Living In Corners

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A quick follow up on gray thinking, I heard Jennifer Gray say, “If I had been putting myself in the corner, then I can take myself out.”  The mind is the most powerful tool we have, I’ve spoken about it many times along with the ability to harness it and develop what we want.  Most of the time, the cages we put ourselves in are create by ourselves.  We create these stringent requirements based on ideas we are told but never consider their truth and then we hold each other accountable to ideas that no longer serve.  We create boxes and corners all the time.

This isn’t to be critical, this is actually incredibly hopeful.  If we can create those types of boxes and confines, then we can break them.  We can create new ways of being.  I truly believe everyone is inherently good at heart.  We have pretty simple needs at the core—support, love, food, water, shelter, etc.  We also have the need to fulfill a purpose and that is where we lost sight of it.  The purpose we have today is not the same as it was a millenia ago, it is not the same as it was 200 years ago, or 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago.  As we have evolved what we can do, we have shortened the distance to anyone in the world to a keyboard.  We are still learning how to use that type of connection. Until we know who we are and what we are really here to do, that connection will be surface level.  We will never get to the point where we can actualize into who we are unless we do the inner work first.

That starts with seeing the walls we’ve created for ourselves.  That includes obstacles we create through our beliefs and things that aren’t really ours to begin with.  It starts with recognizing what is really ours and what we want to do.  Seeing what we can do outside of the walls we create and then expanding and incorporating what others can do as well.  It’s the ability to let ourselves evolve that gives us the ability to accept and encourage that evolution in others as well. We learn the truth: there never was a corner. 

Living In The Gray

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There is a middle ground in everything we do.  The middle is not motivated by comfort or seeking ease, it is motivated by flow and the way things are meant to move.  I have a tendency to form opinions very quickly in order to make decisions.  I’ve spoken many times about how quickly my mind moves and that it changes directions just as fast—it is something I really need to work on harnessing, but at the core it is also human nature.  That’s a piece for another day.  But in all seriousness, there is a time to slow down and really evaluate what you’re thinking.  Not just the content of the thought but the quality and they why.  It’s easy to allow our emotions to dictate the course of the day.  But if we are not careful, that can dictate our lives and those initial feelings aren’t always accurate.

I read a quote about letting things fall like rain rather than diving into it entirely.  In contrast to the black and white of thinking in extremes, we can go gray.  We can’t allow ourselves to drown in one side or the other of what we are feeling when all we have to do is float, find our direction, and start swimming.  At the same time, there is little space for compassion if we are thinking in black and white.  When we think in extremes, anything that doesn’t align with our personal belief system is deemed bad and anything that serves is good.  But there can be too much of a good thing and sometimes what is “bad” is exactly what we need.  We need to gain perspective.

We’ve been operating under the same social paradigm for centuries and it is safe to say that many of the founding principles are no longer applicable.  We often take what we are taught and think that is simply how it is.  We are never taught that we have the power to change it.  I’ve had so many conversations with people and I see the fear when I talk about changing things and taking the power to move forward in a way that works for them: I’m guilty of it myself.  My fear of stepping out and not being supported often outweighs my ability to just do what I want.  But I have also seen the amazing freedom and know the feeling of that weight dropping once you step into who you are.  Those little glimpses are enough to keep me going.  The point is we CAN change.

Finding the middle is a Buddhist principle as well and it makes sense (at least in my mind).  Our perception can’t always be trusted because it is clouded by our experiences and preconceived notions.  So taking the time to find the middle ground is super important because it shows us something closer to the truth.  There are multiple ways to get up the mountain—some are easier than others—but regardless, it is the person’s choice and we all get to the same place in the end.  It isn’t for us to tell people what is right or wrong, it is for us to go our way and understand there is space for others to do what they need to as well.  It’s tempting to judge because we feel we know what is right and because that is what we are trained to do.  What started as needing the ability to discern what is safe turned into a layered game of social climbing—and we don’t need it anymore.  If we operate in the grey, we honor that everyone has value.  We honor that everyone has a place and a purpose.  Honor that in yourself first and give yourself the gift of a new perspective. 

