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There is something about capturing a moment in time that is magical, and almost visceral. In certain pictures you can feel the emotion being conveyed in that moment. It is a gift to be able to capture that moment, and preserve it for a lifetime of memories.
The record is there, and you can immerse yourself in that moment at anytime. Anyone who has lost someone close to them, you realize how important pictures are because they bring you back to that time and place. The part of that memory you hold dear is an important gateway to the soul, and it’s easy to get lost in it. The most important part is to take the memory and hold it close to you, and keep it with you as long as you need it.
It doesn’t need to be that dramatic, though. It can be sending a friend a picture when they are away, or finding a hilarious event and reposting it. It brings you back to time, place, and emotion.
I have been pondering the past month about the many things that have changed in my life so much in three years. Since I was in middle school, I have been searching for and also running from belonging to anything outside my family. I’m fortunate enough to be comfortable with my family, which has always been my rock. I’ve just expanded it a bit.
I didn’t belong to anything in middle school or high schooI, beyond an environmental club and to a certain extent my church youth group. Even that was superficial. I think everyone to some degree goes through bullying in middle and high school, and it affected me greatly-I know I am not unique in those aspects. It was typical middle and high school tormenting, and it left deep scars of trust issues. The groups I thought I belonged to, I really didn’t. I felt awkward, uncomfortable, and painfully self-conscious most of the time. So I retreated, and built reinforced concrete walls.
It was simple in mind. Belonging equalled trust that inevitably lead to hurt, which led to me being terrified of letting myself get close enough to feel worthy of belonging. It was one more thing to lose, one more heartbreak, and it was just easier to cut myself off emotionally. It was damned effective.
At my community college was the first time in a very long time I felt I belonged somewhere, and it wasn’t superficial. I found my beloved Garden Club, the Garden Elite. I am not sure whether it was because some of them were older that I felt more at ease, or just because they were an exceptionally accepting group that made even an awkward newcomer feel welcome. For whatever reason, I did feel welcome, and more importantly, I let myself feel that I deserved to be included. As I am writing this, I am realizing what a defining period it was in my life. I trusted people a little, and it didn’t hurt. There was just acceptance, love, and I will forever be grateful to them. I am still in touch with those people today.
After college was a struggle to belong again, and I was back to feeling like I did in high school. The scarcity mindset had returned, and I wondered if I would ever feel good enough at anything again. Fast forward to three years ago. I found friends, a tremendous group of people, and an organization who’s entire philosophy is to empower people. I feel a true sense of belonging, love, and appreciation I never thought I would ever receive again, or let myself feel like I could let people in without fear. I found my group, who is a part of my extended family, and to finally feel like I belong somewhere, and that I am worthy of it, is an indescribable feeling of gratitude. I have surrounded myself with people who love and accept me for me.
I was sending a text to a friend tonight who needed some encouragement. And all of a sudden I could SEE my path like it was a reality. And it IS a reality, which is the key to my whole being right now. I can see myself at the center of the most positive, enlightened people on the planet, and giving them the gift to change their future. I see myself sponsoring an Olympic C-1 paddler to get their dream of representing their country. I see myself helping EVERY kid who wants to get on the water (paddling, whatever) when they do not have the opportunity to do so. I see myself helping hundreds of people learn how to paddle and learn their sense of confidence.
I feel calm, almost at peace. Except at the same time my soul is humming with certainty and purpose. For the first time ever, I have a very clear vision of what is to come. I have had a series of epiphanies the last few months, and they have all lead to THIS moment in time. It has never been this clear, and never with this kind of inspired action.
The best part of my above vision? I get to that level of achievement that by helping other people get what they want. For those that know me, it is an innate part of my personality. I crave it like people crave chocolate.
The weirdest part of tonight was I did not consciously make a decision. My mind and soul decided for me. All of a sudden at 9:00 this evening, the timer went “Pop” and it was like an explosion. And right now, it’s like an all-consuming fire running through my veins to cleanse myself and I really want to run like 10 miles.
I feel epically, utterly different than I ever have before. Different than last month by ten-fold. I feel it with a certainty that is unlike any other I have felt before. This is my life, and I am owning it starting TODAY.