13 Things That Are Totally Going to Change You in Your 30s

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dance, dance, dance

dance, dance, dance

You are in your 30s. It came a lot quicker than you expected, right? Kaboom. After posting your pics and tweeting the occasion, you are finally home alone — and it hits you. You go to the mirror and stare at what might just possibly be baby crow’s feet creeping across your face. Oh my. So, you say to yourself, “Holy crap, YOU. ARE. 30.” (O.M.G.)

While these years may feel surprisingly more pressurized than your 20s, they will unexpectedly also bring the most personal growth in your life. The 30s will toss you surprise curveballs instead of easy-breezy pitches, and you might get caught staring. You’re no longer allowed to kick back in flip-flops on the bench — you’re in the big leagues, in cleats with a giant 3-0 on your back. This is where you find out who you are and who you really want on your team.

You squint, you swing and you run. You pay attention like never before, you look ahead and you ask yourself:

Is this where I thought I’d be? Is this where I am supposed to be?

And life starts to get a bit more complicated. Here is the good news:

YOU Version 3.0 is more of a SmartYou than you think. Why? Because in this decade you will be challenged, pushed and p—u—l—l—e—d in ways that would have baffled you in your 20s. You will be completely forced to grow. That is, if you choose to dress out for the game. And it’s my bet that you will. Here’s why.

13 Things That Are Totally Going to Change You in Your 30s

1) You will figure out who YOU really are and why you have gone through so much. You will reflect on your life and find it easier to claim your own path outside of the wishes of your parents, counselors or coaches. You will realize the difference between a mistake, a whim and a calling.

2) You will struggle with how you are going to start building a legacy in this life, versus the fear that you will not make a difference at all. You realize that you want to leave a mark on the world for more than just you — you start living for your children, your community and maybe even the world. And you wonder how you are going to do it. In this decade, you will see your calling more clearly, if you are open.

3) You will find great satisfaction and great frustration with all of the people that you are going to be taking care of (e.g., spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends). You will face many situations that throw you, but you learn how to adjust to life’s changes and those that need you. This will transform you, your time and your relationships.

4) You will feel real, in-your-face, make-you-cry stress about finances, love, career and family. You will start to understand what your parents were talking about all of those years. The good news is that this is the kind of necessary stress that life is made of — and where you find out what you are made of.

5) You will get off balance, on balance, off balance, on balance — and so on — because of all of the roles that you have to carry on the shoulders of your life. You will have to wear many hats, and you will often feel like a tightrope walker trying to stay the course, balancing the people and commitments in your life. This frustration will help you to see that one person can only handle so much and you will start to understand why setting boundaries is so critical.

6) You will feel more meaning in your life and begin to see love, career and family as part of your purpose — instead of part of your obligation. You will realize that with great love, also comes great pain, and you learn that it is worth it. On purpose.

7) You will start coming to terms with the fact that you are not going to live forever as you start losing important people in your life. Mortality becomes a brutal fact of life, and it changes you painfully, for the better.

8) You will see the world differently and embrace things that you would have run away from in your 20s. You will feel a higher sense of well-being, creativity and self-awareness as your experiences widen. I’m talking about values, experiences, goals and opinions that will (*gasp*) change. You will be very surprised by you.

9) You will realize that gathering mass amounts of friends is not as important as paying attention to those who are in your life for a reason, and those who should not be in your life at all. Your fringe friendships will fade, your closest relationships will deepen and some wonderfully surprising people will on-the-floor amaze you.

10) You will have life-changing “a-ha moments” that drastically change the direction of your life for the better. The underrated gift of wisdom comes with age, and you will be thrilled by it.

11) You will not feel as young and carefree as you did in your 20s, but you will learn to love feeling more grounded. As sad as it is to let go of the good ol’ days, you will appreciate being at the Adult Table. The food just tastes better. And you know how to order off of the menu.

12) You will figure out how to align who you truly are on the inside with what you are doing on the outside. You will figure out how to start accepting your limitations and your talents. You move toward making peace with the human experience and focus in on why you are truly here.

