For most of my life I had this notion, if I did this or accomplished that, I would be complete. If I found the right group of friends or said the right thing, I would find acceptance and love. If I did all the things that were expected, as a mother, daughter, wife and friend, I would find joy.

If I was perfect, I’d be okay.
If I was perfect, I would be happy.
If I was perfect, I would be enough.

What I did not realize, was that all I needed to do to be perfect was to be who I am. It didn’t matter if I had makeup on or if my hair was all in one place. It didn’t matter if I got my master’s degree or started my own business. It didn’t matter if I served chicken nuggets two night in a row or if the kids had cake for breakfast. It didn’t matter if I missed an appointment or I didn’t volunteer for the PTA last week. The string of actions and reactions which made up my life, the persona I presented to the world, wasn’t my authentic self. It was a perception of who I thought I should be.

After years of doing, I discovered I was looking outward, when everything I needed was already inside of me. This revelation birthed an internal revolution. I began to let things go. I Allowed time to settle into the quiet nature of my true self. I reconnected with the girl I had tossed aside in the midst of my busyness. Although my external life was rich, I had become spiritually bankrupt. I no longer knew who I was or what I was destined to be.

I began to have a relationship with spirit again. I began to practice a reverence for self. With gentleness and care, acceptance and love, I focused on listening to my internal rhythm. The phrase, reverence for self, came to me years prior while attending an eleventh step spiritual retreat. Upon hearing those three words strung together, I was immediately struck with their implied importance, but curious about what it meant. These three words twirled inside of my head searching for attention while I continued pushing forward, checking off lists and living a productive life. Intellectually, I understood their meaning, but deeply rooted was a knowing, I was only skimming the surface.

I practiced that art of holding my life as a precious gift. I found a sacred and holy space inside my heart. With silence, came clarity. A small voice, a pull, sometime a knowing; I listened and made changes. At times fear knocked and I invited her in. She was familiar and at first it was easy to be charmed, but being in fear was not going to raise me higher. I had to let her go, too.

The foundation I have built helps me when situations arise. When I feel the pull of societal expectations, or old programing whispers in my ear telling me my value comes from people, places and things, I recognize it as a false truth. By doing less, I have become more. The practice of reverence for self has empowered me in every aspect of my life. It has given me the freedom to live an authentic and unapologetic life. I value my worthiness—the love and light that I am.

If you feel a call to get off of the merry-go-round and find your center—do it. Tap into your stillness and practice the art of reverence. Set intentions for your day. Say no. Breathe and allow things to unfold. You are not responsible for it all. That line of thinking is an illusion, a power none of us have, and frankly none of us really want. Observe the nature world, animals and creatures who commune with nature and live totally in the moment. Say I love you as you see yourself in the mirror. Small steps of intention will take you down a path to your true-self. Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you have all you need right there, deep inside of you. Practicing reverence will take you back home.

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