Success IS…

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If we are going to tell a story we want to live, we need to know what we want to experience, we have to know our likes and dislikes, our values, and our ultimate goals.  Life is about pushing boundaries and creating an environment where the things we want have room and reason to arrive.  It’s also about knowing our limits, not in regard to what we can do, but in regard to what we want to do.  It’s about knowing what is enough for us.  Some people have an idea that they need to attain a certain amount of money or have a certain size house, a certain size family, take specific vacations, drive specific cars, wear the right clothes, eat the right foods etc. in order to be happy or deemed successful.  We have the ability to make the decision on what success means to us.

I heard a story about a recruiter offering a position to an employee that would be a promotional opportunity and include better benefits.  The employee continually refused the offer.  When asked why, he stated that he is already successful where he is at.  He has a salary that allows him to live the life he wants, he is able to spend time with his family, he has the flexibility he needed in his role, and there wasn’t anything else to check off the list.  This man created his own definition of success.  On the outside, most people would consider passing a promotion foolish, but this man knew that he didn’t want to be tied to different hours and miss out on the thing she valued in life.  He had enough in his life to mark himself successful in his own eyes.

Success looks different for everyone.  For some, it does mean exactly what I listed in the first paragraph: it’s the material things and achievements that matter.  For others, it’s letting go of all that and taking in life around them.  For most of us, if we get really honest, I think it’s in the middle.  We want nice things, maybe decent things, but we want the time to experience them as well.  The key is knowing what success means for you.  If you want freedom but take a job that requires you to be in an office longer hours and you have less opportunity to experience life, then that isn’t aligning with your values.  Knowing what you want out of life makes those decisions easier.  The story we want to live becomes clearer the more we know what is important to us. 

For The Story?

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“Seek out the story you want to live, not the story you want to tell,” Jay Shetty.  The reason behind doing something changes the message entirely.  Shetty uses the example of going to a national park and lining up to get the same curated, perfect shot everyone else has on their phones versus going on a different path or to a different park entirely and just being there.  The difference in the two actions is motivation.  Do you want the “perfect” shot because you want more likes on social media?  Or are you trying to share something meaningful in your life?  Or do you even need to share it at all?

The most meaningful experiences come from the things we want to do, the things that have meaning to us personally.  Life is built on the things we have done and experienced and the things we have chosen to bring into our little bubbles.  Life is what we choose to make of it.  With that being said, we have choice in all we do.  We get to choose whether or not we go on that vacation, whether or not we accept that invitation, whether or not we are going to attend that function.  The story isn’t about what looks good or how it flows together.  I actually used to write that way—I wanted things to sound a certain way so I never bothered creating characters, I created lines and words that said what I wanted instead of an organic telling of the experience.  The story is about what we choose to do with our time.

Life is rarely a series of perfect events with a pretty bow wrapped around it.  We don’t need to pretend that’s what happens for the majority of us.  It isn’t about the image we show the world, it’s about knowing inside that you live in a way that feels right to you.  You don’t need approval, likes, or permission to have a valuable life.  Live a life you value and the rest falls into place.  The ego, and maybe human nature itself, loves the idea of a story, of a legacy to leave behind.  I mean, it is pretty natural to want to leave a mark on the world, and to have some impact on people.  But how we do that isn’t in fame or in how many views we have.  The real measure is in the lives we touch.  Yes, perhaps that story will be told over and over again and it may even be shared historically, but living in the day and sharing our gifts with others is legacy in itself.  Live well.  Live authentically.  The rest takes care of itself.  It’s not the story we tell, it’s the story we live. 

As We Are

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“We cannot form our children on our own concepts.  We must take them and love them the way {source} gives them to us,” Goethe.  This came up the other day while doing some private studying.  I saw it and my thoughts immediately went to my own child.  We’ve been struggling with some basics during homework time (I NEVER knew/remembered having this much homework in kindergarten—just for the record) and I completely lost it with him the other night.  It wasn’t the fact he was struggling, it was that he was fighting me in even attempting what needed to be done or understanding the need for practice.  After the fight, my husband and I were debriefing and he told me, “I think you’re struggling with it because he’s not you.”  It took my breath away because that had NOT been my intent.  I think my frustration was not knowing how to help my son properly as well as the pressure this school puts on all of us.  But it clearly came across as some anger or disappointment in my child. 

