By Kate Kerry Spencer
So, climate change is real, people in high places can abuse power, and that soft, waffling flesh below your armpit is settling in for winter. Want a better world? Be a better you.
By “better” I don’t mean smarter, thinner or richer. I don’t mean saint-like, martyr-like or reality TV-like. I mean your very own version of your very best self. The one that you, and only you, wants to be, needs to be, and gets to be.
Each of us is born into different circumstances, some of which make it easier to learn, grow and accept ourselves, and some of which make it harder to do those very same things. Each of us has our bag of potential, our bag of challenges, and our bag of magic.
These bags aren’t necessarily of equal weight, and their weight changes over a lifetime. Many of us chug along quite nicely, drawing from all three bags, day by day, year by year.
Sometimes, those of us with the most challenges grow exponentially faster than others by meeting those challenges head on. And sometimes those of us with the most ability and opportunity squander it because we either don’t know what we have in our bags, or we think those bags will last forever, untouched, untapped, waiting. What we all need to remember, over and over again, is that what is in those bags is both time and life sensitive.
Because of that time sensitivity, and in the best interest of our own lives and the lives of those not born yet, we should commit to honoring our potential, our challenges and our magic. How we do that is ours to choose to varying degrees, but it’s safe to say that our actions and choices impact others in ways we often cannot imagine. Choose with all the wisdom you have and think of seven generations past your own. They will have challenges, and joys, we can only imagine today, for better or worse, and likely, both.
Wherever you are in your own life, think about what you are doing with that life for yourself and others. Think about those bags of potential, challenges and magic and what you can draw from each of them to make your own life, and the lives of those around you, a fuller, deeper one. Recognize that you, your wild, wonderful, complicated, beautiful self, are an unrepeatable miracle.
Before you get out of bed this morning, take a few minutes to lie quietly with your awakening self. Put your hand on your heart and breathe in through your nose, slowly and deeply, slowly and deeply. Don’t try to manipulate the breath or force it to be longer or deeper than you are comfortable with. With each inhale, silently say to yourself, “I am well, I am strong.” With each exhale, say silently to yourself, “I am kind, I am resilient.”
When you are up and ready to greet the day, before you leave home and enter the world, put your hand on your heart and breathe in slowly and deeply. With each inhale, say silently to yourself, “I greet this day with a peaceful mind and a brave heart.”
Kate Kerry Spencer is a Pacific Northwest writer, editor, and publisher. Learn more about her upcoming memoir, Smoke: A Story of Love, Lies and Cigarettes.
Smoke is the story of fatal consolations--tobacco, denial and deceit--and the second chances that can come to us in the most unlikely places. For this mother and daughter it was a rehab center where the two women wrestled with cigarettes, scrambled brains and each other--and in the process, found the long way back to love.