Tag Archives: Transformation

Are You In Denial?

denial1     Denial…It ain’t just a river in Egypt!  The degrees of it in our lives vary, but I firmly believe that every single human on Earth has experienced it at some point in our lives.  This is because, for a time, denial serves us.  We deny what we cannot accept or handle, and it protects us from ourselves.  But it cannot last forever.  At some point, the veil falls, and we become hyper-aware of whatever it is we were trying to deny, which can be so painful.  We may feel shame from it, or aggravated from it, but that can be normal when beginning to process things we have denied for so long!

Sometimes, it looks easier to be in denial.  As the saying goes, “Ignorance is bliss.”  Denial does not stay blissful for long.  It becomes a monster that grows and grows, skewing our behavior, creating chaos and unmanageability in our lives.  Denial and control go hand in hand; as long as we deny that we are being controlling and do not change our behavior, we will continue to control and deny as a form of trying to feel in control in the mess that we’ve gotten into. Continue reading

Black and White Thinking

Growing up with an alcoholic parent, we were taught to see things in extremes.  It was either the best possible thing that could ever happen, or the worst possible thing that could ever happen.  Our parents had been taught, and were passing on to us, the lesson that people in the world are good or bad, right or wrong, smart or stupid, strong or weak.  If something bad happened, we often heard phrases such as, “I should just give up, then.”  Our world was framed around these extremes.  We have extreme reactions to situations and people in order to get what we want.

Continue reading

Applying Musical Terms in Our Life to Create Expansion- Part 2

radioIn challenging times, it is easy to wander and disconnect from our heart.  Fear, sadness and anxiety can very easily become dissonant notes in the song of our life as we become immersed in the news of senseless killings, terrorism and political unrest.  Within your heart there is still love, compassion, kindness, passion and purpose.  Words cannot explain what most of us are feeling at this time in history.  There is another language that strikes a deeper chord and has the ability to guide us home to our hearts to access our true potential.  The Language is music…. Music restarts the important dialogue between our conscious mind and our intuitive heart and can provide rejuvenation, inner peace and inspiration.  In these challenging times we have the ability to compose our selves, regroup and orchestrate beauty in our life.  We are resilient and have the ability to orchestrate a better world.  As we work on ourselves individually to find inner peace it  ripples  out into our life and our world.

So lets, define the terms compose and orchestrate and then apply them with musical tools to assist us in creating transformation in our life.  According to www.freedictionary.com the word compose can be defined several ways: Continue reading

8 Quotes to Ignite Your Passion

Do you have a case of the winter blues? It’s spring but the weather around most of the country isn’t acting like that. That makes it a little bit difficult to get into the warmer spirit of Spring – we get it. But the grey coldness is ending and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. To help you reach it, we want you to get warm. Not just temperature wise, but indulge in your favorite activities. Reach out to your favorite people. It’s time to get close to the things that make you feel the warm fire in your heart.

That also means getting in touch with your passions. What makes you vibrate with energy? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What makes you feel like your best self? If you aren’t sure here are a few quotes to inspire you to find what you’re passionate about and ignite it in time to stave off the last of winter and propel you into Spring.














To connect with others following their passions, check out these intents on Intent.com

Deepak and Oprah Announce “Find Your Flow” 21-Day Meditation

Screen shot 2014-03-17 at 10.34.48 AMGet ready – Deepak Chopra and Oprah are launching another 21-Day Meditation. “Find Your Flow” is designed to help you find your inner guide and transform your life. Registration for “Find Your Flow” is completely free and begins today (March 17) here. The meditation officially begins April 14 so make sure to sign up now and pass it along to all your friends who could get in touch with their inner selves!

“Our next ’21-Day Meditation Experience’ takes a quantum leap forward,” says Deepak Chopra, in a recent article in the Hollywood Reporter about the launch. “‘Finding Your Flow’ deepens the experience as we move our life into the lightness of being.”

