"To appreciate a place[situation, experience] fully, a man must know that he can live there. When all his discomforts disappear and he lets himself be owned by the place. He needs to customize and localize himself to the place he visit, to the degree that he knows he could dwell there forever. Then and only then, is it truly acceptable for him to leave. Wherever you are, give the place the justice it deserves." ~Matthew McConaughey~
I recently read Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I would learn so much and be so inspired by Matthew McConaughey’s life. I couldn’t put the book down. So many takeaways. So many things to sit with. So many feelings.
I think it's really crazy that I bought the book after having a random lunch at my favorite restaurant. I ended up in the Amazon store with the guy that sat two barstools down from me. We realized we had just had lunch at the same restaurant and then we started talking about books. After some friendly banter back and forth, he mentioned that the best book he had read recently was Greenlights. I was surprised and said, “Cool I’ll buy it.” Several months later while experiencing some difficult moments and feelings that lead to some soul searching, I was looking through my bookshelves for something to read and found the book. I decided to give it a shot. I couldn't put it down. Divine timing strikes again. Who would have thought a book about Matthew McConaughey’s life called Greenlights would be my greenlight??? And so we are here acting on Greenlights.
One of the biggest takeaways from the book is the power of experiences and the things that lead us to those experiences. Sometimes we have a vivid dream that leads us to an experience. It may be a recurring thought or conversation that leads us to the experience. We just can’t get it out of our minds until we do it. Sometimes we engage in experiences because we want to prove a point. We engage in experiences for a number of reasons. There is a poem in the book that he wrote called The Justice It Deserves. It was one of the biggest things to stick with me. The poem is about how in order to fully appreciate a place or an experience you have to work through all of the things that are good about it as well as all of the things that are challenging about it. When we know that we can live with it and through it even when given the choice when we had no choice to begin with, then we can say we have learned everything we need to learn from it and we can choose to move on to the next experience. When we have given the experience, the place, the situation the justice it deserves then we can choose to move on from it. The poem made me really think about my life and where I am with experiences and if I have really given my experiences the justice they deserve.
Recently an experience I have been reflecting on a lot is my relationship with this city that has raised me, Nashville. I have been in a relationship with this city for 18 years this month. We have grown together. We have learned together. We have learned what it means to embrace change. It's been a ride. I know that I could dwell here forever,I have allowed it to consume me, I have customized and localized. I know I could dwell here forever, but do I want to? This is how I know I have given my home of 18 years the justice it deserves. So to answer the question, do I want to dwell here forever. Over the years I have had thoughts of living in other places but never acted on them out of fear and comfort. When I visited Italy with my best friend a few years ago for my birthday I had thoughts of living abroad for a while. The thought comes and leaves and comes back again. In the past I have learned that when those thoughts recur it helps to be curious and explore them and then act on them if need be otherwise they will continue to recur. So here we sit with recurring thoughts of exploring.
It’s weird to say Greenlights was my greenlight.
A lot of thoughts, feelings, and questions had already been swirling around in my head but never any real action. After reading the book and being so inspired by the curiosity he had and the action he took I was inspired to give myself the greenlight to create space to figure things out for myself. I am indeed curious about living in other places. What better way to figure it out than to go visit? I made the decision to visit Florence, Italy for the month of February to work and learn. I’m excited to learn about the culture and see all of the things and eat all of the wonderful food. I am most excited to learn more about myself, to allow myself to be immersed in a foreign place, to learn more about myself as I figure it out. I am hopeful that Covid-19 and the crisis happening in the Middle East at this time won’t postpone this experience but the plan is to go. I’m excited and nervous to give this experience in Italy the justice it deserves in allowing it to challenge me, grow me, and be a stepping stone to more decision making in the upcoming months and years. I know that by allowing myself to give this experience the justice it deserves I can do anything.
"You only live once and if you do it the very best you can, once is enough."
In what ways do you feel you could give the experiences in your life the justice they deserve? Does it require you to lean into them more, to spend time with them? It can be uncomfortable because in order to know, we have to sit with them. We can’t be fighting them. We can’t be pushing them away. When we sit with those thoughts and allow ourselves to really feel them and be honest with ourselves about what we have done and haven’t done, if we have allowed ourselves to really experience then we can know what to do. Sometimes we have given things the justice they deserve and they are no longer serving us. We can choose to move on to a different experience. Sometimes the thoughts and actions that go into giving something the justice it deserves is scary and so we choose not to engage and that is okay too. Wherever you are is part of your process.
I’m excited to share my experiences as I figure out the next steps in my life and in the intentional steps to choose myself. The work is hard but it is so worth it. Love and light to you.