We are fighters. We may sting, we may bite, we can hunt and we can fight. We are protectors. Our voices are never silenced for long, for miles you can here our song. We are in the soul of every human, every creature. Our culture, our love, our stories can last for generations. Mother Earth is earth, air, fire, and water all the same time. We are fire, we are air, we are water and we are earth. We are the cells in your body and the love in your hearts. We are the fire in your belly and the compassion for your neighbor. You can feel us beat in your chest when you know the truth of all things.
We are nurturers. We are healers. We are lovers and warriors. We are the matriarchal societies fueled by empathy and an urge to protect our species. We are the lifegivers. We birth new generations and new ideas. We are the feminine water that runs through the veins of every human being. You see us in herds of Elephants, pods of Orcas, and prides of hunting lionesses. Bonds are embraced, nurtured and protected. Our power does not reduce the power of the masculine, it complements it. Our emboldened stance gives human civilizations promise for a more secure future. Our warriors battle the toxic masculine that takes what it wants and rapes our earth and our species.
We are the feminine. We will love you no matter how much you hate us. We stand tall no matter how many times you kick us down. We do not grow bitter because we accept what is and work with our moments. We do not always have the answers. But we know LOVE. We know relationships. We know about the interconnectedness on our planet and between our souls. We know in our hearts what is right, because we have learned to listen mindfully. We are not all women. We are the feminine. We are the creators of joy and passion. We are the idea that grabs hold and whispers in your ear until you give us life. We are a smile or a warm hug. We are the moments of overwhelming gratitude that turn into large flowing tears.
We are not money or greed. We are not Twitter feeds or Facebook posts. We are not isolation, fear or exclusion. We are not anger or hate.
You know us when you feel us.
We are magic. We are love.
Hate is a quick and easy, cheap shot. We see it in the news with incidents like Sandy Hook or the nightclub in Orlando. Do you think those shooters were happy? Do you think they felt whole and lived a balanced life? These events are symptoms of a deeper disease in our culture. How do we stop these kinds of atrocities from strangling the love and life out of our communities? Is it with gun control? Is it immigration?
We see hate on a personal level when we lose a friend and never speak to them again. Maybe it’s our choice, maybe it’s theirs. We see hate when a partner cheats on us with no remorse. We see hate with murder, rape and lack of forgiveness. It comes in many forms. And it’s not just in America, it’s alive and well in plenty westernized countries.
If you go to the doctor with a painfully swollen lymph node…
Would it be better for the doctor to give you pain meds and tell you to not eat anything that may increase inflammation OR would it better if they run a bunch of tests to diagnose before they treat? After all, it may be cancer. One treats the symptom and one looks for a cure to the underlying problem.
Hate is our societies’ swollen lymph node while mental illness, disconnection, discontent, sorrow and resentment are our cancer. Fear is our cancer. Fear of what we don’t understand, fear of difference. As a society we are more disconnected, more intolerant, more competitive, more judgemental, more resentful, more angry, more divided and more medicated. Why? Maybe because there are more people, because greed has become accepted as “success” and everything is more expensive while wages haven’t changed. Maybe it’s healthcare. Maybe it’s gun control. There are a million reasons that we have become as we are. The truth is we have forgotten what LOVE is. Not romantic love but true love. The truest love is acceptance and forgiveness. It’s saying “hi” to your neighbor with a genuine smile on your face when they always seem annoyed. It’s understanding that the waiter who gave you bad service may be going through a really shitty day divorce. It may be offering to help someone when you have nothing to give but a hug and a listening ear.
When we accept someone for who they are, we fully see them. When we accept someone, rather than judge them, we are no longer victims of our own emotions. We are simply allowing ourselves to see what we see. It’s up to each of us to decide what we want and don’t want in our lives. Just because we accept who they are doesn’t mean we need to practice the same lifestyle. It simply means we aren’t judging theirs. When we practice acceptance, without judgement, we begin to accept more of ourselves. As we practice acceptance we become more tolerant of things we may disagree with, more authentic and honest about who we are and less hateful. It’s the foundation for forgiveness.
