Adrienne MacIain 0:01
Hi everyone! Welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. This is your hostess, Adrienne MacIain, and today we have Sierra Melcher. Welcome, Sierra, please introduce yourself.
Sierra Melcher 0:14
Thank you, I will. I'm glad to be here. I love, I love how normal it is to introduce ourselves, but how critical how we choose to do that is. And so I don't take that lightly. This is a podcast about stories, and the stories that we tell ourselves start at the very beginning. And the story of who we are we repeat all the time without even noticing how important it is, or if it's accurate.
Adrienne MacIain 0:54
Or we get very caught up in, like, how do I introduce myself? Like, what's important to other people? I get caught up in that all the time. When I go on podcasts and they ask me to introduce myself, and it's like, Do you want my bio? Do you want what I do? Do you want what I think my gift is? Do you want, like, what? What persona are you interested in? Because there's so many aspects to this.
Sierra Melcher 1:19
And every question you just asked yourself is a projection of What do you all want of me? What do you want me to be? How do I show up for you? And I think that looking at all the question from all of those perspectives is so important. I hold women's circles. It's one of the major things that I do. And what especially when there's new folks there, but also on a regular basis, I say introduce who you are today. Just check in with that for yourself, because you're not who you were when we were here last week. And who are you today gives you permission to be a total mess today without being a total mess tomorrow, or having it all sorted out today and then being a total mess tomorrow. Because it just makes space for us to be in-process.
Adrienne MacIain 2:20
I love that so much. I love that so much.
Sierra Melcher 2:24
Like, that is my introduction.
Adrienne MacIain 2:26
Yeah, because I just told you I just did this amazing meditation, which was the Daniel Bruce Levin's Trashman meditation where he just takes everything away from you that you think you are. And I wept and wept, just seeing everything that I hold dear sucked out of me and disappearing into this void. And just being empty for a minute and then letting the universe just fill me with everything that's really mine. And just feeling overwhelmed with this energy of gratitude. So that's where I'm at today is like, I'm feeling very new. I'm feeling very like a baby right now. And just allowing the universe to fill me and be just in learning mode, and just wanting to soak things up. And so you were the perfect person to talk to right after that. I'm reading your your book that you're working on, and that has been teaching me so much about the book that I'm writing too, and what it needs to have and what it...
Sierra Melcher 3:28
Which I'm reading.
Adrienne MacIain 3:29
Exactly. Just so much learning going on. So please, the first question that I have, and this is, I've changed it a little bit again, because I've emptied myself of everything that I thought I was and that this podcast was. I am a work in progress, this podcast is a work in progress, we all are a work in progress. So I'm going to change things up today, and this may be my new direction, we'll see what happens. But what is the story the world is not getting?
Sierra Melcher 4:00
And I'm so glad to be here with you right now, the baby you. I'm so glad to have this question, because this is a question that's been on my heart a lot. And it's, as a way of introduction, this is something that I've been playing with in different ways for a number of years. And my mission, maybe, if we can call it that, is really to change the global conversation about what it means to be human. So the story I think we're missing is a field on which to discuss, without even having an answer, what the hell is this life, this body? What does it mean to try to navigate, to find purpose, to find fulfilment, empowerment in the modern age? Like, what is it? Like, I'm a parent, of a five year old. What does it mean to procreate? Like, what is this life? And I think there's a lot of words happening in this conversation, but I do feel like we're missing the field on which to discuss. I think there's a lot of noise. And that's not to discredit some of the stuff that's happening, but there's just a lot of, I think there's something missing to ground us. I think the conversation is maybe a lot simpler than the discussions that are happening. And so I'm showing up in the world, I've written a couple of books towards this end, to sort of nudge people in the direction. My first book, 'How Change Really Happens,' because for years I called myself a holistic, transformational mentor, and no one knows what the hell that is. And that's okay. But everyone in the world is looking to learn and grow, yet how learning and growing happens, we're like, Oh, yeah, but I don't want to do it that way. I want to learn and grow, but it feels uncomfortable, so I'm going to skip it and try something else.