Universe and Your Back

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“The universe is always a yes for you always, A yes the moment you send a desire out to the universe the universe responds with yes and in our daily practices we have to become conscious of what those desires are that are putting out because we are always being responded to,” Gabby Bernstein.   Following up on the conversation about relationships and appreciation, I feel this is appropriate and timely.  It’s been said that we need to hear things seven times seven different ways before we understand them and I’m working through reading a book on the Law of Attraction.  I never really understood what the Law was telling us.  I initially took it as some form of karma.  Then I took it as if you believe it, it will happen.  Then I stepped it up to if you believe it, it will happen immediately.  As I work my way through the material, I see it doesn’t work like that.

The only blocks we have to achieving what we want is ourselves.  That is the bottom line.  The Law of Attraction isn’t an ATM where we get the immediate return.  Sometimes it takes a minute for the universe to see what we are really looking for because we aren’t clear on what we are looking for.  If the universe is always a yes, it can’t be a yes to fifty things a minute.  Just because our mind operates that fast, it doesn’t mean we actually do—and neither does the universe.  The key is clarity and that is what Gabby means when she is talking about becoming conscious of the desires are when we put them out into the universe.  There needs to be intention in the thought. 

I love the idea of this type of communion, this relationship with the universe because it is truly the alchemy of creation.  It isn’t a restaurant (although I’ve seen some people compare the process to that) where you put in your order.  You have to place that order, yes, but you also have to do the work required to get it.  The universe will give you all the ingredients, you just need to figure out how to put it together.  My boss and I were talking the other day about goals and adaptability of the teams and how people should be able to shift.  She made a comment to the effect of, “We are all baking the same cake.”  And she had a point—we all have the same ingredients and we are all working toward creating that goal, but if we don’t know if we are making chocolate or vanilla, it’s still going to be a different cake.  Some people will say it’s still a cake, goal checked, while others will say, it’s the wrong flavor, start again.  And that is the message of the universe—you have to clarify if you want chocolate or vanilla otherwise you will end up with something you don’t want or something half-baked.

The universe isn’t a place for half baked plans.  It seeks intent and clarity because the goal is to fulfill our highest purpose so we can serve the greater purpose.  It follows that if the universe is always a yes, then everything that has happened is the result of someone’s request.  What we see is what we get and if we want something else, we need to shift direction of our thoughts and intentions.  There is so much hope in the idea that we are able to create what we want and even more in the idea that the universe is always conspiring to get us what we want at all times.  We don’t need to put the qualifiers on anything we want (ie, if I’m thin enough I will get x, or if I work long enough hours, they will think y) because it is already there.  We just need to harmonize with it.  THAT is frequency.  So let all the excess fall away and understand what it is you truly want.  Then start practices that align with that and watch how the rest comes into reality, and watch how quickly.  It’s just about deciding.

A Dose of Humility/A Double Take

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The other day I spoke about my frustration with people not looking at the big picture and how that turned into a moment with my husband.  I want to add more to that conversation and take away some of the high-horse attitude.  When I say these things about growth and change and knowing our place in the universe, I genuinely mean them.  If we are ever going to truly create a space, create a world where people are truly aligned with each other and the universe, and we all understand the miracle nature of this existence, we HAVE to stop solely thinking of ourselves.  Ironically, we need to make sure our individual needs are met before we are able to pour into anyone else’s cup.  I wrote that piece about my husband and I because I love him and the growth we experience seems to be awakening things in both of us that are incongruent and the thought of not being with him should those things become too different terrifies me.  I’m human. 

Sometimes it takes seeing someone in a new light to really appreciate who they are.  I’ve said it a million times, growth/creation is destructive.  You give up what you were for what you must become because those people can’t exist together.  Pieces may come with you, but you can’t exist as that person if you want to do and be someone else.  A couple of days after that conversation, after marinating in an icky soup of not knowing who I was and remembering all the errors of the past, my husband and I spoke again.  I told him I don’t want to ever force someone to do things for me just to keep me quiet.  If we are going to walk the path together, I want that person to be there willingly.  One, for their sake, it is simply easier.  Two if we are walking the same path we can find the way together.  Three, it’s exhausting taking people where they don’t want to be. 

During that second conversation, my husband clarified that he does love our life together and he thanked me.  He said, “You make me a better man and the person I need to be.”  I know some may read that and call bullshit or they may think it was a romantic moment.  My immediate response to him was panic and that was what I tried to articulate during our last conversation.  You’re only doing these things to shut me up, not because you want to or because that’s who you are.  I replied to him, “But is that the man you WANT to be?  I don’t want to make you be this person if that is not you.”  I was proud I could explain the difference in motivation.  If that motivation is ever external, the changes will never be genuine.  I do not want to be resented for forcing someone to be who they are not, no matter the potential I see.

