Life under Renovation

When the sun came up this morning, we were all given another chance to shine, as well.  Each day offers a fresh start to create, redirect and express ourselves in a new way. Yet, I think most of us get stuck in tightly defined roles that seem determined to trap us there forever.  Yesterday was my birthday, and it dawned on me that one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given with age is the knowledge that this notion is an illusion. Life is absolutely what you make it – you just have to get out of your own way!

Cropped BlindfoldedIronically, I’m learning this lesson from my children. A few months ago, my son Max came home from school excited about the opportunity to audition for a high school play in which he would have to sing, act, tap dance and roller-skate across the stage blindfolded.  While he’s a rather accomplished singer, he’s never done any of those other things – and my heart seized up with visions of him wildly skating off the edge of the stage into the horrified laps of the audience.  My immediate response was less than encouraging – but he just calmly said “hey, it will be a great chance for me to learn something new!” Although this was my son, in that moment, it was like I was looking at an alien.

What? Who are you? And what has happened to all reason in the world?

My own fears and hang-ups with perfectionism were creating a huge, invisible wall between our realities.  I could totally see it there, looming tall and impenetrable over me – and I had to admit that I felt a strange admiration for my son’s courage and free-spirit.  Of course he was right. How can we ever accomplish anything if we don’t take chances and push the boundaries a bit?  You have to play big to win big, right?

But I was still nervous for him. For weeks, he practiced – rollerskating around the neighborhood, mimicking tap moves in the kitchen, and hitting new notes he had never before reached. And the night of the performance, as I watched this accomplished man masterfully meeting each challenge, I could not have been more proud.  But more than that, I was inspired.  I was also painfully aware of all the moments when I myself had chosen safety over growth – and probably sacrificed many moments of joy because of it. It was a bittersweet A-Ha Moment.

IEx_goldoval_finalist300This has been a big week for me.  In addition to my birthday, I found out that my book Pain, Passion & Purpose is a Finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Awards. After four years of writing that book, it was pleasant surprise and a wonderful validation that the life-changing revelations revealed within are one step closer to helping more and more people.  But while I devoted so much time and effort to that project, it doesn’t define me.  The old me would have seized on that and held it up as proof that I must be on the right track with my life – and inadvertently created more invisible walls around me.  Now I realize that the book is just one piece of the vivid and beautiful puzzle that will come together to create the picture of my life.  I’m still painting my picture – and from here on out – I intend to do it with artistry. Who knows what will fill the rest of the canvas?

Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address. Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Please “like” us on Facebook.

The 5 Steps to Empowered Living

(Excerpt from Pain, Passion & Purpose – Available on Amazon)

Illuminating the Shadows

Gladiolas
http://www.marciwise.com

Every day is a challenge.  We wake up bleary-eyed, grab a cup of java and turn on the morning news to be met by warnings of a down economy, increased crime and natural disasters.  We’re made aware of war and famine, increased competition in the marketplace and health scares – and that’s all before we’ve even left the house!  As we go about our daily business it’s no wonder we find ourselves surrounded by irritable people and are constantly fighting off a foul mood ourselves.  Let’s face it, life is hard – but it can also be beautiful.  How can we keep ourselves from being sucked into a vortex of victim-hood?  We can start by putting things in their proper perspective.   Here are five secrets to shining a light in the shadows:

  1. Rewire worrying – It’s only natural to want to protect ourselves from all the turmoil around us, but worrying really doesn’t help anything.  All it does is keep us focused on potential problems with a feeling of powerlessness.  Instead, retrain your brain to turn worry into preparedness by brainstorming possible solutions to the things that are weighing heavily on your mind.  Go so far as to write them down and safely tuck them away somewhere.  This enables you to take a proactive stance toward life and feel prepared for whatever may come your way.
  1. Acknowledge the truth about people – Yes, there are people out there doing some pretty terrible things, but they’re not faceless monsters. They’re simply individuals who’ve somehow convinced themselves that they’re justified in their actions.  Somehow just knowing this truth removes some of their power.  Don’t allow wrong-doers to carry some formidable mystique, in truth they’re no more powerful than you or I.  People sometimes make mistakes and fall prey to faulty logic – and as a person, that includes you.  Knowing this cannot only help to protect you from others, but prevent you from hurting others, as well.
  1. Refuse to be a victim – Even if we’ve been on the receiving end of someone’s misguided behavior, the experience never defines us. We are always free to move forward and find a way to create peace in our lives again.  You’re entitled to feel anger and resentment over what’s been done, but don’t allow it to steal away your right to be at peace.  Take active measures to do whatever you feel will help you to create space from the pain.  Someone else may have taken away your security, but you always have the power to take it back.
  1. Allow yourself to feel – Defense mechanisms intended to protect us can sometimes do more harm than good. Often the only way past the pain is through it, and that means allowing yourself some time to truly get acquainted with your feelings. Yes, it will hurt, but by getting the feelings out into the open you’ll be more likely to gain control over them. Never allow anything to make you run away.  You have a human right to be able to stand in your own integrity, and if that means crying a few tears, then so be it.
  1. Forgiving is the only way forward – Forgiving does not mean condoning, or forgetting.  It simply means that you refuse to carry that baggage around anymore.  Since you can’t change the past, it really is the only way to find freedom.  A wrong doing may have taken your past but finding forgiveness keeps it from taking your future.

Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address. Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. “Like” us on Facebook.