“Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing.” – Hunter S. Thompson
When is the last time you did something to get your blood racing? When is the last time you did something that made you feel truly alive?
Yesterday, my son borrowed my motorcycle to take his girlfriend to her grandmother’s for dinner. After dinner, he offered to take grandma for a ride on the bike. She could have said no. She could have said “Oh, but what if I get hurt?”, but she didn’t. She could have said “Oh, gosh no, I’m too old.”, but she didn’t. What she said is “Really? I haven’t been on a bike since I was sixteen!”
Now that’s the kind of attitude I truly love. The kids brought back video of her on the bike with my son to show me. Her arms were up in the air over her head as she whooped, her excitement and joy uncontainable. Such a simple thing, but for a few minutes, she felt alive. It was a wonderful thing to witness, and I’m so glad someone enjoyed my bike as much as I do. I can truly identify with her because that’s exactly how I feel when I’m riding. I smile from ear to ear like an idiot, and I’m lucky I’m not picking bugs out of my teeth when we get home.
Grandma has now decided she needs a bike of her own. I hope she gets one. She is, by the way, only 63, just a year older than my own mother, and she looks amazing. With her attitude, I can see why.
When we’re young we’re always up for excitement and risk. As teenagers we feel invincible. We’ve all got stories of the crazy things we did. As we get older we take on descriptives such as mature, responsible, dignified, and respectable. We spend our days working, running errands, paying bills, and raising our children. Our discussions begin to center around things like 401k’s and life insurance. We begin to emulate society’s expectations of age.
Then we wake up one day and realize we’re too old. Too old to do all the awesome things we always said we’d do someday. And with age comes fear. The older we get, the more we worry about what could happen. Being cautious is smart, yes, but at what cost.
Do you remember who you were at sixteen? What were you passionate about? What got your blood racing? Did you ride dirt bikes, a skateboard, roller coasters? Maybe it was something less daring. Maybe it was painting, dancing, playing guitar, or a cause that meant something to you. When did you stop?
Decide today, for your own sake, to rekindle those passions. Spend some time thinking about who you were before the world of grown ups took over. Begin now to bring those things back in to your life.
The pursuit of passions that excite us is what keeps us young and vital. So, thumb your nose at society, at the naysayers and the killjoys, and go do something that gets your blood racing.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
― John Lennon
Why do we act the way we do sometimes? Why do certain people or events upset us so much? And why do we treat others so poorly sometimes? No matter how nice we are, we’ve all had our moments of anger, jealousy, rage, envy. These emotions have driven us to do some not so nice things to others.
Let’s look at four basic examples.
We’re out with our boyfriend and catch him looking at another woman. We fly into a jealous rage and unreasonably accuse him of cheating, or we give him the silent treatment for the next three days and the only word he gets out of us are “fine.” or “Whatever.”
We’re overlooked at work for a promotion we’ve worked so hard for. We were sure it was meant for us. But what do you know, that character down the hall got it. What? But he goofs off all the time, he doesn’t work nearly as hard, and he’s really popular. We just can’t bring ourselves to say congratulations.
Two of our best friends go out on Friday night, and we don’t get an invite. What the hell? We spend the evening at home sulking, feeling sorry for ourselves, and eating all the sweets in the house.
Our needy mother hits us with the “You’re never there for me when I need you.” guilt trip again, despite the fact that we’ve taken her to two doctor’s appointments in the past week alone, did all her laundry, and patiently listened to her describe, in detail, every ache, pain, and bowel movement. We’re riddled with guilt regardless, and the injustice of it all has us losing sleep for days.
There are many, many circumstances that crop up in our daily lives that fill us with negative emotions. Anger, jealousy, guilt, powerlessness, and insignificance just to name a few. They swirl around inside us, breaking us down, stressing us out, causing health problems, and affecting how we respond to the actions of others around us. Fear says “Give away your power, peace, poise, and self-respect.
