Have you ever had a true eureka moment?
I have had many and one of my biggest was a life realization that I made ten years ago.
I was getting my health coaching certification through the Institute for Integration Nutrition and was practicing my health history intake with a local student. I was the client and she was the coach. Being that this was my sixth practice session as a client, I was trying my best not to just go through the motion of answering the questions but to really imagine I was doing this for the first time so that my partner would get the most out of the practice session. Little did I know that that would serve me more than her.
I remember distinctly, I was sitting on my bed answering the first general questions about my weight, menstrual cycle and digestive system and then we started talking my childhood. She asked me about my father who had passed away three years prior. See, my dad and I never had a “relationship” where we shared stories or he took me fishing or taught me about boys. I honestly can’t even remember a true conversation we had aside from figuring out what was for lunch. His verbal communication was impacted by his epilepsy which he developed as a child, and because he never worked and stayed at home, I never really saw him as an authority figure (Yikes! Just realized I may have some issues about work and authority as I write this. I’ll have to come back to this topic another day). Due to his disability, I ended up having to take care of a lot of things in my household that normal children wouldn’t have to. I have learned since, that as a survival mechanism, I took on a lot of these responsibilities in stride and hadn’t thought much of it.
As I was explaining this to my partner, she said, “Well, it sounds like he’s had a huge impact on your life.” And before I could automatically downplay it and really minimize his role in my life as I always have, I had a huge light bulb moment. I realized that I had been equating the lack of relationship and connection with my father to a lack of influence on my life when in reality, I could attribute almost everything to him.
Imagine you have been telling yourself one thing all of your life, whether consciously or subconsciously, and then you realize in one second that it is completely false.
I felt like my whole world turned upside down in that moment.
My first instinct was denial – I tried my very best to maintain the belief I had held for twenty-plus years. But as every argument against the idea was broken down, I started to incorporate this new truth. And would you believe it that my life made more sense than ever?
We live our day-to-day lives and our interpretations of what happens to us are the stories we tell ourselves. They shape our character and create our “truths.” But our truths are not the ultimate truth. They are the laws and standards we may live our lives but like real life laws, they can be challenged and change if needed.
A couple of weeks after my miscarriage, I was trying to process everything. For whatever reason, I though the worst of my life was behind me, that my challenging childhood had happened and it had shaped me to be an awesome person living an amazing life and that I finally had control over everything. If that isn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is!
My miscarriage was trying to my ego. My life was not following a plan that I had set out for myself. I got pregnant with my daughter right as we started trying and I thought I had this whole baby making thing down pat. But as I lost not one but two pregnancies, I was sent spiraling. I started saying to myself, “this is not my story – this is not what is meant to be happening to me.”
Like a well-written story, everything in our life stories happens for a reason.
Details are not to be overlooked as they can foreshadow something later on in the story or they perpetuate a theme that the author wants to share or they create conflict that the protagonist must overcome. It all serves a purpose. I have believed this ever since my eureka moment during that health coach practice session.
But when life throws us off a path that we are comfortably moseying down, we want to believe it wasn’t meant to be, that is it not a part of our story. As children, we are still forming our truths. We take in our life experiences and those form the foundation for how we interpret our lives and the world. And I have found, as we get older, our truths are challenged. This can either send us into denial or into an evolution where we incorporate new truths into our lives.
With the miscarriage, I was searching and searching for the lesson in why it happened. I kept coming up against a wall, telling myself that this was not meant to be, that “this is not my story.” But I realized as I was processing everything happening – what a damning thing to say! If it’s happening in my life, it IS my story. Whether or not I have control of it, I have to own it. Denying it will not make it any less of my story.
Life is not just about the things you can control.
Life will throw you curve balls, fastballs and change-up’s. You will not always be in able to tell what’s coming. And you do not have full control over it. But never, for a single second, claim you are better than the circumstances. Never disown those moments because they are perhaps the most pivotal in your story.
Growth can certainly happen when we challenge ourselves but how often do we push ourselves so we are teetering on the edge? So that we feel if we breathed the wrong way that we are done?
As much as we’d like to believe we are strong enough to push ourselves to the brink, we are not brave enough to do that to ourselves. Growth and expansion happen in those curve balls and fastballs. You may come out swinging when you are pitched them or hunker down and take the ball. What you do in the moment is important but the lessons are actually in the replay. Incorporating those challenges into our lives enable us to continue to live our story, to continue swinging.
I’m not sure that this was the ultimate lesson of my miscarriages but at the least, it has been a micro-lesson, a reminder that I need to own my story and it is only when I accept my circumstances that I can make the best of them.