PLEASE Show your face!

22 07 2014

I had a dream last night. In my dream I met a friend. I can’t remember her name but I definitely recognized her as someone I “once knew”. She turned her face away from me, and said, as clear as if we were talking in the light of day. “I am scared to show my real face. I am terrified to be authentic for fear that others will judge me or hate me…I feel so vulnerable.” I took her hand and I said to her “Never be scared to show your true face. You are Beautiful. It is safe to be YOU!”

And then I woke up. But you know those dreams that follow you around like a lost pet. I thought about it as I met a friend for brunch. I thought about it as I did my grocery shopping and I thought about it as I counseled someone very dear to me. I couldn’t stop thinking about THAT DREAM!

I asked myself the question: Why today when I’m trying really hard to just be ‘normal’? Geez, people, Normal is What Everyone Wants Out Of Life, right? How many times I’ve wanted to shout out, People, Show Me Real! But, then I remember that Showing your true face, behind all the layers of seemingly ‘perfectly Instragramable Facebookable” lives, is just so NOT in fashion right now. And it makes me think that I can play ball with the best of them, baby. I CAN SO do the “Hi. How are you? Keep it Superficial Please! Life, with the best of them. I can. I can.

But then I can’t. Because I always get sent that one special person who says: Thank you for helping me find the Courage To Be Authentic. And When they say that to me, I just have to be Brave Again!

If I had to go back into that glorious dream I had last night, I would take my friend’s hand and say, Thank you. I’d say that I do recognize “her” because She is me! She is the part of me that finds this incredible Journey on the Road to Realness more terrifying than ever, but oh so worthwhile. You know what else I’d say? I’d say Thank You for coming to me when I needed to remember Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly words, “I learned that this shield was too heavy to lug around, and that the only thing it really did was keep me from knowing myself and letting myself be known. The shield required that I stay small and quiet behind it, so as not to draw attention to my imperfections and vulnerabilities. It was exhausting.”

And then I’d say to me, or to you, or you or you, Show Your Face Beautiful. Your Soul is perfect and gorgeous and shining bright. Just Drop that crazy, heavy, painful Shield and Stand In Your Awesome Light. It’s really not that scary, after all!





Dear Mom

3 03 2014

Dear Mom,
Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.
Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?
You’re everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly high against the sky,
so high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you,
thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.”
I love you, My mommy!
Happy Birthday!!

Sharice.
March 2014.





Mystic and Missionary.

29 01 2014

“Who are you in the stillness of the night, the dusty corners of your day, or in the sigh of the deepest breath?” -Meg Lawton.

In the stillness of the night I am a forty-something year old woman worrying about losing those extra pounds. In the dusty corners of the day, I am a mother, thinking about my daughter who is starting Middle School, or about whether to let my girls play premier league soccer or what I will make for dinner, or how to balance the budget.

And in the sigh of my deepest breath:

I an a soul seeker searching for the next road sign in my journey.
I am a lighthouse, sometimes bright and sometimes dim.
I am a daughter who wishes that her parents did not live so far away.
I am a feeler of so many feelings (even though they are sometimes not even my own).
I am a humanitarian; loving people deeply, yet feeling deeply saddened by those very people;
I am a writer and a poet, but the words keep flowing in, and then ebbing away. I cannot catch them no matter how hard I try,
I am the same and yet I am very different.
I try too hard sometimes.
I get angry and depressed and a little crazy. Often!
I am happy when I’m helping and healing and living my truth;
My friends are beautiful women, each one of them. I see the beauty in them, but not so much in myself.
I tell myself that I don’t need anyone to make me ‘whole’ but then again, I wonder… perhaps brokenness never really heals.
I feel God close by all the time, yet I get lost in my head and sometimes lose my heart. I guess We all do!
I wish and I wonder and I dream and I know, but I am not always sure why I do all those things.
So, who am I? Who are we all?
And this is what I realized today. If my prayer to God is to Use Me to do His Work, well, then, THAT is really my mission on this Earth.
My name is Sharice and I’m a Mystic and a Missionary.
Pleased to meet you!





Dear Vulnerability…

28 01 2014

Vulnerability! The reason I find this topic so interesting is because it’s a little like that ‘weird cousin’ we all have. We like to pretend we like her, but we’re not really all that comfortable around her. She makes us feel a little crazy, different, strange when we speak about her, as if the world is a little off kilter. So I decided to write her this letter:

Hi Vulnerability,

How are you? I hope you are well. The last time we spoke I promised that we would get together real soon. Unfortunately life gets busy, you know. Work, kids, friends, sports every weekend (the normal stuff).

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, it’s just easier not to think about you. To wake up at 6, and go to bed at 11, and not do anything particularly remarkable in between. Sometimes just being in the car doing carpools all day just saps all the energy right out of me. Sometimes doing laundry makes me mad, like, Why can’t I just skip the laundry, for only one week, please? but then I guess my family would be walking about naked, which isn’t a very good idea, and which brings me back to you… Vulnerability!

