“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” -Maya Angelou
I remember reading this quote with so much hope and prayer.
I remember the amount of energy it took to break down and put myself back together again.
I remember embracing the process and those who held me in love near and far.
I read this quote with gratitude and confidence
because I am living proof of the truth behind it all,
not for other people,
but for myself
time and time again.
I read this quote with hope and prayer to every woman who ever felt less than.
We often reminisce on the numerous possibilities of the crossed paths we may never know of –
treadmills at the gym,
or breakfasts at Denny’s.
We talk about our similar worlds with nostalgia in our souls
and confused thoughts of how we were strangers in the first place.
We get lost in wanting more time,
but never wasting our wishes on turning it back,
which adds beauty to the present.
So let’s choose to keep each other,
a reoccurring choice that goes unquestioned
with our hearts aligned with affirmation and faith
because you can’t make up this kind of love we have.
Let’s drive down Beach Boulevard toward the pier where it all started
where I asked to stay a little bit longer
and you stood by me and said of course.
Let’s break the clocks
and throw the hands
that tick with expectations that will never measure up
to the reality that doesn’t fit all.
It’s more than okay.
The paths we reminisced about are not lost,
it was a journey of preparation for us to find ourselves first
and then each other
to practice the only thing that matters most –
As much as I hate to admit it I was (and still am at times) the type of person who worried so much that the wrinkles on my forehead had wrinkles.
I got silent when I stressed out or felt anxious and
I didn’t know how to communicate what I needed at that moment because
I was so focused on making everything perfect or keeping the image of looking like
I had everything under control.
It took time for me to realize that I was limiting my skills and my voice and
I was not allowing myself to lean into the experience no matter what kind of
calmness was occurring at that moment.
I had to learn different ways to manage my anxiety in various situations and I’m still learning as I continue my journey of
Part of my journey includes stories that help provide perspective whether it’s from someone I know or a story like The Alchemist.
It gave me a concept to focus on that I can’t explain any better myself.
The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.” The camel driver had asked what the circumstances were under which God would allow him to see the future. “Only when he, himself, reveals it. And God only rarely reveals the future. When he does so, it is for only one reason: it’s a future that was written so as to be altered.”
Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist
So what will you focus on this new year?
What will you add to your narrative?
Reflect on it.
Write it down.
It was second nature to should on myself daily.
I should look like them.
I should be more of a leader.
I should be there by now.
The word should set the tone of voice and standards of how I viewed life.
Standards became limits and those limits turned to constraints that cut the circulation at the wrists.
Reaching out felt pointless with numb fingertips and the shoulds
kept snowballing as fast as my carousel of thoughts.
I think the most annoying thing about anxiety is its weight than can never be measured.
But over time I learned that it can be managed.
I wish there was a science to it or secret tips I can share,
but for now I encourage you to shake off the shoulds
and make your bed. A thirty-second dance party can help.
No matter how the rest of your day goes
say to yourself,
“I got out of bed today.”
with another given day that’s too grand for any short cuts to the kind of happiness you deserve.
The only should to keep in life is a shoulder to lean on until you can be that shoulder for someone else.
Be gentle to your soul and approach everything with love.