Learning within the Messy Middle

I made a promise to myself and to you earlier this year to not just show you the “after photos”.

Too often we’re led to believe that there is a magic bullet that effects change.  A quick fix.

But the reality is…Life Is MESSY!

Trying to hide it or deny it is to lose the opportunities within it.

So today I become vulnerable and share with you as I lean in and explore my MESSY MIDDLE MOMENTS.




How can I release the unwanted while retaining the knowledge I’ve gained within it?

That’s the hard question I ask myself two days after my very successful Inaugural Cultivating C.H.I. in 2016 Retreat.

That’s right. You read correctly.

I’ve gained a lot more than knowledge this year.

I’ve gained  🙁  lbs.

I hate saying that out loud but it’s not like you haven’t noticed if you’ve seen me.

Trust me, I’ve noticed.

I’ve spent a lifetime dealing with a rocky relationship with my body.

I could never understand why I struggled so.

I began to believe at a very young age that I was “different” from other people.

This became a deeply held LIMITING BELIEF in my life story.



I say this because here’s what I’ve come to understand.

Deeply held beliefs can be WRONG!

Unfortunately, they are usually laid down as patterns in our brain from a very young age and begin to shape our actions on a daily basis, reinforcing the behaviors that will make the deeply held belief perpetuate thus giving it more and more validity.

These deeply held beliefs are called LIMITING BELIEFS.

That’s right.

They limit our ability to dream, to be vulnerable, to feel safe, to expand our minds and spirit, our relationships, our joy, our power, our generosity, our…,you name it.   LIMITING BELIEFS live up to their name, they LIMIT!

So here’s my story.

So many moments of my life have been shadowed by the thought am I  small enough, to go to that event, to accept that challenge, to be in that relationship.

Whatever, the thought or decision, it went through that unconscious vetting of my LIMITING BELIEF.
I would think…”when I’m so and so size I will do this_____________.”
Of course, my size really had nothing to do with the thought.

It didn’t matter what I looked like, felt, or accomplished.

In my mind I was deficient in some way. Unacceptable. Wrong.

Believing that I must be smaller to be acceptable kept me playing SMALL.

Do you understand what I’m saying?

Feeling unsafe triggered my LIMITING BELIEF and caused me to revert to harsh self judgment.  
There could be no “small enough” because LIMITING BELIEFS aren’t about what’s real. They arise out of the desire to keep us safe during challenging situations.  They are unconscious and extremely powerful.

I tell you this to set the background as to what happened as I became a coach, writer, inspirational speaker, workshop and retreat host.

The more I grew professionally. The more success I had. The more subconscious fear began triggering this LIMITING BELIEF.

My mind and body started going back into that restrictive mode that I had fought so long to release.

The stress began to trigger the desire to numb out with food. That coupled with too little sleep, and too much caffeine played right into that LIMITING BELIEF and before I knew it I couldn’t wear a thing in my closet.

Writing my signature coaching program Cultivating C.H.I. was in response to everything I was learning about LIMITING BELIEFS and how we think, speak, and act in ways that don’t support what is usually our deepest desire…to be loved, to love ourselves, to release judgment, to be enough, to be at PEACE.

Of course the best lessons learned and greatest “ahas” are in these MESSY MIDDLE MOMENTS of life.



It gets scary, frustrating, and yes, MESSY!

But the learning…oh the learning, created Cultivating C.H.I.
This all culminated in my drive and desire to host my own retreat of restoration, friendship, inspiration, and rejuvenation.

The most important thing I want you to hear me share, is the closer you are to your dream, the stronger the trigger of that LIMITING BELIEF.



The LIMITING BELIEF was developed to make you play small and safe.
Challenges, dreams, and creativity aren’t safe.
They are scary, raw, and MESSY.

So in my case, my LIMITING BELIEF activated behaviors that tried to get me to STOP dreaming, creating, and living bigger by making me physically bigger.

