Girl Warrior. Don’t take offense. This may be one of your greatest challenges. One you’ll not only need to work on every day but possibly every minute of every day. For being offended, insulted or indignant by another’s words or deeds happens so easily. Sticks and stones may break the bones. But words can hurt. Sting. Smart. Sadden.
Thoughtless, unkind, reckless, or flippant words are often the most harmful to our psyche, to our spirit, to our soul; but only if we allow or give them permission to do so. Therein lies our power. Therein lies our potency. Therein lies our potential. We are at the controls here. This is our command central. How we feel. How we think. How we react. And most importantly, how we act after receiving such a blow is everything. This is the “big tell.” This is the pivotal moment when more is revealed about our character than that of the offender.
Our egos are bruised. Our hearts are broken. Our feelings are hurt. Our spirits deflated.
But they needn’t be. Know this Girl Warrior, you have the power to A) neutralize your emotions and B) control your response. Both are critical and integral here. You don’t have to be upset, insulted, angry or wounded. You are not a victim. In fact you are just the opposite. What others say to you, or about you, is actually none of your business. Not your concern. It has no bearing on who you are. It’s their stuff. Not yours. Others will say or do what they will, often without even realizing the impact or the consequences. And so will you. So will you. That’s the hard pill to swallow. We are all guilty.
But you can fix this Girl Warrior. It is your job, your mission, to get at the truth and own it. Examine the intention of the offense. Malicious or not, forgive everyone including yourself, so healing can begin. For that is how you get over being offended.
Girl Warrior. Respect yourself. Yes you. Hold yourself in high regard. The highest, in fact. For you are a prized and precious and perfect person. Exactly as you are now. Exactly as you always have been. And exactly as you always will be.
This does not mean you won’t change and grow. Refine, reshape and rework your life. You’ll edit, emend and evolve as you go. There will be times when you press repeat, rewind or even pause. And that’s okay. You’ll learn new things. Astonishing things that will blow your mind. You are free to try on different roles and responsibilities along the highway or dirt road of your one-of-a-kind odyssey. Abandon what doesn’t feel right in your skin. Keep all that speaks to your truth and honors the brilliant Girl Warrior that you are. For this is the essence of self-respect.
Respecting yourself is part and parcel of loving yourself. It all starts here. You unwrap them together. They are hand in glove and should not be separated. They will act as your guide, your touchstone and spiritual litmus test for everything you think, say and do. But they do ask that you think well of yourself at all times. That you hold yourself in such high regard and esteem that you wouldn’t think of causing harm to yourself. Not physically. Not emotionally. Not intellectually. Not spiritually. Not ever.
There are no exceptions Girl Warrior. Your standard is set high. It is golden. And so are you.
Girl Warrior. Foster Wisdom. Seek enlightenment, illumination and insight at every turn, every opportunity. Grow your intuition and awareness of the world around you and the one within. Fine-tune your instincts and your vital sixth sense. Follow your hunches and listen closely to your gut feelings. For these are the essential bits in the Sage’s toolkit.
First you will need to take a journey inward. You will also need to open your mind to all the possibilities that abide there. You will be opening the door to the unknown, the unexplored, the unfamiliar, and above all else, the uncertain. You will be knocking on the door of mystery and magic and all things mystical. The prospect of this may frighten you. Don’t let it. Open the door and walk unflinchingly through. This is a big step and a brave move on your part. But it is a prerequisite on the path to true understanding.
It is here that you will begin to know the difference between the accumulation of information and knowledge and that of wisdom, knowing and genuine insight. It is in this pilgrimage to the deepest corner of your soul that you will discover the Universal Truths, your highest self, your eternal being and your infinite connection to the Divine. It is from this vantage point that you will do your best work.
It is both exalting and humbling. And when you get there, Girl Warrior you will know.
Girl Warrior. Press pause. Give yourself a time out. Take a break. A breather. Remove yourself from the busy-ness of life. Especially when you feel you have no time to do so. For that is when you need it the most.
