After many years (about six to be exact) of nurturing the idea of Discovering Y.O.U., I have finally stepped onto the stage to share it. Well, that’s not quite entirely true. I actually did deliver a couple of keynotes and workshops when I first came up with the idea, but then I put it away until just this past year and I wasn’t altogether sure why, until recently.
Discovering Y.O.U. was born from an inward journey I embarked upon following a couple of really hard life knocks – the kind that either drive you toward some very unhealthy coping mechanisms or force you to step back to find the message in the mess. I did both!
I spent a lot of time reflecting, getting quiet, connecting to my inner spirit, finding gratitude, silver linings and beauty in my personal growth. I used reading for inspiration and journaling for catharsis; yoga for body, mind and soul alignment; meditation to calm and centre me. I spent hours upon hours in nature, just being quiet and paying attention to the thoughts, feelings and silent conversations that enveloped me. I noticed that whenever I was engaged in any of these practices, I wasn’t thinking about all I had endured or worrying about what was yet to unfold. When I was fully present, I was peaceful. That revelation was so inspiring that I felt I had a message worthy of sharing. The message being that turning inward and connecting to something much bigger than yourself, yet inherently within you (i.e., Discovering Y.O.U.), is the most enlightened way to live. I went out onto stages and shared my story, to rave reviews and praise.
My life felt inspired and purposeful by day but lost its lustre by night, when the magnitude of all I had been through set back in. And that’s where the wine entered (a lot of it!).
Now if you’ve visited the ‘About’ page on my website, you’ll see that I speak of this there. So why repeat it here?
Because I left one very important detail out.
My journey to discovering ME, came by way of aligning with my core values of:
- Physical, mental and spiritual well-being,
- Connection to something bigger than myself, and
- A deep-rooted desire to make a difference in the lives of others.
Yet, there was a part of me that wasn’t feeling in alignment at all, because I was neglecting another crucial value of mine which is honesty. I wasn’t being honest all of the times I told myself that there’s nothing wrong with drinking wine every night, or when I told myself that it was just a bad habit I’d gotten into and that I could take control of it whenever I chose to.
I wasn’t being honest with myself all of the times I told myself that this wasn’t really a problem.
“You can’t run away from yourself.”
The truth of the matter is that it was a problem. It was negatively affecting my sleep, my productivity, my energy and my focus, and it was doing a number on my self-esteem. Each morning when I awoke and looked in the mirror, I would chastise myself and question who I was to think that I could speak to others about living in alignment and with authenticity, when I wasn’t being authentic myself? I felt like a fraud. Worse still, my nightly wine consumption was creating an uncomfortable and unstable environment in my home which was incredibly unfair to my daughters. They too, had suffered the same hard knocks that I had, yet here I was, through my own actions, causing them further pain. So many of the conversations that happened in our home centred around them imploring me to just ‘dial it back a bit’. They reminded me of all the good that had come from the journey – my growth, my connection to spirit, my desire to make a difference and share my learnings with the rest of the world. They told me how much they admired my strength by day but how it made no sense to them that I could just flip a switch at night. The truth is, it didn’t make any sense to me either.
I had a constant reel on repeat in my head that went something like this:
How can you engage in a behaviour that is so misaligned with the rest of the way you live your life? How can you possibly feel validated speaking to people about the value of living a life of authenticity when you’re not being fully authentic yourself? How can you ignore the impact your behaviour is having on your family and ignore their pleas to make some changes? How can you be so dishonest with yourself?
These conversations, both with my daughters and with myself, went on for a very long time – years in fact. I grew tired of disappointing both them and myself and I knew that if I was going to live in complete alignment with my values, there was no longer a place for alcohol in my life. So, one Sunday morning, late last summer, I woke up and said “No more!” It was honestly just that easy and here’s why. When you know exactly what it is that you value and how you want to show up for yourself each day, the decision becomes easier and you just do it!
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
So here I am, re-launching my business of Discovering Y.O.U., where I get to speak to people about the importance of living from a place that is aligned with your values and your truth. I can do this now because I have finally gotten really honest with myself about:
- Who I am
- What I want for myself and
- What I need to live my most authentic life
I understand that honesty enables me to be open and consistent with how I present myself and to observe everything with more clarity.
Today, I feel more at peace than ever, healthier in body, mind and spirit and connected in a way that is even more meaningful and authentic than before. I have so much gratitude for all that I have journeyed through and I leave you, dear discoverer, with one parting wish:
May you find a life that is in complete alignment with the things you value most and the honesty to live from that place as often as possible.
In Love & Gratitude,
PS: If your behaviour patterns around alcohol or any other substance or harmful activity are negatively impacting your life, I highly recommend This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. The framework for the book centres around conscious living to help you better understand your thought processes and behaviours. It’s written with alcohol in mind but the insights and strategies can be applied to so many areas of your life. It’s an excellent read!