My kids are a wreck. College boys have just finished finals and Mr. High School has endured weeks and weeks of standardized testing. Each of them has come to me, stressed out.
I remember that feeling. That everything – you’re entire FUTURE — was dependent on how you did on this thing or that thing.
Of course I was wrong.
Now that I have a few decades of life behind me here’s what I know: Nothing matters and yet everything does.
There is nothing so devastating that it can’t be overcome. And everything is an opportunity to express joy and devotion.
I try to assure my boys that they get do-overs in life. But, somewhere along the way, the noise of others has drowned out my own.
I suppose they’ll learn just like everyone else does – the hard way.
Instead of focusing on them and their worries, I decided to write my own letter to my younger self. My boys don’t need me to “tell them” anything. They are skilled “figure outers.” But there is much I need to share with myself.
Here is the top of mind letter I just wrote to my 14-year old self. Perhaps you’d like to try it too.”
Your life is going to be both difficult and beautiful. Don’t worry, you’re not being singled out. Everyone is going to get some hard stuff and some beautiful stuff. There’s not a whole hell of a lot you can do to avoid the pain. Love brings it. Hope brings it. Joy brings it.
Fear not your sorrows. You will have what you need when you get to them to survive anything. And the good thing about sorrow is that it carves out a receptacle for joy.
Yep. Joy lives in the hollow sorrow creates.
Try not to become attached to too much. Life will go easier for you if you hold onto things and people and situations with a loose grasp.
Take exquisitely good care of yourself. Getting older is tricky and you will find an easier path if you stay fit in body and spirit.
Speaking of spirit, try not to be too hard on god. He’s not really in charge of as much as you think. For example, god didn’t kill your father, alcoholism did. You may wonder what value there is in a god that allows this, but what if I told you that god isn’t in charge of living and dying?
What if I told you that, instead, god’s job is to make sure you have the strength and courage to continue no matter what comes.
These are the two things you are going to need. Don’t misunderstand me. It is not up to Beautiful You to bring the strength and courage to yourself in every life situation.
Some things that will happen to you that will be beyond your own strength and courage.
I know that is hard for you to imagine right now because you have made yourself so very hard.
But that is the miracle nonetheless.
Your god will see to it that you have all the strength and courage you need, but often, it will come through others.
So you’re gonna have to try trusting others a wee little bit.
It doesn’t take a lot of trust to succeed in the beginning. But you will find that your trust in others grows in proportion to your trust in your own self.
So work on trusting yourself. Decide you like yourself. You might as well go ahead and do that today — you’ll save yourself a whole boatload of trouble.
Although you don’t realize it, you’ve been given an incredible gift. I’m talking about your intuition. There will be people – lots and lots of people – who try and negate the idea that intuition is a real and valuable asset.
These are NOT the ones you want to trust, no matter how close they are to you. You will want to trust the people who reaffirm for you that you are strong in spirit.
There will be people – lots and lots of people – who demean your sensitive nature. Do not give too much of yourself to these people, you are already ahead of them and they have less to offer than you think.
Remember, just because someone is older than you does not mean they are wiser.
At the same time, discount no one. Everyone has something to teach you, even if it’s what NOT to do and how NOT to live.
You don’t have to announce this to them, by the way. They won’t ever get it and it’s not your job to make them see.
As a matter of fact, to a very large extent, how other people choose to live is really not much of your business. There will be a very few for whom you have charge, but remember you are not IN charge. Your higher power is.
And those to whom you will be given stewardship have their very own higher powers. You can rest easy in that even though it will be painful and difficult to watch them test and retest their own limits.
You, my love are a hope-bringer. But, more than that, you are a truth-teller. These two tasks will not always seem compatible.
But they are, and you will figure out a way to express both.
You’re going to figure it all out eventually. But you will flail about a lot before you do. You’re kind of a “thrasher,” my love, but as you get older you will allow yourself the gift of the truth sooner.
Eventually and again and again you will get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Your impatience with yourself will cause you much pain. And you will be impatient with others as well. Kindness dictates that you allow people their own process, even if it seems like it takes forever for everyone to get to where you want to be.
One thing that will help is to accept that you are meant to forge on ahead without them, even though that seems the lonelier path.
All of it is okay, my love. You will come to see love in all things and you will spend the rest of your days finding ways to use your gifts to serve others.
That’s when you will know your greatest peace.
Since you will eventually know peace, why not begin to seek it today?
Everything doesn’t have to be hard. That’s the main thing to keep in mind.
Seek softness. Trust in the grace which abounds in and through you.
Give freely of yourself, but not to the point that you lose your own way.
Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out.
With love and devotion.
Your Older Self.”