Tag Archives: Acceptance

Intent of the Day: Accept What You Can Do

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Our intent today is inspired by the many times we’ve ended the day feeling dissatisfied, unproductive and not enough. What do you do when you feel like you don’t measure up? Our intent is to instead accept what we CAN do. Maybe it was one huge task, a bunch of small tasks or that you just got out of bed today. Accept the progress you’ve made. Celebrate the ways you showed up today and the strength you gained since the day before. Today is the building block for tomorrow!

Are you struggling with where you are in this moment?
Here are some resources to help: Continue reading

Mildly Medicated: ADD, Normalcy and Finding Acceptance in Music

Pay Attention!

If there were two words that I could have stricken from the English language growing up, it would have been those two. You would think that hearing them countless thousands of times you’d become desensitized, but you don’t, or at least I didn’t. People with ADD, which is very different from ADHD will know what I’m talking about. It has nothing to do with being smart or mental capacity, it’s just that your brain has its own set of commands and protocols that it intends to follow, and getting it to do something completely different and focusing just goes against the grain. In fact, it really wants to do something completely different most of the time, regardless of how much I want it to do what everyone else is doing. It’s not a question of desire; it’s a question of a biological constraint. The sooner you learn to work within that constraint, the easier things become.

There are a lot of very good people who I know I frustrated early on, my mother is one, and this woman has the patience of a saint. She was raising 3 boys on her own, and I’m sure I didn’t make the task any easier for her. My family, my teachers, all people who had the best intentions of trying to help me, sometimes made matters worse. I learn at my own pace. Sometimes that can be slower than normal, and sometimes faster. It depends on the protocol. Thankfully I was able to find a connection with music. Listening to it, understanding it on an intimate level, and being able to play it was somehow within my ADD brain wiring protocol. I must admit that in the beginning I was not very good, but I found out early that my condition seemed to exclude music while my brain usually bounced around from subject to subject, or topic to topic. I realized I was actually able to practice for very long periods of time and get things accomplished. Through music, I was able to be recognized as more normal, or should I say “more acceptable”. I dove into it with everything I had. I knew that in some way, it would be my salvation. Continue reading

America the Beautiful is Still America in Multiple Languages

By now you’ve probably heard about the controversial Coca-Cola ad that aired during the Super Bowl. The spot featured “America the Beautiful” sung in various languages and displayed images of various American families, including a gay couple (yes, that’s apparently still scandalous).

You’ve also probably seen the lists of tweets from people rebelling against it and threatening to boycott Coke products (Good luck with that – they are everywhere). The outrage over the commercial sparked the hashtag #SpeakAmerican. Are we really surprised? That sort of backlash is to be expected whenever a company or campaign tries to embrace the “otherness” that America was founded on.

What is inspiring though is the amount of people that have stood up in support of the ad, toasting it for it’s depiction of America’s core values of diversity and togetherness. One noble newswoman added her two cents that sum up the situation very nicely:

Her line about the Statue of Liberty not saying “give me your English-speaking-only-Christian-believing-heterosexual-masses” is especially applaudable. What’s even more ironic is that the song’s lyricist Katherine Lee Bates lived with her female partner in Boston for 25 years.

When controversies like these occur, one has to wonder if some of us received a different course on American history. Were some of us not told that America was a country founded by foreigners? The Puritans came from England to escape religious persecution and thus our forefathers created a Constitution that intended to give a religious safe haven and a fair chance to anyone that came to America’s shores. That’s not to say that America has been perfect at embracing diversity. In fact we’ve been far from it – you only have to look at the Civil Rights Movement or the current fight for marriage equality to see that. But does the sound of America the Beautiful being sung in the languages of America’s people – all kinds of them – really still enrage us? Why does that feel so unnatural to some of us?

Tolerance will never develop overnight, and we may never see a day of universal acceptance of religion, race and sexual orientation. Yet we can ask to move forward. The advertising gurus at Coke seem to appreciate that, and so do people like this news anchor and all those that supported this ad.

From Intent.com: Be On Your Own Team

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I see a lot of intents everyday from people starting new adventures, new careers, new hobbies. It’s encouraging to be surrounded by such bravery.

