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Our Kids Are Not Ours (son’s graduation, photo)

From my tiny dancer, who, at a wedding one year, we thought we had genuinely lost him on the grounds (he was five), but ended up finding him in the middle of the dance floor while people cheered around him, to my comedic, but chill elementary and middle schooler who enjoyed hanging with us alllll the time and got stronger and taller than me by the minute in this last stretch to finally beat me in most all basketball and tickle fest matches, he’s always had a whole wing of my heart all to himself…⁣

In fact, he’s masterfully helped to BUILD the many new additions in it — great new wings, suites… penthouses of the heart, all able to hold more, give more (and receive more).⁣

And, what‘s striking me (has struck me) as he’s gotten older these last three years is this understanding, on a more energetic level, that he is not mine (see “MY tiny dancer” or “MY comedic but super chill elementary and middle schooler” wording above). ⁣

I helped create him and, yes, birthed him and I also enjoy nurturing him, but he isn’t mine. He is something more powerful than that.⁣

My greatest WISH let loose on the world maybe?⁣

My greatest wish let loose on the world.⁣

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life! 

Life is good,

michelle-black-sig-md-light
Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

My Vision Quest/Fast

It was another moving three days of my ecopsychology training/apprenticeship that leads me to the vision quest in July. ⁣

Early next month, I’ll venture out on a nine day trip into the mountains and four of these days (+ three nights), while doing a water fast, I’ll be inside my longest “solo journey” yet (what makes a Vision Quest = no company, no food and no creature comforts, only you, the creature…). ⁣

I’m both eager and reluctant and it’s all perfect or as it should be (I found out this weekend the water fast is actually four days, not three and that it’s recommended that we sleep in the elements (covered by a tarp etc), versus being in a tent, nothing between me and the wild to be able to communicate with.). ⁣

Repeating: eager…reluctant, smiling as I type those words again.⁣

But this is exactly why I’m choosing the challenge or this “problem” to solve — because experiences in life that show us or remind us that pain and joy can and do coexist are ridiculously empowering. There’s nothing you can’t not do once you understand or embody this more deeply. ⁣

When we choose our own problems to solve (and over and over), we truly suffer less at the hands of those that come unplanned or “unchosen”. Because life does bring those. xo⁣

Going without food, shelter and company also encourage a hunger, openness, and solitude that opens us up to what we are really hungry for (downloads we’ve been looking for happening in conditions like these). ⁣

In fact, I love reframing a “stress” like this (going without shelter, food, and company and only being able to bring a journal and clothes and many other items, etc. to keep warm and stay safe) as a stretch ~ the good kind ~ of our emotional strength instead. ⁣

It’s been a powerful and transformative experience already and it continues for another four months after the vision quest/vision fast. I can’t wait…and can’t wait to share more. ⁣

One of my teachers shared this about vision –⁣

“Your vision is not real until it’s performed for the people to see…”. I love the poetic field this lives in and equally loved the fields I found myself alone in all weekend for my shorter solo journeys. ⁣

It’s true ~ many of us sit with ideas, dreams, and plans for a lifetime (~>we sit in hiding with who we really are<~) which means the world misses out on our depth (your depth), our full personality (your full personality), our full power (your full power) and, ultimately, on our purpose that only we can fulfill (your purpose that only you can fulfill).   ⁣

What do you want to create in your life for greater fulfillment — for a genuinely loved-up and conscious legacy? How do you want to express more fully in your chosen work (or higher calling), relationship or family orrrr gain clarity on that higher calling, relationship and/or family? ⁣

AND — how can nature facilitate that, moving you from holding a smartphone to holding the vast and finally enlivened vision you’ve been wanting (vision boarding and going through the same motions with the same people or inside the help provided by the same industries won’t create what you are looking for if you want something wildly different than what you’ve had which so many of us do…). ⁣

The training and vision quest experience is (already) one of the greatest gifts of my life — one I can’t wait to bring with me into my work and my next retreat experience (reach out if this speaks to you). ⁣

As women who feel restless between adventures, wanting to make something insanely electric of our lives, we must choose to climb in new ways. And keep choosing…⁣

New ways, new days.⁣

New days, new ways.  ⁣

The adventure. She continues.

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life! 

Life is good,

michelle-black-sig-md-light
Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

My Vision Quest is Coming SOON (healthy fear)

With Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, SZA or Childish Gambino’s “Feels Like Summer” and the like blaring with three teenage boys over, after telling him I was bummed I’d miss some prison work while gone, Josh leaned over and told me he’ll be lighting a candle for me every night at sunset.  ⁣

It made me feel so good, loved, supported…

Every day at the same time, you’ll know I’ll be thinking about you and sending you massive love.”