You can only forgive when you have accepted something as it is. Forgiveness is acceptance and ownership of a judgement you’ve made. It’s acceptance of your own feelings about a specific event and choosing to let it go. It has nothing to do with telling someone else what they did was right or good. You can forgive without thinking something was right. It has to do with acknowledging your pain or hatred and setting it free. When you’re free from anger, resentment and hate you can be more open to LOVE.
Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. ~Buddha
If you look at whole-hearted families, communities, organizations and countries you will find genuine happiness and tolerance with different lifestyles and religions. They foster an environment of acceptance, authenticity, ownership, respect, connection with others and embrace love over hate. The cure for hate is love.
Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther Kind Jr, Mother Theresa are classic examples of change makers that chose love over hate. That faced criticism, violence, pain and suffering with an attitude of acceptance and forgiveness. These are some of the most notable examples of strength and bravery. Why? Because no matter what happened, they chose love over hate. Conquered fear is the birthplace of courage.
Today you can find this type of courage in researchers, authors, musicians and politicians. But hate is more popular, more prevalent, more accepted and easier. These people openly speak about fear and shame versus love and connection. Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, India Arie, Marianne Williamson, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Shonda Rhimes and Amanda Palmer. Are a few that speak up for love, they make connection, truth and authenticity a priority. They don’t say what people want to hear, that say what they feel is right, with love, gratitude, acceptance and forgiveness.
Our culture and society doesn’t shift because politicians change laws. Shift happens when we accept that the 15yr old girl feels more like a boy than a girl, so we call her Sam rather than Samantha and allow him to use whichever damn bathroom he wants. It happens when we say hello and smile to the woman wearing a hijab without assuming she’s a terrorist. Or we tell someone we love, that while we aren’t ok with something they did, we don’t think they are a bad person. Change happens when parents ask their teenage daughters about a breakup and listen, even though they worked all day and may think it pales in comparison to their day. It happens when a father tells his son that he’s sorry he yelled at him but he was worried he might get hurt. It happens when a mother explains to her child why being a bully creates shame rather than punishing her without teaching her what is right.
It starts in our small circles. It’s saying “thank you for being clear” to someone who respectfully asked you to do or NOT to do something. It’s asking “what do you mean by that?” when someone is being passive aggressive. It’s sending your mother flowers on mothers day even though you’re pissed at her. You can love people AND dislike their behavior. You can love people AND have boundaries. You can wholeheartedly and courageously LOVE with hopeless abandon rather than ignorantly and fearfully embrace hatred. Hatred is our disease. Courageous love is our cure.
We must BE the change we wish to see in the world. ~Ghandi
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will think of it as fate. ~Carl Jung
That doesn’t mean become Dexter. It means you cannot fully appreciate the boundless energy of the light until you have explored the depths of your soul.
The famous psychotherapist Carl Jung explained it as the shadow self or shadow side, the parts of ourselves that we deny. These are the dark corners in our minds, much like the scary closets when we were kids and the lights were out. If there was a nightlight it just wasn’t as scary, unless you had one of those damn Teddy Ruxpin’s with low batteries, then we were sure we were going to die. But eventually you muster the guts to tell mom and she doesn’t think you’re crazy, she just chuckles and tells you the batteries are low. Whew. Close call.
The spots we judge are usually the source of our limiting beliefs. The places that, when triggered, drive many to go for a drink, a cigarette or harder drugs. The thoughts that make us want to numb are the thoughts that stop us from embracing our light. If we want to reach our potential, and our goals, fear and judgement must be faced.