I also see so many people who are tackling the biggest battle of their lives thus far- the battle with themselves. Isn’t it funny how it offends us to see the innocent attacked but we won’t stand up for us when we are beating ourselves up?

You’re not thin enough.
You should be a VP by now.
No one likes the things you like. You’re weird.

Most kind-hearted, rational humans would never say things like that to another person, yet we let the most destructive things play on repeat in our minds. So how could you set an intent to blaze new trails and go on daring adventures when your voice will be the first one tearing down your bravery?

My hope is that this year you would be on your own team.
That for maybe the first time, your voice is one of a cheerleader instead of a naysayer.
My hope is that you would say “I can” this one time. And then one more time. And then another time.

Find another track for that song in your head. One that reminds you that you are no less capable than the next guy.
Why should you not fight for you?

For every guy, there is an opportunity to be a lot better than he thought he could be.
We can’t all be the star of the team, but we can be a star in our life.
That’s where you set your goal.
-Sylvester Stallone

Be a star in your life.
Be on your own team.
Make intents bigger and bolder than you thought possible.
We believe in you.

How to Own Your Flaws Like a Champ

Freedom“Hi, my name is Yael and I’m a flirt. It’s embarrassing for me. I don’t like it.”

Believe it or not, this was progress.

This is the conversation I had with myself in my room several months ago, before I fell asleep. A fairly revealing talk with my best friend left me thinking. As she had (multiple times) before, she told me that I’m a “flirt.” That “everyone” knew this and it was just a part of who I was. This offended me, so I ignored it – like we all ignore things what we wish to avoid and pretend never existed…ever. But I soon came to realize that “avoidance” is a silly and detrimental thing.

Surprise! None of us are perfect. We ALL know this, yet we have trouble looking at ourselves once we realize that we, in fact, aren’t perfect (whatever “perfect” means). We all have qualities that need fine-tuning or adjusting. To ignore them is to do ourselves a disservice. So let’s empower ourselves and get to tuning!

Years and years of self-analysis, frustration, shamelessly crying, and over-thinking have led me to a place where I know how to “edit” myself pretty effectively and relatively painlessly. Here are some tips I’ve learned that may help you achieve a place of calm and self-acceptance:

  1. Find your cave. It doesn’t have to be a cave. It can be your bed, the corner of your room, your favorite lawn chair, or even your local ice creamery (I mean…why not). It mostly just needs to be a place you call your own—one you feel blissfully comfortable in. This is your quiet place. Your place to think.
  2. Get comfortable. We’re about to do some fairly uncomfortable things, so don’t make the situation worse. Use the restroom, make sure you’re properly hydrated, and put on some sweat pants.
  3. Reflect. Think about your daily actions. Try to hone in on the things that didn’t feel right or perhaps upset you.
  4. Analyze like you’ve never analyzed before. Try to look at those little bits more carefully and figure out where they are coming from. Is this a recurring pattern? Is it triggered by something else? What can you do to reverse this? What does it make you feel?
  5. Let it all out. Now that you’ve picked yourself apart, you’ve got to organize! You can’t let these thoughts continue to stew in your brain and transform into a frightening monster you’re likely to run away from (because we’ve been running for far too long). To do this, you should write it down or say it aloud. I personally prefer the latter (though I do write quite frequently as well). When you say your issue out loud, it’s almost as if you are transforming it into an entity that is outside of your self. You hear it from a distance, and it becomes less personal, less internal, and you start to warm up to the idea that it can and should be worked with. The same goes for writing, or really any expressive tool. Once it’s out there, in the open and out of your head, it’s manageable. It’s more concrete. It’s a real, tangible thing you can handle.
  6. Put your thinking cap on and brainstorm. At this point, you should try to think of solutions for your problem. You don’t have to do this alone if you feel comfortable enough discussing it with a trusted other (but always trust yourself, first and foremost). Think of ways you can change the aspects of yourself that are weighing you down. If you come up with something, I suggest trying to put it into a short, witty mantra so you can carry it around with you in your head, all day every day. If you don’t come up with a solution, it’s not the end of the world. A lot of the time we won’t. It’s important to acknowledge that merely getting it out there in the open is beneficial in itself. The solution will come with time.
  7. Hop on to the flip side. Get positive! Just like you were once required to do when editing someone’s rough draft in high school English class, it is pertinent that you point out some flaws you may want to address (or keep as part of your quirky bits of flair), but ALSO, and very importantly, make note of the things you really like. When you analyze yourself, you need to also praise yourself for and reflect upon your positives. The things you love about yourself and that others love about you. This creates level-headedness, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Things that suffer when we acquire a tunnel-vision-focus on our personal flaws. You’re awesome. You’re great. Be patient with yourself. You wouldn’t throw out a car just because it needed a few routine maintenance checks—that would be silly. So why would you treat your self-esteem and self-confidence like that? Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. You deserve better than that!

