“Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no whenever you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here. Believe in kissing” – Eve Ensler
It was really interesting in locating a photo for this quote. I looked up woman in solitude, and 90% of the photos showed women who were depressed, some even suicidal with a hangman’s noose besides one woman and suicide by pills in several others. I couldn’t believe that solitude was paired up with depression and suicide.
Solitude is critical to being able to love oneself. This is not being an isolationist, which could become unbalanced when taken to extremes. But rather as a sign of being balanced, because you are happy with your own company. Being alone doesn’t make you lonely. It took much longer than I thought to find a photo that actually displayed that kind of joyous feeling within it.
As a woman you give so much of yourself away. You constantly see to the needs of others. Solitude is how you can balance this out, so that you are not giving too much of yourself away. Solitude is strength.
At various times of the year, it is vital to have some solitude to review the past few months and do some deep thinking for how you want the rest of the year to be for you.
“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul” – Marcus Aurelius
In reading anything that talks about the “crowd mentality”, it talks about how if you feel you must always be with people, it can be a sign of weakness. This is because you may become prone to follow whatever everyone else is doing, just to belong.
I think most everyone would say they are afraid to stand out, not be “normal”, or speak out against a crowd. The real dividing line is do you let that fear stop you?
There is nothing more freeing and empowering to like your own company and be your own person no matter where you are. It is more fun to be considered weird. Be the orange fish in a sea of blue fish. Go your own direction. Be weird.
I love the first quote because it shows great courage to do things like take trains to somewhere you have never been by yourself. To go so far away that you lose the fear of finding your way home. That you will do something that you know in the depths of your soul is yours alone to do, even when everyone you know disagrees.
“Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves” – Katrina Kenison
I believe that you have that kind of courage, but sometimes you are still letting life hold you back. I believe this is true of all of us.
There are moments of indecision. Of not being sure of your way. In the end, the only way out, really is, to go through. To step past the place of safety on the sand. You need to actually cross over the line into adventure, stepping into the sea.
“True happiness is impossible without solitude…, I need solitude in my life as I need food and drink and the laughter of little children. Extravagant though it may sound, solitude is the filter of my soul. It nourishes me, and rejuvenates me. Left alone, I discovered that I keep myself good company” – Sophia Loren
Only by being alone with yourself can you come to true honesty with who you are, and how you are being reflected in the world. It is in this place of honesty, you are able to authentically release the parts of you that are not you, and own in the real world the parts of you that are crying to be released into life.
Only to the extent that you expose yourself to the changing tides of the sea, can you transform into who you are becoming. I think that we all want to find out what we are doing here, and we can’t do that staying safely on the dry land. You have to step over the line to experience adventure. Here is to smooth sailing!
For an idea of something that you can do with relative ease, try Forest bathing. It is the practice of immersing yourself in nature in a mindful way. It has a whole range of benefits for your physical, mental, emotional, and social health. It comes to us from Japan and is known as Shinrin-yoku. ‘Shinrin’ means forest and ‘Yoku’ stands for bathing.
Forest bathing in nature allows the stressed portions of your brain to relax. Positive hormones are released in the body. You feel less sad, angry and anxious. It helps to avoid stress and burnout, and aids in fighting depression and anxiety. Immersing yourself in the solitude of you and the forest is very healing to the body, mind, and soul.
A forest bath is known to boost immunity and leads to lesser days of illness as well as faster recovery from injury or surgery. Nature has a positive effect on our mind as well as body. It improves heart and lung health, and is known to increases focus, concentration and memory. Certain trees like conifers also emit oils and compounds to safeguard themselves from microbes and pathogens. These molecules known as Phytoncides are good for our immunity too. Breathing in the forest air boosts the level of natural killer (NK) cells in our blood. NK cells are used in our body to fight infections, cancers and tumors. So spending time with these tree is a special form of tree bathing.
Notions is a word that reminds me of creative arts. Sewing, paper arts, crocheting/knitting and so on. Tools that you use to make something beautiful and wonderful.
The dictionary says notion is also: “a conception of or belief about something,” and/or “an impulse or desire, especially one of a whimsical kind.”
In the case of this quote a notion is a belief about what grief is all about. It isn’t something that is just outside of you – or inside of you. It’s both about how you are inside of yourself and how you impact the world outside of yourself.
It’s about vision, both internal and external. And like looking through a kaleidoscope, what you see outside of you changes each time you turn the mechanism inside. For you, each of those moving pieces inside the kaleidoscope are made up of your personal stories.
In a recent article in the Washington Post, they were discussing political views around Russia in a recent poll.
“It goes to show you that in terms of public opinion, people remain in their silos” Vera Zaken, an expert on the intersection between information and foreign policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me. “They’re going to believe whatever truth or disinformation fits their views.”
I thought this was so interesting in how we all live our lives. We live them filtering out anything that doesn’t support our beliefs. It’s as though we don’t hear or see anything that contradicts our worldview. Like we have this force field bubble around ourselves that bounces out any contrary beliefs, thoughts and only lets in what will confirm our beliefs.
This is what change, loss, and grief is about. It’s an opportunity to examine your beliefs. To peek out of the filters that keep you confined in your comfort zone. To see the possibilities of something else. To see the potential that is waiting right across that line of the comfort zone. To admit in new truths and let go of whatever no longer serves you.
