“When I live aligned with my deepest values and take actions from my Inner Wisdom, I no longer require the applause or fear the disdain or dismissal of other people. All these reactions from others probably will happen. All these reactions of other people remain out of my control, forever and always.” ~ excerpt from Laura’s book Abundant Heart: Thoughts on Healing, Loving, and Living Free.

Influence is human arrogance. You cannot make another human’s internal world tick, tock, transform. You cannot make them march or skip down a yellow brick road to Joy Land or Oz. One size doesn’t fit all. Your seven steps to a fulfilling life may not match my journey of many potholes, cheese holes, and terrifying, heart-pounding experiences. 

I know now I can only stare down limiting beliefs of I am the Cure! I am the Cause! Because I am neither. I’m not the Source of suffering. I’m not a Savior for the suffering. I am a human being who has suffered, will suffer, and engages in soulful introspection, self-awareness, and curiosity. I continue to have direct experiences of receiving and responding to life happenings with human compassion and kindness. I’ve learned to be silent when silence makes a useful difference so another person can hear their own words spoken. I’ve learned to speak up or take brave action from my core values of love, compassion, service, and courage. 

My choices, behaviors, and words may trigger people, but I now know my responses, feelings, and actions are neither the cause nor the cure. 

 I have thought a great deal about what a woman said to me when my son attempted suicide. Seven years ago as she embraced me in the ER, she held me and said gently, “It’s not your fault.” 

I remember at that juncture thinking, “No. His pain and actions are his, not mine, and this situation is terrifying.” 

His internal struggles remained his, are to this day, his and mine are mine. There’s no simplifying a complicated, multi-faceted, challenging situation. For me to have assumed “blame” or sole responsibility would have ripped my son off from his own internal work-to wrestle with his limiting beliefs, life experiences so far, and pains that came from bullies, teachers’ expectations, judgments, the scary, angry other adults in his childhood world, and experiences he had that I knew nothing about. Had my behaviors and interactions with him, his sister, and especially his dad been a contributing factor to his internal suicidal ideation? Yes. 

I could not go backward, but I could most definitely continue the cleanup on aisle Laura-to behave from my core values more consistently, to heal my past wounds, to shed the limiting beliefs roaming around inside my mind. I could shed fierce, poisonous judgments and resentments as best I could. I could bear witness to my moments of human arrogance and poisonous righteousness and pause before allowing these impulses to be the drivers of my life choices or to persist as my reactions to other human beings. 

Cause and effect happen in the world. Gravity is real. The sun shines in the sky even on a cloudy day. The earth revolves around the sun which contributes to the seasons in certain places on the globe. Humans need oxygen, water, and food to live; love, belonging, compassion, and caring to flourish and evolve. There’s also uncertainty, unpredictability, and random happenings in the flow of life. Heartbreaking things happen to kind, loving, caring, gifted people. 

People of all ages die. Death remains the great equalizer and can happen in very bizarre, unexplainable ways. 

My son lives and flourishes in large part because of new thoughts, realizations, and actions he began to make, and in part, because of choices his dad and I made on his behalf. He also lives and flourishes because a lot of other people surrounded my son with fierce compassion, straight talk, love, and faith. He could have died, but he didn’t, not yet. And I’m not dead yet, either.  

The cause of life? So many things. The cause of death? So many things not simply a lone silver bullet to the heart. Some human beings desperately want to control the uncontrollable and explain with certainty what remains a mystery. I continue to choose to live from love, with compassion and courage, the best I can. I’ve learned choosing my responses from these core values feels amazing, life-enhancing, soul liberating in the ever-unpredictable chaos of this thing we call life on planet Earth. 



The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately supports people thriving by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, and life. Laura is the published author of four books including Live Inspired which reveals the brave and deep work of self-discovery and her new book of short writings and poetry Abundant Heart: Thoughts on Healing, Loving, and Living Free.