If you’re new to the Deepak and Oprah 21-day meditation experience – every day offers a new audio recording to guide you through meditation and ask tough questions to help you navigate your way through the path of that meditation’s particular theme. Past themes have included “Desire & Destiny,” “Miraculous Relationships,” and “Perfect Health.” The “Find Your Flow” meditation breaks down the goals by each week:

Week One: Begin to understand the energy within you and awaken the powerful flow available to us in every moment.

Week Two: Activate the seven key energy centers that lie within each of us.

Week Three: Experience the transformation and harness the magnificent flow created by you, moving towards joy, love and fulfillment.

So if you’re interested in finding your inner voice and getting in touch with your passions – “Find Your Flow” will be the perfect meditation experience for you. These are guided meditations so meditator of all levels are welcome to join – whether it’s your first time or you’ve been practicing for years – there’s something here for everyone. And did we mention it’s completely free? Activate your energy because you have nothing to lose!

Is it Possible to Give Too Much?

Giving Hands I’m a giver. Being born with a giant heart, I’ve spent my life compassionately trying to help others whenever possible. When I see a group of kids standing outside the grocery store trying to raise funds for whatever cause, I always open my wallet. Same with those who show up at the doorstep. I’ve given up nights and weekends to serve on volunteer committees. As an employer, I’ve showered my staff with bonuses and growth opportunities in gratitude for their service. At home, we regularly clean out our closets and cupboards and donate any excess we can. These actions, as small (or big) as they are, have just been a natural extension of what I stand for. Being of service to others is very fulfilling and, frankly, something the world needs more of. However, like all good things, it can have a dark side. Yes, I do believe it is possible to give too much. Let me explain.

When I went in to business for myself in 2008, we were blessed with rapid growth and business “success”. As our employee size and bottom line grew, I knew that I wanted to give back even more. I created a program for our employees to pick a cause in the community and take paid time off to volunteer. We also donated to many others causes through sponsorships and workplace giving programs. I was invited to chair a local non-profit event, which was a pretty big undertaking, but my big heart told me to say yes as I dove right in to the responsibility. And, any time a friend asked for support on a project of their own, I was there to help them in any way I could. It felt great to have the capacity to give back so much. So, what was the problem?

After several years of very strong business growth, we experienced our first major down cycle. The company started losing money. Fast. Instead of laying people off right away, which would have been a strategic business decision, I felt compelled to work even harder to get our profits back up and keep things chugging along. Tried as I did, the economy was taking its toll. I was essentially losing tons of money to keep others on the payroll. Ouch. The ship was taking on water fast and I had to do something before it went under. Alas, I had to get smart and do what my heart dreaded – lay people off.

At this point, I felt like a failure. I was stressed about money. My heart ached for those who had to find new jobs and I felt guilty because they would struggle to pay their bills. I was hard on myself for not magically pulling it all together. On top of that, I was spread very thin with my volunteer work, my home life, and I had just recently become pregnant with our second daughter at the time. People continued to call on me to ask for help, but I finally had to draw the line in the sand and say “no”. I just couldn’t do it any more. It was time to help myself.

I secretly wanted my former employees to be like “thank you for keeping us on so long even though I know you were losing a lot of money.” Some of them did. But, others, of course, were stressed out about their own situation and a little less gracious. Some even hurtful. I wanted the organizations that I volunteered for to be like “Oh, we totally understand. Go take care of yourself and your family.” And, some of them were. But, others seemed disappointed and became less friendly when I couldn’t put in the hours any more. I wanted the friends whose projects I couldn’t support to be like “I understand you can’t support all of them..” And, most of them were. But, others took offense when I didn’t help.

So, here I was, at a pretty low point in my life. I was trying to resurrect my business, feeling horrible about it, and trying to take a step back to pull myself together so I could focus on what mattered most, the beautiful life I was creating inside my tummy. And, instead of offering support, some of the very people that my big heart had gone out of its way to help in the past were upset or disappointed in me because I could not or would not give to them any more. That twisted the knife even more. And, it hurt.

