Are you living your true self? I mean, really. When you sit back and think about it, do you even know your true self? Sometimes I wonder if I’m my own unique individual at all. Maybe I’m just a collection of ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and values that others have impressed upon me. From the time we are born, we are taught rules, views, this vs that.
Sure, I can critically think and decide. But, what are the basis for my decisions? Are they rooted in making others happy, society norms, popular belief? If so, that leads me in a circular pattern wondering how do I actually find myself in all that mess?
It’s a lot to think about, and as caught up in “my life” as I am, I wonder if I disassembled it all, what would be left - of just… me.
We live in a very judgey place. Yes, judgey. And, yes, I know it’s not technically a word. But, you know exactly what I mean.
In a time in history where we preach freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom to be creative, build what you want, do what you want, be who you want… I wonder how many of us are really doing that.
I think freedom to be one’s self is an amazing idea. I think we all crave to not feel caged in. It’s like we want to rip open our chest and let that power inside us, out. Unleash it to the world! It sounds so freeing. So pure. Like a breath of fresh air.
It is a time in history where we are publicly watching all kinds of freedoms (of speech, of beliefs, of values) being played out right in front of us on a world stage. And it seems quite the opposite of pure. In fact, it’s in-your-face shocking. Terrifyingly so.
Yet, for every yin, there is a yang. The truth is, we don’t all breathe fresh air. Some of us breathe fire.
Yes, technically we all breathe both at times. It’s a balance. But what is happening in your micro world (in your home, school, workplace) is the same exact dynamic that is then brought to a bigger platform (your community, neighborhood, town, city, state, country). It’s all a mirror.
My question is, in which way does the scale tip for you? What are you bringing to the stage?
What I have personally found is that the fire seems to suck the fresh air right out of the room. No matter what move you make, no matter how good your intentions, those fire breathers just light it all up and burn it to the ground.
The result? You hold in the pureness; the breath of fresh air is never felt; the creativity is trapped inside. And it eventually turns into fear. Fear of being exposed. And then lynched.
Why? Because, frankly, it takes so much stinking courage to be yourself. Every being needs love to thrive. We seek it. So, yes, it’s very clear to me why we care what other people think, and why it’s hard to block it out and turn it off.
No one likes to be squished. Bullied. Ripped apart. Criticized. No one.
Let’s be honest, there are productive ways to give feedback, and there are unproductive ways, as well. We’ve all been on the delivery and receiving ends of both ways.
But, in a world of ultimate freedom, I’ve never seen more people afraid to be their true selves than ever before. Why? Because no matter how great your creativity, uniqueness, or talent, there is a fire breather lurking around every corner ready to burn you to the ground.
Our world of free speech allows everyone to have an opinion. In fact, I bet someone is reading this right now that is ready to blast off some fiery comments in response. Why? Just because they can…
For a long time, I’ve felt the need to live my life under the covers, so to speak. It’s not that I’m an incredibly private person, but most people know nothing beyond the surface.
Why? Because I don’t want to be criticized, made fun of, or bullied. I don’t want bad press. I don’t want your opinion on if I’m right or wrong. I also didn’t ask your input on how I use my time, money, or energy. I don’t want you to hold things over my head. I don’t want to hear that you were talking about me around someone else’s dinner table. And, so goes the smoke and mirrors game.
I can’t tell you that I struggled with self-identity issues after my son was born. I can’t tell you that I have a fragile self-esteem. I can’t tell you that I struggle with health issues, that my body hurts a lot, and that I’m not sure how to fix it. I can’t tell you that I worry about making ends meet. I can’t tell you that half the time I feel like I have no direction, and I question why the hell I’ve made the decisions I have.
I also can’t tell you about amazing gifts that I have either. I can’t tell you that I can communicate with animals, that I see people in other dimensions, that I talk to God regularly (and he talks back), that I don’t always feed my kid vegetables at every meal, and that I go on vacation a few times a year because if I don’t, I will go completely insane.
I bet there are people that will have plenty of opinions about any of the above. Some encouraging. Some less so. The point is, who cares. None of us come without baggage. Not one of us.
Who am I to judge you? Just as who are you to judge me? Furthermore, if your unsolicited feedback brings nothing constructive to the conversation, why bring it to the table at all?
