I read their letters and cried. Ugly, snotty cried…
I’m so lucky to love you.
Making memories with you is my favorite thing to do.
You make the impossible seem possible.
To all the future lady power.
Never let fear hold you back.
May the love you give be returned to you.
United’s Row 21 clearly thought I was sad. But really I was moved. Moved by people taking the time to write their wishes. Moved by humans whom I felt lucky to love. And moved by the experiences that happen in life when we choose to feel instead of thinking or showing our way to the other side.
In that moment on the airplane, and the many days prior, I chose to feel their words, to feel their presence, to feel the shifts happening in my life. On any other day or week, I’d brush it off. Oh, that was nice. Oh, how sweet. Oh, they’re exaggerating. But instead, I read and felt. Read and wept. Remembered and cried. Opened up and melted.
The answer to strength isn’t always about being hard, and steadfast, and unmoving. Real strength, in my opinion, comes in our ability to be soft and to hold space for the feelings that comes with it. Because softness lets things and people and feelings in. Real strength resides there – someone who isn’t afraid of getting drenched by the tears of life. The happy ones, the sad ones, the excited ones, and worried ones. You can be strong as dynamite and still soft as water, because remember…a gentle river still sharply cuts through a mountain over time.
Life gets a little better when you soften up and strip down the barricaded walls. Those walls are doing very little to protect you. Because they equally shut out the bad and the good. Choosing to feel is choosing a different kind of strength – one the tunes you in, one that opens you up, and one that brightens the colors on the pattern of your days.
So when someone says something wonderful to you: feel it.
When something makes you emotional: follow it.
If you feel a truth, an instinct, a hint: open and listen.
When you feel enraged, hurt, disappointed, and angry: sit with it.
All the feelings are real. All the emotions will move you. Let yourself be ushered onward by the glory of your life’s own special tune. It’s more beautiful there.