Adrienne MacIain 6:41
I just read that section where you talked about the little Ben and Jerry's magnet that says, "If it's not fun, why do it?" And it's so funny, because I had that exact same thing, and had the exact same experience of like, Wait, I'm just having fun, but like, my life keeps being not fun. What's that about? Funny thing, when you avoid your pain, and you avoid discomfort, growth doesn't happen, change doesn't happen, and you stay stuck in the not-fun, ironically. So I love that idea of how change really happens. I've done a lot of work on that. And learning how our brains work, learning how our hearts work, figuring out that to change something, first of all, you have to accept where you're at. You have to start from where you really are, because you can't change from someplace you're not.
Sierra Melcher 7:49
You can spend years trying though.
Adrienne MacIain 7:51
Oh, boy, can you ever.
Sierra Melcher 7:53
If you want to pretend that you're someone else and try to change that projection.
Adrienne MacIain 7:59
Uh huh. Let me know how that goes for you.
Sierra Melcher 8:03
Right? I think, I mean, I know that I, I think I've probably spent at least a decade doing that. I'm going to be so professionally disconnected from who I am. I'm just going to decorate the projection.
Adrienne MacIain 8:20
Sierra Melcher 8:20
Right? I'm going to do... and I, the clans that I work with, a lot of them, this comes up a lot. Like, maybe I should just get another degree? Maybe I should... I feel, I get these images a lot. It's sort of like we're in a cave, there's some shadow, like, there's a light and there's a shadow pictures, and we think that that's real. And we're like, well, if that projection of reality, then I need to be like that. And so we're making these decisions from these shadow projections, rather than, like you said, getting to know ourselves. Which, yeah, is terrifying and uncomfortable, until it's not. Until it's sort of fun. And until that same terror you're like, Ooh, terrifying. Let's do more of that. Right? Like, Ooh, this is rich, this is mookie, which I don't think is a word but I just made it one.
Adrienne MacIain 9:26
It is now. I like mookie.
Sierra Melcher 9:30
Adrienne MacIain 9:30
Go for the mookie stuff. Muck around in the mook.
Sierra Melcher 9:33
Right? I call it the messy middle. And this is just like, you've got between where you are, which you have to see first, between where you are and where you want to be. You have to see where you are, and be okay with, that's maybe not the right word, but like, acknowledging it, right? You have to, like, start where you are. Which ironically, not ironically, because everything is perfectly synchronized, last month training that I did in my community was called Start Where You Are. You have to get into, you have to get into the now. If you're navigating, if you're trying to make a map, which is one of the things I help my clients do, it's like, okay, where do you want to go? Okay, cool, fine. Are you sure you want to go there? That's not just somebody else's projection for you? Who are you? And then let's like, it's this back and forth? Where do you want to go? Where are you? Who are you? Are you sure you want to go there? Okay. Once we've got those two points, then lets map out a course. Most people don't know where they are and have a false perception of where they want to be. And like you said, wonder why it's not coming together?
Adrienne MacIain 10:53
Yeah. Or I've got this plan, and I keep banging my head against this plan, and it just doesn't seem to be working for me. I still end up someplace I don't want to be. Hmmm.
Sierra Melcher 11:09
Yeah, yeah. So, the story that I think we just need to come... To answer your question maybe in a phrase is, the story that's not being told is the story of how significant we each are, how much capacity, wisdom, knowledge, direction we all possess, for ourselves to live our fulfillment of the direction, whatever it is that we're seeking, we have all those answers. We have all that guidance. We have all that clarity. No one can give you the answers to those questions. No one can solve your relationship or fix your career or improve your health for you. And that's so contrary to the beliefs. We're like, No, look outside yourself, find an expert to do it for you, get another something that's then going to fix you. And it's not out there. No one else can figure out what your life is about. They can't.
Adrienne MacIain 12:30
But also sometimes it's about getting out of our own way. And like you said, letting go of this shadow vision that you've had, that you think is yours, that you believe to be you, but that is a construction based on so many other people's expectations, and the things you've had to do just to survive and get by with the limited toolset that you had.
Sierra Melcher 13:00
Yep. Not enough.
Adrienne MacIain 13:01
And so to actually get at those answers and that truth, which I completely agree is in there, you have to let go and clear out all that trash. Let the trashman take it away.
Sierra Melcher 13:16
Yeah. Well, and so for a while, I was like, this is the work that I'm called to do. But I believe that each person is their own expert. So am I irrelevant? Like, what? And I realized No, because we do, we need a guide to figure out who we are. Because it's not normal, because it's not universally accepted.