Like most things in this world, it comes back to balance. Treat yourself with care. Do not beat yourself to a pulp with your flaws, and do not raise yourself up to the highest peak with compliments. Do not be afraid to make adjustments you really think will better you as an individual, but do not be too hasty to alter all the little things within you that make you, well… you. This process takes practice, but that practice will lead you to a comfortable place that no amount of avoidance could ever get you. I’m still working to get there, but I can’t wait.

 

3 Ways to Feel Loved When Your Relationship is Ending

relationship difficultiesMost of us have been trained to believe that when a relationship ends, we lose the love of the person who we once felt so loved by. This belief is an instant misery-creating lie that is simply not true. The truth is, love is impossible to lose. Yes, you feel pain because of this breakup, but not because you’ve lost your former person’s love. You hurt because endings of any kind are sad. You hurt because you have lost the dream of what could have been. You hurt because the loss stirs up your own fears and past pains. You hurt because there is an empty space in your life that wasn’t there before, a space that you’ve been told is the loss of love, but it’s not.

The space you feel is an opening for more love to come into your life – starting with the love you have for yourself, and then expanding to include all the love that the world is just salivating to give you. Love is everywhere, when you are open to receiving it, and when you know where to look. Opening to love can be hard during a breakup, but I know no better medicine than love for mending a bruised or broken heart.

If you are interested in taking yourself off the pain train and moving into a space where you can honor your sadness and at the same time feel more love, happiness and possibility, then read on and put these three Love-Generators to work for you:

1. Tell yourself the truth. You are not losing love. You are ending a relationship.

Do yourself a BIG favor and be honest about why your relationship ended, and don’t make it about love. Love is an easy excuse when you don’t want to be real about why your breakup is necessary to stay true to the most important partner in your life … you.

Love is indestructible. It may get masked or deeply buried under feelings of anger and disappointment, but even in the most gnarly circumstances, love never disappears, it just goes into hiding.

Relationships are dynamic, they are always changing form, and sometimes in order to be happy, two people have to go their separate ways – which has nothing to do with love. Relationships end not because the love dies, but because the intimacy, trust, respect or connection fades, because the contract with each other completes, or because you each want and need different things from life. Not all relationships are meant to ‘be forever,’ if they were, you’d never meet anyone new.

Make a list of all the reasons why the ending of this relationship is GOOD for you, necessary for you to live the life you were destined to live. Then, take an act of self-love and state the reasons out loud. Self-honesty is self-love.

Know this. You are loved. Always. And that love, starts and end with you. It’s ridiculous to give the power of feeling loved away to another, when you have the power to feel loved at will inside of yourself.

2. Mourn the loss of the dream, not of the person. And remember your dream didn’t die.

We often cause ourselves more pain than needed during a breakup because we misplace our mourning energy and end up grieving more than we need. We’ve already established that the love lives on, so you can take “loss of love” off your mourning list. You can also take off ‘grieving the loss of my ex-person’ – because they are not dead, they just aren’t sleeping next to you anymore. What is dying and important to grieve is the loss of the DREAM you had for this relationship. Your hopes, intentions and co-created dreams came to a crashing halt when the choice was made to end the partnership, and the loss of those dreams is where much of the pain lies. But when you aren’t clear that’s it’s the lost dream you are mourning, you get all caught up in trying to change and control things you can’t.

