Building Muscles of Courage, Patience and Bravery


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Dear Goddesses,

This past week has been one of the more intense ones in my life, and Goddess knows I’ve experienced some intense ones. Who hasn’t? Like that great sexy beast Jim Morrison said, “Nobody gets out of here alive”. And nobody gets to live a rich, full, succulent life without getting put through the ol’ wringer. A couple of times or thousands. It hardens us and softens us at the same time. It makes us release who we thought we were and allow who we truly are to unfold.

But it’s haaaaarrrrrrrdddddd.

I feel like I’ve visited this place on my spiral of Life enough times to know now, that this too, shall pass. In the middle of it, it feels like, “Oh no, it won’t!” but it does. It will. It always does. It’s a matter of holding our seat, not losing our sh*t. AND…finding solace in those places, practices, and people who hold us while we navigate the inner, often rocky, landscapes of the mind.

It takes a great deal of courage, of patience, of bravery, to move through these really hard times. If you’re going through a hard time right now, I want you to know, you ARE courageous, patient and brave. And the thing about those capacities is we don’t feel all that courageous, patient and brave while we’re BEING those things. It’s only when you come out the other side (and you absolutely will) that you may recognize – – and give yourself credit for – – navigating the journey in a way that enables you to see how beautiful you truly are. Eventually, I trust, you will be able to acknowledge all the good within yourself. You don’t need courage, patience and bravery to get through these rough spots. You already have them. You have to find them, in the moment, while you’re right in it.

You lack nothing for this journey. Nothing.

You have what you need already, you just may not be seeing it.

You know, this world we’re in…man, it makes you believe it’s not okay to be proud of yourself, of your accomplishments. That is SUCH a disservice to humanity. This thought pattern out there, that you shouldn’t brag, you’re not a good person if you think highly of yourself…such B.S. We ought to acknowledge that thought pattern for what it is and decide differently. Decide that it is not only okay to look back at what you’ve accomplished, the goals you HAVE reached, the goodness you DID contribute to the world, the courage, patience and bravery you DID demonstrate on your previous challenging episode, but it is IMPERATIVE to the evolution of humanity that we FEEL GOOD about ourselves and our accomplishments. With humility, of course, but feel good about it at least for the ability to remember you’ve been through a similar tough time before, you sharpened your skills, you got this, you can do this.

It breaks my heart when people give up. I get that it’s an option and obviously the only one they can see at the time. Not giving up takes tremendous courage. Overcoming (fill in the blank) takes tremendous courage.

I had a job interview this week. One of the questions was about what barriers could I see in working remotely and how would I handle them. I thought about this before the interview (before even applying, frankly), and I let them know I had already given it some thought. I was not able to identify any specific barriers, but I did share that I have surmounted every obstacle that rises up before me in my life. And I have. That’s not bragging. That’s not even being proud. It was just me letting them know I am no stranger to obstacles. I got this and anything else Life wants to throw at me. I know, without a doubt, I can handle whatever arises. Because I always, always do. Maybe not as gracefully as I may want, maybe not as quickly as I may want, but I do. Eventually, energies around a thing shift. And they will for you, too.

Courage, dear ones. Patience. Bravery. You go this, you really do. Don’t forget. You’ve been through stuff before and overcame your obstacles. Big or little, doesn’t matter. Courage, patience and bravery are muscles we develop along the way. Going to the mental gym can suck as much as a physical gym, but it’s what we gotta do from time to time to become stronger.

Whenever we lift weights at the gym, our physical muscles go through a bit of a breaking down process at the cellular level and with rest they come back stronger. Same thing with our inner journey. These episodes that we find so frickin’ challenging (sigh) ARE breaking us down. To make us stronger. To make us more resilient. To make us even more courageous, patient and brave. There is a method to the madness. Hold your seat, but not your breath.

You got this. xo

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Beauty Is Not Always Evident

I’m closer to being in my 60’s. Every day I get closer. I have a few more years to go, but I’m closer to 60 than 50. As I’ve aged (not even sure what this means), I’ve had to come to grips with (really?) the fact that youth, and all that it means, has left the building.

Come to grips with. Just gotta let that sink in for a moment. Like it’s been some sort of struggle. Why is that? Is it because, in this Western society of ours, we value youth over experience? Still? Yes, still. Maybe it’s because we put so much value on the potential that youth holds. Our choices seemĀ so much more vast when we are younger and have not made quite as many mistakes (yet).

Life does not have to be like that. No matter how many trips around the sun you’ve taken, every day you wake up is a new day to make different choices, including whether to see your beauty. Until the day you die. Nobody is keeping you in a box. Nobody, except you. You are the only one telling yourself that your choices are more limited now that you are older. Your ability to make choices will remain with you as long as you are cognitively able to make them. Choices are no longer there, but, if you expand your imagination a bit, you’ll see that, perhaps, because of your experience, you have more choices now than you did when you were younger. But your beauty? Your beauty will last forever. When and how were you directed to stop seeing your beauty?

