Oh. My. GOODNESS! I am in love with Brave Girl Art School. There are no words.

Oh wait... there ARE words. Lots of them!

I love words. I have loved words for as long as I can remember. I have been lost and found in words. Over and over again, words have saved me, freed me, and taken me hostage. Words are powerful.

My sister has this quote, or maybe it is her very own mantra, but it is about how words can be more powerful than any sword or gun or weapon. I agree. AND, I so deeply believe that words can be more powerful than any medicine or balm or lotion or magic potion. Words heal. Words hurt. Words are sacred. Like the most treasured artifacts from the past and predictions for the future, words are so sacred.

So, imagine my DELIGHT in this week's lesson: Show Me a Sign.

YES!

On my birthday in 1992 (which is New Year's Eve, just in case you'd like to keep track...), my sweet baby sister gave me this journal.



I pulled it out after watching a few of the videos for this week's class. When I opened it, I was so touched by her inscription, "Sisterhood is something you can never outgrow. To my sister the thinker, wisher, hoper and dreamer. Let your mind run wild! Love always and forever, Sarah" Um, she was maybe 12 when she wrote that.

In this journal, I began to collect quotes. As I flipped through the journal, wondering what kind of wisdom appealed to me then, I was struck by how I seemed to really "get it" in 1992. As with many, many things, when I look back, I sometimes think, if I had just followed the guidance I was given THEN, I would have saved myself a whole lot of trouble... Sometimes, that is not the case, of course. But, in the past two years or so, I have been digging deep to get back to the voice that speaks the truth to me, the voice that urges me to listen when something speaks out to me. I found that voice and I vow, right here and now, never, ever to lose touch with it  AGAIN! I'll doubt it now and then, I'm sure, and that could be a good thing, but I will not lose it completely. I promise.

One of the very first quotes I collected in this journal is this one:


Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. - Richard Bach






I can only imagine the tears and time saved had I taken that to heart in 1992. Had I drilled it into my head and integrated it into my soul, what would have been different? Would I have lost so much sleep and sanity in the throes of wondering why I wasn't enough, just the way I was? Why I never seemed to measure up to those to whom I chose to compare myself? Who knows?

What I do know, is that my ten year-old son, James, when given a choice of potential signs that I would attempt to make to hang in our home for this week's Brave Girl Art School lesson, chose this one...



JUST BE YOU.

When I asked which sentence he knew to be truest, he said, "I am me." Good God, I love this child. Here and now, I also promise to do my very best to ensure that this sweet boy never, ever, loses touch with that voice inside him that tells him he wants a sign in his home that says: Just Be You. The voice that speaks on behalf of all the wonderful, beautiful things that make us who we are including, but not limited to, our hearts and our souls and the messages we receive from these places in the quiet of the day or night, when we are not running around like crazed PTO mothers from drop-off to pick-up and back again. Or, in a 10 year-old's case, the voice that says "the truest thing I know in this great, big, scary world is that I am me." Here and now, I vow to help James hear that voice above all the chaos, the running, the homework, the grades, the comparing, and all the other things that kids do - things that quiet the truth. I don't want him to ever lose his ability to listen.

Here is our sign (in progress)...



As I began working on it, I got discouraged because I am not very good at following directions or being patient when it comes to things like measuring and plotting BEFORE I glue things down. My sign is all crooked and funky and off-center.

My head started right in, giving me the business for not following directions and not being patient. And then my heart piped up! It said, "Anna dear, you are crooked and funky and off-center. Your sign reflects that which is you."

Man, I love my heart. And, I love my crooked, funky, off-center sign that will forever remind me, and James, that the very best thing in life is to just be me.

According to Richard Bach, it is actually our only obligation in life - to be true to ourselves. I would much rather be crooked, funky me than rule-following, measuring me. Not because following the rules and making measurements is bad, but because...that's just not me.

What is just not you? We all fight against forces that compel us to question whether we are just right exactly as we are. I think we need to stop.

I believe in the power that these words hold within them: Just Be You.

Be you and the rest will follow...