The process of weeding is tedious, backbreaking, and challenging work. In a field or a garden, if we want our crops and flowers to grow we must do the work of weeding first. When we have cleared enough weeds then there is room for the crops to grow. Flowers get the chance to bloom and all that are planted can gain better access to the right nutrients that will allow the plants to reach their full potential.

Imagine a flower in full bloom. How effortlessly it basks in the sun. The lovely flower smiles at the sun with its outstretched petals and the sun smiles back. There’s a lovely flow and communication happening in nature during these full bloom moments. Everything seems to be so easy and beautiful. However, it did not start this way. We did not see all the work and effort the little flower went through to grow. We did not see the full process of evolution the flower had to endure. This is true for people too.

Most of the time, especially on social media, we see the final product. We see someone beaming with joy during a vacation, or a happy new family. It is easy to congratulate someone when we see these pictures. It is easy and uplifting to witness joy. But there’s a lot we don’t know and we did not witness. Someone may be enjoying their vacation, but we did not see them months before when they were tirelessly working a forty hour week at the office and being a full-time caretaker to their grandmother. We did not see the grief they went through when they witnessed their grandmother’s passing and the challenge they had to endure as they did all the work of organizing their grandmother’s assets. And the new family may be smiling now, but we did not see them months before when the mother was struggling to get pregnant. We did not see the many tears she cried when miscarriage would occur, and we did not see the hard mix of emotions the father was going through as he supported his wife full-time during the final stages of her pregnancy.

Those hard moments in life require a great deal of weeding. Unfortunately the weeding we must do is a very intimate process because it happens inside us. So we must do our weeding work as individuals. Spouses, friends, and kind neighbors can help along the way, but the individual is the only one that can really do the weeding for themselves. Although, it is a challenge, this process can also be empowering.

The person who took care of her grandmother, witnessed her passing and then took care of her assets had some weeding she was doing. She was not only weeding through the overwhelm and challenge of figuring out what to do with all her grandmother’s things, how to sell her house, and honor her grandmother’s will, but she also had to work through the many emotions that came with that. She had to weed through many days of grief and heartache. She had to find the resilience to get out of bed and tackle her to-do list. She had to make meals for herself and continue working at the office to support herself. That is necessary weeding.

The couple trying to have a family had some weeding to do. Not only were they working through the challenge of miscarriage and trying to have a child, but they were sifting through various doubts. The mother wondered after each miscarriage if she was supposed to me a mother. She grappled with a feeling of failure and despair. Perhaps there were days she wanted to give up. The father was weeding through his wife’s emotions while also going through his own. He wondered if they do have a child will he be a good father. He wondered will he be a good husband and how he could be a good husband now. He worried about how he grew up and felt nervous that his child might grow up with similar challenges, if he could not keep his fear in check. While it is a grueling process, it is necessary weeding.

Weeds will continue to grow inside us and around us if we do not pluck them. When we do our weeding work the light on the other side is so much brighter. Beautiful things happen when we decide to pluck a few weeds. Some weeds are harder to clear. They have strong roots inside us. They have made a home for themselves. If we are willing to make a mess and get dirt under our fingernails then we can get to the root of the weed. We can clear the weeds and the clearing will prove to be effective. Once enough weeds have been removed we will start to witness the budding of growth and healing. Oh, what a beautiful thing that will be!

And if you want this gorgeous growth and healing to blossom, then we must choose to pluck weeds everyday. This promise will lend itself to the blossoming of a beautiful garden. Oh, what a lovely garden it will be!

Fences and Hurdles

The ego is a tricky thing. The ego is a sneaky thing. The ego can either tell you that you are not good enough or create a sense of arrogance in someone. The ego mixes with society like paint colors. Two colors that create a wet and shiny new color. These two things, the ego and society, mix so well with each other that we don’t know what voice keeps slithering into our consciousness and holding us back from living our lives with abandon. Is it ego? Is it society? Or is it both? It could be both.

We all grow up with certain aspirations, things we love to do and things we want to pursue. Then we start on this path of finding who we are. We venture forth into the great unknown with our head and heart full of aspirations. Many times on this journey we get to a fence and come up against various hurdles.

Some fences that we come up against don’t have a gate, no way to get through to continue on our path. So what do we do? Perhaps this pursuit is not for us. Perhaps we cannot do this. So we feel urged to turn back and face the ugly voices that plague our minds and hearts. We didn’t make it, so we settle into our egos and the sounds of society. But sometimes, if our aspirations are strong enough, we manage to work around the fence. We find a way to build a gate, or we realize the gate was just hidden by branches. These hurdles require more from us. It takes courage to venture out into the great unknown without a rule book and carve our own way. It takes work, lots of work, to find the gates in our fences. It can be scary, but it can also be an exciting adventure if we find the thing that we would do anything for.

