I start my mornings with a meditation. I begin by grounding myself, connecting with Earth energy. Next I extend myself heavenward, connecting with Source. I feel my own energy, and observe with gratitude how this trinity surrounds me with support and protection. Once I am feeling balanced with my energy is flowing freely, I work to release that which is not in alignment with my best and highest good, and to call in that which is.
I use some very specific language for these requests, asking to be aligned with what I may learn through joy and laughter and to receive any- and everything that belongs to and serves me in the coming day, whether this goodness is within or beyond my current awareness and understanding. I also ask quite specifically to be shown what is mine to carry with grace.
You see, this is not a prayer for a day without effort, a life without commitment or challenge. I'm not asking for the road ahead to be paved with gold and free of obstacles I must overcome. Instead, I'm asking for it to be my road, for the challenges I face and the lessons presented to me to be those that I, as a unique and aware spiritual being, am here to experience. I'm not asking to walk through my day without a load to convey; I'm asking to carry what is mine. And perhaps to do so with poise, maybe even pizazz.
Twice in recent weeks I've had moments of clarity, instances where something felt heavy until I realized it was mine...
The first was when I received my reviews from speaking at the Women's Circle of Excellence (WCOE) last month. The feedback was sparse for the event overall, and naturally more so for my breakout session, which was attended by around 20 ladies. Half of the feedback was positive, but the other half was resoundingly negative. Capacity to hold interest? Poor. Organization of the program? Poor. Overall effectiveness? Undecided.
I am a skilled and successful presenter. I have thousands of hours of experience speaking in front of groups, and I am accustomed to positive feedback. To have 50% of my feedback, even from the small number of participants who completed the survey, be negative felt momentarily devastating. Until I realized, this is mine to carry.
The WCOE is a business conference. It's put on by the Jabs School of Business & Entrepreneurship at Montana State University. There is an accepted list of things we talk about at a business conference: interpersonal skills, leadership, communication, grit, determination, teamwork, vision. I chose not to speak about any of these. Instead, I talked about joy and the self-focused pursuit of one's own internal measures of success.
I chose to bring to this business conference the message that what we usually talk about here misses the mark, that our entire mindset around business and success is skewed. I denounced hustle, grit, and the traditional definition of success. I didn't do this indirectly; I stood in the front of that college classroom and said "This is how we do it right now. It isn't working. To do it better, follow your joy. Give the rest an elegantly manicured middle finger."
My words may have been the first these women ever heard stating that the model is flawed, offering permission to disregard convention entirely. Many of them came to hear more about grit, determination, hustle, and the accepted model of success. I didn't offer them that. Some of them were disappointed. And that's OK, because that is mine to carry.
The first title I heard in my heart when I chose to begin aligning with my purpose in this life was World Breaker. I am here, in part, to call attention to the beliefs, roles, and systems in our society that aren't working. I'm here to disassemble those aspects of our world, to break them down so that a new world has room to grow. I'm here to shatter expectations. Not everyone welcomes that party (or conference) guest. That's mine; I choose to carry it with grace.
A few nights ago I found another piece of my life's luggage. Someone had told me, once again, what a large personality I have. I hear that a lot. "You're a lot of woman." "You're a very strong woman." "Your energy is huge." While none of these statements are meant as insults, they are often couched in a sort of explanation, shared with the implication that my life would be easier if I were less. My bigness is often offered by others, with loving intent, as the source of my struggles in life. (This is my perception of how they are shared, at any rate. Some shadow work to be done here, but that's for another post...)
As I was getting ready for bed one evening, I thought how wonderful it would be to hear those words ("you're a lot") spoken with deep enthusiasm. Not as an explanation for the challenges in my marriage or the reason close friendships can be difficult for me, but as an exclamation. "You're a lot!!" "You're very strong!!" I was yearning for those extra exclamation points, for someone to celebrate my bigness out loud. Until I realized, this is mine to carry.
My bigness is not now, nor has it ever been, a secret. I can't hide it, even if I wanted to try. It oozes out of me and seeps into the room around me, onto other people. Some people love that. Some people run home for a hot shower. That's OK, because this is mine to carry.
Everyone has some form of bigness within them. It's not always as public as mine--not always a big voice, a desire to talk (a lot), or a personality that can easily outshine. Some people's bigness is in their art, or their faith, or their capacity to open their home and heart to children or animals. Whatever the form, it's there within each of us. And the world needs us to let it out. We are crippled by small-playing; showing up big is a remedy we need on a global scale.
My bigness is central to healing our world; so is yours. What is mine it carry is the the role of Big. I am here to show up big, so others can see what it looks like. I'm here to publicly survive having my bigness seen, so others know it is possible. I'm here to be judged in my bigness and stay big anyway, offering a template for others to begin showing the world what makes them big. If my bigness was accepted with open arms, I'd be less effective as an Ambassador of Big. That's mine; I choose to carry it with grace.
Though these and my other parts and parcels are not a burden, they are not always light. Their mass changes from day to day, week to week, year to year. They have some sharp corners, some hidden staples. Sometimes they cut and jab. Though I've learned that they are not difficult to carry, they do have weight.
I am able to carry these things with grace, in part, because I refuse to carry what is not mine. That comes first in my meditation--the request to release what does not belong to me. Only after emptying my hands and heart of what is not mine to carry can I find the grip and soul strength to hold on to what is.
Atlas I am not. I cannot move forward with the world on my shoulders. Thankfully, I understand this on a soul level. It's why I start each day asking to put down what is not mine and to carry with grace what is, to hold with gratitude and glee the challenges, lessons, and experiences my soul came here to find. With a lightness of load and heart I welcome these containers of wisdom and growth, for as long as they are mine to hold, mine to carry.