I was always used to working very hard. I was raised in a family business and working hard was top priority in our house hold. Long hours, rushing around, no true breaks-eat as you run- just keep going was my motto. Besides, I'm a high energy person so it was easy for me to go, go, go! Stress and anxiety were normal emotions to me. When I started to hear about people suffering from anxiety and hearing about the symptoms it would make me laugh. "Weak people who can't deal with life" was how I judged. I believed this to my very core. When my own anxiety started to really kick in, I added a few more activities and events on my plate believing working harder is the answer, burring myself in too much work and play seemed to make a lot of sense to me in those days. This of course would lead me to a few physical break downs. No problem- a few days of forced rest and I was back to my game of rushing about. Eventually my break downs became more emotional. I used to be good at burring my emotions, ignoring what I was feeling was easy when I convinced myself that they were signs of weakness. Eventually like a ticking time bomb I exploded! Now, I was finally saying to myself, "I understand what anxiety is! It is not weakness! It is your soul telling you that something needs your attention. How could I have been so quick and hard to judge others?!" At the peak of my anxiety-as the universe has always done for me in my life- it took over and guided my life toward drastic changes, thank goodness! All of a sudden I was forced to completely change my routine, habits, schedules- everything changed! It was the first time since I was a young girl to have a full summer off! Remember, I grew up in a family business so helping out at a very young age was inevitable- and not like child labour- no, not at all- it was more like go there on the weekend, after school because that's where my parents/sisters were. And believe me I loved being there, I truly enjoyed helping out. It became my part time job while I held another job -my parents suggested I learn how to work for others and not just for family. Years later I went to work full time with the family, with of course plenty of overtime. So when I got the taste of having time off, believe me I was amazed at how good it felt! I had never before been so relaxed and it felt wonderful! But it wouldn't be long before the summer was over and my inner voice screamed,"chop, chop! Lets go, you had the time off now back to work!" So I opened up my business and before I knew it I was back in the rushing swing of things! This time my stress and anxiety levels were more consistent, more like a slow roller coaster, up for a while, down for a while. I had finally begun to work on myself and this was the result. Not 100% better but much better than before. But then, 8 years into it, changes began to occur around me and some serious thought had to be put into play. Just as I was figuring things out, asking the universe for guidance and help- the universe would intervene yet once again. Thank goodness again! I found myself having yet another break- this time a more drastic, permanent change in my very busy schedule. Funny enough it was again around the same time of year. History repeating itself? Seems I didn't quite get the message the first time. Yet this time the summer off wasn't enough for me. I have finally worked hard on my insides and was now able to tell how I truly felt about things. I could clearly hear and feel what my soul was telling me. I had to make some serious choices and some very difficult decisions. At the base of it all was finally telling my family that I was done. Having the feeling of disappointing others broke me up inside but the message was clear and I knew what I had to do. Why am I telling you all of this? You know there is always a moral to every story so here is mine: it is easy to ignore how we feel. It is easier to keep going not paying attention to what our gut tells us. You're unhappy, so what so are many other people. You are stressed out so what, so are many other people...but this is not how life was intended for us to live. Many times it can seem difficult to make decisions that make you truly happy, but it is vital for your soul! You will be alright because when we choose to fulfill our soul, life takes care of us! We quiet down, making it easier to listen to what it is we need to do next. We feel calm and peaceful inside. Now that is a very rewarding feeling! That in my opinion is the best way to live! Life gives us unlimited choices. There is plenty we can or can not choose to do. The question is how many of us choose to do what we really want to do? How many of us do things out of guilt or obligation? What is it you really want to do? Are you happy with how your life is and how you spend your time? Today I can say this: the decisions were very tough to make and the process was challenging and if I could go back I wouldn't change a thing!
Luv and Light,
*Photo provided by Tracie Pipppenger www.tracielouisephotography.com