We were all eating at my parent’s kitchen table, exhausted from a day of condolences and standing in a line receiving my mother’s mourners. We were all eating in her kitchen, but she was missing. Truth is she hadn’t been there in months. Instead she laid in her bed and fought her losing battle with cancer for three months prior.
That night I arose from the table in a daze, wandered into my mother’s room and laid down as if beside her. I clutched her shawl in my hands, it still smelled like her. A sweet combination of Oil of Olay and her Red Door perfume. I clutched it and sobbed the deepest and most guttural sobs. My sisters ran in to see if I was okay and all I could think, all I could say is “who is going to love me now?”
I didn’t understand those words fully. I didn’t’ get their meaning until many years later.
Grief has a funny way of changing you… and sticking around.
A year later I was visiting these depths again.
This time it was 4am and I had just forced myself to stay awake to finish a fantasy book I had become obsessed with. I was taking me into a realm of mystery and romance, anything to take me away from the unhappiness and prison that had become my life. I had become obsessed with these books and the movies based on them all in an effort to numb the pain I wasn’t even aware I was feeling.
I finished the last page, closed the book and burst into tears, I went into the bathroom so he wouldn’t hear me, even though he had been sleeping in the other room for months now… because of the snoring we justified, but we both knew better.
I hustled into the bathroom with the lights off and fell to the floor, weeping, sobbing… “I want that!” I cried, “I want that!” – I was referring to the freedom and untamed love I had experienced in my novel, the feeling of being alive and inspired that it ignited in me.
“I want that!”
I cried so hard and with such depth and then suddenly as quick as it began, it came to a halt. Like a diver who suddenly makes contact with the bottom of the pool; with nowhere else to go, she begins her accent.
In my sudden stop I became aware of where I was, not just literally on the bathroom floor, but in an overweight body, unhappy relationship and a completely cookie-cutter unhappy life. I wasn’t fulfilled, I didn’t even know what that looked like. I just knew that it was not happy and I wanted out.
Slowly, I picked myself up… slowly I returned to bed and turned out the lights… tomorrow would be another day, but not the same as the others. I knew that it wouldn’t be the same, because for the first time in what felt like an eternity I cried out to the heavens and admitted I wasn’t happy, I admitted what I had been denying with distractions like work, social media and food and more food.
Things had to change.
I had to change.
The next morning, the next month everything would change. What began in a heap on the bathroom floor would become my greatest adventure, my deepest search and my unending transformation…I began.
The details of breaking my engagement and leaving what appeared to be a perfectly put together home in suburbia are not as important as the fact that I looked around and admitted that this was not me, and although I didn’t know who ‘me’ was I was determined to find out.
I chose myself, for what felt like the first time in my entire life.
I’d love to write here that immediately after this my whole life became perfect and I met and married the man of my dreams who is not only my partner in life but my partner in a global mission to uplift human consciousness, and that we’re abundantly wealthy and living and travelling to beautiful places around the world. I would love to write that… someday I will, but that’s not how life works. That’s how movies and romance novels work, that’s how clever marketing and BS on Facebook works, not how REAL life works… but I’m working on it!
But I will write this.
Those weren’t my last days of waking up from a distracted life. There were other moments in the years that followed that were difficult, moments when I thought I would not get up… moments when the pain and grief that flowed out me felt like it would drown me… moments of waking up.
In one of these moments of falling to my knees again in a pile of grief as big as my mother’s death (truth be told it was still that grief), this time over the ending of another relationship, I found my way out of my own hell.
The question I asked so many years earlier surfaced again; this time there was nowhere to run, no distraction big enough. This time I had to know; “who is going to love me now?”
This time the answer came.
Clear as a church bell reverberating in my ears.
A voice from deep within screamed into my ears… the answer was ME!
A lifetime of avoiding my deep inner pain all came down to this. The inner work to wholeness and loving yourself if not for the faint of heart. It is a journey as deep and as wide as the ocean. It’s painful at times and you have to face things you don’t want to face. You spend a lifetime avoiding all these things. You create debt, dis-ease in your body and turmoil in your relationships and businesses all in an effort to AVOID the only place that true fulfillment and healing can come from… inside you!