Resist the Bombardment

We have all been subjected to some degree by the media determining what is beauty and, by the process of elimination, what is not. We have also been conditioned to expect instant gratification. We have to fight that force. It’s not real. It’s made up and not true. Withstand the urge to limit your ability to see based on what media is telling you and choose to open your mind to see beauty for what it truly is.

Eyes to See

The bullies. The criticizers. The trolls. They cannot see beauty. You, when you’re beating up on yourself or others, criticizing yourself or others, choosing to say something mean online. Those are times that you are not seeing your own beauty. It is not that beauty does not exist. Beauty is the same as choice. It exists and will continue to exist, with our without you. Beauty, like love, is everywhere. In those moments we cannot see it, it’s still there. We just have not chosen to see it.

A Redefined Definition

I’m not the same kind of beautiful as I was in my 20’s. Or 30’s even, before the life lessons began to eat away at me. Divorce. Heartache. Heartbreak. Depression. Loss. Grief. Nobody gets out of here without some or all of these things. These hard, very hard, times, can eat away at you. And it’s hard, alright. It is Life Itself, hardening you off. Making you stronger, more resilient. And oh, I get how much we resist these lessons. Such a lame word for something so powerful, really, but I’ll use it for lack of a better word. The lessons make you MORE beautiful. And you have to be willing to see your beauty when you get through it. Actually, it would be helpful if you could keep seeing your beauty while you’re going through the lesson. I am not the same beautiful as I was, but believe I am MORE beautiful. My depth, well earned, has beautified me.

Acknowledging Privilege

I see my privilege of being a young, white, lower-middle class, attractive female. Yes, even lower-middle class is a privilege. I was esthetically beautiful in my younger days. But I was also rather empty, spiritually. I could not stand up for myself. I could not carry on any sort of interesting conversation. There was no substance to me in my youth. I had no real interests. But I was cute. I’ve always been cute. Where did it get me? What good did cute really do? Didn’t matter, is where it got me. It got me what it got anyone. Life experiences. This whole thing about privilege is a bit of a loaded subject. I want to stress that I was born into a level of privilege, this shiny apple still fell hard from the tree and had to deal with some hard, hard ground. My life has been both with and without privilege, which I’ll discuss with the Great Mother Herself, later.

Deepening

I find myself now, approaching my 60s, no longer having days of low self esteem. Low self esteem is just gone. It’s been worked out of my system. I see myself for the beautiful soul that I am. I have depth. I have built character. Or, shall I say, life has build depth and character within me. I have interesting things to say. I’m pretty funny, if you get to know me. I did not make myself deeper or fuller of character. There is no way I would have consciously picked the way my life turned out. The lessons. The experiences. There were really hard times. I hope they are behind me, but I know that I can manage whatever comes my way, because those very same hard times made me who and what I am today.

Human Smoothie

I’d liken my life, up to this point, to having been put through a blender. Each trial, each lesson, each major situation I’ve had to face, felt like my whole being was being shredded. All that I knew about myself was being stripped away. The essence of my self remained. Like a honkin’ big smoothie in a blender. All the ingredients, masticated, blended, voila, beautiful, healthy drink in the end. All the original ingredients are there still. you just can’t see them in the form you are used to seeing them. It’s the same with elements of beauty. You can try to look harder to see the beauty in yourself and others, or you can just have faith and know it’s there.

Seeing Beauty in Others

What really goes through your mind when you see a homeless person, someone living close to the street? Does a thought of judgement arise? What about seeing a person struggling with their physical body, or even in a body that is not what we are conditioned to believe is a beautiful body? Allow the judgement to arise, if it’s there, by all means. But then invite yourself to open up to seeing a different definition of beauty. Look beyond the physical. It’s even harder to see beauty when the person themselves does not see it, cannot see it, because their image of themselves is so full of self-loathing. We have a tendency to jump on the thought bandwagon and agree with their perception of themselves. Resist the urge to do this. Those who cannot see their own beauty need those of us who can to see it even more. To recognize their beauty and speak to that beauty, that love that is within, always.

Seeing Beauty in Yourself

I have come full circle. I see my beauty now. I’ve done a ton of internal work. Hard, inner work. I am nothing like I used to be, and I consider this a blessing. If you cannot see my beauty, that’s okay. I don’t need you to see it to know it is there. I see your beauty, too. I know it is there, it has always been there, and no matter how much you may loathe yourself now, or feel the need to strike out verbally or spiritually (same thing) towards others who do not look the way you think beauty ought to look. Beauty will always be there, waiting for you to return to yourself.

I hope you’ll choose to have a beautiful, and beauty-filled, day, my friend. I know I will. See the world how you wish it to be. See the beauty in those who wish you to see it otherwise. Resist believing in an antiquated definition of beauty. And, truly, the beauty you see in yourself will become reflected in your external world.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash