Bearing life comes at a cost – sadly that cost is usually burdened by the Mother. For years, the pain that women go through to bring a child into the world has been a silent process. We have only recently begun to open up and talk about the bowtie pain effect that comes with having a child:
- The Want and Hardships of actually getting pregnant
- The Birth
- and lastly The Child and You phase
Each of these bullet points warrants its own Lord of the Rings trilogy both in running time and intensity. However I want to focus on YOU for a minute.
We women often fade to the background when a child arrives just as we are about to enter one of the hardest times of our lives. We are not only adjusting to a new life, new routines…we are also adjusting to a new version of ourselves, one that seems to be in a perpetual state of transformation. With so much change, it is no wonder that we are yearning to bounce back to life as we knew it before baby.
For years, the notion that you had to “bounce back to your old body” post pregnancy was a goal most mothers strived for postpartum. As a clinical therapist working in mental health for over a decade, you can imagine my thoughts about how toxic this thinking is to our health. However, it was only after having a baby myself in 2018, that I truly understood what women face post baby and just how difficult it is to resist societal pressures to erase any signs of the incredible process me as a mother had just gone through.
As I navigated bleary eyed through the early days of my maternity leave, I was shocked to see how many people would comment about my body. Whether I was seen as having bounced back to normal or now possessed a “mom body” that I had to accept, the message I received as a result of my body being a focus of scrutiny was that no matter what I looked like, I was being judged.
There were times I wondered, “Am I doing this right? Why haven’t I truly bounced back? Is something wrong with me? Do people think I am unhealthy?” And then I stopped in my tracks. I remember sitting down with my baby in the park and thinking that I was falling victim to the Bounce Back Epidemic (The BBE) and if I continued, it was going to make me sick. That’s when I found my resolve, my determination to reclaim the experience of motherhood for myself so I did not miss out on another second of it by worrying about somehow not meeting society’s standards of being good enough.
The skills that helped me get through The BBE were the very skills I teach my clients to help them be PRESENT in their experience, no matter what it is, without judgement. These were the lessons embedded in the meditation practice I have followed and taught for years. Motherhood was the ultimate testing ground that challenged me to truly embody my practice in my daily life.
As I adopted this mindset, I began to notice the critical thoughts that swam through my own mind as just that…thoughts. I wanted more than anything to be PRESENT with my baby and not to be bombarded with critical and toxic thoughts. But sometimes they happened. Being present in my experience allowed me to recognize that I could choose to give these negative thoughts energy or I could just let them pass and wait for other more helpful ones to show up.
Weening off of social media was also critical. Expectation can be a troll and reducing exposure to media that plays on our inherent tendency to compare ourselves, was one of the most important things I did to attain inner peace. My goal was to accept all the moments and focus on what I could control. I set attainable goals that made sense based on where I was at (not where someone else thought I should be) and worked towards those realistic outcomes. I decided that I would no longer allow someone else’s ideals deter me or push me off my own centre of balance.
So with that mindset, a lot of practice, and support from some like-minded moms, I bounced back to life. I worked to connect with my baby, my husband and loved ones. I bounced back to self care. The result…more bounce in my step.
Having navigated this journey, I am now even more confident in my ability to help other mothers fight the BBE and apply the teachings of mindful practice in their daily lives. We work on building a new life, and accepting our new identity while not losing sight of who we were before baby. It all hinges on having the intention of being present in our lives, and appreciating the journey first and foremost for ourselves.
Interested in learning more about Shelly and how she helps women Design Their Lives? Click here to learn more and to book your free consult today.
There is no time like the fall for getting cozy inside with a good book, or as is increasingly popular, a good podcast.
LISTEN to Episode 12 of the Essential Stepmom Podcast hosted by Tracy Poizner where I talk about the challenges of infertility, particularly in the context of being a stepmother, and the mindset that can help us grow through this incredibly difficult journey.