13) You will accept your previous struggles as life lessons and gain a greater sense of life purpose. Amen. It’s part of the beautiful game of life. Now play ball.

 

Credit: Karin L. Smithson, Ph.D

Writer | Speaker | Therapist | Columnist

www.DoctorKarin.com

Be In A Relationship With Yourself

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Love Yourself First. And the World will Follow.

 

 

There comes a time in a lot of relationships when you miss the person you used to be. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love the person you’re currently with, and it doesn’t even mean that they don’t make you happy. And, anyway, the question you should be asking yourself isn’t if they make you happy but do you make you happy?

My good friend always tells me that relationships are always hard because of the compromise. “There’s always shit that you don’t want to do, or shit that you do want to do that you feel like you can’t because of the relationship,” she always tells me.

And it’s somewhat true: every relationship involves some degree of compromise, where you set aside certain pieces of yourself for the greater good of your relationship. But depending on which pieces of yourself you decide to stash away, it’s easy to feel annoyed, angry or even bitter that you felt like you had to hide that part of yourself in the first place.

That’s why you should be in a relationship with yourself — even when you’re already hot and heavy with someone else.

When you are in a relationship with yourself, you remember to do all the things you want to do, all those things that make you happy. You don’t put your wants, needs, and desires aside. You pursue them actively, right now.

Go on dates with yourself. Take yourself to the movies to see that movie you’ve always wanted to see, or treat yourself to that new brunch place you’ve heard so much about but that you haven’t had a chance to check out yet. When you go on dates with yourself, you remember to build a connection with your inner spirit and soul, and that alone will make you a much fuller person.

But don’t just go on dates with yourself or do the things you want to do —indulge yourself into your passions. If you love Italian culture, learn Italian and make that your hobby. If you want to be a DJ, figure out how to make that happen for yourself. The point is, feed your soul by following and developing your passions.

From time to time, step away and ask yourself if you are really happy where you are right now. Are you getting what you need from yourself? Is this how you imagined you life? Is there anything about it you want to change? Do you really see yourself working that same job over the net five years? Being in a relationship with yourself means always checking in with yourself, finding out what you need and pursuing that to the fullest.

Sometimes finding out what you need can be as simple as breaking your worst habits, those traits you have that get on your nerves but which you can’t seem to break. Or it can mean treating yourself the way a lover would — yes, even sexually! Make yourself feel as good as a lover might.

Masturbation is certainly about sexual release, but it’s also a way of learning to appreciate yourself. It’s so easy to give up and get angry when somebody doesn’t love us the way we need, or to zero in on our worst traits and habits without focusing on all the positive things about ourselves. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to hate ourselves. And the hardest? To love ourselves.

When you are in a relationship with yourself, you should love yourself unconditionally because that’s the hardest kind of love to develop. It’s like Samantha said on Sex and the City, that philosophical beacon of relationships and sex:

“I love you Richard but I love me more. I have been in a relationship with myself for 49 years and that’s the one I need to work on.”

The most important relationship you will ever be in is the one with yourself. After nasty break ups, divorces and heartbreaks, you will always be the last one standing.

Romancing With My Shadow

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Imagine putting all the bad thoughts and anger you have ever projected towards anyone, all the times you have judged somebody and any other unpleasant feelings you have ever repressed into a shadow…then set it right in front of you.

I have been lost in a dark sea of negative emotions the past 1.5 weeks.  Feeling weighed down by my heavy ego-controlled heart and overcome with anger, sadness and grief.  I really did not enjoy feeling this way so I decided to use this time wisely to re-think and re-evaluate my life. I mustered up all the faith and courage I had to face my pain and to take a closer and honest look at my heart and ask myself “What is wrong?”.  In looking to my heart, I did not expect to meet face to face with the monster that appeared to me last night.  That monster was my own Shadow self.

