My mom bought me a bracelet many years ago that I fell in love with. It said “I came here to live out loud” in colorful stones and silver and it was at a time in my life when there was a lot of transition, some of my own choosing and some not. I had spent a long time living in a state of fear. I clung tightly to what I thought was right for me even when deep down my soul hinted at something else. In my head I was fighting change and yet everything I did seemed to draw me towards it. I felt like I was swimming against a current and no matter how hard I WANTED it to be different it wasn’t going to be. I knew I could keep the status quo and it would be safe and yet it was like every fiber in my being SCREAMED that I would only half exist if I did.
And so I let go.
I gave in to the unknown, the fear. I embraced the feeling of blossoming even when it also felt like a free fall. I navigated as best I could and I still made mistakes but I also made progress. I learned to be more authentic than I had in a long time. I learned how to fall in love with myself again in a way I had long forgotten. And when I learned how to fall in love with myself I also learned how to REALLY love the world around me. And life was good. Not always perfect or easy but life was good.
Eventually that bracelet ended up in my jewelry box. Unwarn, the silver tarnished a bit and the jewels lost their sparkle. The sentiment was still there but not shining quite as brightly as it once did. I would think to pull it out to wear it but the cleaning it required was more effort than I was willing to spend and back in the drawer it would go. Perhaps the reminder was not really needed for a time. Perhaps life was easier at that point or maybe I was just too busy to be bothered to really stop and live it. Perhaps I was taking the good things for granted without knowing it. Because real living takes consciousness. Whether we are struggling or coasting, happy or in despair, life is our every mundane day and our every monumental moment that we all go through but it is few who really experience those things with intention and depth.
To me “I came here to live out loud” means simply that - to live my life fully and loudly and clearly. Unabashedly. It doesn’t mean everything in my world is perfect or easy. But it does mean that in everything I do I try my best to be genuine. To be a good person and to contribute to the world around me. I dig deep in to who I am and share that with the world. Because I am a creature of God. I am a creature of this universe and I have gifts to share. I am worthy of love and I have love to give. I am deserving of enjoying this life and so are you. Life out loud is about making an impact in the world but not being beholden to the need to do so. We do it because it’s our nature. We live fully for ourselves because it’s ungrateful to do otherwise. We hope others will join us but respect that we are all on our own journey and we encourage each other regardless. Love is a gift we give with no expectation and that in turn allows us to receive more love and abundance than we know what to do with. Life out loud is a philosophy and a movement and a way of being. And I can tell you when you are in it, it is glorious. But it takes work. It takes an opening to the possibilities and the gloriousness of life as well as the darker side that does often come. It means being willing to give in to the free fall without any guarantees and to feel ALL the feelings intertwined.
Right before Dathan and I left on our current month adventure in Europe I pulled that bracelet out. I didn’t clean it, I didn’t bring it with me, it’s still sitting in my jewelry box at home, slightly tarnished and tucked away. But when I read that phrase this last time it began to shine again. I remembered deep in my soul what it meant and what I - what WE - are all capable of and I felt that tipping point. The start of a great free fall into the next phase of life and the unknown. And this time I KNOW I’m going to SOAR. I hope you will join me.
Swimming in Lake Garda at Sirmione, Italy soaking up the pure joy of being alive.