Tuesday, November 19, 2019

I - Be Mindful of What You Put After "I"

     Have you ever sat and just stared at this word "I" before? It is literally one letter and it is so very powerful. It is each of us. We all can say, "I am" or "I like" or "I think" or "I know." For instance, I have been on a journey. I found myself completely unhappy with my day to day ambitions and decided that my life was too short to spend it miserable. The stress of going against who I was every day was also taking a very physical toll on me. I had the worst anxiety of my life as well as skin rashes that came and went with my emotions. It became very clear that I needed to change my life. Over six months, I planned over and over again to quit my job, but I kept moving it back and delaying the actual action of quitting. I would make pro and con lists and rationales about why I should just suck it up and really I had a lack of respect for myself. I didn't think I mattered or that I was good enough to make a different life where I deserved happiness. Then, the universe stepped in. I had gotten to a place where I was just open to whatever the universe thought was best. I literally said OUT LOUD: "I will do whatever you think I should. I am open, give me a sign." 
   What I received wasn't one or two signs, but an avalanche of signs. Little arrows pointing straight to my decision. The signs were subtle to anyone else, but to me they were goose bump inducing and loud! I couldn't ignore them. The first being Jason Mraz posting a snippet of a new song he had written which went like this: "Living your dream is hard work, go on and try it, you might like it!" I then went to an Ingrid Michaelson concert where she sang a song that had these lyrics in it: "I have got to make my own world. Find my own words. Be my own girl. I have got to find that fire that used to fly me so much higher than this. Find my own words." I came across a post-it that I had found a while back that simply said "RETURN" on it. When I had previously found it, I felt the spark of returning to something I used to hold so sacred - my dreams. Still, I shoved it in a drawer and didn't act on it then. I found it again during this time when all the messages in the universe were screaming, "DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. THIS ISN'T WORKING!!!"   
    So, I finally quit my job. I knew I had nowhere to be and so I gave a month's notice so that my employer would have enough time to find a replacement for me. October 25th was my last day and only just in the passed 7 or 8 days have I begun starting to digest it all. I threw out my back the weekend after my birthday (October 31st) and was in bed for about a week and that was the BEST thing that could have ever happened to me. I thought I loved laying around, watching TV and doing nothing more than anything. That is what scared me about choosing a life where I would be the one responsible to slice up my day in a productive way.  I am a great STARTER. I will come up with a plan and lay everything out and do it for about a week or sometimes even a month, but then I lose my motivation and start something else. I have the beginnings of over 30 projects that I need to finish. Things I never even gave a fair shot at coming to fruition. What I found while laying there in pain is I was lonely and hated being so idle. Those who truly know me, know that I am a homebody. Friday nights at 5pm, I was home, Redbox DVDs in hand with a glass of wine and a Digiorno and if possible, I'd be in for the weekend. This may have something to do with my anxiety, but really since I was a little kid, "where's Jennie?" would usually be followed up with "she's writing in her room." It's just me. I adore solitude. So, again, you can see why I was so surprised at how lonely I was for those 9 days in bed with my back out. And this is when I started to shift my energy back to focusing on this "I" word. 
    I have defined myself as someone who values solitude above all else except that wasn't me anymore. I was alone for 9 days and was stir crazy and wanted to see people. Went to three grocery stores just to get some interaction with people and I was more outgoing than I usually am too. I was even making jokes with the cashier and such. I am ever-changing. This started me down a rabbit hole that has profoundly changed my life. I read articles and books and watched videos and listened to audio (books/podcasts) about self evaluation. And here's what I learned, "I" is not concrete. When we attach something to that "I," it's a very concrete statement. I am sensitive. I know Algebra. I think leopard print is tacky. I like Country music. The thing of it is that my feelings are sensitive today and I cannot know all of Algebra. I may sport some leopard print done right in the future and I may not listen to Country Music much anymore. When we define ourselves so tightly to "I" and "I AM!!!" then we give no room or space to be something else which is the purpose of our life's journey. We are meant to grow, evolve, change, shift and bend. 
   Now this may bring up a read flag with folks asking, "What about having a sense of self? You have to know who you are and love yourself in order to be a beacon in the world, right?" To this, I say YES and NO. I think anytime you stand so rigidly, you don't listen to other ideas. It is important to be open otherwise you are going to be formulating your rebuttal while someone else is trying to educate you on their views. That's not listening and it's very egocentric to think that your way is the only way. That's why our world is in such a hard place right now. Everyone thinks they're right and no one will have the talks that inform each other in a kind, constructive way. Agreeing to disagree isn't the norm anymore and instead it's just a firm I'm right and you're wrong! There is a reason there are so many different people on the planet. We are meant to teach and educate each other from our perspectives and it's not to say you will change your stance, but you've got to get open to talking to people and really hearing other takes on this thing we call life. 
    My present thought today (ever shifting and ever changing) is the self is something to work through and overcome. I am tackling all my habits and patterns and figuring out what trauma they are linked to. Once I realized that I felt unheard, unseen, unloved at points in my life which trigger my habits and patterns, I could embrace those feelings and sit in them, honoring them so that I can then let them go. Once you start unraveling all the traumas and seeing how you are NOT defined by them, you become free and I am becoming more free of myself. Instead of saying "I am compassionate" or "I am kind" or "I am sensitive." I take the "I" out of it all together. My purpose is to be a kind, compassionate and sensitive being. We are human and so when we say, "I am compassionate" and we're not compassionate with ourselves or we have a moment with someone else where we weren't as loving as we could have been, we feel shame and start to label ourselves in negative ways. "I'm a jerk" or "I really sucked today" or "I hate myself." If you recognize you weren't at your best and you apologize and process why you acted in such a way, you are doing the work instead of labeling. We always think that labeling others is wrong, but labeling ourselves is probably the most problematic. 
    You are human. You are here. You are ever-changing. You can feel sensitive or feel angry or feel worthless, but feelings DO NOT define you. You are NOT your feelings. When you can align with that idea, you will free up so much space in your heart and your soul for the universe to guide you into a much bigger space of abundance. When we live in the constraints we put on ourselves, we are closed off from so much. When we listen to the constraints others put on us, we are not being true to ourselves. When your inner voice says something like, "you're a failure," and you say back: "you're right." Then, you are believing that your inner voice is an "I." You are believing that you are what you think and there are so many thoughts that come into our heads on a daily basis that have NOTHING to do with us. Don't attach so much to that "I." 
    In closing, I will say that once you start listening to your inner voice as a spectator instead of believing that's your voice, your life will transform. Once you realize that nothing defines you and that you are always a blank canvas, no matter what you've already painted or paint that you've had thrown on you, your way of moving through the day will be lighter and full of excitement. It's a process and it won't happen overnight. The biggest thing to remember is that patience is not needed only outward. You need to allow for patience to live inside of you and your journey too. Stop using the "I AM" and start living in so much more possibility. Don't define yourself because you'll let yourself down if you change and you WILL change. People often say, "Oh she'll/he'll never change," but I have seen so many people in my life change. Saying that a person will never change is defining them. Be mindful of how you place labels on the people in your life as well. I've only begun this work and so in my relationships, I'm sure there will be a shift. It will take time, but the more mindful you are about what you put behind "I am" or "They are," you will see your world open up and everyone, including yourself, can be allowed to just BE in the present moment.