“We climb the ladder but lose sight of why we started the climb in the first place. Happiness is an inside job and it begins with being yourself,” Jay Shetty. I think this is an appropriate follow up to discussing climbing. I think the part we lose sight of at times is the why behind the dream. Dreams are enticing and captivating and alluring—they are designed to make us look at “the more.” If we approach a dream with the end goal solely being wanting more, that dream and the effort we put in become hollow. There is no reason for doing the work. The second part of Jay’s quote is probably the most important: happiness is an inside job and it begins with yourself. If we think that something external is going to solve the inner desires and wants once we achieve it, we will lose sight of the value of what we are doing. Put simply, if we are only doing something for accolades, the accolades become the goal.
Dreaming is nice. Having the confidence to go after the dream is even better. Knowing how to break it down and really attain it is better yet. But if you don’t know why you want something, you will always be looking for the next best thing. The why matters. The goal has to be something bigger, something outside of ourselves in the sense of material gain or praise. The goal needs to be about fulfilling your purpose and that purpose is usually always about how you can bring value to others. There is a keen sense of personal fulfillment when you are able to help others. We are bred for it. Think of the variety of gifts on this planet. People can teach, dance, sing, build, create, design, orchestrate, make music, battle the elements, make our lives more comfortable, create new ways to communicate with people across the world, unite for common causes, fly, make things explode in beautiful colors, tell stories; the list is endless. Each of those things has a purpose.
So that is the first gap we have to close, prior to achieving anything: why do we want the things we say we want? What is the end goal? Some purposes will have no end, we are meant to carry them forward and improve on them in order to serve a mission. Some purposes are fleeting, a moment caught in time, a nudge forward to something better—but even those steps matter in the grand scheme of things. Regardless of longevity, we have to be comfortable with the purpose behind it. That climb has to be worth it. Shetty tells us it’s about happiness but I want to amend that happiness comes from that fulfillment. We can climb any corporate ladder in the world and achieve what others would consider success, but if that isn’t success to us, there is always another ladder to climb. So take the time to fill in the why before we begin the ascent. Give ourselves the purpose and that climb will seem effortless. Not only that, but we will go further than we ever thought possible.
“It’s easy to dream about what you want but in between where you are and what you want there’s a tremendous amount of stuff you’ve got to change and do,” Mel Robbins. This is similar to the adage of your new life will cost you your old one. We cannot repeat the habits we’ve always had and expect to yield different results. It doesn’t work like that. When we dream, we are given insight into what we are looking to accomplish, a taste of what we think we want our lives to be like. As we know, we have to learn to close the gap between where we are and where we are going. That is work and that work can be daunting to many of us, especially if we don’t know all the work we will have to do.
The reason this quote stuck out to me is the simplicity. Yes, it implies a big lift on our part to get where we want to go (which is sometimes true), but it hits it on the nose: there is work to do. The life we want won’t magically appear if we aren’t doing anything to bring it forth. But if we do something in the direction of where we want to go, we will get there. If we take the smallest step toward what feels right, we will get there eventually, but you have to keep moving. You have to keep doing. Slowly the life we dreamed about will start to seem more real and once you yield those results, you will see that the gap has decreased. That’s all the encouragement you need—to see that goal is within your reach.
One of my mentors is still coaching me through something similar. I tend to do a lot on my own because of limited time and multiple goals. She told me to stop looking at the whole thing and thinking I had to do it alone or do it all in one day. As we discussed it, I told her I can’t jump the Grand Canyon in a single leap. I have to walk through it, the highs and the lows, in order to get where I’m going. But each step I take is a step closer to where that end may be. My mentor then finished with this, “What one action can you take today that will get you closer to your goals?”. That was it for me. It clicked. Yes, there are a million things I want to do and a million goals I want to tackle at once, but that’s the Grand Canyon again. So what is one thing I can do today (and can do well) that will get me in the direction of my dreams?
