Success and me
Success and I have not always been the best of friends. In fact, success has been a bit of a dirty word for me – feeling just out of grasp. That is because, as far as your body is concerned, when you are operating in a survival state, you can’t afford to let a feeling of success in, you might relax and miss some threat or danger. But more on that later.
As a child, I always had big dreams. I had a strong sense that I was put on this earth to make a significant impact. I wanted to improve the lives of others and alleviate suffering on the planet. Along with that came a very strong sense of justice, a high value for freedom, a huge capacity for compassion and an insatiable obsession with seeking the truth.
Put that combination into a childhood situation where fear was a constant companion, as was emotional and psychological abuse, control and domination and you have a recipe for…pain. Constant feelings of intense frustration, failure and failed self expectations – not to mention self-doubt, low self worth, a sense of powerlessness and victim-hood eventually lead to severe depression and anxiety.
How I redeemed success
It has taken me until recently, having along the way also experienced sexual abuse, multiple miscarriages, several deaths of loved ones, near bankruptcy, divorce and eventually burnout, adrenal fatigue and a diagnosis of complex PTSD, to realise that what seemed like obstacles to achieving my purpose on this planet were the very foundation of that purpose.
Finally I was able to see that the very qualities I came in with – my incredible drive, persistence and resilience and my strong sense of purpose; combined with adverse, traumatic and often heart-breaking circumstances, was the very crucible that produced the incredible growth, learning, compassion and love I have developed today. And I would like to add that this would not have been possible, that is to say, I would not have survived that crucible, if it was not for the love and support of many amazing people, including those who contributed to some of the pain. And it is also not to say that the many moments of joy, bliss, pleasure and healing have not also, equally, contributed to where and who I am today.
Adversity as success in disguise
I have come to see that this initiation or rite of passage was what was necessary in order for me to prepare to fulfill the mission I came in with. On another level, it is the mission itself. However, because of the neo-liberal, individualist culture I have been born into, I had taken on certain beliefs of what success looks like – financial wealth, job security, happy marriage, nice house and car, fit, sexy body, great health, great career…you get the picture. When I compared myself to that list, I found myself coming up woefully short, in effect, a failure.
But not any more! After an important and necessary period of acknowledging my experiences and grieving for what might have been, I have fully integrated all aspects of my story. And the rich compassion and love I have developed as a result gets poured into myself now, as well as others.
I have developed my own definition of what success truly embodies for me and now completely own the word success in relation to myself and my life:
“Success is knowing why you are here and allowing your journey to unfold with trust and gratitude”
So what made the most difference for me?
Looking back I can see that a great deal of my incessant seeking – in the fields of spirituality, personal development and in relationships, was simply seeking for relief from pain. Although I read many helpful books, and visited many amazing practitioners and went on some transformative spiritual retreats, it wasn’t until I discovered Somatic Experiencing that I really got a grasp on what was the root cause of my emotional, psychological and physical pain and how to finally resolve it.
At the core was a severely dysregulated nervous system. A nervous system in which the survival energies of fight, flight and freeze had not been able to complete and therefore were stuck and causing all the symptoms I was experiencing. And no amount of spiritual bypassing or intellectual bypassing was going to ‘unstuck’ them! So I began my journey of listening to the wisdom of my body and tuning in to what she needed, to release these thwarted survival responses….and I haven’t looked back.
Where I am today
Today I bring this healthy regulated nervous system and much happier body in union with who I discovered myself to be during my times of spiritual seeking, to the world, in service of a humble life of love, compassion and connection.
Thank you for reading. It is my intention in writing this that you will feel seen and heard and understood in your own pain. That you may experience some resonance and connection with me, a sense of hope and excitement that even the most adverse of circumstances can be overcome, and that you get just a small taste of the great love and compassion I have for you and your journey 🙂 xx.
If you would like to learn more about Somatic Experiencing and how I work, then please head on over to my Work With Me page.