We are all creative

Creativity.

I love to ask people what they love to do for fun in hopes of indirectly sparking conversation on creativity. See, many people will tell me that are not creative if I ask about art or personal creative interests. Receptive of many creative forms sure, but not producers of it.

I do not for a second believe that there is any person that is not creative. So if you tell me that you are not I will always disagree.

As Jason Silva talks about in the video above, I really believe that there is something inside of you that you don’t really understand. Something that is begging to be recognized. Something that fills you with a sense of accomplishment and harmony. Creativity is something we all have the capacity for, and when we fulfill that we are met with a peaceful contentment. One that is quickly replaced by the desire to continue the process, to break the ceilings of what has been done before.

Creativity is both personal and shared. It is an expression of you that you can choose to give to the world, yet at the same time it is a development of yourself that will propel you forward. Creativity is doing something where you don’t know why it is right, all you know is that it is. You don’t know the answer, but creativity is the search for it. It is always crossing the line, it is always expanding. Creativity is growth, stepping out into the unknown. It is confusing, it is mysterious, and it is misunderstood. But creativity is what gives us life, and it is in the moments that make us feel alive.

Maybe you are not a painter. Maybe you are tone deaf and would never be caught dead in front of a crowd. There are forms of creativity that we commonly consider “artsy”, which I believe is a massive understatement of the concept.
Creativity isn’t just being “good” at something, it is just doing something with purpose and always striving to improve. It is expressing the energy that is inside of you, about sending out the signal from within.

It is about living with abandon, not knowing what you are doing but knowing that you are fully immersed in it. It has been described as the “flow” state, where all else falls away. You are completely absorbed, completely present. In a world where we are constantly fearing the future and dwelling on the past, I can’t think of anything more magical than being fully absorbed in the moment.

I think if we redefined what creativity is, we might see that part of being human is being creative. The ability to solve problems, adapt, move forward and overcome obstacles. Sometimes we just need to find the obstacle that we want to break through.

For me, creativity begins with believing that I possess it, that I have something to create. Then, it becomes about an exploration of a practice, any practice. Writing about what I think about the world, in ways that are deeply personal and unique to my experience. Singing in a way that makes me lose my sense of self and just float above it in a state of pure enjoyment. Making random things from an idea in my mind. Going somewhere new without having anything planned. Cooking something new, meeting someone new, trying something new. It always requires effort, but the reward is always worth it. Through creativity I discover the infinite nature of life, and a limitless number of possibilities.

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No two people are creative in the same way, so creativity must never simply be about competition. It is authentic, true and honest. The best part about true creativity is that nobody has the right to criticize its merit, so long as it is true for you (and not harming anyone else…).

We often let others create for us, so we can reap the benefits. Music, technological innovation, science, movies, the things we’d be lost without. But nothing compares to being lost in a creative moment. Knowing that you are contributing something absolutely unique to the world. And that’s a beautiful thing.

You are creative. I can promise you that. If you have discovered ways in which you have recognized your creative ability please do let me know, I would love to hear! If not, keep searching, I believe in you!

Sending vibes of love,

Emily

Changing Perspectives

485504631_f743212a70_oYou are on your way to a family gathering. As you stare out the window wondering who all is going to be there, the ones you know and the distant relatives you’ve never met, your sibling pipes up with their shred of knowledge,
“Agh, Susan is going to be there. She’s the worst, all she ever does is talk about herself.”
You consider the statement, not having any prior experience with Susan, you side with this story, and plan for a meeting with your “self-centred” cousin.
When you are eventually introduced, all you notice are the things Susan does, particularly her choice of conversation topics. As the evening moves along, you now have a reservoir of all the things she has said about herself, further confirming your hypothesis about her, though based on outside opinion.
Now what if someone had told you that Susan was the most fascinating person you will ever meet? What if they said she was funny, interesting and caring? Maybe you would have looked for those things, maybe you would have something to support that idea.