Like shedding an old skin, the process of grieving requires you to transform your life. To alter in some way, from who you used to be into a new person, a new self-definition.
These beliefs you protect are really all about who you have been told all of your life that you are.
Watch any good detective mystery show. The main character is always a flawed hero in some way. Yes, they catch the bad guy, but their motivation to do so comes from a brokenness. Going back to the main quote, whatever happened to you, became an altered part of you.
One of my favorite stories, is about how you throw a rock out into the water. It creates ripples that expand out to every part of the shore, until slowly the ripples fade back into the still calm water of the lake. It looks like nothing happened. The lake has the same water line, as the rock wasn’t large enough to create an impact to the water levels. Yet the lake has forever been changed, as at the bottom lies a rock that wasn’t there before.
The stories you tell yourself about your life are like that rock. Each story is created by the impact of that rock as it breached the surface of you, the lake. As time passes, the ripples of grief you experienced die down and everyone around you thinks you are fine. You even think that you are fine. But you are changed forever by the rock that impacted you.
You experience a form a grief for every rock. Some rocks are very small – someone hurt your feelings. Others are larger, like losing a job, or not getting the promotion you worked so hard to get. Then you have a huge boulders of grief from the death of a loved one or a divorce.
Some rocks are just part of life, like the kids going off to college or moving out to get married. Retirement. Things that are part of “normal” life experiences, that aren’t viewed as life altering but really are. Because what they do, is alter or change how you view yourself.
The empty nester wonders who am I, if I no longer have kids to mother on a daily moment by moment basis? The retired person wonders who am I if I am not “this job title”? They both wonder what do I do with the rest of my life? What is my purpose if I am no longer …, (what I have identified myself as)?
These rocks are not problems to be solved. There is no mystery to them. They are just the reality of your life. These rocks are experiences that shape who you are. It is what you do with the rocks that matter.
So, enter into the world of unfiltered “what if’s” – take out a piece of paper and write down 4 things that have happened to you recently. And start writing out possibilities of what you can paint on your rock.
The easiest way to do this is through imagination and curiosity. Take any experience that happened to you from conception through the age of 18 that you believe has impacted your life in some way.
If you are really honest with yourself, you will be able to find some silver lining to any experience. I read years ago something that has profoundly changed how I view all such experiences and it was around forgiveness. It took me a long while to incorporate this into my belief systems, because for many years it was just too big of a leap.
It is around the concept of how you come to earth to experience things. And you travel in this soul group, there are members that volunteer to be the catalyst for some of your life experiences. How that person loved you so much, they volunteered to provide either the negative or positive experience required as part of living your purpose here on earth. The author stated that if you can find yourself in this space, then you can honestly say “thank you” for what happened. It incorporates the saying, “life happens for you, not to you.”
What this belief allowed me to see was a different way of looking at what I have experienced in my life. From there I could see how each thing in my life has built upon what was already there. If some of those “steps” had been missing, then I wouldn’t have made it through some of the harder things. It was like I was being trained for an Iron Man – each thing strengthened some part of me. I didn’t see the patterns of strength training being connected, but when I look backwards, I can see how everything is connected.
When you see how everything is connected, what you realize is that removing any piece would cause the whole construct to fall apart. Each piece however painful at the time, was necessary.
When you first start training for an Iron Man, you probably experience sore muscles. You probably received blisters. You experienced the moment when you thought you couldn’t take one more step, and then broke through a barrier and found you could go another mile.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trail and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved – Helen Keller
What if…, every time I experienced a breakdown, I smiled and started celebrating the breakthrough?
I love that we are all the same at certain points in our lives. No one is perfect. No one lives a life without getting scars, both the kind you can see and the kind that no one is allowed to see. There are days when you feel all alone. But in truth you never are alone. Not in what you are going through. Not in how you feel.
When the storm is raging through your life, there is that moment of calm, right before it all blows away. The sun comes out and the winds blow away all of the clouds. In a short time you can’t even tell that there was a storm. It seems like life has gone back to “normal”. But you know what changed. You know that sometimes nothing can be the same again.
So when life’s storms batter you, and leaves you feeling lifeless on the ground – you must remember that you are loved. And while it might not be in this moment, or even this week, the day will come again, where you will be having the best day of your life.
“Don’t forget while you’re busy doubting yourself, someone else is admiring your strength.” – Kristen Butler
Until then, remember you are loved. There are people like us everywhere, who are just waiting to know you and love you.
You are like a wildflower, so let yourself be scattered by those winds when they come.
Put your face to the sun. Let it warm your soul. You may have blemishes. You may have scars. You may feel tarnished and dirty and like something the cat dragged in. But beneath the dirt and dust your soul is shining like a jewel.
“I am changing…, but not in a way you’d expect. I am changing how I view myself. I am changing how I talk to myself. I am changing what I allow and who I allow in my life. But most of all.., I am no longer changing myself for others, the pressure to fit it and be anything other than myself. I am creating a revolution in my own self care.” – @ MOULE_T
When you look at the word struggle, it seems too much. It has a weight to it that makes you feel like it can’t be lifted. But if you just adjust the meaning, a tiny little bit – you see it hides the sparkle that is laying beneath it. Struggle is like see the sign on the highway, rest area ahead. Your journey has been long. You might need a bathroom break. You might need to just stretch your legs. You might need to grab a snack or something to drink. Struggle means:
If you change your definition of something that seems scary, like struggle and change – you widen your worldview to see how all of those words are something to celebrate, not fear.
