You’re Just in Your Cocoon

I once read a quote about the importance of knowing the difference in pace & place. I’ve also come across a few quotes about butterflies in my day. I’d like to make a comparison using these concepts. As always, I would like to remind you to remember that life is a journey. You are never going to live in the same moment or place forever, at least not until you die. Therefore, the place you are at is irrelevant. But, I have decided so is the pace at which you travel. You see, as the analogy goes, the caterpillar does not know he is about to become a beautiful butterfly. He knows no end after the cocoon, for all he knows it is death. The realization of what he will become is lost on him as he is transforming. 

So have no fear if you are still in your cocoon so to speak. You are still transforming. You are constantly learning, growing & changing whether you realize it or not. Think about it, when you see someone daily, you do not notice how they change as drastically as you would if you went a decade without seeing them & they have suddenly lost or gained 50 pounds, gotten gray hair, grown a beard, cut their hair, etc. So you may not see the changes in yourself. For after all, you live with yourself 24/7.

Everyone is in a different place in life. Some are still caterpillars on the ground, others are tucked away tightly in their cocoons, & yet there are those who have already become beautiful butterflies. Chances are, you won’t know where on your journey you are. So stop comparing yourself with others! Live your own life. & do not worry about the pace at which you are transforming. Everyones’ path is different, & people will spend different amounts of time in each stage of life. Do not stress over where you are at. If you aren’t where you want to be, be patient & continue to strive for improvement. Eventually you will emerge from your cocoon. Just keep in mind that even though you aren’t aware of the changes you are undergoing, they are occurring. There is a plan in place & constantly at work. No stage is unimportant & you are simply preparing for who you are to become. Also know that the struggle to be freed of the cocoon is going to be tough. This is also vital. A butterfly must work hard to break out of its cocoon, as this strengthens its wings. Without this effort the butterfly will be too weak to fly. So do not fear the struggle. Embrace it knowing that it is only making your wings stronger to soar away with in the future. Trust your path. Trust the time the road to maturity requires. 

Do not stress over where you are on your journey, or your “place.” & do not rush the “pace.” Growing takes time & preparation. Do not look at the butterflies in the sky & cry for not being able to fly. Do not look at the caterpillars on the ground & frown that they are dragging everyone down. Everyone, just like you, is growing & changing at their own speed, in their own way, from their own trials & tribulations. All of this is necessary to maintain balance. Trust the cycle. ❤

What Type of Book are You?

“We all have crinkled pages in our book of life, but that doesn’t change our story”

I had a friend tell me this a few days ago & it got me thinking so I sat down to write. I have often considered life a book due to my favorite quote, 

“The world is a book, & those who don’t travel read only a page.” ~Saint Augustine 

While I wholeheartedly concur with both of these statements, I’d like to add a little something to the whole concept of the book of life. A good book is worn completely out, & so is a good life. Now, that may sound downright depressing, but I can assure you it is quite the opposite! Think about it. A good book is not one left sitting on the shelf collecting dust with all of its crisp pages still perfectly in tact. A good book gets used! It gets picked up by someone to be read & possibly reread & then passed down for someone else to read over & over again. The pages become soft & easy to turn. They gain “crinkles” & coffee or tea stains. Quotes are highlighted & notes scribbled in the margins. The binding gives out & cover begins to falter, letting go pages & curling up at the corners. The book is scoured through from the first word to the last. No page left unturned, no statement left unnoticed, all relevant & equally important. A story without heartache, struggle, or tugging at the heartstrings in any other way is anticlimactic & boring. A story not worth reading. A good book engages you through the ups & the downs, & when it’s over you accept each part & its vitality. 

