Have you ever noticed how your greatest moments of personal growth occur?
There’s a pattern to it, I’m convinced.
First, a challenge. A challenging life circumstance or situation. Something comes at us sideways when we least expect it. A loss. Break up. Health problem. We don’t feel equipped to handle it, yet somehow we do. We’re faced with an obstacle and we pull through.
But we haven’t grown yet.
Next comes vulnerability. We share our experience of this challenge with another person. In all of our raw honesty, we open ourself up to another. We share in our weaknesses and by doing so, we experience vulnerability.
Then we reflect. Only after a difficult challenge and shared vulnerability, can we pause to really reflect about what exactly we’ve just been through. What we’ve grown through. How we’ve grown. And in our reflection, finally, our great moment of personal growth arrives. Clothed in compassion and humility. Void of all judgment. An “Aha” moment.
Challenge. Vulnerability. Reflection. In that order.
I believe that all of our greatest personal growth experiences follow this pattern.
Have you ever noticed how inspiration often comes at the most inopportune times?
When a million other things are vying for our attention. Or when we’re right in the middle of something else. Like a shower. Or a run. Or when we’re simply not in the mood to write. Because we’re tired. Or hungry.
Have you ever had a brilliant idea come to you out of nowhere? A sudden flash of insight that you promise to write down later.
But when later comes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t recall what is you were supposed to write down. Maybe you remember the general idea, but the words are no longer fully formed, waiting to flow effortlessly from mind to paper. The inspiration is no longer a sudden flash, but rather a struggle to be grasped. And it’s brilliance is lost.
I think inspiration is purposefully inconvenient.
Because, you see, inspiration is ultimately a gift that wants to be shared. It’s constantly searching for the right receiver.
Inspiration demands attention. And it determines who’s rightfully worthy of it by arriving at the wrong time.
If we’re not willing to put time on hold, stop what we’re doing and fully receive the inspiration in the exact moment it arrives, then like a butterfly, inspiration simply flutters off to find another mind somewhere else. It wants to be with a person who recognizes its worth.
“I don’t have enough time.” Does the phrase sound familiar?
Of course it does! It’s an all too common compliant. We all think we don’t have enough time. It’s our great problem. Time urgency.
Or is it our great excuse?
What if we actually never have had a time problem? What if our real problem is with priorities?
The truth is, at the end of the day, we all do what matters most. PERIOD.
Often when we feel anxious or in a hurry, it’s simply because we’re not doing the one thing that we should be doing.
So let’s try to help each other. As the year draws to a close, and holiday season makes for busier and busier schedules, let’s map out our priorities. I challenge you to do this and then share your list of priorities with a trusted friend. Ask that person to hold you accountable. Then, watch as your daily tasks unfold with greater ease and your “lack of time” becomes less of an issue.
Cheers to doing better with priorities!
How are the first few days of your new year going?
Do you want to live out the phrase, “New year, new you”?
Of course you do! You’re following my site because you’re likely interested in personal growth and this means we’re continually trying to improve ourselves and striving to be the best humans we can.
So here’s my insider’s tip: Make goals.
Dig within. Write down what you want to happen in your life this year.
What do you want to accomplish? What good would you like to attract in your life? What blocks do you want to remove? Where do you want to grow? Where do you want to go? Be specific!
This is how you do your part. The rest takes care of itself.
See, goals give us direction. They send out a powerful message to the universe on a conscious and subconscious level. They serve as an affirmation for us, our life, and our ability to choose.
New year, new you? Make goals.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself.
Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Here’s a fun exercise to try if you haven’t heard of it before:
Take a jar, a handful of rice (enough to fill the jar) and a handful of walnuts. If you put the rice in first and then the walnuts, you’ll find that there is not enough room in the jar for both. But if you put the walnuts in the jar first and then the rice, they both fit fine.
What’s the lesson?
The walnuts are our priorities. The things that matter most in life.
The rice is everything else. The small stuff. All of life’s little details.
When we do what matters most to us first, the rest of life kind of just falls into place. Life always works itself out when we have our priorities in line and we put our walnuts first.
Desire is a funny thing. It can range from a slight want to an all consuming obsession.
But it’s always in our head. And our minds can play tricks on us.
Think about a time when you’ve wanted something so bad and finally got it. It wasn’t exactly what you thought it’d be was it?
For example, I really wanted another dog. I mean really wanted one. The desire almost took on a life of its own- keeping me awake at night, scrolling through photos of shelter dogs in need. Eventually, I got another dog. But I forgot about the totality of what this means. Housebreaking, chewing, barking. Sure, it’s great having another dog, but there are drawbacks to it, as well.
There always are. For everything you gain, you lose something else. And we tend to forget this when consumed by desire. We forget to look at the totality of the picture and how our want fits into that.
I think it’s important to remind ourselves of this whenever we begin to feeling the aching of desire. We can never see the whole picture but we can do our best to look at our wants through a larger lens.
Most importantly, we should be grateful for what we already have and remember that what we have right now, is all we really need.
I recently rescued a puppy and as dogs always do, she’s teaching me a lot about life. Dogs have countless lessons to teach us and I’ve written on this subject before, but puppies, I’m finding out, have even more!
As a rescue, I’m unaware of what life was like for my puppy before coming to me. She has a lot of trust and anxiety issues, as many rescue dogs do. I have another dog, who has been with me since he was born, and the three of us have been in constant negotiation since the new puppy’s arrival. It seems with every new experience, the dogs are working amongst themselves to figure out who’s the boss. Whether it’s a bed, chew toy, food, or my attention. They’ve spent the greater part of our first few weeks together determining which one of them gets what, and when. The puppy will even try to play this game with me. She wants to know who’s boss.
It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Elizabeth Gilbert.
“There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. ‘How much do you love me?’ And, ‘Who’s in charge?'” (Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love)
Raising a rescue puppy, or any animal for that matter, is confirmation of this truth. At our most basic and animalistic level, it really all boils down to this.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What are you thankful for?
I’m thankful for waking up today. For the ability to breath and walk and laugh. I’m thankful for fresh air. That when I walk outside I feel safe. I’m thankful for other people. Old friends with whom I share a history and strangers whom I have yet to meet. I’m thankful that I can trust people, because I trust myself. I’m thankful for clean drinking water and that I never have to worry about when my next meal will be. I’m thankful that I have a warm place to sleep at night and a roof over my head.
It’s mind boggling, really, when I think of everything I have. It’s a wonder every day isn’t Thanksgiving. Indeed, it should be.
As we age, imagination either overtakes logic/memory or logic and memories overtake our imagination. Imagination is the road less traveled but it is the pathway to prayer. Prayer and imagination are directly proportionate. The more you pray, the bigger your imagination becomes.
A good test of your spiritual maturity is whether your imagination is getting larger or smaller. The older you get, the more faith you should have because you have experienced more of God’s faithfulness. It’s God’s faithfulness that increases our faith and ultimately, our imagination and dreams.
God wants us to keep on dreaming until the day we die. If we keep praying, we’ll keep dreaming. And vice versa. In fact, praying is a form of dreaming and using our imagination is also a form of prayer.