So be sad. Get angry. Move into acceptance and surrender that this particular dream is gone. But don’t stay stuck there. Keep your mind out of dramatic thoughts like “My relationship is over!” or “I’ll be alone forever!” or “What if he finds someone else and loves her more?” Thoughts like these create unnecessary pain – kind of like poking your tongue into fresh dental work. Ouch! It hurts. Don’t do it.

Move your focus from what you can’t control – bringing the old dream back – and dive into what you can, reconnecting with the dream you have for your life! The ending of one dream means the beginning of another, and you still have the power to dream forward the life your heart and soul want.

When you dream yourself forward, you create more love in your life because you are telling yourself that you are worth dreaming for. And you are. Yes, the dream of your former relationship may have ended, but your dreams for yourself didn’t, so why would you give up on yourself? If you aren’t dreaming yourself forward, who will? Love yourself enough to move towards your dreams.

3. Find proof that love exists everywhere. Fill your life with love.

While you might not be receiving the oodles of physical love you once did from your former mate, he/she is not the only love source on the planet. The worst thing you can do during a breakup is starve yourself from love… that is the surest way to get your Inner Mean Girl all riled up with rants like, “You’ll never be loved again.” Which of course, is a straight up lie.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to find proof of love and fill your life with it. You live on a planet that is abundantly full of love – it’s everywhere – and it’s your job to see it, ask for it, and let it in. The more love you surround yourself with, the more love you will feel, and the easier this transition will be for you.

Here is your shopping list of love generators. Put the list up somewhere you can see it, and make sure each week you are getting your fill.

  • Connection. Connection creates love. Be with people who love you. Not to talk about ‘the relationship’ or fix you but just to be with. Walk. Snuggle. Play. Let them love on you.
  • Smiles. Show those pearly whites to anyone you can – baristas, strangers, the person sitting next to you on the bus – and when they smile back, let the love in. When they don’t – and some won’t – smile anyway and send them love. A great way to feel love is to give it.
  • Music. No sappy love songs, only inspiring, uplifting music for you. Turn it on, dance it out. This is an instant way to turn your obsessive mind off and open your heart to love. India Arie is my fave.
  • Animals and Children. Like instant shots of love, hug a puppy, look into the eyes of a baby, pet a kitty, and just feel their innocence and love permeate your cells.
  • Self-Love. Do nice things for yourself. Take yourself on dates. Do the things you love. Take a risk. Remind yourself of why you love you. Make an I-Love-ME list – 108 reasons why you love you. Keep it in your purse, and on hard days, read it to yourself. Instant love.

Orignally posted in April, 2011.

 

From Longing to Belonging

Wisdom - Seeds of LightThe great Tibetan yogi Milarepa spent many years living in isolation in a mountain cave. As part of his spiritual practice, he began to see the contents of his mind as visible projections. His inner demons of lust, passion, and aversion would appear before him as gorgeous seductive women and terrifying wrathful monsters. In face of these temptations and horrors, rather than being overwhelmed, Milarepa would sing out, “It is wonderful you came today, you should come again tomorrow … from time to time we should converse.”

Through his years of intensive training, Milarepa learns that suffering only comes from being seduced by the demons or from trying to fight them. To discover freedom in their presence, he has to experience them directly and wakefully, as they are.

In one story, Milarepa’s cave becomes filled with demons. Facing the most persistent, domineering demon in the crowd, Milarepa makes a brilliant move—he puts his head into the demon’s mouth. In that moment of full surrender, all the demons vanish. All that remains is the brilliant light of pure awareness. As Pema Chodron puts it: “When the resistance is gone, the demons are gone.”

This story of Milarepa came to mind during a retreat I was on many years ago, when I was in full resistance to what is often called a “Vipassana Romance,” or a romantic illusion or fantasy about a person that fills the mind with desires. In my eyes, these desires were like demons consuming my spiritual life, ruining my meditation retreat.

