“Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.”
“Neither blame or praise yourself.”
This is a loud and confusing time we are going through. In a general sense, we are dealing with a lot of stress and pressure. Most of us are going through our own unique struggles as well. It’s easy to mistake problems we are dealing with as personal attacks, but the honest truth is our individual problems are not very distinct.
Plenty of people today and across history have dealt with job loss, plague, injury, illness, financial issues, loss and loneliness. Plenty of people struggle with negative thoughts and-or vagueness of purpose.
This doesn’t diminish the importance of what we are dealing with. Rather, highlights how connected we are and how our story can inspire or help others going through similar experiences.
Good and bad things we experience become connection points to people like us. Resilience is about choosing hope instead of moping around, blaming other and wishing things were different.
Resilience is choosing hope.
Resilience is changing when change is necessary.
What does blame get us? Nothing good. Nothing different. We just end up digging a deeper hole where we feel stuck.
Hope is a choice we have to make everyday. It’s not easy. But it’s the better option.
Things work out how you want them to – or they don’t. Either way, the sun still rises in the morning.
I’ve heard that phrase here and there (—heck I’ve probably said a couple of times too) but I don’t think I really understood what it meant until recently.
I assumed it meant tough it out. Keep pushing. Grit your teeth and make it happen. Don’t give up. Don’t back down. Anything that resembled the country musician Rodney Atkins’s lyrics “If you are going through hell keep going.”
But I don’t think that’s the true meaning, or at least not the whole story.
Realizing that “the only way out is through” is actually about acceptance.
Acceptance feels like a word that means giving up, but the opposite is true. It’s standing up for yourself by giving in to your problems and circumstances and letting go of the outcome. Again, which to some people might sound like failure, but really its success wrapped in confidence.
When you accept where you are, you can find progress forward. The process isn’t the goal, but a byproduct of accepting whatever life throws at you.
You get sick, and that becomes part of your story.
You lose your job, and that becomes a stepping stone on the life you were meant to live.
It leads you to not only sympathize with others like you but allows you to impact others with your personal story. It leads you down a path you wouldn’t have taken.
When you accept the path you must take, suddenly opportunities start springing up everywhere you look.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” — Henry Ford
The Renaissance Life is not a solo endeavor.
Sure, if we wish to create change in our lives and the lives of others, we must be self-reliantand take continuous action with our own hands.
Being an Individualist doesn’t mean being alone.
We are more capable together than we are by our lonesome.
We become our best selves by connecting with others. We are better together.
And thus, a new segment on the RL called We the People: highlighting creatives who are a part of the Renaissance Tribe and represent our Ethos.
I ask you questions, you give us insights from your own life.
Enter Bonny Jean.
(bold’s and styling by yours truly — Josh Wags 🙂
Q 1. What are the best lessons your mom and dad taught you? (Or siblings)
“It’s okay if you’re not okay” – My little sister Suzannah. She told me that two years ago in the depths of my depression. I’ve learned that over and over again these past couple of years: It’s okay to be broken, to admit brokenness, to lean on friends and family who love you, and then do art, run, dance, sing, be outside… do something to work through your pain, but never ever ignore it. Your pain brings you closer to a truer version of yourself, but you have to face it and feel it to let it shape you into who you are meant to be. The first step, for me, was hearing “It’s okay if you’re not okay”.
Q 2. What’s your favorite travel experience?
Living on a hospital ship off of the coast of West Africa: My roommates from that time are still my best friends. It was definitely a life changing experience.
Q 3. What are some decisions you’ve made that have made you into who you are today?
Traveling after high-school and college and most recently moving to San Clemente- up rooting my life, starting over. I was once told “Travel trims the fat off the soul” by John Stember, a man I met while camping in the Grand Tetons. It’s true! Being around people with completely different childhoods and belief systems tests you. It reveals who you truly are deep down under all that comfort we’re surrounded by in our daily lives.
Probably the most profound decision I ever made was to live.
I found myself with bleeding wrists on the bathroom floor, hysterical, crying, rocking, wanting to die, when suddenly a profound calmness poured over me. I looked at myself in the mirror and said “NO. there is more life to live, people to meet, places to see, laughter to be had. You will not kill yourself” So I bandaged my wrists, wiped my face, and started being honest with myself and others.
Being honest means disagreeing with people.The decision to listen to my still small voice has been a big change for me. disagreeing with people is hard, but learning to exist and observe the world around me from an island within myself has been life changing. If you can live from a place of solitude (read: Henri Nouwen’s “reaching out”) you can love others more and appreciate and respect their beliefs and ideas.
