If I ever say, "I don't care" Mike likes to reply, "Those are the three worst words in the English Language". He is passing his mama's wisdom down through our family. ;-) And I do agree that when said in a defiant, defensive way they are pretty negative words. But lately I've been thinking about how I'm getting to a place where I don't care what others think about me or my choices... and it is a *good* thing. Actually it is really powerful! And that is what this picture means to me. That when we are connected to our personal truths we are no longer motivated by fear of what others think. I guess a more accurate way to word this might be that I'm not *concerned* with what others think. (Does that sound any better??)
This leads me to another idea that the awesome Tara Wagner (aka The Organic Sister) shared on one of our "Tribe" calls. I was reading through my notes and this idea just struck me so hard. It is this: Shine who *you* are so that you will inspire others to shine who *they* are. It doesn't mean that they will be the *same* as you, in fact they will be different in some ways because we are all unique. But by shining your truth, by reveling in yourself, loving yourself, and letting the world see it, others will begin to do the same. How absolutely awesome is that? And I can see the truth of this idea in my own life. I recently made a little picture collage of some people who I feel really wonderful around. Just looking at their smiling faces makes me feel happy and peaceful inside. I was looking at it one day and it suddenly hit me that it is not because they are like me that I feel so comfortable around them. It is because they love me just the way I am, and because of this I feel like I can be myself when I am with them. I'm pretty certain that they feel the same way about me. *That* is what shining looks like. It is reflected and magnified in everyone around you.
I also love another point that Tara made. Shining does NOT mean "shining your light right in others' faces". In other words it is not preaching or trying to convert others. Shining is not about a competition or being right. It is softer and subtler than that. It is not about speaking, it is about being. When I think of shining, it means I am feeling good about myself and about the world. I feel confident and loved and loving. None of that really sounds like "not caring". What I really mean by "not caring" is that we are no longer fearful of being ourselves. When we come from a place of love instead of fear that is when we can truly begin to shine. And of course we still value and respect other people - our loved ones, acquaintances, even strangers. The more we can connect inside to ourselves the easier it is to move from judgement to compassion.
So I've touched on what Shining looks like and what it is NOT. But *how* can we begin to shine? For some shining may be as easy to them as breathing. For others it may take more time and reflection. Shining is another way to say the more formal "self-actualized" or "enlightened". It also means that it's not some kind of level or state that you reach and then you are done. It is something that we have to choose all the time and will wax and wane. We *can* strengthen our ability to shine with practice. For me this blog is a way to shine. I'm finally comfortable enough to share aspects of my life. It's been a while in the making though. When we first moved away from home almost 5 years ago I was a new parent and still very unsure of myself. I wanted to find friends that I felt comfortable and supported by. I spent a LOT of time talking their ears off. It was part of my path. ;-) But the best thing that one can really do is to get to know oneself. To know what your passions are, what your dreams and hopes and ideals are. To begin to question, especially when you feel something very strongly. If something or someone triggers you, then that is something you need to examine. And by examine I mean to look inward, because your reaction is about you, not about the person you think caused the reaction.
And although we are all different, when we really get to a place of love - for ourselves and others - we begin to see more and more how we are all alike too. Lately I'm finding the same messages everywhere I turn, and they are beautiful, powerful, and inspiring. People all over the world are finding these same truths and sharing, all we need to do is begin looking.
This week embrace your truth and shine it to the whole world! You will be sure to inspire someone.
I love this image with all these questions from this blog.
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.