A talented colleague of mine from Mexico wrote the following:
“Had a profound, perspective changing evening yesterday. Those of you who tend to enjoy this type of introspective thought process (TJ Larum, Suzanne Grundyblum, Paula Roufs, Ellie Briana, Samantha Ayers and any others?), I would love to hear your thoughts and/or your five things.
These last two or so weeks, I have felt very “heavy,” for lack of a better way to describe it. I’m behind on tasks, I’ve missed appointments, nothing has seemed to go right, etc.
Yesterday, I was at an event with a choir I sing in and I mentioned this to a fellow member. He empathized with the statement and told me that I should try to think of 5 times (either in general or specific moments) when I have felt like I am either most proud of myself and/or being the best version of myself.
I didn’t think much of it at first, but I decided to start writing some down, which was a more difficult task than I had imagined. The result was a huge shift in perspective and a realization of what has, perhaps, been missing recently.
* When I have shown love without condition
* When I have listened without judgement
* When I have taken a risk even though I was afraid of what might come of it
* When I have actively seeked out being a friend to someone else without expectations
* When I am able to stay on top of necessary, yet sometimes mundane tasks (laundry, grading, dishes, etc.)
Thoughts? What are your five?”
The wording of his post just made me stop and realize how many of us do NOT stop to reflect on such things, and that is necessary for us to have a even more meaningful life, taking time to do things that connect our heart to our brain through reflecting. These are my five:
- Seeing what people point out things they say I that sacrifice too much, be it a portion of my day, week, month or year to send someone into the world; knowing who is better than me and sending them into the world to make the change against negativity and ugliness, when it comes to how people treat each other verbally and physically. I have been given the privilege of interacting with individuals and hopefully letting them know, in their darkest hour, they have the power to change everything for the better. They changed mine. That is worth anything more than I could want in my own life. They make me better as a person by having the privilege of sharing the short time together.
- Knowing I have received one of the best gifts ever from my parents and family before them. A will to push through with even more vigor, energy, and channel any frustration and anger into producing even more opportunities. Someone may run faster than me, may outperform me in the NOW, but I know I have a limitless poll of want that can outsupply anyone around me, an energy that is fueled by the motivation of those around me (colleagues, students, family, friends). It is what keeps me going long after everyone else. It is my strength in my strongest and weakest hours.
- The ability to see what everyone else does and says and thinks, and wanting to do something unlike anyone else. That striving for finding something that does not exist keeps me hungry for always evolving, and wanting the same in those that are around me. This insures that life will never be mundane and average, unless I want it to be. Knowing we each possess a creativity that exceeds our capability, if we choose to tap into it.
- The ability to come back to something, often when others think it is too far gone to recover to do, and always coming back to something and wanting to finish. I do allow my to-do inventory to fill up higher than the Tower of Babel, but I have a determination to never let the end product go.
- To be trusted to be confided in, approached, befriended, and allowed the opportunity to share my life in hopes of trusting to improve someone else’s. That is a level of trust there are no definitions for.
I will tell you Rob, one of the toughest decisions I had to make was leaving a discovery I made when I thought I had my life planned out in front of me. Then Mexico popped up. I realized in 6 years how crucial it is to see life through other’s eyes than your own. Mexico taught me all over what family, friends, loyalty, and respect is when it comes to those around you, and those around me, turned out to be another were country and see in first hand instead of through a lens that was put in front of my eyes in the U.S..This was perhaps one of the GREATEST gifts many will never experience, how lucky are we?
Leaving Mexico in the summer and not saying so much to so many around me was – I just can’t tell you how hard. After carrying a large depression with me in a cold cold winter stuck inside after having left that behind me, what kept me up was the gifts given me in those 6 years in Mexico, everyone I ever met carried me through that rough rough transition period back. I also realized, the amazing things I learned could and would be lost on those that could receive even more benefit from if I hoarded these gifts in Mexico and did not bring them back to those that never had the chance to know what I had learned, or see the new life I had from what Mexico gave me in six years.
The sometimes hardest thing to realize is how I carry what I learned with me every single day. There is a lot of ugliness of words, actions and thoughts among people that are different than each other. I learned that as an individual, I do not have to live quietly with those stereotypes places on people who truly do not know, because they have never experienced anything except what they have always known. That was me. And now, I am viewing the state I left in different eyes, given the opportunity to model and teach what and how things are so different than the majority sometimes tries to convince you of, and now, have an even larger body of family from my time in Mexico.
Giving yourself time can be bad sometimes because dread can creep in, true. But coming back to these five things as you so importantly brought up today – will keep you coming back to the table and reinventing yourself thanks to the people that helped reinvent you along the way.