This has been a year of cleansing for me. I had allowed a circle of toxicity to creep up on me and swallow me up, because deep down I had some rotting grief leftover from a divorce 3 years ago. I thought I was past it, but I was simply in the eye of the storm. I was vulnerable and allowed a victim, deal-with-it-because-this-is-how-it-is mindset take over my snowglobe vision that anything was possible. Anything IS possible, ALWAYS. Change is scary… it’s also inevitable, exciting and invigorating. It’s all in how you choose to look at it. The glass is not half empty or half full, it’s both. People are the same way. We have good behaviors and bad behaviors. Yin and yang. We are always trying to find our balance.
This is my process for swimming through the ocean of emotion in order to get to the Island of Utopia:
- Self Awareness- Recognize your inner critic. It likes to disguise itself as the “voice of reality” when really it’s purpose is to create shame, to keep you safe from failure.
- Write it down- Record the guttural words of pain, sorrow or despair in all its glory. No more than 30min of writing.
- Name it! Create a name for your inner critic. Personally I just call mine shame for clarity.
- Read the words you wrote outloud.
- Cry it out if necessary.”I hear you shame, you’re welcome to your opinions and you can ride in the car but you do NOT get to drive”.
- Immediately watch something or engage in something that makes you laugh. Alternatively, you could dance it out. The point is to do something completely different and get out of your head. Comedy works well. ☺️
- Let someone know. Have someone you can call when you open something up that you need to verbally process. For some people this may be a Therapist or Psychiatrist.
These are just tips for getting in touch with your judgements and darker parts that you like to pretend don’t exist. We all have those spots and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. ☺️ Let me know what you think of these! 💜
Or maybe they do, but it certainly, one hundred percent, undeniably, does not define a real woman.
Real women have Badassery.
I recently read Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes, which is mainly – in a very oversimplified kind of way – about being open to change and finding where you are happiest. As a highly successful entrepreneur and writer, she reminds the reader of something exceedingly important that many of us women in western culture forget…it’s incredibly powerful to be vulnerable. Similar to Shonda, I live in Califonia, where the weather is beautiful and so are the people. Everyone seems to regularly attend yoga, do crossfit and be training for marathons or tough mudders. I wear a size 16, and while I can do many of those activities and consider myself pretty, the fact is, I’m not as noticed as the active size 2 woman. I’m just not. We have an obsession in California with beauty and the rise of stars like Melissa Mcarthy and Adele seem to bring back statements like “big and beautiful” or “real women have curves”. The truth is, thick or thin, our shapes or looks shouldn’t be defining who we are. Our character should define who we are.
The Badass Lady
(You will find links to badass ladies in this paragraph)
She may have curves or she may be curveless. She may be the overweight woman in yoga class or the perfectly fit woman in line at the grocery store. She may be neither. She may be this mother, or this one. She may run a company. She may be a doctor. She may be a lesbian. She may be happily single and childless. She may be married. She may be divorced. She may be full of hearty advice. She may be Furiously Happy, yet, depressed. She may be you. A real woman is not defined by what she looks like, ever. She is defined by her level of integrity. Above all else, she is authentic and vulnerable, as often as possible, because she’s still human.
A real woman will tell you when you’re wrong, but with compassion. She will admit when she has made a mistake. A real woman will have boundaries, she knows herself well enough to be clear on what she’s okay with and what she’s not. A real woman will stand up for what’s important to her with confidence, grace and tact. She will not shrink or puff up, but stand tall and strong in the face of adversity. A real woman loves with her whole heart. She gives only what she is comfortable giving and not an ounce more, yet she is more generous than most and never resentful. Well, maybe sometimes… sometimes, she’s resentful. But she knows she is in charge of feeling that way, or not. She takes ownership of her feelings and her behavior. A real woman isn’t perfect, she’s human.
