What If...

When I was 22 and fresh out of college, I had a feeling about my life that I had never felt before.  It was a sense of being absolutely on the verge of something way bigger than anything I had known before.  An anticipation of whatever it was that was coming that was about to blow my mind and undo all that I thought I knew for sure and, ultimately, absolutely needed to be undone.  I remember feeling excited and scared and unsure about whatever gift it was that had my name written on it.  It turns out that there were multiple gifts waiting for me.  At that time one of the gifts ended up being an amazing job and validation for years of education and dues paying that led to deeper self discovery.  Another was the birth of my oldest nephew and the journey we took as a family at that time that began to define how we as adult children dealt with unexpected and really difficult life stuff together- the nuts and bolts of love and family.  Another still was an unexpected opportunity to become more of the woman I am today by taking a huge leap of independent faith (after a four year relationship) to stand in the middle of who I am without a man, thus laying the beginning groundwork for the amazing and humbling gift more than a decade later that my husband has been.  Only through beginning to own and honor who I was as a woman (train wrecks and all- and there were many) was I able to begin to set my standards for what I knew I was worth and how I wanted and deserved to be treated and honored in a relationship.  I may not have known what I wanted, but I sure in the hell knew what I didn't.

What if I hadn't done any of that work?  What if I had chosen to ignore that feeling of anticipation?  What if we had made catastrophic decisions of hurt and isolation as a family?  What if I chose to not be alone instead, to ignore the work on me that needed to begin at that time (I was a slow study in the relationship department)?   I shudder to think about what would have been mountains of missed opportunities that presented themselves, leading me to be more completely me.

I am currently having that "on the verge" feeling again.

Photo courtesy Georgemallis.com

I can feel a sea change that has begun.  It is only the fuzzy outline right now, but it has begun nonetheless.  It comes in the middle of emotional turmoil.  It has begun when I can only put one foot in front of the other.  It has begun when I have swallowed and ignored and covered up all of the unhappy everything on the pretense of "just suck it up and move on.  It will get better" for too many years.  My optimism has been my enemy in this particular case.  Rose colored glasses can, in fact, mask a multitude of sins. 

I recognize that I have put myself in a place where I ignore huge parts of who I am.  If my spirit/heart/passion was designed to be a vessel of service- an extension of gifts given to me- there has to be something that fills it up and restores it.  Common sense says that only pouring out ourselves leaves a bankrupt spirit, a sense of dissatisfaction despite our blessings, exhaustion that is never rested, hunger that is never sated, sadness (eventually anger and depression) about enduring the long haul.  This goes beyond anything vacations, good friends, and "down time" can fix.  This is about asking the hard questions of what truly fills our spirit.  What is it that we are called to do and- beyond that even-what honors our spirit and who we are? 

This isn't necessarily about a career-although it can be (especially if you pour so much into it).  It is about our whole self and how it fits into the bigger picture.   Every woman I know- and many men I'm sure (although I don't have many of these talks with many men other than my husband) suffer with this same self denial, disconnect, and empty spirit syndrome.  Every.  Single.  One.  If you don't, please write to me and tell me how you have found success.  We talk about how there are never enough hours in the day, we give the very best part of us into a job that will not- cannot- restore us.  We deny ourselves the time that it takes to reconnect with our spirit and the noise of our lives continues to keep us unplugged.

We are smart enough and intuitive enough to do this differently.  I know we are.  I don't know how this will play out in my own life yet.  Hell, I am still struggling with my mantra of "Boundaries are healthy and necessary."  I just feel the anticipation beginning.  I am excited and anxious about the gifts that are coming.  It's a good feeling for a change.

What if we honored who we really are?  What if we stood in the middle of the emotional wreckage and said, "No more.  I am finished denying these parts of who I am" (artist/lover/healer/fierce and powerful goddess divine/creative spirit that needs nurturing/insert anything)?  What if we plugged into that eternal supply of what filled us up and restored our spirit?  I cannot fathom the power that is a result of that.  The power to make a profound difference in our lives, to heal, to change the course forever.  To undo all that we have known to be true...and absolutely needs to be undone.  Be patient with me, friends, and I will with you.  We are all on a journey to be and do better. We can do it.  We are on the verge now.

Photo courtesy mindbodygreen.com

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