About a year ago, a friend of mine told me, “Out of all the people I know, I feel like you’re the most ready for postgrad.”
I smiled and shrugged.
At the time, I was just a wide-eyed 21-year-old hopeful, excited for the opportunities my last year in college would offer. I was hardworking, chasing after the stories and interviews with people who inspired me. I fearlessly fought for the opportunity to be just a little closer to my “dream” (whatever that was). I loved music; I loved writing; and I wanted to write about the people who made the music I loved.
And I did that. I did just that. I chased those “dreams” and I got them. I’ve seen dreams unfold and things happen to me that I still question, “Why?” or “How?” because I often feel undeserving (but immensely grateful).
I’ve been reading a book called A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson (which is a book revealed to me by songbird Kate Earl, more than a year ago). Safe to say, it’s saved my life.
I’ve found that it becomes very easy to get caught up in your professional life. The fast-paced life of constantly working and doing things–of chasing the stars and stories of high-profile celebrities, living the blur of an OC-LA lifestyle–is addicting. I remember becoming so obsessed with chasing and doing things and trying to do more than I already had, that it was like I developed this unhealthy obsession of trying to “outdo” myself.
When I realized that, I started to feel ugly inside.
This past summer, I’ve had the chance to return home and “get away from it all.” Transitioning from the busy lifestyle of college to my small town suburban life was a little unsettling at first; but, as most kids have lamented returning home, I’ve found it to be really healthy.
In A Return To Love, Williamson reflects on her Course in Miracles, in which she discusses how our sole purpose in this universe is to use our love and talent in order to spread more love into the universe–to heal it.
That idea has been very comforting to me.
For so long, I’ve felt that the work I had been putting out within my music articles and interviews served no meaning. Writing stories about other people and producing snippets of concert recaps have been unfulfilling. I’ve found that they serve no purpose to you or to me or to anyone else, except to merely share information that would soon be forgotten in the grand scheme of our lives.
I’ve realized this desire in me to put work out there that means something–that can spread love into the universe, to teach others to love just a little more openly; to teach others that a genuine heart and a genuine soul can do good things; to teach people that when we believe in a good world, we receive one; and to encourage people to find their story and not be afraid to tell it.
In the weeks leading up to graduation, I felt as if I had done everything I had wanted to do in college. For the first time in my life, I felt ready for something more–apart from my dreams, aspirations, work and career. I was ready to let love into my life.
But, I felt as if I needed to ask for permission to do so. I gave myself excuses that I wasn’t ready. “I need to work on myself more, and then I’ll be ready!”
Let’s admit it: we all want to feel important. We all want to feel significant; to do things that matter; to make our marks, whether in our relationships, work or the world.
When we do ourselves the disservice by telling ourselves that we shouldn’t want those things–that we shouldn’t want to feel important or have significance–then we won’t. Our fear of owning up to our desires limits us from getting them–and thus limits ourselves to be our best, most brilliant versions of us.
“The reason so many people want to be actors is not because they are truly called to the art, but rather because they want so desperately to create something beautiful in their own lives. Show up! Be enthusiastic! Put some energy into the life you’re living now! How will anyone ever be impressed by your starlike quality if you’re waiting to cultivate that quality until you become a star?”
I’ve outlined a couple of ideas I have taken from Williamson’s book. Do with it what you will, but they are definitely transformative.
I’ve found that, especially during this postgrad time when all my friends are lamenting postgrad life, I’m actually feeling excited. Why? Well, for the first time in our lives, we have the opportunity to choose and decide to live our lives in the way we want and see fit. Is that not wonderful?
The single most important thing I have found though, is that when you exude warmth, love and kindness into everything you do, that comes right back to you.
On writing a story for the right reasons–for the joy of creativity, rather than merely being creative:
“The problem most people have is that they’re more concerned with the mode of their expression than with what they’re seeking to express. That’s because they don’t know what they want to express. This generation, this culture, is full of people who want desperately to write a story, but for all the wrong reasons.”
On finding motivation–inspiration in a healed world rather than ourselves:
“The journey to a pure heart can be highly disorienting. For years we may have worked for power, money and prestige. Now all of a sudden we’ve learned that those are just values of a dying world. We don’t know where to search for motivation anymore. … There comes a time, not too long into the journey to God, when the realization that the world could work beautifully if we would give it a chance, begins to excite us. It becomes our new motivation.
