My daughter looked at me about a week ago in a moment of unanticipated empathy and said, “mom you’ve been through a lot this past year.” I was startled. We all go through a lot, and my story’s not any different than anyone else’s, but some years pack more punch than others. I had to take in a breath of acknowledgement. In the past year my father nearly died more than once, I flew back and forth to New York more than ten times, my daughter went off to college, I dramatically changed careers, reluctantly sold my home, and, in the process, became disconnected from those I thought were good friends.
Recently I did one of those therapeutic assessments where they ask how many major life events you’ve had in the past year – it seemed I had nearly all of them. I’m not complaining. I’m embracing all of the change – good and bad. I lost my mom almost nine years ago. I know parents don’t last forever, and I’ve done my best to love my father and say all the things I’ve wanted to say to him. I’ve done my best to be physically present as much as I can when he’s in New York and I’m here in Atlanta. I’ve dropped what I’m doing many times to run to him, and I’ve taken responsibility for the things I let fall to the side.
Changing careers was painful but I couldn’t be happier. Selling my house was disruptive but part of the dream. And losing or misplacing friends is par for the course. Most relationships don’t last forever, and not everyone is ready to support you as you grow and change. My cousin posted a quote this past week that said, “Evolve so hard that they have to get to know you again.” Every time I see it I can’t help but chuckle. Sometimes the evolution is DEEP.
Today was the first day of my “Courage to Dream” workshop series. In the upstairs temple at Tassili’s Raw Reality, here in Atlanta, we took deep cleansing breaths together. We got quiet. We wrote down what bubbled up to the surface in our stillness. We inhaled courage into our hearts and let go of anything holding us back.
The series name came from one of the first affirmations that I wrote:
“You deserve freedom, alignment and effortless abundance.
You deserve self-care.
You deserve the courage to dream.
These are your birthright.”
I was taught as a child to go to school, get an education and get a good job. I thought I would work some place for 30 years and then retire and get a pension. One of my first memories as a child is my mom trying to wake me up for kindergarten. I told her I didn’t feel well. She told me it was art day and I jumped out of bed! Even as children, perhaps especially as children, we know where our passions lie.
What wakes you up in the morning?
What keeps you up at night?
What would you do if you couldn’t fail?
Some say courage is doing things in spite of fear. I know that to be true. I also believe courage is living a life guided by an open heart. Raw. Powerful. Vulnerable.
I never pursued my passions as a child. I loved art and science and ended up studying business. My breakthrough, funny enough, is memorialized in my Instagram feed on August 20. Something inside me told me I could dream a different life for myself. I don’t know if it was the Live in Wonder journal that I’d been working through since 2016, or all the yoga classes where I set my intentions, or all the sweat lodges where I burned my fear in the fire, or all the meditation classes and Dharma lessons. My guess is it was a culmination. I was able to examine my life to a point where I had the courage to dream.
I was moved by a quote I heard in a yoga retreat on New Year’s Eve. I’m paraphrasing but it said “It’s better to pursue your passion and fail than be really successful at something you were not made to do.” It made me pause.
Since I’ve moved into living more from my heart, I believe the universe continuously gives me signs I’m on the right path. It’s terrifying and fantastic at the same time. I can’t say I wish I had done it sooner, because I believe all things happen in divine time.
The New Oxford American Dictionary’s definition of “encourage” is to “to give support, confidence or hope.” It sounds to me that to “encourage” is really to “give courage” as much as it is possible for one to “give courage” to another.
As we enter this new decade together, I want to give you courage to explore your dreams and lead with an open heart.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is from the beautiful “I Am Ascension” Temple upstairs from Tassili’s where we had our yoga and meditation tonight. If you’ve never been there, you’re missing out. Visit tassilisrawreality.com to learn more. I’m using the Live in Wonder journal at my spring retreat in April. It’s available on Amazon. For more information about spring retreat, visit honeybutterflyz.com/spring-retreat-2020