Stop Stealing From Yourself

I read this HuffPost article today by Andy Meindl titled, “The No. 1 Thing You’re Doing Every Day That’s Ruining Your Life” and it really spoke to me. I think we can all benefit from receiving a reminder from time to time about the power of practicing openness in our daily lives:

Stop stealing from yourself. Stop being a thief, robbing yourself from your empowerment and joy by assuming the worst and selling yourself (and others) short. Stop hiding your light underneath a rock because you’ve made assumptions that people aren’t ready for your brilliance, or can’t handle it, or it’s too much. Stop making assumptions about what’s possible and what you think life is — or isn’t.”

To read more visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anthony-meindl/making-assumptions_b_4269980.html?ir=GPS+for+the+Soul

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Life Will Break You

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

Louise Erdrich

If we expose our children to life messages such as this one instead of relying on trite phrases like, “Life isn’t fair,” would they grow up to be stabler adults who know how to take failure and vulnerability in stride?

Breaking the Shell

breakingoutshellcollage

**Photos via nastassiadavis.com and gutstoglory.com (right to left, respectively)

Have you ever felt stuck like you needed to break free of a shell you’ve created for yourself through fear, anxiety, doubt, alienation or that life has dealt you like getting laid off, losing a loved one (figuratively or literally), or falling ill?

Lately, I’ve  been feeling like a caged bird or one trying to peck its way out of its shell. I’m seeking the confidence to find my wings, so I can soar. There’s a big blue sky out there, sometimes with threatening rain clouds in view, but a bird knows how to navigate if only it will trust itself, realizing it was created to fly.

I leave you with a quote, lyrics, and song that will hopefully inspire you to think about and break through a shell that may be limiting your ability to fully direct and claim the quality of life you wish to have.

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding… And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.”

— Kahlil Gibran

My mom sent me the lyrics to the song “Break the Shell” featured on the album titled Songversation released this past summer by American R&B/ neo soul singer, India.Arie. I found they resonated so deeply with my life at this moment. Maybe they will speak to you as well. Enjoy!

I met a prophet dark as the night
She could see into my soul
Said she’d been watching and had some advice
She said shadows make you whole
A life without pain is a wolf in sheep’s clothes
Cause if you listen to the lessons that it holds
You’ll find the gold

Child it’s time to break the shell
Life’s gonna hurt but it’s meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly until you break the shell

I can remember when I was a child
How the grown folks seemed so crazy
Why are they so angry, why are they so loud?
And when I grow up that’s never ever gonna be me
That was the moment that I decide
That I would build a wall just shy of six feet tall
Too strong to fall

Child it’s time to break the shell
Life’s gonna hurt but it’s meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly until you break the shell

Courage is not being hard
It’s time to peel back all of the layers
You put between who you’re meant to be
And you who are
And go be who you are

So much disappointment to finally understand
That there is no such thing as perfect
Were all simply doing the best that we can
And we have a choice to live or truly be alive

This is your life

Child it’s time to break the shell
Life’s gonna hurt but its meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly until it breaks the shell

Child it’s time to break the shell
Life’s gonna hurt but its meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
The bird cannot fly until it breaks the shell

Do with these words what you will
Its time for us to be for real
You’ll be stuck on the ground until
You finally break the shell

**Lyrics via Song Meanings

**Video via OWN TV

India.Arie performs a stripped down acoustic version of “Break the Shell” on OWN’s “Super Soul Sunday.”