Sometimes you read a book or an idea in a book and you feel that the author has taken the words out of your head, put them on paper, and made sense of the gibberish of your thoughts. Recently I blogged about the book: “Brave Enough” by Cheryl Strayed. While it is a book of quotes, there are a few sections where she goes deep into her past. It is as though she took the words out of my mouth (much more eloquent than I would have shared).
“It was wrong. It was so relentlessly awful that my mother had been taken from me. I couldn’t even hate her properly. I didn’t get to grow up and pull away from her and bitch about her with my friends and confront her about the things I wished she’d done differently and then get older and understand that she did the best she could and realize that what she did was pretty damn good and take her fully back into my arms again. Her death had obliterated that. It had obliterated me. It had cut me short at the very height of my youthful arrogance. It had forced me to instantly grow up and forgive her every motherly fault at the same time that it kept me forever a child, my life both ended and begun in that premature place where we’d left off. She was my mother, but I was motherless. I was trapped by her but utterly alone. She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill. I’d have to fill it myself again and again and again.” Page 68
I do not know whether I ever took the time to forgive my mom for her every motherly fault, I think I just moved on and did not wallow in that — there was enough pain to go around. It did force me to grow up fast (even before she died) and has meant that I am forever trying to bring back the childlike time. My relentlessness, extreme dedication, and persistence has meant that I sometimes have a hard time taking a step back to “play.”
It means I will hold you further away from my core until I can determine if you are going to go deep or stay on the surface. If you stay on the surface, I am not going to waste my time. If we meet in the middle and find that common ground — well the rest it history in the making. My mother leaving me at such an early age means that I will only fill that empty bowl with fruit worth my time, and make sure I constantly remove the rotten versions. I do not want to have to fill it again and again. Instead, I would rather fill it with the best of the best and not waste my time with anything else.
I have always loved the word grace. There is something about it that is so simple and yet makes my mind ponder and soak up all that it really means. Grace is a word that can have so many words to describe it and in some ways that makes it a vast and complex word and in other ways it makes it so simple. I know a lot of individuals that feel that grace is something they have to constantly track down as it ebbs and flows in their life. I have felt that way too.
Often when I think of grace, I think of poise. I am not musically inclined (yes, do not ask me to sing for you), and I have two left feet, and I am incredibly uncoordinated. Thus, I have never felt very graceful. Over time when I went from keeping my voice inside to spewing my mind and thoughts, to being incredibly direct, at times means that I struggle with how graceful I am. It means that sometimes I am still learning how to stay direct, speak my mind, and share my voice while also trying to be gracious or graceful in my delivery. Not at all an easy task.
I was reminded of my continued interest in grace while recently reading a Daily Om newsletter on the topic of grace titled: “Living a Life of Grace.” This line specifically stood out to me:
“Grace is the state we are in when we are doing nothing but just being who we are.”
At its core grace means we are being true to ourselves, no filters. So maybe that means I should just be me and think less about my grace. What do you think?
Recently I came across this ad, note, whatever you want to call it from Title Nine’s founder. (Title Nine clothing). I was sucked in by the beginning quote: “Never Apologize.” I for one do not have the easiest time apologizing. So, of course, I wanted to read further. I did and I was inspired. It made me want to go out and be active, yell at the top of my lungs, take a stand for others, the list goes on. Yet, this is more than that – this is more about living life to its fullest and never feeling bad, guilty, or sorry for your thoughts, actions, or feelings.
I am loud. I take up space. I hate remaining silent. I voice my opinions. I am not going to stop.
This post today is to encourage you to never apologize. As Missy says: Do, Lead, Assert. Bring it.
I am a get-shit-done-now kind of woman. I blogged recently about how it is hard for me to sometimes be artistic and creative (which I love doing) if there is not order in my home and my mind. I have to clear out the clutter, organize, and make space for new ideas to grow and flourish. In the coming weeks, Chris and I have a list of home projects and tasks to embark on. One is to make space in a few closets and find ways to build shelves within the closets to truly maximize the space. Not the most fun project in the world, but I have a hunch that as we do it, and we truly go through the items stacked away we will find that purging and organizing will be therapeutic.
Which is why I loved this idea from a recent Daily Om:
“Most of us have had the experience of tackling some dreaded task only to come out the other side feeling invigorated, filled with a new sense of confidence and strength. The funny thing is, most of the time when we do them, we come out on the other side changed and often wondering what we were so worried about or why it took us so long. We may even begin to look for other tasks we’ve been avoiding so that we can feel that same heady mix of excitement and completion.”
Not that cleaning out a closet is a daunting task, my point is more that sometimes when we talk about something we need to just shut up and do it. And, stop talking about it! Your list itself might be painful to look at because you think: “How am I ever going to do all this?” Instead of wallowing in all you have to do, just get started.
Maybe your dreaded task is actually a conversation. It might be one you have tried to have many times before with that person and you never truly get out what you want to get across. Or, maybe you have had the conversation multiple times, but the other person does not get it. You dread it, but know that being transparent, open, and direct with your thoughts and feedback allows you to get it off your chest leaving you feeling free and stronger.
Whatever the project, my hope is that you start, work through it, get ‘er done, and move on. You will feel lighter. You will.
I have wanted to frame the quote: “You are responsible for the energy you bring into this home.” I think of that idea often. It can translate into so many other places. “You are responsible for the energy you bring to this company, this job, this friendship, this marriage.” We are each responsible for our own energy. Do you think about that before entering or responding to a situation? Do you put yourself first, and think responsibly about the state of your energy before helping or saying: “Yes” to others? It will matter and help or hinder your ability to respond appropriately.
You are in the driver’s seat. Sometimes I think we forget that. We think “well I could not get out of this situation, it happened, it was bad timing.” Sometimes that might be true, but other times we have a choice, and we either forget, or do not challenge ourselves to be our best selves. You do truly create each moment of your day. Well…actually, you create how you react to each moment of each day. The best way to do so is to put yourself first. It is not selfish, it is self-care to make sure you are grounded and prepared to handle any curve balls that are thrown your way. I recently caught up on a stack of old Fast Company magazines, and found this article by Devora Zack. The article is about managers that suck, which is funny because I am not at all interested in the title of the article, but found this great quote, on what we can focus on, and control. It could be popped right out of the article and speak for itself:
“In fact, you only directly control three things in the entire world. Interestingly, none of these are other people. You are in charge of your thoughts, your words, and your actions. That’s it. Most of us neglect these three key items, however. Instead we direct our precious, limited energy on thinking and talking about how others should be different. This is fruitless and even lazy. As long as I’m focused on what’s wrong with you, I don’t need to pay any attention to improving me.”
As Zack states, we have control over our thoughts, words, and actions. We probably all know that already. We just forget about it. Together let’s focus our energy on what matters. Focus on our ourselves, and watch the energy we bring into each conversation. I have a hunch that the more you focus on it the more aware you will be on how you handle your energy in good and bad situations.