Fall In Love

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“I hope you fall in love with being alive,” Soleoado.  This is a simple yet incredibly complex one.  It’s easy to create opinions about our lives when we live in a state of comparison—which we do simply because we are told that’s how it is.  That’s how we know who has dominance over the other, who is worthy of making a decision, who should lead the pack.  We devalue our own ability to make decisions and guide our lives if the things we feel don’t align with what we are told the pre-packaged image of success looks like.  Insanity is buying into a system that immediately shackles you with the weight of debt, obligation, and competition for a false prize—a prize that, if we are honest, doesn’t even exist anymore.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, yet here we are, repeating the actions of a system that has long since proven out of date (and even dangerous/detrimental to people), hoping we will find fulfillment. We walk around with our internal cups empty hoping a full Starbucks will do the trick (not to knock Starbucks if coffee brings you joy—but you get the point.)

Now.  The simplicity of this is incredible: learn to love your life.  Learn to fill your life with the things you love.  Learn to create the experiences that bring you joy.  Learn to accept what you’re feeling and follow it without shame, without hesitation, without concern for what it means to other people’s happiness.  The truth they never tell us is that the well of joy, happiness, abundance, and experience is infinite.  There is no limit to what can make us happy, we just have to listen to our heart and souls over the external voices telling us what constitutes success, joy, or happiness.  Our internal systems are pretty damn smart but we learn to silence them to sustain the masses and end up miserable.  We listen to every voice but our own thinking they will give us the answers we already know.

The truth is you don’t hate your life, you hate living a life that isn’t for you.  You hate living a prescribed life outside of what works for you.  You hate forcing your square peg into the round hole, complaining the edges hurt while you cut away the parts of you that make you who you are.  When we add more of what gives us joy, we feel different.  We learn to fill our own cups and suddenly we see that well—the reason it was infinite is because there is a well in each of us and we are meant to fill it every day, fill it so much that it spills over into the world.  We aren’t meant to drain ourselves for the sake of others, we aren’t in competition, we are meant to complement each other.  No, that doesn’t mean complete each other, we very much need to have our whole picture in tact so we can bring all of us to the table.  We are meant to work with each other, keep the table round so we can bring the full scope of us, and make a bigger picture, one that fits us as we are.

The first step to this is to create a life you love.  Let go of the anger and the pain—and the act of letting go in itself can be painful, scary even.  I’ve identified with anger for far too long, so that means telling myself a different story.  If we learn to lean into our internal guidance we hear the voice letting us know the way and the story we are meant to tell unfolds.  There is no real secret to this, it’s simply a matter of trusting yourself enough to decide to let go of what you thought you needed, what you were told you needed, and stepping into what you KNOW you need.  Time is too short to waste it on a life you don’t love.  Time is the best resource we have and it is ours to do with as we please.  There is no rule that says we have to work, function, or buy into a certain way of being-we created that rule.  If it doesn’t make you happy then walk away.  Focus on filling that well with joy and you will see a life filled with joy instead of asking for permission to feel good on your days off.  Fall in love with life.  Love being alive and love sharing your life with others.  See the gift of this existence and share it with the world.

Sunday Gratitude

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There is a lot on my mind tonight so I’m keeping this very short.  You never know the cards life is going to deal you, the curve balls, or even the moments you expect that come at a different time you were expecting.  I am grateful for my life in spite of the facets I am trying to change.  The change isn’t coming from a negative place—it’s coming from a place where I want more for myself and my family.  I am grateful to do the work to get to the next level.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still exhausted and saddened by the challenges—I’m human—or if I said it all makes sense—because I still can’t make heads or tails of the last few weeks.  But I am grateful to have the opportunity to figure it out.  A new season is coming, a new awakening and there are people, things, experiences, behaviors, patterns, and even parts of your life you love that simply can’t come with to the next phase.  That is where I’m at now and reconciling that truth is painful.  But I am grateful because I am not at the end even if I’m at the end of this phase.  I am not out of options even if this option hasn’t panned out.  I am human and having emotions and I am feeling the full spectrum: gratitude for the support and sadness at the changes, excited to have a new agreement and terrified to maintain the new, strong enough to move forward and concerned for my old patterns resurfacing.  I am grateful for another day.  For another chance.  For time spent with my family and my friends.  For love and for life.  This is the season we are in, and it is ok to be here.  Be grateful and keep going.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

