Put the over-achieving and perfectionist self away sometimes.
In our culture, doing more is encouraged. Goals are set and achieved. We push to aim higher and do better all time. We’re driven by the value of excellence, working to the point of exhaustion to perfect something that can’t ever possibly be perfected. Shelve those aspects of yourself. Not all the time, but sometimes. Your health depends on it.
Simplify your life. Do you really need to do that much? Do you really need to go to every single one of those events? Do you really need all that stuff? How about those impossible expectations you have of yourself and others, do you need all those?
I’m asking you this because I’m asking myself too. We make things harder than they need to be. I’m coming to find it’s part of human nature: we love the struggle. We praise hard work, rather than smart, simple work.
We’re addicted to challenge, because we think we need to go through it to deserve what we want.
Give up that rubbish. You don’t need to do anything to prove you deserve it. We’re done with that. Be your authentic, loving self, and you’ll be golden.
You are a stunning creature, a magnificently put-together human being.
You are not a robot. You cannot run on auto-pilot all the time. You cannot, and will not, make it through this life if you don’t treat yourself like the tender, always-changing person you really are.
We wear these protective masks and defensive armor that make us seem tough, but underneath we’re all yearning for the same things: love, connection, belonging, growth, significance, meaning, certainty, answers, adventure, and purpose.
Your soul is crying out, your body is tired, your mind needs a bath to be cleansed from cluttered thought. If not now, it needs it soon.
When will we learn this?
It’s a process of constantly re-learning, and re-living it all.
You’re always given what you need, so if you don’t get the lesson the first time, it will show up again, maybe in a more obvious way. If you don’t create time and space in your life to rest and grow, life will make it for you in the form of sickness, injury, job-loss, broken relationships, and such.
We are all suffering from a sort of social consciousness memory loss.
We forget the lessons we’ve already learned. We forget that deep inside of us (all of us) is a goodness, a purity, and wisdom that goes beyond intellect.
Will you remember with me? Will you remember the truth?
Take care of yourself, like a seedling. Plant yourself in the most fertile soil you can find. Every day commit to nurturing yourself with the water and sun and nutrients you need to keep your body strong and flexible. Be patient. You, like the seed, can’t always choose when you get to break the surface. If it hasn’t come yet, your time is coming. Keep caring, keep watering, keep breathing.
When you break the surface, know all of the elements will test you. The sun, who you thought was your friend, will burn you and dry out your soul. The water, your very nourishment, will flood you, overwhelm you, and overtake you. Emotion will flow with such intensity that you will question why you even broke through the soil to the surface of this new world. Wind will blow so fiercely that you will be forced to learn to bend, or you will break and fall back down to the soil.
If you look around the field you will see hundreds, thousands, of other seedlings doing the exact same thing.
Struggling, pushing, striving to be more… the sunflower, the tomato plant, the towering tree. Learn from the others. Gather together, and grow together.
Together it is easier.
But be aware of the illusion of competition. You will battle for the same sunlight thinking there is not enough. You will suck up more water than you need, out of fear that your neighboring seedling will take your share. You will wither and cry when the bugs attack you, wondering why it happened to you and not your neighbor.
This is nature. Bugs will be bugs. Water will come and go at its liking. But know it’s not a fight to the top, for no one wants to bloom and then look around and see they are the only one that made it.
Share your struggles, and also share your joy.
Give up trying to control, because there is so much you cannot do. You don’t need to do it all, but you can dream about it if you want. Surrender to this journey, this learning and re-learning. You don’t need to know all the answers, because in the end it will all be a surprise.
Take care of yourself, and take care of others, because one day we will all bloom, and one day we will all die. Some are destined to be sunflowers and some to be tomatoes, equally beautiful and necessary in their own right.
Be the love that exists inside of you. Every so often stumble into the darkness, and stay there for awhile. Listen, learn, and let fear and darkness teach you some incredible lessons.
We’ve all got this same crazy, sexy, wild life to live. Yet there will be a billion different ways it can go. Perhaps we’ve got only one to live, perhaps we have a thousand. Who knows?
Dance with fear and desire. Strip down with vulnerability, and get drunk with both joy and pain.
Let life teach you, but sometimes be a rebel and break all the rules so you know how that feels too.
You will love deeply and you will hurt deeply. You will succeed and you will fail. You will forgive and you will forget. You will get through this life, however short or long, one way or another. Why not do it with a little more compassion, a bit more humor, and great group of friends?
Whether you’ve got one day left, or 80 years ahead of you, I wish you the very best. Life has some splendid surprises waiting for you.
I honor you, embrace you, and thank you for being you. You are enough. You are loved. Take care of yourself darling, we need you.