After a particularly devastating life transition last year, many people crossed my path that helped me on my journey of rebuilding. Out of all of the support I received, three people emerged that particularly, though unknowingly, helped me see areas in which I had become stuck, enabling me to finally free myself and move forward. I call them my BE Virgo Trio, as each has a first name that begins with the letters B-E and each was born under the astrological sign of Virgo. Virgos are often known for diligence, intelligence, and detail-orientation. Traits I needed a triple dose of, apparently.
There are 10 ways of being that these three friends helped me recognize and cultivate, approaches that I think are worthy for all to consider in their own journeys.
BE Virgo 1 and I met at a meditation retreat. Many meditative sits and half-marathons later, these are some of the things she has helped me put into practice:
1. Say Yes. I had gotten stuck in a pattern of talking myself out of things or finding every reason under the sun why something would not work. Once I was able to give up the attachment to the outcome, to cease trying to control what would happen, I was liberated. Notice how much time you spend on “what if” thinking and how limiting that is to your life experiences.
2. Just Do It. I had difficulty with follow-through, letting my head get in the way with insecurity, doubt, and worry. But without action, you are guaranteed the same result. This running app mantra, “just do it,” informs all aspects of our being. Are you standing on the sidelines secretly wishing you had what it takes to engage with life? Guess what? You do!
3. Be Present. I spent a lot of time and energy rehashing the past or ruminating over the future, experiencing the subsequent emotional states as if the past were happening again or my future worry were actually occurring. With the establishment of a meditation practice, I became more able to focus in on the here and now, being more aware of myself and my surroundings, not just living in the fiction of my head. Notice how often you are time traveling in your thoughts and missing the precious, fleeting gifts of the present moment.
My friendship with BE Virgo 2 had a serendipitous origin that illustrates perfectly what she has brought to my life:
4. See the Magic. I remember as a kid being in awe of things, noticing the magical aspect of even common occurrences. We seem to step over a threshold into adulthood that gives us amnesia about how wondrous life really is. But we still have the capacity to remember the magic. Have you lost sight of the miraculous aspects of life? Invite that inner child of yours that still has a sense of fascination and amazement to come out and play.
5. Listen to your Intuition. We have this lovely gift of an instinctive feeling that is so often right on track. I had developed a tendency to overthink or rationalize so that I had diminished my capacity to tune into this innate ability. Do you dismiss your gut feelings and allow only thoughts to take over? We are not only thinking, but also feeling and intuiting beings. We’re excluding a sizable portion of our inherent skills when we push aside our intuition.
6. Be Adventurous. My world had gotten very small with fear and doubt. There were many experiences I missed out on because I got in my own way or allowed others to take over for me. There is so much value in exploring the world, including our own little corner of it: the arts, culinary ventures, cultural experiences, etc. Where’s your sense of adventure? Do you allow yourself to stretch out of your comfort zone and try new things? Your life is enhanced if you do.
BE Virgo 3 is actually one of my longest friendships, beginning in the decade of big hair and shoulder pads. And yes, we had both. His reemergence in my life has reminded me of the following:
7. Remember your Roots. There was a core part of myself that I lost track of along the way, focusing too much on living for others. It’s important to acknowledge where you come from, how that is part of who you are. Your ancestors, your youth, your hometown, your values. I had convinced myself that my life wasn’t quite as valid as others, so my roots were not important. But that’s not true for anyone. We are all planted somewhere for a reason. And wherever we go, it’s part of us. How far have you strayed from your core? Do you ever touch base with your roots and recognize how they helped make you who you are?`
8. Make Room to Grow. If you plant a tree, you should dig a hole at least twice the size of the root ball, otherwise, the roots will not be able to expand properly to support the tree. So, just as we must remember our roots, we must also allow space for growth beyond them. Again, having permitted my world to shrink, I didn’t have adequate room to expand, which was disheartening and confining. Do you have ample space in your life to grow? Do the people you share life with offer you enough room to bloom?
9. Find Your Voice. Not feeling valid also developed a silence about myself and my surrounding world. It was a strategy of protection, but actually resulted in oppression. Do you find yourself not speaking up, even when you want to, even when you need to? Know that your voice matters. Otherwise, life happens to you, not with you and not for you. And it creates misguided notions that become conventional wisdom. Find your voice and use it. It gets easier.
Finally, my BE Virgo Trio reinforces me to:
10. Be. These three friends allow me to be my authentic self, and most importantly, now, so do I. It wasn’t always the case that I would allow me to be me. I often didn’t feel as legitimate as I thought others to be. Really a ludicrous notion, but one that many people share. It’s a much more pleasant way of life to not just play a character in someone else’s story, but to be fully and truly yourself. Are you able to just be you? Do people in your life allow you to be your authentic self?
My sincerest love and gratitude goes out to my BE Virgo Trio for their unwitting excavation when I was stranded in a self-defeating cave. They and many others were trustworthy companions in a very dark and scary place. I encourage you to notice what people in your life may be showing you. Perhaps even those that are there only for a season are there for a reason.