Inner Child

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It’s so hard to hear what we need when we are cluttered either mentally or physically by the ideas of what we are supposed to be.  the thing that brings us joy isn’t that far beneath the surface but we continually push it down in favor of the responsible or right decision.  WE are incredibly mean to ourselves.  We restrict and deny and we punish and we inhibit what we are meant to do under the pretense of being someone else’s idea of success, in order to be accepted in a society, to feel part of the crowd.  There are times being part of the group is far lonelier than being alone.  It can be frustrating too when the group doesn’t hear what you’re saying, or if you’re made to feel unheard.  We are taught to relish and enjoy our “silliness” and the play of childhood up until we are about 5 or 6 and then it becomes the serious business of life and making ourselves mean something.

As adults we spend a gross majority of our time undoing what was done, trying to figure out what comes next, what we are meant to do, and time healing.  Some take longer than others to get on the healing path because we don’t know we are broken, we simply don’t know how to do the work.  And healing brings up demons that we often aren’t ready to face.  If we start simply, start with listening to that voice inside of us, we hear what we need.  Our minds, our souls, and our bodies are incredibly intuitive.  They all know what we need and they tell us—it’s our job to hear those messages.  Doing inner child work and learning to hear that voice again is a beautiful exercise in validating who we are when we spent a good portion of our lives being invalidated, ignored, told that we need to put our needs aside to appease the adults, our teachers, our bosses, whoever it is.  But when we finally hear that voice and identify what’s missing, it’s a breath of fresh air, a key to what we’ve been missing.

This is work I’m engrossed in at the moment and it is super uncomfortable.  There are moments it feels foolish, but when I’ve really listened, it’s been amazing.  I shared the Harry Potter experience with you from a few weeks ago and I’m not sure I was ever more child-like.  It was the greatest experience I’ve had since I was able to really connect and play with my actual child.  We’ve talked about the value of play and I will tell you that feeling of laughing and joy that enveloped my being in that moment (and when playing with my son) is unlike any other.  I’m trying to be very aware of how I interact with my boy because I often find myself telling him how it should be done—and I always regret it.  Yes, I want him to learn the basics, but I want his creativity highlighted and his joy expressed. And inner-child work is about that at its core: finding and expressing the creativity, joy, and love we had as children.

Once we clear the clutter and accept that there are parts of us we simply need to re-engage, it becomes easier.  It’s about connecting with something that was never truly lost, but something we didn’t have the courage to engage with regularly so it became a spectator.  But once that spectator started suffering, it needed to be set free—and it tells us so in many ways.  The act of acknowledging and allowing those parts of us to come through is significant.  It’s freeing.  And it’s necessary.  Those unhealed parts of us, whatever caused the wound, need to be acknowledged and loved as much as we can.  It’s an embracing of who we are.  Truthfully, that inner child, that part that knows joy inherently, is far wiser than we give it credit for.  We only think we need to do the things we do, the inner-child, and the ever present children in our lives, KNOW what we need to do.  Love this life and experience every joyful moment of it while we can.  Don’t waste a drop of that joy, fill your cup so much it infects others with the same feeling.  Listen and love and live your life as it’s meant to be.

What Changes You

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“When you walk out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in,” Haruki Murakami.  Continuing on our discussion of reframing and revising the past, another perspective on this is simply that we are meant to grow and evolve and the storms we face are designed to facilitate that growth.  We aren’t meant to hurt, we are meant to learn.  And there is no running away from the fact that growth is painful—we’ve talked about that often here.  Sometimes we bring ourselves back to the same situation hoping it won’t be a fight this time, or hoping that the winds aren’t as strong.  The reality is, sometimes all we are meant to do is stand in our strength and say, “You didn’t knock me down.”

