Tag Archives: self

Hey Life? I’m Right Here.

I was checking out this really sweet site this morning (www.therubybooks.org) when I had a thought that maybe you have had at some point:  what AM I doing with my life?  I have these really big dreams.  Some people call them plans.  I keep thinking that I’m working towards fulfilling them.  I make schedules and write myself lists and notes.  I get very little checked off and so my dreams continue to loom large and distant.

This thought eats away at me, that I may never realize my dreams.  Why have them then?  A friend had a huge health crisis last night and when I couldn’t physically be there for her (an entire country lies between us, sadly) and I thought about what my life would be like without her in it, I had to do some big rewrites to my plans!  As my friend faced her own fears about mortality and poor health she had an epiphany:  “I feel changed by this.  I feel so vulnerable.  Life is such a privilege… breathing…”  The truth is that John Lennon knew what he was talking about when he sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”  Who knows what each day will hold for us?  Who knows if we will struggle to breathe today?  Who knows if tragedy is just around the corner? What we have is this moment right now to actually make dreams and plans happen.  What can I do in this moment, now?

Which brings me back to the Ruby Books site…her character, Jeanne, asks herself to reexamine her dreams.  Perhaps, she ponders, they are not too big “just misunderstood.”  Yes, my dream is to teach peace through global sensitivity.  I also have a dream to see thinkpeace girls actively working to be the change they wish to see in the world while being supported by our girl community.  I have a dream that one day soon we’ll bring boys into the picture to advocate for girls worldwide.  I have a dream that all girls will be counted, valued, safe, and heard.  Actually that’s a dream I have for humanity.  Without looking at the big, giant, overwhelming global picture in my dreams, I can look around me and see manifestations of the issues all around me.  I can start here.  Right here.

Life IS a privilege!  And so, instead of dreaming, I’m going to live my life.  I’m listening to what my life is saying to me, to let my dreams BREATHE.  One breath at a time.  Yes, it will make me vulnerable but opening my heart wider is part of the thinkpeace dream!  Here I go…


who are you, who who?

Without self knowledge, the understanding of the universe remains incomplete. -Deepak Chopra

You probably think you know exactly who you are right now, today.  It’s easy enough to define yourself with labels.  When I was in high school I would have said:  I am a blonde girl.  I am a cheerleader.  I am a good student.  I am sensitive.   I am creative.  I am somebody’s girlfriend.  I am a sister.  I am a daughter.  If you asked me to go deeper I might have said:  I am messy. I am overweight.  I am afraid.  I am confused.  That would have stopped me right there; I wouldn’t have wanted to go any further down that road.  The negative attributes I assigned myself would have made me realize that I preferred to identify myself as a bubbly blonde cheerleader.  That felt better.

The problem with not really knowing ourselves is that until we do, we can’t really understand others.  So how do we get there?  I have to tell you:  it’s hard.  It’s especially hard when you’re trying to fit in.  I was talking to a high school guidance counselor the other day who told me that 9th grade is the hardest year, in her opinion, for girls in high school.  “They so desperately want to fit in somewhere that they will define themselves just to fit the characteristics of a group– so they feel that they belong somewhere.”  The result is that girls will often change who they really are deep inside just to fit this idea of what they should look like, act like, be like… They will suddenly change their hair color or start smoking.  They’ll carry the same tote bag as every other girl in the group and wear the same clothes, no matter how it looks on them.  They’ll get a boyfriend, because everyone has one.  They’ll pick on other kids in the cafeteria, because that’s how to look cool.  They’ll join teams, not because they love the sport, but because it gives them an identity– and an established group.  It’s understandable.  It feels better to belong than to walk alone.

If we stop and ask ourselves, do I want to dress like everyone else…  If we ask ourselves, how did I feel inside when I saw that girl getting teased at lunch and I said nothing to stop it… If we ask ourselves, do I like myself better when I’m in a posse, with a boyfriend, smoking on the corner… what would the answers be?  Where and when in our lives do we get to be our true selves?  How would it feel to JUST BE YOU?

At thinkpeace workshops we often ask girls, what stirs your soul??  Too often we are met with blank stares or hung heads and “I don’t knows”.  We want you to ask yourself questions, constantly.  Are you creative?  Are you a people person?  Do you get absorbed by a good book?  Does performing light a fire in you?  Do you feel outrage at social injustices?  Do you feel lonely sometimes?  Do you love to create masterpieces in the kitchen?  Is a soccer goal the best feeling in the world to you?  Does your pet soothe you and make you giggle?  Does music make you emotional?  Do you want to dress like a hippie or a rebel or super comfy or all blinged out or all of the above?  Do you want to sit at lunch with the kid being picked on?  Are you living the life YOU want to live?  WHO are YOU?  Really, people are like snowflakes:  no two are exactly alike.  So why do we try so hard to BE alike?

The thing is, when you truly know yourself (remembering that you are always a work in progress and always changing!), you’ll see that there is so much to like and that there are things that will frustrate you or make you sad.  None of us are perfect; we are all flawed.  That’s actually what makes us more interesting.   And it’s how we tap into our compassionate selves.  The girl who knows her passions and her goals and what makes her giddy can reach out to another and say, try this!  The girl who knows her sadnesses and anxieties and insecurities can reach out to another and say, you are not alone.  It’s the girl who knows herself who will change the world, because she understands it and sees herself in it.