I mentioned in an earlier writing that I’ve heard the whispering of my longings since I was a little girl.
I didn’t grow up in a space that encouraged me to listen to my own inner guidance. I don’t even know if that was a part of the greater consciousness back then. I do know that all of my life I’ve felt like I didn’t fit in. I felt different than everyone else I met. As a child I thought that meant that something was wrong with me. I spent my life trying to figure out what that was, so I could be like everyone else. It didn’t help that I grew up with a severe stutter that began when I was 8 years old. I already knew that the stutter made me different than anyone in my classroom, as no one else had the same difficulty speaking. I spent most of my time trying not to get called on in class, and when I knew it was inevitable, I was busy running through my head alternative words for the letter sounds that gave me the most difficulty when speaking. I was never present; I really had no concept of what it meant to be present in those days.
And yet it was in those fleeting moments of whispered longing that I caught my first glimpse of presence, even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. There was a part of me that always knew that the life I am living now was possible, without even knowing what that was.
Only by being present could my heart be heard above the stress of trying to be what I thought I was expected to be.
I’ve recently been connecting the dots between all the times I heard my heart nudging me, letting me know that even though I was different, there was nothing wrong with me. I remembered all of the times a younger version of myself was touched by a deeper ache to know myself, and let her take the lead.
This was long before Leah was even a part of my life, long before I knew Dan, or thought about having children. That strong yearning was laying the foundation for my future work. Being different, and claiming my unique self, helped me to step into a body of work that was not a “popular” choice for an entrepreneur. I was deeply called to do this work, and there was no decision. I’ve often said that choosing not to follow my own grief journey in the way that I did would have been much easier that choosing to follow it. And the same is true of walking with others on their grief journeys.
Saying yes to this calling has always felt like a choiceless choice, something that I have been preparing for my entire life, and something that is a deep and sacred honor.
I did not look at options for what to do after corporate life and settle upon grief work as the ideal choice for a second career. (yes, there is a little sarcasm in that last sentence)
I’ve found that even though grief changed me, it also brought me back my true essence. Today I don’t think of myself as different, or even unique, I am merely me, the person I’ve always been. The difference now is that I ‘ve fully stepped into the fullness of my being, and yes, I even love myself, all the parts of myself, even the parts that are not always easy to love.
There have been many twists and turns in the course of my life that brough me from the little girl who lacked confidence, was unsure of her worth, and tried too hard to be someone she could never be, to the, woman that I am today.
Today I get to live fully, I get to play, and connect with my family in a way that seemed elusive to me early on I my journey. I am someone who has experienced great loss in my life, yes even the death of my teenaged daughter Leah over 21 years ago.
What I know about how I met that grief is that I was already used to the uncomfortable and painful parts of trying to be someone I could never be. This was different, yet is still carries the template of that experience. When I was in early grief and feeling the deep loss of my daughter, I recognized what was necessary to first dive into that well of grief, and then come out of it with the resources I needed to continue to create a life worth living, even after the death of my daughter.
Finding my own flow and ease was a long, hard, fought battle.
A battle that I had to relinquish to allow the ease and flow into my life. Again, presence was fundamental to learning this lesson. I’ve been on a journey with presence for over 25 years. It took me a long time to learn to trust the present moment. And even after I did, there were times that I did not turn to it for one reason or another.
As I turned more and more to presence as practice in my daily life, I learned to let go of holding on to the past, and trying to grasp the future.
The more I became present, the more my life flowed and the more I experienced ease.