Adrienne MacIain 13:43
And because it's so hard to see from the inside.
Sierra Melcher 13:48
Oh yeah. Yeah.
Adrienne MacIain 13:49
I love to use this example, the metaphor of okay, so there's this old woman and she lives in a shoe. You've heard of her. But she has no idea that her home is a shoe. From her perspective, it's nice. It smells like leather in there, you know, and she's got these nice eyelet skylights, she has this comfy sole where she sleeps. But it's never occurred to her that it's a shoe because she's never stepped outside of it to see its shoe-shape. So from our perspective it's very obvious, Hey, you live in a shoe. But she needs someone from the outside to notice that and help her figure out, Oh, this is a shoe. Do I want to live in a shoe? I don't know.
Sierra Melcher 14:10
Yeah. I love something that you shared earlier, ties back in, when you were letting go of all the things you hold dear. From my own experience, and now from watching this for so many people, we actually hold dear our limitations.
Adrienne MacIain 14:56
Oh, god, yes!
Sierra Melcher 14:57
Hold dear our I can't do it, I'm not good enough, I'm not worthy. That stuff feels so familiar slash comfortable, because it's so familiar. It keeps us safe in this tiny little space. And so because of that we're like, But I don't want to let go of this totally crippling doubt in myself. I need this. And it's really scary to let that go and be like, Well, maybe I can.
Adrienne MacIain 15:36
That reminds me of another metaphor, which is...
Sierra Melcher 15:38
I love metaphors. We can just metaphor poker. See one, raise you.
Adrienne MacIain 15:44
Exactly! So, imagine you're in a straitjacket. Okay? Now, it's really difficult to get things done because your hands are tied around you. Right? But it feels so comfy, you're in this little warm hug. And every time somebody asks you to do something, you say, 'I'm sorry, I can't do that. I don't have--my hands aren't free. Sorry.' It's the perfect excuse. And you can't get out of it because it's a straitjacket. But of course you could get out of it, you could just ask someone to help you out of that thing. Right? And then you could do all kinds of things that you can't do now. But then that would mean that you need to learn how to do all these things that you've never done before because you've been in this straitjacket for so long. And that's very scary.
Sierra Melcher 16:33
Exactly. This is the fundamental paradox, and I write about it in both of my books, 'How Change Really Happens,' and the one that you're reading that's about to come out, 'Date Yourself.' We want to grow, we want to thrive, we want the next thing, we want love, and acceptance, and belonging. But to grow means to do something that you don't know how to do. And so being really bad at it, for as long as it takes, until you're not bad at it. But we're really bad at being bad at things. And so we try something, and we're like, Oh, I'm not good at it, so I'm not going to try again. Years ago now, I was a high school teacher, and that was sort of my first iteration of this. And I used to give this lesson. So I hear you 14-year-olds saying, Well, I'm just not fill-in-the-blank. Right? Everyone has those stories early on, and then we repeat them. And I said, Okay, I want you to imagine a baby. And the baby is new to everything. And this baby crawls and tries to walk and falls down. And if that baby said, Oh, well, I fell down, I'm not gonna try again, I must be bad at walking, then that baby would never walk. And we know that that's ridiculous. We know that that's ridiculous. Yet, we do this all the time. Whatever I'm bad at I'm not going to do, so I'm not going to get better at it, makes me right. For years I knew it but couldn't quite get out of it. I was like, I'd rather be right and stuck, because I'm in the known world, I want to know I can't do this, I can't do that, I can't do this, but I'm right, and I understand my world, than be wrong about any of those beliefs. And then have sort of the world open up for me would be uncomfortable. And so I've had to shift how I feel about discomfort, really transform, radically transform that. But also, I did it just a second ago, using the word familiar instead of comfortable. Because the things that are familiar, and the root of the word comes back to family, okay, so the things that are familiar are the things that we know. You can be really uncomfortable in the familiar, but choose the familiar over the unknown, even if there's comfort out there. But we're not willing to leave this. My mentor talks about it and that, sort of the dance when we're ready to outgrow something. It's the pain and then the fear and then the pain and then the fear. And she talks about going back and forth between, Oh, this is, I am uncomfortable in my familiar, but I think I'm more uncomfortable to grow out of it. But we're meant to grow. We are meant to grow. And most of, not all certainly, but most of our suffering comes with our unwillingness, not our inability, but our unwillingness to go out of the familiar into the next unknown. And be bad at something until we, you know, we're always growing. There was a time when what we've outgrown was brand new too, where we just evolved through these stages of life.