On a world stage, it is hard to breathe fresh air. It takes resilience, strength, courage to let your own light shine.
Be different. Be weird. No one ever got to an amazing place doing the ordinary. Let them talk about you. For as many fire breathers, there has to be an equal amount of oxygen.
I’m here to live MY best life. If you are here to do the same, then you have no need to insert fire breathing comments as to what I’m doing. So, I’m going to be the oxygen. In order to do that, I need to come out from under the covers. I am not going to be the change, because I don’t need to change. I just need to be me. And you need to be you. Hopefully, that’s something we can all agree on.
I was talking to someone the other day and the person said to me that they thought this was funny…. They were having a conversation with someone else a couple days prior and between them, they had mentioned a third person that they hadn’t heard from in a while. Then the following day, one of them got a phone call or email from that third person. They thought it was funny because that wasn’t the first time that had happened to them. Thought maybe it was coincidence.
I chuckled when they told me that, because a couple years ago, I probably would have thought the same thing. Coincidence. But, I’ve been learning a lot of new things in the past couple years. One of those things is how you can put “stuff” out into the universe. All your thoughts are a conversation with the universe. So, the chat those 2 people were having above, when they mentioned that other person who happened to get in touch…not as much coincidence as it is manifesting.
Have you also experienced this? I have many times. You think about a hamburger and then you see a commercial for one. Or you think about how you haven’t talked to your nephew in a while and he calls the next day. It’s all the little things you put out in the universe…. and the big things too.
You probably always hear people saying things like: “Be Positive” and “Be Kind to Yourself”. Well, there is merit and meaning behind this. As I mentioned before, all the things you think and say is a conversation with the universe. So when you say negative things, the universe hears this as a want or a demand. So that’s what you get. A good example of this would be hitting all the red lights while you are driving. Has this also happened to you? You are rushing out of the house and you probably should have left 5 minutes earlier. And you think that you will likely get stuck at all the red lights on your way to your destination. And sure enough, you do. Well, my friend, you might have created that for yourself, unless some other Divine intervention is happening. You have thought about the red lights and are now stuck at them.
So with this logic, if the universe hears your negative thoughts and delivers them, how about delivering the positive thoughts? Yes! They can be manifested too! When you are thinking your thoughts, make sure they have a positive spin on them. The best way to speak in the positive, is to avoid the negative! What do I mean exactly? Well, say or think about what you actually want. Here is an example. The statement “I don’t want to get sick” is a very common expression. You might have said it at times too. But how many times have you heard someone say that and then they end up sick? Uh huh. A more positive way to say, what we intend to be the same thing, is to say “I want to be healthy.” See what I did there? ;)
There are endless ways and situations where you can work on changing your words into the positive. It does take some practice and in frustrating or upsetting situations, it is easy to fall into speaking or thinking negatively. But the more you practice this are of manifesting, the easier it becomes to speak and think positively and the quicker you can change your own thoughts around. Even in those troubling times when negativity surrounds you.
So manifest away! Say and think all the positive things you want. And remember, the universe is infinite. You can never ask for too much. But remember….the universe hears all your thoughts….
Interesting things happen when you’re alone. I mean, truly alone.
I recently completed a 21 day Self Care Detox Challenge. I made up the Challenge, and hence the “rules,” but in a nutshell, I pushed myself to set aside 30 minutes a day to do something for myself.
Yea, I used the word “pushed.” As if you really need to “work hard” at doing nothing for 30 minutes! Well… some of us struggle with that. We are so caught up in work, running, chaos, bills, productivity, squeezing more out of life and into our days, that we neglect the most basic form of self-care.
When I say basic, I mean basic. Being quiet. And alone. Basic.
What I noticed as I began my 30 minutes for 21 days is that we often make things super complicated. I had this whole conversation in my head about, “Well, what is self-care? What activities ‘count’ as taking care of myself? What is a good enough use of my time? Is one thing better than another?”
I hear you, as you think this is all ridiculous. And it is. But, how many times have you tried to outdo yourself – to top your own ideas – to weigh what is “better”? I bet you have.
I think we really use money to level the playing field. It’s a language we understand. You can break things down into dollars, and therefore, now we know which “thing” is more valuable.
News flash – value is in the eye of the beholder.
