Introducing the Unboxing Challenge!

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A Traveling Light has been cooking up a personal growth + creativity challenge. Are YOU ready to unbox yourself?

Ready to Unbox Yourself?

“Whoever the essence of us is — we are born, we are all individual, we are all unique, and we are supposed to be that exact person. We’re not supposed to conform, we’re not supposed to be like somebody else, we’re not supposed to act like somebody else, and as long as you stay true to exactly who you are, you will be rewarded in ways that you can’t imagine.”
— the ever-inspiring, amazing Ellen Degeneres
 


Stoked about my summer-evening sex hair recently
, I was inspired to post a selfie with a celebratory caption. Immediately, I felt self-conscious. I rarely take
selfies, let alone compose odes to my physical features. 
Then I realized:

 

  1. That’s sad.
  2. I’ve been doing life wrong.

Can I truly embody, embrace, or love myself completely if there are aspects of myself or my life that I insist I shouldn’t be too happy about, or shouldn’t let anybody know I love?


The sex-hair selfie dilemma prompted a bittersweet awakening
: sweet, because I can change, but bitter because I glimpsed how much I’ve been shrinking myself down. For a very long time, I have given myself permission only to cultivate and acknowledge whichever gifts had obvious value to others. But this has been so wrong. So very wrong. If I can’t even let myself celebrate a simple joy like a good hair day? There’s a problem.


When we choose not to embrace a gift, for fear or self-consciousness — whatever its shape — effectively we are saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” to a blessing. 
And we are impoverishing our lives.

 

Humankind has an ANCIENT complex regarding what we “may” love about ourselves and our lives and how much we’re “allowed” to love it. We’re warned that fully embracing or openly celebrating a blessing is “boastful.” That we shouldn’t love ourselves “too” much. Thousands of years of cultural conditioning warn humans away from “pride.” Stories abound of deities who smite mortals for cherishing a skill, a person, an attribute, an item — or simply for shining brightly — rather than rejoicing in the fact that these mortals are ENJOYING HEAVEN’S GIFTS. The message: that it is innately risky to treasure (or to rock) the gifts we’ve been given. Also, these myths reflect a fear in the collective unconscious that the things we love are more likely to be taken from us because we love them.

Even childhood discipline, for many of us, often targets things we like or look forward to. “You may not play your favorite game for the rest of the night.” “You may not go to your friend’s house tomorrow.” Parents are entirely well-meaning in this, but regardless, very early on, we come to deduce that hope, fondness, and joy are vulnerabilities and that their free expression heightens some likelihood of loss.

Given all of this, is it any WONDER that people run from love? Hide their deepest joys? Mute their affections?

We convince ourselves it’s safer to put our passions on the back burner, keep
our pleasures measured, mask.

We talk about being afraid to “jinx” ourselves. We’re terrified, absolutely fucking terrified, that embracing our treasures upends some divine order. So society feels deeply uncomfortable with people who DO openly celebrate blessings. We create a hierarchy of life’s gifts, from “unworthy” to “worthy,” “profane” to “sacred.” And if someone celebrates a gift that does not pass that test, the person is said to be shallow, arrogant, attention-seeking… (The list goes on.)

But this entire WORLD is divine! EVERYTHING contributes some divine purpose!

“All good giving and every perfect gift is from above…”
— Book of James 1:17

^ PREACH.

So there are lots of reasons why we might feel so conflicted about sharing our joys — including our self-love — openly.

But it does not have to remain that way.

We all have a unique set of gifts in this world, of all shapes, sizes, and types. Yes — maybe the curvy hips or amazing apartment or quirky upbringing you’re so stoked about and thankful for are things that someone else does not have. However, I believe that when we allow ourselves to truly go deep into our own personal gratitude, we often find something universal to bring to light. Something that, when shared, can inspire others to recognize and celebrate their OWN gifts. And as we liberate each other to share happiness without shame, as we validate each other’s tentative steps toward self-love, we are liberating each other to shine as brightly as we were meant to shine.

I don’t believe in a Universe that frowns at us for loving, or for radiating, the light tries to shine through us. Do you? Rather, I believe we’ve erred in our fear-based interpretations, and it’s time to heal that. When we pretend like the Universe’s gifts aren’t even a thing, when we hush or hide them, we are throwing a veil over a divine light. Not all of these things last forever anyway. Better to celebrate them, with our whole heart, while they do. We are, after all, the Divine made physically manifest, and it is through us that the Universe experiences the joys and wonders of this plane. So why should we limit its experience of these joys and wonders by rejecting the beauty and goodness it has been trying to seed within our little corners of the world?

Personally, I need to step up the self-love game. MANY of us can stand to do the same. So I’ve decided to pose myself a challenge, and I invite you to have fun with this challenge too.

By accepting and embracing our gifts, we maximize the love and the joy they can bring to the world.

So let’s unbox them.

 

How Does This Work?

