When You Realize You Can Soar…

(I so thought I had published this on September 11th, then remembered I didn’t want to post that day because it felt tacky to me and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to break this into two posts since there is so much within it. I like to live in my integrity so I stepped away and spent time with my family, only to leave this in drafts totally forgetting I didn’t schedule it for later. As such, please know the references to “today” are actually September 11 not today. I’ve decided to share it as it is, as I am not big on editing myself unless it feels like it’s better for the writing and consumption of it.)

Last year a thought popped into my head while journaling:

I once believed I needed you to catch me. Then I realized that I too knew how to soar. ~Shell Vera

And in case you haven’t read my writing before, when I have a thought it can become just about anything from a journal prompt to a fulfilled dream. It all depends upon the day and my desire to explore it further.

This one sat for a while within the journal.

Then it made its way on my creative writing blog.

Then I started thinking about what it really meant.

I once believed I needed you to catch me. Then I realized that I too knew how to soar. ~Shell Vera

Am I soaring?

As I explored this thought and looked at my life and where I wanted to be versus where I am, a lot of thoughts popped into my mind. And many brought me back to today. This day when we remember lives lost and the day our thoughts changed for the worst as a country. Most people who were older than 6 or 7 can remember where they were when the planes flew into the towers. Most people can remember how they felt after that day about Muslims and people from the Middle East. It was terrible how we suddenly began looking down on entire groups of people because of the actions of a few. It is terrible how we started assuming the worst of an entire group of people.

That alone is a post of its own so today I want to focus on what we do when we experience loss, anger, fear, crises and have these pivotal moments during which we will decide how the rest of our lives will play out…until we course correct again.

In moments of agony, we feel like we need someone to catch us. Like we need someone else to come along and say, “Hey, I know someone that looked like him took your husband’s life but that doesn’t mean everyone that looks like him is bad or wants to hurt you.” It sounds so pre-k and yet as adults these are real conversations we need right now in many areas. These are conversations we must have to even begin to think we can heal as a country. To move forward and find what truly the new reality will look like, because we aren’t ever going back. There can be worse or there can be better but there will never be anything like the way it was.

When we feel like we need someone to catch us, it’s a good time to look in the mirror and see our own strength. To see our own resilience. To see what we truly stand for. When we look in the mirror and have to face ourselves without anyone around, what is it that we truly believe about this world, about our region, about our community, about people around us, about our family, about our friends, about ourselves? What do we truly value and want people to remember us for?

I am a writer; yet, I seldom share my writing because the things that I am so passionate about and that set my soul dancing are things that others shy away from discussing. The things I can lose nights thinking about and journaling through are things others gloss over. I am a writer who shares content for others for about 60 hours a week yet seldom sits down to bring my words to life outside of journal and scratch pads.

Why?

Because I thought I needed someone to catch me. To tell me my path. To show me which way to go. To speak into me and say, “You are good at this and it’s what you were designed to do.” Except that I know and do what I was created to do in one aspect but not when it comes to writing for myself. You see, when I write for a client and they get the accolades, I celebrate with them but it isn’t celebrating the success of my own work – I’m writing for them, helping them become better known for their voice and thoughts shared with me. I know what I write for them is good and I know what I help them create is impactful. But when it’s for me… I fear falling. I fear KNOWING it’s good. I fear that I won’t be able to accept that what I write for me can be as good as what I write for them.

Can I be real? Are we doing that still these days?

You see, when you are afraid of success, you consistently tell yourself that you aren’t really good enough to be what you set out to be. You tell yourself that failure is a good place. You can tell yourself that this as good as it gets. You can tell yourself whatever you want. And you believe what you tell yourself because you know you wouldn’t lie to yourself. (Insert eye roll here.)

BUT

The day will come when you get tired of it.

When that day comes, here is what could happen as you finally allow yourself to soar.

Feelings

You will know when you are ready to soar because things around you no longer matter. You start to realize that going with the crowd and staying where you are is no longer acceptable. You wake up and think for yourself and realize you don’t think the way they do. You realize you’ve been pulled in by the media and all the noise in this world. You retreat and long for moments to hear your inner voice and get alone with your own thoughts.