This previously unconscious shadow is seeking the light of awareness, and it is calling out for my help. That’s when the dance of romancing my Shadow can begin.  When I start romancing my Shadow, I seduce the Shadow figure out into awareness and explore it – Who is there? What is she trying to tell me? Why did she form? What does she need? How can I help her?

I will try and describe how it felt to meet my Shadow self…Imagine putting all the bad thoughts and anger you have ever projected towards anyone, all the times you have judged somebody and any other unpleasant feelings you have ever repressed into a shadow…then set it right in front of you.  Your own mirror of all the things you have ever been ashamed of or hated about yourself, right there inside you.  Your own karma created by none other than you. I wanted so badly to run, but I knew I could not run from me, and that was one of the most terrifying realisations I have ever had. I felt trapped by my own fears.  My heart was pounding, I was anxious and shaky.  I kept reminding myself over and over again to try to breathe and relax, but my stomach turned with a dark eerie sick feeling. And as I looked into the mirror in my bathroom, what was staring straight back at me was years and years of neglect, repression and unresolved pain. She was raging mad and I had kept her locked up, sealed, chained and denied like a prisoner – like I was ashamed she existed. At that moment, I was delivered the biggest piece of humble pie I have ever received. This is proof that the truth is not always pretty.

What would I do now that I have seen my awful and wounded ways so clearly?  Part of me could not stand to be in my own body consciously knowing these parts of myself.  I felt so guilty and ashamed at myself for hurting so many people with my mean and selfish ways.  How could I be so cruel and cold?  I knew I had to pull myself together and think rationally – and more importantly, from a loving space. Trust me, it was hard. Yet this was darkness and the perfect opportunity for light to shine through.

I needed to decide how I was going to handle this monstrous piece of myself.  I knew I could either condemn myself for all I had seen in my shadow, and let it take over my life, or I could use this experience as an opportunity to forgive and accept these ugly and neglected parts of myself I had hidden for what seemed like lifetimes.  I decided I would love and forgive these nasty parts of me.  I spent many tears feeling the repercussions of my own actions, and much time sending out etheric apologies to all the people I had wronged, silently asking for forgiveness.

I now know, first hand, how everything you do has an imprint on your life and the lives of others.  This imprint (or karma) stays with you until you are able to step up and take responsibility for your actions, rectify the situation and clear it.  With this new found awareness, I have taken a vow to do the best that I can to be wise and loving in all of my decisions – thinking of all those involved and acting with compassion and thoughtfulness.

I am my Shadow. My Shadow is free. Together, we have birthed into the Light.

“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.  Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke

An Apology to the Divine Feminine: From a Warrioress in Transition

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Divine Feminine

I apologise for my inability to distinguish the benevolent warrior from the heartless warrior, a reflection of my own confusion dealing with the battlefields of yore. When I opened my heart too wide, I was vulnerable to attack from warring factions. I was conditioned to believe that I had to stay rigid, focused, prepared for any eventuality, in the desire to protect myself and others from attack. But I went too far, and closed too tight, and eradicated the bridge between our hearts. I am seeing this now and I am sorry.

I apologise for my perpetual absence, a reflection of my own inner absence, my inability to connect from a heart jammed tight by unresolved emotions that I did not have the tools to work through. I still lack many of these tools, but I am open to their emergence.

I apologise for my inability to distinguish relationship from war. Like a warrior in enemy territory, I would sneak in and out of your life in the night, plundering and selfishly taking what I needed, then crawling back to the other side of the abyss with the spoils. I gave little back for fear that I would become vulnerable to attack. I had war on the brain and I could not see the river of love waiting on the other side of the battlefield. I now recognise that love is the antidote for the armoured warrior, but I could not drink the antidote in my driven state.

I apologise for not seeing you, my eyes blinded by congealed rage and unshed tears. If it is any consolation, and I imagine it is not, I could not see myself either. I saw only that which served my hyper-vigilance, my warrior focus. My mirror was a battlefield.