My boyfriend and I decided to take a break, a break from social media. Inspired by hearing about others who did the unthinkable and quit social media ‘cold turkey’ for 30 days, we decided to give it a try.
Thirty days was a bit more than we thought we could handle to start, so we opted for a week. Seven days with no Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat. Which interestingly, rendered our phones quite useless after all of these apps were locked.
Our 1st challenge occurred three days into the week while at a Raptors game. I wanted to post a picture of us on Instagram. After a debate, we decided together that I could post it, but that I had to close the app right afterwards and not reopen it until the challenge was over. Five minutes later, we started to bicker about the caption on the picture. I could feel myself becoming agitated. I closed the app and while looking at one another we had the same realization. The first conflict we had since starting the challenge was when one of us started to engage with social media. Let that sit with you for a minute.
If I could describe the week in one word, it would be relief. It was a relief to learn that I could go into an experience without the pressure or expectation to share it with the world. I was relieved of the pressure to prove to someone else that I was having a good time. It was just the experience and I, and that was pretty great. We enjoyed the week so much that we continue to have time limits on our social media apps to this day and still hold each other accountable.
So many of us use these apps to express ourselves; to show the world what we love and to capture amazing memories. But ironically, the process and the pressure of capturing life’s special moments in order to share them with the world also distracts us from fully enjoying them. Moreover, our awareness of the “likes” we acquire along the way runs the risk of reinforcing a soul destroying premise: that our lives only matter if approved of by others. And then there is the automatic comparison to those who are always living a more fabulous life – a recipe for feeding the wide-spread belief most of us carry that whoever we are is not enough.
The week without social media was like finally taking a conscious deep breath and realizing just how much stress I had been carrying. We can certainly get by with shallow breathing throughout most of our days. But once we know what a deep breath feels like, well, we might decide to pay attention to the process we take for granted and consciously give ourselves more of what we really need. Which is not to live in the shallow, but to dive in, and really enjoy the deep.
I am a millennial and there is no denying that smartphones, technology, and specifically social media, have a huge influence on how I engage in the world. But I have redefined my relationship with it. Now I can see that the connections I want are all around me. For that, this was the best break I have ever had.
When was the last time you spent an extensive amount of time without social media? I invite you to try this same challenge and share your experience with us in the comments below. Or don’t comment and enjoy the experience for yourself.
Feeling grateful to have shared this with you,
Gabrielle Iwaskow, Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)
Interested in learning more about Gabrielle and how she helps people Design Their Lives? Click here to learn more and to book your free consult today.
My 8 year old son, who I have always considered my happy “Buddha baby”, stunned and surprised me with this story that he shared with me one night as we were walking home from dinner.
In “The Feel Bad Bandit vs. Dr. Stacy”, Dr. Stacy uses her super powers, developed through the practice of meditation, to swiftly dodge the jabs directed at her by the Feel Bad Bandit. Once her opponent started to get tired with his several missed attempts to defeat her, she counters with “You know..you really can be a great person”. The Feel Bad Bandit is stopped in his tracks and replies ” Oh! I haven’t heard anyone say something like that to me in so long”. Overcome by the good vibes, his entire body surrenders and he falls slowly to the floor.
How did this child come up with this? But there is more…That night as I lay beside him as he was falling asleep, he offered up some other gems…. Dr. Stacy’s Sidekicks: Able Todoit, Grace Grateful and Joy Jolly.
I. Was. Floored.
Not only by the genius of his creativity, but because Dr. Stacy’s sidekicks perfectly represent the three resiliency practices I integrated into each day of The Growing Forward Journal I authored: competence, gratitude, and joy.
How he thought to include them in the story is unbelievable to me. I am going to chalk it up to a combination of our otherworldly psychic connection and his pure Buddha spirit which has touched mine from the moment I knew of his existence in the womb.
Connecting with the magic our children bring into our lives is the biggest gift a parent can receive. This is why I am so excited about the upcoming Mindful World Parenting Summit.
