Just a quick note/reminder for those undergoing a change to carry you through the transition: Sometimes faith is about learning something new. When we learned to tie our shoes it could be frustrating thinking we couldn’t ever create those loops. When we learned about numbers and all the things they could do, we didn’t know if we could ever remember the formulas. When we learned about culture/society/language/life, we didn’t know if we had room for all of that. During the last decade, we’ve seen things we never thought we would see. All of this we have integrated into ourselves. Everything we once thought was impossible became the norm, something we utilized or understood with ease over time. So when we make the decision to move forward on a new path, we have to have patience for ourselves to learn something new.
There are bumps as we learn new things, there can be some painful lessons as we learn to let go, and there are often reality checks as we learn a new way of being. That doesn’t mean give up. It means keep going. Keep going until the new becomes familiar. Keep going until you understand that there is a bigger plan for you in this life and your new life will cost you your old one. Of course there can be sadness in losing the familiar, but there is joy in embracing what serves now, what serves the greater purpose. Having faith means being open and willing and flowing. It isn’t about your plan, it’s about THE plan. If you ever want to remember where you are in the universe, find a quiet place to go look at the stars. Remember two things: 1. In the vastness of space, you are here. You were created and brought here to do something, you are needed. 2. In the vastness of space, you are so small—the plan isn’t yours. You are simply meant to listen to the calling and go with it. KEEP GOING.
“Dare to believe the truth that when you release something, you free up space for new things (and dreams) to grow in you and in your life. The first step to letting go of any good thing is identifying the things that aren’t aligned with what matters most to you,” Jordan Lee Dooley. What a perfect follow up to talking about tradition and legacy and what really matters. Any journey of growth, whether spiritual or personal gets to a point where you evaluate your current state. What matters, what doesn’t matter, who are you really, what do you really want to accomplish, what is your real purpose. I used to love letting those questions circle in my head and to create a fantasy of the kind of person I was that day. I’d inevitably become what I was “supposed” to be and go to work. But there comes a point when that nagging voice doesn’t go away. The whispers of, “There is more, this isn’t it, do something else,” eventually get louder and louder, sometimes to the point where they become a scream. We are born with an internal navigation system that directs us where we need to go—we aren’t meant to ignore it.
Once that voice becomes one you can no longer ignore, the next natural questions come up as indicated in the opening quote: what can I/we let go of that supports what matters most? What can I/we integrate into our lives that is more authentically who I am? How do I support my purpose? Once those answers start flowing in, things start changing. We aren’t designed to support multiple lives at once: we are meant to fulfill our purpose so that means cutting out the things that don’t align or fit with that in some way. If we ask ourselves what really makes us happy, are we prepared to actually do it? Sometimes the way out of what we’ve created is messy. It’s certainly uncomfortable because it isn’t what we know. But as the pieces that no longer fit fall away, we slowly see the space that’s left, the space that’s created in the absence.
We can’t hold on to too many things. That’s why we only have two hands: we aren’t meant to carry it all. We are meant to hold what supports us, who we really are. Dooley’s quote referenced a time in her life when she had to evaluate whether or not she could continue doing something where she was quite successful but not quite fulfilled at the time. There are often things in our lives that seem like they are going well and maybe we get some satisfaction out of it—but if those voices start speaking and asking those questions, even those good things need to be evaluated. Life is a constant evaluation of what fits and what doesn’t, of who we are. I think we are often misled to choose an identity far too young and we create stories to support that even when we outgrow it. I’m telling you, it’s ok. Growth is natural. We aren’t always who we were and we don’t have to be that person if it doesn’t fit. We are simply meant to create space for the deepest facets of our soul to shine through.
Life isn’t about creating an illusion so people think we live or are a certain way. When it comes to tradition as we spoke of yesterday, that’s where we lose sight of who we are if we don’t look at the why behind the action. Those traditions we carry on are someone else’s not our own—so if we are to continue them, we need to learn to ask if they fit the life we are living—not the life someone else wants us to live. This is where the letting go comes in. Even if the patterns we are taught feel safe, if you hear that voice telling you this isn’t it, then it isn’t it. Do not let your potential, your ideas, your purpose go to waste because you don’t have room to see them through. Make the room. Let go of what doesn’t serve. Free up your hands to hold the life you want, to build the life you want. When we empty the nose and the things that no longer fit, it can feel scary because we are used to holding something—sometimes we wonder if we will ever fill up again. As the cycle goes, what is full must empty and what is empty must fill. It’s a constant flow, and we must allow the who we are NOW to be who we are NOW. Free up the space, and allow yourself to fill it with the light of who you are.
