There are always lessons to be learned in life if you are open to recognizing them and most importantly if you are willing to listen.
My son Lennon has been changing people’s lives, inspiring them and motivating them into being more present, to not take anything for granted and also showing the shadow side of life is too short to be miserable.
When I tell people that, Lennon is my greatest teacher on how to do life, I am not joking.
The kid knows what he wants and he’s quite verbal about it too.
And what you may not know, if you’ve never heard about Lennon, read the blog posts or the book is that he survived his first 4 years of life, living with a potentially fatal rare genetic disorder. And since it was undiagnosed for some time, his brain took a little bit of a hit in the cognitive area – but don’t let that fool you.
He is often one of the smartest people in the circle. His wisdom is often leaving me speechless.
The other day he said:
You have to be ready at some point, so why not be ready now?
Sure, you could delay being ready but aren’t you just putting off the inevitable?
The moment you decide to go after what you want – your dreams, goals and a life that feels good – is the moment you are ready. You can, of course, keep talking yourself out of it but why? What’s the point?
- Start that business
- Write that Book
- Get healthy
Be ready now and stop waiting for one day.
It isn’t always about the things he said, although they are brilliant and yes I realize I may be a little bias, but the thought has crossed my mind that people needed to spend time with him and hear his story. He’d never go for it and I got to respect that. That, of course, doesn’t mean I won’t share life lessons along the way.
Like anytime I hear someone complain about how shitty life is or how miserable they are.
Because of the genetic disorder becoming unmanagable after his diagnosis, it was recommended that he has a liver transplant because while there is no cure, this can change his life for the better. And so that’s what we did but we couldn’t fathom the fact that he’d have 3 liver transplants between the ages 5-8 and that things were really tricky for a while. (You can read about his journey in Lennon Steps).
But here’s the thing, no matter how dicey things were, how painful everything was (physically or emotionally), he got up and did what he needed to do. That doesn’t mean he didn’t complain but it seemed he just knew what he needed to do in order to get home from the hospital or get back to school.
Or like now where he’s saving up for an XBOX One and he’s diligent about the chores that help him earn money.
And some days are hit or miss, but he’s never quit if it’s something he wants.
I think that’s an important lesson.
Don’t quit the life you want to have.
It takes dedication, commitment, and a willingness to go against the status quo. Even if it means people don’t like you or you don’t fit in.
Lennon isn’t worried about fitting in.
Lennon is worried about what video game he’s going to play.
So, don’t worry about fitting in, instead figure out what you are going to do next that you want to do and of course could have an impact on your life.
Worry (not really) about the important stuff. Get excited (Yes this) about it!
Choose to wake up with joy in your heart!
There aren’t many days I recall Lennon ever to be angry or grumpy (unless the pain was too much). That doesn’t mean he doesn’t get upset, it just doesn’t stick around long enough. I think he doesn’t know how to hold a grudge of any kind because he just is filled with joy and it shows.
There’s something very genuine about it and it always reminds me that you get to choose how you feel, how you engage, express yourself.
Choose to be angry, you’ll feel miserable and wonder when life will change.
Choose to feel and be joy, life looks different filled with gratitude and like an adventure.
What will you choose?
A few years ago, I was participating in a workshop and during the 3 days, the coach told me to stop labeling myself as a foster kid.
I told her I would but I didn’t realize how hard this was. It’s been a huge part of my identity. And I’ve been choosing my words very carefully ever since.
But there’s something that has come up that really bother’s me.
Identifying as a foster kid isn’t a bad thing and it’s time that we stop making the kids the bad
I didn’t end up in foster care because I got in trouble with the law or something else morally and unethical displeasing to society.
No, I ended up in foster care because my parents could not be the parents I needed them to be at the time.
At the time of my placement in foster care, I was about 2 years old.
And as I became an adult, studied mental health and earned my degree as a counselor and worked with families at risk, it always bothered me that the kids were made out to be the bad guys.
