Remember to Spread Your Wings
Monday November 19, 2012

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“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”― C. JoyBell C.

The fear of the unknown can be very intimidating, daunting and at times debilitating. Ultimately, today is the only moment we have any control over, no matter what our goals are, no matter what we have our sights set on. We may be able to aid the outcome or hinder it, but so much is dependent upon how we take advantage of the bounty the world has to offer us each and every day.

Whether the uncertainty you have is in relationships, your career, your longevity or anything that keeps you up at night, the key is to always make sure your wings are spread. For example, in a relationship, it is better to trust and work toward something wonderful that you may be uncertain about(a future, a life together, etc) rather than to settle for something mediocre that while certain, may not be all that fulfilling. The same can be said for your career. It is only when you take a leap, when you do something slightly different than what you’ve been doing before that progress has the chance to happen.

Here are ten ways to practice spreading your own wings:

1. Look for the opportunity in every situation. Any time you find yourself in situations that are less than desirable, choose to see the opportunity for growth. Maybe a difficult situation at work allows you to hone your negotiating skills, or perhaps a failed relationship is allowing you to learn how to be a better partner and also how to communicate more clearly what you need in a relationship and what you can compromise on. Believe it or not, there is a silver lining to everything.

2. Always be observing as well as participating. This past year I have had more new and amazing experiences than I could have predicted when 2012 began, but through each experience I tried absorb as much as possible. For example, if you are in a new environment, take in all of the surroundings, cultural traditions and behaviors.  Drink in all of the inspiration that is just waiting to be captured. While you will most certainly want to participate, you will also want to be an observer of how and why things work – what you gravitated towards and what shocked you. Take note. Who knows when these observations could come in handy one day.

3. Ask questions of those who are the experts in the fields. If you are in a quandary, seek out experts in the fields you are curious about. If I have a question or concern about teaching, I often find myself calling up my mentor to ask her questions about teaching, or instead choose to read books by top researchers on topics that pique my interest.

4. Be willing to look foolish. Be willing to try, no matter what the outcome. Trying anything new can be intimidating partially because there is the fear that you may fail horribly. Well, of course this is a possibility! Think about a baby trying to walk for the first time. Many, many, many attempts are made immediately followed by tumbles to the floor before success occurs. But so long as you continue to try and fine tune what you learn from each experience, you will eventually build that muscle and find yourself standing without a hint of a wobble.

5. Keep a journal. Recording your thoughts in the present sometimes seems like a waste of time. However, just like a good bottle of red wine, well after you’ve tucked it away, the wisdom and truth begin to blossom. From my experience, it isn’t until a year has passed or more that I can look at the words I have written and see a pattern, or determine a passion, a curiosity or a purpose to my actions that may not have been visible initially in the moment. Give this amazing gift to yourself – keep a journal. You may be surprised by how much it could help guide you to where you are meant to go.

6. Don’t run from what you fear. Address it. Confront it. Ask why you are fearful. What are you fearful of – losing, feeling, discovering? After all, it is when we confront what we think we cannot that we gain confidence and strength rather than by doing what we already knew we could.

7. If traditional mores don’t suit your soul, try something else until you discover what it is about the tradition that makes you uncomfortable. Often it isn’t the entire event, but labels, preconceived notions and assumptions that go along with it. Dig deeper and understand what your instincts are trying to tell you. Then decide to create your own culture that suits your sensitivities, passions, values and curiosities.

8. Become comfortable with your own company. Embrace what you discover about yourself through all of life’s trials and adventures.

9. If you feel you aren’t being heard, attempt new and different ways of expressing how you’re feeling (write a blog, take photos, start painting, begin sculpting, try dancing, exercise your voice through your sartorial choices, etc). Most importantly, find a way to communicate with the world which is healthy, helpful and cathartic. By working through your thoughts and feelings, you are not suppressing yourself, thus allowing for the world to communicate with you based on how you interact with it. Often times, what it communicates is full of valuable suggestions on how to progress forward.

10. Don’t give up so quickly. Have patience. I would like to use my experience in blogging to explain why patience is something none of us should ever lose sight of. Nearly three years ago I began The Simply Luxurious Life (at that time it was only Simply Luxurious), and as I now meet fellow bloggers who are just getting started, I realize that they have just begun to realize the multitude of opportunities that await them so long as they continue with their craft even when there is no fanfare.