We all have a perspective. We have a way that we are interpreting our world. A way that we see the past, present and future. Just like someone who colour-blind sees a banana differently than you, so everything in your world receives a similar variance in interpretation. Sometimes our interpretation comes from our curious interest, like a child discovering that the hot stove is red for a reason. Other times, our interpretations are shaped by what others have told us about life.

Regardless, there is a reality inside of our head, all of what we believe to be happening. This “reality” creates experience, memories, regrets and ideas. Sometimes, the reality that we see isn’t so favourable to us. Like when you walk into a room and it seems like everyone is staring right at you, sending mind bullets of disapproval right into your brain. When everything in your day seems to be going against you, or you are lost in the confusion of what to do. When pain arrives, when pleasure dissipates. When your heart beats faster, and your lungs expand quicker and quicker. When the noise is loud, and the lights are bright.

You are always experiencing something in a certain way. But when you are certain about how it is being experienced, then life seems to only have one hand of cards dealt for you.
So why do we often believe only the negative things about ourselves and our experience? Why do we allow our perspective to be one of guilt, anxiety, fear and insecurity? Somehow we have been convinced that the way that we see things must be the way that they are, but maybe they are not that way at all.

What if we could see our perspectives for what they are? Simply…perspectives. One side of the story, one flip of the coin. One grain of sand, a drop of rain in a thunderstorm, a star in the sky. Believing this, could we decide that we want to see things differently, and allow the flow of infinite sight into our lives? Could we set ourselves free from the traps of “this is always the way it will be” and open up to a “how will I see this?”. What if we questioned everything, especially whatever it is that tells us we are anything but amazing?

People will always tell you what is. Because, as A. Hughman would say, “It is the certain who stop searching”. And maybe a lot of us don’t always want to be searching. It is scary territory, to say the least. But when you search you have agreed that there is more, you have decided that what you know now can’t be all there is. And maybe we need to remind ourselves of the uncertainty of all that we think we know in order to let go of the ways that we are stuck. All the ways we let ourselves think that we are not capable of seeing more.

Are we only seeing one side of the story, yet writing the script like we know it all? Everything we do is from our perspective, and our perspective shapes everything we do. Why not change it for the better?

Photo Attribution

Freedom lies in path of your passions

IMG_9073What if freedom, what we all want, is specific? Not to a universal truth or common ideology. Though we are similar, what if we truly are inherently different?

What if what you need is what you need to find out for yourself?

I have begun the arduous journey of discovering that a lot of things we are told are not based on truth. Correction, MANY of the things we are told are false. The way to dress, talk, behave, pursue, succeed, love, hate, it is explained somewhere.

But I must pose the question: There seems to be limitless answers, so why don’t we live in utopian bliss? Because the answer for one may not ring true for another. I believe at best, answers are an attempt for truth, but there is something missing.

Sometimes as I scour the internet, and watch films exposing injustice, I discover a world of artificial truths, and feel defeated. I feel lied to, manipulated and discouraged. It causes me a great deal of emotional turmoil to discover that many things I have believed for as long as I can remember, may not in fact be true. They may not even be based on my well-being. Maybe I should have known this earlier, maybe a lot of you already are aware of this, through direct experience of false truth.

However, I do know I am not the only one who feels confused. I could let it beat me. I could curl up in a ball and choose not to believe what anyone says. I could become bitter, resentful and angry. I could fight fire with fire and violently aggress against those that enforce unethical bounds to our very existence.

But at the end of the day, I do not have the answer either. I do not know anyone who does, and I’m not sure one answer exists. Recently I have been made aware of many false ideas, yet the revealing of truth is specific to those areas. Uncovering the reality of one situation does not always generalize to an ultimate solution. That would be great, but it is not something I have been able to witness thus far.

So we are left with our capacity for wonder, our ability to imagine and create. We are left with our curiosity, thirst for knowledge, and innate need to survive. We reside within these bodies for a period of time, longing to be fulfilled, longing to be nourished.

We are told that we must work for it. That success does not come without hard work. But we have begun to associate that synonymously with monetary success, and forgotten what that actually produces.

