Monday, January 9, 2012

What Defines Us

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." - Henry David Thoreau

Years ago, when I was an acting major in college, I studied with a Belgian movement teacher.  As part of our final, we had to do several minutes of purely improvised movement.  In her review of my work, my teacher told me (imagine this with a Belgian accent), "There was a moment, when you were in the corner of the room, that you just became huge.  And that's the way you must live, you know - huge."

Every once in a while I remind myself of her words.  Am I living huge?

Throughout our lives, we make mistakes.  We have failures.  We suffer loss and disappointments.  And over time, we allow those mistakes and failures and disappointments to start to define us.  We give more weight to the downs of our lives than the ups.

So instead of living huge, we make ourselves smaller than we really are. 

What if, rather than being defined by our mistakes and failures, we choose to define ourselves by our successes?  We would start to spill over the boundaries of ourselves, instead of being so contained.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?" - Marianne Williamson

I love this quote.  Who am I not to be all that I can be?  Who am I not to be brilliant and amazing?  Why am I making myself small?  Is it to make someone else feel better about themselves?  Is it because someone, long ago, told me that I wasn't worth all the space I deserve?  Whatever the reason, it doesn't serve me anymore.

So here's my challenge to you: Live huge.  Fill up your space and spill over the edges.  Sing your song out loud and let the world hear it.   


  1. Hi Nicole. I love Marianne Williamson. I read a book of hers years ago that resonated so deeply with me. Hang on … will look at book case for title because I KNOW I'd never get rid of it. …. OK, I'm going to admit this because you know me and you'll get a kick out of it. Apparently the book I was thinking about wasn't written by Marianne Williamson. (I've been giving her credit for YEARS!) It's a book called Real Moments by Barbara DeAngelis. That said, I really did have a MW book but, I can't find it. LMAO! Anyhoo …. I truly do love that quote and agree with it 100%.

    I think I'll be quiet now.

  2. Fantasitc quote and post! I love the idea of living life huge!

  3. Ginger - don't you dare be quiet! Ever! :-)

  4. Probably no chance of that anyway, you know, the bit about me actually 'being quiet'. I'm sure some people pray for that every night but alas, I'm going to thwart them!!

  5. What a very inspirational post! Congratulations, I've picked you for a blogging award! Visit my site to claim your prize!

  6. Beautiful . . . and so hard to remember . . .

  7. Love those quotes, Nicole. I love the idea of living large, too. Angela always says "live out loud" . . . large and loud and to the very edges of experience.

  8. Thank you Nicole. Sometimes I need a reminder. As Emile Zola said, "If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” My name is Tom and I AM an artist and I WILL live out loud! Namaste my new friend.