Once when I was running,
from all that haunted me;
to the dark I was succumbing-
to what hurt unbearably.
Searching for the one thing, that would set my sad soul free.
In time I stumbled upon it, an inner calm and peace;
and now I am beginning,
to see and to believe,
in who I am becoming- and all I’ve yet to be.
I really feel like this poem describes my life; where I have been, where I am now and where I can allow myself to go.
For years I lived in my past. I didn’t even realise that over time I had created a world that was a constant reminder of everything that I struggled with. I must have thought that if I could somehow understand the world I had built around my past I might have been able to find a way to change it. In hindsight, I can see this was false hope. But at the time I felt as though this exhausting way of managing my life could somehow give me enough understanding that I could eventually find a way to accept it.
The next quote really put into perspective how my approach really was a false hope.
“We spend our time responding to a world which we understand and recognise but which no longer exists.” – Eddie Obeng
This really resonated with me. I realised that over the years, I had been losing myself in the struggle of trying to solve the problems I could not change. I did eventually recognise my issues. I even came to a place where I almost understood them. Ultimately, though, I was only left with the knowledge that I had spent eleven years desperately trying to understand something well enough so that I could then maybe fix or change my future.
I feel like the struggle of our past at times can be incredibly painful. I understand that it is important to learn and to grow from our pain. However, in my experience I have found that journeying into the past will always close the door to my future before I even have a chance to walk through it.
I feel that getting lost in the struggles of our past can prevent us from allowing ourselves to move forward and to make a change. If we stay there long enough, we can slowly become our struggle. For the longest time, I made a home there and looking out from the past, my future seemed either completely terrifying or non-existent.
Overtime I came to realise the idea of trying to manage or build a life from only the blocks of the painful memories of my past was not going to work. I gradually became aware that I was not getting any closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.
The next quote taught me that the fight of trying to change or accept my past could never truly be accomplished if I continued to fight in the darkness.
“Darkness can not drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
It suddenly made sense that trying to fight pain whilst living in a painful place would always be an unsuccessful and never ending journey. The further I looked into my past, the further away I traveled from any kind of future happiness.
I became aware that the light at the end of the tunnel was the outline of a door that I had closed years ago when I first began my journey into the past.
Simply envisioning my future as light gave me the drive to make a change. Throughout my whole life, I have been incredibly lucky to have seen this light in my loved ones. They have always given me so much love that I became comfortable not having a light of my own.
The previous quote encouraged me to feel compassion towards my struggle and not to submit to the angst of trying to fix it. It is still helping me move forward and live in the present and work towards a future where I can build my own light.
Towards the end of last year I found myself in a place where I truly believed that I could make that happen.
I was given the most amazing opportunity to spend time in beautiful Queenstown. I have found true peace here. For the first time in my life, I feel completely comfortable and secure in myself and now I truly enjoy my own company. I felt as though I have been able to regain a connection to myself. I feel so at ease and I have almost found a confidence in my ability to truly know the woman who I have become. Appreciating my growth rather then punishing myself for the time it has taken, brought me to a place where I could truly be my own inspiration.
My time in New Zealand has filled me with light. It has enabled me to grow into a person that I can feel proud of. I never would have thought I could enjoy and appreciate the journey of being a work in progress as much as I do now.
The next quote is how my time here has taught me to use that light when I find myself looking into my past. I know now I don’t need to go back there, I don’t need to fix it. I no longer feel a need to try to understand it. I accept that it is something I cannot change, and I accept the person I have become.
There are still those days when I find that to be a challenge. This quote somehow makes those moments a lot less intimidating.
“If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet you’d best take it out and teach it to dance.” – George Bernard Shaw
The idea of using the light I have found in New Zealand to dance with my demons gives me strength. It has truly changed my perspective and my attitude towards my journey and how to travel this new path. On those days I know I can make the best of a difficult situation. And lets be honest, I am pretty sure dancing in the light isn’t a party too many of our skeletons will want to go to.
The moment I stopped trying to fix my past and instead chose only to be in this moment and to work towards a future was the most freeing experience of my life.
My hope is for you to be able to find a similar sense freedom in being able to let go of the past and look towards what can make you happier in the future.