“Sometimes you have to lose yourself to discover who you might yet be. Sometimes what feels like breaking down is really just breaking free.” -Cristen Rodgers
“Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness-an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. The wilderness can often feel unholy because we can’t control it, or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into that vastness or not. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.” -Brene Brown
I remember at one of the first meditation workshops I went to there was a white board on stage with a drawing on it. It showed a little stick figure in the middle and a ton of lines coming out from him, all around his body. Each line pointed to something that took a piece of this stick figure’s energy. Things like parents, job, kids, bills, Facebook, TV, friends, pets, and every other thing you can think of that takes our attention and energy away from us on a daily basis. That was one of those BIG wake up calls early on.
My mom, sitting next to me, looked at me and said, Emily, that is you on that board. I started crying immediately. I knew this, but to see it staring me in the eye was a whole different story. I was so busy giving my power and energy away to every one and everything, I had none left for myself. I thought I was always being a good mom, wife and person, but in reality I was only giving these things bits of me. Deep inside I was building deep resentments against all of it. I sure got lots of rewards for doing this…praise for how much I did for everyone and how lucky my husband was to have me as a wife. Thats what continued the vicious cycle.
But I am not a victim in any of it. I live my life in a way now that I take 100% responsibility for what my reality looks like, good or bad. My life for 10 years was just a complete representation of my childhood. I lived in a house I hated and with a man I was scared of. Scared mostly to be the real me. The person I knew I was inside. Somebody that stood strong in what she believed in, regardless of those that didn’t agree, or worse, didn’t “like her” because of it. I was a born people pleaser. And the worst thing I could think of was saying or doing things that would upset people or make them not like me. If people didn’t like me, it meant, in my mind, something was wrong with me. You see how much of our power we give away to everyone else but ourselves?
I realize now that it is so much harder standing up for what you believe in, standing up for yourself and living in your power. While I am so very grateful for the life I live now and the freedom I feel, its not always roses and sunshine. I once heard a quote along the lines of, Spirituality is not for the weak minded. I went through complete disruption and chaos of what I had built my whole life on the second I stepped out the door after coming home from California. But of course it had to happen that way cause that was what was happening inside of me. Breakdowns of old thoughts and feelings that had always held me back. That had made me believe I needed to live my life by others liking me and telling me I am ok, instead of learning to tell myself that. We all have that voice inside we are too scared to listen to. The real us. The one that nags at us when we are doing something we really don’t want to do. When we are at a job that we know deep down is not serving us or others. When you feel like you need to speak up to someone but stay silent instead. When we are in that relationship that we know we are not supposed to be.
I really do believe my life is just a reflection of what is happening in my mind. And all those people and things you are surrounded by are just representations of feelings. And it’s scary to stand up against those thoughts and feelings that are built on fear. But it’s in sitting in that uncomfortableness and unknown that you find out who you really are and what you REALLY want to see and feel in your life.
Someone recently asked me to please be as raw and real as I can on this blog. And that is really all I can promise to do. Will it upset others, offend others? Maybe. But that is their’s to bear, not mine anymore. I have lost people in this process…very close people. I have been called things that felt like a direct punch in the stomach. I have had sleepless nights and times I thought I may be going crazy. But I ALWAYS get reminders in those moments that show me why I choose this life every single day. A life of possibilities instead of fear. People only have power over me if I allow them to. So it is not them taking away my power, it is me allowing it.
Those sleepless nights and name calling and whatever else are just my old feelings trying to pull me back in. The old Emily fighting with all her might to hold on. I have built those feelings for the past 30+ years so of course they aren’t going to go away without a fight. But they come less and less now. And the best part? The calvary always comes. So for every one thought of doubt or fear, 5 of love and hope and inspiration come. For every one name call, I get 3 calls of how I have inspired them to see what is possible for them, to take their power back and live the life they always wanted but were too scared to take the first leap. This blog post actually came to me because someone that has seen what I have gone through in the last year finally decided to take her life back. My story gave her hope and strength to do something she knew for awhile she had to do, but was too scared to do in the past. She finally let go and trusted and while she is scared, she knows she is just opening up another door, a door to possibility. See, she thinks I inspired her, but she inspires me. She is my calvary, showing me why I do this.
As hard as this path has been at times, it has been worth every single second. You see, the ones that fell away were supposed to so that something and someone greater could come in. Upgraded versions. My future couldn’t come to me until I had shed the old. Nothing changes unless something changes. Is it scary? Yes. But again, it is always worth it. Do I have times where I am the old Emily and want to curl up and give in? Yes. But then I remind myself of where I was a year ago and the desperation I was living in. And not just a year ago, but my whole life. Always taking something to cover up that feeling that I was different, special. So instead of embracing that and becoming a beautiful butterfly, I did everything in my power to cover it up and my whole life was just a reflection of that. Now my mission is to show whoever will listen that we are ALL capable of living a life of freedom. We are all special….we just have to get the hell out of our own way. We have to ask ourselves on a minute to minute basis, am I making this decision out of fear or love? Always choose love. Love for yourself….cause that will be the reflection you will see in your own life…