Shana Marie Farrell
Just like the printing and mailing industry, our lives continue to change and evolve as new chapters begin. Sometimes when we least expect it, old chapters appear in new ways because of connections with others, shipping us to new opportunities to work with old friends. I’m grateful for life’s gift to reconnect with IPMA professionals again, to offer webinars and monthly blogs to share perspectives and helpful ideas about life matters. I’ll share life-related resources with you and I encourage members to share ideas with me about future topics that you think will be relevant and helpful.
First, I’d like to share part of my life story; what it’s taught me and how I started using my restorative strength to inspire and help others, especially the most vulnerable, as part of my life purpose.
Years ago, my main focus was on my own life and needs, which meant taking care of my family and pursuing a rewarding career. Within a year, I experienced the loss of both parents, followed by a messy family estate. Just when I thought things were improving, my reality and life unraveled even further with more significant life changes. This chain of events turned into a storm that included grief and pain that I never knew was humanly possible. My faith and my belief in a higher purpose were the threads that pulled me through that storm.
Afterwards, I realized that I was changing in many wonderful ways. There’s a quote by Haruki Murakimi, “Once the storm is over…You won’t be the same person who walked in.” This storm created my new self and taught me many life lessons. The rainbow after the storm’s damage pulled me towards a cleared a pathway leading towards helping others, especially the most vulnerable. This led me to working as a CASA, helping children who suffer from abuse and neglect. My life journey continues to unfold as I learn and connect with others who are passionate about making positive differences in the world. Someday I hope to help with human trafficking efforts, addiction, suicide prevention and prisoners.
My soul searching forced me to look at who I am and where I can do better, to help others more. I view others and the world much differently now. I’m less judgmental and see brokenness as beautiful. I don’t see myself as separate from others or anything in the universe. I’m more conscious of my ego or false self and more aware of my thought patterns and emotions. I’ve been blessed with an increase in my intuition and creativity.
As part of my journey I’ve read more than 100 books on various life-related topics on wellness relating to mind, body and spirit. I’ve learned so much from others and their stories; mainly about suffering and how people overcame obstacles and adversity. The more we share our stories and struggles, the less people will feel alone or isolated. Our willingness to be vulnerable has such a positive impact for our situations and others. I’m a fan of author and researcher Brene’ Brown and continue to learn from her amazing research about vulnerability in the world.
The best-selling stories have their share of struggles. Life it tough. The moment we realize this, our lives become easier. Some of our struggles happen to us, and are completely outside of our control. Bad things will happen to good people. However, nothing lasts forever; all around us in our world, everything is in a constant state of change and evolution as time passes. Remember, without darkness, we wouldn’t be able to see the stars! Butterflies need darkness to transform, seeds need darkness to grow and the abrasiveness of sand creates a beautiful pearl. Ultimately we get to choose if we are the victim or the victor. Realize that no one is going to swoop down and save us and it will always go on, whether you’re on board or not. Our attitude and perseverance will determine how we take ownership of saving ourselves.
We will create our own suffering if we don’t accept what is, even if we can’t fully understand what is. There are two main paths we ultimately choose in life based on the many decisions we make; those are love and fear. If we live our lives looking back with judgement, chase the next best thing or try to control the future, we are heading down a path of fear. Sometimes we allow ourselves to live like robots, being a slave to our belongings and ambitions. There are days when we go through the motions day by day, feeling powerless to make the changes that are necessary for freedom. The more we learn to live in the present, the more we will experience joy and peace. What are you passionate about? Find a way to do what you love and learn to recognize when fear or resistance is robbing you of a fulfilling life. Stay open and surrender to new and even difficult experiences because they always have something to teach us as we learn and grow. What are you here to learn, and how do you need to grow?
We cannot depend on the cooperation of others or life’s circumstances for our happiness. I’ve learned that people typically do their best based on what they know. Happiness is fleeting and it’s less of an emotion than it is a choice that we make each and every day. A grateful attitude throughout your day will make all the difference. Just watch the news for a few minutes to quickly realize what you have to be grateful for. Spend less time on social media; this will keep you more present, and it limits the amount of negative self-comparison messages we replay in our minds. Self-comparison is the thief of joy.
We exist for such a short time. Do you know why you’re here, and what your life purpose is? I hope you’re living a life of purpose each day. What inspires you and when do you feel most alive? Civil rights leader Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” What will the moral of your life story be? Will it be a best seller?
Everyone deserves a life story with a happy ending and few regrets. Remember, you’re the author (and hero) of your life story…Make it a good one!