Are these feelings justified in all of the above instances? They’re certainly understandable, but they aren’t necessary. Reacting to another’s behavior in a negative way is always a choice.
There are only two true emotions that exist. Love and fear. If you’re not acting out of love, then you are acting or reacting out of fear.
Every negative emotion that exists is rooted in and driven by fear. If you’re feeling a negative emotion, then it is fear driven, no question. We must ask ourselves in a bad moment, “What is it I’m afraid of?” Once we understand something, fear loses it’s control and we can respond from love. Love is the opposite of fear. It is empowering, uplifting, exhilarating, and expansive.
Let’s revisit the examples above.
In the first scenario, jealousy takes over. Jealousy is an ugly green monster that will ruin a relationship quicker than fake ice cream melts at the local buffet. The underlying fear here is our boyfriend finding someone more attractive than us, or worse, that we will lose him and wind up ‘gasp’ alone. Is this a reasonable fear? Let’s keep in mind that we don’t usually go out with someone we aren’t really attracted to in the first place. It makes sense that he already thinks we’re pretty hot right? And if he’s the type of guy who would drop us for someone else based solely on looks, then we don’t need him anyway. We need to be alone so there’s a space open for the right guy. We deserve the best after all.
The second scenario shows us envy. We’re so upset at being overlooked for a promotion we can’t bring ourselves to congratulate our coworker. What is the fear driving this emotion? Perhaps it’s that we’ll never be good enough, we aren’t really liked as much as we thought, we just don’t have ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is. Maybe it’s this fear that’s preventing us from being promoted in the first place. Are we pointing fingers with blame and refusing to take responsibility for our mistakes, wearing our lack of self confidence like a big neon sign hanging around our neck? With this fear acknowledged for what it is and set aside, we can walk up to our coworker, pat him on the back, congratulate him, and truly mean it. And then we can focus on the next promotion go around.
In the third scenario, we’re sitting at home, sulking and eating anything remotely resembling chocolate. (Admit it, you’ve contemplated melting down that nasty baker’s chocolate and adding some sugar. Maybe mixing it in some milk. Mhmm. . .I know.) The fear in this instance is not being loved or wanted. Listen, we know this just isn’t true so put down the chocolate and walk away. Let’s stop feeling sorry for ourselves and go text our friends and tell them to send us pics of all the hotties at the club. Maybe we’ll even get a hookup.
In the fourth and final scenario we have the guilt trip. And it doesn’t have to be our mother. We all have someone in our lives who has nothing better to do than remind us where we’re falling short. As we carry this guilt trip around, now actually avoiding this person as much as reasonably possible, and staring at our phone when it makes noise like there’s an 8 foot boa constrictor hiding under it, we must ask ourselves what it is we’re afraid of. (Bet you knew I was going to say that.) In this case it’s a fear of disappointing a parent or perhaps other family members that count on us. Set this fear aside and calmly and lovingly express our needs and set limits and boundaries that make our daily existence more tolerable. And kiss that nasty guilt goodbye.
We’ve covered four everyday examples where fear is involved and we probably didn’t notice it for what it is, but what about how others are behaving. The next time we see someone losing their business all over the place and perhaps even pointing the finger at us, we have to ask ourselves what it is they’re afraid of. What is the fear driving their behavior? Once we put a face on it, we see this person in a whole new light, and we can respond more lovingly to them. Take it a step further and start offering a heartfelt well-placed compliment or thank you here and there, and we may see a whole new person begin to emerge.
Fear has been the catalyst behind every rotten thing that we as humans create in this existence. It’s definitely time to eradicate fear from our lives. Fear on a large scale has driven wars, hate crimes and bigotry, and divides us as a species. Taking the time to think about what we’re feeling and what’s driving it on a personal level is the first step in changing this on a global scale.
A life without fear is a truly joyful experience. We can choose today, right this minute, to no longer be controlled by fear. We can fill our lives with peaceful, tranquil moments and exhilarating experiences if that’s what we want.