After having absorbed all of the wisdom shared through the 56 interviews I conducted over the past 3 months, I am far more attuned to the connection with my children and the shifts are translating into such joyful energy that is pervading our home.
Have you registered yet? What are you waiting for? Click here to register today and get instant access to preview talks so you can check out the quality of the more than 30 hours of content contributed by leading experts in the areas of parenting, mental health, brain science, nutrition, education, and mindfulness. You will also gain access to free gifts, including The Growing Forward Journal.
Curious about what other epic battles might occur between The Feel Bad Bandit and Dr. Stacy? Stay tuned. I have officially offered my son the opportunity to be a guest blogger. :))
With Deep Respect,
I already loved Alicia Keys. But then I came across her incredible song and video inspired by her own experience of parenting in a blended family and my love and respect for her went through the roof. Alicia Keys, her husband, and her husband’s former wife are incredible role models of co-parenting in a blended family.
As you see all of the love and joy shared among all of the parents in this family along with the kids, I can imagine that it all seems too good to be true. It’s not. But it does require a commitment to do the inner work and to recognize that the child deserves to have a relationship with each of their parents.
This is what Dorcy Pruter, Conscious Co-Parenting Expert and Coach talks about during her interview for The Mindful World Parenting Summit. If you are in a situation where you are contemplating divorce or are already co-parenting, you absolutely need to watch this interview to learn about the powerful and revolutionary program Dorcy has devised that is proven so effective in getting people to come together and work cooperatively for the sake of the children, that it is now court mandated in some US jurisdictions.
In the meantime, check out Ms. Alicia Keys and her beautiful offering, Blended Family (What You Do For Love) ft. A$AP Rocky
May the good vibes be with you
(It’s what you do, what you do, what you do, what you do for love… this video chokes me up every time. So good)
How did you come to host this? This is one of the most common questions I get asked by my interviewees after we stop recording their contribution for the Mindful World Parenting Summit, a free, 7-day online event that has brought together leading experts on parenting, mental health, brain science, nutrition, education, and mindfulness in service of creating a more mindful world. The subtext I hear is, “why you?”. It’s a fair question. I do not have much of a following. I am not a best-selling author. I have not been on a podcast nor have I done a TED Talk. I am an unknown; a virtual nobody in our virtual world.
My answer to the question is quite simple: I just committed to doing something to make a difference. With no following, I just decided to do it – to try to expand my reach beyond the four walls of my office. I sincerely did not feel I had a choice to do otherwise.
The process started 2 years ago, when I was shaken to my core with the turmoil I witnessed happening in the world. As upsetting as it all was, once I got quiet through my own practice of meditation and expressive writing, there were two things that soon became crystal clear: 1) that within the darkness and the chaos, there would be a natural attraction of the masses to anything and anyone that inspired the light and 2) I needed to do more to democratize mental health and make evidence-based mental wellness tools more accessible.
The latter was something I felt deeply called to do. This was not about me. It was about doing what I could to have a positive impact because there were clearly too many who needed to be supported to do the inner work necessary for the world to change.
And so I just started. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I was committed to doing what I could and waited for inspiration. A year later, the how I was looking for began to take shape in the form of a guided journal. A year after that, after having self published the Growing Forward Journal, and bearing witness to the impact and massive shifts people made almost instantly as they accessed, and shared the truth that came through on the page as they got quiet, and allowed the pen to express what they needed to hear, I knew that I was on the right track.
Along the way, I happened to share The Growing Forward Journal with Stephen Huszar, a friend and one of the founders of Mindful World. Mindful World produced Milton’s Secret, a gem of a movie starring Donald Sutherland, based on the Ekhart Tolle book of the same name. I had gifted my time as a consultant to help with the development of the learning materials based on Ekhart’s response to the film. Interestingly, my involvement happened soon after my awakening two years ago.