There is a weird conflict in letting go of the past for some people—myself included. The past becomes this representation of something nebulous we don’t really understand because it is no longer here. Yet we cling to it because we feel we know it. But the experience of something that has gone by is different for everyone so that meaning can’t be the same for everyone. What was joy for some was pain for others. What was beautiful for some was ugly for others. What we thought was a high point becomes a representation of the highest we felt we could get or we gradually come to understand there was more to do than that. Letting go of the past also means making way for an unknown future.
The future represents something scary in that we don’t know what to expect. We can plan but we all know what happens with plans. All of that is an attempt at appeasing the ego by creating the illusion of control. I want to note that sometimes we think we have let go when we have merely shifted a foot over. We’ve barely concealed the copy of what the past was. We can’t get caught up in believing that is real progress or change. In some cases that may be a step toward something new, yes, but in others it’s merely a poorly disguised attempt at moving forward. It is also human nature. What we are born into is easier to take than what we must adapt to. When we are born into something we don’t know anything else but when we must adapt into something, we have to learn entirely anew.
Then there is the concept of tradition. We are animals that pass on information and teach/regurgitate what we know thinking we are somehow carrying on or passing the torch. We don’t honestly know all the details, we just do it because that’s what we do and that is what we’ve always done. Of course there is a place for repetition and passing on information—it’s necessary to know how to tie our shoes and how to prepare food. But do we really need to repeat the expected societal song and dance simply because that’s what everyone else does? If we really think about it, no. This isn’t to say there isn’t a place for creating culture and tradition based on love or celebrating life. But there is also a time to question why we do the things we do at times. Is there a reason to continue doing what we’ve always done? Could there be a better way?
As we pass on information or share our stories, we have to remember what really matters. Are we passing on a core message about thought patterns and belief structures that support each other? Are we creating a positive vision for ourselves and our future? That is the real point of tradition and legacy: leaving a positive impact with the world. At the end of the day, we all become nothing more than bodies that return to the immortal being of the world. Dust, bones, ashes, atoms that move into a different vibration and dissipate into something else. We can not become so attached to what we think is, or what we think something was, that we forget what we actually are: dust and motes and molecules. We have to remember what the power is in those molecules: we can change the vibration. We can learn to leave a legacy of love and caring over anything else. That is what matters.
Going off of dates and numbers, I had a beautiful realization with my son the other day. He’s in kindergarten now and he has found himself a best friend. So many of us had to navigate a new way of parenting with COVID—kids couldn’t play with other kids, masks, a new level of cleaning, not seeing family (or only seeing specific family), etc. that life in many ways got delayed. My son was around three when COVID hit so he was just at the age where he would be going to his first year of pre-k and really playing with the neighbor kids but he missed part of that. Now he has an entirely new world open to him and he has transitioned beautifully. Like I said, he now has a best friend. Not to get too sappy, but that is the moment I had been waiting for: Seeing my son become his own person and really spread his wings, stepping into his life.
The numbers come in with the repetition of cycles and time. I’ve been so fortunate to have the same core group of three friends since I was my son’s age. I met my best friend when I was about six when I was playing outside and her mom walked her across the street. I met my two other best friends when I was in kindergarten. My whole life has been impacted by these women and it all started at my son’s age. The cycles of time and the repetition of history can be a beautiful thing. Yes, I’m a typical mother and I struggle with seeing my son grow up. He’s an only child so his firsts and lasts mean something different to me—plus I tend to be overly emotional and read into things. Regardless, I know it’s a good thing that my son reaches these milestones. I’m proud seeing him navigate these stages of his life and his fearlessness to try things in spite of being raised in fear the last three years.