When you’re ready to soar, suddenly your body takes a new form of excitement and you find it hard to sleep because you’re so excited about what you’re about to do. You will find it hard to contain the desire to remind everyone that your silence doesn’t mean you aren’t making moves (come on…we’ve all been there). Your insides burn with a desire to complete things and to release the light within you. When you’re ready to soar, suddenly you can’t hold back anymore. No matter how hard you try, you find yourself walking forward and doing new things, testing out your wings, getting brave about where you sit and what crowd you get your information and support from. When you’re ready to soar, you know that you know that it’s time to rise.

When you’re feeling these feelings, there are some actions you have to take.

Actions

Preparation is important when you are about to soar. Lack of proper preparation can have you circling the same cycle for years to come. But setting yourself up for success will ensure you move forward even if you fail.

  1. Journal your ideal for when you reach your goal.
    • If your goal is to interact with others in a better way, talk about what that looks like and how it will feel when you start doing do it, once you’ve been doing it for a while, and when you no longer have to think about it.
    • If your goal is something tangible like starting a business, journal through the steps you must take and how you will feel during each one. Write it all down…fear, happiness, eagerness, disbelief. And talk about what you will do to navigate each step so you have contingencies in place.
  2. Create a plan.
    • Now that you have journaled through the feelings, map out your best path forward.
    • Do you need to jump right in and then deal with the feelings and emotions as you walk it out or do you need to ease into it so you can work through emotions before they come.
    • If you aren’t sure, think about how you approach getting into a pool each year. Do you dive right in or take the stairs and go slowly?
  3. Stick to the plan.
    • Don’t deviate unless the situation calls for it. Like a map (remember those) that used to get us across country, do not take alternate routes until you see or hear of a traffic jam or realize the world’s biggest ball of yarn is only three exits past where you are going. You came up with the plan by thinking through the hurdles so stick to the path until you need to carve your own! (Yep…I’m full of colloquialisms today!)
  4. Keep the plan in front of you.
    • Keep your plan within arm’s reach at all times. This can be in your planner, in your notes file, in a document on your cloud storage system. When you struggle, open it up and stick to what you’ve planned. Read your journals that night and remember how you are going to feel when it’s natural and you are living it instead of walking toward it.
  5. Celebrate milestones.
    • Just like with losing weight or your child getting good grades, set milestones and reward yourself for reaching them.
    • Ensure the milestones keep your progressing toward your goal. That is, don’t use food as a reward for attaining a weight loss goal. Don’t buy yourself something for reaching a financial goal. Do things that will keep you moving forward toward the ultimate goal so you continue to rise.

The Act of Soaring

Once you start soaring, you realize that you breathe easier but doubt yourself more. You find yourself enjoying the moment but questioning the time frame. Depending upon how you grew up and what trauma you have worked through, your level of healing, and the depth of your transformation, you could find yourself trying to self-sabotage.

Don’t.

Stop as soon as you begin doing so.

Instead, enjoy the wind in your face and the feeling of seeing the world from above the clouds.

Allow yourself to lean into the feelings and embrace all that is happening without waiting for it to all change. When we are thankful for what we have, more will come. When we treasure what we are experiencing, we will experience it more often. When we trust in our ability to handle what we are given, more will be given to us.

Are you ready to soar?

I challenge you today to step into all you were created to be. Do the things that scare you.

Talk to the people who don’t look like you and do the things you wouldn’t normally do. We are in a global pandemic with differing levels of lockdown. California is on fire and burning at unheard of rates. People are afraid of losing their homes and people are dealing with loved ones dying for senseless reasons. Our eyes and ears are seeing and hearing things that we never thought possible and it’s not in a good way.

Change all of that.

Dealing with systemic racism, individual racism, our own prejudices is not unlike going after another goal. We purpose in our heart that we are going to create change and we do it. So today, whether your goal is to change a million lives or to simply stop hating on the people you may not understand or who look like others who may have taken someone special from you, I implore you to stop holding yourself back and instead let your light shine as you find out what you are really made of.

Have you realized yet that you too can soar?

~Shell


Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step.  ~Naeem Callaway

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