Even for those of us who are service-driven and mindful, as normal human beings it’s natural for us to asses a situation in terms of what we can get out of it. It’s a natural survival technique really, “is this worth expending my energy on?” That is a totally valid question and it’s important that we ask ourselves just that. Yet, there are so many other times—especially in our modern world where basic survival is not our top priority—when the question of “what can I get out of this” is overemphasized.
When I’ve made it to a perfect moment in time, I don’t think “okay, I’m done, it’s finished.” I’m not done, it’s not finished. Instead I relish in the magic that is the moment and I say, “thanks, but I’ll be here again.”
Picture this. I am under the stars and the deep night’s sky, in a warm salt-water tub surrounded by redwood trees. And, I’m being paid to be there. Not only that, but the person who is paying me, believes in me, has invested in me, and challenges me to use and learn new skills daily.
I say a lot on this blog, but sometimes what I say the most is “I”.
This week I say “I” in a different sense, this week I say, “I hear you.”
Almost every week I refer to “your inner voice,” but what does that actually mean? It’s a deep sense of self-value, taking action that honors that value, and constantly pushing against societal norms. At least, that’s where my inner voice guides me.
Mostly people are open to the message of their inner voice or inner guidance system, but on occasion I have people say to me “I don’t have an inner voice,” or even more, “I don’t know what it sounds like.”
It’s when you move beyond what society has taught you life “should” look like and instead build a life that you’ve chosen wholeheartedly. For the record, even the seemingly “normal” choices can still be part of living creatively if they are chosen based on love and not guilt or a need for control.
Living creatively means to strengthen your intuition and learn how to recognize your inner guidance system.
Are you a sign seeker? I’ve found, when it comes to looking for signs to give you clarity on a certain situation–you either are or you aren’t. But if you are, how much trust do you put into it? And if you aren’t, is it because you feel it’s too “woo-woo” to consider?
Even for those of us who are service-driven and mindful, as normal human beings it’s natural for us to asses a situation in terms of what we can get out of it. It’s a natural survival technique really, “is this worth expending my energy on?” That is a totally valid question and many times for the purpose of self-care it is highly important that we ask ourselves just that. Yet, there are many other instances, especially in our modern world where basic survival is not our top priority, when the question of “what can I get out of this” is overemphasized.
From my experience I have found that the majority of us in some way want to help others. We feel like we have more to give to the world than what we are giving now but we won’t exactly know what that is. The true gift to those around you is nothing that needs to be obtained, you probably already have it, you just have to identify it.
Recently I helped my little sister write her very first resume. When I looked at what she had written for the first time it was pretty basic: high school jobs, classes she’d taken and activities she’d been involved with. Still in college she was feeling insecure about her lack of experience. By looking at her resume at face value, it did seem like she lacked experience, but that is only because that is what she was projecting.
She is a Sustainable Food & Farming major at UMass Amherst and she was applying for summer jobs working on farms. In her opinion, she was late on schooling because she is 22 and still in her undergrad. She hadn’t worked on a farm and she still had way more to know before she feels like she is ready to. In my opinion, she had been working on our family garden for years, nurturing it, designing parts of it, and tending to its’ needs during the changing of seasons. She has grown hunting food plots for deer on our family’s land. She has multiple certificates of recognition from the Dean’s List at her college for her excellent grades. Yet, to her, none of these things really mattered. To her, these things were just what she did. To her, it wasn’t significant, just normal.
I tell this story because I think there are many of us out there who don’t give value to our everyday experiences. In my sister’s case she wasn’t setting out for service, in this instance she was setting out to better herself by getting a new job. The kicker though is that once she recognized that her everyday activities were exactly what she needed to set herself apart from the pack she did get a job. Now she is working at a non-for-profit farm that grows food for over 75 food pantries in her area. Through breathing life into her experiences and recognizing the worth of her “mundane” activities she was able to step into a roll that she wanted and that helps the community around her.
We want to be something big, something valuable. We think we need some huge validation before we can be what we want. Typically when we think this way we completely discount the present.
It is so easy for us to shrug off our experiences we are in now because it doesn’t seem to be in line with the dream of what we wish we were. However, it is in our present and even in our past where the gift lies. It is our own unique experiences and perspectives of those experiences that give us the edge up—that give us something to share—that really is what can help those around you and what can help you step into the role you want.
Here is an exercise for recognizing that what you do is actually awesome and needs to be shared:
- Sit down in silence and start to think about a challenge or challenges you have faced. This can be a small or large challenge and it can be very old, more recent or even something you are still dealing with now. Just go with one of the first things that pops in your head—that is usually a good indication of something that has made an impact on you and therefore has a greater lesson attached.
- Now write down what you have learned since then. How have you helped yourself overcome the situation? What books have you read to help you? What steps have you taken to improve yourself or the situation?
A few examples:
- I have been working on a certain project for years. I have come a long way since the beginning and think I could share what I’ve learned so far.
- I am really bad with money but have grown a lot since I first realized I needed a change.
- I learned I had a food allergy and have changed my entire lifestyle.
Looking at your challenges helps you look at your experiences more in depth. Once you have looked at your challenges you can continue to look deeper at your life in general. Think about things you do on a daily or weekly basis that is different from those around you? Maybe you edit videos of your kids in your spare time or cook super gourmet meals. To you these may be things that are just normal but to someone else it could be really interesting, inspiring, and helpful.
Everything you need is right there already. You can become what you want and you can help those around you just be by recognizing your uniqueness. So do yourself a favor today: look in the mirror, say hello, and give yourself the power of self-recognition. You don’t have to wait until you accomplish something better, until you have a certain degree. Right now, that is where your gift lies.