Dream Big, Darling


As 2017 comes to a close, I’ve smudged away old regrets, lost dreams, and looked toward everything the future has to offer.  I’m ready to take on 2018… are you?

It’s easy to dwell on the past, old mistakes, or missed opportunities.  For years I didn’t even realize I was settling for less!  Instead of following my heart, I listened to the opinions of people who weren’t in alignment with me, questioned my abilities, or stayed quiet in fear of being misunderstood.  It took several years, a lot of lessons, and some encouragement to discover I didn’t need to believe in anything but myself. 

I hid my talents and creativity for years because I was afraid of being criticized.  It didn’t even occur to me that I may get positive feedback!  As a child, any recognition wasn’t worth the hurtful things I may have heard (keyword: may).  At seven years old I wrote and illustrated an entire collection of children’s stories called “Suey and Friends.”  Suey was a chipmunk who went on all sorts of adventures with her crew.  Each character had a unique personality, often based on dreams I had or friends of my own.  My mom still has those old pieces of paper somewhere back in Michigan… she believed in me and encouraged me to continue creating.  Although it was just a hobby to me, she always insisted we send them to agents or publishers.  Being the shy and insecure girl I was, I never agreed to it.

It’s been 25 years since my last Suey story, but if there’s one takeaway from this all, it’s that life is too short to hold back.

Today I would rather be criticized than miss an opportunity.

2018 is right around the corner, and I’m ready to take on the next steps of my life- whatever they may be.  2017 was an amazing year to focus on myself, develop a solid foundation, and decide what I truly wanted.  Big dreams no longer scare me, and hard work has become second nature.  The key to hard work is to follow your heart and do something you love.

Since moving on from Suey and friends, there’s a long list of things I have done as a middle finger to the people who hurt or second guessed me.  Although I didn’t do anything deliberately mean, I did my best to succeed, stand out, or surpass any doubts or negativity they threw my way.  I called off my engagement with a controlling engineer and moved to San Francisco, started a style blog in my hometown of people who bullied me, and pursued a marketing career in New York.  Things definitely didn’t go as planned, but that’s okay.  Although I am glad the anger and pain inspired my creativity, I learned one important lesson:

You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone but you.

When your intentions are pure, everything falls in place.  My life often fell apart because it wasn’t acting in alignment with my soul: I was simply doing things out of ego.  I no longer hold those old resentments or fear… and I can thank my spiritual practice and support system for giving me the strength to live my life with more love and compassion.

As you reflect on your goals for the future, remember to follow your heart; it will certainly take you a lot further than acting on ego or fear.  When you set your mind to it, you can have anything you want out of this crazy and beautiful life.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.

Compassion Toward Your Inner Child

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Although I am still learning to adult with balance and grace, an important thought came to mind:  not only do I need to practice self-care on a regular basis, I need to care for my inner child, too.

We forget to nurture the small people we once were and can be unforgiving to ourselves for the past.  Why are we so hard on ourselves for situations beyond our control?  Why do we push our own nurturing aside?  Our childhood is our foundation, yet many of us have histories of traumatic events which can follow us throughout our entire lives- if we let them.

I grew up with a wonderful mother next door to my grandparents.  I lived for art and nature, drawing and creating, but I was scared of the people around me.  I didn’t know what being an empath was back then, but I did know that being around a lot of people was overwhelming.  I always felt different but I didn’t know why.  Since I didn’t have many role models or siblings to shape my social habits, I lived with constant anxiety until I began to align with other creative people who understood me.

Getting bullied was something I lived with for many years.  One of my memories (which may explain my lifelong distaste for people in groups) was being bullied by several girls back in elementary school.  I was quiet and shy; an easy target.  They would usually strike on the bus where I was trapped and couldn’t go anywhere, but sometimes they’d follow me around at recess, too.  Recess was already traumatizing for me since I was terrible at sports- you’d find me on the swings.

Flashbacks of the bullying would always come back subconsciously when meeting new people or making friends.  In the back of my mind, I questioned my worthiness or value.  In a small town, “different” is one of the worst things you can be, so I stayed quiet and avoided conflict.  After college I moved to a big city, far away, where I could be whoever I wanted- I could hide, or I could shine.  In San Francisco, nobody cared what I street I grew up on in Michigan or whether or not I was “popular.”  I didn’t know anyone from my hometown out west, which is exactly how I liked it.  I was new.

San Francisco is where I started my cycle of running.  For nine years, I perpetually ran away, moved, or changed things because I was scared of letting people get to know who I truly was.  I was scared of abandonment, criticism, or failure, so I would be the one to leave.  I was scared of my mistakes.

It may have taken me 30-some years, but now I finally know it is safe to stand still. 

I used to think I could run away and ignore my problems, but that only made life more difficult.

Once I moved to Boston I knew that I would always be the same person until I made a change inside my soul.  Geographic cures and avoidance no longer worked: I had to face those bullies and demons… but more importantly, I had to face myself.

I didn’t realize how tightly I was still holding on to that timid, insecure girl.  Nearly a year later, I have forgiven those who hurt me, from family to perfect strangers, but I have also forgiven myself, too.  I am also learning to show compassion toward my inner child- she did her best for living without a solid foundation for many years.

My sensitivity and intuitive nature used to feel like a burden, it now they feel like of my greatest gifts.  I am grateful for each and every experience, from the mistakes to the pain.  Every road has lead me to where I am now:  a place where I am comfortable sharing what I have been through, who I am, and knowing what I want.

Today, being vulnerable isn’t so scary.  It’s my power.

 

Serenity in the Shore

Yesterday I ventured north to enjoy my very first “beach day” of the summer.  Revere Beach was the first public beach in America, which I learned when looking it up for reviews and directions on the T.

After an easy blue line trip from the State stop, I found myself seaside.  Although it’s much different than the pristine Lake Michigan beaches I’m used to, I found serenity in the shore.  

I was feeling anxious and unsettled that morning.  I called my mother on my way to an appointment, wondering when life would “settle down.”  Over the past decade I have been constantly moving, changing things and trying to find myself.

When will life just get easier?

There’s no doubt that the ups and downs life has thrown at me (some my own fault, some by chance) have made me strong; but I can’t help but wonder, “when will I be able to finally stand still?”


I’ve traditionally looked to relationships, jobs and moves to give me stability, but I’ve learned that the only true stability is within myself and my spiritual connection.  Life will always throw curveballs, but it’s how you handle it that will give you strength and character. 

After a couple of hours at the beach, I felt a few rain drops.  It was time to go.  I got caught in the rain on my way home, which felt appropriate, cleansing and comforting.  I stopped by the library to pick up a book that was on hold for me (“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron) and did some work on the computer.  My beach trip left me feeling much calmer, more positive and hopeful.

The rain carried on through the night, symbolizing a fresh start and a sense of peace.  I recently read that fear and uncertainty paves the way for positive changes, and that my prayers are being answered in ways I would never expect.

Although I may not have the answers today, I have faith that they will divinely unfold when it is time.  Until then, I’ll continue to find serenity in the shore and in the beauty around me.