Now compare that to life. When you die, do you want to have lived a good life or bad? Because it is just that simple. If you tiptoe through life, afraid of being hurt, afraid of taking risks & afraid of change you will live a sad, boring life. You are the book no one wants, collecting dust in the corner. Sure you are still structurally sound. Your pages aren’t ripped, your ink isn’t smeared, your cover is still in tact. You may still meet the manufacturer’s specifications, but you have not truly lived! You must let go & trust life. Bad things are going to happen, it is inevitable. People will die before you are ready, other’s will walk out of your life against your will. You will be sad, you will feel pain. You may break some bones, get stitched up or develop an illness, but that is part of living. If everyone’s story was destined to be the same, there would be no point in writing them, AKA no point in living. It is the excitement of not knowing what is going to happen that makes our stories interesting. In allowing ourselves to feel pain so that we can relish in the joyous moments. Just like a good book, a good life will have highlights, miraculous moments that earn a spotlight in our memories. We will take notes from those wiser than us—side note: it isn’t a bad idea to keep a notebook handy to jot down that which adds value to our story; quotes, nuggets of wisdom, explanations, etc. We gain texture, or character, to the pages of our life like rips or stains by going through the trials of life. Your exterior facade may give out & you curl up secluding yourself from others. A good life is worn out, emotionally exhausted, perhaps the physical body is literally depreciating. Yet, when that life comes to an end, regardless of age, the book written is a great story! A complete, if even short, novel with enough plot twists & drama to keep the audience entertained. 

The type of life you live is certainly a personal choice left entirely up to you. But I hope that regardless of which path you choose, you can learn to accept that suffering, both physical & mental is a requirement for life. Change is inevitable. Do not miss out on living life to the fullest because you are hurting. It is okay to allow ourselves moments of pain to break the monotony of pleasure, but do not dwell in the depths. Every moment, every experience, every person you encounter, every situation you find yourself in is an integral part of your existence. So don’t go down with any chapters left unfinished, any blank pages or unsolved mysteries. Be a page turner! ❤

Motivation is a Muscle

Hi there! Just wanted to remind you today that you are loved, in case no one has told you that yet. I apologize for my lack of communication. I have been finding it quite difficult to motivate myself these last couple of weeks. Tonight I decided I was just going to force myself to sit down & write, & I think that’s exactly what we need to do sometimes. Because, the truth is, motivation is not an inherent human characteristic. It is a trait that is cultivated over time & increased with practice. Occasionally things may spark our interest in something or someone may inspire us, but motivation doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It is similar to self control, a mental muscle that must be exercised to stay strong. Just like anything, once you push the boulder over the ledge, as it falls it will gain momentum. So it is with motivation, once you force yourself to act on whatever it is that you are struggling to do. It certainly won’t be easy at first, but once you get over that initial hump, the more often you convince yourself to do it, eventually it will seem like less work. So my challenge for you today is to MAKE MOVES! Do whatever it is that you have been avoiding. Don’t put it off, wait for the new year, wait for motivation to just fall out of the sky & hit you in the head, wait for someone to encourage you… No! Just do it yourself. Start out small if you have to & build from there so you don’t burn out. Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s MAKE IT HAPPEN! ❤

Learning to Let Go

Letting go is becoming all I know. I am learning to surrender to circumstances I cannot control. I have often told others to let go of things they can’t control. Tell them not to let it affect them, just shake it off or ignore it, it will only add stress to your life. Yet, this is a practice that I have struggled to put into place for myself. 

For years I have let guilt, shame, & fear rule my life. I cared so much about how I was viewed by others. I constantly degraded myself for not pleasing everyone, not realizing how many people actually did appreciate me. I was too concerned with those who didn’t care for me that I took for granted people who were grateful to have me in their life. The ugly truth of the matter is that you will never successfully satisfy everyone you come into contact with. It’s impossible. Think about it. If Jesus couldn’t do it, neither will you be able to. Hate to burst your bubble. #SorryNotSorry This realization was highly enlightening & freeing for me. I began to feel lighter. The burden of others’ negative opinions was no longer a gorilla sitting on my chest. I started to notice more positive things about myself & wonder why I wasted so much time trying to impress people who deserve to posses no portion of my attention. 

