I have always hated the quote, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” I lived my life in frustration over that quote. What did THEY mean, it’s about the journey??? What journey??? (As an aside I should put in here that the “they” referenced is actually Ralph Waldo Emerson, a pretty badass and quite famous dude, so I listen to the “they” with reverence).
I always pictured myself “arriving.” Much of the arrivals, I realize now, were preconceived ideas about what it meant to be a successful woman in the subset of society that I lived in. White, middle class, picket fence, 2.5 kids. If my parents had their way I would have remained without higher education, barefoot and pregnant at 20. Not that there is anything wrong with that…. if it’s what one wants.
For me, I always knew I was different. If you told me I was adopted I would have believed that without question. I always wanted more, wanted to see the world, to experience new foods, sights, sounds, cultures. I remember my parents getting so mad at my brother as he worked his way through college. They would always retort “isn’t this life enough? Why do you think you are better than us?” I took those words in and realized we weren’t better, we just wanted different.
I always waited for that arrival. That feeling of success when I was a doctor, success when I had a good man, a family, a house.
My life has looked NOTHING like that. And for that, I am extremely grateful.
When I become a doctor I felt….. excited to be done with school. That was about it. There was no moment’s pause to even consider what I had done. I was just… moving on to the next piece. That’s when I started to take that quote a little more seriously. It was about that time that I realized I was still, and would forever be, on a journey.
I wish I could say that I have stopped waiting, but there are days that is exactly what I do. I wait for the feeling of success to wash over me. I wait for that feeling of happiness. I wait for whatever. And I realize in that waiting that I sometimes miss what is right in front of me.
This journey has been epic, this journey of transformation. And it is true, the journey is the beautiful part because there is no such thing as a destination. We may hit milestones, we may tick boxes but the only destination we are assured of is the final sleep.
Now, as I walk through this world, I see the beauty in this journey. The beauty in the uncovering pieces of myself, the beauty in breaking down barriers and stories. I see the greatness in other people and see more and more that we are all connected, that we walk alone but we are all on the same journey. Our paths may wander in many different directions and some will stop and stand in one place for a while, but for many we will keep walking. We will question everything, we will approach the world and each other with curiosity. We will listen to stories of those that look nothing like us and we will take them into our hearts knowing we are all from the same energy soup.
Life is a journey. It is a beautiful, hard, painful, ecstatic journey. A journey where we can be sad but feel joy, we can love someone and know they cannot be in our life, we can sing and laugh and a second later burst into tears. We can approach it all with curiosity and wonder and we can move through life with the innocence of a child and the tenacity of a viking. We can be and do whatever we want. All of the resources are here, we just have to be brave enough to see them, open enough to receive them and confident enough to know that what we create is unique and necessary to this world, simply because we created it.
Enjoy your journey. Recognize that even as we are alone, we walk together. Be brave enough to take the first step and the next and the next. Know that sometimes you will trip and fall and skin your knee and sometimes you will fly higher than the mountain tops.
Embrace your journey, approach it with curiosity and know that each moment is its own perfect destination. ❤ ❤
I have had some really massive shifts in the last 48 hours and it feels really really good.
One of the biggest realizations was about things happening for me versus happening to me. Empowering mentality versus victim mentality. It’s taken so much work to get here and it is a constant balancing act to keep from tipping back into old ways of thinking, but for the first time since I started this personal development journey I feel like the balance has shifted into this new realm.
It’s really exciting actually and I am really proud of myself. And in many ways I owe much of this to the push that I have gotten from this situation with Mr. X. I have learned SO MUCH from that relationship. It has really shifted my world view in so many ways.
And still I am devastated. Devastated for the loss, for the distance, for the space. And that’s okay. This was a love that broke open so much in me. There was a deep vulnerability and caring that I have never experienced before and a very tender caring. It is totally normal to grieve. Honestly, I love that grief and I love that it is persisting because it shows me just how deeply I can love and be loved. I don’t have to sit in it, but I can appreciate its presence and take it into my heart and honor it for the depth that lives in me.
