so much. (You’ve gotta FEEL the emotions, work through them, and release them—that’s what Oprah would say!)  Now there are the obvious reasons for loving her – she’s hot for one!  I mean, we all want to dress like her, eat like her, diet like her, use the same toilet paper as her…  Some might say we want to BE her.  Others might call us a cult.  Come on!  Don’t be ridiculous.  We do worship her.  But with all the Oprah giveaways, the Oprah makeovers, the Oprah clubs– I can’t remember one time when she insisted that I “drink her Cool-aide.”  Wait a minute – there are the Moscow Mules.  And those yummy Pomegranate Martinis… Could that be the Oprah Cool-aide?  If so, I’m in trouble.
Anyway – as I drink my Moscow Mule and watch one of the final episodes of a TV show that inspired me to be a better person, lifted me up when I was down, gifted me with the courage to always live authentically — I ponder, what IS it about her?  There must be something…
(Oprah “ah-ha” moment.)
It’s her shoes!  That’s it.  It must be her shoes.  I love shoes.  She loves shoes.  That must be the connection…
You see, most men I talk to about Oprah seem to think that us women are in love with Oprah for such superficial things as shoes!  Or even crazier: her politics!  The thing that really gets me is when someone (usually a man) who doesn’t even watch her show, criticizes her.  And this is when it hit me. THAT is why I love her!
Because she is a WOMAN.
Not just a female body, a true woman.  She is a powerful, influential woman who is not afraid to be her true authentic self.  She’s not afraid to be nurturing, caring, loving, compassionate, honest AND strong.  She sticks to what she believes in and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her.  In short: She has never tried to be a MAN – in this man’s world.
So I understand why that could be frightening to a man.  If this woman (and not JUST a woman, but a BLACK WOMAN who came from nothing) could single-handedly rise up and changed the world, all the while holding onto her femininity – who’s to say that ALL WOMEN can’t do that?
Who’s to say that ALL women can’t rise up, bring peace, love and harmony to this world?  If she could do it – then why can’t we all?
Oprah not only built a school for girls in Africa, she built a school for WOMEN all over world.  A school that we attended in the privacy of our living rooms.  A school that grew each year as more and more women tuned in to her warmth, knowledge, strength, comfort and inspiration and found the courage to embody those same qualities in themselves.  She taught us to connect to our spirit, reach for the stars and to never give up on our dreams. And she did it all with love. Who else can claim that?
So all you Oprah naysayers out there – I say this to you: It’s okay to be scared. Feel the fear and move through it.  We’ll be there for you, hold you against our breasts (Oh, now you’re listening!) and assist you through this transition.
Because whether you like it or not – Women are rising up and we’ve only got one thing on our minds!!!
LOVE!!  (I know – scary!)
So thank you, Oprah, for empowering women to stand up and be WOMEN. Thank you for teaching us that through our love, we can make the world a better place.
We know you’ll still be around and we’ll see you on OWN. (Thank God!  I just can’t go cold turkey!) And if someday someone invents a TV where we can reach in and touch the people we love through the screen, (fingers crossed!), I promise to reach in and give you a big hug!
And then, I’ll hold onto your pant leg and never let you go.  Sorry—but it’s just the truth!  Isn’t that what you stand for????!!!!
Thank you, Oprah.  For 25 years of LOVE.  For 25 years of EMPOWERING WOMEN.  For 25 years of YOU.  Now take a break, woman!  You need to rest up for the next 25 years!
You have big shoes to fill.  Your OWN!
With Love, For the highest good…
xo, Christy Jacobs

How ’bout them Angels?

