Thursday, October 27, 2016

Becoming the person you are meant to be.

Lately I’ve been feeling stuck.
In the months following my yoga teacher certification, I’ve watched as fellow classmates have gone on to teach yoga classes in various studios, and I’ve seen the other half—me included—settle into the ebb and flow of their personal practice.

It’s not that I don’t want to teach yoga.
But I’m aware that teaching intense hot vinyasa classes at a studio filled with people half my age, doesn’t feel like the right decision. I’m looking for my sweet spot. And while I haven’t yet discovered the yoga audience that’s meant for me, my gut tells me it’s out there somewhere.

Or maybe not.
This is the interesting place I’ve found myself these last several months. While there’s nothing noticeable from my outside, lately my life as felt like that of a sleeping caterpillar, hunkered down and living with the unsettled feeling of ‘not knowing’ what exactly is next.

One thing I didn’t plan on was how powerful it would feel to venture outside my comfort zone. Getting through that teacher training was the equivalent of plopping myself into a maze of my insecurities and making me find my way out. And it’s left me with taste for more of the same; more growing and testing out new waters.
This is the truth about stretching yourself into new places, you can never truly go back.

And it’s a mindset that’s left me grappling with deeper questions about my future.  

Am I living my life to the fullest?

And more specifically,

Is there something I should be doing that can add value to the lives of others?

Yes. That’s really it.

I guess I’m talking about a sense of purpose, my reason for being here.

For a mother of a 24 year old and 21 year old it’s not a surprising question, in fact it might even seem timely. But now that I’ve floated the question out there, the empty silence has left me feeling fidgety. Curious and open. It’s like waiting for someone to arrive at your door, only you don’t when exactly they’re coming.

Then a few weeks ago I had this experience.

I found myself sitting at a conference table inside a towering glass building, answering questions about my past lives. It was an interview, and the questioner was curious about the years I worked as an eating disorder therapist, my recent yoga training, and about my blog, where I get to express some of my creative side.

The simple act of sitting with an interested person and scanning over my life felt powerful; and afterwards I instantly wanted to ask everyone in my vicinity this one question.

When was the last time you paused and examined the different phases of your life? 

Because this is what I realized; the act of weaving together your life experiences will tell a story about how you shared your strengths and beliefs and gifts with the world. Only most of us never really stop and realize this is what we’re doing when we’re making choices.

That afternoon at the conference table stopped me in my tracks. At a time when I had felt like I was losing my mojo... and meandering through my life---it focused me back on my natural interests and personal qualities that have led me toward the kind of work I’ve done over the years.

Without realizing it, it gave me a better sense of direction about my next step.

Have you ever felt yourself walking around with a quiet desire to grow, but not exactly sure where this will lead you?

Or maybe you didn’t plan on facing a lot of new growth and experiences, maybe you’ve been thrust forward by a painful loss or a difficult transition that has stretched you without your permission. Perhaps you're in the midst of an ordeal that's left you pondering your immediate future.

 Think about this. There are pieces of your truest self to be found in every big, meaty life decision you have made. No matter the circumstances, no matter the eventual decision you made, they tell a story about who you were at that moment in your life. And most important, you can learn something about who you are right now.

 When you step back and examine your personal story for insight, when you remember where you have come from, it becomes easier to identify the unique gifts and experiences you carry around with you everyday.
Be in touch with your value.

That my friends, is empowering.

Part 2: the exciting thing that happened when I leaned into my struggle instead of away.

Please let me know if you can relate to this post.
I love hearing your thoughts.

(the teacher in me honors the teacher in you)

I'm sharing this post here:
Feathered Nest Friday


Doreen@foxdenrd said...

I'm sure many of your readers can relate to this post. Indeed, many people can. Period. For it is truly thought provoking and valuable. To think about our choices, our paths, is most assuredly empowering and dare I say it, necessary. Without doing so we simply exist like ships without a rudder.

Our lives are certainly stages. I think of it as three: early years, middle years and late years, although that is admittedly an over simplification. Within our early years, we are self involved. Growing, learning, experimenting. In our middle years we are typically caring for others...generally children, and working. Sometimes in our later years we revert back to what our lives were like when we were young. If we're lucky. Learning, growing, experimenting and yes, being a little self centered. We've earned it.

Simply LKJ said...

Love this. I've found myself in this position many times, but no more so than when my youngest left for college. Up until that point, I felt my identity was wrapped up in being a "mom". But, after looking back I realized it was so much more than that. While yes, I was being a mother to my girls at the same time I was doing for others as well. And now, I find myself doing a lot of those things for the next generation and younger parents.
Thanks for sharing!

