Start a Revolution…In Yourself

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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?

Contempt marries creativity?

 
Credit: I have no earthly idea but if you do, let me know.

We have ALL felt this way before. I will to to keep this short but you know how I LOVE to write when I have other things to do. I have shared with you all lately the things I have been going through, including my post “This is the part where I start taking over”. (Which I removed, then put back up because it tells a story and I’m trying not to feel ashamed) A friend recently read it and said, “whew, it’s good, but I hope he never reads that or he’ll feel really small.” When I felt pleased that she thought it would make him feel small or hurt him, I knew…

CRAP. I must be really pissed at myself

I sent my pain out into the universe, knowing that maybe one day he would come across it, or feel the anger I was sending to him intuitively. I was hurt and blaming him for my pain. That’s not the person I aspire to be. The truth is, I’m not perfect either. Our relationship moved at lighting speed and we should have taken things slower before I jumped in the deep end with an already established family. I felt like I failed, AGAIN. I already felt like a failure for my marriage falling apart. In the previous post I spoke about my ex-husband like he was a saint, and for much of our relationship he was. But at the end, he metaphorically lit everything on fire. He was spiteful and cruel, using every possible insecurity he could. That wasn’t my friend. My friend had left our relationship months before it ended and I hadn’t even realized.

My current/past/complicated relationship is highly emotional and confusing. I’ve never dealt with that level of connection in a relationship before and felt very unprepared. At the same time, neither one of us seemed able to live with each other. I feel less trapped now and back in control of my life and my surroundings. I meant

This is definitely the part where I start taking over

The post I wrote before was driven by my own temper, which in my mind, clouds your judgement and dampens creativity since it only tells part of the story. I felt empowered by contempt at the time, but I realize now that it’s not my only emotion and I have no absolutes or total clarity yet. I personally felt, in that instance, it was not a good thing. I don’t want to cast stones, even if I was hurting. So readers, please, accept my apologies, I’m not hurting like I was. Maybe there will be a redefined future for us, and maybe not. Either way, I will be ok and stand for what’s important to me. It took a friend to say what she said for me to realize how intense it really was.

Anyone who has an emotional reaction to one of my paintings, knows how I felt when I painted it.” Painter, Mark Rothko

Maybe some of you were able to relate to how I was feeling in that post, if so, thank you for understanding. However, my goal of this blog is not to be angry or blame anyone for my own emotions. Sometimes I will bring you with me as I process things. The original intention was not to be condescending towards him but open about my own pain. I had simply wanted to empower myself to feel confident in my choice to move out because I was heartbroken. Well, it worked. I did what I need to, propelled by anger, determination and self preservation. Has there been a time recently where you allowed your temper to guide your creativity and wished you had given it a little time to develop first?

Failure is like a mentor teaching you to succeed

I showed a video in my music class today (because I kind of fell into this class and can’t, for the life of me, play an instrument) so the class ends up essentially becoming  critical thinking. At the school we are practicing failure with our students and this tied in pretty well with our class meeting material. I went to class intending to teach about the power of music. How it can be more moving, cathartic and therapeutic than the spoken word. My classes never turn out how I expect. What it turned into was a lesson about failure. Whether or not they are allowed to fail when learning something new at home and whether or not it affects their retention. The students that had overbearing parents or were judged harshly for failing didn’t take as many risks at our school to try new things as students that had more freedom to fail. It was illuminating. Another student recognized that he was allowed to fail at school but not home, so after 7 years in our tiny magical school, he has learned a different code: he can fail, and that’s not just ok it’s encouraged and celebrated.

As adults we can be brutally harsh on ourselves. We have high expectations and some hold themselves to a level of perfectionism that I find exhausting. When we try to lose weight, try to keep our New Years resolutions or maybe try to learn a new language we can be so critical about not following through. Or, it takes longer to learn, so we judge how we should have tried when we were younger and it’s just too late. Maybe we take a big leap on something, like start a business, fall in love or write a book…and it fails. That can be heartbreaking. But it’s totally okay. 

When I asked our students at class meeting today, “what does failure mean to you?”, one of them said “failure is like a mentor teaching you how to succeed.”

Wow!! He was 1-trillion percent correct! This 9yr old just schooled me!

There’s this great improv group I occasionally attend where the moderators always open the class with a short speech about how this is simply a place to play, free of judgement. They prefer we fail than get things right, because things can be way funnier when you screw it up. The first time I went I was terribly nervous but was on-point with my one liners. The second time I was much more confident and got a whole lot of tumbleweeds. I wasn’t very funny and it was totally okay. 

–Right here my post, that creativity so inspired me to write, was secretly given to the abyss of the universe, never to be seen again. Soooooooo, hey there failure, let’s dance —

When I was growing up my mom would over-sympathize the smallest things. and make it seem way more intense. I began questioning if I was under-estimating the severity, which would spiral quickly into “I’m worthless, why do I bother”. I believed that I just overanalyzed everything and my reaction was supposed to be victimhood and self-pity. I really didn’t know any better.

“When we know better, we do better.”      ~Maya Angelou

When we learn to fail, we grow. When we judge ourselves less negatively for failing, we grow. But it doesn’t stop there. You MUST deconstruct it. Here’s an outline:

STEP 1. Yup, you screwed that up. It’s okay. Personally, I enjoy making fun of the mistake. It’s a great coping skill. Celebrate and realize this is an opportunity to learn. If you stop with step 1, it sounds like: “I messed that up but that’s because x,y,z. Accept it, that’s who I am”

STEP 2: What happened and why was it a failure? Was it because you didn’t get an outcome you anticipated or another reason? What was your expectation?

STEP 3: Do I need to change my expectation or the strategy I’m using for my desired outcome? Learn from it

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.       ~Albert Einstein

A friend of mine liken’s this process to the scientific method. You form a hypothesis and test it out until you get the desired outcome. It may seem dry and scientific but this particular friend is anything but that. She has taught me that I was never wrong to want to wade through uncomfortable failures while examining the species that survive in the swamps. She has taught me that it can be funny if your layered in moss covered leaches, because “hey look! You’re still alive, even the leeches want to suck your blood!” That’s how failure can feel. You’re not alone and that is simply the messy middle of any story. To get to the endings you have to fail a lot. Allow failure to mentor you, to show you that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you promise to learn from them. Go fail brilliantly!

Don’t let one bad apple ruin the bunch

I was walking out of a grocery store recently and saw a gentleman in a wheelchair getting in his van. He was trouble getting his chair to go up the ramp…I walked right by him and thought, “what the hell am I doing?! This is so unlike me!” I ran back once he was settled in his van and peeked in his window. ” I’m so sorry, I was going to offer to help! It looked like you’ve been doing this a while and I didn’t want to offend you by offering. I’ve offered help to people before only to be yelled at, so I’m sorry I didn’t offer.” With his calm, genuine smile he said “no worries, don’t ever let a few bad apples spoil the bunch. I appreciate the offer, don’t ever be worried to offer help.” Still smiling, he thanked me for the offer, even though it was late, and drove off. 

I could have felt awful. I could have not gone back. I could have judged myself for telling him “I meant to offer”. But I didn’t, neither did he, and I was grateful. Next time I will offer to help right when I feel the urge and not take it personal if I “offend” anyone for offering a helping hand.