No, not the baseball team… but if I tricked some men into reading my blog, mission accomplished!  Now, stick around.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll learn something that’ll impress that hot chick you’ve got your eyes on.
I’m talking about “real” angels.  Now, I put “real” in quotes, because the question of the day is – Do angels really exist?  Or are they just something we hope and pray are around when we feel lost and alone?
This morning I completed my own experiment in working with angels.  My friend had forwarded me an email that gave me the opportunity to work with three angels for an entire week. (Thank you, Marci!) The idea was, she would send me the three angels she’d been working with during the past week.  I was to write out three intentions, light a white candle, and put out a white flower next to an apple on my “Angel Altar.”  The next step was to open my door at 8 am on Sunday morning and welcome them in.
At first I thought this was just another “chain mail” scam trying to get my email address and the addresses of all my friends and family.  And maybe it was (oops! Sorry, friends and family for all the spam!) – but I decided it would be a nice experiment, so I gave it a try.
And boy was I in for a ride!  I was more productive this week than I’ve been in a long time.  I launched two websites, created Screenwriting workshops, booked a room for the workshops, put up fliers, and wrote my first blog—not to mention all the signs I got to encourage me along the way.  People were suddenly VERY helpful, supportive and available to help.  Butterflies flew by, dimes fell from the sky, feathers floated everywhere – okay, you get the point.  All this, in ONE week.  The week also seemed to go on forever.  But not in a bad, “can I please make it to Friday, my life sucks kinda-way.”  It was more like time had stopped, or slowed down so that I could get all this done.  And not only did I accomplish more than I could imagine, I did everything easily, had fun, and was energized the entire time.  It was as if my “inspiration” button was turned up to HIGH and I was on FIRE!
When Sunday morning came around and it was time for me to pass my angels onto three more friends, I freaked out!  Nooo!  I can’t do this without you!  I need you!  Can’t I just keep you here for one more week?  Just one more week, I promise…. Please???
After soothing my anxiety with a tall glass of wine (just kidding, it was WAY too early to drink!),  I realized something.  What if the angels are with us all the time? What if I don’t need someone to give me angels to use for a week – but I have access to them whenever I want?
Now, if you know me at all, you know that I personally subscribe to this theory.  I just forgot in my moment of anxiety.  I’m always talking about how my spirit guides help me find parking spaces and seats at restaurants.  They send me signs and give me guidance all the time.  I’ve come to rely on them.  But this experiment amplified and proved what I already know.  Help is always there for you – you just have to ask!  That’s it.  Just ask.
By lighting a candle, setting out a flower and clearly setting intentions, I put myself in a position to receive help and guidance.  This time, I didn’t take for granted that the angels are always there to help me, but I anticipated their help and when I received it, I THANKED THEM.  Which brings me to the importance of gratitude.  The more grateful I was for their help, the better I felt and the more help I got.  How wonderful!  We all like to be thanked, right?  So why wouldn’t angels?
Now, were there “actual” angels in my house last week?  I can’t prove that.  But I think I can prove the power of intention, the importance of being open to receive and the power of remaining in a state of gratitude.
So even though I sent my angels off this morning to help three of my friends, I’m going to trust that I still have angels with me to help me out whenever I need them.  I’m going to keep lighting a candle, keep setting intentions and most importantly: keep thanking them for all they do.
And with this – I’m sending each and every one of you three angels of your own. Light a candle, put out a white flower, set some intentions, open your door to let them in… and let the magic begin.  I’d love to hear how it all works out.  Oh yeah – and don’t forget to say THANK YOU.  They’re quite sensitive, those angels. They like a little appreciation!
And when you send them off to help others—remember you always have them with you when you need them.  All you have to do is ask…
Here’s to the little miracles in your life!!  Oh, what the heck!  Here’s to the BIG miracles!!
With Love, For the highest good…
xo, Christy Jacobs

Thank You, Universe — A Life Lesson in Money, Trust and Letting Go

I recently had lunch with a dear friend of mine, and after I excitedly told her about all my new writing projects, she looked me in the eyes and asked me how I was doing financially.  Now, you have to understand, I’d been struggling for years to pick myself “up off the floor” after a big “humpty-dumpty-type” fall when I was fired from my dream job as a TV writer.  Okay, I wasn’t “fired,” my “option wasn’t picked up,” but it’s the same damn thing if you ask me.  I was canned, kicked to the curb, given my walking papers.  I was a staff writer on a hit TV show and I thought my life was on-track.  “So, you’re on the gravy train now,” another writer said to me.  And I naively believed him.  Of course, he WAS on the gravy train and still is to this day.  No one kicked him off the train.  Guess it wasn’t his destiny to get fired…  It was mine.

Thank you, Universe.

For years and years… and years, I worked my butt off trying to get staffed on a TV show.  My focus was success, money, stuff, more money, a big house, designer clothes, shoes, purses, exotic vacations, more money…. Did I say money?  All my value was tied up in my career and how much money I made or was going to make.  And then, my time finally came.  I was a television writer.  I had made it!  I had an identity that I could be proud of.

Thank you, Universe.

And then I lost it all.

To really stick it to myself, I got divorced the same summer that I was canned, fired, “don’t let the door hit you in the ass” let go.  Suddenly I was unemployedand divorced.  Not exactly the “identity-drop” you want to make at a cocktail party.  I was so embarrassed, I dreaded meeting anyone new.  What if they asked me what I did for a living – as they always did — and I’d have to tell them the truth?  I’m unemployed!  Oh, the horror! Which now, looking back, seems absolutely ridiculous.  Who in the entertainment business ever tells the “truth”?