When you look at your life, and what you desire to accomplish, how much of it is based on other people?
How much of your life is dedicated to responding to what you’ve been told?
How many hours of your day to you spend working hard towards a goal you don’t intrinsically desire to meet?
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results then I beg you to stop for just a second.
Stop and think about times in your life where you have felt joy, happiness, success, freedom, love and belonging. What is it that has made you feel like life has a purpose? I do not ask what your purpose is, because that is a question we are asked constantly that may or may not have an ultimate truth to it.
Maybe it has been a long time since you felt purpose, maybe you have been convinced that you were destined to be whatever it is that you currently are.

But what if we believed freedom was relative? That our needs might in fact be unique? What if you saw yourself as a someone who has the inherent ability to fulfill your own specific needs?
Then it becomes a matter of figuring that out, of working hard to fulfill the needs that you actually require. You can become empowered by your own existence, knowing you hold truth within yourself. Working hard becomes less about providing the financial security to allow for basic survival. Instead it becomes the search for fulfillment, whatever that may be.

If you are unhappy with who you are or where you are at, take a moment to think about what you want. What you really want.
OK.
Now think about what you are currently doing.
How many of those wants are consistent with your ideal reality? How many are you unsure of? How many are directly in opposition with them?

Sometimes I think we are afraid to know what we want, because we know how hard it will be to pursue it. Because of money, adversaries, geography, time, lack of support and lack of belief in ourselves.
But spending our days chasing after something that we KNOW we don’t want, is never going to get us closer to a purposeful life.

Your value is not in the money you earn.
It is not in the materials you attain.
It is not the people you know, the places you’ve been.

There is value in what you want. What you really, really want.
What you would do for free. What you would sacrifice everything for. It is not restricted to a career, or lifestyle. It is what you want people to say about you when you’re gone.
Whether you believe life has a reason and purpose or not, you have the ability to create it, because you are alive, and you always have something to offer.

When you don’t want what they want, that does not mean you have failed. It means you have a different idea of what success is.

And here is the ultimate challenge. What is it that you want, that can also make someone else’s life better? Is your want simply about personal gain, or is there a way you can meet with a greater need?

“Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.” – Frederick Buechner

The world needs you. It needs your pursuits, desires and passions.

Me? I have new goals everyday. Seriously, it could be considered a hobby.

I want truth, and direction.
I want to contribute to a system that reaps and sows equality.
I want to erase cognitive dissonance from my life.
I want to depend on others, and not attempt to live life by my own strengths.
I want to experience art, and new realms of creativity.
I want to experience my skill set based on what it is that the world needs from me.
I want to feel free to express my deepest desires, and be excited about them.
I know that life has meaning. I want to cultivate that and erase the meaningless pursuits that strip it of its worth.
I want to know what love is at its best.

Seek first. Know after. Follow Freedom. Love unconditionally.

I Don’t Know.

DSC_0776Every day we are surrounded with certainty.

In the rules that we live by.
The laws that govern our behaviour.
The fashion trends that tells us what is acceptable.
The norms that shape who we think we are allowed to be in a given situation.
We see people in their roles, careers and religious beliefs
And so many of them just seem so…freaking… certain.

They seem certain of their place in the society.
They seem certain of who they are, and who they will be.
They seem certain of what is right, wrong, important and not.

Why?

Because being vulnerable and honest is not what we do naturally. It’s what we do in the safety of the very few people who make us feel we can be truly ourselves. It is what we so desperately desire to be at the core of our most treasured relationships.
Not having it all together isn’t the way we approach our lives.
Not knowing what we feel, believe, want, desire or need isn’t the “way of the wise”.

Yet, all the while, people are ready to tell you what you need to have it all.
What things, what jobs and what hobbies.
The things that will ultimately lead you to a better life.

But what happens when you just don’t know?
When you don’t know what you want out of life.
When you don’t know what you believe.
When you don’t know WHO to believe.
When you want something else.

What then?

You can try. God knows you can spend your whole life trying to be better, smarter and looking for the solution.

Or you can say “I don’t know”.

You can say “I don’t know” to your career.
You can say “I don’t know” to your dreams.
You can say “I don’t know” to yourself, to others, to the world.

