It's been months since I've felt like writing. On the heels of what can best be described as a shocking life-altering experience on November 3 last year, I simply lost my writing mojo. I needed to stop, get off the proverbial merry-go-round and re-think many things.
Prior to November 3, I had been feeling kind of lost and was in a massive funk. Hey, I might be a kickass coach and spiritual being, but it doesn't preclude me from feeling lost every now and then!
I was feeling overwhelmed by my business, confused about what direction to take it in, and what to focus on. I was worried about just about everything. And in spite of my success and working with awesome clients, I questioned my path and worth, especially as I compared myself to all the other uber-successful coaches, writers and entrepreneurs out there who appeared to be doing a lot better than I was.
Bottom line, I was in the muck. Thank goodness for the support of my awesome Tribe who were there for me every step of the way, and helped pull me out of it.
Interestingly as it turns out, a lot of other people were going through their own version of muck last year. It's Chinese New Year right now and there's been a lot of talk about 2013 and the exceptionally difficult Year of the Snake, as well as 2014, the promising and potentially kinder Year of the Horse.
It all makes sense now -- many of us have been in the muck and shedding our skins, just like snakes, so to speak! Apologies for the metaphor soup.
We've been letting go of, or forced to let go of, things/people/etc. that no longer serve who we truly are, and questioning what we really want, as well as what makes us truly happy. Not an easy place to be in. Fortunately, it looks like our buddy the Horse is going to help us gallop into the right direction. Woo hoo.
Anyway, still wondering exactly what happened to me on November 3?
By the end of October, I had managed to pull myself out of the muck and was feeling really great about things -- myself, my life and my business. I didn't have it "all figured out," yet I felt a renewed sense of confidence, strength, courage, optimism, hope and energy around my path forward.
November 3 was a Sunday. A gorgeous day. Cold and crisp. A perfect cloudless blue sky day filled with bright autumnal sunshine. My plan was to spend the day working, and before I dug in, I decided around 9.30 a.m. to get some fresh air and take an early morning walk down to my favourite park (and happy place) by the lake -- an always joyful walk I have taken easily a hundred times before, but hadn't in a while, and was looking forward to.
Walking towards my usual entrance to the park, I sensed something was wrong. Then I spotted two police cars. An unusual sight there, but I brushed my concerns aside and kept walking.
What happened next feels like a surreal blur, even now three months later.
First, I saw two policemen talking to a runner. Then I saw the yellow police tape. Then, something made me turn to my right, and I saw him. A man hanging from a tree. From one of my favourite trees. He was dressed in black, with a black baseball cap on, his head down.
For several very long seconds I stood there frozen and confused. Then, on instinct, I turned around and walked out of there very fast, clearly in shock and unclear of what I had just witnessed.
I wanted to believe it was a crime scene, a horrible murder. I didn't want to believe what I had seen, but in my heart I knew. Suicide.
I'll spare you the details and the trauma that ensued that whole week. Needless to say, I got a lot of help and support to get me through it.
Then something bizarre happened.
The following Saturday, I received an almost breathless voice mail from a dear friend. Through complete serendipity, fluke and a chance conversation, she had discovered who he was. A friend of a friend. And suddenly, I knew his name, who he was and had some pieces of the story of his life, solving the mystery of "Why?"
Life happens. Each day, every one of us experiences good and bad moments, and everything in-between, often as we're nonchalantly going about our day as normal.
That fateful day and incident was a massive catalyst in my life. Understandably so, I'm sure you'll agree. And it got me thinking: in the face of whatever life throws at us, we each get to choose who we are in those moments. And as distraught as I initially was having witnessed a fellow human being who had been in so much pain as to have taken his own life, I knew in my heart that although this was a defining moment in my life, it was not going to define me.
And now three months later, after a long hibernation, I'm back with a greater sense of confidence, clarity, sense of purpose, inner fire, mojo and everything in-between...and stronger than ever.
That moment in the park was a massive catalyst for positive change and new action in my life, and the hiatus I took from my business has resulted in an amazing new path and opportunities that have emerged.
What's more, all those blasted "shoulds" are gone! As are the comparisons to everyone else. I'm happier and more confident in my own skin than I've ever been.
What I know for sure is that I was meant to be there that day, and to have had that experience in that park that Sunday in early November. And I was meant to discover who that man was.
Just like Paddington Bear, the beloved furry hero of one of my favourite childhood books, we all get lost, and feel lost, sometimes. Often in silence. And just like a small wise bear wearing a bright blue duffle coat and a cool hat, we are sometimes lost within a vast sea of people rushing by us at the bustling railway station of life.
Yet, we are never really alone. We are all fundamentally connected in more profound ways than we realize or might admit. Especially when it feels like we aren't.
Think about it: how on earth was it possible in a city of over three-million people, to discover that through a dear friend, and an acquaintance I had met only once, that I was connected to the man in the park...and to be able to find out who he was, and a little bit about what he was going through?
In our hyper-connected world, more and more of us feel increasingly disconnected, and alone. Sometimes it's we who feel that way. Sometimes it's a friend, a co-worker, a loved one, or a stranger.
One of the biggest gifts that that experience in the park gave me is a deeper sense of connection, connectedness and responsibility to humanity as a whole.
Whether you choose to believe it or not, the fact of the matter is that we are all profoundly connected through the collective human experience, and this crazy adventure called Life. And it's time for each of us, especially those of us who survived the personal storms of the Year of the Snake, to start sharing ourselves fully, in bigger, more genuine and real ways without worrying about what other people think or say. And most certainly, without apologizing for who we really are!
And, it's time to no longer be afraid to reach out and ask for help when we need it, in big and small ways.
We're all in this together. That's an essential truth that we simply can no longer ignore.
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