Vulnerability, I’ll hear a piece of music, or I read something in a book, or blog, or have an awesome conversation with my kids or my husband or a friend… And, then there YOU are, And I’m feeling ‘it’ again. The V-world… Vulnerability!!!

I remember when I was ten. I used to write poems. I’d be excited to share my poems with my classmates, as if they were some treasure that if I did not share with the world, then they would somehow cease to exist or be lost forever. My wonderful fifth grade teacher, Mrs Z, used to encourage me to write, write, write. And then stand up and read my poems to the class. I recently found one of my poems, called, “Life, A Rose“… all about (you guessed it) how life is so beautiful but how it can really hurt too. How I knew this at ten, seriously, I’ll never know!

I’d love reading my poems, until I finished one, and then, well, then, the Vulnerability snake would strike. I’d feel awful and different, and I’d want to spend the rest of the day curled up in a ball.

Fast forward thirty years, 2014. Hello Facebook, and Twitter. Hello blogs, and posts, and comments and shares…

Every single day I wake up, and think, “NO more Facebook!”. (If I could give up meat and chicken for fifteen years, and even sugar, caffeine, carbohydrates, and dairy, for months on end, Why can I not give up Facebook?)

Well, I think I may know the answer. There is this one thing which helps me with you, Vulnerability. Its called Connection! Let me tell you this. Connection is pretty rare. It doesn’t find you every day and sometimes not for days on end. But then, out of the blue, there is this spark of light, and BAM, It’s bright!! Yes, it is… A shining, glowing Connection! This is what excites me… those who are also on their own Journeys of Authenticity, Whole heartedness and Courage. Trust me, I sometimes wish that You, Vulnerability (the dreaded V word for too many years) would just go away.

But, maybe, just maybe, You are really a GOOD thing. A dear friend! Something to be honored and admired and respected!!!

And so, Yes, You still scare me a little, but that is why I write. Because every time I welcome you in to my life, I kinda like you just a little bit more!! You teach me to live my words from so long ago:

” Does that mean no more?

No way, my friend,

You pick yourself up,

You smile again…

You reach out,

And you touch someone!”

Stay Strong Vulnerability! Stay Strong!

Love,

Sharice.

 

 

 





Hey, I love you

19 12 2013

I really thought that I had written my last blog from New York a few weeks ago, but then I realized that I wasn’t quite done for 2013 yet.

So this is what I want to say to you all, wherever you are in the world right now. I LOVE YOU!

We lost Nelson Mandela almost two weeks ago. I think you all know that I’m South African. Well, for a full week I cried. Really, really cried. I felt so sad. When people spoke to me about anything, I kept wanting to say to them, ‘Hey, Nelson Mandela died. I can’t speak about anything else right now’. It felt like a part of me had died! Was it that part of me that was a young child growing up in Apartheid South Africa in the 70’s and 80’s? Was it the young, idealist Social Worker who was terrified and exhilarated the first time she went into a township? Was it the young mom who still remembers the way I handed my newborn to her beloved nanny, Olga, for the first time and said ‘Gaga, meet our baby girl!”

I have read every article, blog and watched every video saying goodbye to Madiba. I have had to say my own personal goodbye to someone whom I met for a brief moment in time, but who changed my life forever. I will never, ever, as long as I live, stop thanking God for giving me the opportunity to meet Madiba and shake his hand and share in his incredible energy.

As I cried, I realized one thing. Parts of us never die. They just evolve. They transform, They use the stepping stones of life’s journey and they move on. But, they do not die! Whatever it is that we put out into the world, DOES NOT DIE!!

And then, as with every loss, we need to move on. We need to see the sun come out, and the promise of a new day beckon. We need to know that the sadness will always be there a little bit, but that there is something MORE to do.

My More To Do is pretty simple. Love Yourself. Love Your Life. Love Your People. Because really, when you boil it all down to it’s barest essence, that’s really all that matters!!

Turn to that person sitting next to you right now.

Here goes mine:

Hey babe, I love you! Hey Courtney and Tayla, I love you! Hey, Mom and Dad, I love you. Hey My Friends, I love you!!!

 





I Better Make It Good

1 12 2013

ImageI’m writing this blog as I sit on the plane on the way home to Seattle from a trip to New York City.

I’m also writing this blog as a final entry for 2013, so I figure I better make it good!

I BETTER MAKE IT GOOD. I love those words. Yup, there is something about those particular words that makes tears come to my eyes, (Good tears, like when someone you love says something kind to you or gives you a big hug). Make it Good is a gentle embrace for my soul and I’ll tell you why.

As I stare out this airplane window, the sky is so blue and bright and beautiful. Beneath the blue is this expanse of white clouds and as I keep gazing at it I see a soft yellow light shining in the space where they meet.