With our aspirations glowing inside us, we feel compelled and driven to build our own gates. We find the strength to jump the hurdles. We may have to take a running start, and it may take us twelve thousand tries to get over the hurdles. But that’s how badly we want to see the light on the other side. This resilience is how Divine Spirit made us. We just have to tell our egos to take a back seat. We just have to tune out society and then we must jump. Jump with everything you have. Find time to build the perfect gate or just jump over the fence.

This is the process that is needed to get over the fences and hurdles. If we avoid the fences and hurdles then we must not care much about our aspirations, or even ourselves. If we don’t navigate the fences and hurdles then we have let our egos and the voices of society win. Please don’t let those erroneous, odorous voices win. Your aspirations are needed. Your aspirations are part of your hearts and minds. Therefore, whatever your aspiration is it is an important part of you. You are needed in full, living color. So don’t let the colors of you and your aspirations fade. The world needs your beauty, your courage, your resilience. So take a big breath and jump!

Writing Through the Fire

I had to write my way through countless dark days. I wrote my way through days of heartbreak, heartache and despair. It was like sitting in a canoe on a dirty lake and trying to paddle through it alone. It was exhausting…

Although, instead of a dirty lake, I was in my own room. And instead of being in a canoe I was sitting on my own bed. My canoe was my journal that sat in my lap most days and my paddle was my pen. I wrote my way through storms of tears, fits of rage, and days where all I wanted to do was sit in my muddy emotions. My fingers would be covered in pen ink and my mind was sticky with egoistic thoughts. Heart and soul were flooded with tears and layered with cobwebs.

Some people are too afraid to trudge through their messy emotions. Some people think they know how to find the answers they so desperately crave or that they have the answers on how to do life already. This will eventually cause a problem. One small stub of the toe or word said from an outside source will cause a catastrophic reaction. Life as they know it will blow up in their face. Hearts will break, bodies will ache, minds will churn and everything will implode.

It is important that we take the reins of our lives humbly but firmly. If we do not acknowledge all of who we are, including the dark parts-the parts of ourselves that are not perfect, that parts of ourselves that perhaps aren’t as strong, the parts of ourselves that will be the reason self-improvement will always be needed and growth inevitable-then we will always be blindly coasting through life. We will always get stuck in our egoistic thoughts, find ourselves in a storm of tears, wondering why our bodies hurt and why there are so many cobwebs around.

From a young age I saw and felt this from those around me. Some of this was from those I knew and some from strangers. From a young age there was a small, but fiery voice that was inside me. It lay somewhere between my heart and my soul. Everyday I felt it. Many days I heard its fiery call, “You. You must not coast. Humans only fade because they let themselves coast through the world.”

This fiery voice soon started to sound like my voice because it became my deep desire, “I don’t want to coast! I don’t want end up like them. I will not coast. A plane can coast through the sky. A boat can coast through the water. A rock can coast along a trail in the woods from a gentle, absent-minded kick, but I will not coast.”

And so I wrote. Little did I know how writing would save my life and become my life at the same time. Writing is a way to paddle through the muddy waters of that which we do not understand and find a way to make it make sense. Even if just for a little while, it will make sense. Writing can be a way to dissect and zoom into the parts of the human condition that make it so beautifully complex. Writing can be a way to relate to the world without having to live the same experiences. Writing was how I did all of that and paddled my way to understanding Divine Intuition. And then that small, fiery voice came back to me. It came back with more fire.

And now I feel like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego sitting in the fiery furnace unafraid of the fire that lives inside me because Divine Intuition put it there. She sits with me in the fire.

The Edge of Average

So you’re not an Olympic athlete. So you’re not a Greek goddess or a Greek god. So you’re not Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Meryl Streep, Aaron Sorkin, or Harriet Tubman. So you are not going to go down in history as part of the Freedom Riders, or as President of the United States.

Does that make you feel jealous? Does that make you feel angry or bitter? No. Why would it? Those events are so far in the past and you know that it’s impossible to be those people. You did not walk in their shoes to get to where they are.

Harriet Tubman was amazing, but what she endured to become Harriet Tubman is heartbreaking. It is awe-inspiring, but something that one does not ask to endure just to be recognized. No one is thinking, “I am going to be famous“ as they are hiding in a safe house with slaves they have just rescued. Harriet wanted freedom and survival for all those she could assist. That was the intention of her mission. Not fame or an exciting story to impress someone with.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister. Born in Atlanta, Georgia. He was just a humble man wanting freedom and equality for all. He had no ego. His intention was for peace and freedom. He stood on platforms and behind miked podiums, not because he thought of himself as superior, but because he wanted all to hear his plea for equality and join him in the fight for freedom.

