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Following the "Sparkly Breadcrumbs"

You know that feeling…when something really lights you up?

You’re leaning in with fervor because joy and excitement are tugging at your whole being. You’re grinning from ear to ear and wobbly tears well up in your eyes because you can’t smile wide enough to express the delight you are experiencing.

I hope you know that feeling!

These moments of course, are fleeting. They rush in and they rush out at the same speed.

But sometimes, if you really allow yourself to land in the moment, you get a flash of something more. The door opens a little wider and as you peer around it, you hear The Voice. We might as well call it your Heart. She tells you what you should do next. It’s crystal-clear! And you say out loud, “yes, absolutely”. You move in a forward motion but then suddenly...freeze. Your brain kicks in and you hear the Other Voice. “Ya, we’re not going to do that because that is (insert adjective) stupid-preposterous-lame, will never work and, who do you think you are, anyway?”

Do you ever have those moments?

Joy turns to fear. Trust turns to doubt. Confidence turns to questioning. The lights go out.

I hear all that noise too. But when I push through it and keep going...well, that’s what I call a “follow the sparkly breadcrumbs” moment. For the record, I don’t always follow the sparkly breadcrumbs. Sometimes I recognize them as simply impulses or shiny things that serve as distraction. Other times, I wholeheartedly believe the trail has been left for a reason. And more than once, I have watched myself follow the path. “Okay, there she goes, I guess!”

I’m happy to tell you most of these times have resulted in some pretty magical experiences.

I jumped on a skype call (skype!) in 2016 with my good friend Annie, and two other women she knew who were involved in women’s recovery. I was asked to the meeting as an event planner. I was about a year sober and excited, not quite believing that I was about to be part of this conversation. It turned out, I was on a call with Dr. Dawn Nickel, one of the co-founders of SHE RECOVERS and Dara Meyer, an event producer who had been involved in some pretty major events in and outside of recovery. When I hung up, imposter syndrome was doing some heavy partying in my head. But I was determined to leave events centered about alcohol (I was working in a culinary venue at the time) and was mesmerized by these women. The idea of being a part of creating an event to celebrate modern recovery was exhilarating. Without having any idea of what lay ahead, I took a deep breath and skipped my way down the path.

There’s been twists, turns and pivots, but eight years later, I am incredibly grateful I did NOT join the imposter-syndrome party or listen to the Other Voice that day. My journey with SHE RECOVERS has been transformational. My recovery has blossomed, and I am living what feels like my true purpose in life.


Another trip down this path started with a reality television program, which seems like an unlikely place to find magic. But this reality show was about singing and dancing (if you know me, you know it had me there). “Westside” is on Netflix, and I binge-watched it in a few days. A group of LA singers and dancers come together to write, workshop, and perform original music. It’s part drama/comedy/music-video and I was there for it. One of the stars, musician and actor James Byous, gets sober on the show, which made me love it even more. On the last episode, they perform a cohesive and amazing song and dance number together, having made it through personal and collective crisis, and all the reality-show drama you could ask for. I was so inspired, I decided to send a direct message to James (who I looked up on Instagram), saying how much I loved Westside and congratulations on his sobriety. I sent it with joy in my heart, not really expecting a reply. Well, wouldn’t you know, he messaged me back! We started chatting and one week later, I found myself a guest on his recovery podcast, chatting about sobriety, recovery tools, dancing, music and more!

Talk about sparkly!


More evidence of this phenomena showed up recently. I am doing an online program for women in recovery in April - the Embodied Book Club - featuring a book I read last year and absolutely loved. “The Perfectionist’s Guide to Letting Go” by Katherine Morgan Schafler was life changing for this perfectionist. Once again, I heard The Voice.  My heart told me to reach out to this fabulous author and ask if she might be willing to do an Instagram live (or anything really) with me as part of a book club study with her book. My inner critic scoffed at me as soon as I hit send. It got louder that evening when there was no response to my inquiry. Don’t give up on the miracle too soon, they say.

And here’s what’s now happening as part of my program: barring any unexpected changes in her schedule, Katherine will be present at a special zoom session for a Q&A. WHAAAAT?!

That feels very sparkly!

These moments of following my heart despite what my brain tells me are what I consider magic. It's the kind of magic that I do have to participate in, not simply sit back and witness. And I don’t expect it all to be dazzling every time. I’m still very much bound by a heap of common sense (thanks, Mom) and the need to roll around in things, aka analyze, for a good while before I leap (thanks Virgo-rising energy). But I pay attention in my expanded heart moments and I listen carefully for the whispers of “you should do that”. Because so often it’s catapulted me into something wonderous.

I heard the saying a while back that struck me: “the heart is a listening organ.” We hear about listening to our hearts all the time; usually not the other way around. But perhaps this is the second beat we feel in our body. When we listen to our heart and are led by joy, passion and love, our heart listens back. Inspired action completes the circle. It’s a holistic and reciprocal relationship we have with this amazing organ inside of our bodies.

And so…the next time you hear The Voice, your heart speaking, I invite you to stay in the moment for a while. Peer around that door. Put your face into light of that thought, idea, or dream. Maybe take a few steps forward. Tell the Other Voice, you've got this.

Follow those sparkly breadcrumbs!


With Passion,

Payton xo

P.S. Speaking of magic and passion, I'm hosting a new recovery retreat in Costa Rica in November 2024. Expand Beyond Recovery La Anita Rainforest Retreat. Check out the details HERE! I would love to spend time with you in this extraordinary location!

P.S.S. I can't find who to credit for the image of the elderly woman on her sparkly path. All I can say is #goals!


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