Time moves regardless of what happens and cycles repeat—some of those things are irrespective of time and others are simply because of time. All we can do is go with it. That is the beauty of life: it takes us where IT’S going. Sure, we have some say in the direction but if we aren’t meant to go in that direction, I can guarantee things will move us in a different direction. Things happen that we don’t anticipate, like loss, a pandemic, other illness and that changes how we experience each other and what we have to do. I never thought I’d be raising my then three year old in a mask—none of us did. But there are beautiful things that we don’t anticipate either—like everything turning out fine. It’s exactly as it’s meant to be. Suddenly our children are in kindergarten or graduating just as they would have. Life keeps moving. It’s up to us to make the best of it.
Dates and numbers are meaningless in the eternity of life. It doesn’t matter where we are or when we are, we are simply meant to be who we are. There are people who seem to live 100 lifetimes in one, their impact spanning so many people and so many fields that it seems super human. There comes a time to step up and into the power that we have so graciously been gifted in our lifetime. It is such a fine line at times between ego and duty. There are things we would like to do and we know we are able to do them and then there are things we are meant to do. In the happiest of circumstances, those worlds collide and what we love becomes what we have to do. Sometimes doing what we love is the inspiration for others and that is what we must do.
Getting back to numbers, however, there is a different point. I’ve been obsessed with time and running out of it and trying to crowd too much onto my plate in an effort to make up for lost time or lost feelings or things from the past that I never let go of. All that has served is to waste additional time. The best way to reconcile this is to understand time is both illusory and a construct of man—maybe it’s illusory because it is a construct of man. While numbers may be the language of nature, we have bent it into a different meaning—we need to attain a certain age in order to partake in certain things. We need to work a certain amount of hours. We need to have a certain size house a certain size bank account and the scale needs to read a certain number. My friends, those are not the numbers that matter.
The numbers that matter are the numbers of nature. How far has our impact spread? How many people have we helped? How much time have we spent in joy? What percentage of our lives have we focused on what actually matters—time with our families, our purpose? The amount of time we are here is irrelevant—it’s the quality of that time. There are some people we feel with us no matter where they are. They are a constant reminder that there is something more. It doesn’t matter how much we acquire, it matters how well we love and how well we lean on faith and our purpose to get us through. Embrace the gift and beauty of living. Do not squander the time we have here—make the most of that point between the beginning and the end. Live as much as you can.
Today I am grateful for flexibility. I’ve often spoken of my struggle with time and my fears about it. Over the last few weeks I’ve faced that fear head on as our schedules have shifted with my husband starting a new job and our son starting school. I learned that sometimes the things we fear aren’t as drastic as we imagine them to be—it goes right along with mindset. Adaptation isn’t just going with the flow, it’s a mutual formation of something new. Releasing the death grip I held on time and my schedule has actually allowed a lot more freedom. There is still a need for routine, but the shifts have allowed me to see what I have room for and what is really important. Simple changes lead to big results and suddenly those fears I’ve lived with aren’t as scary as they once were.
Today I am grateful for a new understanding of responsibility. I used to think that responsibility meant taking on everything and being accountable for everything. With the schedule changes I mentioned and learning to navigate through different time constraints and prioritizing differently for the projects we have going on, it has shown me that responsibility is less about making ourselves feel busy and more about taking on the things we are willing to be responsible for. Responsibility is a choice and we are allowed to put down that which doesn’t align with our purpose. I recently read Embrace Your Almost by Jordan Lee Dooley and she shared an interesting perspective on priority. When we prioritize everything, nothing gets done so instead we should look at prioritizing what matters now and what needs to be done now. Eventually all will get done in its time. We don’t need to take on what doesn’t work now.
Today I am grateful for what I’m able to provide. I’m so grateful for the things I’ve been able to do with my life and I’m grateful to wake up to clearer purpose about aligning with what else I can do. I’m grateful for being able to provide for my family and not have to worry about basic necessities—that is a HUGE blessing today and I don’t take that for granted. I’m grateful to be able to provide counsel to those who have sought me out and I give it willingly—I actually LOVE doing it. I’m grateful to provide health services and insight to those who ask. This helps me align further with my purpose to awaken people. I used to think of being a facilitator as being a stepping stone or door mat. Now I see it as someone who opens the door, someone who helps people get in the right direction on their path. I’m grateful to provide that.
