Difficulties in our lives, especially those that seem to occur and re-occur, are usually the road map to our own hero’s journey. If we spend too long dwelling on rethinking what went wrong, we can completely miss out on growth.
It is crucial that we openly communicate our challenges and seek learning and healing from our nurtured support systems. It is equally true that living in the negative past is powerfully detrimental to living a vibrant life. Practicing how to really live in the present moment is the surest way of avoiding this pit fall.
Knowing how to be in the moment takes practice. We have to undo a lifetime of habits. It is not only doable, but also well worth the effort. When you make a decision to live a vibrant, empowered, and fully meaningful life, a life full of fully lived moments, you will then know how to tackle challenges as they show up by recognizing what they are: opportunities for growth.
After a lifetime of only dreaming of it, I finally opened my own learning center.
What I allowed to stand in my way was my past.
On February 14th, 1979, my father punched my breasts with the tempo of a professional boxer: one-two-three, one-two-three. After I repeatedly fainted from his punches to the stomach, he would wake me by pulling me up by my hair. In two days, I would turn 16.
On February 14th, 1979, after my father left for work, I packed what I could, called the police, and removed myself from their lives.
Feeling angry with all that they did to me, I wanted the rest of my life to mean something extraordinary.
I made some progress. I made some mistakes along the way. My life carried on. I got married. I became a mother, a teacher, and a graduate student heading for a career in education.
Then, seven years after my divorce, I fell in love with a man who promised me everything. After two years with him, I found out that he had been cheating on me for as long as I had known him. I packed up as many of my things as I could and I removed myself from his life.
After spending enough time marinating in self-pity, I finally asked, “what do I need to learn from this?” I wanted to know why I had been willing to be in a relationship with someone so severe and unkind.
What happened next was amazing.
I began to receive answers, and as I asked more questions, more answers flew right at me.
I learned that I had been inappropriately personalizing other’s actions and reactions to me. I realized that many others do the same thing.
How often do we get our feelings hurt because of something that a stranger did to us? We often assume the worst, and are then hurt based on that wrong meaning.
It was my chronic habit of misestimating the actions of others that caused me to stay with a man who was unable to love in a healthy way. He was harsh, emotionally unavailable, and uncaring. I took his harshness to mean that I needed to be softer. I took his emotional unavailable behavior to mean I was not interesting enough. I became devoid of self-esteem by the end of our relationship because I based my value on how he treated me. I then took his cheating to mean I was not lovable enough in some way. But the truth was that his cheating was about his inability to be empathetic to my feelings. His character, not my worth, should have been questioned.
Empowering children has always been my passion, so I feel as if I am the luckiest person in the world to get to share all that I have learned with them. I get to teach my students to correctly interpret things in their lives. When my students run into bullies, rejection, or less than well performed tasks, I want them to correctly attach meaning to those unpleasant events so that they are not stopped by a sense of doom.
A great man name Taylor Negron once said, “Sometimes we bump into a kind of rogue comet and asteroid and we get kicked off our orbit. When we get kicked off, we go into a new orbit, that may be a shortcut home. And home is not a place, but a silent nest where we could apply the things that we learned from our nature and our angels.”
I felt “kicked off” my orbit when I left my ex; I lost him, my life with him, and the community that I had become closely a part of. But leaving him ended up being a shortcut to my real home, my journey of getting my center off the ground and getting the opportunity to teach my students how to get to their home: their own hero’s journey.
Every hero’s journey starts with a difficult and traumatic beginning. In stories, the more powerful the hero, the tougher their beginning. Heroes in real life are made the same way.
Heroes move with life; they face life head on and most often do not waste their time in self-pity. I want my students to move with, and be heroes of, their own lives.
Gandhi said: “be the change that you want to see in the world.” Can you imagine a world full of people who are being heroes? I can, and it is an awesome world. Will you join me and be a hero of your own life? Will you be the change that you want to see in your world?