I’ve never been a huge one for journaling. Infact way back in High School the only subject I ever really loved was Drama and I still managed to get an average mark because I couldn’t keep up a weekly entry. Although I did go through a couple of teenage years keeping my deepest darkest secrets locked up in a little book. That was until I realized my little brother (and probably my mother) were keeping tabs on what I was writing. Now when I blog, which is not that often, I hope that I come from a place of wisdom and understanding and that my readers can relate. Not much seems to be private these days. Running a business that requires so much online presence and a support group for gastrectomy patients most of my exterior life is already exposed. But not many people see the inner life that goes on within me everyday. My true nature, my authentic self, the parts of me which are vulnerable and must stay protected. My words are not just words, they are are like fine cracks in which the light from the inside can shine out.
I was walking through the second hand store on Saturday looking for a good book to get stuck into. I love the smell of old books and the way they feel in my hands. An entirely new adventure or avenue of learning just waiting in between those pages. What I found so hard was finding one that grabbed my attention. So many books, so many words and so many of them the same. In the end at $2 an adventure who cares if I don’t finish it right? Unfortunately, I am not that girl. Once I have committed to something I like to see it through to the very end.
How do you know when you are at the very end of something? A book is easy because you turn the last page and there are no more words to read. Life, however is very different. Six years ago, just prior to getting stomach cancer I was in a very deep dark place in my life. My inner world was conflicted and consumed with a lot of negative emotion. I had been there before many times during my life, all with different degrees of trauma. Parts of me were so consumed with darkness that I could not see a way out. At the time I didn’t realize that this was all part of my initiation to ‘awakening’. I could transmute this negative situation or I could just leave and try again in my next life. So like the hero in all those books, I traveled through the darkest caves, fought the hardest fights, grieved and cried rivers of tears and came out the other side bloody, scared and exhausted. But what happens to the hero once they come out victorious? I can tell you from experience, that’s when the real work starts.
Something always prompts me to blog and this is no exception. About four weeks ago I chose to end a journey in my life. This was by no means a reactive decision, more an accumulation of years of learning and a general sense that it was time to move to a new adventure. I truly feel that for this part of my life I have been given enough tools to go it alone. Its like having all those hours of driving experience with someone sitting in the passenger seat and now, with my full license, I can hit the open road and see how far it takes me. A very important trigger to making this decision was brought on by a situation in which I found myself experiencing some of that very old pre-cancer emotion. Yes, I picked up a book I had read before and I did not want to read it again! The process that went on in my head, heart and my body took two weeks to work through. You see, I already knew the end result of that experience and I had no desire to go back there.
Part of me had to revisit not only the experience but also how I responded. After investing in years of self development classes I was certain that those emotions had been released from my body and was very surprised when they surfaced again. This also made me start to think about the teachers in my life. Not just the physical teachers, the lessons that keep crossing my path until I change direction. When I was 3 years old I started classical ballet lessons. I continued to dance for thirteen years and was one exam away from reaching the top level of the Cecchetti method when, at sixteen years old, I twisted my ankle so badly it put an end to my dancing career.
My ballet instructor was an exceptional teacher and I expect I was also an excellent student. Although she never made me feel that way. If I was doing everything right but there was one time I didn’t turn out my leg, she would find fault with that one turn. I would dance until I was exhausted and if you weren’t ready to put 110% into each and every class, it was better to not turn up at all. For years I yearned for her approval and praise. She obviously saw the potential in me, but never encouraged me with positive words or recognition. In order to push me to grow she constantly pointed out my flaws and I never wanted to let her down. I didn’t realize it at the time but instead of finding a new teacher and standing in my integrity, I opted out by stepping in a big hole at school and tore the ligaments off my ankle.
Finding a mentor or going through an experience that consistently focuses on the negative aspects of yourself is not always a good thing. Growing into myself has been hard work and lets face it there are already so many voices in your own head without someone else adding in their opinions. There is a fine balance between recognizing that within yourself that needs to be transmuted and that which you need to accept and move on. So how do you know when its time to end a part of your journey? Its actually easier to recognize than what you think. It may not always be something you see, but it is something that you feel. When you start to hide parts of yourself that you no longer want to share. When you begin to move away from your authentic self to please others. When you start to feel resentment from what was once heart felt advice. When you start to find distractions and excuses to avoid what used to take up a lot of your time and energy. That’s when you know it is time. However finding the courage to move out of your discomfort is another story for another day.
Honor the teachers in your life, good and bad because they all provide experiences and opportunity to grow. I have no idea what lays ahead of me but I know I am standing in my power. I am armed with knowledge, experience and wisdom. Whatever life throws at me now I know I am not going to be that girl that falls in a hole ever again. If you are a person that wants to inspire others, then you must be inspiring. If you want to help others then you must be authentic. If you want to stand in your power, then you must action your words. If you want to grow you must be prepared to face your fears. Embrace the shadow side of yourself and be prepared for some resistance. If you want to help the world then start with yourself.
Remember the end of one journey is just an opportunity for the beginning of another.