Each passing week, presents countless opportunities for us to learn more about life and change its course toward increasing happiness and fulfillment for ourselves. Yet, life goes by very quickly and often we make the same mistakes that we made in the past and continue to see similar results to what we had in the past.
The missing piece to a life of positive change is taking time to reflect on your learning and how you grew in the last week (month, year etc). Given this sentiment, each week I make time to take a step back and think about what I was exposed to, observed and learned and how it will change my behaviors or beliefs to make life more fulfilling for myself and others. The lessons and reflections do not have to be huge, but meaningful to you and how you operate in this world.
To help you reflect on your own weekly life lessons and what you can take away from them, I’ll share a few of my own.
Last week for me started out in Wisconsin celebrating Easter. It was nice to be home, taking in familiar traditions and long relaxed conversations with my parents. Amid the hymns at the traditional Easter mass, I realized how I didn’t recognize anyone in the church and how long ago it felt that I was part of a family unit attending this church weekly. It was a curious feeling, a realization of how influential my past was over me, but yet how much had changed in fifteen years.
I used to mourn the past, having a difficult time leaving childhood, college etc. a behavior that never served me well. As I stood in church processing the meaning of Easter and my own feelings of “moving on” I understood why we have to continually change form to become what we need to.
If we resist change, life will present more challenges to our outdated beliefs, making us feel increasingly uncomfortable staying where we are. You can continue to ignore the signs, but ultimately there is a price to pay. In response to this learning, I’m more open to easily letting go of what doesn’t work, internally knowing that there is something better suited for me along the path.
I also finished a great book last Thursday, the Kabul Beauty School by Debbie Rodriguez. I love memoirs, especially ones that involve cross culture adventures. Deborah’s account of her life in Afghanistan as a US volunteer and teacher was one of the most inspiring memoirs I have read in a long time. She risked her life, gave up comfort and connected with women from another culture in a way she never expected. The experience made a huge impact on her and the Afghan women she taught to become beauticians, for many their only chance to have any sort of financial power in their life.
Deborah had a passion for empowering women to take control of their lives despite difficult environments and cultural conditioning. She also completely immersed herself in a new culture finding new ways to enjoy a new life experience. She gave everything she had to make a difference and see the world in a new way.
I have always had a pull to give everything I have to make a difference, yet I’m not sure what the right opportunity is to act on this. I also know that I’m not the best at operating well in “rough” conditions where pillow top beds are only a distant dream… This leads me to start pushing myself to find where I can contribute to life in Cincinnati within my passion areas. Contributing to the good of this world doesn’t necessarily have to be dangerous, as in Deborah’s case, but it has to meaningful to you. I’ve painted houses and hosted parties for the elderly, which have been fun….but I am now challenging myself to find what is out there that makes my heart sing and inspire, like this memoir does.
Finally, on a totally light note I learned this past Friday that fun can be found anywhere you make it. Ryan and I did a bar crawl in our local bars in Reading, OH. Downtown Reading can be a little sketchy, but the locals are really great and inviting. We enjoyed $1 craft beers at the sunny Backyard bar, I learned how to play Euchre from a self-proclaimed expert and new friends and we noshed on some amazing local pizza to cap off the night.
It was an easy going, fun-filled adventurous night that was quite unexpected. I’ve never been a very spontaneous person, but this experience opened my eyes to the fact that not everything has to be planned. Moreover, fun doesn’t require going to the hip places in the city, it really exists wherever you decide to make it; it resides in your creativity and openness to new situations. I’m going to open myself to more of these spontaneous adventures within my own little hometown. We aren’t residents just because we live here; we need to breathe life into where we live.
What lessons did you learn last week and how are they going to change your actions toward a fuller life? Are you actively making changes to see the change you want to see?