The difference now is that I can clearly see the roll that situation has played in my life. I can see the benefit it has brought. It is still tough to think that our journey may be over but I am, for the first time in a long time, excited about the future. I have gained so much clarity around what I want from life in the midst of this shit storm. I have been able to shift my focus to that and that feels AMAZING!
This life is a journey and so much of it the last year has been spent waiting. Waiting for a shift, waiting for a decision, waiting for clarity. I realize now that I have all of those things and I gained them not through waiting at all, but through conscious effort. Every. Single. Moment.
That’s were for vs to comes in.
I grew up thinking everything happening in the world was happening to me. Didn’t get a job, someone was out to get me. Failed at school work, clearly the professor was an idiot. My entire life was shrouded in this haze of victim hood. Flash forward to today. I have spent the last several months correcting every thought, reframing as much as I can. Sometimes it was a miserable failure, but also the most massive arena for growth. I realized somewhere along the line that I was the one standing in my way. I was the one perpetuating these thought patterns. I was the one gripping and writhing and holding on to the only way I knew. Everything was happening to me and I was always waiting for the next shoe to drop. I would hold my breath when something good happened, knowing it wouldn’t last, that it was a mistake for it to be happening to me.
Now…. now I realize I create my life. My mentality creates how I see it and the best part is that I can change my reality at any time. All it takes is making a shift, doing the work and stepping out of my own way. I can take every situation in my life and ask what it’s doing for me. I can thank people for showing up as they are and the the lessons inherent in our interactions. I can pick out the gains just as much as the losses these days and that is a HUGE shift for me. For the first time in my life I am proud of myself. I am looking forward to new challenges so I can continue growing.
When the script can be flipped to something that is empowering and forward focused then life becomes a bit more fascinating. There is, instead of fear of what’s happening, a curiosity that presents itself. I can ask “hm, I wonder what this situation is trying to teach or show me?” Life also becomes easier from the standpoint of reducing fear around new things. I am less afraid to try new stuff, to go out into the world. I put less weight on the decisions I make, knowing that they are all lessons and are leading me somewhere and there is more emphasis on the internal ability to course correct and trust in my own intuition. It’s really cool actually.
I have had glimpses of this in my work the last few months. There has been this kind of knowing of some path that I was traveling down and people have told me this would happen, but I didn’t really believe it fully until now. In many ways I still feel hesitant, like stepping out into the sun after a long, cold winter, but I know it will get easier from here.
This relationship happened for me, so that I could have a love experience and discover my capacity and my strengths. It’s really true that everyone we interact with is here to teach some kind of lesson, it’s all about seeing it as such and honoring that person for the role they play.
As I come around to this situation with Mr. X, this new mental framework is rippling out into my work and making it more tolerable. I am still making decisions and moving away from my current profession but I can indulge in the steps with a little more ease.
This year has been and continues to be brutal in so many ways, but for me, it has been the most growth I have ever experienced. Between my personal relationships, work transitions, discovering what I want out of life, a pandemic and now a civil rights push, my mind and heart have been stretched in ways I didn’t realize they could. There are a lot of things I thought I knew and was solid with that I am finding instead a real capacity and need for expansion.
As Glennon Doyle puts it, it’s Brutiful.
With this shift my heart feels… lighter, more open, tender and delicate but also strong and resilient and I cannot wait for the next adventures, whatever they may be. ❤ ❤
This stay at home, quarantine situation is a great time to take stock of what you have in your life, what you love, what you hate and everything in between.
I am finding the longer I am in isolation, the clearer things are becoming about what situations and people I want in my life. It is almost as if I have gone back to a base operating state…sort of a neutral system where the “good” and the “bad” are a bit clearer to recognize.
One thing I have seen is that my relationships need some adjusting. I am not really happy or satisfied with any of them with the people I consider close in my life. The people I don’t interact with are still clearly appropriate choices. Some of the people I do interact with are needing some cleaning up as far as our relationship is concerned and there is some room for new blood in the mix.