This year was interesting for me. I returned from visiting South Africa thirteen months ago feeling very unsettled. The guilt, shame and loss of my life in South Africa is my very own Wrecking Ball. After almost 6 years I still beat up on myself regularly. My demons: How could I have left my parents behind? Would I be better/happier/more successful in SA? These doubts still reside in my heart. I still grieve for what I lost and for what I left behind. I still call (and now whatsapp) my family and friends whenever I get a moment. The homesickness is just that. Home Sickness. And so, day by day, I slowly get better, or worse. Sometimes I’ll just stay in bed, but then other times, I’ll get busy. On my truly worst of days (and inspired by The Birthday Project) I’ll go out and buy a meal for a homeless person or reach out to someone in my community. Then, I’ll feel a little better…. Because I stop thinking about myself. I believe that’s what God wants us to do anyway.

Anyway, as the months went by this year, and as the summer approached, I knew I needed to do something about the shoulder pain which had plagued me for months. But, I was terrified. For many reasons, I could not face my fear of doctors or of just of being vulnerable. I had a Summer of Silence. No parties, or barbecues or very much of anything for me. I just needed SILENCE. I could not hold the pain of the world on my shoulders anymore. I could barely hold my own pain.

And then I found a book, Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. I read that book maybe 5 times, I watched her TED talks and followed her on the Oprah Network and Twitter. Another book by Glennon Melton, Carry on Warrior, Thoughts on Life Unarmed, also came into my life via a friend, and as I read her blog daily, she too, resonated with my addiction to perfection. She basically says that it’s really ok to NOT be ok!!

For a week I watched sunsets in Whidbey Island and cried until my eyes ran out of tears. Most people only saw the positive, all-together side of me but a handful of my ‘people’ recognized, and acknowledged my pain. And this was my Turning Point. In being HONESTLY not ok; flawed, lonely, real and a little broken, I found my inner wisdom.

Here it is:

People are my Medicine.

Loving others and my self is my daily Exercise.

And, Believing in GOOD is my Religion.

Healing is such a glorious Paradox.

As I went through deep Soul and Shoulder Surgery I realized that what I always tell my kids about fear of something being scarier than the actual thing you are afraid of, is even truer the older you get.

For me, Loss, Pain, Separation, Guilt, Shame and Vulnerability strengthened me this year. It made me, ME.  As Brene Brown says, you gotta go through vulnerability to get to courage.

A few weeks ago, I turned to Cyril and said, Hey, lets do NY NOW, for Thanksgiving, not in December as planned. I didn’t quite understand why. But now, I do. My soul needed to give thanks in a city which is all about the healing.

I don’t know what 2014 holds, but I do know this:

I will tattoo the words BE REAL, BE HONEST, BE STRONG, along with BE KIND on my heart today.

Some people think that Kindness is weakness. Some people think that Honesty can only be cruel. No!!!

I believe in a deeper kind of strength and realness which is:

YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE!

You are where you are! You become the best YOU by knowing you! You are here, on this Earth, right now, for a reason, so…

BETTER MAKE IT GOOD!!!!

 And Happy Holidays to all my people wherever in the world you are. I love you all deeply!!!

Postscript: My fear is that you will read this and wonder how I could possibly share such personal stuff with strangers and friends alike, but again I’ll say that I’d rather be real than be scared. Thank you to those who give me courage… You know who you are. I hope I can give you courage too.

 

               





Roar

16 11 2013

My daughters are in love with the Katy Perry song, Roar. They play it almost every night when we have our family after dinner dance marathon. The joys of having girls! You never stop being reminded to dance. When I was a dancer about a million years ago, I used to love to listen to the words and make up stories of the romantic and exciting people I would meet some day.

But, as I watch my girls dance, I notice something. The music they love is about being empowered, strong, fearless and kind human beings. No damsels in distress for them.

The words they listen to are:

I got up. Already brushing off the dust. Hear my voice. I am a champion. You’re going to hear me ROAR!!!!

And I believe them!!!!

And then I look at myself. And at forty years of age I feel my protective layer shedding. I have no reason to be insignificant or to keep my armor up. You see, I stand for something, finally, in my life. And that means that I  can ‘Dance through the fire’. I am happy to be transparent and vulnerable and oh, the forbidden word from my adolescent years, INTENSE!!! My name is Sharice Noik Belikoff, and I am Intense. WOOHOO!!! (There, I celebrate it!)

And here’s the very best part. The people I want by my side, they are intense too and gorgeous, powerful world-changers. They are brave and honest and they bleed and they hurt sometimes, but that’s ok. They stand up and speak up for what is Universally right… like love, acceptance and generosity of spirit. And when the rest of the world calls them ‘Dreamers’ they say, Thank You! And when they need a hand they’re not scared to say so.

And then there are those, who come to me quietly. They look me in the eyes and I see their pain and their beauty. And they see mine. I love those people too. I know that they are on the Journey. And although it may be a private journey it is a journey nonetheless. And I am so moved when they tell me that something I said has touched them. That is when I know I’m on the right track. And I give that glory to God for, as one of my wise friends has said, He put it there!

So let me say this: Life is an honor! Life is intense. And funny. And scary. And crazy. And glorious!

I, personally, wouldn’t have it ANY other way.

So, I’ll just keep on showing up, because that is my ROAR.