I was sitting outside that morning when I burst into tears. Tears that came from opening to a truth I’d been ignoring, denying, hiding and suppressing.
The truth that I wasn’t happy with my life. That, once again, I felt like a shrunken shell of the person I wanted to be and was created to be.
That was one week ago today. The day I began my 60th year on this planet.
Don’t get me wrong. There are many things about my life I AM happy about – that I love and enjoy. Last Monday, my unhappiness was less about the external aspects of my life and more about how I felt on the INSIDE.
Squashed. Suppressed. Ignored. Trapped. Angry. Afraid.
That morning I realized that I didn’t feel like I had every FULLY lived. And I’m not just talking about what I have or have not done in my life. It’s more like the “wattage” of Life Energy I’ve allowed to flow into and through me. I realized the degree to which I’ve always toned it down, held it in check, played it safe.
You see, my friend, I’ve tried to live the life I thought I was “supposed” to live. To do what others wanted me to do (or what I thought they wanted me to do.) To do the responsible or “right” thing. I’ve tried to do what makes OTHER people happy. And to hide all the times I didn’t or couldn’t.
I thought THAT’S what would give me the money, happiness, fulfillment and LOVE I’ve always wanted.
Last Monday I realized I’ve spent most of my life creating a persona of a person who is living and loving life. (AND herself.) And the person my persona fooled the most was ME.
As I sat with all of this erupting inside of me, I knew it was actually a birthday gift – even as it was also painful and scary. Because, deep inside, my soul was saying “NO MORE!”
I’m not sharing this to publicly flog myself. I’m not even judging myself as I write it. All I feel is a deep well of sadness and compassion for the wounded, hurting parts of me. The parts that have felt lonely, scared, angry, confused and hurt for so long. That have so desperately wanted to feel accepted, loved, valued and worthy.
Even as I share this, I know that I have been blessed in many, many ways throughout my life. I know that I have had an impact in this world. I know that, over the course my 60 years, I have made a difference in the lives of many people.
But last Monday, I realized at a deeper level what I’ve been saying for years – you can’t be blocked and open at the same time. You can’t suppress, limit, hold yourself OR Life “in check” and feel fully alive. Or happy.
The first step of opening was for me to admit the truth. To listen to and claim the underlying sense of not being happy. To stop denying, avoiding, suppressing and hiding it.
About a month ago, I had the privilege of hearing the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis speak at a conference I attended. Woven into her talk were a series of questions that I’ve been pondering ever since. This is part of what opened me to the truth I owned on my birthday.
One of those questions was…
“If your life is an unfolding story, what do you want the title of the last chapter to be?”
And while beginning my 60th year doesn’t mean I’m in the last chapter of my life, I AM clear it is one the last chapters. Which is what makes Jacque’s question so apropos right now.
You see, my tears on my birthday came from a deep-seated fear. I was afraid that I would come to the end of my life and feel like I never really lived. That I never really opened up and never really showed up.
All of which leads to what I’ve come up with for the title of my last chapter.
“She said YES!”
Because “YES” is the word that OPENS us, my friend.
“NO” is the word that closes us. “No” sends us into hiding – from others or ourselves. NO is the word that rejects, separates, blocks and limits.
Last Monday, I realized the degree to which I have been saying “NO” most of my life. To Me. To Love. To Adventure. To Live.
And my fear was that I would keep saying it. That I would keep hiding out, playing small, holding back, trying to fit in.
Which is why I chose “She said YES!” as my title – if not for my last chapter, then for the next one.
I’m beginning my 60th year with a fierce commitment and promise to myself. Namely, that how I feel on my birthday next year will quite different from how I felt last Monday.
Because this is the year I am committed to the practice (and prayer) of “YES”.
- YES to my dreams and desires.
- YES to my talents and gifts, mistakes and shortcomings.
- YES to the idiosyncrasies and quirks, ideas and experiences that make me uniquely me.
- YES to embracing all that I know AND being open to all that I don’t know.
- YES to the wounded parts of me longing to be accepted, loved, integrated and healed.
- YES to sharing things I’ve never shared & saying things I’ve been afraid to say.
- YES to asking for what I want and need.
- YES to making choices and taking actions that honor me.
- YES to stepping out onto a bigger stage.
- YES to sharing my vision AND acting on it.
- YES to feeling pain, sadness, grief, regret, hurt, anger, loss and fear.
- YES to feeling joy, delight, pleasure, connection, acceptance and love.
- YES to feeling vulnerable and powerful, weak and strong.
- YES to discovering, embracing and expressing the unique human being I was created to be.
Want to join me, my friend? Want to make this next year a year of YES – to you and for you?
If so, then you might find the Divine download I was given a few days after my birthday super supportive. It’s a JPG I created with the message I got about trusting the permission you were given the moment you were born.
Consider it my belated birthday gift to you. You can download it here.
Here’s to Life, my friend!
Here’s to YES!
All my love ~