Get fresh air. Play. Find laughter. Serve the people around you. Get in touch with your sadness and let your tears flow. Let things go, you’ll be okay. Know why you’re letting things in. Stay hydrated. Find your humanity.
At the end of her podcast called Unlocking Us, Brene Brown asks every guest a number of personal rapid fire questions. One of them is, what do people get wrong about you?
Often, the answer is something like, that I’m serious and angry...I’m really not; I have a great sense of humor, in fact.
There’s work to do to make this world good for everyone and everything. You can do it like Trevor Noah, or you can do it like Ta-Nehisi Coates. Just because we see people advancing humanity through their serious work, calling in, shedding light on injustice, and shaking reality, doesn’t mean that they’re serious and angry. It’s just that it’s an appropriate moment to be serious (unless you’re a comedian). Calling them angry is a distraction.
All that said, play, laughter, tears, fresh air, personal space, and service to others is your regenerator. It’s what allows you to get serious, to harness anger for good, and to find your true vitality, your potency, your humanity. I imagine that there’s a good dose of that in the personal lives of her guests.
…we focus on learning rather than teaching?
…we could act as stewards rather than bosses and masters of our children, fellow humans, the animals, and the Earth?
…we could watch others blossom without wondering how they will impact us?
…we could mind our beeswax and take our own risks to express who we are rather than expect others to express how we want them to?
…we could be there at the ready just in case they fall and cry, love them for taking the shot, and encourage them to try again instead of being so afraid for them and ourselves that we encourage them to shrink just enough to keep them contained for our convenience?
…we could understand that we don’t understand the entire context from which someone else responds and behaves, especially those closest to us?
When you crack open a seed, there’s nothing. Yet in that nothing lies all the intelligence coded into it to grow the most magnificent tree or fruit. Each seed knows what it is.
We, too, are encoded with all the intelligence needed to grow into our magnificence. We can tap into it by going into that silence, that nothing-ness similar to what we find when we crack open a seed.
Therein lies the coding of the entire universe conspiring to make things good through you. There are no accidents. You were meant to be here, and to be the brilliance that you are.
So when you are feeling in a dark, dark place, buried by all the heavy dirt that is the noise of life, know that life is waiting for you to emerge from that seed and provide the oxygen that is you that the world needs to survive. All you need to do is to embrace the soil into which you’ve been buried and seeded, take moments to tap into that silent space, into your seed, and listen. You won’t even need to figure out how to emerge. You just will.
When we start having kids, we start making efforts to reach out and get together with other new parents. Going from no kids to having kids, depending on our personality, this can feel like a lot of work, but we all do it because we need the support. It gets easier, and we start scheduling playdates and share babysitting duties without a second thought. It becomes a part of our operating system. We know it’s worth the effort.
But what about for your inner child? Where is your network of support? You know this isn’t luxury because your inner child runs the show more than you’d like to give credit, and it’s making your days crazy. It keeps you small and afraid. It shuts you down. You feel alone.
Globally, we are under a lot of stress and heart-break. Our anger is tearing us apart. Both social and conventional media tap into our fears. They make us good consumers and addicts. They divide and distract us from feeling connected and keep us from coming together at a deeper level. They keep us needy for validation, but we won’t validate each other.
This is where a spiritual community comes in. By that, I mean a group of people that work to connect at the soul level, introspect, be vulnerable, heal (everyone has healing work to do; not everyone knows it), find an elevated sense of connection with the world, and work on themselves to change the world around them.
We need support, and it’s worth the effort. It’s worth the effort to plug in to where we can remember that we’re not alone; where we uplift rather than compete with each other. Where we remember that we’re more than okay. Where we develop tools to both self-soothe and be of service to one another. Where we find purpose, strength, courage, and support to move through and conquer life. Together.
My tears show me what I long for, what I’ve lost, and what I’ve gained.
My anger reveals my values that, harnessed, will change the world.
My fears tell me what’s holding me back, where I play safe, what I need to unleash.
My shame implores me to let go of external judgments, to not agree to them, I don’t need to suffer. They reflect the judger, not me.
My blame tells me to take back my power, not give it away.
My love shows me I’m unlimited, and I’m ripe with infinite potential.
My joy affirms my pure presence.
You’ve heard the saying, with freedom comes responsibility. So true. But how do you get free?
We hear this word a lot these days, and it’s because we need to hear it again and again right now. It’s imperative.
In order to work for the freedom of every human, we need to own our freedom. We need to get vulnerable first. To get uncomfortable. To crack open. To understand it’s a necessary thing to be here to make real change. We need to get free.
In order to unleash ourselves from our own bondage, we need to take these risks. But we’re afraid to fail and look stupid. We’re afraid to be judged. We feel safer to be slaves of facade.
The more I try to tuck away my “shortcomings” (my stupidity) and only show my shiny side, the more suppressed I feel… and the duller I become. I may not show my stupid, but I certainly feel stupid.