Being in isolation has also made me realize just how much I would like to have a solid romantic relationship. Someone to be there for the hard times as well as the good. Just someone HERE. Solidly and consistently. This does not mean running back to toxic patterns, but opening space for something new to come in and honoring that which no longer serves me. These steps are becoming clearer and clearer.
I am finding that with these revelations about what I want that my tolerance for the things and situations and people that I don’t want is extraordinarily low. Kind of scary low. I am taking as much space for myself as I possibly can and finding ways to avoid interacting with people that are not bringing some joy or love in my life. Unfortunately, not getting what I need from my relationships means I either need to adjust my expectations or I need to start culling people from my life. I am best at the latter. Those decisions are being carved out as well.
I am also seeing a lot around my work environment….. being separated as much as I have for as long as I have has not made me miss work, like, at all… So something needs to change there.
That is the great thing about having so much time to evaluate life. There is a quote floating around about getting back to normal but making sure that normal is worth running back to… something along those lines and I love the sentiment.
What is the point of being gifted this time if not to evaluate what is working, what isn’t working and finding the strength and gumption to make adjustments in life?
Use your time wisely, make life what you want it to be. ❤ ❤
Blood, sweat, tears… pain, until one final push and suddenly your world is forever altered. There is no turning back… only the unsure forward march, each step gaining traction in the world.
Birth is the same for everything in nature, whether we are talking childbirth, a personal rebirth or the creation of a more balanced world. There is always pain, blood, sweat, tears.
As I watch what’s happening in the world I see the messy, ferocity that nature is bestowing upon us. The beauty of the brutal swiftness that occurs when things shift too far off balance. The realization that what looks messy is actually perfect in its design and execution. I see the painful contractions that push us into new ways of thinking and of being. New ways that are really just a step back to our more instinctual, in tune selves.
With each swell of destruction, each tornado, earthquake, viral epidemic, I watch in awe and feel every particle of fear and hope and everything in between, that come with each crash. Each soul that is intimately effected is connected to the next and the next at its core of the oneness that we are. Each wave comes closer and faster until we learn to flow with them, to adjust ourselves so that we can learn from these lessons and come to shore stronger.
We are being asked to connect. Connect back to nature, back to our innate intelligence, back to our hearts.
As I sit on my cold bathroom floor, bundled in a towel, tears on my face, I know, very clearly that I am being drawn back to my own connection. One that has been so buried for so many years that each feeling of inspiration, each whisper of intuition feels like an elusive gift wrapped in gold and dissolvable the second it comes into my awareness. I grasp on to these moments, not daring to believe that this is me. This is love. And it is available to me always if I just choose to believe in what I am. The harder I clench the faster they dissolve until finally with surrender they settle like rays of sun on naked skin.
I have had a lot of time on my hands. Time to be quiet. To be reflective. To evaluate the steps that brought me to where I am. To create the next steps. To choose to live. To become who I am meant to be. To appreciate my journey and know that there is no destination and that is the beauty in living. I know that whatever lies ahead is not something I can comprehend because I have never dared to live a life freely and openly, me.
Rebirth is messy.
And as nature is forcing us all to take a minute to do a personal inventory and realign our lives with our values, I am right there with her, amidst the agony, the fear, the despair, allowing myself to shift and contract, to open to myself, to be reborn.
I would encourage all of you to do the same. Look inside and see where your connection to your power has been fractured. Where it has been shoved into boxes of societal and familial expectation. Where your dreams lie dormant waiting for a breath of courage and grit to bring them to the surface. Nature is playing in her rebirth and she is inviting you to do the same. ❤ ❤
Yesterday I wrote about holding space and I forgot to talk about the most important part, holding space for yourself.
There is great beauty in having someone in your life to do this for you. It is incredibly helpful. But the ability to hold space for yourself, to let your thoughts and emotions come without judging them, to accept that they are there and maybe they aren’t as nice as you’d like, is an act of self care that far outweighs any of the spa days and massages. It is truly an act of self compassion. When you sit with yourself, there are no barriers, no attempts to shield another person from the darkness or the light, it’s just you and in that way you can dig much deeper into yourself and your journey than you can with another person. This is not to say that personal growth should always be undertaken alone. We NEED other people to help us stay the course, to inspire us to keep going when the going gets tough, to cheer us on and call us out when we need it. Being able to do this for yourself….it’s not easy, but is one of the most rewarding things that a person can do.