Kids are super impressionable and I repeat millions of times how important it is to cast off the expectations of society and allow our real selves to be seen.  If I’m expressing frustration at him for not doing the “norm” then I’m condemning him for not being like everyone else.  The truth is on some level I wish it were easier for him because it would be easier for me.  I work full time, run a business, write, have a little social life, have a home to maintain just like everyone else—so plotting in time to correct and teach adds to the already full plate.  Plus his experience is different than mine (we never learned verbs in kindergarten or had to count to 100 by 5’s at that age) considering I was in kindergarten well over three decades ago.

Kids are also incredibly stubborn and resilient because they still have the feeling in them that tells them to be themselves.  There is no shame or fear in complete expression of self at this age.  They want to wear unicorn pants and three pigtails, then so be it, it’s happening.  They want to run and climb on their desks in the middle of class, then that desk is now a tree.  They haven’t developed what we are trying to indoctrinate them into: the “right” way to be or doing the right thing.  They get bored following the same pattern over and over again at that age and that is their soul telling them they are meant for something else. It isn’t our job to take that out of them.  It’s our job to respect and honor that.  Sure, we need to teach them the basics and how to communicate with people and yes, we even need to teach them some social decorum.  But it isn’t up for us to tell them they are wrong when they don’t “get” those things.  Our job is to love them and maybe even honor that part of us that was told to hide when we were their age. 

My son’s job isn’t to please or appease me.  It isn’t to do what every other person in society tells him to do.  His job is to find his passion, his purpose, and to wake up and live that every day in every way he can.  MY job is to love him and guide him as best as I can.  It’s to understand the intricacies of his inner workings that make him, him—and to accept those things exactly as they are.  We aren’t meant to be raising little clones of us or breaking down a spirit that so readily and colorfully exists in our children.  We are meant to remember our own light and help them express theirs.  We are meant to normalize the things THEY feel and help them navigate what they want to do.  This life is magical and we are gifted infinite possibilities when we arrive her and anther set of infinite possibilities in our children.  Let them be who they are.

Know Your Fear

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Look under the bed and know your fear. This concept came from a meditation I did from Jay Shetty.  Jay discussed the idea from “Monsters Inc.” where we create an idea about our fear from things we know absolutely nothing about.  Fear is a useful tool that keeps us safe—that is its primary function.  Fear unchecked or without context creates blocks in our lives.  For example, Jay discussed how the Monsters in our beloved tale fear humans because that’s what they are taught, how they are taught to feel.  Think about a fear you carry.  Where does it come from?  I mean, I know there are brave souls who love the idea of jumping out of planes, bungee jumping, or other stunts that defy our survival instincts, but they still fear speaking to people.  How does that work?

The first step is identifying what the fear actually is and where it comes from.  Is it that we fear speaking to people or is it that we fear exposing vulnerability in speaking to people?  Is it that we fear interviewing for a new job or is it that we fear rejection from what we want?  Is it that we fear losing identity by getting healthy or is it that we fear maintaining what we start out/that we won’t fit in with the life we know?  You get the point.  Looking at the source identifies it and once that’s identified, there’s nothing stopping fixing it—or at least addressing it.  As Gabby Bernstein says, “We don’t have to fear our fear, we can use it to get closer to love.”  We can appreciate our fear for what it tries to do (protect us) and we can release our fear for what it is (a block to what we want).

The next step is learning the truth about our fear.  Once we’ve identified what it is and why we have it, we can work toward the reality instead of living in the same story over and over again—because THAT is what fear is: a story.  It’s a choice to stay in the familiar versus breaking out of our image.  We need the utmost clarity when we walk into a new life.  It doesn’t need to be anything as drastic as shedding our entire way of being, but we need that level of clarity so we know where we go.  Trust our own rhythm and what feels good in our body and soul—that is guidance.  We have permission to tell whatever story we want so trust that the callings we receive are from the universe and we are meant to answer it.

The next step as best as I can tell is to take action.  Thought is fabulous, it’s a foundation and gets us pointed in the right direction.  But thought, while it can tell us anything and create a wonderful story, it will not make the life we want without matching action.  Thought allows us to recognize the things we do for comfort and safety, the things that hold us back and hide us, as well as the things that move us forward.  We can’t repeat the same actions and expect something different.  So, the question becomes how do you want to feel?  Do you want to live a life of fear and chance regret from missing out on what you really want?  How do you want to be seen?  As one of the crowd, or as you really are?  Face your fear and make the life you want.  We have one shot, you don’t need permission to take it. 

