Leaning Out

2020 was going to be MY year. I worked hard for it. My book was officially coming out. I signed on a business partner. GLOBAL plans.

Like glo-bal fucking plans.

Then March 11 – a global pandemic. The next day my book launched publicly with my publishers in Nashville, Tn. I was there, out of the country, with a friend and said business partner.

My husband thought I should postpone. My parents thought I shouldn’t go. “What could happen in 4 days“. Well, holy fucking shit, don’t ask that question. Global Pandemic. Book launch (still fucking incredible by the way. Nashville, even with everything shuttering still SO fun!). Then home where it felt like I would barely make it inside the country, mandatory lockdown.

Me on the red carpet!

The shuttering of everything began.

The cancellation of a book tour. Cancellation of Canada wide events and retreats. Cancellation of our global retreat in Africa.

Cancelled. Cancelled. Cancelled.

But for the first time in my life I didn’t panic. I didn’t get high strung or strung out. I leaned out. I didn’t think it was the end. I didn’t think it was unfair. Becauase one thing I’ve learned on this crazy jourey of life is that almost all of it is out of our control.

Whether it’s fair, right or wrong, is not as relevant as how we deal with it. The last 8 years of my life have been chaotic, to put it nicely.

I lost myself. Found myself. Lost myself again. Then reinvented myself. That came at a cost of my life as I knew it. I literally shed the old me, cut off parts that weren’t me anymore, let go of people, places, things, businesses, attitudes, beliefs.

I was willing to burn for it and walk away from it all.

And during that period, I rarely stepped back, I always leaned in, always sought the answers, always provided a space for people in my life who needed it, I was there for people.

But not this time.

And not because I was reacting but for the first time in a long time I was nurturing my own world, my own needs and not being everything to everyone, I was listening, healing, cleaning, walking, writing, reinventing, again.

I leaned out.

I had nothing to say.

I didn’t want to hear the bashing, the negativity, the insults, the fighting, the panic, the fear, the mayheim.

I watched people in leadership positions show their true selves – fear mongering and gaslighting.

I watched people I cared about turn their backs on each other. I saw the way humanity thought it was ok to leave cruise ships at sea with human beings on board that no one cared about.

I saw people report each other for not following the rules and internet shaming children for hanging out on beaches.

But I also witnessed people checking on neighbors. I saw people baking together, cooking together. I saw kids playing in the mud. I saw drive by parties and essential workers rewarded.

I was checked on by people who barely knew me.

I had virtual parties with friends.

I deleted my facebook account and talked on the phone with people.

I deepened by relationship with my business partner. And got to work out the many blips and kinks to starting a business in a global pandemic.

I gave away copies of my book to the women’s prison.

I baked bread. I painted my house. I threw out all of my clothes. I started walking and stopped running. I quit my part time job. I found the root of an ongoing health problem for 3 years.

I leaned the fuck out.

I didn’t need or want to show up bigger than I was. I couldn’t and didn’t want to hold space for anyone else. I was holding it for me. My inner world was going through an upgrade, an assimilation of sorts, of all that had been and all that I needed to become to move forward.

It was a strange place. I had always been the person who leaned in. But I listened to my instincts to lean out, to not try to lead in this place of chaos until I was ready.

First I had to lead myself. I let it all be what it was. One thing I know for certain is that, while things won’t be ok for everyone for a long time, and the worst is yet to come, things will be ok.

Human beings are strong, powerful, resilient and we ALWAYS create something incredible out of the ashes.

And the truth is, the ashes are needed. Like all incredible stories, a revolution is needed in order to right the skewed and messed up world we have created.

The world doesn’t work, humanity has lost it’s way and we’ve been living the wrong dream for a long time. But crisis always rights us and this time we’re in a collective global crisis.

And collectively, we’ll rebuild a new world.

As I leaned out and let myself be where I needed to be, I slowed down. And that slow down allowed for an upgrade to a new level, new standards, new way of being and living.

And I realized 2020 IS my year, more than I realized, just not the way I believed it would be. It is an invitation to growth. A reinvention of me. All of the parts of the last 8 years merging and anything not in alignment being released and anything needed coming in.

I was on the path but I was still living in resistence of the path I was given. I wanted a cooler path. A better path. A more socially accepted path.

2020 was an invitation to claim the path, fully.

And I did.

And now I’m leaning in.

We can’t lean in before we’re ready. We can’t teach what we haven’t done or learned. One of the greatest issues I see is people selling a journey they haven’t taken and manipulating the truth to serve themselves.

When we are brave enough to lean out, to slow down, to hit the stop button on the merry go round, that’s where we find ourselves.

The deepest parts of ourselves won’t be found in the noise or the chaos. It will be found under those things. When we’re brave enough to get silent, to go all in, to challenge ourselves, to let things be what they are, to have no opinion on something, to stop being “the go to person”. When we are brave enough to step out and off, we get to find the deepest parts of ourselves.

And only then do we have something real to offer, something that is uniquely ours – not a cookie cutter, not a copy, not a cheap dime a dozen, 15 minutes of fame, one hit wonder… but to create something deep and meaningful that lasts.

Something that lives beyond ourselves, something bigger than just us, something that breathes, operates and lives in a new way.

Only when we are brave enough to walk the dark roads inside of ourselves, willing to give it all up, willing to step off and lean out, can we find what we need to lean in on.

I’m leaning all in now. I’ve claimed my purpose and my path. And the only things I’ll be leaning in are the fuck yeses, the musts, the can’t live without, anything else, as I promised myself on January 1 is a fuck no.

And that’s my lesson. I have always believed that we say things, then we take a journey to understand that thing. At the end of 2019 I said my mantra was “if it aint a fuck yes, it’s a fuck no”. I spent March to August letting go of everything that wasn’t a fuck yes.

My word of the year was “rise”. I hosted a workshop with Clay Cafe and we had to choose a word. I didn’t have one. It came in my heart when I closed my eyes. RISE. I thought it was strange cause I thought I had done that *eye roll*. And here we are, a million opportunities to rise higher in 2020.

Never underestimate the power of leaning out so you can integrate the lessons and growth.

Leaning out lets us find what we need to lean in.

Tonya

PS… if you want to grab a copy of my book -> You can find it where books are sold or you can go here for a signed copy -> Unchained

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