A real woman is vulnerable
A real woman is clear about who she is. Her healthy boundaries help her to decide if you belong in her life, or not. Her loyalty runs deep, but she is not a doormat. She won’t give you guilt trips. Well, maybe sometimes… sometimes, she gives guilt trips. After all, she’s human and perfectly imperfect. She asks for what she wants, understanding that you are just as capable of saying no as she has learned to be. A real woman won’t keep you in her life because she’s afraid of being alone. She will nurture a friendship or relationship because she cares, deeply, and values the connection she has with you.
I once saw a girlfriend build a trailer to attach to her Honda Civic so she could move her bed and dresser 300 miles away. All because her mother asked her if she was going to ask her ex boyfriend. Badassery.
Another girlfriend doesn’t own a car but wanted to see one of her closest friends graduate 600 miles away. She took a bus, spent the night and then took the bus back the next day. Badassery.
I recently had a friend ask for help during an emotional breakdown. I’ve known her 9 years and she has never been that vulnerable. I was with her in two hours and have checked in almost every day this week. That’s the friend I am and that’s MY badassery.
I have had an incredible amount of badassery in my life. Women that have stood by my side, told me when I was wrong, applauded my accomplishments and listened to my hardships. They have been there when others have judged me, they have called me to the mat when everyone else was intimidated. They have come in every package. Old, young, black, white, heavy, thin, gorgeous, average, straight and lesbian. Some were curvy, some weren’t. Some were gear heads and some were girly girls. It didn’t matter.
They are badasses and that supersedes any superficial quality that our society values and objectifies.
When were you a badass recently?
(Men have badassery too, that is a different post 🙂 )
I love all of me: My huge feet, my eclectic style, my writing, my playlists, my sometimes shitty artwork, the books I read, the books I keep saying I’ll read, my chapstick, my sometimes-too-often-ice cream, my current healthy eating, my coffee, my tea, my flu symptoms that encouraged me to write, my scarf I never wear accept when I’m playing dress up in front of the mirror, my lovely new daydream mug (score!) that I found for a $1 at Goodwill, and all my change that-is-oh-so-precious-because-I’m-oh-so-damn-broke. I almost through one of my cats in but he wouldn’t stay still and I don’t exactly love either of them right now…tolerate, that’s a much better word for them.
Self-love vs Self-absorbed
Self-love is not the same as self-absorbed. Self-love changes the inner dialogue from “I’m such an idiot” to “ok, it would probably be wise not to do that again, but live and learn”. It’s about changing negative self talk to counseling yourself with the utmost care and respect. No one can ever be your best friend more than you are, no one will ever know your whole story better than you do and no one will ever pick you up like you can. So, loving yourself is not about me, me, me or degrading yourself to accomplish goals, it’s about treating yourself with compassion, and learning to love who you are so that you can give that love away to others. You cannot love anyone else wholeheartedly until you have mastered loving yourself, especially when you screw up.
How you motivate and counsel yourself will be how you motivate and counsel those you love.
Boundaries with yourself
Sometimes we need to light a fire under ourselves, like those of us are procrastinators. Ahem. Personally I need to Drill Sergeant myself sometimes. That is not a license to bully ourselves. It’s never good to tell ourselves we are bad people, unless you are, but even then the true bad ones-like sociopaths- don’t exactly have negative self talk, they’re pretty grandiose…So, where was I? Oh, boundaries… Set a boundary with yourself to begin recognizing negative self talk rather than allowing it to run amok. Most of our emotions, including an amygdala hijack, can be traced back to thoughts and beliefs we are telling ourselves so it’s healthy to become self aware.
Boundaries with co-workers or roomates
Everyone desperately needs boundaries and we do ourselves a disservice when we aren’t clear with other people about what’s okay and what isn’t. Let’s say you usually let a co-worker borrow just about anything on your desk but now they have stopped asking and go into your drawers whenever they need something. If it bothers you then this would be a moment to set a boundary. You could say “I’m usually fine with you using things but I would like you to ask and not go through my drawers” politely the first time you notice it happening. If you wait and say it weeks or months later you may end up saying it in a passive aggressive way because you feel walked on. This will take some time getting used to but the more you do it the more clear your boundaries will become. It will help you to not harbor any resentment and your co-workers will respect your honesty. But it will take time if you aren’t already doing this. Be prepared for them to begin setting their own boundaries as well.
