When we offer the little bit of light we have to each other, we’re not speaking over each other or acting like we know what’s best. We are simply saying “me too” and here are some things I learned or that helped me along the path.
Life is so d**n messy and complex at times it makes me want to scream. And then in the next heart beat I have the thought that we can make it simpler or a tiny bit kinder by offering the little bit of light we have.
The willingness to show up changes us, it makes us a little braver each time.Brené Brown
This is what I have: 💡
1. Take imperfect action. This is the way forward. One small step at a time. We hear it but don’t believe it. Mistakes and fear are not my real enemy. Choosing to stay mired in perfectionism and fear keeps me bound.
2. Put blinders on. I do not have to measure up or keep up or compare or want to be like you. I can forge my path, do my thing, offer my small gifts, build a handcrafted life upon a foundation of purpose and joy and which honors my values and wiring. I don’t need outside permission to be me.
3. Ask for help without shame but also don’t pick things up just because that’s what others are putting down. I think we need each other, like it or not. I think we’re wired for community and contribution – whether it comes naturally or not. Whether we need medication, someone to listen or share their hard-fought wisdom, a plumber, a hug… we need to ask for it. One isn’t more shameful than the other – and maybe there are no perfect answers but we can try. We can ask for help.
4. Do hard things. We could be heading an empire or chasing four year-olds at home (pretty much the same thing), going back to school or learning to find purpose again in a season of loss or empty nest. One of the common grounds we share is that we’ll need to do hard things. There is no life slow or simple enough to protect you from all risk, pain, heart-ache, loss, messy conversations or hard decisions. You can do hard things; you have what it takes.
5. Shift expectations. Life isn’t all that interested in sailing along according to our well-laid plans. So keep planning and dreaming but hold it all loosely and be willing to shift course and expectations far more times than you could have anticipated.
6. In the middle of sorrow or uncertainty or loss, laugh. Make sarcastic jokes with your sister. Talk about good books with your brother. Text ridiculous memes. Smile at the sunrise and the cat scrambling up your apple tree. Joy and pain co-mingle in a beautiful life. Don’t forget to laugh.
7. Love yourself. Choose to LIKE yourself. This will change your life. It has nothing to do with perfection and everything about accepting that perfection. is. not. required. It was never required.
8. Feel. Get angry. Wail when you bury someone you love. Taste pleasure. Share your joy and excitement with others instead of suppressing it in case something bad lies around the bend. Belly laugh. Sink in to your husband’s touch. Savor that gorgeous burger or your favorite treat. Tell the truth. Stop worrying about being a “good girl” – suppressing your feelings doesn’t actually work.
9. But also don’t let your thoughts run wild. Not every thought is trustworthy; many in fact bear examining or challenging. Most of us have learned patterns of thought and behavior that are destructive rather than life-giving. This too can radically alter our experience as we move through this world. Get help with this. I get to be the boss of my thoughts and I LIKE being boss;)
10. Practice. There is no arrival but there’s a lifetime of practice. I practice loving myself and loving others. I practice listening well and saying what I mean. I practice shifting my thoughts and showing up when I’m afraid and taking permission to rest and doing hard things. Every day I wake up and choose to practice.
Show up fully today. Or to the best of your ability. If you can take one step do that. If you can offer your light by lifting up someone on the path who has fallen, do that. But keep showing up.
Offer your light.