Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To Thine Own Self Be True

I was reading an inspiring book today about creating a world beyond poverty called The Blue Sweater. I was highlighting quote after quote on my kindle.
The words on the page were speaking to me:
not only giving respect but insisting on respect, 
how much crueler the poverty of a broken spirit can be than the poverty of income alone,
listening as the key to leadership, 
action over talk as the catalyst of change. 

Then as I read I came to a line where I *gently* tossed the kindle aside and went running for the laptop because today's blog post had made itself known:
"My first-grade nun had instructed me that from those to whom much is given, much is expected. I was learning that this lesson had to be combined with Shakespeare's wisdom that one must 'to thine own self be true.' "

To thine own self be true.

That is the difference between the Jessica that stands and writes and bears her soul in front of you today and the Jessica of years and situations past.

I used to be too afraid to write, even a month ago - I couldn't comprehend who would care what I'm saying, and who would read. The fear of rejection was terrifying, so was the fear of success.

Who am I to write? Who am I to ask people to read what I write?

Then I realized....it didn't matter.

It doesn't matter.

If nobody reads this blog, it doesn't matter.

If someone dislikes this blog - still doesn't matter.

Will I embarrass my family, myself....doesn't matter.

I learned something from a dear widow friend of mine almost 2 years ago - Don't go along with something if it is not being true to yourself. You can only grieve, recover, flourish and thrive if you are true to yourself first. This was again reaffirmed a year ago when I met another radiant widow who again had vibrancy, purity and a spirit that was unmistakable. I asked her about her secret, for a second time I heard...following/finding your own north star.

The best part of being true to yourself is that you have nothing to apologize for.

Since I started on the journey of living for myself
I have never cried so purely,
I have never laughed so freely,
I have never loved so deeply,
I have never swam so naked,
I have never danced so confidently
as I do now that the only thing that matters is that I am being true to myself.

I have built a fence,
traveled internationally,
studied yoga,
gained control over my food allergies,
buried a husband - but remained open enough to love again,
counseled friends,
attended a music festival with 80,000 other people,
cried in public,
sold my house,
Most importantly I have released old dreams so that new ones could take seed.

It doesn't bother me if someone doesn't like that I am writing, or what I am writing. Because I don't write for them (obviously!) If what I write doesn't speak to their soul as something they need to hear, so what? That fact does not negate the fact that it may speak to another person's soul.

In the past 2 weeks I have seen that I can instil confidence, inspire self-reflection, encourage peace. Just by being willing to find myself in the open.*Who would have thought?*

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
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 light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.

Source: A Return to Love-Marianne Williamson, 
as quoted by Nelson Mandela in his inaugural speech (1994)

My purpose in writing this blog is not to be pigeonholed into any category (widow, activist, yogi), or to break any stereotype (that of the young widow, that of the bleeding heart, or the granola hippie).  Instead, it is to be true to myself. To honestly convey the feelings and motivations and inspirations that drive my day.
Hopefully to inspire and encourage even one more person to do the same.
I used to shy away and hide myself - for fear of being judged, for fear of not being good enough.
I will fear these things no more as long as I am true.


To write down something every day that is TRUE.
True to myself.
It might be funny, it might be insightful, it might be tough to say...but it will all be true.


Anonymous said...

proud of you. love you.

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