But don’t stop there. You don’t have to know to move forward. In fact moving forward without certainty is often what leads us to the most incredible things.

“I don’t know” is saying “I’m willing to be surprised”
“I don’t know” is saying “there is more than this”
“I don’t know” is saying “I’m not and will not pretend to be perfect”

Don’t let anyone tell you that not knowing means you have failed. Don’t let anyone tell you that “I don’t know” is synonymous with “I’ve stopped looking”.

I believe that sometimes “I don’t know” is the best answer.
Because it is HONEST. And I believe we spend too much of our lives pretending we are satisfied in the answers we have given in to for lack of better options.

If you don’t have the answer, That is OKAY.

I don’t either.

I want to say goodbye to false certainty, and look forward to a life of “I don’t know”.

Because no matter how hard we try to know, sometimes we just don’t.

YOU ARE WORTH IT

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You are worth it.

Every tear, every fear
every time you feel burdened to be better
every time you fight artificial reality
every hurt, unwelcomed yet accepted.

We can come to trust that life isn’t fit for us. Like we don’t belong into
the world we were brought into,
as if it was for somebody else.
That somebody else that we try to become, the one that creates a comfortably numb, lonely one with the one that is the world.
To be the same, just to be sane, confusing security with what remains.
A disconnect between who we are and what we’re not, as if the answer is in our failures until we seek them not.
As if we knew all along, but failed to comprehend.
As if it is as easy as pressing a button to be on the other side of the canyon, looking back at man like “what happened, I made it”

If this self is all we’ve got, we better learn to enjoy it.
You will never escape it no matter how much you want it.
A body to hold your soul, lest it crack under the pressure.
Let it be wholesome and treasured, like a diamond in the rough.

Life is rough, but there is beauty in it. If pleasure had no opposite, pleasurably I decline. For this life is mine to define, yet not by what I am not.

I have forgot, I have lost. Who I am right now in search of what I have not caught.
It is not a sickness to be had, nor a cure to be sought, it is an acceptance of the fact that you are worth every, single second that you got.

So stop saying you aren’t worth it.
Stop saying you aren’t good enough.
Stop saying it like you mean it, I don’t believe you
You have purpose.
Stop letting yourself be less than, what you have every right to be.
Stop forgetting that you deserve it, because you are meant to be free.
Stop saying they are better, for are they not human too?
You have the same mind to comprehend, what is equally yours too.

You are worth it.
You are loved.
You are a name, a soul, a self-seeking mystery.
You are amazing, just because you are the first to be you.
You are the purpose, for the pain,
a redeemer of shame.
You are one, who is loved.
You are all of the above.

 

Twitter: Beloved_Blog

Email: info@be-loved.net

 

A Blank Canvas

A while back I wrote a blog about staying inside the lines, and how we try so hard to stay within the boundaries or expectations that are set for us. Yet it is so desperately unfulfilling. Here is a story of similar nature, depicting life as what we think we are supposed to make it, and then what it could be if we took control of our full potential and passion. You always have the chance for a blank canvas, and you always have the chance to start over. 

A BLANK CANVAS

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So here we are. This is where it all started. This is what we were meant to have. A blank canvas. Nothing broken, nothing messy, nothing confusing, nothing at all. But while it is blank, it is beautiful. New birth. Something about looking at a baby in their innocence is so incredibly beautiful. No marks, no lines, no scars or pain. We want so desperately to uphold that for them, but in our own experience of the world, we know it will not be easy. We try, for as long as we can we try, but eventually their canvas inevitably starts to change.

So here we are. Yet before we even have the ability to pick up a brush, there are lines. Before we learn what it feels to create, there is creation sitting there on our canvas. We didn’t choose it, but it is there. And eventually we decide that the only option is to follow it. Follow along the lines that seem to create some notion of structure. Colour gently along the rigid dark curves that contrast so vividly. We don’t want to upset the trend, or disturb the creation that has already begun.

It was never that we did not have the ability to create, rather we created within the boundaries of what had already was. We decided that what we wanted could fit inside the lines, and that it would be okay. We believed the most beautiful picture would come out of continuity rather than newness. It was easier, understandable. It formed consistent and predictable framework.