I am going to push myself (far) outside my comfort zone to try shaking off some of the misguided cultural conditioning. Here and on Instagram, for 30 days, I will be picking something to celebrate. Something I wouldn’t normally celebrate, or wouldn’t celebrate so publicly. I will also highlight, in these posts, little inspirations for your own Unboxing Challenges.

Use the Unboxing Challenge as a personal growth exercise or even a simple creativity prompt for writing, photography, or any art that makes your heart sing. For 30 days, you, too, will pick things about yourself and your existence to celebrate. Publicly.
The more you’ve shied away from telling others about your joy over a particular gift — or the more you’ve refrained from letting yourself enjoy the gift in the first place — the more it probably belongs on your list.

You are resolving to drop the shame and the fear you’ve built around shining, and you will be attempting to cement the release of that shame by putting yourself out there.

“Don’t let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.”
Jim Carrey 

Here’s a meditation to get you started.

If the gift you celebrate on any given day feels “too personal” to share on your blog/IG, that’s okay. You will still benefit from taking a day to celebrate it, even privately.

 

Here’s why I feel strongly drawn to doing this publicly though:

 

  1. It is time to reverse the neglect of my own spirit. To heal my relationship with Heaven’s generosity. 
  2. To get more comfortable with being seen. To drop some of my shame about self-love.
  3. What we refuse to acknowledge openly, we generally refuse to embrace wholly. I impoverish my life by downplaying gifts. In this, I help no one, I miss out (for myself), and I shortchange the Universe. The Universe deserves better than what I’ve been doing about my gifts. So do I. Time to step up.
  4. In so many ways, I’ve seen that gifts are multiplied in their sharing and atrophy in their dismissal. I choose the former. Especially because the light of a gift can reach even farther when we are unashamed to let it.
  5. By hiding or downplaying gifts, I have also been rejecting TOOLS and MATERIALS that the Universe has given me towards my highest purpose, maximum growth and potential. This INCLUDES the potential to spread light and healing and love. I may not understand how some of these gifts lend themselves to my path, but that does not mean that they can’t, won’t, or don’t. If a gift exists, it is worthy of love. Who am I to decide that any gift in my life is unworthy, inconsequential, or “frivolous?” It’s been arrogant and foolish of me to presume so thus far. Besides, even “frivolous” things have contributed to my growth and healing. It’s time to stop judging Heaven’s gifts. It’s time to stop throwing up roadblocks to the Divine in the name of “humility.”
  6. Shrinking my spirit is not sustainable, nor will be any work I try to undertake while doing so. Not only does shrinking down suppress life force energy; it also demands energy (because our souls’ energy is VAST!). In order to bring my best self to others, I must be able to to bring my whole self.
  7. I have long allowed myself be defined predominantly by what makes me valuable to others, while letting the details that seem irrelevant to others’ needs be neglected/dismissed/ignored. I’ve been limited in my self-presentation online, and this is a big part of why. This has been no one’s fault but my own. I intend to change this now, setting a new precedent by being  more fully me. After all, see Numbers 4, 5, & 6. 😉
  8. I’m inspired. I’m inspired by various people who are being their fullest, realest selves, sharing their joy, and lifting others up by doing it. People who flaunt the radiance of their self-love (like fitness coach Anna Victoria), people who joyfully share with all of us the things of which they’re proud (like Anna’s FBG community), and especially people who see no need to censor themselves as they flawlessly blend humor and no-nonsense real-talk with genuine kindness and light (like my friend, Millennial Authenticity and Life Coach Christie Federico — IG | website). I’ve spent so much of my life hiding my “radiance” in various ways. This needs to stop. Needs to stop. ALL of us need to stop doing this, however we are doing it. Today.
  9. I’m sorry that I’ve “wasted” 33 years in this way, dismissing so much of life’s generosity. Gifts that could have made my life even richer. I could simply say, “I am going to change” — but I’d still be hesitant because the first step is always the hardest, and this is radical and intimidating. So, better to take that first step TODAY, with what I’ve already been given. After all, the gifts I’ve been neglecting or hushing still deserve their time in the sun. This is my way of making amends. And of making a very real change in how I live.
  10. Frankly, this feels important, on a gut level. I might not understand how this is important, and I might feel anxious about venturing so drastically out of my comfort zone. But as the goal AND the means are love, gratitude, and wonder, then I will trust this intuition.

 

So. Can you relate? Are you on board? Need one last ounce of inspiration? Here you go.😉

“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

— Marianne Williamson

 

I look forward to seeing your own posts (tag me! — lalabelle.rose) and watching the light grow as more people pull the veils back to share the radiance of their existence with the world.

Wishing much peace and love to all you beautiful souls!

Laura
Laura left a Ph.D. program at age 26 to make good on long-forgotten dreams of nomad'ing and writing. She currently lives in Berlin and writes about the magic of everyday life — most especially, the magic we find when we open our hearts and choose to follow them.

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