I woke up this morning thinking about what ambitious people really want.

We want to feel confident and clear. We want to know that focusing our attention in one area will create the impact we wish to see.

Most of us have been socialized to believe that our role in life is to please others, to get “it” right, that our responsibility is to make other people happy. …

Photo by Matthew Wheeler on Unsplash

It feels as though an age has passed since I sat and wrote, unburdened myself of my feelings and thoughts in the hours some may say are too early to call the morning.

I feel tired and calm with a tinge of anxiety and notice that much of my struggle these past weeks has been the tension between being and doing. Part of me rails against perceived idleness. I feel afraid and uncertain when the structure I reject and simultaneously long for feels lost. …

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After waking up feeling anxious and exhausted every morning for a week straight, I knew there was something seriously off. Yes, the feeling was familiar — it was what characterized my burnout years ago and got so heavy that I sought help — but I had thought I’d said goodbye to that particularly tiring variety of mental activity. I had thought that by learning to lean into trust, into being present…by meditating and cultivating my sense of awe and gratitude, it had dissipated for good.

Not so.

Photo by Annabelle Agnew

In the vivid detail of the liminal moments before I awoke, I dreamt of impostor syndrome. I was in a coffee shop with a group of women — all friends from the past working in the film industry as writers and producers — and one of them asked me if I run programs to help brilliant yet downtrodden women to step into their power.

“I look at the women working in this industry and they’re so kickass,” she said. “But I know so many of us diminish ourselves for the privilege of being here. It’s such bullshit.”

It is bullshit…

Play with life

If you were to pick one word that you want to be in 2021, what would it be?

My word is PLAY. I want to bring play to everything I do. I want to be play. I want to share how it feels to be play with other people. I want to let go of taking everything so seriously and approach everything in my life with lightness and creativity. I want to let go of the need to be right and dig deeper into being curious.

Stuart Brown, MD and founder of the National Institute for Play defines the properties…

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Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it.

Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.

- Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

I have been practicing tuning into myself — really noticing in my body how I feel when making decisions. …

Photo by Annabelle Agnew

My deepest fear is of being trapped. I am more afraid of being stuck in an existence I don’t love, that doesn’t stimulate and excite me, than I am of the great unknown, of risk or possible challenges beyond the horizon.

For me, the idea of settling feels like a slow death. The thought that there isn’t something shinier and more exciting to do, new opportunities, new knowledge to gain, seems like it’s all worthless. What’s it all for if there’s no new experience?

And yet…I recognize that when I get into that mode of seeking and hungering and hankering…

Why speaking my truth with clarity is the most powerful tool in my kit

This beautiful image is by Annabelle Agnew. Buy this and other gorgeous prints this holiday season and support local artists!

In Brene Brown’s book, Dare to Lead, she mentions this slogan which she first heard in an AA meeting and the words penetrated my brain. Clear is kind.

Clear is kind. People so often try to hide behind vagaries or attempt to “soften the blow” of their thoughts and feelings by being ambiguous. Who does “beating around the bush” protect? Only me. If I am unclear about what I think or feel, the person I am speaking to will come up with their own stories about the situation. They will either be hurt or immobilized by my inability to express…

Photo by Josh Withers on Unsplash

When I was eight, my family moved back to South Africa from Canada. During the prior four years of living in Toronto, I was a feisty and outgoing kid. I loved to sing and dance and make up stories — and tried to find an audience wherever I went. I had no fear of talking to grown-ups or making new friends. I was the queen of my world, a leader in my friend group. Life was mine for the taking.

On my first day of school in Cape Town, I was amazed by how babyish the kids seemed. The schoolwork…

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

When I was eighteen, I wrote a play about falling in love, being afraid and not knowing what to say. I wrote it late at night after walking home from my first serious boyfriend’s house. I wrote it to make sense of what I was feeling.

A month or so later, with no other material to turn in for my Grade 12 playwriting class, I submitted the play. As part of the assignment, my classmates and I were also required to submit our plays to Tarragon Theatre’s “Under 20 for Under 20s” playwriting competition. Much to my amazement, I won.

Lauren Jane Heller

l help others to step into purpose, create alignment, and shape and tell the stories that will determine their futures.

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