And in that moment, before he replied anything else, I realized the fear I had was about not being heard or seen for who I am as well as ending up like my parents—resenting each other after decades together for not hearing or seeing what the other one truly needed.  We have to have the capacity to give the other person what they need as much as we need it from them.  And then there are the things we simply must be able to do for ourselves because no one will ever be able to fulfill them.   So now the question becomes what can we do for each other.  Neither of us is owed anything—we just need to decide how we move forward.  I spoke about a similar instance between us several months ago, and I notice that this evolution is a bit circular—a struggle to climb up, then each acclimating a different way, then coming together.  I sincerely appreciate my husband and I see how much he does for us and I think that is a nice reminder that, simply, we just need to get back to appreciating each other.  Once that is right in our own world, we can take on the next.

Joining The Crowd

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I’ve always struggled to fit in.  Truth be told, I didn’t want to.  I had my own agenda from the time I was a kid and I thought I new it all and that the goal was to meet the goal as quickly as possible.  I dealt with a lot of loss, a lot of abuse, a lot of being taken advantage of very early on in my life so the walls came up and anyone who didn’t want to play the game clearly had designs on using me.  I never learned the social cues of working with people because I was the one who always ended up doing the assignment anyway.  If it was supposed to be a certain way, that is what we needed to do and I kept the ship right on course—for everyone.  After a time, that became the expectation: we can do whatever we want and screw it up beyond repair and Elizabeth will fix it.  It’s exhausting.

As I work through the journey of self-discovery and leadership, I’m learning a lot and it is humbling.  It isn’t about pulling the reins all the time.  It’s about maintaining course while allowing the other influences to shape and mold the course.  That’s a really fine line to walk at times.  I have a really soft heart and I have employees who genuinely have been taken advantage of and they need a lot of love.  But I swung too far and allowed them too much space to the point work wasn’t getting done—I was left holding the bag again.  I found myself angry and the old rigidity, not far under the surface, reared its ugly head.  We needed some course correction, that is true, but I didn’t see how it impacted the team.

I care a lot and I am highly sensitive.  I take a lot personally and I feel even more is a reflection of me.  I can’t control how people perceive me, no one can, but it still mattered to me what people thought especially when they thought I wasn’t doing my job.  Working like mad to get multiple teams stood up, doing it alone because no one else knew how to do it, but being told I wasn’t working because I wasn’t on the other projects nearly broke me.  I wanted nothing to do with my team then.  I was SO hurt and it left me unable to do parts of my job because I no longer knew what to do.  Even worse, the team all started having lunch together and leaving me out, not even inviting me and I felt like that little kid again, being left alone to do the work while they all had fun.

But after a while, I managed to get my teams up and running (they understood where I was coming from and they started pulling their weight) and my boss actually told me she never expected that type of turn around and she was really happy.  She saw the effort.  For me, it wasn’t about the recognition of getting the work done—it was about understanding what actually had to be done to get there.  It was about seeing the shit show I was given and how I had to wade out of that while the rest of them were already on a silver platter.  Once things calmed down, my boss asked one day if I would eat with them.  I accepted.  I stayed quiet most of the time and there were still things that didn’t sit right with me, but I sat back and listened.    

My boss made a comment about being happy I started eating lunch with them and learning more about them.  if I’m honest the ego still rears its head and I feel like I am owed an apology—which in most cases, I do think people would agree.  But I’m learning there comes a time to let things go and this is probably one of them.  It feels good to know someone actually understands what is going on because, again, this wasn’t about accolades or praise—this was about understanding and being seen for what was really happening.  All we need is to be understood.  Sometimes that isn’t about continuing to scream our stories—it’s about joining in and listening and finding a connection.  Sometimes if the path isn’t winding the way you want it to, you need to follow it any way.  Allow it to change you a bit.  Then you can end up in the place you were meant to be.

Changing and Growing

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Growth isn’t always easy.  It can be painful, it can be scary, it feels like we get lost sometimes.  The reality is that is all true—I’ve talked about it numerous times here.  I caveat this with I stand by the necessity of it regardless of the feelings surrounding it.  I also add that growth by its very nature changes the opinions and feelings we’ve had/held about things.  Like our clothes, depending on the type of growth we experience, whether we gain or lose, they no longer fit.  The same thing is true of our ideas and beliefs.  As we evolve in our paths, the things we identified with no longer seem to fit who we are.  This too has its purpose. 