The Light In Me And You.

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“I did something that made people present their best selves to me wherever I go,” Jim Carrey.  A great follow up from Saturday, we begin the week thinking about presenting our best selves because when we allow our best selves to be seen, we bring that out in others.  Several weeks ago I mentioned attending a conference and this happened to be the topic then.  I relished it but also thought, “Can it be that simple?”  It’s not so much about being the best or doing the best—it’s about finding the best in you and bringing your best to the situation.  The human spirit responds to effort, to the feeling that someone gives a damn, and that they are understood.  If we feel good, we can do good.

Look, life isn’t easy.  We face challenges every day as we navigate through the rat race/matrix/mundane or whatever you choose to call it.  We are taught and believe those things are simply the way life is, that this is what we do because we’ve always done it.  But if we start looking at what we do as an expression of ourselves, that changes the narrative and the choices we make.  If we make choices about our lives that reflect our truest desires and insights, suddenly the idea of “making it” in a way that the outside deems successful seems less important.

When we care about each other and we learn from each other, we communicate better, we feel better, and we do better.  All of that starts from the inside, though.  We’ve talked about this many times: in order to do your best, you have to bring your best out which means listening to the inner workings of your soul.  It means being aligned with what you KNOW is right for you and letting go of the should’s, the must’s, the have-to’s.  When we find our highest self, our best self, that light shines on the world differently and it has no choice but to cast light on those around you.  We find inspiration in those doing something different, those doing the things we want to do.

It takes massive courage to follow that inspiration and cast aside the mask we’ve been taught to create, curate, and perfect over the years.  People interpret that action as not caring for the rules or not fitting in.  To a degree that is the truth: when we let down the opinions of others, we state clearly that we value our true form more than the idea people are supposed to have of us and that we no longer live by arbitrary rules.  The more we do that, the more people SEE who we are.  If we manage to navigate beyond those initial opinions, we settle into the comfort of our light instead of what we can show people we’ve done.  We just shine and we light the way for others to be their best as well.  Shine on! 

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for change.  I am blessed.  Truly, I feel the gift of all the blessings in my life.  But as I’ve gotten older and continually asked/begged/pleaded for more, I see the facets of myself that needed (and still need) to change.  I was raised that we were given things as a reward or not given things as a punishment.  I was never taught to align with what I wanted and how to create it.  Ironic considering I come from a family of entrepreneurs.  Regardless, I am grateful to learn about the power of cocreation and the ability to change.  If we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we always got.  So move forward.  Do something different.  Build something different.  Dive in and live my wildest dreams.  We can’t control everything in our lives, but we can learn to align with what is for us.  I am grateful for the reminder life isn’t static.

Today I am grateful for faith.  This has been a tricky one for me over the years.  I’ve dallied, dipped, and danced around faith my whole life.  I spent much of my youth repeating what was told to me, not understanding the implication.  I rarely saw action and word match in regards to faith from the adults around me and I lost some of the best examples of faith early on in my life.  I’m seeing now the importance of bringing faith back.  Of living in a way that matches the trust  when we say everything happens for a reason.  I still find myself hesitant at this juncture.  Some of the things I know I need to do require the biggest leaps I’ve made yet and I’m scared.  I know that things happen in divine timing and that the life I’m seeking is waiting for me to make the move—it’s there.  I’m grateful to know I can make a new decision and the rest opens up.

Today I am grateful for imagination.  I lost touch with my childhood while I was still a child.  The reality is it wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was just the path I was born on.  My siblings were significantly older than me and I wanted to be part of their lives, to prove I was one of the crowd so I gave up “childish” things long before I should have.  Long before I understood how to do things to figure out what I liked.  Having a child has brought up some demons in regards to play and allowing myself to have fun.  I find myself controlling the outcome or not allowing play as I should, trying to teach a six year old the “point” of play.  In those moments I am (slowly) learning to completely let go and see the value of play.  There is no point in terms of winning or losing, it’s a matter of learning what feels good and simply going with it, finding joy in having fun.  Bringing back creativity and joy—imagining something new.

