“She silently stepped out of the race she never wanted to be in, found her own lane and proceeded to win.” -Anonymous
This is one of those memes that has been floating around the internet for some time. It catches your eye; it makes you pause and think for a moment about your own journey.
Some will brush it off and keep on scrolling, as if it did not pertain to them as they owned that they were stuck in their monotonous life. They silently admire those who could own the words as well as the action.
Then there are those who will feel the meaning pierce through their soul in a way that defines who they are in this moment. They can relate to the suffocating depths behind the words that captivated their once old life. Today, they smile warmly, grateful for finding their path that they fully own in the moment.
Both have something in common. They read those words, thought about those words, and had deep feelings about the underlying truth in each word.
What struck your core when you read them?
My journey has proven to take in these words, dismiss these words and challenge these words many times along those footsteps that I have walked up until this point.
Courage to be who you are is something we all wish we could own.
It is not simple.
It is not easy.
It is possible.
I believe we must constantly ask ourselves the hard and defining question; ‘Do I want to be on this road that I find myself walking?’
The answer will vary. Taking the road less travelled is not always possible due to circumstances; you can consider how to take a side road that will allow a little bit of yourself to come through until you can get to the main road.
Recently, I had the honor and privilege, as I watched a dear friend devour these words. They had been walking a journey no one would wish on an enemy, but knew it had to be done. It has been years of uncovering the core meaning and depth of how it took its own role in their life. The profound years of process has left me speechless as it came to resolution, for I knew the steps intimately.
The grace, courage, and strength this friend showed in using their voice in the most powerful ways was admirable; for without even knowing the convoluted importance of their actions, theirs was the voice of countless others. Their voice was that of the silenced. Their resilience was a necessity for breathing and now their light was one I do not think will ever be turned out again against their will.
“She silently stepped out of the race she never wanted to be in, found her own lane and proceeded to win.”
Life does not have to be all or nothing. One part of your story does not have to define the entire roadmap.
How do you want to start taking a side road for a bit?
How can you honor the steps walked and know that they were to guide you to the moment that is waiting for you?
The light is waiting for you, the race has turned into a relay. Ask someone to join you, you do not have to finish the marathon alone.
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"Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility." -St. Augustine
I love this quote as Augustine asks, 'Do you wish to rise?'
We all hear the prompts of 'rise up' so often in our society whether it be for a cause or ourselves. But, what an interesting starting point to ask of our personal foundation.
Have you embraced your personal level of humility?
Have you defined humility in your life?
It is a powerful place to begin. I wonder if we first can define and embrace our own humility, what will we see in the rising up for others?
What will you bring to the table?
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Why do we walk through life thinking that our woundedness is a negative attribute? It took me a long time on my wounded journey to understand that those wounds could possibly add to the journey, add to life, and even help others along they way if I were open to allowing them to do so. I think often we suffocate our worth in our wounds. What if we embraced our wounds as service to others? Can you share your journey, be a light to another while you heal from your personal darkness?
I woke up this morning with this one word on my mind. Value.
A random ' how-to' article popped up on how a quite young person was able to retire so young. I took the bait, curious. It was incredibly depressing. He essentially had to take all the joy out of his life and live very methodically. While I understand the point, my wisdom in years knows that life is short. We do not know our end date. It could come sooner than others as we see daily in our world. Do you really want to live with this mentality of 'I will live when...my life is financially secure.’? A minimalist at heart, many know I live by what I need, not by what I have and do not cross those lines very often. Sure, I struggle. Sure, I wish some days I had the money to just get up and pay for things with ease. But, at the same time, I can see the value in this photo.
Sometimes we truly miss the point or hardcore meaning behind the word.
If you were to look around you, what holds value to you on your desk? A stone reminding you of a hike with a loved one. A shell that you picked up watching the sunrise on a long ag beach trip. Or even a quote you jotted down on a torn piece of paper that you heard randomly one day, and it stuck with you.
Value isn't in grand things, rather, value is what you make of it.
Value isn't in having a journey all put together in a wrapped up box, value is in the messy parts.
These beautiful little homemade pipe cleaner flowers that sit on my kitchen counter were made by kids over 10 years ago on May Day, my most favorite day of the year; a day to buy flowers for strangers, friends or loved one's 'just because.'