There are only two true emotions. Love and fear. If we’re not acting out of love, we’re acting out of fear. What are we afraid of?
How many times have you been hurt in life? Really hurt? How does it affect you today? Maybe in ways you don’t even realize. You’re cruising along through your day and then something happens that triggers anger, sadness, maybe even launches you into a depression and you can’t pinpoint what caused it. Or maybe you know exactly who you’re mad at, exactly what they did, and it’s eating you alive inside. Well, it’s time to heal all of this and let it go because anger doesn’t hurt anyone but the one who’s angry. I thought today, I would share a little exercise that I did to heal all the hurts of my lifetime.
It started, for me, with a story you should definitely read first. It’s not too long and it’s one of my favorites. It’s called The Little Soul and the Sun by Neale Donald Walsch. This little story had a profound affect on me. I saw things about life in a way I never had before. I understood the “bad guys” in my life on a whole new level. From the perspective of the story, it’s the ones that hurt us that love us the most. “What?!” you say. “No. Just no. That can’t be.” I know this can be difficult to accept, but read the story, think about it a while. Wrap your brain around it and let it sink in. It’s the ones that love us that hurt us the most.
Once I grasped this concept, I picked up my trusty journal and started sifting through my own past hurts. I came up with, oh, I think a total of six major players in my life that really hurt me. At the top of the page I wrote their name. Then I listed my grievance. This is important, let it all go. Everything this person did, everything you’re mad about and how you feel about it. (You will need a box of tissues, a glass of wine, and an occasional break.) I came across this exercise online 3 or 4 years ago and can’t remember where. If anyone knows or sees it, please let me know so I can give proper credit.
Now, think about what you learned from this experience. Has it made you a better person? Maybe more compassionate? Maybe given you a cause to fight for. What was the gift they gave you? I’m sure you can think of something. Write it down.
The last step is to say thank you, and I forgive you.
I’ll share an example from mine. It’s the first and biggest one. My dad. He and my mother split up when I was 2 and the last time I saw him, I was four. I remember standing at the screen door saying goodbye to him. I was only as tall as the metal decoration on the lower half and had to look way up at him. I never saw him again, until I looked him up when I was 20 and that didn’t go well either. And I didn’t just lose him, I lost aunts and uncles and grandparents. They think you’re little and won’t remember, but that’s not true. So I carried this for years and it showed up in the relationships I chose, the way I interacted with others, my lack of self confidence, depression, anger, and rebellion. And as I got older and more mature, I just stuffed it down. I would say “Oh well, his loss.” when it would surface. As an adult, I truly thought I was over this, but I wasn’t.
So my journal page looks like this.
How I feel: You left me. Why did you leave me? How could you? Don’t you love me? How could you go on with your life like I don’t exist? I’m really hurt and mad at you!! (Here’s where you need the tissues, but don’t stop writing until there’s nothing left. We’re cleansing here. Say whatever you want. No one ever needs to read this, so let it go however you need to. For half an hour I was four again.)
What I learned. What was the gift: I experienced the pain of not being wanted by my father. It has made me a stronger and more compassionate person. The ultimate gift is learning to love myself despite anyone else, learning that my value as a human being isn’t based on someone else’s behavior.
Thank you: Thank you for loving me enough on the other side to volunteer to treat me poorly in this life so I might have this experience and learn from it. I acknowledge the gift received and I release this experience.
I forgive you and I love you.
You have to keep in mind that forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you. The person is only behaving in the way they know how to be at the time, and if it hurts you, that’s your perception of it. We suffer unintentional hurts all the time. Other people can hurt us and have no clue they’ve done so. (How often does this happen in a relationship?) Forgiveness of another is for your own peace of mind.
I sat with the last statement I made in my journal at the end of the page and felt it. I do truly forgive you and I love you for the beautiful being you are. I love you for loving me enough.