I learned something a long time ago about decisions. It came from antique shopping, of all things. I had started collecting those green milk glass dishes because my grandmother had them and they reminded me of her. There were times where I found a unique piece, but it was a stretch financially to purchase and I would vacillate on whether I should spend the money or not.
Sometimes I didn’t, then I would go back a few weeks later to buy it, and (heavy sigh) it would be gone. So I started asking myself this question – “If I come back tomorrow and this is gone, how upset am I going to be?” Sometimes the answer was “oh well”. And sometimes the answer was “very upset”. I always walked away from the “oh wells” and bought the “very upsets”.
“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming.” – Unknown
I started making decisions in life the same way. Opening up my heart and asking “what if…?” this works or doesn’t work. How will it affect me? How will it affect my life? How will it affect those I love? When you get quiet in your soul and ask the right questions, the right answers are found there, just waiting for you. You have to step out of the wants, needs and desires of others. You have to feel into that space of inner calm and see what surfaces.
It really is simple. Living life as your true self is what will make you happy.
But those are the lies that are told to keep you in that place of being the good girl and doing what you are told. That place that leaves you unhappy inside. That says you are not enough and just need to try harder. That is the place that you need to grow from. The place that needs to be expanded, so that you can grow into your full potential. To be the sweet wonderful person you are at a soul level.
“The only difference between where you are and where you want to be is the steps you haven’t taken yet.” – Rigel J Davidson
If you were to concentrate in this moment, what is the one thing that you most desire in your life right now?
Someone out there would give anything to:
This list could go on and on. Some things on this list are within your control to obtain. The dream of the new home or car; the promotion or the new job – all things that you can work for and earn or obtain.
It might be that you’ve tried to get pregnant, had medical procedures to assist, and still can’t get pregnant. It might be that obtaining this dream means that you have to adjust to a new reality of foster care or adoption to have children. To match your dream of a child, to the child’s dream of parents to love them.
Some things might take a different path altogether. Being with a loved one who has died, you might take the path of talking to them in a praying meditative state. Or maybe the path of writing that letter telling them everything you never had a chance to say.
When you were a kid, did you ever take a magnifying glass or even just a glass and focus the suns energy on a piece of paper until the heat got hot enough that it started a flame? It takes focus to keep the glass still and just wait until the paper gets hot enough. If you keep moving the paper around, it will never get hot enough to create the flame.
Creativity generates ideas. Inspiration takes those ideas to the next level by thinking about them.
It takes focus to follow the trail that the idea came from. It takes getting outside of the normal day for just a few minutes to say, “I wonder what happens next, and next, and where does it go from there”. It takes focus to not get lost down the rabbit hole of other thoughts and ideas and just stay on this one trail with no distractions. You have to harness your creativity and focus your thinking down a particular path to reach the destination.
Let’s just take the first dream on the list above and “find the perfect mate”. Maybe the first thing you do on this path, is to take a piece of paper and write down all of the details of what your idea of a perfect mate is. Write down as many things as you can think of, even what seem like silly details, such as they put the cap back on the toothpaste. What their character is like; how they look; what their dreams are; what music they like; do they need to sing karoke with you ever Friday night? Do they love to line dance at a country western bar? Do they love chocolate? Go all out and write down everything your heart and imagination can think of.
Once finished put that list in a drawer and forget about it.
Now start a new list. This list is the most critical list of all that you’ve ever made. This list is about who is that person, with all of those qualities that you just wrote the pages about, who is he/she looking for? This is going to be about the list of changes that you are going to make in your own life, to attract that dream partner into your life. This list is the secret of how the only person you can change is yourself. This list is about the secret that when you start making changes in your own life, your life dramatically changes. Your life improves by the amount of focus, power, brilliance and energy that you use to implement changes.
Focus means that you have to say no to anything that is not moving you forward in the direction of attracting your life partner. You are surrounded by people who will take you off the path you are walking down. There are constant distractions trying to sidetrack you. So you say no to going out Friday night with your girlfriends because want they want to do isn’t in line with anything that you wrote down your perfect mate would want to do.
Remember that you wrote down that your perfect partner loves to line dance in country western bars. You’ve always wanted to try it out because it looks like fun. You never have because you don’t know anyone who would go with you. So you’ve never gone. So focusing on making changes to youself means, you check out some country western bars and find one that has free line dancing lessons. You go to the next lesson and start learning how to line dance.
Just keep making these small changes to how you live your life in line with the values that you say you want in your life. Step by step you become the perfect person for the perfect mate you are wanting to attract into your life. You focus on what matters and let go of the rest.
Keeping in line with attracting that perfect mate, you’ve now went through all of your closets and dresser drawers and have space allocated to that perfect mate to use. You are ready – now those dormant forces are going to align to collaborate and transform your dream into reality. There are so many wonderful stories out there about men and woman who have done this and attracted their perfect mate.
You can use this process to achieve every single dream you have. You make the changes in your life that are necessary to create the space for your dream to come true. Feel right now, how you imagine you will feel then. Bring those emotions into your reality today. Life the life today, that you have been projecting into your future.
