how to: love your curves

Learning curves. Like the sea lapping against the shoreline, what is constant in each of our live are the ups and downs. There are dreamy highs, during which we float in blessings that waft to us with ease. And then, there are dark and dreadful lows that come in storms, sometimes coming without warning and attacking with injustice, or sometimes because we’ve lost our footing.

We fall down sometimes. And it can be difficult to not abandon our paths, search for a way out, and view out low points as failures.

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What’s interesting to me is that, from these challenges we label as hideous failures, we often find our greatest victories. Yes, confronting our own painful experiences and struggles is distressing. But, we don’t remind ourselves that good can arise from pain solely to ease that discomfort. Good things truly come from overcoming hardships, and – we can and do overcome them.

We are quick to allow our missteps to linger in our minds and even become part of our own definitions of who we are. But, no one walks without stumbling now and then. The more we force ourselves into perfect moulds that never falter, we realize that we cannot always please everyone and ourselves simultaneously.

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For this reason, it is exceedingly important to embrace the person we truly are. This is much more difficult when we have lost touch with our identities, because we are also tasked with the intricate game of discovering what it means to be genuine.

Living authentically is an experiment of trial and error. So, it is essential to find strength in pain, to view stumbling blocks as learning opportunities.

We are, after all, unfinished masterpieces in progress.

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to be vulnerable

Life, love, vulnerability.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

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C S Lewis

risky business

I used to go around fearful, not only of exposing my true self, but to even understand what that meant. It is a risk, to live authentically. Today, I still go around apologetic and shameful of various opinions and beliefs, likes and dislikes. Too positive, too inspired, over-dressed, over-educated – is there really such a thing?

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Many of us go to great lengths to avoid feeling vulnerable. There is simply more on the line when we are taking the risk to follow our paths exactly. We are overwhelmed by the uncertainty of being our true selves, and we deem living authentically as more risky than living concealed by the burka of societal expectations and judgements.

Uncertainty is really the meat-and-potatoes of vulnerability. We can use these feelings of discomfort as beacons to guide us inward, instead of to numb us and freeze us immobile. Then, we will reach the springboard of our authentic selves. Then, we can take the risk to experience who we are as a whole person. Maybe that’s what it would take for humans to stop condemning others and themselves.
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thanksgiving

To practice gratitude means more to me than counting my blessings at night before I fall asleep.

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You cannot selectively numb feelings. You cannot decide to shut some of them out without blocking everything altogether in the process. Joy. Connection. Comfort. It’s easy to learn how to know things – anyone can do that. But you cannot be taught how to feel.

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In those moments of true feeling, I am grateful.

I am being nobody else in a world trying its hardest to make me everybody-but-me. In those moments of fear and vulnerability, when I wonder if I can really love this fiercely? Believe in this so passionately?

To stop and just say instead: I am so grateful. Because to feel this vulnerable means that I’m alive.

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we do what we need to be free

Survival demands few things – food, water, air and procreation. A human life needs much more. We were created with a pesky need for purpose. It’s not the things we own or the jobs we do that define our purpose. It lies in honouring the genuine substance of who we are.

Once basic needs are satisfied, I find myself in that search for purpose. I’ve stumbled upon my true wants and needs the same way we all do; exploring options, expressing ourselves and messing all kinds of things up along the way. It takes courage to be free. It takes the willingness to completely let go of who we think we should be, to be who we really are.

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