By the time I went through this with every person on my list I felt so much lighter. It took several sessions, and was emotionally draining at the time, but it’s all gone. I didn’t realize how much anger, pain, and resentment I was carrying around with me under the surface. Now when I think of my dad, it’s a good feeling.
When other people ask me “How can you be so calm about things?”, this is how. Because I get the yin and yang of it. If there’s no bad, there’s no good. If no one plays the bad guy, how could anyone be a good guy? How could we learn anything about life? I look at each person and see the beautiful soul residing in a physical body.
This has made a huge difference in my emotional state, the choices I make, how I respond to things, and how I treat myself. I have learned to love myself and choose well for myself, because in the end, the only opinion about me that matters is mine. And when you love yourself and treat yourself well, you naturally treat others well also.
This whole exercise may seem like a daunting task , but I promise, if you take the time to do it, you’ll feel soooo much better. It truly will change your life.
It doesn’t matter if you and everyone else in the room are thinking it. You don’t say the words. Words are weapons. They blast big bloody holes in the world. And words are bricks. Say something out loud and it starts turning solid. Say it loud enough and it becomes a wall you can’t get through. – Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead.
Words are powerful things. Have you ever really thought about it? All that exists was created with words. All that exists in your personal reality has been created by the words you’ve spoken.
The first time I experienced the power of words, I was five or six years old. There was a teenage boy in our sunday school class that would tease me relentlessly. One particularly bad Sunday, riding home in the car with my grandmother, I exclaimed “I hate him! I wish he was dead!” The following Sunday in church, I learned this young man had been killed in a car accident. Of course I was convinced I had caused this awful thing to happen. I was beside myself with grief and guilt. Now, would this have happened regardless? I would like to believe so. This was one lesson that made a deep and lasting impression on me.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Nothing could be closer to the truth. Words expressed carelessly in the heat of the moment can swiftly return to wreak havoc in your life. Oftentimes you’ve forgotten what you said and don’t understand why something is happening. Chances are, if you sift back through your memory, you’ll recall the exact statement that’s responsible for the current mayhem.
One overly stressful day at our restaurant, I again made a statement that would cause me grief. All of my children and their respective boyfriends/girlfriends were there helping out. There was a lot of bickering back and forth and tattling going on that day. I don’t handle negativity well at all. That combined with a hectic lunch rush had me stressed to my absolute limit. Stepping out back for a quiet moment with my husband, I was near tears. “I don’t want my kids anymore!” I shout whispered. (This is not one of my proudest moments.) Immediately I clamped my hand over my mouth with a horrified expression. “Oh my god, I didn’t mean that! I didn’t mean that! That’s not what I meant! I just can’t take their bickering and fighting today!” Too late. Within six weeks all but one of my children had moved out on their own. This turned out to be a good thing, but at the time it was rough. I kept thinking ‘You did this.’ I’m happy to report though, that my grown children are now making their own way in the world and I am enjoying the stress free quiet that has become my life.
These were a couple of tough lessons for me and they are all about what not to say. How about what we should say. Let’s take this the other direction and think about the good we can create in our lives and the lives of others. This is what a witch does when she/he casts a spell. When she/he speaks an incantation with intention behind it, they bring good things about.
Please also understand that I am not implying that you should ignore feelings or emotions. There are many emotions in our human spectrum and they are all equally important. What matters is that we deal with them in a way that isn’t harmful to ourselves or others. In my second example, I was overly stressed and upset. Long term, this can cause ill health, so it was important that something change for me. Rather than spout off at the mouth and say something ugly, I could have expressed my needs differently. “All of this negativity is really bringing me down. How can we change it?” That ugly statement I made came from my inability to give my emotions credence. This is not to say I never have a really bad day. This is where cuss words come in handy. I can let loose a string of cuss words better than any sailor. They’re pretty much nonsense and they make my husband laugh, which makes me laugh, and I’ve alleviated the building frustration within and not caused any major harm.