“Stay focused on your goals, your peace, and your happiness. Don’t waste your time on anything that doesn’t contribute to your growth.” – ihearts143Qutoes
“She was a true fighter, you could see it in her eyes. She was not born strong, she was made strong. She was sculpted to be her own hero when the world let her down, she kept picking herself back up.” – Unknown
Your power comes from:
Letting go of what you can’t control – you can’t calm the storm
Letting go of what doesn’t serve you – stop trying to calm the storm
Appreciating all the good in your life
Bringing good to other people’s lives
Treating your soul like a soulmate and honoring what it tells you
This is temporary, Breathe through it, the storm always passes
Breathe in the strength, power and courage you need to move on
Breathe out all the pains, frustrations and sorrows that are weighing down your heart
Trust the storm to bring in something better than what it has taken away.
You are where you need to be. Just Breathe.
The power of the breath cannot be overstated. When you are stressed out, overwhelmed – when you are in emotional turmoil – your breathing becomes quick and shallow which causes a number of reactions in your body. Your adrenals are impacted as they release cortisol and start the “fight, flight or freeze” reaction in your body. Breathing deeply and slowly instantly calms you down mentally so that your body can stop being triggered and relax physically.
Strength is not found in perfection,
That is real strength.
“The world needs strong women . Women who will lift and build others. Who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will.” – Amy Tenney
“She remembered who she was and the game changed.” – Lalah Deliah
So much of what you worry about in your life, the things causing you to have anxiety are in reality “the small stuff” of your life. Many of the deadlines that you push yourself to meet, are self created. Will the world end if dinner is at 6:30 instead of 6:00? Does it really matter if your child goes to school wearing a stripped shirt and polka dot pants? Did the PTA call you to say that you have been condemned as the worst parent in the school because you brought store bought cookies instead of baking home made cookies? All of these things are “the small stuff”.
“When she finally learned how to let go of the things that didn’t matter, she discovered all the things that really did. Just breathe.” – Unknown
When the “small things” in life get you down. When life trips you up. When life sends you on an emotional roller coaster, don’t forget “you are only human“. You’re still learning. It’s okay to have a meltdown. What is important is that you don’t pack your bags and move into the zone of constant emotional turmoil. Take some deep breaths, re-center and ground your emotions. Refocus on what is important. Let go of what isn’t. Remember what Cristen Rodgers said, “It’s the risk of falling that makes life a grand adventure rather than a guided tour.”
“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than the stars.” – Mark Anthony
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking
Have you ever felt lost? That feeling that says you don’t know how you got to this place in your life. That fear that eats at your soul, causing the “fight, flight, or freeze” to send you literally fleeing into the darkness, with no idea where you are, or where you are going. You have no idea how to extract yourself from the situation that you have somehow blindly created. My visual mind sees the proverb of “painting yourself into a corner”.
‘All progress starts by telling the truth.’ – Dan Sullivan.
If you don’t take the time to listen your inner voice that is what happens. You get lost in the maze of unconscious decisions. You come to a dead end, but can’t remember the left and right turns you made. Unconscious decisions are almost always made from the inner child, who is trying to protect you. Unfortunately the inner child is under the “illusion of knowledge”. What you understood about life at 4 or 5 years old; or 10 or 11 years old; or even 18 or 19 years old; that knowledge doesn’t compare to what you understand at 30, 40, 50, or even 60 years old.
These unconscious decisions are made from the “illusion of knowledge” in which you use the same old childish ways of thinking to make decisions that are incomplete, incorrect, or even self-sabotaging and paint you into a corner. All progress begins with you being honest with yourself. Becoming self aware.
When you wake up to who you are, you become more self aware. Every experience in your life is contained within you. Some parts of those experiences, instead of being healed were judged and rejected as being wrong. They were pushed into the shadows to be hidden. When you begin the process of integrating the pieces of you that you have named as shadows, you begin the process of healing those judgments. Those experiences are not broken pieces of you. They are just mislabeled. Healing them means that you are alive.
What you do with your life from this moment of truth is so important. It is part of the self discovery of who you are. For me, I identify with being a life long learner. Of seeing the connections to everything and everyone in my life. Of being strategic in following my decisions on life’s chess board as far as I can and then making the best decision I can see. I know that many times these decisions will not be the best, but I have left off judging them as shadows. I do the best I can in that moment – and that whatever happens will just create a new learning opportunity. I try my best to remain open to the fact that the “truths” I know today can be changed by the experiences of tomorrow.
I love the analogy of a rainbow. You might think of the primary colors as being the colors of the rainbow. But it is actually the combinations of those colors in millions of shades that make up who you are in this moment. No one else has your colors in the shades and combinations that make up who you are. Don’t reject your colors. Build your own life from those colors, taking in others perspectives and keeping what resonates with you and leaving what doesn’t behind.
Watching my grandkids grow up, I have seen things about my own life, that I never thought about before. In my own childhood I came into adult responsibilities at grade school. I stepped in trying to be the perfect little girl that picked up all of the pieces of motherhood that my mom was dropping or abandoning in living her life. I got breakfast for everyone, made sure they got to school, helped with homework, cleaning the house, and so on. I missed so much of the “fun playtime” of being a little girl, but of course I didn’t know that at the time. I thought how I was being raised was normal.