When I finally recognized the battle I was in, it occurred to me that perhaps my Vipassana Romance was not the enemy of my meditation practice after all, but a natural experience that could serve my awakening. What would it be like to greet the demon of desire, to “converse” with it as Milarepa had?

Over the next few days, each time I realized I’d been lost in one of my flights of romantic illusion, I would note it as “erotic fantasy,” and pay close attention to the sensations in my body and the emotions that were arising. No longer avoiding my immediate experience, I would find myself filled with waves of excitement, sexual arousal, fear. Now, instead of resisting these feelings as demons, I just practiced accepting them and, with some curiosity, exploring them further.

The pressing ache in my chest opened into a deep grief—grief for all the lost moments of love, moments I’d missed because I’d been too preoccupied or busy to stop and open to them. I moved back and forth between erotic passion and this profound grieving about how separate I felt from what I really longed for. When the sensations of craving or sorrow became particularly intense, I tended to become lost again, thinking about what was missing in my life, fantasizing about ways I might fulfill my longing for love.

While I didn’t judge the fantasies as “bad,” I could see how they prevented me from being in touch with my actual experience. They kept me from tender presence—the gateway to what I most deeply longed for.

Although I became less immersed in my stories, I could see I was still holding on, trying to control the charged energies moving through me. My habitual reins—tightening my body, entertaining a running commentary on what I was doing—stopped me from letting go into the intensity and hugeness of wanting.

Late one evening, as I sat meditating alone in my room, my attention moved deeper and deeper into longing until I felt as if I might explode with it’s heart-breaking urgency. Yet at the same time I knew that was exactly what I wanted—I wanted to die into longing, into communion, into love itself. At that moment I could finally let my longing be all that it was. I even invited it—“Go ahead, please. Be as full as you are.”

I was putting my head in the mouth of the demon. I was saying “Yes,” surrendering wakefully into the wilderness of sensations, surrendering into the very embrace I was longing for. Like a child finally held close in her mother’s arms, I relaxed so fully that all boundaries of body and mind dissolved.

In an instant, I felt as if my body and mind were expanding out boundlessly in all directions—a flowing, changing stream of vibration, pulsing, tingling. Nothing separated “me” from this stream. Letting go entirely into rapture, I felt as open as the universe, wildly alive and as radiant as the sun. Nothing was solid in this dazzling celebration of life energy. I knew then that this was the fullness of loving what I love.

This love is what we all long for. When we bring Radical Acceptance to the enormity of desire, allowing it to be as it is, neither resisting it nor grasping after it, the light of our awareness dissolves the wanting self into its source. We find that we are naturally and entirely in love. Nothing is apart or excluded from this living awareness.

I realized that the “one I love” was everywhere, including within me. When we don’t fixate on a single, limited object of love, we discover that the wanting self dissolves into the awareness that is love loving itself.

The Buddha taught that by being aware of desire, we free ourselves from identifying with it. With Radical Acceptance, we begin to shed the layers of shame and aversion we have built around our “deficient, wanting self.” We see through the stories we have created—stories about a self who is a victim of desire, about a self who is fighting desire, about a self who tumbles into unhealthy desires, about a self who has to have something more, something different from what is right here, right now. Radical Acceptance dissolves the glue that binds us as a small self and frees us to live from the vibrant fullness of our being.

Longing, felt fully, carries us to belonging. The more times we traverse this path—feeling the loneliness or craving, and inhabiting its immensity, the more the longing for love becomes a gateway into love itself. Our longings don’t disappear, nor does the need for others. But by opening into the well of desire, again and again, we come to trust the boundless love that is its source.

Enjoy this short video on Desire and Deep Longing:

For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

photo by: h.koppdelaney

Are You Blocking Love? (Part 1)

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 11.52.49 AMWhen I first met my now husband Noah, who I affectionately refer to as “Walking Love” for his great ability to give love fully and freely, my love quotient – my capacity for receiving love – was the size of a pea. Which meant that although I had finally manifested a man into my life that could offer the love that I had yearned for in other relationships, I was unable to let all the love in. At times, he and his love were so much to take in, that my stunted capacity to receive love would become completely overloaded.

