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Commencement Remarks for All

I hope you are well and finding joy in your days. I know it has been a challenge adjusting to each day and the inevitable shifts within them. Not knowing what’s happening from minute to minute, constantly hearing that we are doomed, the high unemployment rate, collapsed economy, people living in fear and the lack of effective leadership along with missing family and friends is knocking us all for a loop. And finally, along comes some joy. A time to celebrate. A time to reflect, honor, and plan for the accomplishments reached and those yet to come.

Graduation! A time when I know I felt a rebirth and definitely one in which I gave a huge sigh of relief. The first breath as the newly discovered me.

Are the graduates of 2020 breathing a sigh of relief? Do they know the importance and significance of these breaths? I had three different graduations (high school, undergrad, and grad school) and each time it became clearer I was breathing, studying and walking into myself. Our graduates are so focused on the craziness going on all around them, I worry they are not centered and grounded on what truly matters.

Here’s the deal. Several celebrities, including President Obama recorded beautiful commencement messages to distract our graduates from their sadness and disappointment. It is disappointing to not celebrate with your classmates, to walk across the stage and have your diploma handed to you, to have picnics and parties with family and friends, and stay up all night with friends telling stories from the past and dreaming about the future.

Calling out your greatness, challenging you to make the necessary changes in leadership, sustainability, and humanity are typical themes for delivering motivational words to graduates. The difference is the messages are heightened. The call is greater, the message more inspired and the words more powerful. For some this may cause anxiety and panic. It is overwhelming to thing about all the responsibility you are being asked to step into.

I believe you have an opportunity to determine what is important to you rather then stepping into something outside of you. Take this moment to understand you. Give yourself permission to journal about your dreams and the truth that lives inside of you rather than writing your resume or reading about famous influencers. Get in touch with your power not the power in the words spoken to you. Discover what you want more of in your life rather than focusing on what others have. Build an awareness of yourself that raises your confidence so much that when you are challenged you welcome the learning it provides. Be bold, energized, compassionate, open-hearted, mindful and empower. Become you and I promise the world will notice and thank you for showing up.

As we all sit in or homes waiting for the green light to physically be together, please know you are being celebrated. Even if you are not graduating from a school and receiving a diploma, you are graduating. You are being born into you. You are learning more being with yourself than the world could ever teach you. Yes, your inner wisdom is powerful! So, breathe your sigh of relief. Breathe in deep and out forcefully (let it be heard) because you are doing some serious learning and the lessons are challenging and causing you to stretch in ways you never thought possible.

To the entire Class of 2020, I love you! I see you! I wish for you to see your light, your beautiful radiance, the strength and wisdom within you. I wish for you to trust in your knowing because it is what will continue to guide you. It will always lead you back to you if you look and listen. It will lead you to become the person you need. That person is the same person the world needs. You don’t have to invent that person, you have been born.

I initially wrote this post for a blog community, The Daily Feels a month ago. Today, as I read it and think about the high school graduates that are going to be breathing their sighs of relief this weekend, I want to acknowledge the additional responsibility placed on them. As I watch you organize protests in response to the murders of Black Americans at the hands of police officers, use your voices on social media, with family and friends I know you truly are going to lead us to the change we desperately need. I do not feel sad about this burden falling on you, I am grateful that you are answering the call and confident you will continue to rise to the challenge. So, this weekend as you roll through your home towns and the community lines the streets to wave and cheer your accomplishments please know we truly see you, your greatness and are grateful for your leadership. Now, go celebrate!



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