Student: What's your passion?
Teacher: Passion? Singular?
As in one thing that I'm truly passionate about and want to focus my life around?
I don't have a passion... I have many.
I recently met a women who does palm readings. She took one look at my palm and was blown away. Not literally of course. I don't have a crazy super power that shoots forces of wind out of my palms although that would be pretty awesome (and would make sense for me, considering my ayurvedic element is air). Anyway, with one quick look and an enthusiastic "Wow," she told me I was a very “complex” person. I had so many lines for someone so young. Well, that wasn't news to me.
I love life and I love learning new things. I like to keep things real and chase my dreams no matter how obscure and unrelated they are. I have also spent a good portion of my life using my hands. These lines on my hands tell stories of my past.
They aren't so much a representation about my future or about events I should expect to take place. They represent me. All of me. My struggles and my victories. My work and my play.
Naturally, the well-used parts of our body will eventually lead to wrinkles on our skin. Our smile-lines as we age from a life-time of smiles and giggles and lines on our forehead from years of stress and over-thinking, all folds and creases within our skin that tell a story. For me, my hands.
My lines will tell you that I began playing music at a young age. Piano exercises, ukulele strumming, physically demanding work through my teens and twenties, all the years of latte slinging, tree climbing, pet massaging, wood splitting, hand-holding, fists clenching from anxiety; writing, typing, yoga, gaming, crafting, the list goes on.
At first I was offended when this woman grabbed my palm and began to read it to me without my asking. I've never been the type of person to want to know my “future” or to seek answers through palm or tarot reading. Yes, I believe in symbolism but when it comes to reading my future, I simply have no desire to know. What I did take with me to hold onto from my palm reading experience was the memories. The memories within the lines of my hands that remind me who I am, who I've been, allowing myself the excitement for more lines as I age and grow in wisdom and experience.
I think about my dad's hands, all the lines from his years of hard work. Even more so the lines of my grandparents, and the memories of my great grandparents. I remember as a child, cross-stitching with my Vavo, watching her hands closely as she concentrated on needle and thread. The look of her hands, so fragile and shaking with arthritis, skin almost translucent and the complexity of lines and wrinkles within her own palms.
To a child, those hands represent old age. To an adult, they represent life. A life well-lived. A life well-spent. A life filled with experience and hard work. A life filled with passion.
In the same way, I no longer hide my gray hair because it symbolizes both stress and wisdom. Yes, I'm twenty-six years young and I have more gray hairs on my head than your grandma. I started young, finding my first one when I was only 16. For many years I dyed my hair to cover up my grays. It wasn't until my whole “I need to embrace nature and do everything super naturally” epiphany that I decided hair dye wasn't for me. That goes hand in hand with make-up. No longer do I waste my time covering up blemishes, attempting to contour to create the additional illusion of beauty that is totally messed up and expected within society today. I'm not hating on make-up lovers, if you can do it and do it well, that's fun and awesome. I've never been good at it, and now that I've embraced my natural beauty with the help and encouragement of my dashing husband, I am personally SO much better off. .
A brief side story: I've had to wear glasses since I was 18 months old. They've always been an accessory to my face, always brought me down, and I've always hated that I've needed to depend on them to see clearly. When I was 10, I hopped on the contact lens train as soon as I was allowed to and never looked back. That is, of course, until I got to college and totally gave up taking care of my eyes. I slept in my contacts ALL THE TIME (and this was years before discovering the breath-able kind that you can actually sleep in). Needless to say, I ended up in the hospital with a disgusting "jellyfish" looking ulcer on my cornea (as my friends described it) caused from a bacteria called Pseudomonas. I had never been in so much pain in my life. It felt as though someone had taken a machete and viciously gouged my eye socket repeatedly from the inside out. Migraines, even blurrier vision (because of course, this happened to my stronger eye), and now the thought that I would be stuck relying on my glasses for the rest of forever. To give you a glimpse of just how bad it was, the doctor mentioned that in the state I was in, I was only a mere hour (or a literal 1milimeter) away from losing my right eye entirely. It was a horrible and painful experience, spending the next six months in and out of the hospital going through treatments, steroids, bottle after bottle of whatever combination of drops they'd prescribe, and all the painkillers I could get.... Take care of your eyes, folks. The world is a different place when your vision is obscured. Anyway, I digress.
During one of my many hair and make-up struggles, I recall thinking to myself “I wish I could see myself as Josh sees me.” I remember this subconscious statement actually bringing tears to my eyes as I thought it over and over. He would always tell me how beautiful I am, that I didn't need to hide behind make-up or get dressed up all the time. I would always roll my eyes at him, believing he was just saying that to win some brownie points, but he was so right. (The more time we spend together, the more I realize how right he has been about a lot of things). He helped me to accept myself the way I am, inside and out. To this day, anytime I look in the mirror and am dissatisfied with my own appearance, I will quietly tell myself to see me how he sees me.
Like the lines in my hand and the hairs on my head, the now scars on my eye tell just another story of my life experiences and lessons. Had I not gone through that horrible time and that horrible pain, or had I not looked down on myself with disappointment and self judgement, I would not know the inner strength or the value in self-worth that I know today.
You see, with any type of loss or battle, there is always something to be gained. There are always stories to be told, always lessons to be learned, always another chance to make tomorrow a better day.
So, embrace your wrinkles. Show off your gray hair. Talk about your struggles and see how far you've come. And if you feel as though you haven't come far, begin to look at them in a different light. Rather than letting them bring you down, rather than bringing yourself down, look for the lessons within.
Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this, so that I may become a better person?”
Perhaps your story will inspire another to do the same. What simpler way to spread positive change to humanity than to tell your own story.