Nancy said...

this post makes me cry. you're my tribe. reminds me of a post i wrote earlier this year:

thanks for sharing this and for being so brave.


Calypso In The Country said...

I always love reading your posts. I think we all feel that way at times. As I get older I question myself all the time - Am I doing enough?...Have I done enough?...What should I being doing next?...I think it's good to keep reevaluating but sometimes self reflection can be hard.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


This is a post that I am sure that every person could write, not necessarily the yoga part but the questions about themselves. I think we all ponder, do I make a difference, am I doing what I am supposed to, am I living my dream, and so much more.

For years I agonized over the very same things and I have found that with age comes wisdom, we are never going to have the answers to our questions, we are always going to question something abut our lives, we actually do make a difference in our lives and the lives of people around us, including our friends, family and strangers each and everyday.

Somedays it is a small gesture like talking to a homeless man and letting him know that someone sees him and this he is valued, other days it is helping an aging parent or child, but all these collective and small events make a difference for them and their lives and in turn ours as well. As they say, to the world you are one person but to one person you are the world.

I will be 50 in two weeks and I have come to the conclusion after much soul searching that what I am and what I am doing and how I live my life right now is exactly where and what I am supposed to be doing. I finally feel peace and frankly I am the happiest I have been in years. I have stopped carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, it was too heavy. I try to focus more on myself now, something I quite honestly neglected for years.

Don't ge me wrong, I still have moments of doubt but I just put it in Gods hands and I am letting him guide me now.

Thanks for sharing your feelings, and for your honesty. It is always so refreshing.

Sarah said...

It goes without saying that I always come away from your thoughtful posts reflecting on what you say and now it relates to me. I admire your creative spirit both in your home remodel and your personal life. You will find your spot. No question!

AntiqueChase said...

I'm going to send you a PM on instagram. Marcy

brenda murphy said...

Wow. Wonderful post. Sincere and inspiring. When I took my meditation certification ,like you in yoga, I did it simply to deepen my practice. Also, like you, I eventually came to wonder about my greater purpose. Maybe it is our age or maybe we are aware of something more to learn and to share. What I do know, right now, is that our greater purpose may simply be expressed in our way of being in the world today...., be it at the supermarket, strangers, with our children or co-workers. Are we kind, compassionate,non-judgemental, patient, loving? I know now that beyond any expertise, I am revealing and living my purpose just by trying to be a better human being. Not always easy, but definitely worthy. Much love to you, thank you for sharing and initiating.

Blondie's Journal said...

As always, a powerful post coming from your mind, heart and soul, Leslie. You are making ladies sit up and listen. And think. Love you.

As always I have so many thoughts on this subject...seeing where you are coming from, the questions you've asked of yourself...I've done this as well. I think many of us at this stage of the game sit and wince when we have to dig down deep when it comes to looking at the future and finding a way to express our 'true' selves. We've worn so many hats! Where do we start?

I spend a lot of time reflecting on the past, the little Jane, the young Jane. Wife and mother Jane, and now...well I feel sort of just Jane. lol! The more I see my kids growing, procreating, evolving and maybe, at least outwardly, needing me less, the more I feel a drive to move on and away spiritually. Sadly, I find it hard to identify with my past as I always see the mistakes, shortcomings and lack of 'sense'. I made mistakes that no matter how I try to make up excuses for...I never feel okay with and have zero forgiveness. It's hard to get past that and look at the qualities.

I have a wonderful therapist that I've been seeing for almost a year. I think she has really played a key role in helping me believe in myself and my self worth as an individual, Jane, and not any other noun.

Love to you. You are share the real, good, bad and so much more. We learn from your struggles, progress, wise words and authentic life. You have a lovely soul.


Karen said...

You are wonderful when it comes to putting into words what so many of us cannot. Those deep inner thoughts about life's milestones of sorts.
I find as I've gotten older that I have discovered things about myself that didn't always dawn on me when I was young. I've attributed some of that insight to slowing down enough to listen to myself...if that makes sense.
I'm happy for your e-friendship and the journey you take us on, giving us inspiration every step of the way, from "life" to DIY projects! :-)

Irene said...

