and the world needed love.

I think I have spent the last year learning how to really love myself. Actually, I believe I have spent twenty-five years learning that, and the past year applying said knowledge. It turns out, it really is possible to love yourself, to enjoy yourself, and to be proud of yourself. So this post isn't about that, because right now I am learning something new.

I am twenty-five years old. I live in Provo, UT. I attended BYU. It is not uncommon to be asked, "Why aren't you married?"

I will not lie and say I have never asked myself that question.  I have. But I don't anymore, and this post is also not about marriage.

It is about the realization I have come to, that while I crave to love someone that way, and while I crave to be loved that way, what a gift I have to be capable of love at all.

It is, perhaps, our most Divine characteristic, the ability to love. And I believe, that while it may not be romantic love, there are so many fulfilling ways to experience it.


We can love!

And if you, like I, lack a romantic partner in life, perhaps we have been given more space, time and energy, to share our love with the rest of the world. Maybe instead of wishing I had ONE PERSON to share ALL my romantic love with, I should be looking for ways to share the love I do have with someone/something else. It's as if we think we have this limited supply of love, deep down in our soul somewhere, that we hide just to make sure we haven't spent it before the time comes to "give it away" to that special someone.

But I think that is a disjustice to the world. Because that love, it isn't limited. I believe it replenishes every time it is spent, and comes back with more than was ever shed. I believe that love IS precious. It is the purest part of you.

And learning to love not only yourself, but the world, I think that will save us all.


the precipice

And here, again, I find myself at the precipice.

And while I want to just run, jump, and spread my wings, it seems I have been given a few months to take in the view from up here before I get to fly.

It is, in fact, beautiful, afterall.

What a glorious experience it is, to feel so ready to move forward, and at the very exact moment feel so much appreciation for everything you are about to leave behind. Perhaps because so much of what you think you're leaving behind has already taken it's permanent home within your heart. Grateful seems to be such an insufficient expression of the feeling I feel for this place, these people, these experiences, these memories. They have become me. They built me. They created me. Or maybe, maybe they just found me in the very place I was hiding all along. Sacred, that's what these things are.

And while I've been preparing and planning to jump for so long, and while flying will prove to be the most magnificent step toward my next, seemingly unsurmountable precipice, there are bits of bitter in this sweetness of jumping.



Have you ever heard the phrase, "pick apart?"

For example,
"My professor totally picked my paper apart!"
"The critics picked her performance apart."

However, it is not only objects or inanimate things that get "picked apart." In fact, often the idiom "pick apart" is associated with a person.

What does that mean, actually?

To pick apart a person literally implies the action of fragmenting a person, or their actions, into separate pieces.

I think we all do this.  Most of the time subconsciously we view people as fragmented versions of themselves. Partially because it is seemingly difficult to know everything about a person, but also, I would argue, because it seems more advantageous to us.  When you are frustrated with someone, it is easier to swallow their poor actions if you view them simple as "lazy," "rude," "ridiculous," or "stupid."  Or when somebody you love does something sweet for you, you become wrapped up in all of the positive pieces; they are "kind," or "generous," or "thoughtful," and all imperfections become irrelevant or even forgotten.

I propose that far too often, we view others in these pieces. We tear each other apart, we tear each other down, we magnify imperfections, we focus on differences rather than similarities. Indeed, we even view ourselves as whatever portion of our being we feel like viewing in that given moment. Perhaps today I think I am driven, but tomorrow I may decide that I must be the laziest human alive because I slept in an extra thirty minutes, and only view myself through that lens for the rest of the day.

But what would the world be like if we chose to see each other differently, even whole-ly?  If we were to see someone, interact with someone, and rather than magnify just one piece, take in the big picture?  To see them as extraordinary beings, with potential exceeding all understanding and comprehension?  To recognize that they, just as we do, seek connection, happiness, and basic needs.  Would you, perhaps, have more patience with the person that cut you off, if you considered that they, just like you, have stress, and might even be running late to see their child born?  Would you be more grateful for the thoughtful gift your friend dropped off if you considered that she may have had just as lousy of a day as you, and still chose to bring by your favorite treat?

What would your day be like, if you gave yourself permission to be imperfect?  If you didn't take every mistake or poor choice and replay it again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again... If you allowed yourself to be proud of the achievements, milestones, and awesome things that you do, rather than tell yourself that only arrogant people get excited about things like that?  What if you believed you were truly of love, even your own?  What would a day in that life be like?

I just wonder,

if we would train ourselves to seek the whole, rather than the pieces...
if we were to give one another the benefit of the doubt...
if we were to spend just a moment considering the idea that we all are living in the same confusing, magnificent, and overwhelming world...

Would we be more open to understand those that appear different than us?
Would we give others permission to be themselves, even if that meant we would never do what they choose to do?
Would we offer a hand to someone who might have even "gotten themselves into" the trouble they are in?
Would we forgive more freely?
Would we be happier?

Could we perhaps enjoy a more whole, or as I would call it 'whole-y' existence?


He Lives!

In my Family Life in World Religions class, I have spent the semester studying how those of many religions apply their faith in their day to day lives. I could write so many blog posts about the incredible things I learned, but mostly, I just feel so grateful.

My faith has been strengthened by studying the way that others believe, the sacrifices they make, and how so many dedicate their lives pursuing goodness.

