“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
In May 2012, I met one of the most influential women I’ve ever met, Gail. She’s now my life coach, positive encourager, and friend. I met her in the Napa area, randomly. I was visiting my chef/foodie/bestie-“seester” when, suddenly, my sister had to move back to Texas. I was like, “WHaaaaat?! Now??? Like you’re moving back right now? Like…while I’m visiting you?!”
Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. But heck, I wasn’t about to go home after a much needed 9-day trip to the beautiful wine country. Yes, that’s right. Nine whole glorious days.
I was celebrating my birthday, so I took off the entire week. Always wanted to do that. Check! I quickly got over the unexpected change in plans and rented a car, found a hotel, and continued on with the twisty-turny adventure. Little did I know my entire life was about to change.
California is exactly the dream you imagine – sunny paradise, relaxed people, chic vibe, beautful natural backdrop mixed with art, barrels upon barrels of wine, savory food. Napa is that dream on steriods; it’s Disney World for big kids, “sophisticated” ones at that (ahem – have developed palates).
While at the hotel, I met Gail standing in line waiting to order another glass of wine. Immediately friendly with a sunshine-happy personality, she initiated conversation, and I followed suit. I was happy she reached out to talk to me; before I walked up to the bar to order another glass of wine, I was enjoying sitting by myself outside at a table writing in a beautiful journal I had just purchased. I love pretty journals; actually use them, too. While writing, I could see Gail sitting with another lady out of the corner of my eye; I’d glance up occassionally after hearing Gail laugh; they looked like they were having fun and I longed to be part of it. Why hadn’t I just gone up to them and joined in? The new me today would have, but I was a different woman nearly two years ago. I was a woman who didn’t love who I was.
After conversating a bit, I learned she was there for a life-coaching convention. I’ll never forget one of the first things she asked me, almost as if she already knew exactly what I was going to say:
“What do you want?” Gail asked with a smile on her face.
Perplexed, yet completely open to answering, I inherently responded,
“I want love.”
I wasn’t referring to romantic love either. I actually didn’t know where that response came from or what it meant. It did, however, change my life. And now, through much discovery, I know that the life I always dreamed was a life full of love.
Over the past two years, out of curiousity I’ve explore the word “LOVE” – what it means, how it feels, what it looks like, its very essence; everyday I learn something new about it. It is a lifelong mission to continue exploring love. I also concluded that the reason I had said that is because I didn’t feel I had love in my life at the time; when we want something, it’s because we believe we don’t already have it. Digging deeper, at the time I didn’t love myself. Heck, I didn’t even know who I was. How do you love someone you don’t know? And how do you love your neighbor as yourself, if you don’t know how to love yourself?
When I began exploring how to love myself, I started clearning the junk out of my mind with Gail’s coaching, unclogging the big artery to my heart. I was her first student, and we both entered into a relationship we each were open to. I started learning how to let go of my past so I could walk forward as a confident adult. What I didn’t expect was my heart to open up. I started being kind to myself – for the first time. I started smiling more, for no reason at all. I started seeing all the good things in my life. I even started believing in myself, at first because Gail believed in me. There were lots of prayers on my knees, tears, solitude, a mix of emotions, breakdowns, and breakthroughs – I could feel myself growing. When I felt I was collapsing in on the limit of my endurance, grace found me.
I began noticing love all around me – in the air, in the sky, in my dog, in everyone, in myself.
Most importantly, I started valuing my life as something special, and I became grateful. Then,
I became love.
Because I have always been love, and so have you. For the first time in my life, at 26 years old, I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “I love you.” This changed my heart. Changed my life. I started becoming the me I always wanted to be.
This wasn’t without the coaching of Gail, though. She told me to tell myself I loved myself! So I had to, right? At first I felt like that might be narcasistic. Then I thought, “Heck! If I don’t love me, who the heck else will?!” Gail taught me to believe in myself, free of judgment.
Why is this important? Why does it matter that you love YOU?