Adrienne MacIain 20:36
Yeah. There's so much to mine in there. I've been working with this woman, Megan Gaiser, on the Human Reboot Project. And just talking about, as you said right at the beginning of this, what does it mean to be human? What are we doing here? And I think learning and growth is a huge, important piece of that puzzle. But then there's the question of like, so then why do we resist it so much? Why do we think we hate it? You know, and it's that that fear of looking bad or looking dumb or looking not good enough in front of each other? It's that shame piece. And over the years, you know, I used to have just a terrible non-growth mindset, right? Just a big old fixed mindset. Absolutely. When I was a kid, it was like, if I'm not good at it, I'm not doing that. I only do things that I'm good at, and I show off, and I get praise, and I get validation. And that's my happy place. So I was a performer and I would go out onstage, and get applause, and that's what I would feed off of. And if I didn't get enough applause, I would cry and cry and cry. Right? If I didn't make the audience laugh with my joke, you know, I was devastated. And as the years have gone by, I realized more and more, that it's that fear that I need to listen to. Because if you focus on that pain of like, Oh, you know, I can't tolerate this anymore. Well, you have to get pretty far down before that happens. Right? You can tolerate a lot before it becomes intolerable, and you hit that rock bottom, and then feel like you have to change. And so the wisest people I know are the people who, as soon as they feel a little bit scared of something, they feel a little bit intimidated, they see something and they're like, Ooh, that's a little scary, I don't know if I want to do that - that's what they go after.
Sierra Melcher 22:40
Yeah, right away.
Adrienne MacIain 22:41
They just go, Oh, okay. That's the universe telling me this is the direction that I actually need to go now. Because it scares me.
Sierra Melcher 22:48
Yeah, the growing edge comes with fear. It doesn't come, and this is, the story we have is if you're on the right path, it should be easy. Somewhere I got that story. Right? If you're doing it right, it'll be easy. And what? And my experience now has taught me the absolute opposite. If I'm all squirmy, and feeling like a naked little worm out in the universe, then I'm where I need to be. But it took me a long time to be willing to wriggle out of my shell. And I invested most of my energy in barricading the shell, instead of cracking out of it and hatching into the next thing. And this comes back to the process that allowed for me to be willing to break out of the shell, be willing to be the squiggly little worm, is connecting here. Not expecting or seeking validation or belonging from outside, but creating a culture, an inner culture of acceptance, belonging, tolerance. I'm willing to be as I am. And this comes back to our introduction. Who are you? I'm constantly checking in. Who am I today? We met 10 days ago, that was a different person. And this is me today, which gives permission and space for me to be whatever, whoever, and I don't have to invest in being the same all the time.
Adrienne MacIain 24:37
Yeah, I wanted to...
Sierra Melcher 24:38
Yeah, tending to, like, I feel, and this is what I teach in my circles and to my clients, is to feel so safe and grounded and connected and agency. Agency is one of the three pillars that I teach. It's like capacity to show up for yourself, as you are, the willingness to fall flat on your face and still be okay. I think before I had none of that, and so all myself was determined by others. My sense of self, my validity, my worth, my acceptance, my belonging, my love ability was just out there. And like you said, absolutely not willing to do anything that I couldn't do perfectly because of that equation that I had just created. And so reverse engineer it, build the foundation from self, to then go figure out who I can be tomorrow. And that, for me, that level of questioning is what I mean with, like, what does it mean to be human? I don't have the answers. I have lots of questions. And I want more questioning as sort of a normal.
Adrienne MacIain 26:16
So I wanted to make a distinction there, and this is a perfect kind of segue. That when we talk about, you know, challenging yourself, teach to your weaknesses, and go outside of your comfort zone, one of the things that a lot of people then immediately think is, Oh, yeah, so I need to be able to do these things because other people expect me to do them. So yeah, now I have to force myself to learn these things that I'm not really that interested in, but, they're expected of me and so I need to stop thinking that I'm not good at that. And so I have to like,... that's not what we're talking about. That's not what we're talking about. I've gotten that one.
