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Whitesnake. Being a Decent Human Being. Salsa.

Tonight I tried salsa dancing for the first time. I mean, I’ve danced before. Been dancing practically my whole life. What’s a little salsa? I can do this, I thought. I mean, I love reggaeton, that’s like salsa music, right? Well, the answer to that is a big fat freakin NO. Salsa is unlike any other kind of dance. Not even in the same category as Cumbia (which I LOVE). And as I was there, fumbling over my feet, apologizing to whichever poor guy had asked me to dance, I re-learned something I already knew very well…which is…I hate doing things I’m not already good at. I’ve never been one of those people that finds joy in the challenge. That loves mastering a new craft. That sets a goal to find the hardest thing possible, and then dominate it. But rather, I love things I’m already naturally good at, and tend to just do those things over and over.

Put me in some cowboy boots with a Coors Light in hand and I’ll Tush Push your face off. Get me in a salsa club with some sangria, and I’m out the door faster than you can say “Ay dios mio!”

So what does this have to do with anything? A lot. Actually. It has to do with everything. Up to now, I’ve been “country dancing” my way through life. Doing it the easy and natural way. Getting by on my natural talents and abilities, never needing to really push very hard or challenge til it burns, because my natural has always landed me in pretty cool spots, with pretty cool cowboys.

Til now.

I’ve (subconsciously…apparently, at first) decided that my natural isn’t good enough anymore, and moreso, that my “natural” is actually a bad habit…a bad pattern. And for whatever reason, I’ve decided that it is no longer ok to just stay in the Sally’s Status Quo Zone, especially when it comes to personal growth.

You guys have been with me for my last couple posts which have been (hard for me to watch) emotional, to say the least. It has felt like a constant and unrelenting growth period. Just when I think I’m “fixed” and “yay! I looked at that, I’m all done and I don’t have to look at it ever again” (kinda thing) something else pops up that is worse/deeper/harder/more guttoral that the last thing. That happened to me this week.

Just when I thought my journey of self-growth was leveling out, and just when I thought I couldn’t get any deeper in it, it happened. Another mountain to climb showed up. Last week, I was honestly thinking to myself, “ok good…phew, I’m glad that Daddy realization came up. That was a big one. I’ve known that was bound to show up and by golly…I’m sure glad it did. So………… I’ve looked at it, and I’m done for now. Moving on. Good. I feel good. Yeah.” But oh no. Nanananananana no. I’m not done. I’m not even close to being done.

Right now, I’m looking at this all in a categorical way. Like last week’s Daddy realization goes into the category of “Things That Have Happened TO Me That I Had No Control Over That I Buried Deep Inside Because They Hurt” i.e. the “Victim” category. And this week, I’ve discovered a whole new category. And this one is even HARDER to look at. Because it goes in the category of “Needing to Take Responsibility For The Times I’ve Messed Up And Really Hurt Someone and Buried That So Deep Inside Because I’m Afraid That If I Looked At It, It Would Show Me That I’m Actually A Horrible Person and Big Ol Fugging Asshole Bitch” category. I.e. the “Persecutor” category. Shit. That is hard to swallow.


It’s easy to look to other people and blame them for hurting you, and blame them for why your life isn’t the way you want it to be. Like, “Look what YOU did to ME!” “I’m sad, scared, alone, a mess, not living my life fully because of something YOU did!” It’s harder to look at yourself and realize that you’ve hurt people, and that “my life isn’t the way I want it to be and I’m sad, scared, alone and a mess because of something I did.” To see that you’ve messed up. You did something you knew you shouldn’t have done and you did it anyway and it resulted in pain for someone else or yourself. You can explain it away. There are a million reasons “well I was hurting!” or “I was going through a hard time in my life.” All those things are probably true. And what’s also true is that because of where I was at, I behaved in ways that then hurt someone else, and probably caused them to go through a hard time in life. I was perpetuating the cycle. Victim to persecutor then back and forth.

