Girl Warrior. Pain is inevitable. So feel it. Fully. Thoroughly. Exhaustively. Allow yourself to experience every little detail of the hurt you are experiencing. Physically, mentally and spiritually. Wring your emotions dry.
Purge. Cleanse. Release. Repeat.
There is no escaping pain. You can run but you cannot hide. It affects us all sooner or later. Like death, it happens to everyone and everything. Guaranteed. But unlike death, it doesn’t just happen once. And then boom. Lights out. Pain recurs. Also guaranteed.
But what isn’t guaranteed is your perspective. The way you think, feel, react, respond and behave when you’re suffering and in your darkest hour. You may not be able to control when something hurtful is going to come your way or cross your path. But you can control what you do when it does.
This isn’t easy. Your first impulse may be avoidance. Or denial. Or retreat. You may want to run like hell away from the source of your torment, if you can. Or pull the covers over your head. Bury it in the sand. Lock yourself away. Hold a pity party. Lash out. Make accusations. Lay blame. Threaten to harm yourself. Crush your psyche. Curse at your body or mind. Condemn their betrayal. Give up.
Do these things if you must. And there will be times when you need to do all or some of these things. Recovery, getting rid of the bad shit that happens, is a process. And it takes time to heal wounds. Whether it’s a broken arm or a broken heart. A sore knee or a sore spirit. An injured back or an injured mind.
But know Girl Warrior that eventually you have to face it all. Have a showdown with the pain. Feel it all. Surrender to it all. Accept that it is happening. Because the pain won’t leave you until you deal with it. One way or the other. Head-on works. So does a slow and gentle approach. Trust yourself. You actually already know what to do. The wisdom to guide you through this already abides within. Listen to your small quiet voice of truth. Know that all pain is temporary.
Girl Warrior, let this pain be one of your quintessential teachers. Learn. Grow. Forgive. Accept. Emerge. Move on.
While I was sitting here drinking coffee
In the silent stillness and stifling solitude
Of my writing space
My mind drifted lazily
To when I was a young woman
And my two oldest kids were still my kids
The time of two cats in the yard
Where everything was loud and noisy
Gritty and grating at times.
I was obsessed
With cleaning up my messy life
Which was actually
A deliciously divine messy life
But I didn’t know it at the time.
Back then I believed
My messy life wasn’t good
And certainly not
It didn’t fit
Into the glossy pages
Of a coffee-table magazine
I would never ever be
Wife or mother of the year
But oh how I longed
For that impossible
It’s laughable now
That this messiness was a problem
This glorious domestic chaos
And magnificent uproarious thunder
Racket and tumult
This callow tender tackiness
Of everyday life
Was something to be fixed.
Girl Warrior. Surrender all. Let go of all the junk that litters your beautiful life. This includes everything. Externally and internally. Release all the things that break your heart, your mind and ultimately, your precious soul.
Change what you can. Clean house when you. Chuck out all the clutter wherever you can. Clear away as much of the chaos and confusion that is causing you stress and suffering, anguish and agony, distress and disease. Do all that is necessary to rid yourself of negativity. Say farewell to the three isms – cynicism, criticism and pessimism – in yourself, in others, in situations, and in circumstances.
Put on your fiercest boots and kick away. Stomp hard and stomp fast. Do what you have to, to set yourself free from these physical, emotional and spiritual crushers. But be warned Girl Warrior, this may also mean you have to say goodbye to some people, places, things and thinking. Yes, thinking. And this may not be easy. Loosening the grip, uncurling the fist, severing the tie is grueling work. But it is also gratifying.
Girl Warrior, now stand up and take a long hard look at your world, the one you have created. Is it as good as you can make it, at least for today? Have you done all you can? Given it your best shot? Tried the hardest you possibly could? If the answer is yes, then drop to your knees. Kiss the ground. Exhale fully and let it all go.
Then slip into sweet sweet surrender.
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. Don’t waste your pretty on anyone who is unworthy. Consider that thought for a moment. Let it sink in. Allow it to ooze into the deepest place inside your generous heart and beautiful mind. For it is here that you will know the truth.
And the truth is Girl Warrior you are one fabulous chick.
You deserve to be surrounded by sweet heart-stopping goodness. Pure and simple. Drop anything less than that like a bad habit. Kick their sorry ass to the curb. Don’t wave or blow a kiss goodbye. Put them in your rear view mirror. Permanently. Save all your heavenly kisses for the good ones. For they are out there just waiting for your warm embrace.
Be radical about this knowledge. Wrap your brilliant brain around this information. Fill your soul with this awareness. Grasp the importance of this concept. And hold onto this big idea for dear life.
Seek extravagant love. The best love. The kind of love that is true to the marrow. That sees, with breathtaking clarity, your pretty in all its magical complicated layers. The kind of love that holds like crazy-glue. No matter what.
Because Girl Warrior, your pretty is too precious to be unappreciated.
Girl Warrior. Your education doesn’t end with the cap and gown. Or the walk across the stage to collect your diploma. Truth is, it’s just beginning.
Be infinitely inquisitive, interested and intrigued by everything and everyone. Be eager to know and understand. Look under rocks. Check out every leaf and blade of grass. Peek behind curtains. Peer into windows. Pry open doors. Poke around. Pursue relentlessly the ‘who, what, where and why’ of life. Plant seeds of greatness. And pick the brains of the brightest.
Be a big thinker.
Grow your mind every day. Cultivate your intellect. Expand your knowledge. Enrich your life with new experiences. Seek wisdom in the nests of the sagacious old birds. Hunt tenaciously for truth. Let your mind wander. And wonder. Live life fully and may it be your finest teacher.
Read voraciously. Write prodigiously. Listen judiciously. Observe keenly. Ask questions. Be a perennial student Girl Warrior. Until you draw your final breath.
Yoga Teacher Karen Cooper. Photo by Stephanie Hull, Centric Photography.
Girl Warrior. Be still. Sit quietly. Spend time alone gazing inwards. It’s a breathtaking sight. Take a moment every day for introspection. Meditate. Pray. Twenty minutes in the solitude of your room is all you need to be transformed. It will change your mind. And alter your life.
Unplug. Turn everything off. Including the lights but especially all your digital devices. No distractions. No diversions. No disturbances. Let nothing come between you and your inner self. This is your time to just be. And get in touch with who you really are Girl Warrior. Deep down in your core.
Shut out the noise and the clatter. Sink into the silence. It is here that you will find peace. Surrender to serenity. It’s as natural as breathing. In. Out. In. Out.
Let the calm beautiful you emerge. Like a butterfly from the chrysalis.