So, during my 30 days, I did a range of activities. Some cost me money. Some cost me nothing. They all took time. In the beginning, I was wrapped up in making the experience super meaningful. So, as one of my first activities, I got a massage. A massage, to me, is obviously self-care. Everyone knows that…
As my 21 days went along, I realized something very interesting – my belief that money made something more valuable. It’s not hard to know why I think this; we are programmed to believe this our whole lives. So, therefore, the money I spent on the massage made it more valuable than the quiet meditation I did in my hammock at home.
I also stumbled upon my own irony – tying my own self-care to activities to other people. I’m not getting a massage without a therapist, right? Then I raise the question: How much responsibility of my own self-care do I place on others? Is it the therapist’s job to make me feel great? So, if I don’t feel great, does that mean that self-care is hogwash?
Raising the bigger question: How much of my self-care do I actually do MYSELF? When I walk, I use headphones. When I get a massage, I see a therapist. When I got to the chiropractor, I see a doctor. When I zone out at night, I watch Netflix. When I want to escape my reality, I read a book. When I have a few minutes to disconnect, I do the opposite, and scroll through Facebook. The list goes on and on.
What I found in the 21 days is that the best quality of self-care I received is when I spent time alone. In my head. Just me. It is in that space that I found peace, calm, and freedom. That’s where great ideas are born. Revelations are made. Strength and answers are found.
That isn’t to devalue a massage, a facial, the chiropractor, a good book, etc. It’s just my realization that it’s different. I think many of us struggle to be quiet in our minds. We struggle to be alone. We struggle with our own thoughts when there is no one around to listen. We want validation from others. We judge our worth and time based on how much we spent or by the qualifications of the person we were with.
The bottom line is, you are enough. Just you. Just your thoughts.
We also have so much power within us. So much of what we seek truly lies in our souls. Just be comfortable enough inside your own skin to hear and feel your own thoughts. The guidance we receive in the quiet spaces in our mind is our true path. No road signs and flashing lights of approval are needed by anyone else. Trust yourself.
If you struggle with being alone in your own mind, whether it’s fear or just a hectic life you lead, I challenge you to put aside the busyness and connect with yourself, even if you have to make an appointment with yourself to do so. No need to rely on anyone else. You are enough.
Skinny, hilarious and unforgiving is the kind of girl that lives inside my body. Let me explain unforgiving before anyone loses their mind over that statement. I have lived for a long time at a size that makes no sense. A lot of people justify their weight and can look back and give you the day that all of this fat just happened to them. I am unforgiving in that I blame myself and months of habits vs giving any credit to years of doing right. I blame myself when I look back and can clearly see a two year old that had no control over what was in their mouth when she was first labelled obese by doctors.
One of my students was commenting this week about how he couldn't run a mile he claimed that he was "too fat" for that. I sort of laughed and I said if I can run a mile, you can certainly run a mile. He stood in front of me maybe weighing 165lbs and looked at me with all seriousness and said "Ms., I have gained 20lbs since I got here, I am just not used to being this big and I can't exercise to that extreme at all.". The conversation continued and it was in convincing him that he can definitely run a mile that I realized perhaps I am wrong.
I have proven to myself that in this fat suit that I am wearing I can do anything. Honestly I have become pretty successful at a lot of things at this weight...but somehow in proving to my body (and everyone looking at it) wrong, I have also gotten comfortable in my skin. Great for confidence and being a mother that is raising kick ass kids that will always know their worth...but sad for the part of my spirit that has always felt trapped in this body. I have somehow forgotten about her and become complacent as long as I can still do and accomplish!
Because of that realization I know it's okay to focus on my goals and not just be happy with what I have. My accomplishments are many and I am very grateful but it is okay to want to chisel myself out of the rock that is holding me here and stop living my life from within.
I recently heard a pretty amazing quote. “What we know is a drop. What we don’t know is an ocean.” I was watching a series on Netflix called “Dark”. Not sure who to actually attribute the quote to though. The character, the writer, someone else who has said it first? Anyway, I wanted to give credit where it was due, just don’t know who it’s due to.
Back to this quote…..when I heard this, I was struck with the trueness of this statement. While I have never really thought that I know everything (how could that possibly be anyway), this quote reminded me of how much more there is to learn and to understand and to discover. I like to think of myself as intelligent and having common sense. But there is still an unimaginable amount of information that I will never know.