Today I am grateful for new experiences.  At the very beginning of this month, my husband and I had spoken about what we wanted in this year.  We didn’t set resolutions but we talked about things we wanted to change in order to bring ourselves forward.  We spoke about a year of experiences.  We are blessed and secure with things, a home, food, water, clothes, entertainment. We have a beautiful son and loving animals.  But we find ourselves bored and seeing things to fill that hole.  So we agreed that this year we aren’t going to buy as many things, we are going to create opportunities and experiences with each other, our family, and with people.  So far we’ve spent the holidays with friends and family, we’ve had multiple game nights with friends (and our first solo game night!), we’ve hosted people just for giggles, we’ve tried new restaurants, we’ve broken our routines around shopping and money, and we’ve begun planning trips and time off.  I am grateful for the opportunities this opens for us.  Life feels more open, more free.  I welcome what comes with it. 

Today I am grateful for power.  I thought I was seeking happiness (I am) when the reality is the path back to happiness is in ownership and responsibility for our life.  It’s in using our power for good and fulfilling our purpose.  I thought the word “power” meant exerting power OVER people and being in control of all things at all times.  I thought the universe was a constant test, like it wanted us to make the “right” decisions all the time and would reward us accordingly.  I was never taught the value in simply living, engaging, and having fun.  I was never taught that using our own power can make things easier and better for others.  Like, filling our own cup makes it flow over for other people.  It isn’t about control in the slightest.  It’s about accessing a source, THE source we have connection with, and using the gifts we have.  THAT is power.  That is where happiness lies.

Today I am grateful to listen.  I LOVE words.  I love thoughts and sharing thoughts and sharing ideas and stories.  I love creation, specifically creating with words.  But sometimes the storm of words in my mind gets to be so much that they fall out of my mouth when they shouldn’t.  Or they fall out in ways that don’t make sense to others.  I’ve been asking for ways to create the life I want, and today I am listening.  It’s more imperative now than ever before to hear what others need to say, and to hear what is REALLY being said to me.  Not all words that race through my mind demand my attention.  Sometimes I need to hear what is actually being presented to me.  THAT is what requires action.  I’ve always listened to others but I’ve rarely felt heard—and that’s also why I use words a lot—I try to create understanding.  But again, the messages for the path I want, the life I choose to create is in hearing the next steps, the signs.  So I am learning to listen.  To really hear those around me and the universe.  Same skill, better applied. 

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead!

Acceptance and Invisibility

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“Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world.  Pick up the light and dare to be seen,” Jim Carrey.  At our core, humanity is good.  Think of children growing up, the light they share with the world, unashamed and unfiltered in their speech and carriage.  Children are open to any possibility out there and they still allow for their imaginations to run wild.  We teach children the “norms” and ways of life and make them submit to docility and the same path we have always known.  We praise their creativity until they are old enough to be indoctrinated and make them become something that, at their core, they are not.  A child will not typically willingly submit to education, sitting in a school for eight hours a day, learning various subjects and being judged on it by their ability to remember not apply what they learn.  Kids learn through exploration, touch, feel, and feral wonder.  We shove books at them.  Now don’t get me wrong, education is valuable (especially the basics like reading and writing and math), I just think we need to change our method and evaluation. 

What we have offers support for those who stay the line.  What we need is something that develops who we are, recognizes our talents, and pushes us toward making our light shine.  I see the things that spark interest in my son and he does well in school in those areas.  He struggles with things that do not align with him.  This is where Carrey’s quote comes in.  We care more about acceptance from the main stream than we do about learning to hone and develop the qualities that would shape our personal lives.  We are taught that in school, from our family, and even from our friends.  It plays on our innate desire to be part of the crowd so we aren’t lost or shunned from the herd.  When we release that need for approval, something happens.  Yes, there is the fear of abandonment, but there is also the possibility of acceptance by something greater: yourself, and those who see you.

This world has too many invisible people.  We went for too long thinking our gifts were either shameful or not practical so we hid them.  We praise those who go with it and admire those who step out of the shadow, but we seldom figure out what we need for ourselves.  I know we each have a burning calling toward something.  You may not hear or feel it every day, but it’s there because you DO feel it.  What happens when you get curious about that calling instead of suppressing it?  What happens if you feel your way into that a bit more?  What happens when the weight of being what you were supposed to be is heavier than what you are?  I honestly think that’s what happens to most people: they bear the burden of the shoulds and musts until it becomes so heavy it crushes who they are.  They mistake that weight for comfort and reality and most never bother to take it off.  Not that the good or the curiosity is lost, it just becomes more uncomfortable to explore it than it does to deal with the weight of what you “should” do.