Today I am grateful to continue to learn. There are so many times I feel like I failed with my son—so many times I feel like I fail. I lose my patience and my temper over and over. I struggle understanding what he actually needs. I don’t communicate well. And I know I need to calm down and accept everything about what is. Including that my child will test me and push buttons I didn’t know I had. I also need to remember that I have a lot to learn and that, yes, being a parent means putting aside the things I thought I knew and getting comfortable going at someone else’s speed. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel frustration when my instructions aren’t heard but I can remember that it isn’t about me.
Today I am grateful for a great reminder on learning (following the last point): You can’t beat a river into submission, you have to surrender to it (Doctor Strange). I still have the habits based on the construct of what I know as “right” so I feel myself trying to pass that on to my son and taking that out on my husband. Now, I’m not defending myself because there are basic things that simply are as they are and need to be done whether we like it or not. But if we get close and the lesson is learned, does it really matter how? So it isn’t about my ego and being right and teaching him the “right” way. It’s about meeting him at his level and understanding where he’s at today. Some days he is ready and willing. Others he isn’t. Some things aren’t about me. Some things are about surrendering. Truly letting go and learning what we are being taught, even if we are the ones who are supposed to teach.
Today I am grateful to attempt that surrender. People are who they are and we need to remember that we aren’t here to control anyone else. We only have say over what we do. Surrender means being with people as they are. Truthfully it gets heavy carrying the load of telling everyone how it should be. And I know that isn’t my role. That isn’t my position. I’m meant to help people when they are willing and receptive to it. I’m not meant to bark orders and dictate how life is supposed to be. I’m simply meant to be and to guide as I’m needed. Let go of what I think I know.
“If you want to be king of the forest, you can’t be too proud to bend with the wind,” origin unknown. I attended a memorial for the CEO of the company for my side gig and one of the speakers shared this quote. It’s a timely reminder about the need to flex with life. Unpredictable things happen every day and, as we’ve been discussing this week, all we have control over is our mindset. The quote above can be applied to anything—and the goal doesn’t necessarily have to be becoming king or any other type of title. Rather if we are going to achieve a goal, if we want to attain a certain mark, a certain level of comfort, a certain milestone, we have to demonstrate flexibility. Aside from impatience, this is probably one of my weakest points.
The point of the quote hit home when put into context of a literal forest. The speaker shared that Oaks, while they grow tall, large, strong, and domineering, they don’t tend to fair well after time in the storms because they don’t move. Birches on the other hand flex in the wind so they tend to come through the storms just fine. While perhaps cliché and a bit obvious, tell me that isn’t the absolute perfect analogy for life. It’s a practical application of the quote and, yet again, goes along with mindset. I say this with no malice but rather with complete understanding: this is why I am how I am. I was raised by a generation a decade older than my peers. Between my parents and the time I did have with my siblings, I was exposed to a mindset that if you work hard and do what you’re told, you get a certain result. Enter extreme rigidity and expectation on my part. I would do exactly what I was told to get what I want for my entire life. I never learned the adaptation part, or the flexibility.
I have goals in my life, and no, they don’t necessarily involve becoming king of anything. But the concept still applies. If I want to achieve those goals, I need to learn to flex on the way, not the outcome. Truth be told, I don’t know where I got the habit that if something isn’t working I give up immediately. I never learned the pivot. I’m good at moving onto the next thing while holding the grudge that something didn’t work…not the best mindset, I know, but it kept me moving. It gave the illusion that I was still productive or able to achieve something. I never learned to stick to something until it materialized. I think that is why certain facets of manifestation challenge me. That’s a side note—but a good point of reference. Manifestation is about letting go of the way in favor of the best outcome. I misinterpreted that to mean if it doesn’t go my way it isn’t meant to be. That’s like spending your life aiming at a dart board blindfolded—you start searching for a target you can’t even see.