I think there are things or topics that we haven’t even begun to investigate. Referring back to the ocean specifically, I remember hearing a statistic about how much of the ocean we don’t know about. I had to go back and check what that was and according to the National Ocean Service website “More than eighty percent of our ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored.” That’s a huge amount that we have no idea about! HUGE! And that’s just the ocean. There are forests, and the atmosphere, and time, and energy, and people’s minds. I could obviously go on and on, but I think you might get the point.
I feel like we have all met a person in our lifetime that “seems” to know everything. At least that’s how they act. Obviously, no one can know everything. But anytime there is a conversation about anything, they know about it and can talk about it or know a better way to do it. Well, I think we can all agree that they don’t know it all.
This isn’t really about the know-it-alls out there. It’s about the desire to know what I don’t know. To learn things I haven’t been exposed to before. To allow myself to be taught new things. How freeing it is to be exposed to a new topic and just give yourself the time to think on it. Contemplate it, discuss it, and wonder about it.
There are so many things that we might have heard of in our lifetime. Or have seen on a tv show or in a movie. A topic that has been discussed that seems unbelievable or that at first seems to be unbelievable. But as we dig further into the topic….maybe it’s not so crazy or not unreal. Remember the whole debate on whether or not the world is round or flat? Well, you might not remember first hand, but that debate didn’t go as most people would have thought all those years ago. Time travel…..”Back to the Future” movies. The idea has come from somewhere….
So it seems plausible that the idea of what we know is a drop and what we don’t know is an ocean. Think of that the next time you fill your bathtub, or see a pool, or even notice a puddle. Think of what you know as one drop of knowledge living in that space of all that is yet to be discovered. And then think about how awesome it would be to have 2 drops of knowledge in that cavernous space.
My friends, the magic of learning and being taught is astounding and never ending. Who are we to say that something isn’t real or couldn’t be possible. Just because we can’t see something doesn’t make it fake. There is so much to know….we won’t ever know it all. But the fun comes in learning about the things that aren’t yet discovered.
So keep your thinking hats on, everyone! Embrace learning and do your best to add a couple more drops to the ocean of the undiscovered.
As (my) world turns. Another trip around the sun.
Happy birthday to me! Happy middle age. Augh. I’m not sure how I feel about the “middle”. Perhaps because it feels that much closer to opposite end of where I began? Obviously, it’s all relative and illogical anyway. Who knows when the true middle is? My middle could have already passed. Or maybe it’s still yet to come.
Do you ever stop to think about your birthday? I mean, more than just “oh it’s my birthday.” I feel like there are two types of people: 1: people who operate like it’s just another day, or 2: IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!
I’m in the second category. I LOVE my birthday. I’m not even sure why. Maybe it’s a nice mid-way point from Christmas? Maybe because it’s near July 4th and people are already in party mode? As a kid I always secretly believed the fireworks were just for me. Obviously, I don’t know how I would feel if my birthday was in another time of year.
This year is a BIG one for me – 40. I always thought it wouldn’t really be a big deal to turn 40. Age is just a number! Sure. Until I’m turning 40.
I don’t think it’s so much about feeling old. I feel about the same as I have over the past couple of years. Nothing has suddenly changed. But, it feels… different. Like a shift in time. Or a shift in mindset.
By 40 I feel like there are no excuses. This is life. You’re living it. You have experiences. You’re not too young for stuff (like renting a car or signing a lease). You’re also not too old (AARP hasn’t called just yet). But, at this point, either you have it together or you don’t.
Does anyone ever truly has it all together?? I think our world is clouded with the picture perfect images we all want the world to see. Not that anything is wrong with that, per se. I surely don’t like the world to see everything chaotic in my life.
But I’m beginning to understand the mid-life crisis. It’s a turning point of reflection. Where you are seriously wondering if this is it. When you realize that you’ve been kicking around this “life” thing for a while and you are nowhere near where you want to be. When you decide that going through the motions seems fairly unproductive and silly and you want more meaning behind what you do.
I have a list of 100 Things I’d like to do. Call it a bucket list, wish list, goals, whatever word resonates with you. There are little things on my list (like spend more time with my dogs) to bigger ideas (like be incremental in passing legislation). When I wrote it, I really took time to contemplate the “things” in life that mattered to me. I didn’t judge or filter my thoughts. I just simply wrote things I wanted.
