Everything Starts Over or Yes, You Are Definitely a Majestic Evergreen

Between a week without power and a trip to Seattle, I will honestly admit that I fell a bit behind. But, we are back and at it again! Hope you all had the loveliest of Thanksgivings. 

I was watching the sun set over an outlook here in Spokane. It was breathtakingly beautiful. It wasn’t too long after my stepmom had passed away and I remember thinking how much this sucks, how much this hurts and how I felt the pain would never go away. The tears kept pouring out and then, in the middle of it all, there was stillness. Something had made me notice my surroundings. An inner voice, a thought, something bigger, call it what you will. But, I remember seeing a bird fly through the sky and I just knew then, it was going to be ok, eventually. This storm would pass and though she would never be forgotten, we would find a way to cope with her gone. It occurred to me in this moment that everything starts over. I used to find that notion incredibly sad. That holding onto something was the only way to appreciate it. But, that isn’t where the beauty lies because true essence lives on after it’s gone. We have the power to cultivate the love and goodness that those closest to us leave behind.

Maybe I never believed it or maybe I never felt it. Perhaps the loss of somebody so close to me has shifted my perspective on life and the role we play here. I can’t really say what caused the change. I do know that I felt an immense peace in this moment. I can count on one hand the number of times I have had these feelings. They are rare and fleeting but each encounter has taught me a valuable lesson in life.

When I say everything starts over, I mean that we are part of the larger cycle of life. Nature keeps on going, no matter what. It finds a way to flourish and thrive.  Trees, plants, animals, it’s all around us. They start as these little seedlings with absolutely no idea of what a magnificent being they will become one day! (If trees could talk I mean, that is definitely what they would be thinking.) But isn’t that us too? Don’t we start out in this world, stumbling and learning as we go? We don’t know what we will become but then we wake up one day and bam! we’ve done all this amazing stuff in our lives. All the sudden we are this majestic evergreen and we are gonna show these little evergreens how it’s done.

I’ve digressed, but only a little bit. My point is, it used to make me uncomfortable and now, now I can appreciate it so much more. Our time here. What we’ve been given. All of it. Because I know it’s temporary and always changing, I can take the moment for what it is. Good or bad. It doesn’t last. And that is not meant in a pessimistic way at all. (If you’ve been following me, you know I’m quite the opposite.) Instead, it is meant matter of factly and also just in pure amazement of it all. When I begin to get too comfortable and think I can’t be surprised anymore, the Universe up and astounds me, reminding me that a comfort zone will never shape me into the magnificent and wonderful person I am on my way to becoming.

Believing in the Good

“Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.”                                          -Katherine Henson

There is something to be said for the dreamers. For the ones who can see the goodness in everyone and every situation. It isn’t always an easy road. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I know this because I’m one of those people. From the moment I meet someone, I will believe you’re a good person, until I’ve been proven otherwise.

Do I have my bad days and moments of weakness? Oh yes. Days where I want to quit, where the world and everybody in it are just too much to bear? Yes, again. I have human emotions and baggage, causing me to “check myself before I wreck myself” at times. I am not immune to the challenges caused by the obstacles of life in my search for….whatever the heck it is I’m searching for. So, do not think anything along those lines friends. However, I am a believer in finding the good.

I can definitely be one of those people that you might find annoying at times. In high school I was voted “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day.” In job interviews, I was always highlighting my ability to encourage others, as well as my positive attitude. I was the girl that was always smiling and making sure everybody had a great day. (No wonder I ended up in hospitality.) No matter what was going on at home, this part of my life came naturally. I would do whatever I could to make a bad situation better. My peppiness and positivity was, in large part, what made me Heather.

At this point you are probably thinking, “That’s great Heather. Thanks for all these tidbits taken from your fascinating life.” Or, you’re more than likely not. The point is,  I tell you this because I have met other people like myself on this journey. I know there are others that look at life “through rose-colored glasses.” (Or so I’ve been told.) Oh yes, I’ve heard all of them. “You’re naive.” “Just wait, you’ll change your mind one day.” “It’s easier to expect that people are inherently bad because then you won’t be disappointed.”

Perhaps you are reading this and nodding your head or maybe you are thinking of so-and-so. Whatever it is, you’re not alone. I want to take you by the hand and tell you to never, ever change, no matter how hard it may seem. No matter how much the world and other people will try to make you jaded, you can still make that choice to see the goodness in others.

Photo Credit: symphony of love via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: symphony of love via Compfight cc

The funny thing is, I’ve been disappointed by….multiple people in my life. It hasn’t been a cake walk, that’s for sure. (Who came up with that term by the way?) The people who disappointed me were simply doing the best with what they had. That isn’t a dismissal of their behavior by any means. Forgiveness for those who have done me wrong has not been an easy task.

When I think about how I’ve been disappointed in my life and by whom, it was always those that I least expected. If I had gone into those situations expecting to be hurt, would it have changed anything? Probably not. Instead, I learned and I grew. I became tougher for the next time around.

Disclaimer: Do not let people walk all over you. There’s a fine line between being a doormat and viewing the world optimistically. Do not cross it. At all. Ever. We don’t have time for those shenannigans here.

