This I Believe

Kathleen - Modesto, California
Entered on February 2, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

Time passes, everything changes, everything remains the same… I have recently realized that I am powerless; I have surrendered and find ironically that I am a stronger woman because of this admission. I have wasted the better part of my life in wanton disregard of the effect my actions had on others. Recently, as a result of a prison term, I was forced by circumstances to re-evaluate my life and my wasted potential. It took this major catastrophe for me to alter the collision course that my life had become.

On a daily basis, though, I still struggle against my baser nature in order to find that

serenity; to make myself rise above the “slings and arrows” that life’s outrageous fortune brought and continues to bring to my door.

For me, that’s the hardest part – trying to achieve that state of grace so I can move to the next level. At times, I can almost feel that calm within my grasp – it’s so close, I

can almost taste it only to find it’s slippery and elusive, sliding just beyond my reach. How do I find that center–that place inside myself where I can find shelter from life’s continuing storms?

Well, the answers are quite simple really. It’s in our nature as human beings to put a ten on what is really only a two. We run from our pain when we really should be meeting it head-on. Our lives became a series of “have-to’s” when in reality we only have to breathe and one day we will have to relinquish our hold on our finite time on this earth. Those are the only two absolutes in life. By overwhelming ourselves with drama, we lose the simplicity and joy life has to offer.

Slow down and allow yourself to feel. Give yourself the time and space to grieve; no one ends up in prison without experiencing loss. In my case, I spent most of my life running from pain; both my own and the pain I’ve caused those closest to my heart. Prison, for me, was the proverbial brick wall. Acceptance, you see, is the key. Embracing your feelings and “owning your own” leads to much-needed growth which results in change. As Mother Teresa once said, “If it doesn’t kill you, it will only make you stronger.” Once I stopped running, I discovered something precious, something I thought I’d lost long ago. I discovered me.