Step away from the chaos that surrounds you. Separate yourself from all the noise and nonsense. Beat a hasty retreat from the racket and wild rumpus. Clear the incessant commotion inside your head that’s tearing your fragile spirit to shreds. And wreaking havoc with your overloaded senses.
Stop the madness Girl Warrior. Check out of Hotel Crazy. Find your place of refuge. We all have a sacred space, a thinking spot, and a place where peace is waiting. Go there. If you don’t have one, find one or create one. It’s that important. And once there, take the time you need to revive, rejuvenate and refresh. Breathe new life into your weary bones.
Resist the urge to overthink or complicate things. Finding a place to rest and recover can be as easy as drawing a hot bath filled with your favorite fragrance, locking the door to the outside world, lighting a few candles, pouring a beverage that nurtures your spirit, and closing your eyes as you sink into the sweet soothing serenity of silence.
Then just let it all go Girl Warrior. Let it go.
Girl Warrior. Resist the urge to judge. Criticize. Condemn. Crucify. Cast aspersions or make snap decisions about the words or deeds of others. Not everything is as it appears on the surface. Nor at first blush. Outward appearances are often deceiving.
We all have a backstory that affects the present-day things that we do or think or say. And some backstories aren’t so rosy. Glowing halos do not hover above everyone’s head. For some, the crown of light has been dimmed or extinguished completely. And there is no glory. The reasons for this loss of luminosity matters not.
What matters Girl Warrior, is that you take a step back. And ditch any self-righteous attitude. Holier-than-thou posturing. False feelings of moral superiority. Shake loose the sanctimonious, smug and self-satisfied belief that you are better than the girl next to you, the one down the road, or across the world. Instead take a walk in another’s earth-worn shoes. You may find their pain unbearable. Enduring one single step impossible, much less going a mile.
For this, and only this, will allow you the grace to see things from a different perspective. To hear the true meaning in the silence between the words. To fully understand that there is usually more to the story.
And always remember this, kind and loving Girl Warrior, judgment is a door that swings both ways.
Girl Warrior. Be resilient. Flexible. Pliable. Adaptable. Bend and sway like an elegant Willow tree. Full of grace and economy. Follow the ebb and flow of your wonderful awe-inspiring life. Embrace the wind that moves your sturdy spirit. Take courageous steps into the blinding light and the dark places of your soul. There is nothing to fear.
You are stronger than you think Girl Warrior. You are hard-wearing and tough. Like an indestructible black leather jacket. But you are also supple and nimble. Like a Ninja cat. Both contain the secret to resiliency at its finest.
Study intently the skill of quick recovery. Practice diligently irrepressible comebacks. Master the fine art of give and take. Rise from the ashes like the magnificent Phoenix you are. Rally and return stronger and more resourceful than you could ever imagine.
But remember Girl Warrior, it’s not an all or nothing life that we live. That’s the true wisdom in resilience.
I walk my ginger cookie dog Rusty every morning in the hour just before dawn. It’s a sweet time. A gift from heaven.
Peaceful. Quiet. A writer’s blessing.
The hush before the alarms go off. The kettles plug in. Showers turn on. The Today Show announces another incomprehensible tragedy.
We walk the same circle route every morning. I’m a creature of habit. So is Rusty.
He likes to poop in the same spots. I carry white plastic grocery bags to scoop up after him. It’s all part of our daily dance.
This morning, when we got to the bend in the road, the glorious spot at the crest of the hill, I caught a glimpse of eternity.
The lights below flickered like halos as the world awoke.
At that moment I wanted to fly. Spread my arms. And take off. Rusty has floppy ears that were engineered for flight. I have big hair.
We can do this.
I stopped and looked out at the glorious sunrise and thought how lovely and endless these days are. Filled with the promise of forever.
But they aren’t of course.
I thought of my mother. How this particular orange of the sky would have inspired her to paint.
What a view. Oh God what a divine view. Tears came unexpectedly.
One day, if I’ve done this right, I will be the memory. I will be the gentle tear brushed from the cheek of one of my children.