Often reminders like this come during a time when we need to demonstrate more flexibility. I’d be lying if I said it weren’t true for me in this moment. Changing mindset, learning what is actually holding you back, finding what your real beliefs are turns things upside down a bit. I mean, I know the beliefs I express and profess and that truly move me—I share them with you. Yet, even with all the progress I’ve made, I find that I still struggle to have those beliefs FOR myself. Perhaps this is key. Perhaps all that is needed is a shift in mindset from a defeated attitude to a flexible attitude. There are multiple ways to achieve anything, none of them better than the other. It’s the mountain again—we are all heading to the top. We can either spend our time running around the base yelling at people about what they’re doing, or we can simply begin our own ascent. I choose the climb.
I always assumed turning inward meant looking at and analyzing and controlling every piece/part of my life. Like, I would have to gather all the data, follow every little thought, document each part of my mind. I turned inward looking for different activities to satiate where my mind was going in that moment. A constant barrage of thought and activity with no real relief or resolution. A week ago, something different occurred to me: I kept getting signs to “reflect on my inner landscape” and I looked at the definition of turning inward differently. If I have a landscape in my mind then it needs to be cultivated and directed. I love a wild garden, but if I’m looking for a certain result, I really need to grow and cultivate the direction that garden is growing. The thoughts need to become intentional.
Part of being intentional means going deep and looking at the darker side. Some call it the shadow side, but in reference to the garden, we can call that the weeds. Sometimes the mind becomes overgrown with negative thoughts or patterns and we need to take them out at the root. Turning inward isn’t a rehashing of every negative thing that has happened to us that we use to justify where we are at, or looking at everything we’ve done. Turning inward isn’t a replay of our lives: it’s an examination of where we are and determining where we want to go. Turning inward is learning to recognize what we bring to the table as ourselves—where our true value is.
If we know who we are and what makes us feel good, if we know what we are capable of, if we know our purpose, then we have created a place where those good feelings, those intentions, that purpose can grow and be fulfilled. All of that stems from turning inward and removing the negative thoughts of who we were told we were. We talked about mindset yesterday in the context of Think and Grow Rich and I want to highlight a few things: one, being rich doesn’t always mean in the monetary sense. We can be rich in myriad of ways. In order to see success in any one of them, we need to tend to our mindset and keep it positive. Two, the latter point means when it comes to our mindset, we really do have to tend it like a garden. Everything that ISN’T who we are must go.
And that leads to turning inward. In order to see who we are we have to differentiate what we are not. That requires the inner work and objectivity to see what does and doesn’t work for us. Once we identify the parts we want to raise, then we focus our energy on that. One of my employees told me that she wanted to focus on the negative in order to improve it. While I understood what she meant, I told her she needed to flip it. Rather than focus on improving the “negative,” why not focus on the positive and allow that to be a complement to other people’s strengths? The same is said for turning inward: focus on what makes you, you, not on what people tell you to be. It’s up to you to decide that. No one gets to charter your course. You get to decide what you do. When you shine the light inward, that’s exactly what you find: your purpose/what to do. So cultivate the landscape of your mind to create the life you want. THAT is what it means to think and grow rich.
Something I talk about a lot is mindset. I’m not always the greatest at maintaining my own mindset as I’m prone to some negative chatter, however this is a persistent theme in my life. Things look better when you look up. There is power in mindset. There is power in controlling our thoughts. There isn’t much in the outside world that we can truly control in the literal sense of the word. We don’t know how people will behave, we don’t know what is actually coming our way, and we can’t control the weather. But we can control how we perceive things and how we react. The part of mindset that has always fascinated yet eluded me is the power of manifestation. I say it eludes me, but what I really mean is I don’t understand the level of belief it requires to attain the things that seem out of reach. So, I can ALMOST get there, but tend to fall short. That’s a story for another day. Regardless.
I recently started reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and it is literally all about mindset. I mean, I just started so I know there is more coming, but the opening through the first couple of chapters is largely about understanding there is nothing we can’t have as long as we have the determination to get it. In some ways it sounds ruthless because there is always a price—people are impacted by what we do—but the truth is it comes down to focus and clarity of thought. It’s about being precise enough on the destination that the exact steps we need to take always reveal themselves. They may not be the steps we thought so flexibility on the journey is required, but that end vision is always there. Again, this is something I’ve talked about. The book was written nearly 100 years ago. These are NOT new concepts. I have no problem professing it to other people. Yet when it comes to my goals, my brain struggles with the idea of can it REALLY be that easy?
