Three years ago today I started living a life of love, happiness and bliss. Three years ago today I woke up to the sound of my own heart yearning for freedom. Three years ago today I blazed my own trail through darkness into the light.
So what woke me up?
A near death experience.
Yes, it’s cheesy.
Yes, it’s cliche.
But it’s true….
February 10th, 2010 was one of those deceitfully clear winter days. Driving home after a long morning of classes I found myself in auto-pilot; my thoughts drifting along the side of the road. Typical bi-polar Indiana weather had left the roads a mess of snowy patches, slush and ice. I had driven this road countless times before. Knew every turn and twist. I was deep in thought when I hit a patch of ice hidden beneath freshly fallen snow. My van began to fish tail before full fledged spinning out of control.
First to the right, then to the left, back to the right…
There was no time to think.
No time to react.
The more I tried to regain control of the vehicle the faster it spun. Once I realized that crashing was inevitable I decided to look my fate square in the eye before bracing myself for impact – one huge ass telephone pole.
Letting go of the wheel, I threw my arms across my face, let out one hell of a scream and…
Slow regaining of composure.
From the driver’s seat I evaluated my circumstances. There was the pole. Still intact. A mere inch away from the rear end of my van which was safely tucked away into a snow drift. There I was, staring in disbelief, unable to understand why. Then the universe handed me another gift, three young men with a truck ready to pull me out waiting patiently.
The four of us walked around my van speechless at the tracks left by my van. My tires left a tread leading directly towards the pole then suddenly they veered a mere inch away from the pole parking me not so gently but ever so safely into the adjacent snow bank. Had I not let go of the wheel when I did who knows what disaster would have come. I am glad I didn’t have to find out. In a matter of minutes my angels had pulled me out and sent me on my merry way as if nothing had even happened.
Something had though.
Up to that point I’d been comfortable living my life for everyone other than me. My life was full but it wasn’t filling. In between school, ministry, a job that I was slowly growing to hate, draining relationships; I was losing myself. A gloomy, empty death was eating away my existence. Surrounded by people who equated busyness with happiness; striving for something I would never attain- perfection.
Suddenly, it all seemed pointless in the grand scheme of reality. Realizing that your life can end at any moment causes one to reevaluate things. In that instance, my heart awoke to the sound of it’s own emptiness. Outwardly I had it all- everything a good little Christian girl should ever want. Faith. Family. Friends. Food. Fortunate circumstances. Fully paid college tuition. The list was endless. By all means I should have been feeling fabulous instead of fake but there was a loneliness that I couldn’t explain.
Many religious people will tell you that the loneliness that you feel is because of a “God-Shaped-Hole” in your life. And they’re onto something. Only it’s not a “God-shaped-hole”; it’s a “You-shaped-hole”. A place only you can fill by making friends with yourself. Through honest self-evaluation. From listening to your inner desires. Coming to understand your strengths and weaknesses alike. Accepting yourself completely. Loving yourself wholly.
That cold day three years ago scared me shitless. Sparking a journey of self-discovery that I am still on today. Secretly, at first, I started making my own decisions. Often times, this meant doing the exact opposite of what was expected of me. In the past three years, I’ve disappointed a lot of people. I’ve lost family and friends. I quit my job. I left the church. I dropped out of college. I moved out. I rid myself of excess wealth.
That’s only half of the story. For everything I’ve left behind there’s an abundance of blessings that have come my way. Souls I didn’t even know existed climbed out the universe’s woodwork in support of my journey. Education has come in the form of experience and daily living. Community has replaced the counterfeit comfort of religion. Self-confidence came from leaving behind other’s expectations listening only to my own voice. Bliss came in the form of being present in each moment rather than living expectantly for an afterlife. Living became a grand adventure full of a spectrum of possibilities I never knew existed. The past three years have been terrifyingly beautiful. At times I wanted to surrender myself to the comfort of approval. I wanted to give up. I wanted to run back towards what I was used to instead of struggling through the pain of change. Sometimes I still do.
Then I remember who I am. Who I was. Who I am becoming.
Once I focus on that I am free.
Where are you at in your journey? What limitations &/or expectations do you allow to define who you are? If money or circumstance were not an obstacle what would you do with your time? What brings you the greatest happiness? What events in your life have sparked positive or negative change in your life? Share your experience in the comment box.