Our Lives

At a journey's end, a look at things she gained

CorrespondentApril 6, 2013 

KIMBERLYCONLEY.OURLIVES2012.AL.JEL

Kimberly Conley.

JLEONARD@NEWSOBSERVER.COM — JULI LEONARD

  • Our Lives All-Stars

    The next group of “Our Lives” writers might seem familiar. We’re launching an all-star edition, bringing back some favorite essayists from the column’s 13-year history. We’ll announce the all-stars soon.

What a lavish opportunity I was offered to write among this talented group of “Our Lives” essayists. Writing these essays wasn’t always easy, and admittedly, at times, I was a bit overwhelmed by the weight of it. But I have loved it, as it was an incredible outlet for me. It was therapeutic even in its self-indulgence.

This past year has been filled with many moments – be it a big ole’ piece of humble pie when I had to ask for help for the most basic of needs or elation at the offer of a project or long-term contract with a client that meant stability for my family.

I have acquired some things along the way too. Allow me to indulge myself once more in this final essay as I highlight the most notable:

• Perspective. Things are generally not what they seem. Projecting my insecurities or predisposed thoughts on a situation is a very closed-minded way to go about life, not to mention a bit self-absorbed. I continuously aim to see things through a broader lens and understand that I am but a small part of a much larger equation.

• Effort. Don’t shy away from something just because it’s hard or scary. This is one I’m working on with my youngest daughter as well as myself. I find myself saying things like “Things worth working for are typically worth the effort.” Yeah, that’s one I need to continually apply to my life. Fear is a huge obstacle, but once the first few drops have escaped the dam, you may be more apt to open the floodgates. After all, we are here to LIVE, are we not?

• Trust. Trusting in my abilities and decisions has been a lifelong challenge. When I look at my family, my career path and my friends, I am happy to say I am confident that I make sound judgments that fill me with pride.

• Intentions. A friend and I attended a feng shui lecture recently. According to Wikipedia, feng shui, a Chinese philosophy, is believed to use the laws of both heaven and earth to help one improve life by receiving positive energy. I find that when I clearly put out to the universe what it is I want, it typically does return. I believe the power of intention to be a powerful tool that I aim to use more faithfully.

• Gratitude. Many of my essays have included reasons why and people that I am grateful for. For me, this includes not only my core support group, but also clients and colleagues who believed enough in me to give me the chance to demonstrate my abilities. I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to do just that.

Thanks for following me on this journey over the last year. I realize this relationship has been a bit one-sided, with you reading about my trials and tribulations. I hope at times you might have related with a particular event or perspective, and if you did or didn’t, that you may have extended me the ultimate gift of feedback.

One of my closest friends was recently on a 20,000-mile road trip (she lives in Alaska). She is well-traveled and has only a few bits of coastline in the U.S. that she has yet to see over the last 20 years of her journey. But this trip wasn’t about checking off destinations on a map.I overheard her attempting to make plans to see a friend in a state neighboring North Carolina, and it was clear he had asked where she was headed next. I listened as she stated her intention, gained through trust in herself and acquired perspective, that this particular trip was not about the destination.

She gratefully acknowledged that this journey was “…about the people.”

kimberly5.17@hotmail.com

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