“Blame is useless. Blaming others only gives away your power. Keep your power. Without power, we cannot make changes. The helpless victim cannot see a way out.” — Louise Hay
Maybe clumsy is a better word than messy for this part, like a toddler learning to walk or run for the first time…or like a young child driving a car. I’m excited and scared, filled with wonder and awe, behind the wheel of something huge and magnificent, not knowing whether to hit the gas or slam on the brakes. It’s January 2014, I’ve spent two years on this “road trip” and all I know without a doubt is that I want to help people. I decide to hit the gas (one more time) and see what happens next.
What does happen is a series of twists and turns I never saw coming. Everything that happens is big, and to summarize it all at this point would trivialize the impact these discoveries are having on my life. Each “life event” deserves its own blog entry, essay, or book chapter, and I’m happy to have more to share with you at a later date.
Let’s get to that clumsy part of all this, and be done with it. I’ve heard it said that if you don’t make a move when the time is right, Life will push you. One way or another, the stars will line up and that good ol’ Higher Power, the Universe, or in my case, God will make it impossible for you to stay where you are. That’s what happens to me in 2011, but I’m a little slow on the uptake. I spend two more years feeling a huge shift in myself as I observe changes in my life I can’t explain, but I keep trying too hard to stay on track, doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. The one big adjustment I do focus on is changing my thoughts and watching my words, and I have a great friend and mentor who helps me do that. I start paying attention to all of the information that has been flooding into my life and onto my bookshelves over the past ten to fifteen years, the self-help courses I’ve taken and learned but never applied, and bringing to the forefront of my mind all of the life lessons I’ve filed away for safe keeping. One book in particular keeps following me, popping up in my belongings when I could have sworn I gave it away, or someone gives it to me as a gift. All of a sudden other people notice a change in me, the changes in my life, and they start asking questions.
One example of my disjointed growing pains happens on a rainy day in California. I’m at a small retreat with eight or so other attendees, and we are all sitting around the table talking after dinner. At one point, it’s my turn to tell a story and we are all laughing about my vulnerable way of “fumbling through the weeds on my path.” By now my habit of positive jargon is so firmly locked in, I am constantly mindful of my words. This practice is my lifeline. I’m convinced it’s my survival. I’m just not that good at it yet, and I haven’t distanced myself enough from the shock and pain of recent events to go into detail without fear of a downward spiral. I’m afraid to test it, afraid I’m not strong enough yet to pull myself back up, as I know the brain does not know the difference in a memory and what is happening in the present moment. Because of this, it leads to a disconnect in conversation, but I don’t recognize that, I just honestly answer every question the best way I know how. There is a gap between how bad things really got for me and how life now appears to be heading in a positive (sometimes Divine) direction. It feels like in order to connect to everyone listening at the table that day, one new friend wants me to go back to my darkest time and walk her through how I pulled myself out of it. I get that, but even as I try to accommodate her, I can’t bring back the feelings of despair and paralyzing fright I felt during the worst time that I now lovingly refer to as my “Ten Days at Dana’s.” All I can honestly remember now is discovering my self-worth for the first time in my life, and then the feeling of hope, a knowing, that I am safe and all is well. I was alone at Christmas, house sitting and taking care of Jenni the German Shepherd, and there was no visible sign of how I was going to make it past New Year’s. I had no home, no income, and my bank account was more than $1,000 overdrawn because my new employer paid me with two hot checks on a closed account, and then disappeared. I just didn’t get it. This time my situation was freakishly out of my control and not of my own doing. I dropped to my knees, crying so hard I was almost choking and yelled, “Ok, I give! What am I missing? You have to show me because I don’t see it!” God sat me down at the kitchen table in front of a book and said, “Read this.” And I did. For 14 hours straight, I didn’t move from the table except to feed Jenni and let her out when she needed. I read every word, sometimes going back and reading certain pages over and over, highlighting and underlining, and making notes in the margins of this book that had been following me for at least 10 years. It was Louise Hay’s Life Loves You.
As I consider my experiences over the past six years, I’m reminded that the only benefit the past has for us is to show how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned. It’s not a resource for highlighting mistakes, regrets, painful moments. It’s where we keep the batteries to power the flashlight we can shine on our accomplishments, our growth, and the gift of the present moment to start again, to be our best, to live with love and laughter…and appreciation for what we have and who we are right here, right now. Whew! That’s a big thought and I bring it to you from experience, from MY experience, my perspective, my perception, and my heart. My intention in offering my honestly raw, vulnerable stories to you is that in them you might find a twinkle of joy, an answer to a question, a dose of rejuvenation, and the “on” switch for that super-duper flashlight of yours. Giving yourself permission to stand in the spotlight and shine from within, gives others permission to stand in their greatness and shine their own light too. Don’t ever dim your light or shrink yourself to fit into someone else’s box. You are meant to be unique, to be larger than life, to experience unlimited abundance and joy. Right here. Right now.
Love always, Terri