It’s hot. Like, not normal hot, but the kind of hot I’d imagine the first step into hell would be. Maybe the second step. Shit, how many steps to hell are there…? It is all of those steps. I am choking on sweat and the dust swirling around me. Dust from the dry cracked earth that I am slowly dragging pieces of as each foot is barely hoisted up and slightly planted an inch further. One slow inch at a time. Maybe it is more than an inch. Maybe it is not even an inch. The heat is like a thick, wet, wool blanket on my back that I am dragging with me. Itchy. Wet. Steaming. Heavy. So heavy. I refuse to look up and see what is ahead of me. Blinking through the sweat in my vision, I steal a side glance at my husband, who is staring at me with such a terrible look of fear and, ‘is it horror?’ stricken on his face- the kind you reserve for something like…like a dog that was just struck by a vehicle and you are not sure- will the dog get up and walk away, or..will it continue to lay there, broken? People are passing on the other side of me and one- my god, is jogging past me. These people can kiss my sweltering, burnt wet ass. Wait. That is not right. I am so happy for them. I celebrate them. Whatever. My husbands lips are moving and he is asking me something, I think. Maybe he is asking if I am ok, or if I’d like to sit down, or if he can carry my camel back, ….or if I’d like to grab a pitcher of margaritas. “Yes, margaritas” falls out of my mouth, or something close to it. “What?” he says. “Nothing” I mumble. “I think we should stop” comes clearly to me from his lips. “No” I say. “No”.
Somehow, we finish. It was a race. Only six miles. Maybe it was twenty. It felt like twenty. My ego was crushed in this race. Six years ago, I might have jogged it. Wait, maybe not jogged it, but I know my husband wouldn’t have stared at me the entire race wondering if at any moment, he was going to have to carry my ass or call for a stretcher. But that was six years ago. That was before. This is now. And now, today, comes with different blessings, sometimes disguised as diseases. And I still show up. I am really, really good at showing up. It is my thing. My super power.
My super power, like all super powers, however, is tied to my ego. This isn’t always bad. It is what keeps us focused on our goals. On accomplishing what we set out to do. Like finishing a Spartan race in triple digit heat, in the middle of a f’ing desert with NO shade and an aversion to heat and sun because it attacks your body and immune system like bloody terrorists. Eh humm. Scuse me. That kind of thing, as a small, insignificant, ginormous example.
Ego can be a cheerleader in your head, saying, “Yasssss keep going. You are on the right track! Don’t give up. YOU got this.”
Ego can also be a dick. “What are you, a wimp? You SAID you were going to do this, so DO it. Are you going to let HER beat you?”.
The real problem comes down to one thing. Are you choosing love, or are you choosing fear?
When you set out to accomplish something, make a decision, or respond to the universe (which can also be disguised as a person, place or event); are you making a choice in love? OR, are you making it out of fear- which also looks like jealousy, revenge, pridefulness, bitterness, anger, hate.
Did I finish that race for me? Or did I finish that race so I could say I did? To prove something to someone else? To show off. To put it out on the social media world- ‘look at what I did’ ?
Yesterday I had an amazing conversation with one of my mastermind tribe members. She is a sister after my soul. She put aside some time to not only brainstorm questions to ask me, but to really help me with a decision I was struggling with. To help me make a decision in love, not fear. And she said something that struck me all the way to my ‘not in the sweltering heat’ toes.
“Shannon, you are not quitting because you are giving up and hate hard work, you are quitting because you love yourself and your family too much to continue to bring this negative energy into your life”
There may have been some expletives mixed in there- which I am SO not adverse to, it is my second language actually- possibly my first- but I want you to hear this- so read it this way:
You might remove things, jobs, tasks and people from your life, not out of fear, or because it is hard or you are giving up; but because you love yourself and your people too much to continue.
Because, our goal, our real, true, and only goal in life, is to love.
It is not to be happy, which is so elusive. Or to obtain, because it can be taken away or lost. It is to love. To be love, to receive love, to give love. And if all of our decisions and responses in life, were based on love, well, truthfully we would be happy (or damn close to it, most of the time). But for sure, we would have peace. And, most importantly, love.
There isn’t a magic formula to figure out if you are making decisions in love. But there are some universal truths to help guide you:
- When you contemplate a decision, and you feel an immense release of tension or a freeing feeling on one side of the decision, despite some painful releases of expectations, people, jobs or tasks. That could indicate love.
- When you contemplate something and one side, though it goes against your ego shouting at you, still feels peaceful. That could indicate love.
- When you strip away money and other people from the decision, truly take the element away (ask yourself, if money were not an issue at all, and also remove the effect it will have on people that are not in your very immediate circle -aka spouse or children) then ask, “does this now bring me closer to my purpose, to being fulfilled, to feeling authentic?” If the answer is yes- this could indicate love.
- When you identify and strip away limiting beliefs about yourself (ask yourself- what do I fear? And then, what if that fear were not a real issue?) and feel peace without that limiting belief- this could indicate love.
- When you find a tribe mate you trust, and she helps point out that you are full of shit, and helps you see the light. That could indicate love.
To choose love over fear is a journey. And we take that journey daily. Sometimes in the deserts of hell. Sometimes in our home office with a tribe mate. Sometimes in our relationships. Sometimes in our daily choices of how we care for our bodies. Sometimes in our choices of who we allow into our hearts, our souls, our tribes.
Sometimes, in our journey of life, you need to quit something, because of love. Even though it is hard. Even though logically, it goes against what makes sense. Even though it may be difficult. Even though our ego shouts at us (which sounds a lot like pridefulness).
And sometimes, we make mistakes. We choose wrong. We injure ourselves and others. We fail. We fall. We bleed. We cry.
But we love.
We pick ourselves back up, and choose love, as best as we can, again. And again. Along the way, we find that we start to choose love more than fear. Along the way we experience more peace than turmoil. Along the way, we share love. We receive love. We become love.