3 Great Lessons Life Has Taught Me
Pay attention to the yearning.
You may have noticed that as of late there is a pervasive restlessness with the way things are. Some things that encompass our private worlds, professional lives and within global communities are just not right. There is an unrelenting yearning for something meaningful, purposeful, inclusive and fulfilling.
Despite the fact that you may feel too cynical, pessimistic, or busy to believe that any life other than the one you currently live is possible, there is a more expansive life trying to make itself available through you.
The yearning is present because some part of you is reaching for more. This is why the yearning won’t go away. I know this because I’ve been there.
For years I tried to pretend that I didn’t notice the inner urge to write. I thought I could continue to ignore it and that maybe it would just go away.
Then, I found myself feeling like the biggest hypocrite on earth when I would gloriously tell my children things like, “You can do anything you want to do. Just get a good education, work hard and everything will be fine. All you have to do is believe in yourself.”
I wasn’t even taking my own advice!
Now, as I spend my days paying attention to the yearning (via writing), I take a little advice from Andy Dufresne in one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption.
“I guess it comes down to a simple choice: Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
What idea do you have that no matter how long and how hard you’ve try to ignore it, it just won’t go away? Ask yourself, “What small task can I do right now around this idea?” That’s your doorway.
Let go of trying to keep yourself small, uneventful and unnoticeable.
“You will never achieve what you are capable of if you’re too attached to things you’re supposed to let go of.” You’ll know when you’re ready to become the husband, wife, friend, partner, mother, father or citizen of the world you have quietly longed to be.
You’ll know when you are being called to let go of the many identities that aren’t you, because you’ll start to feel as though some things can no longer be tolerated. The “accumulated defeats” housed in excuses, dramas, blame, and fear can no longer suffice.
As you have come to find out, you can only go so far when you’re in a box. Life has a way of encouraging us to have a truthful experience. You may as well get on with it.
Be clear about the beliefs and perceptions you pass on to younger generations.
Unfortunately, the majority of our thoughts and feelings are below the level of conscious awareness, so we tend not to realize how much we sabotage ourselves and sometimes those we love the most.
When my daughter was younger, we went through a period when every morning as she dressed for school there was tension between us. I wanted her to present herself in a certain way when she left the house to go to school— color coordinated outfits that had been ironed and neatly combed hair.
To say the least, she was not in agreement. In defiance, one morning she actually said the words out loud, “You and Granny are way too concerned with my hair and clothes.”
My mother, her grandmother, is a cosmetologist; therefore, conversations about hair rank up there with food, clothing and breathing in our household. However, I began to see that my projections were contributing to her experience of a diminished sense of self. I was draining her spirit (and mine) while trying to condition her the same way I had been conditioned.
After a prolonged period of self-reflection, I realized I had to “pick my battles”. I had to release my “death grip” on how I thought she should present herself to the world and give her room to express herself accordingly. It wasn’t easy, but it was absolutely necessary.
“We cannot expect our children to embody an enlightened consciousness if we parents haven’t dared to model this ourselves. It all starts with us and how we parent.”