Some days I struggle with being kind to myself. I have a pretty strong inner critic, and she has high standards for me. She tells me I should be brave and find the courage to leave my corporate job and leap into my next thing (whatever that means, I’ll let you know when I figure it out). Or she wonders if my ambition is too spread out between too many things, and divided in trying to fulfill others’ expectations of me. She complains that, if I were more organized, or more focused, I would be achieving my potential. She spins tales of doom and disaster about my periodic insomnia, and chides me for not yet learning how to take better care of myself.
Then some other, deeper part of me reassures me that I am just fine as I am. I need not worry about paths not taken, plans not completed. All of these life experiences and decisions I make are here to teach me and guide me to what is next. I just need to be here, and make the next decision, in the time it is required. There is no “wrong” choice that is made out of love and generosity, just the next step toward the next phase. There is always some fear – change requires our brains to figure out new things, maybe new ways of being or acting in the world. Because it is unfamiliar, our brains tell us “wait, wrong move, be careful!” But as Elizabeth Gilbert reminds us during creative endeavors: it’s okay, it’s just a poem (or a story, or a piece of art). It’s not going to kill anyone. Thanks for keeping us safe from predators and harm throughout our evolutionary history. Now you can ride in the back seat of our journey. You do not get to drive or choose the music.
When I start getting whiny about my job and down about the fact I have a lot less writing time than I want, a re-focus on gratitude can pull me out of that. I begin to embrace the gift of what it means to be alive today, in a time when we can start our own blog, write every day, and share our thoughts with the world. We do not need to have published a book in order to share our stories. We get to create, and shape and develop ideas and thoughts on paper, and on the internets. We get to create communities around our interests if we want to do this. We get to try and fail to get an idea across, to try again, and see what works, see what resonates. We get to be here, those of us who have enough food to eat, clean water to drink, shelter to keep us safe. We get to use our time how we choose, if we have the privilege of living free in a democracy.
How amazing and rich to be a human being on the planet living this life right now. May all of us embrace it, and realize it to be the gift that it is.