Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for flexibility.  I’ve often spoken of my struggle with time and my fears about it.  Over the last few weeks I’ve faced that fear head on as our schedules have shifted with my husband starting a new job and our son starting school.  I learned that sometimes the things we fear aren’t as drastic as we imagine them to be—it goes right along with mindset.  Adaptation isn’t just going with the flow, it’s a mutual formation of something new.  Releasing the death grip I held on time and my schedule has actually allowed a lot more freedom.  There is still a need for routine, but the shifts have allowed me to see what I have room for and what is really important.  Simple changes lead to big results and suddenly those fears I’ve lived with aren’t as scary as they once were.

Today I am grateful for a new understanding of responsibility.  I used to think that responsibility meant taking on everything and being accountable for everything.  With the schedule changes I mentioned and learning to navigate through different time constraints and prioritizing differently for the projects we have going on, it has shown me that responsibility is less about making ourselves feel busy and more about taking on the things we are willing to be responsible for.  Responsibility is a choice and we are allowed to put down that which doesn’t align with our purpose.  I recently read Embrace Your Almost by Jordan Lee Dooley and she shared an interesting perspective on priority.  When we prioritize everything, nothing gets done so instead we should look at prioritizing what matters now and what needs to be done now.  Eventually all will get done in its time.  We don’t need to take on what doesn’t work now.

Today I am grateful for what I’m able to provide.  I’m so grateful for the things I’ve been able to do with my life and I’m grateful to wake up to clearer purpose about aligning with what else I can do.  I’m grateful for being able to provide for my family and not have to worry about basic necessities—that is a HUGE blessing today and I don’t take that for granted.  I’m grateful to be able to provide counsel to those who have sought me out and I give it willingly—I actually LOVE doing it.  I’m grateful to provide health services and insight to those who ask.  This helps me align further with my purpose to awaken people.  I used to think of being a facilitator as being a stepping stone or door mat.  Now I see it as someone who opens the door, someone who helps people get in the right direction on their path.  I’m grateful to provide that.

Today I am grateful to continue to learn.  There are so many times I feel like I failed with my son—so many times I feel like I fail.  I lose my patience and my temper over and over.  I struggle understanding what he actually needs.  I don’t communicate well.  And I know I need to calm down and accept everything about what is.  Including that my child will test me and push buttons I didn’t know I had.  I also need to remember that I have a lot to learn and that, yes, being a parent means putting aside the things I thought I knew and getting comfortable going at someone else’s speed.  That doesn’t mean I don’t feel frustration when my instructions aren’t heard but I can remember that it isn’t about me.

Today I am grateful for a great reminder on learning (following the last point): You can’t beat a river into submission, you have to surrender to it (Doctor Strange).  I still have the habits based on the construct of what I know as “right” so I feel myself trying to pass that on to my son and taking that out on my husband.  Now, I’m not defending myself because there are basic things that simply are as they are and need to be done whether we like it or not.  But if we get close and the lesson is learned, does it really matter how?  So it isn’t about my ego and being right and teaching him the “right” way.  It’s about meeting him at his level and understanding where he’s at today.  Some days he is ready and willing.  Others he isn’t.  Some things aren’t about me.  Some things are about surrendering.  Truly letting go and learning what we are being taught, even if we are the ones who are supposed to teach.

Today I am grateful to attempt that surrender.  People are who they are and we need to remember that we aren’t here to control anyone else.  We only have say over what we do.  Surrender means being with people as they are.  Truthfully it gets heavy carrying the load of telling everyone how it should be.  And I know that isn’t my role.  That isn’t my position.  I’m meant to help people when they are willing and receptive to it.  I’m not meant to bark orders and dictate how life is supposed to be.  I’m simply meant to be and to guide as I’m needed.  Let go of what I think I know. 

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.   

Bend and Flex

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“If you want to be king of the forest, you can’t be too proud to bend with the wind,” origin unknown.  I attended a memorial for the CEO of the company for my side gig and one of the speakers shared this quote.  It’s a timely reminder about the need to flex with life.  Unpredictable things happen every day and, as we’ve been discussing this week, all we have control over is our mindset.  The quote above can be applied to anything—and the goal doesn’t necessarily have to be becoming king or any other type of title.  Rather if we are going to achieve a goal, if we want to attain a certain mark, a certain level of comfort, a certain milestone, we have to demonstrate flexibility.  Aside from impatience, this is probably one of my weakest points.

