Shine

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond meaure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

                                                                                      -Marianne Williamson
Awesome, huh?  Possibly my favorite quote of all time.  There’s nothing more I can  add except to  invite you to sit with that one.  Take it line by line and let it seep into your pores.  This is for everyone to really internalize – men, women, children.  We all are meant to shine.  Can you imagine how much brighter our world will be when we all give ourselves permission to shine?  I can feel it already!

Courage to Commit

I went to a wedding this last weekend.  I love weddings!  Every time I hear wedding vows, it brings tears to my eyes.  I think the words are so beautiful. 

Imagine…we stand up and say “YES!” to a lifetime commitment to LOVE.  We promise unconditional love to another person.  As imperfect people, this is a leap of faith.  This kind of commitment takes courage. 

The priest at the wedding this weekend said, “We have no idea what people, events, and circumstances will define this union.”  Isn’t that true? We can not predict what will happen but we are hopeful, expectant, and full of faith (or are we just clueless?).  We don’t know what our story will be and that’s the beauty of it.  That’s the romance.  The two of us against the world!

My husband and I were young when we got married.  Did we know what we were doing?  Absolutely not!  That’s the beauty of being young and brave (or clueless) and invincible.  I remember the priest telling us in no uncertain terms that we were committing to love each other unconditionally for the rest of our lives.  He said it really slow, Unnconnditionnalllly (dramatic pause)…for the resssssssssssttttttttt of your liiiives.

At the wedding, I sat next to a couple that was talking about having a baby.  They were wondering…should they, shouldn’t they, how will their lives change? I have found that if we think about things too much, we all become hesitant, fearful, and unsure.  I’m not recommending we throw caution to the wind and live life without thinking but I know that if I think too much about something, I can have “paralysis from over analysis”. 

I found a quote on a Starbucks cup (Inspiration is everywhere!) that speaks to this.  The quote is not attributed to anyone but this person sure was wise.

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love.  The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation.  To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Don’t you love this? We do dress up our fear, don’t we?  We call ourselves “realistic” or “cautious” or “practical” when often, we are just plain scared.  Sometimes we need to say “Yes!” first and then figure out how to make it all work. 

Our head is often a barrier to our lives.  Our little mind tells us to hesitate and fear.  But if we listen to our heart…well, that’s a different story. 

 

Father’s Day

My Dad passed away 12 years ago and I miss him still.  At certain moments, I miss him so much it makes me sob like a baby.  It might be in the middle of the grocery store or while watching a commercial or making dinner.   Often, it’s when we are on vacation.  Vacation reminds me of my childhood.  I look at my children and I wish they knew him.  I see grandpas with kids and I wish he was there with his grace and his humor and his charm.  His eyes sparkled and his confidence was never shaken.  He was a man who was comfortable in his skin and when he was on your side, the world was your oyster.   

My dad was warm, funny, intelligent, and kind.   He was steady and calm.  His advice for a happy life was to work hard, go to church, and love your family.  I love the quote by Leonardo Da Vinci that says “Simplicity is the highest form of sophistication.”  My dad was sophisticated.  He was classy, loyal, and reliable. 

My dad was a Marine in World War II.  This meant our shoes were always shined and we were fined a dollar if we didn’t wear a belt!!  I cringe to think of what he would say about all the young people with their “pants on the ground” today.  I wish I had asked more about the war.  I wish I knew what it was like and how it changed him. 

One time I told my dad I wanted to marry someone like him because, “You know everything.”  And he said, “Oh, no, honey, you want to make sure someone marries you because YOU know everything.”  Good advice, don’t you think? 

Thanks Dad.  Thanks for talking to me and listening to me and telling me I’m beautiful and smart.  Thanks for thinking I could get into Northwestern (his alma mater) even though there wasn’t even a sliver of a chance that would happen.  Thanks for working hard for our family and for taking us to church.  Thanks for loving mom and disciplining us (mostly my brothers).  Thank you for showing me my own worth, for holding a mirror up to me so I could see what you see.  Thank you for being simple, grateful, faithful, and kind.  I know that you are with God in Heaven and I know when you arrived, He said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”  Well done, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day!