It’s easy to dream about what you want but I want to emphasize that the work it takes to get where we want to go can also be easy. It doesn’t have to be the large daunting thing that we fear we will never achieve, or something so big that we never take the first step. We can break it down into the most manageable part and take that first small step. Then the next step reveals itself. Then the next task reveals itself. Then the next break reveals itself. Then the next lesson reveals itself. Then we can take the NEXT step. It’s an entire beautiful process, but before we know it, we are standing at the top. We are looking at what once seemed insurmountable from a different perspective—we’ve climbed it. Don’t talk yourself out of your dreams because they seem too big: break it down into what one thing you can do and do it until you know what to do next.
“Let your soul be more important than this illusion. Choose yourself and suddenly the chains you thought were binding you dissolve. And you will see that you are free,” Ashmi Path. Once we allow the light of who we are to be greater than the fear of not fitting in, that light not only shines on other people, it illuminates the path for ourselves. Perhaps it blazes a trail for others as well. But we have to decide that where we are no longer fits and that we want more, and we have to be ready to follow that path no matter what it means. For many of us, breaking what we know is a challenge because we can’t see what comes next or we are afraid of disappointing those around us, or we simply don’t have a gauge of what success is outside of what we are currently told. We don’t have a measure to know what works and what doesn’t. Regardless of that, we get to the point where being who we are is more important that fitting in.
We waste so much time trying to figure out how to manipulate people to feel a certain way toward us. We try to make them accept us or feel a certain way about us or see us in a certain light. We spend much of our lives putting on a show. Imagine what would happen if we dedicated just a fraction of that time to developing who we are and learning to embrace that. We would be entirely different people. We would taste a real sense of fulfillment and we certainly wouldn’t worry about fitting into a societal construct of what we are “supposed” to do. We’d simply be who we are. And that is what it means to let your soul be more important than this illusion. It’s all a show. Once we know how to be who we are and allow the magic of the universe flow through us, it doesn’t matter what others think. We are simply showing our way.
We are not for everyone and that is ok. We have to be for ourselves because others will not waste their time with us if they can’t define who we are. Not that we really need a definition anyway, but if people can’t label us they fear us. So we learn to work outside of labels with the understanding we need people who speak our language, resonate on our vibration in order to feel that acceptance. And that is all that matters. The first key is being who we are and knowing what we have to offer. It is making peace with the light and all it shows. It is accepting that we are living in an illusion and understanding we are simply tired of the game. It’s ok to be tired of the game. Once you put down the weight of what you’ve been wearing, you are suddenly free to simply be. That is when life really begins.
I don’t claim that all parts of this life are bad. We live on a pretty amazing rock floating in space and if you are reading this on some kind of device, you’re doing pretty well. We have the ability to communicate and connect all over the world. We can create amazing works of art. We are in a phase of mutual discovery and learning that there is more. This is an awakening and it is a great time to try and find something new. I do claim that we need to embrace this time more and accept that we can live outside the box. We never needed the box, but it was created at a different time and it functioned differently—it had a different purpose. Now we are awakening and we understand there is more to what we have here. We understand that as scary as it can be, we each have a purpose here and we need to go out on a limb to share it. We aren’t all here to fit in the box. We are meant to destroy it. So cast off those chains and welcome who we are. They were imaginary anyway.
“Light doesn’t care about being seen as good. It is completely irreverent toward that. It just shines. Light doesn’t care about being accepted. It just shines. And because of that we are terrified of it. Because we know embodying it fully sometimes comes at a cost and part of that includes the consequences of not being seen as good by people who may be blinded by our light. Most people will want you to see your light until it starts blinding them. And your job is to practice shining anyways,” Xavier Dagba. This is the ultimate letting go. This is the ultimate KNOWING of what you have to do. On any journey inward to discovery of our personal path, we seek to unleash the light we have. We seek to share what we know with the world because the world needs our story. That is shining.
