When life runs off the rails and goes sideways, you have two choices: resist or lean into the spin. Fear wants us to resist. It wants us to fight. Surrendering and leaning into the spin can take you on an entirely new journey.
Q.: When did you decide that you were in the mess for the long-haul? When did you lose yourself in the chaos?
I sat down to journal this week, and these questions popped up. As I sat at my desk reflecting on this topic of "the mess" and "losing yourself" I felt as though my life had rewinded in front of me all at once, and I had a revelation of sorts: when have I NOT been in the chaos?
Eventually, my thoughts settled on a major event that took place 3 years ago, almost to the day. Life was all fighting. Stress. Resisting. Yelling. Chaos. While this relationship had been this way for years, I realize that throughout most of my life, I sat in conflict with something.
Fighting my ex. Fighting my kids. Fighting with my parents. With siblings.
Fighting my career. Money.
Fighting my own body.
When I realized this, and writing it that way, things felt very heavy. I felt like it was me against the world, which is pretty much how I have felt my entire life. As a kid, school work came easy for me. Making friends and fitting in, not so much. And over time, I started to take on whatever persona the group of the day decided was who they wanted me to be.
Again - fighting myself.
Growing up, someone was always angry and upset. Arguing with someone else in the family. Not talking. Yelling. Nobody seemed to get along. There was gossip. Hurt feelings. And nobody really wanted to tell each other the truth about anything. So the fighting just kept going.
As a kid, it felt terrible. Every day seemed like another screaming match in the kitchen. So when there was silence, it actually felt good. But there weren't too many times in my life when things felt easy. Calm. Settled. No matter how hard I tried, I could never seem to "get it together" the way everyone else seemed to have it.
So, three years ago, when life ran off the rails and totally seemed like it was going sideways, what seemed like my worst fears had come true. I was alone. I was a single mom. I had to figure things out on my own. I had to start over. While the ex being gone was a very long time coming, AND one of the best things that could ever happen to me, I was terrified.
What would other people think? How would I manage?
I sat in the energy of "oh crap" and "oh shit" for a few days. Feeling like I was a hollow shell. Sad. Scared. Depressed. Confused. Angry. I was very much again feeling like I was fighting the world.
Fortunately, the night that my ex left, I was guided to journal and create 2 lists.
List #1 was a list of all the reasons I would NOT want him back. In the past, I had always felt compelled to jump back into the fight. Give it another try. Forget all that he ever did, hope that he changed, swallow down my feelings, and work on myself to make things better.
I was the only one who would actually try, though. So I was even fighting that.
List #1 was a wake up call for me. All the reminders of why I was sad. Scared. Feeling small. And even though I was surrounded by a lot of people in my house at the time, I still felt so alone.
List #2 on the other hand, was very different. At the top of the page I thought I was guided towards writing "New Choices," "Opportunities," and "What's next?" But as I sat there a minute, instead what popped up on the page was "Now what?"
But even that did not feel right. So I scratched that out and sat for a minute or two and suddenly, the words "What's next?" seemed to appear.
In that minute, things finally, FINALLY felt at ease. Lighter. A different kind of scary.
I started thinking about all of the things I wanted to do with my life. Thoughts and nudges that had popped up in the past. Things I would never admit to anyone else. Things I considered and then tossed aside.
Travel. Start a blog. Buy a house. Start another company. Start a dog rescue.
- Etc. Etc. Etc.
The list kept growing. It was way longer than the first list, and felt SO much better. I realized in that moment that, for all of those years, the fight was really with myself. Fighting my fear. Fighting my potential. Fighting my own voice.
At the time, it didn't matter that many of the things on List #2 were still a ways away. The point was: I was finally sitting in possibility, instead of in fight. And I got to choose what happened next.
I started reading. Journaling. Getting up to work out. Taking care of me.
And then job opportunities came up. I wrote and published two more books. I cleaned up my room, so to speak, inside and out.
All of those actions made the fear a lot less quiet. Daunting. New choices lead to new opportunities. New decisions that can positively impact your life.
You don't have to stay in the fight!
You can choose again!
This is not to say that all fighting leads to you being alone. The point is - there is another way. First, by recognizing that, when you are fighting, you are really fighting yourself. You always have the answers that you are looking for. But it becomes so easy to look around and look to others to tell us what to do. Who to be. How to act. It's scary to think that we could be rejected. Let's be honest - that doesn't feel good.
When I was in the fight, I continued down a rabbit hole that led me so far away from myself I was more destructive than anything. I didn't listen to myself. Or to anyone else for that matter. I was stuck in a cycle of control, all out of fear, and all out of forgetting that, deep down, I was actually okay.
When you step out of the fight, out of the chaos, there is a silence there that leads you back to yourself, back to who you truly are. From there, anything and everything is possible. Even reconciliation. Even forgiveness. Healing. Love.
So in those moments, when you want to fight, choose to sit in silence instead. Choose to go back to yourself, even for a few minutes. Pivot. Choose again. Hear what is possible besides the fight. This does not come easy at first, I assure you. But over time, with practice, and mindful awareness, it will become easier and easer. You will be sitting in the energy of potential, possibility, and creation.
And I know, that when you use that power to pivot, amazing things can and will happen.
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