Time was my worst enemy. I judged myself & based my level of “success” on what I had or had not accomplished up to this point in my life. I hated the fact that I am 28 years old & still haven’t found a spouse or even someone to be in a relationship with. I was angry for having still not posted my poetry, most of which has never been read, in some form of book. I couldn’t stand the fact that I found myself back in school & have yet to start my career. I felt my  body clock ticking on having a child, especially given I only have one ovary. Just to be clear, I believe finding a husband comes before having a child, & thus I felt even more pressure in that area of my life. I felt myself aging, using my schedule & exhaustion as an excuse to refrain from exercise, but the reality is that I had such low self esteem that I wasn’t motivated to take care of my body because I didn’t believe it deserved to be treated or look any better than my mental state. 

I was recently reminded how important it is to take care of yourself. To set goals, break them down, & work towards them. Set target dates to accomplish these mile markers & reward yourself when you reach your ultimate milestone. My buddy recommended a book for me to read & a specific journal to help me break down my goals & work on increasing gratitude in my life. I will admit, I have not committed as much time as I should have to these materials, or at least not as much as I would have liked to. & I am certainly still figuring out how to utilize them. Yet, even this slight inspiration has made a world of difference in my life thus far. Three weeks ago I was in a very dark place! & I had been in that place for a few months. I thought I hid it well, but of course my mother saw right through it all. In fact, she is the main reason I noticed how much better I am feeling these days. She pointed out last week what a change she has seen in me, my whole demeanor. She used the term “fighter” to describe me & that gave me a new sense of power. I realized for the first time that I am making positive strides. I am cutting negative ties, setting goals, & working towards the future I want for myself. It is an immensely good feeling to realize that you genuinely ceased to care about the opinion of others who have belittled you & suffocated you for so long, when they are going nowhere themselves. 

I had once heard someone say that it is easier for someone to pull you down from a chair than you to pull them up onto it. It finally clicked with me that I had been letting others pull me down for so long. I am no longer letting that happen. I may not be able to pull them up to my level with me, but I am certainly not looking down anymore. I am vowing to only heed the wisdom of those more driven than myself. I’m not waiting for the new year to start my resolution. I can’t change the past & I won’t worry about the future. I will trust God’s timing, knowing that it is perfect & it is absolute. It is not relative to what I want, but I have to make moves to make it happen. You can’t expect things to happen if all you do is sit & wait. 

PSA: Check out the book my pal recommended for me (link below)

“Own the day, Own Your Life” ~Aubrey Marcus ❤

Being YOUR best SELF

“Be your best self” is a phrase I heard as a child through the Junior Miss organization. It took me a while to grasp the meaning of this phrase. Over time I have come to utilize this or variations of the phrase myself. I believe that the ultimate point here is exactly what it says, to be the best version of yourself that you can, no matter who that may be.

Who you are isn’t what you look like, how you dress, where you work, the kind of car you drive, your sexual preference, your religion, your race, your age, your gender, your weight, or any other such factor. Who you are is the person you choose to be. You are your heart. Is that heart frozen & two sizes too small? Or is that heart so warm & full of love it is bounding inside your chest, just dying to get out? 

Others do not get to decide who you are, that is a decision only you can make. Judgement plays no role in your makeup. When we let the fear of others control us we lose sight, at least temporarily, of our true selves. Seek not the approval of others, simply be the best human you can be & go to sleep satisfied, knowing you put forth your best effort to be the kindest, most genuine person you could. So in order to keep this message concise & sweet. I will end by saying go out into the world, my lovelies, & “be YOUR best SELF!” ❤

Live like you are dying …because you are!

I was thinking about time again this past weekend. I heard the old country song “Live Like You Were Dying” & as things often do, it hit me in all the feels! The song is about a man who finds out he doesn’t have much longer to live, & so he chooses to live life to it’s fullest. Skydiving & climbing & bull riding, but also treating people, including his wife, better. It just got me to wondering though. Why should it require that kind of fear to jolt us into being a better person?

