Storytime. When I was little, my parents signed @jongaymondi and I up for a gymnastics class. It was mostly the kind of gymnastics where we spent a good portion of the time perfectly coating our hands with way too much chalk and pretending to get lost in the rainbow-colored foam cube pit after a tumble because let's be real, it wasn't about the tumble.
It wasn't really about the gymnastics at all. It was more about learning to be comfortable in our bodies, connect with other kids, and connect with our own confidence. That's a lot for a 5-year-old but insurmountable for most adults (including myself).
One evening, after the instructor probably pulled me out of the foam pit by one leg for the 6th time and politely asked me to stay on solid ground, we were sitting around in a circle on the mats. The teacher asked us to go around and name an animal we wanted to be, the sound it makes, and why. I just so happened to be sitting next to the teacher, probably to keep me from making a mad dash towards the foam pit, so I was the last to name my animal.
I remember hearing everyone else's animals and the noises, including Jonathan's (a bear), so when it came to me, I decided to go rogue and proudly announced that I was a seashell.
The teacher glanced over at me - "A seashell? Nicole, we're picking animals." Oh ok, got it. So I reiterated that I was a seashell then proceeded to make a whooshing sound for the ocean. When she asked why I don't remember my reply, or if we even got that far, but either way I don't think I really knew why.
I did know that on our handful of trips to beach I could spend hours crouched down by the shoreline, carefully picking up and inspecting each shell, getting lost in the aesthetics and subtle differences of each one. I didn’t collect them, I always just set them back down to be washed out again.
I was reminded of this memory on an early morning walk along the ocean in Mexico last week. 25 plus years later I think the answer to that why is clear, seashells all tell a story. A unique story that the outside observer can only begin to grasp. Because like people, you can’t know a seashell by its surface, its story is oceans deep.
Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.