This is indeed a phase of life I am going through too, not just as a mother of three aged 22,20 and 15, but also in the middle of the end of a 23 year marriage. It is also true that we are collectively going through such a time of realisation and transition, bringing to the surface strong feelings. It is trully the time of the caterpillar becoming a butterfly.
I totally agree with your latest photo-statement. This is the way to go. God bless, Irene

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

Oh, yes, Leslie. I can definitely relate. As I read your post, I recalled a particular time not that many years ago when my spirit literally agonized over the question, "What am I supposed to be doing with my life?" The path we were on took an unexpected trajectory and, although it was ultimately for our good, at the time it was very upsetting and threw me for a loop for quite awhile. The ongoing process of honest soul-searching has taught me much about myself; some good, some bad, but all helpful. ...And so we keep (hopefully) becoming the women we are meant to be.

michele said...

i love that you mentioned the ages of your sons because they are the exact age of mine! i'm not sure why that jumped out but it did. i think i too tend to slip into a mode where i'm anxious to know what's next or whether i'm being fruitful enough. but the truth is we just need to be present. shauna niequist would be more direct: present over perfect. meditation really helps with embracing nowness for me as i'm sure yoga does for you. what has helped me a great deal is coming to terms with the deepest desire of my heart, and i feel that longing resonating in your post. it was extremely painful for me when i couldn't identify that desire and bring it into the light. but that courageous exploration has been critical to my growth. what i desire...what i truly desire is to see as God sees (and i mean God as a verb, as divine energy flowing in, through, and between everything) and to become a mirror, a source of healing, a fragrance, and salt. i only want to see. this has freed me from a lot of unhealthy habits and increased my compassion. it is not about identity or a role or level of success. i love that you are sharing your story in the throes of that story unfolding because there's an authenticity and longing there we can all join you in. thank you for your brave vulnerability as you transform in that cocoon...and remember it's not a gooey catastrophe but simply a re-organization of the Lego bricks as you become the butterfly. xox

cindy hattersley design said...

Leslie I am in awe of you, plainly and simply, from the DIY projects you tackle to the personal and life challenges you take on. You make us all step back and think and give us the confidence to take on our own challenges. You are truly amazing...

La Contessa said...

SINCE closing my ANTIQUE SHOP three years ago..................I FEEL THE SAME AS YOU!
YOU figure it out then you tell a mom of a soon to be 29 year and a 27 year old I too am LOST!

Carla from The River said...

Hello Leslie,
I always appreciate when you make us think and look deep.
As you know I started to sell my fresh cut flowers at the farmer market this summer. I enjoyed it, it was fun. It taught me many things, but one of the main things was that people like my arrangements. I did not go to flower school. I just create. Many of my customers commented how the arrangement made them feel.

I would like to grow more ... maybe have a small shop?

Yes, I struggle with WHO AM I? As my boys grow up 16 and 14, the Carla the Mother is not needed as much.

Summer said...

I can totally relate♥ Hugs ♥

Unknown said...

Such a great post & I love that quote TOTALLY feeling like a work in progress at the moment.

I've been feeling so unsettled & not myself this year, I'm sure that's why I haven't blogged for so long....and all the thoughts stuck in my head are weighing very heavy on me.

I'll definitely be reading this again tonight, thanks Leslie X

NanaDiana said...

Hi! First of all, I never read other's comments on blogs because I just don't have time. Well, cancel that never because, apparently, I read this one. I saw your comment over at Ron's (The Uptown Acorn) post and you sound like my kinda gal! I write what I want to write, too, and will never be a BIG blogger -nor an advertiser- nor a promoter of my blog. However, that being said, I have developed some great friendships through blogging. I loved your comment on Ron's blog and I am your newest follower. Hugs- Diana

Stonecropsister said...

Hi Leslie,
great post. and from all the comments, there are lots of us out there thinking along the same lines. It is difficult to not be self critical. Like Jane, I look at my daughters, and how much they do in their lives, and sometimes my life seems very flat in comparison. It's good to think about where you have been in life, and try to figure out what will make you happy and fulfilled in the future. But lately the answers for me are elusive. So I'm trying to not worry too much about it, and make an effort to support other women and their endeavours, and perhaps this will help my own journey. xx Nancy

Lori said...

I always feel like a work in progress - never happy with the way things are but then I turn around and feel content too - strange the way we as women tend to always feel that we could be doing better - thinner - stronger - smarter. You are enough are words I try to instill in my nieces in hopes of changing the mindset of these millennials. Great post once again Leslie. xo

Tamera Beardsley said...

Oh boy Leslie can I relate to your post here!! Absolutely all of it! Just when I thought I knew my path, I have wavered. I feel like I spent this whole last year ... working on a wedding ... getting used to the changes it brings ... adjusting to my youngest moving out ... I feel I have lost my momentum and passions. how refreshing to hear I am not alone in my search for direction, passion, meaning and service! I hope you know how much I adore you ... and your blog!

Much love and thanks to you darling!


Leanne said...

Well said, Leslie! I've bookmarked a few passages in Evernote to refer to later. I really like the idea of looking back over your life to find evidence your true self. Once again, a great post!

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