These days I worry less about what people think of me. I do my best to live from a place of truth and openness rather than denial and defensiveness. Taking care of myself ranks #1 on my priority list. I give myself plenty of rest as I need it, rather than waiting until I’m completely depleted before surrendering. Sometimes I disappoint people. I'm an introvert in an extroverted career, so I need a lot of alone time to replenish. I have (almost) released unreasonably high expectations of myself, over-scheduling and saying “yes” when I meant “no.” I’m a work in progress and always learning.
My life hasn’t always been like this.
I used to live my entire life in denial, covering that up with a hefty dose of constant striving for perfection. This meant that most of the real me was hidden away in a place best defined as dark and scared. Denial and perfectionism were my chosen coping mechanisms when bad things happened. I pretended, even after the suicide of my father when I was a teenager, the gripping circumstance surrounding my divorce, the perils of single motherhood, and more recently the acknowledgment that my partner was suffering greatly as he tried to survive a soul sucking job - that everything was just fine.
Refusing to face the realities of my own life, I created a pattern that Urban Dictionary describes as White-Picket-Fence-Syndrome: a state of mind where a person blindly holds on to the idea of their perfect lifestyle, regardless of the inevitable life factors that make it impossible for it to be true. If Urban Dictionary existed back then, a picture of my phony smiling face would have been displayed. In the past, I would much prefer to suffer in silence and pretend that everything looked delightful, than to take charge of my own life and be true to the real me.
Those days are over.
I now see White-Picket-Fence Syndrome as an epidemic. I witness women every day in my coaching practice and yoga classes as they slowly uncover their true selves while on their mat, layer by layer, one pose and one breath at a time. I observe as they breathe into and connect with their physical bodies in a way that always fosters truth and inspires them to bridge the gap between the life they’re living and the one they crave.
I finally stopped the brutal cycle of denial and defensiveness that kept me small and miserable, doing work I hated, being in relationships that sucked the life out of me and buying things I couldn’t afford, just to name a few. I have created a life in which I have slowed down, downsized and simplified.
After jumping from one mind-numbing corporate job to the next, I now find that my greatest passion is teaching yoga and coaching other women so they can feel more alive, free and aligned with their truth.
I never dreamed I would move across the country and create my own business doing work I love, on my own terms. I am more courageous and bolder than I ever imagined. I stopped trying to control every aspect of life and more importantly I stopped caring what other people thought of my every move.
I’ve learned that each time I unearth a new truth or step even slightly out of my place of comfort, a wave of unprecedented adventure comes my way. I’m willing to examine the areas of my life that make me feel more alive, authentic and free as well as those that do not.