I was just shy of 40 and pretty damn sure my life was about to really change.
I was preparing to open a huge art exhibition: a culmination of over a year’s worth of work. It was funded by a major grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. I had recognition – and more importantly, financial backing – as an artist. And I was proud of my social practice project that highlighted the stories of a small town hit hard by the ’08 foreclosure crisis.
I was about to BLOW MY ART CAREER UP. I was nervous, self-conscious about the exhibition (which included my first documentary film debut), but SO excited.
I had worked myself to the bone (literally dropping at least 10 pounds over the year) but I just knew it was all worth it.
Because this was it. I was about to ARRIVE.
You probably don’t know this about me, but before I started healing and coaching people out of pain and into a life they love I was actually a fine artist with a BFA in Photography. I mostly made videos and curated art exhibitions.
But I was also a perfectionist. And extremely critical of myself.
I strove for excellence, but even harder, I strove for acceptance and approval from others.
As an artist, I especially wanted to be recognized by the outside world as that all-elusive thing: a REALLY good artist.
But I didn’t feel like a REALLY good artist. I felt like a hack. Like my ideas weren’t captivating or conceptual enough, like my work was just mediocre.
Which meant that I was mediocre, too. And I desperately wanted to be anything but mediocre. I wanted to be famous.
Working on the foreclosure project was incredible. I interviewed over 100 people in the community of Tracy, California and recorded their stories. I held space for people to process their personal and collective loss and trauma.
My husband and I short sold our home in Tracy, too (for oodles less than we paid for it ten years prior).
I even interviewed the woman who bought our house. I was pretty casual about it.
I couldn’t wouldn’t see the emotional and physical toll the project was taking on me.
I wasn’t eating right, spending long hours tweaking on video editing, not taking any breaks. And just before starting the project, I’d spent 5 days hospitalized on IV antibiotics to treat an abscess – and didn’t take time to recuperate. I just started in right away.
I was driving myself too hard.
I needed that approval so much that it didn’t matter what my body was saying. I *really needed* to make sure that this project was a success. Because I needed that recognition.
But really and truly, I wanted to ensure that no one could see that I was a mediocre hack. I was terrified the world would see that I was no good.
This kept running on subconscious replay: What if everyone found out that I was actually a total POS? (piece of sh!t)
I didn’t love and care for myself. Like, at all. If only I could prove how good I was, I’d be worthy of that love I needed.
Fast forward nine months and I have a growing stack of art proposal rejection letters, no huge career break, no fame.
Then the Universe added one last jigger of stress and my body shut down. My adrenals, taxed to the max by years of never-good-enough striving, left town. No more sleep. Like, at all. No energy, unable to work, no will to live, even.
And since my worth was completely tied to what I produced in the world (or so I believed), I was then truly worthless.
It was an incredibly dark period in my life.
I so badly wanted a way out of my deep emotional pain and depression. I couldn’t find a clean way to end my life. But trust me, I wanted to.
So there I am, sobbing on the floor, desperate for relief. Cursing my body for failing me. Terrified of what comes next. Seeking comfort. Wondering if my life will ever go “back to normal” – sound at all familiar?
Luckily, between sobs, I could hear a tiny little voice that said, “Just make it through today…”
I had been following my heart – or so I thought. I thought I was “supposed” to be an artist. But it hurt so freakin’ much.
It hurt because I was following my ego. Because I wasn’t willing to address the underlying issue: my own self-criticism, self-doubt, and dare I name it, my self-loathing.
You see, I was that empathic kid that had to take care of all the adults in my life. I got to make sure that everyone else’s emotions and experiences were managed. Self-care was never modeled, but workaholism, perfectionism and several other “isms” certainly were. As a kid, I internalized a message that said, “Your emotions and needs are less important than everyone else’s. You don’t matter all that much.”
I had no clue how to take care of my own emotional and energetic needs. I expected art and the people around me to fill me up. And so I was always hurting, always striving, never filled up.
What I didn’t know at the time was that my physical crisis was actually a spiritual crisis. Spirit had been trying to get my attention for years, but I refused to heed the call. So Spirit resorted to the good old wrecking ball approach. And lo and behold, it worked!
My life did totally change that year. But certainly not in the way I expected. Out of sheer desperation, I reluctantly said yes to Spirit and to my soul’s calling. But oh how I struggled. And whined. I tried to go it alone. It took a long ass time.
But along the way, I learned how to practice radical self-acceptance. With awareness and compassion, that acceptance turned to self-love.
Spirit taught me that self-care and self-compassion was actually the gateway drug to living in 5D and embodying unity consciousness. Self-care (the deep intentional kind that leads to radical self-love) was THE missing piece peace.
So this shelter-in-place you’ve been in? I know it. I went through it – painfully and alone – at the end of my 40th year. I was fearful, I was in pain, I was confused. I wanted life to return to normal. (Even though normal meant deeply unhappy and unfulfilled.)
It was then – and this is now – an incubation period, a gestation period, and an opportunity for metamorphosis.
But you are not the caterpillar that automatically becomes the butterfly. You get to choose if you will heed the call or not.
I struggled against that choice. I wanted it to be another way. I wanted my life to “go back to normal.”
But thankfully, you can truly never go back. Once the light comes in, we can’t go back under the rock. Hide our heads in the sand. The only way out is through. But you weren’t meant to go through it alone. And you shouldn’t.
Because a spiritual awakening can feel like walking through flames.
It can feel like you are losing your mind. It can feel lonely, or it can feel so sublime and deeply connected you’ll wonder what you struggled against for so long. (Speaking to myself here…)
Humanity is waking up faster than ever right now. And I suspect you are feeling this, and waking up more and more yourself. And even if it’s confusing or hurts some, it’s all worthwhile, because on the other side of it is a life you won’t believe is possible for you. A life of purpose and connection, a life with more peace and ease and love.
Dear heart, if you can relate to these feelings of deep inadequacy, or struggles with perfectionism, or total inability or know-how to care for yourself energetically, hear this: you are not alone.
Likewise, if you know humanity is on the precipice of major culture change, you are right and you have a role to play in it.
Just because I struggled doesn’t mean you have to. Spirit showed me the fast track (after I struggled and struggled, of course) and gave me the roadmap to share with you.
If you want to know what this roadmap looks like and if it might work for you too, please book a Fear To Freedom Breakthrough Session with me today.
Because life as a butterfly is so much easier, more beautiful and so much more fun.