Q 4. What songs do you sing when you are alone? And what new bands are you digging recently?
I sing “Day Dreamer” by Adele a lot… it’s just in a good key for me.
Q 5. What advice would you give to someone pursuing creative work?
Do something that scares you and you think you’ll hate. Turn off your brain and create, even if you think it won’t make any sense. Sometimes I paint something, then I write a bunch of stupid stuff all over it to ruin it and then I paint over it again… just don’t put boundaries on yourself. There are no rules!
Q 6. What or who inspires you and why?
Nature– being outside fuels my creativity. It’s big and fathomless and beautiful. We could never come close to creating something as magnificent, simple, and complex as a blade of grass.
Q 7. In one word, how would your best friend describe you?
Q 8. What’s something challenging you faced recently and how did you handle it?
It’s been a challenging year, to be honest, but the best thing I have learned to do is to make a list. One side is a list of things I know I want to do but aren’t good for me (think drink, reach out to certain people that aren’t good for me, rely on certain relationships too much) and on the other side is a list of things that give me life and bring me joy (think yoga, running, tea, safe friendships). I make rules for myself that I try to follow and then I breathe and do the next right thing for however long it takes to come out of the cloud I’m in. Sometimes that’s a day and sometimes it’s three months. I claim grace days. Where, if i got out of bed, put on clothes, and went to work, I am very proud of myself. “Should” doesn’t exist in my dictionary during these times and if I slip up and do something on my “not good for me” list I breathe, forgive myself, and remember that all that exists is today and I can do my best with what I have in this moment.
Q 9. What’s your mission in life? (Or mission right now)
To be present
Q 10. If someone gave you 10 million dollars, what would you do with it?
Invest in small businesses in 3rd world countries.
Q 11. One thing you liked about last year, and one thing you want to improve this year?
I learned to laugh again. I want to be more consistent.
Thank you Bonny Jean for your vulnerability, advice and words of encouragement.
If you want to give yours on the Renaissance Life, email me @: email@example.com with the subject: We The People. Tell me who you are, why your a good fit for the Renaissance Tribe and link your social media’s.
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“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” — Walt Disney
I could feel the stress flowing down my back,
like a waterfall too powerful to sit under without breaking you eventually.
I was zapped, emotionally and physically. And doing my damnedest to not tear up because of my current set of obstacles.
There’s was a physical heaviness weighing down my mind. Pessimistic thoughts were attacking me at all angles. It took all of my effort to not let the negative thoughts take control of the driver’s seat, but their barrage was paralyzing me. When things get bad, my mind cops by going numb — I refuse to let it.
The difficultly of finding new clients and work, plus the lack of physical energy to do so and the pain of an old injury was doing a number on me. A one, two, three knockout of setbacks that were feeding each other.
I didn’t want ‘tired, broke, and empty’ to be the title of my autobiography.
Something has to change!, I screamed within.
My mind is more clear than it’s been for months.
I’m not making enough, but that shouldn’t stop me from creating and pursuing what’s important to me.
I’m still tired, but I feel good.
My neck hurts, but I can help it by moving more.
Why the sudden change? What gives Josh?!
I’ve decided to focus on the possibilities and benefits of my setbacks, instead of dwelling on the downsides.
I’ve decided to choose health first.
I’ve decided to take a learning vacation.
And I’ve the liberty of taking a vacation from myself. I’m free.
I’ve let myself out of the cage that I helped build.
Because believe it or not, I was holding the key.
Just as you might be with your own cage.
Often times, the only thing holding you back from opportunity is yourself.
We get in our own way.
Q: How are you holding yourself back?
FEAR of Failure? ha no problem. I’m on vacation, you can’t scare me.
Feeling Stressed? not anymore. Vacation baby!
Feeling Stuck? you’ve got plenty of time to unstuck yourself now!
Okay okay, sure — I’m basically tricking myself — I’m still working. Still looking for clients. Still connecting, writing, design and a bucket-load of other things.
But my mindset has completely changed.
I’m looking up instead of looking down.
I’m not looking at the problems, I’m looking around them.
The only thing that’s changed is my perspective.
I’m still doing the work. I’m not slothing around. I’m not just doing whatever the wind tells me. But there’s a massive difference in my mindset.
Now that I’m out of my own way, I can do what I do, but better and more effectively.
My Learning Vacation Itinerary
Hone my design & developer skills.
Mastery the Art of the Interviewing for my podcasts.