My husband and I have been together 21 years this year.  We’ve been together longer than we were alive when we met.  The last few years, this past year in particular, I’ve seen us growing apart.  For the longest time, I floated from thing to thing trying to find my identity, who I am, and as I become more solid in that person, I notice our differences are more pronounced.  They aren’t things that destroy us, but I know these are things that can take us in different directions.  And yes, that may eventually cause us to evaluate where we are as a couple.  I know this is natural as well.

The other night (we spent a great day together), but one of those feelings that something was off kind of lingered in the back of my mind.  During the course of the conversation, I realized something: things have been going really well lately and he has been making so much extra effort and it really feels good.  I no longer feel like I have to carry the burden of being responsible for everything.  I made the comment that I love being married to him.  I honestly meant it and I am happy to be with him—I have witnessed growth and maturity because we came from along line of not being a healthy couple at all.  But he couldn’t say it back.  The spidey senses went off and I knew something was wrong.

As the conversation continued, I realized that I am happy because the things I need are being fulfilled.  He is taking care of me as I need, as I have done for him for so long.  And my heart sank as I realized he does these things not because he wants to, not because he is grateful for all I’ve done, but simply to keep me off his back.  That isn’t how this works.  I felt the familiar pit in the stomach as I now feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.  He is allowed to have those feelings, absolutely.  He was never raised with a really good vision of what relationships are meant to be like or how they work.  I wasn’t either, to be honest.  He told me, “I’m growing too.”  Which, as sad as I am, also makes me happy because he is aware of where we are at too.

I do NOT want a relationship where someone has to bend or cater to my every whim.  I want a person who is able to recognize the effort and reciprocate because they want to, not because they have to.  Maybe it’s a matter of simply not speaking the same love language at this point, but I feel lost wherever I am.  And THAT has nothing to do with the people around me anymore—this is where growth comes in.  I find myself in this situation at work and with friends and family as well.  That means it comes down to me.  Don’t think I’m some tyrannical monster, dictating how things go, I’m truly not.  I’ve just spent MANY years cleaning up after people and I got tired of it so I started voicing my opinions more.  But clearly that point was missed because the result is the same.  They do things to appease me, not because they genuinely want to help me. 

It’s a lonely place.  Having expectations isn’t always the answer and I guess constantly vocalizing my side of things isn’t either.  My boss talked to me the other day and, in spite of the hiccups we’ve had over the last year, I recognize that she is very adept at handling situations no matter what they are so I asked her about it.  She said, “Sometimes you really just have to listen.”  And I think that is appropriate here.  I’ve spent my life dragging people to meet me where I’m at and then demanded they do what it takes to stay here.  I thought I was doing them a service because they said they wanted it.  It took a long time to realize that how they got here was none of my business. 

Growth isn’t about keeping people in line.  It’s about letting them find the line for themselves so they can follow the path as they see fit.  I have never claimed to be perfect and I am proud that I have learned this lesson.  It’s tender for me now because I know the people I love feel impacted by this.  Fearing someone isn’t the same as respecting them and doing something just to keep someone appeased isn’t the same as enjoying it.  And having that kind of support isn’t the same as actually being loved.  We are different ways with different people so the key is to allow it to shape you as much as you shape them.  Trust it is all for a reason no matter how uncomfortable.  Always be willing to keep the critical eye on yourself and trust it will work out.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for the simple joy of standing outside.  I woke up earlier than I wanted to today (I honestly needed to, I just didn’t feel like it) and I started doing the things I needed to.  For a moment I found myself regretting making plans for today after having plans yesterday—I’m just not a go out all weekend type of woman anymore.  I found myself telling the same old story: I have so much to do, it won’t get all done, or if it does get all done it’s literally going to take me all day.  Which, is actually true, but that isn’t the point.  So while I started this list, the dog needed to go out and lately she’d rather play than go potty unless you’re watching her.  I slightly grudgingly went outside with her to the backyard.  And something came over me.  The birds were singing louder than I’ve ever heard them, even the mourning doves.  The geese were flying over.  I could already hear the bees moving. The breeze/temperature were perfect.  The calm took over.  All will get done as it needs to.  Sometimes we just need to reconnect with nature.

