Your past has shaped you, taught you and led you to places and people that helped you grow. Some of those places and people have hurt you, pushed you down or left you with scars.
But, you my dear, you are not your past. You are NOT the opinions others had, or have, of you. You are NOT the things you did or the things that were done to you. Nor are you the mistakes you THINK you’ve made.
You have never made a single mistake, ever. There are no mistakes, only lessons. What you do with those lessons is up to you.
You are the sum of all your experiences and the learning these experiences brought you. You get to decide how to build upon all that.
So, take a deep breath, forgive yourself for the mistakes “you think” you’ve made, give thanks for the lessons and celebrate how far you’ve come, because wow, you’ve come along way my friend, and here you are, still standing❤️
Now, get out there and build something, anything you want, upon everything you’ve ever done, and enjoy this one big amazing life you’ve been given.
Today, try stepping into your life as a curious student.
For just a day, consider parking your solutions, opinions, advice, judgment and “your way of doing things” and focus your attention towards, listening, learning, observing, being patient, being present, and aware of what’s going on around you.
Let your intellectual walls down and let others teach you. Be a curious and humble student.
If you are the resident problem solver at home or work, or you’re a teacher, coach, boss or an expert in your field, you can practice being a curious student by; ~ asking others for their opinion ~ asking for advice ~ asking others how they might do something differently. ~ letting someone else lead a meeting or lead a class, while you observe. ~ ask others questions on topics they know well, then listen.
None of us know it all. It’s often the quiet observer who sees and learns the most. These wise souls know we build stronger relationships, learn more about our world, each other and ourselves when we practice observation, stillness and humble curiosity.
We learn more during life’s painful moments and challenges, than we learn in our moments of glory.
Each stabbing ache, each crushing disappointment, each heartbreak, every loss or painful fall from grace, allows us an opportunity to grow and become stronger.
Whether it’s emotional or physical; pain forces us to slow down, rest and take the time we need to heal.
Getting knocked down isn’t always a bad thing. Pain can leave us humbled, wiser and more patient. It allows us to lower our veil, be vulnerable, more tolerant and compassionate towards the pain we see or even cause, in others.
Sometimes pain itself is the cure for the things in life that hurt us; as it slows us down long enough to evaluate what and who is important.
When pain knocks on your door, let it in, sit with it. Let it show you what it wants you to see, to learn or to grow into.
Pain always, ALWAYS, brings with it opportunities for transformation. Opportunities to wrap yourself in your cocoon, and when you’re ready, to emerge with greater clarity about who you are, what’s important, why you’re here and how you want to live, love, play and BE.
Pain can be a beautiful teacher. Don’t waste your pain on “the pain” use this opportunity as a stepping stone to chart the next chapter of your journey.
Your pain will hurt you, it will also help, heal and lead you.
The human mind has keen observational ability. However, our busy, modern lives are filled with chaotic, dizzy, conflicting thoughts, ideas, desires, opinions, images and demands; making it almost impossible to focus on just one thing and observe it deeply, so, most often we don’t.
The majority of us don’t listen to understand. We listen to react. Or, we listen to find the space to jump in and prove we’re right. I’ve found this to be the case in both my personal and professional relationships (and yes, I’ve played my dysfunctional part in both 😊)
It’s when we listen with our eyes and our hearts wide open that we observe the emotions, reactions, over-reactions (even our own), the body language and non-verbal cues, along with words and tone of voice, that we’re able to understand the state of a fellow human being and more importantly our own state and intentions.
When I was in a concert band years ago, I recall our conductor bringing stillness to the band before every performance or competition. One at a time, each musician tuned up, and the others were silent. Then, the conductor would tune us by section, flutes, clarinets, trumpets, saxophones, etc until we were “in tune” with each other. Then, our collective focus became the piece we were performing. We each had to thoughtfully listen and observe the conductor and the rest of the musicians to determine when it was time to play our part. We didn’t listen to react, we listened to create harmony.
When I was involved in community theater, before each production, the cast and crew would take a moment to rally and focus in on the performance ahead of us and the audience we were performing to. During a performance we had to listen, watch for our entry points and work together to guide each other through the performance, sometimes improvising when lines were forgotten or stage cues missed.
Many athletic teams do something similar before a game. They rally, get focused and tune in to their team members. During play, they have to be keen observers of what’s going on around them. They must listen with their eyes.
I know some of my healthcare colleagues do the same thing before they begin a surgery. They stop, become still and assemble their collective focus on the needs of the patient. During the procedure they must observe, listen and cooperate as a team.
As a community of 7.3 billion people, we can no longer pretend we are on different teams. We have to live, listen and play as if we are a part of the same symphony, the same stage production, the same athletic or surgical team.
We don’t have to look the same, sound the same, act the same, or BE the same. In fact, it’s our differences that create the harmony, the success, the wins, the applause, and our mutual respect and compassion for one another.
When we’re busy making noise, trying to be heard, being angry or offended or trying to be right, we’re not learning or growing or getting closer to solutions. When we’re loud, we can’t hear the exhausted whispers of truth flowing from each other’s tired souls, desperately trying to play our parts and create the harmony we all seek.
The most powerful messages are received when we’re silent and listen with our eyes and, our hearts wide open.