Meryl Streep and Aaron Sorkin. Great artists. Worthy of teaching a master class, worthy of winning multiple Oscars, and other awards for their work. They found a craft that made them feel alive. They studied hard. They were just young people to start. Students wanting to understand themselves and the world. They found their voices through the craft that spoke to their hearts. They were not in it for the fame. They didn’t care about being rich. Their desire to grow in their craft is all they were focused on. And so they did. It was just something they had to do.

So the Freedom Riders made it to the history books. They were just as courageous as Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. They sacrificed their own well-being for the well-being of others. They felt called to advocate for those that were too afraid to endure the consequences. This did not mean that the Freedom Riders were fearless, but the cause they were fighting for required them to unite as a group, lean on each other, and show courage. It was just something they had to do.

Courage is not about being fearless. Courage is about feeling the fear but doing the thing despite the fear. The fear does not stop you, even though it might still be lingering.

Sometimes we look up to these great people and think that we are not super enough. We might think that something about ourselves is missing. Perhaps our lives aren’t good enough. Maybe we are not right as we are.

So you’re average. You’re just an average person trying to find work, trying to get through the day. You wish days would go faster sometimes and sometimes you wish they would slow down. You struggle with loneliness, companionship, physical pain, heartbreak, finances, productivity, and self-confidence. You may have bad dreams that keep you awake, not be able to make your dreams happen, or perhaps have a physical challenge that makes each day feel like a constant grind.

Some people let these difficulties stop them. They get a comfortable job, live in a small affordable house with a spouse that tolerates them and they call it a life. Like “Groundhog Day” they go through the same motions every day. They live only within the corners of their comfort zone. There’s nothing wrong with that. Though I often wonder if they are happy. Do they feel truly satisfied? Is that life what they really wanted?

Sometimes the people that don’t have the privilege of becoming famous, and that never make the history books are the ones that make the most impact. You know, the average ones. Like firefighters that jump into action at a moment’s notice. They are sacrificing themselves and their time. Time that could be spent with their families is instead spent putting out fires often made by other people. Military personnel go through rigorous training. They dedicate their time and effort preparing to go into combat. Some actually do go into battle that most don’t care to be part of. They’re just doing their jobs. For them it’s just another day at the office.

So go ahead and spend all your time wishing you could be Hercules or Athena. Wish your days away pleading that you could be famous, rich, or some kind of superman that makes the history books.

The people that made it in our history books weren’t intending to be written about. They were just answering the deep, low-toned calling that rumbled inside them. They were just taking life one day at a time. They were working to grow and wanted to see others grow too. We aren’t born heroes. We’re just average people. Some people find something that just happens to push them beyond what they think they can do. They are drawn to that thing so much so that it becomes a passion they cannot ignore. And so they shed their average shells that keep them curled up in their comfy average lives. And find themselves continuously living on the edge, just on the edge of average.

Let Yourself Take Up Space

“Taking up space” is an interesting concept.

As we journey through this world, we may hit a wall at some point. We may hit several walls as we walk through the world and there always seems to be someone that will encourage us to keep going, to stay true to ourselves, to remind us who we are. This person might tell us to keep the faith, they might remind us that we are good enough and if we admit our feelings of being lost, insecure or feelings that we want to shrink in some way, then we might be encouraged to take up space.

But how do we do that? How can one “take up space” when one feels so small? We cannot make this so-called space move for us, right? We cannot manipulate time, therefore we cannot manipulate space, don’t you think? So what gives?! Where’s the freaking handbook? Show me the manual for “how to take up space?” Do you need to stretch your hands and arms out to the sky? Do you need to spread your legs out as far as they will stretch?

Do you need to pose as superman? This might help for a moment. Although, your mind might still be babbling, “We need to get small. Be small! We are not superman. I don’t like this! Please let me shrink.”

So, what do you do?

“Take up space” is such a simple statement and it seems like such an easy thing. Although most days it feels like the hardest thing to do. It feels like a complex puzzle that you must solve and as an added challenge you must solve it as your mind, heart and body are screaming at you.

“Be small!” the mind says

“Yes. I feel so lame.” the heart says

“Everything hurts!” the body cries

Meanwhile your friends are saying “Just be yourself. Take up space.”

Those phrases roll around inside you like a sweet but annoying knock at your front door. This knock lasts for months until it turns to a pounding at your front door. This pounding goes on for years as you internally wrestle with yourself and do battle with the encouragement.

Then after a decade or more of exhausting wrestling it hits you…what if you LET yourself take up space?

Let yourself take up space.

Ah. Of course. No wonder there’s no handbook, no manual, no detailed instructions for “how to take up space”!

All one has to do is LET it happen. Let space be space and let you be you in that space. Nothing to figure out. Nothing to tweak, erase, manipulate, or replace.

As effortlessly as the wind blows through the trees we can let ourselves be in space. As easily as the rain falls from the clouds and ripples in a pond below we can take up space.