Who knows if I will get to do even half the things on my list. I can’t say I have a plan of action to knock off all these items. I think it’s okay to not be so programmed in getting them done. But, every once in a while, I look at the list, and it reminds me that I’m alive. I’m more than my job, more than a mom, more than a wife. I’m alive, on a journey all of my own. Having experiences.
The thing with 40 is that time already feels like it’s flying by. Years seems to go faster and faster. When I look at my list of 100 Things, the key is that I FEEL GOOD while doing them. I don’t want to waste time feeling crappy.
Feeling good is HARD work. I know I don’t feel like I did in my 20s. I can’t imagine what I will feel like in my 60s. But right now, in this moment, I want to feel awesome. Feeling good is not something I want to achieve one day. I want to be it every day.
Turning 40 makes me realize that I’ve been fortunate enough to live this many days already. None of us know how many more days we get. What I do know is that I want to feel good for as many of them as I possibility can. There is no waiting around till next year, next month, next week. Just chose be feel good in every moment as they happen.
Do things that make you happy. Do things that make your body feel good. Give it good fuel. Give it good rest. Have fun. Exercise (after you do this enough, you realize that it actually does feel good!). Breathe.
I’m not really ready to “tackle” the next 40. I’m ready to live them in the present moment. I’m ready to learn how to just “be.” Seems hard to believe it’s taken me 40 years in this body to just begin that journey. All in due time, I suppose.
As my 39th trip around the sun concludes this weekend, I open a new chapter of life. Learning more about who I am, and learning to enjoy the present moment. As we all know, the present is all we truly have. No better day to do it than on a day I already love.
I would say that in my life overall, I’m not a super competitive person. Well, at least outwardly. Of course, when I’m involved in an activity or when I played softball regularly, I did my best and tried to be successful. But I don’t think I’ve been way over the top, crazy, do anything to win. I do like to win, don’t get me wrong. But I suppose I have my limits as to how competitive I’m going to be.
Unless…….we’re talking about the competition I have with myself. Oh, no! I think I might have taken a turn to the dark side…..
Ok, the dark side might be a little too far. A bit dramatic. But I do have this bizarre competition with myself. I notice it in my daily life. I don’t think I have always seen it though. I would assume that I would have tried to curb this before it got out of hand. Dramatic again. It’s not really out of hand, but I see it.
Here is one of the places where I have noticed it. There are a few mindless games that I have downloaded onto my phone and I will play them at night when I’m unwinding. Now, if you are familiar with any of the many games that are able to be downloaded, you know there are multiple levels and you can earn 1, 2, or 3 stars on each level, depending on your “skill”. So in playing some of these games, I was realizing that very early on in the game, the levels were pretty easy. I earned 3 stars! Go me! I’m doing well.
As the levels increased, apparently, so should your skill level. “Oh no, I think I have only earned 2 stars on this level. I can’t move on to the next level now. I have to earn the 3 stars before I can go on.” What?? Now, keep in mind, I don’t really have to earn 3 stars at all. The game will progress either way.
Talk about me taking the fun out of something. Who am I competing against? No one is checking up on my night time playing ability to make sure I am earning my 3 stars on each level before I move on. Why do I do this? I have to “win”! Win what? I need the stars to validate something? Not really. I don’t share my gaming progress online with anyone, so no one but me would know this. (And now you do too…)
Another place I have noticed my competition with myself is when I workout. More specifically, when I do some kind of cardio exercise. Again, here I am taking the fun out of it. (Yes, I did just say exercise is fun.) Heehee. Anyway, I’m on the treadmill or the elliptical. And “I have to get to this certain amount of miles by this certain time. I have to run this many minutes before I can take a break”. And then what? I win? But, in a sense, my goal motivation backfires, too – for instance, if I wasn’t sure I would be able to reach the “goal” at today’s workout, then I would avoid doing it all together. I put too much pressure on myself to reach a made up goal that isn’t necessary. So in my quest to “win”, I’m actually hurting myself by ending up not doing something because I might not be able to win against myself. It all seems rather silly, to make the competition with myself take the fun out of things. I like to run. I enjoy it. But maybe I can just run for the fun of it instead of “beating” my time yesterday.
