Love your shoes

As a child I use to play in my mother’s cedar closet; for me that was where all the fun waited. In the rich perfume of the aromatic cedar I would slip on her fancy designer high heels that were 3 sizes too big; I would wrap an exotic scarf around my neck; I would slide into something oversized and soft as I danced and pretended to be a movie star.

I liked to hide in that cedar closet. I felt protected, safe and joyful, miles away from any tension. I was always sensitive to energy as a kid; I picked up on the undertones of life, people, and animals. I tried to be tough and pretend that I was thick-skinned, but underneath I was hurt, sad, and confused by all my feelings and thoughts.

I was a curious child; I wanted to know and understand the world. I wanted to know why things were the way they were. I asked so many questions. I wanted the answers and the truth. I saw my father get upset over small things and react intensely to the trivial matters of life on a daily basis. His energy was intense; his words were harsh and negative. I decided from a young age that I didn’t want to be upset over things that didn’t matter… the things I had no control over.

As an adult I have done work on myself -- reading books, taking workshops, and personal training. I worked in different modalities of healing, digging deep into my own beliefs and habits of thinking and being. Not being afraid of cleaning up the mess I made when I needed to.

Finally I released the negative legacy of my father’s behavior patterns.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff is a book that talks about not letting things that are out of your control be the master of your emotions. Easier said then done at times, especially when the shit hits the fan.  I grew up in a household where losing your shoes was a major life-stopping emergency!  In my maturity I learned instead to pause, breathe, and embrace  a positive thought.

I learned the cosmic lesson: to not take things personally.

Years ago I read The Four Agreements. The Second Agreement says; “Don’t Take Anything Personally.“ I understood it intellectually, but not emotionally. I found that sometimes it was hard to not do that; especially when I cared about a person or situation and was attached to the outcome.

I have come to realize that people have no idea who you truly are {most of the time} or what you have endured.

More often than not we see and believe what we want to see, what suits our needs in that moment. We all see through different lenses and I think it’s important to remember this.

Being human can be challenging. It’s easy to conjure up false ideas and then take the actions we think we need to take to support our misguided faulty beliefs.

The majority of the time those ideas and beliefs we have about another are false; what’s more regrettable is we miss an opportunity for growth. Perhaps we lose a friendship or even a venture or collaboration with another unique individual due to our misguided interpretations.

What does this mean to me?


It means: “It is what it is, and it isn’t what it isn’t”.

It means our ego takes over and creates unwanted complications in our life.

It means we get to make ourselves right and others wrong.

It means we create separation instead of unity.

It means we create stress, sadness, and a disconnect from others and ourselves.

I have been guilty of taking things personally, even assuming things that were not true. I have been guilty of creating stories in my own head to support what I thought was the truth. I only found out later that it was not as I had believed.

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For me it was a way to protect myself. It was the old belief that I wasn’t good enough that was once again reappearing. That I was unworthy and that I didn’t deserve things to go well. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, as if I deserved a punishment of some sort.

What if everyday I practiced being open?  No expectations, no judgments.

What kind of world would I be living in then?

I know in my heart my world would be more kind, caring, happier and definitely more peaceful.

What I have been practicing now is when I’m faced with a situation that makes me want to react, judge, or label and assume something about a person, I take off my shoes and slip into theirs.

Then I ask myself: “What am I gaining? Is my ego making others wrong? Am I labeling another (who beats to a different drum than me) as less then? Am I making another person wrong or bad? Am I trying to make myself right, or better than them?”

So I now ask myself -- and I invite you to ask yourself -- how does this behavior get in the way?

I practice to see with new eyes. The eyes of love, compassion, and acceptance. How can I be less reactive and more loving and kind in all situations? How can I see that we are all the same but different?
There is a saying in Thailand: “Same Same But Different.” I love that, and it makes sense. We are all the same, yet we are all unique and special. Now I choose to see the beauty and uniqueness, and look to see all the gifts that others have to offer.

As I move through my day, when I come across a challenge or feel a negative thought, I slip on someone else's shoes. The shoes might fit perfectly -- or they might not. Then I am reminded that each one of us is doing the best we can… and that there is something to learn from every being you meet.

Carrie Costello