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Photo credit Samantha Eve Yoga and C. Costanzo.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I just started reading Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead. In the introduction she discusses being at a crossroads in the early 90s. She had left a corporate job to study social work because the three ideas she cared about most - courage, connection, and meaning - were lacking in traditional business structure. My skin started to tingle because - although I don’t word it quite the same - I changed my life a few years ago for similar reasons.
On my recent path, I’ve met an almost incredible number of people also making changes to their lives. And while I never claim to have the answers, I’m happy - always - to share that which I’ve learned. So here’s my version of these three ideas and how living by them has changed my life.
Live YOUR Life (courage)
I was talking with a friend at the beach. She said she didn’t quite get this “follow your passion” stuff because it wasn’t how she was raised. I totally understood. Meet the me in a previous life:
And then…then my world fell apart and everything I knew (or thought I knew) turned out to be false. I was young, impressionable, but determined to live life on my terms. Only I didn’t quite understand what that meant. Inevitably I fell back into a world similar to the one I tried so hard to overcome.
Years later…after what feels like twelve lifetimes of ups and downs…and feelings of being lost, I sat at the base of a bridge watching the water pass under it. And I began to wonder what was the point of everything I was doing? I had degrees, a (rather successful) career (technically I’ve had several), a marriage, a home…and I realized that none of it represented anything REAL to who I was.
I’d love to tell you life changed in that moment.
But slowly, I began to make changes that were HEALTHY and IMPORTANT to ME.
It wasn’t easy, sometimes it was downright confusing and scary.
However I discovered that the earth didn’t explode if I lived life my way, I felt infinitely happier, and the proverbial disapproving “THEY” who seem to make the rules most of us live by never showed up to cart me off to “life jail” as punishment for not being “conventional” anymore.
Be PRESENT with PEEPS (connection)
Tonight I watched the sunset with two friends on the roof deck of my building. I’ve literally had hundreds of moments like this in the past several years and each one is PRICELESS. We witnessed colors being painted across the sky and chatted about a number of topics. I wondered as I walked down to my flat if they had seen the tears threatening to spill over my lashes because I was so happy to just be there with both of them, listening, laughing, and sharing.
I wish moments like this was the norm for everyone, but I cannot even begin to calculate the number of people I’ve met as I’ve traveled the world who have told me they are…lonely.
Intelligent, kind, curious, funny, beautiful people all around our planet, feeling isolated, or unloved, or stuck, or unsure how to reach out to others.
Everyone I’ve talked to has theories as to why feelings of loneliness exist.
So when someone now asks me what I do for a living I answer “Build Community” because I cannot think of anything more critical than connecting individuals and cultivating opportunities such as the one I experienced tonight.
If it’s BS, don’t do it (meaning)
Someone recently challenged me on this idea. “Oh c’mon” he said laughing, “everyone has to do crap like grocery shop. Other than the fact that we all have to eat, how are you going to find ‘meaning’ in that activity?”
I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for years. When times are stressed, food is the first thing to go in my life. It’s a control issue and I am open about it now for two reasons:
So grocery shopping has a special meaning for me because it means I am honoring myself, my body, by giving it the nourishment it needs to function.
But even if this wasn’t the case, simple acts like grocery shopping or cleaning up my space are important because they are me taking the time to show that I have value and deserve a beautiful space around me, and delicious healthy foods to enjoy.
However what I really mean by this value is treating yourself with enough respect to do things that are important to you, that you enjoy, that add value to your life. For example:
It means picking activities and spending time with people because it is important to you, NOT because it is what you are SUPPOSED to do.
This idea has helped guide my decisions so that when I make choices in how to act and live and spend my time, I am doing so in a way that adds value to my life, instead of just doing what I think is expected of me by the invisible (and nonexistent) judges which many of us were taught are out there in society at large.
Even as I write this piece, I’m at a crossroads once again with my life. And although I don’t quite have the answer yet as to which direction I plan to go, I know that my choice will be affected by these three ideas - courage, connection, and meaning.
Where are you at in your life my tribe? What ideas guide your decisions? Feel free to share. I love to hear your stories.
About the blogger
Hi! I'm Samantha Eve aka Tink - a kick-a$$ girl boss, party-til-dawn, warrior princess of a yogi, vegan, free-spirit, dancer, model, teacher, coach who - whether rocking a power suit or lingerie, lives life to the fullest.