It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
"The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are." -Rumi
The other morning, I was sitting on my porch drinking a cup of coffee when all of a sudden, a feeling swept over me. It was one that took me by surprise. I closed my eyes so I could sit with it for a while and really feel it. Then I decided to describe the feeling out loud so I would always remember it.
“I’m doing great,” I said to myself looking around to no one in particular. “I’m actually happy. I’m content. Life is peaceful, life is good.”
“Holy moly!” I thought as I sat there smiling. “I’m happy, I’m good.” I could feel myself smile.
If you had asked me a few years ago whether I felt happy, content, and good, I probably would have said no. I would have come up with a whole list of things that needed to be improved upon or fixed in my life. I would have named all sorts of things I was working on and I would have said I don’t feel like I’m where I should be yet.
But somehow somewhere along the way, I’ve come to realize that I’ve found my way. I’ve come to understand that this is the way.
Today, I am on the path of making it up as I go along. I’m following my heart and my mind. My work brings me joy and meaning. My children fascinate me. I’m using my voice the way I want. I have my health. “How blessed I am,” I thought.
Over the last few years, I’ve settled into myself. I’ve focused more on my blessings and what I’m doing well rather than my shortcomings and what needs to be adjusted (something I highly recommend). As a result, everything in my mind has calmed down, and therefore my body has calmed down, too. Today, my life finally feels centered, grounded, and solid. I feel like I’ve found my space and my place.
“Well, look at that!” I thought to myself that morning. “Here you are. You feel happy. You are whole. My goodness, you even feel at peace. Imagine that!”
It was one of those profoundly simple, yet headshaking, moments of self-realization that no one ever really talks about. Sure, there are still things in life that give me anxiety (the coronavirus, the election, and Mother Nature as our neighbors in Nashville know all too well). But, through it all, I’ve been able to find my inner fortitude and soothe myself, something I’ve struggled with my entire life.
The truth is I never expected that the peace, joy or success that I chased my whole life would come to me when I was sitting alone, drinking coffee on my porch. I thought I was supposed to find that while giving speeches, accepting awards, and galvanizing change. That’s what our culture teaches us. It’s what infused into our beings at a very young age.
But, believe me, I’ve been on stage in front of crowds. I’ve won awards and I've galvanized change. And while that’s great, those accomplishments don't give you that grounded quiet feeling that you are enough. No, that feeling of smiling for no reason at all…well, that comes in your own time. It comes in the dawn of morning. It comes in the dawn of your own awakening.
I don’t know if this feeling is fleeting, but it doesn’t really matter. As a shaman once told me (yes, a shaman), once you have felt something—be it love, peace, or being enough—you can always call it back up because it now lives within you. Once you’ve felt it, you know what it feels like and can call upon it when you need it.
So, if you find yourself feeling less than or frustrated with where you are in life, try to sit and tell yourself that all is good. Tell yourself that you are OK and that you’re right where you belong. Focus on what’s going right in your life, not what needs to be fixed. Tell yourself your heart is strong and wise, and that it will lead you where you are meant to go.
I followed my heart my whole life. It has led me down some bumpy roads, but it has also led me to this moment.
I followed my heart when I voted 10 days ago, even though many people told me the person I was voting for was over and done. Hmm. I followed my heart to the place I am today and, lo and behold, I feel good about who I am. I feel good about the life I am living now.
One thing I’ve learned (and saw again this week as the election results rolled in) is that the so-called experts don’t really know what’s happening on the ground. They talk a lot about people’s minds, when in reality I think most people follow their hearts. I believe people want in their politics what they want in their personal lives and in their personal relationships: integrity, decency, strength, normalcy, and community.
Who doesn’t want to wake up or share a life with someone they can count on? Someone who is steady and rock solid. Someone with values and integrity and faith. Someone who is calm in the storm of life. Someone with a big, wide-open heart.
So, in this tumultuous election season follow your heart. Look at who your candidate of choice surrounds themselves with because it will take a team of committed, smart, thoughtful people to chart a new way forward. Imagine a new Justice League of real-life Avengers, men and women of all faiths, all ages, all different kinds of ideas to unite us and help us all feel good about ourselves and the lives we are leading. That’s what I’m doing, and it feels right.
Let’s be honest, the road of the heart isn’t always easy. It isn’t always smooth, but when you set out on its journey, it will more than likely lead you right to where I found myself that early Sunday morning feeling alive, awake and content.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that on this International Women’s Day, I’m a woman on my own path. I’m living my one wild, precious, joyful and meaningful life. In the end, my friends, that’s what galvanizes true change. Watching, witnessing and being in community with people who are following their authentic paths is what changes the world one breath at a time. I thought of that every time I washed my hands this week and it made me smile.
So, follow your heart personally, professionally, and politically. Because, when you do, you will discover the feeling I felt the other morning. You will find yourself saying to no one in particular, “Wow, I’m good just the way I am.”
Prayer Of The Week
Dear God, give me peace in knowing that everything is good in my life just the way it is. Instead of doubting myself or telling myself I should “be more” or “do more,” help strengthen my inner fortitude and give me the calm I need to be OK just as I am. Amen.
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