Our current constructs don’t allow for the freedom the soul requires. We bind ourselves in socially accepted ways based on ideas a paradigms that no longer exist—and paradigms that no longer work. As we continue to awaken and feel the rumble of our soul call, we realize that there is the possibility for more. There is always another way. This can be terrifying for some. I’m a people pleaser at heart so what happens to all of those I’ve sought to make happy by fulfilling what they thought was right for me? What happens to the way I’m used to making money and showing I’ve been successful? What happens to the definition of successful and acceptance and love and any of the other million things we’ve spent millennia defining to keep people on the same course in an effort to pretend we are at the helm?
The truth is we ARE at the helm, just not in the conventional or accepted manner. We’ve always known not everything works for everyone and not everyone has the same dreams or desires. But we made it impossible for people to share those things because we label that as other. The truth is that “other” is completely normal. We have no control at the conventional societal level because it isn’t designed for us: it’s designed for the machine and to keep it going. But when we are in our day to day lives, we are 100% in control of who we are and we are responsible for knowing what our soul is telling us. THAT is the ultimate connection with source: hearing and answering our calling. Fulfilling the purpose we feel rather than what we are told.
We fear rejection of who we are because on some levels it means we are out of the pack. That is part of the reason we do fear sharing who we are. We are afraid the inner parts of us, the real meat of who we are will not be accepted. Sometimes it isn’t about good or bad, it’s simply about feeling accepted as we are. When we share our light, all of that is exposed. There is no hiding what we really feel when we share the depths of our souls. And no, not everyone will accept that. Not everyone will understand you. We have to learn to get past that because there are people for all of us. They may not be the people we are told to or the people we are born with, but there are people who accept us and people who need us. Sometimes we aren’t meant to be part of the pack, we are meant to lead it. In order for that to happen we need to share that light and allow it to do what it does best: shine over every part of ourselves. Practice shining anyway.
Today I am grateful for help. I’ve been unusually down lately with illness. The last 30 days I haven’t been myself as we’ve faced one minor illness after another. Not enough to completely stop the show but enough to make it not what it should be. I’ve been fighting it over and over again and I finally couldn’t do it on my own. I had to get to the doctor today. He confirmed I have a really nasty infection that wasn’t going to resolve on its own and I’m on two different antibiotics. I’m not healed by a long shot, but I feel better getting help.
Today I am grateful for disruption and flow. This year hasn’t gone the way I thought it would. We are almost ¾ of the way through and there are moments I feel like we fell flat, short of the mark. But in this instance, with illness at the helm for the moment, I’m seeing that sometimes we really have to allow no matter what it entails. It’s challenging, it’s scary, it’s even a little sad, and it is most certainly frustrating. But letting go allows for something else to take place. Even if it doesn’t look like what you want, it is for a reason. I’m not where I want to be but the progress is still more than where I’ve been.
Today I am grateful for progress. There needs to be a separate line marking the appreciation for where we are at. To call out the specific things that mark growth even if it isn’t perfect. We have to remind ourselves that perfection isn’t attainable but things are often perfect as they are. It’s the confusing twist of everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be so we don’t have to work hard. We can take our hands off the wheel and allow every now and then. In those moments we learn to take our hands off the wheel. That may look like asking for help or even acknowledging that something that went awry wasn’t a failure. We all have our seasons.
Today I am grateful for rest. I’ve been looking for a different kind of rest. My mind goes a lot as I’ve often shared, but I’m at an odd point because there are moments I need to physically move and I want to, but then these illnesses come in where I can’t move my body so my mind spins more. But the answers I’m looking for are in both spaces: the physical and the mental. I need to strengthen the body and the mind and there are moments of activity and recovery in both. This is a period I need to listen to my mind and stop.
