I look at the picture…. this little girl with her beautiful brown eyes looking back at me ….. and I feel compassion and love. I see the future in those eyes… and I know much of the story she will live.
She was born into a family with parents who were good people… she knew she was loved. I can see from this picture that she had a mom who cared about little things like bows in little girls' hair and necklaces on school picture day. Her hair didn't have a natural flip on the end, so her mom somehow gave it a curl before she got onto the school bus at noon time.
I remember hearing how we are more than our present age…. mine being 53. We are an accumulation of all the ages we have ever been at the present moment in time. I can still remember being five and I can still remember being 18. The nice thing about being older is being able to hold that experience of living within you as well… and seeing the world differently than you did at an earlier age...
That little girl has some incredible joys ahead of her and some sorrows that will break her heart into tiny little pieces. But right now she is growing strong and learning about the world as a five year old should.
The longer I live the more I think I wouldn't have changed a thing because each and every event brought me to the next step, the next life lesson and a new experience. I'm still curious. I'm still a seeker at heart and feel such gratitude for all I've been blessed with.
Today I was in a place where I listened to the stories of others … and in contrast to what they were going through in their lives I was keenly aware of the enormity of belonging and love I've experienced in mine. Sure I've been a recipient of great loss, but we can't have enormous loss if we don't have a lot to lose can we?
Many people never have that much to lose.
I'm learning about courage and how it relates to vulnerability. Not being afraid to truly be who we are and letting go of who we think we're supposed to be.
I've often been told that I come across as "authentic" and I consider that a great compliment. Our society often tells us we're not good enough or acceptable enough just as we are.
So I guess if I could tell this little girl anything I'd say to enjoy today, because it's all we have. Love fully those whose opinions matter to you. Don't let the world squeeze your uniqueness into a mold that wasn't meant for you. Don't be afraid to be who you really are and let others see it. Don't be afraid to be authentically you. Vulnerability is risky but it's full of courage. It hurts to have our hearts broken, but it shows we were willing to live life wholeheartedly and with full engagement. I've heard it said that the dark doesn't destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows. Don't fear… we were meant to experience joy.
“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.” Brene Brown