Still you wonder, what might I have created if those lines were never there? What would I have desired to make? Would it be bright, colourful and smooth or intricate lines and graphics that would collide together to produce a maze of unique design?

Is there something I was supposed to follow? A design that I was meant to re-create? I have followed something that existed before I could think differently, is that the point? Or is there more? Is there other canvases that I have not seen? Why do the others look different than mine? Their use of colour seems so practiced, as I look at mine I see mistakes and slip ups.
I swear I followed along the lines, still it did not turn out like I thought it would. It does not look like I thought it would. It doesn’t… look like anything.

Okay I must be missing something, there must be a “normal” that I can follow. I’ll find something that represents normality and fix my mess enough to make it resemble this existing standard. Then it will all be okay, everything will be predictable and understandable. Once again I will be in control.

I lie awake at night, awoken from vivid dreams. Black lines obscuring all that I thought I knew, colours that I don’t recognize, everything changing so rapidly.

I have to believe that there is something to create. Something that is worth creating, something that will extend beyond my years. Something that matters. But how do I do that when my creation is tattered, torn and used? I don’t know anything different, yet somehow I seek to know everything that is foreign to me. Something different, something more.
I see a design that looks simple enough, so I try to copy it. My lines don’t look quite as neat, but at least they resemble one that seems to be getting so much attention. I wish I could say I am proud of their work, but the jealousy of comparison supersedes any admiration that I might have the capacity to feel.

Day by day, I create. I add to this picture wherever there is blank space, some days I resort to re-tracing the lines that are already there, it is easy and does not take much thought. This routine is so stale, yet I can’t seem to see beyond this complex mass of colour in front of me. Maybe there is something behind it that I’m not seeing. I take the hind end of my frayed brush and poke holes in the rigid fabric that holds this creation I’ve built upon. My whole life’s work. But still nothing changes, I cannot see through my creation, instead it just looks even more obscure and disfigured. Now I’m beyond what I can do so I shamefully call upon the help of those that have gone before me, hoping they can fix this mess that I am in. They provide the material, and we work together to try and patch up the holes. It takes a lot of time, but eventually it comes together, though it will never look like it did before. I am weak, exhausted and defeated. Have I had enough? I cannot decide.

After a long day, week, month, year of repair I lay my head down and rest, with thoughts of colour filling my imagination.
I love the reds, and how the brightness catches your eye. Yet its intensity can also be frightening. I love the coolness of the blues, how they create a sense of calm and clean. Yet some blues are too dark, and convey a darkness that has yet to be explored. Some reds are too strong, and any fault in the tone is too easily recognized.

On and on I see these colours, the ones that have brought me joy, and the ones that have plagued me. They start to flicker and rotate faster, until I am seeing a rainbow rapidly transition through my mind. Endless lines, colours and vibrancies that I cannot process. It is beautiful yet overwhelming, the sheer volume of it creates a silent noise that rumbles. I swear it could shake the mountains. Sometimes this noise invigorates me, but for now it is exhausting, and I try to suppress it but I cannot seem to see anything else.

And then it stops. The noise starts to subside, the colours start to fade, and I realize that for the first time I am starting to see white. It is so unfamiliar, yet blindingly beautiful. It is so foreign, yet at the same time it feels comfortable and familiar. I do not know how to respond, so I just pause and take it in. It is so pure, unobstructed, so real and bright. Maybe this is what I have been missing all along. This colour, it is what I have been searching for, but never knew what it was. This colour that I have been trying to cover up, replacing with rainbows to add significance and meaning. But at the same time this blanket of white seems to hold a perfect complexity that I fail to comprehend. Yet I am okay with it.

But it is too late. It must be, My creation is already in progress, and it is far from white. In fact, it has been a long time since I have seen any free space to work with. How I yearn for this pure light, this white that has no blemishes or holes, no lines or scars.

