I love having my birthday in the springtime. I love that feeling of celebration, of new life and of rebirth and of growth. But in order to allow new growth, we have to face up to our challenges, and we have to let some things go.
I turn 40 tomorrow, and I find myself in thoughtful mood as I teeter on the brink of a new decade. This past year has been a time of pain and of vulnerability and of growth for me, and for my family. We have endured the heartbreaking agony of miscarriage twice over. We have faced some unpleasant personal demons. We have embarked on nervewracking and uncertain new work challenges…
And we have emerged stronger and more connected that we thought possible.
Working through our demons, working where we felt resistance, has given us a vastly clearer idea of where we are headed, and what work we still need to do. We are learning to embrace vulnerability, and to share our authentic voices. For me, that has meant speaking out as respectfully and non-judgementally as I can, and supporting parents in a way that feels true to my core values, even knowing that not everyone would resonate, and that some might even be offended by my work. My husband has continued to learn about the situation of women and sexism, and to seek insight and to humbly offer support in furthering the cause of equality between men and women.
We have both felt, and sat with, the discomfort of owning our fears and our prejudices and our judgements, and have learnt to do better.
I have asked myself difficult questions like these: What must you let go of in order to live your life fully? What support do you need to build around you? What do you need? What do you deserve? What do you know to be true? What's next? The answers haven't always been easy.
So what have I learnt? I have learnt that we can't, and shouldn't try to, please all of the people all of the time - and that that is ok. I have learnt about our deep-seated prejudices which are so conditioned we often can't even see them without extensive digging. I have learnt that the situations, and more particularly the people, who trigger me, bring me more learning, growth and motivation than anything else in my life - as painful as this may be. I have also learnt that the triggers are all mine, and that any anger and frustration I direct outward, have their roots in lessons I have not yet learnt. I have learnt that I have essential work to do on myself, and with my children - my family - and with my community, in order to be the person I am supposed to become. And I have learnt to let go of all of that when I need to, and be the person I am right now - because I am whole, just as I am. I have learned that I am simultaneously broken, and exactly as I should be.
I have learnt to bring more presence, gratitude and acceptance to my life. And I have discovered, and developed, and learnt to hold as best I can to my core values, such as kindness, respect, and connection, in all that I do, however imperfect the outcome at times.
So I hope you can forgive me this indulgent, contemplative, celebratory post. And I hope you can also find value in it, and take heart in noticing your own areas of resistance, and your steps through them; because these are the circumstances that bring us the toughest challenges, but simultaneously the most significant personal growth.
What do you need to leave behind you? Where do you need to go? Where are you willing to grow?
Love and light to you all.