What could be the demarcate (exponential limitless) growth in what I've learned, how I've grown, and what I've experienced since I last posted my ever expounding philosophical abbreviations of my beliefs on LIVING. I didn't croak from writers-block or go off on some spiritual journey, in which I discovered that I could "eat, pray, and love" myself to death (not that there is anything wrong with that). But, I did keep living. Life, didn't pass me- but- it stood by my side, nestled behind me, and jogged just a little bit in front of me. For this, I am grateful. For this I am ‘still’.
"What's next?" This is what people ask you when you achieve things. It's not what you're asked after the ordinary standards of achievements: marriage, having a baby, or the passing of another birthday- because people assume what comes next with each of those preludes; or, disasters (depends on who you're asking). This question is quintessentially asked when you've done something out of other people's or societies ordinary. It is almost an estrangement when you embrace bold and different; away from the norm of expectation. That's bravery. When you've drifted past standard expectations to MORE. It's heavy recognition. It's profoundly smothering and freeing at the same time. It's a contest in which popularity takes a backseat to enjoyment. And so, I respond, "I'm not done yet."
Happiness comes from not having to paint a picture of who you are, how much of something you have, or what you've done just so other people will find you acceptably-acceptable and perhaps moderately interesting or annoying eventually. Genuine happiness is when you find the exception to the rules and the picture of your life paints itself naturally. If your schedule for life is so planned that it's almost un-moving or causes you to miss out on the best of things, the littlest, the simplest, and the one time "really big and meaningful" moments- can you really say you're living purposefully? Life is not a spreadsheet.
There are 3 things that standout most in the past 5 years of my life: 1.) heartbreak, 2.) accomplishment, and 3.) love. I don't think I would be where I am today without either of these experiences. Heartbreak taught me why love matters; accomplishments taught me that persistence is the champion to any success; love taught me that all else fails without it.
I offer insight on what has become one of the best ingredients to growing in my life: Learning to release.
There was a time when I literally felt as though I was suffocating from all that I wanted and did not have. I'm not talking about material things, but the missing connections to fulfilling emotions and a real thirst and appreciation for living. I searched for it in observing others, but as time went by that brought me more hopeless perceptions because I could not find an example of true adoration for life through observations. Hence, my first mistake was seeking out rather than within. And, I found myself settling for everything until I realized that settling is the safest part of misery. For a while, I enclosed myself in a circle of living that wasn't about living life out for enjoyment; real purpose and passion. Sometimes we live in oblivion to really unhealthy relationships, people absolutely miserable with what they are doing and how they are living, life-sucking desperation to appease others at the detriment to self- so much toxic living. One day, it dunned on me that I can keep making choices out of fear of everything that really had nothing to do with me, or I can make choices with faith in who I am and with belief in my strength.
About a year ago, I was having a conversation with a male friend about relationships. The more I listened the more I realized that a lot of what people look for in a relationship is prescribed and has nothing to do with love or genuine adoration of the other person. One of many statements that stood out to me was when my friend said, "LaToya, I use to think you can just plan everything you want in life out. And, to a degree you can. Except for the real stuff that you really need to be happy. It took a lot of growing up, and I'm not talking about age I'm talking about finally realizing when I was making the same bad decisions over and over again, for me to realize that if you don't have unconditional love for somebody and they don't have it for you that check is already bounced". That's release. When you stop relying on the superficial things to carry your heart and your happiness, and you come to the actuality that the baggage we carry around all day, bring to bed at night, and pull out of bed in the morning (hear the exhaustion) has every thing to do with the life we chose to live.
Release is hard because you're bound to disappoint someone and your bound to meet resistance. In matters of the heart, standing your ground for every thing you do want is a lot less harder than staying on your feet when what you don't want is weighing you down. But, it takes a strong belief in yourself to let go of things that are harder work, worry, and pain than they are enjoyment. Because, once we love anything it matters. Whether we love it 100% or 20% it becomes something in our life. The key to knowing just how much you want it is actually simpler than we make it. Take for example, your favorite flavor of ice cream. You know you love it. You know every time you have a craving it's exactly what you want. But, you get paranoid and start thinking that you need to try something different. A new flavor. And, you do. It's not bad. It's got potential. You could live with it. But, it's still not as good as your favorite. Because, your favorite flavor comes from that 100% kind of love. The kind that you never want to let go because it's so good to you. You know it and it knows you. It's rare and it's essential. No new ingredients or replacement needed. It's perfect just the way it is. And, those are the things we should never release from our life.
I'm excited. I'm refreshed. I've got a lot more to share...