Life before my loss was… good.
I could probably even argue that it was great.
Mostly because I didn’t understand how far from good it actually was. I didn’t understand how disconnected I was from my truth, despite all the years of personal growth work I’d already done. I didn’t recognize how toxic, unhealthy, and even abusive my relationships were, and I definitely had no idea how I was contributing to that pattern. I was generally pretty happy, getting back to being in great shape, and running a thriving business with a phenomenal team. I was making really good money with so much ease and so little required of my time.
Life before my loss was good.
Except that it also wasn’t.
I’d just turned 30 and thought I’d really figured things out.
Except that I hadn’t… not even close. I was still building my business and relationships from an outdated way of being. A “winning strategy” that asked me to continually compromise myself, my health, my worth, and my happiness for the sake of someone else’s comfort. I knew I didn’t know everything… but I thought I’d finally “figured enough out” and that life was going to get easier.
I thought I was healthy, energized, and strong.
Except that I wasn’t… I was already having small anxiety attacks from the suffocation and controlling nature of my relationships, even struggling to swallow at random times. I was dissociated, fragmented, and lost in my oldest patterns, fears, and limiting beliefs. I was walled off and disconnected in so many ways.
People were impressed by me and I thought I was creating at a high level.
Except that I wasn’t… not at the level or capacity that was actually possible for me. I was settling for less than I was capable of and believing the lie that I could or couldn’t do things based on other people’s perception of what was and was not possible. I was still giving away my power to “mentors” and “experts.” I wasn’t speaking my truth, nor was I teaching, leading, or creating from the depths that I am now. I’d barely scratched the surface.
At the end of 2014, I chose the word expansion for the following year.
All I wanted was a little more. A little more connection, money, community, creativity, and purpose. I had no idea what I was asking for. I had no idea how much loss would be required—in all areas of my life—for me to expand in all the ways I desired. I had no idea how much needed to change.
That’s the thing about this type of growth work, the moment you believe you understand truth and have “done all the work,” that’s the moment you most need a kick in the pants to move to the next level.
We’re never done. We never reach a point of knowing all there is to know about ourselves, our work, our purpose, our relationships, or this world. Our perceptions and our truth is ever evolving when we stay present and fully engaged with this life and the people around us.
We are always growing because we are always being challenged.
Loss humbled me in ways I didn’t know I needed to be humbled. It opened my eyes to new truths and new ways of being. New levels of recognition that there’s so much more to becoming who we’re here to be and doing the work we’re here to do then we may every fully realize in our short little lives. The opportunities for growth, connection, creativity, and healing are absolutely infinite.
Loss shed light on all the ways I was still compromising myself. All the ways I was playing small, hiding out, not showing up or speaking my truth. It cracked me open so I could see all the ways I was tolerating and accepting abuse and mistreatment because I hadn’t yet learned to value myself or my work.
But I’ve only been able to fully grok the lessons and the gifts—to acknowledge the MASSIVE levels of growth and change—by looking back at where I started.
This is why we look at “the world before” in Journey Mapping™.
Not as a place to return to, because going back to who we were and how things worked before is no longer an option. It’s about understanding where we started and how far we’ve come. Noticing what’s shifted and why things had to break or fall apart in exactly the ways they did. We’re then able to let go of our attachment to “how things are supposed to be,” and shift into what comes next.
In order to truly understand where you’re going, you have to acknowledge where you’ve been… while also having a willingness to accept that it will likely never be that way again.
It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking to witness “what was” with the clarity of hindsight, while also acknowledging what’s yet to come… because what’s yet to come is going to be so different in so many ways that you can’t yet define.
This work of looking back at “the world before” and honestly honoring who you were, how you did and did not show up, along with what you had and had not created is all things necessary. This is an essential part of the process of uncovering the purpose of our path, the trajectory of our journey.
What journey are you focused on right now? And have you really taken the time to honestly acknowledge where you began, while getting clear on what’s changed and what comes next?
I recommend taking some time to ponder that if not. 😉