Stephen loved the journal and encouraged me with much needed advice about how to launch it to a wider audience. As part of the launch and the community I wanted to build around it, I had always envisioned inviting other experts and seekers, known and unknown, to offer their wisdom about growing forward through life’s challenges.
This vision is what I had in mind during The New Moon Ceremony I hosted this past summer along with Roseline Mouana. It was a truly magical night on the roof at 321 Carlaw where my office is located. After having let go of all that did not serve us, getting grounded through yoga, and coming together in celebration of all that we were inviting into our lives, I found myself setting this intention:
About a month later, the opportunity of a lifetime came my way, courtesy of Stephen: I was invited to host The Mindful World Parenting Summit. I was indeed going to be sharing my Big Voice with other Big Voices for Big Impact in a way I had never thought possible.
The Summit, has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. This psychologist, who can barely figure out how to post on Facebook, was suddenly given access to professionals and thought leaders I have long admired, who themselves are also dedicated to having a positive impact on the world. The opportunity to engage with them and share their teachings has touched me so much. It has impacted the way I parent and has affirmed a truth that I know without question: We humans are at a turning point in our evolution.
It is an exciting time. Our best science undeniably confirms the power of mindful practices for building the parts of the brain that allow us to respond vs. react and to feel deeply connected with ourselves and others. We can now literally see how the mind, i.e. our thoughts, impacts the physical structure of our brains. And we have irrefutable evidence that as creatures of attachment, it is through the ability to connect that we are able to realize our highest potential.
Yes, there is indeed a science to happiness and it is high time that everyone learns about it and understands how to practically apply this knowledge so we can all start living from the inside out, build true resilience and thrive. This is how we can change a generation. This is how we can change the world.
So if you are on my mailing list, or follow me on social media, you can expect that I will be talking a lot about this event for the next several weeks. This event is far too important for me to be shy about promoting it.
My hope is that you will help me with this mission. Click the link and register. And once you are done registering, share it with everyone you know.
The summit runs from January 21-27, 2019. But as soon as you sign up, you will get access to a bunch of free gifts, including two interviews included in the summit, one of them being with Dr. Shefali Tsabary one of my favourite conscious parenting experts of all time. You will also get access to The Growing Forward Journal by your truly, as well as other books and programs from the event producers and some of our more prolific experts in the summit.
As for my journey…the lesson I hope you take from it is to commit and act. You know that idea that has been rattling around in your brain for months, maybe even years? It is there for a reason. That reason is bigger than you. You owe it to yourself to discover that gift you have to offer to the world that only you can give in the way that you can. And know that if you commit to making it happen, even if you don’t know how to do it, the universe will help you. It has your back. My story is proof of it.
With Deep Respect & Gratitude for joining me in helping to create a more mindful world.
Let’s do this, together!
My vision for The Design Your Life Centre has always been for it to become a hub for all things related to mental wellness, a place where people could stop in and find resources to help them on their journey or even just use it as a place of refuge to take a break and recharge before going back to face the challenges of the day. So rather than allowing my extra treatment room to sit empty when not in use, I thought that it was the perfect opportunity to turn it into The Muse Room, a place where people can engage with a cool piece of technology that has helped so many around the world build a meditation practice and reap the benefits of improved focus and calm.
The Muse is a game changer. It is an EEG device that reads your brainwaves and gives you audible feedback so you can redirect to the intended focus of your breath whenever your attention drifts. And afterwards you can see exactly where those drifts happened. In addition to allowing to see what is actually happening in your brain when you meditate, it will also help you understand that those times that you do drift and resume focus is akin to doing a push up for your brain. It is those reversals that improve your ability to focus, and actually has a positive physical impact on building the parts of your brain designed just for this.
As part of the recognition of the 1 year anniversary of The Design Your Life Centre, I will be offering up the muse room experience free to anyone who wants to use it. Come once, come daily. Its all good.
Click here to book your free 15-minute experience in The Muse Room today.
