Free to Be Yourself Anywhere

What does the image above invoke for you?  What is the first word that comes to mind? Do you think she is following the advice, feel free to be yourself? Do you think she is funny, quirky, silly, deranged, or entering into dementia?

My experience being myself in public

Of course, the woman in the floppy, purple hat is me. The picture missed the rest of my ensemble; pink skort, white athletic socks, and grey athletic shoes. I left home wearing everything except the floppy purple hat, which is a permanent fixture in my car.

There were less than fifty cars in the parking lot as I arrived at Bok Tower Gardens around 10:30 am last Sunday morning. I wandered along paths through the butterfly garden, children’s garden, and finally along the path to the tower.

I felt very free, almost blissful in my bright duds. The smiles and hello’s from the people I met verified my belief that the motto, “be yourself”, is uplifting both for the participant and onlookers.

One emotion missing was embarrassment. I felt comfortable, therefore the people who encountered me felt comfortable. I felt positive and they felt positive.

Take a walk on the free side

I challenge you to find the freedom to be yourself this week. Put fear aside, let your hair down, or put your hair up. If it’s freeing to dress in heels to go grocery shopping, do it! Find one way that you feel free to be yourself and go for it.

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A Message About Patience

As I sat on my second story deck, enjoying my first cup of coffee, I noticed a Great Egret perched on an old piling near the edge of the dock. He remained within my view, for over an hour as he patiently performed his morning ritual. This bird’s message about patience affected my entire day.

Nature is the Delivery System

I’ve always felt close to nature, enjoyed her beauty and found serenity in all aspects. It’s not surprising I find messages in the form of animals all the time. In the past I Googled “the spiritual meaning of…” and excitedly looked for the explanation that sounded accurate. Now I simply ponder what it means to me and the answer is there, in my thoughts.

Today the Message is PATIENCE

Why patience? Watching the egret this morning, I felt drawn to his behavior. He peered into the water at times, occasionally he stretched his long white neck until it was completely straight. The early morning sun illuminated his chest, neck, head and yellow bill. He seemed to stretch as if to gather more of the sun’s energy. Then he returned to his primary goal, catching his breakfast.

I found I needed patience throughout the day, more easily found through my message received from the egret.

Here are some of the events of the day that required patience.

  • The air conditioner wasn’t working properly when I got out of bed
  • My trainer was running late
  • I had little time left to get ready for another appointment
  • The usual traffic impediments
  • When I found a store associate, my desired items were at the furthest point away from me
  • The stoplight misfired adding to my time at the intersection

Here are some events that were gifts of my patience.

  • The air conditioner worked after installation of a new filter
  • I arrived 5 minutes early for my appointment
  • The appointment was on time and lasted a mere 15 minutes
  • I easily found a shaded parking space
  • Waiting at the stoplight gave me time for contemplation
  • My energy was positive all day

Patience and Living in the Moment

By focusing on practicing patience, I naturally lived in the moment. I felt no anger, whose source is past hurt. I felt no fear, whose source is the future. There was only peace in my body, mind, and soul. The Great Egret’s message about patience gave me a beautiful day and the promise of more beautiful days found through living in the moment.

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Go Forward With Certainty

This week I learned how to go forward with certainty like the osprey. Seeing this powerful bird land on a cypress tree, take off and then glide forward right before my eyes, it reminded me how important it is to know where you are going.

Living in Uncertainty

I spent most of my life unsure which way to go, unable to sometimes make the simplest decisions. Or I made decisions that weren’t in my best interest. What do you think was the root cause of this?

The Root Cause

My loyalty was to my parents, my sister, my friends, my husband, or my children. However, there were little moments of clarity when I turned that loyalty toward myself. That’s when I flourished. I created beautiful works of art, stuck to an exercise program, or saw the beauty in everything. Then the guilt, worry, or fear would creep back into my thoughts.

What would they think?

You know who they are; your parents, siblings, friends, spouses, people at work, people at church, even your children.
The funny thing is, they don’t really think about you at all. Even when they don’t have all the attention you showered on them before, they are okay with that. And if they’re not okay with it, so what. Good relationships expect both parties to be happy.

How to Start Being Loyal to Yourself

Write down a list of things you like to do, but don’t do now. It can be short or long. Your goal is a list of five. Now pick one item and do it this coming week.

On your list, include small things like a 5 minute walk by yourself, or enjoying that favorite Milano cookie when the kids are napping. You can choose something a little bigger like a 30 minute bubble bath or a walk in a garden. Or go larger with lunch or dinner out.

There is only one rule.
You must be alone when you enjoy this activity.
You can be where other people are, but you can’t invite someone to do it with you.

Yes, this may be difficult

This sounds like an easy challenge and I hope it is. But if it’s making you nervous, remember your goal is a five item list. However, you only need one activity to start going forward without uncertainty.

You might wonder, why five items? You’ll want to do this every week. Yes, it is a beautiful habit you are starting now. Each time, you will add to your future mountain of loyalty to self with this one, simple act. You will start to go forward with certainty.

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