Sh#t Happens

Sh#t happens. It was an explanation given to my youngest son (not by me) when he asked an adult in his life about divorce one time. The words hurt me pretty bad at the time because I didn’t like the ending of a 20 year relationship being summed up that way, it of course sounded insensitive and made our marriage sound so insignificant to me at the time.  Healing happens though, and today I would say and maybe there is an ounce of truth to the crass and simplistic statement.  What I would add to it though is

“Sh#t happens…but that isn’t the end of the story.” 

Sh#t happens for a reason, and it’s up to us if we want to follow the trail and figure out why, or if we want to keep stepping in our mess over and over again.  I haven’t met anyone who’s family has been spared some generational trauma, so why do we feel so ashamed, or like no one else will understand and then end up trying to hide behind a facade of perfection? I had to figure this out through divorce, but there are so many areas of life that can teach us if we let our struggles, and overcoming them, make us more self aware. 

I was lucky enough to spend last weekend with a group of high school friends who illustrate this point beautifully in thought and action. There isn’t one of us that hasn’t been challenged by the serious issues this world can throw our way.  Relationship struggles, addiction, parenting through difficult circumstances, bonus kids, finding the courage to be who we were born to be - whether that has made us struggle with the expectations of others, how we show up and love in this world or being able to free ourselves from the judgment of others enough to find that beautiful space where we can find our own alignment. It’s always good to get together and reminisce because had we known in high school what life was going to bring, it would have scared us to death, and its always good to travel back and remember the more carefree days we were afforded back then. Even the minor rebellion at that age had the advantage of strengthening us and today, we have all done the work, weathered the storms, set the boundaries, and asked the tough questions. Although we are all still works in progress, the conversations are real and offer the support that encourages living the authentic life. When I get on this side of those talks, I am filled up, even when the surrounding circumstances are difficult and I wonder why we as humans fight against ourselves so much when the freedom on the other side is so blissful. My best conversations are with people who will open up…better out than in I always tell my kids.  So daily, I pay attention to the reasons that keep me seeking higher levels of self awareness and they give me inspiration to keep doing the work to fight off more sh#t happening, even on the down days. If you need some practical reasons to stop hiding and adopt this transparent lifestyle, where we get to talk about what really irks us, hurts us, and also makes us jump for joy, I have some ideas. 

  1. End the shadow talk (i.e. gossip). When we haven’t answered the questions for ourselves about what we are about, where we are headed and what makes us happy, we turn our emptiness on others. We throw shade at anyone we perceive is ahead of us, happier than us, or possesses something we want, and try to take them down a notch with our words. These conversations never lead us to our higher self. We have forgotten that our journey is not a race, and our perception of what others are experiencing in life is oversimplified. It’s rare that we know the whole story and we are better off spending time figuring out our purpose and charting our course than worrying about what anyone else is doing. When we hide behind the image of perfection we are scared to death of anything else being the case. We lose our capacity to be empathic to the situations around us that would benefit from our care, and end up building more superficial and small minded relationships that are stifling and lonely. Learning to show up for other people in a supportive way can teach us a lot about ourselves, and our strengths, and allow us to build off our those but validation of our own path is an inside job. No amount of trying to knock others paths will make your own path straight so build yourself up by working on you instead of trying to bring others down…it never works anyway.

  2. Raise Your Vibration. Have you ever felt the difference in how you respond to the world and how the world responds to you when you are joyful instead of burdened? When our vibration is high, opportunities show up in the form of relationships and experiences that make life a genuinely happy and productive place. When we are living in the shadows of fear, guilt, and shame, we have a lower vibration and cannot access our highest self. We can raise our vibration when we find purpose, things that make us laugh, and spend the time and effort to take care of ourselves through exercise, diet & a mindfulness practice. Vibrations can’t be faked, it’s only through doing the work of self awareness that we can find the free feeling of showing up in the world as ourselves and keep working towards our personal best. Once we get started, the small victories build on themselves and motivate us to move down that path.

  3. The script repeats itself over and over again. Maybe the best reason to figure out why sh#t happens is that if we don’t, patterns continue to repeat themselves. They are part of our subconscious and so much of our activity stems from that place that place below the surface. We have to do the work to move from a fear based thought process to one that embraces optimism and potential. If we are willing to be honest and look at the patterns that have brought us to today and then identify what we want to change, one small change begins the shift. It doesn’t have to be done overnight, but it does have to be done…or guess what, the same sh#t will just happen, over and over again.

Everyday, I challenge myself to wrestle with my old patterns and flip the script. Sometimes the  fear still creeps in or the unworthiness surfaces but I recognize it for what it is, send it to the backseat and keep driving.  So today, even if sh#t happens, I’m confident that it’s going to be different sh#t and I’m going to learn from that too.