We look forward to seeing you soon and helping you start the habit that is actually good for your brain.
Warm Regards Always
Almost every day for a year and a half; that’s how long my daughter has been waiting and talking about going to drama club at her school. This was going to be her year. She was finally old enough to attend. So when she brought home the forms, I was on it. I filled them out right away, sent in my money and placed them in the envelope along with all of the other forms needed for the start of the school year. Or so I thought.
The call came a few days later from the school administrator to let me know that she did not receive any of the club forms. WHAT???! How was that possible? The school administrator stated that she is always very careful as she knows how important registration in the school clubs are to the kids and their families. She insisted that they were never received.
Is it possible that I somehow forgot to put the forms in the envelope? My heart sank and the panic started to rise as I pictured my daughter’s disappointment, sadness and anger in response to this situation. I choked back tears as I begged and pleaded to find a way for my daughter to be in drama, but there was nothing that could be done. The club was full and there were 6 other children ahead of her on the waiting list.
I hung up the phone and tried to go back to work, distracted by thoughts of how I was going to break this piece of bad news. The thought occurred to me to not tell her the entire story, to just tell her that the class was full and play the role of the heroine as I consoled her in her grief in order to shield myself from the possibility of anger directed towards me for any role I might have played in this situation.
But I couldn’t do that. I knew that presenting her with a half truth would have created a barrier between us. Because as much as part of my distress came from my desire to shield my daughter from pain, it was also in response to having to face the very real possibility of my own failings and the feelings of shame that typically accompanies the evidence of my imperfection. This was the real issue that I had to face. She was not the one who needed protection. A choice to not honestly share the truth would have been all about protecting myself.
And so I decided to do something different. I decided first to make peace with myself. I decided to show myself compassion. I let myself cry as I recognized that mistakes can happen in spite of our best intentions. I forgave myself for whatever I might have done to contribute to this situation and I decided that I would hold space for whatever feelings my daughter needed to express. I would apologize. Because even though I tried my best and did not know how the forms did not get to the right place, it was ultimately my responsibility. And I committed to looking for another drama class in the community that she could join if she was amenable to this.
The decision to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but my whole truth was a decision to be fully present with my daughter; to not abandon her. It was a decision to communicate to her that sometimes things don’t work out, but that we can deal with these disappointments… together. It was a decision to show her that she and her brother could always come to me with their mistakes because I was willing to be honest with them about mine.
When we got home, I sat both my daughter and my 8 year old son down to tell them what happened. I wanted to include my son as he needed to see me walk the walk just as much as my daughter did.
I told them about the call, about the things I thought I did to secure her spot, about how my search for the forms at the house came up empty but that at the end of the day the school did not have them and they are also sure that they never received them. I told her that this meant that she would not be able to go to drama club this term and that I was truly sorry.
I braced myself for her tears and anger. What happened was something that I had not anticipated. Rather than getting upset, this child simply looked at me, hugged me hard and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. The only tears that were shed were from my own eyes as I took in the unconditional love she so clearly expressed to me in that moment, a profound gift that healed and will forever touch my heart.
The gift my daughter gave me that day not only showed me her resilience but did wonders for further weakening my harsh inner critic. It is a gift that I opened myself up to receive because I was willing to face my own suffering, and meet it with compassion.
This is what conscious parenting is all about. It’s not about being the perfect parent. It’s about creating a space for self-compassion, and awareness so that we as parents can accept the invitation our children have for us to come into our authentic selves.
Interested in learning more about Conscious Parenting? Then you absolutely need to come out to see Dr. Shefali Tsbary in person in Toronto on September 30, 2018.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with her, Dr. Shefali is a world-renowned psychologist, Oprah regular, TED Talk veteran and the NY Times best selling author of The Conscious Parent, Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children, and The Awakened Family. She is one of the foremost authorities on Conscious Parenting, and one of the most engaging speakers I have ever seen.