The point of the quote hit home when put into context of a literal forest.  The speaker shared that Oaks, while they grow tall, large, strong, and domineering, they don’t tend to fair well after time in the storms because they don’t move.  Birches on the other hand flex in the wind so they tend to come through the storms just fine.  While perhaps cliché and a bit obvious, tell me that isn’t the absolute perfect analogy for life.  It’s a practical application of the quote and, yet again, goes along with mindset.  I say this with no malice but rather with complete understanding: this is why I am how I am.  I was raised by a generation a decade older than my peers.  Between my parents and the time I did have with my siblings, I was exposed to a mindset that if you work hard and do what you’re told, you get a certain result.  Enter extreme rigidity and expectation on my part.  I would do exactly what I was told to get what I want for my entire life.  I never learned the adaptation part, or the flexibility.

I have goals in my life, and no, they don’t necessarily involve becoming king of anything.  But the concept still applies.  If I want to achieve those goals, I need to learn to flex on the way, not the outcome.  Truth be told, I don’t know where I got the habit that if something isn’t working I give up immediately.  I never learned the pivot.  I’m good at moving onto the next thing while holding the grudge that something didn’t work…not the best mindset, I know, but it kept me moving.  It gave the illusion that I was still productive or able to achieve something.  I never learned to stick to something until it materialized. I think that is why certain facets of manifestation challenge me.  That’s a side note—but a good point of reference.  Manifestation is about letting go of the way in favor of the best outcome.  I misinterpreted that to mean if it doesn’t go my way it isn’t meant to be.  That’s like spending your life aiming at a dart board blindfolded—you start searching for a target you can’t even see.     

Often reminders like this come during a time when we need to demonstrate more flexibility.  I’d be lying if I said it weren’t true for me in this moment.  Changing mindset, learning what is actually holding you back, finding what your real beliefs are turns things upside down a bit.  I mean, I know the beliefs I express and profess and that truly move me—I share them with you.  Yet, even with all the progress I’ve made, I find that I still struggle to have those beliefs FOR myself.  Perhaps this is key.  Perhaps all that is needed is a shift in mindset from a defeated attitude to a flexible attitude.  There are multiple ways to achieve anything, none of them better than the other.  It’s the mountain again—we are all heading to the top.  We can either spend our time running around the base yelling at people about what they’re doing, or we can simply begin our own ascent.  I choose the climb.

Turning Inward

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I always assumed turning inward meant looking at and analyzing and controlling every piece/part of my life.  Like, I would have to gather all the data, follow every little thought, document each part of my mind.  I turned inward looking for different activities to satiate where my mind was going in that moment.  A constant barrage of thought and activity with no real relief or resolution.  A week ago, something different occurred to me: I kept getting signs to “reflect on my inner landscape” and I looked at the definition of turning inward differently.  If I have a landscape in my mind then it needs to be cultivated and directed.  I love a wild garden, but if I’m looking for a certain result, I really need to grow and cultivate the direction that garden is growing. The thoughts need to become intentional. 

Part of being intentional means going deep and looking at the darker side.  Some call it the shadow side, but in reference to the garden, we can call that the weeds.  Sometimes the mind becomes overgrown with negative thoughts or patterns and we need to take them out at the root.  Turning inward isn’t a rehashing of every negative thing that has happened to us that we use to justify where we are at, or looking at everything we’ve done.  Turning inward isn’t a replay of our lives: it’s an examination of where we are and determining where we want to go.  Turning inward is learning to recognize what we bring to the table as ourselves—where our true value is.

If we know who we are and what makes us feel good, if we know what we are capable of, if we know our purpose, then we have created a place where those good feelings, those intentions, that purpose can grow and be fulfilled.  All of that stems from turning inward and removing the negative thoughts of who we were told we were.  We talked about mindset yesterday in the context of Think and Grow Rich and I want to highlight a few things: one, being rich doesn’t always mean in the monetary sense.  We can be rich in myriad of ways.  In order to see success in any one of them, we need to tend to our mindset and keep it positive.  Two, the latter point means when it comes to our mindset, we really do have to tend it like a garden.  Everything that ISN’T who we are must go.