Today I am grateful for love.  We spent a great day with family yesterday and I have plans with a friend today and my brother also asked that we join him this afternoon.  So while I woke up feeling overwhelmed about getting it all done, after my little trip outside, I realized the most important thing: I’m blessed to have things to do.  I’m fortunate to have people I care about reaching out and wanting to spend time with me.  It’s time to share more of what I have, even if that is more energy.  We are graced with only so much time on this world and I choose to spend it with the people I love.  Yes, I know I have work to do.  I know I have things that require constant attention.  But I am fortunate in so many ways that I have the opportunity to experience that love.

Today I am grateful for lessons working.  Shortly after I started writing today’s gratitude, I went upstairs to change the laundry and found that the washer was leaking.  I didn’t panic (we had been anticipating it was coming, we just didn’t expect it today), I called my husband upstairs and we knew we had to go to the store.  I had a lunch date set but the store for the washer/dryer didn’t open until 11AM (we needed to see it in person—that’s another story) so I called my date and told them I was running a bit behind…no problem so far.  As we were on the way to the store, my husband rolled down the window and we found the switch no longer worked to bring it up.  The window was stuck halfway down, we were running behind…still nothing major, but getting frustrated.  While at the store, the certificate I had wouldn’t register on the scanner so we had to wait for their help desk—they confirmed it was correct but couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t read.  Then my account was locked…so I finally said it isn’t worth it, I’ll just pay and then the card I had was expired.  We got that sorted out and then as we were leaving, we saw the weather rolling in…with the window of the car still stuck down.  I literally prayed for the window to come up at that point.  I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, I didn’t fight.  I just prayed.  And the window finally DID go up just before it started raining.  Keeping calm kept us moving forward. 

Today I am grateful for time to celebrate.  Even with the unexpected chaos, we had a wonderful lunch together, catching up, enjoying food together.  Even though it wasn’t the day we envisioned, it was beautiful.  Life always goes on and there are always bumps in the road—those bumps don’t make it any less beautiful than it is. 

Today I am grateful for connection.  This weekend has been filled with connection and love and time with people I needed to be with.  As much as I think I can do things on my own, I see I have to slow down.  Yes, I am driven enough to make all of this happen, but it all relies on my shoulders.  The pace eventually becomes unsustainable and the work starts slacking because not everything can get done.  I also find myself doing the bare minimum to keep afloat.  That isn’t how we move progress.  We move forward, yes, but we aren’t doing anything impactful.  We are just treading water, and that gets exhausting.  I am grateful to remember I don’t need to be a one woman show. 

Today I am grateful for opportunity.  Continuing on connection, I literally felt like I needed to do everything myself for the longest time otherwise I didn’t earn it.  I always felt I needed to prove myself.  Over the last few weeks I have continued to find myself blessed with different opportunities, different people coming out of the woodwork who have expressed their belief in me.  It isn’t necessary to have people believe in you to move forward and I am not talking about the proving culture.  I AM talking about how nice it is to feel that support, especially when you don’t think it’s there.  Sometimes that support looks different than you think, but knowing it is there feels amazing.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.    

The Green Door

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The other day my husband and I were speaking with one of our neighbors.  We get along well and we’ve spent some time getting to know each other over the last year since we’ve been here.  Actually, that was the nicest part of moving here—having some people we could connect with.  We haven’t spoken much in the last few months due to schedules and various illnesses, but now that the weather has warmed up, we were able to hang out a bit again.  When we were having this conversation, the neighbor casually brought up some things about the neighborhood and previous people who had lived here.  At first I didn’t think much of it—everyone has moments of gossip and this conversation mainly surrounded dandelions (which we have different opinions on but that’s another story).  But then it turned to the door.

At one point this neighbor’s front door was painted green.  Apparently this bothered one of the other neighbors and she would complain about it, stating she hated the color and it was annoying because she had to look at it.  At this point of the conversation, my brain took a different turn and I shut down nice neighbor mode and went into incredulous, frustrated mode.  We live in a world where we take the time to voice our concern about the color of a door.  Not our own door, but someone else’s door that we can ignore or look the other way.  Something that has zero impact on anything we do in our lives.  If the color of someone else’s door bothers you that much and you have the time to continually address it, then you are pretty damn privileged.  I mean, in this moment, there’s a war going on with potential to take out the world (depending on who/what gets involved), there are kids walking miles a day to get dirty water to have something to drink that may kill them, there are people struggling with mental health who debate every day how to go on. And you’re worried about the color of a door…on someone else’s house.