I digress…

The reason for all this “back story” (as those of us in the “biz” like to call it), is because it’s important for you to understand what world I came from to understand how insane my life seems to be now.  And by “insane,” I mean “crazy, but in a good way.”

The first four years after my divorce and subsequent firing, life wasn’t so bad — financially speaking.  I had no “identity” to write home about, but I was learning to love myself for who I was, not for what I did – and all that self-help gooey stuff.  I had some money saved up and I got a pretty nice divorce settlement from divvying up real estate equity with my ex-husband.  Money that I quickly put back into the real estate market, thinking I was being a smart little investor— in 2006.  Yes, 2006 — the height of the market.

Thank you, Universe.

Now, by this time I was all about “signs” and “messages” from the Universe.  And I definitely thought I was “lead” to this house.  It screamed out to me, “I’m your home!”  So I bought it, with plenty of money left over to live on.  Life was good.

Thank you, Universe.

Then two years later, the bottom fell out of the market.  I was completely broke and all my credit card rates skyrocketed, making it impossible for me to pay them.  To top it off, I was informed that I had one of the now-infamous sub-prime loans.  BAM!  Life just got really stressful.  I stopped sleeping at night.  I’d wake up with massive anxiety attacks.  How had my life gotten so out of control?  I had a perfect credit score!  I was Miss Responsibility!  I paid my bills on time!  I ironed my sheets!  Okay, maybe not.  But you get the point.

This is when I learned the art of surrender.

I knew there was nothing I could do.  I couldn’t stop the tornado from coming in and destroying my house and taking all my belongings.  I just had to take a deep breath and let it all go.  So I stopped paying on all my credit cards, stopped paying my mortgage, allowed my credit score to plummet… and prayed for a miracle.  “Take it all away,” I told the Universe… (and the banks.)

But then something happened.

I started manifesting like crazy.  No – not anxiety, hives and heartburn.  First, I got a loan modification.  My loan mod guy said I must’ve had an angel looking out for me because no one was getting modifications at the time.  And I didn’t even have a job!

Then, I started manifesting trips.  I went to Costa Rica, Alaska, Hawaii, Sedona, Cancun, Chicago, Arizona – all for free or very close to free.

Out of the blue, friends got really generous – treating me to lunches, dinners, drinks, even shoes!

I even got free tennis lessons.

Thank you, Universe!

I was able to manifest almost anything I wanted – EXCEPT a writing job and a stable relationship.  What was up with these two things?  I’d been working really hard, writing everyday—putting my heart and soul into my dream.  But the two things that I wanted the most still eluded me.  I couldn’t help but think that the two seemed to be tied together in some way…

I realized there was a huge lesson I needed to learn about money last Fall while walking on the beach in Maui with my Aunt Liz.  (I told you I was living the life!)  You see, my Aunt Liz and I have this thing for manifesting trips to Hawaii.  It’s pretty amazing how often we go.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit to my friends when I’m there.  “Let’s just keep this trip a secret.  We don’t want to upset anyone.”  One time I told my sister-in-law that I was going and she said, “Which one of your rich friends is taking you?”  I laughed and said, “Aunt Liz and Uncle John.”  “Oh, the poor people are going!” she exclaimed.  You see, my aunt and uncle were also unemployed and had just sold their house—and yet they also knew the secret to living the good life – without money.

But back to the beach.  I was walking on the beach, feeling the sand between my toes, looking out at the beautiful ocean and thinking, “How did I get here?”  Two days ago, I had no idea I was even going to Maui.  Now, I’m here.  How did that happen?  I have no money, no job and yet I’m in paradise.  What does this mean?  I knew in that moment that the Universe was trying to teach me a lesson about money.  I knew it in my heart.  I just didn’t quite get what the lesson was yet.

The next day, I was hanging at the pool with my dad and his wife.  Oh, yeah—they also just happened to be in Maui.  This Hawaii obsession is a family trait.   My dad was bragging about all his millions of Marriott points and how he’s planning to use them when he retires.  Now my dad is a workaholic (sorry, Dad, I love you, but it’s true!) and will never retire, so I suggested that he use them now.  “Wouldn’t it be nice to take some family vacations?”  Suddenly his wife chimed in and reiterated, “They were using them for retirement.”  Okay – I know she didn’t mean any harm, but I went into full-on trigger-mode.  I could feel the blood rise up to my head; the tears fill my eyes.  Those points weren’t hers.  My dad earned those points traveling so much during my childhood that I never saw him, therefore I should be able to use them to spend time with him NOW.  She just married my dad – so why was she entitled to them?  I was pissed.