I appreciate so much, the moments when the loudness of life mesh so naturally with the quiet or peace of it. Life as a whole is exactly that – dark, light, loud, quiet.  Sometimes too quiet, sometimes too loud. 

It’s exactly what I’ve been training for my whole life, and most definitely the last two months, with the guides and teachers I’m apprenticing for and learning from.

They haven’t been overt about any of this (what’ll be happening in the mind, I mean), but the subtleties they *have* shared or worked with us on, especially prior to each of our daily 2-3 hour “solo journeys” (tough! tougher than one would imagine) are not lost on me. 

In constant display in July especially, I‘ll experience a seesaw of emotion. From the loudness in my belly, sans food and the loudness in my mind with all I hear at night, sans tent, I’ll be stretched. 

I’m excited and a healthy afraid. But not for one minute would I allow it to push me back off the mountain. 

Healthy fear.  My teachers told me if I didn’t have it, there’d be something wrong. Good news! Nothing wrong here! (-: 

Beyond my business and branding work inside MGI, the work I so welcome that will greet me when I get home after those nine days (four of them fasting and on my own 6-7,000 ft up at Sequoia National Park) will be the prison reform effort we’re a part of, helping to arm those soon to be released, with the tools to get jobs and/or start their own businesses (this time legally), reducing the recidivism rate.

With the music continuing to beat downstairs, Josh and I had a call with our advisory board and it was a perfectly-timed call, reminding us of what’s important and why we choose to create “problems” or challenges like this for ourselves ~> so we can continue stepping to the line, again and again, to help others create their own new, good problems.

I have my 40-pound pack, 85% packed and ready to go.  When we return from Mexico, I leave a day later. 

Today I went to REI to purchase a ground pad. I’ve never slept out in the open with just a tarp (have always been in a tent). 

Anyhow, as I’ve shared before, I’ll have no real creature comforts like a phone or a book or food or human company. But I will have water (lots), a sleeping bag, a tarp for overhead, warm clothes, ceremonial items, knives, one small camper’s chair, headlamp, flashlight, backup batteries, face and lip sunscreen, lip moisturizer (lots of it), unscented toothpaste, sunscreen and bug spray (no need to alert bears of my location), emergency kit, SOS whistle, a journal and a pencil.  I’m forgetting stuff, but that’s what’s coming to mind right now. (Yes, OK, and these are creature comforts). 

Next, I’ll share one other funny thing I’m taking that won’t weigh much, but will either offer me many laughs or actually protect me from mountain lions as I sit and journal — and can’t see behind me.  Stay tuned.

Other shares about the quest: bit.ly/2Zzz39z.

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,

 

 

 

Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

A Short Story About Your Sadness

I appreciate the heavy lifting this lovely man did while I was heavily lifting (emotionally), too. But I can’t tell you that I saw, felt or appreciated it as much as I do now, being through the harder years of grief.

I was deep inside my own thoughts and emotions. 

Because grief is like that first hard job you’re not sure you really want — it’s a daily job, especially at first, at second and at third.

But unlike that first j-o-b, grief is something you do because it’s natural to and because it’s something that wants to move through you, so you can continue to move through or with all parts of life (and with those still living) calling on you ~ 

Hello? Come! Be…with…me…

As we tenderly toil, we may not realize how much our people are also tenderly toiling (your losses are their losses) and how much they additionally hurt seeing us in pain. 

To all partners, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends, parents, sons and daughters who grieve alongside us and who relentlessly and patiently sit beside us, feeling their own grief, thank you…we love you and couldn’t have done it or have worked through it without you. (~> I can’t do it or continue to work through it without you.)

And to each of us going through it right now, may we remember that pain and joy can co-exist (enjoy as the short breaks in the rain come, travel, jump, laugh etc, as this is part your healing and medicine, too) and may you know that although you feel sadness, you are not sadness itself (you are life, always rebirthing itself and it will wait, just like your loved ones still living have, until you’re ready, so, take your time)…

Oh yes and may — may you repair the brokenness in a daily or moment-to-moment way by treating the next person you‘re with or meet (and the next and the next) as if they were the very person or people you’ve lost.

This is one small but certain way (a big way) to transform loss into gain.

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life! 

Life is good,

michelle-black-sig-md-light
Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur