Do you truly understand the question? Because you’ve had the answer all along.

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I remember the test taking experiences of childhood, where sometimes I’d walk into the test confident, knowing that I knew the information regardless of whether the test was multiple choice or not.  Other times, I’d know some things, but not necessarily enough to promote complete confidence in whether I’d do well. Especially if I didn’t prepare.  If the test was multiple choice, then YES!  I could possibly use the process of elimination to guess the best answer.  If it was fill in the blank or write a paragraph form?  Cross my fingers and pray that in my rambling, somewhere was the right answer.  But what if we were given the answers, all we had to have done was paid attention to  and truly understood the material?

Think about it this way.  What if you didn’t study the topic, you didn’t understand the topic at all, and you were given the answer key.  All the answers, right in front of you, and you didn’t have to do anything.  All you had to do was know the questions associated with the answers.  Could you do it?

Guess what…we are the topic in life.  We are the question!

Jeopardy_title_card

I’m starting to think that life is kind of like Jeopardy!, where the answers are presented to us consistently, and it’s our job to figure out the question. I think that we are constantly bombarded with feel good little sayings, like “believe in yourself”, “love is a journey”, and “love your neighbor as yourself” without truly understanding the implications of what we’re hearing.  How can we understand that the answers are right in front of us if we haven’t even truly understood the question?  How can we even know what we’re seeing?

Answers are in front of us everyday.  What we need to understand is the question, which is ourselves.  Truly understanding and loving ourselves is understanding the question.

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Can you relate to my pain?

I was inspired to write this post because after all, this is a blog about fearlessness.  I’ve often been afraid to show deeper, darker parts of myself for fear of being rejected, ridiculed, etc. Mostly though, I think it’s because I’ve been terrified to explore those parts of myself.  But I want to begin acknowledging those parts that are the most scary, and that’s okay.  I’m acknowledging my imperfection, and my own humanity.

How often do we look for the worst in others to validate our own existence?  Or secretly celebrate someone else’s pitfalls because it eases our own pain?  I’ve done that.  Often. Sometimes I’ll read gossip blogs and ridicule those who were seemingly at the top only to come crashing down.  Or I’ll read or hear about someone who’s having marriage trouble and place myself above them because my marriage is great at that particular time.  But I’m finding that all those things are simply ways to avoid facing the demons within myself.  There’s no such thing as perfect.  Nor is everything the same all the time.  What can happen to you today, can easily happen to me tomorrow.  No one is exempt from anything.  And no one knows everything.

And that’s okay, we’re human.  It’s okay to fear the unknown.

However, I make no excuses for those actions, because they are contrary to the very thing that I’m attracted to, which is true love and acceptance for myself and others.  I have to see the pain within myself, and the very thing that drives me to want to validate my existence through the pain of others.  It’s actually that pain that ties us, that binds us, and that makes us family.  That makes us one.

It’s impossible to be perfect all the time, especially if there’s a lack of acknowledgment of the pain that occurs in life, living in an ideal bubble of perspective that doesn’t really exist. We all experience pain.  Maybe what I do with my life can make someone else’s pain a little more bearable.  

Maybe that’s the point of life anyway.

 

Compassion is the key

Charter for compassion

I know that we all are guilty of putting ourselves first in our lives at some time or another.  It’s easy.  It protects us from hurt; we fear putting another before ourselves; we feel justified in doing so.  After all, if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will, right?

Wrong.

According to Karen Armstrong, author of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, compassion is the common thread linking all of the world’s religions.  If you didn’t catch Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday episode featuring her last week, go watch it if you have a chance!

And it makes sense.  If we treat others the way we want to be treated at all times, our personal worlds would be so beautiful, not to mention the effect on others’ lives as well.

Love yourself unconditionally

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like the world is changing.   More and more, I hear about people shedding processed lifestyles, and trying to get back to more natural, authentic ways of living.  At first I thought it was just me.  I’m hearing about people switching to organic foods, organic creams and homemade butters for hair and skin; natural toothpastes and deodorants, drinking well water without fluoride and additives; etc, etc.  Something is happening, not sure what, but something big is happening.