For our final project in this class, I have been spent the last few days compiling pictures and representations of the Savior, and was overwhelmed to both see the pictures and read/hear the meaning each had to the individual that shared it with me. Each is different, but magnificent. It seemed only fitting to share the pictures with the rest of you. I am grateful for a Savior who not only died for us, but lived and continues to live for us.

'Tis the Season!


Quote Post #6,000,000,000,000

I just discovered that I can go on and read through everything I have marked, noted or highlighted in my Kindle. I'm sure you ALREADY knew you could do this, but it was new for me, okay?

Here are a few gems from Jen Sincero that I found again....enjoy!

-It never ceases to amaze me the precious time we spend chasing the squirrels around our brains, playing out our dramas, worrying about unwanted facial hair, seeking adoration, justifying our actions, complaining about slow Internet connections, dissecting the lives of idiots, when we are sitting in the middle of a full-blown miracle that is happening right here, right now.
-But you don’t have wait until you hit rock bottom to start crawling out of your hole. All you have to do is make the decision.
-My friend’s dog is so happy to see her every single time she walks in the door it’s like she’s about to free him from forty years of imprisonment. Even if she’s only been gone for an hour. You’re here. I’m here. I love you. I’m gonna pee all over the floor about it.
-There’s a great Hindu story about a lady who wanted to meet the god Krishna. So she went into the forest, closed her eyes, and prayed and meditated on making the god appear and lo and behold, Krishna came wandering down the forest path toward her. But when Krishna tapped the lady on the shoulder, she, without opening her eyes, told him to get lost because she was busy meditating on a very important goal.
-Going out into the world and trying, yet still deep-down believing that you’re ruled by your past circumstances, is like forgiving someone but still hoping they sit in something wet.
-When we’re forced to do something, suddenly the time is there. Which means it’s there all the time, but we’ve just chosen to limit ourselves by believing that it isn’t.
-Fear lives in the future. The feeling of being afraid is real, but the fear itself is all made up because it hasn’t even happened yet
-So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision, when what we’ve really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable.
-Faith is the muscle you use when you decide to blast outside of your comfort zone and transform your life into something that’s practically unrecognizable to you in your present reality. Faith smothers your fear of the unknown. Faith allows you to take risks. Faith is the stuff of “leap and the net will appear.” 


Growing Pains

Things I'm learning (no particular order):

1. Fall is beautiful. And cold sometimes.
2. Letting people in is difficult, but worth it, even if they don't stick around.
3. Getting back into a gym routine sucks after being lazy for a while, so keep at it.
4. You have control of more than you think you do--so take control of what you can.
5. My family loves me. A lot. A lot. A lot.
6. There's a reason Lot's wife was told not to look back.
7. Learning from your past doesn't mean wishing you could go back and change what happened, but being ready to do things differently in the future.
8. Friends are real, and amazing, and I have the best of them.
9. It's okay not to understand.
10. 24 isn't old.
11. It's okay to be excited about a future that isn't what you expected 10 years ago.
12. Goals don't make you snobby, stuck up, or anything of the sort.
13. Not everybody has to like you, nor will they.
14. Distance doesn't matter if you care enough.
15. People that care enough WILL make you a priority.
16. You don't have to feel bad about letting go of people that don't.
17. Love isn't trying to convince someone that you're awesome.
18. If you think you are stuck doing things that aren't making you happy, you're wrong. Get out and change something. You're the only one boxing yourself in.
19. God loves you anyway.
20. Mediocrity is a choice, not happenchance.
21. Grown ups ask for help. And offer it.
22. Some things are our personality, others are habits. Stop blaming bad habits on it being"just who you are" and change them.
23. Fear is worrying about things that HAVE NOT HAPPENED YET. Seems silly, doesn't it?
24. Being a grown up is hard.
25. Being a grown up is awesome.


Daring Greatly and Vulnerability

So, a good friend mentioned this TED talk to me a little over a year ago, and encouraged me to watch it. Brené Brown address vulnerability, and why it is difficult, why it matters, and how to begin to be vulnerable. I am absolutely not exaggerating when I tell you that it was life altering for me. My perspectives of myself, of life, of God were clarified and positively affected. 

Listen for yourself.  And if my short intro isn't convincing enough for you to listen, here are some of my favorite lines from the talk that may persuade you otherwise:

"Connection is why we're here. It's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it's all about. It doesn't matter whether you talk to people who work in social justice, mental health and abuse and neglect, what we know is that connection, the ability to feel connected, is --neurobiologically that's how we're wired -- it's why we're here."

"When you ask people about love, they tell you about heartbreak. When you ask people about belonging, they'll tell you their most excruciating experiences of being excluded. And when you ask people about connection, the stories they told me were about disconnection."

"They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn't talk about vulnerability being comfortable,nor did they really talk about it being excruciating -- as I had heard it earlier in the shame interviewing.They just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say, "I love you" first ... the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees ... the willingness to breathe through waiting for the doctor to call after your mammogram."

She also wrote this book:

I promise you it is worth the read. I finished it feeling more aware of both my strengths and my struggles. I felt uplifted and motivated. If you want to be inspired, you should probably read this book. 

Here are just a few fantastic snippets:

"What we know matters, but who we are matters more. Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. It requires us to dare greatly, to be vulnerable."

"Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness."

"Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement. Trust isn't a grand gesture--it's a growing marble collection."

So, there you go. If you want to stop studying for midterms, need a new book to read, want some inspiration, or any of this interests you, I dare you to pick up that book or spend 20 minutes watching the TED talk.