Many of us admire women who shine their lights brightly. I’m talking about women like Oprah, Brene' Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and others… These women are empowered, confident, and self-possessed. If you’re like me, you may have asked at some point, “How did they get there and how can I get some of that?” What I have come to realize is that sometimes getting to the point of shining our own light requires that we go through a transformation of sorts. In order to transform, we have to drop all of the false stories and beliefs we’ve relied on to define us. We also have to uncover the truth of who we are so we can shine in ways that are meaningful to us.
I remember feeling like a sparkly little unicorn as a child; I was quirky, funny to others, and rather introspective. Then I grew up learning to feel ashamed of myself for things that had nothing to do with me. College helped me to start uncovering those parts of me that I’d learned to hide and I leaned in to my adventurous spirit by honoring my intuition and my quirkiness throughout my 20’s. I shelved it all in my 30’s by embracing the sometimes soul-choking role known as “adulting”. I woke up around age 40 and realized that I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. I’d compromised myself so others would feel comfortable with me to the point where I no longer had any idea of who I was anymore. I wanted myself back. I was even willing to fight for it and to let go of things that weren’t working for me anymore in order to reclaim my SELF. The first casualty became my marriage and the loss hit me like a ton of bricks.
MY DAY OF RECKONING
Thank God for my day of reckoning…I remember it well. I was sitting on my couch, talking with my Spiritual teacher and my sangha (my community of spiritual brothers and sisters) who I was grateful to have met a year earlier. My teacher dropped a verbal bomb that shook me to my core; she posed this question to my group, “Who would you be if everything you used to define yourself suddenly disappeared?” Mic drop. And with that, my transformation began. I had to face the truth that I wasn’t coping well with my newly found freedom. I was faking my okayness. Who was I now? How could I get to the place of living my truth and embracing my fire from a place of deep strength and wisdom? The answer would only unfold when I began to truly LOOK at myself and SENSE my own TRUTH. I needed to feel my life again.
MY JOURNEY HOME
I was turned off by therapy; I’d participated in it for years but it didn’t really touch what I was dealing with in a way that helped me to feel resolved. I was trying to “think” my way into healing. I also was approaching healing from a perspective that there was something I had “to do” in order “to fix” myself. What I came to realize is that I wasn’t broken; I just had to “come home” to myself and to reconnect with who I am at my core. And to do that, I had to simply listen, allow myself “to be”, and to trust my intuition. Yep, you heard me! There was nothing to do; I just had to give myself space to be. The solution sounds simple but it was challenging to me. However, I was determined to feel my life again and to connect with that inner Wild Woman I sensed was still there. I began to open up to listening to my body. With the support of teachers, coaches, and practitioners, I learned/relearned a number of things: I learned how to quiet my mind and how to be still through meditation. I also spent time out in nature. I took walks and laid out in my favorite parks. I also took hikes and spent weekends in the mountains. Nature is healing. I also received healing touch through massage, which helped me to feel my body again. Additionally, I learned how to breathe more deeply and fully through breath work, which helped me to let challenging feelings go. And, best of all, I learned how to move through feelings, express myself, interact with others, and how to play again through dance.
COMING FULL CIRCLE
Today, I can feel my life again. I have a reignited sense of passion and growing freedom. I can feel my Inner Wild Woman! While I still have triggers that give me pause, I also have a willingness to try new things and to push myself beyond my comfort zone. I approach my life differently; I’m gentle with my limitations (we all have them) and I focus a lot more energy on the things that I do well. I have desires that I can now see are completely okay to have. Life is good! We aren’t taught that our bodies can be our most trusted ally for living fully in our own power; we are often taught that we have power if others approve of us or if we achieve that thing that makes us worthy. Not true. We hold the keys to our own freedom if we give ourselves the space and time to listen.
“ONE CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE RHYTHMS AND MEANINGS OF THE OUTER WORLD UNTIL ONE HAS MASTERED THE DIALECTS OF THE BODY.” ~TIMOTHY LEARY
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