And…so what, again, does this have to do with salsa dancing? Well, personal-growth isn’t easy. Looking at this stuff doesn’t feel good. It’s not a natural state to be in. I’m not already good at it (like salsa). But yet, I find it to be extremely important and since I’ve been doing it, my life is already so much more rich, colorful, real, rooted, better. My heart is expanding, I’m more sensitive, I’m more tender, I care more, I love more and deeper, I want more for others. I’ve always known that being “aware” and all those other woo woo words were important, and now I believe it with my whole heart.

And I’ve decided to stop my pattern of taking the easy road (in life, in business, in love), and now I’m dedicated to trying out the unpaved road, seeing where it leads me (in an RV, apparently). I want to try harder, push myself MORE towards discomfort, MORE towards that which scares me.

And most importantly, I’m realizing that I can’t plan for shit, so I’m going to stop trying. 100% of life is unknown. I have no idea how everything is going to turn out. All I can do is live my life the way I want to live it, and see what happens.

So for anyone who is ready for a change, or looking for a new perspective, or new glasses through which to look at your life out of, here’s one possibility. Take the beginners mindset. We’re students. We’ve never done this before. We’re just learning how to run our businesses, be in a relationship, dance salsa, raise one eyebrow, send a tweet, or be a decent human being. We can’t expect ourselves to 1) know how to do it right away; and 2) be perfect at it out the gate. Nothing in life works that way. We all need to learn how to live, and the first step is trying. Experimenting. If it doesn’t go well the first time (or fourth or fifth or millionth), we gotta get back on that bike (or is it horse?) and try again. And in the meantime, allow yourself the process. Don’t beat yourself up. Just be, where you happen to be.

And…where I happen to be today is that I am so so sos osososoosososoososos SOOOOOOOOOO excited for my upcoming adventure of RV’ing around. A few weeks ago I was scared out of my mind, thinking it was impossible and ridiculous, and now, I’m imagining myself driving through the open and cloud filled skies of Wyoming, with the wind in my face and my dog in lap, listening to the radio, and smiling. And I feel happy. And free. And grateful for my life.

What are you going through right now? Any big life lessons showing up for you lately? Leave me a comment. Let’s throw a big ol personal growth hoe down together.

And I will now leave you with a video that sums up how I’ve been feeling about my time winding down in the Bay Area, while I look forward to my next thing. The path and the destination are still unclear. Who knows where I’ll end up? But to me, it doesn’t matter. I’m going anyway. Here I go. Again. :)

22 Responses to Whitesnake. Being a Decent Human Being. Salsa.

  1. I love this post Sally! “I want to try harder, push myself MORE towards discomfort, MORE towards that which scares me.” YES. I’m right there with you and I’m making this my mantra! We can’t grow unless we push ourselves and it is SO worth being uncomfortable in the end. Much love to you! xo

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey girl…AHHH! RIGHT?!?! It’s so easy to run away from things that scare us, but we need to do exactly the opposite. I’m so glad you’re there with me! And I absolutely agree with you that growth doesn’t happen unless we get uncomfortable first. YES!!!! Love to you too girl.

  2. Ashley says:

    Hi Sally,

    I’m still following your posts, and I thank you for allowing us to come on this journey with you. It takes a lot of chutzpah!!! This part went right to my heart – “And in the meantime, allow yourself the process. Don’t beat yourself up. Just be, where you happen to be.”

    I’ve just returned “home” from a road trip vacation in California. I started in San Diego and drove up the coast to San Francisco – making a few key stops and visits to friends along the way. I did the trip with my man who I have been with for almost 6 years! We’ve had many ups and downs, and this week I got a hefty look at that self-responsibility thing you are talking about. A lot of issues came to a head and the bubble bursted when we came home.

    It’s been painful to realize that I’ve taken him for granted many times, and that I haven’t always given him the love he deserves because I was so wrapped up in my own crap, and wasn’t really loving myself. It hurts so much to think about this, and it makes me feel so sorrowful. As all male/female relationships are, there have been many factors on both sides and miscommunications due to our lack of understanding the male/female polarity and how we REALLY are not the same no matter how much our culture tries to gender neutralize us.

