This morning, I read an open letter from a old friend to her business partner, documenting the wild and awesome adventure that the past year of their lives has been. Here is some of what she wrote:
"A year ago, I opened up [Roost House of Juice, in Portland, Maine], the city I love, with someone who has now become one of my best friends and part of my family. This last year has been wild. And I am proud to say that [we] have stayed committed to this path of sacred commerce, using business as a path of (and to) awakening. I have awakened in so many real human ways. I have learned so much about honoring the flow of life. I have learned that open, honest, loving communication is one of the most precious, divine, radical, and transformative things in this world, and bringing yourself into relationships and showing up as you are is of utmost importance AND it is so unbelievably awesome to be around people that not only accept all of you as you are but so thoroughly encourage you to be all that you are. We all learn these lessons in different places, on our different paths, and all we can do is do the best we can and hold space for it all. I am Grateful for being willing to take a risk, to dive deeply, to be okay when things don't work out and to be present for when things do. There really is no destination in this life... Just really be in it fully, genuinely, deliberately, and who knows what will happen..."
I could not have thought or said this better than she did!
After reading (and "liking") this inspiring post, my first thought was "how cool, she's so smart and brave." Next I thought, "I want to move to Maine and open a store! become a yoga instructor! eat only organic!" So why do some people live the lives we think we want? Why don't we all live the lives that we think we want?
As I said in my first post, I believe the lives we lead are in every way a reflection of what's in our hearts. All you need to do is observe your life in order to see a visualization of what you've prioritized, up to this moment. Each choice we make is a demonstration -- actual proof of what's in our hearts. What kinds of things have you prioritized in your life, and what is the result of those choices?
For one, I am grateful that when I scroll through my Facebook news feed, I am still acquainted with people like Jeanette, who I haven't physically shared a social circle with in many years. I know I have prioritized maintaining connections with good friends, and some level of contact with amazing acquaintances. As I continue to scroll my feed, I see other yogis, fitness enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, nature lovers, animal lovers, music lovers, and all kinds of others -- many posting inspiring or interesting things they've written, done, or photographed, or re-posting inspiring or interesting things they've read or seen. When I stop to think about it, I am fiercely grateful to be connected to so many amazing people. (I am also fiercely grateful that I've remembered to stop, and be grateful.)
In my life, I guess I have prioritized a sense of security. I've calculated risk and kept it minimal. I followed the path of my college major into a solid career that I've been at for the past seven years. At 25, I bought my first piece of property -- my fifth anniversary of living here is in two weeks. When I compare my life to some of the adventures other people are on, I worry, is my path too straight? Why have I prioritized this kind of stability over more creativity, when I have so many, oh, many! creative dreams and desires? What kind of life am I creating?
I guess my goal has always been to strike a balance. (I took my Libra sign of the level scales to heart.) I'm trying to do what I love and find a way to make it pay, as I always felt The Goal to be. Growing up, I saw that poverty can be devastating -- a serious challenge to Total Body Happiness in so many ways (including increased stress and improper nutrition). I also witnessed the effects of truly poor choices on your life and the lives of those you love: drug addiction, crime... I guess all that scared my personality right into playing it straight. So, too, I'm sure, is everyone upon whose paths I admire attempting to do what they want to do and find a way to eat. You do what you know based on your experience; you follow your strengths and go where they lead you. Given that this is my personality and I am who I am, I can't honestly say that I would be happier living any other way. Your life is as it is for a reason.
As Jeanette says, "We all learn these lessons in different places, on our different paths, and all we can do is do the best we can and hold space for it all." AND, "showing up as you are is of utmost importance." So my advice to self today is, appreciate others as fully as you possibly can. Appreciate them until it makes your nose sting and your eyes well up with tears -- love them so hard that it makes you cry. Be so proud to know them that your ribs expand and you feel like your heart is going to burst out of your chest. Then, take a breath, and return to your present moment. You have appreciation for others, and that is beautiful. And your path is beautiful too, because it is uniquely you. To be genuine, and to experience the present without criticism -- that's the real path. You can be on it, or off it, no matter what you do from 9 to 5 (or 7 to 11, 3 to 12, no matter what you do)!
Often it's much more difficult to see the mystical beauty and genuine goodness in ourselves and in our own lives, but you're doing something right if you can appreciate it in others. You're doing something right if there are others around you to appreciate. If you feel bored, if you feel boring, if you feel lonely or lost, just look for that light in everything and everyone you see around you. Know that you are a piece of the source of all of that, and your light will shine just as brightly as anyone who you admire if you choose to continually cast off darkness, despair, and doubt, and just let the sunshine in.
Open your heart: in comes the light. Keep it open: the light returns to others.