As with any new year, I'm sure you are expectant of hope and possibilities. Excited about about what is to come, leaving behind the perils and challenges of 2018. A new year brings a new start for some, or a continuation of what already begun in the previous years for others. Wherever you are in life, I wish you the very best all send you positive energy for an amazing 2019.
Upon much reflection, one thing I realize I struggle with is change. Which is funny because in the work I do, it is all about change. I had a huge blind spot in seeing my own resistance to change. I am a planner, a doer, I like to strategize and figure things out. When it comes to my personal life, I love to do these things and I am absolutely devastated when things don't work out. I replay in my mind over and over where I went wrong, what I could have done to make things work. I internalize the failure. I feel like a failure, it is hard for me to seperate the event from my own personal self worth. It leads me to spiral and trying to grasp on to what I know to be true to redeem myself, to stop the fall, to mitigate the failure. 2018 was a beautiful year professionally for me. Soul and Story bloomed, I got accepted into grad school, I was able to work in Nairobi, Kenya and I was handed opportunities that I had been working and hoping for. Personally, was an utter failure (or so I thought). I came face to face with rejection and failure... and boy, did they have it in for me! They say that darkness, is just the absence of light. And 2018, all of the shadows,feelings/emotions I buried and even those I didn't know I had made their grand appearance. To say it was overwhelming would be a huge understatement. I was in a great amount of pain. I'm not sure if I can even describe the feeling to do it justice. I hit rock bottom and bounced. I can't say I'm 100% better now, that would be false. I'm still growing through it, still learning, still uncovering, still peeling back the layers. But what I can say is that rock bottom will teach you and show you things that the mountain top simply can not.
Pain is a great teacher. Pain forces you to change. There simply becomes no other way to move on without changing. Pain prompts you to dig in deeper, to look at those things that you couldn't face before. Pain causes self-reflection. Pain brings out old tramas and wounds and asks...begs you to face them, honor it and do the work to heal.
It is said that the pain will leave you once it is finished teaching you.
I think there are many many people out here in great pain. Instead of dealing with that pain, instead of facing their own shadows and doing the work, they are out in the world causing others pain, causing massive destruction. We see them everyday, as the perpetrator of yet another senseless act of violence. These are the gossips. The folks who cut us off in traffic. The people who lie, who cheat, who steal. I find that people go to great lengths to avoid pain. We don't want to deal with it. We don't want to feel it. We don't want to get to the root of the suffering. We medicate with things and people. We act out. We project our pain on to others and it shows up in more ways than I can count.
I'll be honest, I don't want to deal with my stuff either. I want to escape the pain. I want to bury it. I want to find ways not to deal with it. But I know it will find me. I also know that I couldn't do social impact work and not be willing to do the work on myself. I couldn't run around here trying to change the world and avoid the change I need for me. I would be a hypocrite. I'd do more harm than good. Social impact work begins and ends with me. I will only be as effective as I am willing to meet myself at the deep end. I can travel to the end of the world and back but all that good I'm doing for and to others is thwarted if I can't do the work on myself.
It's so easy to point fingers at others and tell them what they are doing wrong and how to fix it. But when it comes to self-reflection, and taking a critical look at our own mess, people have a tendency to back out.
I could choose not to do this work. But I realize I would also be choosing to become trapped in a prison of my own making. I don't want that for myself. I deserve so much better. And I honestly believe that what the pain I'm feeling is trying to show me, the many ways I am worthy and deserving of the very best and not to settle for anything or anyone that doesn't value and cherish me. But to get there, I have to get through the many experiences I had that taught me otherwise. The places and people that treated me less than I deserved and all the ways I accepted it. I have to open up wounds that never healed and I'm shown wounds that were so deep I wasn't even conscious of their existence.
Moreover, the path to healing is in sharing my story. Not when I'm all better. But now, in the "Rumble" as Brene Brown calls it. I can't be sure if I'm in the middle, end or even still in the beginning. But I know there is healing in the story and in sharing a bit of my soul with those who are on a journey to healing as well.
Funny how things work, funny how Soul and Story was a name that popped into my head for this venture. It is interesting how it was a sign of greater task that I envisioned.
We have to stop allowing our pain to harm others, we have to recognize the many many ways it shows up. We have to recognize when it is us who are the toxic ones. We have to recognize when we act in certain ways because we are acting out because we have been triggered and a traumatic wound opens just a bit. We have to stop and think why we gossip and speak ill of others who have done nothing to do us. Why we lie, steal, cheat. Why we medicate with things that in the long run will only harm us. Because pain is all I see in the world, I see a lot of people acting out in pain. Let's move through pain and stop hurting The world will continue to spiral if we don't address our own issues.
Through Soul and Story, I hope to make the world a better place. Yes, we are selling amazing products by amazing social entrepreneurs. I am also sharing my story, because it may help someone and that too, is helping to make the world a better place. This is social impact. And really, when I think about some of the entrepreneurs Soul and Story has partnered with, all of their enterprises were born out of some sort of pain. The pain of seeing how unjust the system is to black people and women. The pain of seeing those in their communities suffer for nothing more than their skin color or economic background. We can move through pain and make something great out what it teaches us. We can. I think that is part of the purpose of pain. It causes you to feel deeply. I think a lot of the great things we see in the world were done by people who felt so deeply pained by something it inspired them to help create change.
Let's let pain be our teacher. It could, in fact, inspire us to greatness.
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
These books I've read/currently reading that helped shed some perspective on pain and life challenges in general.