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On Sunday I went the book launch of “Watershed Moments,” a compilation of stories from individuals who had overcome dramatic events that changed the course of their lives.
The events the authors described were filled with pain, fear, and anguish. Each shared how these seemingly “end of the world” experiences were simply the end of one world and the birthing of a new one.
If you’ve ever given birth or watched someone give birth, you know there is nothing simple about it. It’s not easy. It’s painful. It takes time to heal and to understand the magnitude of the miracle that has come into your life.
It was true for each of these authors. Their transitions were definitely not easy and often painful. It took time for them heal and to understand that a miracle had occurred and that their future was once more, or for the first time, filled with hope and possibilities.
I’ve heard people say we need to give up the stories of our past so that we can write a new one. After reading this book, I believe we should not give up these stories. They are a part of our history, and we need to honor them, for they have impacted who we have become. We may have found or regained our power, our voice, our courage. We may have deepened our faith. We may have become more authentic. We now stand as the heroine of our own story and in the process inspire others to do the same.
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“Look what he did to me!”
This became my mantra after my divorce when I was so miserable and broke. I repeated it often and each time I did, my friends gave me a hug and another dose of sympathy.
Then, in the middle the night, a voice as clear as a bell woke me from a deep sleep.
“Not acceptable, Bucko,” was all it said. It didn’t sound like the voice of an angel. I didn’t think angels used the word “Bucko,” but it worked.
It was time to take responsibility for my future, which seemed overwhelming, daunting and terrifying. Even so, I stopped looking at what he did to me and began deciding what I would do for myself. I went back to my previous job as a marketing director with Mary Kay Inc. but soon realized this career was no longer a fit for me. I tried again and decided to substitute teach. Once more, it wasn’t a fit. Next, I interviewed for a job in retail and when I didn’t get it, all I could was mutter “What’s going on?”
Each attempt exhausted me. Nothing seemed to be working. Yet every once in a while, in the midst of all my frustration, I saw a glimmer of hope— something that I wouldn’t have been able to see before. I saw something else that stunned me. By staying miserable and broke in order to gain sympathy, I had given control of my life back to my ex and that was certainly not a fair exchange at all.
Many of us have good reasons to be angry, resentful, miserable and it’s important to honor these feelings. When the time is right, it’s also important to honor the voice that lets us know it’s time to move forward. It may call you “Bucko” or “Sweetie Pie,” “Dear Heart” or “Hey You!” And whether it’s clear as a bell or a gentle whisper, please honor this call to move forward and experience the gifts that are waiting for you.
I eventually found my way. I have a career that brings me joy and fulfillment, I’m surrounded by people I love and respect and I continue to listen for the guidance of voice that called me “Bucko.”
I always considered myself to be a strong person, except when it came to relationships. In my everyday life, I would speak up if I didn’t agree with something or walk away from things that didn’t seem right. In the dating world, not so much. I was basically a “yes” person. Whatever my date wanted to do or wherever he wanted to go, I agreed, even if I wanted something else. I always seemed to choose the guy I knew wasn’t really that interested in me, while saying no to the ones who were. It’s was almost like I didn’t feel I deserved to be treated well or be happy.
By the time I met my husband, I had sorted out some of the inaccuracies in my behavior, although still not quite believing I deserved happiness.
Later in our marriage, we hit a major speed bump. He had addictions that were consuming him and had little time for me. Every day brought something that we couldn’t agree on and it always felt like I was walking on egg shells. I would try to share my feelings, but it seemed I could never say them right. I’d walk away feeling I was in the wrong yet again.
Even though I didn’t want to be around him anymore, I stayed. I wore our friends and family who listened to my woes and told me to leave him. Perhaps the complaining, although negative, was my way of getting the attention I wasn’t getting from my husband. Someone told me I was a strong person. Was I? I seemed strong enough to stay but not strong enough to leave someone who was causing me such unhappiness and stress.
Eventually, he was able to receive help and overcome most of his addictions. However, in my mind, one addiction remained, but in his mind, it did not. This left me more frustrated, angry and sad. Would I ever let myself be happy?
While wandering around the house one day feeling extremely unhappy, my voice showed up. I was able to communicate to him precisely how I felt. This time he listened. A weight had come off my shoulders and it felt wonderful. At last, I was able to start sweeping away the eggshells.
The following is a guest post by Dr. Shannon Gulbranson.
Do you feel as though you’ve lost yourself? If the answer is “maybe” or “yes,” then please keep reading. If the answer is “no,” but you feel as though there are parts of yourself that you’re hiding, that you’ve misplaced or that you’ve left behind, then keep reading.
Wherever you are today, there are practical steps you can take to get you, your dreams, your voice and your life back.
First, let me clarify that it’s not so important to get these things back as it is to move them forward. Forward with the you that you’re on your way to becoming, as well as the life you’re creating. Sometimes going back helps us remember what we desire. However, it’s vital to know that going back isn’t where you’re going to stay or discover yourself.
You, my dear, are here. Now. Today. The question is, are you acknowledging yourself today? Please do yourself a favor and try these three sacred steps.
Step #1: Expose yourself
Whoever you are right now, expose her by completely acknowledging yourself. This means your feelings, thoughts, ideas, likes, dislikes and anything (and everything) else. Then enjoy the process of releasing her…
Step #2: Express yourself
Say what you need to say. Do what you need to do. Be who you are now, exactly where you are. Locate yourself, here, not there. Once you do, you can begin to move forward.
Step #3: Engage yourself fully
This is also known as getting to know you. When you’re willing to accept who you are and where you are, you can begin to become the desire(s) of your heart.
And here you thought that somehow your desire(s) and you were separate. The sacred secret is this: you are your desires. Allowing yourself to become is key.
When you stop exposing and expressing your desire, you stop being fully you. You stop becoming.
Show up and expose yourself today. Speak up and express yourself. Stand up and engage yourself by fully engaging in your life and your life’s work with all of your self.
Are you willing to go all in?