The moment I own myself and show my stupid card, I feel free. Free to be me, to make mistakes, and to try anything. I move forward and move others with me.
Balance is a funny word. I’ve often heard it used in context with people trying to hold me back from doing the things I care so much about. Yet, at the same time, as someone who has done so much healing work, I know how important balance is.
It’s not so much that balance is a funny word as language is a funny tool. We filter words differently in our conversations with others, and for different intentions. I’m sure I’ve used balance as a reason to not take the risks that I need to take, for instance, because it’s uncomfortable. I’ve let others (and myself!) use that word to talk me out of a momentum I’m riding.
At the end, we know when to pull away and tend to something else for balance, or when to stay and get lost in what we’re doing (those are some of the most transformative moments). But in order to find lasting joy, we want fulfillment in both our work and in our relationships (both the lover and friendships– don’t drop your friends). We want space for our hobbies. If you don’t know what they are, you probably haven’t given yourself that kind of space in a very long time. And we need daily practices for maintaining good mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. In one of those categories lies social service/ social justice work. Because our personal health, abundance, connection, purpose, and well-being doesn’t happen in isolation. We impact each other more than we know.
When we camp out in one area for too long without watering the others, we’ll feel out of balance, even in the area(s) that we’ve been camping. How your balance portions out from day to day will be as unique as your fingerprint, and only you will know when those portions need to change. Portion control isn’t exclusive to eating. Just like it, though, it assists in good digestion.
It’s worth figuring out. It’s mostly not worth explaining to others.
What makes breaking bad habits so difficult is the void that it creates. For instance, I want to stop looking at my phone, but then what?
It’s not like I don’t have a gazillion other things to do. What makes it a bad habit for me is that I think I’m going to jump on for a second, but then I’m on it longer than I should be. I know that because afterwards, I feel like I just ate a lot of junk food for the soul, and I wish I could get that time back. Sometimes that time is 45 minutes, and sometimes it’s 10. But I know when it’s time wasted.
When I get on this cycle of being out of control with my phone, I catch myself flipping my screen open, then wondering why. There was absolutely no purpose.
It’s a stimulant. It gives me instant gratification a small percentage of the time. Mostly, it drains me of energy, I feel less fulfilled, more needy, and more externally oriented.
Still, it comes from a need to find joy through connection. And also a desire not to get involved in anything on my to-do list for a moment.
I identified a bad habit, how it affects me, and what I’m actually seeking.
I looked for other things that would fulfill my desire to find joy through connection while staying off my to-do list. It wouldn’t work for me to just say, go back to my to-do list. The point is, I’m wanting something off my to-do list.
What’s working for me: to call someone that isn’t prone to gossip or putting everything down, to read a book (I have a pile of them that I’ve been wanting to read, and books make me feel connected), or to do something for someone.
We tend to replace a bad habit with another bad habit. That’s because we don’t have a plan for that moment when we feel void.
Without identifying the better replacements, I’d probably just go from phone abuse to a new 9 season Netflix series with 50 minute long episodes. Or chocolate.
When we’re trying to figure out our lives, we’re often asked about our long term vision. What do I want my life to look like in 10 years?
This question assumes that my current self knows anything about the future. My 30 year old self couldn’t conceive of what the world would look like today. She couldn’t imagine what 51 year old me would experience, grow into, or want.
The question I find more compelling is, what do I want my life to look like today?
I look to what’s bothering me. It gives me a clue into my own attitudes about self and about the world as well as what’s causing me the most pain. I believe that each of our personal angst is special. It prompts us to become change agents for our own unique sh%#, and in that, not only can we find our way out, we become unique experts in them.
I also look to what I already have that’s good. Because it affirms that I’ve done this before. I’ve created good, and it’s a reminder of what I am capable of.
They both give me clues into the trajectory of my life, I suppose, but I’ve long stopped needing a clear picture of it. It holds me back from doing what I need to do to first make today okay and set the right tone for tomorrow.
In this context then, the question isn’t what do I need to do to make things (and others) comfortable with me? Nor is it what can I do to seek approval?
I think I even short-change myself when I ask what do I need to do to feel good about myself? This question deepens the well for neediness and band-aid solutions.
The question for me is, what do I need to do right now to make things right and good? It’s self-loving, life affirming, empowering, and purposeful.
It’s not a practice to hide away from the conflicts of life. It’s there to plug in to the gloriousness of it. It isn’t a way to shut out the world or make us impervious to its pain. It’s there to wake us up. To make us more alive. And to see the interrelatedness of life.
We feel calmer, not because we insulated or got away for a moment, but because we tapped into our true sense of self and purpose. We tapped in to a more expansive state, and we saw the good. We saw that we were okay.
Meditation taps us to an energy source that unlocks through our desires, and it opens us to our courage to confront the shadows and to feed the i’m-possibles. Because when we tap into that true nature of ours… into our becoming, turning our backs on it is not an option.