Sure, I could allow bursts of love in – hand holding, public displays of affection, and his unconditional kindness and consideration felt so good to my love-starved heart. But there would always come a point where the love Noah gave reached a threshold that was way too much for me to receive and my internal system went haywire.

In these moments, even though my heart knew I had hit the jackpot of love, I did what any scared-to-death-of-real-vulnerability girl would do in this situation of love overload… find reasons NOT to like this man! Too bald, too many holes in his socks, not ambitious enough (by my over-achiever standards), whatever excuses my self-sabotaging subconscious could find to eject this love out of my life, and it found plenty to obsess about.

While I couldn’t see it at the time, the truth is that I was pushing out and blocking the very love my heart and soul craved. Why? Because I was scared to death.

It was like there was an emergency RED ALERT system that when Noah got too close, would trip a wire that activated a warning system that blasted, “Intruder on the premises! Security about to be breached!” Noah, because of his ability to offer love freely was about to get through walls that for many years, no man (or woman) had ever breached. He was becoming dangerously close to penetrating the deep layers of protection I had spent years building up around my heart to keep away any chance of being hurt. Until this point, however, I had no idea that these walls were there. A loving, smart, outgoing person with lots of friends and family, you never would have known either. My pea-sized love quotient at the time, unfortunately is about average in size.

We all build walls of protection – you, me, your sisters, friends, mother – because we’ve all been hurt. Our beautiful, loving, open hearts have at one time or another been tromped on, broken or betrayed and so our normal, and probably necessary action at the time, was to build walls, force fields, layers of protection around our hearts… resulting in the miniature, shrunken love quotients most of us walk around with. But there comes a time in each of our lives, when, if we truly want to experience love to the capacity we all yearn for deep inside, then we have to be willing to melt away the force fields, take down the walls, and slowly step forward to reveal ourselves, our hearts, our vulnerabilities, and our innocence to others…

It means opening up ourselves to RECEIVE more love,

which in turn allows us to FEEL more loved,

which then allows us to GIVE more love,

resulting in love quotients that grow to be as wide and vast and deep as the Grand Canyon.

Over the past 10 years, I have made a conscious effort to increase my ability to receive love. It has been my intention to create a life in which I am surrounded by love. This past month I celebrated my birthday, marking a decade of a commitment to self-love I made to myself, which I know is where all love starts. As I looked around my life and as I received all the love that came my way – from Facebook, to phone calls, to celebrations – I felt like a Rockefeller of Love. Wealthy beyond wealthy in love. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

You too have the ability to increasing your capacity to receive love, to expand your love quotient, and like building any muscle, I recommend starting with smaller emotional practices and risks and building up over time, so that when the big kahuna of love walks in, you are ready to receive baby!

Stay tuned for the 5 steps that will open your heart to love and change your life!

 

Originally published March 2011.

You’re Great and You’re Awesome Just As You Are (Part 2)

Click here to read part 1 of Trent’s story!

Born with blonde hair in a brunette-only town, Trent decides finally to show everyone his true hair color and true self. The townspeople attack him for his “otherness,” and Trent runs and hides in a nearby forest until sunset. Approached by an old man who listens to the tale of his woe, Trent receives the most powerful advice of his life.

* * *

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 10.28.10 AMThe wise man was brilliant and very aware.

He took in a breath, then started to share:

“We are truly born great, just as we are!

Our lives are important. You’re amazing, my young star.

But with others, they think, it’s for them to say

Who is fine, who is good, who is right, who’s okay.”

“For greatness is not in brown hair or blond.

Greatness is not in how our words sound.

Greatness is not on our outside – our skin.

Greatness, true greatness, always happens within.”

 

“We just can’t know how great you can become

By looking at hair color. That’s crazy, that’s dumb.

Down deep we’re amazing and awesome and bold.

Down deep is our value, our treasure, our gold.”

 

“No one has eyes to see what you see.

No one can tell you who or what you should be.

That’s your job. Yes it is. It’s all up to you.

It’s your work and your life. You’ve got to be true.”

 

“Life isn’t easy, it’s tough and it’s trying.

