A few weeks ago, I was throwing some time away on Instagram when something unexpected happened.
I'd woken up extra early that morning because—much to my chagrin—5am has apparently become my eyes' favorite time to pop open for no good reason. By the time the baby went down for his nap at 10am, I was in need of a good do-nothing-on-my-phone session.
I was scrolling through some photos when I came across the work of a wonderful photographer, @jordanherschel. And as soon as I landed on his feed, I felt my body ache. It wasn't so much like a punch in the gut, but more like staring at the sun.
Instantly. My body reacted to this person's work. To the beauty he was creating.
All because I want to create that kind of beauty, too.
Most of us encounter this kind of feeling every single day, but we may not realize its potential.
When we find a photo of a beautifully decorated home on Pinterest and feel jealous.
When we hear about a friend's good news and feel left behind.
When we watch someone conquer an incredible pose at a yoga class and feel unworthy.
When we witness a parent successfully negotiate with a fussy toddler and feel less than.
It feels downright wretched— but that doesn't always have to be the case.
Instead of letting all that stuff turn into wretchedness, we could let them be signs.
We are constantly pulled toward what we yearn to create.
Witnessing someone else doing what we want to do can be a beautiful thing if we let it be. But when it happens, what are we supposed to do?
How can we turn those aches into signs?
Healing your life
When I was hit by the Jordan-Herschel-photography-ache, I immediately thought of the book I'm reading. It's as beautiful and delicious and "woo woo" as its title: You Can Heal Your Life.
This book has blown my mind on so many levels, but mainly on how to break through the barrier of the burning-yearning- ache of a life I wish for and actually living it with a sense of abundance and joy.
It's one of those books that is simultaneously hard to digest and absolutely delicious. I keep stopping every few seconds to highlight something or pull out my journal. The entire book may end up yellow before I'm through with it!
I want to share my favorite parts with you.
(This is my second book review! You can read the first one here on Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth.)
But really? I'm writing this for me. Because I want to remember, cementing these words and concepts and beliefs in my brain. Because you know it's a good book when you want to write about it.
Think what you want to create.
The main message behind this book is the following: your inner thoughts create your outer outcomes.
I have to be honest with myself and admit that all the areas of my life where I'm struggling are the exact same places where my thoughts are incredibly negative. In fact, they've become hardened beliefs—and beliefs tend to stick.
The book's author, Louise L. Hay, explains it this way:
"If you choose thoughts that will create problems and pain, that’s rather foolish. It’s like choosing food that always makes you ill."
For example, I'm not sure where I picked up the belief that it's impossible for me to be a part of a creative community while living in Nicaragua, but I've been living a lonely creative life ever since that belief hardened my heart. (It's been years.) Once I started reading this book, I let that belief go and replaced it with a positive one: "I have happy, flourishing friendships that make me feel connected and loved." And suddenly? Friendships all around! Not necessarily in Nicaragua, of course... Some are all over the world! But a friend is a friend is a friend. I'm now connecting (and re-connecting) with friends on Skype or WhatsApp all the time.
In full disclosure, my podcast is a part of that. Recording episodes with people I admire keeps me connected and inspired and in love with all my friends across the globe. Win!
Moral of the story?
Positive thoughts → positive beliefs → positive outcomes.
Never criticize yourself.
Earlier this week, close friends of mine were in town and wanted to go on a photography adventure a few hours away from home. I went back and forth on whether I should make the trip because it meant being away from the baby for the entire afternoon. After some deep thinking, I decided to put the guilt and negative thoughts behind to go create. (YES!)
After hours of driving, walking in the beating sun and climbing to the top of a Cathedral, I was finally just steps away from my coveted photos. So, I opened my backpack and ... dropped my camera.
After from the shock of hearing the camera hit the pavement, I could've easily berated myself for making the mistake.
But I didn't.
The best way I've learned to let go of negative thoughts is to stop criticizing myself. Every single area where I'm struggling is also where I'm putting myself down all the time. If you know me, you know I've got buckets of self-confidence—some might argue too much?—but there is always room for improvement.
I loved to read the following passage:
"We are doing the best we can with the understanding, awareness and knowledge we have. As we gain more understanding, awareness and knowledge, then we will do things differently."
Dropping the camera was probably due to my emotional-hangover. I take my parenting decisions seriously. I've spent the past few weeks carefully considering how to be there for the baby while still making time to create. (Still in process!) The decision to go on the trip wasn't an easy one. But so what if some part of me was kind of fighting back by dropping the camera? It just means I'm making progress. :-)
Basically, it comes down to this:
Everything is unfolding as it should, so be gentle and positive with yourself as you grow.
I'm down with it.
What needs healing?
From reading my weekly articles, you probably know that I'm focusing lately on my podcast and trying out this whole photography thang. But there is so much more than needs work in my personal life, too.
Every single part of my life affects the other parts.
I'm working on staring right at the sun, directly in the face of what I yearn for. And you better believe I'm starting to create that reality in my life. Like, today.
Thank you, Louise L. Hay, for writing this amazing book. Thank you for helping me heal. :-)
I leave you with one last passage that I hope touches your heart as much as it did mine:
"If we want a joyous life, we must think joyous thoughts. If we want a prosperous life, we must think prosperous thoughts. If we want a loving life, we must think loving thoughts. Whatever we send out mentally or verbally will come back to us in like form."
PS. On Friday, I released an episode of my podcast, an interview with Adii Pienaar of Receiptful and WooThemes. Have you checked it out yet? →