When we answer the call, I can tell you this much: the beginning is simultaneously scary and exciting.  It feels like exploring a place you shouldn’t be.  The more you dive in and peel back the layers, the more questions you have about the possibilities you start to see, the more comfortable that becomes and the more curious you can be.  Then that leads to the next level, the next discovery and so on.  It brings us back to that child like wonder and the joy we felt in the freedom of simply DOING.  Kids don’t need reasons to do anything.  One second they want to draw and the next second they’re an astronaut running around your living room preparing to take off for outer space, and it’s simply because they want to.  I honestly think if we were allowed to explore that for longer, we would see some very different adults making different choices in their lives.  There is no harm in discovery, in fact, it is necessary.  If someone didn’t start asking the questions previously, we wouldn’t know what we know now.  So let’s get back to that and ask the questions we feel, let’s honor the nature of who we are, and let’s learn enough about that to shine our light and bring forward that version of us.  It’s there.  Let’s learn to do it for ourselves and then help others do the same.  Bring the light to the world.

Don’t Rot Your Life Away

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“Everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that’s left is what’s in your heart,” Jim Carrey.  As dark as this sounds, this is oddly comforting.  In the process of change, there is the recognition of the beauty around us, the topic we’ve been on this week.  But there is also the process of recognizing the temporary nature of it all.  That our goals to be seen and recognized, to gain and attain, to leave a mark on the world really have such little meaning.  In the big picture, when we look at the sheer odds of our being here, of the amount of people it took to get us here, the fact that we survived and arrived at this time is a miracle.  That in itself is worth more than anything that can be bought.  I think part of the fascination we have with things is that things can last longer than we can.  It’s a mark of what we’ve done.  Things also show that we’ve been here.

But life IS temporary.  Those things fall apart just the same as we do.  Nothing is meant to last forever.  I think that is why there is such reverence for those articles, the physical reminders of the past.  It is a reminder of another time, the humanity of that day and age, of what we knew back then.  But how remarkable it is that we can take that information and consciously choose to do something with it today.  How amazing that we can make choices about how we want to shape the course of life.  None of that comes from what we have, it comes from what we do.  It comes from the mark we leave on the hearts of others, not the mark we make on the physical plane.  It’s what we leave behind in the minds of those around us, what we spark in those around us to inspire a new way, a new idea.

Carrey isn’t speaking in a negative or dark sense.  He is speaking to the idea of changing perception.  Perhaps it is the same action, but with a different focus, that action has a different meaning.  It’s about your presence and connecting with people as opposed to achieving a status symbol. It isn’t necessarily about what is seen, it’s how we are seen, and more importantly, what is felt in that presence.  In terms of legacy, Carrey simply means don’t worry about what it looks like you did, do something that serves the greater purpose of our being here.  That is what you want to leave behind.  That is what you want to share with the world, those with you now and the future who will not see you physically.  The legacy is what you leave behind for those you haven’t met yet. Make that legacy one from the heart.

How People Change

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“People change in four different seasons, when they hurt enough that they have to, when they see enough they’re inspired to, when they learn enough they want to, and when they receive enough they’re able to,” John C. Maxwell.  How amazing is that?  We used to break down change in terms as simple as people change when they are ready and people don’t change unless they want to.  Looking at the additional ebb and flow of human emotion, Maxwell’s quote seems to ring a bit closer to the truth.  Change is a natural part of life and, yes, humans can only truly change if they want to.  We always have the choice to go back to who we are.  But there is more impetus to change than we let on.  It isn’t just about shedding the old skin.  Change is an integration of who we are and what we know, an allowing of what we know to evolve into something more, a becoming embracing the entirety of our being.  We don’t wake up suddenly a new person, although that spark can happen in an instant.  We change when the discomfort, no matter the cause, is so great we can lon longer stay as we are.

