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Beautiful People Do Not Just Happen

The last few months have called me to pause and step back a few paces as I continue to get clear about my place in life as I integrate some huge waves of ‘big stuff’ happening all around me.

Some people resist the hard stuff and attach firmly to their ‘comfort zone.’ They learn that control is only an illusion and comfort is not sustainable. It’s a nice place for a breather, but life does not stand still. Scrapped knees are unavoidable. They lead to the powerful stories that shape the deepest meaning of our life.

I often feel compelled to allow the unexpected and un-plan-able happenings of life to detour me from my ‘comfort zone,’ guided by a funny faith that a ‘plus’ can be found in every ‘minus’… eventually. Clumsy and messy at times, but oh so many treasures for those willing to recognize them. We can let fear cause us to play safe, or find the extraordinary advantages of being fearless by fearing-less.

Though my heart-felt choices seldom make linear sense, I say ‘yes’ as consciously as I can, open to learning the hard way when I must  about when and where I could have course-corrected toward better self-care.

It’s notable how our greatest gift can also be our greatest obstacle and learning opportunity. It is important to remember that we cannot fail. Either decision will provide access to the the spiritual nudge we need.

Saying a clear ‘no’ is equally as important as saying ‘yes.’ Although I have gotten better at discerning when to say ‘yes’ and when tp say ‘no,’ I still find myself learning the hard way. From the vantage point of my heart rather than my energy level, it always looks possible. However, although I now give myself more time to respond rather than react before I make a decision, I can’t seem to resist certain ‘assignments.’

Whether I choose wisely or fall flat on my face. it provides an invitation to learn a new or refine an old lesson. I always learn something. So, I can’t lose. To me, there is great value in learning how to walk in the dark, or find my way in uncharted territory.

There are always hidden bitter-sweet treasures buried amidst heartache and challenges, regardless of the outcome. So, I wait and listen as best I can. I choose as consciously as I know how to lean into each opportunity with my heart fully open, trusting that the unknowns of each adventure are there to grow me. I love as deeply as I can.

Those too attached to their ‘comfort zone’ tend to find the road bumpy as they react to the ‘little stuff’ as if it is ‘big stuff.’ With undeveloped resilience, they totally crumble amidst the uncertain twists and turns when facing the ‘big stuff.’ Although it is never easy to maneuver, practicing allows us to develop skills along the way.

There definitely is ‘big stuff.’ It can easily feel like we are under one gigantic black cloud. It is so easy to slip into despair, and far more important that we look for the helpers and hidden blessings.

What’s your big stuff?

Here’s mine…

Five friends facing brain cancer, some still here, some not, some young, some not.Four friends recovering from open heart surgery for one reason or another.

Four friends currently walking their path with breast cancer, attempting to make the best choices they can, with fear knocking at their door as the clock ticks loud.

A very dear friend and soul sister who is wrapping her heart and mind around her terminal cancer diagnosis. She bumps head-on into a broken healthcare system, while facing the aftermath of chemo, radiation, and the impact on her energy from the treatment undergone only to slow down the growth of her tumors. She is desperately attempting not to let all of this paralyze her with fear or prevent her from living as fully as she can for as long as she can. This is something we all should be doing.

A 12-year-old friend of my 15-year-old grand-nephew, who together as toddlers overlapped on a crazy journey with cancer. My grand-nephew is still very present feeling survivor’s guilt, however his courageous friend passed recently after enduring relapse after relapse.

Not to forget my daughter’s bubbly friend, determined to live. She was in her 40’s, and passed yesterday from an assortment of cancers after a valiant, painful, and expensive attempt to remain here long enough to raise her daughter and son, left behind at 10 and 13 to be cared for by their devoted and heart-broken dad. She may have had cancer, but she never let cancer have her.

My own daughter and son-in-law are facing the big challenges that come with raising a 13-year-old-autistic son experiencing the impact of Tourette’s, puberty, and aggression, also concerned about his devoted little sister also trying to make sense of the unpredictable highs and lows. So much hoop-jumping to get help from a system that doesn’t believe in being pre-emptive.

And the flu leveled me for awhile. Try as I might to help others or myself, every hair on my body ached. Fortunately I bounced back without complications, but I had no energy, and my chest felt like an elephant was sitting on it for weeks. Usually the one familiar with giving, I had no alternative other than to rest and to receive.

Small stuff’ in comparison, and still the ‘small stuff’ clamors for attention and drags us down. I could do nothing more than surrender, and did my best to learn whatever lessons were disguised in the process.

I am not alone. Everyone has their list of ‘big’ and ‘small’ stuff.

Where we place our focus determines our resilience and our joy. We do our best. We fall down determined to rise one more time than we fall. We decide what is most important. We let go of our old stories to rebuild new ones. We link arms determined to focus on the blessings rather than the obvious reasons to complain. We expand our ability to see both birth and death as an exquisite part of life. We commit to living each moment fully. We savor every moment.

We whisper in one another’s ear the reminder that we are stronger than we think, and eventually we stand stronger and wiser than before.

Vulnerability is courage.

Love is the healing balm.

Life is an eternal adventure, and we are blessed when we understand that we need not travel alone.

Join me in daring to make every moment a keepsake moment, even the messy ones.

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