And I am very cautiously am not trying to blame the parents because they too just could not be the parents they needed to be for their children.
I believe that in each moment, we all are just doing the best we can with what we know. We can’t do more than that or better than that.
It’s that notion of when you are ready, you will receive the information you need to move forward.
There is a tremendous amount of work that I feel needs to be done in how we support children that end up in the system to no faults of their own. And to maintain the stigma that foster kids are bad is not only wrong but does them a disservice.
More often than not, children who are raised within the system feel
And when you place the stigma on them that indicates they’ve done something wrong, you are only fueling all the negative feelings they already believe to be true about themselves.
I no longer work as a therapist or with families at risk, but I plan is to support organizations any which way I can and as an entrepreneur that means financial support but also donating my Rebel Soul Handbooks to organizations that would use them to support their clients.
I also want to be a voice, a voice that knowing placing blame is not going to bring forth change. Compassion, love, and empathy … now that can move things into the direction of fewer kids in foster care or at least appropriate tools and resources to help them maneuver this thing called life. To ensure that when they age out of the system, they have the skills and resources to create a good life for themselves.
It saddens me to know that in some studies only 26% of children that grow up in foster care graduate high-school and that less than half of that go to college. I am not saying that college is the answer for everyone, but I know first hand that I didn’t even think I was smart enough to earn a degree.
And giving the emotions of not feeling worthy, deserving or loved, how can we expect foster kids to want to graduate high-school or even get a degree in something they always dream about doing?
And while I understand why the coach asked me to stop identifying as a foster kid, I don’t know that I can. Because if I deny this part of me, that means I was and am everything other people think about children in the foster care system.
And that just doesn’t feel good to me. I want to see a world where people understand that kids that end up in the system are not bad kids and that they are not the ones to blame for being in the system in the first place.
And I also don’t want to blame the parents and I know a lot of people will say that is exactly who we should blame. But you don’t know what you don’t know and the reality is that sometimes, the parents are doing the best they can with what they know.
None of us are born as bad people (okay there are exceptions to this, I know) but every single person is formed by the values of other people and from there we develop our own personal values. We are formed by our experiences and the knowledge we gain through it all.
I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating: Compassion, Love, and Empathy that is how you and I are going to create change.
So yes, I grew up in Foster Care and I am more than okay with that.
Have you ever considered what getting clear on your dreams does for you?
Or what one simple action will do for your life?
You have the vision that is so far out of reach and you wonder every single day when will your dream turn into reality.
You plan, plan and then plan some more waiting for perfection and just the right time. You keep analyzing every single detail about your dream. You keep talking yourself out of it and your doubts and fears tell you that it just cannot happen.
I’m going to tell you something and you may not like it, but the right time will never come into reality.
And now I am going to tell you that you CAN turn your dreams into reality, with one single thing.
Believe in you and in your dream.
But how can I take action when I don’t know what to do?
You already have a plan right? So, now create some action steps to go with the plan.
Brainstorm a list of things you will need to do.
Let’s say you want to start a business because you want the freedom.
What will you need to get started?
Create a checklist of what you will need to do.
Do those things!
Or maybe you want to make more art?
What art do you want to do? Decide it!
Purchase your supplies.
Oh but I don’t have the time.
You look at all the things you are doing now and decide what it is that no longer fits in your priority list, let that go and then voila, you now have time to do that thing you want to do.
Just maybe you are saying, but I want to be healthier.
Define what being healthier means to you.
Is it eating less junk food or cooking more meals from scratch or both. Is it exercising and moving your body more often?
Be clear on what that means for you and then write it down.
Now write all the things you can do to help you feel and be healthier.
You have just created a list of all the things you can do to take action.
When we start to overanalyzing and make excuses i.e. it’s not perfect enough or I don’t have time you are being a disservice to your own life and your own dream.
How can I help you to start acting today? Share in the comments!