Recently having turned one year older (yes, made it to 34!) I have been reflecting on.....you guessed it, growing up and some of the the important things I've learned along the way.
Here are my reflections;
When I say “f*** you” to fear, the universe says “thank you”.
I spent a good portion of my life cloaked in fear and let it guide me. I was full of fantasy, but there was a lack of confidence and faith that kept me from being able to trust enough so I could take this living thing boldly.
This past year, has offered me great opportunities that came in part , if not entirely, as a result of just being fed up with the power fear had over me and not giving in to it when it called my name. Instead, I returned to a practice of positive intention setting and have been provided comfort, encouragement and re-assurance from the universe that it is more productive to operate on faith than on fear any day.
Parenthood. It’s like whoa, but is actually simpler than I thought (kind of).
I have one child. And she is one amazing child who has taught me endless lessons that I am a better person for knowing. But I wasn’t quite sure about being a parent. Whether I’d cut it. But, you know what, with all it’s difficulties and challenges, it comes more naturally than I thought it would. Granted I cry, and have given myself headaches worrying about this and that and not doing it right - but I am learning, that if at the end of the day, I acted and parented with love, then I have done well. Of course I love her. That part is super simple. But how do I show her that love, consistently?
Well, I must take care of myself. Which at times gets more complicated and less convenient. But time has told, when I am not taking care of myself (even in the smallest of ways), I am more prone to being resentful, cranky and not the loving, patient, present parent she needs and so very much deserves.
I am coming closer to understanding my purpose.
Because of this, I have found a greater sense of ease and joy that comes in the living of my life. I still find myself confused, but the feeling of being lost in the woods looking for a wormhole has faded.
I realize I have something inside of me that wants me to realize it, more and more, and I am provided signs to guide me. I need not look outside of myself. The more I look with in, the more I see my purpose being revealed in the work I do, the relationships I have and the decisions I make.
Marriage is seasonal, and that’s okay.
I have a friend who once, after sharing with her that my relationship with my husband had hit a low point, explained relationships being like the seasons. I thought this was a good analogy and it gave me some hope that things would and could change.
Like the winter, we all can get stuck in darker seasons and feel like it will never end. But as the cold, quiet time of winter serves as a gateway to spring, I have come to see my marriage as a process that sometimes needs to be “weathered”, with the knowledge that in time we will be falling in love all over again only with stronger roots to keep us growing and more beautiful blooms to enjoy.
My body wants me to be healthy. I play a (huge) part in it’s ability to heal.
For many years (fortunately nothing serious recently), I suffered with bouts from an illness that left me debilitated, which in turn caused periods of extreme hopelessness making me doubt my body and it’s desire to be healthy. At some point though, I knew that in order to get better, it would require me to have some hope, even if I wasn’t getting it from how I felt physically, let alone from medical professionals.
As much of a hard road it was, I educated myself, found the right Doctors and healers to guide me and fought the “your sick”, “give up” voice inside of me as much as I could. While I eventually received a diagnosis, the knowledge and strength I acquired in the hope and search to get better, is I believe what ultimately facilitated my healing as I began to befriend my body and let it guide me.
Through the journey of a deepened relationship with my body (and my instincts) I know it wants to be healthy, that it was not meant to be sick. It is my job to tend to the relationship so I know what it needs to thrive and work to support it’s desire for wellness, and acknowledge that it is greatly impacted on how much or how little I listen.
I really “am” a teacher. And a lot "more" than I thought I was.
It took me months of teaching yoga before I really felt like I “was” a teacher. Instead, I felt like a fraud. Like there was a mix up. That, even though I made it through teacher training, deeply wanted to be a teacher, and for the most part, knew “enough” to teach, I was not a teacher. Fortunately, the feelings were not enough to stop me.
I can thank a number of practices that got me out of the habit of believing my thoughts as fact, that helped me distinguish the false voice from the true voice. I am so grateful to have come to terms with simply being what I am, and not getting carried away with what my mind tells me I’m not.
Once I just let myself be me, teaching became a lot easier, more of a joy and helped me realize that I was one, all along. And this is true for many things I find myself doing that i previously would have said never too. The process of simply, yet fully being myself, and dropping all of the bullshit of who I think I am not, has helped me uncover more potential, possibilities and experiences that I would have otherwise been denying myself from enjoying.
I accept myself, faults and all, and appreciate my gifts more.
This has taken so long, but some real progress has been made this last year. For me, this is something that I never believed would be possible. I thought that I needed to critique myself in order to get better, that I always could be better. This trap got me thinking of someone else, and my vision of them being how I “should” be. This came to mothering, productivity, career, you name it. Whatever I was doing and how I was doing it, I thought I could and should be doing it better, or differently.
I have a better habit now at pointing out my gifts, especially if I am going to get all critical on my ass, and have come to accept that which I find less desirable about myself and work for progress but not perfection. If I honor my gifts, rather than focusing on my flaws, I operate form a place of positivity. This in turn allows for more motivation to make changes where changes need be made.
Guilt wants to keep me from my calling, and I say f*** you to that too.
Feeling guilty about pursuing my passion, (because it would mean affecting others and financial stability), had me planning to work a steady job, even if it meant I would be left unfulfilled.
I had some real deep moments with myself, deciding if I’d rather feel guilty or unfulfilled. And I didn’t want to feel either dammit. But feeling guilty, seemed more like a choice - to feel or not to feel. Where as being fulfilled, while a feeling, is more a quality of being. So, in my conversations with myself, I just started to make gentle assertions to the guilt committee “to leave me alone”.
Working on fulfillment, genuine soul affirming fulfillment is not something I, or anyone needs to feel guilty about. Not only does guilt simply serve to hold us back from growing, it makes me resentful that I am not fulfilled, and that affects those around me. Once I truly came to terms with the fact that to be happy and not resentful, I understood that I need not let guilt gnaw at me - that if there was anything to feel guilty about it would be to subject others to the results me not following my heart.
There is no better gift than service. It’s not just about me.
Another dear friend of mine and I were talking recently about happiness and how strongly it relates to service. If in each day, I can be of service in some way, and have touched some small thing with care, I am making an impact.
While acting out of self-centeredness may feel momentarily rewarding, it leaves us cut off and disconnected from the collective energy that wants and needs our care and participation. When I am able to remember the role to serve, whether it is through my work, my interactions or the choices I make, the world is less scary, I am less alone and I am able to experience the gifts of being involved with something larger than myself.
Activism does not need to mean being mad at the world. My light offers more.
I spent enough time feeling very mad at the world and spent my share submerging myself in the sources (ie. atrocities, politics, war, global warming, poverty, injustice) of anger. I still can get pretty riled up, simply by turning on the news, reading the paper or listening to the radio. But, I have learned that I cannot take on the hurt and wrongs of the world in the form of anger.
Change happens when we are willing to shine more light where there is dark, and I know that when my energy was spent on being mad at "the way things are", my light was dimmed. I have accepted that the ideal world that I would like my daughter (and everyone else) to live in is only that much more possible if I choose to tend to my light - to not let the darkness over shadow me and instead carry love, hope and inspiration to support the powerful (yet scarcely reported) collective global movement towards positive change.
These lessons have been discovered over time, and continue to unfold with the help of many luminous guides along the way. I am forever a student.
The day I stop seeking, is the day I stop learning. Thankfully I never thought I knew it all, though I have definitely experienced periods of stubbornness and narrow-mindedness that in turn affected my ability to take on others experiences and wisdom to become part of my own. In this respect, I would love to hear a lesson of yours, whether recent, ancient or acquired somewhere along your journey so we may share the jewels that can help us all grow brighter and wiser together.