And that leads to turning inward. In order to see who we are we have to differentiate what we are not.  That requires the inner work and objectivity to see what does and doesn’t work for us.  Once we identify the parts we want to raise, then we focus our energy on that.  One of my employees told me that she wanted to focus on the negative in order to improve it.  While I understood what she meant, I told her she needed to flip it.  Rather than focus on improving the “negative,” why not focus on the positive and allow that to be a complement to other people’s strengths?  The same is said for turning inward: focus on what makes you, you, not on what people tell you to be.  It’s up to you to decide that.  No one gets to charter your course.  You get to decide what you do.  When you shine the light inward, that’s exactly what you find: your purpose/what to do.  So cultivate the landscape of your mind to create the life you want.  THAT is what it means to think and grow rich.

Revisiting an Old Thought

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Something I talk about a lot is mindset.  I’m not always the greatest at maintaining my own mindset as I’m prone to some negative chatter, however this is a persistent theme in my life.  Things look better when you look up.  There is power in mindset.  There is power in controlling our thoughts.  There isn’t much in the outside world that we can truly control in the literal sense of the word.  We don’t know how people will behave, we don’t know what is actually coming our way, and we can’t control the weather.  But we can control how we perceive things and how we react.  The part of mindset that has always fascinated yet eluded me is the power of manifestation.  I say it eludes me, but what I really mean is I don’t understand the level of belief it requires to attain the things that seem out of reach.  So, I can ALMOST get there, but tend to fall short.  That’s a story for another day.  Regardless.

I recently started reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and it is literally all about mindset.  I mean, I just started so I know there is more coming, but the opening through the first couple of chapters is largely about understanding there is nothing we can’t have as long as we have the determination to get it.  In some ways it sounds ruthless because there is always a price—people are impacted by what we do—but the truth is it comes down to focus and clarity of thought.  It’s about being precise enough on the destination that the exact steps we need to take always reveal themselves.  They may not be the steps we thought so flexibility on the journey is required, but that end vision is always there.  Again, this is something I’ve talked about.  The book was written nearly 100 years ago.  These are NOT new concepts.  I have no problem professing it to other people.   Yet when it comes to my goals, my brain struggles with the idea of can it REALLY be that easy?

That goes back to the lack of clarity: you (I) can’t get where you’re (I’m) going if you don’t have the destination in mind.  When you want big things and have a lot of vision and very busy mind, it’s hard to clear out the noise because sometimes there is gold there.  But not all thoughts are gold and sometimes we just have to let them pass.  What I do know, especially after the events of this week, is that when we share our authentic selves, people are receptive to that.  They don’t want to be sold on who you are, they want to know who you are.  In order to steward the ship of our lives, we need to know where we are going which requires knowing who we are.

So…the story is the same but in a bit of a new package. It’s easy to achieve a goal when you know where it is and where you are headed.  Even if it takes time to get there, you are still heading in the same direction.  So when will my stubborn brain calm down enough to allow the real me to captain the helm?  I can’t drive toward three places at once.  She’s coming through now and I am grateful for the experience with my coworkers this past week.  I’m grateful for the reminder to slow down and the need for gentleness from my illness so I can learn to focus on what is really important and take one step at a time.  I’m grateful for another reminder on mindset—you know they say you have to hear a message seven different times seven different ways to get it.  For me it may be seven million, but I’m listening.  Now it’s about stewarding and driving those thoughts where they belong.

What it Means to Calm Down

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The last few weeks have been crazy in our household.  We’ve been ill off and on since the beginning of August, we’ve started new jobs, we’ve travelled, we’ve dove deep into our business and planning our future, we’ve started school (literally and figuratively).  We have been consistently busy and sometimes the body just doesn’t know what to do.  This last illness has left me with some lingering side effects that I hope go away after I complete my medication, the worst of which is difficulty hearing out of my right ear.  The cold I had generously spread to my entire right side causing a massive sinus/eye/ear infection and the ear issue is still lingering.  I honestly didn’t realize I was that sick so I kept going.  I never stopped working even though I desperately needed more rest. 

