My fierce sister’s at Forever Fierce Revolution interviewed me for their newsletter #shieldsdown.
I love the questions Deb Guitierrez asked.
#ShieldsDown began in January as a movement within the movement of Forever Fierce. It is being courageous, vulnerable, and brave enough to take off your armor, let your shield down, allow yourself to be seen, to be understood, and to know you have something that someone needs to hear. It's okay to be who you are, the one with the battle scars, and to know you are not alone.
If you were to give a name to your shield, what would it be?
I always had trouble finding names for my books or businesses. The only perfect name I found so far was for Luca, my son. For three weeks he was called the "baby" while I tested dozens of names, which didn't fit. Finally the name Luca clicked. I realized only later that it meant "light". It turned out to be an intuitive and foreshadowing choice as I let him shine light into the darkest corners of my psyche. I wanted to be aware and free of my "stuff" and not see his world through the veil of my fears and needs. Being authentic and transparent, I helped him grow into his true self, not my expectations. My son was my first "shields down".
It was a journey, not a given, and I did not lower my protective shield against a world that had hurt and disappointed me. I was still trying to prove that I, "just a girl", was good enough to be loved. I went through struggles and purgatories to make my point. I was a warrioress with the cause of my freedom and actually collected swords for a while. I baptize my shield "Battle Star", symbol for a journey in which a star will be born from the ashes of her battles, a confident woman open to give and receive love.
Is there an experience in your life or moment when you decided it was time to let your shield down. If so, what experiences unfolded for you?
Hitting 60 I started the Ageless Rebellion; angry about ageism and afraid "to go down". This was it; I had to find and embody my true power, my ageless essence and blueprint. In the process, my urgent NO to aging turned into a playful YES to life. Instagram became my amazing sidekick. Every day I posted a true feeling, newfound viewpoints or "truths". My hashtags became my mantras.
I created an Avatar, the vision of my fearless self and my undying inner joy no matter the battles. My name loosely translates into Angelic Queen's Wisdom. What a journey it was to wiggle in her boots and to begin walking my truth. She is my deeper power unfazed by experiences that hinder me to be "real".
Not yet fully saying yes to myself, I bought a ticket to FierceCon last October, but felt resistance to get in the car and drive 16 miles. I was afraid not to be seen, understood, to be too different. So I arrived late. Literally with cold hands and feet I entered the room where empowering stories were shared on stage. Several women in the audience looked up and, recognizing me from Instagram, they smiled, happy to see me. Hugs, kisses and open-minded conversations after the presentation softened my resistance. To be brave enough to hug somebody I thought didn't like me was a step into personal freedom. It was true; if I wanted to be loved, I had to be love.
The vibe of acceptance and openness of many of the nearly 100 women let pieces of my armor drop. I took this safe place with me into daily life. It is okay to be me. It's okay to tell my friends, "I love you right back".
Is there something you believe will manifest this year by being more open to living with your shield down?
I had a dream as a kid where a friendly person invites me to come closer and when I do, he slaps me in the face. Recently, it appeared again when a woman friend made me regret that I had opened up to her. To see "old stories" as what they are, stories from the past, and leave my battle star shield in the basement, manifests new friendships as it means that I can give without agendas or fear. I can let go of "good or bad" expectations. I might even be open enough to meet my knight, who also let go of his shining armor.
Writing my memoir with the mantra of shields down let me feel deeply into my past. I saw the beauty of being guided and always protected even when I thought I had to fight against the whole world and on my own. Not being guarded has made my writing so much more alive as it allows me to see and feel so much more. I am present on every page. It's truly magical. I intend shields down to be part of my book's success.
Is there something you want to inspire or encourage others to do, see, feel or be, to be brave enough to let their #shieldsdown?
Remember how good it feels to realize that others aren't perfect either? That there are stories behind often glossy facades; struggles, pain or losses, fears and hopes that make people human, approachable and - lovable? Many of us want to see the deeper levels of others. I personally am bored when everything is nice and all questions seem to be answered. We are humans because we want stories of all colors.
The first step is shields down to our true self. Self love lowers our shields. We love ourselves no matter what the world might say and that is power. The additional benefit is when seeing our world through the eyes of self love we see so much more love in others around us.
#Shieldsdown is a process. I do little exercises almost every day. From my experience, even if you're not a writer or have the intention to publish a book, writing your story is a wonderful tool to go deeper and feel your truth. It might be different than the stories you remember.
Exercising our authentic selves on social media can be a challenging and revealing path, as what we consider interesting might not always be immediately appreciated. How can other people see us when we don't show ourselves? I applaud myself when I don't delete an authentic or heartfelt post on Instagram, which doesn't get my usual count likes. Shields down is an empowering tool, not to post for likes, but to put a message out we feel is important, enlightening, rattling, uplifting or entertaining.
When we are in alignment with a message that truly matters to us it will eventually matter to the right people and #shieldsdown attracts and expands our like minded tribe with similar goals. When we step into our #shieldsdown persona with passion and creative fun, like wearing a new outfit, we eventually become what we wear.