It’s been a rocky 42 years, but I am pleased to report life seems to be turning itself around. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, because I have always been a scrapper. Rather, it was for a lack of understanding.

Most of my relationships hovered at the surface, barely scraping the layer beneath, never graduating to that deeper level I wanted. Decades spent jumping through the requisite hoops without realizing more meaningful connections forced me to realize I had just learned the motions. I had become an automaton, performing as was recommended and trying my damndest every day without ever grasping why I should affect the gestures of the dancing bear.

It wasn’t until I got life-changing sick, that I was able to ascend another strata into the realm of what is life about anyway? That I awoke to an immersion in true happiness, complete with a fresh answer to the question what does it mean to be fulfilled? It’s very individual… this striving for more, this crystallization of your particular path. When the lights come on and you go forward, at last privy to the loose plans you might be lucky enough to pencil in, that is illumination. This is how I progressed:

1. Panicking is pointless.

For years, I had been plagued with panic attacks. I could usually sense them coming on, which would only greatly intensify my fear. A therapist gave me a book to read about panic attacks and I had to hide it from myself because even looking at it would freak me out. I shucked and jived away from any subject that would upset me. Control issues and an underlying, but virulent eating disorder sent me on the hunt for the guarantee of what would make me safe. Since then, I have learned in the morning it all looks better. We are not designed to live as stagnant beings. We are always changing, time is moving and nothing can hold us still or keep us locked in security for interminable moments.

2. You are limitless.

At the end of last year, illness swooped in and disabled me. My carefully constructed temple of who I had deemed myself to be trembled at the base. I did not know about the gristle strength lurking under my skin. So I launched the year of reinvention. Which meant hustling like there was no option. Because there wasn’t. And I have found out I am superhero strong and smart enough to figure out most puzzles. I can reach out to people and ask for help and it doesn’t diminish my own power. The power of me, the power of you… it’s in us already. Sometimes buried by old, junky messages of our past, by hateful people; sometimes we’ve never even known of this second-self existence.

3. Health is to be cherished.

Move your body today. Take the parking spot furthest from the store. Go to the mall and walk around. Stroll the perimeter of your home. Just go. Find the individual habits you need to remain healthy for your body. Now that I am on the road back to health, I will never again take it for granted. Our bodies need clean fuel, movement and preventative care to preserve their special functions we are allowed.

4. Living in ignorance can hurt you.

Learn about the things you fear. Address lingering subconscious terrors of which you might be murkily aware. Talk to people about their differing religious views. Encourage open conversation. Participate in critical discussions and educate yourself on true facts. Take an hour and soak up info about our presidential candidates. Read up on our gravest issues and use your voice. With your newfound knowledge you will either discover you need to take action against injustices, or you worried for nothing.

5. We are here to help each other.

We are not here to make each other into willing and mindless sheep. We are here to embrace diversity and to use situations we don’t understand to open our hearts. The next time you are set on talking, stop yourself. Hear the other side. Unearth your gifts, then spread them outward from your heart and pay it forward, always. We are not on this planet as a sole means to save ourselves, or to give ourselves an advantage. Good fortune means sharing, blessing others so they can help. It’s a love network and tapping into that kind of force in your life is a snapshot experience that will become indelibly marked on your brain. So you will go on, weaving your love network, doubling, tripling, quadrupling your efforts to create miracles.

 

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Photo credit: Flickr/Susanne Nilsson

 

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