In the past three years or so, it seems that the world has exploded with new ways of communicating. In early 2007, I had never sent a text message and had barely heard of Facebook, but by May of that year, my reliance on both those mediums had grown incredibly. A major reason for that was the Jarvis Reunion, because I had reconnected with so many people with whom I wanted to stay in contact. I would later realize, however, that there was one person I found at the reunion that I didn’t even realize I had lost touch with. That person was me.
At that time, I was married with 4 boys, living in an affluent suburb. I had a grand home, a cottage in Muskoka and my children went to private school. I owned a Wellness Centre, was a practicing Psychotherapist and had been growing spiritually for over a decade. I had worked hard over the past 20 years to create my “ideal” life and I don’t think anyone, in their wildest dreams, would have imagined that 3 years later I would have separated from my husband, sold my business and moved back downtown...least of all, me.
It’s not that there were no warning signs along the way. There were many. But, I was determined to believe that this lifestyle I had created would eventually lead to happiness, and even though there had been a little voice inside me, all along, saying, “this isn’t you”, I chose to ignore it.
What happened in the few months surrounding the Reunion literally ended up changing the course of my life. During this period I encountered several major challenges. First, I had a life threatening health issue, which made it necessary for me to take a leave of absence from my business. That led to a financial crisis which, coupled with my health concerns, added to the tension in my already troubled marriage. It seemed that the little voice inside me was tired of being ignored and had been replaced with an emphatic scream. I needed a wake up call, and the universe was determined to get my attention, once and for all.
Being in the company of people whose only experience of me had been 30 years before, I realized that who they saw and who I had become were two very different people. Its not that I had become a bad person. In fact, the opposite was true. Over the years, I had devoted myself to becoming the best version of myself that I could and I believe that I had succeeded. I had no issue with the woman I was now, but the girl I had been in high school had somehow disappeared.
Seeing myself through the eyes of those old friends gave me a very profound insight and one of my life’s greatest gifts to date. It came at a time when my inner world was in peril and I was broken down and vulnerable. I was looking for answers to why this was all happening to me and because of that I was open to seeing who I was from another perspective. It helped me to understand what the little voice inside me had been trying to tell me all along: That, in the search to create my ideal life, I had become focused on “becoming” something or someone new and improved. I had suppressed what I believed to be the imperfect parts of myself because I thought I needed to protect myself from the pain of old mistakes and past trauma and to prevent myself from having to live through that pain again. In doing so, I became disconnected from the essence of who I was, which led me to feel incomplete. Even though my life had seemed perfect on paper, the little voice inside had been saying, “This isn’t you. It’s only part of you. There are pieces missing, and until you find them, nothing in your life will feel balanced.” The more I continued to ignore the little voice, the further I drifted away from my true self. But eventually, the little voice enlisted some backup from the universe and I finally started listening.
What unfolded as a result of this insight was far from simple and over the months that followed it became clear to me that, in order to become whole again, I would have to make some very drastic changes in my life. Unfortunately, that meant bringing a few chapters to a close. The process of selling my business and ending my marriage proved to be painful beyond comprehension and yet I managed to get through it, comforted by the fact that I was finally listening to my heart. It has not been easy and I would not wish that kind of pain on anyone, but I have never once doubted that I was doing the right thing, and that I find remarkable. There is a kind of certainty I have now that I did not have before, and that comes from embracing all the aspects of myself, the good, the bad; the dark and the light. I no longer think in terms of what I am looking for to make me happy but rather, what I already have. I am committed to the discovery of my own truth and I continuously challenge myself to just “be who I am”. The skeletons in my closet have all been revealed, and I’m not ashamed of them. After all, they helped make me who I am today, and I’m proud of that person, warts and all.
Most importantly, I do my best not to ignore that little voice any more. It is the voice of my inner truth, authenticity, and integrity its the best way I know to find my way on this journey.
"There Is A Voice Inside Of You
That Whispers All Day Long,
"I Feel That This Is Right For Me,
I Know That This Is Wrong."
No Teacher, Preacher, Parent, Friend
Or Wise Man Can Decide
What's Right For You- Just Listen To
The Voice That Speaks Inside."
- Shel Silverstein