Live What You Know

Learn, Grow, Accept, Appreciate, Realize, Love…Truly Live It All! Make Every Day A Masterpiece and Live Each Moment In Joy! —or— You are Divine. You are All. We are One. Let us Be still. Let us Listen with an open heart. Let us Live what we hear. Let us Love with All of our heart. BE. YOU. I AM. —or— wherever you're at and growing from now.

Tag: making brave choices

From Status Quo To Status No

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a little saying I love to say to myself and to my friends…or anyone who will listen really.  I say, “Don’t should on anyone and don’t let anyone should on you.”  If someone is discussing another’s choice and wants me to agree with their point-of-view or comment in some way, I like to say, “I don’t like to should on anyone and I don’t enjoy others should-ing on me.”

Sometimes it feels like there is an awful lot of “should-ing” in the air.  It all makes judging others and comparing ourselves so easy.  The technical term for what it brings is what we call “yuckie energy” around our house.  Truly, if you are judging yourself or others or just commenting on what someone should be doing or running dialogue in your mind that tells you that you “should” be doing something, it feels yuckie and it spreads.

Over four years ago, we made the choice to switch to a vegan diet and remove all animal products from our plates.  It was scary and strange and brought about all kinds of expected and unexpected results.  As I look at my life since making this choice, I notice that it was the first time I really chose to go against the status quo and make a big life change that would make some people uncomfortable.  My reasons for a vegan diet are many.  It started with a choice to read a book called The China Study.  From that one choice, many followed.  I kept researching and trying to figure out what made sense to me and what I wanted for my family, etc.  I read and read and read and the reasons mounted.  We jumped and went completely vegan overnight.  I am so grateful!

Obviously this had a major impact on us in the nutrition department and our health and how we live, etc.  What I can now see is that this choice to figure things out for myself and make the best choice for me and my family without worrying or being influenced by what those around me will think (okay, I did worry some at the beginning) changed our lives in many more unexpected areas as well.  This change allowed us to embrace that practice in many more areas of life.  I think this first jump into trying something so completely different from the way we used to live opened us up to life more and made it possible to make other important choices for our lives.  We began making huge steps toward charting our own course.

Clearly, we’re not the first vegans and we are super fortunate to make this choice at a time when it is so easy and becoming much less out of the norm.  Even in the years since we started, it has changed a lot (or maybe we did).  We think its normal now.  Ah, normal.

We have gone on to making many more choices that don’t fit the status quo.  We chose to homeschool/unschool our children a few years ago and that one made vegan seem simple.  Except, now that seems normal too.  In the beginning, it seemed like explaining these choices when someone asked was important and worth the time.  I would be sure to give the most eloquent, educated sounding explanation I could muster.  Now, it’s just normal to me.  I really don’t need to go into these choices much, except to say that we’re happy and it works for us.  If people are sincerely interested or curious I love discussing all the details of both issues, but I don’t feel the need to make them interested or try to convince them of my point-of-view.  It feels nice now.  It feels like being comfortable in your own skin.

I love researching things, implementing new lifestyle choices, trying new things, basking in the unfamiliar…I love taking bits and pieces from all I see around me and creating my own world with my own design…some borrowed, some new, some tweaked.  In the beginning of my newfound willingness to make big choices with big change, it felt like people thought I was judging their choice by sharing my own.  I don’t really notice that feeling anymore.  I may have felt it because I was judging on some level…it is nice to see that slip away.  I remember just not wanting people to judge me.  At this point, I don’t really notice any wasted energy going into worrying about what others think.  I’m just being me.  It feels great…not always a walk in the park of course, but it feels like home.

I love my choices and I love everyone else’s choices too.  I love sharing why I made mine if people are interested, but I no longer think mine are better.  I do like to encourage people to find their own way…but I won’t tell them they “should” do that.  I just like to share that it feels free and wonderful!  When I was a little girl, I was afraid of everything!  Truly!  Even butterflies!  That seems so long ago.  I am grateful for learning to listen to all the messages that come our way to take us from fear to love and open us up to becoming more of ourselves.  Now, the thought of following along and doing things because I “should” is the only thing that sounds really frightening to me and butterflies aren’t scary anymore…they are a magical message about change!

