“Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.”— Amy Poehler, Yes Please
In 2009 TSLL began a journey into the unknown of blogging. To say I am surprised by all that has unfolded during the past twelve years is beyond an understatement. But here we are – 12 years later, looking ahead to the beginning of year 13 and grateful for TSLL community and all of the sincere engagement, curiosity and determination to live a life that elevates the quality of what matters – nurturing healthy, loving relationships; discovering and honoring the true gifts that reside inside each of us; finding the courage to learn and strengthen the skills that make the difference between a life that gets us along into a life that lifts us up and reveals to us how awesome living our one and only lives can be when we live consciously and intentionally.
I continue to be a student of living a life of true contentment in my everydays. As I shared in last Monday’s podcast episode (#319), I continue to learn and apply skills that reveal themselves to be necessities and upon discovering them provide many aha moments. Much of what I discover and share are skills, as I mentioned, but others are lighter in their gravity, but still have the potential to elevate our confidence and enable us to feel our best as we travel through our everydays.
Each year on this day celebrating the anniversary of TSLL I write a post (see many at the end of this post), but unlike past years, I would like to share with you twelve discoveries I feel fortunate to have found over the course of the past twelve months. Most have been shared on the blog in one form or another (and I will link to the detailed post, This & That inclusion or episode); however others will be shared for the first time.
Nearly all of the discoveries stem from choosing to be vulnerable. Like Norman and Winnie (my niece’s pup) seen in the image above, I am striving forward and while maybe not as bravely as they embody in this photo, perhaps I need to be more fully charging forward as they exhibit. I’d like to think I am someone who takes risks. In fact, I know that I am, but as I shared with someone recently, my risks are not physical, instead my risks often deal with the heart and my dreams when it comes to my passions, my curiosities, my life path. Taking risks when it comes to my dreams has been fairly constant throughout my adult life, but when it comes to taking risks that involve my heart, I have gradually tempered doing so in this arena for a variety of reasons – not having time played a big factor and of course past pain too; however, the former, I discovered, played a more significant role than I realized and I chose to not let it be the reason any longer. So, I decided to be brave and make an equally significant change and did so in an on-the-face-of-it scary way this past spring when I retired from teaching and chose to take the risk on of being my own boss, solely without a back-up career to pay the bills.
“Vulnerability is the key to happiness. Vulnerable people are powerful people. Opening your heart and sharing it means that you’re going to get so much love in your life. It’s the way to true connection and real purpose and meaning in your life.” —Amy Poelher
I am holding on to Amy Poehler’s words because for the first time in quite some time I have felt a confounding, yet none-the-less true mixture of emotions – scared of the unknown yet not doubtful in my decision. I don’t know where that comes as it would seem the former would undermine the latter. All I can figure out is that when we honor what is a truth for our life journey, even if we cannot explain it at the moment, there is a quiet steady stream of “I can handle this”. Admittedly, having loved ones in your life who believe in you keeps the stream of quiet faith in oneself running, and for those people in my life, I am beyond grateful.
Indeed life is a journey, and so long as we forever remain the student of the course of life, I am confident each of ours will continue to surprise us each in wonderful ways.
My Great Aunt Betty gave me Amy Poehler’s book for Christmas, my first Christmas in Bend. My first Christmas when I was not able to visit her. She was in her early 90s, and she knew I would love this book. She was right and my delight and smile when I unwrapped it amazed me she knew about it, someone who was not on the internet at all, just made the gift all the more special.
So many of Poehler’s insights ring true, and many more continue to be realized as life unfolds – “any painful experience will make you see things differently”, “everybody is scared most of the time”, and “I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.”
Needless to say, regarding each of the three quotes shared above, (1) losing my sweet pup Oscar, my Aunt Betty and more fully realizing my loved ones are not immortal (well, duh Shannon, but truly, when you accept this, you live differently and engage with them differently if you choose to be brave) is a truth hard to accept, but then I remember they will always be in my heart and carry that love with me and try to be love in my everyday a little bit better each day. (2) And yep, I am scared at least once every single day about something, but I either get busy doing something constructive, pick up a book to provide guidance about the skills I need to tap into or call a loved one. And as for the latter quote (3), it has made all the difference in the quality of my days.
Now to the list of discoveries thankfully I stumbled upon and want to share with you all.
1.Exercising the two key components of trustworthiness in actions no matter how others engage with us is key to a peace-filled sleep
In episode #319, trust was the topic, and the two components that make of the action of being trustworthy are to make decisions grounded in loving-kindness at all times and to live with integrity. Simple, clear and leaves no reason for regret.
2. Being brave is essential to living a life you love
3. Add retinol to your skincare regimen
~I now use Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform each night and my skin consistently looks more youthful and it helps remediate any breakouts quickly. Magic. Just, magic. (thank goodness🙃)
~like I said, not all the discoveries were life shattering, but this one, I cannot not share with you all. (it is on sale here)
4. To have loved so deeply that you grieve a loved one’s passing is a gift that only makes your heart more capable of loving well
To know love is to believe love is possible, and when you believe love is possible you can become love in your actions revealing to others who may have disbelief of said truth that indeed love exists. The more love expressed, the better for us all in this grand ole world. Too cliched, too simple, too general? Nope. Just the truth as I have learned it to be even after nursing a heart broken open making the hope for love’s possibility to arrive and awaken me again.
5. Understanding my mind, putting myself in the driver’s seat (and my mind in the backseat), changes everything for the better
6. Shedding layers of our old self is necessary in order to fully live and see all life can offer
7. Embracing and fully moving through suffering is necessary to arrive at the other side and in so doing we deepen our appreciation for how awesome our lives can be if only we would live fully
8. Gardening is a priceless hobby that can change one’s life, strengthen one’s mind and deepen one’s appreciation
9. Letting go of the stories we hold in our minds about our past, about our future, about ‘how things should go’ makes all the difference when it comes to living a life of full possibility
10. In order to welcome love into our lives, we must make room for it and most importantly, we must be love in our actions, with our thoughts and how we construct our everydays
11. Speaking of being love, it is scary because you are making yourself vulnerable. Make yourself vulnerable anyway . . .
Lose the sarcasm, the negative tone, the hedging on the side of negativity, and dare to share what you love, like, enjoy, makes you smile, laugh and what you hope for.
. . . and follow #9’s advice – let go of the story of how it should all unfold – your story will be unique and surprise even the imaginative you that you are.
12. Soak up every minute with those you love, and wish to know better
Snuggle, laugh, share a meal, a bite, a drink, book that flight together, tell them how you really feel (remember #2 – be brave), bring them tea or coffee, say thank you, allow them to be who they are and extend appreciation when they let you be you. Life is too short and we are all running out of time.
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