When I started this blog I made a promise to myself that I would stay honest and authentic. So I’m going to dig into some dark stuff here. Maybe it will help someone, maybe it will help me to process.
I reached out to Mr. X this week. I don’t know how I feel about this actually. There is a small part of me that feels like I am failing womanhood by doing so, a much larger part of me just wants to hear some kindness and support from someone I love.
I am struggling really really hard to get through this situation with him. It’s all self induced really. The darker parts of me want him to know how much he has hurt me. The other part wants to shut completely off so no one can see that pain. There are parts of me that know some of the things he did and said weren’t really okay to me, but I let them go because I am really good empathizing with other people and accepting less than ideal behavior for fear of losing the relationship. When I try to talk stuff through with friends, even me just telling them I am going through a breakup of sorts (without all of the details), the automatic, immediate reaction from them is to tell me I need to cut off all contact. I need to go out and get wasted and numb the pain and move on with some other guy. They want to immediately demonize him and I don’t. Then, my friends start telling me things like I sound like a woman who is in love with an abuser. Some of the shit they come up with is absolutely ludicrous. I realize it is them dealing with their own pain and issues, so I don’t talk to them anymore about this. I am mostly alone processing. And this is where holding space and self awareness comes in.
The reasons I reached out aren’t totally conducive to my own self love but have helped me flush out some patterns that I realize now are from my childhood. One of the reasons I wanted to talk to him is because I love him, and I really miss him and I want a hug so god damn bad and to hear what is going on in his world. I know that those wants are lifting a scab that needs more time to heal, so maybe isn’t completely in our best interest. One of the other reasons is because there is a part of me that wants to string him up and use him as a punching bag, to dredge up all the shit he said that hurt me and launch into a verbal lashing that would make a sailor blush.
When this first came up there were so many emotions that came with it – righteousness, anger, pain, guilt, shame. I felt simultaneously that it was my place to want this and he should just take it, as well as feeling like a completely rubbish human being for even allowing that thought to cross my mind with reference to someone that I love. I have been judging that thought hard. I know where it comes from. I lived this experience my entire life. Every time anything was done to my mother to “hurt” her, even if it was a simple expression of self, she would lash out. I’m talking screaming and crying and trying to hit things. Feeling this, knowing this is in me and that I allowed it into a space where there once was so much love really weighed heavily on my heart. And then I realized, we haven’t talked yet. This is not the action that I have to choose. It is one option, but not the one I will feel the best about, and not one that supports me in being a better version of myself. So I stopped judging it, accepted it was there and allowed it to just be.
To set aside that anger almost feels like giving in. It feels like giving up on fighting for a relationship that I cherish so deeply. And this is where the internal battle ensues. I don’t know if it is this way for most people, but for me it is really intense. I have a massive amount of resistance to the thought of just letting go and accepting what has happened. Even though I know it will make me … and him feel better. And letting go would be an ultimate act of love, for both of us, but I’m just not there yet, and that’s okay too.
I was never one of those little girls that had BIG dreams. I never dreamed of being a vet actually. It was something that I thought would come naturally so I did it. I never dreamed of a wedding and kids or a big fancy house. My whole life, from as far back as I could remember, I have wanted one thing. One thing that lit me up, ignited my heart and kept me going in pursuit. I wanted to find an out of this world love connection with a man. That’s all. I have never settled for less and thus have been single pretty much my entire life. To find the feeling that I wanted in this amazing and beautiful human being who makes me heart light up, who induces butterflies in my chest, whose touch sends goosebumps down my body… and then to “lose” it…. feels …. empty and hollow and dreamless. I don’t know how else to describe it. When you have put all of your energy into searching for one thing and it doesn’t show up like you thought it would and you can’t actually access all of it, it’s a huge bitter pill to swallow.