Sierra Melcher 26:57
That's the continuation. That's the continuation of the thought process of what's the external telling me, now I have to go do what the external is telling me. And if she couldn't do it, I should do it, because the external authority is out there. Right. And that, I agree. Absolutely. There's a step missing.
Adrienne MacIain 27:21
And so how do you help people find that missing step? Because it's so easy to say, Oh, well, you just have to love yourself. Good luck with that. Right? Like, huh? That is such a terrifying thing. It's like you said, you know, self -love... it's like, Who am I? What is love? Where do I even start with that? And I've been helping people for a while now, and often we come to that point of like, Yeah, but I don't even know how, I don't know where to even start with self-love. Like, What? Where do we start with that? So can you share some tools that you use to help people even just know where to start with that?
Sierra Melcher 28:11
So this question is exactly why I wrote the book 'Date Yourself.' Because it is, it's just like, Yeah, just love. Go ahead. And now that you love, isn't it great? And I'm like, wait a minute. Wait. Yeah, like, I heard you, but I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know who self is, don't know what love is. These two concepts are now just two black holes that you've put together that are supposed to somehow solve all my problems. And it never, ever...
Adrienne MacIain 28:43
Now I feel even worse about myself, because I can't simplest, most obvious thing - love yourself. It should be, like, the basic, and yet it feels impossible.
Sierra Melcher 28:56
All right. So there are three things. And again, these, I believe in simplicity, but I also understand that simplicity is not straightforward. And that we sort of as a culture, I think, have this preference to complexity. And so we overlook the simplicity. And then, because because we're looking for something to be hard to fix the problem, it just sort of breaks down. But there are three things that I teach over and over and over again, because there are steps, but it's not 1-2-3 and you're done, it's 1-2-3-repeat. 1-2-3-repeat. Because all of this, this being you, you're not done, you're never going to be done. And I don't want you to be done. Done is dead, done is static. The continual like, redoing. I see things like a spiral, like an expanding spiral. The Fibonacci sequence is like, oh, I've come back around to this, but I'm looking at it from a slightly different perspective. And I'm coming back to it again and coming back to it again. And so we are just this expanding spiral of self. The three things that I teach over and over again in my women's circles are grounding, aligning, and agency. And I've been doing this now, week after week after week after week, and it's still just this. It's like this ebb and flow. Right? It's like the phases of the moon. And we just, we're doing it again, and we're doing it again. So grounding asks the question of Who are you right now? Who are you today? We take a deep breath, we get out of our heads, which we spend a lot of time in. The breath helps both physiologically and psychologically. Slows your heart rate, gets you out of that overthinking anxiety mode. Take a couple of deep breaths and get your attention into your body. Who am I right now? The body is not really judgmental, the mind's pretty judgmental, but the body is not. So like, Who am I right now? And what do I want? Which is sort of the aligning? What's the energy? Where do I want to go? What's? And that's not even where I want to be, because even that belief is that there's a done. Right? Like, what do I want to experience? And so aligning to the next thing, like aligning to the fear. Right? I want to be nervous. I want to be excited, because those are the same experience, just with different takes on the experience. And then agency is And what am I going to do about it? Who am I? What do I want? What am I going to do about it? And what am I going to do about it, we, again, I think we're like, Oh, I need to be a millionaire and change the world and have everything sorted out, which means I have to do a whole lot, which means I'm done before I've started because I've given up on myself... no. I write about it in both of my books, this idea of a micro-shift. And so this agency comes back to what is the smallest thing, the smallest thing I can do about it. And we really struggle with that until we get super-practiced at breaking it down. Right? Sometimes the answer is I'm gonna breathe some more. Really, you go right back to the beginning. What am I going to do about it? I'm going to come back. And that's it. That's all I'm going to do right now. In my circle, we spend a week on each of those things. And then the next month we come back, and the next month we come back. What I've just done here is like a whole month's worth of stuff. But making space, you're making mental space, you're making energetic space, you're making physical space, for getting to know who you are in this moment, starting where you are. You're getting, making space for what you truly desire, rather than what you think other people need from you or want from you. Which is up in here. A lot happens here.