Yes, the storms of life change us.  The trajectory of life is pretty ephemeral—we experience joys and losses simultaneously. We spend our precious time doing things we wouldn’t choose for ourselves for the sake of others.  We face challenges to grow and to learn.  Not to mention that life truly does move at an incredible pace.  And all of it is meant to show us how amazing this life is, to not take it for granted, to learn to really be in the moment, and to find joy.  We have made life so complicated when the point of it really is to simply enjoy it.  We get to do what brings us joy to bring joy to others.  We aren’t meant to get stuck in the storm—and we certainly aren’t meant to create our own storms, which, if we are honest, we do a majority of the time to justify certain behaviors. Life is too short to spend it miserable.

When the storms come, because they will come, learn to stand firm.  Stand assured.  Stand flexible. Stand humbled and know that you were given the chance to face it and learn more about who you are.  But once the lesson is clear, get out of the storm.  Allow the experiences you’ve faced to change you, to mold you, and appreciate that you’re moving up.  Appreciate that what you weather allows you to teach others how to navigate that as well.  You are meant to alchemize your experience into the greater good for all, to play your part, and to find your purpose.  The storms aren’t meant to break you, they are meant to teach you.    

Revise Your History

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Not to have multiple sappy pieces this week, but we need to examine the emotion behind our actions and follow the path to how it got us where we are.  I’ve shared a lot over the years here.  My anxiety, my general fears, my struggle with work, my struggle with making decisions, letting go of people-pleasing, my losses and gains, my obsession with time (specifically my fear of it), my little triumphs in knowing myself, and my complete failures in relationships with those I love, the moments I know how to take care of me and the moments I go against everything I know.  I mean, I don’t share everything in my life but I’m pretty open.  With all of that, I’ve also been pretty candid about my regrets and how I’ve let my fears call the shots in too many areas of my life, and that I have more regrets than I want to carry.

Perhaps it’s stubbornness that doesn’t allow me to reframe what happened in my current context.  Maybe I still carry a bit too much of the martyr syndrome.  And there’s always the chance that I’m still not clear enough in who I am to know which way to move forward, to boldly state what I really want—or maybe I want too much and the universe is confused on what to do first.  Either way, I’m definitely one who preaches that we can learn from our past but I have a hard time accepting that in my own life.  Jay Shetty suggests we can revise our history.  We can ease up a bit and create space for that reframing of the past.  Sometimes the lessons don’t come forth for years—or we don’t understand it for years.  Just because we can’t see the immediate value doesn’t mean there won’t be something valuable down the road.  We also have the opportunity to assign value and give the event meaning—we can say, “This taught me X” and be grateful for it.  There are times the universe wants you to do that so you can move forward. 

And for those who are impatient or have ADHD and who struggle with time, we can give ourselves the constant reminder that just because we don’t see immediate value it doesn’t mean there won’t be value. I don’t pretend for a second that it’s easy to keep that perspective when it feels like things are falling apart—I have a melt-down at least once a week.  Yet even I have to admit that life has a funny way of taking an insignificant moment and making it relevant or letting things fall apart only to reveal the path to the exact destination we want on the other side.  The past that previously gave us pain now becomes meaningful and we understand why things happened as they did.  I’d love to say I’ve witnessed it more often in my life, but that could be more to do with my stubbornness than it not happening.  Sometimes we just have to accept things as they are, sometimes we just have to trust we will understand it later.  But we don’t have to view our past with regret if we trust it’s for the greater good.