Important note – I am super grateful to those people who feel strongly about sharing the reasons for their choices and helping others make the same ones.  We all hear messages in different ways and those using their voices to bring change are an important part of how we all learn and grow.  I am grateful to those that follow the message to speak loudly about certain things!!!  Someday I may speak loudly about my choices, but for now, it seems my soul is telling me to quiet down and BE a bit more.  Still happy to share, just in a quiet and open to life way.  Actually, quiet is much more challenging for me…so it must be what I am meant to work on at this point in life.

Sending you love and wishing you the courage to chart your own path and listen to your soul…not in a “should-ing” way…just a loving way.

The Gift of Authenticity

Years ago I had what seemed at the time like a close friend.  We were spending a lot of time together in group settings and with our children and alone on occasion.  The thing was, you never knew what you were going to get with her.  Sometimes she was lovely and great company, sometimes she was rowdy and a lot of fun, sometimes she was down right rude and hard to get along with, sometimes she seemed to have a wall up to create distance and make herself appear to be something (I’m still not sure what it was).  One day when we were together, she was having a bad day and really let her guard down and spoke from her heart.  I got to see this open and genuine side to her.  It was a bit of a relief and very refreshing.  I can’t remember exactly how I worded it, but I told her on the spot how much I liked her when she was just really being honest and open and sharing how she was really feeling that day.  She quickly responded, saying “Well, it’s not practical for me to come with my ‘woe is me’ story every day.”  She quickly returned to her somewhat closed up protective persona.

I let this friendship slip away.  That wouldn’t happen today.  That friendship taught me a lot throughout the years.  I now know that you can only see in others what you have in yourself.  Even as I recalled my experience of her above, it didn’t seem real anymore.  I think I would now experience her in a completely different way.  I was choosing to experience her in that limited way.  I was not as far along on my own path of finding my authentic self.  Perhaps when we aren’t there authentically, we can’t feel others authenticity either and we don’t offer a space that welcomes it.

I used to think I was too open.  I would sometimes regret having shared too much with someone and have that sick feeling of regret.  I would then try to tell myself I wouldn’t share so much next time and that I would learn from that feeling…only to have it happen again soon.  I haven’t had that in a long time.  I didn’t become less open, I just found my way to more authenticity.  For that, I am truly grateful!  Recently someone meaning well and trying to give me helpful advice relating to my children’s activities told me to “keep my distance” with a particular group.  She had compelling reasons and was really trying to help me navigate a situation for my children.  Her advice seemed reasonable and she had much more experience in this arena than me…for a minute I thought I might be able to do what she was suggesting.  It didn’t work.  I figured out very quickly that I am just not a “keep your distance” kind of person.  If I am there, I am open.  For me to try to create distance would stop the flow of life and I want to experience that flow and whatever it may bring.  When you are completely authentic and present (or at least as present as you are able to be), the interaction will be what it is meant to be and the fear of over-sharing can drop away.

Authenticity comes slowly over time (like most wondrous gifts).  Without knowing it, I have been working at it for years.  As a child, I was so afraid of everything.  Even butterflies.  I made many choices out of fear of what others might think or to do what I thought I was supposed to do.  It is remarkable how little what I really wanted or felt meant to me.  I think it is sad to spend time walking around with masks on trying to protect ourselves from something…but really, just keeping ourselves from living.  I want everyone to know how amazing it feels to truly stand in your own authenticity.  It is such a relief to ourselves and to others who spend time with us.  It allows us to make brave choices that align with our purpose and to truly grab hold of this life and live it.

It is a beautiful thing to be so “you” everywhere you go.  Sometimes I am shocked at how different it feels these days to be authentically me.  Sometimes the things that bring me the most joy surprise me so.  Many things have changed slowly over time and I have found the authentic me to be much more than I thought as I have learned to chart my own course and make authentic choices for my life.  Whatever it is, whatever I am feeling, I am it…no pretense, no people pleasing, no mask…just me.  Sometimes I have it together and spread love and joy.  Sometimes I am a mess and it shows.  Whatever it is, it is authentic.  When it is a mess, it doesn’t last long…authenticity has a way of bringing us back to the only thing that truly exists…love.  It sort of wipes all the fake stuff out-of-the-way and brings more space for love.

We know in our hearts how important authenticity is.  We must work to find it and know it so well we live from that space in every choice, action, thought or word.  Once we can live in this way, we can work to expand it and watch it grow us into our true nature.  The Universe is authentic, it will meet us in that space and we will see our connectedness to everything and how we see the world will be transformed.

Sending you love and wishing you authenticity in everything you do and a reciprocal flow from everyone you meet!

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