I’d have to say my adventures began at the age of 12, when I told my grandmother I was dissapointed with my normal and perfect life, and secretly wished for a little drama.
She scolded me for my ungratefulness and warned me to be careful about what I wished for. But while I felt a little guilty, deep down I was longing for more.
And from that moment on, as if spoken into existence by my confession, my life has been a complete adventure.
I’ll spare you the details of my parent’s divorce, or meeting my husband in high school… and then having my first child in high school, much to the dismay of my church community, and skip right on to after I was married and living as a suburban housewife at the ripe old age of 18.
After letting go of my former ideas about how my life would look, I was determined to be the perfect mom. But I struggled. I missed my parents and couldn’t keep a clean house or cook a decent meal. I’d never taken care of a baby before, and I was afraid I’d mess up. And we were broke. Just a couple of kids playing house really.
But everything changed for me on the day I rediscovered the library. I was taking my two-year-old daughter for “Story Time” at the recommendation of a neighbor, and found myself a bit lost when they told me to let her go in by herself to help foster her “independence”. The librarian looked at me (probably noticing my lost and confused face) and said, “Take the 30 minutes for yourself. Find a book you like.”
I wandered through the library, worried about my two-year-old and trying to focus on her fostered independence, and browsed the book titles in the fiction area. Nothing sounded interesting. I wasn’t much of a reader. Never had been.
But gradually I found my way to the non-fiction area, and as I looked at the titles of all the books, I began to be filled with excitement. With every title it became clearer to me that I could learn anything I wanted, because there was a book on everything! This moment changed my life.
I began checking new books out every week.
I learned how to clean and organize my house, and cook great meals. But not just any meal, I learned how to make everything from scratch, including baking my own bread from wheat I ground and yeast I grew. I also learned how to practice yoga, invest in real estate, heal common medical issues with natural remedies, and garden.
I was like a sponge. I loved learning!
I wondered why hadn’t I loved learning before? Why hadn’t I known I could learn anything I wanted? This question prompted me to start learning about learning, and from what I learned about education, I decided to homeschool my children. Yes children in the plural. By this time I had two daughters and a son on the way.
I wanted to pass onto them all the amazing things there were to learn in the world and I no longer trusted the school system to show them everything I wanted them to know.
Teaching them was exciting! As I learned along with them I discovered math, history, English, philosophy, and science like I’d never known before. I read aloud to them all the great classic fiction books, and learned to appreciate a great story. I also wondered why anyone started school before the age of 21, as it was so much easier to understand things when you were older.
The more I learned, the more I realized I didn’t know. And I started being exposed to new perspectives on topics that had all seemed so cut and dry before. And one day my mind started putting two and two together, and a question was born, “How do I know that what I believe is the truth?”
I’d grown up in a religious household, and I’d been very zealous for my faith. I hadn’t been the person who played church on Sundays. I was a devout believer. Everyone I knew was a part of my faith. My whole life revolved around the things I believed, and I truly felt that to question my faith was to question God and give into the Devil himself.
So when I allowed myself to ask if what I believed was the truth, it was a monumental and ground breaking moment, and it threw me into a crises. But, it was the beginning of my true spiritual journey.
I started by seeking relationship with God on a deeper level, praying that he would help me through this crises. Then I started learning to hear God talking straight to me, instead of just reading about what he would say, or praying to or at him.
When I could hear his voice, I started learning directly from him, no longer seeking counsel from church authorities. God led me in a new direction and encouraged me to question everything about what I knew. And I learned more from the mouth and heart of God than I can explain in
an about page words.
After 10 years of heart breaking, gut wrenching discoveries, broken relationships with those who couldn’t handle the new ideas coming from me, and crazy experiences, journeys, and miracles, I learned that it wasn’t about what was true in the universe, or how things worked, or even who God was. Because in the end, none of those things were really what I was searching for anyway.
I discovered that all along I’d wanted to know what the truth was so I could ensure that I followed that truth. Because if I followed it, I would be considered good by God and my fellow man, and as a consequence be worthy of love.
It had all been about being loved.
But what God taught me in the quiet of the night, was that love was something entirely different than I knew it to be.
Love was about being exposed. Love was two hearts with no space between them. So if I wanted to know love, I needed to remove the space. And if I wanted to remove the space, I needed to stop trying to be good, and start opening up about who I really was and how I really felt, whether it was good or not.
This was a scary idea to me. And while I’d like to say I pressed forward and jumped right in, this part of my journey took time. I had to really buy into the idea that love meant no space between two hearts, and that two people could be closer in honest pain than in shielded joy.
And I had to adopt truth as my new “good” on a deeper level than just an idea, otherwise I found that much of my heart was unwilling to open up and show me what it held. I was protecting myself from myself.
But eventually I did accept truth as a path to love, and I braved the journey inward to see what I was really made of.
When I found the center of me and the true uncensored person I was, it was amazing. I’d never seen anything so beautiful.
And when I shared my entire heart and held nothing back, and felt it received with absolutely no judgement, no attempt to lovingly correct my wrongs, and instead felt it received with joy and excitement about all I was made up of, the angst and thirst I’d held for 10 years was finally gone. I was not loved in spite of who I was, but because of who I was. And there was no space between my heart and God’s.
Being now so much more aware of who I truly was, and not being ashamed of that person, I looked around my life and it was not a life that belonged to me. It belonged to who I thought I was supposed to be, and that person could no longer exist.
Finding the true me had made me come alive, and I was not going to let my old persona push my true self back into a quiet and hidden place. So I started to change things.
Now if I had been a single woman with no family, this might not have been difficult. But I was the mother of four children I homeschooled, with a husband I’d been with since the age of 14. Suddenly changing everything they knew about me was not going to go smoothly.
It was rough. I felt like my true person was a bucket of seeds in the very center of me, and every time I wanted to bloom one of those seeds, I had to go to war with the world around me.
But through this process I learned that I’m a pretty badass warrior. I walked through fire and clawed a path for my seeds, while holding onto my marriage with an iron grip. And he suffered from the changes, having to question everything he once knew, but in the end he loved me enough to let me bloom.
Purpose had always been a question that bothered me. Why was I here? What was my purpose? How then shall I live?
But once I discovered my true self, my life was no longer about what I was “supposed” to do, but instead about blooming as many of those seeds I held inside me that I could. I adopted Howard Thurman’s quote, “Do not ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
So that’s what I do now. I look into my heart and say, “What seed is ready to bloom?” and then I do whatever it takes to bloom it.
Because of this thinking, I launched a sales career, became a writer, sold everything I owned and traveled with my family, wrote a book, became a speaker, started a life coaching business, and founded YouCoached (a coaching subscription app and website).
And while I’m listing these things like single entities on a resume, each one of these tasks has allowed thousands of little seeds in me to bloom. I am always so surprised by this, because all I can see at the beginning of a new journey is one big seed attached to one big goal, but then the journey reveals so much to me about who I am and how the world works, and I am floored by all the little parts of my heart that have been in hiding.
I am always learning, through books and experience, and I am still in awe of the person I hold within me.