The same goes for roommates, but because it’s also where you relax you may need to pick your battles more carefully. Maybe they took your clothes out of the washer to do a load of laundry and it really aggravated you. If you left it in there for a couple days, well then, that’s your bad. If, on the other hand, they did it the moment it finished it may be worth a conversation like this “I completely understand that sometimes we need to get laundry done right away, would it be helpful to have designated laundry times for each of us?”.
If you don’t typically set boundaries, expect pushback.
Some people will simply never take responsibility for their behavior. That’s ok. They don’t have to. Some people will challenge you just for the sake of challenging you. Sometimes they will think your boundary is “rude”. You always get to decide what behaviors and responses are ok with you. When you set boundaries for how you want to be treated you will be happier and have very little resentment.
It’s totally NOT easy
Boundaries are difficult to set, especially when people are not used to you setting them or when YOU aren’t used to setting them. Just remember, boundaries are very healthy.
Boundaries with family and partners
We build many, many, many you have unspoken contracts with the people we care about. The most common is between partners that you will be connected to someone no matter their behavior. When you voice what’s ok and what’s not ok, with LOVE and grounded confidence, you will begin to decipher who really belongs in our life. You will lose friends, you will become estranged from some family members.The ones that stay will help you grow. When you set appropriate boundaries with family and significant others your message will become clear “this is how I want to be treated, this is how I will treat you back. If that’s not okay with you then I wont make space for you in my life”. You will begin to hold one another to higher standards, love bigger and forgive more often. This is the area that will flourish the most when you marry self-love with firm boundaries. Your circle will likely change, maybe a little, maybe alot. When you set boundaries through the lens of love and compassion you realize it’s ok if some people go, because you may just need to let them go in order to grow.
“There’s no telling how it will affect you. Just know that it will.” ~unknown
An allegory about love, loss and transformation.
Bella was a beautiful young Kenna caterpillar . She was bright purple with teal spots, but beauty is subjective, and in the Kenna community, you were only beautiful if you were green. The brighter the green, the prettier. She was soft and kind, but not considered attractive. She would see the beauty in everyone she met which made her vulnerable to hardship. She would be lied to, taken advantage of and remained naive to the games caterpillars played. Insecurities ran high with her. She wanted connection.
She found a dark, fuzzy Tomeo caterpillar that understood, for he was the same. Kane left the Tomeo’s because that’s what they all did, but he still yearned for connection. He was wiser to the world, being solitary he had to learn who to trust more carefully. A bird may try to lure you to its nest, a spider to its web, another caterpillar may be poisonous if you touch them. He knew the latter all too well because the tips of his hairs were poisonous to some species if he was startled. He became her best friend, her teacher, her mentor, her life partner. She didn’t know if she was immune to his poison but since Kane was always calm with her it didn’t seem to matter.
Their Shared Cocoon
They built a cocoon, ever so carefully. It took longer than others because they were building it for both of them. It was strong and flexible, safe and comforting. Through the building of both their cocoon and their friendship, she learned to be more careful, more selective. Both metaphorically with who she trusted and in the building materials, because it would need to hold both their weight. Kane’s coat was soft and he now had more control over the poison on it, being able to protect them both from predators. He learned to see more beauty and have more faith that good things could happen.
When it was finished, they crawled inside, excited to soon fly together. For the next two weeks, their bodies liquified in order to take on its new shape. They would still become what they were meant to be but they would take on parts of each other since they were transforming in the same cocoon. Typically, they would have done this independently, but Bella didn’t know how to build one and Kane was afraid of predators in order to gather supplies. They needed each other. They were connected.