Today I am grateful for another reminder of clarity. We had an experience with some people this past weekend where we were relying on some support from our friends. We were hosting an event for our business and no one showed. This is completely common, I know. A lot of places bust until they see something tangible they can believe in. But the hurt hit differently. Some of the people we wanted around us are the same we’ve supported blindly through anything. We’ve made tons of effort, some completely unnecessary to prove we’d be there and it did hurt knowing in a time of need they didn’t reciprocate. Now it isn’t that they aren’t our friends—these people have helped us a ton—but seeing where their belief is is a bit tough. So we choose to move on and find the people we can help, the people who need us, the people who see the value. It will come.
Today I am grateful for where I am. Missing the support of those closest to us put me in a different mindset. Yes, it was hurtful, but it made me realize what we have. We are super fortunate to be where we are and to have what we do—and we have worked for every little thing we have. We don’t necessarily need the praise and support of the people who don’t see beyond where we are at now. It’s fine. But I am going to remember that moment as a stepping stone. That is a launching point into where I need to be.
We don’t often talk about the power of making a decision and something happened recently that reinforced the need to talk about it. As I spoke about earlier in the week, my son started school and I took the day off. During that day I did a ton of work that I actually wanted to focus on. I cleaned, I organized, I prepared for an event we are having. I also spent a lot of time thinking and working through some more personal stuff. Throughout the day I kept finding myself thinking, “this is exactly what I want to be doing.” Previously I found myself lamenting and wanting to work from home but I didn’t have the clarity to make it happen—it felt like a fantasy. But something about the productivity of that day made it feel both real and possible. It was pivotal for me because that has been the clearest I’ve ever felt about creating that type of reality. The feeling was so powerful I told my boss the next day that I need to find something where I can work from home. Based on how I felt, I knew it in my gut. Logistically, I don’t want to be as far as I am from my son during the day—that’s pretty solid for me that I want to be home.
Now that was a decision. I could have held it inside and continued to think working from home was a pipedream or fantasy. But I decided it was time to speak it out loud. I felt the clarity and I recognized the power of putting out the energy you want into the universe. Let me tell you, it was such an incredibly freeing feeling. Even more surprising, my boss didn’t react how I expected. She actually was very understanding. Granted we don’t have the capacity to make it happen at this point, but I definitely have the clarity and the direction now. From the perspective of creating the life we want, I’ve spoken about manifesting and learning how to close the gap from where we are to where we want to be. But the truth is when we are manifesting the life we want, we often underestimate the power of simply making the choice. Number one, it feels amazing to decide on something but once we make a decision, the rest falls away and things get really clear. Once things are clear, the universe conspires to make it happen.
I don’t claim this will happen over night, not by any means. But I feel a shift. I feel the path opening up toward the life I want. They always say that things will come together to make it happen and it certainly feels that way. This is the difference between thinking it and speaking it. When we hold something in, it has no chance to manifest. We need to have a moment of trust to speak what we want into reality. We have to trust that once we speak it, it will come and that can be a scary place to work from. We don’t always know how things will turn out but one thing is certain: if you don’t put out what you actually want, you will certainly never get it. But the most important part is admitting to yourself what you actually want. It’s only when you understand that that you can understand what is possible and in that moment, you ask different questions. Questions like, “What will happen if I start working toward it?” and like, “What happens if I say this out loud?” All I know for certain is that the odds of creating what you want are far greater if you speak them and align with what it takes. Happy decision making!
I just wanted to share a quick thought on trashing our houses. I read a quote from Dandapani that said, “I live in my house therefore I don’t trash my house. I live in my mind therefore I don’t trash my mind.” This fell on the heels of me cleaning the house and wanting to organize everything and the realization that I want to work from home (next post goes into more detail about that). Regardless, we have multiple homes. Our physical location, our emotional state, and what we take in. When we consider the thoughts that run through our minds on a daily basis, it’s easy to see how many are redundant, how many are negative etc. If we allow ourselves to go through the same things over and over again, it’s also easy to see how we create a mess.