    I’m struggling right now to find my truth. Interestingly enough, I feel pretty good about my ability to help others do this, but feel so tangled in my own self-deception and monkey mind state at the moment, that I just feel sick with doubt and confusion. We’ve come to a crossroads where we can’t keep things the way we are. Much of our problem has been my lack of self-love and the heartache I’ve gone through searching for my calling/career/purpose. I feel like I was interpretting everything through a lens of fear, despite my best efforts to see through one of love.

    I’ve done a lot of personal growth work over the past year, and have made huge leaps. But, just like you said, just when I think “I’ve got it” and “I’ve wised up” I’ll fall back into stinkin-thinkin, and distrust that if I just follow my bliss in service of others everything will flow. It just sounds TOO easy! What would make me SO happy would be to quit my current 9-5 that I took on as a temporary paycheck while “I figured things out” in my hometown an hour from my man, picked up my things and moved back to him (why I moved back home is a long, complicated story I’ll spare you and just say that it was always supposed to be temproary).

    But, I’m afraid. Afraid of seeping back into old patterns. Afraid of letting that scared, little girl control me. Afraid of putting my heart completely out there. Afraid that the doubts I’ve had about us in the past may have some truth in them, even though they were coming from a place of personal confusion. I must sound like a basket-case, but I feel pretty solid in who I am right now.

    I know what’s important to me in life. I know what I value in myself and in a partnership. So, why do I still feel haunted by the past? I want to be fully present right NOW, each and every moment. I want to be so open to giving and receiving love with the world, that there is no room for fear.

    Love and light,

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey lady…thank you so much for sharing all of that and I can’t help but feel my heart expanding and reaching for you as I read this. It sounds like you’ve been in a growth period too, realizing things and looking at yourself and your patterns. It’s not easy to do this and it feels unsettling. I know. And all you can continue to do is be aware of what you’re feeling and continue to look inward, while being kind to yourself. These things take as long as they need to take, so in the meantime, we just need to breathe and be nice to ourselves.

      You absolutely do not sound like a basket case, but rather, an extremely aware human being who is trying to live a good life, and not repeat habits and patterns from the past. I understand that completely. I am that too. And I know how crazy I feel sometimes. But girl…you’re doing something HUGE here. You’ve made a decision to not do things the way you’ve always done them (that hasn’t worked in the past) and look at some of these uncomfortable places. Your willingness to do this will pay off. I promise. Give yourself a break too. Being in the moment is a practice. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it the way you want to right away. Just allow yourself to be where you’re at…even if that’s in the past.

      So much love to you,

  3. Just remember that the chick always steps back with her right! :) If you’re dancing with a guy who knows what he’s doing, it should be easier – your guy probably just sucked! :) Yes, we shall blame it on that.

    I take private salsa + bachata classes (and have off and on for years), and it’s my one hobby that I look forward to, because nothing can beat the confidence you get from it!

    You go girl.

    • Sallyhope says:

      GIRL!!! Maybe YOU should be my dance partner! Hahahha! But you’re right, and even the instructor told us “ladies…if something goes wrong and you mess up…remember, it’s always the guy’s fault.” Words to live by. :)

  4. WHAT???

    You’re not perfect????


    Seriously though…I’m not convinced about pushing to discomfort – I’m all for recognising it. I reckon there’s a choice to be made though between wallowing around feel crap and working out how you come out the other side feeling awesome. It’s too easy to make discomfort an end in itself – can be addictive to keep picking scabs…

    • Sallyhope says:

      HAHHAHAHHAHAH!! Tis true, Miss Fiona. I’m not perfect. I’m just a human after all.

      I absolutely hear what you’re saying about discomfort and I agree. I DEF don’t think discomfort, in and of itself, is the end goal. Rather, that pushing yourself beyond being scared about doing something that you want to do but you’re just afraid IS the goal. So that on the other side of it, you’ve learned, and grown and lived the kind of life you ultimately want. I’m not one for picking scabs. But I AM one for getting bruises because I did something super cool and out of the box. Bruises fade anyway. :)

  5. Kelly says:

    Usually the hardest decisions potentially hold the most rewarding outcomes. (I’m a little brain dead right now, so sorry if this is a bit muddled)

    Another thing though, for balance…The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris tells you to work off your strengths and outsource your weak spots. So, just thought I’d throw that in there for a little balance! :)

    • Sallyhope says:

      I TOTALLY agree that the hardest decisions usually hold the most rewarding outcomes. Man. 100%. Thanks for reminding me!!! HAHHAHAHA.

