11 Sep The Gift of Grief: My Journey to Self-Discovery
The beauty of time is that it gives us space, it gives us distance from the moments that we experience so we can process and integrate meaning into our consciousness. Time provides us with the ability to reflect on the past moments of our lives from a new perspective.
Most of us have experienced some form of trauma throughout our lives, oftentimes life circumstances do not always come about directly by our own hand. We may not always have control over how these experiences play out in our lives, but we do get to decide on what we take with us and what we leave behind.
Here’s what I come to accept about life; bad things do happen to good people, there are some circumstances that are beyond our control and not everything can be fixed. However, we do have free will in the way that we respond to these experiences and we can choose to allow the pain to make us a better person or a bitter person. We can take the path of avoidance, guilt, shame, and blame or take the path of self-discovery, self-awareness, and healing. Let me clear, both paths are painful, but one path will keep you stuck, and the other will set you free.
My journey toward self-discovery began 2 years ago, with the passing of my late husband David. David gave me so many beautiful gifts during his life and in his death. The gift that I am most grateful for was the one he gave me in his death, the path to self-discovery.
So much changed about my life since that morning on September 5, 2017. That day I not only lost my best friend, biggest fan and the father of my children but I also lost the future that I had imagined up until that point. Our plans, hopes, and dreams evaporated into the ethers with his last breath.
After the initial shock, tears, and disbelief, there was a fog of confusion that settled in around me. I spent months going through the motions of daily life on the outside while struggling to internalize the whirlwind of emotions and chaos happening on the inside. I lived in a constant state of fear and self-doubt, often second-guessing myself, my actions and my decisions. I struggled with indecision because during the 10 years that we were together I never once imagined a life, my life without him.
What I didn’t know then that I know now, thanks to time, that my identity, who I was or who I thought I was, was so entangled into being David wife and a mother to my children. So much so that when he died the person that I was when he was alive had died with him. I was grieving for two people, my husband and who I was when he was alive.
As with any transformation, there is always a painful period of shedding of the old; old beliefs, thought patterns and in my case shedding of the person who I thought I was. Each layer that I shed felt like tiny little deaths but for me holding on to who I was wasn’t an option because David was gone, and I was still here.
Here’s what I learned, the process of self-discovery is messy, and it hurts like hell. You have to be willing to get real, dig deep and face somethings you may not want to admit or even like about yourself. In my case, it was also terrifying because I was stepping into the unknown.
Over 15th centuries ago, Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu wrote: “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” It took me half a lifetime to understand the full weight of those words and to honestly ask myself three simple questions.
- How do I want to live?
- Am I showing up every day as the person that I am or the person that I want to be?
- Is what I am doing in alignment with who I am?
To be completely transparent, somedays I have more questions than I do answers. Somedays I catch myself backsliding into old thought patterns and beliefs. Somedays I am more confused than I am confident.
I am not entirely sure where this journey will take me, but I do know this. That this new version of Lisa chooses to lead with kindness, compassion, and love. She chooses to believe in magic and miracles again. She chooses to be fully present in the now moments of her life but most of all she chooses to intimately know the song of her soul.