Rebuilding Your Universe
At the start of 2018, the BRAVE intern team and I developed, what we called, personal BRAVE statements. They were a way to mobilize our purpose and empower our greatest hopes for 2018. Our statements served as a guide, to challenge and inspire us through the year. We would start each of our meetings by standing, in a power pose of our choice, and reciting our BRAVE statements for one another. It was a way to take on our year in solidarity, with support and accountability, for creating our best selves and our best futures. In 2018, my statement was “I will Live BRAVE.”
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” - Barack Obama
Throughout 2018 I remained dedicated to this promise I made to myself. I would focus on living BRAVE, from the inside (myself) out (the world). I needed to start being BRAVE enough to really take care of myself. I knew I could improve my life and learn how to show the world my most authentic self. I could be free. I would argue that I was successful in choosing bravery many times. My life is of stark contrast today to what it was a year ago. I have shattered so many of the structures and habits and comforts that I had. I am proud of the space I have made for change, and for peace, love, and growth. But, some of the hardest and bravest work remains before me. I am in a moment of transition, within transition.
The second six months of 2018 have challenged me in a way that I have not been challenged before. The fierce and intentional changes I chose for myself put me at an arm's length from some of the most important and powerful parts of myself. I was in survival mode. In most ways, the changes I made were extremely positive. And that is epic, right? How lucky am I?
It feels good to feel good. But it was, and continues to be, not enough. Deep down, I knew I was still struggling. I was lost, even stuck, in my navigation towards what is next and unsure how to move forward. This manifestation of uncertainty is unfamiliar.
In the final weeks of 2018 I found myself existing in the debris of what I can only refer to as my universe in pieces. The consequence of several momentous amendments to my life's course. In an effort to maintain hope among the wreckage that lay within and around me, I decided to prepare and submit an application. So, in those same final weeks of 2018 I also found myself tasked with writing a Statement of Purpose. Just the name, Statement of Purpose, feels impossible.
I sat down to write, to take on the impossible. Facing my computer screen, with the cursor blinking back at me, I had so many questions and no answers. Panic set in. Then I thought, questions always seem to embody more possibility than answers do. And questions had flooded my brain. I was relieved to be asking questions. It gave me my power back. I was determined to sort out some answers. I felt better already. That moment gave me insight into what remained empty inside me, buried under the debris of my 2018 construction. My purpose.
“The most common way people give up their power is by believing they don’t have any.”
- Alice Walker
I grabbed the big white board that leans against the wall on top of my desk and turned away from my computer. I was excited, and suddenly engaged with my thoughts and feelings with so much more clarity. I investigated my questions. What is my dream? What is my purpose? For any fans of The Alchemist, what is my personal legend? What are my goals and objectives? What are my strategies?
My whiteboard still bears the results of this thought session. And my computer archives the final product of writing that is Statement of Purpose essay. I have no idea what will happen with this application I submitted. That is not what matters. And knowing that is liberating. I have begun the process of confronting some mountain-moving questions. I am creating space for reflection and celebration of what I have achieved and contributed, as well as space for investigation of self and re-connection to my non negotiables. My heart, mind and soul are renewed with an unwavering sense of empowerment and a strong curiosity to continue (re)discovering my purpose.
When I chose this path, I was scared and certain it would test me in ways I could not yet imagine. But, I also did it with immense belief in myself, to survive and thrive. With 2019, all of this remains my truth. Only now I have a new BRAVE statement. In 2019, “I will rebuild my universe.” My purpose is not to rebuild my universe. But, rather, by re-engaging with and living in my purpose I will be empowered and inspired to rebuild my best and bravest universe. All that was broken will be beautiful, all that was empty will be full. I am reinvigorated and energized. I know what I am made of. My soul is on fire and I have tremendous hope for what is to come. I am ready to go to work.
“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lesson we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up.” - The Alchemist
My next step is to employ all that I am in order to rebuild, heal, create and become. In this adventure, I am learning to be inspired and challenged by the distance between where I am and where I want to be. I am learning to remember that I AM LIVING BRAVE. That is what matters. And I have the BRAVE mission and the BRAVE family, both of which remain my North Star. I am so grateful for that.
So, now I challenge you: What is your dream? What is your purpose? For any fans of The Alchemist, what is your personal legend? What are your goals and objectives? What are your strategies? What will you do in 2019?