There were a lot of things I did different in raising my own children, but at the same time my mom still peaked out in what I said and did. I think that for most of us, that is a true statement. There were a lot of great things in how my mom raised us. Almost ahead of her time she had no filters or judgments based on a persons race or sexual preference. For her, it was all about who you were at a soul level.
“The wild woman NEVER FADES, she is constantly shaking loose everything that is not pure soul…,” – Shikoba
When I look at my grandkids I see the “wild soul” in its pure existence. Like my mom and even myself, I see my own children try to tame that spirit in my grandkids. They try to break it up into things you don’t say, how you don’t act in a certain way. I don’t think that the “children should be seen and not heard” way of raising kids is very prevalent today, but I do think that the practice of filters is still hammered into our children.
It teaches them to filter out their inner truth, their honesty about how they are feeling, and instead speak about a filtered, watered down truth so that they don’t go against the rules. Then as adults you have to awaken once again to those truths. To be honest in what you think. To shake off the shackles, the masks, and become once again fully alive.
Most of the time you are not awakened gently. You are awakened by the betrayal of a friend or loved one. You are awakened by loss. You lose a job, a significant other, a divorce, a death of someone close to you. Sometimes it comes from the violence of someone who is supposed to love and take care of you. Sometimes it comes from finally admitting you have an addiction that is destroying your life.
With each challenge to awaken, you grow. You get stronger mentally. Your emotional turmoil, from floundering to find your way, creates a muscle of resilience that helps you bounce back again and again. You learn to give a voice to everything inside of you. You grab hold of that wild spirit that has been trounced on and beaten into submission. You free it, letting it breathe in the freedom of expression in your own unique voice.
“They are scared of women like you. Women with hearts big enough to house a suitcase full of pain, women with laughs so therapeutic they can heal wounds, women with a passion fierce enough to start wildfires. They are scared of what they can’t tame or understand” – The Inner Voice
Each awakening starts a new journey of self discovery. You go back to the beginning and start releasing everything that no longer serves who you are becoming. You let go of the pain. You let go of the victimhood. You let go of the judgments against those who failed you when you needed them most. All of the feelings of abandonment, betrayal, hurts both physical and emotional. You let it all go. It no longer matters to the new person you are becoming. It’s all “water under the bridge”, gone and never to return.
Waking up is not for the faint hearted. Self Awareness is like picking at the scabs and scars to dig down beneath and dig out all of the roots of feelings and emotions that never served you. You begin to see a new life path forward. A path of freedom from the past. The chaos never leaves, because it is within that chaos that growth happens.
The chaos becomes the road sign for a new adventure. For a new journey to uncover more of your “wild soul”. The chaos is the preview of “coming attractions”. It makes your heart beat faster. It slips in the joy of showing the world another piece of your magic. It is the process of learning to know and accept yourself on all levels.
“Within her soul a seed of resilience was planted. Even in the darkness she knew that as long as she kept reaching up towards the light she would grow.” muses from a mystic
When you focus on personal growth and self awareness, you experience life on a whole new level. Your life becomes filled with peace, love, joy, passion and fun – all within the chaos container you have built. You see how to structure your life, design your life – all on your own rules. You have the potential to make your life be anything you want.
It’s time to step out from the stories of who you are. To grow instead that “wild soul”, and start creating the story of how you want your life to be. Acknowledge and free yourself from the past. Heal the present. Listen to your inner voice. Refuse to surrender who you are, to what others want you to be. Love yourself, your body, mind, and spirit -celebrate it. Surround yourself with other “wild souls”. Write out your own story and dance it into life.
When was the last time you did something that was both scary and exciting? When was the last time you felt that mix in your stomach that said simultaneously, “No don’t do it?” and “Come on lets make this happen“?
“Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt
What if doing one thing that scares you, was on your “to do” list every day?
What else would you put on this list? What pops into your head?
How many days would you push that scary thing, to the next day on your “to do” list? 1 day, 2 days or everyday?
How many things have you thought about trying, but put off or backed away from? How many things have you been scared to even try?
If you did try and failed, did you quit?
If you tried to surf once and fell off the board, did you say – “Forget it, I will never be able to do this?” The odds of being able to surf on the very first try are so high I couldn’t even type out the number. To learn to surf, you try and learn something. Then you repeat it over and over, wave after wave, until you have learned enough to stand up on the board and ride it into the shore. And even when you are an expert, one thing you know for sure – you are still going to fall off the board.
Using your imagination, would you be able to put a new or scary thing to try on the list every day for a month?
If you never try, you won’t know what you can do. I don’t believe that anyone really lives up to their full potential. You are capable of so many things that you won’t ever think of to try. When my mom was in a early 50’s her best friend talked her into a art class. My mom didn’t believe she could draw or paint and I don’t think beyond school drawings she ever tried. But her best friend had started painting porcelain tea cups and wanted to get better at it, so she convinced my mom to sign up for the class just because she didn’t want to do it alone.
A funny thing happened. My mom painted this amazing forest scene that I have hanging up in my living room. Her first painting revealed an unknown talent. She would have never known if her best friend hadn’t twisted her arm to sign up for the class. If you never try, you won’t get to feel that satisfying feeling of breaking out of your patterns and doing something amazing.
