After the storm of discomfort stepping outside my comfort zone yesterday, I feel more at peace today. At peace with myself. This peace has only come after the turbulent nature of being uncomfortable and taking steps into the unknown.
Have you had that experience too? “The calm after the storm” is a saying we may know, but do we think about it in terms of our own lives?
I’m sure someone wiser than I will have observed that we can only find inner peace if we’ve been through discomfort and change, but I’m not sure I can recognise that in my own life.
I remember on some of my travels when I was younger that in the places I visited, or the experiences I had I knew I was at peace with myself. I hadn’t noticed at that time any discomfort or massive change. At those times inner peace was just that. There was no journey to that place. It was just somewhere I found easily and effortlessly and took myself there whenever I made space for myself to do it.
Those places were often beautiful places in nature. Wonderful views. Places where I felt so much love around me from the energy of the place, even when there was dire poverty or destruction. I’ll never forget the feeling of sitting looking at the Taj Mahal and feeling the love the Emperor put into that beautiful place. Love which is still shared in that place today hundreds of years on.
Journey to find yourself
In some cultures young people must take a journey into the wilds to find themselves. There’s an initiation into adulthood which is seen as a passage to find yourself. Western cultures don’t tend to have anything similar. Is that why many people feel so out of place, or try to “find themselves” using different methods through their life? I don’t know, but maybe you have some thoughts you’d like to share in the comments?
In my experience, it was only after I’d had my children that I realised I’d “lost” myself in becoming a Mum. That may sound weird, but it’s how I felt. As someone who fiercely champions others before myself, my growing family was clearly my priority at that time. Yet I felt lost.
I had the love of my family and friends. I had two amazing children who brought me joy. I had a brilliant business helping others. I loved them all. Yet there was still something not quite right.
I’ll maybe describe the journey another day. For now it’s enough to share that I’d lost that inner peace I used to go to easily in my younger years. Maybe it was because I didn’t spend enough time by myself, I’ll never know. To me that’s not important now as what I have learnt over the next 15 years leading to today when I’ve found that peace again.
Grief and loss
I was fortunate to have had grandparents in my life until I was in my teens. As both my Grandad’s were in protected jobs during World War II I all four of my parents parents were alive and a big part of my growing up. I didn’t really experience grief and loss until I was starting a family of my own. That juxtaposition of grief and growing a new baby was comforting to me. It felt natural that the world was turning and I was just one part of nature’s cycle saying goodbye and saying hello.
When Mum died in 2009 of ovarian cancer, it was a culmination of ten years on her part of living her life to the fullest against all the odds of survival at that time. She may have grieved her loss of freedom to do anything she wanted, but outwardly she did what she loved and showed us that living life is all we have. She brought so much joy to others with her passions, enthusiasm, love and caring that when she left us she left a big whole in our lives.
Yes I’ve been on a massive journey since her death for all sorts of reasons. I’ve tried many things to assimilate what she taught me with the frustration and anger that she was taken away so young.
Yet it was only these past few weeks reading the book, “The Phone Box at the Edge of the World“, along with other experiences I’ve had that I’ve realised that I don’t need to assimilate anything. All that time spent looking, searching, grieving for what I’ve lost, I’m not living my own life. The book is a work of fiction, but is based on a real place created to help people grieve. The author, Laura Imai Messina, shares in her notes that,
I personally experienced profound hesitation about going there….The truth is that I was afraid of taking something, of stealing time and space from someone who needed it more than I did.
While writing this book, I understood how important it is to write about hope. The task of literature is to suggest new ways of being in the world, to connect the here to the there. For me, the Wind Phone is mainly this: a metaphor that suggests how precious it is to hold on tight to joy as well as pain. That even when we are confronted by the subtractions, the things that life takes from us, we have to open ourselves up to the many additions it can offer too.
It’s a beautiful book of incredible loss and grief and wonderful love and joy and belonging. Of sharing and caring among strangers and in families. It’s touched me in ways that I haven’t felt in a long time.
Today as I write this I know that I’m reconnected to my inner peace. It’s always been there. I’d just covered it up with other things. Stories I was making up about how I “should” feel or be. Things I’ve done for others to make me feel better, when actually I had everything I needed to be me. I’m the leader of my own life, and loss is part of the natural cycle of life.
Yes I still miss Mum, but I don’t have to let that define me. I’m still the loving caring incredible person she believed and encouraged me to be. I can feel that. I always have. Sitting here I’ve no idea what I was searching for apart from that sense of belonging to someone who I knew loved me unconditionally. Yet I’ve never lost that. By her dying I’ve not lost anything about that love or support. I’ve lost the ability to hug her and speak to her in person each day. I’ve lost the one person I could talk to about anything and feel I wasn’t being judged. She may not have known anything about what I was talking about, but she listened. She helped me get my thoughts in order and supported me to work out my next step.
Listen to yourself
If you’ve read any previous posts you’ll know that listening is a big passion of mine. Listening to yourself is always the starting point for me with friends, clients and family. Helping others to listen to what their heart is telling them isn’t easy. And now I’ve come full circle to understand why.
It’s synchronistic that I’d already decided what I was writing about today, when an incredible woman I love to learn from shared her Wednesday Wisdom today – the title was Healing yourself and living your bliss. As always with synchronicity, it felt like Marlene was just talking to me. Reminding me that I know myself. That I have everything I need inside of me. But I have to reach in and listen. It’s so easy to cover things up because it’s too uncomfortable or we’re embarrassed.
It may sound easy too, but in my experience it’s not! 😉 But if you know you need to change something in your life do it. Only you can change it. You can look elsewhere for support, love, health, wisdom, but only you can find your inner peace by doing what’s right for you in your life.
If you’d like some help, maybe learning courage to take the next steps as you’re going to need it to be brave to change what you need to change, register for this course which starts soon: