You have so much to learn

The question came in the form of an accusation, as if I didn’t understand there are particular keys to success and happiness. Aren’t there certain things you want to her to learn, like algebra? 

My girl, there is no simple answer to that question because the vision of what I want you to learn is extravagant.

It’s not algebra or the atomic weight of nitrogen. Unless you want to learn that.

What I want for you to learn is the way life feels when it wraps itself around you.

The way your heart begins to race when you feel elated.The electricity that zips and zaps through your limbs in anticipation. The heat that flushes your cheeks upon the rush of adoration and bliss. The lightness and strength that arrives with a new understanding. The complete satisfaction of living the full expression of the one-and-only you.

I want you to learn compassion, that deep swell of comfort that comes to both.

I want you to learn that life isn’t hard. It’s full of opportunities to love more often, let go more deeply and reach more purposefully.

I want you to learn that you can make a difference. Humanity demands your presence.

I want you to learn about the person sitting next to you. Hearing her stories, aches and anticipations, you can proffer a peace.

What do you hope for?

I hope that you learn love is everywhere. It’s in the music your dad makes with his guitar and in the flowers that I plant. It’s in the laughter of dodgeball games and the popcorn of backyard movies. You’ll find it in the apple we offer to the tattered man on the street, the smiles you give to the grocery clerk. It’s in the drawings you mail, the fruit on our trees and the fog that greets our mornings. It’s in the decision to make your own choices. It’s in the tears when there are no words and the squeeze of a hand when there is no strength.

The way we stand anyway.

I want you to learn that disappointment is not the ending. I want you to learn your own strength and see through your weaknesses.

I want you to learn that dawn is eternal and in every moment you can begin again.

Failure isn’t an option only because it is transformative. Always ask yourself, who am I now and what does this experience tell me? What do I need next?

Change is good and necessary. So is stability and the comfort of knowing what is next.

Ground in your values and welcome surprise by taking a chance.

I want you to learn that life will surround you and lift you up if you let it.

Never be afraid to try. In fact, you must. And in that effort, you’ll find courage and ambition that leads you to more than you could plan.

I want you to learn that the practicality of other people’s conditions do not apply to your dreams. That all you need resides in the layers of who you are and the motions you make. It’s your interaction with the world you inhabit that will bring you happiness, comfort and fulfillment.

There’s no educational model that will birth your joy any better than you can do yourself. Success isn’t a reward- it is inherent in the choices you make when you are purposeful and excited. If I want anything for you, it’s intention. You’ve been given the time and space to know yourself without barrier or restriction.

I want you to know what it feels like when your spirit sings to you and you hear it clearly. When you can’t think about anything else because your intent is so bright and so invigorating. When all of your actions and care is an expression of who you are and the imprint you can leave.

I want you to learn that you matter. Your feelings and desires are paramount and not to be pushed aside in favor of popular opinion. Or even mine. You have a place- it is your birthright and you decide the shape it takes. It is yours and not mine to manage. I want you to learn that the buck stops with you.

What an opportunity you have: to create a life of your own design. It is not my job to make sure you learn the mechanics of certain things. To mold you to all that has gone before. To make sure all goes according to plan.

It is my job to let you know that you can’t prepare for joy as you would an SAT.

It doesn’t come in a plan or a kit or a mix and there is no recipe. There’s no curriculum that will bring it to you.

Happy endings are not manufactured and your life is not an test result. Happy lives are cultivated and built one daring adventure and sincere relationship after another.

It comes through the dancing, playing, risking, stretching, conspiring, trying, failing, moving because it feels good. It’s from wanting joy more than wanting struggle. Satisfaction more than superficial recognition.

What has meaning? Deep, true, aching job well done? Find it.

I want you to learn that those vague things I might wish for you- success, happiness, security, love- all of it is possible by your hand. Do not work a system to stay the course. Break from the pack and zig your own zag. You don’t need to be told what to learn and when to learn it. There is no prescription or patent for vibrancy and that is all you need.

I want you to learn that the answers do not lie in a textbook but in your desires. Know yourself, not a syllabus.

I’m not putting my faith in algebra. I’m putting my faith in you.

  • Tifani Ruck

    sweet, friend. How did you know I needed this?

  • Linda

    I SO needed this today! Thank you so much for sharing. I will need to print this out and tuck it into my pocket for quick reference. Breathe in. Breathe out. Namaste.

  • Heather

    This is beautifully written. Thank you. I’m going to share this with my oldest daughter because I think she will enjoy it too…

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