If you are a part of the VIBE community and you play along with us on social, then you already know that I have been grieving the loss of a dear colleague who’s life and way of being deeply impacted me and helped shape my development as an education professional. His sudden and unexpected disappearance from our lives has created a gap for many of us - friends, colleagues, students and family.
Naturally, in my grieving process I’ve been reflecting deeply on what’s working and not working in my life. It’s reminded me of somethings too, like this:
When I was about 19ish years old, I was obsessed with a Neil Young song, “One of These Days”:
One of these days
I'm gonna sit down and write a long letter
To all the good friends I've known
And I'm gonna try
And thank them all for the good times together
Though so apart we've grown
For whatever reason, I felt compelled to do just what he said - sit down and write a long letter to all the good friends I’ve known. I had so much love and appreciation for the people in my life and I wanted to tell them. So I did. I wrote to my parent’s friends, best friends and cousins and even people who came into my life just for a moment. I sent the letters with love, thinking I was mailing little bundles of joy and appreciation to their doorsteps. Then my parents pulled me aside after one of their friends asked if these were suicide notes.
It's a strange thing, isn’t it? That when we pause to say one thing - I love you because… - this gesture is taken as a warning sign.
Does that mean we don’t stop enough to just say I love you?
Does that mean we are so used to our love being conditional?
And why do we wait to make sure someone knows how much we love them?
Every time someone I love dies, I’m reminded of some very simple truths:
Don’t hold back, go all out, have the courage to bring my dreams to life, and find the play, fun and laughter at every possible opportunity.
Remember that no one is a stranger, that everyone deserves love, and that my job is to make sure that every person I come into contact with feels it from me, that there is never a doubt in their mind as to how much I love them.
Unforgiveness is detrimental to my ability to live fully and love deeply. Forgiving myself and others for the mistakes we’ve made and the harm we’ve caused is tantamount to living according to my soul’s contract.
The most beautiful things in life are simple - a walk with my dogs, a camp trip off the grid, a big hug from my daughter, Sunday dinners with my family. Focus in on what really matters, what is most aligned with my purpose, and keep it simple.
These are truths I am committed to, knowing that they are always works in progress. For example: as great as I am about letting new people into my life with open arms, I get to also express my love and appreciation to those closest to me. That is an area that I can often take for granted. And as a chronic overthinker, perfectionist, and over-analyzer, keeping things simple is a constant practice.
I also grew up with this mentality that if I just get ____, then everything will just fall into place. It’s like this crazy notion that if I can just understand this one piece about me, then I will have everything figured out and I can finally start living. I know now that that is total bullshit.
We are always growing. And if we are not growing, we are dying. Just like if we are always waiting for ____ to happen, or the money to show up, or whatever our excuses are, then we are not living in creation and possibility. We are just existing. Drifting. Drifting into a purposeless void waiting for everything to be perfect and handed to us on a pretty plate.
I don’t know about you, but I am not waiting anymore.
Today, I get to tell you how much I love you. How important you are. How much your life matters to me and the rest of the universe.
And then I get to do the radical thing and tell myself the same stuff: that I love me, that I matter and that I’m important.
P.S. It's never a bad time to Show Your Love - Join us in raising the vibe for education professionals as we head into the last week of October's month-long Show Your Love campaign! Stop by VIBE's Facebook and/or Instagram pages on Monday to see which badass educators we're spotlighting and submit your nomination. There might just be a Starbucks gift card with your name on it!