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Noemi Cardoso – 11/22/2016 – California

life-is-not-to-be-feared

And, as the journey unveils itself in front of me I keep on moving forward. Sometimes all is clear and I can see the path ahead for miles, while some other times the path is covered by a heavy fog and I can hardly see the next stepping stone, nevertheless the path keeps unfolding itself. It sometimes feels however, like after few steps forward I have moved one or two steps backwards, if only to gather the momentum needed to move a little further ahead on this amazing adventure and, while I step back, I can somehow see the picture from a different angle…It always, no matter what, amazes me to see how far I have come…

Pain is no stranger in my life, I have been introduced to it many decades ago when I was still very young, we were close throughout many of my young years and, even though in last few years its presence has been scarce, there are times when it not just show itself, but gets a tougher hold of me, making me sit still, breathing slowly, closing myself inside my little cocoon, silencing my voice, tuning in my senses, trying to understand its presence, giving in a little to it, and them kissing it goodbye and patiently waiting for it to go away. There is no specific reason which brings it to the surface, just a feeling, a “saudade(*)” of things not lived, of loves not loved, of friends gone by, of sweet memories of the past and warmth of friends who are physically too distant from me right now.

Holidays have always been a specially sensitive time for me, not sure why, but it has been so since I can remember. Maybe because another year is ending and it is time to take accounting for the year gone by. To take inventory of the advancements and relive once more experiences that will never repeat themselves again in this lifetime. It’s time to renew energy and start a fresh new year, new plans, new goals, new dreams.

When I was little, while my family and friends would be exultant by the well wrapped packages, special apparatus and plenty of food to celebrate a special day, my heart would go out to the people we used to drive by from our house to theirs. People walking alone, wrapping a beaten blanket tighter around their shoulders, living under the bridges, going through garbage bags looking for a ‘special’ something. I wondered, as we drove under the beauty seasonal lights above the streets, how could we celebrate when there were so much sadness around.

As I grew things got a little fuzzy, the vision was out of focus for, what I now realize, was a long while as I worked hard to make something of myself, to belong, to be good enough, to measure up….some things worked out, others did not, others went horribly wrong and amazingly enough, some went miraculously well.

In the last few years however, after what I call “my accident”, I have awaken again to the needs of my soul rather than the needs of my body, and this has turned out to be a great fulfilling adventure. Yes, I did screw up many times thereafter, over and over and then once more. Sometimes I thought I had got the hang of it, just to realize that I had not…the difference however, is that nowadays I know that what I need is not somewhere else; is not in someone else’s hands, words or actions; all that I truly need is within myself, and while I cannot change the world: the sadness I still see everyday along the way, I can change myself, and consequently affect positively the people closer to me to embrace change and dare to change themselves into a better version, tapping into their inner power and creating a better happier life.

We have been conditioned since early age that we lack something. That what we need is outside of ourselves. That we need control, complain and fight hard until someone gives us something. We were brought to believe that material fulfillment will give us the sense of belonging we crave for, that someone else holds the key to our happiness, and we even chose to believe we are happy achieving one material thing after another, gathering more money one can possibly use, one lover after another until it no longer fulfills our hunger.

As Derek Rydall says on his book Emergence “We diminish and destroy countless relationships because they don’t give us the love, respect, and validation we only can activate within ourselves.” We move from here to there, searching for the next thrill like we browse facebook searching for something worth a couple of second…life, turns out, has never been about the next thrill, about the next conquest, about the size of our bank account, brand of our car or size of our houses…but about being thrilled, joyful, grateful with and for what we already have.

One can have all the richness in the planet and still be like one of those people under the bridge, wrapping the beaten blanket closer to their shoulder looking to feel something like the warmth of a friend’s hugs.

Until we realize that whatever we lack is what we are not giving, first to ourselves then to others, things will not change. The analogy of the oxygen mask in an airplane: when the pressure drops and the mask falls, if you try to help others before putting on your own mask first, you’ll pass out and be of no use to anyone else. Only when we participate in the abundance around us can we truly be generous and compassionate towards others.  Only when we have can we give. Only when we have taken care of our own needs can we truly and honestly take care of another in the deepest sense.” says Derek Rydall

I cannot help others and make a difference, change the world into a better place until I help myself first, make a difference in my own life, change the person I am…only then, will I be ready to help and make a difference in someone else’s life.

The power in me can only be activated by me. It is independent of any exterior factors. Only when I stop giving my power to others is when I really allow my power to shine through and blossom.

“I am not the effect of my condition; I am the cause.” In order to change the effect I must first change the cause.

Wishing you and your family a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving week.

 

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(*) Saudade – a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia. A word well understood by Brazilians and Portuguese but with no translation in other languages.

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