We must be careful with our words – we’re like superheroes and words are our super powers. Super powers should always be used to help others. – Dianna Hardy, The Spell of Summer
Another common epithet is ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ My children have heard this over and over again. I’ve practiced rephrasing things in a positive way so often that it’s become habit. Say good things everyday. Say good things about your husband or wife, your children, the neighbors you don’t like. Even if you don’t feel they’re true. Remember, you are creating with your words. It will become true. This applies to yourself as well. What do you want to change about yourself? Positive self (I am) statements can make all the difference. I am fit and healthy. I am happy. I am talented and successful. I’m not talking about repeated affirmations. I’m talking about a sustained habit of good statements about yourself. Make your statements, then allow them to come true. I am: becoming.
I am challenging you to one full day of purposeful positive statements. No negativity allowed. Tell your husband he is the best husband in the world. Tell your children how smart and talented they are. Tell your neighbor how awesome their thumping stereo system is. Tell yourself how kind, wonderful, capable you are. Every time a negative statement crosses through your mind change it up to a positive statement and say it out loud. Then sit back and watch what happens.
If enough of us can speak the right words, we can change the world. That’s how powerful our words are. They can create and they can destroy. They can heal and they can wound. The words you permit to cross your lips can make huge changes in your life and in the lives of those you love. It’s up to you what those changes will be.
Be yourself. – Not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be. – Henry David Thoreau
Are you yourself? Well sure, last time I looked in the mirror. I get that, but are you really you? I suppose to answer that question you have to have a really good handle on who you are first.
Most of my life has been spent trying to “be” somebody. That somebody was based on my perception of what I thought my parents, grandparents, society wanted. Upstanding, hard working, salary earning, mortgage owning, new car buying someone. The thought was, if I can achieve this, I can hold my head up and be proud of my accomplishments.
At 26 I decided I wanted to be a nurse. I was a single parent of three young children at the time. I needed a good paying job, and I like to help people. These were good reasons, yet in the back of my mind a scene played out over and over. I saw my mother talking on the phone telling everyone how successful I was, how well I was doing (money) for myself, and how proud she was of me. I didn’t make it through nursing school. It wasn’t the book work, shots, the yucky stuff. I could handle that. It was catheters. They did me in. I just couldn’t do it.
At thirty, I decided I was going to go to real estate school. I was going to sell houses and make six figures a year. The same scenario with my mother played over in my head. I did well. I passed my test with flying colors and got my license. I returned to the broker my license was under and was handed a phone and a chair, and was told “There you go. You’re all set.” That was the extent of my training.
“But wait a minute.” I said, “I need a paycheck.”
“You have to sell a house first.”
“But that could take weeks.”
“Welcome to real estate. Oh and you need to cover the phone at the front desk every other Sunday.”
Did I really want to be a real estate agent?
Who is the everyone my mother is talking to in my scenario? Who are all these people and why does it matter what they think. It doesn’t. And frankly, it doesn’t matter what my parents think either. nor the pastor, the neighbor, or our second cousin. Nope. Doesn’t matter. They can think what they want, talk all they want, but at the end of the day they aren’t living my life. The whole point being. . .this was my perception. Maybe they didn’t think anything, but for many years it mattered to me.
It’s not just about career choice either. Those are just the examples I used. Maybe it’s sexual orientation. Maybe you want to move to Peru and hand pick coffee beans. Maybe you want to die your hair blue. Maybe you want to shave your head and sing Hare Krishna. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if your parents go into hysterics, the PTA president faints dead away, or the elderly neighbor lady crosses herself every time she sees you.
True joy will never come from being something or not being something that isn’t authentically you. Give yourself permission right this minute to be you. Wholly, completely, wonderfully, authentically you. No apologies necessary,
And you know something. I am somebody. I’ve always been somebody. And so are you.