Approaching a birthday is always an interesting time. It usually has me in reflective mode on years past, growth that occurred and what I want for my years to come. My brain has been on constant overdrive with lots of ideas bubbling up to the surface for workshops I am creating. Entering the weekend of my birthday, yesterday I decided to take the day to just be and boy was it needed. What did I notice and experience? The sun shining on my skin through the window at one of my favorite cafes, the joy of being at one of my favorite yoga classes surrounded by some familiar people and lots of new faces, the feeling of someone taking care of me as I received a pedicure, and some warm soup as I read a book on being positive. All this leisure time in my hometown felt almost luxurious allowing me to let go of the pressure to do any certain thing or be anywhere but where I was. Being present in this way allowed reflections of my life to come to the surface. A friend posted this article to Facebook which further solidifed some of the realizations that were bubbling up to the surface. http://www.filmsforaction.org/news/8_reasons_young_americans_dont_fight_back_how_the_us_crushed_youth_resistance/ The article goes over ways in which young people are being kept in check and not shamed for having a voice. This article really made me smile. See when I was young, I know this is shocking, but I would have been that kid who was too shy to speak up. I was scared of my own shadow. It wasn’t until I started getting more into dance that I began to come out of my shell. Going to college and studying abroad is what truly helped me bust out. I came back from Ireland in my early twenties a different person; one who was more confident and less scared of taking risks. That continued in my twenties as I got fascinated by feminism and eventually became a social worker. Social work felt like a natural fit as by that point there was a voice inside me that was screaming to be heard. This set off a path of a long career with lots of interesting and enlightening experiences.
The field of social work was founded in advocacy and people standing up to the establishment. I loved the idea of that. That idea that is. Putting that idea into practice it has become a very different thing. While the foundation of social work is one of being feisty, it is quite often that social workers end up needing to fit themselves into systems that are very much about control and conformity. This small but extremely significant fact has made working in the field very challenging. Over the years, I have learned much about how to work with difficult people and situations both from working with systems and working with clients. But as time goes on and the that chronological number gets bigger, I have discovered that I no longer feel the need to be in the struggle. That little shy kid has grown up, moved through a very long period of rebellion to a place of confidence and inner peace. This is one of the beauties of the chronological age increasing; it gives you wisdom. Last night as I reflected on some ideas that have come to mind of services I wish existed in the world, it struck me that maybe they don’t exist because I am meant to help build them. This thought took frustrations that have been arising lately and my own rebellious nature down a new peaceful path. If you don’t see in the world what you envision, then build it.
Our children, the children of the world we now live in, deserve the right and ability to speak their minds without labels or judgment. I was a kid who was too scared to do that when I was young. Later I grew up to be an adult who would very surely carry the label “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” by some people’s measure. In order for the world to be freer and more happy, we need to be able to allow our authentic and creative selves to rise to the surface. I have come to realize that to chart the path that I want to see, the only way is go out into the world and develop my own business. I give thanks and gratitude to the practice of yoga, meditation, acupuncture as well as certain guides that have helped me see how to embrace my voice and turn it into a bright and loving spirit. The kids of today may not have ADD, they may be eating too much sugar, gluten, living on distraction or maybe just MAYBE they have brains like mine that are constantly creating and imagining. The labels we quickly attach to our children and the means in which the government uses to control the masses keep us stuck in fear and insecurity. How might you allow your light to shine bright today? Are there things that you want to do or say that for some reason you don’t? How does that feel for you to play small and it is working for you? For today, how can you begin to feel your fear and walk forward anyway? Really, what will you lose? Lately I have been weeding through situations that have been arising and wondering how I can walk my own authentic path in a loving and kind way. My vision for what I want to build in the world would be just that. A place where people can come and be free to be themselves. For today, I will create that for myself knowing that if I work on being the change I want to see, maybe it just might happen:)