In a world where everyone has something to say, I have chosen to take a pause. A season to observe, meditate and contemplate instead of writing. Today I write in hope that sharing my experiences will inspire and encourage you to enjoy your life. This post is my own point of view, thank you for taking the time to read.
I am thankful to see humans in person as part of my career. I get to discuss the ongoing challenges we navigate and have meaningful conversations. There are often tears, inspiration and always lots of laughs. I am apart of a beautiful community. I spend time thinking about the conversations that have I have shared and contemplate the journeys we all are on. Life is complex but also beautiful to witness. One thread of conversation that has been consistent is that humans are so greatly affected by the world around them. Often with big feelings and sometimes strong reactions. For some, it is a single incident and for others it is a slow trickle of smaller events that puts their life into chaos and change. The journey is often bumpy and overwhelming to manage.
My life has not been different than others. It has been loss, grief, joy, and everything in between. With time (as I age) I start to see the rhythm of life. The ebbs and flows. Most importantly I watch how I respond. Often with feelings of shame and confusion. It has felt at times like being on a hamster wheel. Just when I feel I gain progress something else comes along and the challenge continues. But last year I decided to get off the wheel. I started to look at things objectively and with detachment. I asked questions I hadn’t thought of before. I looked for advice in places I hadn’t frequented. I dug into books and removed myself from influences. With enough time I could see the world moving around me but this time I wasn’t getting tossed around with it. I started to unravel my beliefs, values, goals and everything around me. I took another look at my choices and even reduced those again and again. I started to focus inward. I started to build what was inside from the bottom up, being extra careful which parts were built. I got really quiet and learned to listen to my inner self. In a recent counselling session I said it felt like I was finally receiving what I had been pursuing, but I couldn’t figure out why. Was it all my hard work paying off? Was it the universe? My counsellor, in her wisdom expressed that I had changed and so that meant the world around me had too. Different thoughts brings different actions. Being intentional about my thoughts has radically changed the results. Interesting. I continued to reflect.
In the thick of my challenges the couple years previously, I started to chase after something I thought was for me. I was in hot pursuit of a dream that I thought would satisfy me and solve my problems. I was all in and wishing for luck to meet me there. I got up early and was very disciplined. I was so focused on my survival mode that I was reacting quickly to the evolving world around me. A reaction. Some months later I felt as if my world had crumbled. I felt a sadness for the world, for my life and shame for not arriving at my goals and where I thought I should be. Life felt relentless. In this season I developed some great habits and coping skills that served my hustle but I was tired. I couldn’t continue to work towards something that clearly was not working for me. The hustle was not moving me forward. Nothing felt right and something needed to change. My anxiety was at a level that no longer allowed me to move through my day. I felt broken. I started medication.
In time things started to shift. The world around me changed and one day I felt like it hit me square in the face. I was no longer as affected by the crap being flung my way. I had retreated from so many of the things that influenced me, that I had been pursuing, stood still, got quiet and spent time building my internal strength. My whole self. I had survived a very traumatic series of events, while trying to support tiny humans, a husband and a business. I had learned to trust myself and my abilities. Knowing if I could survive those things, I could trust in my ability to navigate anything in the future. Just like running, the more I practiced the easier running became and the more I could endure. I built a resilience within me that once restructured with the right focus, became a sense of self. I like to think of it as a tree. With improper soil, sunshine and water a tree cannot flourish. It can take time before a tree shows signs of the malnourishment. A tree will often grow a bunch of branches to reach out for more sunshine. It will even shed leaves as a way to preserve its resources when it is dehydrated. A tree’s survival mode is necessary but also serves a means to and end. A way of learning how it can flourish and integrating itself with the environment around it. When the environment around it is working in harmony, only then can it grow efficiently and deepen its roots. When the roots of a tree are deeply embedded and the trunk is strong it can withstand even the strongest winds and mightiest storms. The process takes time.
I believe inner peace is malleable and always shifting. A series of moving parts that need to be maintained. A strong sense of self that comes from a season of great challenge. A trust in oneself. When someone finds inner peace they are in pursuit of their whole self, the things that serve them and that they enjoy. They aren’t focused on pleasing others at their own expense. They aren’t justifying their beliefs or choices. They accept themselves just as they are, unaffected by the world around them. They are forgiving and gracious with both themselves and those around them.
So why am I sharing this? Because I see my community struggling just as I did. I see the big emotions in my chair. The hot topics of the week. The global events having devastating effects. The family dynamics continuing to entrap more trauma. It really is a hamster wheel my friends. So am I here to tell you the answer? No, I don’t think there is one. But I do believe in a world where radical self acceptance and sense of self, grace and love would create a world with different choices and in turn a different reality. Will we all get there? Probably not, but it is worth encouraging those who are struggling like I was (and continue to). When someone is in healthy body, mind and spirit they are better able to bring forward their special qualities to the world. A parent who is centered is more patient with their children. A human who is in harmony at home will enter their work day more open and flexible to work with those around them. Someone who was encouraged instead of shamed will be more curious to learn. A person who is less overwhelmed and clear in focus will see they are meant for something more. There are big and great problems in the world. One’s that are not answered simply. But let me share this, my role in the world is not to be in the UN, or to teach at a school. I am not meant to be a politician or a doctor. These are not my special qualities. What I am here to do is to encourage you, to inspire you to refocus, look inward and to love yourself. If I am overwhelmed, anxious, exhausted, I will not be able to contribute myself to my community in the special way that I can.
You have something unique for your community, for the world. No act of kindness, love or support is too small. You don’t have to be a hero recognized with a medal of honour to make a difference. Don’t underestimate your capability. Don’t underestimate the power of self care. A lot of us have privilege’s a better portion of the world does not. Use it for good no matter how “small” or insignificant you feel it may be. A ripple of light and kindness that goes outwards is often unmeasurable and yet can be great in size.
Be encouraged friends, you don’t have to be perfect or get it right all of the time. Lots of love, Chantel.