These unclaimed shadowy parts of yourself bleed into every area of your life until they get acknowledged and cauterized.
As an entrepreneur it can show up as self judgement, criticism, never feeling like you’re enough or doing enough, earning enough. It can show up as doubt in your performance and in the value you bring to the world. The shame of not feeling good enough can drive us to both achieve our highest heights and fall to our deepest depths.
Sure everyone around you is in awe of what you do and what you’ve accomplished, but inside you feel like a secret shameful failure who has just not done enough to be enough.
It is not until you break this chain and find the bridge between your obsessive need to achieve and fear of failure and your need for deep purpose that you can enjoy a full life of effortless success and abundance in all areas.
For most of my life and through all of my achievements the dragon on my back was “I’m not lovable, I’m not enough”. While this strategy has brought me success and given me the courage to continually grow and transform it has also held me back in more ways than it’s helped.
Learning a new strategy is not always easy or even obvious. Sometimes you keep the very behaviours that are the most destructive because on some level they are still protecting you and serving some purpose to your inner self.
However, what you protect yourself from feeling will always be running your life until you stop the distractions – or the Universe stops them for you – and you deal with the truth that’s dying to be set free and then create a new strategy that is not destructive.
A life of distraction and avoiding will always lead you to your own version of the bathroom floor… because it’s not sustainable, and that’s a good thing.
The longer you distract yourself from dealing with the deeper issues that are blocking your success, your joy and your absolute fulfillment in life, the longer you spin in and out of control. Unable to feel enough you’re constantly striving and searching leads you to more and more of the same feelings.
Signs you might be addicted to distracting and or avoiding yourself are:
- watching too much TV
- hours spent on social media
- eating when you’re not hungry or over-eating when you are
- working too much, obsessing about success and the “next thing’
- serial dating or losing yourself in relationships
- using self criticism as a driver
- addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, food, etc.
- talking too much all the time – “a wall of words”
- complaining of boredom often
- obsessing about your appearance
- focusing on external results or praise from others
WORK IT OUT:
Here’s an exercise to do when you catch yourself distracting.
Stop what you’re doing, breathe and ask yourself:
“What is it that I’m unwilling to acknowledge in this moment?”
Continue breathing and write down what comes to you. Then ask:
“Where in my body do I FEEL this?”
Acknowledge that part, breath, write it down. Then… and this is most important:
FEEL IT fully! (this is the part we avoid and this is where the healing is)
Cry if you need to, punch a pillow if you need to… but FEEL it.
“I acknowledge that I’m feeling ____________ and I give myself permission to be with this feeling.”
Lather – rinse – repeat… literally!
See the problem isn’t the feeling. The problem is that you’ve identified WHO you are as the feeling and you’ve made it wrong of scary to go there.
Sounds simple right?
Sometimes the answers are so simple that we completely avoid them or overlook their efficacy. This works… and the more you do it, the more in touch you become with yourself, your true purpose and desires. You reach a deeper level of self forgiveness and connection.
You stop avoiding and start truly LIVING and FEELING
If you want to avoid (pun intended) the bathroom floor it’s time to start scrubbing your internal tiles a bit more… scrub, scrub, scrub!
You got this…
So much love to you on your journey,
“Giovanna is a Leadership Consultant & Coach; a catalyst for inspiration, transformation and personal growth through self-leadership. For nearly 8 years she held a successful clinical practice as an Alternative Medicine Doctor near Toronto Canada where she is originally from. She has worked over the past 20 years both personally and professionally within the spiritual and personal development field. In 2014 she founded of ‘Your Heart’s Song Coaching’, a vehicle dedicated to both Personal and Professional Leadership through seminars, workshops and one on one coaching using her signature coaching model for emotional and spiritual intelligence: The Triad™.
As a both a spiritual teacher and self confessed nerdy girl she brings the art and science of heart/mind transformation through mentorship and coaching to entrepreneurs and creatives who wish to create a shift in human consciousness through their work. She currently resides in California where she also mentors new coaches through her apprenticeship programs.”