They emerged a month later. It took longer since both of them transformed together. There was more for mother nature to sort through in order for everything to be as she planned. The correct wings had to be placed with Kane and correct coloring with Bella, for this, was pre-determined.
Bella became a beautiful magenta butterfly, built for basking on bright flowers in the sunshine. She felt confident in her new self and eagerly awaited Kane. Kane emerged dark and fuzzy with blue iridescence…but…he was moth, built to flutter through the darkness of nightfall. Their hearts sank. They knew it meant their lives were headed in different directions. They tried to learn to fly together anyway, but either way, one was left wanting. Kane began flying at night and Bella bathed in sunlight while mustering up the courage to practice more. She was afraid to practice without Kane. In the following days Kane found a female moth that could show him the ropes and Bella knew it was time to find other butterflies that could do the same for her. The sinking feeling was back and heavy like an anchor.
As Bella cried from the treetops for Kane she heard Mother Earth whisper gently from the willow tree “my sweet girl, all is right in your plan. I know you miss your friend, but you have different destinies. You will find another that enjoys the sun as much as you.”
For a moment, Bella felt the folds of Mother Earth’s great nurturing power soothe her pain. She breathed in the crisp mountain air. The relief was short lived.
“But Mother! Why couldn’t you make us the same! Since we took on parts of each other, why aren’t we both half moth and half butterfly??” she cried. “My dear, you were made as you were meant to be. Kane’s transformation gave you safety and healed your insecurities. Your transformation gave him optimism. Courage is now a part of your genetics. Only now can you truly fly.”
She cried instead. She didn’t want to fly without Kane. What if she fell and got hurt? What if no one accepted her, just like before? What if she was alone forever? The questions were endless. The tears were big. Then she slipped off a branch and had to flap her wings or come face to face with the forest floor.
So fly she did. On her own, because she had to. She felt the courage Mother Earth spoke of, traveling through her veins like the warmth of a mothers love. With the wind carrying her she began to enjoy the vantage points and everything she was able to see in the daylight. The more she flew, the less she thought of Kane and the more she was able to appreciate the lessons she had learned from him. Some days she missed his company more than other days. She missed him when she made a new friend or flew by a spot where they shared a good laugh. She knew he was always a part of her and she would always be a part of him, it was their genetics. She felt connection which gave her the confidence to be who she needed to be.
Sometimes connection to another person affects us in such a profound way that we are never the same again. There will be good and bad parts. Some stay and some are meant to move on. We experience it, we learn from it and we grow from it. When we allow our perception of the past to be balanced, accepting the good and bad memories, we give ourselves permission to move forward. It’s ok to be sad then happy, angry then sad, then happy again. When our connections to people shift it can be difficult to accept. Especially with love. It’s hard to let go of what was when everything seemed right. But things change. The world changes. People grow together and people grow apart. Connection is valuable. We learn many of life’s most important lessons through connection. Life is more emotionally charged because of it. Connection makes us feel alive. Connection makes us human.
As an ode to a beautifully inspiring post by Dr. Andrea Dinardo I have borrowed a phrase…
Stand your Sacred Ground.
Stand your Sacred Ground.
Stand your Sacred Ground.
My intuition kept whispering to me…
You’ve had this argument before.
You know this is fear and resistance speaking from the other end of this conversation.
Walk away before you add fuel.
So I did. I have before, but this time was different. This time, rather than defending my integrity, and making my points, I spoke my truths and walked away with my integrity in tact. I simply gave them a hug and stopped giving a reason to resist. It was not the comfortable choice, it won’t be the easy choice to live with right now. But it will be the choice I will be proud of later.
I’m fiercely loyal and passionately curious about the human condition. I have a strong circle of relationships around me that share those qualities and usually join me in the darkest vulnerable places in order to see the bright meadow on the other side. I’m so very grateful to have my tribe. Then there are the relationships that no matter what you do it’s never enough, or it’s too much. You drift apart. I always try to real it back in, be more attentive, more honest, more curious, more loving. That has always done well for me. Not because it works, but because sometimes it doesn’t . For me, the greatest emotional pain lies in letting go of people. Not just any people. The ones that know me. The ones I’ve laughed with, struggled with, cried with, shared stories and experiences with.