I don’t want you to think that I believe we shouldn’t have goals. Quite the opposite. But for me, if the “goal” was pushing me away from doing something good for myself or relaxing, then this isn’t a good goal for me. Maybe the goal can be “run until I want to walk”. And ps…..”good job running”. Or earn 1 star and be happy going onto level 72.
I’ve made the attempt to stop being so competitive with myself. It doesn’t need to be me vs. me. I keep track of my progress on the elliptical or treadmill but I don’t have to reach a certain goal to make this particular workout worth it. I’m happy that I’m sticking with the workouts. And I’m satisfied with my 1 star at times……as long as I can get 3 stars here and there.
For me, I need to keep the fun in it. Fun is definitely NOT overrated.
~Lynn Aspire Wellness
I’m not going as far as to say Jelly Beans changed my life… but, well, they gave me a reason to pause – and in an even more profound way than deciding on the best flavor combination I could concoct.
I believe part of being successful includes embracing our struggles. They really do define us – either we decide to become them, or we decided to become something usually quite the opposite. Wellness is certainly a journey, and mine continues, just as does yours… and everyone else’s. I work hard to choose a good path. It’s not necessarily the “right” path, as age has begun to teach me that there is truly no right and wrong, but merely decisions and choices, some of which lead to better outcomes than others. I am a fan of positive outcomes, so I work towards making choices that will likely lead me down that path. But nonetheless, being transparent, while difficult, is often essential if we really want to make true change in our lives.
Health and wellness are very much affected by the tides in our lives. Positive or negative, you can likely expect your habits to ebb and flow as well. Weight gain or loss, less exercise, missing routine wellness visits (doctor, dentist, massages) – these things happen when life throws us for a curve, even if we feel prepared for it! What am I talking about? Moving, getting married, having a kid, having another kid, taking care of parent, changing jobs, getting divorced, losing a loved one, kids starting college, and the list goes on and on.
Let me rewind my life for you briefly. Since June 2016, exactly two years ago, I have started a new business (including the build out construction), closed an old business, adopted a newborn, bought a house, underwent another construction house renovation, adopted a dog, packed, moved, and sold a house.
It’s safe to assume that some of my positive habits fell apart during all this transition. Ahhh yea. Lack of sleep, lots of working, tons of financial stress, it all took its toll. Cooking became a huge challenge. Not just the time to do it, but between house showings, it was just nearly impossible to know if we would even be able to make dinner at home. Cooked fish smell doesn’t go over well when selling a house. FYI.
We tried really hard to cook when we could and eat real meals. But, it was a crap shoot. This was also the time when we were introducing new foods to our son, and it was a whole new ballgame for us!
Turns out our toddler likes to eat! And he’s not afraid to try stuff. Basically, he wants everything you’re eating. Sharing is caring, right??
Well, turns out I didn’t want him to eat everything I was eating. Why?? Because it’s not food that’s appropriate for a baby! But, umm… what does that even mean? It means, he shouldn’t have it.
But why? Why shouldn’t he have it?
As I was sneaking jelly beans one afternoon at dinner time, it hit me like a freight train. He sees me in all my sneakiness. Nothing’s getting past him! And, oh you better believe he wants one! But, I’m not giving it to him because it’s not good for him. Hey, Einstein - news flash – it’s not good for you, either! Here I am, a grown woman, sneaking jelly beans so my 1 year old doesn’t get into a bad, sugary habit. But, it’s okay for me to do it??
We know the answer is no. NO. It’s not okay. If I don’t want him to have it, I shouldn’t be having it either. It’s as simple as that. I didn’t want to keep telling him “no” to sharing what I was eating. What kind of example does that set?? Certainly not one of a positive role model.
Nothing kicked my butt back into the right mindset faster than staring at those jelly beans and realizing how silly it all was. If I want him to be a good eater and like healthy food, then I need to set that example and eat right, too! After all, it’s not like I don’t know how. Not to mention that I actually LIKE eating healthy food (call me crazy, I know!).
On the surface, it seemed as easy as telling my son, “You can’t have this.” I’m an adult, by gone it, and I WANT it, and I say so, and I get to choose! So while my son’s tantrum is on the outside, the reality is, I’m having my own adult version on the inside.
It was time to pull it together. So, see ya later, jelly beans! We are back to home cooked goodness.