So I find myself sifting through the ashes, wandering in the darkness, playing with all of the pieces and seeing what fits and what doesn’t and it is there I realize that my heart opened with him, so it is capable of opening, but that I need a lot. I need a lot of love. Not many people can provide that. And to expect that one person will be enough for all of that is too much for anyone to bear. It all comes back to me. Me being able to fill myself with love. Me seeing me for what I am and accepting it, embracing it and figuring out how to live in this world where I don’t feel like I have ever belonged. It is about finding a new dream so that there is some compulsion to stick around a while longer in this experience. I like puzzles so this is right up my alley. I have created my life as one 3-D, monochromatic, million piece puzzle to solve. And I am a hell of a creator.
As my mind wanders to all of the interactions we could possibly have, I know that the one thing I will not allow myself is to use him as a punching bag to sort through my own insecurities and fears. He deserves better than that and so do I.
One of the things that helps me with self awareness is clarifying my values. This is a new exercise for me so I am in the stage where it isn’t automatic quite yet. I struggle really really hard with is knowing what is MY voice. I understand Mr. X and how his brain and heart work so I can live in his perspective. I get where my friends are coming from, the ones who tell me to go out and party and just move on so I can live there too. Obviously, I can live in my own past which dictates situations like this call for a complete excision of the relationship from my life with never a look back. I am comfortable there too. Where I am not comfortable is the new paradigm of what I want to be, who I want to be, how I want to show up in the world. Since there are so many noises coming in I decided to make a values list to take all of the static out of the equation.
What are my top values? Authenticity, kindness and love. There are other ways I want to show up, but to simplify I am starting there.
Then I say okay, is getting pissed and verbally abusing someone you love in line with those values? No, obviously. Is it authentic? Yes, because that is what I feel, but it isn’t necessarily a truth. Is it kind? No, not at all. Is it born of love? No, it doesn’t express love for him, my words would not be born of love and it certainly won’t help me feel more love for myself. That is my voice. That is self- awareness.
Whenever someone says something to me with relation to this situation (and any others I am confused about) I run it through those filters, does that feel authentic to me, is it coming from a place of or expressing kindness and love? If yes then I may place it in my toolbox, if not I allow it to be there, know it is an expression of me and then let it be and give myself a huge proverbial pat on the back for winning another round, for feeding something better.
I also like to go back to what I wrote yesterday about people knowing what is best for them. I have to remind myself often of this. I know what is best for me. Not my friends, not Mr. X, me. Even if I choose a dark path, it is my choice. Doing something different for someone else will not create sustained change.
Some other self awarenesses that I am sitting with include: I am stubborn… like REALLY stubborn and I sometimes act out when I don’t get my way. The way I express my anger sometimes is very intense, with little to no space between my anger and lashing out. Sometimes when I am hurt I want other people to hurt too. I don’t trust words, only actions and it is still a really long road to gain my trust. In the wake of this situation I do not want to open my heart to anyone but me. Physical touch does not feel good to me with other people. I can walk away from most of the people in my life very VERY easily as I do not actually allow myself to connect with them. These are things that keep coming up, that I sit with, filter through and see how I can utilize them. Most of the time I just work on shifting perspectives to something more useful.
I am stubborn, but I am also very passionate about what I feel and when I come up against something that is a true “wrong” in this world I will fight for what is right. The intensity of my anger and fear and pain are the opposition to the intensity of my love which when opened and softened to people can create a space for a love that is huge and very filling and warm. I may want to hurt people when I am hurt, but I actively pursue other solutions. I still act in the kindest way that I can, and seek to see their perspective. My love is deep and not easily given and I have reasons not to trust people and that is okay, the ones who stick around for me earn my loyalty, respect and love. I am very very good at protecting myself and have created a space where I am safe. I don’t need to soften to everyone for them to receive some of the love I have to give, my body is my own and it does not need to be a tool for expression of love.
