Sometimes we need to see the writing on the wall, peel back the layers holding us back and consciously co-create this life journey. This manifesto is my start.
If your email inbox (or mailbox) is anything like mine, it can feel like this picture — a deep, dark, black hole where things simply take on a life of their own. It’s a great metaphor for our lives as well, a barometer for what we are allowing in and what needs to be discarded. If only we had a spam setting for our physical lives that automatically updated, a line of defense that curates what stays, what goes — what serves us, what depletes us. Why can’t we start protecting our lives the same way we do our electronic devices?
Cliches and social media memes aside — this precious life of ours is short and we’ve got to get down to business, the business of living our best selves. Now. And to be your best self is no Hallmark greeting card tagline or something you’ll get to later. It’s about today. It’s not about sound bites. It’s about the journey through this human experience, contending with all the bumps in the road; the exhilarating highs and the equally sucky lows. It’s about having faith, trusting the timing, keeping it real and striving, seeking, expanding and reaching for more…even when it’s so hard that you just want to crawl up in a ball and stay there. It’s about soaking up the sweetest nectar from life so that we can live vibrantly, and be the people we dreamed we’d be. Do you remember who s/he is?
But we get sidetracked and distracted so easily, sometimes even permanently.
It’s no surprise that we’re all pretty burdened by our to-do lists and responsibilities in this modern world of overload. We are amazingly loyal to those things, but somehow allow that same level of commitment to ourselves to slip right through the cracks. Best Self is about rerouting that path — every day. It’s about pulling the needle from an old record that is no longer serving us. Because when we shake things up in even the smallest of ways, dormant forces awaken — and we start to remember. When we heal a part of ourselves, we become the change we want to see in the world.
This is probably sounding like a bit of a kumbaya best self rally cry…because it is.
This ship hasn’t passed you by, it’s never too late — no matter how far you’ve fallen, how many bad decisions you have made in the past, how many frogs you have kissed (or married), how you have betrayed your body, mind or spirit…today is the day.
And trust me, I was once the girl balled up on the sofa, wishing I could hide away from the world for seemingly good reason — and there were no unicorns and rainbows floating around my house (at least any I could see at the time). We don’t always share our darkest stories and I’ve traveled through many. But I’ve also found my way out. And I want you to come out too!
I know all of this self-help stuff can make your head spin. It’s a lot to keep up with: the latest The New York Times best-selling book, fad diet, spiritual guru or self-help gizmo du jour. Stop the merry-go-round, I want to get off. Green juices, talismans, essential oils, and accoutrements aside, this perpetual quest to get somewhere other than where we are doesn’t have to be so complicated or solved externally. It simply requires changing the station your life is set on — and you don’t need anyone or anything else to do that. I like to think of all of that stuff as my support staff; however, I’m the one in the driver’s seat.
And even when we consciously commit to ourselves, sometimes we slip. Sometimes we fall off the healthy bandwagon. Sometimes we just aren’t our best selves in lots of ways. But just as we can heal our bodies, we can heal our spirits and our relationships. The world could certainly use a good ‘ol dose of that, wouldn’t you say?
When you think of your ‘best self’ what do you see, feel, envision?
A Best Self Manifesto
What does it mean to be my ‘best self’?
It is not being afraid to feel, to fail, to fall. It is about having the courage to take a stand for myself — the courage to not pretend, or hide, or feel guilt or shame. It is about peeling back the layers of what life has piled on top of me, not accepting the status quo that isn’t serving me, not staying in a relationship with someone who doesn’t see me. It is loving myself enough to remember who I once was and the dreams I once had — and recovering the lost pieces.
It is about soothing my deepest wounds, caring for myself and claiming my worthiness. It is about letting go of the stories, judgment and limited thinking I have assumed about myself and collected along the way. It is about stumbling. It is about picking back up. It is about dusting off and carrying on. It is about trusting that it is all a part of the ride.
It is about healing, hoping and helping — connecting to community and nature and my intuitive self. It is about taking small steps and creating big impact within my own life and the world at large. It is about the redemptive power of love — for myself, all creatures and the planet. It is about living joyously, freely, and expansively — about bringing forth my unique gifts.
It is the wisdom of knowing when to listen and when to speak up, when to retreat and when to push forth. It is about showing up, truth-telling and believing in possibility. It is creating a world of expansiveness and inclusiveness, a place where girls can be fierce and boys can cry, a conduit between ancient wisdom and modern science, eastern and western, natural and traditional — one where I am elastic and flexible in thought, heart and deed; one where I can change my opinion and step up to the world table of conversation.
It is about building bridges not walls within myself and with others. It is about knowing it is never too late to become my best self, to feed my body, mind and soul — to connect the dots of my past, my present and all that lay in between. It is about forgiveness of self for the information I didn’t have or choices I once made. It is about seeing the interconnectedness of all aspects of myself. It is about recognizing my connection to all living beings, linking my outer and inner worlds and my heart — creating the imprint I want to leave upon the world. It is about allowing my truest essence to emerge. My best self knows what it needs, it needs for me to show up for it. It needs me to listen, to heed its call. It is about TODAY.
Whew. And all that said…some days are more challenging than others. Some don’t start off exactly as I’d envisioned. Like you, I struggle. I stumble. I have dark clouds. I have imprints that I work consciously to transcend. That’s life in all of its guts and glory — providing us with a smorgasbord of opportunity to become more of our true selves.
This is my Best Self Manifesto to you. What would be in yours? I think once you start writing, you won’t be able to stop because your best self is anxious to soar. I’d love it if you’d share the tenets of what would be in your manifesto in the comments below. Go!
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.
~ Ernest Hemingway