Giving Yourself Permission to Shine

On my way to the California Adaption Forum host committee meeting last week. Image by Charlie Gandy.

On my way to the California Adaption Forum host committee meeting last week. Image by Charlie Gandy.

Hi. I'm Melissa with PedalLove.org where we're passionate about elevating the voice and impact of women working to grow more mindful mobility. Yes, we focus on women but men are certainly welcome too.

So what do i mean by more mindful mobility? I mean biking, walking and taking public transit. I mean recognizing that the car is a wonderful tool but a terrible master. At Pedal Love we celebrate those who are living car-free or car light lives for greater well being for themselves and the planet.

Today is my birthday and I'm creating my first official vlog. Our subject is accepting our Permission slip from God to star in our own life and our own stories - which is something I'm inviting myself to do this year as I write our upcoming digital "Storytelling Toolkit" followed by a planned ebook. I'm inviting myself to take all of the advice I've ever given to others over the years about successfully getting into the media and combining that with what I'm learning now about being a compelling and memorable storyteller.

I actually coined the term "Permission Slip from God" while I was a sales executive in my late 20's and a member of a local Toast Masters group for women in Santa Monica. I was and am a big fan of the political and spiritual best selling author Marianne Williamson. When Marianne began her lecture career she used to speak regularly in West Hollywood and I remember being struck by hearing her talking about starring in your own life.

It's something I wasn't doing then, and I've only done in bits and pieces until now. How about you?

Why is it important to accept our Permission Slip from God to become a great storyteller? We need to accept that our story matters, that our story is of value not only to ourselves but that it can be of great value to others who are working on similar challenges. Because yes, our most authentically compelling stories always include our struggles. They don't necessarily lead with them, they don't end with them, but they certainly include them.

The second reason it's so crucial to accept our Permission Slip from God to own and share our stories is that great storytellers spend as much time on how they tell their stories as they spend on the content of them. Memorable storytellers take their time, they know the value of a dramatic pause and the kind of pacing and rhythm that allows the reader or listener to relax into the experience and truly enjoy it.

Through my work in more mindful mobility over the past 8 years I've been able to create a whole new career for myself in social and traditional media relations. And I'm so proud and pleased to share that this is also true for several other women I know through this work - many of whom we've shared here. I've had the privilege of working on marketing outreach campaigns, special events, conferences, summits and for the past two years in addition to my work for Pedal Love I've also been the Media Director for the California Bicycle Coalition.

But during this whole time I've struggled with feeling like I'm not a real active living advocate because my health doesn't allow me to be athletic. It allows me to ride my bike and walk to/from errands and appointments and events regularly but most of my bike rides are under four miles. Eight is about the absolute max I can go and I'll pay for that the next day. I have the symptoms of both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. This means I'm not only almost always in some kind of pain, it means my sleep isn't refreshing so no matter how long I sleep at night I wake up feeling like I've been run over by a truck. If I over exert myself I'm not stiff and sore for a day, I may be wiped out for several days or more.

This is a movement that includes a lot of very athletic people. This is a movement that often leads with that athleticism in our marketing and communications. I applaud those who can and are athletic, but chances are I'll never be athletic again in my life. We need to recognize as a movement that most Americans aren't active or athletic and thus won't be motivated by the kinds of stories and messaging that inspires those who are.

We're a nation that's very busy but sitting ourselves to death at work, in the car, at home. Americans have heard the data and that hasn't gotten them off the couch. They've heard the statistics and that hasn't gotten them to change their behavior to better care for themselves. What can change behavior? Storytelling. Stories of very normal people who have overcome some very serious challenges by becoming more mindfully mobile. Stories of people who have entered the middle class or returned to the middle class from the cost savings. Stories of people who have reversed diabetes. Stories of women who have found a community and a new career by embracing biking, walking and taking public transit.

My story. Your story. So are you ready to share? I'm ready to listen and maybe even share your story. Learn more at PedalLove.org.