As humans in a comsumerist society, we are trained that discomfort is a bad thing and that we need things to eas the comfort of our lives, or rather, to make our lives more comfortabl eto ease the pain.  Sometimes pain is there as a means to move forward.  It’s a means to create and become who you are meant to be.  It says that we aren’t what we once were, that we are meant for something greater, and to do that we have to do different things.  Change also comes from a desire, a need to be something other than what we are.  When we know there is more out there, when our view expands, when new ideas show us other avenues, we are willing to walk a new path.  Change comes from learning.  Going further into seeing other views, knowing that we are part of a much larger scale allows us to open to new ways of bringing our skills and ideas to the page.  It teaches us to integrate our thoughts into the macro and maybe make things better for everyone.  And yes, change also comes when we have enough resources that we are able to.  No matter how strong the desire or urge, there are simply some changes we can’t make without appropriate resources. 

In each of those seasons, we can always opt out as I mentioned above.  We can choose to continue on the path that we know or that we were told to know, or we can allow the change to happen.  The first step is to stop pretending things that don’t matter, matter to you.  When you feel dissatisfied or discontent with your life, wake up and ask a different question: Why?  Yes, always persist with gratitude, but open to the curiosity of why we do what we do.  If you know the why, you can shift.  Look for the season you are in and understand it.  Allow the lesson of the time you are in to wash over you and use it to move forward.  And in all of these ways, change can happen in any moment.  When we feel the spark and choose to follow it, whenw e understand how our toughts and actions create the life we live, that is when change happens.  Isn’t that amazing? 

Mirrors Lie, and People Do Too

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I looked at my reflection and thought, “Wow, it looks like I’m thinning out in my face, why do my clothes still feel so tight?”  I’ve had that feeling often when I see myself and think I look a certain way only to find I look nothing like that—or I don’t feel good with what I ultimately chose.  I’d be excited to wear something or it initially felt really good, and then a few minutes or a few hours later I’d be so uncomfortable, or I’d see myself again from a different angle and feel awful about myself.  That led me to thinking the mirror isn’t always accurate.  It plays tricks on the mind and depending on the shape, light, angle, etc., it isn’t the whole truth.  Friends, the same goes for people.  Yes, it’s human nature to engage in various degrees of lying—for protection, for lack of knowledge, for personal experience that doesn’t match—but that means the same rules of the mirror apply to people too.  They aren’t seeing the whole picture and they can make us feel like we don’t fit based on what they are seeing.  The outside view is so limited.

Human nature is a funny thing.  We want to be with others but we also want to get what we want.  For some, that turns into a manipulation of energy and a need to always be right which creates superficial relationships.  Some people never grow out of that.  While the interaction or relationship initially feels genuine, there is something behind it.  Then there are those who overtly seek energy from others.  I’m actually not going to say to avoid either type of person.  I’m going to tell you to develop your radar and to learn about your boundaries.  I’m also going to tell you to remember who YOU are and how to keep the reality of your mind and your purpose at the forefront of your thoughts.  That’s how you navigate those challenges and working with people—by staying centered in yourself and remembering everyone comes from a different level of experience.  Not everyone is you.

No one can ever see the full depths of us—our brains are amazing machines and capturing each moment is nearly impossible.  Plus we haven’t really mastered mind reading yet, just saying.  We can’t expect people to understand each and every angle of the thoughts running through our minds and we aren’t able to do that for others, either.  We aren’t meant to do that because we are meant to communicate and work with each other and LEARN.  We are meant to take the pieces of our knowledge and experience and put it together with other’s knowledge and experience.  Sometimes it takes a while for those pieces to fall together properly.  We can’t let the initial appearance deter us from doing the work or approaching people.  Think about relationships—there are some people you’d never think would go together and they last forever and then there are some who you’d think are perfect together and it all falls apart.  The same is said of the mirror and people’s opinions.

If we keep going long enough on our path and remain authentic to ourselves and maintain our values, then we may find that right balance in relationships with people.  The right opportunities find us, the energy finds us, and we align with the experiences that work best with our values and goals.  Don’t allow someone’s opinion to stop you from going for what you’re meant to achieve if you feel that purpose pulling you.  Don’t let the image of how we look stop us, either, because eyes can see things incorrectly.  Our perception is designed to keep us alive, not tell the story of who we are.  And our perception will tell stories if we don’t keep ourselves in line every now and then.  So remember that what we see isn’t the whole truth, and how we feel is often more important.  Our viewpoints can change with enough perspective—so can how we feel.  Go with how you feel.