Think of it this way. How do you give of yourself, if you don’t know and love yourself? When you love yourself, you accept yourself. You’re not looking for someone to fill a void. You’re not looking for someone else to accept you. Not knowing yourself, not loving yourself, not accepting yourself and embracing yourself as already whole and complete right here right now, flaws and all, is like an empty hole in your heart, and you’ll spend all your days searching for something to fill that hole up to complete you, when really, you can complete yourself, because you are already complete. Right Now.
Breathe. That’s a lot to take in, I know.
Right now, you are whole. You are love. You are beautiful just the way you are.
When you realize this, then you can give your whole heart to someone; this is the best you. You can live wholeheartedly in the present moment, making life enjoyable. You don’t feel like something is missing, you feel complete and balanced. Do you know how much peace I gained from discovering this? And without even trying, my inner joy started overflowing, and my happiness became contagious.
Today I’m able to focus my attention and love on those around me better than ever, because I let go of being victimized by my past and created myself as someone who forgives, gives, loves, receives, smiles, laughs, and gently moves forward. I’ve allowed myself to become the woman I always knew I was, and I love her! Once you find your balance, you can give more to others. Sure, there are still things I have to deal with within, that will never change, but I do so with kindness, ease, gentleness, and acknowledge the person within. I listen to that inner voice and gut and honor it. It takes work though! No one ever said love was easy.
After all this, my new life mission is simply “to be love.”
Gail also taught me to have a life mission, and it’s ok to change it; life is evolving, so, too, is your mission. Your mission comes from your core values.
A few things I’ve done over the past 2 years to become love are:
– Meditate and practice simply being.
– Focus on the present moment (this can be done by focusing on one of your 5 senses for 10 seconds or more). A good book on this is Positive Intelligence.
– Wear pretty lingerie, just because.
– Find the scent that says, “This is SO you!”
– Dream. Often.
– Slow down. Take it all in.
– Leave money in a random spot for someone to find. Don’t become to attached to anything in this world, especially money.
– Smell pretty flowers. Buy yourself pretty flowers.
– Hug, a lot.
– Laugh, as much as possible.
– Seek the silver lining; there’s love there, usually a lot of it.
– Take care of your body; think about what you put in it.
– Go with the natural flow of life. Life loves you! Over-controlling usually stems from a fear. Life will treat you nice if you open up and let it.
– Listen to the voice within, and set healthy boundaries for yourself.
– Open up. Be vulnerable and resilent.
– Shine! Be you.
– When a bad thought comes up in your head about yourself, acknowledge it, then let it pass, and say, “I’m ok, that was just a judgement, and is not who I am.” We all have judgements.
– When you make a mistake, embrace it! “Perfection is a disease of a nation,” (thank you, Beyonce).
– Nurture faith over fear. Be courageous! Take chances.
– Speak up for yourself. And others.
– Be kind.
– Be patient.
– Learn to let go and forgive.
– Don’t worry about others accepting you. Learn to accept yourself, believe in you! I believe in you.
– Pay it forward. Treat others how you want to be treated.
– Discover what it means to respect yourself and others.
– Take vacations.
– Eat with loved ones, without cell phones.
– Nurture relationships that are important to you.
– More bubble baths and smell goods.
– Realize that self-care is not self-ish. It’s your duty and obligation.
– Have fun!!! For crying out loud, we have one life, have fun!
I often think back to that spring day in May 2012 and wonder what my life would be without Gail and without having been open to all the coaching. You never know who you will meet or where, for life is a great journey. And now, thanks to her coaching, and my openness to change, I am living the life I dream – a life full of love and happiness. You attract what you are, and now that I am love, love is all around me in abundance! I wish to spread that everywhere I go and to everyone I meet.
Thank you Gail for changing my life! Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today. Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Thanks for taking a chance on me. I am forever grateful.
What will you do today to take a chance and start living the life you’ve always dreamed – in otherwords,
What do you want?
I Dream of Trina