Have you ever had a flashback moment? I have.Recently, I returned home from Greece. Truly, the most beautiful place I've ever experienced. I visited Santorini and Mykonos. I went there as a girlfriend and returned home as a fiancé. It’s crazy to hear myself say that out loud. Five years ago, if anyone told me I’d be married one day, I would have never believed them. For so long, I didn’t believe I was worthy of love and quite frankly I became incredibly comfortable with being alone. True story, I actually told myself that my life’s purpose was to be a single parent fostering child that had been removed from their parents due to abuse, neglect, and abandonment. I even started foster parent classes. At that time, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment in a downtown area of West Palm Beach. In order to foster through the agency, I was working with I needed at least a two bedroom, so it didn’t work out and I truly believe that was a Divine Intervention. God knew there was more for my life, something bigger and I wouldn’t be able to do it had I had a bunch of foster kids. My friends and I used to joke – you know there is the cat lady and then there would be me the foster kid lady. Point is - it is really cool to witness transformation, whether it be your own or someone else’s. Do you agree?
If you follow me on Instagram which is @mindfulliving.now you might have seen the picture I posted of me and my fiancé, which was right after I said yes. We were standing on a cliff overlooking the sea watching the sunset. It was the most magical, spiritual moment of my life. As I stood there a thought popped in my head – it was a familiar thought – one that I had when I was 26 years young. Standing there, I thought to myself "Wow, I get it. Everything in my life led me here to this very point, where I am standing on a cliff overlooking the beautiful island of Santorini and I was reminded that what I once thought was the worst thing that ever happened to me, was actually the best thing.”
And I want to invite you to think about this question “What if the worst thing that ever happened to you was the best thing?”
I woke up.
At age 24, I started my journey of healing and self-discovery and at age 26, I had a very awakening moment when suddenly the things that used to cripple me made me feel open and full of gratitude.
I remember putting forth the work – through therapy, yoga, mediating, exercise, kickboxing, writing and really anything that I felt would help me because at that time, I was so lost and felt broken. I was filled with anger and rage and would take it out on myself. I was willing to do whatever to get better and I did.
I’ll never forget one day in particular. I was 26 years old and at this point two years has gone by since I started my journey of healing, I was living alone in an adorable apartment downtown palm beach and for the most part, I was well. I was working in my field of study which was actually with children in foster care so makes sense I wanted to become the foster kid lady, and overall felt content. I still had my demons that would pop up, but I was better at managing them if that makes sense.
I can remember waking up one Saturday morning and I felt different. I couldn’t tell you why or how, it was just a feeling. I even remember the way I saw my apartment it looked different although nothing was new or changed. For some reason, everything looked and felt different.
I remember on this morning I decided to go on a walk instead of the gym. As I walked downstairs, the air literally felt like it hugged me good morning. I remember as I started to walk, I felt like I was walking to a loved one I hadn’t seen in a while or into my childhood home. It was a very inviting, comforting feeling.
For the first time, in a very long time, I started to walk with my head up and not just up, but I started to look to the sky. This was different for me because for years I walked with my head down. I was so consumed by shame and guilt, I didn’t want anyone to see me not even the crossing guards.
I can vividly remember feeling really curious. I was experiencing the unknown and I was okay with it. It felt right. Yes, it had been two years since my self-discovery journey started, but those two years weren’t easy. Every day was a constant fight to stay on my course of healing.
a moment to moment commitment.
I think sometimes people think healing is going to be this 1-2-3 process or that there is a formula to follow for 30-60 days and then boom you’re healed and it’s not that. Healing is a daily commitment.
Going back to that Saturday morning where I was on my walk. I ended up on Palm Beach Island. I went to Starbucks, ordered an ice coffee, and continued my walk. I can still feel what I felt --- this feeling of “it’s okay. You’re enough. You’re where you need to be” It’s almost like I could hear a voice telling me that.
I ended up finding this stunningly beautiful deep-rooted tree in a park where I sat on the floor under it and it was in that moment that for the first time in my entire life, I felt like I had a sense of belonging. That I had a purpose and my life had meaning. I couldn’t tell you what it was then, but it didn’t matter. What mattered is how I felt.
Everything you need is inside of you.
So often people are looking to the outside for their happiness or to feel whole. That was once me. I don’t know where you are on your journey – but if I can share any wisdom with you – it is to know and trust you are where you need to be and there is nothing outside of you that can make you happy and whole. This is something that you must cultivate from the inside out.
Yea sure are there people, places, and things that add to our life and make us feel good – of course there is, but if you aren’t truly satisfied from the inside out its not sustainable.
Also, you are not defined by the things that have happened to you nor are you defined by your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or behaviors. I truly believe every single one of us are made of pure divine goodness. Life happens and it happens fast and somewhere along the way we lose ourselves. The good news is you can choose to change your perspective and you can choose to heal. You can choose better and more.
Every step counts.
So from 26 when I started to realize there was something greater than me and believed there was meaning and purpose for my life till the moment just two weeks ago where I became engaged it hasn’t always been easy, but what I’m getting at – is every step of life is leading you where you’re supposed to be. And in the moment when things are happening its really easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and to question things and to feel disappointment and whatever, but take it from me, you always end up where you're meant to be. Life is truly about experiencing and enjoying life in the present moment and learning to accept what is and beyond accepting it practicing gratitude and choosing what matters.
Choose what matters.
Looking back, I could say I wasted so much time and energy, but I didn’t know any better. And I’m sure you’re doing the best you can too, but I invite you to begin or continue speaking love into yourself. To respect your journey and your individual process of evolving.
If you take anything away from this, I hope you’ll give yourself time to think about the question from earlier “what if the worst thing that happened to you was the best thing that happened to you?” Give yourself sometime to think about the one thing you’ve been holding onto that is blocking you from feeling free and evolving into the highest version of you.
Most times, we are the only ones holding ourselves back. We keep ourselves shackled for whatever reason and I’m here to tell you not everything is meant to be understood. Sometimes by not understanding you understand and by not knowing you know. It’s this weird thing, but it’s just how it works.
There is no timeline for healing. Everyone is different and what works for some might not work for someone else and that’s okay. The bravest thing a person could ever do is give themselves permission to let go of the things that hold them back and rise up in light. I always remind myself my past deserves to rest, and my future needs me. The same goes for you.
Don’t forget wherever you are, it’s where you're meant to be and I’m going to leave you with this affirmation if it resonates use it if not leave it, “Everything is happening for my highest and best self. All is well. I am whole.”
Love & Light,
Love & Light,
To learn more about Stephanie, visit www.themindfulliving.com where you will find her books, courses, and other experiences, as well as, events she is a part of. Follow her on Emenator @mindfulliving, Facebook @mindfulliving, and Instagram @mindfulliving.now. Find Mindful Makeover, 30-Day Workbook and Guide, on Amazon.