I try so hard to figure out how to create white with all that I have. I mix and match, mix and match trying to create this perfection that seems so tangible. Yet the more that I mix, the darker it gets, nothing seems to make sense. What am I missing? If only I had that, maybe all of this clutter would disappear. If I admit it, there is some lines that I am not willing to let go of. While they may be overdone, they represent all that I’ve created, and i’m not sure I’m ready to let go of that. What will I be without this creation? Surely i will have nothing if I am without my life’s work. Surely there is no more to me than this complex array of colours that I have tried so hard to coordinate.

But still I imagine it. This pure, uncoloured scene. The clean, marvellous surface that has no bumps or bruises, no tears or strains.

Maybe I will never know it. My picture has already been created, I must build on what is. If only I had something new. A second chance.

As I rest my arms onto this blurry mess of colour, a tear drops onto the surface and further blends the dark mix that I’ve created through my diligent combinations, trying so hard to find clarity. Searching for meaning.

And then I feel a shift of weight, the fragile structure of my canvas was not made to hold me up, and I tumble over as it falls to the ground. I shake off the dust, annoyed at myself for being so careless and pick up this tattered piece of art that carries so much confusion and anguish.

And for the first time I see it.

Blank. Pure. Perfect.

White.

On the reverse side of all that I have known sits an empty canvas. Something I subconsciously knew was there all along but never tried to discover. It only made sense that it was here. All along I had the power to turn it over, but I never knew that I really could. I was searching for something that was there, I just didn’t believe that it was accessible. I did not believe that I was worth a second chance.

How beautiful. How free. How un-tainted.

Yet while it’s unique perfection portrayed completion, I knew that it was made to be used. Though I feared marking up the pure, smooth surface, now I could finally see what was in front of me. For the first time I could see that I had a second chance. A chance to create from scratch. A chance to do something I have always wanted to do, but never felt the opportunity was there.

It’s not that I now had more skill, more finesse or technique. I did not have new brushes, new colours or new tools.
But I had ideas. Oh how I had ideas, they bounced around in my head like bingo balls, each one ready to picked at any moment.

The difference was, now I had freedom. I had something to start with, though it began perfect and I was bound to mess it up, at least I can create. I can really create something new. This is my chance, my second chance, and it’s the only one I’ll ever need.

No matter what, it will be beautiful. Because it’s unique. It’s mine. It’s a blank canvas.

Photo: Sarah Klockars-Clauser

VIDEO: You’re Beautiful

I wrote this song before I started this blog. It was this song that led to me begin writing about the idea of loving ourselves. I don’t think that a lot of people really see themselves as beautiful, but maybe if we were able to truly believe it we could see how incredibly important we are. Not simply for our appearance, but that our whole person is valuable. That every part of us deserves to be appreciated and loved no matter what. So I hope these words inspire you, and I hope you will believe them. These words are for you if you have ever looked at yourself in the mirror and not liked what you saw. They are for everyone who has felt inferior, unlovable, lonely and unimportant. The loudest voice you might hear is your own telling you these things but they are so far from the truth.

Like this song? Grab it on iTunes 🙂

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/youre-beautiful-single/id828043272

I love you all, thanks for checking it out!

Hey you. You’ll be alright

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Life.

It’s pretty intense sometimes hey? That may be a severe understatement for you. Yeah I get it. Sometimes it knocks me down too. Sometimes it feels like everything we are thinking makes up the totality of our existence.

You ever feel the same?

Cool. That’s just one thing we have in common then, I bet there’s more.

See, the biggest battle is the one fought against ourself. How we respond to what we’ve been given, how we treat ourselves based on how valuable we think we are.

Forget the things you have to get done. Forget any expectations you have at this moment. Forget relationships, family, school, jobs, just forget it all for a second. Okay, maybe that’s not so easy, but for just a moment, try.

This is about you.

YOU. The real you. The one behind all of that other stuff. The one that longs for freedom, love, truth and joy. The you that grew up from being an innocent little kid and is now faced with a world that asks for too much.

You’ll be alright.

