Growing up, I was a worrier. I thought that even as a teenager I should know where I belonged and what I should be doing with my life. I worried about what people thought of me – how I looked, how I felt, how I acted – because I wanted so much to do it “right”. It appeared to me as though everyone around me had all the answers. That they had benefited from reading some universal Rule Book that was beyond my grasp. I always felt one step behind, the proverbial square peg in a round hole. But I tried and often, too hard. I was afraid to be different. Even with a good group of friends, straight A’s in school, scholarships and memberships and activities, I felt out of place. In the arms of Achievement, I felt empty. On the road to Success, I still felt like a failure.
I felt I aspired to things most kids my age wouldn’t dream of. I wanted to write, sing, and be outdoors anywhere I could commune with the natural world. I wanted deep personal relationships in which I connected with the desires of another person’s soul. I wanted to travel abroad and live the way others did in order to understand them and their nature.
Above all I wanted to be me, whoever that was, and to share her with others in a way that allowed me to be seen and yet free from worry about whether I was who they wanted me to be. I desired simplicity and peace in knowing who I was and trusting what I wanted – even if I turned out to be She Who Swims Against the Tide. But I wasn’t sure this life existed – that it even could exist – because no one around me seemed to relate. So I pushed it away. Until the time came when I was prepared to do the work necessary to claim it as my own.
I believe with all my heart that I have the freedom to create the life I want to live. I believe that this life is a gift in which I am meant to embrace my own unique interests and talents, to honor my own heart and its desires, to hold fast to my own truth and how that truth is revealed in my daily existence.
I have learned that with this freedom comes great responsibility – the responsibility to listen deeply to the innermost workings of my heart and mind as a reflection of my soul. The responsibility to choose wisely what I want and need from moment to moment and to be accountable for those choices regardless of the outcome they yield. The responsibility to show up and be present and to do the work this journey asks of me. It is a responsibility I willingly take on because I know that without it, my life is not my own. Because I believe that my own life is the only life worth living.
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