Last year I had a wake-up call. It was a revolt… a reckoning with myself and the way I was living. There were things happening in my personal life that had slowly picked away at me until I started to crumble. I didn’t choose change. I was sort of pushed. It became so clear that I needed to surrender and if things fell apart, well then, so be it.
I was pushing and pulling. More often than not I felt misunderstood, annoyed, and a little confused. I felt busy almost constantly, but felt I didn’t have much to show for it. I was struggling for control of my surroundings and I was bullying my life to fit into some box I had created, but I started to wonder. Is this what I want? What am I fighting for? Or against? What DO I want?
My marriage was the pivot point for change. I didn’t love how things were going and without even pumping the brakes I was consistently succumbing to my first reactions which were to blame, get angry, feel helpless, feel hopeless, feel alone. I suddenly realized it didn’t matter if I was rightfully the victim. It didn’t matter if I felt validation. I didn’t like how that felt and I didn't like how I felt. I felt constant selflessness and honestly, that didn’t feel good at all. I felt last on everyone’s priority list… including my own. So, I decided to make some changes … and those changes started with myself. I realized I had severed my own intuition out of loyalty to my husband and kids.
I had discarded my sense of Self so that I could create a life my family could thrive in… while I felt like I was merely surviving.
I began sifting and seeking. I looked for experiences that felt good. I drank in wisdom from thought-leaders that sounded good to my soul. I looked for trust in myself. I looked for my intuition. I looked for where I was the problem and I changed. I started letting myself dream grown-up dreams without assuming they would fail or wondering if they were feasible. I sought all the pieces of myself and my life that I wanted to keep. I encouraged the rest to fall away. (See ya bye!) For a year, I followed the breadcrumbs… hints, nudges, signs from the Universe… that keep leading me forward. One step at a time; just the next right thing.
It was a year of devouring spiritual knowledge and life theories, of developing a vocabulary to speak more clearly about my feelings, of better recognizing those feelings when I’m actually having them (not after). A year of journaling, soulful exercises, books and articles, a week-long retreat in Arizona, a couple days solo on the coast, even a year of therapy to heal old hurts (it should be federal law that we all partake in a little therapy!).
The vision for my life was beginning to take shape – it’s familiar in the sense that it’s like trying to recall a fond memory – a happy deja vu. My heart is more open than ever before. My soul is more fueled. I have clarity more often than not. I am developing my intuition and trusting my instincts. I react more softly and with FAR more empathy. I am more in tune to how I feel in the moment and can articulate more clearly what I mean to say. I have an outline of what sort of life I want to live – and how I want to feel living it. I know I’m heading in the right direction. And honestly, I feel deeply that it doesn’t matter where you are on your path – or how difficult this particular leg of the journey might be – when you know you’re heading in the right direction, anything is bearable and everything is possible.
The real shocker? Before a year of sifting, I didn’t necessarily consider myself unhappy. I considered my life’s conflicts and contrast to be pretty ordinary. I felt a little struggle, for sure – in my marriage, in motherhood, and in myself – but it either felt normal or finite. I felt there was nothing much I could do about it, so I didn’t consider questioning my life’s trajectory or diving deeper into myself. Honestly, all that jazz seemed a little kumbaya, ya know? A little hippie-dippie. A little woo woo. I was much more interested in keeping my head down and pushing through. Powering through. But really, I was just holding on for dear life – hoping to enjoy a little of it while “I got through” to the other side of something. If I looked around at other women – wives and mothers – it seemed like 1. life was easier for them or they were better at it than me, 2. they were completely content and liked to keep things surface, or 3. like me, they tried to release the stress and laugh it off with a little sarcastic complaining about motherhood and men. I didn’t realize I was confused. But, I could sense a disconnection. I wanted more truth and depth in my relationships. Specifically, I wanted to connect more often and more honestly with other women. I wanted more magic in motherhood. I wanted to do something with my Self that followed a calling or gave my life purpose outside of marriage and motherhood.
I needed to be more than the sum of my roles.
I think a lot of women in their 30’s and 40’s are struggling with some of the vague and nagging feelings I was having. I believe Rebecca Campbell (and many other authors and healers) when she says that a new era is being ushered in – the sacred feminine is rising. Something is stirring that has been dormant for years. It is a time of trusting our intuition and leading with our feelings. A time of connecting and healing – both ourselves, and the world. It’s a time of reclaiming our potential; not just for testing our capacity for giving or stress or busyness but for living a vibrant life that embodies calm, clarity, creativity and connection.