I initially wrote this post in a private blog that I write in, but I thought I would share these self-reflections with you today – perhaps you and I have shared some of these experiences, or perhaps not. But I like to hear about the personal growth journeys of others, so I hope you may enjoy reading this too.
My life has been pretty easy for me. For the most part. Losing my first baby was a truly humbling experience. Everything else that I have struggled with in my life has been mostly my doing.
In my life, I don’t feel like I have done anything special, worthy or notable. When I share little glimmers of these reflections of myself, like a shattered mirror – the people who love me say “That isn’t true, you have done so much.” and then they list the various things about my life that they consider to be accomplishments “You got through medical school! You’re a doctor!” This is the most popular one. The one that seems to hold the most weight to others. My “greatest accomplishment.”
But I’m not working as a doctor. I got stuck in the middle of nowhere after I graduated and my baby died. And now I’m facing 3 enormous exams that I have built up into mountains in my mind, that I constantly feel not ready to face. Not good enough.
And quite honestly, I just don’t feel like getting through medical school was any kind of achievement – just a matter of luck. I was at the right place at the right time. I floated along, I followed the currents of the water, I swam to where the river meets the ocean, and since then I’ve just been engulfed by the massiveness of everything and nothing all at the same time. Life.
I’ve had plenty of ups and downs in my life. It was only a couple of years ago where I came to understand that it was I who created these constant upheavals and chaos around me.
Relationships were always important to me because I believed that was the only area of life that I could feel something with intensity. Falling in love, and out of love was an intense experience. Bad love can shake a person at their core. It was my act of rebellion. It made me constantly live on the edge, it made me constantly break and heal. I have always felt everything in a big way. I make the ordinary into extraordinary. I know that about myself. But as I have grown, I have come to see that I don’t need to be heartbroken to feel intense about life. I have learned that just my personal evolution can be an incredibly intense experience.
My life was filled with things that started good and ended badly. Castles that crumbled over time. That was what I was used to – the belief that things spoil over time. Intense, wonderful experiences, which slowly wither away and leave a bad taste in my mouth. Memories that sting. A scar.
There are just so many things in life that are built on this foundation.
These were the patterns of my life.
I didn’t know how to treat something true, and pure and good. I didn’t know how to be consistent. I didn’t know how to nourish and nurture. I didn’t know how to grow goodness. I craved intensity, not drama, but intensity – and because of this, I would create dramatic situations. Ultimately, I would sabotage myself. But dramatic situations doesn’t mean intensity, and my spiritual practice has shown me that you can be intense in total peace. Living life with intensity doesn’t have to come at the expense of my inner peace. I may have to sacrifice this warm cozy corner of my comfort zone, but I don’t have to leave myself. I may tremble, but I don’t have to crumble.
That’s a distinction I’ve had to learn. There are other ways to crave these intense experiences in my life.
I am a 28 year old woman now… and my life has been slowly transforming. This phase of my life is different. I am not that girl anymore.
These days, my life consists of things that take some effort and perseverance in the beginning, and become sweeter over time. I have grown accustomed to this change in dynamic, and I wouldn’t want to return to the reverse.
If I am given a bouquet of flowers – I know that they will die in a week. I have been blessed for a week.
But if I am given seeds – I can grow a rose bush. It may take time, and effort, and consistency but eventually it will bloom under the right conditions, at the right time. And then it will return to bloom every summer. I have been blessed for many years to come.
I am trying to eat well, and be active – it requites a lot of effort now, and I don’t always feel like it, or enjoy doing it. but as the weeks roll by, my body is changing and I can feel it.
Motherhood. Being a mother to my daughter. It gets better every day.
My marriage. There have been lots of bumps along the road. But now it is so sweet, I can honestly that every day with my husband is better than the last. Every day with my husband I love him more than I loved him yesterday. He is pure pure goodness – and I believe that it was in meeting him that he showed me how to nurture something so lovely and precious.
Studying for my medical licensing exams, can feel pretty grim and arduous on a day to day basis, especially with my fears and insecurities looming over me like a dark cloud. But they give me the opportunity to grow my knowledge, so that I may be the very best doctor that I can be for my future patients.
I know now that I want to commit myself to more long term acts of love, and joy. It is enriching my life. Everything feels fuller now, and more wholesome. There are so many moments of uncertainty and fear on this path that I find myself walking, but finally I know what I must do – I must take the bad, the hard, the difficult, the dark, the impossible – and make it into something beautiful and good. And I must take the good (and there is so much of it), and let it grow. And because of this, I feel powerful, I feel centered, at peace, and held by all of life.