Later I spoke with my husband because I know it bothers him when I break down in social situations and it is something I’m working on.  I apologized for the manner how it happened, but I would/will not apologize for what I said.  I told him I don’t understand how people can think that way.  Even as selfish as we are, we constantly insert ourselves in things that have nothing to do with us.  If you want to look at things that truly impact other people, pick one of the topics I mentioned above.  We are connected on so many levels, but not by the color of a damn door.  My husband looked at me and said in equal frustration, “People don’t think like that.”  To which I replied, “That is the damn problem.” 

While my husband was trying to make the point he understood how people function, I was trying to make the point that this is the type of thing that leads to our destruction.  Inserting ourselves in things that are none of our business and have no impact on us personally removes us from the big picture. We just want to voice an opinion to feel like we matter and we want people to change their behavior at our demand so we feel powerful.  While this may be the common behavior, it is not working.  This is what has led us to this point right now: women fighting for reproductive rights, insane gas prices, people working horrible jobs to barely survive, corrupt politicians, and the myriad of other global issues like global warming, a little pandemic, and a looming war to name a few.  See, when we micromanage the daily lives of others, we lose sight of the big picture and how we are REALLY connected.

After my tirade, my husband said the words I hate the most, “There’s nothing we can do about it.” And he is right only to a degree.  I can’t make people see what I do.  I can’t make people care about these things like I do but I can certainly continue to voice this.  The truth is, in his statement he opened up what I feel is the greatest issue in the world: we’ve all been deceived to think we can’t do anything about it, that we are locked into this way of life.  He’s repeating what he was taught.  The reality of that is he never even got the things he was promised for following this path—neither of us has.  We’ve spent our 21 years together finding who we are and eventually “doing as we were told” in order to achieve what we thought was the dream…for far more effort than we knew.  Granted, I do not regret where we are and I believe it all happens for a reason, but I know if we had taken the time to figure out what WE wanted prior to diving in, we may have made some different decisions.

So my friends, the point is that we are connected, absolutely and completely.  We just aren’t connected by the color of our neighbor’s door.  If you want to fight, fight for something that matters.  And if you don’t know what that is, find something that matters to you.  Expand your circle and your perception and find a way to put yourself in something bigger.  Work to redefine how you perceive the world and where you can have an impact.  Glennon Doyle shared her daughter’s polar bear story in Untamed. The gist of this story is her daughter obsessed over saving the polar bears and it drove Glennon crazy until one night her daughter said, “It’s just that now it’s the polar bears, and one day it will be us.”  And THAT is the truth.  If we don’t care about what matters now, it will be our undoing.  Let’s fix what we can on a bigger scale rather than worry about someone’s color choice. Watch how that turns things around.

Access Wonder

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We have the capacity and ability to live in awe at all times.  We are so blessed that we have the access to information, health, technology, communication, and expansion moreso than any age before us.  All of these feats are enough to impress people.  But when it comes to finding awe and humility, we have to look at the big picture.  We are ALIVE.  We are living, cognizant beings with the ability to transform this world.  We are breathing, performing complex chemical reactions in our bodies all day without a second’s thought.  We create life.  We create buildings and art and love.  We experience the elements and feel emotions.  Every second we are alive is a miracle.

I had a teacher who saw everything as a miracle and at first I didn’t understand.  Some of the things he would express joy at or compliment seemed so mundane to me.  I can see I was still tightly wrapped in my perfection phase and I misunderstood miracle.  I used to look at miracles as the perfect things that happened.  It took me a long time to understand that perfection has nothing to do with it.  The fact that we exist is a miracle.  The fact that we can do what we do with our lives, that we can feel what we do, is a miracle.  We have access to that at any time in any capacity.  We have to remember that in the moments it’s hard and the moments we are tired or feel like we are stuck.  We can change the story we tell ourselves and witness what this life really is: a miracle.

I feel a lot of shame and regret about all the time I spent in perfection.  I missed out on experiencing some really amazing things and I missed a lot of chances to feel that awe because I was too blind to see what was in front of me and to respect it.  I did it to myself for 37 years.  I never appreciated what I could do.  I never felt good enough for anything.  I never had confidence to listen to what I really needed let alone to go for it.  Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s realizing that all that time is gone that makes you look at how you’re spending the time you have.  Maybe it’s simply understanding that we have expectations no one can live up to and sometimes it’s enough to just BE.  Maybe it’s getting tired of the same game over and over again.  Whatever it is, looking at things differently changes the game.

