My very favorite part of the growth process is when change becomes so real and so natural that it becomes like a fire in your belly that can’t be contained. Let’s call it a good fire. I felt this way after my divorce from my first husband. Leaving without knowing if I would even marry again (and not really caring either way on that one), not knowing how or if I would have children (something I still wanted) and saying to the world…whatever comes next I don’t care because anything is better than this. I felt as if I stopped caring about what others thought (as much). And started caring MORE about what was important to me. What was once a small flame of self love, respect and deep knowing grew big and bright.
I know that sounds dramatic but for me the experience changed everything. It was the culmination of years of work finally becoming real. For you it may be a spiritual journey or awakening, quitting an addiction, a loss, a realization of how fast life is passing by, a journey to another land, the birth or adoption of your child, the realization that you don’t ever want children.
Whatever it is for you that comes calling, it has to be followed. For me it has usually been after a long period of following something totally different, then completely failing, then trying to figure out why I failed, then realizing that I always fail when I mimic and follow something that isn’t at all me. Something very interesting that happens when you start following it/you/what it is real, all the words that you learned in therapy, in self help books and from smart people around you become secondary to your inner voice…the voice that now guides you. It is not as if all that work was for nothing or as if we don’t need inspiration or influential words but those words are always checked against you and your flame burning inside of you. You are YOU now. You must not ignore this.
And when I get to experience this realization with a person, this is the most sacred work. I have no idea where this person will go from here but I know her or his voice will be the guide. That is the real victory and the freedom.
The funny thing is that when this happens most people say, I just stopped caring. I said it too. I don’t care anymore. I have failed and now I don’t care. I think our brains and bodies are afraid of the real truth about what is actually happening. It took me 10 more years to realize that it’s not that I began caring less. In fact, I began to care much, much more for me, my own voice and once that became real I started to care about you, those around me and your own voice. It felt like love, acceptance (except during pms week or profound tiredness, no one is perfect or blissed out always). I imagine as this unfolding happens it is too much to feel. And it does feel like caring less at first. Because we care less for superficiality and nonsense. But the replacement of deep, deep caring beyond all the surface stuff takes its place. Yep, we are ripped wide open. But we have a raging fire inside which is our voice, ourselves.
Go toward it. Every time. Or don’t but when you end up crashed go back to it. Life is funny like that. It offers us more than one chance at redemption.
Nicole C Weiss LCSW
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