I’m not here to judge what makes a person good or bad. (Though there are some fairly simple moral codes in the Game of Life that all should abide by.) I’m to the point where I have removed the negativity and instead, keep the people around that lift me up and share the same values as myself.

Photo Credit: symphony of love via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: symphony of love via Compfight cc

Good things happen to bad people. Bad things happen to good people. There will always be disagreeable or unpleasant people. We will always be disappointed in some way or another, but much of that comes from unrealistic expectations created in our minds, whereas we can neither label a situation as good or bad, but rather, that it just is.

The one constant I have found to be true is that if you look for good, good will find you.

Call me naive. Say that I don’t know what I’m talking about. It won’t be the last time I hear it. I know that every day I go into the world with a viewpoint like this I will be tested. Just as I was created to be stubborn, sassy, highly sensitive and hilarious (maybe that last one is more of a personal opinion), this is me. Perhaps you won’t see things the way I do and I won’t spend my time trying to convince you. But, would you rather have a life spent cultivating goodness through compassion for others or one spent in bitterness until your very last days on this Earth? That’s up to you.

Shushing that Self-Doubt and Finding Your Way Again

So, I fell off the writing wagon for a bit but am back at it again! I promise I am trying to make this a weekly thing. I’m allowed to make mistakes, every now and then at least. 🙂

Lately I have had this terrible and uneasy feeling, like a dreary, gray cloud following me everywhere I go. I have been in this funk and I do not like it one bit. It’s a natural part of life, to hit a wall at times. To throw our hands up and just want to talk away from it all. I feel, especially as a 20-something in today’s world, that I should definitely have it a lot more together than I do. It’s crazy isn’t it? When you look back on where you pictured your life heading and where you are actually at today. Our ability to wind up precisely where we are supposed to be when we are open to opportunities is something that will continually amaze me. In all honesty, I thought I would graduate college and be working for a country club or hotel somewhere by now. If you told me I would be serving and nannying while trying to figure out my next move, I definitely would never have believed you.

In a world where we are surrounded my social media and bombarded by seemingly perfect (a.k.a photoshopped/altered/edited) images daily, it can feel impossible to not compare ourselves to others. From envying others’ travel experiences and successful careers to everything in between, I too have fallen victim to the “Comparison Trap.” This occurs when we live a life where we feel as if we are supposed to be doing something better or different, instead of patiently working hard to get where we are destined to be. It is easy to fall into this and can be tricky to get out of. However, I have found a few tricks and tips for when you feel overwhelmed by it all:

  • Just Breathe – I know this sounds silly because you are probably breathing at this very moment right? But, how often do you take the time to just sit and be? It’s refreshing and calming, all the while providing us with a different perception of what’s really going on. Sit in silence. Do yoga. Meditate. Find whatever works for you and roll with that. Anything to get out of your own head. Doing yoga for even 5 or 10 minutes relaxes me and reminds me that my stresses aren’t as important as I am making them out to be, but rather, are exaggerated in my mind. We are so small in this large world and feeling grounded again gives you the space to center and refocus.
  • Journal – Just write. I mean it. Literally, anything and everything that comes to your mind. Get it all out there on paper. What’s that? Oh, you aren’t a writer you say. Yep, heard that one before. Guess what? That doesn’t matter here friends because you are writing 100% for yourself. You have every right to express whatever it is that’s building up inside. Who knows? You might even end up liking it.
  • Get Outside – Seriously. Walk out your front door and go wherever your feet take you. Go for a hike. Get lost in a forest. (Not completely though.) Dip your toes in a lake. Breathe in the elements that have been nurturing us for thousands of years. Visit somewhere you haven’t been. Remind yourself of the beauty that surrounds you every day, whether it’s mountains, grassy fields or big, open sky. It’s incredible what a change in perspective will do to your soul.
  • Unplug – Take a social media break. The last time I did a Facebook detox (check out the post here!), I felt much more in touch with myself and saw what I was capable of accomplishing when I put away that part of my life for awhile. Social media can be an immensely useful tool and asset, but it can also be the cause of stress and anxiety. You’ll be surprised by how much time you’ll have when you disconnect. Small, every day things you may not have noticed before become wonderful again. You’ll be able to catch up on hobbies or activities you may have been putting off. Finally, you can genuinely spend time with the people you care about because you aren’t obsessively glancing at your phone every 10 seconds. I mean it. Take a break for as long as you need. Heck, it could end up being forever. It sounds scary but I can assure you, you will not regret it.
  • No Self-Doubt Allowed – We all experience this and I know that. Every now and then a good cry or kickboxing session to release some frustration is acceptable. But, do not start heading down that dark and twisty road because that train will keep right on going. Pump the brakes, stat. Call up a friend. Do something fun. Make a list of everything wonderful and amazing in your life. Remind yourself of how truly magnificent you are! You have a beautiful soul and unique talents to offer others in this life. Don’t waste that. Create. Dream. Inspire. Go out there and be the absolute best you.

And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”

-Erin Hanson

Thanks for reading friends! Would love to hear any tips and tricks you all have as well.