Today, I had the most remarkable conversation with a fellow Toastmaster, Karen Hudson, who’s had a renown career as a costume designer and is now retired.
Initially, she offered generously to give me insights on compelling story telling and as our conversation moved along, I asked her about her story.
I love stories, even as a kid in kindergarten, I’d scramble to the front row to be captivated by the adventures coming to life from the pages.
Hers is one that’s 80 years in the making and far from finished. Before dyslexia was ever described as a thing, she pursued an education in the arts which lead to opportunities in costume design which lead to a career in Hollywood.
Her life has been and continues to be magical because she “let life come to her.” This may be of interest to you if you are in a position of striving towards a goal, whether it’s fulfillment at work, a new relationship, or even, making it to Friday!
I wanted to share the gifts I received from our conversation.
How to Let Life Come to You Recipe Card
The instructions are pretty simple when you alchemize all of them which lets life come to you like magic.
What I’ve run into in the past and what I see around me is that people unwittingly don’t pick the best ingredients out there, like ones that are tainted with other people’s stories or those that have begun to rot because their expiration date has expired, or have any sense of what’s not truly you at the conscious and subconscious levels.
So in this recipe card, learn how to pick the best ingredients for your life because you deserve the BEST.
You’ll notice that gathering the ingredients includes some activity, just like preparing a potato for mashed potatoes requires peeling it.
Identify the Prize
Usually esoteric (formless), the prize or end game becomes the lit match under your butt. In her case, it was pretty simple and yet profound: Not be unhappy.
For you it might be more contextual, like, stop feeling like shit at work (peace), moving past an end of a chapter like divorce or death (metamorphosis of your dynamic self), owning your agency in life (embodying your north star).
The prize is not dependent on anyone else but lies deep within you where your purity springs from.
It goes beyond the details of life (like a better job, a new relationship or more money) to the undercurrent intention that serves all of us.
It’s a high stakes, “all in” type of prize, where there is no point of return and you say to yourself, “I am going for it…because I have to.”
Own Your Fearlessness
Focus and clarity to receive the opportunities that present themselves come when there is no undercurrent of mindf$k which shows itself in questions, “What if…? How should I…? What happens when…?” Mindf*$k, and its undercurrent of fear, takes up space and diminishes your drive because it overcomplicates your prize’s purity.
Fear muddles and takes away the power and magic of our dreams by distracting our energy to the details of life that don’t matter, or project us forward into steps that don’t even exist yet which may end up being very different than what we think it might be after we take the first one.
Without fear, your prize is so focused and clear that you will not and cannot fail…you move forward without being a steamroller over other people because the essence of your prize ultimately benefits all of us.
The issue is that fear is invisible and its roots cannot be seen by the conscious mind so it can’t be unwound quickly by our intellect. It CAN and is meant to be unwound quickly in the realm where the intellect is purposely separated from it.
It’s the part of us that we all have been socialized away from and where true courage waits for us to open and step into.
It’s where 95% of life’s drivers are vs. the 5% conscious, intellectual part of us that we’re more familiar with
Use Your Capacity for Greatness
I want to spend some time here because most of us don’t have the good fortune of role models early in life like Karen had (entrepreneurial father who always found a way to create solutions and a trailblazing mother who had a career before it became the norm).
She, like all of us, however, demonstrated greatness because she had built the capacity for it. She didn’t get bogged down with meditations, vision boards and other tools we now have because they weren’t available to her in the early stages of her journey.
The simplicity and grace is what I want to deconstruct in the last part of this post.
Her life illustrates the qualities that we own as well, if we switch our lens away from, “She was lucky.” to “Oh, hell yes, I’ve got it, too!”
Let the Ingredients Set
When you gather the freshest, best ingredients, all you have to do is go about your day.
You take the step that’s in front of you as the carpet continues to unfold, not the ones that mindf$*k tries to distract you with.
You don’t know what that’s going to be but you don’t waste your time worrying about it.
You’re simply open and receptive for the prize to find you because all of your sous chef work has been done up front.