My fear bellowed from the depths…
Maybe they never really knew me.
Maybe they did but didn’t want to anymore.
Maybe it was me.
But my herculean spirit was stronger…
Stand your Sacred Ground.
Know your truth.
Trust your light.
For many of us, the brave road is to fight through something, to work through it. I value that. Through conflict and struggle our cards are on the table and our warrior inside revealed. We learn what we’re made of, where to set boundaries and when to push through difficulties. But other times, we learn when we’re fighting a losing battle. When we have to love ourselves and our values MORE than loving another person. There’s a very fine line between enabling someone to treat you poorly and allowing them to feel however they need to feel. When you become the object of their resentment or the target for their blame it may be time to lovingly walk away. It’s not healthy, nor is loving what you expect them to be. We all deserved to be loved exactly as we are. Sometimes that means letting go. Sometimes that’s the best kind of love we can give someone.
Brene Brown, PhD
I took this photo, for whatever reason, this perfect little heart rock wasn’t swept away even though the sea kept washing over it. It, unapologetically, held its love in place.
“Emotion is in the driver seat, with cognition and behavior riding shotgun. So when something difficult happens — a colleague shoots you an awful look at a meeting, a partner breaks up with you, you fail on a project — there’s an emotional response. Before you can articulate why, you have the urge to punch somebody or devour a dozen donuts or hide in bed for a fortnight … you need to wade into the discomfort of that reaction. You have to get curious about it…What is going on? What am I feeling? What’s driving it? How am I responding to it?This doesn’t come naturally. Some brain hacks will help: write it on a Post It note, type it into your phone, send yourself an email with what happened. Then, over time, you can actually have enough notes on your own unhelpful behaviors so that you can spot the places where you participate in creating your own suffering before you act out those same destructive or avoidant behaviors for the zillionth time.Resilience is more available to people curious about their own line of thinking and behaving”
In my personal experience, I find there are 3 components to practicing resilience: Curiosity, Creativity, Gratitude. There is so much around this topic that there are many other angles but for simplicity sake, let’s just focus on these. Try these steps for yourself:
When you dig deep and question your thoughts and beliefs (which fuel your reactions and behaviors) you can find some pretty enlightening answers. If you’re finding blame and finger pointing you can pretty much bet you haven’t found the root yet. For me, when I ask a question that brings me to tears I know I’ve found the question that led me to answer I’m either avoiding, don’t want to accept or feel released. My curiosity ALWAYS leads me to a physiological response when I have found my answer. It’s usually an overwhelming emotion. Next time you come across a road block — get curious.
This is a great way to channel your curiosity and emotion. Whether it’s writing, singing, painting or making. Finding some creative way to express yourself will not only give you an outlet but a way to tangibly explore your own battleground. Maybe it’s a letter, a poem or a journal entry. Maybe you painted with color, wrote a song or started building your house. It can be anything, just don’t do it to escape, do it to loosen up and be more open to curiosity. When your give yourself the gift of joy and you feel safe, you’re much more likely to be open and honest with what is truly going on.
over-analyzed curiously examined my own emotions, and subsequently my behavior, I tend to want a lot of comfort and nurturing. I used to look for that in a partner, and sometimes I still do, but mostly I’ve learned to create that warmth in myself through gratitude. By appreciating other people I feel appreciated. By giving to others I feel full. By loving others wholly and unconditionally, I feel loved wholly and unconditionally. I find I get more out of expressing gratitude towards and about others than I do material things. I strongly value connection and I’m so grateful for the connections I have and have had in my past. A funny and strange thing about gratitude … my circle changed. Not so much the core group but the judgmental, gossipy and blamey ones seemed to fight. Eventually they started to disappear and happier people, interested in curiosity have gathered around me.