In 2011, for a while after I got married, I battled a little with my weight.  At 5’10”, I’d always been used to being very thin; however, around the time I got married I easily put on almost 30 pounds.  I didn’t know what was going on, couldn’t figure it out.  People kept telling me that it was “marital bliss” weight.  I think it was emotional baggage trying to surface and telling me to finally deal with it.

I exercised, tried to curb my eating, but the weight seemed to be stubborn.  I didn’t know why it wouldn’t leave.  

2012 was a pivotal year for me.  To date, probably the hardest and most insightful year of my life.  I decided to take a bit of a breather from society, school, everything.  I became a bit overwhelmed with all the changes happening both in my personal life and career-wise, and I found it difficult emotionally to process.  But like I said, I believe something spiritually is happening in the world that we may collectively may not yet understand.  I believe I had to separate myself for a bit to start digging into unresolved issues that I had.  I started a renewed hair journey, where I started taking better care of my natural hair; I started eating only organic foods; I started to make my own hair and skin creams; I vastly reduced my alcohol consumption; I started becoming more in touch with myself and with nature, going on walks, growing and befriending plants (lol), etc.  Still don’t know what inspired all of these changes.  I know the people who know me best probably think I’m a little nuts, but I’m telling you, it’s one of the best things I’ve done for myself thus far.

After I made all those changes, the weight just came off.  Almost miraculously.  And now, no matter what I eat, it seems to stay off.  I believe in a way, weight gain and difficulties with weight loss are tied to emotional baggage.  As you release the baggage, you may be surprised how easily the weight begins to come off.  Spiritually speaking, I know I have a long way to go, but my first goal was to begin to love myself unconditionally.  I’m still a work in progress, but I do believe that beginning to love myself unconditionally, physically and emotionally, has served as a huge wakeup call for me.

There’s something happening spiritually in the world people.  Open your eyes to the signs, and believe that they are there, and you’ll start to see them.  And take care of yourself.  Love yourself.  You only have one body, and it loves you when you love it.

Can’t think of a catchy title so…life, I guess…

I recently watched Contact, a movie starring Jodie Foster, where she attempts to discover whether there is life in the universe other than on Earth.  If you’ve never watched it, run and go see it.  Seriously, the spiritual implications are astounding.

Anyway, as I was pondering the movie, I was thinking about us as a human species and how seriously backwards we are.  All the time Typically, we live for ourselves.  Okay, maybe more often than typically.  Sure, we volunteer, give to the Salvation Army during the holidays, and maybe sometimes we even let someone merge in front of us on the highway.  Or let someone who has 2 items in the grocery store line skip in front of us.  And we feel proud of ourselves for doing it, as we should.  But, what if EVERYONE lived for everyone else, all the time?  Like, what if we didn’t think about ourselves or careers and jobs, our own money, what others thought of us, our own families and personal circles, but literally lived as though we always came last?  How different would our world look?

But if we do that, what if the next person doesn’t do it?  Should that be a deterrent to living that way anyway?

We’re all in this together, we just have to realize it first.  We can literally reshape the way the world is with our actions and with a perspective shift.

Fear is powerful.  I guess that’s the hardest part of the journey.

New journey of self-exploration and vulnerability

So…new blog, new ideas, fresh start…

I’m so excited to start this blog!  This was definitely a random moment of inspiration (hint: nothing is random) and I was inspired to write down all of the new and incredible things I’m experiencing.

One thing about me that I’ve always yet never really known (I know, that’s weird right?!  Tell me about it.)…

I. HATE. BEING. VULNERABLE.

There.  I said it.  I hate exposing my private life and inner workings to the world because I know how easily life and its experiences can be taken out of context.  Not necessarily on purpose, we can only experience life through our own lens.  It’s difficult to put ourselves completely in others’ shoes because then, well, we’d be them!  We can only do it in part, which leaves room for error.  And that room for error scares the shit out of me.

And that’s the exact reason I’m starting this blog.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous quote is “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”  So true. The only way to conquer fear?  Do the thing that you fear.  Face the fear head on and let God take care of the rest.

So, world, I’m going to expose myself.  The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.  It’s time to see what I’m really made of, and I’d like to take you for the ride.