If you have been following me for the last 3 years, or even the last 3 blog posts, you might have picked up on my dedication to me. I am dedicated to becoming a woman comfortable in her own skin, thoughts, actions and decisions. To become the best version of myself. Dedicated to self? Some of you might be thinking, "isn't that conceded or self-centered?" Maybe self-involved or just plain selfish?
My answer is yes and no. AND so very necessary.
I have found that in order to live my life vibrantly and with purpose, I have to know me. I have to understand what inspires me, saddens me, what really ticks me off, and what brings me joy. I have to understand my actions, intentions, and reactions to people, places and things. I have to attempt to experience, create, mess up, re-create and possibly succeed. To do all of this, it means a lot of me time.
So, for the last few years I have feverishly worked on these things. I have filled journal after journal about it, talked to other like-minded people, some not so like-minded people, analyzed it all and made proclamations of SELF; then thrown all of it away and started over again. The best thing about all this me time, is that it has actually made me a better person. I am living as a more authentic self. That right there is service to others, so not so selfish anymore... :)
Truthfully, I lived far too much of my life caring what other's thought of me that it drove me crazy with self doubt, insecurity and resentments. It made me sick. I've given up on all that now and I've just decided to do me - to be me, whatever that looks like on any given day. I've dropped the need to look good in other's eyes and focus on what makes me feel good inside. Ironically, I'm a much cooler person now that I'm not trying to dang hard to fit in. I'm just trying on a daily basis to live in my true North and most authentic self. People really dig it.
So, what does this love affair look like exactly? Well, currently I am sitting on a balcony, overlooking the waters of the US Virgin Islands. It is unreal. Like a dream, or out of the movies. This can't be MY life. But, it is. A couple days ago a friend saw a picture I posted and sent me a message asking, "what are you doing in St. Thomas?!" My quick response was, "visiting a friend and channeling my inner Goddess, duh..." Truth. I am here and I am getting in touch with who I am down to my core and standing in my own power as a woman. Years ago, I would have never done something like this for myself. Invested in what set my soul on fire. Here I am, creating magic for myself. It's a beautiful thing. Can't afford it? Neither could I. But, I made it happen. I picked up some extra side gigs and saved where I could and called a friend and asked to stay with her while I was here. Where there is a will there is a way. So go. Make it happen for yourself.
While I've been here, I have spoiled myself with white sandy beaches and thong bikinis (because I can!). I have taken myself out to eat on the water and gone snorkeling with the sea life. I have taken moments to pause and reflect on it. My friend and I have been active in Crossfit and yoga and running....and ice cream. And I am so incredibly insatiably happy, I could die right now and feel no sorrow. OK, too far. But, really, I am in my true self and so deserving of the love I am giving me right now.
It's OK to invest in ourselves I have learned. Yoga teacher training was a huge investment, marathon training - big investment, weekend getaways -big investments. What is on your list of investments for YOU? Not for anyone else, but for you. Think about it.
While all parts of my love affair can't look like St. Thomas getaways, what does my love affair look like on a daily basis? It's the small things that make it big really.
Usually my day starts with some sort of prayer, or diddy as I refer to them. A reflective thought. Usually it is a few extra moments with my eyes closed to heart my breath, maybe a quick 5 minute guided meditation, and then, "allow me to hear what you need me to hear, say what you need me to say, and be who you need me to be today". Simple. That's what works for me. You are welcome to borrow it. Often times, I take a Child's Pose for this diddy because getting on my knees to pray I've found isn't comfortable for me.
After my upon awakening routine, I have to find movement. I am my best self when my body feels strong and healthy. Whether I go for a run, do yoga at home or in a studio setting, or hit the gym, I've got to move! It sets the tone for my day to be alive and energized and productive! Maybe you live on the water and can cruise on your SUP, or go for a swim, but try some movement. Get active! Put your physical health as a priority!
If it's a work day, awesome! My day has already been successful and I can carry that through the next 8 hours or so with my co-workers. If it's not a work day, well then game on! You can usually find me scoping out a coffee shop, playing at the beach with my dog, River, connecting with others in recovery, working on making my back yard a sanctuary, treating myself to a pedi, taking a yoga workshop, reading a book in a park, enjoying a cold cup of froyo...I mean you name it, I'm doing it! I spent way too much of my life already wasting time just waiting for life to find me, that I try to dabble in everything to make the most of my time here on Earth. I do what makes me happy and what brings me joy! If I'm doing it and I don't feel joyful, well then on to the next!
I used to sit at home, curtains drawn, sipping wine and growing angry with the world and all the people in it. Your lives were all so beautiful and free and I was living in a self created prison of resentment and self-pity. It was a really ugly time for me. When I finally got help to get out of the mess I created, my thinking began shifting as I began to find value in myself as a human being again and fall back in love with me day by day. At first, I had to remind myself of the steps to take to find happy on a daily basis. After awhile, it became routine, second nature. It became my normal because how could I forget to go for a run? I found that I love running!
It takes work to create the life you've always wanted. It takes guts, and messes and mess ups and do-overs. It takes looking at your inner self in it's most raw form, head on, and taking all the good, the bad and the ugly, putting it on display and changing what you can and accepting the rest. It takes trying on all sorts of crazy ideas like training for your first full marathon in two months and proving to yourself you can do it, and trying again later. It takes humbling yourself asking for help when you need it. It takes goal setting and commitment and doubt and love and a lot of unsure moments.
Why would you want all that? Sounds scary. But, that is life. We are human. Get to know yourself while you are here. Be the best you and pass it on. We will all love it. Once you get there, to that love affair with yourself, it truly is worth the fight.