For much of my adult life, I’ve been time traveling. Worrying about what happened in the past, trying to avoid negative experiences, and planning out the future. Constantly mapping my path—once I achieve this, then I can finally do that. Once I make this amount of money, then I’ll be happy. When my body feels that way, then I’ll be in good shape. These are pretty common thought patterns, and it’s taken me nearly two years to reprogram myself. It’s pretty incredible how my inner beliefs even show up in my choice of words, as I speak with others and even in my own internal dialogue. These patterns are deep, much deeper than I could have imagined 18 months ago when I stepped onto this path of self-discovery.
In 2014-2015 I got into running. I began running 10km at least four or five days a week and often did a longer run on the weekend, even more so once I started training for my first marathon. I often joked to myself wondering, “What am I running away from?” I knew, at least partially; I’d gone through a devastating breakup and I was trying to handle it as well as possible at the time, but I was, in fact, running away figuratively and literally. Although I was running between 40-60km a week, I didn’t call myself a runner. It’s funny to think about looking back, but I’ve come to realize, this has been echoed in many aspects of my life. I take photographs, but I’m not a photographer, I run but I’m not a runner. When people ask me what I do for work I even struggle to say, “I’m a creative director” definitively. I often fumble around with my words, saying I do this and that and everything in between. Not very convincing. And if that’s what I’m communicating externally, it’s probably much worse internally. While the person who asked me what I did only heard my apprehensive answer once, I’ve heard myself give that lackluster description of who I am and what I do thousands of times. It reaffirmed the subconscious belief that I am not these things, I can’t do these things, and every time I might achieve something in one area or another of my life, the goal posts were easy to move to prove what I still was not.
The danger in this pattern is that I unknowingly stopped myself from achieving what I really wanted. By attaching more superficial signifiers to my perceived success, and focusing on that, I took away from the daily enjoyment of the path I was on. I constantly took myself on detours. If I was a runner, then what? If I was a photographer, what would that mean? If I was a qualified holistic life coach, then what do I have to live up to? Stepping into my power and actually acknowledging it, is a challenging thing to do, and I’m still scared of it. Only recently I uncovered a couple of key subconscious patterns that I’ve been living out for years. These unhelpful patterns have literally prevented me from living the life I envision for myself. Even though I could identify what I wanted, I discovered that I often acted in the opposite way. Fortunately, once I became aware of this, I now had the power to do something about it. I can now strive for that disciplined harmony that keeps me firmly on my path, avoiding as many detours as I can.
I thought that after I ran a marathon, I’d be a runner. So, I ran a marathon in 2015 and finished in just under my goal of three hours. (I have to admit, that was a pretty decent time for my first marathon) However, when people congratulated me, I brushed it off. I didn’t feel any different in terms of embodying what I thought a real runner was supposed to be in my mind. Now, however I can clearly see that I was a runner. Why? Because I was running, I was committed to it and I was putting in the kms. Sure, at that time I may have been using it to suppress some emotional trauma, but that’s partially what sport is for, right?
Last year, I found my way to Paul Chek’s work. After learning more about him, his systems and his courses, I decided to dive into his Holistic Life Coach (HLC) program. Not that I could ever be an HLC myself of course, but at least I could learn and gather some tools to hopefully get myself to some distant future picture of perfect health. Surely with all that knowledge, I would be happy when I looked in the mirror each morning, looking and feeling good. But, no. That’s not how it works.
Finally, I have two notes that have really resonated with me recently, to conclude this story:
i. Fear and Responsibility
As of today, I have not finished my HLC 2 exam. Why? Because I have a lot of resistance to tests and the responsibility that comes with accreditation or accomplishment. It’s much easier for me to be successful and not to have a degree, or to not be a runner and finish a marathon in 2:58, or to take a course and learn the material, but not be certified. This pattern and fear of being has held me back from reaching the best version of myself, I’ve avoided the responsible for not only myself, but what I believe in and the inherent responsibility for others as well. And I say “this pattern” like it’s something outside of me, but it is very much in and part of me. I’m the one holding myself back from becoming the best version of myself. This has become clear to me in the last couple of weeks, and now that it’s in the light. It’s right there for me to tackled head on. Now when people ask me what I do with my coach, or ask me about the personal work I’m doing, I tell them I’m trying to grow up. Even as I write this I can see the word “trying” in there, and it’s is not definitive. It leaves me with an “out”, as if I can try my best but if I don’t do it, I tried, it’s OK. These are small things, but they show up everywhere and I am working intentionally each day to weed them out. I want to be responsible, I want to step into my power and I am growing up.
ii. Living Authentically and Time Traveling
Whether I’m a runner, an athlete, a creative director, a warrior or a king—I have to own it. Recently, I’ve realized that I am never going to get completely caught up with life. Surprise, right? But I can do my very best each day, and in that, live authentically. This is such an important idea for me in everything I do, especially when it comes to holistic wellness and the thought of being a Holistic Life Coach. In line with my older patterns, I kept thinking that once I feel this way, or look that way, then I will be living authentically in this aspect of my life. But that time traveling thought does not serve me. Here’s a cliché (one of the best): Life is a journey, not a destination. Only recently did these ideas combine so that I could have the belief that I am, in fact, living authentically. I am intentionally making life and dream affirmative choices each day, I listening to my body, connecting consciously with nature and with people. That ripples outward from me into the world I interact with, and there is truly nothing more I can do in my life. I now realize that it’s not the destination, it is very much a journey, and while some days or weeks may be more challenging or even ‘bad,’ if I can bring the same level of intention, mindfulness and awareness to my choices and actions, then I am living authentically, and I can share my experience with others in a meaningful way.
I was tempted to write that “I am not a writer” and apologize for the structure of this article and make excuses that while I recognize writing is a beautiful and challenging craft, and I personally don’t have any formal training… But I stopped myself there. After all, I wrote this, with intention, from my heart and therefore, I am a writer.