      As for Tim’s book, I love it! And love what he says about strengths and weaknesses. So helpful. Also, lady, I know you’re up to big and exciting things…SPILL IT!

  6. Greg Dennis says:

    Hey, Sally

    Well, with the exception of dancing (no rhythm), I usually AM the one to do things for the challenge. Most of my professional endeavours have been something new and outside the box. I could never see myself franchising, since it’s just taking an already established model and running with it. Where’s the challenge? It’s no fun.

    However, YOU (and some others) have told me/shown me that there IS a lot more room for growth, and that it comes (a lot like love, apparently) when you least expect it and smacks you one like you were Larry Fine and it’s Moe Howard saying, “PAY ATTENTION, PORCUPINE!”

    Also, yes, it is VERY hard to own up to when you screw up. Being adult enough to admit your mistakes is the most difficult thing one can do. Sometimes, you rationalise your actions, but you have to look at it from the outside perspective of how someone else would see your actions.

    I’m known to kind of be a professional a-hole at times (it’s a career choice), but I still know I have to watch out, because I can (and have) done things I’m not fond of when I’m angry (Bill Bixby). I also am World Heavyweight Champion of beating myself up about stuff, even my recent situation with the wrestling promotion in Wisconsin, which has more to do with the promoter being childish than anything I have done, since I was there for 8 years and did more than they did and made chicken salad when the show they presented was chicken…yeah…that.

    However, I’m engaging in a lot of new endeavours, and also bringing back something that I had planned since I was (literally) about 14 or so, and with so many things happening, it’s a very cool time. Yeah, there’s always mistakes to be made, but you said it, Sally. Dust yourself off (or not, just stay a lil dirty), and get ready to take that back bump again. When Moe smacks you around, you take your big belly (Curly) and bounce him back.

    Sally, when you’re RV’ing through my city, I’ll be mega-cheesed if you don’t stop and say hi to me and let me take you around for a bit!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey Greg! I LOVE your Three Stooges references. AHHHMAZING. And I agree, it’s a combo of learning and growing AND not beating yourself up about it. And you’re also absolutely right that it always comes when you least expect it.

      I’m so happy for you for working on something you’ve wanted for so long. It’s so funny. Each of us has something like that. Something we’ve been thinking about or been wanting for a loooooooong time but for some reason, throughout the years, we don’t think we can have that thing so we just let it sit there in our minds. Until one day, when we can’t NOT do it. GOOD FOR YOU FOR GETTING THERE!!! I can’t wait to hear how it progresses. :)

      • Greg Dennis says:

        Sally, hun…I’ll be emailing you tickets to the first show!! never said whether or not you were making a top here in my Chi-Town…now, Sally…don’t make me angry…you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…

  7. Why do I ALWAYS feel like we’re traveling down the exact same path…going thru the same damn things…at the same time. I LOVE IT. And I adore you girl. This shit is not easy, filled with painful places, but nonetheless you’re finding the light, not getting stuck and doing it on your own terms. I have such mad respect for you it’s not even funny. :-)
    You’ve given me a ‘lil “tush-push” in the right direction today just from reading this. I’m inspired to take my life even more outside the box. Do what excites me. Gotta live it and love it baby!!!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Because we, as all human beings, are one. :) WOO WOO ALERT!!
      I adore you too lady. And I’m glad we’re on a parallel path. It’s a lot less lonely to have your homegirl by your side, eh?
      Can’t wait to catch up with you (ughhhhhhhhh one more weeeeek!)

      I’m so impressed by YOU girl. You’re constantly growing and stretching and living the kind of life you want and you create, even though it is scary sometimes. Mad respect thrown back your way.