It gives you hard tests to make sure you’re applying

What you know of TrueYou, what gifts you receive,

How great you can be and what you believe.”

 

“You were born awesome – awesome indeed.

But to live each day awesome you must become freed

From the judgments of others, from perspectives so narrow

To let your light soar like a brilliant gold arrow.”

“The world needs TrueYou – the “you” as you are.

Blond or brunette, gay, straight or bizarre.

You are you, and amazing! The “you” born just right.

You were born to shine brightly, to share your great light.”

 

But you can’t shine in life, when you let yourself hide.

And you can’t change the world, if you’re ashamed inside.

You didn’t choose how you’re born, where you’re from.

But you can surely choose the “you” you become.

 

Young Trent felt alive and committed to greatness.

He thanked the wise man but feared for the lateness.

His family’d be worried, scared and unbound,

That young Trent was not home, not safe and not sound.

 

He hurried right home in the dark of the night.

But this time for him, a walk without fright.

More aware, more informed and so much more wise.

He got to his door at a quarter to five.

 

Once home and together, the lost son lamented

With details and stories. The sobbing relented.

Trent shared a sound lesson of power and strength.

They stood right by him; they’d go to great lengths

To handle what happens, to just rise above.

To help Trent show up to a life he can love.

 

The next day with power and confidence glowing,

Trent moved through the town without any fear showing.

He let loose his blond hair and wore it with pride.

He stood up to names and to insults so snide.

 

His courage to be true had others inspired,

The insults soon stopped, mean comments subsided.

Trent showed that hair color makes no difference at all

Be true to yourself and you’ll never feel small.

We didn’t choose how we’re born, where we’re from.

But we can surely choose the “who” we become.

 

And soon many others with all hair colors flowing,

Appeared in the town, the numbers were growing.

People in fear with hair once dyed brown,

Were actually there hiding, still living in town.

 

Pretending is bad, it loads on the strife.

Hiding restricts us, it limits our life.

We are each given gifts to discover and use,

And we shortchange the world if we don’t know or refuse

To be open and honest and accept the real “me”.

Trent learned that it takes this to really be free.

 

In just that one moment, things started to change.

People are people, not weirdos or strange,

Just people, all different, all great, all divine,

Allowed to be true, to be honest, and fine.

 

And changed they all were from perspectives so narrow.

They cheered and applauded and hailed Trent like pharaoh.

But Trent just continued to live life each day,

Honest and great, in his unique way.

 

From that day on, in towns far and near

That kept people out because of some fear.

Now invited them in – all are welcome you know.

We all belong. Yes we do! It is right. It is so.

 

Come out from your hiding. Join life. Be alive!

When you hide you stay small and afraid – you can’t thrive.

You’re an original, not a copy or fake.

You’re the real deal, just perfect; you are no mistake.

 

So find your right place, as soon as you can.

Be an accountant, a salesman, a singer or stunt man.

It’s all up to you, the directions you choose.

It’s all up to you, don’t wait, don’t you snooze.

Each day that goes by, you never get back.

Each moment, each day, each minute, each track

Is gone. Yes it is, but the next one is here.

Use it wisely. Don’t waste it! Let your best self appear.

 

You were born awesome, no matter what you’ve been taught.

You were born amazing, born cool – you got what you got.

It’s your gift. It’s yours. It’s all just for you.

It’s divine in its nature; be true to your “who.”

 

Be yourself, be your best. Live life your own way.

Be proud, find your place, make the most of each day.

You’re great and your awesome, just as you are.

Be your true self, be a bright shining star.

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You’re Great and You’re Awesome Just As You Are (Part 1)

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 10.09.20 AMIn a town far away on top of a hill,

Lived people so narrow, judgmental, and shrill.

They decided on high that all hair should be brown.

They decided for everyone who lived in their town.

 

“To live here,” they cried, “brown hair is a must.

Brown hair is just right, all others are bust.

If other than brown is just who you are,

Then you must leave. Depart! Go very far!

For we won’t have people who don’t look like us.

Brown is what’s right. Our rules. It is thus!”

 

In one of the families, young Trent was born third.