I mean let’s be honest here… We’re ALL dying! Some sooner than others, sure. You may not perish today, this week, this month, or even this year! But there’s no getting out of here alive! Regardless of what you believe about souls & what happens after death, your human, fleshly, earthly body will die. It will disintegrate, rot, be decomposed into mere molecules, atoms that make up the many elements of this extraordinary planet.

So why wait for tomorrow to live your dreams, to check things off your bucket list, or to become an overall better person, whatever that may mean to you. Work on controlling an addiction, seeking help even if necessary. Show compassion, empathy, kindness; not only to those you see consistently, but to even the most random of strangers. Remind your loved ones they are loved even when they may not be making it easy. Set aside time every day to practice a hobby. Also make time to relax, take in a deep breathe & enjoy the fact that there is Oxygen in your lungs. Take nothing for granted, be grateful for everything. If you are reading this post means you have internet, be grateful for that if nothing else. Start small & simple then build on it. Make a bucket list if you haven’t already, don’t worry if it’s realistic or not! Try to put some realistic goals on there & then throw on a few extravagant ones as well! You will work harder, the more lavish your goals are. If you think small, you aim small. I’ve always heard the phrase “shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” I’m honestly not sure who originally coined the phrase, but I think they were right. The higher you set your goals the higher you will aim & the harder you will work to attain them. That way even if you never achieve your most outlandish goal, you will at least accomplish some of the things you’ve always wanted along the way. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket either! Meaning, don’t make all of your goals about the same thing. Not just money & career driven, throw a few fun things on there as well, some lighthearted stuff to keep you young. Set small, attainable goals along the way to make sure you are steadily progressing not remaining stagnant. Challenge yourself, play games against yourself. See how many strangers you can make smile. Pick a number & set aside that much money a paycheck to put towards your most expensive goal. Don’t compromise! Push yourself! It’s good to be content in life, that is important for happiness, but not to the extent that you stop growing as a person.

Just remember that you will die one day. No one knows at exactly what second that will be, so why waste time becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be! You will not fear death if you live the life you’ve always wanted. Imagine, a life free of regret, guilt & shame. A life where you aren’t worried about running out of time to complete your purpose. But a life where you are satisfied, comfortable & confident in the decisions you make & in your actions. Live passionately my friends! ❤

What’s Inside is WHO YOU ARE

I heard a speech from one of my favorite baseball coaches last night & it really stuck with me, so I’d like to paraphrase what was said. Short version: “When you squeeze an orange, juice comes out. What’s inside of you? When life squeezes you what comes out? Because what’s inside you is who you are. & when you’re juiceful, you’re useful!”

Think of yourself as fruit, growing on a tree. As each day passes you are maturing, ripening. Everything you encounter grows into your being. The way you treat your body, how you nourish it affects the flavor of the fruit within. So, fertilize yourself with positivity; surround yourself with those who encourage personal development & empower you. Read books, learn new skills, talk to strangers, but whatever you do, push yourself! Never become content with your size or growth, there is always room for improvement. Cliché but true.

It is true that what’s inside is who you are. Our outsides often become tainted by negative circumstances. You may suffer a metaphorical freeze or get blown from the tree & hit the ground becoming bruised. Our outward appearance doesn’t often reflect what is within. It can appear scarred & haggard due to abuse or neglect. But just because a person has a skinned knee, does not mean the blood flowing through their veins is ruined or toxic. Our outsides are sensitive to our surroundings. They may appear weak or hardened to protect us. This is a façade. The inside remains the same. We are who we are within.

Life is going to squeeze you, contort you, twist you, grind you up & spit you out. But what exudes from this compressed corpse is WHO YOU ARE. So, who are you? & is that who you want to be? If not, who do you want to be? Work to become that person. You are the fruit, but you are also the farmer. You must put in the work to mold & maintain the maturation of what is inside. Don’t be rotted, smelly juice; strive to provide the best product you can!