How do I know that? Because you’re not alone. We all feel that way. We all fail, we all don’t measure up, we all struggle, and we all give up. Don’t think I’m saying that makes you any less important. Because it doesn’t, it just makes you real. It makes you a part of this crazy thing we call “being human”. It’s the human condition. You were destined to think, feel, hurt, laugh and cry. Without these things nothing would have any substance. If you could only laugh, it wouldn’t differ from tears.
If you couldn’t hate, love would cease to exist. You can’t choose truth unless there is are also lies.

So what do you do?

Well, sometimes there is nothing you can do. Sometimes the things that will change your situation lie beyond your control. That’s a scary thought. But it also can be relief to know it’s not all on you. And it’s not. It never has been.

So just know that you’re doing okay. Right where you’re at. Whether you are in the midst of achieving your dreams, or whether you feel like they are permanently out of reach. If you don’t even know what they are, or if you are just used to telling yourself that you can’t do it. You’ll be alright.

Because somehow life goes on. It goes on for the people feeling joy, and it goes on for the ones in pain. It gets better right away for some, it takes longer for others. For some, laughter is the stranger and loneliness is all too familiar.

The faster you realize your life is never going to be perfect, the faster you can stop striving for it. I hate to tell you but you’re never going to have it all figured out, if you did you probably wouldn’t be reading this.

The crazy thing is, we’re all in this together. Though I may never have met you, I share your pain. I share your hurt and I share your joy. I’ve felt that happiness, and I felt the sting of those tears. We all have. If we could just admit to each other how similar we are, maybe compassion wouldn’t need to be learned and practiced because it would be second-nature to our existence.

Your life is unique, you are important and your story is one that no one else can tell. Yet at the same time you share the story of humanity, one that longs for good, for love and for belonging. None of us have it figured out, yet still we keep going.

You’ll be alright. Keep fighting because you’re part of a bigger story. No matter what your story, you are a living example of rising above adversity, no matter the kind.

Take in the joy, and savour the laughter. Love with everything you have and don’t hesitate to receive the love that is given to you. Let yourself fail, because it’s all a part of life, and being imperfect is what makes you alive. It’s what brings meaning to the joy.

You’ll be alright. Because we’re all in this together. And it’s not over yet.

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Blog Photo Attribution: Hazlan Hamzah

End Photo Attribution: Live Life Happy

Finding Your Passion in Difficult Experiences

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

Image

Heard that one before? Yeah, me too. In a variety of contexts. Although its occasional overuse may reduce potential effect, what if the trash you’re going through could lead to real, tangible good?
Okay, all cliché aside, I think there can be incredible value in identifying our own struggle, and seeing how we could change the way others experience the same things.

I didn’t always have a desire to talk about identity. I didn’t always see mental health as a stigmatized issue that I needed to do something about. I didn’t always deeply desire for other people to feel like they aren’t alone. I didn’t always care, or see struggles around me as real and important. Like many others, I was indifferent to my surroundings.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t care. Maybe because I didn’t identify with it. Maybe I had a different view of reality.
Or maybe it took personal experience to develop a deep desire to talk about these things. To feel like it wasn’t a question of if I would talk about it, but how and to who.

Once I experienced what it was like to feel alone.
Once I experienced what it was like to perceive yourself vastly different than what people say.
Once I experienced anxiety and utter confusion about my emotions.
Once I started seeing the world as a roller coaster, rather than full of opportunity.
Once I thought what I thought wasn’t important.
Once I realized how much I needed other people.

If writing these things was about being a good person, or just doing something I thought I should, this would be a chore, and probably wouldn’t last. If this was about getting recognition for some kind personal effort, I would base my success on view counts or likes on Facebook. And a lack of those things would leave me feeling useless. But all of this is because of everything I’ve lived. That may sound overly dramatic, or a plea for sympathy, but I promise that is not my intention. It is not about measuring my degree of difficulty compared to someone else’s, or comparing life issues, but it is true that I have my own experiences to pick from. As we all do. Some that may seem tramatic for me, and completely minimal for others. Regardless, once I realized that other people felt the same, I discovered that maybe my story, my life, my struggles could actually be turned around to help other people. My own confusion drove me to seek understanding, and the understanding that occurred was that other people are confused as well. My own loneliness drove me to discover others are lonely too. So what if we just started talking about it?
For many people, this is what births their activism and desire for change.