The funny thing about comfort zones is that they are very static. You have a routine that you follow, day in and day out. You punch the clock in the morning when you get up, and then you punch the clock at night when you go to bed. I remember years ago I worked with a firm that bought failing healthcare businesses and turned them around. On the bottom floor of our building was a TGIFridays. Every day the President of the company placed the same exact order for a sandwich. He never tried anything else on the menu. I always thought how boring.
I love to try something different when I order food in a restaurant. Something I don’t know how to cook. There are so many amazing cultural foods out there. Even in the U.S. they don’t make things the same way in the South as they do in Texas, as they do in California, or the Pacific Northwest, or Duluth, or NYC.
The thing is – unless we break out of the comfort zone, we can’t grow to a new level in life.
“A ship is always safe at the shore but that is not what is was built for” – Albert Einstein
This week, make a list of things outside of your comfort zone. Pick something that could become a hobby that you’ve never tried to do, something with your hands that engages your creative powers. Pick something that could build your confidence and courage to grow that comfort zone just a little wider, a little longer. For my mom it was an art class. It doesn’t have to be something terrifying. It could be something that you always wanted to do but are scared to try. It could be something you don’t think you can do, like painting, sculpting, woodworking, or even knitting.
If you want to go skydiving, maybe the first step is a hot air balloon ride. It gets you up in the air and grows your courage just a little bit. Maybe the next step is just going up in the plane and seeing everyone else take that leap out into nothing.
Sir Edmund Hillary is famous for climbing Mt. Everest. But that wasn’t his first climb. His first climb was in 1939 ascending Mt. Ollivier. Unless you are a mountain climbing fan or expert you would have never heard of his first climb. It was 1953 when he ascended Mt. Everest. The years between were spent expanding his comfort zone to the point that he could attempt and finally achieve the goal of climbing Mt. Everest.
So start small – pick something that expands your comfort zone and begin growing into your full potential. Each victory or achievement builds upon the courage and confidence to get to the next level. Find your own Mt. Everest and go for it!
“There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise up to meet” – William F Halsey Jr
Every adventure starts out as a journey of self-discovery. Part of the discovery is who you are deep down inside. As you learn about the parts of yourself that you have hidden away even from you – you will learn to face your own shadows.
“When you know yourself you are empowered. When you accept yourself you are invincible” – Tina Lifford
What are your shadows? They are the parts of you that you disowned as a child because you were made to feel that they weren’t acceptable. They peep out at you, when you see the same shadows in other people.
What triggers you to instant anger, shame, rejection of others – there is your shadow. Once you face and embrace your own shadows, you will quit attracting them into your life experience of others.
The values you have at your core, also come from your childhood. Some of them are from your parents. You either choose to emulate their values or you could go 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
For example, my mother used to say in complete truth for her, “Do as I say, not as I do.” One of my core values is not being a hypocrite, because this was a real hot button for me. My other core values of being truthful and honest, come from this same place. The one thing that I will not tolerate from my friends and family is being lied to.
“If you don’t know yourself, you don’t know your nature. If you don’t know your nature, you don’t know where to exist. By knowing your nature, knowing yourself, you know what to be and how to live. And that only comes from knowledge of self, knowing yourself.” – RZA
“Knowing yourself is life’s eternal homework” – Felicia Day
Part of really knowing yourself, is understanding what are your core values, and where did they originate? When you begin on the journey of self-discovery you will find things that surprise you. You will find things that may dismay you.
The great thing about this journey is that you have the ability to adopt new values, transform the existing values and basically transform your life from the inside out. You have the ability to attain self mastery.
Attaining true wisdom, means that you have invested in yourself. This means an investment in both time and money. Some things are easy to do by yourself. Some things are easier when you have a coach or mentor that can help you to see the things that you are blind to. You are the one who has to begin the journey to self-enlightenment.
You can start your investment in reading books and eLearning for self-education. Then you could add in a personal coach, begin taking courses with seminar or workshop programs.
The investment in yourself helps you to explore your creativity, innovation, ideas for your life purpose. You learn how to plan and achieve goals with less effort. You learn what motivates you. How to brainstorm new ideas for the vision you have for your life.
Fear will try to hold you hostage to limiting beliefs about yourself. I have always loved this quote, because what you have identified as the fear is never the fear.
It is in the investigation of what is hiding behind the fear, that you can truly identify and then release the real fear that is holding you back from your life.
Reality of Fear:
You’re not scared of the dark – you’re scared of what’s in it
You’re not afraid of heights – you’re afraid of falling
You’re not afraid of the people around you – you’re just afraid of rejection
You’re not afraid to love – you’re just afraid of not being loved back
You’re not afraid to let go – you’re just afraid to accept the reality that he’s gone
You’re not afraid to try again – you’re just afraid of getting hurt for the same reason
It is in being courageous that you accept that vulnerability, is what is going to help you get in touch with your true self. Everything you have experienced in life has a purpose. There are no mistakes or coincidences in your reading this today.
It’s time to focus on you. It’s time to commit to who you are beneath the surface. The world won’t stop spinning because people choose to not accept you, or understand who you are beneath the surface.
“To know yourself as the being behind the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle
“You have to get new knowledge and force yourself to really implement what you’ve learned. You have to set boundaries in place for yourself. The important thing is if you don’t know real love, someone will teach you self hate.” – Tony Gaskins
Take swimming as an example. You can read a book about it. You can watch a video about it. You can watch others swim. But your actually learning how to swim means that you have to get into the water and experience how you can move through the water and not sink and drown.
