Have you ever met someone so amazing you just couldn't get enough of them? Or someone so challenging that 5 more minutes would be too much of them?! I am lucky enough to have many people like that in my life, as I'm sure you do too. Teachers come in all shapes and sizes; some are likeable, some not-so-much, but they are all here to teach us something.
It occurred to me today that while we have all of these inspiring, fabulous souls in our life, time is still spent talking about or focusing on all the people that you don't like and who you wish you could avoid. That's a lot of energy. Quite frankly, it's exhausting.
Then I thought, why not focus on the lessons that I have learned from some of my favorite people (teachers of sorts). In an "ode to my favorites", (which actually includes some of the most challenging people I've been fortunate to know)! I've come up with life lessons that I have learned through some of my experiences with these great souls. Here goes!
I have learned that more is not better.
Having another tube of lipstick, another "perfect shade of pink" lip gloss, a dress (when I own several), a bigger house, or a fancy car is NOT what I need. In fact, it's just more things I have to take care of, organize, return, pay for, etc... Exhausting...What I really love is spending time on my porch with my husband, talking about our day, taking day trips to farmer's markets and hiking on the CT Airline Trail. I love catching up with a friend during a pedicure, dinner with our closest friends, and creating the perfect gift for someone else. Now that feels good.
I have learned that the glorification of busy will at
best fuel fatigue, and at worst anger
Have you ever noticed the "one-up" game some people play with who is busier! Notice next time you are amongst other people how quickly people jump in to play. Be the trendsetter and commit to not playing that game. Instead, shift the conversation to talk about something joyful in your life - something fun you did, or plan to do, over the weekend, how well you are doing in some area of your life, a success or milestone of your child. See if it catches!
I have learned that friendship is not always
convenient, but the payoff is tenfold!
It is a call at 1am to help with a heartbreak, a plane ride to visit your best friend and her precious newborn, dinner parties to practice the perfect lasagna - over and over again -to perfect it for an upcoming dinner with your in-laws. It's driving 6 hours to the boondocks of NY to give a real live hug and much needed homemade cookies to your baby sister, so she feels adored, even when she is unsure of herself. And in return...I get endless laughter, faithful honesty, coffee dates to catch up on the latest, "I love you" texts for no reason at all, frosties when my wisdom teeth are removed, road trips, support (even when my idea may be crazy!), and most of all, unconditional love. I'm talking about letting my crazy fully hang out and they are still there. Doesn't get much better than that...
I have learned that forgiveness does not mean
excusing poor behavior and it doesn't mean that
I have to spend time with them.
Sometimes that best thing to do is detach with love, preserving your own self, feelings, and integrity. I can allow these people the freedom to live the life they choose and while still keeping my life intact.
I have learned not to devalue myself,
because if I do, others will too.
Having respect for myself means setting the tone for how others will treat me. It's hard to be respected if my actions don't reflect self respect. This will look differently for everyone, but I know since finding it that I will never give that up.
BONUS LESSON! I know I said 5, but I can't help myself!
Living an authentic life allows others to show their
It's true. Being your true self, completely unfiltered, is freeing...who cares if a coworker thinks you are weird or that your clothes are funny. So what if your neighbor thinks you should plant more flowers, that your mother thinks you need to make more homemade meals. What do YOU want to do? Forget about the have-to's and about what everyone else wants. BE THAT! Try it on - like a new outfit. It may feel awkward at first, but you'll get the hang of it. Better yet, it's truly contagious. Other people will start trying it out. Read more on how to be yourself (which also talks about the mind-body connect) by clicking here .
What life lessons have you learned? Who were your teachers? A thank you to them is always wonderful, but even better is replicating their lesson. Strive to live your life in reflection of the valuable lessons you have learned, from the many teachers along the way. It's the purest way to be a teacher to someone else. How will you give back today?
A wonderful man I met through the Conneticut Parkinson's Support Group and working as a massage therapist and energy practioner wrote a book of poems that has touched me deeply. Each poem is a direct reflection - almost a journal - of his experiences since diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. This book is what I imagine to be the most accurate depiction of what it is like to live with this disease. Each passage I read bring me to an even closer understanding of what many of my clients experience on a daily basis.
I have always admired the mindfulness practices of the clients I have who live with Parkinson's Disease. We hear all this talk of "living in the moment" and "be where you are"....but I think that until we are truly not able to move from a chair, or are "frozen" in a position for mintues to hours, or are frustrated by muscular weakeness, prohibiting us from doing the dishes, folding laundry, or even driving, can we truly understand what living in the moment is. What a beautiful example of human strength, fortitude, determination and mindfulness. I am constantly learning and so proud to be in a position to provide some kind of relief and compassion to this very special group of people. Thank you for this opportunity...
I encourage you all to read this book. All proceeds are donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.