I had one of those brain breakthrough’s yesterday. You’ve heard something about the way the world works, or your mind works, over and over again. You know it intellectually, you believe it, and you’ve even talked about it but it doesn’t always feel true in your experience. Then, all of a sudden. when you’re least expecting it, that idea becomes a visceral knowing. No longer just an idea or belief, now you just know inside your very soul that IT is the truth. That’s what happened yesterday. But first, a little background.
I used to be a big achiever. And a big dreamer. (I think I’m still the latter and a now just a bit of the former). I went after a lot of things: to do, to be and (a little less) to have. But, I hit some of those marks and still did not feel “fulfilled” or happy. Sound familiar? You realize that “the thing” you thought you wanted wasn’t what you were really looking for. It’s wonderful that it happened, you created it, or you co-created it, however you think of it. But, you discover that the outside happening is not what fulfills or satisfies your spirit. It’s what is going on inside you that makes the biggest difference in how you feel about your life.
My mind began reflecting back on some of my amazing accomplishments in business. I have served as a strategist, writer, and expert communications professional leading public relations and media relations campaigns nationwide since the 1980’s. My work included representing many high-profile leaders and resulted in some phenomenal outcomes: helping restore hope of Democracy to the people of South Korea by delivering an exiled leader home to safely; helping end Apartheid after years of pressure on the U.S. and South African government; raising the issue of Equal Pay and other women’s issues, civil rights issues and environmental issues, and, even saving children from abduction. I helped communicate pressing issues in a way that would activate change in our country and around the globe. And, celebrated phenomenal outcomes.
I’ve also many great “outcomes” in my personal life, often overcoming difficult times. Surviving childhood traumas and adult ones. Helping my best friend navigate, and being her rock, during the painful and frightening cancer diagnosis of her finance’ and then his death only a few weeks after their marriage. Then, helping my mom deal with all the difficulties of lung cancer. Nursing her and being her companion through that awful disease and holding her hand as she died. Saving a little kid from drowning. Helping a 16-year-old homeless pregnant girl. I was a companion, survivor and rescuer. I liked being there when people really needed someone and making sure they did not feel alone in this big, sometimes scary, world.
Loves. I had a few great ones. Getting married to a very kind and supportive man. Falling in love with an adventurer who brought passion and life to me when I desperately needed it. Choosing love with an amazing doctor/healer who helped my daughter, me and many others recapture their health which taught me more about the body, mind and soul connection.
My deep desire for family. Blessed with loving siblings (Beth, Lee and Carol) and parents, I early wanted a family of my own, complete with children. I gave birth to the most amazing daughter I could ever want and am thoroughly grateful for the gift of motherhood. Although I lost my mother, father and brother, I still have sisters and their children (and their children) … and the family keeps expanding. Now, I add to my love bucket the young people for whom I have become a pseudo Godmother to guide, love and empower them. Being part of, and belonging to, a family was one of my biggest dreams that came true.
I also wanted to understand who I was and why I was here. I read numerous spiritual books, self-help books, went to conferences, workshops and watched hours of video. Anything to learn about growth and spirituality. I learned so much I was able to teach metaphysics and spiritual development courses and be a mentor to others. I explored, increased and expanded my intuitive gifts so I could support people in connecting with their soul and a higher understanding of being a spirit in a human body.
I wanted to be healthy so I sought out traditional doctors, holistic and homeopathic physicians, acupuncturists, nutritionists, herbalist and healers. Learned tons and got better, even beat a life-threatening illness. Now I’m able to point people in the direction of different avenues and resources for wellness.
I wanted to entertain people and express my creativity. I auditioned and won roles in a ton of theatre shows, videos, some television, radio, etc. I traveled the country performing in schools using an educational/entertainment format. I learned to play the guitar and won an award in middle school (which funnily enough I had no memory of until someone on Facebook found me and reminded me!) I wrote and published books, children’s activity books, produced video and plays. Creativity fuels me.
