20 lessons I’ve learnt in life thus far.
1. Self-love. Probably one of the biggest ones I’ve learnt. Like many young girls, I let adolescence barge into my life and steal my self-assurance for a while. I let it crumble my resolve, and morph my opinions into what I thought others wanted to hear. I was good at putting on a facade, and letting people think I was so confident when in reality, I was terrified of facing the world. I have learnt to love myself, and do so ravishingly. I have learnt to dance to the beat of my drum, with no fear of who is looking. I have learnt that I am beautiful.
2. Friends. Treasure these. Love them. Spend time with them. Don’t let them forget that you care when you do.
On a drive home from school one afternoon years ago, my father recounted a friendship to me that had dwindled over time. A friend with whom he was inseparable. Gripping the steering-wheel loosely, he told me, he said, “You’ll lose friends. Friends you never thought you would lose. You’ll gain friends that you never saw coming. And sometimes, you’ll be at a strange place in between, and there, become good friends with YOU.”
3. Tolerance. I am learning, day by day, that tolerance means this: An acknowledgement that there is more than one way of existing, and that each is perfectly valid.
4. Forgiveness. I have learnt to do it, and to do knowing that in it, there is healing. And in it, there is a freed existence.
5. Good music. The soul thrives. The soul sways with the spirit of the music, and it thrives. Your heart synchronizes with beats of good music, and you dance wildly to its melody. You awaken. You refine your tastes. Listen mechanically, to each part of each beat, each ostinato. Hear meaning, and snap passionately when lyrics speak to your soul. Welcome each crescendo.
And listen with the ears of your spirit. Lose yourself to it and break forth into an untamed dance. Breathe it in and sing it loud.
6. Trust. Is good for swimming. Good for loving- others and yourself. Good for birthing hope in your soul, and rejuvenating when the weathers in your world beat you down. Trust the Master of the winds and the waves enough so that as violently as they toss you around, you rest assured that they will wash you on the shores of the land you are to journey.
7. Listening. Good for caring. Good for speaking intelligently. Open us your ears and mind and take words in. Give your offering; undivided attention. Acknowledge. Receive. Appreciate.
8. Quietness and Solitude. Thinking is spending quality time with yourself. Do it over lunch by a lake. Do it by candle-light. Do it curled up in bed when it’s raining outside.
9. Sadness. One of the most beautiful people I know is called Amy. Amy went on a quest to discover herself. She told us about her encounter with a tree, whose size she was in awe by. “To be this grand,” the tree told her, “I must reach up into the sky where it’s bright and beautiful. Where the sun shines, and the gentle breeze blows. But I must also dig deep into the ground, where it is damp, unpleasant, cold and lonely.”
Sadness is alright. Feel it, and notice it. And grow through it.
10. Childlikeness: Sometimes, the best therapy is looking out into the world with the eyes of a child. If you’ll give yourself the freedom to, your soul remembers how to dance like a child’s. Your heart remembers how to have a sturdy, unwavering faith with conviction. Your spirit can joy with wide-eyed wonder at the smallest of things. If you’ll let yourself free from the cages life’s trials put you in, and from the pessimism that they serve to you on a silver platter, life can be wonderful, even if only for a moment. Channel that inner child you have. Let her giggle endlessly. Let her hug big strong meaningful hugs. Let her play in the rain, and cry in the dark. Let her skip along through life every once in a while. It heals.
11. Beauty. IS skin deep. But it matters very much to fall in love with your physical beauty. To love your colour, to love your height, to love the wideness of your nose, and the thickness of your thighs. Love the dip in your back. LOVE, LOVE LOVE, and let the flames of your love consume any doubt that you could ever have that you are beautiful
Inside, let your heart be a place where beauties intangible converge and make merry. Kindness, and love, acceptance, patience, laughter, hope, compassion, joy, and occasionally, forgiveness, as a guest. Let them linger and interact, and let some of them make love to each-other and birth new, beautiful qualities that only you have. This is what it means to be beautiful.
