Small changes. Big goals. Just start the shift that seems so imperceptible at first. If you’ve ever watched an hourglass, the sand seems to accelerate through the little hole the more time has passed. The little changes can seem not to have an impact, but if you follow the road out into the as yet undetermined future, your destination will have changed. In an exciting and mysterious way.
I am still amazed at how this works. It’s almost like magic, really. This is what I have come to determine. I can manifest stuff. I can change my programming. I can make things happen. I can write my own story. I can change my life. I can make things better.
The clincher is that with some stuff, I need to be patient. Whatever I can imagine is possible, but the WHEN is the hard part. The part that I can’t control. But if I don’t put it out there, either by saying it out loud, writing it down, meditating or praying on it, or just keeping it in my imagination, it may never come into being.
When my kids were younger the most heartbreaking thing was when they were not with me. Looking back I see how much of an incredible blessing it is that their dad wanted to share custody. But at that time I hated it. It was so painful to be apart from them. Now, with the perspective that time brings, I see that it benefitted them as well as me in so many ways. They have grown up knowing that both of their parents, though we were not living together, love them deeply. But during those years I prayed, I cried, I did my best to wish them to be with me all the time.
Eventually I got what I wished, as they got older and moved back in to my home, or into the family business. My dreams came true, but in the timeline that best served the greater good. That’s the key. The I wants need to serve more than just me. My job is to dream, to wish, to desire, then to let go. To work on myself, to continue becoming a better and better version of Denica, until the time comes for the manifestation of my dreams.
When you have a vision of how you want things to be it is a lesson in patience for life to catch up with your imagination. One of my weak points is patience, and I am confronted again and again with the opportunity to realize this. Whether it is dealing with my son’s lost headphone meltdown, waiting for the bids I sent out to come back, or losing those pesky 15 lbs, I am being taught patience.
Anything other than patience is my mind wanting to be somewhere else. So how to reconcile setting goals and wanting things to be better with being present? I make a space. A space for dreaming. For me right now this means writing it down. It has taken different forms in my past. Sometimes it’s a vision board. Sometimes it’s the saved posts on my instagram account. Sometimes it’s travelling or being in nature.
But it is in my DNA to want to change stuff. To work really hard to get it to how I see it, only to begin again. Impatiently practicing patience.
These small messes, the project incompletes, the ideas, the notes, piles and sketches, can get away from you. The squeaky door, the not so clean car, the hole in your favorite socks…the little bothers that we overlook.
I made a list of all the little slivers that were bugging me, the almost invisible to anyone but me things that I knew I had to fix. To fix, to accept, or to remove. Until I started the list, these things were just underneath my awareness, but in a file running on a loop somewhere in my mind. The I need to do this, I should do this, someone better do that or else items that cause the background hum of dissatisfaction.
The list is just a list right now, slightly overwhelming in it’s size and magnitude, but next step is to break it down. Split the list into do it myself and delegate. Split it again into now and later. And finally put the now items on my calendar. When you schedule it, it becomes real.
We are living in a constantly changing world, and in many ways it seems to be speeding up. The advantages that have been brought by the internet and technology have created a way for people to connect and find their tribes, yet there are the undeniable detriments. The addictions it can create, the comparison traps it can cause, but there is so much good. The unique struggles we all face can become not so solitary. We can find that there are others, many others, that are just like us.
Others that have struggled with depression. Others that want to change the world. Others that search for their purpose. That struggle with addictions, that have survived abuse, that question their sexuality or gender, that want to escape, that have relationship issues, that are overcome with anxiety.
So although fun has been made about “real life” vs. “virtual” connections, I am going to suggest that there is no versus, no either/or. They are two different yet equally valuable things. Both serve their purpose. Some life experiences can be too abstract or uncomfortable to say out loud, but via the anonymity of the internet, we can have a voice.
This is one of those things that you don’t realize the benefit until you stop. But I can’t meditate. Oh, I can’t just sit still. My mind just wanders. That’s too hard. It doesn’t work for me.
These had been my mental responses when meditation comes up, either in my feed, or my thoughts, or anywhere in my awareness. With the exception of my most favorite part of a yoga class, savasana*, meditation had been something foreign to me for most of my life. Until it wasn’t.
Committing to myself to meditate daily for 20 minutes was just one of the lifelines that I threw out there in my search for peace. I set a reminder on my phone to meditate, and I was off. I started strong, taking time each morning while the house was quiet to sit with my eyes closed and a timer. Sometimes using a guided meditation, sometimes music, sometimes nothing. And at first, I was right. I couldn’t sit still. I fidgeted and shifted, trying to find a comfortable position, especially as my legs fell asleep or I discovered the irritation of that tag on my shirt. My mind wandered. I would catch myself lost in a rabbit hole of memory or plans for the day or imaginary conversations. It’s too hard. Countless times I was sure I had forgotten to set my 20 minute alarm and maybe an hour had passed only to peek at my phone and find it had only been 7 minutes. It doesn’t work for me. Ok, I checked it off my task list, now I’m 20 minutes behind and I better rush to get ready and pack lunches and get showered. What’s the point?