I stomped over to my lounge chair, threw my face into a towel and bawled my eyes out.  Moments later — okay, maybe more than “moments” — and temper tantrum complete, I came to my senses and realized two things. One: I had unwittingly regressed myself back into a twelve-year-old spoiled brat.  Oops!  It happens…  (I forgive myself for judging myself as a spoiled brat.) And two: Here I was in Maui, crying my eyes out over Marriott points that I wanted my dad to use for me to go to Maui!!  I was already here!  And I didn’t need his Marriott points to get here.  I manifested this trip on my own!  I dried my eyes and propped myself back up and looked out at the ocean, appreciating my new-found awareness.  And just then, a waitress came over, “Hey, sweetie.  Do you want a Coke?”  I looked at the Coke, really wanting it but knowing it probably cost eight dollars and I couldn’t justify putting the tab on my dad’s room.  “No thank you,” I said regretfully.  “It’s free,” she said. “Somebody ordered a diet Coke and I accidentally brought him a regular.  You can have it.”  I was thrilled!  I knew this was the Universe reminding me of my manifesting skills.  I had just manifested a Coke! And not a diet Coke – a real Coke, just what I wanted.  And then I heard the words in my head, “Your dad is not your Source.  Your ex-husband was not your Source.  You are your Source.”

Thank you, Universe.

And now as I sit in my living room – 2 and a half years after I stopped paying my mortgage (I got a loan mod, but then couldn’t pay it because I still didn’t have a job!), I wonder, why are we all so obsessed with money?  If we can manifest a great life without it – then what is it really for?

I realize that these questions can be quite controversial, as someone paid for my travel, food, clothing, housing, etc.  But I didn’t.  So is this just some big karmic payback?  Maybe.  I was always very generous with my money when I had it.  Some might argue that I am just fortunate to have friends and family who are willing to help.  That’s true—and I am very grateful for that.  Some might even call me an irresponsible “mooch” – a term I called myself at times of deep self-loathing.  Maybe that’s true.  I certainly hope it isn’t!  But in the end, I’ve been taken care of.  And aren’t friends and family part of the Universe?  As far as my credit goes, am I just “screwing the man”?  Based on my history, it’s very clear that I have a strong work ethic; I play by the rules and I’m very responsible.  Iwant to work.  So why haven’t I found a job?  Why have I managed to keep the same lifestyle, stay in my house, travel, write from home, live a life of freedom filled with love and luxuries – when I don’t have the cash?  I’m not really sure yet.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not inferring that everyone should quit their high-paid jobs and sit at home with a magic lamp wishing for the Universe to take care of them.  I don’t believe that works.  But over these past few years of “struggle” the most important thing I’ve learned is this:  While pursuing a heartfelt dream, if you let go and trust, everything will work out okay.  The Universe (in its many forms) will take care of you.

I read a quote recently from an unknown source that says it all for me. “Safety and security comes from within.  Not from financial abundance or financial institutions.”  While I do think having money is a good thing, I now see how the “emphasis” on it can be detrimental to our well-being.  Some of us work so hard to earn more and more money (as I did in the past) and never get to enjoy the benefits of having it.  As I strolled on the beach in Maui, I thought, “People slave all their lives to have this experience and here I am with no effort at all.”

I think this money lesson is a lesson of liberation for me.  I’ve been unable to manifest a relationship because I needed to learn about money BY MYSELF.  If I had a boyfriend (or husband), they would most likely want to take care of me and I never would’ve learned how to manifest a wonderful life on my own.   I wouldn’t have learned how to surrender, trust and be open to receiving from the Universe.  And for that I am grateful for the “fall.”

And now, as I pick myself back up, dust myself off, and turn on my computer to write for the day, I can hold my head high and say once again:

Thank you, Universe.

And thanks, Mom, Dad, and all my friends and family who have loved, supported and bought me drinks along the way.  It was a long road, but I get it.  I release all my fears and embrace trust.  It’s all going to be okay.

Now dammit, where’s my man?! 🙂

I mean: Thank you, Universe, for sending me the perfect man and writing job for me.  For my highest good…

With LOVE, For the highest good…

xo, Christy Jacobs