Your Best Life is Waiting!
I remember my mom telling me to brush the dust off of my shoes when someone at school had hurt me. Or a boy had broken my heart. Or things hadn’t turned out the way I had expected and I was feeling down. It wasn’t always easy to swallow. What did it mean anyway? There were feelings attached and feelings aren’t always easy to let go of.
I wish she had explained things to me more because, in reality, it was good advice. I just didn’t get it. Turns out my mom wasn't all that original. It's a term used by Jesus in the Bible. I always took it as a “Screw you. I don’t need you anyway.”, You know, pick up my baseball bat and go home. Give ‘em some attitude and get on with my life. That was my mistake. It doesn't mean that. Not at all.
My understanding now that I’m older and so much wiser (she typed with a smile on her face) includes the art of letting go. A big life lesson for me. Huge. Enormous. Life changing. For so many years I dragged things around with me.
I heard a silly story this week from Mary Morrissey about a foursome of golfers. After a long while, three of them arrive at back at the clubhouse looking haggard. “What took you so long?” another group asks. “Well on the 5th hole Harry had a heart attack. We took so long because after each hole we had to drag Harry to the next one.”
That was me. I had been dragging Harry around my whole life and believe me he was no Prince. Not just one. A sack of Harrys. And all they had done was slow me down on my life’s path.
Our past does not define us. It shapes us like a river bed. It may guide us along a certain path. But the current of our life can change the more energy we give it. Until no river bed nor dam can contain us. We have that power within us. When we choose.
But how do we tap into that power? For the longest time, I coasted with whatever happened. I would say it all the time “Go with the flow.” I went with the flow alright. Picking up Harrys along the way like debris. Tying them to me. Harrys dragging me deeper and deeper. Slowing me down almost to the point of becoming stagnant.
Power? What power? I was powerless. Or was I?
When we finally realize that we have the power, not the other way around. When we realize what has happened to us is a moment in our life, not a life sentence. There is a shift and it can be a life-changing shift.
Pain, betrayal, disappointment happens to us all. No one is exempt. It is how we deal with the pain that makes the difference. We are 100% responsible for our actions. I have a confession. For a long time, I had zero regrets in my life. There were things that were regrettable, but I had no regrets. Why? Because so much of the stuff that had happened to me was beyond my control. It was my life. I thought there was nothing I could do about it. And therefore no regrets. Ah. Blissful ignorance. When I came to the realization that I was 100% responsible for my life. 100%. That if I wasn't where I wanted to be it was my fault. No one else. Mine. On that day I owned my regret. And there are many. So, here is the rub. I can sit here and feel a ton of regret and do nothing. Or I can Shake the Dust and make a change. Which do you think I chose?
Here are three ways you can Shake the Dust when Life hands you a Harry.
Look for the lesson
There is always something to learn from our pain. Always. Even if we didn’t do anything wrong. Even if we were the ‘victim’. For me, having been the ‘victim’ of circumstance a lot. I realized that for the longest time I didn’t think I was worthy of good things. It stemmed from my childhood. But, when I took ownership of my life I realized I allowed things to happen to me throughout it. Awful things. On the outside, I portrayed this strong, independent woman. But on the inside, I thought deep down I wasn’t worthy. That bad things happen to me. I don’t deserve respect. I don’t deserve real love or success. When I realized what a pile of hoo-ha that was I went to work on my inner voice. I said to myself. No more drama. I was done. The drama would not follow me anymore. I had allowed it in the past, but no more. I allowed people to take advantage of me. If I had believed in myself I would have nipped it in the bud years ago. I swear 90% of the crap that happened over the past 20 years wouldn’t have. The things I could have done. What I would have accomplished. Ah well. I’m a slow learner. But at least I know now.
Other times the mistakes are mine. I wasn't focused enough. I was self-centred. I was too single-minded. I gave up. I wasn't consistent. I lacked control. I was unkind. I wasn't listening. There is always something we can learn from life’s hiccups. We need to look and listen.
Shake the Dust
The art of letting go. When I screw up I’ll beat myself up for a bit. I try to make amends if I can and then I move forward. That doesn’t seem to be an issue for me. BUT, if someone does me wrong … its another story. Not letting the “Harry’s” drag me down is this decade’s lesson. Picking myself up. Shaking the dust off my shoes. Moving forward despite what has happened. And letting go of bitterness and anger, because it doesn’t do me any good anyway. That’s my lesson. It's taken a while, but it's getting through.