The important part of about truly knowing yourself, is the application of what you are learning through and from all of the different mediums.
It’s about effecting real change deep inside of yourself. It’s about not just planting a seed of knowledge, it’s about watering it, weeding around it and pulling out the things that might stagnate or keep that seed from growing into a healthy plant. It’s about first transforming your inner world, and then your outer world, and then the whole wide world.
“The most important relationship we can all have is the one you have with yourself, the most important journey you can take is one of self-discovery. To know yourself, you must spend time with yourself, you must not be afraid to be alone. Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
“And then one day I decided that hurry and stress were no longer going to be part of my life. Stress is self-created; I decided to stop manufacturing it. We can choose an internal calm and joy even amid the chaos” – Brendon Burchard
In times of uncertainty, you tend to fill in the blanks in your life, so that you give yourself a feeling of some sort of control. I can’t control COVID-19; I can’t control political upheaval; I can’t control rioting in the streets.
But I can control what? Most people tend to answer chaos and uncertainty with more inner chaos. Instead try something different.
The question to ask yourself is – does this feed the chaos, or my inner peace? What you need is a change of consciousness. A decision to stop producing stress and instead choose inner calm and peace.
If everyone were to exercise these kinds of controls, it would end all wars, eliminate conflicts and prevent injustice.
“Staying positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It means that even on hard days you know that there are better ones coming.” – QuotesCollective.com
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Simple Reminders
Pinchmeliving.com has a great meme with 10 Truths You Need to Know for Inner-Peace & Happiness.
credit to Pinchmeliving.com
In finding your inner peace, the path leads through resilience. It’s about focusing on this present moment. You are trying to have an important phone call. One child is hugging you and the other wants you to pay attention to the cat. You have a choice in this moment.
You can go into chaos and frustration, or you can practice resilience by hugging your daughter at the same time you are talking on the phone. You can practice resilience by telling your children to wait a few minutes, and they can have your complete attention. Then once their needs are filled, you can give them something to do, and go back to the work that you are doing.
Resilience has the component of compromise within it. When life throws lemons into your well-planned schedule, you have a choice to practice resilience. You can focus on the negative things that just happened, with pain, anger, grief, and fear and let the bitterness eat at your soul. Or you reach back into your resilience pool and focus on the present moment.
In a storm like a tornado or hurricane there is a calm center, in life you have to find this calm center deep within yourself. When everyone else is running around crazy, you do not have to buy into the chaos.
It’s a matter of practice, but once you’ve been in this calm centeredness a few times, it becomes easy to immediately place that peace like a protective bubble around you. It really is a simple decision that anyone can make, to stand in the center of their own peace.
“We can weather anything if we stay calm in the eye of the storm” – Lolly Daskal
“Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity” – R. I Fitzhenry
The uncertainty of life is what makes it so much fun. Uncertainty is fundamental in nature. It is a messy imperfection of life. But it is also the adventure of choosing a path and not knowing where it goes. It is the curiosity of going someplace new and imagining what you might discover about yourself in the process.
I love the thought of this idea of not even knowing we have wings until they are forced into opening up. Unraveling feels so scary, like you are coming apart. But unless you reach that moment, the wings do not unfurl. They won’t appear until they are needed.
“It is how we embrace the uncertainty in our lives that leads to the great transformations of our souls” – Brandon A Dean
Has anyone ever said to you, “I don’t know how you do it” about something in your life?
The answer lies in realizing that you can handle anything when you aren’t given a choice. It defines who you are and who you are becoming, because every single choice is just that – a choice you make.
“Decisions are the endless uncertainties of life that we’ll not know if they’re right until the very end, so do the best you can and hope its right” – Lily Collins
“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss” – Eric Roth
There is something called the Uncertainty principle. It is part of quantum physics. It says that in the world of small particles, one cannot measure the property of the particle, without interacting with it in some way, which creates an unavoidable uncertainty into the result. Which means that the act of the observation of something, changes the thing irrevocably.
What this means in layman’s language is that the idea of a predictable future based on the choices you are making in this moment is impossible. You can guess at probable outcomes of a choice. Based on those probabilities, you can make flexible plans.
So for my choice of taking the “really lost” train track – there are a number of probabilities that would be reasons why the train isn’t going that way.
In the uncertainty principle for life, there is a grid for breaking down the complexity, volatility, ambiguity and risk of uncertainty. Gaining clarity defuses some of the uncertainty in life.
Ambiguity is like a sunrise just cresting the horizon. At first you can’t see clearly as everything still is shadowed. But the more that light is reflected out from the sun as it reaches higher in the sky, the more that what was in the shadows can be clearly seen. With ambiguity, gaining more knowledge about it creates clarity about it.
Clarity also breaks down the complexity of the subject, as you can clearly see where things connect and don’t connect. The more you know, the easier it is to take volatility out of the equation.
“Clarity and simplicity are the antidotes to complexity and uncertainty” – General George Casey
Clarity starts with curiosity. Being open to exploring the unknown. It is the journey of self discovery of why you are here. Clarity comes with conviction and true originality. It is experienced in the stillness of the soul. Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus in breaking down the complexity. The clarity of what your intentions are actually based on.