See, when I put it that way those traits are empowering and come from a place of alignment with my values.
Personal growth really is all about figuring out how you want to show up, becoming aware of existing thought patterns, finding different perspectives and interacting with them to build a new reality brick by brick. It isn’t a fast or fun process, but the new version brings with it a whole new life and a new playground to find your dreams, build your reality and flourish in the life you have been given. ❤ ❤
I am not a religious person and I have traditionally associated faith with religion. Faith just means a strong trust or confidence in something.
Tonight I have to have faith that I will show up for myself. I have to have faith that I am strong enough. I have to have faith that everything will work out like it is meant to. I have to have faith that my journey so far is exactly where I need to be.
Keeping the faith isn’t for the weak of heart. It is a deep journey into oneself. It travels beyond fear and into another dimension of love and trust that is pure beyond the human experience.
Faith is love. Open your heart and realize you are more than enough. ❤ ❤
Two simple words. Let. Go. Open your hands, your heart, your mind and let the energy flow. In and out, up and down. Letting go means not trying to dictate scenarios. It means trusting that things will work out. It means setting something down and walking away knowing that you gave it the right amount of soil and water and sun needed for growth.
Letting go can be really fucking hard. The more you want it, the more elusive it will be. The more you resist the pain and anger and energy, the more it will hold on. One has only to step back, create some space from the thoughts and emotions and let them be. Process them in the time that it takes, and only then will there be freedom.
Nature is amazing at letting go. A tree blooms in summer’s glory and as fall approaches and the leaves wither and die they are released easily into the wind. The tree goes dormant for the winter all the while preparing itself for the next cycle. We, as humans, struggle so much with the expiration, the detachment, the trusting that life will restore itself.
Letting go can be very, very scary. Especially when talking about a relationship or another person. It requires trusting that there is enough soil there for the flower to bloom again. It is trusting that that person loves you enough to come back, because words are just meaningless capsules filled in with context. Letting go requires walking into an abyss where steps are not lit and there’s no way to know what lies at your feet. Letting go means trusting that there is something worthwhile once you have traversed the darkness of the unknown.
It doesn’t seem like it should be hard to let go. Everything that has happened in my life, the things I have let go of, have all worked out. I haven’t regretted those decisions and the people that were meant to be in my life are in it. All of the lessons learned have brought me to the place I am today which is an elevation from where I started so there has been a continual upward trend. Letting go of the one person who opened your heart, who showed you it was okay to just be you, who loved you with all he was capable at the time, that… that is not easy.
But…. the situation is out of my control. Playing back all of the past conversations does me no good and only serves to confuse my heart and my mind even more. Letting go is releasing what you hoped so hard that the outcome would be. It is creating space for a new beginning.
Letting go can’t be rushed, and the words alone aren’t enough. One has to actually feel as though they have let go before the space can be created for something else.
Letting go means choosing perspectives that are beneficial to us. It means accepting that things won’t always work out as desired but knowing that they will work out. Letting go means processing energy and not letting it stagnate. It means ending the cycle of wishing and wanting and just learning to accept what is. Letting go is forgiving all parties, including yourself and wrapping yourself in so much love that there is no choice but to be okay and keep moving.
What does this all mean in practical steps?
Letting go is moving your body. It’s journaling or crying or boxing or running. It’s sitting with you and allowing your thoughts to come and correcting the ones that are trying to tell you your self worth is tied to that person or that situation. It means accepting that you alone are enough. It means taking care of yourself and gently ushering yourself through the stages of grief. It is remembering all of the good and putting that love in your heart for later use. Letting go means to keep moving, especially when all you want to do is curl up in the dirt and hibernate for the rest of eternity. Letting go is knowing that every storm runs out of rain. Letting go is focusing on the moment you are in, and then the next and then the next, even if it is just a second at a time. It is staying present when you want to run back to the past. It is being in your body and mind and loving all of you. It means knowing you showed up the best that you knew how and now that you know better you can show up differently.
Letting go means walking away and knowing the flower will bloom if it is meant to. ❤ ❤