The Road Made of Mirrors taught me that there is always so much more than we can see, and the only thing we can truly influence is what we see in our own mirror. But that we have to have the courage to look, and we have to preserve and protect our time by not spending it looking at the thing or person that we believe wronged us. There will be hurts in life that will never be made right through apology. There will be things that happen with others that we may never understand. There are tragic things people do to each other, but what makes it even more tragic is when we either let it steal our life from us or we don’t take the opportunity to look in the mirror and first see the role we played. We feel free when we own our part, we feel validated and seen and powerful. We feel whole because we aren’t hiding from or leaving out parts of the story. Don’t deny yourself the whole of the story. Don’t gaslight away the parts of the story that can . Don’t pretend not to see what you see. Being a human is hard and messy so sometimes we are going to see things in ourselves that are hard to see — and messy to clean up. But man it feels good when you take your own power back and stop feeling like everyone else has all of the power.
I’m going to start this road by telling you that “I don’t know” has become one of my favorite phrases, and it’s almost always true when I say it. Sometimes I think I don’t know but I actually do, and sometimes I know that I know but I’m too afraid of saying it out loud. But most of the time when I say “I don’t know,” it is positively true.
It wasn’t always this way though. Somewhere along the way, I adopted the belief that if you didn’t know something, you were inferior. I have been one who asks every question that crosses my mind from the time I could first form a sentence. Because I really wanted to know about everything! I quickly learned in elementary school, as well as middle school and high school that kids laugh at you when you ask a lot of questions, and scoff that you had to ask. So, I always thought everyone knew but me. But the laughing didn’t deter me from asking questions, it just made me think that I was the dumbest one in the class.
Then when I became an adult and I would attend meetings with other adults, I would always raise my hand and ask question after question, making sure I truly understood. It was then that other adults would pull me aside after the meeting and say, “thank you for asking those questions, we were all wondering the same thing.”
What? Then why didn’t you ask?
What if the kids in school didn’t know either . . . and they just didn’t want anyone to think they didn’t know? What if I wasn’t dumb after all . . . just curious?
Well, I figured I could be very prolific on my journey all the way around the block. I knew what I was capable of. So I made a plan to “fix myself” as quickly as possible. And I figured that a little bit of therapy and a new location would do the trick.
It would just be a little trip around the block and then everything could get back to normal.
I took quite a few roads around the block before I figured out that I was just going in circles, down old familiar roads that brought me right back to the place I had grown out of. And that in my need to get finished quickly and efficiently, I was just wasting time and wearing myself out. It looked like momentum, and it was, but it was really more traveling procrastination than anything.
After a few frustrating and exhausting and prolific trips around that same familiar track, I finally surrendered to what was happening, and how big of a mess it was going to make.
This wasn’t going to be me doing the creating in the way I was used to, this was me being created by the energy that had been building up for eons, like a volcano. There was no stopping it.
Sometimes I am starved of things that sustain my life. Sometimes I am so thirsty for who I am that I think I am going to die. And sometimes those things just take a remembrance of what is needed and an action to deliver what is needed, and then I’m renewed.
But this feels different. So much of me has already died. It is gone. So much of what I thought would sustain me forever is gone now. This might be a long process of being green slime and trusting that it is going somewhere good.
I don’t want to be angry or bitter about this time in my life that has felt at times like such a cruel death. I want to trust it, welcome it and be grateful for it. I want to allow it. I want to let it take as long as it takes. I want it to be as complete and whole as possible.
I want to be new without crying about what is gone that felt so much an essential part of me. I want to be new without constantly apologizing and explaining that I no longer have parts of me that others used to enjoy. I want to trust that who I become will attract the ones who like what grew from the ashes of the old me.
I want to love what I was without clinging so tight to it that it becomes shackles that keep me from moving forward. I want to appreciate and enjoy the memories of what once was without feeling like what should have lasted forever got stolen from me. It was just time, that’s all.
I know that in the past, I have carelessly handed over my personal authority and almost always, I have been dominated, pushed-around, browbeat and bullied. I have been demeaned, talked down to and disrespected. I have handed over my own remote-control and become a machine at the mercy of someone else’s whims. I have had my own life ripped from my fingers and held over my own head. I have had the things I birthed taken and hidden and used as ransom. And I didn’t use any of this as fuel to rise up and fight. I just got smaller and more victim-y. This insidious pattern (that I chose) has tried to teach me over and over and over to stand up and take control of my own life.
But the dancing damsel in distress always seemed to win out.
I know that I am the one who danced this dance. I know that I am the one who sought out dance partners to replay this scene over and over again in a million ways. I know that I am the one who kept it going on the dance floor.
50 Roads #15 - THE ROAD TO SELF-CORRECTING (Roads #11-17 are letters to myself for what I wanted to find in therapy - they are filled with questions that I invite you to ask yourself) .............................................................. Dear Me, I am tired...
I am ready to accept that although my work and my ways of being with others in the world is the best part of my life, it can quickly and easily become a coping mechanism, a way to avoid my own inner world and an unhealthy addiction.