The Road Curves

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I want to talk about another view of flow.  I’m a planner—granted I don’t always follow through on the plan, but I like to know what’s coming.  Yes, I even might get swayed at the last minute and let my plan fall apart.  There are some days I’m too much like the birch and others I’m too much like the oak.  In both, I’m not fully myself.  We have to allow for the middle, the flexibility and the stick-to-it-ness of our dream. The clarity of where and what but allowing the how.  When we try to force things that aren’t in their time we go against the flow of the seasons, the natural course of what is meant to happen.  There is a time for production and a time to learn, a time to understand and a time to apply.  If we make our own idea of what’s meant to be be the only way, then we suggest that we know better than the universe.  That’s a lot of pressure—and more often than not it doesn’t work.

We understand in nature that there is a time for everything.  A time for the ground to be worked, a time to plant, a time to let life grow, a time to reap the harvest, and a time to let it rest.  And it goes like this, endlessly.  We like to forget we are part of that cycle.  My friends, we are part of the natural Earth as much as any other living thing—these cycles apply to us as well.  We have so many cycles within us and none of our daily operations support that.  If we spent more time “in season,” we’d have a lot more sense.  George Santayana says, “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”  How we move forward is by allowing what is to be.  We don’t take our eyes off the goal but we don’t lose site of where we are.

This isn’t to say we have no control of the direction or the season we are in.  It’s all about how and when we plant the seeds.  We can’t compare our tilled dirt to someone’s tree they planted years ago.  Also, if I plant strawberries, I can’t be mad that someone else planted corn, or that they planted 30 plants and I planted 5.  One thing I’m struggling with is accepting that there were some seeds I didn’t mean to plant and now that’s what’s coming up in my life.  I can’t change it, but I can be more aware of what I’m planting next and I can also change how I manage what has grown moving forward.  I love the other example that we get to pick the car and the route, but we don’t force it to go straight when the road curves.  Again, if we understand that, then we need to understand it applies to our lives as well—there are just some things we have to go with and understanding that flow is about going with it, but it’s also about the work you’ve done to get to that point.  You will only see the results of what you’ve put in. 

Really this life is about awareness and acceptance.  Being conscious of your actions and choices, and above all, being clear on your intention and direction.  You may not have as much say in how you get there as you’d like, but if you trust enough, you will understand the detours and the lessons and you will appreciate the wins and the guidance along the path—you’ll even learn to appreciate those detours.  I’m the first to admit my frustration when things don’t go my way.  There is a part of me that feels like a failure if I can’t make it happen.  It gets tiring the more things don’t come to pass, especially those you truly wanted.  But sometimes it’s a matter of understanding what your path means, sometimes it’s a matter of getting on a new path, and sometimes it’s a matter of waiting for the right moment to move forward.  You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.  Find what brings you joy, and do that.

A Hair(cut) of a Coincidence (or NOT)

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My husband and I took our son to get his hair cut the other day.  We use the same stylist consistently because our son really likes her and she does a great job—we’ve formed a relationship with her over the years as well.  We weren’t able to get in with her a few weekends ago when we had time so we moved forward to her next available time.  So we take our little one in and we are just getting started with the hair cut when someone bumped me.  I looked down and it was a little kid just trying to pass by, no big deal, they run around the place like crazy all the time.  After a while as we are full on in conversation with the stylist and she is cutting our kid’s hair, I feel another bump but this time higher on my arm.  I automatically move out of the way thinking it’s another kid, but I swung around to make sure I wasn’t blocking someone.  It was our ex-sister in law tapping me on the shoulder.

I honestly didn’t even recognize her at first—it’s been close to 10 years since we’ve seen each other.  Throughout the years we’ve only heard rumors about what she was doing and what she was going through, but we’ve lost contact over time.  As soon as the lightbulb went off, a huge wave of emotion went through me.  I couldn’t even explain it.  I hugged her immediately and almost started crying.  She looked so good, like she was in such a different place than before.  Then sadness.  We had a complicated relationship over time from not really liking each other at first, to getting along, to falling out, to my husband and I getting married without the family, to getting the family back together, to her wedding, then to the implosion of the relationships all together.  We talked for a bit and exchanged numbers and it actually felt really good.

