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“As soon as you trust yourself, you will understand how to live.”

Have you ever actually heard yourself whining about how you can’t do something?

I have… and it was not pretty. However, it was made for a funny story!

In actuality, I created a presentation based on said funny story and delivered it recently at a women’s networking event. The talk was well-received (and everyone laughed at the funny part) but I rather surprised myself in the question and answer period afterwards.

My presentation was called,”The Electric Jello Story – Turning I Can’t Into I Could… and I Will.”

The first part of my talk was a somewhat sordid tale in my party days about a bachelorette gone awry. I had overindulged in certain electric jello shooters and had been sent home from the pub early. But when the women attempted to wake me from my drunken slumber at the wee hours of the morning (so that I could buzz them up to the flat ) I wanted no part of being woken up, thank you very much.

Nor could I appear to find out which button to push on the silly intercom to allow them in the foyer.

Unfortunately, my repeated wails of”I can not” (in the most whining and pathetic tone imaginable) was listed on the answering machine.

But to this day, I could still hear how dreadful I sounded!

Anyway, in the next part of my presentation, I told the story of the conversation I had had with my husband the day before he died. I’d said to him:”I am so scared I am going to wake up 20 years from now and still not have finished Belle Glade Raccoon Removal.”

To which he’d responded:”You are probably right about that… just as long as you understand that will have been your decision.”

But in all fairness, after 12 years of being together, I think the poor man had run out of patience listening to me whine and whine about not having the time or money to write. For more than a decade, I had used every excuse in the book as to why I could not make my writing a priority.

I’d said to myself, after dropping him off at work that night. I promised myself I would wake up early the next morning and do an hour of writing prior to going to work in my clerical job.

I pushed snooze. “I’m too tired to write.”

When I finally hauled my butt out of bed, after pushing the snooze button multiple times, there wasn’t any time to write. In actuality, there was hardly time for me to get to work.

When I did arrive at work, my whole life changed in an instant. John died that day. And I got the wake-up call of all wake-up calls about the danger of waiting for a tragedy to wake us to the importance of achieving our dreams.

Two weeks after his death, I started writing what would become my novel, A Widow’s Awakening. It took me 8 years to get it – and me – where it had to be. However, I did it.

After I completed my presentation at the women’s networking event, we had an impromptu Q&A, and the host asked me this question:

“If there was only one word to describe what you think is THE most important thing in terms of transforming”I can’t” into”I could,” what could it be?”

I thought about this for a moment and then one word popped into my mind.

“But not faith in the standard way we often think of faith, as in having faith in some sort of divine guidance or a religious belief.”

“I’m talking about faith in one’s self.” I continued. “I think it is absolutely imperative that we have faith in ourselves and our ability to achieve what it is we really want to achieve. Because if we do not have this, then all the divine help and spiritual guidance in the world can’t help us.”

Likewise with our mortal supporters.

John believed in my potential as a writer and did what he could to inspire me to take concrete actions towards meeting my goals i.e. get my butt in the seat and WRITE.

But at the end of the day, taking action was my responsibility. That was a really tough life lesson to learn in the wake of such an immense loss.

If we do not have faith in ourselves that we can – and will – measure up to the plate, each and every day, and do the work that needs to be done, then the reinforcement and support of our nearest and dearest, in addition to any type of divine guidance we may think is available to us, won’t be of much use.

And for the record, I DO believe there’s a tremendous amount of spiritual aid just waiting in the wings to help guide us… sending us all sorts of signs and signals. We just have to a) listen and b) take action. I suspect, however, that those other forces do not require our faith.