Even if you don’t have a clue where to start.
By Traci L. DelVecchio, 2017 YogaMotion RYS200 graduate
When I was in 2nd grade I had a major life realization. It was an epiphany, really, that I only now as a 45-year-old woman can look back and see. But as that little 2nd grader, I realized something about myself that I was going to struggle with for the next 35 years.
As I sat in my little desk with the affixed chair and hinged top, I stared wide-eyed at the chalkboard trying to hold back tears with all my might and act as if all was well… to no avail whatsoever. The harder I tried to choke the tears back, the more apparent they became and suddenly, I had a bevy of little girls surrounding me, asking me what was the matter. And the more they noticed, the more I sobbed. My words, full of snot and crocodile tears, were pretty much inaudible.
When I was finally able to take a breath, I blurted out the answer to the concerned little cluster’s question… what on earth was wrong! As they all fixed on me waiting to hear the cause of an undoubted atrocity I gurgled, “I told the teacher she looked pretty and she just told me to sit down and work on my spelling!” I sobbed. They all gawked at me blankly, glanced around to one another, shrugged nearly simultaneously, and turned away to sit down with the last of them commenting under her breath, that’s not anything to cry about… WHAT?! What did she mean?! Of course it was something to cry about!! In fact, I was brokenhearted over it! How could they brush it off so lightly?! I was being nice and she blew me off! And… that’s when the epiphany hit me. I was nice. Maybe too nice in fact…
From that point forward I would spend nearly the rest of my life hardening up so as not to be wounded at every turn. Harden up so that I wouldn’t be brokenhearted when I was not invited to the birthday party, jilted by the popular girls, or taunted by the schoolyard bullies. Harden up so I wouldn’t be made to feel like an idiot by my professors, passed over for a more aggressive team member in my career, or given a backhanded compliment by my mother-in-law. Nice is for pussies. And I’d be damned if I was going to spend my whole life as a walked over weakling! Ah hell no! So harden up I did. Kill the sensitivity. Eradicate the tears. Adopt a “who gives a shit what you think” attitude. There! Heart closed! No more Mr. Nice Guy. As an adult with the niceties in my rear view mirror, I could conquer pretty much anything I wanted. And I pretty much did. But then… With the world at my feet, just days after my 5th wedding anniversary with the love of my life, he shockingly and suddenly left this world… and my typical heart-hardening would never have been enough to bury that pain. So, I was forced to look elsewhere for a solution.
But what does all of this have to do with you living your life’s purpose, you might ask? Or with me living mine for that matter! As it turns out… everything. You no doubt have many stories of striving, brainstorming, and endless wisdom seeking in search of your Dharma for how best you could change the world. And most likely you’ve done all of this with little tangible results. Been there. Done that. After a couple of years of incessant crying, gnashing teeth, and screaming aloud wondering why I was still here, it finally hit me. What if Dharma, my life’s purpose, was much, much simpler than the profound, world-changing answer that I was searching for? Could it be so foundational and such an innate part of our characters that it doesn’t even occur to us? Hello Mr. Nice Guy?! NO!!! Oh Shit…
Could it be that my Dharma had been with me all this time? And I spent years trying to bury him so far beneath the rocks of my hardened heart that it didn’t even occur to me!? What about you? What innate character were you born with? Maybe a character that made life harder than you wanted it to be, so you did everything you could to bury it. When I was younger I thought changing the world meant doing some Mahatma Gandhi shit. But now, as a 40-something looking in the rear view mirror, I see the beauty in simplicity. And how earth shattering it can be to offer something to the world in a very conscious way that IS you, through and through. And that offering for me is simply kindness. I’m not Martin Luther King, Jr., I’m not Mother Teresa, I’m not Saint Anthony… but I am nice, to all. Consciously and proudly now, I am that Mr. Nice Guy that I was born as. You know what your born-in gift is. It may not be springing to your mind at this very moment due to years of burying, but it’s there. Oh yes, it’s there. And it only takes 2 seconds of your conscious acknowledgement for it to be RIGHT THERE for the world to share and experience, RIGHT NOW. That’s a huge, powerful offering. And it’s just that simple. Don’t be afraid. It’s what you were made for.
Mr. Nice Guy