But, I couldn’t blame them, really. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t their fault. It was I that had taught them how to treat me, after all. I had spent so much time give, give, giving that I never set clear boundaries for myself and what my personal limitations were. In my eagerness to help others, I forgot to help myself. People got so use to me being a “yes” that they seemed less than satisfied when I finally had to say “no.’ Also, it had occurred to me that, even in my toughest times, I never asked anybody else for help. I had let the world know that I was a huge giver, but sent a message that I was some sort of superwoman that didn’t need any help. Therefore people were, go figure, not likely to offer their support. Truth be told, whether in the form of understanding, compassion, or just a little pat on the back to say, “it will be okay,” I would have been wide open to receiving that type of encouragement.

Like with all times of trouble, here within lied some incredibly valuable lessons for me. I used the turmoil I was experiencing in my outside world as a reflection of my inner-workings and took some time to go inward and grow from it all.

I’ve since prioritized what matters most in my life and choose to focus my time and energy on what makes my heart expand with love. I accept that, inevitably, I will have to disappoint some people along the way. And, unapologetically so. We simply can’t help everyone. I’ve discovered that we can work more efficiently and have a greater reach when our own truth and boundaries are honored. Often, saying no to others often means saying yes to our own life and dreams.

I’ve learned that everything needs to be in balance to experience harmony. So, I’ve put my intention out into the Universe that, as much as I give, I also want to feel supported. It’s a yin and a yang thing. And, since then, many special people and blessings have turned up in my life. When we are open to receiving, the Universe shows up for us.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have the same big huge heart that I was born with. And, when my cup floweth over, you betcha I’m going to share with those who need it. But, now I am careful not to empty out my own cup completely in the process. I have to honor myself and my family first. Then, I can divvy out what’s leftover as I see fit. People respect and understand personal boundaries. But it is up to us to effectively communicate them.

It’s amazing how much more you can give when you’re careful not to give too much. It’s also pretty remarkable just how much more support you receive once you open yourself up to it and let the Universe know you are ready.

To my fellow big-hearted ones, may you continue to bless others with your graciousness. But, please remember to take care of yourself and be ever-so-careful not to empty out your own cup in the process.


(Visit the Dawnsense page to sign up for future blogs delivered right to your inbox. Also, be sure to join the Dawnsense Facebook page for daily love and inspiration.)

photo by: Artotem

Creativity as the Path to Peace

"Mr. Hand Poopy" Original Textured Acrylic Painting on Canvas by Four Year Old Jayden 17 May, 2013Sometimes, something is so close to you, you’re unable to see it objectively. While preparing to launch my book Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie, I’m grateful to have had an opportunity to re-examine my personal biography, and revisit some of those significant pieces that have contributed to who I am.

Twelve years ago I was living with a somewhat undiagnosable physical illness that had me weighing in at 89 lbs, suffering from severe and crippling malnutrition, with those around me divided on if I would survive. The consensus was, “this could go either way.” Synchronistically I found Arscura-School for Living Art and embarked on a journey back to health; a journey using “art” as a way to rediscover who I had been to now and who I could become in my future. I confess this candidly in my book — art contributed to saving my life. Literally. Through the art, I arrived at a place of inner knowing and peace, embodied so eloquently in the words of the Dalai Lama: “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

While organizing an initiative around my book launch, I was introduced to some very important work being done in the world. Work that embodies the hippie values of peace and the arts. Two values that reminded me of my own journey and align perfectly with who I am and what I stand for in world.

First, I was led to the Children’s Peace Theatre, which has been doing inspiring work since 2000, creating a culture of peace among children and youth, using art, theater and music. They instill in their participants a “peace is possible” sensibility and ask us all some interesting questions to reflect on.

As artists, how do we inspire our children and youth to take up the practice of peace? If nothing else, we must remember that art is derived from the freeing up of all boundaries combined with the ability to imagine something new, and the ability to recognize the humanity of others. Who else, therefore, is better suited than the artist to inspire alternatives and alternative ways of thinking?

