It’s not the ex who cheated,
the party you didn’t get invited to,
the person who cut you off from the lane over.
It’s not the shitty day at work,
the bad hair day,
the pimple that appeared overnight.
It’s not how fat you look in that picture,
how skinny you used to be,
how you compare physically.
What really matters is how you process + surpass
that crappy day at work
and that picture you wish you weren’t tagged in
and the news someone you loved deceived you.
What really matters is how tall you stand,
how you grow and care for yourself,
in face of all the unfortunates
and the ‘oh shit’ moments
and the downright hellish days.
What really matters is that you pick yourself back up,
off the ground,
again and again,
because you’re worth more than all those things combined.
When things get tough, there’s always a choice that I see in front of me:
I can fall deep into this rabbit hole of despair,
or I can look reality in the eyes, dust myself off, and keep moving.
I can slow down, or I can speed up.
I can cry a little longer, or I can direct that energy toward love.
I can focus on what sucks, or I can create something f**king fabulous.
I can revel in anger, or I can delight in what’s next.
I can stay where I am or I can go places.
I can cry rivers or I can move mountains.
There’s always a choice.
Lately I’ve begun my days by setting intentions. I pick one simple thing, like:
Today, my intention is to welcome everything I encounter as if I chose it.
Today, my intention is to write my heart + guts out.
Today, my intention is to be more compassionate.
This new morning ritual is powerful in directing my day in an unexpected direction.
A couple weeks ago, I set the simple intention to pay attention to my surroundings on my twenty minute walk to school. No head phones. No day dreaming. Just noticing the beauty around me. I left my house early and took a longer path than I usually take. I honestly couldn’t believe how gorgeous the trees were. The Fall leaves were in full effect, and I saw a different color pattern on every block, then every tree, then every leaf pile lined up along neighbors’ lawns.
I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face if I tried. The air was alive with the kind of energy I’ve only felt during chilly Fall days in New England or Pacific Northwest cities. As I caught eyes with one of the neighbors, a friendly middle-aged man sweeping up the leaves on the pathway to his house, we smiled and said hello. Just as casually, he followed that up by saying ‘you’re very pretty.’ I said thank you, he got back to sweeping, and I continued on to the next block.
It was a meaningful exchange, though simple. It meant something to me because on that particular morning I chose to pay attention, take a different route, and admire what was around me. And when that man paid me that unexpected compliment, it felt as if my admiration for my surroundings was reflected right back.
There’s that famous Gandhi quote that says, “What you think, you become.” I believe this is true because so much of what we communicate is non-verbal. It’s our energy. Our attitude. Our thoughts, which we think are invisible to others when they are actually written all over our face and body language. Our thoughts tend to define us over time, if we let them, and they shape others impressions of who we are.
When I’m less in my head and instead acting from my heart, I get a much better response from those around me than I would otherwise. Sometimes I forget how to not over-think things, and I tend to take life a little too seriously. But when I relax and step outside my inner world, even just for a few minutes, I’m reminded of what really matters.
And today, my intention is to focus on just that.
With courage, love, and intensity,
Photo credit: http://monasheephoto.com/