I know that I do this. I know that this is the most ridiculous and inefficient and even destructive pattern. It’s humiliating and humbling to take a good hard look at how many times I have done this to myself, somehow believing that “this time” it will be different. Somehow believing that self-sacrifice is noble and right in all situations.
I want to stop doing it. I HAVE TO stop doing it. Only I can stop doing it.
I know that I have real and enormous fears that I will become a selfish and self-indulgent person — and therefore a completely unacceptable person. I know that there’s a part of me that finds this to be so unacceptable that I am willing to risk my present and future health to avoid ever becoming that. Yet, I push myself so far that the only way to recover is to stop everything and sequester myself. And then here I am, only able to focus on myself, just to stay alive. Here I am in an emergency self-focus — I have just created my worst fear.
This pattern is NOT OKAY WITH ME anymore. These old beliefs ARE NOT OKAY WITH ME anymore.
I want to live out my own responsibility knowing that there will always be difficulty and distraction. There will always be unexpected bends and curves in the road. The road will sometimes end before I get to my destination. There will always be something confronting me that gives me the opportunity to choose between creating or destroying. Stalling or moving. Life or death. Kindness or contempt. Love or fear. Almost every single moment has 2 hands outstretched with one or the other to choose from. I want to take responsibility for what I do in those moments AND what I do after I choose.
I am going to mess up, even with best intentions. There will be times when I will wish I would have chosen differently. Those moments also hold tremendous opportunities. I want to take responsibility for choosing course correction over shame or blame. I want to extract the powerful lessons that come from “failure” and “mistakes” and I want to utilize the resulting potent energy of knowing I’ve missed the mark to fuel another try…and another.
I want to stop giving my own responsibility away for the results and rewards and consequences of my own life’s choices. Every action has a consequence. Every choice, every thought. Every next moment, and what happens in that moment, it all has consequences. Whatever I choose, I want to take responsibility for.
I need to find some pieces. And I am so reluctant because I know how tricky fragments can be. I don’t want to cram pieces into the puzzle I’m putting together that just “sort of” fit. I’d rather have a hole where my puzzle is incomplete than a piece that doesn’t go there.
I need to remember myself back together, but once I’ve done all that I can do, I want to get back to living in THIS DAY. I want the parts of me that are trapped in the taped-up boxes of my past experiences to be set free.
I think I am going crazy. I don’t know what is true.
So much of what I thought was true has crumbled. So much of what I built the foundation of my life on has disappeared, as if it was only an illusion all along.
I feel like I was just a rainbow. I was never anything real or solid.
And now I am gone. I don’t know where I went. I was here and then I was gone.
What am I?Who am I?
What is true about everything?
I need to know. Please give me the courage and the skills to be radically honest. First with myself and then with life. With others. In all things.
50 Roads #10 - THE ROAD TO THE THERAPIST I used to give people with depression or anxiety really bad advice. Stuff like . . . “Just think positive!” or “Don’t let that get you down, just forget about it…” or “Count your blessings!” Ugh. I wish I could go back to every...
50 Roads #9 - THE ROAD TO THE UNWANTED TRUTH Our world is suffering from a TRUTH crisis. So, individually I think lots of us have been suffering from a Truth Crisis of some kind or another, that's a long road I went down. I’ve found that you’ll drive yourself mad if...
It’s a bizarre experience to set off into the world and not have anyone know who you are after you’ve spent your whole life in the same community where almost everyone knows who you are, generations back.
Lots of people knew me that way and I knew lots of people that way. But I also “knew” lots of people across the world online and from business. On one of my Soul Roads, my social media accounts were gone overnight. So over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to really experience what it’s like to go from having lots of community to having almost none.
Once my social media accounts were gone, after years and years of having an online following in the hundreds of thousands, I had to really come to terms with what social media has done not just to me, but to our human family.
I had to ask myself the preposterous question of whether I had any value if no-one knew who I am, where I am and what I am doing. And this would ultimately lead to me asking MYSELF – Do I even know who I am? Do I know where I am? Do I know what I am doing?
When I turned the corner to step onto the forbidden road of well-being, I knew I was taking an enormous risk. I knew it was going to require the sacrifice of anything in my life that was there because of what I could produce.
There’s a showdown that happens when you stop trying to over-pay for your very existence. It’s like a settlement you have to reach with the part of you that wants to die a martyr. You have to give the martyr something to walk away with, so that you can be free.
It’s a separation of a life partner, you and your martyr have to part ways as she wags her finger accusingly, watching you fade off in the distance down the forbidden road.
So what will you give her, that old martyr who has been passively-aggressively shaming you for most of your life?
I gave her my lists of accomplishments, my grudges, my ledger books of how I’d been wronged, my ledger books of how wrong I was. I wrapped it all nicely in a banker’s box, made her a sandwich for the road and said “you head back down your road, and I’m gonna take this one….the sparkling forbidden road of self-responsibility, self-respect and humane free will.
I slowly headed down the forbidden road of no thank you -nope -not anymore -absolutely not and even hell no.