Yesterday I decided to look up some of my old massage techniques to help drain my ear and almost everything that came back was lymphatic drainage techniques.  For those not familiar, lymphatic drainage is an extremely light pressure technique used to assist in pumping lymphatic fluid toward the natural “drains” of the body.  My natural stubbornness kicked in and I followed the techniques, but of course, it was too hard.  My ear is REALLY stuffed up so I figured a little extra pressure couldn’t hurt as I needed to MOVE whatever fluid is in there.  My husband is having a similar issue so I sat with him and eased the technique on him and he seemed to get some relief.  Then HE tried it on me much closer to how it was supposed to be done.  Holy smokes—he found things on my FACE that hurt that I didn’t even know were bothering me.  First I felt guilty because he gave a much better massage than I did, but then it hit me: I’m going too fast.

I’ve been taking the medicine to a T but still working like crazy.  My mind is in over drive, I always have things to do, my schedule is turned around (even with planning my days), and I still feel pulled in a thousand directions at once.  I’ve been rushing through the things I LIKE doing.  I’ve been reading at night but I don’t allow myself to thoroughly enjoy it.  When I move my body, I’m not feeling my body I’m just trying to finish what I started.  When I was massaging my husband, I wasn’t thinking about him, I was thinking about forcing the technique to work.  So even though I’m doing the “right” things, I’m rushing through them.  I’m not allowing them to work, I’m willing it to work.  The realization hit me that I need to allow my body to naturally decompress.  My husband’s technique on my face was highly effective in demonstrating a gentle touch can change things.  What happens when I allow my body to truly relax?

The latter thought then escalated to what happens when I let the mind slow down?  What happens when there isn’t this constant busyness going through my brain?  Why do I need to carry it with me anyway?  No one ever said the mind has to go on multiple rails 24/7.  It’s ok to pause some tracks and really focus on what’s important—in this case, my health.  Some things in nature, health included, can’t be forced.  Our power isn’t enough to make it be a certain way.  We have to create the space to foster health and wellbeing and then it comes to us naturally.  I’ve also rarely been a patient person so this lesson is extra important.  Sometimes things simply take time.  In this case the infection was really bad so it is going to take a minute to clear everything up.  But with patience and continued support, I know I can calm myself enough to allow.  I can trust all is well and I will recover.  All it takes is a little tenderness on my part to slow down.

Hidden Parts Revealed

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One facet of the story I shared yesterday that I want to emphasize is what it feels like to open up in person.  I’m a pretty open book and I don’t hold back much.  Many times, that has been to my detriment as I either overwhelm people or they don’t understand or my story is simply not for them.  This is a result of social anxiety as well as a deep pressing need to be accepted.  But there are some pieces of myself, the ones that are really precious that I keep tucked away.  How people receive the “worst” parts of me determines if they get the best parts of me.  I also tend to keep the parts that are brewing fairly quiet—hence why I never really discussed much of my business with my coworkers. The point of all this is that I’m a mixed bag to most people.  I’m either over or under-sharing and I know that confuses some.  I share on this platform in an effort to let others feel seen as well, but at work, it’s all, well, work.

Sharing stories here is far easier regardless because I am protected behind the screen and keyboard and however many miles physically lie between us.  Sharing the stories I do in person is a different thing—same can be said about my business and those precious jewels.  It’s also scary to share parts of yourself with people who know you one way.  They have their ideas engrained and shifting their mindset can be challenging.  And changing their mindset should never be the point, but we often look to those who know us to know us as we really are and if they can’t pivot with you, we feel isolated or lost or like we’ve failed.  I believe in my business.  I believe in my purpose—to help people awaken to their greatest potential.  I believe in the power of people—I know we can change the way things are.  But the people I see on a daily basis don’t necessarily feel that way.

In sharing the truth and the details of what I do face to face with this group, I saw a shift when they recognized the authenticity in what I’m doing.  It was no longer about convincing them a product works and that we need to take charge of our futures.  It was about showing them what I believe actually works for me.  It’s about giving them hope to try it for themselves.  And on a personal level, it was about feeling comfortable enough to share the parts of me I believe in.  I tend to do this thing where I’m comfortable sharing my trauma.  It never felt like a big deal because I had no shortage of it.  I assumed it was the norm.  But sharing something I was excited about felt too personal because I didn’t want to risk being embarrassed if it fell apart.  Plus I didn’t want to have to maintain a falsely positive attitude if things did start going south.  I learned that I can’t anticipate the negative.  More specifically, if I CAN anticipate the negative, I can learn to anticipate the positive as well.

