Lately I have been noticing the stones of a yellow brick road under my feet. I feel a bit like Dorothy but with Doc Marten Mary Janes on rather than sparkly dainty high heels. Over my shoulder is this long winding road of bright yellow bricks. The road winds ahead with some possible end far off in the distance. The end of the journey is no where in sight; thankfully that is. Along the road behind me are this long line of people. The line is so very long. Some are smiling, some are laughing, some are smirking and rolling their eyes. Others may be increasingly frustrated and angry. The vast difference in the emotion of the folks along the road behind represent the roles they have played in my life and the things that have occurred as a result of our meeting and connecting. Last night after yoga class I read an email from someone who has been a constant support over the past 12 years. Someone who I always had funny banter with and who stood by my side helping me learn and grow. The yoga class along with the email and other things that have occurred brought me into this deep awareness of all that has occurred up until this point and the connectedness among it all. This awareness brought up pretty intense emotions and a huge amount of gratitude. In preparing to have tea with you I decided to go back and reflect upon Steve Job’s Stanford commencement speech
I know, I know…bringing this up almost seems cliche’. But isn’t there a reason why it’s so often reflected upon? His speech, no only being bitter sweet, also puts the spotlight right on a subject that is lacking within most people; a sense of inner peace and happiness. Hmmmmm this seems like something to take a deeper look at.
The yellow brick road never was quite clear or apparent. I pretty much had set myself on a path towards law school since graduating from high school. That is what I wanted. It was what everyone wanted for me. I remember having conversations with people who were about as lost as I was back then. I was telling them how I wanted to be a corporate trial attorney making lots of bucks. My young twenty something self wanted what I never had and thought that somehow that would bring happiness forth. So I got a paralegal certificate and went on to finish my Bachelors degree in Criminology. At the time I figured I would work for a little bit in a law firm and then take the LSATs for law school. Not to bore you all with the details but I decided to volunteer at a battered women’s shelter and the career shift towards social work began. As I look back, it was the fact that I was unfulfilled in working in law that set me on a path to get closer towards my heart. Each and every step that I made from high school on and every person I have met has played an integral part in getting me to where I am right now. The dots can only be connected by looking back. Even the people, places and situations that seemed as though they were placed in the way of my path have helped me get to where I was supposed to be. In fact, presently it has been those situations that have played a crucial part in my recent endevours. Wow, so the people and situations that have felt most harmful have played a role in things going well? Yup, they have helped me realize things about myself and have helped me grow. Most recently the lessons that I have been forced to learn is that there are far more things I can do out on my own than I could ever accomplish in working for someone. I, fortunately or as it has felt at times, unfortunately, do not light up around the concept of working for someone else. I find that I am required to dim my own inner light in the service of being “a team player.” I was never one that felt good with the concept of conformity which means that in reflecting on the past I can see a variety of different trials and tribulations that have occurred. Each and every one teaching me how to shift and formulate who I am and where/how my soul is meant to shine. The people who have contributed to struggle have offered me a precious opportunity to see myself in their eyes and to move forward with flourishing.
Last night after class, I found my heart bursting. I saw all the faces of people who have been placed by the Universe in my path pointing towards doors and windows. Part of this process, I believe, was always this feeling that I was the underdog that people wanted to help succeed. I projecting that role outward and therefore always either slumped back into self pity or rebeled against the establishment. A while ago, I began to break this pattern and see that I was really the only person that was ever holding me down. I now begin to step into the light and feel the sun shining down upon me. I feel that the light is the spirit of those that supported me along the way. The fun people I have had the opportunity to work and laugh with other the years. The mentors that always helped me believe in myself especially during times when I didn’t. The transition I made last year in leaving a secure full time job has felt a bit like a kid leaving the proverbial home and going out to the big bad world to discover how to deal with situations that aren’t so heart warming. I now feel as though I can go home and tell everyone I found out that I never needed the secure surroundings in the first place because I have all I need inside to deal with whatever life throws my way. I have grown a tremendous amount over the past year; some of which has been through dealing with the harsh realities of life. But the details no longer matter any more because I have grown period. I am grateful for life’s struggles. I used to wish things were different in my life. I did that for a good longggggg time. I no longer do that anymore. I accept life the way it is, on life’s terms, which means that it’s not always comfortable but it’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be at that moment. The dots are connected and life feels good. What helps you to connect the dots in your life? How do you see that even the things that, honestly kinda suck, are actually quite amazing at the same time? What helps you to stay connected through life’s storms? For me one of the things that is crucial is yoga. Not just practicing but teaching. I get the opportunity to grow and be a part of others’ growth and that is priceless.
Best wishes along the yellow brick road where the dots always connect…eventually:)