A few years ago, I went through a period of transformation. A time where I was forced to do some intense soul searching and dig deep.
I had always been Tina daughter, Tina sister, Tina wife, Tina mom, Tina worker. I had spent years defined by those roles, as many of us do, that I didn’t even know who Tina was! I mean I loved being those things, but, after separating from my then husband, someone at that time I had been with for 16 years (since we were 16 years old) I was now single, and raising my two girls pretty much solo. You’d think that since I became a mom at 19 that I’d be out partying and getting a little crazy (I did do that, it came a bit later). But that wasn’t what I chose to do immediately afterward. I spent a lot of time in those following months, staying in alone on weekends, reading, watching chick flicks, enjoying a glass of wine, reflecting and searching the world wide web for anything on how to do me! After all, who was I? What were MY interests? I didn’t even know – most of my interests were my kids interests or my exes interests. What made ME happy? What did I want from MY life?
You know when you’re stuck and it feels like your life is a disconnect that a good self help/discovery book is where it’s at. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was the beginning of my transformation. I followed Elizabeth through her pleasures in Italy, her devotion in India and love in Bali. Although tempted, I skipped the mounds of pasta meals but started to meditate and get acquainted with Hindi mantras, heck I wanted to do the whole Ashram thing myself. I listened to Alanis Morrissette’s “Thank You India” on repeat. The book touched me so, to the point that I got Om Namah Shivaya tattooed on my left hip as a constant reminder to myself to honour The Divinity That Lives Within Me, to Bow to Shiva My True Identity.
I was on a roll … and I loved it. I picked up a great Riesling and then picked up every single Robin Sharma book on the market! Chapters loved me lol. Discover Your Destiny. This book gets you hooked at the first line … “You are far greater than you ever dreamed of being. And, no matter what you are experiencing in your life right now, trust that all is good and unfolding in your best interests. It may not look pretty, but it is exactly what you need to learn for you to grow into the person you have been destined to become”. Wow! I couldn’t put it down, all I wanted to do was keep reading to watch the choices and decisions Dar was going to make and how I could apply these lessons to live my highest life, and be my authentic self — I wanted a life of authenticity. My copy is dogeared beyond belief and I still refer to some passages and quotes from it to this day. Heck, for a few months afterward I kept it in my purse, and when I had a moment or needed to take a break, I’d open up one of the dogeared pages and and read from it.
Here’s a link to a free excerpt of Discover Your Destiny:
I’ve read most of his books, I find him to be a truly inspiring human being! Truly magnetic! He’s the kinda guy I’d like to morph into a little gnome and carry around in my pocket and he’d spout out inspirational thoughts throughout the day like,
•Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow ~ Helen Keller
•Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive ~ Matt Cameron
•Change your thoughts and you change your world ~ Norman Vincent Peale”
If you haven’t read any of his powerful books, I’d encourage you to give some a try. They are life changing! (oh and if you believe in serendipity – I got a chance of a lifetime to see the one and only Robin Sharma as keynote speaker at our Arbonne Canadian National Conference in ’13 – talk about destiny! – whoop whoop!)
I was on my way – I was feeling good, I was getting in tune with moi and I was discovering that I not only liked me, but that I loved me. That me and only me was in charge of my life and destination. Personal growth starts simply by becoming a better version of your former self everyday. Step one successfully accomplished (well at least acknowledged – personal growth is a lifelong journey!).
Next, I was going to tackle getting out of my comfort zone – life begins at the end of it don’t ya know! Most people live their lives in their comfort zones, afraid to change, afraid to step out of the comforts of their norms, their regular routines – that are safe, where they know all of the rules of the game. I realized that we set these limits ourselves and that we keep ourselves locked in because we typically dread what lies in what we don’t already know. I admired folks who shook the status quo, who took chances, who weren’t afraid – I admired the people who jumped! I didn’t need to stand on the sidelines and admire … I could jump too!
Shortly after, I stumbled across a poem that I saw posted by George Strombolopoulous, I forget what exactly he was posting about, but I think his mom had this poem by Edgar Guest hung in their house.
I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know that
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
Authenticity, integrity … this poem struck a chord with me so much that I tattooed the last six lines on my right ribs.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.
I started redefining my norms, what was possible — becoming authentic is an individual mission, I mean how can we be who we truly are if we spend our time and attention being something we are not for the purposes of the approval of others or being fashionable for instance? I started by listening to my inner self and kicking my fictional self to the curb. I found that my life was simpler when I was more peaceful inside, when I made the right decisions for the right reasons. I decided to end friendships that were not healthy, started surrounding myself with people who were supportive and likeminded, and started making a plan for the next chapter – following my own compass. I had some friends who were definitely instrumental in helping me through this transformation (shout out to Stacey and Selena), friends definitely helped.
I ended up getting three more tattoos – I’m now a walking billboard for positivity and growth. And, yes – when I’m by the pool or at the beach, people will stop and ask to read me lol.
Hey, listen, I’m not here to preach that because I am striving to be a truer version of me that my life is perfect, it’s not, no one’s is … it’s filled with just as many challenges as everyone else’s, life will continue to throw us curve balls, but I’ve now learned that it’s how we deal with those challenges that determines the quality of our lives. I’ve really forgotten this lately … but thankfully life’s a journey and I can continue to make strides. Tomorrow is a new day.
~ “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” – Tony Robbins
PS: I totally love The Tragically Hip so this is a perfect title to end the blog – At Transformation:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ost6Eupxss