As corny as it sounds, this whole time it wasn’t about establishing that belief in a thing.  It was establishing belief in myself.  That is something I’ve sorely lacked for nearly my entire life.  There is a marked difference in being who I am versus convincing people who I am.  Again, it’s easy to do that behind a keyboard, but when you do that face to face, you see people’s reactions on their face.  I’ve been trained to anticipate the negative so I always thought people would react negatively to my authentic self.  But I never gave them the chance to see the real me.  Sharing this side of me showed me unequivocally that I can be accepted as I am and that what I have to offer, whether a product or my story, is needed and will continue to be accepted.  Let people see you.

People and Surprises

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My mentor has told me many times that you never know who will say yes to you.  She meant it in the context of business, and that was honestly my first experience of it, but I want to talk about it applying to other areas of life as well.  I’m in two related fields, healthcare and holistic/nutraceutical care.  Both emphasize the need for care of the body yet they have vastly different approaches.  We’ve discussed before that healthcare today isn’t really healthcare, it is sick care, so I approach my holistic work with the purpose of empowering people to take care of their bodies and to take control of their health. There is a vast world out there, an industry, designed to profit off of the human body breaking down.  Truth be told, it happens naturally and there is a place for that.  But in the mean time, we need to take control of our own physical health.  Now, with that being said, I have a confession: I’ve kept the holistic part of my life fairly hidden from my 9-5—they have a general idea of what it is and they know I like it.  Much of what I do doesn’t fit with the group I’m a part of now—there are some who are interested, but others not so much.  Recently worlds collided.

One of my coworkers shared that a position had opened up at a sister facility at what equates to a Vitamin shop and their specialty is nutraceuticals.  Before I knew it, I exclaimed, “I know I’ve told you I have a side business, that’s what I do!”.  My boss immediately told me I need to go for it.  She said, “Not that I want to lose you, but this is right up your alley”.  There was a brief sting and some fear as I thought about the changes in our organization and whether or not I had a place there, but I realized she was coaching me.  I’ve known for a long time I wanted to go in this direction.  I practiced massage therapy for a time, I’ve always been looking to herbal remedies to naturally take care of myself, and I love sharing information with people so they feel empowered with their care.  But I’ve been “safe” until now in my current role.  And it hit me: I’m not safe (no one is) and if this is what I really want, it may be time to go for it.    

Three realizations happened in quick succession: 1. I can’t keep pretending my life is in my 9-5, I need to take the leap and focus on the life I’m building.  2. People become genuinely curious when you are honest about who you are.  Within 24 hours of that conversation, two of my coworkers ordered product from me.  3. Sharing that facet of who I am changed me.  It’s different sharing something you’ve been quiet about face to face than it is writing it here.  When you share yourself with the world, the world opens up.  These are people I figured would NEVER be interested in it let alone make a purchase.  That was all my bias based on conversations we’d had.  But I learned people are sometimes shy to share what THEY are curious about.  It all depends on the company so to speak.  If the group seems interested, they’re interested, if not, they’re not.  Timing is everything and after a real conversation, they showed they really did have an interest.     

You never know who will be interested in what you have.  I’m not just talking about a product.  I’m talking about your story.  People need your story.  They need to know they aren’t alone and they need to be seen and heard where they are.  No, your story isn’t for everyone and it takes some discerning to learn who needs it, however, the impact you have on those who ARE looking for what you’ve got is immeasurable.  The truth is a lot of people are scared.  Look at what I just shared: I’ve been doing this side work for nearly a year and I never told the majority of the people I see on a daily basis.  But they needed what I had for them—in this case they needed to hear it and they needed a product.  You just never know.  Our stories are invaluable and that is the beautiful thing about being human: just living teaches us and it brings us to who we need when we need them and vice versa (it brings them to us).  Whatever happens with the role, it really doesn’t matter.  I am grateful to have support from people who do genuinely care and to remember that there is space for me.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for the expression of self.  Sometimes you don’t know how much you nee to share pieces of who we are with those around us.  I spent so much time thinking I would be rejected by people that I rarely gave the chance to let them see the real me.  A little over a week ago, I was holding an event for my side business and literally no one showed up.  Even the people who said they were coming.  NO ONE.  At first I played it cool because I know that I can’t force people to do something.  But then it started hurting because my husband or myself have helped every one of them at some point and they couldn’t be there to support us.  But then a conversation at work changed everything.  People you least expect will support you when those who have known you the longest wont.  More to come on that one. 