They hold more value than I can measure, yet not worth anything to anyone else but me.
How do you see value?
What do you hold as valuable?
How could you change how value acts in your life?
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When you read these words, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Personally, I have a very vivid picture from a recent experience. I have had the privilege and honor of walking with people in their final days of life. It is an experience that some will never walk, either by choice or happenstance. For myself, it was asked of me, a call.
When I read these four small words recently from a friend, the depth of their meaning became larger than life. An image that is close to my heart is clear, the memory still alive in mind. My hands holding my dear friend’s hands wrapped in a rosary that was so sacred to the both of us from a time where life and beauty consumed us. The words…rang true in a deeper way than I expected.
When the final days of your life are upon you, do you see yourself alone or do you see someone by your side?
To be able to have the honor to hold someone’s hand who is leaving this life, is beyond words that I could write simply here. And to be honest, they are sacred moments, that I want to hold close to my heart and respect the soul crossing over.
But then if we were to take a step further away from the idea of death, my hand in yours, is the epitome of human connection.
How often in this life have you found yourself in the simple act of holding someone’s hand? A love interest, a child, a parent or just a friend. It feels to me as if this is always associated with love, but in fact, I have held the hand of many in different contexts and levels of connect.
The act of touch is such an important physical connection. It is complicated and impassioned for most, while some find it an incredibly difficult act to receive or offer to another.
Touch is an intimate experience and for some it is not always associated with positive feelings. Those are ones whose stories need to converge with healing to be able to relearn this most basic human expression in the most honest and humble of ways.
Hand in hand can bring comfort, a sense of peace and a feeling of safe haven. Our world can be a lonely place and something as simple as holding one’s hands can enhance the emotional need to not feel alone.
Volunteers in retirement homes and hospice care will sit by the bedside of those who will not say a word in their pain and fleeting breath but hold their hand to let them know someone is there. They are not alone. It is a very genuine experience I have always believed that those in comas can sense and understand all that is around them.
The body is a mystical form which no one can utterly understand the true depths of its existence and how it processes the surrounding life.
I have had a ministry in Lourdes, France for over 20yrs where I walk with those who are quite ill or dying. They come for the healing waters. Without revealing the sacred prayers or journey into the baths, I will say that I have held countless hands as I walked them into the water.
Between the human connection reminding them that I walk with them our eyes connect along with the touch and to the peace and prayer they are walking towards, it is the greatest human spiritual experience of my life.
So, as I age, the act of touch has transformed itself into many different experiences of acceptance, on many distinct levels. I am grateful that I have taken the chance on human connection and turned what was once an evil thought to one that is the most beautiful experience I have embraced on my journey.
Ask yourself if you are open to human touch. If you shy away from it, it brings you fear, or is something that you just cannot fathom…go deeper into the why.
Walk yourself home to the human connection we all desire, and you will find yourself once again.
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My teens have been listening to some hard to hear music lately. They are evolving as teenagers in ways I remember on a different level; I am learning to breathe, pause and let them process through knowing I am here at any time they may want to talk. This one song with the title, ‘Loneliness in the Presence of Company,’ hit me in a way that it brought about intensified thoughts. The first time I heard it, it caught my attention. But then it was like an annoying bug that just would not go away.
Loneliness in the presence of company.
Those words kept ringing true for me as an introvert. More than often, I know I am standing outside the circle of those around me. I try not to let my past journey define my present, but the reality is it can do just that in deep hard ways on most occasions.
I believe there are countless for whom these words resonate, there are countless who walked this life with some type of pain and suffering that defined this sentiment. But we keep going. We keep going to survive. For if we stop for too long to consider doing something else, we can find ourselves truly alone.
Have you ever felt lonely in a crowded room of friends or family?
There are times when trying to connect with others can take more energy and should I say for some, courage. We throw around terms like introvert and extrovert lightly these days, but the hardcore truth and experience is real. We fear showing our true selves to others knowing we can be rejected. We pretend to know less than on a subject at times, for we do not want others to think we are better than them. Attempting to be oneself in this world is hard.
Enter feeling lonely in the presence of company.