It’s graduation time around my area. People graduating from college, graduating from high school, middle school, pre-school. To me, graduation indicates moving into the future, going towards the next thing. It’s been a little while since I’ve officially graduated from some type of school program. And it makes me reflect on those days. Those simpler days, where there wasn’t a ton of responsibility. Well, not like my responsibility of today. Anyway……
In my reflection, I’m thinking about the choices I made, profession wise. So really, I guess I’m thinking back to my college days. I went into college knowing what I wanted to study and which degree I was after. Sometimes I wonder if I chose the degree I did without having a lot of thought behind it. Did I pick it because I thought I should? Because I thought I was being noble? Because I wanted to help people? Maybe all of these things. But looking back on it, I think my choice really made me feel like I was confined.
I majored in Psychology and earned my undergraduate degree and went right on to graduate school and earned my Master’s in Psychological Counseling. I had a basic plan in my head of what I thought I would want to do as a career. The job/position I took wasn’t exactly what I thought I would be doing, but it was in the “correct” field and close enough to what I had envisioned. Buuuuuttt this isn’t really about the job I took.
I think my main motivating factor in choosing my degree path was really about wanting to help people. I have always found myself wanting to help people. At least, I’d like to think so. Over the years, I’ve discovered that there are many ways to help people. And I could have done this in a lot of different ways. So why did I take the path I did? Perhaps because that’s what I said I would do. I’m not sure. I know I enjoy psychology and attempting to understand people and the whys behind the things they do. Of course, this can lead to frustration, as every rule seems to have an exception.
So, I’m still looking back and reflecting. I’m thinking there are a lot of things I would have liked to tell my younger self. Things I know now, that seemed unimaginable then. Struggles of now that makes the “struggles” of then seem like field day. I know when hard times are happening, it feels like the worst thing ever. But not everything that felt like the worst thing ever, was the worst. Sure, there were some really hard and sad things that happened waaaayyy back then. But when I think back, I would surely tell myself……..
~~ “There is indeed truth to don’t sweat the small stuff.” While cliché, it’s true. There will be countless things to think about and to agonize over and worry about. Don’t add on to the mountain of concerns with something unimportant like…“I wonder if that kid in class was mad at me last week for asking the teacher a question?” (As if that should be a problem…..)
~~ “Be kind and non-judgmental.” I would have to toot my own horn here and say I’m generally both of these things, but I’m sure there were times when I followed the crowd of inconsideration and wasn’t as kind as I could have been….
~~ Which leads me to …. “Don’t always follow the crowd.” They might not be leading you to where you want to go. It’s ok to be an individual and do you own thing, have your own opinions, have your own experiences.
~~ Which leads me to my point…. “Do what YOU want to do, go where YOU want to go.” This is something I would for sure like to tell my younger self. Most things don’t have to be forever. So if you don’t like what you’re doing, you can change it. But, do what you want to do to be the happiest, most outstanding person you can be. So before the responsibilities of today have take over, take some time to sit back and think…. “What do you want?”
Karma… What Goes Around, Comes Around.
We all know that expression, right?? Sure we do! What goes around, comes around. Sometimes it’s not always obvious, though – the coming around part. I’m going to tell you 4 separate stories… just hang with me… it all comes together…
….Forever and a day ago, I visited a local fitness equipment store to make some purchases for my business. Turns out they had a referral program for Personal Trainers. Pretty cool. Cost me nothing to enroll, so I did. Have never honestly even thought about it again. I have no idea how it works, but hey, it’s a good way to maybe get my name out into the community.
…This past fall, my husband, son and I attended my brother’s wedding it Atlanta (it’s a 16 hour drive from Delaware). We were road tripping for a week with an almost 1 year old, breaking up the drive with different stops. If you’ve ever been in a car with a baby for an extended period of time, well you already feel our pain. As you can imagine, we have a lot of “gear.” For being so darn small, babies do not travel lightly! I had keenly separated our belongings into sections of what we needed at each stop. So, when we got to Atlanta, we only removed what we needed from our vehicle. Too much to cart around!
Well, our car was broken into during our Atlanta stay. The majority of our baby stuff was stolen. Diaper bag, pack and play, bath stuff, toys, almost his whole long sleeve wardrobe was gone, plus who knows what else. Who steals from a one year old?? AUGH. I was so upset and disgusted. Frankly, I had no idea what to do. I felt crushed. How on earth was I going to replace all that stuff??