For me, the scariest thought would be to put myself in front of people so they could see all my imperfections.

My LIMITING BELIEF kept pushing and pushing me to quit. To stop. To retreat from creating this Retreat!

But here’s where the story changed from past conditioned response.



I kept applying the premise of my writings about C.H.I.

I recognized when my thoughts weren’t congruent with my goals.



I took responsibility for the actions that were not aligned with what I knew to be true.

I acknowledged when I lost touch with my integrity.

I was struggling, but I KNEW and I ACCEPTED and I LEANED into the MESSY MIDDLE and asked what is my learning?




Why does this LIMITING BELIEF continue to effect my life?
Why is it so incredibly strong when I’m so fulfilled by my work?

I have come to realize it keeps returning because there is still much to be learned if I’m brave enough to accept the challenge and lean into the learning.

So what are my lessons so far on this journey?

*You never know the internal struggle of the person beside you.

*Being successful doesn’t mean you are any less vulnerable to LIMITING BELIEFS.

*Being brave is stepping into the challenge in spite of the loud voice of the LIMITING BELIEF saying stay small.

*I am not my thoughts.

*LIMITING BELIEFS are triggered when I’m on the verge of incredible growth.

*I can be perfectly imperfect me and help others.

*Feeling broken doesn’t mean I’m broken.

*There’s a huge difference between perception and reality, but perception shapes reality.

*My challenges make me uniquely equipped to hold space for someone else.

*I am incredibly sensitive to the pain of others.

*I am called to do this work, in this time, no matter what my size or shape.

*I can let go of the need for this LIMITING BELIEF to keep me safe.

*I can release the  🙁  lbs too.


I am OK.  I’m actually great!
I’m wiser, stronger, and braver, and I didn’t allow that LIMITING BELIEF to keep me from dreaming, creating, and holding the Inaugural Cultivating C.H.I in 2016 Retreat on October 22nd.  I feel happy, focused, fulfilled…AMAZING!
So I honor my commitment to you.

 I will allow you to see my struggle.

 I will share with you my journey within the Messy Middle Moments of my life.

 LIMITING BELIEFS flourish in the dark where they lie hidden.

 Let’s bring them into the light, examine them, be grateful for them, and release them as we receive the gift of the learning within each and every one.

 One last thought today…



Do you struggle with LIMITING BELIEFS?  You are NOT alone!  Gaining clarity is the first step to refuting these beliefs and moving forward.

You may be asking yourself…Now what?  I would love to gain clarity around my LIMITING BELIEFS  but I really want or need some help.


If this is you, you can contact me for a complimentary 15 minute Cultivating Clarity Session.  Here’s how…


Send your message below, and I will reply shortly.


Or you can email me at barbara@cultivateholistichealth.com or call (904) 502-8936 and leave a message.





4 thoughts on “Learning within the Messy Middle

  1. I am so proud to know you. I am so blessed to have you in my life and to continue to learn and grow from your wisdom. You have helped me to overcome a huge amount of negative self-talk and stress. I am learning to hush that “mean girl” voice in my head that berates me and tells me I am not enough. You encourage me with your willingness to share and put your struggles out there for me to see and learn from as well. Thank you for being willing to be vulnerable and so real.

    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful words, Tammy! Understanding that “mean girl” voice arises out of a desire to keep us safe is the beginning of reconciliation. Love being part of your journey. <3

  2. These thoughts, “I recognized when my thoughts weren’t congruent with my goals.” and “I can be perfectly imperfect me and help others.”

    Were so powerful for me in so many ways. This tells me I’m still valid, I can still contribute and I’m still worth it – even if I’m not perfect in my own mind.

    1. Understanding that perfectionism is simply fear of self-judgment has been hugely impactful for me. Being frozen by imperfection is a great excuse to play small. Cultivating PEACE over perfection allows one to move forward with grace and ease. So glad this post spoke to you Dawn. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.?

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