I am absolutely loving this new journey I am on. It is a journey of self-discovery as well as one of learning to be more “mindful”. It is a gift that I am giving myself…a gift of time for me to continue learning about life in general and my life in particular.
The objective of this second phase of my journey is to look at the best parts of me. It has made me more aware of my positive attributes. Sometimes we tend to be too self-critical, and this leg of my journey forced me to recognize some of my better personality traits. It forced me to look on the brighter side.
As this session starts, I am floating up to the sky where I find myself in my “happy place”. I am completely safe and have only positive feelings and emotions. My travels are filled with beautiful sights and sounds that help me feel calm and happy.
As I travel through the fluffy, white clouds that remind me of the cotton bolls I picked as a child, while on vacation in North Carolina, a gentle rain falls from a darker cloud above me. I feel a cool, comfortable calmness as the raindrops gently land on me. The world smells fresh and clean.
The rain shower lasts only a few, short minutes as I continue to rise upwards. I soon feel myself approaching my special place and I start to descend, feeling excited that I will arrive soon.
Getting closer, I can smell the salt in the air, a sure sign that the ocean is near. I land softly on the white sand. The waves are crashing upon the rocks surrounding the cave where I love to spend my time alone, thinking about the beauty around me and being able to dip my toes into the foamy surf of the breakwaters.
As it is a cloudy day, with a cool, brisk wind blowing, the waves are more grey than blue and the breakers are much larger and higher than usual. The sound of them breaking on the rocks and boulders below is like a lullaby, so soothing to my ears. It calms my whole being…body and soul. Sometimes I prefer to see the ocean at its bluest and calmest, but today the intensity of the surf is exactly what I need in order to feel alive.
I am alone, completely alone, at least for now. It is possible that I might be joined by some seals, later in the day, if they decide to rest themselves on the rocks below me. They would be perfect companions as they would not intrude upon my introspective thoughts.
There is the cave, formed within the rocks, that will offer me protection from the winds and crashing surf. I decide to enter the cave to see if it has changed since my last visit. At the entrance, there is enough light to see quite a way into the small cave.
I am surprised to see some photographs and illustrations on the walls of the cave. I see that all of these capture moments of my life that show my most positive qualities. I do not know how they got here, nor do I know who is responsible for putting them here.
I know that these depictions of me at my best were, indeed, put here for me to discover. They are meant to be tools to use on my journey of self-discovery. I decide to take a few with me as I leave the cave to sit on the rocky beach and examine these relics that depict moments from my past.
The first picture I look at shows me with an old friend who was struggling with a very difficult situation with her abusive husband. My wonderful husband and I helped her escape the danger by aiding her move to a safe house. I felt her fear and her pain, although I, myself, have never experienced what she was going through. I spent many hours over the next few weeks listening to her and letting her know that I understood, without judgement. I am glad that I am a compassionate person. I feel that compassion and empathy are very important parts of what being human is all about.
The next photograph is hard to look at. It is a photo of me, the night my husband took his life. I am sitting, crying quietly, with a Pastor who came to see me when the police arrived at my home after my 9-1-1 call. He was the father of two children I had as students a few years before this. I knew him only in this capacity as I was not a member of his congregation.
This very kind man helped me to understand that I am a strong, resilient woman who will not only survive this huge loss, but will go on to have an exceptional life because of this strength. I will always be grateful to this wise man, who died from cancer a number of years later.
The next photograph shows me where I am now living. I am playing pool with my wonderful friends and fellow “Sharkettes”. We are laughing and it is obvious that we are very happy and having a lot of fun. I also see, in the background, another woman who had come upstairs to give me a hug and thank me for the gift of laughter that she said I give her almost every single day, when she hears my laughter. She said that this is the high point of her days.
The last photograph I removed from the cave was one of my son, my two wonderful grandchildren and myself, taken the first Christmas after my son’s separation. It was not his choice to end the marriage. It was not an easy time for any of us, and yet here we are, together, experiencing the joys of the holiday along with the sadness of the break-up of a family. This picture shows that by being supportive of each other and being positive, rather than negative, about the future, we can get through even the most difficult situations.
Here are my reflections on this second leg of my journey of self-discovery:
- Our lives are not always going to be exactly as we wish them to be. Sometimes bad things happen, to all of us. Nobody has a perfect life, even if it looks that way to others. We only see what other people wish to show us.
- We, as individuals, are also not perfect. We all make mistakes. We sometimes make choices we later regret. That is nothing to be ashamed of, as we are all evolving and becoming our best selves. This is because we learn from every experience we have and every choice we make.
- Our lives are meant to change, frequently. Can you imagine if this was not true? We would become stagnant, dull and definitely living at a level so far below the one we could live, by being willing to face our fears, our challenges and our SELVES, and to make the changes we need to make to live our best lives!