“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
As I was running late to one of my favorite spin classes at Redbike early on Saturday morning, I was so looking forward to an opportunity to release all the built up tension in my mind. I used to go to this class on a consistent basis, now I was just so grateful that my back, hips and ankle healed enough so that I could go. Revving myself up with praise because I actually got up, got dressed and decided to go, there remained that loud, incessant, little voice in my head so ready to shame me for everything that I have not done, telling me what kind of loser I appear to be in my worst estimation, feeling old, tired, with extra weight on my bones. And desperate to answer back with some sort of vigor from an optimist, I consoled my wounded soul, “Maybe this will help you start over Meg!”
Then after 45 minutes of climbing imaginary mountains and sprinting to the finish line to the incredible beat of the latest in Latin Club music as the fit, amazing instructor cheered me on, I remembered the young vibrant, beautiful girl who danced to salsa, merengue and tropical music on hot Colombian nights surrounded by friends and potential partners when I was just 16 years old full of life. I remembered the enthusiasm and zeal I had as I said yes to adventure after adventure at 18, 19, 20, 21, traveling to unique destinations to serve in missions or to understand and connect with a new culture. I remember writing and sharing my story at 30, 45, 40, with others so that I can get past what has held me back for so long. I remembered publishing my first book and holding my first uplifting event at 45, 46, 47 so I could share what wisdom I have gained. And, I remembered at 48 walking and climbing the hills of El Camino and completing the journey with a sense of satisfaction. In those 45 minutes, I sprinted through memories of so much of what I loved about me and my life.
So, I laughed to myself as the pre-workout, daily boring life review had me only seeing the things that I label as “bad”. Punishing myself for where I am now. Isolating myself because I don’t feel like that girl anymore. And, wasting my energy thinking about where I have gone wrong.
Sweaty, breathless and clearer, I got the balls to answer back to that voice, “I AM NOT STARTING OVER, but to continue to write the story of my dreams, I gotta start somewhere!”.
Bottom line as I see it, change is so challenging. It has always been for me. I have never navigated it smoothly. Not sure why really?!? But my saving grace in the past that has gotten me through, I have had my mother there with me to hold my hand. When I graduated from college and did not know what to do next, I spent a GAP year (who knew it had a name over 25 years ago) living with my parents trying to figure it out. When I moved to Miami to start graduate school, my mother came with me to help set me up in a new condo and gave me some great ideas for a new job. When I did not know what to do after graduate school, my mother supported me as I applied to law school and went in that direction. When I graduated from law school, my mother encouraged me as I passed the bar and told me to keep the faith when I got passed over by the job that I interned with only to find one with as a lawyer in an area that interested me. When I decided to leave that first job because of a toxic work environment and I got tired of crying in the bathroom before leaving each day, my mother told me to have no regrets and just do what I need to do. The night before I got married, my mother told me that she would always be there for me to support me as I navigate this new partnership. And, when I faced some serious problems in my relationship, she was always the one I could go to for unconditional love and support. And before she died, she told me she was so proud of me, that try to eliminate stress, but most importantly live life with no regrets. So, yeah- more of my former life transitions I had her right beside me and it made it that much easier. And when she died, I had the friends at my office to stand by and watch over me.
Now this time, 7 years later, I was leaving those friends behind, leaving the safe golden cage that I called home for nearly 20 years behind and venturing out into a whole new world. The one difference is that I am doing it more isolated than before and as time goes by it has become more clear to me that it is the people who surround me that help me the most and with whom I feel most alive. So going to a spinning class, calling and setting up lunch dates, texting others and being vulnerable as to where you are, and NOT focusing on the things that you have not achieved but surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good as to how you show up in the present moment. This is what it is all about. No shame in that game.
So when I got a beautiful message from my soul brother who lives miles and miles away reminding me of who I do attract in my life and what we are here to do, I smile and hush that little nasty voice threatening to sabotage my happiness, and focus on what makes my soul sing, dance, and breathe. The transitions will continue to happen. The big ones that shake the foundation will course correct and be trying at times, but to have the courage to continue, we are all reminded that we are not starting over, but gotta start somewhere on a new page to continue to write the best story that sets out our unfolding dreams as the dancer, adventuresome soul ready to experience all that life has to offer. And as it does unfold, I will continue to make better choices to get on the bike, walk down the road, and reach out to others, because suffering is no longer an option for me.