Like many, I was raised to live life guided by the yardstick of fear and danger-avoidance. I was primed to be wary of strangers and unimaginable dangers, from crossing the road, to dark alleys, and of course, food poisoning (there was an entire series on cutting boards, meat, eggs, food temperature and more). I was taught that life is not fair or kind. I know many of these teachings came from good good intentions, and others were ancestral, handed down generation to generation. While many of these teachings came from someone wanting to protect me, despite all those warnings, all the fear and worry, my heart still broke a hundred and one times. Worrying does not stop bad things from happening; ironically, it can however, get in the way of good things happening.
I had so much fear based thinking, I found myself unable to function.
And with each bruise, disappointment, or gaping wound, as I picked up the pieces of me off the ground, I vowed that this time I would try harder. In the background, the litany of pains was poured back into me, kneaded into my very essence, until each quietly disappeared into the depths. Consciously, I used each disappointment and slap-back as evidence that life is dangerous, rife with pit-falls and danger zones.
Each became a reinforcement to try harder to avoid future pain, let downs and unsavory types. To avoid plane crashes, salmonella, bullies and megalomaniacs, naysayers and do-badders, the patriarchy, liars, those who gave meaning to the me too movement, energy vampires and fakes. I had become so consumed with avoiding pain and danger, that it became painful. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't feel light or joyful. I couldn't remember who I really was. I found I had lost sight of my dreams, my likes, my joy, my freedom, my peace, and most importantly, my purpose. I found myself in a place where I was unable to take a deep breath. Unable to discern the path forward. Unable to find my voice. I was going through the motions on the outside, and felt hollow on the inside. Yet it was difficult to find the path forward because somewhere along the way I had lost myself.
I recall looking around me at all the 'quests for more,' trying to see how or where I fit in. More money, more car, more house, more boat, more status with designer tags and luxury bags. More posts of a perfect life. More alcohol. More food. More exclusive clubs. More paycheck and title. More prescriptions. More hollowed-out inauthentic pleasantries. It was about half-way through the decade that I pulled out my telescope and looked up the road and noticed quite clearly it led to places where status was judged by panels of deciders. You have arrived when... this country club, this house value, this car, this accreditation, this title, this book review, this published article, this award, this designer tag, this many likes, this ridiculous purse hanging on your shoulder. The closer I got to the promised land, the more hollow and empty and cold the landscape became. As I put my telescope down, I felt something inside me break a little. "Poing." It was like a single tiny metal spring shifted out of place just far enough that the entire Rube Goldberg ecosystem I had created stopped working all together. And, slowly, meticulously, I spent the rest of the decade picking apart the pieces of me, one by one, day by day, year after year. Some of them I kept, but many I recycled.
I wake up each day feeling joy and peace, grateful for another day on this glorious planet. I feel gratitude for an endless list of amazing gifts like sunsets, avocados, lavender, vegan restaurants, breathing, kindness, pangolins and Greta Thunberg.
I look back over the decade and notice what has changed. I became my biggest fan. I found joy and peace deep in my heart. I found abundance and grace. I stopped binge-watching TV, eating meat and dairy. I cut sugar out of my diet and let said goodbye to beer. I learned how to forgive. That was a tough one. Forgiving is the gift that keeps on giving. I gave some to myself and some to others. I also threw a lot of stuff away, clearing, and cutting, and cleaning, making space for what is coming.
I learned to let go of the parts of me that were no longer serving me. I learned to let go of fear and found my voice. I learned to get on an airplane without thinking about it crashing, and enjoyed travelling alone for the first time in 20 years. I acknowledged I was a healer and began 7 years of Reiki training which culminated in a Reiki Master certification. I took my yoga practice to a whole new level and completed a 200 hour certified yoga teacher training in Radiant Child and Family Yoga, working with children, women, couples, those who are differently-abled, seniors and families. I also took a 500 hour certified meditation coach training that ignited my on-again-off-again meditation practice! I started waking up at 5:00 a.m. so that I could do yoga, meditation and write in my journal at the start of each day. I realized it was time to make some big changes in my career and laid a strong foundation to support this transition. I learned I love coaching people who feel lost and stuck. I learned the most important relationship you'll ever have is with yourself. I learned that if you want to change the people and things around you, change yourself. Most importantly I learned that each day is a gift, a precious opportunity to soak up the beauty of creation, and to lift others up. I learned not to squander the moments much less the days. I learned to be grateful.