This powerfully mirrors my personal experience, as the art freed me to transform from the inside out, allowing me to reinvent an unexpected and beautiful future by unleashing my inner artist.

I questioned: Is it possible that creativity expressed through the arts, is a path to peace? It became very clear to me that I do see the arts as an important road to peace. I envisioned a simple idea, “paintbrushes for peace” and imagined what might happen if we offered children or adults a paintbrush and asked them to engage their creativity to ignite new possibilities for the world. It seemed that if we could take the frustration and separation people experience in our current world, which often leads to isolation and violence, and invite them into a community to make art together, we’d foster a sense of belonging and connectedness and through this, some magical new creation would become possible.

Next, I was synchronistically led to ArtHeart, which has been working in the Regent Park community of Toronto for over 20 years, offering free year-round drop-in art programs, art education and art materials for children, youth and adults, also serving up free meals to all participants, true to their philosophy of “no starving artists”.

Their programs use art as a vehicle to address child poverty, homelessness, lack of employment and mental health issues, while helping to develop self-esteem, creativity, life-skills and learning. They continue to foster the arts in a community that can’t otherwise afford access to making art and being creative. ArtHeart remains unique, as it is the only visual arts organization in the community and their successes are sincerely remarkable.

With more and more school arts’ budgets being cut, what ArtHeart offers is invaluable. I believe we need more funds for programs that foster creativity, not less. How is it that we’ve allowed ourselves to create a world where the majority of people do not have access to expressing their creativity through making art?

To see ArtHeart’s amazing work, you can join them at this years’ Nuit Blanche on Oct. 5, a yearly celebration that makes the arts accessible to all, where they are joining forces with The Regent Park School of Music at their home base in the Daniels Spectrum.

Photographer Chase Jarvis’ talk “Creativity is the new literacy” at the World Domination Summit in Portland this July, sparked me. He presented the idea that as human beings we’re all hardwired for both language and creativity. There have been many studies examining creativity, exploring if it is a natural inborn talent, or if we acquire it. I am of the belief, as is Chase, that we are all creative and that it’s often stifled early on in many educational systems. Creativity is at the heart of what it means to be human. He elaborated that the world we live in is facing a “crisis of creativity” with the solutions to all our problems based on human creative potential.

So if creativity is innate to who we are as humans, and the solutions to our world problems can be found in creativity, then engaging our individual creative muscle through art and music could be a viable path to peace.

Then I stumbled upon a recent article by the brilliant Charles Eisenstein called “Bombs, Badguys and the Brink of Peace”, which speaks volumes.

We are experiencing today the emergence on a mass scale of ecological consciousness. No longer is the world an arena of struggle from which man emerges triumphant. We now see that the defeat of any species is the defeat of all; that the paving over of one habitat deadens something in all of us. The ecological crisis is teaching us that the good life does not come through winning the war against the Other.

With the recent world reaction to the atrocities in Syria, Eisenstein went on to say,

Translating this awareness into geopolitics, we become less prone to believe that the solution to the problem is to overthrow the bad guy. That, or some lesser version of it – to intimidate, warn, punish, deter, draw a “red line,” etc. – is a perception of a world populated by separate and competing Others. And we are weary of that. We are awakening to the reality that “bad guys” are created by their context, and that that context includes ourselves.

Like Eisenstein, many of us believe we are remembering the necessity of being part of community, reawakening to the value of connectedness, versus the breakdown brought about by separation. We’re entering a new era of understanding, transforming old beliefs to create new paradigms of possibility. If we continue to bring the past into the present, we’re limited to create the same future, denying ourselves the freedom to generate something totally new. Perhaps this is what art and music can bring to the conversation. They are tools to paving a road to peace. They engage and include, rather than isolate and separate. Maybe we’re arriving at that magical tipping point of change. Albert Einstein said it so clearly “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

It feels perfect to end here with words from John Lennon’s timeless song Imagine: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” Here’s to creativity, peace and the arts! What kind of world are you committed to creating?

