My Date With Destiny…

Something beautiful happens when your knees hit the ground and you don’t get up.

I have always been “strong”- refusing to be labeled, a victim of dogma, being told what I can and can’t do. Everything about me was strong, right down to my career. No one would have looked at me and called me a victim. Yet at my core that’s exactly what I was. Running from who I really was, always moving forward, never stopping, even when I was pushed down, kicked down, knocked down or fell down.

I never stayed down. I didn’t know how. I used to wish to be the type of person who would be a quitter. Why can’t I walk away from things? Be like everyone else?

Every piece of motivation I had ever heard talks about getting up, moving forward, keep going, push through it and that’s what I was doing constantly. Until I couldn’t take life’s beatings anymore. Just over 3 years ago I had the year from hell. Smackdown after smackdown. Something would happen, I’d flip out, meltdown mode, mobilize, then move forward – all happening so fast you would miss it if you blinked. No matter how big the smackdown or how small, it was all the same. Flip. Deal. Move forward.

But it refused to stop. Every time I moved forward I was offered another smackdown, another sucker punch. The problems and the issues just kept hitting me in the face. And I never saw them coming even when I was looking right at them. Over and over again, I spent a year like this, maybe more.  But there was one final blow that I couldn’t seem to recover from; nothing was working; I kept trying to move forward but it was like quick sand, pulling me down and I was struggling to keep my head up. I was sinking fast.

Stubbornness and my refusal to quit are both my best and worst feature. They are great because they will ensure I’ll almost always find a way. But they are bad because sometimes I’m finding a way on the wrong path. But this time, I couldn’t find a way. And I was forced to ask why.

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Scene 2 Act 2 Enter the Universe stage right.

When we ask different questions we get different answers. The universe had lined everything up particularly well. I mean it had been laying some serious smackdowns on me and I wasn’t listening. Now it was time. Over the next year spent understanding all the issues in my business. Because that clearly was the source of all my problems, right?

It was amazing how hard it was to let go of my business as I knew it. 2 locations, 6 staff and I had no idea how to run a business although I wouldn’t have admitted it back then. But it was my identity. Leaving, quitting was the ultimate failure. But I knew I had to. I had spent a year trying to figure it out and what I had realized most was that I was doing it now at a cost to my own health and I was inauthentic. To deal with my overwhelming stress I had turned to old coping skills of eating disorders, self hate. I needed to walk away to reconnect with my love for fitness and health and stop using the business to get my sense of self-worth and to be good enough. And it felt so good to make those decisions. It was hard but it was right.

Letting-Go

The next year was spent reconnecting to myself, my purpose with my business, why I loved fitness, healing my body.

Scene 3 Act 5. Enter the universe stage left, unexpectedly and uninvited.

I mean, things were great! Now of course I realize as I was rebuilding it stopped before I recreated the exact mess I had left. Because GASP, I had an epiphany that it wasn’t my business at all that was the problem. It was me. I had become what everyone wanted me to be. I was a fake. I didn’t even know who I was anymore and rebuilding my business without knowing the answer to that was about to recreate everything, again. My business was a convenient place to hide. I was so busy I couldn’t see what was happening. I was focused on my business as the root of all my but it was just a manifestation of it. And as long as I was looking at the business I couldn’t see what was really going on.

That realization sent me spinning down the rabbit hole. But this time I didn’t get up. This time I stayed down. I had never really fallen this far before. It was the first time I had ever looked at myself as the source of my problems. But this time I did land on my back instead of face down. And because I could up and look around I saw a whole new landscape and I was fascinated by it. I decided to explore it. I thought I was crazy, that I had gone mad and I suppose I had for a time.

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Staying down was the best gift I’ve ever given myself. For the first time in my life I wasn’t strong. For the first time in my life I wasn’t worried about how it looked or what it meant to stay down. I didn’t jump up, ignoring everything and move forward. I stopped working out. I stopped eating healthy. I was off my game. I was intrigued with this new world. Who am I? What do I want? Why am I the way I am? Why do all of these things keep happening?

It wasn’t easy going through 35 years worth of emotions that I had not expressed. It wasn’t easy feeling. It wasn’t easy looking at all of the things that I had never looked at, just stuffed them under the rug… all of the trauma’s, all of the hurts, all of the let downs, all of my failures and worse my perceived failures. I started to see from all angles how I had been showing up in life, really NOT showing up. A bull in a china shop, something to prove, running from who I really was, terrified it would catch up if I stopped all because I didn’t believe that version of me was worthy or good enough.