Think about it. Something happens to you and it's crappy. You can,
Lick your wounds for a bit. Look for the lesson. Move forward with your life. Look at you go! Or,
Lick your wounds and then stay there for a while. He did that to me. Look what he did. It was awful. She said that about me. Look what she said about me! It was a lie. How awful. I’m gonna stay here and talk about it for … oh I don’t know twenty or so years.
I’ve done both and I can tell you the first one is a much more productive choice. It’s not that what happens doesn’t hurt. It’s not that what happened wasn’t wrong. It’s the fact that I’m losing my present because of something somebody did or said. Or because of a situation that is completely beyond my control. This life is so short. Why am I giving this situation so much power over me? Why am I not living my life and doing the things I was born to do? Why am not enjoying my time on this earth?
When we stay and wallow (whether we think we are wallowing or not). We’re not growing. If we’re still grumbling about it a year later … we’re wallowing. We have allowed that situation to take our past, our present and now our future. Let that sink in. “Oh but Cayla! It was so awful!” I know. I know. It hurts like hell. But you deserve a good life. A beautiful life. A Divalicious Life! And wallowing isn’t going to give it to you. Shake the dust.
I have to add a note here – letting go does not mean letting a perpetrator off the hook. Don’t get me wrong here. Nor does it mean that you cannot tell your story. I’m not talking shoving your pain to the depths so that it’s never dealt with. I’ve done that too. It’s not healthy. What I mean is not letting it become a Harry. Or living a life of continual pain. Letting someone else’s actions eat at you. If you need counselling. Get some. If you need to talk to someone. Talk to someone. Do what you need to do so you can let go. So the thought of them or an event doesn’t bring you the same pain. You’ve let go. You don't want some event from a decade ago to define your present.
Ready, Set, Action - but take your time
Healing doesn’t happen overnight. I wish it did. Microwave style healing. Wouldn't that be something? Unfortunately, that’s not how life happens. BUT, our mindset can change everything. The simple act of acknowledging we're going to be fine pushes things in motion. You understand you may not be feeling good today. You may not smile tomorrow. But one day soon you are going to wake up with a genuine smile on your face. And what a day that will be!
When we actively pursue our healing. When we make the choice to let go and change our thought patterns to be more positive. When we look for the lesson and begin applying it. Ah, that river of our life becomes mighty. Strong. Feisty. On a path of its own with nothing stopping it.
Final Thoughts ...
I remember a while back I was going through a rough time. I looked out over the ocean and saw the waves come in. Lapping the shore. I wondered if I Googled when High Tide was going to be in the year 2032 on a certain date, would I find it? Well, I did and sure enough, there is a chart. It’s that predictable. Then I looked up at the sun. It rose and set every day without fail. No need for Google. I never questioned whether it was there on a cloudy day. I didn’t doubt its presence. The moon would shine in the evening. Of that, I could be sure. It’s the same moon my mom looked at when she was growing up in the Hebrides. It’s the same moon Shakespeare wrote his sonnets to. It’s the same moon Jesus looked at in the Garden of Gethsemane. Nature was a constant. It never left me. I realized that if I died tomorrow the sun would still rise. The world would go on without me. Some would care. Most wouldn’t. My life would be over. The problems that I was dealing with felt minuscule. I was such a tiny spec in this universe. And for whatever reason, I took comfort in that. Perspective? I’m not sure. All I know is I felt a part of this big old world. My issues when it came right down to it had zero relevance to what was going on as a whole. I found that freeing. It wasn’t all about me after all. Whew.
We all deserve to live a Divalicious Life. If you haven't in the past, you can start now. Make the choice to be the best you you can be. Today. At this moment. Then do the same tomorrow. And the next. Soon that Divalicious Life will surround you. So, how about we all dump our sack of Harrys and start living our lives the way we were born to live them? Our best life is waiting.
As a thank you for reading this blog post, I have attached a song aptly named Shake the Dust. It’s yours. No strings attached. This song helped me through a rough patch. There is something about telling yourself you’re going to be OK that works. It did for me anyway and maybe it will help you too.