For firefigher Larry Rusk, it meant talking about his post-tramatic stress disorder and speaking out against the stigma attached to it.
For Celia and Marvin Strow this meant working towards the passing of the zero tolerance law for drivers under 21 after losing their 22 year old daughter to a drunk driving accident.

I don’t think that you have to draw solely from personal experience to be passionate about something. But I think there is something so powerful about motivation that comes from personal stories. After all, if your worst experiences only exist to pop up in your memory and bring you back to that difficult place, then your life will always have an anchor holding you back from being free. If your life is a culmination of your losses and failures coupled with successes and good memories, I sincerely hope that they don’t have to exist exclusively.
People will learn from your knowledge and expertise, your education and your leadership, sure (stay in school kids). But people also need to connect with YOU. With what drives you. And when that drive comes from an internal desire to see others reach further than you did, recover faster than you could, play better than you did, I would say that’s treasure. When empathy meets action and a personal passion, indifference could be greatly reduced. And your greatest losses, could contribute to someone else’s success.

I think that empathy is an important practice, and while I don’t think that yours should be reserved solely for what you believe to be a real problem through personal experience, I think it can be a gateway to passionately pursuing positive change. You don’t have to have been through something tramatic either, but dig through your trash and try to see what could be used for treasure.

Maybe your confusion going into university could lead you to being a mentor for future first years.
Maybe your initial failure at learning to cook could lead you to providing easy recipes for students and others living alone.
Maybe your struggle to focus while studying leads you to become a tutor.
Maybe your lack of parental care and guidance as a child will lead you to be a social worker, and show genuine care for other kids.
Maybe your struggle to be the best hockey player out there will lead you to be a coach, and help new aspiring athletes do their absolute best.

Sometimes it will feel impossible to find any good in it. Because some things seem to have absolutely no redemptive power. But I believe incredible things can come out of the trash that we deal with. And maybe the empathy that you extend, will actually help you discover what it means to have empathy for yourself.

So if your trash is abuse, addiction, failed relationship, loss, injury, dropping out, bullying, last place, self-esteem (or lack thereof)…

You are not alone. And because of that fact, your story is important.

So what is your trash?
What’s happened in your life that could be used to help someone else?

Comment below or email info@be-loved.net. I’d love to hear from you.

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Photo attribution: Ben Beard

You Matter

This is a poem that I wrote. You matter so much. I hope that it inspires you and makes you feel loved today.

Let me know what you think! Comment below, and email subscribe for new posts each week !

Words:

You matter because I said so
please hear these words
you matter because you are alive and breathing
and you are more than what you’ve endured

You matter because you have what’s never been before,
every laugh
every smile
everything you do is unique, it’s important, you’re beautiful
down to the core

You matter, in this moment, not in the next after you make it through
Not after that win,
not after you give in,
but right now before anything you do

You matter to me, to them, to us,
 Don’t say it’s me, because it’s we
You’re  never alone in this

You mattered since day one
since your days have been recorded
and it doesn’t take a man to see the art for it be a masterpiece
all that matters to the artist is that it’s created
he made it
and he likes what he sees

You matter for what you’ve done
For what you haven’t yet, just let it be,
There’s a light shining from you that you can’t even see
But it’s there,
it’s bright,
it shines through the night and
the best part is you don’t even need to ignite it,

You matter even when you don’t believe it
because reality isn’t based on when we’re aware
even if you never knew it
there are people who care

You matter because we’re in this together
even though it seems like separately we fight
all our battles, all our scars
we share them in one way or another
And one day, it’ll be made right

If you could know one thing for the rest of your days
If you could hear anything I say, it’s this
Know you matter,
you’re needed and you can’t ever lose that
You have a heart that is beating, for a reason
please just hear that.
Don’t you be defeated by the things that can and will pass.
no amount of hurt or brokenness,
failure or success,
your worst days or your best,
what you wanted to be or everything you think you’ve missed,
could ever
erase, this
love.