So this is a polite and clear reminder to make sure you’re taking care of your house, both physical and mental. Look at the thoughts you’re having on a regular basis and figure out if they are yours or if they are coming from somewhere else. Ask yourself if you can change your course of thought. Ask yourself what you actually want to be thinking about and manifesting and creating in this world. Ask yourself how you want to feel. Ask yourself what you’re choosing where you are right now and what you want to choose moving forward. How do you want to move forward? Release all that doesn’t serve and move forward with what is left. Take out the trash, whatever form that trash takes.
Last week my son started kindergarten. I know, it’s so cliché, a mom having a melt down on her kid’s first day of school. But that isn’t exactly what happened. I mean, full transparency, I needed to take the day off because of it, but it wasn’t an entire breakdown. So my son is definitely extra sensitive and I pick up on that really easily so I knew he was having some emotions the morning of his first day. I kept my cool and we walked to the school without any major issues, just the usual nerves he expressed well. When we got to the school I took the obligatory pictures (I mean, come one, they put stands out there for kids to take pictures with, who wouldn’t have done it?!). Again he did really well. The doors opened and I let him walk in by himself but as soon as I noticed other parents going in, I changed my mind and I ran in after him. I felt guilty and didn’t want him to feel alone. He had made it to his classroom so I knew he was ok and I took more pictures and then I walked home.
The first wave of emotion hit me when I got home. The house was too quiet. Yes, I do relish those moments and I normally seek them out because I’m trying to get things done, but this quiet was different. It felt distinctly absent of something. I know, that’s how silence and quiet work. But it felt heavy to me. I dove into cleaning and organizing and it helped. As time moved on, I started thinking about the things my son would help me with. When I got to the piles of his toys, I started thinking of the things he would fight me on. And out of nowhere, the thought hit me that one day everything will be clean and quiet forever. That’s when I actually got sad. I’ve spoken about my weird thing with time before, and in that moment I realized how quickly time passes. My parents had an issue earlier in the week and they really struggled with it so I think I was extra sensitive to the passage of time.
It’s such a funny thing when you transition to that phase where you are taking care of both your parents and your kids. I still remember going to my first day of kindergarten and now I’m taking my son. I’ve transitioned from child to parent and my parents are now grandparents. I remember feeling so safe with my parents and now I’m trying to create that security for my son. That safety I felt was partially because of how close I was to my parents because my siblings were so much older than me. And then the second wave hit me: my son is an only child. So this first day was also my last day. That was when I actually did lose it a little bit.
Now, I don’t mean to come across as a complete emotional wreck or an overdramatic person (although I totally am). The reality is I am super sensitive and these moments mean a lot to me. They also teach me a lot. Primarily about emotional control, but also about how to value what we have and to appreciate how we got here. It’s important to relish in the moments we have and to appreciate them while we have them. I remember trying to grow up so quickly because I wanted to be like my siblings so I never learned to appreciate where I was. I want my son to be able to enjoy his time and I want to enjoy the time I have with him. So often we wish for the next step or the next stage. We want to be through all the hard stuff. But we miss that the hard stuff shapes the good at the end. We miss that we have good times on the journey to the next part. The part we are on now is what we have. Everything is always beginning and ending so let those moments remind us of what is really important.
I’ve often heard the quip about learning to rest when you are tired and not quitting. The other day I found myself in a flurry of activity, furiously running around, back and forth, distracted by one mess and then another. In this circumstance, rest was the furthest thing from my mind. I felt my body aching because I hadn’t been down to the gym in a while but I had a ton of work to do. I was tired of seeing all the clutter around the house and feeling overwhelmed by what I would do with it. In the middle of organizing and chastising myself for letting things get this way, I remembered the quip about rest. I looked at the piles I was creating around me and realized that all of the stuff that was in the piles had been created because I didn’t want to deal with it in the moment. That’s when it hit me that I haven’t been resting in the proper moments.