Well, and also recognizing that that changes, just like you said, you know, the question of who am I today? What do I want today? My desires can change from one day to the next, my vision of you know, my perfect world. I do this exercise, you know, often with people on the on the podcast, and I really want to reiterate for people that, like, that doesn't mean this is now a fixed vision of what my future will be. This is one possibility among infinite possibilities. The idea is just to get you out of this fixed mindset of like, only one thing is possible. No, anything is possible. And you can put yourself into any future and then look backwards and go well how did I get here and draw a map to there if that's where you want to go. And maybe that is today and it won't be tomorrow.
The thing that I'm noticing too is like, when we do this grounding aligning agency, and we do the microshift, and we are successful, that creates the momentum. So it doesn't have to be a straight line. There's not one fixed destination. There's not one fixed starting point. And you certainly don't have a straight line. Today, you're going to go this way. Tomorrow, you're going to go this way today. And then, and you can always, and that's why the aligning is What do I want now? I don't have to be beholden to what, okay. January 1, 2020, people wrote their wish lists, their grand plans. The world is different. I mean, how many people did their goal setting at the beginning of the year? The whole world is sideways. You're learning and growing in ways that we could not have even conceived of nine months ago, ten months ago. And to try to hold ourselves to that standard, try to reach that goal - it's insanity. Except that's how we've been practicing it. And then one of the things I was definitely addicted to was getting to beat myself up about failing to reach my goals. And I would set the goals too big. And they would be someone else's in the first place. And they'd be too big, inaccessible from the beginning. But at least I got to be right that I wasn't good enough. Right?
Adrienne MacIain 36:35
I thought this wasn't gonna work and I was right.
Sierra Melcher 36:37
And I'm right. I knew it wouldn't work. I knew, I knew, I knew. And that was my, that was the solace. Right? It's embarrassing, it's not embarrassing, it's just, it's so...
Adrienne MacIain 36:50
It's so beautifully human.
Sierra Melcher 36:52
It is. And I have empathy for myself, that version of myself, and I have empathy for people who are still practicing that, because I know that it's universal.
Adrienne MacIain 37:02
I was the exact opposite. I would set the easiest, most non-ambitious little goals, and then throw myself a parade. Because it was like, Look, look, I did this thing!
Sierra Melcher 37:17
I put on my undies!
Adrienne MacIain 37:19
Exactly. Like, I got up today! Yay, me! And then I'd be like, okay, but what now. And that didn't actually make me be...
Sierra Melcher 37:30
And wouldn't set the goal that would challenge you enough to actually make you feel good. So, one of the things that I've really dug into this year is about fulfillment, like, figuring out what is fulfilling. And it's different for every person. But the thing that is common, the uniting thread of fulfillment, is striving, reaching farther than you can towards something. It's not the arrival there, it's the reaching and the trying, and that in itself is fulfilling. Not the completion, but the agency. I am reaching for something that is beyond me now, and it feels so good to show up for ourselves that much. But both your story and my story are two different ways to avoid fulfillment. Yeah. And we're really good at it, we're really good at preventing our own growth. We're super-skilled.
Adrienne MacIain 38:46
So that's a perfect segue if you're up for my little exercise. Shall we do it?
Sierra Melcher 38:51
Yeah, take it away.
Adrienne MacIain 38:52
You're just gonna close your eyes for a moment here. Yeah, nice, deep grounding breath there. All right. I'm gonna wave my magic wand, and I have just granted all your wishes, and these are your wishes today. This is what you are desiring right now. And you are now, in present tense, in this perfect existence that has just come to pass. And I want you to just describe what you see.
Sierra Melcher 39:33
I love that. The first things that came to mind, actually, were all the things I'm currently doing.
Adrienne MacIain 39:48
Uh huh. Perfect. Perfect.
Sierra Melcher 39:53
Because I have this year, and I've been fortunate to have this global sideways-ness to really incubate and spend time in and on my growing edge. And so like to do the impossible, basically, and get okay with doing the impossible. I'm currently seeking reviews for my book, and I've been writing to people who I think would be great to write reviews. So I'm, you know, writing emails to my heroines like, yeah, I wrote to Cheryl Strayed today and Bell Hooks. And when I get these emails back I'm like, Oh, my God! It doesn't matter if she says yes or no, because, like, I got an email response from... Right? Like, Oh, my God, I'm in correspondence with...