In my frustration, I posted my outrage on none other than facebook. Honestly, I try to keep my posts uplifting, happy, and positive. There is so much crap in the world, no one needs to hear more crap from me. But, in my fury, social media was my outlet.
When I hit “post,” I truly didn’t have any forethought into what the responses would be. I hadn’t thought that far in advance. I just wanted the world to know I was more than angry. What happened next was shocking. People helped! Seems crazy to say I was surprised, but I truly was! We received help from so many of our friends and clients. But, even more awesome – one of our clients, SHARED the story to her friends. And guess what?? HER friends helped, too! People we never even met before helped us replace the biggest items lost! I have never in my life experienced such an outcry of help from folks. My heart was full. I was beyond grateful.
…. A couple of months ago, that same awesome client mentions that she is thinking about purchasing an elliptical for her home. Where should she shop for a good one? Hummm… oh, right! I tell her I had purchased equipment at a local store in the past, and I thought they had a good selection at decent prices. Then, I happen to randomly remember I signed up for that referral program forever and a day ago. I suggested she ask about the referral network because I think she’d get a discount! Everyone likes a discount!
…. A few weeks ago, I’m sitting in a conference, half listening to the presenter, half playing with my phone (because like everyone these days, I have to be constantly entertained lol). I see a post from the same awesome client. Except it wasn’t an awesome post at all. It was almost a repeat of my post back in the fall, when our car was broken into. Now her car had been broken into! Hundreds of dollars of stuff just gone. Gone. I know how horrible that feels. I looked at the list of stuff she’d lost. Geez, so much.
My brain immediately began searching for a way to help. I got up and walked right out of the conference. I walked into the hallway with my phone, and I called her Vet’s office. One of the things stolen was her dog’s heartworm meds. Having four dogs myself, I know this stuff can add up, especially depending on what brand you use. The Vet’s office answered, and I told them whatever her bill was to replace the meds, I wanted to pay for half. The woman was a bit shocked on the other end of the phone. She repeated, “Half??” Yep. Half, and here’s my credit card number.
Now, pause a second because while I believe myself to be generous in many ways, money isn’t usually how I do it. Why? Well, simply because I usually don’t have it. I had just had a stressful conversation about finances (it’s a conversation we have on an automatic loop, I swear) with my husband that day. So, when it comes to spending money, I’m pretty thrifty and conservative and I think twice (or more sometimes) about most purchases.
But, not that day. Not at all. That is what shocked me the most – not that her stuff was stolen, not that there are horrible, crappy people in the world. But, rather, it was my immediate reaction to just do something to make it right that surprised me the most. I had no hesitation. It was as if someone else had entered my brain and dialed the number. I had zero thought about money, nothing like that at all. I just reacted. I never even asked how much “half” of her bill was. I just gave my card info, and that was that.
…. A few days later, I was going through the mail, and there was this non-descript envelope. You know the kind. It’s probably a solicitation. It’s the type of envelope you just trash and not give a second thought about. For some reason, I paused as I was about to ditch it. For those that know me well, you know I’m the Queen of throwing everything away as fast as possible. It gives me great joy to throw things away (lol).
But, for whatever reason, I opened it. The return address name was unfamiliar to me. I was curious enough. Guess what was inside? A check. Yep. You heard that right. It was a check. Jackpot! Wait, what’s the catch because random businesses seldom just send me money.
Then, I remember… ohhh… this is that fitness equipment company… but wait… ohhhh… holy smokes! My client that bought the equipment there had obviously used the referral program. And I got a commission!!
Even more interesting… the amount of the check? It was exactly double the cost of the dog’s heartworm medicine. I just stared at it. In total disbelief. Not only had the Universe paid me back for my helping my friend, but it paid me DOUBLE.
Well then. This was surely cause for me to pause. I have always heard so many stories about how the Universe does truly deliver. Not to mention, the stories about how those that give away what they have (and even sometimes what they don’t have), are rewarded.
And there it was. The money physically in my hand. Karma.
It wasn’t the Universe “getting me back” for something crappy I had done. It was the Universe rewarding me for something I had unselfishly given.
Looks like Karma is a two way street. I am truly humbled and blown away. With that said, be kind and generous, my friends. The Universe is watching, and will get your back when you need it. I am forever changed.