In spite of any shame or regret, I mostly feel gratitude now—and I feel gratitude that I am able to feel grateful.  Once I had the realization of the trouble perfection caused, I felt guilty finding joy in anything else.  Kind of like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I try to dip into that wonder as often as I can because it’s a great feeling.  For years it felt like it was so far under the surface, always miles to go in the race that I wouldn’t find it.  I dismissed things I should have been proud of when the joy and the magic was right there.  The beautiful thing is: it’s still there.  It never went anywhere.  So when we feel overwhelmed or annoyed or scared or angry, take a moment and reconnect with the wonder of it.  Be amazed that you have the capacity for such feelings and then be amazed that you can tune into your breath.  Be amazed at what you are and what you’ve done.  Then breathe out and be grateful you are here.  You only stop feeling when you’re dead, so find joy in being alive and find the awe in the miracle of this life.  Do not take it for granted.

Tiptoeing and Stomping

Photo by Evelyn Hale on

I keep quiet as I make my way through my morning routine in order for my son to stay asleep.  I tiptoe through the house and I roll my feet in a certain way, avoid certain spots on the floor/steps, and I only use certain lights.  I make my presence as unobtrusive as possible.  We have three cats in the house and the middle sized one sounds like a herd of buffalo running through the house all by himself so I try to not get him too riled up.  Between that and the other day, long after my son woke up, I found myself still tiptoeing, I was reminded of when I was kid.  I’ve always managed to keep myself quiet and keep my presence light. I still do it.  Most people literally never hear me coming.  My friend who is physically far lighter than me always managed to make so much noise.  She could be tiptoeing and it would sound like full on stomping. 

As adults, I noticed that I still tiptoe, not making my presence known. I want to have an impact but I don’t want people to know it’s me unless I know the outcome.  I never fully dive in, as much as I talk about doing that here, so I apologize for my hypocrisy.  I’m human and still learning.  That isn’t to say I’m not making bold strides now and it certainly isn’t to say I’m not committed.  I’m just afraid of doing the “wrong” thing.  But life isn’t about perfection.  It isn’t about being quiet until the right moment.  If we are quiet all our lives, we lose our voice and when the time comes, we are no longer able to use it.  Similarly, if we don’t take steps, we never make an impact and we don’t get anywhere.

It’s almost as if I’m afraid to truly leave a mark on the world.  At the same time, I still want things to go my way, so while I’m being unobtrusive, I still want people to do things my way so to speak.  If they don’t know me and I don’t know them, then how is that possible?  It isn’t.  I remember so many times as a child being told to be quiet and to stop making so much noise.  If I’m honest, I feel resentment about it.  Me not being allowed to make noise left me silent and unable to figure things out for the longest time.  This isn’t a pity party, it’s just what happened.  When you’re silent, you don’t know how to trust yourself and you certainly don’t trust you will be accepted—so bye bye voice. 

As these thoughts rolled through my head, I looked at the trajectory my life has taken compared to my friends’.  My friend stomped through life, boldly making noise and using her weight to create a path for herself.  I know in many ways she isn’t where she wants to be either, but she is HAPPY.  She knows who she is and she doesn’t hesitate to share that.  There is no shame in it.  She is comfortable in her own skin.  She isn’t afraid of what others say.  She follows the path she forged as it feels good and there are times she is with people and others she moves ahead on her own.  Others she pulls people up until they find their own way. 

That is the beauty of noise.  Yes, it draws attention to you, but we each have our own song and that is the point.  We are meant to share that music no mater what it sounds like.  We are meant to be fearless and trust that our paths are for a reason and we come together for a reason.  We are meant to leave a mark on this world outside of consumerism, industrialization, and domination.  We are meant to express, connect, love, and create—and that is what my friend has done.  I followed the path and it got me to a bunch of dead ends, not strong enough to push through the walls I found.  She is able to plow through them.  Maybe not fearless, exactly, but boldly and with certainty.  So that is the point.  Make some noise.  I’m still learning to feel my weight, one step at a time, and as I do that, I’m learning to love the sound it makes, simply because it is mine.