I apologise for my ungrounded materialism, my power driven tyrannies, my obsession with accumulation. Somehow I imagined that accumulation would protect me and those close to me, but I failed to recognise that it just perpetuated the madness. I also apologise for my egoic abuses, a reflection of my own misguided ego, pumped up to deal with an inherently competitive world. I couldn’t distinguish the healthy, confident ego from the cocky, unhealthy ego. I went much too far in the wrong direction.

I apologise for a sexuality that was objectifying and disconnected from the heart. I know you longed for real intimacy, a merging of our souls along the heart-genital highway. But there were too many defences around my heart, and no bridge could form between our souls. There were moments when your loving ways freed me from my body masks, but I had no template to stand in that heart-fire. I am sorry for this, for I know that the path you longed for was the path to God.

I apologise for my horrifying acts of violence, a reflection of my own rage, my own inability to distinguish real enemies from friends. There are no words that can undo what I have done in those moments of madness. I know this, I do. I would hide my face in shame, but that won’t make things better. I need to own my misdeeds, and then find a way to believe in my capacity to move from a more loving place. I call out to other male warriors to be accountable for the actions of our gender, not in a way that is self-hating, but in a way that is courageously self-honest and genuinely compassionate. The heartfelt warrior acknowledges the error of his ways, and has the courage to do all he can to make amends over time.

I apologise for my inability to develop a conscious relationship. You were right there with your beautiful heart on your sleeve but I was too attached to my individualism and afraid of this unknown terrain. I know the forests, the marketplace and the ways of the outer world so well, but my inner geography is foreign to me. You called me to a place I was ill-prepared to go, although I sensed, below the surface of my bravado, that you called me home.

I am grateful for your willingness to believe that who I was in those rare moments of vulnerability was the real me. You were right – the real me lives inside of my heart – but a few moments now and then was the most I could handle. I saw you as dangerous, for in your presence I began to taste a surrendered way of being. Nonetheless, your faith in my goodness kept me going through many a battle, and restored my faith in life when I most needed it. You were the light at the end of a barbaric tunnel, and I am blessed.

I am grateful that you stuck with me through thick and thin, and I also understand those times you had to give up and let go. I now recognise that there is meaningful difference between a love-ship and a relationship. Love alone is not enough. Without a shared willingness to become conscious, there can only be frustration. I was so often impossible, clinging to my unconsciousness like a soldier clings to his weapons. I recognise the courage it took for you to keep your heart open in the presence of my resistance. You had every right to seek an authentic relationship, as your spirit was ignited in its presence. Your beautiful heart had every right to be met in its openness and willingness. I am grateful for the time you gave me, a moments respite from the hiding places I mistakenly called home.

I am grateful for Grandmother, for no one saw my tenderness more clearly. I am grateful for Mother, for choosing to bring me into being and for nourishing my body until I could find my feet. I am grateful for Mother Earth, for grounding my expansion and enlivening my spirit. I am grateful for the Divine Mother, the real Mother of us all. I now feel her divine presence, so close. Fiercely compassionate, she was always right here, breathing life into me, holding me safe. I sit in her lap as she breathes me.

I look forward to the day when the only thing that ignites relationship is two souls calling out to one another, two soul-hearts beating in the same direction, a whisper of longing that bridges one essence to another. I want to want you not because it gratifies my ego, not because you are outwardly beautiful, but because your very presence invites my Godself out of hiding. I want to touch you with my heart on my sleeve, to know chemistry between us that is not gender identified, but that is essence sourced, loves liquid lava flowing from the heart to the genitals to the great beyond. In this love-struck world, relationship will always be experienced as spiritual practice, a devotional expression of our God-self.

I had always believed that sensitivity is impossible to hold to in a harsh world. Yet in this moment, I feel sensitive, but without the fragility. I am still wearing armour but there is a shift in the direction of my intensity. I can linger in the heart-space a little longer than I once could, I am softening in so many places I never thought possible. After so many lifetimes with weapon in hand, a tender warrioress is being birthed in the core of my being. She is confused, but she intuitively knows that this is the way home.