Visit me at: beverleygolden.com or follow me on twitter: @goldenbeverley

Envy as a Catalyst for Change (Part 2)

139378542_825107ffa3Click here to read Part 1!

Once you recognize envy for what it is, use it as a catalyst for change. Figure out exactly what it is you envy your friend for that you lack. Maybe it’s as simple as needing a little excitement in your life or maybe it’s the beginning of acknowledging the need for a real, substantive change that makes the day into night. It’s up to you to process, fertilize and transform your envy into the fuel that propels positive change or the blissful acceptance and appreciation that demonstrate that you are truly becoming the person you admire most.

Jealousy is a bit harder to use for your own enlightenment but perhaps that much more important for you to understand and take control of turning the tables. It’s not always going to work: Your bestie’s engagement ring is going to be hard to stomach if the love of your life just broke up with you any way you look at it. But it can be a useful exercise in figuring out exactly why you are so soured. Start by asking yourself some tough questions.

If you are feeling jealous it’s because you lost something. But what exactly did you lose? Each instance of jealousy is merely a stimulus for you to examine your life, and while Plato’s words suggested the unexamined life is not worth living, the over-examined life may not be the way you want to live either. Assuming your friend isn’t marrying your ex, you’re not really losing anything tangible.

The truth is what you have lost is an idea – about yourself, be it about your own desirability or your (perhaps totally unrealistic) previous vision of your future. Whatever it is, go ahead and figure out how you can regain what you actually lost…not the man but the love you felt. Chances are if you and Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful broke up before you could go the distance down the aisle it’s because those things weren’t really on offer in the first place. So maybe you didn’t actually lose anything, and the jealousy and envy provided an opportunity for a productive new future… one in which you actually know what you need and want.

Jealousy is often a reaction to what cognitive behavioral therapists refer to as projecting the future. You see your friend happy and you predict –irrationally, that you will never be that happy. Remind yourself that you are not, in fact, clairvoyant, and your friend’s happiness can actually add to your own, and that your thought pattern can use a readjustment to see potential, not pain.

Of course, not all envy can be turned on its head but the truth is, not all envy is painful or even negative. In some cases, you can not only use your envy but also enjoy it. Think about it. Is there anyone you hate more than Gwyneth Paltrow, with her Vegenaise and her handmade this and that and her smug and perfect skinny, blond, rich everything?

Still, the majority of what you hate is not hate at all. It’s envy but the fun kind, the kind you and your friends can giggle about and yet still, in the back of your subconscious mind, recognize that there’s a decent quinoa recipe on her Web site you could probably pull off, and you could go to the gym or prioritize what the jealousy and envy brought so clearly to your mind. So thank you, Gwyneth. We may hate you – or really, just envy you – but you are making us better despite yourself.

Often, of course, it’s not that easy. Envy can eat at you. Jealousy can indeed become a monstrous force, a dark green cloud that throws a pall over moments that should by all rights add to your happiness, not slice a blade through it. The feeling that the grass is forever greener over the hill you can’t climb needs to be replaced with climbing lessons or gardening lessons so that you get what you want instead of nagging dissatisfaction.

But the truth is, the monster is not that ferocious. Just by recognizing it you have sapped its strength, turned it docile, made it into your pet, to be taught and tamed and ultimately to make yourself stronger by serving your needs and wants…now that you know what they are. The grass you fertilize may become the envy of the neighborhood. Then walk magnanimously over to the other side of the street …. and teach your neighbor how to do the same thing.

Envy as a Catalyst for Change

GoodnightFrom Othello to Cinderella, Toy Story to Snow White, envy and its kissing cousin jealousy have always gotten a bad rap. It is, in the words of the evil Iago, “the green eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”

But the truth is, envy and to a lesser extent jealousy, can be useful, and even productive emotions that don’t always lead to poisoning one’s beautiful stepdaughter or murdering a beloved spouse. The eminent British mathematician and philosopher, Betrand Russell, said that while envy is one of the most potent causes of unhappiness, it’s also at the foundation of how democratic and egalitarian societies are developed.

