Hiya Boss Ladies!
I am so excited to be apart of my dear friend Dana’s Glow School Blog Tour!
As a part of this tour, women are sharing stories about how they are making nice with their inner mean girl and living more fully.
Yesterdays blog tour stop was on Dajon Ferells’ site! Dajon shared about #gettingyourglowon by showing up for ourselves and being accountable to our dreams!
When Dana told me what the blog tour and what it was about, I immediately found myself thinking of this blog from 2013. The stories in it are a total blast from the past, but the concepts are timeless! I hope you enjoy!
I recently had a week that was quite possibly one of the best weeks of my entire life.
It all started when I set out on a spur-of-the-moment get-away to a retreat center in The Middle of Nowhere, Texas. Shortly after arriving I found myself sitting around a bonfire under the stars (yes, you could actually see the stars) with monks, world-travelers, and various visitors to the retreat. Since everyone there headed to bed around 7 pm and I sometimes don’t get sleepy until 7 am, I wandered around looking for something to do. I picked up a book off a random table and began reading. The book, called The Manuscripts Found in Accra, contains kick-ass old parables from ancient times. (It is actually one of the books that the Catholic church elected to leave out of their version of the Bible and was translated to English a short time ago, but I digress.)
Since I continually ponder many existential questions, I obviously turned to the chapter on the meaning of life. The book states that in the context of the search for meaning, there are three types of people:
1. Those who consider the search for meaning bothersome and do not deal with it.
2. Those who latch on to meaning that others’ have found and become slaves to it, making certain rules and doctrine a way of life.
3. Those who realize that there is no clear and set answer, deciding instead to live enthusiastically for the love of life itself. They love the mysteries of life and embrace what sets their heart on fire.
I, Amanda Frances McKinney, am a major #2 person. I make a life out of the rituals that keep me safe, happy and healthy. When I am not careful my habits turn into obligations and lose their beautiful luster.
In this same vein, I accidentally find myself thinking about the “shoulds” and “supposed to’s” in life. These, most of time, are not true convictions of my heart. They are just rules I have made up, picked up or been taught along the way. I will obsess over what the right thing or best thing to do is, pouring over standards that I made up and shackled myself with.
And this is what I look like after coming a long, long way. (Even your life-coach is a work in progress, people ;))
My good friend Megan, is SO a #3 person. This friend reminds me to enjoy my life and create fun wherever I go. I love feelings this way, but I can totally let my #2-ness choke out my #3-ness.
When I finally saw Megan after the retreat, the issue came up mid-cocktail in a crowded bar. We vary in our political and spiritual beliefs, so we regularly loudly discuss everything controversial. As I was telling her about the book, in our typically philosophical debate style, she declared, “Yes! We have no answers. We don’t know what’s next. We know nothing for sure. All there is, is to do what makes you really really happy right now.”
That night, I went to bed embracing the concept of a life based on building and spreading happiness without a sense of obligation and without setting rules for how/when/where/how-often I do/share the things I love.
Empowered by her words, I had a ridiculously vivid dream. (Stay with me, I make a point.) I was at a fancy after-party of a big event. I don’t know if I was speaking, hosting or attending, but I had on an amazing dress and I was feeling vibrantly alive while talking to beautiful people and eating the most delicious cake I have ever had. There were three big pieces of cake on my plate and each one was better than the one before. I remember so clearly picking up each piece with my hands, tasting it, chewing it and effing loving it.
I woke up and (obviously) googled “spiritual meaning of dreaming of eating cake” followed by “psychological meaning of dreaming of eating cake”. Apparently, scholars and spiritual teachers alike (according to Psychology Today and 5 different dream websites) agree that it is very rare to remember the details and specifics of eating in a dream. If you have a dream that involves this you are likely ingesting a new idea. If the food tastes good to you, than you feel good about what you have learned and your psyche is attempting to embrace it fully. Considering that the cake in the dream was nearly orgasmic, I decided this probably applied.
The next day, inspired by my dream and the unfolding of other events, I took Megan up on her spontaneous offer of coming to Austin to her mom’s lake house for the weekend. I decided to implement the philosophy. My friend Katie, who came with me, named it The-Weekend-of-Whatever-We-Want.
We dedicated the entire weekend to doing what ever felt happy. For three days, I blew off my mental to-do list of things that “had to be done”. I disregarded my need to always have a plan for the day and week. I jumped into the lake first. I didn’t find an excuse to fit in cardio. I ate the biggest cupcake I have ever seen. I wore nothing but pjs and swimsuits.
I had no rules. I had no plan. I disregarded every thought with the word “should” in it.
More importantly, I said yes to life. I said yes to the lake and road trips and food I like. I said yes to truly being with my friends without thinking about who they are or who I am or how either of us should be to be better. I said yes to love. I felt love for everything and everyone without judgement or speculation. I let everything be okay.
All I had was each moment, was life, was the air in my lungs and the sun on my skin. I was having the best weekend ever.
So I stayed an extra day.
I decided to carry the concept into the week. I came back into the city on a Tuesday morning and let myself have a nap on Tuesday afternoon. I planned a party for Saturday on Thursday and didn’t worry about whether that was enough notice. I forgot to juice. I ate pork. I didn’t stress out about what time things would happen and what would happen if they didn’t happen. Other than seeing clients, bathing and paying bills – I did whatever I felt like.
And it was amazing. Life went magically. Nothing fell apart.
A million things actually fell together. I finally started working on my coaching package. I threw a super fun party. I did not fight with my boyfriend over where to go or what to do (… He never really cares and I always pretend not to care, but actually have something I want to do in mind, but want him to say it first. It is always complicated, but since he didn’t care and I actually just was doing whatever made me happy, life was much easier – lol). I had an amazing dinner with friends, spent time in the sun, and formed a new mastermind group with some awesome entrepreneurs.
And my subtle, amazing joy was not because a life full of naps, pork, cliff-jumping and party planning is happier than a life of to-do lists, green juice and yoga; It’s because I let the book and the dream and the conversation with Megan press the restart button on my life.
And I was reminded of a major lesson: the rituals, habits and life guidelines do not contribute to your happiness TODAY if you do not enjoy them.
It might just be me, but when I get determined to be spiritual, physically fit, successful, or educated (in addition to many other worthy causes) I can lose myself.
I forget to enjoy the process. The do-what-you-love mentality is something I so deeply believe in. It’s the reason I travel and have an education. It’s the reason I started a business and blog. It’s everything to me. Yet, if I don’t pay attention, I can let things like grades, money, how many times a week I “should” be doing things suck the life out of the loves-of-my-life.
Going through the motions of the things that we are supposed to do to create the life we want can away from the life we have now if we do not slow down and enjoy each part.
Because NOW is the only moment we have to love our life in.
This week I went back to juicing, yoga and meditating, but this time I’m doing these things a little less regularly and with way different mind-set. I am doing them because I love them. If I am not present in them or if I make them requirements instead of things I do for the joy of doing them, then I am living for doctrine and not for love.
And love is always the way.
Go love your life. And, I promise, it will love you right back…
I hope you loved that blog!! #throwback