That goes back to the lack of clarity: you (I) can’t get where you’re (I’m) going if you don’t have the destination in mind. When you want big things and have a lot of vision and very busy mind, it’s hard to clear out the noise because sometimes there is gold there. But not all thoughts are gold and sometimes we just have to let them pass. What I do know, especially after the events of this week, is that when we share our authentic selves, people are receptive to that. They don’t want to be sold on who you are, they want to know who you are. In order to steward the ship of our lives, we need to know where we are going which requires knowing who we are.
So…the story is the same but in a bit of a new package. It’s easy to achieve a goal when you know where it is and where you are headed. Even if it takes time to get there, you are still heading in the same direction. So when will my stubborn brain calm down enough to allow the real me to captain the helm? I can’t drive toward three places at once. She’s coming through now and I am grateful for the experience with my coworkers this past week. I’m grateful for the reminder to slow down and the need for gentleness from my illness so I can learn to focus on what is really important and take one step at a time. I’m grateful for another reminder on mindset—you know they say you have to hear a message seven different times seven different ways to get it. For me it may be seven million, but I’m listening. Now it’s about stewarding and driving those thoughts where they belong.
The last few weeks have been crazy in our household. We’ve been ill off and on since the beginning of August, we’ve started new jobs, we’ve travelled, we’ve dove deep into our business and planning our future, we’ve started school (literally and figuratively). We have been consistently busy and sometimes the body just doesn’t know what to do. This last illness has left me with some lingering side effects that I hope go away after I complete my medication, the worst of which is difficulty hearing out of my right ear. The cold I had generously spread to my entire right side causing a massive sinus/eye/ear infection and the ear issue is still lingering. I honestly didn’t realize I was that sick so I kept going. I never stopped working even though I desperately needed more rest.
Yesterday I decided to look up some of my old massage techniques to help drain my ear and almost everything that came back was lymphatic drainage techniques. For those not familiar, lymphatic drainage is an extremely light pressure technique used to assist in pumping lymphatic fluid toward the natural “drains” of the body. My natural stubbornness kicked in and I followed the techniques, but of course, it was too hard. My ear is REALLY stuffed up so I figured a little extra pressure couldn’t hurt as I needed to MOVE whatever fluid is in there. My husband is having a similar issue so I sat with him and eased the technique on him and he seemed to get some relief. Then HE tried it on me much closer to how it was supposed to be done. Holy smokes—he found things on my FACE that hurt that I didn’t even know were bothering me. First I felt guilty because he gave a much better massage than I did, but then it hit me: I’m going too fast.
I’ve been taking the medicine to a T but still working like crazy. My mind is in over drive, I always have things to do, my schedule is turned around (even with planning my days), and I still feel pulled in a thousand directions at once. I’ve been rushing through the things I LIKE doing. I’ve been reading at night but I don’t allow myself to thoroughly enjoy it. When I move my body, I’m not feeling my body I’m just trying to finish what I started. When I was massaging my husband, I wasn’t thinking about him, I was thinking about forcing the technique to work. So even though I’m doing the “right” things, I’m rushing through them. I’m not allowing them to work, I’m willing it to work. The realization hit me that I need to allow my body to naturally decompress. My husband’s technique on my face was highly effective in demonstrating a gentle touch can change things. What happens when I allow my body to truly relax?
The latter thought then escalated to what happens when I let the mind slow down? What happens when there isn’t this constant busyness going through my brain? Why do I need to carry it with me anyway? No one ever said the mind has to go on multiple rails 24/7. It’s ok to pause some tracks and really focus on what’s important—in this case, my health. Some things in nature, health included, can’t be forced. Our power isn’t enough to make it be a certain way. We have to create the space to foster health and wellbeing and then it comes to us naturally. I’ve also rarely been a patient person so this lesson is extra important. Sometimes things simply take time. In this case the infection was really bad so it is going to take a minute to clear everything up. But with patience and continued support, I know I can calm myself enough to allow. I can trust all is well and I will recover. All it takes is a little tenderness on my part to slow down.