On knowing who we are and why we are here:
“Knowing who you are and why you came here–that you are a child of God and that you came here to heal and be healed–is more important than knowing what you want to do. What you want to do is not the important question. The question to ask is, “when I do anything, how should I do it?” And the answer is, ‘kindly.'”
For any of you wanting to do a little soul-searching, or even if you’ve been feeling like a little rut in your life, I highly recommend this book. I picked up this book more than a year ago and haven’t got around to reading it until recently. Why? Because I couldn’t find it relevant at the time.
Now, as I’m much older and transitioning into the “real world,” I’ve been doing a lot of reevaluating–what I want to do, where I see myself fit, what I find my purpose to be, and what my heart really calls for.
And here we are: the recent college graduates who are expressing their sorrows and nostalgia for that independent college life they will so miss, back to our infantile state of mom and dad’s cooking, no Thursday night party and waking up next to our Netflix-binge hangover while spending more time with our parents than we remember as babies in the crib. We’re more bored and restless than ever as the job hunt gets real.
This book saved me. It gave me clarity. And in a time like this, I feel we all could benefit from it.
Thank you for writing this Rachel. Thank you 🙏🏻
I’m so glad it resonated with you… Just checked out your blog. I love it.
It did. A lot! Esp the bit about why ppl want to be actors so they can create something beautiful. & thankyou for the kind words
Totally! That bit really got to me… We all want to be something, but for the wrong reasons. When we just do and be, we become.
This too: “Let’s admit it: we all want to feel important. We all want to feel significant; to do things that matter; to make our marks, whether in our relationships, work or the world.” This is literally what I’ve always struggled with.”
🙂 Definitely. I hate to admit it too, but it’s important. We just have to know if it’s for the right reasons!
I also agree about exuding warmth & love & you will get it back in return as well as the bit about our hectic/modern lives.
Oh wow… I’m so amazed you pretty much resonated with everything I said! I’m so glad to hear this though… 🙏
Amen, amen, AAAAAMENNNN!!! I remember opening this post back in Sept…buuuuuuut I was unable to understand your experience. At that time, I was stuck in motions. I was absent and blind. I was seriously lost. It was completely unhealthy and I am just so happy now I can relate to this completely…I had to read it 2x and I am just so happy to have made it to this point/your experience.
I am finding myself again. Returning to prioritizing myself…loving myself…being my positive happy self that I know I am. I was even more so extremely excited to read this idea below because this is how I lived life. However, since graduation and maybe a little before…I slowly and then completely forgot how to do this…because I was insecure, scared, and everything that could eat away your soul. I felt all those feels you described about putting your posts out there that didn’t give off the same feeling as it once did. I understand every part of this post and it gives me great comfort and happiness!!! (My mind is like “yessss!!! I’m not alone…someone gets me!!! word by word, I knew the feels..and i felt the uplifting energy!!!)
[“In A Return To Love, Williamson reflects on her Course in Miracles, in which she discusses how our sole purpose in this universe is to use our love and talent in order to spread more love into the universe–to heal it.'”]
another point that I really liked/relate to——-
[“And here we are: the recent college graduates who are expressing their sorrows and nostalgia for that independent college life they will so miss, back to our infantile state of mom and dad’s cooking, no Thursday night party and waking up next to our Netflix-binge hangover while spending more time with our parents than we remember as babies in the crib. We’re more bored and restless than ever as the job hunt gets real.”]
I had the hardest time accepting this for some reason. I don’t know how you adjusted to it, but I just recently embraced it!! It is temporary and it is a transition/adjustment. I started seeing this situation as one that is temporary and that I should enjoy it as it lasts!!! Its a good waiting spot until I am stable again. (College was a great vacation! lol) I just feel like…again…I am not the only one going through this phase esp how you described being bored and relentless. It was so true…I never felt so alone!! Now, I would say when you look at it another angle with an open heart and eyes….I can see that it’s just me that needed time and healing to adjust to what is new and what has been lost from leaving Irvine and going to home.
Idk, if I make any sense. This is a rant that I am so happy to let go of and share whether interesting or not. Thanks for your enlightening posts and experiences because it makes me so SOOOOO happy to know that I am not alone in my experiences. If anything, I am on the same boat!!!! LOVE YOUR VIBES AND ENERGY!!! TY LOTS ❤
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