For 2019, I made a commitment to myself to read more. To expand my knowledge, vocabulary and awareness of the world around me. I thought about having a list, which captured definite reads such as; The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which powerfully demonstrates that the journey to finding our dream, our purpose is ultimately right in front of us and John C Maxwell’s Put Your Dream to the Test, which I started a year ago.
But Alas, Christmas came and it was dinner and secret Santa time with my tribe. Our annual celebration of the year past and dreams for the future. 2018 was pretty intense, so while thankful, we were glad to see the back of it and we were ready to look forward. And so, it was an inspiration in itself to see that the same present I bought for my secret Santa, was the same present given to me: Becoming by Michelle Obama. Talk about having solid cheerleaders in your life that know just what you need.
So my idea of a list went out the window and “Becoming” by the first lady of all times, became my first book of the year and it did not disappoint. The book was a revelation and an inspiration to me. So much so that everywhere I go, I find myself pledging to buy it for others. The writing style, the stories, the context, the journey, all eloquently captivated to give the reader a real insight into Mrs Obama’s life, her character, her passion and her values.
Her outlook, mind-set and approach was particularly inspirational. Despite her background, the challenges faced, or the position she now occupies, the former first lady consistently thrives to ensure that her actions and influence bring lasting change to the lives of many. And as someone who believes in the power of kindness to others, Becoming resonated with me on many levels.
By the end of the book, I stood at my kitchen window, looking out at the trees, the calm of the clear blue sky, reflecting on all I had just read. The legacy of it all and I thought this women is phenomenal; what I would say if I ever met her. And in that moment I decided I would write to her. I was going to journal a letter to the former first lady!
In reality the letter is more meaningful to me, than it ever will be to her. The letter is an affirmation of all the promises I made to myself whilst reading her story. It is to recognise my connection to the world around me. The desire to do good, serve others and be present.
Updating my journal with that letter I realised that I had spent most of the life unconsciously operating in survivor mode. I wanted to do well in life, and that meant never stopping to thinking about my past. I concentrated on racing towards a future “only I could give myself” But in trying to forget the bad, I forgot about the good I had experienced and how that’s contributes to who I am today.
I forgot to look up and recognise the power of the collective and that the collective good can prevail. The world is changing, the struggles still exits. But if we each commit to doing what we can, the world can become a more inclusive place. So I will continue to chase after my dreams and be motivated in doing so. But more importantly I will take time to look up more often and do more good.