Inner Turmoil, July 2013

Elizabeth, Pink Magazine July 2013

When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it is over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

—Mary Oliver

Inner turmoil and change have been the underlying theme of my life for about 12 months now. I have had many life changes, some I'm willing to share—such as my oldest child leaving for college, which affected me way more than I ever thought it would—and others I'd rather keep to myself. It's not all been negative, but it has been difficult. As I approach my upper 40s, I realize I am becoming more and more resolute about what I want, and even more so about what I don't want. That, I guess, is growth. We ran a quote page once that stated, "There is no growth in comfort, and no comfort in growth." I just have to say—true that! While I've heard it for years, I am beginning to deeply grasp the reality that life is short. My life coach used to ask me (in the words of Mary Oliver)," Elizabeth, tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" This question haunts me. However, even more haunting, is the word one—we only have one wild and precious life. Once it's done, there are no do-overs.

I often have the opportunity to speak to groups, both large and small. I have spoken on many topics, most of them inspirational in some way. There is a poem that I will read to the audience when the occasion calls for it. I would like to end this article by sharing that poem with you:

A time comes in your life when you finally get it...
When in the midst of all your fears and insanity
You stop dead in your tracks
And somewhere the voice inside your head cries out—

Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.
And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum,
Your sobs begin to subside,
You shutter once or twice,
You blink back your tears
And begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is your awakening.

You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting
For something to change...
Or for happiness, safety and security
To come galloping over the next horizon.
You come to terms with the fact that
Any guarantee of "happily ever after"
Must begin with you...

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect
And that not everyone will always love,
appreciate or approve
Of who or what you are
And that is okay.

You stop complaining and blaming other people
For the things that they did to you (or didn't do)
And you learn that the only thing you can really
Count on is the unexpected.
You learn that people don't always
Say what they mean or mean what they say
And that not everyone will always be there for you
And, that it's not always about you.
So, you learn to stand on your own
And to take care of yourself.
You stop judging and pointing fingers
and you begin to accept people as they are
and to overlook their short comings and human frailties.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself
And the world around you
is a result of all the messages and opinions that
Have been ingrained into your psyche.

And you begin to sift through all you've been fed
About how you should behave, how you should look,
How much you should weigh, what you should wear,
What you should do for a living, how much money you should make,
What you should drive, how and where you should live,
Who you should marry, the importance of children,
And what you owe your parents, family and friends.

You learn to open up to a new world
And different points of view,
And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are
And what you really stand for.
You begin to discard the values you've outgrown,
Or should never have bought into to begin with.
And in the process you learn to go with your intuition.

You learn the only thing you must truly fear is
The greatest robber of all: Fear itself.
You learn to step right into and through your fears
Because you know whatever happens
you can handle it
And to give in to fear is to give away the right
To live life on your own terms.
And you learn to stand up for your life.

Slowly you begin to take responsibility for yourself—
by your SELF
And you make a promise to never betray yourself
And to never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire.
And you hang a wind chime outside your window,
So you can listen to it in the wind.
And you make it a point to keep smiling,
to keep trusting,
And to stay open to every possibility.
Finally, with courage in your heart,
You take a stand.
You take a deep breath
And you begin to design the life you want to live—
as best you can.

What you want, wants you. It's never too late to become what you might have been. Shine on, sister, and start designing your one wild and precious life!

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