Lesson 1: Be yourself, no matter what; not even the closest people in your life should have the power to change you!
Lesson 2: Everything on earth is here to help us, in some way, in some form. We just have to be open to it.
The weather app had said it was going to be 95 degrees tomorrow, the day I was going to facilitate a drum circle outside in the middle of a park (luckily there was a tent with shade so it was not too bad). I was looking forward to facilitating the drum circle, but not necessarily looking forward to how hot it was going to be outside. The night before my drum circle I prepared my notes/activities for the drum circle, and moved all of my drums (the ones I was taking with me) towards the front door. There were more drums at my moms house that I wanted to use for the drum circle, which is an hour away. Not having a car is kind of difficult for instances like these. So I had made arrangements with my sister so she could bring the drums from our moms’ place for the drum circle.
She arrived at 8:45am the next morning, I was already up and ready to go. Her car was filled with hand drums, buckets, and gifts. One gift (that I knew was coming to me), was a tripod. The other were a pair of formal shoes that my mom had gotten me. I told my sister that I did not need those shoes and to please give them back to her. As I was loading the car, going back and forth from my house to her car, she had slipped the shoes inside the hallway of my house. I grabbed the shoes again and told her that I REALLY did not need those shoes, and gave them back to her. She kept on stressing how our mom said that I was going to need them. She said this at least 3 or 4 times to me. I placed them back in her car.
The drum circle passed, by this point I was starving and wanted to get lunch right away, but realized that her car was filled with a bunch of drums. So we came back to my house to drop off the drums. When we arrived back to my house, while I was bringing up all the drums, my sister again pushed those shoes on me. This time she said that our mom had worked hard to earn the money to get me these nice formal shoes, and that she was going to feel bad if I did not take the shoes she bought me. She also stressed again how mom said that I was going to need these “fancy” formal shoes (and she was right!). This pulled my last string, and finally gave into receiving the shoes. (Mind you, at this point I did not know anything about the shoe company, how these shoes were made, if they were made with bad practices or not.) We went to lunch, hung out for the rest of the day, and then she dropped me back at home.
I told my partner that I had accepted the shoes that my mom had gotten me, and after our conversation, I realized that I was not living my truth. I was going against what I believed and only accepted the shoes to be seen as a nice grateful and appreciative son/person. By the end of our conversation I came to a solution for the future, that from that day on I decided that I am not going to receive any gifts from anyone, no matter from who they come from. I personally would rather spend quality time with the individual that is wanting to give me something, because no amount of money/gifts can ever equal any quality time spent with one another. In receiving gifts, we might be partaking indirectly into violence by receiving and using materials that have been made from practices that are violent (i.e. child labour, oppression of workers, exploitation of workers, sweatshops, etc.).
After all, my mom was right in saying that I was going to “need” those shoes. I did “need” those shoes to show me how I was not living my truth. I called my mother with the dilemma that I had with receiving the shoes that she had gifted me. I told her that I wanted to give them back to her and explained that I would rather spend time with her instead, which would mean way more than those shoes ever could. It was also a friendly reminder that everyone and everything on this earth is here to help us in some way. I was grateful for my mom showing me this and I thanked her for showing me my mistakes in not being alignment with myself.
Being in alignment with yourself is one of the most important things we should strive for everyday. When we are not in alignment with ourselves we cannot function at our fullest capability. In doing so, we are then bogged down and our energy is drained from trying to be someone who we are not. It is not important to have to look a certain way in front of those around us. What will that ever get us? Those people around us are not living our lives, they are not even with us (physically) every moment of our lives. In trying to be someone else we are not, we are doing not only a harm to ourselves but also to those around us. Not living our truth (who we are) we are denying others to live their truth, by telling them that they should conform to society and “look” this way instead (because everyone else is doing it). Living our truth, provides the freedom not only for you and I, but to those around us to freely be who they choose to be and not who society (family, friends, associates, etc.) wants us to be.