I found it somewhat difficult figuring out how to follow-up my first blog post. There is so much on my heart that I want to share.
In the ABOUT section I explain why I created this website. In blog posts part 1-part 3, I dig deeper, explaining how I got to the point of creating this site.
In that first blog post, I shared where I was, in my mind, at the time I started this “personal growth journey.” As well as what was happening to my body and touched on briefly how it was impacting my life.
Where I want to take this part 2 post is more of the what, that really set everything off and where I started first to create the necessary change.
So, for the what; the question that nagged at me day in and day out: “what am I going to do with the rest of my life?” I think it’s a safe bet to say that anyone reading this is either feeling this now or has, at some point in their life, or may someday in the future. The odds are pretty good, I imagine.
I had a really difficult time turning 35. Why, at the time, I wasn’t sure. Things were going pretty well; photography was how I was making a living full-time, I had wonderful friends who, coincidentally would seek out my advice, my kids were doing well, I enjoyed my first real vacation away from the kids with my husband – all was well in my world. What I started experiencing though was anxiety. I would have moments where I could be sitting completely still but then my mind would start to race and I suddenly felt as though I wanted to jump out of my own skin. I would say that is when the unrest and uncertainty started to creep in to my daily life.
Why this happened when it did, I don’t know. At the time, many changes were happening around me; circumstances that had nothing to do with me and were beyond my control, but that I allowed to dictate what I was doing (or more importantly, not doing).
I knew my business was causing me stress and anxiety; self-doubt that has been an issue most of my life was at the forefront of my mind daily and taking a toll as well. Thinking about it would just bring me down. But, I still had a business to run and maintain and so I plugged on, going from idea to idea, trying different things, feeling like a failure at most of them, and my confidence in what I was doing with my life really took a nose-dive.
At the time, I chocked it up to just needing to find a way to decompress; make time for something I personally enjoyed with zero pressure on myself and where my mind could wander. So, I started running. This helped my mind and my mood tremendously….for the moment. As soon as I was out of my shoes, it was back to the reality and the overwhelm of life and all the things that needed my attention at any given moment.
I started to feel a bit lost and as though I was just doing what I was doing because that’s just what I’ve been doing for so long. I started to feel like my life ruled over me, not the other way around. Like the title of one of my all-time favorite songs from Matchbox Twenty, I was “sleeping at the wheel” of life. So, I began to find ways to distract myself from my own thoughts and started procrastinating on things that I knew were important but just couldn’t find the motivation to start.
Is this sounding familiar? I bet it is. Because, at some point in our lives, I believe all of us will experience this.
This is when areas of certainty in my life started to unravel.
My mind shifted to “losing hope-land” and it snowballed….quickly. So, what did I do? What any normal person would….I got a dog. That is what normal people do, don’t they? lol!
Yup, I became laser-focused on getting a dog than on anything else at that point in time. I knew my kids were starting school soon – with our last one starting kindergarten. I would have all kinds of time to train a dog, I told myself. I would train it to do everything I failed at training the other two dogs we tried having years prior. This dog would be my accomplishment at something. I had started feeling like a failure at everything else in my life, but this dog – well, it was a way I could regain some control back into my life.
I researched breeds, watched YouTube training videos, purchased a training e-book, researched food and animal behavior. I really did my homework and finally settled on the havanese breed.
So, the search was on to find a havanese. And I actually found one, which was pretty amazing since it’s an uncommon breed. And around our son’s birthday, I drove to SD to pick our new family member, Gizmo.
Fast-forward a year and Gizmo can do all kinds of tricks, was potty-trained fully by 6 months and became my accomplishment after so many personal failures (at least, that’s how viewed things at the time). I set out and accomplished a goal. I felt pretty proud. And we’ve gained a life-long family member because of it. And thinking back on it now, how it all came about – is just no coincidence. What we focus on expands and the universe has a funny way of giving you exactly what you want, if you focus and show up. I did the homework, researched and was fixated on an outcome and I got it.
What the dog experience showed me though, was that ultimately, no amount of distraction you create or give your attention to in your life, will make your emotional baggage disappear. You simply have to deal with it. There’s no other option, if you want to get past it.
Remember one of my favorite quotes? “The only way out is through.” Yeah, that one. It’s a bugger but 100% truth.
Which brings me to where I started in order to design my life in a way that was fulfilling my heart and soul.
I started to get honest with myself. I sought out and researched for programs that would help me get my shit straight; people who help people get clear. I really felt like…if I could just get out of my own head, I could figure this out. It couldn’t be that hard. Sometimes, it honestly just takes a better question to be asked – that can change everything; your perspective, thought process and how you move forward.
I began asking myself better questions and this shift started taking place in my life and in my heart.
The reality for me was, I was a lost sheep. I had absolutely no idea where I was going with my life and questioned what purpose God put me on this earth to fulfill. I knew one truth: I wasn’t going to figure it out if I kept on the way I was. My life wasn’t going to become more fulfilled on its own. My relationship with my spouse and my kids wasn’t going to get better on its own.
The common denominator of everything in and around your life is you. You can choose to be more aware and enlightened at any given moment. That’s a powerful resource at your disposal, if you think about it.
This is not easy for me to share publicly, so why am I? Because I know how wonderful it feels to get on the other side of feeling lost and uncertain. And I know there is someone out there who may benefit from my words. I am in a much better place emotionally and mentally now than I probably have been most of my adult life.
There’s a freedom that comes with being able to move on, let go and be open to possibility. However, don’t be fooled, it takes effort on a daily basis.
Each and every day is an opportunity to heal, to create joy, to focus with purpose; however, these things do not happen without intention.
Finally, I share because I’ve been feeling a calling to. This is where my heart and intuition have led me – or my “hut” (heart and gut), like a writer I follow so perfectly penned it.
From my fingertips to your eyes.
Know you are not alone in your struggle to find fulfillment and joy in your life.
“There is no education like adversity.” – Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
I like that quote. It’s similar to a fortune cookie fortune I had taped to my trunk prior to my deployment to Iraq: “Nothing is ever learned from an easy life.” Little did I know the lessons that awaited me on that deployment. But that’s another story for another time.
Think about a past experience in your life that felt traumatic or life-changing. What lesson(s) can you take from it that will make you feel more empowering thoughts as opposed to negative ones? Or, if you were sitting across from me, I’ll rephrase it in a way that I’d probably actually say it: how can you turn your past shit into sunshine?