Yesterday I attended a networking group for a number of like-minded professionals. Mid-way through the morning, I knew I had found my business “tribe”. It was as liberating as it was frightening.
We were sitting in a friendly suburban living room which contained people coming from Hamilton, Burlington, Aurora, Mississauga and Oakville. This was my first time at this group and everyone was open and welcoming. In the two hours we went along the circle and everyone told their story of how and why they got to where they are now. I was the last to go.
I steadily got more nervous as I listened to a dozen season professionals – all still learning, thank goodness – tell their story. I haven’t spoken to a group in a very long time. I have one-on-one conversations with girlfriends, clients, coaches. I write in my home. My writing class? Well, I know them 🙂
Then it was my turn.
Well, we were running late, and I had too many things going on in my head to form an articulate thought. With every introduction, like the information magpie I am, I kept saying to myself “oh, I have to remember that” or “what a great way to approach that” and told myself to remember it when it came to be my turn.
All eyes turned to me and I have zero recollection of what I said.
This is what I wanted to say:
I was never enough. At least, that’s what people told me. Even from the time I was very little I knew they were wrong. There was something in me that knew I was worthy, I knew it to my core. As I grew older and realized a few things, I know that my mother’s desire to break my spirit was less about me than it was about her, but it deeply affected me – permeated every decision, every relationship and every choice I made for a very long time. I was blessed to be surrounded by a few good people and I held onto their kindness and strength like a buoy in a sea of mean. It was awful, it was hopeful. By the time I left home at 14 I was a complete mess. Competent and beautiful on the outside but seething goo on the inside. I made a lot of destructive decisions – you can read about them in textbooks today – though I thought I was the only one reeling, apparently I was just ahead of the curve.
I had what I call “the world’s longest management training program” at the company that employed me in one division or another for close to 20 years. I was very good at what I did and I made a legitimate shit ton of money for them. It is still surprising to me that I could have been responsible for millions of dollars, the livelihood of dozens of people and read a P&L statement in my sleep! I learned a lot. A lot about people. A lot about business. A lot about life.
When we were transferred from Calgary to Toronto, I realized I wasn’t going back to work, I also recognized enough about my forceful A-type personality that I’d have to return to some kind of work or have more kids – or I would turn my children into neurotic messes and I didn’t need history to repeat itself! I was determined to raise my kids to be whole, to be confident and kind, contributing members of society. (So far, so good.)
While barely surviving life in an unstable marriage I stumbled upon something that made me feel whole, authentic, valued, with a voice worthy of hearing: scrapbooking. Instead of taking photos and making up stories to fit the narrative – or choosing outfits to match the new paper just purchased (yes, that was a thing) – that would show my life to be “perfect”, I took photos and within the covers of my albums are real, authentic, genuine, messy stories of real life. After many retreats, courses and message board conversations, I realized people were making up their stories to suit the peer pressure to have a “perfect” life: perfect photos and stories reflecting an almost impossible ideal. One day I woke up to realize my albums were the only safe place to record my story – to live an authentic life telling real stories, the good, the bad and the messy. Storytelling coupled with creativity was the lifeline I needed – when I needed it most.
Thank goodness for synthroid! The fog cleared and I started to feel well. So well, I remembered who I was and who I wanted to be. The process of divorce was a wonderful thing. All those things I wasn’t allowed to do, I could do again. I freed myself from all forms of guilt, judgment and shame with a lot of reading, exploring and hard work. Sweet liberation! I listened to my heart for the first time in a very long time when it came to my own beliefs and issues. I re-learned how to trust my intuition and believe in myself. I learned many tools, many processes and incorporated many practices into my life. This is not a solitary journey though this one is mine. Many people go through forms of transition every day and people need assistance.
I can do a lot of things and had no idea how to put that on a business card. I am a natural coach and my toolbox is overflowing with ideas, training, approaches, enthusiasm, intuition, energy, open acceptance and all manner of kick-ass perspectives. Then an amazing thing happened. Danielle LaPorte not only wrote The Desire Map and then encouraged book clubs, she packaged the program! Goals with soul? YES! With one simple – deceptively simple – question: HOW DO YOU WANT TO FEEL? my life has been completely altered. I knew this was the foundation upon which I could build my future.
Whew. That is pretty much what I wish I had said. Maybe in time I’ll get back to my ability to be articulate in front of a group of more than five or six people! The key is to do more of this to make it more of my norm than not.
I am so grateful to be in such a lovely and supportive group of fellow healers. I am looking forward to learning from each of them. I love that the bowl with business cards went around the room and before our next meeting I’ll have a session with a lady who works with crystals and a medium! This journey is so right I am quite literally vibrating with enthusiasm.