I awoke to darkness all around me. How long had I been asleep this time? I had spent years pushing my soul into the dark abyss of anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse I had made my home. And yet now, for whatever reason, a vibrant part of me I didn’t even know still existed, was calling me, pulling me out of the tight web of fear and deceit I had built, determined to find me.
“I’m 57 years old, isn’t it too late for me to recover and live my best life?”, I thought. “Do I still have a chance to be the woman and healer I always knew I was meant to be, or am I delusional?
My awakening wasn’t as glamorous as the ones experienced by spiritual gurus I’ve read in memoirs. It didn’t come as a result of the sudden death of a loved one, a vision of an angel, a near death experience, or as an internal reaction to a world catastrophe. It was random, unexpected, but strikingly powerful nonetheless. It happened on a day like many others. A day when I opened my eyes and felt an overwhelming desire to reach out to my old mentor and teacher, Eileen O’Donnell.
I didn’t understand why. It had been over 17 years since we had talked and almost that many since I had thought of her. In fact, I was pretty sure she wouldn’t even remember who I was. And yet, I couldn’t help myself. I had to speak to Eileen.
I looked for her number, took a deep breath, and watched my finger dial the ten digits on my cell phone. “Of course I remember you” she said, as a rush of relief ran through my body.
We spoke for a while, then suddenly Eileen paused, took a clearing breath, and told me something so simple and yet so compelling that it triggered my complete awakening. “Forgiveness can set you free of the shackles that are holding you frozen in fear.”
Frozen, that is exactly how I had been feeling for years as I spent my days anesthetizing the pain with alcohol and drugs so that I wouldn’t need to deal with the endless list of “What Ifs” that had taken over my psyche and my body.
What if I have to come out of retirement?
What if I have to take a job I hate?
What if my husband gets sick? What if we lose our house?
I had lost so much precious time trying to escape the fear of what might happen, rather than being present to what was truly happening in my life and the beauty and joy that was available. I had missed it all. And now, all I could do, was forgive myself for what I had lost. Forgive myself for the mistakes I made and for the harm I caused others. Regret and resentment haunted me day and night, as I replayed each instance and hurtful episode in my mind, over and over again.
I resented those who wronged me and had never admitted it, and above all I resented myself. My heart was so heavy and filled with pain, I was certain it could never be mended. I could never feel whole and at peace again.
Fortunately, I was wrong.
There is no such thing as “too late” to reclaim your truth no matter how many years you have lost, or how severe the hurt.
It’s never “too late” to release what holds you back from forgiving
yourself and others so that you can show up for your life.
And guess what? As long as you are willing to see things differently and
shift the way you feel one moment at a time, it’ll never be “too late” for you to listen to your heart and decide to create the life you have always desired.
Here are the 5 steps I used to start turning my life around and embrace who I am:
1. Decide the mistakes you made in the past, the wrongdoing of others and the time you lost are no longer worth worrying about. Be nonnegotiable about that. Forgive it all. Release the past with your blessing, keep only the lessons you learned, be thankful for what you have and agree to live in the moment. As Eckhart Tolle said, “The past has no power over the present moment.”.
2. Be willing to choose again. The fear of your past missteps and those of others will most certainly continue to show up and attack you. You will need to come back quickly and to do that you must turn forgiveness into your go-to strategy for self-preservation. It is a process that becomes a quick mind shift that allows the stress and anxiety to melt away as you exonerate all involved and feel renewed.
3. Lean into the positive mind shift that absolution brings. The first time I forgave all that concerned me I felt like celebrating. I screamed out loud, “I’m free!”, and I danced joyfully all over the house. Do it! Celebrate your win because it is huge! Feel the positivity this new way of life brings and call it forth whenever needed. Let your light shine brightly.
4. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Find your teachers, your mentors, people that help you want to be the best you can be. You can do this through books, YouTube, people you know, and the internet. This will help you stay inspired and committed to your own healing journey.
5. Get the support you need. If you find yourself with deep internal wounds, addictions, or just need help getting through these steps seek assistance. There is no shame in obtaining support. You can hire a therapist, go to AA, seek Facebook groups that concentrate on your needs, or hire a coach. There are many forms of support today. Find what works best for you and stay on your path.
Today I’m living proof the above 5 steps really work. I no longer live in fear of the past. I have awakened to a brand new day and to a brand new woman. I no longer drink or do drugs to numb my mind, body, and soul. I love my positive vibe and mindset. I have surrounded myself with people that inspire me like Gabriel Bernstein and Deepak Chopra. I hired a coach to give me the support and guidance I needed. I am living my best life in my best body, and I support others in their own journey as a Retirement Spiritual Coach committed to my client’s transformation.
It is truly never too late to begin again.