What I mean is that I’d been excusing myself from all of the day to day stuff because I felt tired or overwhelmed after working all day and that had created enormous stress and clutter and distraction in my life. Rather than actually creating a sensation of ease in not dealing with it right away, I created stress down the road. The difference between resting and quitting is right there: you can’t give up in the moment because you feel mentally overwhelmed. It’s all a mind game and if we allow the mind to win in the moment, we create additional issues later on. In this case, I have over a year’s worth of information I need to sort through. Yes, there have been a million things going on. Yes, I’ve been balancing (barely) working full time with two side gigs, a 9-5, a child, and a husband, and the animals. But those things are my choices and there are results I genuinely want to see out of it. It gets overwhelming realizing I’ve already created the momentum, but I don’t want to give it up.
Then the other realization hit me. I don’t need to give up any of it—I just need to organize things better. The day can be planned. All of the activities can be addressed (probably with better focus and results) by dedicating time to them in different blocks than through what I’ve been doing. Then I won’t feel so overwhelmed. Then the piles of nonsense won’t build up, whether it is paper or tasks that need to be done. There is a way to take all of the things that need to be done and to create space for it—even rest. For too long rest was my priority. I have always been driven, even if was just in my 9-5 I always strove to be the best so I could prove that I’d earned my time off or my down time. That way when I went home, I could shut down. But all of the things I WANTED to do were neglected as well. I became a really lazy high performer. I know that isn’t the legacy I want to leave behind.
Rather than continue to chastise myself or lament, I’m celebrating the small win of understanding that I can turn this around. Nothing is completely out of my control when it comes to what I bring into the house and what I want to create. This is a fixable situation. There is a time for rest (no, I’m not talking about when I’m dead—I HATE that saying) and I will use it. I honestly think people undervalue rest. For me, I probably took that to an extreme. There is work to be done and it is work I want to do. So I choose to take it on and do so happily. Rest will come. I can move at my own pace. Life doesn’t have to be a series of overwhelm—that’s when we want to give up. Life flows and there are moments of productivity and moments to recharge. I’m ready to flow.
I had an ego moment with my husband the other day. We had a small spat over something he said in the store that upset me because I didn’t like the tone it was putting out energetically. Mindset is clearly a huge thing for me and what he said as a joke was not what I wanted the universe to pick up on. Additionally our son’s inner monster came out during that grocery trip and the evening was not going to end well. What I didn’t expect was for my husband to leave and go to the neighbor’s house. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but he completely disappeared and I didn’t know where he was. That is a huge trigger for me. It brings back old memories of being left out and left alone and I spiraled quickly. I mean, I went from, “He’s been gone a long time” to “Damn it, no one likes me. They literally left me out of the party—again” in about 10 seconds.
So full circle for this conversation we’ve been having about people noticing us: I put out the energy of needing to be there for my child (because I do) and that I don’t always have time to hang out anyway. Their children are significantly older than mine so we are in different stages. I also realized that it was a stressful day for both my husband and I and we probably needed some cool down time. I didn’t need to elevate the issue into something it wasn’t. I wasn’t left out intentionally. I was left out incidentally. I don’t need to freak out every time something goes a different way. I don’t need to freak out that my husband is a different person than me and has different needs. I don’t need to freak out that he has an easier time socially and needs more social interaction than I do. That isn’t a reflection on my likeability. It’s a reflection on where I’m at in life.
The next morning, I explained it to him. It wasn’t about him, it was about the insecurities the action triggered—which is entirely on me. Yes, from a literal standpoint, I wanted to know where my husband was. I hate it when people just disappear. But I also realized that my insecurities are generated by my mind. I don’t need an invitation to be with my husband or with my friends. I could have chosen to walk over there as well. I’m not intruding on anything and the reality is, not everything in life comes with an invitation. Sometimes you have to just sit down and be part of the crowd. So that evening, that is exactly what I did. My son and I went with my husband and we sat around the fire with each other and we all found ourselves completely welcome. Being open is what matters. Put the ego aside and sit at the table (or in this case around the fire) and see what happens. Sometimes when you invite yourself, you invite life. I’m inviting life from now on.