Sadly, many of us take it a step further and resort to using different things to ease our anxiety or stress that while it helps in the moment, is not a solution that will last in the long term. It can be so incredibly difficult to face our demons, but if there is anything that I have learned in my mountainous journey is that when I do, I am better for it when I come out on the other side. Sure, I may be weary, exhausted, and even beaten down at times. But when I brush myself off and take a hard introspective look into my pain, struggle, or challenge, I am better for it.
But let us go deeper in the word loneliness. I do believe that a choice to be alone at times is also not a terrible thing. Taking a break from what can be an intense world around us can rejuvenate. Saying no to invitations can be a form of self-care.
It is difficult but possible to find what works for you to balance out your energy, emotions, and story on the path you are walking today. It is even possible to share with those who are closest to us these difficult feelings we experience, so they can understand how we can be in their presence and participate in different gatherings while knowing it is not one’s strong point.
How do you walk your journey with others?
How can you honor your loneliness in healthy and positive ways?
Today is a day like any other, you get to choose how you want to live it.
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I am going to take a leap here and suggest we all like our morning coffee, tea or just a juice? We begin our day with these simple pleasures. Though, I can also bet most of you are having these on the go getting kids to school, rushing to work or starting chores around the house.
What happened to the times when we woke and just took a moment to sit and take in the silence, watch the sunrise on our back porch or even commit to a regular meditation routine?
The importance of rest or 'the pause' as I often like to mention is getting lost. We need to bring it back. It doesn't have to be an hour or even a half hour.
I challenge you to commit to 5 minutes a day. You choose the time of day. You choose how you want to spend those five minutes and where. But commit to 5 minutes.
You are worthy of rest.
Remind yourself of this often...
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It’s so easy to get caught up in our stories at times. Good or bad, the reality is they don’t define us. On our journey we choose for ourselves what we want our journey to look like. At times that choice is intertwined with great emotion, grief, passion and struggle. Choosing can mean something so much more and be something so much more complex. If we are living in illness, addiction or dysfunction, choice is not always on our side. But at the end of the day, I genuinely believe if we ask ourselves ‘who do we want to become?’ The answer will come and it’s up to each person to follow what they hear.
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I combined these two thoughts today from Carl Jung and the Dalai Lama as I saw such significance in both. Pause for a moment and truly consider these thought processes on your journey. The oneness of Humanity is loaded with story, journey and pain. We often want to run from it. We don't want to talk about it for it can bring a conflict that is uncomfortable to talk about with those in our lives. But the truth of the matter our interchangeable pain is what connects us and healing that pain together will bring peace of mind overall and create community, relationship and bring the needed PEACE we crave as a collective world.
"Peace of mind is important because we all want to be happy. Cultivating and preserving it is not so much a religious practice as taking a practical step towards being happy. We are social animals. Our well-being depends on the members of our community. In the past, people lived with their families in relatively small groups, but today, we are all dependent on each other. Therefore, it's crucial that we take account of the oneness of humanity."
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I love this… I find as we become more evolved and educated in the depths of trauma, healing and emotions it’s not as simple as the ways that it used to be handled. One of the phrases that drives me crazy and always did in my long recovery journey from anorexia was ‘fake it till you make it.’ It just seemed like it was saying hide your emotions hide your feelings don’t let people see them and I don’t think that was helpful. I do think there’s new healthier ways to get through the hard days and being true to ourselves. What are some ways that you can heal from your pain in a life-giving direction? How can you honor your trauma listening to what it’s asking of you and heal from it in a healthy manner?
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I have countless quotes, poems and songs with this meaning behind these two little words, begin again.
I don't know a person who has walked on their journey at one point or another where they felt the need to embrace this sentiment. It could be just within your day and getting off on the wrong foot to having a bad month with family, work or school. We all want the opportunity to begin again on our tough days.
Though there is something to be said for the hard moments. If we didn't experience them, where would the lessons be?
So, take a moment to reflect on all the times you wished you could begin again and ask yourself what lesson you learned from that experience?
How has that lesson helped you as you continued walking on your journey forward?
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Andrea creates, builds, and offers her teachings and hands on life tools based on her journey healing her body image after a 14yr battle and life of trauma. Her vision always is to help others live a full life with the journey they are given.