As my husband and I left with our son, a thought shot through my mind: this life is coming FULL CIRCLE.  I don’t understand what that entails yet, but there has to be something in the works and it feels big.  They say that we repeat lessons until we learn them, but this is different.  I’m working for the same place I was when we first met after leaving and coming back although I’m in a vastly different role.  I’m even working on the same location I did when I first started there.  I’m driving my parent’s car although it is a different arrangement than before (I’m not a high school student borrowing the car).  There are experiences I wanted before that I’m now saying yes to that I previously declined.

The universe has reasons for everything.  When we left, my husband told me he had seen her come in but he wasn’t sure it was her.  My back was to the door the entire time so I didn’t see her enter, and then in true form, once I started talking with the stylist, everything else fell away.  So she felt comfortable enough to know it was me and to approach.  That says something.  We could have pretended to not see each other, speculating about it later, but I know there is more to this.  Perhaps there is more to tell, more to learn about what happened all those years ago.  Or maybe it’s just a chance to offer some support and gain closure.  But the universe brought us together for a reason.     

I’m not sure what all of this means but I know it means something.  There is no way that this is not the work of the universe.  There are days that I struggle to find a reason for everything.  Days that I struggle reconciling what I want to do with what I have to do.  With getting angry at myself for the situations I’ve put myself in and not being where I want to be.  And days I struggle with feeling like I’ve lost so much time from not starting in the first place that I will never get where I want to go.  I’ve asked to start over in a bunch of ways—and maybe these circumstances that keep bringing me back are a sign that, on some levels, I am able to start again.  I have another chance to say the things I wanted to.  I have a chance to do what I need to do.  Maybe this is all aligning so I become who I am meant to be.  It also gives me some comfort that if it’s happening again, perhaps it was meant to be in the first place—and now I can choose another option. The mundane only seems mundane until you see it fall into place.  Pay attention and figure out what it means.


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We’ve talked about being in the meditative sense.  Being present, being aware of our breath, being aware of our existence.  I recently learned about a different kind of being.  There is a Dutch tradition called Niksen.  We’ve spoken before about the Italian tradition of Le Dolce Far Niente—the sweetness of doing nothing—and this expands on it.  Niksen means doing nothing or to be idle doing something without any use.  Everything needs a break and needs to reset sometimes including our mind.  The beauty in just being without focusing the mind is that the lack of external stimulation allows more creativity.  Clearly there is value in this concept culturally across the globe.  It’s just not something we fully embrace here. 

When we allow ourselves to simply be, to stare out a window, to allow the mind to unwind we experience something new.  This is unlike meditation where there is a focus on an anchor like the breath or the way the body feels in the moment.  This is about completely letting go and letting the mind be.  I already know there is hesitance amongst my mult-track minders and my ADHD-ers (myself included) because the mind never really stops.  We cling to the things that go through our brains or, at the very least, follow them like the little white rabbit.  When we detach from that clinging, something different happens—that is when we become the observer of thought.  Having something in the background like music or even just staring at your surroundings, as long as it’s without PURPOSE is the goal with niksen.  We don’t need to be productive constantly.

While we are trained to be on the go constantly, to be productive, there are times we have to attempt to slow it down and allow.  We have to create space for us to be.  We also have to redefine what rest looks like.  The weekend warriors don’t count, sorry.  Yes, there are always things to be done, but mental health is so key, so vital, that this includes stopping and letting those tasks we save for the weekend go.  No, I’m not advocating doing that regularly, but I’m advocating for recognizing when you need a break and to find solace in quiet, in just being. The mind isn’t designed to focus 24/7—it needs to recalibrate and recenter. 