How come so much contrast? His view counted on the genesis of the emotions and the ability to then work at altering the context. We are good at altering the context when we don’t like something, but what about when we want it? Now. Like an Oompa Loompa, give it to me!

In other words, the trick to generating happiness out of the despair and maliciousness created by envy and jealousy is in identifying where the feelings come from – what really generates them and in what you do next. Are you willing to do the work necessary to improve your life or will you be passive and wallow in self-pity? Stated simply, envy and jealousy can help you realize what it is you really need and want, but you still need to do the work to make the proverbial lemonade.

In some cases, the first step is determining whether what you feel is envy or jealousy. While the words tend to be used interchangeably, they do have subtle, crucially different meanings. By putting your emotional experience into either the envy or the jealousy bucket, you’re on the way to understanding and using it in a positive way.

Envy is about what you don’t have. It is a lack, a longing, a hole to fill. Envy is what you felt as a kid when your sister got the bigger bedroom and as an adult when your best friend added another boat to her collection, won the Pulitzer or scored a pair of Jimmy Choos on sale. It is the entire plot of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and the reason we sort of hate Sheryl Sandberg, though we appreciate the advice.

Jealousy is about the fear of loss…it is about what you want to keep – your boyfriend, your status as the best lawyer in the firm, being the go-to parent on the PTA or ranking doubles champion at the club. It is how you felt when your parents paid more attention to your sister or when your spouse paid more attention to, well, anything. Jealousy makes you crazy, while envy makes you unhappy. While both are personal, one makes you feel depressed and the other makes you wish other people were depressed. You can’t be jealous of Sheryl Sandberg, unless the job she leaned into happened to be yours.

Of course, neither feels good. It seems petty, often pathetic, a clear indication that we are not the people we want to be, and so, on top of the discomfort of envy we often add an unpleasant layer of guilt – anger at ourselves for having this tacky, weak emotion. If we deal with it at all it is only to try to talk ourselves out of it or bury it deep in our psyches and pretend it’s not there.

At best, when we are trying to handle envy or jealousy we catalog all the wonderful things we do have, our professional accomplishments and personal blessings in hopes that it will make us feel better about what we still want that seems just beyond our reach or about what we are constantly terrified is slipping away. That’s not a bad thing, but let’s be honest: How well does that work? Does Katy Perry reminding herself that she is an international superstar and one of few women in the world who can pull off a bustier as evening wear really ease the gut clenching she experiences when she sees Russell Brand with that blond?

Instead of trying to get rid of the guilt, refocus on the matter at hand: The envy or jealousy itself.

Sometimes it’s easy to recognize. Your best friend lost 30 pounds and is suddenly turning heads. Jealous? Why yes.

Other times, it’s hidden behind layers of denial. Let’s say that same friend tells you she is going to spend the next two years traveling the world and living in a collapsible yurt. Something hits you in the pit of your stomach. You assume it’s merely worry. What exactly is a yurt anyway? Is it safe?

Well maybe you really are just concerned for her future, but maybe, just maybe, what you are really concerned about is your own. Perhaps that gut punch is envy. She is spending her life as she wills it…not at the mercy of her husband, boyfriend, children, boss or parents. She is living her own life. Wow…wouldn’t that make anyone envious?

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Change is Good, and It Happens Faster Than We Think

ChangeIt was in late 2003 that I developed a monster-sized crush on a boy named Tim. (His name has been changed to preserve anonymity; however, if “Tim” doesn’t figure out he’s “Tim” by the end of this blog post, I’m not a very good writer.) I was 14 and a freshman in high school, and Tim was a sophomore and one year older. He wasn’t your classic high school heartthrob, he wasn’t a football player, nor did he have the best grades, but Tim was an actor. He was a very, very good actor.