Adrienne MacIain 40:56
Sierra Melcher 40:57
The only difference, and this is something that I've been playing with this week, having a massive shift around the energy of money, and the sort of scales. My energy around money had had been trapped. And on Wednesday, I was like, Whoa. And that has rippled through like, my energy of the vision. And so the only difference is the number of people that I can support and reach. I'm literally still having coffee on my balcony, I'm still sitting at this desk. Nothing else has changed. Maybe I'm going to throw away an old pair of shoes. Which, not ironically, I had a dream a couple of months ago, I was like I have, I was barefoot, because I had outgrown my shoes, and I needed to step into bigger shoes. I was like, Okay, here we come, bigger shoes. And this all fits together of like, the exact number of people isn't relevant, because that's just, again, my mind trying to put something on it. But supporting more people through this self-navigation so that they can figure out who they are, and what they want, and what fulfills them, and what they want to create in the world. I'm not going to dictate that for anybody, I would never, but I want to be the facilitator, the accelerator, the vehicle of this self-navigation. And so your magic wand opens that.
Adrienne MacIain 42:58
Yeah. So I'm seeing and hearing expansiveness, you know, a spread. And I'm hearing that what you're doing already is very much in line with your desires, you feel really, already very aligned. And so it's just more and more of what already is. And it's just growing and expanding and becoming bigger than you and moving beyond you. Kind of spreading out and flowing out to other people around you know. I want you to see one person in your mind that you just reached and helped to find herself. And just see that look on her face, and feel that energy from her breakthrough. And just feel what that feels like for a moment. And then I want you to see yourself having a breakthrough too. Something just you never expected has fallen out of the sky into your lap, this amazing opportunity. It's scary, it's big, and you know it's going to change everything. And you're ready for it. You want to just describe what that feels like?
Sierra Melcher 44:40
The phrase that's coming to mind is just 'growing up.' And through my thirties, ironically, because I was still in high school, I was teaching teenagers, I was like, I still feel like I'm 15. Like nothing, I feel like such a fake. My whole first year of teaching, I bought a pair of fake glasses because I thought that's what teachers, I was like, I need a prop to look like this role is mine. I didn't need glasses, I probably did permanent damage to my eyes by wearing fake glasses. But I was like, This is me faking it. And the identity shifted into I am a teacher, I can do this, it's fully integrated. But I still felt like a kid. I was like, I don't feel like, yeah. That changed when I had a baby. As somebody, you know, some people have babies early and maybe grow up faster. But like, I had a baby in my late thirties.
Adrienne MacIain 45:44
Sierra Melcher 45:44
And yes, definitely feel just the identity shift in that. It's like, Okay, whew. Now the relationships are different. But it feels, what I saw feels really natural and just like the obvious next step. Just like my dream of needing new shoes, this is like walking out onto a bigger stage. Whether it was like, literally the thing I thought was being invited to speak somewhere big. Not even applying. I'm doing a lot of the applying. But the invitation is like, Oh, they're coming to me now. That's different. And okay. But, like, literally walking out onto a bigger stage, literally and metaphorically.
Adrienne MacIain 46:43
I love that symbol of the glasses, the fake glasses. When I started teaching at the university level, I started wearing these boots that had a really thick heel that would make a click-click sound when I walked in, because I felt like they needed to know a teacher has arrived. And there was something about that that just gave me this feeling of like authority, like I am now in my teacher outfit, and I can be a teacher. But then the funny thing is, as I started teaching more and more sort of acting classes, I would end up wearing, you know, yoga pants and bare feet and things like this. And I felt like I became a better and better teacher the less I tried to be a teacher.
Sierra Melcher 47:31
I think that's the integration process. Right? With everything new, in the beginning it's uncomfortable, and we need to put on, sometimes literally, we need to put things on to feel like we can fill the role. And then the more that it's integrated, the more that it is part of who we are, the less we need to, yeah, like you said, try, because it becomes. But I think even just recognizing that, having compassion and appreciation for that, you know when I walk out on that stage I'm going to be wearing something ridiculous. Right? Like, there's gonna be something, whether it's like a crystal in my pocket, or like, you know, some good luck charm, there's going to be something that I'm going to have done that says, Okay, now you're ready. Like, now this is the symbol.
