taking the long way around

"Well I fought with a stranger and I met myself.
I opened my mouth and I heard myself.
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself.
Guess I could have made it easier on myself.

But I, I could never follow"

Dixie Chicks - The Long Way Around

I have never been one to take the most direct route in life and sometimes you could wonder how things could have looked if you did - or what could have been accomplished sooner - but then I guess you could say that if the route that was taken was not taken then  than would we be where we are.
I think sometimes the best things in life are found on the journey...by taking a circuitous and unknown route in life and in that trying to find the way around to where I think I am going, and sometimes it ends up being nothing like I thought it would be. Yet, I have had the unique pleasure of meeting some amazing people along the way.
I will say it isn't easy knowing where you want to be and yet taking a long windy approach to the destination - but at the same time I have never been like most people. Sometimes, taking the road less travelled was by my own design and at other times, circumstances lead me in directions I would not have made the choice to go, but all of it is part of being alive!

I have been to University, graduated with a BA Honors in Kinesiology, with a Minor in Sociology. Of which I almost quit several times - due to not knowing what I was doing or why I was spending the money, and through that I went part time to finish because I had decided it was important, but was overwhelmed on so many fronts to keep going at the pace I was... So, I struggled through (and am VERY thankful I did as it taught me so much about myself through that time in my life). I then left my home town of London Ontario and moved a long way away to an island on the other side of the Country to find out what I was made of...without a safety net or somewhere to fall - which at 23 is a gamble. But, through that I found my life's passions on a long windy road that I am still not finishing walking... and this part of the journey is just the surface stuff - forget the deep inner personal ups and downs. And not forgetting that I am still only 33 as I write this, so clearly there is a ton still to come.

Anyway, I have made some choices and done some things in my life that have confused me and other things that I am not proud of. Like most people,  I went through things that changed the very fabric of my own life and therefore how I see things, how I view the world and the people I meet. I have been brought to my knees many times and proven that life can bring you to the very edge of yourself, your sanity, and your grace, and in that you can find out what you are made of - find out if you like what you see. Then, it gives you the grace AND strength you need to get back up - if you have the courage to embrace what you have found and use it to better yourself and others.

In the circumstances that lead me to find my way out of my darkest moments - I had to question everything that I not only thought about life, humanity, love, and God, but also about how I saw others and how others saw me (two very distinct different glasses are put on here). And then, not just how you see others - but how you relate, connect, and see into their souls or finding time, and sometimes the patience to see people past the quick interactions that we have with so many - past circumstances, past the reality they live in, past any superficial and/or deep interactions you may have had with them.
I learned that you can't begin to understand where someone else is coming from, or what they have struggled with, moved past, been through, or hoped for in life. We don't know what the rocks in someone else's shoe feels like. We can, however, listen and also realize we don't always need to understand, sometimes we just need to be present in what we don't know.

Mostly from there, we can start to see and believe that each and every one of us has something unique and special to give the world - and each person shines a different light that can get dim and/or covered up depending on where they are or what part of the journey they are on and if they have found the strength to believe they can keep going - which is where other people can come into the equation. There are so many opportunities given to us in a day to impact or make a difference in the lives of others around us, even the ones passing through for a moment or two may find solace in the kindness behind a genuine smile, or grace given even if it isn't deserved. And, in all of this we have to remember that the moments of interaction don't always present themselves in an obvious way - nor do we always know the impact we may have had. Sometimes you do, where the impact is large and undeniable - those moments I have lived and have experienced - life altering moments that don't come around all the time, but when they do they are hard to deny. I can think of five instances where my life was shaken by the grace and kindness, or the light that was shone by someone which allowed me to see through the darkness I was in... five people who completely altered and changed the way I see not only my life and myself - but how I view and live life as well. These five people changed me - changed my life so drastically just by being themselves and letting their light help me find a way I would not have been able to see by myself.

We have all lived in these moments ...with shame, remorse, bits of hatred directed at ourselves or at others - we have all felt "unsturdy", lost, disappointed, angry, anxious, ashamed to different levels. We have all felt in between a nightmare and reality (not really knowing the difference or where one ends and the other begins) - I mean - who hasn't said at one point or another "this can not be happening" or "how did I get here" or "where do I go from here" to name a few. We have all been knocked on our backs, fallen hard, not sure if we can or even want to get back up. I am sure we have all felt at one point or another, that there was not enough strength, grace, or courage in the world to get us back up.

I have taken myself on a long journey (that is not close to being finished) and I am starting to realize that every single choice we make, everything we have done, everything we may or may not be proud of in our past (or what will become our past) all comes together to make us who we are and who we will become - and we need to embrace our entire past and present, if we want to not only fully walk into our future, but also help others along the way. Life is a long winding journey - like a river, that can be enjoyed to it's fullest, if we embrace the mistakes, failures, and screw ups, and bring them along with our successes, our joys, our hopes, and our dreams. When all these things collide, we can become such an amazing and full version of who we are and we can't help but become better people because of it. Understanding and embracing our past and going towards our dreams for the future, forgetting the things that hold us back and opening our mind to what is possible - is the best way to unlock our true potential - our true self.

I know this much - I have been to the end of myself many times. I have sat with myself in my emptiest, darkest moments and not liked the company I kept. I have looked in the mirror and hated what looked back at me. I have struggled with self worth and  felt not good enough in every way someone could. I have dealt with rejection issues my whole life. I have battled fear and anxiety, and there have been times I have seen and felt hell surround me.
Because of those periods of darkness though - I have also felt the full extent of life infuse my very being, I have felt kindness, patience, grace, hope, joy, and unconditional love infuse every part of me... from my toes to the top of my head - when I didn't expect it and didn't feel worthy of it, which made me feel it so much more. I have truly experienced small pieces of heaven.

Now, my life has become more about how to use what I have felt and where I have been and what I am doing now to help others achieve out of themselves what they don't believe they have in them - or don't see in themselves, or don't believe about themselves - or maybe what they already know but needed to hear in a particular moment. Trying to get people to believe in themselves, believe first that they are seen and then from there that they are capable of, and that they can come out from under whatever they feel is holding them back and reach for the potential that that they can achieve - that they can truly achieve greatness. But, that achieving greatness first starts from within - from deep inside us. And sometimes it can be as simple as reminding someone that they are an inspiration to you just being who they are.

So, coming back around again, I think we all take the long way around to our goals in different ways - and it just looks different to each individual person - we all have a winding river that we ride to our destination, whether we realize it or not. Either way,  no matter how much the river bends or how rough the waters - I truly believe we are all here crossing each others paths at the exact moment we were meant to - at the moment we need to... to get the most out of the interaction. If we embrace each moment spent as an opportunity to be present and touch others lives - and if you allow them to, those interactions will inevitably touch yours back,  the possibilities are endless - that much I can promise!



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