Four years ago, I started my journey to healing and spirituality. I started this blog nearly three years ago and titled it Cece’s Voyage: Journey to the Me in my Head. The goal was to better process my feelings and experiences and, hopefully, spare someone else the trouble of tripping over themselves in a similar journey. And frankly, I desperately needed to get back into writing.
So, I have a confession to make. I honestly didn’t think enlightenment would take this long. Call me crazy, but I had no clue that I had so many damn issues. It’s like an onion. Peel off one layer, feel better, then face another reason to cry.
I’m faced with the reality that the journey continues. Yes, I know, life is all about growth. Don’t get me wrong. I knew I’d still be progressing and all that jazz. I just hoped that by now, I would be … Well … The me in my head!
And I’m not. Not at all.
All is not lost. I can honestly say I’ve experienced a great deal of growth in some very unexpected ways. When I started this voyage, I wanted to blend my fierce 25-year-old self with my wiser 30ish self.
That was an epic fail!
It failed because it was the wrong tactic. You cannot create a future by recreating the past. Back then, I didn’t understand that I could not hold on to any part of my past self if I hoped to thrive in the future. Nothing fit anymore. Not the attitude, the clothes, or the coping mechanisms.
However, I was correct that my goal was to blend and merge all my pieces. I needed to blend all the versions of myself to create the me I’ve always wanted to be. Over the years, I had become disjointed. My brain ruled all. My emotions were suppressed, and my spirit and intuition were stunted. I often mistook intuitive nudges as anxiety because the bodily sensations were similar. By hardening my exterior and walling off my emotions, I managed to successfully mute my sensitivity. Which, admittedly, gave me a semblance of normalcy. However, there was an ever-present loss and longing in me that I attributed to needing more excitement in my life.
So, I am not my ideal weight. In fact, like many others, I gained the pandemic 15. I did not find a new job. Instead, I enrolled my son in a school that is five minutes away from my job and not at all convenient to my house. I didn’t grow my blog and monetize it. It’s grown, but it is not monetized in any way. In many ways, my world is even more boring, thanks to the pandemic. In others, it is exponentially more chaotic, also thanks to the pandemic.
Like so many others, I walked into 2020 with purpose and a plan. Insert record scratch. Nope. Just, nope.
It is hard to describe the changes. On the surface, nothing has changed for the better. But inside? Inside I can feel the puzzle pieces rearranging. I feel that I am headed in the right direction. Cue India Arie!
I rushed back to therapy last June because my anxiety had spiked to an unmanageable level. I was fraying at the ends and unraveling at an alarming rate. And I had no vision. None. When I thought about the future, I saw a haze. It wasn’t a doomsday scenario, just dense fog, as if I wasn’t meant to even dream about the future. By June, I’d come to the realization that I had achieved every single goal I’d ever set for myself, and there was nothing left. Monetizing the blog was on the “would be nice” list, not a goal.
I thought, and meditated, and visualized, and journaled, and still got NOTHING. It freaked me out! Suddenly I was hearing voices. “You think too small.” “That’s not what you need.” “That won’t make you happy.” These little sound bites forced me to stop and really sit with myself. My goalless, anxious, housebound self. They forced me to examine my expectations.
When 25-year-old me made goals, the sky was the limit. Literally. She didn’t think about failure or success. It just was and would be because she said so. When 33-year-old me made goals, they were tempered. Write a book and publish it. Twenty people will buy it, mostly family and friends. Congratulations, you did better than you expected! What is the point of that? Yes, most writers don’t get into publishing hoping to be a millionaire, but selling 20 books won’t even get me back my investment in editing services.
The universe was right to stop me. I capped myself at every turn. Get a new job, so I can make at least $10K more. Former coworkers on my level were getting new jobs making at least $25K more.
I wasn’t dreaming up a better life. I was dreaming up a more manageable life. More, in making plans to avoid failure, I was, ultimately, planning to fail.
I was trapped between knowing my worth and not believing I deserved to have it. And I could not figure out how or when I had become my own sparkling clear glass ceiling.
In music class in elementary school, my teacher often played and made us sing a song. The lyrics were, “I might as well think big if I’m going to think at all.” I used to sing my heart out! I believed every single word. When had I stopped thinking big? Seriously? My issue coming into this journey was depression and stress, not pervasive small thinking. Boy, that glass ceiling is so clean and pretty! I didn’t even see it. Yet, now I am in a holding pattern until I can release my limiting beliefs and destroy my self-made prison.
I might as well think big. Why should any thought be small? I might as well think big if I’m gonna think at all.Walt Whitman and Soul Children of Chicago, Think Big
Spiritual growth hasn’t been a topic of late. It’s been sprinkled here and there, but never front and center. The biggest win of this journey has been healing my religious trauma and learning to be true to myself. I have happily and unapologetically cobbled together a set of spiritual practices that work for me and feed my soul. In doing so, I’ve been led to read books that have both opened my eyes and affirmed beliefs I’ve held in my heart since childhood.
Returning to my spirituality has given me back a sense of peace and sanity I thought I had lost. If nothing else changes, that alone is worth everything to me.
Don’t get me wrong. There have been wins. A lot has changed in three years. I’m in a better place mentally, physically, and spiritually. My marriage is strong. My job is great, especially with the promotion and working from home. Ignoring the ifs, ands, and buts, I am happy and unequivocally grateful. The way I look at it, I’m like a car in repair after an accident. The dents, broken parts, and mechanical problems are repaired. The primer is on and dry. Now all I need a shiny new royal purple coat of paint and the requested upgrades installed. Right now, I’m completely drivable and reliable, but not fancy.
Maybe the moral here is to celebrate your wins. All of them. Big or microscopic. There’s no big “Ta-Dee!” after a job well done. There won’t be trumpets to tell you you’ve reached the end. Life will continue to throw shit and gold at you. And it will always seem like you are being derailed, slowed down, or misled. You aren’t. Not if you listen to your intuition. Because if you are listening, everything is in divine timing. So, celebrate where you are so that you can prepare for where you are going.
Small wins aren’t glamorous. They aren’t something to write home about. But let me reframe it. When you were a baby, someone celebrated every single milestone, from hearing your heartbeat during that first sonogram to your graduations. Hell, parents like me would even congratulate you for falling and getting right back up without a (fake) fuss. Parent yourself. Congratulate every win, big or small. If I can’t convince you, remember this. Snoop Dogg thanked himself during his Hollywood star speech. He thanked himself! And you know what? He is exactly right.
Life is a voyage. Keep going. The journey continues!