Much like planting perennial bulbs in the fall, we won’t see or know their beauty until nearly six months later in the spring when we’ve forgotten about the time spent in the yard digging, spacing and kneeling to place them precisely where we want them to spring up. So continue to spread your wings, soak up all that life presents to you even if it doesn’t make sense at the time and trust that your continued efforts to live your best life on a daily basis are already paying off and will one day build to create an amazing legacy.

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”  ~Henry David Thoreau | The Simply Luxurious Life

9 thoughts on “Remember to Spread Your Wings

  1. Your posts are always so uplifting. I’ve been reading you for some time. Yours is one of the few sites I keep in my toolbar when I’m at work because I can always count on reading something that gives me perspective.

    Your post today is exactly what I needed to read. I am pretty new as a blogger. ( I love the process of writing. And now, I write for others to see. I’ve often thought of blogging like planting a seed. The patience part can be one of the tougher things to exercise. I find that when I get caught up in the micro-things, if I just focus on being thankful for being able to use my gifts, then I am already living my dream. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. I always love your posts because they seem at their core intended to help others achieve something their heart desires. You are more than just a great writer; a great analyst of people. I am always looking for fuel to make changes in my career, stay balanced and focused and see the beauty everywhere that you so eloquently write about. Your posts that are itemized lists help with focus. Anything you write concerning entrepreneural women, I lap up and can’t get enough. Trying to spread your wings and take the leap to do what you love is difficult when you need your day job to pay for it all. I look to your posts for wisdom to figure out how to live the life I truly want.

  3. This post is making alot of sense for me today. I would definitely say that I found myself totally “lost” this past year and at the time it felt quite traumatic. However, I too have learned that it is possible to develop a comfort in not knowing. Now, towards the end of the year, I no longer feel lost; while I don’t feel I’m at my destination yet, I feel like I’m on my way, letting go of certain things to have faith in the new. I recently let go of working with a certain group of people in a non-profit organization (which I’d been involved in for 3 years) as it was no longer healthy for my life. It was a bit scary to let go, but I’m partaking in a fantastic opportunity/activity that came up shortly after with another group tomorrow night. I won’t know any of the people there and I am nervous, but I’m excited to have the chance! I really do think that some of the time, it’s only possible to sort of find your path when you are willing to step off the old, even if you do not know where you are going.

  4. I’m a relatively new follower of your blog. I love it here!!!

    This post is particularly relevant and helpful to me right now. In the last two years my life has been absolutely upended.

    I became a widow at 39 (this was a year and a half ago). My husband and I were married for seventeen years. I had never even lived by myself before marrying and never learned to financially support myself. I have no marketable skills that would provide me with a decent paying job right now.

    So, I went back to school, but am still trying to find the right path to a viable future. I have to determine my major a.s.a.p. because I am, technically, a Junior at my university. (Lots of community college classes taken when I was younger has satisfied my Gen Ed requirements.)

    I am not technology-saavy and have never chosen to be. Technology scares me. I don’t like the way it morphs and grows in leaps and bounds and dimishes the “human element” in life. (It’s relevant, too, that I’m old enough not to have cut my teeth on it.) Yet, since I am faced with working in the “real” world in a few years, I realize I no longer can avoid it. (I have never used as much as an IPod.) I don’t like the way technology is taking over the world. I don’t want to be part of it. Though I’m comfortable with e-mail and routine use of the Internet, I have no interest in social media (Facebook, Twitter, whatever else). I have so much catching up to do. But, keeping abrest of technology will never, ever end. It’s taking away things I value (like books made out of trees) and making everything faster, faster, faster. It (and I) feels out of control.

    I absolutely don’t know what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be living in five years. I’ve felt everything from “scared to death” to “lost” to “depressed”- over and over and over- and not just over career matters.

    I am also get lonely for male companionship…just snuggling or hugging, even. Oh, and hey….did I mention that I gained back 40+ lbs. since the funeral? Yay.

    Although these things are true, I’ve also been exceptionally blessed by God in so many ways given my circumstances. I really need to be rejoicing for all that He has done for me. It’s hard, yes, but it could be soooo much harder but for what He’s blessed me with.

    I apologize if I’ve turned everyone off by whining. I should save it, I suppose, for my therapist who at least gets paid to deal with it.

    Still, any additional advice would be so welcomed (by any reading this).

    Just know that your post today is very appreciated. It really applies to me and I am thankful for your effort in writing it.

  5. This is very scary. I woud say you are clairvoyant, except I live in Australia and you are many thousands of miles away and I think the distance would dilute the psychic power.

    Just joking of course, but your posts arrive at a time when your words are most needed and truly appreciated.

    Many, many heartfelt thanks

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