I usually start the new year with inspiration and enthusiasm, with a clear plan of action—all gung-ho for bringing my dreams to life. This year is different. On December 14, 2015, my dear coach, friend, and mentor, Michelle Bauman, passed away. Through her death I’m learning on a whole new level what life is really about.
I saw this quote on Facebook recently by David Bowie:
I love this quote and my only addition would be to include learning to love yourself in the “how to love” part. Love is what it’s all about. It’s the Universal Truth—the only thing that’s real. Everything else is icing.
Michelle was/is love for me. She saw me before I saw myself. She knew what was possible for me and believed in me before I did. She never bought into my limiting stories of lack and not-enoughness. Her support and guidance were constant and unwavering. She was a force. She personified Fierce Loving—a brilliant blend of tough love and compassionate love. She knew when to push and when to embrace. Her love was unconditional. I’m so grateful to have fully experienced the power, beauty, and whole heart of unconditional love.
Death brings with it pause. It opens a door to a deeper exploration of life. I took my relationship with Michelle for granted—and that’s ok. I didn’t know I did. I couldn’t see that fully until she was gone. Now the veil has lifted and I see how much of my life I spent living for the future and not appreciating right now.
January is a season of goal setting. For years, I poured my energy into getting clear about what I wanted and then went after it full force. Everything from more money, a toned, strong body, a romantic partner, a new car or house, a dog, higher education—I see now that my lists were based on external things—icing on the cake. I didn’t focus on the cake itself. The cake is ordinary life, the mundane. It’s the every day stuff we take for granted—grocery shopping, laundry, pumping gas, snuggling up with a loved one and watching a movie. It’s our daily routine.
One of my intentions for this year is to relish the beauty of the ordinary—to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Because, that’s life. For me, it’s noticing and appreciating the look in Vince’s eyes as he’s being pushed off the bed by our dogs, Lucky and Matzah. It’s jamming out to music while doing the dishes knowing I’m taking care of our household. It’s finding the joy in trying on five different outfits before going out! It’s texting friends to see if they can play over the weekend. It’s the flowers on my desk, a stranger’s smile, a perfect cup of coffee, the parking spot in the front row. These small, seemingly pointless moments are the ones that make up life. They are rich; each one its own mini-miracle. And the only thing they require is our Presence. Our willingness to pay attention to the goodness we already have….and the goodness we already are.
Elizabeth Gilbert recently shared this awesome ritual she practices: At the end of each day, she pauses to write down her happiest moment and puts it in her “happiness jar.” She so beautifully talks about how those moments are often small, simple ones. You can read her full post here and possibly even take a play from her playbook. I certainly am!
Before I close, I want to be clear—I’m not saying external goals like more money, weight loss, or more romance are bad. They are amazing and absolutely have a place. But when we put all of our stock in achieving those, it’s easy to fall prey to the idea that who you are and what you have right now isn’t enough. That’s why there’s so much value in slowing down and being present. It will keep you more grounded and centered in your heart as you go for your goals.
Isn’t it time to have a little cake with your icing? They go so well together!
With Fierce Loving,