You can learn more and register for her event here. And not only will I be there for her talk and the post-talk Q&A, but …..I am going to have the chance to interview her in person (eeeee!!!!).
Dr. Shefali has agreed to be a key participant in a 7-day, on-line summit by Mindful World called Parenting In The Age Of Change, which will be hosted by none other than yours truly. I can hardly wait.
The summit will be bringing together world leaders and practitioners in the areas of parenting, mindfulness, education, brain science, and holistic health, to teach us how we can truly apply mindful practices and teachings in support of parents and children who are feeling more disconnected than ever in a hyper-connected world.
I cannot believe that I get to pick the brains and play a role in sharing the wisdom of some of the greatest teachers in this area. So send me your questions! Let me be your voice. It is incredibly important that my questions reflect your concerns, so do not be shy. Send them.
And do let me know when you register for Dr. Shefali’s event. I would love to meet up and meet later that week to discuss our takeaways and how we can start implementing some of these ideas for our families and ourselves.
We are all in this together.
With Deep Respect
Renovations are hell. Anyone who has undergone a renovation knows this. I should know this. I have lived through enough of them in my personal life to expect broken promises, and things to not happen as planned. But somehow, as with other challenges we welcome into our lives, we often go into them focused on all of the shiny and happy they will bring in the end and seem to forget about the discomfort and turmoil that happens on the road to getting there.
Let me just say close to the outset of this post that I am keenly aware of how lucky I am to have such problems. To be able to have an office to renovate is such a privilege and a blessing that to complain about things not happening as planned seems pretty ridiculous. And yet, as much as I managed to keep calm and carry on through weeks of delays, poor communication, and lack of follow through, even after I let go of timelines, plans for a big grand opening, and surrendered to the fact that much of this important project was out of my hands, I managed to reach a breaking point.
Here is a little video of me in the office at 7 am, on the day that this project was supposed to be completed (which was one of many “final” delivery dates that did not come to fruition). This is the calm before the storm.
While the renovations were happening, I set up shop in one of the boardrooms in the building. That day when I came back to the unit to pack up, I was delighted to discover that the appliances from my unit had finally been removed and were delivered to my house. I was chatting with my contractor, so happy to express my appreciation for some work being done after a week of nothing and was feeling hopeful as we discussed next steps via bluetooth on my way home. When I arrived, I hung up, and was greeted with this:
I immediately texted him with a picture of the scene and asked for him to contact his crew to come back to put the appliances inside the garage. His texted response was to tell me that his team were not returning and that he had explained this to my husband. That’s when I lost it.
I could not believe that these men could not make the effort to climb the stairs, ring the doorbell, to give the adult at home the opportunity to open the garage so that they could deliver the appliances properly. They clearly did not care. They did not care about me. They do not care about this project. How could I have people who do not care be involved in creating a space that is all about taking great care of people? And why is he talking to my husband and not to me? We had discussed this so many times. My husband had told him this over and over again and yet he continued to discuss plans with him and not me. I was just on the phone with him! No matter how I looked at it, all that I could see was evidence of disrespect and a lack of care and I was mad. So mad. A line had been crossed.
That evening was tough. I went for a walk by myself to blow off some steam, which was probably visibly coming out of my ears looney tunes style to anyone who was in my vicinity. It helped a little, but not enough.
I did not get much sleep that night as the frustration and anger and the uncertainty of not knowing how to proceed swam around and around in my head. It felt awful. Something needed to change. This was not me.
In my 2 am delirium I had this vision of going to my office with a big piece of paper (the kind you used to paint on with those messy easels in grade school) to write out a mission statement of sorts with a black sharpie. It went something like this:
This space is a place of healing and transformation
This is a safe space.
A place where all who enter can expect to be accepted, nurtured and cared for
in order to access and empower the divine within.
Every being who enters, no matter their role, is invited to take a moment to centre themselves in the purpose and focus of this space
So as to do their best work, with their highest level of skill, ability and care
In service of the divine within themselves, which ultimately functions to serve others.