Please do not give up on me or my fellow warriors and warrioress. Forgive us our misdeeds, or, at the least, be open to the possibility that we will shift as the trail expands to meet our shifting intentionality. The day will come when our warrior spirit loses its harsh edge, and comes into alignment with benevolent action. Some of us are already there, and many more of us will follow. The road to transformation is dependent on a bridge between genders, a benevolent bridge that celebrates our differences with respect and kindness. That work must begin with healing the rifts along the gender continuum, working hard to heal the collective heart until one day we can stand on a bridge across forever, hands held together, hearts open and alight, embracing the sacred masculine and divine feminine living at the heart of us all. I will meet you there.

May you feel the love of the Divine Mother crashing down on your heartfelt shores, graciously lifting you up above the madness of the world, nestling you in the grateful arms of those you have nurtured. Those of us who have received your blessings may not always acknowledge it, but your acts of love have landed within us, growing us stronger and infusing us with love’s light.

Thank you.

In This Moment

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In this moment…
I am alone.
And though I embrace this stillness…
this periodic passenger of mine 
that finds a paradise in that peace,
I know that less than a heartbeat away
someone else is alone.
And I, in my infinite power 
have nothing to offer but myself.
And that is all the paradise they want, 
and in this moment, 
all that I am empowered to give.
If I give it away, 
the Universe expands 
and I am forever changed.
Not because I had to,
But because it was the right thing to do
…in this moment.

A Meditation on Love

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“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” ~ Rumi

 

So a few things to be remembered. One: love, but not as a need – as a sharing. Love, but don’t expect – give. Love, but remember your love should not become an imprisonment for the other. Love, but be very careful – you are moving on sacred ground. You are going into the Highest, the purest and the holiest temple. Be alert. Drop all impurities outside the temple. When you love a person, love the person as if the person is a god, not less than that. Never love a woman as a woman and never love a man as a man, because if you love a man as a man, your love is going to be very, very ordinary. Your love is not going to be more than just lust. If you love a woman as a woman, your love is not going to soar very high. Love a woman as a goddess, then love becomes worship.

~ Osho

The Dance

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I have sent you my invitation,
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don’t jump up and shout, “Yes, this is what I want! Let’s do it!”
Just stand up quietly and dance with me.

Show me how you follow your deepest desires,
spiraling down into the ache within the ache,
and I will show you how I reach inward and open outward
to feel the kiss of the Mystery,
sweet lips on my own, every day.

Don’t tell me you want to hold the whole world in your heart.
Show me how you turn away from making another wrong without abandoning yourself when you are hurt and afraid of being unloved.

Tell me a story of who you are,
and see who I am in the stories I live.
And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice.

Don’t tell me how wonderful things will be . . . some day.
Show me you can risk being completely at peace,
truly okay with the way things are right now in this moment,
and again in the next and the next and the next. . .

I have heard enough warrior stories of heroic daring.
Tell me how you crumble when you hit the wall,
the place you cannot go beyond by th e strength of your own will.
What carries you to the other side of that wall,
to the fragile beauty of your own humanness?

And after we have shown each other how we have
set and kept the clear, healthy boundaries that
help us live side by side with each other, let
us risk remembering that we never stop silently
loving those we once loved out loud.

Take me to the places on the ea rth that teach you how to dance,
the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet
and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again.

Show me how you take care of business
without letting business determine who you are.
When the children are fed but sti ll the voices within and around us
shout that Soul’s desires have too high a price,
let us remind each other that it is never about the money.

Show me how you offer to your
people and the world
the stories and the songs
you want our children’s
children to remember.
And I will show you how I struggle not to change the world,
but to LOVE it!  

Sit beside me in long moments of shared solitude,
knowing both our absolute aloneness 
and our undeniable belonging.
Dance with me in the silence and
in the sound of small daily words,
holding neither against me at the end of the day.

And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest
intentions has died away on the wind,
Dance with me in the infinite pause 
before the next great inhale
of the breath that is breathing us all into Being,
not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within.

Don’t say, “Yes!”
Just take my hand and dance with me…