My maternal grandfather’s funeral was this week.  He was happily on this Earth for 95 years, 5 years shy of his goal of 100.  A gentle soul, who besides my father, was an important man who influenced me throughout my life.  

I was asked to give the eulogy and while I wanted to desperately, I could not. It was too much for me since my dad had recently transitioned.  By stepping away from this responsibility, my cousin, in turn, reluctantly took over. She did an amazing job of bringing my grandfather’s memory and personality into the room.  She mentioned a phrase that my grandfather would often tell us that I wanted to share with you today.

My grandparents took my cousins and I throughout the United States each year during the summer months when we were off for summer break.  An old Suburban and a silver Airstream, was packed for long hauls!

We would travel across the desert with no air conditioning, windows down, towels hanging in the windows to keep the sun off of us.  Every adventure was just that… an adventure. We made do with what we had and used our creativity and ingenuity when we didn’t have what we would have liked.

During these long road trips there wasn’t much to do.  So we did what was natural. We had conversation. And because my grandfather was a natural storyteller and teacher to us, we were quite entertained and always enlightened by both his stories and his thoughts and teachings.   

One of the things that he taught us was to read maps. They were the kind of maps that took up the entire front dash. One for every state. He would ask us questions about the map we were routing and we would in turn respond to his question like this..

“The map SAYS that the next town is in 40 miles!” and his remark was always “The map hasn’t SAID anything, the map is simply your guide, so say that phrase again.” We would in turn say, “The map indicates that we are approximately 40 miles from the next town.”  His reply, “Very good, now continue…”

When hearing my cousin tell this story, it brought back so many memories.  I also felt like there was so much insight to that phrase that I stored it in my memory so that I could contemplate this further… and here are my thoughts that I wanted to share with you.

The map hasn’t SAID anything… the map is simply your guide

My mind (map) is made up of so many thoughts.  Yours is as well, right?

Many times these thoughts are always saying things to me/us, like this:  

That’s not right!  

Why did you say that, eat that, think that?

You look awful!  

Get out of the grief for goodness sake!

Blah blah blah….

But if our mind is our own personal map, guiding us every single day, why do we instinctively believe the nonsense that we hear in our mind?  You may be thinking…’Well, Nicole, you did say it was our map!’

Yes! That’s the whole point!

If our mind is our very own personal map, there’s more to this map than we realize. There’s curves ahead, mountains to climb, sharp left turns and u turns.

Our thoughts are just that, THOUGHTS! Not absolutes!  

Our thoughts are simply our guide. We have these thoughts, that we can choose to keep as they are, or we can take a loop de loop, over a mountain, straight road, then slightly to the right approach and change them, my friend!

Going over a bridge, through a mountain, across the United States from East to West, whew! That’s exhausting, but it can be done.

It’s when we take the first step in realizing that we can change the way that we speak to ourselves that we realize the true beauty of love. Self Love.

So when you feel lost, surrender to this feeling.  

When you feel fat, surrender to this feeling.

When you feel grief stricken, surrender to this feeling.

When you feel the feelings associated with these thoughts, you are beginning to let go!

As you do this, you are indicating that while these thoughts exist, they are not YOU. They are thoughts.

Allow your map to guide you.  

Pull over on the side of the road and enjoy the view.  Sit a while. Love yourself.

You can always change your direction because YOU are the one in the driver’s seat.

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