I want to share something with you that's raw, vulnerable and powerful.
On this day in 2001, I witnessed with my eyes the mass destruction of life at the World Trade Center in New York City. I felt and experienced death on an unimaginable scale. In the wreckage, something else emerged: a fledging desire to be of service, to work for people, and to bring love to the world. I felt it and I let it go, for ten years.
Three years ago, during a weekend workshop on September 10 & 11, 2011, at the lowest point of my life, I had experienced my own death.
You see, that year, I had hit rock bottom. Numb, passion-less and disconnected, I was floating lifelessly in a sea of gray. But a storm was brewing inside. My body was waging war on itself, landing me in the hospital with unexplainable illnesses. My mind was holding my soul hostage, forcing it to be practical, maintain appearances to fit in, and succeed by societal standards - while my soul wanted purpose and passion. My heart was aching to be seen, really seen - and to be free to love. My sex was craving expression, my body craving nourishing touch.
On this day three years ago, on a floor of a workshop, I finally felt the deep sadness of living a life of "supposed to be's and do's" that landed me with a picture-perfect life with no substance. I woke up to the realization that my life as it was then was not worth living. I let the tears flow uncontrollably. And in that moment, I chose to end my old life - and I chose to live, really live.
What I got that day was clarity that I had had enough and things needed to change for me to stay alive - literally. I had heard the wake-up call.
Then something else was born: freedom.
True freedom. Freedom from inner tyranny of "I am not good enough". Freedom from needing to be perfect, put together and under control. Freedom from holding back my emotions and aliveness to be appropriate. Freedom to be me, instead of a curated role of who I "should" be. The change did not happen overnight. I worked with coaches, doing deep transformative work, for several years. I was supported by a community as I shed layers and layers of behaviors and beliefs that suppressed my aliveness. And it took a whole lot of filling up on love to get myself to the place of fullness to make the big leap. I would have never imagined that I'd be living the life I have today. And it's far from perfect or comfortable. It's fucking hard actually.
But the feeling of aliveness - so raw, powerful and intoxicating that it still scares me - is incredible. The aliveness from following my heart and my soul. Feeling all of my emotions, from ecstatic joy to anger, without apology or restraint. Expressing myself through my gifts and doing my work in the world. Being honest with myself and able to express my truth to others even though it might piss them off or scare them away. Today, there is no one else's life that I would rather live than my own, no Jones's next door that I'd rather compare myself to.
This has been the truest and deepest freedom I've ever experienced. And this freedom has brought magic into my life: deep heart-to-heart connection and love, talented and loving people, and gifts and opportunities beyond my imagination.
Why I am sharing this with you?
Yes, I want you to know me better. I also know that this freedom is accessible to all of us. And it starts with the moment when you choose life. When you choose to let go of what is not working. When you leap forward into the unknown, because deep down you know that you have amazing capacity for aliveness in you.
Some of us have the fortune to be able to make that decision and go. Others, like me, get dragged by the bus of life until we have to wake up. Some never get the call.
Wherever you are in life journey, ask yourself these questions:
- How can I choose more aliveness in my life?
- What do I need to let go of to create more aliveness?
- What old ways of seeing/being are holding me hostage?
- What has to change?
And remember that you can always choose life and aliveness, in every moment.