Even better than New Year’s resolutions: Find deeper joy and fulfillment in 2011!

New Year’s Eve is absolutely my favorite holiday all year long. Yes, I love Halloween because it’s a huge Dress Up Party, and what is more fun for a burlesquer than a Dress Up Party?!? And I love Thanksgiving and Christmas for the family connections. But NYE is my favorite holiday because we think about our lives around the New Year. It’s the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new cycle, and this is the only time of year that everyone in our culture is encouraged to look at their behaviors and take action to improve their lives. It is a mass conciousness focus on self-reflection like none other in our society, and that is very powerful!

This year, rather than making a list of specific actions or New Year’s Resolutions for 2011, which are most often forgotten by February or March, I encourage you to spend the time leading up to and following New Year’s Eve asking yourself a few leading questions:

What do you really want?
What would make you feel happier, live more fully and freely?

Because everything we want, we want for one of two reasons. We either think it will make us feel better, or we want it because we think we are “supposed” to want it.

What actions in your life are motivated by true desire, inspired by a movement toward joy and freedom?

What actions in your life are motivated by a feeling of obligation or “I must want this, because everyone else is saying this is worthwhile”?

Several years ago, I was performing all the time, touring across the US and Europe every few months. It was a fast-paced and fun lifestyle, but I wanted more, although I didn’t know what. I just knew I wanted my work to be more fulfilling. No one I was working with at the time understood my dissatisfaction. I was performing full time. What a dream come true! How could I not be happy with that?

One day, as I was asking myself that very question, I wrote this down on a piece of paper and stashed it in a small bottle on a bookshelf: “I want to help women who have been beaten down by society.” I looked into volunteering at various shelters or call-centers, but my hectic performance schedule wouldn’t allow for me to commit to a regular volunteering schedule. So life kept on moving, and I eventually just kept on working and forgot all about that little note.

A couple years later, I moved to the Bay Area. Shortly after that, I started teaching Burlesquercise classes. Little did I know when I first started teaching burlesque classes that they would be a transformational experience for the women taking the classes, helping them develop confidence and release issues they had held about their bodies their whole lives! Here is an example of women whose self-esteem had been beaten down by society all their lives, and I was helping them shake off the doubt and pain and FLY!

If that’s not a subconcious self-fulfillment of my own little “prophecy” I don’t know what is! Now, with the Everyday Bombshell Scholarship Program, I am starting to reach out to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and women overcoming eating disorders, physical disabilities, economic disadvantages and other intense challenges to their self-esteem… which takes my goal written on that little slip of paper even further!

After having completely forgotten about it for years, I found that little slip of paper recently, and it was like a window opened in my mind. When I wrote that note to my subconcious, I had no idea of the HOW or WHERE or WHEN of fulfillment of that desire. So I let it go, and a few years later, here I am! It feels like magic to me, how the perfect circumstances came along for me to use the skills and interests I already had in order to fulfill that deeper goal.

So I encourage you to  take some time for yourself; maybe sit in a park, take a long bath or shower, walk in the city or along a trail, whatever helps you still the chatter and really hear yourself. Take some time and think about what you really want from life. Go deep and find that desire that fills you with joy when you think about it, maybe even a secret joy that you’re too embarrassed to share with others. Whatever comes to you, write it down and either stick it on a mirror (or board or refrigerator door) where you will see it every day, or hide it from yourself for a while. Forget about it for a few years, and let your subconcious do the work to get you where you want to go. Let the universe create the perfect circumstances for you. And let’s see where your life takes you in the New Year and beyond!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Even better than New Year’s resolutions: Find deeper joy and fulfillment in 2011!

  1. thanks betty.
    what an awesome feeling to have fullfilled a dream.

    ive been thinking about this alot lately.

    • It does feel good! At the same time, I feel like I’m just getting started. More like I’m traveling the right path than I’ve finished and can check it off my list. This is all about deliberately moving in the direction of our dreams… because our dreams grow along with us! 🙂

      Lots of love to you, Violet. It’s a good thing to think about! I hope to hear about your ideas/conclusions too.

  2. Emily Cooper

    Betty,

    You are such an inspiration to me. Without Burlesque, I wouldn’t be the person who I am today. I have been battling weight issues my whole life, and have gained so much more confidence since I have been apart of the group. I have had concerns over my weight recently and has stemmed from a few incidences over the past year. Whenever I feel down, I ask myself , “How would Betty feel if she knew this was happening to me?” I reassure myself by knowing that you and me as well as every other woman is beautiful no matter what shape or size.
    My goal this year is to not let anyone get the best of me. I am a sensitive person and can cry instantly after a negative comment, but need to get stronger and defend myself. It is not easy to live in a world where size 2 is the ideal, but I need to tell myself everyday that I have a real woman figure and that I am beautiful inside and out.
    Thank you for giving me the self confidence that I have been longing for. I consider you all family and have loved every moment together!

    • Ah, Emily, you are beautiful! I am so happy that playing with me and with the rest of the burly girls is helping you feel better, even when you’re on your own. I am so sorry that people have said unkind things to you!

      Personally, I think being sensitive is a very positive character trait that is undervalued. Sensitivity is a sign of innocence retained and a lack of cynicism that is beautiful – wearing your heart on your sleeve, so to speak. Rather than hardening yourself to negative comments from others to defend yourself, have you tried looking differently at the people saying the negative comments? Anyone who would say mean things to you is living in a small, mean world, and wants to spread that smallness into your world, perhaps out of jealousy, perhaps just because they don’t understand your bright happy world. I try to feel sorry for people who go around spreading meanness, because that’s all they have in their life. While it may be impossible to avoid an immediate sting at a rude remark, thinking like this can take away the power of the rude person and their comments.

      So when you ask yourself, “What would Betty say about this?” remember that I would tell you to thumb your nose at that sucker, hold your head high, and think about all the fun you are having! I am so happy and honored to have you in my life.

  3. oh my goodness, i just love you and it’s so good to get a dose of your wise spirit…almost as good as seeing you in person. almost…but not quite! also, your new header gave me a big grin. a bombshell’s world, indeed! xoxo

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