Personally I find self-discovery binges to be the most healthy, obsessive-compulsive binge we can embark on. Whether it’s meditation, western astrology, chinese astrology, any of the ologies, spirituality, faith, therapy, crystals, personal growth books/workshops/seminars, nature, or simply conversations with friends. You name it, there’s a way for you to connect with your inner spirit,your soul. Find it. Your quality of life depends on it. Other people’s lives depend on it. One of my favorite quotes is by Ghandi:
Be the change you want to see in the world
You can’t create change, a revolution or any major shifts in consciousness without first looking within. Your friends will benefit, your family will benefit and even strangers will benefit. When your operating at your full potential, you’re genuinely happy and authentically YOU. Others will be brave enough to do the same, even if it starts with just your intimate circle. It will spread, like magic.
Here are 5 tips to find your calling:
1. Seek a mentor or many mentors
When you find healthy people to align with, people that you aspire to be like, magic will happen. Having a guide, or guides, will provide you with a stable platform of non-judgement while you sift through limiting beliefs. They will challenge you and hold you accountable. They will teach you different methods that have worked for them. They will give you new tools. They will accept you when you fall on your face, and you will, because they’ve been there. They understand.
2. Find a way to quiet your mind
Whether it’s nature, mediation, yoga, instrumental music or solitude. Find a way to cut down the chatter, both around you and in yourself. At first, your internal dialogue will be quite chatty. Don’t judge it, just let it flow through you. You may need to journal at first, to know that you can have an outlet if you need to. Eventually, try to just listen, not holding on to anything but watching the thoughts flow by like subtitles on a foreign movie. They will calm and you will be able to slowly discern which thoughts and ideas need your attention and which are fear, anxiety and judgment. This is where you have the opportunity to fully love yourself, be your own best friend and your own therapist.
3. Follow you creativity
You know those ideas that set your neurons on fire? The ones that you have to jot down or begin creating because you can feel it to your core? Listen to those. Create them. Start them. Express them. Maybe it’s art, maybe it’s something mechanical. It may not lead anywhere but you will feel fulfilled and accomplished for having tried it out.
4. Create a basic routine
This one can be the hardest but you can’t start a revolution without passion and commitment. Not all of us are in a position where we can leave our lives and be in a Buddhist Monastery, or Indian Ashram for a lengthy amount of time. Many of us, especially the ones in urban areas, are tight on money and have to work. We have responsibilities, families and commitments where people depend on us. With that said, a routine, where you carve out time for projects, creativity, nature, friends, conversations and solitude is essential. Make time for the things that feed your soul, things that rejuvenate your spirit and connection with your inner light. Those things are different for all of us-some its time with friends, for others is silence and solitude. It does’t matter what it is. Just make time for it.
5. Understand your brain and body
When you understand your brain and body you will learn your limitations and in what ways you can push yourself. What type of learner are you? Do you see words in your mind or pictures? Are you better thinking on your feet or working with a specific plan? Is your work and life setup for you to succeed? For instance, if you are a business owner and find daily paperwork falling behind while you work with clients, then hiring a manager for office work would be essential for you. If you always get lost on your way somewhere, then you need a GPS. Maybe you used to do yoga and you keep telling yourself you are going to do it everyday. Then you don’t. Don’t judge yourself, just set realistic expectations. Start with doing it 1x/week at a studio, where you are more likely to be held accountable. Learn how you work without judgement and with full acceptance. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone but also be aware of your limits. We all work differently. Once you know how you learn and what your strengths and weaknesses are then you can set reasonable, achievable goals that fit YOU. Goals that fit YOUR brain and YOUR body. Not what society tells you they should be.
What does your revolution look like? What feeds your soul? How do connect with yourself? How are you affecting others? What do you WANT your revolution to look like?