I’d been eye-ing Tim for a few days before we ended up sitting next to each other at the annual fall recital for my high school’s dance department (I went to a performing arts high school, hence the absence of football playing men and prominence of drama – both real-life and acted.) I spotted him in the auditorium just before the show was about to start and found myself seated next to him as the curtains began to open. If I’d had any doubts that Tim was the “one” I would pick to be object of my undying affection, it was what happened next that sealed the deal. As I looked beside me at Tim, he looked down at his program and saw that one of his favorite songs, “Crazy on You” by Heart, was the soundtrack to the first performance:

“Ah, this song has the best guitar intro,” he whispered as he tilted his head backward and took in each strum. I watched him as he inhaled this song I hadn’t heard before and found myself wanting to know every song he’d ever heard. He was like no one I’d ever met, and I was somewhere between wanting to be with him and wanting to be just like him. I knew he was in awe of the music, but I was convinced he was the real rock star. I didn’t know who Heart was, but I knew mine was in some serious trouble.

I raced home that night and downloaded the song before my mom even had time to tell me she needed the computer first. I listened to the guitar intro over and over, thinking about Tim and how perfect he was, wanting know more about his favorite kinds of music. For months after that I would chat with Tim over AOL Instant Messenger, pretending to know all of his favorite bands and posting lyrics to his favorite songs in my away messages. I would go back and forth every other week (sometimes every other day) between being “in love” with Tim and viscerally hating him.

Tim led me on to the point of no return, but had a girlfriend all the while. I hadn’t seen enough episodes of Sex and the City yet to understand what a dead end street this actually was, so instead, I was starring in the Taylor Swift music video “You Belong With Me” and dreaming of the day Tim would come to his senses, turn around and ask me to be his girlfriend instead. Genius plan, I know, but I was merely taking the advice of all the pop queens before me.

In my moments of “visceral hatred” toward Tim, I would passionately take a stand and delete my entire iTunes library as most of the songs in it were his influence. I got rid of all the songs I never would have known about if it hadn’t been for Tim, but I never deleted my favorite: “Crazy on You.”

Of course, Tim and I did not end up together. Around the end of my freshman year, he finally broke up with the girl he’d been seeing and was “ready” to date yours truly, but I decided to move on the moment I found out he was available. He’s actually married now, and I’ve lived about 259 lives since my freshman year of high school, but “Crazy on You” has still managed to hold it’s place in my iTunes library. Tonight, it came on shuffle and took me my surprise – just like that, I was 14 again.

I couldn’t believe that moment was 10 years ago, but at the same time, I couldn’t believe it was only ten years ago. How was I only 14 ten years ago??? I was (am) at a loss for words.

At the risk of sounding a bit too much like Carrie Bradshaw, I got to thinking. I got to thinking about how fast growth happens but how slow it can feel when it’s actually happening. Perhaps for all the times I’ve feared I wasn’t striding forward at a quick enough pace, I was moving forward much more quickly than I realized. Perhaps in my moments of discontentment with where I am today and why I’m not somewhere further down the road, I can remember it was just a mere ten years ago that I was Googling Led Zeppelin lyrics and using them in my AOL away message to impress a boy (I mean, we didn’t even have Facebook back then – that’s saying something.)

I’ve come a long way since 2003, and I’ve actually come a long way since yesterday, too. When it comes to taking account of where I am, the most valuable tool at my disposal might just be taking account of where I’ve been. In any given moment, I’m sitting somewhere far down the tracks from where I was sitting before.

And if I’m really looking to know what’s ahead, it’s actually the looking back that shows me how very much I have to look forward to. I mean, if we were all using AOL but ten years ago, I imagine there must be infinite possibilities awaiting us all in the next ten.

For more, check out my website, The Light Files, and follow me on Facebook or Twitter.


More by Laura Max Nelson:

Why I Choose the Solo Life, For Now

Romantic Failure Doesn’t Make You Any Less Perfect

How to Deal When You’re Outside of Your Comfort Zone

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