Nothing to prove

Eleanor under the kitchen chair
Eleanor under the kitchen chair

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” Soren Kierkegaard

My brother emailed me this quote yesterday. He knew that I would love it. I’ve dared quite a few things in my lifetime, some of them turned out to be wonderful, some, mini-disasters, but I’ve learned more about myself from all of them, and as I think back on the difference, what I know is this: when I acted from a positive longing for more Life, when the action (or decision) felt like it was coming from a deeper part of me, even if the action itself seemed quite risky, like skydiving or doing a firewalk, the end result was positive. And when I was doing something to prove a point, or show someone, or I was in a low, disempowered state, the results were not so good.

Years ago, I was dating a man who I knew in my heart wasn’t right for me. But I wanted him to be so bad! One of his complaints about me was that I was too needy and too dependent, so one day, I took a trip to the White Mountains by myself to hike. I remember my motivation: to prove to him that I was independent and that I didn’t need him (hoping that this would make him want me). I was uneasy the whole time.

About a mile into my hike, two men came up the trail behind me and I could feel that they were trouble. I ran ahead and hid in the woods about 50 feet from the trail. I thought that my heart would explode inside my chest, I was so scarred. They milled around the area (where I entered the woods) until some hikers came up behind them, and when I saw these hikers, I almost flew out of the woods, surprising everyone, and asked if I could join them. The two men did not continue their hike but turned around and went back down the trail.

This isn’t about making rules like, “You should never hike alone.” It is not the activity itself, it’s how we are feeling about it in the moment, that guides us to good or bad decisions. I’ve learned that my inner voice always guides me to make those right decisions and if I am in doubt, I need only look at my motivation, and check in with how I am feeling.

Don’t do anything to try to impress anyone. It doesn’t work. Don’t do anything to prove to others, or to show others, that you are not afraid, or that you are really something special. It doesn’t work.

Make decisions about your life from your heart, and you can not go wrong.


20 thoughts on “Nothing to prove”

  1. Dear Mary, I love the quote and your poignant story! Sometimes the head gets in the way of the heart….but as you point out….the heart always knows the way. Your words and wisdom always inspire me to seek the higher path, to follow my inner guide. Thank you for your honest and generous blog…it is a vital part of my every morning. Reading it has become a ritual I have come to love and appreciate beyond words!

    1. I’m with you Debra, – I always save White Feather Farm for last, once I’ve cleaned up my inbox from all the daily chatter. A highlight for every day. Mary, you gave us chills with your story. Angels watching over you that day!

  2. Yikes, Mary, just reading what you did hiking into the mountain trails by yourself scared me and I know that’s not what this posting is about which you’ve pointed out. Being needy takes us into situations that are not true to ourselves but without the maturity to realize this, I, too, have placed myself in situations that were not in my best interests either. What I picked up from this morning’s post is being true to yourself; honour yourself, not always trying to please someone else…because those who recognize this neediness in us, bleed us dry…they are like vampires sucking the very blood out of us because that’s what they do and what we allow people to do when we don’t recognize our own neediness. I also picked up how clearly you stated that this was not about hiking on your own, alone or the danger of it. I’ve had an example recently of the need to communicate more clearly in a submission I made to an exhibit. It was a piece of wearable ‘art’. I never place waistbands on my skirts or trousers when I sew nowadays. The garment lies flatter and closer into the waistline without it. Yet the critique came back: no waistband was added and a hook and eye was used…this was a negative. Interesting. I’ll have to be more communicative next time it goes out for exhibit.
    SandyP in Canada (and I’m greatly relieved to still have you here, Mary and not having disappeared into the White Mtns. with two unsavory characters)

  3. Oh Mary,

    I am so glad you are safe!
    I guess this really shows big time, that we need to trust our instincts because they are usually “right on” the money

    Love the picture of your beautiful Eleanor.
    From Fran

    1. Isn’t that a cute picture of her?! It was 90 degrees that day , and that is where she chose to rest! Thank you for your words and the older I get, the more I do trust that inner voice. Hope you have a beautiful evening Fran.

    1. I’m so glad that you found the blog Suzann! The group of people that meet here are awesome and we welcome you.

  4. Mary, just reading of your self-inflicted ‘adventure’ made the pit of my stomach contract. I could almost feel what you must have felt and I was scared for you, even though I knew it was long past, and that you were safe.

    I love your message and am going to forward it to both my granddaughters. Both are of an age (21 and 18) where this lesson will be understood. Most of all, I understood and related to it immediately, more’s the blessing.

    Thank you, and thanks for the picture of Eleanor, who seems to be following her own instincts about a cozy place to be. 🙂

    1. I hadn’t thought about this incident in a long time and when I read it to Jack (before I post, I almost always read to him) he looked like he was in shock. He kept saying, “You never told me that!” So I didn’t mean to write a suspenseful post, but I think i did! Thank you for your loving words and thoughts Suzanne.
      I raised one very risk-taking son, and my wish for him was that he learned to listen to that still, small voice inside when deciding to do things that most people wouldn’t even consider sane, but things that were right for him and the kind of person he was/is. He just finished fliming 2 seasons of a show called “Deadliest Catch” and was hired as a camerman/producer on a show called, Wicked Tuna….lots of action, lots of risk. It is where he is most at home and a part of who he is in this lifetime.

    1. You are so welcome Manny! I think that I needed to remember this again as well.

  5. It’s funny when I align myself with me and the universe I am happy and life seems easy, but when I get side tracked for whatever reason or to please who ever at the moment, life twists and tugs at me……..still want to ignore that little voice inside of me that IS ME….fear, doubt, insecurity ???? I love your reminders……

    1. so well-stated Sandy…aligning with who we really are. I wonder how I forget this?! Thank you

  6. Daring to trust that inner voice, daring to speak and to act and to lead from our heart, daring to hold up the mirror…leaps of faith that bring the greatest reward of all…a ‘clean’ landing right in our center…

  7. Right on target again and again. Thank you for your insights and wisdom, and for so graciously sharing with us all.

    1. I am so very happy to be able to share my experiences Karen…I appreciate your thoughts

    1. Thank you Terri, and I certainly was grateful for them too!…even when we do stupid things, there is so much Love helping and guiding us.

  8. Mary, Your story sounds like the one fiction book that Ann Rule wrote called “Possesion.” Very chilling. I remember trying to please guys by being someone I’m not. What a drag all that was. It’s so nice to be with a “forever man.” I was taught to always trust my instincts and have passed this down to my daughter and my Grand-daughter. I’m into my natural horsemanship with sweet Palomino “Maya” for myself. I’m following a dream and loving it. I’m not doing any “impressing.” I’m just having fun!
    Have a great w/e Mary, Cindy

    1. Cindy, congrats to you, not only for your new granddaughter, but for your coming into life. Blessings, all!

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