Thomas Edison once said “If we did all the things we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” I look at this mushroom, at it’s sheer will to live, it’s determination to break through inches of sidewalk to feel the light of the sun, the beauty mark it received from the piece of itself it had to leave behind in order to break free. If one mushroom has the power to overcome the weight of the world, how much more lies within me to break through the heaviness of things weighing me down or limiting my potential. I refuse to be out-strengthed by fungus.
This mushroom didn’t kick major asphalt by playing it safe or staying in its comfort zone. I like to think it had an internal calling to the possibility of an incredible light-filled world even though it was smothered in darkness. It trusted that internal pull and was willing to embrace whatever obstacle or hardship was in its way, even if it was painful and seemingly impossible at times. It would have been so much easier for that little guy to have remained below the surface, but oh, what a glorious world he would have missed out on.
I have begun my own process of listening to that voice within, of finding the courage to get out of my comfort zone, and of painstakingly pushing through obstacles in order to chase a dream. I recently signed up for a photography workshop on the other side of the world offered by Photographers Without Borders. I am a teacher by trade, but in the rare and quiet moments when I am off-duty from being a mom, wife, and/or teacher, I feed my soul with photography. Once I saw there was a way to use my passion to help the environment and serve the world through this incredible organization, there was no doubt in my mind I needed to be a part of it. The thing is, unlike the mushroom, I am not leaving behind darkness. I have an incredible family, wonderful job, and overly blessed life. There isn’t a single logical reason to change a thing about it, except for that little voice whispering I was meant for this journey.
Those that know me well know how completely insane it was for me to take this leap. I play by the rules, I color inside the lines, and I generally aim to please all those around me. My happy place consists of quiet moments snuggled with my family at home, I order the same thing off of the menu and I thrive on predicability. I don’t decide to up and leave my husband or kiddos to chase adventures around the world. For the first time in my life, I will be traveling solo to eventually meet up with a group of strangers in a foreign country. I should note that the intellectual and artistic genius and talents of this group (all of which I’m pretty sure are are half my age) is absolutely ridiculous and I can’t help but think they won’t stop questioning how on Earth this crazy mother ended up in their midst. Every time I think about this, I want to throw-up. No lie. This is actually my second time traveling outside of the country, and truly the first time I am leaping way outside of my comfort zone. Self-doubt and fear have been having a field day in my mind. The what-ifs of everything that could go wrong overwhelms me at times and I have to fight hard for my emotional battle wins. Physically, it feels as if I’ve been stuck with more needles in the past couple months to be vaccinated against all sorts of potential horrors than the pieces of hay in the metaphorical haystack. One day after having received four of those vaccinations, I found myself highly emotional and unable to stop tearing up at everything. I was teaching class (luckily, it’s middle school and they get emotional roller coasters) and apologized to the kiddos for my current state and explained to them the process I was going through and the journey I was preparing to embark on. One of my sweet students asked “Ms. Dani, is chasing this dream worth all of this?” I answered him with a whole-hearted and confident YES. I can’t teach my children to always strive to live in their fullest potential no matter what fears or obstacles get in their way and not walk the walk. I need to show them that it is only by setting our sights higher, by finding the strength to overcome fear, doubt, and obstacles, by learning to drown out the negative voices, and stop giving in to all of the excuses that keep us in our comfort zone that allow us to live fully and grow into the person we were meant to be. I need to show them that when they have an internal calling to add light to the world, it’s worth the journey and the uncertainty and discomfort that follows. I feel as if I have a duty to show them that life is meant to be lived fully, not one day, but in the moments we are given when we are given them.
As I work through my fears and anxiety I see that there is more darkness weighing me down than I had initially realized. That’s the insight that comes when we step out of our comfort zone. We begin to get new perspective and clearer understanding of who we are and what we were made for. My process of pushing through the asphalt has just started, but the promise of new light, using my talents and passions to help patch some of the brokenness of the world, and growing fully into the person I was created to be gives me the strength and encouragement to persevere on this crazy YES adventure. Plus, I know I’m going to be meeting some incredibly talented and inspirational souls along the way. There is so mush room to grow into our unlimited potential once we unleash that yes, embrace the unknown and uncomfortable, and set our sights on something higher (yup, I went there). I will be posting snippets of this adventure on twitter @miracleofmoment and through instagram account Miracle of Moment aka MOM (another absolute leap out of my comfort zone as most folks know I have complete social media phobia). I don’t know if I’m going to astound myself as Thomas Edison suggests, but I do know I am going to embrace this life I’ve been given and live fully in the here and now, arms wide open, full-charge, no holding back, no regrets. It’s the best gift I can give myself and my loved ones and we only get one shot at this thing called life, so why not just go for it. Here’s to breaking past the things that weigh us down and growing fully into our potential in the New Year.
LOVE BIG. LAUGH LOUD. HUG HARD. WRITE ON.