To write down your intentions is one thing. To begin to live with intent is quite another.
Starting The Mighty Peach List pushed me to attend Camp Mighty. It was there that I met the most incredible people and told the world my dreams. Suddenly, the dreams-turned-words-on-paper became tangible actions and realities. I had professional portraits taken, traveled to Portland, tasted foie gras for the first time, saw the Christmas tree at Rock Center and had a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. I ran a 5K, 10K and a half marathon. I’ve planned to visit London and to hug a gigantic Redwood at Yosemite. I declared my desire to buy a house and start my book.
All this has been heady and empowering. But these are things. Stuff.
The real work appears when you realize that you’ve been living your life and dreams at the will of others, or at least in consideration of their judgment. The real work comes when you finally choose to stop letting THEM decide YOU.
At first, the change happens in small ways. Someone makes an assumption about your feelings, casually dismissing a hurtful remark. Calmly and honestly, you correct them and state your hurt aloud. And the moment you receive acknowledgement – the moment you’ve shown up to be seen and heard – the moment you get a heartfelt apology and an admission of wrongdoing? That’s when you promptly crumple into an ugly-crying mess.
Because WOW you just put yourself out there, utterly naked emotionally, fully expecting to get your heart stomped on. And instead you were given validation.
The actions snowball. Other difficulties are confronted. Each instance is more awkward and difficult and scary, but you’ve grown to understand that you matter enough to be heard and seen. No more will you sit quietly and let assumptions be made about your heart or your life. Careless people that once would have been silently resented for their thoughtless actions are now admonished aloud for their behavior. Relationships are ended because you realize that if someone cannot make room for you in their lives, then they are not worthy of having your heart.
You learn to stand alone in your skin. To take pride in the person you’ve become and the person you’re still growing to be. You’re able to reflect on the thorny path you took to get here and you’re grateful for each tumble over twisted roots. You start to live with your whole being. You’re able to use this new-found strength to reach out to the one person who never left your heart.
And blessedly, luckily, find love in return.
The possibilities are staggering.
Because in the end, stuff is just stuff. Go seek out the scariest work. Face your biggest fears and don’t be afraid to eat some concrete. Once you set your intention to live for your own happiness and no one else’s, the rewards are significantly greater. Do the work and be ready for what comes your way. You’ll be amazed.
This piece is being submitted to the amazing Yeah Write Weekly Challenge grid. If you don’t know Yeah Write, you should. Git you some.