My mom sent me a photo recently. It's of me at 3 years old, circa 1987, the one showcased below. I keep looking at it. I have the most bizarre feelings. I cycle between laughter and tears. I cannot believe the pure, innocent JOY radiating from every pore. This chick does not give a shit. She is blissed and doesn't care who knows it. She's free. IMG_2132

Like how I refer to her as her and she but not me? Weird, huh? I know it's me, but I see her as a totally separate being, almost as if she's my child, my little sister, my cousin, someone I love deeply but she can't be me. I still carry her exuberance, her boisterous personality, her sense of humor, her enthusiasm. But life has chipped away at that pure, honest beauty she was.

Despite my being happier than ever (well, not ever, refer to said photo!), feeling great in my skin and with my life, there is something in my expression that is less raw. I want it back. I want to return to who I always was.

Where did she go? Why can't we restore the pure openness and loving nature we're given at birth? Heartbreaks, losses, failures and embarrassments chip away at our true nature. But they shouldn't. We can always return home.

Who cares if your parents got divorced or if your girlfriend cheated on you or if you got fired or if you never got hired or if you fell on your ass or fell on your face? Who cares? Seriously. Who fucking cares? No one. That is all a misguided perception created by this evil hole in our minds.

Naturally, none of us wants to fail. None of us wants to be betrayed, to have a love unrequited, to go for a big dream and experience rejection. Of course not. But what other choice do we have? And who are we answering to? If you're a grown ass adult and your parents make you feel guilty or shitty for not succeeding in a way they dreamed for you, oh well.

I know I seem dismissive and cavalier, but it's YOUR life. No one else's. It's none of your parent's business any longer how you make your living, how you do your loving, why you feel compelled toward a certain path. Anyone worth being in your life will love and encourage you through whatever weird journey you embark upon.

There's a place for blunt and honest advice. In fact, that's the absolute best to receive. No nonsense, no bullshit, straight forward truth. And just because someone tells you something you don't want to hear doesn't mean they don't love or support you. As long as they respect your choices and genuinely wish for your health and happiness, then you can take the advice that resonates and throw away the rest. And they'll be fine either way.

And so will you. So why not return to your true nature? The person you were born to be? Joyous, delightful, silly, weird, excited, passionate, dynamic, unique, without a care for who approves or disapproves. Now, there's an important distinction to be made between not worrying about others think, staying true to yourself and your dreams, and using the whole not caring what others think as an excuse to be a dick.

I used to be that way. I wasn't a bully, definitely not. If anything, my attempt and attitude surrounded bullying bullies. I got off on putting people in their place. But I certainly used the not caring excuse to be bitchy and blunt in a negative way. Now, I sincerely want to leave people feeling good in my presence. If I don't dig them, if they're pissy or unfortunate, I'll kindly send them on their way.

Putting them in their place was so about me, not about them. My ego got a great rush of satisfaction when slapping them with some acerbic wit or proving someone else wrong. Being right is such a trivial victory.The reward leaves the soul as quickly as it entered, if the soul was even involved at all. So, luckily, age and many lessons learned brought me to a place where I don't need to be right as much.

Back to the point on hand. Returning to that jolly, ridiculous 3 year old. You think she gave a shit that her hair was frizzy, her bangs were too short, her thighs were touching, or some popular girl didn't like her Winnie the Pooh shirt? No. Hell no. She is owning it. God, I love her. Look at her! Go find some old photos of yourself or try to recall a memory from childhood, before the world darkened your perception, when there was no filter in your mind, no worries in your heart. You were happy just to Be.

Let's all meet back there. It's possible to be experienced, intelligent, previously jaded, and hopeful, bright eyed and unapologetically yourself at the same time. It's a choice! You have a moment, a light bulb moment where you recognize the patterns you want to change. You get sick of being cranky, sick of seeing your flaws instead of your strengths, sick of feeling anxious over what another could be thinking, and BAM! You start living, thinking, breathing and moving for yourself.

Once you start living from your joy, driven toward a path un-carved by anyone else, operating from a sense of love and a near desperate need to soak up the most out of life, other people respond. They love that shit! You'll attract happier people, the beings you've always wanted but tried too hard to get. Real, open, honest, funny, fantastic relationships emerge, personally and professionally.

Most children are unafraid. They're bold. They try and they don't give a fuck if they fail. They have no concept of trying to please another, worrying about they'll be judged or perceived. No way. Why not return to that mentality? It's right there for the taking! It's truly who you are and who you are meant to be.

Me attempting to keep my childish enthusiasm in Bali;)


Return to who you always were. Be blissed. Be free. Eat life.

Engage with me further at Retreat with me in San Luis Obispo, March 22-25, 2014