Today I am grateful for time with my son in nature.  My husband had to work yesterday so my son and I went to the trails a few miles from our house.  The last time we were there my son was about 3 so I didn’t think he would remember much and he told me he didn’t when we first got there.  As we were ending our little walk, he asked me if I remember the last time we were there how he fell on his butt and I told him I did—kids can surprise us.  Regardless, the weather was perfect, the hike got us moving, and the views were spectacular.  We went a different route than we had the last time so we got to see things from a higher vantage point.  The colors are just giving hints of coming through, and the wildflowers and grasses are absolutely gorgeous.  My heart melted when my son said he really had a good time.  I love doing things like that with him and I’m grateful those experiences will stick with him.

Today I am grateful for life.  I couldn’t think of a better way to describe it.  I’m grateful for all the pieces of who I am falling together.  I struggle every day with the timeline because I wish I hadn’t been so stubborn and wasted time forcing things to be a certain way, but I AM grateful that it’s happening.  I guess I never really listened to people when they describe how it feels to fully express yourself and to be content with where you’re at.  I mean, I think I imagined it a certain way where people saw the sense in what I was doing and kind of steered clear.  The reality is it’s a flow and it doesn’t matter if it makes sense to other people, it has to make sense to me. 

Today I am grateful to clear out the noise.  Over the last few weeks I’ve literally struggled with my hearing as a result of a nasty cold turned sinus infection.  It has shown me how much I let distraction get in the way of what I’m really trying to accomplish.  I’m not terribly surprised because I am an avid observer and recorder.  I like to take things in and I like to be entertained/taken away to a different world.  I especially love thinking of the possibilities.  But what I’ve learned is that progress really does require focus.  I have several major things going on in my life at once and they’ve been going for a few years now.  None of them has particularly taken off—and this experience with my hearing has shown me it’s probably related to the focus.  In order to progress, I need to focus entirely on one thing or at least be more strategic with my time.  I am grateful for that reminder.

Today I am grateful for intuition.  I knew something was off with my husband the second he woke up this morning.  He just wasn’t acting like himself and he was a bit extra cranky.  I let him be and moved on with the things I needed to do today.  Later in the early afternoon, he told me what was going on.  I wasn’t entirely shocked.  Yes, I was disappointed by it because it’s the repetition of a pattern that has long been occurring and has long been in need of breaking.  Either way, I am grateful that I trusted my gut and knew something was wrong in spite of him telling me it wasn’t.  never let anyone tell you that you don’t know something when you do. 

Today I am grateful for things that are thriving in my life.  We have made significant steps forward in many of the projects we have going on.  They would entirely benefit from more direct focus and more intention, but that is the next step we can take.  I am grateful that we are moving forward and things are showing promise.  Quite frankly that’s why we got into the business we did—so that we can help others and ourselves move forward.  Yes, we had a hiccup today, but I know that the bigger things are coming and the work we have put in on developing ourselves and the work we do is paying off now and will continue to pay off in the future.  That is something to be grateful for—and something to look forward to.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

As Simple As Love

I saw a video of a viral reel the other day and it was about what happens when you hug your dog for too long.  I’m a sucker for animals so this was right up my alley.  Watching the video, I saw this animal completely relax into its human’s arms and even close its eyes and even lean its head against hers.  First of all, beyond adorable.  Secondly, animals are the best—they just KNOW.  Thirdly, why do we make it harder than this?  That is the purpose of life right there.  LOVE.  That is the answer.  Yes, we search and search for meaning and purpose because we weren’t given a diagram or a manual of what to do when we got here.  We were told that we need to be productive with our time and that what we produce is our purpose.  But we never stopped to look at what it meant to place value on what people produced instead of how they make us feel.