“Live your life as an exclamation, not as an explanation” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
It is about taking the train track that will infuse your life with action. When you take a tea bag and put it in a cup of hot water, the hot water becomes infused with the tea in the bag and makes a cup of tea. The longer the bag is left in the cup, the stronger the tea becomes.
Living your life as an exclamation point says that you aren’t sitting at home dreaming of making a choice on which track you are going to take. It means you are making the choice by getting on the track and forging forward. Put a period on the end of the choice. The period says you are making something happen.
Be prepared to embrace change with each new step on your journey. When the track ends, start laying new track.
“Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible” – Mandy Hale
There is a Japanese Proverb that says, “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” This implies that you have some choice in the matter. Than if your mind focuses on other things than fear, that you can control how deep that fear is allowed to go.
There is such beauty in the creation process. When I find the perfect quote and picture it gives me such joy. No one achieves full mastery. There is always another level to grow into. And with each new level there will be failures, growth, and beauty. So don’t wallow in the failures. Don’t allow the failures to stop you. Unfurl those wings and fly.
“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later”– Bob Goff
You are writing your life journey, page by page, day by day. Sometimes in writing these blogs the title is the first thing I type. Other times it is the last thing I type. Don’t be afraid to make space for the unknown. Sometimes the feeling needs to be explored before you can name it. Life’s most precious gift is uncertainty. Cherish it. Life always unfolds perfectly if you let it.
“Transformation is often more about unlearning then learning” – Richard Rohr
When you were a little child you started forming your values based on how you were raised. As you grew older those values grew, changed and transformed based on your experience of life. Those values influence what you focus on as being important. They influence how you live your life. They reflect the reality you perceive and the behaviors you demonstrate in the daily living of your life.
“A mistake is an accident. Cheating and lying are not mistakes, they are intentional choices. Stop hiding behind the word mistake when you get caught” – The Coach from Raise Your Mind
Being imperfect, you will make mistakes along the way. You will make bad decisions, bad choices. Some of those will be intentional based on your fears. Some you won’t realize are intentional. This is because your subconscious is self-sabotaging you due to its fear of what might happen if you do the right thing.
Your values if you have chosen them intentionally, will assist you in your life journey to achieve the goals you set for yourself. Your values will also excuse or accuse your bad decisions. This is because your values can validate the difference between the simple wrong choice, and the times self-sabotage intentionally made that wrong choice. It is up to you to try, or not try to do better in the future.
At first the goals we form are all education types of choices.
Unforeseen tragedies can shift your values and focus, such as when my nephew was murdered. Any kind of major unexpected life event can significantly transform your life. In my case, LemonadeMakers was a direct result of my own life event.
“The Hero’s Journey is a concept to describe people’s self-perception when they are in a growth process” – Unknown
When life events cause you to question everything in your life, you have entered upon a Hero’s Journey. It is common for fears to crop up. Grief creates a whirlpool of emotions, you blame yourself for everything falling apart. You question all of your life values as being incomplete, unstable, and not good enough. You push feelings deep down inside of you.
“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others choices make us” – Richie Norton
Transforming your life is a process with a lot of ups and downs. Intentional living can help you to sort out what values you are keeping and what values you are letting go as they were adopted as habits from those you lived with. What’s vitally critically important is that you stop standing in the ruins of your life.
Acknowledge the impact of what happened. Make choices that mean something for you in your life and “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”.
“Transformation isn’t sweet and bright. It’s a dark and murky, painful pushing. An unraveling of the untruths you’ve carried in your body. A practice in facing your own created demons. A complete uprooting, before becoming” – Victoria Erickson
The thing that you fear the most isn’t powerful in and of itself. Your being in fear of it is what makes it seem powerful. Facing the truth instead of pushing it away, takes your power back from the fear. The Hero’s Journey is a time of self reflection.
“I traded easy answers for honest questions. Replaced being judgmental with open-hearted curiosity. Stopped warring with myself and found peace with others. I burned all the old maps and then discovered my true path” – John Mark Green
Run to whatever inside of you is hiding. Pay attention to what is triggering responses inside of you. Who or what is making you angry? What is triggering the arguments you are having with others? That is what you need to follow, to find the honest answers about what inside of you is calling out for transformation.
“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs” – Jillian Michaels
This can be viewed as a spiritual journey. It is a path of recovery of those values that you should keep, and a time of personal growth for the new values that come from the release of past negative beliefs and actions you have uncovered in your transformation journey. Through the struggle of uncovering the false beliefs and values in your life you gain strength to continue your journey.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is intentional” – Glenda Cloud
It is comparable to when the caterpillar has transformed into the butterfly in the chrysalis and is ready to break out and take flight. There is first the struggle to break out of the chrysalis and then spread the wings to dry – this process strengthens the wings allowing the butterfly to gain the strength to actually fly.
The past couple of years has challenged all of us. This has been an unforeseen tragedy for everyone. There has been drastic changes in being forced to stay home. Work from home. Loss of income. If you are a first responder the fear of contracting the virus, both for yourself and your loved ones. Not being able to hold funerals for those loved ones that passed away. Children staying home from school and being home schooled by parents. So many challenges and struggles that will be continuing for some time in the future. Just not knowing what’s next.
These challenges create a lot of frustration and other negative emotions. It certainly impacts your values.