In a family so big and so famous was heard,

A cry of great grief like someone had died,

The aunts and uncles and parents all cried.

Young Trent, their treasure, though brown hair expected,

Was born blond, a towhead, a child rejected.

 

Though cute and adorable, smart with eyes wide,

His parents knew that his hair had to hide.

If the neighbors and townspeople had any doubt,

That Trent was not brown-haired, the family was out.

 

From the day he could crawl, Trent’s hair was dyed brown.

This gave them permission to live in this town.

His parents feared someday that blond hair would show,

Because hair on a kid never ceases to grow.

 

Each Saturday night as the bath waters ran,

A small dab of brown came out of the can,

To cover those roots of the hair that kept growing,

Like a lawn after rain that needed some mowing.

 

And so it was thus, each day spent in “hair-hiding,”

In plain sight, with a hat, and some dye so complying.

And all seemed as okay, no foul and no harm,

Until one day, that day, there came cause for alarm.

That day, at the mirror, young Trent stood there staring,

At brown hair AND blond hair – so great, and so glaring.

He’d been told his whole life about hair not so brown,

These people were gross, not fit for their town.

He realized that day he was different than most.

He was blond, not brown-haired. He’s handsome, not gross.

 

He called to his parents to share his great joy

He was different – unique – not an average boy.

He loved this about him. It gave him great pride.

He was different indeed. He had nothing to hide.

 

We are each born great, we’re remarkable art.

We are perfect, unique, not a kind of half-start.

We can’t change who we are. That’s a great thing.

We are who we are; it’s our hard-wiring.

 

His parents warned, they cautioned and cried.

“Being different isn’t easy, so please Trent just hide.

Let’s dye your hair brown so you fit and blend in.

Let’s get the brown back so life’s safe as it’s been.”

 

But Trent just said, “No!” on that major day.

“Born different, born right,” is just what he’d say.

“Born blond, not brown-haired, is how I exist.

Being true to myself is what I insist.”

 

“For someone much greater thought I should be,

A towhead, a blond, not a fake brown-haired me.

Who are these others, with comments to make?

I am who I am. God made no mistake.”

 

The hair dying stopped on that fateful day.

Pretending was done on the 18th of May.

Proud to be done with the hair-dying story,

Trent wanted his real life, a life of grand glory.

A life that was honest and open and clear,

A life to be lived without hiding or fear.

 

Trent marched to school with hair like the sun.

The gold in it shone, like threads that been spun,

But support did not happen, not a moment or second.

It didn’t work out as he thought or had reckoned.

They taunted and teased, chased, hit and called nay!

It changed all his friends in only one day.

 

Chased into the woods, with mean words attacking.

Trent stayed hiding there ‘til daylight went packing.

He hid in the dark and was sobbing with fear,

That someone who hated his hair could be near.

 

“How could this all matter?” He wondered. He cried.

“How could being different make others despise?

I have no control of the color of my hair,

Born with it dark or born with it fair.

Like our gender, or height, preference or skin tone

We get what we get, it’s really our own.

For down deep I’m still me, the same me I have been.

Down deep, I’m still Trent, their classmate and friend.”

 

“How can I live in a me that’s not real?

Who can pretend and not really feel?

Who cares if my hair is dark or it’s light.

I say for me, what’s wrong and what’s right.”

 

And in that tough moment, a moment of fear,

Young Trent saw a stranger, approaching, quite near.

A man with a beard, long, thick and so white;

A smile so warm, so kind and so bright.

“What brings you to woods, so dark and so deep?

The old man continued, “And can cause you to weep?”

 

Trent shared his sad story in every detail.

The old man just listened and grew very pale.

He waited ‘til young Trent was all about finished,

Did not interrupt, critique, or diminish

The sadness, the pain, the hurt so disarming

That someone so young could find life so alarming.

Once Trent had recounted his unhappy story,

The old man responded with strength and with glory.

His words were bold, his lessons were wise.

Trent listened intently for ways to devise,

A way to be happy when others all yack.

To be strong and courageous when others attack.

 

Stay tuned for the rest of Trent’s story!

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