This post is the third in a series of blogs in which I will examine the transitions of the last 18 months – from administrator to writer, coach and speaker.
Last week in part 2 … Through the darkness of that time, I never lost track of the thought that somehow God had known what would happen, that He had provided me what I needed to keep moving ahead. I had the flickering of a new future in my mind as I thought back to the unusual birth of the idea, the serendipitous timing of a significant end and a hopeful beginning in the same week, and a vision for ordinary people (like me) being able to live extraordinary lives.
The act of putting my thoughts in writing and sharing them with others was a bold move for me, not only because it was a time of my life I wanted to shrink and hide, but also because it took visibility and vulnerability to a new and very uncomfortable level. Being seen was not something I ever aspired to, but it seems it was an effective antidote to my insecurity and the fear of what others thought of me.
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for.
Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion, Selected and edited by Diane K. Osbon
There are times when nothing but boldness will do. After a lifetime of feeling not good enough and like I didn’t quite fit in, I had come to a point where it was time to accept who I was – strengths and struggles. To stand on the rooftops with declaration of, “this is me.” The boldness of the move was not just in seeing and accepting it for myself (which was hard enough), but in telling others. Sharing yourself with others takes “owning it” to a whole new level.
Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, page 6
I spent half a lifetime running from who I was; in my case perhaps hiding is a better word than running. Not risking vulnerability felt like the right thing to do for many years, but the more I focused on feeling safe, the more I was filled with fear and paranoia. There was no peace, no calm, no time to relax. I was always on guard – alert, thinking and protecting myself. With safety first, the only way forward was to make my life smaller and smaller – take fewer risks, have fewer interactions with others, stifle anything in me that was not entirely risk-free. At least I felt like that was the only way forward. It turns out that on a starvation diet of safety, I slowly became a shell of a human.
“Our identity, our storyline, is created by what we repeat,” says Andy Puddicombe “it becomes what we believe.”
My repeated choices to guard myself ended up leaving me disconnected from love, joy and belonging; they ultimately led to a personal unravelling and a decision to change.
To be continued …Some months before the birth of my blog, I was consumed by the idea that our choices matter – even the small, daily decisions that we think are of no consequence. Our repeated choices eventually become our story and if we want to see a change in our lives it is there, in the small, daily decisions, that we must focus our attention.
I work with women to awaken the courage to find their version of extraordinary and live it! I’d love to put my honours degree in social work and my expertise in coaching to work for you. Connect with me here.