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The path to purpose

I took this picture, yesterday, after I hiked in one of my favorite places. I like to sit and let my body cool down while I watch the water pass in front of me. I find it soothing and it makes me feel at peace. Today it felt different, though. I think it's because I'm different. I saw the water easily flowing over the rocks and noticed how the rocks weren't stopping the water; they allowed it to flow over them. This is how I feel about life right now; I'm allowing hardships to flow over me instead of trying to stop them from hitting me. As a result, I'm feeling a sense of peace I've never felt before. My transformation didn't happen overnight, though. It was a process that has taken a lifetime only because I didn't know better. When you know better, you do better.

For most of my life, I lived in a kind of fog. I moved from day to day interacting with others, enjoying life, for the most part, but always feeling I was doing what I was supposed to do or what I needed to do and not what I truly wanted to do. I survived childhood in a household that was unpredictable and, at times, chaotic. I think my parents did the best they could with what they knew. Even if I didn't always feel it, I knew I was loved so it wasn't all bad; others had it much worse. It's just there were issues that weren't addressed so I never learned how to be healthy in any sense of the word; emotionally, physically, spiritually. I grew up in the Catholic religion so there was a lot of programming associated with that. Effective communication wasn't expressed or encouraged so more programming. You get the gist. I held everything in because I didn't know how to do anything other than that. I had little self esteem so I continually attracted the wrong men. Every intimate relationship I had was difficult because I didn't know who I was. Since I didn't know who I was, I attracted men that tried to mold me into who they wanted me to be. And I allowed it. It's important to understand you teach people how to treat you. When you tolerate behavior that isn't in your best interest, you teach the person they can get away with it so it continues. Unfortunately, I didn't have the self-esteem to stand up for myself. Over time, and many failed relationships, that changed. It changed because I was willing to look in the mirror and take responsibility for the part I played in the destruction. I learned a whole lot from each one and that's part of the message I want to convey: Even in your darkest days, through the hardest times, there are lessons to learn if you are willing to learn them.

After Hannah was born and my marriage fell apart, I had to step back and reassess. I was going through so much that some days I felt like I was getting through one minute at a time. Overwhelm was a common feeling and I knew there had to be more to life. I knew, deep down, this could not be what my life was meant to be. I needed help. Although I did not believe in organized religion, I was spiritual. I believed in a higher power and trusted my intuition. Intuition, also called "gut feeling," is there to help you navigate life. Have you ever thought of someone and then they called? Have you ever had this feeling that you shouldn't do something? That you should do something? That's intuition. Over the years, I've relied on my intuition innumerable times. I trust it like I trust nothing else and knew it would not lead me astray as long as I followed it. Sure enough, the times I didn't trust it, something went wrong. Those are stories for other blog entries :)

Navigating the world as a single parent of a severely impacted special needs child was terrifying but I did it one day at a time. I trusted my intuition when making decisions for her and slowly started to believe in my ability to handle things. I did a lot of work on myself and read a lot of books to help me with my personal and spiritual growth. These gave me comfort and strength in a time when I needed it. I wasn't ready to reach out for help but was willing to take a baby step at a time in that direction. I hated and feared change but I knew change was the only way I was going to not just survive, but thrive. Years after I chose to make a change, did the work on myself, and felt strong and sure of who I was, I met my husband. My energy matched his energy so we found each other. He and his two girls have been such a gift in my, and Hannah's, life. I can't adequately express how important they are to us. With my husband, Steve, I learned to trust that a man could love me just the way I am and can be a partner to me instead of trying to change me. He is absolutely amazing with Hannah and views her as his own. She shows, in her own way, how important he is to her. With his girls, Kaitlyn and Mia, I got to experience what it's like to love, be loved, and be a mom to neurotypical children. They are just wonderful! In addition, Hannah is blessed with two sisters that are so loving and patient with her. I know this would not have happened had I not been willing to look in the mirror and do the work I needed to do and learn the lessons I needed to learn. I feel like I stopped the cycle by recognizing my part and taking the steps to make a change. Although I'm unbelievably grateful to have made this transformation, I'm also grateful for every failed relationship because they got me to where I am today. This, however, is not what allowed me to see the water flowing over the rock as I did. Keep reading for the answer to that.

Over the past year and a half, a major spiritual and personal transformation has been occurring within me. I have uncovered and healed programming from childhood that is no longer serving me. We do what we do to survive but when it's no longer serving us, we need to let it go and heal. That's what I've started to do but I'm still a work-in-progress as no human is ever really done transforming. I've made a major change in my life, though, and am on a brand new path. What kickstarted my spiritual transformation was taking classes with two amazing mentors who taught me more about energy and how to weave energy work into every facet of my life. They helped me put the spiritual puzzle pieces I had gathered throughout my life together in a way that finally makes sense. This work led me to getting certified in, and taking a course for advanced certification in, neuro transformational coaching. With this program, I'm peeling back the layers to issues I've had my whole life and am letting go and healing in order to help others do the same. For the first time in my life, I feel like I'm doing what I'm truly meant to do and what I'm passionate about and not what I have to do. I found fulfillment and enjoyed the jobs I've had in my life; first, as a laboratory technologist for 10 years before I had Hannah and then 17 years as an educator of middle school children after I had her. They both were wonderful and I felt gratified doing them. Until I didn't. This past January, I realized my purpose as a middle school teacher had been met so I decided to resign at the end of the school year so I could start down a new path of educational consulting and transformational coaching. I'm ready to work with adults and help them find the answers that are within them in order to live the life they were meant to live. I'm proud to say along with my new path is a new outlook on life and the hardships that naturally come with it. It feels wonderful letting the "water" run over me knowing when it comes it will also go if I don't try to stop it. What we resist persists. There is hope for me yet :)

If you are struggling in any way, I invite you to look at your life, at yourself, and reach out for help. Many times there are underlying issues preventing us from moving forward and keeping us stuck. Fear, helplessness, overwhelm, insecurity, among many other emotions, can be uncovered and healed. You just need to recognize you need help, reach out to someone that can help, and be willing to do the work. I believe in you; you are worth it! I am evidence of what can happen when you say yes to change instead of being afraid of it.

As always, you've got this and you are not alone.

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