Journey to Myself

In my experience, just about all growth is generated from some form of major life change or pain or trauma. Perhaps we struggle with the death of someone close to us. Maybe we encounter a health or emotional crisis. Or perhaps we go through a painful break-up or divorce. These are times in our lives when we are forced to stop, reexamine ourselves and where we are in life, and then decide how to proceed into the future.

If the crises are severe, returning to our previous ways of life is usually not an option. Perhaps that life no longer exists. Or maybe it is simply impossible to practice the habits and patterns that once made sense, because now they are irrelevant.

What if, however, regardless of the pain we are experiencing in any given moment, we chose to step out of our immediate condition and story, take a 30,000-foot view of our lives, and redirect our thoughts and perceptions? And what if, in so doing, we then saw these periods not as moments of great failure or devastation, but ultimately, as harbingers of something new—something beautiful? What if they even, quite unexpectedly, birthed great hope and joy in our lives?

It is at these critical times that life, the universe, and God offer us the opportunity to get still and clear and be profoundly mindful of how we will LIVE. We can actually choose not only a new perspective with fresh inspirations and influences, but we can also chart our own course with the clarity of mind that we alone are responsible for the lives we will lead starting RIGHT NOW. Our pain, our confusion, our sadness—even if elicited by another—are ultimately no one else’s fault. We are not victims or entitled to anything. Each of us must take a deep dive inward to awaken our true courage and voice, and to chart our own path.

Nearly three years ago, I left my marriage, taking my three children, then five years old and under, to my parents’ house, where I remained for more than two years. Although I was grateful for the sanctuary of my childhood home, it was a challenging time for me, filled with tension, feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, emotional fatigue, and the stress of realizing I wasn’t living the life I knew I was capable of creating.

Even in my sadness, I was self-aware enough to know that only I had the power to redirect my life. Just as I had realized that the person I had become in my marriage wasn’t my true, authentic self, I knew that as long as I lived at home, I would never become the independent, strong, decisive, and creative person I truly was and am meant to be more of in the world.

In an attempt to work through my struggles and find support, I saw a couple therapists for a while. Over time, though, I discovered that my greatest comfort came from my women friends, nearly all of whom were either going through a divorce, had done so already, or had experienced other painful life-changing events. With every honest, often emotional conversation, I was not only comforted by my friends’ kindness, which helped me gain clarity about my situation, but I also found that I was able to be a source of comfort and strength to them. Even in my own sadness and pain, my friends afforded me the opportunity of sitting with and holding their suffering. We were all growing and healing together in an unforced, organic way.

As I became stronger, my hunger for knowledge about many things related to personal growth and emotional resiliency intensified. Mindfulness, spirituality, Eastern medicine, homeopathic and functional medicine, and super-clean eating, to name a few topics, consumed me. To feed my ravenous appetite, I not only continued talking to friends, but I sought out other sources of inspiration and clarity as well. Podcasts, YouTube videos, and webinars replaced my trips to the therapist and augmented and informed my nearly daily conversations with women close to me.

As independent as I am, I am not interested in charting this life path alone. I wish to continue to connect to a sisterhood of wisdom—one that encourages awakening to our true selves and emerging to the lives we are divinely inspired to live. We are called to support and carry and hold each other, both in our joy and in our suffering.

In so doing, we, too, breathe life and strength into one another. We talk and cry and hold one another, all the while saying, “We can do this. We can do hard things. We can find joy and purpose. We are worthy.”

 

Previously published: https://sisteringtosophia.wordpress.com

About the Author | Jennifer Lindner

Jennifer Nicole Lindner is a writer, former pastry chef, and presently a student of functional medicine, Ayurveda, mindfulness, and life itself. Having experienced her own challenges with health, she is dedicated to creating networks of men and women who are similarly committed to spiritual and physical wellness. She has two daughters and a son, and she lives in Malvern, PA.

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