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So my lovely friends, I have a story to tell! First let me preface this story with the reminder that my theme word for this year is COURAGE.

It’s beautiful and sometimes scary that when you ask the Universe for something with your whole heart, it shows up all around you.

I made a statement at the beginning of the year that I would approach each thing that I did with Courage.  That courage would take me through to the other side where the awesome thing that you could only dream about on this side, lived in plain commonplace eyesight.

Since that decree, the Universe has been throwing all kinds of scenarios at me to help me practice and this Thursday I had yet another opportunity. This has to do with my local Whole Foods.

How many of you know that my makeup line used to be stocked there? Yes, for about a year – maybe two - Whole Foods sold Etniq Mineral Cosmetics (that was the name of it back then.).

Can I tell you what a dream come true this was? I don’t think I can express it in enough ways to make you fully understand but I will try. Whole Foods was a beacon of all the things that were right in the world at that time to me. When I lived back home in Chicago, Whole Foods is what kept me and my quirky health habits in gear – it was my refuge – the place I could go where everyone ‘got’ me, where there were a bunch of mes, where I felt amongst kin :-).

In my practicing esthetics years, I even taught classes and did holistic skincare consultations at the Whole Foods in OakPark, IL. It just felt like my kind of place.

So retailing in Whole Foods was something like the biggest deal that could ever happen to me. Here was someplace that I held in the highest regard – validating that something of mine that I created was worthy.

So you can probably imagine how devastating of a blow having my products dropped from Whole Foods was. I remember the day that I got the call – I believe I sat in my car and cried for a good 30 minutes. Just imagine the worst combination of shame, disappointment, resentment, and sadness you can. Now triple that at least. That’s about how bad it felt.

The shame was the worst. The feeling of being an absolute and complete failure and publicly at that was impossible to shake at that time. I had a hard time even being in public for fear that someone would ask how my products were doing at Whole Foods and that I’d have to tell them they weren’t there anymore. No matter what story I came up with to tell them why, in my head, they would always figure out the “truth” that I was just a failure set up and waiting to happen.

Can you believe that this is what I thought about myself? Can you believe that I still find these feelings poking around me from time to time? And I’m sure I’m not the only one right ;-).

Back to the story though, I eventually got over the immediate feelings of embarrassment but my last frontier was being able to go to Whole Foods again. For a good year and a half, I wasn’t able to. I felt like all of the employees who saw me and remembered me would be shaking their heads sadly at me, thereby augmenting my shame. Even when the Whole Foods moved to a brand new building and started serving my beloved pizza – I still couldn’t go. There were a few exceptions where I *had* to go but for the most part Whole Foods was a no Leah zone.

And then this Thursday rolls around and I happen to be in the area and I happen to be having a stellar day. It’s lunch time, I’ve just come out of the other store in the lot and I’m hungry. Since my aim is to always avoid fast food, I think of some other options and boom, Whole Foods is there – with my beloved pizza. And you know what, I say Leah, it’s time. It’s time to let this fear go and tell a different story.

So I bop into Whole Foods holding my head high, leisurely check out some lotion (in the same section as the makeup mind you). I even CHECK OUT the makeup and gather some display and labeling tips for my own line. I don’t hide for fear of seeing any employees that might recognize me. I soak in the vibe and the energy of Whole Foods (it’s still mostly good) and I go pick up my pizza, grab some good iced tea, and head to check out.

No alarms went off. No one pointed me out and said ‘That’s that girl that failed here. Her products suck.’ No one asked how I had the courage to come shopping after being ‘let go’. No one awkwardly said hi. And even if they did, I probably wasn’t going to die from it.

I didn’t have to slink out and I didn’t have to take a moment and recompose myself in the car :-). It really was all good.

So really, this was mostly a share, but in that share I hope I inspired you to take a look at your own life. Do you have a story about something that is holding you back? Maybe it’s time to let it go and tell a different story.

And go get your freakin’ pizza already! :-P..(had to!).