Day 55: 365 Days of Motivation

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
                                –Richard Bach

I have said this before, and I will say it again, this isn’t the end of you. It is the end of this chapter. This may be the end of the life you were living. It probably will be the end of you that existed before this event, but this is not the end of you.

Just like the caterpillar, chances are you have locked yourself away in your own cocoon. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think we all need that time. We need time to weep uncontrollably to the depths our lungs will allow. We need to lay still, nearly lifeless–feeling nothing but the pounding in our head. Lets be honest, we are no good to anyone in that moment anyway. Like the caterpillar, there will come a time when we need to emerge.

We need to be ready to grab our new station in life and figure out our place in the world. It’s a difficult and bitter moment that we leave the safety of our broken heart to face the new world we were thrust into. It’s easy to be angry, unsteady, and even unwilling. I can’t imagine it being anything other way than challenging–a challenge we never asked for–and certainly never agreed to take, yet here it is, staring us down.

When caterpillars emerge from their cramped cocoon, it takes them a little while, but they spread their wings and fly. Decide to take that challenge right now. Take a step out of that dark space and when you feel the fresh air, spread those wings and look at the colors you bring to the world. They’re there, I promise.

It is true this is different and something you never wanted–it isn’t going to be easy. People will look at you differently than before. Living alone is harder than you ever imagined. Not being able to share those day-to-day moments with your best friend will be one of the hardest things you will ever do–do it anyway. If you are open to living again, and committed to the process of rediscovery, you will have made the full transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. Possibilities are endless when you have learned to soar.

Day 40: 365 Days of Motivation

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” – Diane Ackerman

We often speak about living our lives to the fullest–living with no regrets. Those are ideas about life. Diane Ackerman’s quote gives us a visual to go with the ideas. I’ll be honest, I’m always thinking and planning and trying to move onward and upward–this statement still blew my mind. The biggest reason it affects me is because it is exactly how I have felt and didn’t have the right words to express it. I want to live the length and the width of my life. I want to achieve my fullest potential. I still haven’t figured out exactly what that exact potential is, but with time, I’m sure it will become clear.

I spent so many years just living. Some would say what I was doing wasn’t living, but rather just surviving. Maybe that’s what you are doing too–only you can answer that. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t just sitting around on a couch watching TV. I went to college, and graduated cum laude, got married, had more kids, spent time with friends, attended kids sporting events and recitals–I was living life and living it well. What I wasn’t doing was thriving. I was in the throes of life going through all the motions that I was supposed to. And, there is nothing wrong with it. I loved every minute of it. I wasn’t in the hole we call grief all the time. It was who I was supposed to be and I was so happy to be there.

About a year ago, I made a couple of decisions. It was time to start living the width of m life. One, I decided I was tired of thinking about writing and not taking the time to do it. It’s always been inside of me–a true passion. I’m not a perfect author, by any means, but I believe that I have potential to be a very good author. I actually gave myself permission to start this blog and believe I could do it. I quit telling myself I wasn’t good enough and started telling myself I was good enough and could only get better. I had confidence I could gain a readership that might follow me on to the books I will write (yes, it’s in the cards). It helps my soul to write and I hope it helps other people. It is hard to put yourself out there and let people see the truth. I opened myself up for rejection and criticism. Until then, that was more risk than I wanted to take. Last fall, I decided the rewards would be well worth the rejection and risk.

I put myself out there and did it. I have gained readership, although I am a little saddened that it hasn’t moved faster. The more I write, the better I get, and the more I hope people come along for the ride. The comments from my readers, the way writing can touch people is more rewarding than I ever imagined. I sat down one night, wrote a note to my friends to check out my new endeavor–just like that, I was starting to live the width of my life.

The other decision I made was to start a widow support group. I have not fulfilled this decision yet. However, I have done a lot of the research and compiled some information, possible places, and general ideas about the group details. I just don’t have the time right now to do it because of my grandparents–they are far more important and I wouldn’t trade this time with them for anything. I know what I want to do and I know I have the capabilities to accomplish it. I just need some time to be able to achieve it. I’ll get there and it will happen when it’s supposed to.

So, read that quote and really consider your life. Analyze your struggles, your reactions, and look at how you’ve grown. Really see if you are living the length or the width. Wouldn’t it be great to do both? I think it would. I’m working on it and I hope you are too.