I also look back over the decade and notice what was invariably lost forever and I am able to accept these losses with grace: Carey Tyler MacEachern who left the planet, and all those dreams woven into that age old tale of 'happily ever after.' The hopes and dreams for babies; the one who made it, and the one's who did not arrive safely in my arms.
I look at what I've let go of: the idea you can protect your child from those things you would never choose for them, but that came none the less. The idea that you can protect your child from life, and hurt and the desperate grasping of people everywhere who are living life from the illusion of scarcity. I let go of my agendas and dreams for my son; my happiness and success are no longer attached to his choices. I realized we are two souls sharing a journey. His path is not my path. My path is not his path. If I am lucky, our paths will continue to cross as we journey on. Let us not forget the idea that life is dangerous - and that we can stay safe if we only try hard enough. I kicked that one HARD to the curb in 2019. The idea that the patriarchs suck - I also let that one go in the last year. They do suck, but it isn't entirely their fault. They too have been born and woven into the same unhealthy fabric of culture and society. They do not necessarily see that their extra portions of power and voice translates to others having less power or less voice. Regardless I let go of the anger and sent them love this year. They have no IDEA what hit them - it is beautiful.
I let go of caring about what everyone else thinks. It's not that I don't care what others think about me, its just that I learned that what others think about me is none of my business. What others think about me is THEIR business, and it says more about them than it does about me. In fact it literally has nothing to do with me. I let go of having to prove who I am to the panels of deciders. I let go of the fear of measuring up or being what someone or something out there says I should be.
All of this letting go created a LOT of space. And in that space I began to curate and excavate my beliefs and dreams and passions. What I care about is what I think about me. I am here. I am enough. I am just right. I wake up each day feeling joy and peace, grateful for another day on this glorious planet. I feel gratitude for an endless list of amazing gifts like sunsets, avocados, lavender, vegan restaurants, breathing, kindness, pangolins and Greta Thunberg. And each day I practice humility, kindness, gratitude and breathing. Each day I pull a few false beliefs, rooted in fear, from my garden of truth. Each day I sit in beautiful silence and breathe, and I channel, "how can I be of service today?"
Breathe, write, contemplate, appreciate, move your body, eat simple nourishing foods, be in nature, detox, heal, and fill your days and heart with small acts of self-love and kindness.
This decade taught me that the uncomfortable, empty, nagging feeling that we try to outrun, ignore, or mollify with all the stuff on the outside, (alcohol, food, loud parties, social media, panels of deciders, money, status, retail therapy, the quest for youth, a perfect body.. the list is endless), is a fools journey. The answers are not out there. The answers are within each one of us. The world today is so darn loud that it is no wonder we are struggling to find our way back to ourselves.
You have to make time and a conscious decision to disconnect, go someplace quiet, close your eyes and just breathe. Breathe, write, contemplate, appreciate, move your body, eat simple nourishing foods, be in nature, detox, heal, and fill your days and heart with small acts of self-love and kindness. This is the magic that leads to the authentic you; this is the path to your truth, your purpose, your joy and your passions. Once you begin to align with that true part of you, listen to that part of you, and allow yourself to be directed to create the stuff that only you can create. That is the real magic makes this planet a better place for all beings. #biodiversity #AllLivesMatters #JusticeForAllSpecies #SpeciesDiversity #AllSpeciesMatter
The last decade was anchored in waking from a deep slumber, and letting go of that which no longer serves. The year ahead is calling me to stay awake, create my offerings, and to be of service. My heart is full. I am grateful for this journey. Love to all on this eve of a new year and a new decade!