With deepest gratitude and respect for your service
Your willingness to show up fully in all that you do
and share your divine light with us
My focus in writing this message was on the men hired to bring my vision to life. It was a desperate plea. An attempt to try to regain a sense of control of this thing that was not going as planned with a team whose actions communicated to me a lack of caring for something that I believed required the utmost care. It felt like everything was misaligned. This was my way of righting that.
And while the image of me writing this in big black letters and posting it on the wall was all about them, in the end it was really about me. I was the one who was misaligned. That message was for me. I was the one who needed to return to being a place of healing and transformation.
As soon as I crafted that statement in my head, something shifted for me internally. The anger, that I chose to accept and allowed myself to feel, started to dissipate. So much so, that two days later, when I came back to the space on a Sunday morning it felt like the anger, that at one point was overwhelming, was completely gone.
As I entered the unit with my friends to give them a tour, I was surprised to find my contractor and crew working away. To my surprise, and his, I immediately walked over after greeting him and, believe it or not, I actually gave him a big hug. I was able to express my genuine gratitude for him being there. I also grabbed him by the shoulders as I pulled back and told him to look into my eyes. As I pointed to my own eyes while I stared into his, I asked him to do a simple thing. To see me. I told him that I needed him to see me. I reminded him that my eyes existed before my husband existed. I exist. I needed him to see me. And seeing me meant that he needed to speak to me. No matter what, he always needs to speak to me.
He laughed and said he understood. We hugged it out again, and we both parted with smiles.
As I left I realized that just like the way my subconscious brought me back into alignment with the divine light within me, my anger was all about me too. I had projected my own values, and assumptions onto the renovation crew. I made the assumption that they could not be bothered, that they made a choice without regard or respect for how overwhelming it would seem to have to figure out moving appliances a few feet when for them it was so easy. The fact is, they were likely not conscious at all. Who knows what they were thinking? Their thoughts were somewhere else. And yes, thinking things through is a reasonable expectation to have of anyone we hire to do work for us. But the extent of my anger was about something else. I was the one who added the layers and made it into something much bigger than it likely was or needed to be. I was the one who has had too many experiences where I was overlooked, my opinion, undervalued, my voice unheard that predated the experience with this contractor. In the end, it was all about me.
Now I know some of you are wondering whether my internal shift resulted in a better outcome. The answer is, yes and no. The office is useable and I am delighted every day that I get to be in it. People tell me that they feel at home and some of the groups I have hosted hang out because they don’t want to leave. It means the world to me that people feel comfortable here. In this respect, my goal has been realized.
However, it remains a work in progress. I am still missing my internal doors, the lighting is not quite right and there are some other finishing touches that need to be completed. But whether with the original crew, or someone else, it will all get done. And more importantly, I am not stressed or distracted by it. I am focused and relaxed and my energy is where it needs to be. And I am confident that I will be able to maintain this mindset, regardless of how long it takes for the vision for my office to be realized.
The point of this story is not so much about the outcome, it’s about the process. It’s always about the process.
I do not regret feeling my anger. I did regret expressing it to those who were undeserving (e.g., hubby) and apologized for it. But I do not regret allowing myself to feel it. It pushed me to explore why I felt so strongly, which ultimately led me to understanding and affirming my values, my purpose and even my existence. The solution that arose was fantastical and weird and perfect in its own way. It allowed me to come back to me. And I am happy to say that I have been even more conscious about choosing how I want to feel and what I want to experience each day, especially those days that have the potential to be hard for whatever reason.
Designing Your Life is all about assuming responsibility for your inner world. It is the only way to have true control and to live the kind of life you want to live.
So as we enter a new year, I ask you, are you willing to face your “dark side” with compassion, and acceptance with a focus on understanding the source of your distress? If not, consider that it might just be the most efficient and effective way of reconnecting with your light.