12. Kindness. Kindness is beautiful. And the world needs more of it. Dish it out and learn to take it with grace. Always, kindness is called for, and most times, it is undeserved. Do not wait to deserve it. And bestow it upon even those who deserve it least.
13. Patience. Equals maturity. Know when to hold your tongue. Pick your battles wisely. And when you do, listen more than you speak. Wait. Train yourself in patience, so that you hone the skill of knowing your time when it comes.
14. The mobility of life. Life keeps on going. You keep on growing. Moments keep on passing. No misery is too deep to climb out of and carry on. Life does, and as long as you have life, so should you.
15. Detours. Most are growth points. They may lead you into thick, scary forests with no paths to follow. But sweeping the branches aside usually leads you a more scenic trail that leads to greater things if you’ll keep going.
16. Love. Trust that you’re worth it. Trust that those who say they love you really do. Do not be afraid to feel. Do not be afraid to let your feelings show. Do not be afraid of loving, but mostly, do not be afraid of being loved.
17. God. Walk your walk. Speak to him, and listen intently for his speakings back. They are in his word. They are in His people. And sometimes, in people in general. Sometimes, it’s in small whispers to your soul. Listen. Keep your eyes peeled. Let your spirit grow, always.
18. Inadequacy. You matter. You are as capable as they tell you. They say it because they see it. It’s easy to worry that you will not live up to the person they see when they look at you. But you do. Every day, you find a way of doing it.
19. Dreams. Have them. And then have more. Open your mind’s door WIDE so that they walk in majestically. Offer them the best seat there and sit and have long, deep conversations with them over good tea. Listen intently to their tales of the lands they’ve traveled before they knocked. Ask them what they saw there. Ask them what tugged at their hearts as they traveled. Ask very good questions, and listen some more. Tell them your heart. If they choose to make your heart a home, offer them a beautiful room in your therein. Come home to them nightly. Go out on dates. Fall over and over in love with them every passing day. Tell them you love them. Do not be afraid of spending your life building them up. Do not be afraid of loving them deeply, or being loved back.
20. Gratitude. There is never a moment devoid of things to be thankful for. Today is no exception. Today, I am thankful. That my lungs still hunger for the air and draw it in with welcome. I am thankful that my heart feels- that it loves, that it hurts, that it fears, that it extends itself to those it’s drawn to. I am filled with gratitude for the people whose beauty I have the privilege to admire. Today, I am thankful for the gift of belief that they give me everyday, for on the lower ones, I open the gift and look inside and see what they see when they look at me. And just like that, the spring in my step bounces back. Today, I am thankful for life, and for the chance to remember that I am alive, and the very fact that I am means I matter. Today, I am thankful for opportunities to give, my love, my joy, my passions, my talents; to those who need them, and to those for whom they will be the most precious of gifts. Today, I am thankful for opporunity to travel- to see new worlds, cultures, and peoples, and to see the multi-facetedness of existence. Today, I am thankful for self-awareness- for the power of introspection, for the power of reflection, and the growth therein. Today, I am thankful for words, because when all else fails me, they always manage to tumble out and tell the story of my heart. Today, I am thankful for faith, for a hope in God, and a trust in his love. Today, I am thankful for joy, for it hides in the strangest of places, and I am giddy when I stumble across it. I am thankful for darkness, and sorrows, and storms that rage- they make the light brighter, the joy sweeter, and the sunny days warmer. They are also, in themselves, welcome, for I find myself grown each time I live through them. I am thankful for loves, known and unknown, received and unreturned- they make me aware of my heart’s conditions. I am grateful for resources, they show up when they are needed, and when they depart, I overflow with an assurance of their return. I am thankful for family- they taught me first what love looks like. I am thankful for the twenty years that I have lived, and I am thankful for the zeal I have to truly come alive in those that I have left.
Happy Birthday, Priscilla :)