Don’t keep opening the oven door while it cooks. You won’t even think about it when you prepare the ingredients at the “beyond the surface” level.
Do take action that is in front of you with the best ingredients you’ve prepared.
Recognize Your Capacity for Greatness
When I say capacity for greatness, I want to assure you that you have it even if you haven’t yet reached your goal or sense you’re not exactly where you want to be.
Your capacity for greatness is formed in the space and pressure you carry when you are denied what is right, when the gift of who you are is denied.
Hardships are not a punishment but rather the gift of building the capacity of what it’ll take to change what’s not right. The greater the oppression, the greater the capacity to change it.
And what needs changing does not benefit just you but the multitudes even if you don’t realize it at the time, even when you don’t have a hashtag to your particular compression point.
We ALL have been restricted, controlled or dominated in one form of another throughout our lives. You have built the capacity to hold greatness from just surviving the state of compression.
And the greatness that unfolds will not always correlate one-to-one to what you set to liberate. Your greatness is often the permission you give to others to do the same, to own their greatness.
As I’ve adopted, your authenticity is the mirror that frees others.
In Karen’s’ case, her dyslexia was one factor in building her greatness when she was labeled as “slow, stupid, or needs extra help.”
That compression along with the modeling of her parents brought life to her so that she now reads and comprehends faster than most of us.
Even more important, she shows us how her brain naturally thinks HOLISTICALLY, that there is another way that is possible for all humans to benefit from, to use all of our brain parts seamlessly and increase its “performance” to produce beautiful things for the world to enjoy.
She operates the way that we were all designed to be, holistic, gracious, and generous in a way that is natural, not synthetic.
Dyslexia wasn’t a disorder, it was a gift for all of us to know that there is more potential in our brains when we’re holistic.
She learned to life in this manner without complicated rituals or tools because they weren’t available then and she had prepared the other ingredients so masterfully.
Here’s the thing that I’ve found when working with people who were “different,’ those in mental institutions or in prison: They taught me how to be a better person by showing me what was wrong with the rest of the world and gave me the next step for how my part, albeit small, could move us forward.
They gave me the gift of looking beyond the surface so I can connect the dots quickly, to bridge the seen and unseen, in a clean and safe undercurrent realm free of judgement with my clients so I can teach them how to do the same for themselves and by their example, teach others.
My clients are not their issues or the drama that the details of their lives give them. I clearly see them for who they really are, beautiful sovereign beings because I look beneath the surface.
The catatonic schizophrenic I befriended when I volunteered in a psych ward when I was in high school showed me how to look past the “odd” behavior and to teach me how to see what a beautiful free spirit he was in his endless ability to show compassion towards me through the detached reality I wasn’t a member of. He saw the world differently and, that sometimes, our narrow rules of normalness are wrong. He was odd so that he could stand out and show what true compassion looks like.
The incarcerated cop killer I tutored when I was in college taught me that freedom cannot be found in our environment but in the art of our soul. True freedom exists beyond the physical world of iron cell doors and can be expressed in its narrow confines like when the words he read to me from his poetry became birds and swirls of light that flew off the page and into the endless night sky.
The ability to speak out and BE HEARD: “This happened to me and it’s not right.” (#TimesUp, #MeToo) speaks to ALL of us. We will no longer be silent regardless of the details of life (gender, sexual identity, religious or political affiliation, world citizenship through ethnicity, professional or educational status, role in societal paradigms, or how rich or poor you are) when we do not treat each with respect and honor.
The courage to stand up to abhorrent violation to rights as human beings (Civil Rights movement that is still not done) freed ALL of us to continue onward until this role of injustice and domination is no longer needed.
People who are “weird, loud, or different,” those not in the dominant positions, or any of us who recognize the oppression in our lives show the world what’s needed to evolve as a human race. Own the capacity that your oppression has created for you then clean its dualistic undercurrent so you can please help us all move forward.
#CourageAndGrace #LetLifeComeToYou #BeFreelyWeird #OppressionCanFreeUs