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Living Beyond Survival

 Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

—Gandhi

When my twenty-two-year marriage ended, I created “Laura Staley, Single, Happy, Free.” This motto or vision became my inspiration that got me out of bed in the morning and singing “A dream that will need all the love you can give, every day of your life, for as long as you live.” from Rogers and Hammerstein, The Sound of Music. I became totally motivated by who I could become, that I could finally be free of the long-term emotional pain, the internal to my psyche and external conflicts that had persisted and been fueled in part by my own unhealthy co-dependent ways and words. I knew I had to dive even deeper and break free from limiting beliefs that choked the life of my being. When I remembered to eat, I ate courage for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This declaration created a future I could become in the present moment. Besides, we know from neuroscience that the brain goes where we focus our attention. I noticed I became happy, free in the “going through.” I also wept buckets and buckets of tears throughout this personal painful time of constant storms both huge and small. I used the expression “F the F-ing, F-er” a great deal with my closest friends who had not really ever heard me drop the “F” bomb. Simultaneously, something became unleashed, emancipated from deep inside of me.

At this juncture, I did not want to be labeled by anyone.

Besides I cannot stand labels. I did not ever want to become just a survivor of anything and I have come through a great deal. There are too many containers to stuff and label. They would take up an entire grocery shelf that currently needs to be available for toilet paper, lots of healthy food, masks, gloves, and disinfectant.

Rather than surviving, is it possible to become people who thrive, who engage the pre-frontal cortex of conscious, thoughtful choices even in the midst of chaos and change?

What if we could apply a declaration to our current situation like Vibrantly Healthy, Connected and Clear or Creative, Curious, and Contributing or Deeply Vulnerable, Real, and Compassionate.

Who can we become during this chaotic crucible of persistent, ever-changing stormy seas of challenge, implode, disruption, and change?

So many people are dying while simultaneously I believe something is being born deep inside of the psyche and souls of human beings.

May we take the time to create a vision that inspires us to wake up full of vigor and vitality even as our hearts continue to break wide and forever open.

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Laura Staley
Laura Staleyhttp://www.cherishyourworld.com
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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18 CONVERSATIONS

    • Thank you so much, Larry. I’m grateful to know I’m not the only one who absolutely loves–to this very moment-The Sound of Music. Definitely my all time favorite musical. I still cry at all the same parts-from the opening scenes through to the very end. Iconic.

  1. Yes, Laura, Yes!!! This piece had me from the first paragraph. This quote specifically, “I became totally motivated by who I could become, that I could finally be free of the long-term emotional pain, the internal to my psyche and external conflicts that had persisted and been fueled in part by my own unhealthy co-dependent ways and words.” I lived this. I am living this. I’ll get there and I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing your story. And thank you for being on my growth journey.

    • Oh, JoAnna, You are definitely not alone! We are in this journey together. Thank you for letting me know what especially resonated with you. The shedding of pains and worn out patterns takes time. Please know that even yesterday I sobbed when I recognized an incident that happened in my twenties in which I was STILL carrying around a belief called-“It was my fault.” I felt so responsible for other people’s unhealthy (even cruel) behavior-I lived in shamefear for that moment and just yesterday uncollapsed that particular incident. I looked at it through a more empowered lens–I didn’t know/didn’t know I had that one tucked inside my body memories-but I did. It flowed to the surface in a body experience as i watched myself go into a total fearshame place when in the current moment I was utterly SAFE.

      How powerful the process of healing and transforming continues to be. I don’t think there’s an arriving-just an on-going Awakening, Awareness, and practices in healing/shifting. There was just so, so much that happened-so many experiences that get to uncoil. I feel your heart. I see you. I treasure you. We are on each other’s growth journey. We learn from one another. Thank you for being you, for being honest and brave. Hugs to you, my friend!!

    • Thank you for this comment as well. I also received the one on LinkedIn messenger, but this one popped up as well. So I figured I’d reply here. It is most certainly a journey. But a journey I’m grateful to be on. It’s easy to remain stuck in negative and co-dependent patterns of thinking. The challenges came when I began to understand the part I played. I started processing the issues I had. As you said, there is no finish line, but the awareness and awakening is in full effect! Thank you for your faith in me. And thank you for your support!

  2. Laura, thank you for writing this beautifully uplifting piece. Like you, I believe that positive things will be born from the uncertain and unprecedented time we find ourselves navigating.

    Many of us may find that we needed this sudden lockdown more than we ever knew. For me, it is a chance to recalibrate. I’ve coined it my career sabbatical and I am embracing this time as best as I can. Sometimes I fail miserably, but no one ever said this time would be easy. Thank you for sharing your insight And light with us. You make a difference!

    • Thank you, Laura, for your thoughtful reflections. How empowering that you’ve embraced this time as your “career sabbatical” as best you can. We are definitely being given an opportunity to be more introspective, if we so choose-or simply the gift of time that many feel that haven’t had for awhile. I appreciate your kind words. I appreciate you.

  3. Laura — For whatever reason, the picture that came to mind as I read your strong piece was of me holding a divining rod – not in a wishful thinking sort of way, but in real anticipation of a forthcoming positive turning point. I have actually felt this feeling for sometime. COVID-19 has magnified the search. It will answer your question “Who can we become during this chaotic crucible of persistent, ever-changing stormy seas of challenge, implode, disruption, and change?” And, I would add, afterward.

    Thanks for the spark.

    • Thank you so much, Jeff. I do believe there will be a positive turning point too. We will continue “becoming” all along the way and definitely, afterwards, too. Yes, Indeed. I appreciate your reflections-“real anticipation of a forthcoming positive turning point.” Many people have been focused on compassion, courage, healthy connection, and authenticity (wholeness-being genuine-setting down “imposter syndrome”-or at least calling it out!) for awhile-possibly these qualities can become part of our wider experience of being human, of living our lives? Interesting times– for certain they are that.

  4. Love, love, love this, Laura! This really caught my attention: “When I remembered to eat, I ate courage for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” So good. Since I’m in the throes of reading your book and loving it, I have your voice in my head a lot these days. It’s the perfect voice for this time. Hugs to you!

    • Thank you so much, Kimberly. Know that when I’m being brave, I think of you and wrap your words of encouragement for courage around my whole self-and especially my heart. I’m honored that you are taking the time to read Live Inspired and to know you are loving it. Grateful. Many hugs to you, my friend!

  5. Oh Laura, just lovely as usual. I, too, do not like labels even though I am in a profession which often insists on them. Everything about this article is glorious, but especially the sentence: So many people are dying while simultaneously I believe something is being born deep inside of the psyche and souls of human beings. Thank you for this dear Laura!💖

  6. Oh Laura, sing from the mountains…. I’ve always loved “The sound of music”
    I join you in eating courage all day long! Who we think we are is what we become. It’s so important to know this and even better to grasp it. I love this uplifting article. Thank you my dear! Sending love and light to you. And thank you! P❤️🙏

    • Songs from musicals including South Pacific and West Side Story and Oklahoma ( Oh, What a Beautiful Morning)and all kinds of inspiring music will forever see me through difficult times. Thank you so much for reading, for offering your kind words of reflection and all the enthusiasm. Beaming much love and light right back to you, my friend! Stay vibrantly well! 🙂

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