  8. Liz Longacre says:

    Sally, “I just love you”. Honestly. And while I can’t imagine you ever hurting anyone, of course we all do at some points or another throughout life. But unlike many people who don’t give a sh#t that they’ve hurt anyone, you do and you look to the lesson you can learn from it, that’s more than most. Anyway, I’m happy to join you on the personal growth hoe down cause man am I going through it. What is it about starting a biz that makes the personal growth meter skyrocket? I think I spend 1/2 my time purely on biz stuff and 1/2 my time purely on me. I know what you’ll say now… “I am my biz”. Right?! :)

    • Sallyhope says:

      LADY…mutual love. As we know. I loved your last blog post where you talk about forgiveness. So much of all this is about forgiving others and especially forgiving SELF. It’s easy to hate those parts of ourselves that we see as weak, or mean, or messed up. But in order to deal with any of this stuff, we have to love and forgive ourselves.

      And yes, we should throw a big fat self love hoe down for all of us going through all this (which might include a TON of people).

      And you’re right…I definitely would have said “you are your biz” and that’s why working on self equals working on biz. You know how we do. :)

  9. Heather says:

    Sally! This post spoke to me like crazy! I too am one who (used to, I hope) HATE doing things that I wasn’t already good at. But through the process of becoming an instructor I have had to come to the realization of the value of “the process” and “the practice” and realize that just because I’m not a super advanced reformer/pilates dynamo today doesn’t mean that I’m not a good instructor today, just because I haven’t mastered a move in my own body doesn’t mean I can’t learn and teach it in the meantime, and that where I am now is priceless because it’s building me to all the advanced stuff. I can’t possibly learn everything there is to know in six months, and I can’t enter into teacher training already possessing all the knowledge and skill I’ll need to be a good teacher – and NOBODY EXPECTS THAT of me. Except me. Haha. Ron Fletcher is one of the pilates elders and he has a great quote that I have up on my wall as a reminder to be patient and present: “You’ve got to go through what you’re going through to get to where you’re going” – it’s nice to remember when things feel all mucky and when all the “self work” feels overwhelming!
    Thanks for the awesome posts and for letting me come along for the ride! If your RV happens to come up to Minnesota, give me a call ;) You’re amazing!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Heather!! YOU’RE AMAZING!!! It’s so cool to see how we’ve both grown since we’ve known each other. Stepping out into all kinds of discomfort zones and just rolling with it because we know it’s where we need to be. I’m so proud of you and so happy for you.

      I LOVE this quote: “You’ve got to go through what you’re going through to get to where you’re going” It’s SO true. And when we’re in it, it’s hard to see that. Only on the other side of it does it make sense.

      Thank you for popping in. It’s so great hearing from you my dear.


  10. Hey Girl!
    Love your video. I made one myself awhile back lip singing to a song, but I didn’t share it. You inspire me to share mine or do another one. LOL!

    Okay on the serious tip…I know what you are saying about just doing what you know…but as of late I’ve really stepped up. Two weekends ago I hosted my first 2 day live event and totally led a hot dance number with doing some exotic dance moves. And it totally warms my heart to watch the ladies blossom into sex kittens by the end of the afternoon. I’ve always been told that this is where my power lies and I shine bright but I was always scared of what people may think…but you know it’s who I am. So who gives a f*** :)

    Also, I use to be afraid to speak, but it’s what I want to do. I want to transform lives from the stage and I’ve been told I’m good at it. By the way my workshop was not perfect and I totally forgave myself for that. Plus being perfect is totally overrated.

    I’m up for the challenges this year and totally going to step up and be truly me. It’s like what I said in a post the other day….I Dare You to Be You. Let’s stop pretending! I have a new blog post going live tomorrow about this. Love what you are all about girl! Wishing all the best on your RV life.


    • Sallyhope says:

      Girl…you HAVE to share the videos now. I just made one singing “Shoop.” Remember that song!! AHHHHH!

      As for you stepping up…hell yeah you did…BIG TIME!!! It’s amazing the impact you can have when you let fears go, and just go for it. You change people. And that’s amazing.

      Your blog post sounds awesome. Send me a link!!
      Also…country night Friday with Miss Steph? :)


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