The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

Wake Up 2 Who U R

“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts

Who are you? If you ask yourself “Who am I” what’s the real answer? What are you really telling yourself? Do you imagine yourself as someone who is happy, confident, loving and someone who achieves their goals or do you imagine yourself as someone who just sort of gets by, that life is good enough, or perhaps something even more negative?

We tell ourselves stories all the time about who we are but these are just that, stories. They are images of who we think we should be or, worse yet, who we want to be for others. We eat, breathe and live these stories until we believe them. We become a piece of fiction, one we’ve authored or one that’s been authored for us.

You need to let go of these stories to become the real you. It’s scary, don’t get me wrong. I say this as if it’s easy to just say, “Oh, I don’t really want to be that way. I think I’ll let my True Self come out today.” Sorry, it’s not that easy. But can you imagine what might happen if you really let your heart and spirit speak? What does that little flame of you flickering deep down inside look like? What would happen if you gave it some oxygen to let it burn brightly? What would happen if you let go of that imaginary you and woke up to the real you? I get excited just thinking about it.

I see the amazing potential in you. I see you struggling with what others want you to be and who you want to be for them. I see you quickly snatching up the real you when it tries to sneak out lest someone discover who you really are. I see you dousing the flame of your True Self every day just to fit in and get by.

It’s ok to let go. Slowly and surely start to open your eyes. Day by day let little pieces of yourself start to emerge. Realize that it’s ok to be you. The real you.

It’s time to wake up.

Want 2 Meet the Real U?

There is a very very wise man (he’s actually a Franciscan monk but don’t let religion stop you from hearing his message) who does a pretty amazing job of explaining who we are and who we are not and how we get to meet who we really are deep inside.

His name is Father Richard Rohr and if you don’t want to take my word for how cool he is, he was also recently on Oprah which is a pretty good endorsement of his message (at least if you think Oprah has her finger on the pulse of what’s important in the universe which I think she pretty much does but I digress.)

Anyway, I’m writing about Fr. Rohr today because even though you’re a teen and most people don’t discover him until they’re older, I think he’s someone you should know about now. I don’t always immediately understand a lot of what he talks about (because it’s tough stuff that makes you think which is always a good thing) but one of his most important messages (IMHO) is about the False or Shadow Self and the True Self. It’s about who we really are deep down inside. I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty exciting! (Terrifying, but exciting.)

Basically, the Shadow Self is this image of ourselves that we build up over the years (and this is ok, it’s a necessary part of the process) but it’s not who we really are. Our shadow self (or False Self) is all of our stuff, our accomplishments, the face we present to the world. It’s the house we build up around ourselves but it’s not the core of who we are inside. It’s not our soul or spirit and to meet your soul or spirit or True Self, you have to struggle. I’m sorry. It’s true. But understanding this now as a teen is going to save you a whole lot of angst in the future because hopefully you will recognize that dealing with your struggles is actually a gift. It’s a way of becoming the real You!

Fr. Richard sums it up nicely in one of his recent daily meditations:

“Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with your shadow. I wish someone had told me that when I was young. It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way.”

So the next time something happens that challenges you or hurts you or pushes your buttons, don’t fight it. Don’t try to avoid it. Take a deep breath and realize that struggling is actually the way to meet the real you. I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty exciting (and certainly makes it at least a tiny bit easier to deal with the tough stuff!)

Now you tell me. Have you gotten glimpses of your True Self after going through something tough? Would you do it again?

A Lived Lived Deeply Can Equal Deep Scars. R U Ready 2 Go Deep?

scarred heart by delphine devos

It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars. – Garrison Keillor

Being a teenager is filled with a lot of ups and downs. You have really really good days and really really bad days. Hopefully, by the time you get to adulthood, you have a manageable mix of both (though some days it will feel like you’re still in high school. I might as well be honest with you. This site is all about learning after all.) The thing is, while the highs and lows might seem extreme, it’s how you know you’re really living.

Falling in love is great but breaking up feels like someone is ripping out your intestines.

Making new friends is wonderful and losing them really hurts. Bad.

Achieving a goal feels amazing but failing is like falling down. On your butt. Hard.

You could just live safely and avoid all of this right? You could stick to comfortable situations. You could find a few friends and not look for new ones. You could close yourself off from love because it’s too risky.

I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty boring doesn’t it?

When I look back and think about the really painful experiences in my life I realize that I learned the most from the painful ones. In fact, and while I can’t believe I’m actually going to say this, I would live through them again. They’ve made me who I am. They taught me to go deep. To live big. To take chances. To love deeply. To learn. To grow. To truly experience life. To be my true self. To be Me.

My advice to you is to go deep. Don’t be afraid of what might happen. Don’t worry about the falls, the scrapes, the bumps or the bruises. Yes those things will leave scars but those scars are the sign of a life lived deeply.

Are you ready to go deep?

Forgive Yourself: Let it go. Fall down. Meet the real you.

blond teen

It’s hard enough to forgive others when they’ve hurt you but it’s even harder to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself means admitting you’re not perfect, that  you’re not 100% innocent and that you have some things to learn. These are tough concepts to wrestle with even on a good day never mind when you’ve actually done something wrong. And let’s face it,  sometimes you just think you’ve done something wrong because sometimes we haven’t even done anything wrong but it still feels that way because we’re so tough on ourselves.

Similar to forgiving someone else, forgiving yourself doesn’t make what you did right, acceptable or ok. Forgiving yourself just means owning it. It means letting it go and accepting that it doesn’t need to define who you are or who you want to be. It means you have to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself (which your ego really really hates to do.)

It means falling down.

Here’s the thing about falling down though. When you fall down, you actually meet the foundation of who you really are. The ground, the bedrock, the bottom – that’s where your feet should be planted and forgiving yourself actually helps you to get back to this place. It helps you to meet the real you.

So how do you forgive yourself? You cry. You feel bad. You sit with it.  You accept that you can’t change it. You accept that it’s in the past.

You let it go.

You meet the real you.


The 4th Secret: Get Ready 2 Meet The Real You

be me

Warning: This might be the deepest or most complicated secret that we’re going to discuss so stick with me and keep an open mind. You can also review the first three secrets listed all in one place in case you want to review before we start.

Ok, let’s go.

Hopefully at this point you’re curious and perhaps even a little worried about who you are if you’re not the little voice in your head.

If I asked you: “Who are you?” what would you say? Our initial instincts are usually to talk about our history.

“Well, I was born in the year 2000 and I’m female and I have a mom and a dad and an annoying younger brother and a cat.”

So now you’ve told me a little bit about yourself but what if I said, “That’s nice but who are you really?”

Read more…

The 3rd Secret:To Get Over Sadness You Must Feel Sad. What the %&#?

feel sadness

I’m sitting on my deck reading Panache Desai’s new book “Discovering Your Soul’s Signature (which you should definitely check out because it’s chock full of examples for young people. It’s really not another secret adults are keeping from you though I doubt anyone will recommend it to you so it will seem like a secret but I digress…) Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the book.

So, I’m reading the book and it’s day two of the book’s 33 day journey which covers the topic of sadness and how we try to cover up and not feel sadness because that would be too, well, sad. But I read this line and the seeming obvious silliness of it struck me:

“Live in the truth that vulnerability is power. Live in the truth that your sadness makes you human.”

What the &*%? It seems silly right? It actually almost seems ridiculous! How can being vulnerable (or weak) make you powerful? How does being sad make you human?

Read more…