So, now I am contemplating what wanting something and getting it actually gets you. I wonder what do I really want … and if I get it, will I be satisfied? What if I really, really want something and what will happen if I get i … or if I don’t? (Both can be scary) Have I done everything I wanted to do and been everything I wanted to be? Not a chance. Have I reached some point where I feel complete, fulfilled? Nope.
Achievement review: So overall, in my lifetime, I really wanted to help others. √ T I wanted to contribute to the world. √ I wanted love, romance and passion. √√√ Wanted to live (when everyone thought I wouldn’t). √ Wanted to get married, yep. Got a GREAT child. (Biggest check!) You get the drift. But, I realize, more than ever, that there’s more going on beneath and beyond the outcomes.
So, yesterday I got a flash, an insight, about all these “things to do” imaging what I “want” next. Then, the insight hit me at a soul level, feeling viscerally what I understood intellectually all along — that feeling fulfilled is an inside job. I can have all the professional success, all the personal relationships, all the knowledge, creativity, compassion, connection and still feel unfulfilled. Like there’s more to do, be, have …
Maybe it’s the human spirit, to always want more. Not even from a place of greed or gluttony, but from being a natural creator who loves to create over and over again. We want to experience something new. Be something different. Learn something never known before. Get something we don’t have. Find the something new that is always around the corner. Continually creating.
Lately, what I have been able to let go of (a bit) is the “how and when” of it. Or even knowing what the next thing is. The unknown. I’m letting go of the details I imagine must happen to “hit my mark.”
What I know is that I like to share my gift for communication and entertaining, to have loving relationships, to be creative, and to make a difference. How that will unfold I have no idea and I have less investment in “making it happen.” I’m more in a place of just being myself and see what come up. More than ever, I’m now in a place of trusting the unknown to unfold, in the right moment, in this adventure called my life.
It takes off a lot of pressure, that’s for sure. Phew!
For now I’ll still wait for that forever love, until I find it (or better yet it finds me). Somehow. Who knows how, or why, or when, or where. (Italy? Maryland?) Life changing and world-changing projects will fall into my lap at some point. I will be drawn to opportunities to act, perform, collaborate, speak to groups and teach. I will enjoy my precious daughter, family and friends and meet others to love. I will probably get sick and well and sick and well.
Maybe I’ve stopped looking for fulfillment. I’m not sure it’s even possible because once you get filled up, you give some away and more room is made for more filling up. It’s really continual, less like a cup filling up and overflowing and more like a stream that runs into a river, that runs into an ocean. And more water just falls from the sky whenever it wants. Sometimes its a sprinkle and other times a storm. The tide is high and sometimes the tide is low. But the water, it flows naturally. It is amazingly beautiful and perfect, and takes all kinds of unknown twists and turns.
I’m now thinking that maybe I’m like the sticks I played with as a child. My friend Stephy and I would go down to a stream that had a waterfall at the end pouring into Reston’s Lake Anne. Stephy and I would find different shaped sticks and name them: Bendy, Skinny, Crooked, Charlie. We would put the sticks at the top of the stream and chase the sticks through the flowing water, keeping our eyes on the sticks until they reached the falls. Sometimes we’d rescue them just before they went over and sometimes, let them take the waterfall ride. Often the stream was slow but other times fast, sped up by recent storms. With glee we’d watch our sticks float down the stream, we’d yell goodbye and wish them luck on their journey just before they careened over the waterfall. Then, we would go back and find more sticks to set on a journey and do it all over again. It was a great adventure.
Whatever your desire or dreams, it’s the beginning of a journey. Whether you’re the stick floating towards the waterfall, not knowing where it will lead you, or the water carrying the sticks merging with bigger waters, I wish you a great adventure. We don’t know where we’ll end up in the great ocean of life, but I know that it’s the adventure that matters. The outer adventure is very thrilling but, the inner adventure is the one with the deepest waters.
In the flow, nel flusso,
Your Intentional (Visceral) Co-Creator
PR expert and author of Feeling Loved, A Ted E. Bear Story
P.S. What body of water should I visit when I’m in Italy and can I put sticks in my luggage?