Anpetug iyohi takuku teca unmaspe ce'e. I learn something new everyday. Sometimes I learn new old things.
There are things I've learned through my life that I carry with me:
- I do nothing alone.
- There is no failure, only learning.
- If it scares you, then you should do it.
- Nothing ever goes as planned. You prepare and adjust.
When I started my fellowship, I knew these things and I had a plan of how I would continue to learn and grow with them. At the time, I understood that self-care was equally important to the goals I had to finish my PhD and to increase my proficiency in the Dakota language. A year in, I will be graduating in two weeks and am preparing myself to dedicate as much time as possible to learning and speaking Dakota. The greatest lesson I have had through all of this has been that I must take care of myself. I knew this as I started the fellowship and started scheduling massages and time to spend with my friends. The universe told me that wasn't enough though.
In the fall of last year, I went through a hard time that lasted for months. A culmination of loss, illness, stress and pressure from work, and a feeling that the goals and dreams I had for myself were becoming more and more distant. I met with my coach twice and she told me what I needed to hear. I didn't truly hear what she said and act on it for a few months. She reminded me that my wellbeing was what was important. She also suggested a few books for me to read that fit with my personality. As I pushed through this hard time, I started to feel the effects of stress on my body, my energy drained, and I felt like I had become disconnected from the people and things I loved. Then one day, I picked up one of the books my coach had recommended and started reading. There was an exercise in there to help you identify your strengths. The themes that emerged were not a surprise to me, but it helped me realize that I was on the wrong path and it was time to adjust myself. I felt as though the universe was nudging me at this point, as though I was getting messages of encouragement to make the change I needed to. Multiple people asked me for help with things I love to do, but up to that point I had put away because my life had become consumed with other things. And then I heard these awesome quotes over the span of a few days.
"Be fearless about the things you believe in and take action." - Goldie Hawn
"When you lose your balance, you lose your power." - Eat, Pray, Love
"Find the thing that only you can do, the thing that makes you special and cultivate it. There's so much pressure to conform, when you find that the people who succeeded and left a mark are people who have done something completely different." - Christina Ricci
I started asking myself, what would happen if I invested in myself and my strengths? What might happen if I did what I wanted to? Then I realized, dang, that is the whole point of my fellowship, to invest in my strengths and leadership. So I listened to the messages I was getting, I took a deep breath, and I jumped. I won't lie, it was scary, but I haven't regretted my decision for one second.
In the last month, I have focused on my wellbeing and balance. I am nurturing my strengths. Wanna, ohinni tankad waun. Wabdake. Anawagoptan ka nawahun waun. Tohantuca cantemasice tka iyomakpi. I successfully defended my dissertation and am finishing edits, I have traveled, and I started beading again. I spend a lot of time outside taking walks, I started making Dakota language materials again, I learned to make pasta from scratch, and I sit with my dog and cat outside and watch our chickens. I am finding my balance and my wellness again. It feels like freedom and my energy and excitement to create are returning.
Sometimes life can feel lonely, especially the hard times. But the truth is, we are never alone. We all have helpers guiding us toward our gifts and helping us find our way. When we don't listen the messages come through stronger. So pay attention. Remember to say thank you, and remember that you are unique and gifted.
This is what happens and how life goes. Things never really go the way we plan. Oftentimes, life surprises us. They can be exciting, happy surprises or ones that take your breath away and make you question everything. But this is why having a vision for the future and planning for it is important. When you can see that goal, you keep moving toward it even if you have to take a side road.
If things don't work out like you thought they would, if you mess up, or you miss the mark on a goal, that doesn't mean you failed. Failure comes from a deficit mindset and only serves to set you back. When things don't go right, that means you learned a lesson. Take the time to understand that lesson and act on it. This is where your growth and greatest successes will come from.
Following your heart can be scary. There is a balance of energy out there - good and bad. Self-doubt and imposter syndrome can be debilitating. When I was writing my comprehensive exams and when I was working on the literature review for my dissertation I heard a voice tell me I couldn't do it. Both times, I took a break and then I leaned in stronger. Believe in yourself and your experience, it is yours and only you can tell your story your way. Its okay to be scared, but don't stop.
Finally, take care of yourself. You have ideas that can change the world, but you have to be in balance to make it happen. You decide what your balance and wellness is and do what you need to do to nurture it.
Henana epe kte
Owas nape ciyuzapi ye
Isnana Nazin Win de miye