But something happened. Something that was so subtle and almost intangible. I didn’t notice at first. I became more calm. I started to notice during the day when I was in my rabbit hole. I had more patience, and a different perspective on the life stuff that came my way. The practice, the trying, the act of sitting and “meditating”, though I didn’t think I was doing it right, was working.
But this week I skipped. I forgot, I got busy, I thought I didn’t need it anymore, and I skipped. One day, two days, three days…and I started feeling an undefinable angst. An underlying familiar discomfort, a fear, a desire to control. Tears welled up more than once. It took until day 4 for me to realize that I had stopped meditating. In a weepy rant to my husband that ended with “I don’t know what’s wrong with me” the answer came in a flash. I need to meditate. So I did. And it worked. Peace is again within reach. xoxox
*Savasana, aptly also known as corpse pose, is the part at the end of a class where you lay flat on your back with your eyes closed and it’s quiet.
I believe that with great success comes great responsibility. Responsibility to yourself to continue to grow, responsibility to your people to have an outstretched hand, responsibility to your earth to make conscious choices for it’s best interest. It can be challenging to recondition yourself to this way of being, because we begin our journey into being human with a very self centered persona. The me, me, look at me that we see in the babies and toddlers and kiddos for many of us gets carried along as part of our identity into adulthood. It’s really just us trying to meet a basic human need for significance, or meaning. I speak of “us” and “we”, but know here I am talking about me. So much of my early motivation was at the deepest, most honest level, me trying to prove myself. Trying to prove to some unknown someone that I was worthy. That I was smart, that I have a purpose.
In a deep moment of introspection and awareness, it became very clear to me that there is no magic “purpose” for me. My job is to bring purpose to everything I do. To create a purpose in my business beyond capitalism. To remain in touch with this truth, and to use my voice and my blessings to continue to help change the world. One word, one interaction, one person at a time.
I went dark. A series of life challenges came at me hard, and I went into self protect mode. Hibernation. I am just so grateful for the work I have done up until this point in my life. The life lessons, like you are not in control, you can’t ever get in someone else’s head, things happen- good, bad that’s all how we define it.
I know that if I close up and stop trusting, it counteracts every fiber of my true being. Life happens. Stuff is hard. You will be presented with lessons again and again, until you get it. Then there may be a moment of peace, and then it starts again. The only thing I or anyone can control is themselves. That’s a hard lesson. One I keep learning.
One of the lessons that I have learned in my years in business is that what got you to where you are will not get you to where you want to go. There are multiple facets to this, from your mindset, to your actions, to the people you have working with you. In all organizations there is a revolving door, people come, people go. This is inevitable and part of the cycle of business, yet I didn’t always think this was the way it was.
I remember in the early days of my leadership, when I had just begun to open my mind to the idea of growing my business beyond my threshold of control. We had a group of people, my “A team”, as I referred to them, that were managing our one location. I began the process of intentionally meeting with them on a weekly basis. These 5 people, along with my husband James, were my inner circle. This was a big growth phase for me as a leader, because these weekly meetings gave me the incentive to identify and clarify what the keys to our success were thus far. We became very close and grew together as we troubleshooted and planned the growth of our business from 1 location to 3. This phase of our growth was dominated by innovation and improving what we were doing, as well as how to duplicate our standards as we grew.
What is curious though is that only one of those 5 people are with us in our organization now. They were with us at the precise moments in our growth that they were supposed to be, but gradually they most moved on to other opportunities. Some I was ready to see move on, because we had reached the limit of where I could help them grow, but some were very hard to say goodbye to. It was sometimes very difficult to have someone move on and not take it personally. But what happened, though it is only clear to me now in retrospect, is that it opened the path for the next phase of our growth. The knowledge that people will always be moving in and out of our organization is now clear. The key is to ensure that the people coming in are operating at a higher level than those that are leaving, if the opposite is true there is a big problem.
By far the biggest change that had to happen to get me where I wanted to go was my mindset. Where did I want to go? I wanted to be able to grow my business, for many reasons, both selfish and not. Ego played its part, as well as wanting to increase my income, but the most compelling reasons where the ones that I needed to evolve into. This began when I realized that money and reputation were empty goals. I began to change my thinking, not intentionally at first, but as a progression as I realized that I wasn’t feeling the satisfaction and accomplishment I was seeking. A shift began inside me, a shift to wanting to serve more people, to give jobs, to help people grow, and this made the stresses and incredible time demands of operating a business worth it. The desire and excitement that I felt at the beginning of my business came back as I found a new and bigger reason to do what I do.
This could be your last day here on earth. It could be the last time you speak to someone you love, the last time you give a hug and say have a good day, the last lunch you pack. You may be lucky/unlucky enough to get a warning in the form of a diagnosis or an illness, but you may not. You could get hit by a car, choke on your sandwich, struck down by an aneurysm or a heart attack. We are all in the process of getting closer and closer to our exit from this existence. Let this be a reminder not to waste your precious time being angry at someone, to make that phone call, to say I love you, to give your gratitude and thanks. We are here in this form on a temporary basis, everything is always changing and moving closer to going back to the earth, us included.
What if we are here to fully enjoy and experience all that this physical world has to offer? What if we are not supposed to take everything so seriously and instead be joyful? What if you approached every day, every interaction, remembering this simple truth, that every moment is a gift.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. – William Arthur Ward