Today started out as a cloudy day. It was warm, but cloudy. As I began working and occupying my time, I eventually looked up and found that the day had transitioned from warm and cloudy to warm and sunny. The heat was not oppressive, but the sun made everything appear so much more bright and cheery outside. When I saw this I began to think about the fact that many times our lives can seem just like this day. There are times when things appear cloudy and uncomfortable because of the undercurrent of something better (the warmth), but we cannot see what the better is. Then there are the times when we can actually see the sun shining and know that things are better. Unfortunately, it seems that we sometimes have more cloudy days than sunny days, and because of that we get stuck in the cloudiness and do not appreciate the sun when it is apparent. If we take an honest look many of us will find that we have more happy sunny days than cloudy days, but that does not take away from the fact that we have the cloudy days. Just as I was doing before I noticed the sun, we sometimes have to work through the clouds and ignore the feeling that cloudy days bring—that tired, listless, wanting to lie down somewhere and escape feeling–instead we should keep working, and before long we’ll look up and notice that the sun has begun to shine in our lives. I honestly appreciated being able to look out my office window at the sun shining through the trees, and it reminded me that even when things start out a little cloudy, it only takes a ray of sunshine to change the entire outlook of the day. Just know that regardless of what is going on in your life right now, even if the situation seems impossible to remedy, know that the clouds will eventually have to make room for the sun because nothing can stop the sun from shining for long. Change your outlook on the day even if where you are physically right now is not sunny. Choose to make it a brighter day and it will be.
All of us have some things that we have done that we are not proud of. We have some skeletons in our closets that we would rather keep hidden. We even have some things that we feel would damage our reputations, our lives, etc, if they are uncovered. Sometimes we spend so much time trying to forget that we have a past, that we allow our past to dictate our present.We allow our past to control our lives–how we behave is based on the past-how we interact with others is based on the past-how we love others and how we allow ourselves to be loved is based on our past–and we get caught in cycles that keep us from moving forward. What is important about having a past is acknowledging it and getting over it. This is not to say that we do not care about anything that has happened in our past–and it’s not to say that we do not regret things that we have done–it is also not to say that some of what has happened in our past has not had an effect on us–but we cannot afford to dwell in what has happened. That will keep us in a prison of our own minds–us screaming at the locked windows when all we have to do is open the lock and free ourselves. It is so crucial that we realize that what has happened in our lives has produced who we are at this very moment. Some things were just necessary. In this push to get past everything that has happened and dwell in the future, there are some who may try to keep you bound in what has been, but you cannot allow it. Think of it as a fight for your life. Let’s say you are in the ocean and you begin to drown. It seems that you are being held down, but as you look up you can see the light. You begin to fight towards the light, unrelenting, determined, and focused. Finally you break through and you look back down from whence you have come. At that point you decide that no matter what you will not be held down under than water again. We have to be just like this when we think of being relegated to our past history. We have to fight through all that threatens to hold us down, and bask in the “light” of our present. The blessing in life is that if you live to see another day, that is another chance to do things better than you did them the day before. Choose today to live focused on the present and the future. Your past helped to produce you, but your past does not dictate all that you will become. Use your past as a stepping stone and move forward.
Since the last time I have written, it has seemed like everything has gone haywire…not in a bad way necessarily…but everything in my life has begun to change. I began to rebel at the changes in my life because I felt as if everything I was familiar with was being taken from me. I was being forced into a time of uncertainty, one in which I was not sure I would like where I was taken. I am one who historically likes to be in control of what is happening in my life. I have been this way for years, and at first I did not cherish the thought that I had to relinquish control. Some events have happened in my life that have completely flipped my thought processes 180 degrees. It is almost like I had to go from age 0 to my present age in a matter of months. I almost felt like the babies feel who are forced into unknown territory after the comfort of their mothers’ womb. They are brought out of the womb abruptly into a world that is cold after the warmth they have experienced for nine months. I imagine they almost want to burrow back in. I quickly realized that me turning around and trying to retreat was no longer an option. I had already been introduced to this new environment and into new situations, and now I had to follow through with where I had been led. So here I was, kicking and screaming, wanting to blame everyone and everything for forcing me out of my comfortable place–wanting to blame myself for choices I had made, thinking that those choices forced me into this uncomfortable place. What I realized though is that whether I made those choices or other ones, I would have eventually gotten to this place. Rather than continuing to fight and fret that I was no longer in a familiar place, I began to look around and embrace this unique place I had never been in before. As I began to embrace it, change continued to happen. People continued to turn away. Things continued to be uncomfortable. In the midst of it though I realized that in embracing uncomfortability I had changed. I had somehow become alright being uncomfortable, being misunderstood, and being different. I had grown to a place where I learned to live in the moment and knew that whatever happened I would come out ok on the other side of it. I had embraced the moments, and as a result my moments had embraced me–and I finally felt complete. I encourage you to embrace your moments. Whatever it is that is seemingly uncomfortable, no matter how alone or scared you feel, know that it will look so much better when you look back at it. When you embrace the moments, you grow in them, and you become everything that is in you to become. Step out. Embrace It. It’s Good For You!
In the U.S. today, everyone is celebrating our Independence Day–the day that we declared our independence from Great Britain and declared our sovereignty as a nation. All over people are cooking food on the grill and gathering to watch the fireworks. It makes me wonder if anyone truly thinks about what Independence Day means, or is this just another day to have off of work and eat a lot of food? I know I think about it, but Independence Day has become something even more special to me than the historical notions. Independence Day has become a day where I too declare my freedom from something that has been “holding me captive”. On Independence Day I think about all the things I have cried over, wrestled about, thought about, wished I could have changed, messed up, etc, and I declare that I am free from all of those things. There are so many things that we allow ourselves to be bound by–and we begin to place ourselves in a proverbial box. Before long, we look around us and we see that we are surrounded by seemingly insurmountable walls–keeping others out but mostly keeping ourselves in. We have allowed ourselves to be held hostage by others’ emotional baggage, by our own desires to fit in and be loved, by our mistakes, and by our limited perspectives. Because of this we cannot be free. Until we make the choice that enough is enough, and we decide that we will not allow others to keep us bound, nor will we keep ourselves locked up, we will remain in a narrow place–unable to see our way out or acknowledge when others want to reach in. So on this Independence Day, I had so much I needed to emancipate myself from. I had to renounce those things that were holding me back and make some personal declarations. Come in for a second and follow me as I declare my freedom. I am free from emotional strongholds. I am free from others’ emotional baggage. I am free from doubt and fear. I am free from low self-esteem and self-consciousness. I am free from distrust and past hurt. I am free from rejection and judgment. I am free to be all that I am placed on this earth to be. I will not give up. I will not quit. My past rejections and mistakes do not change who I am–instead they add to all that I shall be. The only one able to hold me in a box is myself. I am who I am. I do not need to try to be like anyone else because who I am is necessary. Now you try it…with your own declarations. Write them down, and sign at the end declaring that you have placed your name on your declaration of freedom. Independence Day is actually what I call Freedom Day. It’s a good day to make a stand in your own life, but any day will do. We just have to get to a point where we are bold enough to look those things in the face that threaten us, and tell them what we will not stand for. Each of us is an amazing gift to the world. Others need us to show them just how special they are. Once you’ve declared your freedom, help someone else to find theirs. This is one snowball effect you will not regret.