Publisher - May 2017
"Lighten up, Francis!"
-Sergeant Hulka, Stripes
Last month I promised to tell you all the wonderful things that lightening up entails and how you can do it, too. I asked you to start saying yes to things you love—doing things that bring you joy and fill your spirit is the first way to lighten up. So many of us women are inundated with finding ourselves, losing ourselves, reinventing ourselves, or selling ourselves short, that often times we feel too busy, tired and overwhelmed to say yes to the real things that lift us up and make us feel alive.
The myth is if we keep pushing harder and digging deeper, we will finally emerge in full bloom. Not true. If you constantly keep pushing harder and digging deeper you will wear yourself out, wear your friends and family out and go through life like Eeyore, the gloomy donkey, spreading low energy everywhere you go.
If you have something hanging over you—for instance I know someone who has “paperwork” to do constantly for 25 years now—either get it done or let it go. When you allow something to hang over your head, you don’t realize the burden you are carrying around with you. The minute you decide to take control—get it done or let it go—it loses all its power and suddenly you feel lighter!
It’s important to feel light. It fills us with positive energy, which makes us happy and confident. It also allows space for life’s burdens to enter without completely overwhelming or depressing us. I think that’s how we get ourselves in emotional trouble: We carry around every burden we have, and we all know life is going to continue to throw us curveballs. Eventually, there is one curveball too many, the emotional load gets too heavy and we break. Some things have to go…let it be the burdens.
When my home got destroyed in Hurricane Matthew, I immediately knew there was a silver lining. I never lamented, “Why me?” On the day I got back from evacuation, I tore seven quotes out of my favorite little quote book and taped them on the front door and garage windows. One quote in particular has stuck with me and is an important part of lightening up: “Be a warrior, not a worrier.” In other words, take action and don’t dwell on everything that has gone wrong.
Our brains are excellent at jumping to conclusions and thinking the worst—it’s called worrying. Worrying has never once solved anything and it’s a very heavy act. It weighs us down. It’s literally like carrying a 50-pound bag around with you everywhere you go, and it negatively affects stress levels, health and happiness.
However, being a warrior to move beyond worry empowers us, lifts us, and gives us assuredness we can handle what ever has us twisted up. When you feel empowered it naturally infuses power in your core, pep in your step and positive attitude in your mind. A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work. You can’t go wrong by giving up worry.
A few of the other quotes I placed on my home (and they are still there—tackiness and all) are:
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible!” —Margaret Drabble
“Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.” —Paulo Coelho
“In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.” —Unknown
“Something Beautiful is on the Horizon.” —Unknown
“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” —CS Lewis
And finally, this one: Look on the bright side. It’s bright! I love this; it’s so darn simple, and yet, brilliant. It’s been proven that our brains are not programmed to look on the bright side. We have to work at it and make a conscious effort to do so, but look at the reward—brightness! And what comes with brightness? Lightness, playfulness, cheerfulness! Our spirits get to breath and giggle when we feel light. Who doesn’t love to giggle? As a young girl, I would have girlfriends spend the night almost every Friday. My mom would yell at us until the wee hours of the morning because we would just lie in bed giggling. I know adulting is hard, but I want to giggle like a 12-year-old occasionally.
The old game “Mother May I” comes to mind. Remember, someone would play Mother, who would tell you what to do, and you would have to ask, “Mother, May I” before you did it. If you forgot to ask permission, you would have to go all the way back to the starting line. Whoever played Mother would tell us to do butterfly twirls, baby steps or frog jumps and if you asked, “Mother May I,” she would always say, “Yes, you may.”
First of all, what are you asking of yourself these days? Secondly, do you really need permission? Take a couple butterfly twirls, say yes to what you love, look on the bright side, don’t worry and lighten up. And if you must ask, just know the answer is, “Yes, you may.”