Being is what makes us human.  Aside from the cultural references I’ve shared, nature allows for being as well.  You don’t see squirrels contemplating their existence.  You don’t see dogs upset over their looks.  Whales swim the ocean without worrying about space.  Birds fly because they were built to.  Flowers bloom when they are ready.  Humans are part of nature, and while our minds and ability to dig deeper into our awareness is a gift, it has allowed us to distort the story and forget that we are part of nature.  That we are allowed to be ourselves—that we are meant to be ourselves.  If we can get out of the narrative of “who we have to” and switch to “who we are meant to” be, the story changes.  Allow yourself to simply be and see what is written in you.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for new experiences for a second week in a row.  A friend generously treated me to a manicure and a pedicure.  Yes, I’ve had my nails done before—I used to enjoy acrylics or even gel nails—but I never had a manicure or a pedicure.  I admittedly used to have a stigma in my mind about sanitation and cleanliness in general, and I know it was wrong—in my defense in 20 years in health care I’ve seen some stuff.  The experience was pure joy from the start.  The simple act of taking care of the hands and feet is so underrated and I say that even with all the praise that goes on for mani/pedis.  There are so many reflex points in the hands and feet, and taking the time to rub the things that get the most use on our body is so vital.  Most of us ignore how much we use our hands and feet and how much work they do.  To have them treated was total bliss.

Today I am grateful for guidance and breakthroughs.  There are times in life we have to hear things we don’t want to.  Certain things may be known with the mind but not felt in the heart—or even the other way around.  And sometimes it isn’t about hearing what we don’t want to but rather KNOWING what we don’t want to.  The body is an amazing system and it gives us all sorts of warnings and indicators about what and who we are experiencing.  If I’m honest I’ve known things about someone close to me for a long time and I haven’t wanted to admit the truth of our incompatibility, the disrespect, me looking the other way, and getting steamrolled.  I’ve asked and begged for my boundaries to be respected and honored, to find a mutual way to achieve goals—and to have mutual goals.  While it stinks, I’m not the only one this has happened to, and the knowledge is painful, but it’s knowledge that I can’t ignore any longer.  One painful truth or a lifetime of beautiful lies—I’m tired of lies. 

Today I am grateful to experience letting go.  I’m genuinely not used to being taken care of.  I claim I want it but I never let anyone take care of me.  I feel like I don’t deserve it, like I can always be doing more.  The truth is another reality is sinking in: I don’t have the energy to do it all anymore.  Not that I’m falling apart or incapable, but I have simply realized that I don’t have the mental, emotional, or physical capacity to do it all anymore.  Moreover, I don’t want to.  I am at the point where I really have to consider how I spend my time, who I spend it with, and what I want the future to look like as well as what I want to feel like.  It isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to make me feel a certain way—it’s my responsibility to foster an environment for what I want to feel and experience.  That means letting go of who and what needs to go.  It means giving up control over every little thing and looking at the big picture.  It means guiding the ship and working on that 1% every day.  Let go of what doesn’t matter.

Today I am grateful to put patience into practice.  I know one of my biggest struggles is with patience.  I am not a patient person and I put a lot of expectations on myself.  One of the things I’ve witnessed as a mom is the trickle down effect of pressure put on my son.  My son had a bit of homework to get through today and he didn’t want to initially.  I told him we could break it down and do part of it today and he agreed.  He made a tiny mistake and he lost his mind.  I mean, full on tears and screaming that he always makes mistakes.  In that moment, I saw myself.  Later on my son wanted to play Uno and it’s been a really long time since he played it and he got confused with some of the rules—totally normal because he’s only six.  Again, the meltdown.  In each of those instances I recognized the healing I needed.  Something has been going on because yesterday he cried when he misunderstood a conversation about perfection.  My baby is the epitome of me, my fears included, and my anxiety seems to have made it’s way to him.  I’m grateful I had the moment and recognized it and stayed with him, expressed love for his frustration.  The healing continues.