Animals are here for such a brief moment with us and during that time, they give us their all.  We can rarely do wrong in the eyes of an animal—and if we do they spit/scratch/bite/hiss whatever at us and then get over it.  We have so much to learn from animals in that regard.  Humans have this miraculous ability to steel-trap their memories surrounding any negative little thing, and we hold onto it like a badge of honor.  We don’t let it go and we use that as a framework moving forward.  Not a totally bad idea (I mean we don’t want to walk out in front of a car—that’s vital to remember).  But when it comes to creating positivity, we wait for the proof.  We wait for it to happen to us rather than go out and create it or accept the lessons we’ve learned as lessons.

That is where we can learn a lot from animals.  They don’t do much as far as producing anything.  In fact we clean up a lot of what they produce.  But these beautiful living beings we get to spend our time with are miracles.  And they are wonderful reminders of what we need to do:  Embrace the moment.  The more we can be present, the more we see the answers in front of us.  Love what we have.  Love who we are.  Love everything around us.  Love the connection we have to this place, to these people, to this time.  Love what we are capable of.  Love what it means for us.  Love what love is.  Create the space to simply BE.  It is such a freeing feeling and yes, we spent the last several days talking about purpose and finding who you are to fulfill that purpose, but I want to add that we need to love first.  We need to remember that we are all here for a fleeting moment and we need to be who we are and we need to love who we are.  Take this reminder and love a little extra today.         

Know Oneself

Photo by Evie Shaffer on

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself,”  Montaigne.  A perfect continuation from yesterday’s discussion.  So much of the “why” we are looking for comes from knowing who we are and what purpose we are trying to fulfill.  Belonging to oneself is a matter of knowing oneself.  If we are going to put it in the context of yesterday’s conversation, when we look for a why, we need to know what why is important to us—and that means knowing who we are and what our purpose is.  If we put a frog in pants it won’t serve anything for them and they will fight it.  Similar to us: if we are working to achieve accolades on something that doesn’t interest us, it won’t have any real meaning.  But when we know who we are, those answers become really clear and life is all about clarity.

Montaigne uses the word “belong” in a really specific way—rather that is a pretty specific heavy word to use about oneself.  I like to look at it in the context that we can’t be swayed by outside influences.  We are rock solid in our foundation and know who we are so we know the direction of our sail.  There is a nice sense of freedom in that.  But when it comes to belonging, humans need others as well.  We need a social context and we need help from others.  I know I never wanted to commit to much because I didn’t want my time dictated by other people.  I wanted the freedom to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  I didn’t want to have to put other people’s priorities before my own.  Perhaps a bit selfish, yes, but I was raised to always put myself last and I felt the sting of not being able to rely on those I had helped when I needed them. I wanted to rely on me.  In that sense, I closed off and became too familiar with my own wants and needs—and they weren’t good in some cases.  Like if I made a mistake I turned to self-harm. 

As I’ve worked through learning who I am and where my drive really comes from, what my purpose really is that has gone away.  I’ve learned to get familiar with my talents rather than what I can do to make people like me.  I’ve learned to invest time in the things I CAN do and developing that rather than worrying about what I can’t do.  That is how you know you belong to yourself: your driver is internal and aligned with who you are.  That is HOW you belong to yourself.  It isn’t an easy feat.  We have a lot of external pressure and stimuli and it’s available 24/7 telling us who to be and what to think.  We are also still deeply indoctrinated in a system built centuries ago.  In order to change any of that we have to know what we can bring to the table and what it needs to look like moving forward. 

I’ve spoken with some people who feel this is a selfish way to go: it’s all about you and your wants and your dreams etc., etc.  The truth is it’s about creating a new reality.  It’s about finding more fulfillment in the world and how you can participate in it.  It’s about genuinely serving your purpose, not just for yourself, but for others.  How does your purpose help others?  There is more than one way to function as a society and what is happening now is the world is showing us that we need a different way.  We need to make room for more.  The old systems didn’t allow for that type of light to shine through.  It was about conforming in order to survive. Now we are letting ourselves shine in order to thrive and what we are learning is that more light means more growth—for everyone.  Take the time to figure out how to belong to yourself.  Be the person you dream of with purpose—who you are.