Do you have it all?

Recently I read this Daily Om titled: “Having It Easy.” It made me think — how often have I thought about people in my life that from the outside look to have it easy? This idea made me think:

“Some people’s lives seem to magically fall into place. We can see the blessings they have received, the ease with which they have attained their desires, their unwavering confidence, and their wealth. But, because we can never see the story of their lives as a whole, it is important that we refrain from passing judgment or becoming envious.”

I wonder at times, do I judge others? Do I wish to have what they have? Maybe my perception of their world is actually completely off. I ultimately am not walking in their shoes so I have no idea what it takes to live their life. I have no idea how easy or hard things are for them. They might have been through hell and back. Loss, health challenges, relationship issues, the list can go on. From the outside they might look like they have it all, but maybe what we really see is the confidence they exude based on all the curve balls they have caught.

I think about it in my own life. Chris and I have worked very hard for what we have and we still continue to work hard. Sometimes I wonder what others think (even if it does not really matter what they think). Everything is relative. I can look at a friend and be in awe of their confidence, and yet they might feel not the slightest bit confident. I can think that someone is wealthy by looking at the car they drive, their house, or other possessions, and yet maybe they cannot afford it. Appearances are interesting. They lead to assumptions, and often assumptions are wrong.

This was a reminder to me to not judge others and rather think about the bigger picture. We all have everything we need. We have blessings, confidence, and wealth. Rather than judge others look at their story, and be grateful for your own unique story too.

Giving away power

I was always a hugger. I can remember at church on Sunday’s when I would see all the older women. I knew they had life savers in their purses, and I would charm them, give them a hug, and hope they would share their Lifesavers with me. See I never had much candy growing up, so Lifesavers were a bright light (especially after a church service).

In any case, I was never forced to give a hug to the older ladies at church. It was my choice. I have no idea what it would have been like for me if I was forced to hug them. This Daily Om titled: “Repressing the Inner Voice” talks about giving away our power. When we are forced to hug family members against our will. It will make me that much more aware when I have kids of my own, and make sure I do not put them in situations where they might not want to share a hug with another individual.

I know as I have gotten older, I am definitely aware of when I want to share myself with another. I am probably entirely more open with love and hugs than I was when I was younger, but it is still my choice. Kids are often in positions where they do not have a choice, and parents need to make sure they are listening when their kids voice their opinion that they are not comfortable. This is such a great end to this Daily Om:

“All we have to do is have the confidence to listen to our own voice and let it guide us as we make our own decisions in life and remember the necessity for balance.”

Balance? Yes. That seems to be an ever occurring reminder in my life. Balance. Balance. Balance. Be sure that you are not giving away your power and that you are not putting others in a position of giving away their power.

The grace that grounded me.

At work last week, a few of us were discussing books, and I mentioned that at this moment my favorite book of 2014 is: “Mile Markers” by Kristin Armstrong. A colleague said oh, yes that is Lance Armstrong’s ex-wife. Of course I thought, duh. How did I not put two and two together? You would think her few mentions of her husband, Lance, in Mile Markers and her mention of Austin would have clued me in, but I was so enamored with her book that the connection never crossed my mind. By the end of our conversation one of my colleagues offered to bring in her copy of another Kristin Armstrong book: “Work in Progress: An Unfinished Woman’s Guide to Grace.”

Two nights ago I decided to crack it open, after some much-needed inspiration, and holy shit was I blown away. This is the first paragraph of the Introduction:

“You may have met, or know, a woman like this: She brightens a room, can literally alter the energy before she opens her mouth. Her presence alone is uplifting, her warmth is genuine radiance, and her eye contact feels like a gift. Her compassion and confidence are unshakable. She knows herself well enough to be able to get to know you. She has not pretense about herself, has no need to hide because she lives in truth. She has no need to exalt or deprecate others or herself, and this allows others the freedom to be authentic in her company.

She is the kind of woman who makes you check your posture, inside and out. She makes you want to think before you speak, not because you feel judged or compelled to impress her, but simply because she makes you want to be better. Her integrity draws others into the light. Her laughter is contagious. Her hugs feel so good you wonder how you can get another one without appearing needy. When she is happy, you want to celebrate with her. When she is struggling, you want to stand by her side. Come to think of it, anything with her would be fine.

Who is this woman? To me, she is a woman of grace.” page 1-2

Wow. If I could ever live up to that. I read that, and immediately had a woman in mind. Someone in my life that has always been an inspiration to me. While we have not been in touch as often these past few years, she has always been a role model to me. I can remember one time in college when I was struggling particularly with feeling like an orphan (my dad was around but not really existent in my life, my mom had passed on 5 years before). I remember I had hung out with her and her family (husband and precious little baby girl), and as I left she put her hand under my chin and looked into my eyes and said: “We love you.” Then she looked at me more intensely and said it again. I froze, and then started to cry. It was just what I needed to hear, but so hard to accept. She made me want to be better. She brightened the room, was so authentic and real, and exuded confidence, radiance, and her eye contact brought me to tears (in such a good way). She was the grace that grounded me.

I miss her.