Adrienne MacIain 48:28
I got my hair did or I got a new suit.
Sierra Melcher 48:30
Right, yeah. But the something, sort of the protection, the physical protection to make this transition. Sort of like my rocket ship. Have you? I can't remember where it is, but Brittany Brown speaks about her process just before she goes on the stage. I think, for her first TED Talk, the one that went viral and then went all crazy. But she was wearing a suit. She was wearing something that she would never wear. And she felt super uncomfortable. And just before she went on stage she put on her mom jeans. And she's like, No, I'm just gonna wear what I wear all the time because that's actually how I feel more comfortable, I feel more comfortable as myself than pretending to be somebody else. And I love that. And that, like, she navigated that whole thing internally and then shared it with us. And then did, you know, she was herself. And that's when the authority is coming from there. Right? Like, it doesn't matter what pants you're wearing, or your shoes, or your glasses. It doesn't matter. Once you've figured out you, it doesn't matter what you're wearing. People aren't going to look at your pants, the way like we think everyone's looking. They're not. They're looking at themselves still. Like they're worried about what they're wearing while you're talking about what you're talking about.
Adrienne MacIain 49:58
Sierra Melcher 49:59
Just reconnecting with... and authority is this really interesting word. As someone who works with books, if you don't know this already, you'll appreciate this, the root of the word authority is author, the one who writes the story.
Adrienne MacIain 50:17
Sierra Melcher 50:18
And we are continually writing our own story through our actions, through our thoughts, through our words. That brings us back how we introduce ourselves to strangers. Every single time we do that, we are authoring our own story. We, whether we know it or not, whether we embrace it or not, we are the authority on ourselves. We decide how we show up, we decide, really, how we show up and how other people think of us. And when we click into that, it's like a quantum poof in terms of empowerment and self-realization of just like, Oh, my goodness, the stories I've been telling myself about me, the stories I've been telling others about me. I share a few in in 'Date Yourself,' like, oh, oh, those stories, those are not loving, supportive stories. I would never speak to a friend, let alone a stranger on the street, that way. I am 24-7 feeding myself these thoughts and these ideas. And so this inner narrative was sort of like the nourishment for our soul. We're literally, not literally, metaphorically feeding ourselves this narrative. And we can, because it's metaphysical, we can change it like that. It's not a physical book that needs to be rewritten, it's a story in our own psyche. And it can be shifted.
Adrienne MacIain 51:58
I love the word reintegration. When you talk about the hero's journey, and of course, we are all the hero of our own many, many hero's journeys. And at the beginning, there's that separation, where you get separated from your tribe, or your idea of yourself, or whatever it is. And then you go through the initiation process of learning a completely new way to be. But then often people forget that last piece, which is coming home, which is the reintegration of now I know all this stuff but I'm coming back to the familiar with this new understanding of the world. And so there's that beautiful moment for many of us where it's like, Oh, I don't have to wear these fake glasses anymore. I actually I'm the teacher. I am the author.
Sierra Melcher 52:54
I love how the hero's journey fits into the story. And I think of it as 'and then you start again.' You've done the whole thing. This whole image that you you've just described, the leaving the stepping out of the familiar, out of the comfortable, and then bringing it all back together. And then home is different. You're different. Somebody who's ever, if you've ever traveled, like, you're out of your own culture, and then you come home and you're like, What happened here? Nothing. Like, we're different, and so the whole world seems different. And then we we do it again, and again, and again. Because we're cyclical creatures, to say the least.
Adrienne MacIain 53:15
I always say every story has a happy ending. It just depends on where you end the story. And on that note, where can the people at home find you, Sierra?
Sierra Melcher 53:20
Perfect. I am pretty present on Facebook. My books are available on Amazon, so you can just put in 'Sierra Melcher' into the Amazon search and find me there. And integral-women.com.
Adrienne MacIain 54:24
Beautiful. Thank you so much for being here.
Sierra Melcher 54:27
Absolutely, my pleasure. I'm so glad to have spent the hour with you.
Adrienne MacIain 54:30
Yeah, this was great!
Transcribed by Rebecca MacIain