Today I am grateful for a break from the pressure.  We had a wonderful evening with our friends yesterday.  Great conversation, laughs, the kids enjoyed each other’s company—my son had someone to actively play with and he loved it.  I’ve been stuck in panic mode for a while because some facets of my business aren’t coming together and I haven’t been quite clear on next steps in a few other arenas so I’ve been chaotic.  But this morning, still fresh from last night’s enjoyment, I woke up, started working, spent some time with my son, then woke up my husband and asked if he wanted to go get bagels.  He immediately said yes and I could see the pressure ease from his body—we’ve both been under a lot of stress.  One car ride and $15 later, we had a beautiful, casual breakfast as a family in the bagel shop.  Then we came home, did a bit more work, played, got cleaned up, and prepped for dinner.  Not everything needs to be in crisis/chaos/high gear 24/7.  Enjoy the breaks.

Today I am grateful for reminders of connection and love.  A sadness has been coming over me lately as I’m working through some of the pressures I mentioned above.  This morning as I worked, I heard the call of cardinals.  So I took it as a sign and I sat looking out my office window, practicing some Niksen for the first time.  Sure enough, the cardinals came into view a few minutes later.  The presence of those birds reminded me that we are never truly alone.  A few minutes later, my sone came and joined me and we cuddled.  The conversations last night, the connection came into focus and I realized that there is so much going on for all of us.  We create so much stress in our lives.  All we need to do is pause and connect and remember how fortunate we really are.  We are never alone.  We are always supported.  Sometimes we need reminders of our talent and how far we’ve come—and I saw that today.  Our memory isn’t always accurate so seeing the truth from a different angle, remembering how blessed we are is key.  Take a minute to breathe.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead. 

The Sandbox

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There is a certain irony in life.  We come into the world completely open and willing to play.  We are wired for it instantly and we rarely miss an opportunity to play.  Our parents, friends, family, everyone around us encourages us as we learn to walk, learn spatial reasoning, express ourselves, show creativity.  That is pretty much the story for the first five years of our lives.  Then abruptly, that world is taken away from us.  We are forced into school where we are told exactly what to think, what creativity is, what is valued, and what answers to give.  We aren’t taught critical or expansive thought and our creativity is diminished to an allotted time.  We are judged by our ability to respond and articulate/regurgitate information over our ability to produce original content—and the original content is subjective. 

As we get older, we feel the loss of something that we aren’t able to put our fingers on.  We enter the workforce, we create an image.  We show the world what they want to see or face some level of ostracism.  More often we present a façade out of fear we won’t be accepted as we are, so we step further and further from ourselves and the feeling of loss grows.  The loss is the loss of who we are at our core.  From childhood we know something is missing.  We KNOW that what we are told to do isn’t fully aligned with who we are.  We inherently know the value in play, in creativity, in the life we feel running through our veins and we fear the loss of that life as we are indoctrinated into a system that tells us the opposite of what we know is right—as that life is squeezed out of us.

The key is to reintroduce the joy into our lives.  Bring back the good—the things that feel good included.  Life is so much simpler than we make it.  The competition and drive of the ego gets in the way and makes us feel less than so we prove our worth (or for others, more than so they spend a lifetime proving their greatness, protecting imaginary power).  Life is about love and joy and light and doing what is good.  If we want to make things better, we simply need to get back to what we know.  Imagine something different.  And yes, I know it’s easier said than done.  I know it’s possible, though.  I know because when I introduce more of what feels good into my life, it feels better. While it may seem cliché or corny, it’s as simple as that.  When I feel better I can do better because I’m clear.  The answers come easier, and there are more options.

The value to the sandbox is it allows us space to experiment.  It isn’t permanent, it’s a place to learn in the unconventional sense.  Play gives us what we need to connect with the parts of us we lost, the parts we were taught to ignore and devalue as unimportant.  We can give ourselves a chance to practice at what works for us.  While we can’t literally turn back the clock, we can give ourselves a new opportunity to think, to try again at any time.  We can lower the stakes to make it easier to change course if we need to.  When we find the pieces that fit together, the picture becomes clear so it makes sense.  Changing direction doesn’t need to be scary, it just has to be about hearing our inner voice and taking action.  Find what works, and when that all makes sense, allow it to unfold.  It’s the most freeing feeling in the world to find yourself.