We work hard to get letters behind our name. We work hard for titles and names to put behind our name. But those are all just EXPERIENCES that we get to have. They are not what make us who we are.When our old beliefs and habits are the sticky adhesive that won’t let those labels go, we have to take responsibility for how we’ve been believing ourselves right into old patterns…over and over and over. When we pull off the labels but the adhesive of old beliefs and patterns is still there, other stuff will just stick to the top of the old adhesive. There are a lot of broken people and organizations recruiting people with sticky habits and sticky beliefs, drooling at the thought of how easy it’s going to be to stick their label right where that old label was that you thought you’d gotten rid of.And that’s the tricky part . . . that’s why we run back to things after we think we’ve overcome destructive patterns. Because the adhesive is still there.When the adhesive is especially sticky, you have to use some pretty strong stuff to dissolve it off.And sometimes to get rid of the label entirely, everything under it has to disintegrate and dissolve too.
I have lived in my “dream house” a couple of times in my life. I have had my “dream furniture” and my “dream yard.” I loved it.
And now I live in a medium sized RV that is 16 years old with outdated cabinets and wallpaper — and I can say with all honesty that at this exact time in my life, I am living in my “dream house.” It is a magical, perfect life that we are living right now because we are learning and growing and transforming in ways that would never be possible had we stayed where we were ANY of those times that I was sure I wanted to stay forever.
It’s 2021 and we are in the middle of a global shake-up on so many levels. Chances are, if it hasn’t already happened, you or someone you are very close to is going to have to leave their perfect, magical life on their perfect, magical road. The one you or they were absolutely sure would last FOREVER.
And I promise you that you are going to be okay. There are SO MANY ROADS that you don’t even know about yet, waiting for you to discover. There are roads that you will carve and pave yourself. There are roads that you’ll drive down faster than you should because you’ll know instantly that they are not right for you.
Lots of people tell me I am brave and resilient. But I need to tell you the truth about the other side of that stick. For you to understand the upcoming roads, I need to start telling you now about my complete mental and emotional unraveling that happened shortly after we left Idaho. It stepped up to the counter of my reality as if it had been waiting in line for decades to talk to me. Now that it had its turn, it wasn’t going anywhere until I listened. It waited until I was on a road dark enough to see myself. And what happened next, some might call a mental or nervous breakdown, I did for a while. What I call it now is a severe allergic reaction to the blinding strobe light of self-abandonment. It showed up unapologetically as soon as things got dark enough for me to be able to see it.
I’d lost myself, or abandoned myself for a long time in the abyss of modern life’s metaphorical light pollution. Too much light? It didn’t make sense for a while. As a lover of truth and knowledge and love, this lesson for me was unforeseen and something I fought for a long time. How could too much light be a bad thing? Wasn’t I always trying to find more light, create more light and advocate for more light?
I was actually hiding myself in the blinding lights of “too much.”
What I have learned is that not all light is the same.
What I have also learned is that not all darkness is the same.
Sometimes people who love each other have to part ways, and hope with everything in them that they will get to meet up again somewhere down the road. But still we make up stories about the “separating part” until we can’t even remember the “together part.” We stop remembering that love transcends time and space and even parting.
It’s often like that when relationships go through the transitions that happen as a result of life’s turmoils. We seem to be wired to go on a hunting expedition whenever something hurts, to look for who is the one doing the hurting. When sometimes, it’s just LIFE that did the hurting, not a choice that someone made to hurt someone else. It’s the fallout of a bunch of people on their own path, trying to stay next to each other as much as they can — while life has all sorts of twists, turns and holes on up ahead that we can’t always see. Sometimes in order to stay on the path that’s meant for your life, you have to go a different direction than the person next to you, who also has to stay on their own path. When you’ve been lucky enough to have your paths next to each other for a really long time, that’s when it’s hardest, that’s when we start to make up painful stories about “what it must mean.”
And the problem was that I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t let go of unfinished possibilities, good-intentions-never-fulfilled or things that had graduated to the title of “good memories.” I didn’t want memories. I wanted ALIVENESS. I wanted everything to come back to life somehow. I wanted everything that was EVER good in my life to be within arms reach so that I would be okay no matter what happened next.
In truth, I was always afraid that nothing good would happen again and so I needed to hold on to what was good before.
And the biggest truth of all was that I wanted PROOF that I did something valuable once. I wanted PROOF that I had gathered the things that make a person valuable in our culture. I wanted PROOF that I was valuable and worthy of a beautiful life.
So we waited until our last child was a legal adult, and we drove away from the place where we were born and raised. We drove away from 4 generations of family who had homesteaded that land. We drove away from lifelong friends. We drove away from painful memories and memories that were so sparkling with love and goodness that it would blind your eyes. We drove away from the identities we had so carefully forged in an effort to belong.
Hello human family….I love you. What a time to be alive in this world. I’ve been absent from most places for a good long while. I left Idaho just about 2 years ago, driving an old red truck and following my husband as he towed the RV that his parents gave us to start...
Subscribe TO MY NEWSLETTER