In Ancient Chinese Philosophy, there’s a passage about a man who gets very sick. His name is Master Chariot. And Master Sacrifice asks if he’s going to be alright. Master Chariot responds, “How extraordinary of the maker of things to knot me up like this. My back is hunched out. My organs are all out of order. My chin is hidden in my navel. My shoulders are pearled. And my neck bones point to Heaven.”
That sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? But though his yin and yang qi (good soul) was fouled, in his mind, there was nothing wrong. Nothing at all. Master Chariot hobbles to over a well of water to find his reflection. Master Sacrifice asks, “Do you dislike it?”
Master Chariot exclaims, “Not at all! What is there to dislike? If, in time, he turns my left arm into a rooster, I’ll use it to crow the day. If he turns my right arm into a bow, I’ll shoot down a dove for roasting. I he turns my buttocks into wheels and my spirit into a horse, I’ll climb aboard. What better carriage? You get something when it’s time. You lose it when it’s passed. If you are content with the time and abide by the passing, there’s no room for sorrow. If you don’t loose yourself, (take life too seriously), things will bind you. Nothing has ever beaten Heaven. So, what is there to dislike?”
What is there to dislike? Stop taking yourself so seriously. Life is meant to be full of joy and memory making. Your soul is aching to thrive. It’s full of so much good, and a good soul wants a good life. Nothing has ever beaten Heaven. Heaven is not binded. So don’t allow yourself to be binded either. This concept is easier said than done. But it’s a mindset in life that will lead to an abundance of rewards and happiness.
If your soul is twisted, what good will you find? What good could you possibly see? Why would you want to live a life like that? Joy is waiting for you. Your happiest memories are waiting for you. You’re deserving of so much good. Stop waiting for it. Start seeing it. Start creating it.
Let life come as it does and let it fuel you.
Who are you when no one is watching?
How do you act when you don’t have an audience? What songs are you listening to? You know, the ones that resonate with your soul so much, it was like the artist wrote it just for you. Who are you when you’re tucking yourself into bed, in your oversized t-shirt that has holes in it that you refuse to throw away? Who are you when you complete your nightly routine that you’ve stayed on top of for three years now? Who are you when no one is there and what dreams are you pining after? What things do you have yet to achieve, and why do you want it so badly? Who are you when all of your walls are down and you haven’t a care in the world? Who are you at your most vulnerable? What are the things that make your heart ache? What kinds of things do you see that touch you and move you? Who are you in your greatest mistakes, and how did you learn from them? When the world has gone quiet and the lights are out, what does that conversation sound like? The ones you have with yourself where honesty meets you at two am? Who are you when no one is watching and do you like who you’ve become? Do you like who you’re becoming?
When no one is watching, I hope it’s you that is the most kind to yourself. I hope you’ve learned that authenticity and the real you is what the world needs most. I hope the songs you listen to tell a story about someone who has overcome so much and come out on the other side. Behind closed doors and on a face and without makeup or undone hair, I hope you look at your reflection and see someone beautiful looking back. I hope the dreams that have yet to become reality light a fire under you because you’re on your way to achieving it; not something lost along the way of ‘what ifs.’ I hope you realize vulnerability is not weakness. I hope when you think of love, you are at the top of your own list followed by everyone else who deserves and is worthy of your best. I hope you aren’t caught up in the kinds of relationships where you pine after love of wolves draped in sheep wool, only to deceive you. I hope you learn to forgive yourself knowing you are only human and still learning. I hope you surround yourself with the kind of people who love even the sharp parts of yourself that you’re still learning to. I hope in your quietest moments, you find peace within yourself for all you are.
on top of my hope for you—what are you hoping for yourself?
You have to envision it, no matter how hard life fights you. You have to see yourself, out of the messiness, out of the dark. You have to envision it—you in Paris, or Rome, Germany or Prague, or wherever the hell your hearts wants to go. Wherever you’re meant to go, with your best friend or your lover, feeling like the world is opening up for you. You have to envision it—the small apartment in your favorite city or the cabin in the country, the place you share with someone who’s your biggest fan. The person who will sit with you and sip coffee, reminiscing about all of the small and nameless things you get to experience, and share together. You have to envision it—the mornings you wake up where there is no heaviness in your chest, no lump in your throat. The mornings where it feels unreal to be alive. You have to envision it—your survival, your hope. The version of yourself that you won’t give up on. You have to envision your future, your life. You have to start putting yourself first, you have to make yourself the main character.
You have to live the best version of life that you can. You have to focus on yourself. You have to fall in love with who you are. You have to get excited about where you’re headed, about what’s next. You have to accumulate so many more goals than you can accomplish. You have to be filled with dreams, hopes, ambitions, passions. You have to learn to be spontaneous and let your feet take you where they take you. You have to learn to take new risks, to step out of your comfort zone. You have to be happy about the things you’re chasing because without those things your soul wouldn’t be fed. You can’t let anyone hold you back, you can’t care about what they think. Your life should be filled with so much adventure and so much peace. Your life should be filled with light, growth, faith, hope. You cannot allow any one single being to stand in the way of what is so undoubtedly, undeniably, unmistakably yours.
You have to hold onto whatever it is that fills you with courage, with life; because the worlds needs you here.
It needs you.
Helping you recognize that your dreams are attainable and real.