The end of one chapter in your life is also the beginning of another.
That moment when you slip a hand into the pocket of a jacket not worn for a while only to pull out a crisp twenty-pound note. Woot! Yes, that. Great, right? Even if it’s not a crisp, but crumpled one or not a twenty but a five-pound note, it’s a fantastic personal blessing in disguise! A spring in your step as you low-key marvel at how fortunate a thing it is, call your mother and update your Facebook status with the news.
As I write this article it is January 6, 2017, which makes it Twelfth Night. It’s the final day of the Christmas season. To be honest I’m not hugely into Christmas, neither the commercial nor religious side (despite being a fully paid up Roman Catholic, i.e. christened at birth, first holy communion at age seven and confirmation at the tentative age of fourteen), but it is said to be one of the most important celebrations on the Christian calendar. It marks the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Three Wise Men were said to have arrived in Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus. That’s the other thing about being a convent school girl, these teachings never seem to leave you. So, why am I telling you all of this? It’s my hackneyed introduction to my musings about the power of an epiphany when life requires you to bounce back from a personal struggle. Similarly to discovering forgotten cash in your jacket, handbag or wallet pocket, when we least expect it as well as when we are paying attention and being intentional, a pot of gold, a sparkling nugget or a sprinkling of gold dust is never far away.
I think it is safe to say that I have been m.i.a from social media and pretty much, my life (as I know and love it), since July of last year. We all know 2016 had been a tough year in the world in general. In politics, Brexit and the US elections have been trending off the social media charts and have split family, friends and nations bloodily down the middle. In her impassioned speech, Michelle Obama said, the house she lived in was built by slaves, while the death toll of African Americans in police custody or not in custody but going about their everyday lives, shocked the world as it rose month on month. Black Lives Matter became a hashtag among many on the same issue and another cause for division rather than the source for awareness by which it started out.
The lesser reported on fifteen African countries that are currently at war, Syria, where 13.5 million people are reported to still require humanitarian aid and North Korea. The global refugee crisis was highlighted by the picture of a child washed up dead on a Mediterranean beach, followed by devastated women, orphaned children and broken fathers, chased from their tents, handmade shelters in camps on the borders of France in Calais. I found these ‘evictions’ shocking, and from some of the wealthiest nations on the planet. Finally, the number of cultural icons that passed away in 2016 was incredible, Prince, Bowie, Billy Paul, Sharon Jones, Harper Lee, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, Robert Vaughn, Jean Alexander, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Phife Dawg, George Michael on Christmas Day and many, many more. Frankly, a year that left many of us reeling in a state of WTF?
I guess these global events somewhat put things into perspective, however, life happens and it does so in good and not good ways in equal measure. Bereavement, a divorce or bad break-up, money worries or a business crisis, aspects of life that affect our emotional and mental well-being. I do go into a little more detail about my personal struggle in my upcoming e-book, The Emotional Side of the Business. For now, I can say I have lived to tell the tale and utilised the struggle to discover the gold. When you experience any kind of life catastrophe you have to figure out a way to come back from it. There will mostly be a period of mourning or allowing yourself to recover in a way that demonstrates and allows for the benefits of self-partnering (the main theme of my eBook) and good self-care. And yes, that would be the bubble bath and pamper days, the massage appointments, yoga, pilates, etc and when push comes to shove, the box of chocolates and Netflix boxset.
When finally it’s time to get back on track, doing something each day that moves you towards your goal or vision is a sure fire way forward. The self-partnering can now head in the direction of your work, career or business activities and into the mindset that will be a match. The most significant and positively affecting activities and experiences for me in 2016 have been in travelling. In February/ March an indomitable journey to Rishikesh, North India to convene with Guru Mooji, was literally life changing. My most recent month long trip to Barbados which included a mini trip to Guyana for the Christmas weekend was rejuvenating, and a leveller with the time spent with family and good friends. I have learned that we must make the investments where they are most required at the time. This does not always have to mean financially. Time, patience and self-care are good and proper investments as well.
The saying, don’t sweat the small stuff, holds a lot of truth. However it is often the small stuff that makes the most amount of difference. This is when the context becomes the decisive factor. The importance of recognising where the gold is (or might be if you’re prospecting), also enabled me to bounce back. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we are surrounded by blessings all the time! This is apparent when we take the time to acknowledge that which we already have and furthermore, a demonstration of good fortune whether large or small, is an excellent reminder. Good fortune might arrive, right at the point where it feels like the only option left is to give up. Know that there will be times when you have to mine for the gold, times when you have to be the one to make it happen, whether in business, career or a personal matter in your relationships.
My epiphany and indeed the inspiration for this article came when I found myself, feeling like I needed to start from scratch. It’s not uncommon to feel like you have to start from some kind of beginning to get back to where you were. First of all, there is no logic in trying to get back to the past. We can never go back. It does not matter how good or not good the time was, it is done. Secondly, never forget that the end of one chapter in your life is also the beginning of another. For some reason, when you are in the midst of a life struggle, all of this good stuff seems to get forgotten. It’s tough being a mere mortal sometimes. Sheesh!
I’m a big notebook person. I guess it comes from the writer in me who was advised very early on to always carry a notebook. You never know when inspiration might strike, right? Reading through one of my current notebooks triggered the epiphany. It was pleasantly shocking to find gold nuggets that I could cash in for business ideas, self-development exercises and workshop ideas, story ideas and lines of poems or inspiration. It would seem, that at some point in the last two-years faith and fortune had me pen my thoughts and feelings on a personal struggle as a poem.
Reading, as if for the first time, a visceral pre-first draft of a grim realisation about a relationship I was conflicted with at the time, it almost brought me to tears for what the woman who had written it was dealing with. It felt very real, but as if someone else had written it. She was a poor soul, in a bad situation, trying to work out how life had come to what it was. I was also warmly surprised in the moment to note that it was providing closure in recognising how far I have come and how unaffected I am to revisit aspects of that short chapter of my life. It is when we can look back on challenging times and feel neutral or distanced from them that we know we have overcome.
This article was also a vehicle for how I might post this poetic piece of writing as part of this post and for it to be useful or inspirational to share with the world. More favourably, it is the experience in how it came to be, I hope, that is of most consequence. Please let me know in the comments how you have bounced back after a personal struggle and what you learned from it. I would be really interested to connect with you and together expand our toolkit for living well.
I imagine your interest in the telling of the poem is now peaked. There will be an opportunity to read it all being well. Yesterday, I received an email reminding me that I had agreed to a request to contribute to a new online magazine. Once it is published I will let you know, so stay tuned! Scroll down below and join the insiders group and I will update you on when the magazine is out.
Wish you well.