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It wasn’t easy processing and living in my darkness – looking at my own jealousy, rage, anger, fear. I really am a good person but I was caught in a lot of non feeling and numbness which turned into negative emotions. Staying down allowed me to see that you can’t turn off some emotions – like hurt, sadness, fear, etc without turning off all the others like happiness, joy, excitement. They all go and eventually comes the anger, bitterness. I was trying not to feel and realized that too much positivity was also just as bad as too much anger. We need to experience and feel all of our emotions. It’s here to teach us something. We need to be justifiably angry at times – how else do we turn that anger into fuel and determination for positive change? We need to feel sad and hurt at times and not feel guilty about that. It’s there to teach us something. We just can’t stay there. Feel it, process it, move on by taking action to change the situation that brought you there if possible.

And because we live in a society that’s justifiably jaded people feel guilty for being happy – how dare we when people are suffering. We have a right and a need to experience these emotions too.

I couldn’t have learned this if I had gotten up too quickly.

Staying down also taught me about compassion and empathy. I always had it for others. But couldn’t accept it for myself. I was always the helper not the helped. But when you’re down and you look around you’ll see those that are down there with you. And somehow you’ll find the courage to reach out a hand, not knowing if anyone will take it, terrified to let people know you need help, but knowing you need it. Our society glorifies going alone. Being down taught me we’re not supposed to do it alone. I had spent my life doing it alone, proving I didn’t need anyone. Perhaps that’s why I was being smacked down so much – so I could see that. Someone will always take your extended hand – whether they’re down too or have been there. We need that, connection and understanding and meaning. That’s how we’ll heal the world – together.

The most important thing I found when I was down was myself. At a Tony Robbins event in December, I was participating in a journey. I became overwhelmed, struggling through it, agitated by the guiding, I couldn’t “get it”, and of course, I had to “get it right”. I realized after it was my ego trying to prevent what was about to come.

As I had done shamanic healing with Regina Wright, I knew my spirit guide was the jaguar. So I called on Jaguar to sit with me. And I felt instantly calm. I decided to meditate. It didn’t matter if I got this one right. And out of nowhere I slipped into this other place – a dark room and I knew instantly I had been there before. I saw something in the corner and as I approached I saw her, with the most beautiful smile, innocent, waiting with the look that said “I knew you’d come back”.

A younger version of me, chained and locked in a cage, exactly as I had left her more than 20 years before. And I was overwhelmed with emotion as I realized it wasn’t the world that had rejected me, it was me that had rejected me. I changed. I became what the world told me to be – to fit in, to be cool, to be liked, to be accepted, to not be so sensitive, not hurt so easy, to not feel so much.

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My date with Destiny was finding myself because I stayed down. It wasn’t in the light that I found myself but the darkness. And now it was time to get back up, as me, all of me. To let myself love fully and openly, even if I’m afraid of being hurt. To make friends even if I’m afraid of not being good enough or rejected, to be sensitive and experience my emotions and let them pass and take action where I need to and most importantly to let myself have fun and do the things that I love to do.

It’s not easy to be ourselves in this world. We hide behind walls and masks and we live our lives by societies standards, going through life as zombies, not thinking, not feeling and when we do, we’re critcitzed and condemned and we step back a little more every time until we’ve retreated so far we don’t know who we are anymore. And if you’ve had trauma then you have a few more walls to bust down to find yourself.

Something beautiful happens when your knees hit the ground and you don’t get back up right away. I realized all the motivation things and pieces that I was interrupting weren’t talking about getting up immediately, they were talking about getting up after the lessons have been learned, after you’ve been broken down, not before. Because the lesson about WHY you fell is the most important one.

The lessons learned – finding myself and now rebuilding from there – like the phoenix rising from the ashes, stronger and more powerful than ever, no masks, no walls – just me.

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Comments

    1. Thank you so much! Sorry you’re crying in public – but it’s ok 😉 Emotion is cool (a 20 year old version of me just cringed at that somewhere in the universe!) hehe.

  1. Geraldine

    Tonya somewhere some how you always manage to touch something in my soul!!i like the lady commented I am here in my own home trying to wipe the tears away too. But as you said things build and build and somewhere sometime the awakening comes to most of us. For me it comes in waves some days are really good but others are not so good, the not so good days lead me to overeat why because somewhat like you I’ve seen this little girl too except I don’t want to acknowledge her it’s like put her back in the past like 25-30 years ago I just tell myself you’ve gotten past that Whatever??? In conclusion your honest with your feelings about how you deal with them and by sharing it helps more than you realize!

  2. Tiffany ward

    Tonya you are one inspirational woman.. I do read all of your blogs, inspirational speeches, and you never cease to amaze me. Your words are powerful and they really do hit home. I too cried tonight and I want to thank you for that! Keep doing what you do best.

    1. Thank you so much Tiffany! It’s an honour to have people read what I write. Writing has been very healing for me and my hope is that others can learn from my own experience 🙂

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