5 steps to beginning again | JanDesai.com

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

On the cusp of turning 50, I found myself single after being married for over 20 years.

I was heartbroken. I felt ashamed, profoundly depressed, and haunted by the fear of being penniless. I felt ill-equipped to begin again. Yet I was terrified by the never-ending loop of my own voice whispering, “I refuse to make the same mistakes in the second half of my life that I’ve made over and over again.”

A Shell of Myself

I had become a shell of a woman turning myself inside out to be loved by a man who was incapable of loving himself. In fact, this had clearly become a recurring pattern for all the relationships in my life. But I was blind to it.

My Midwestern back was broad, so I shouldered the blame. I was a type A doer – demanding and bitchy. I lived in the past, accusing everyone but myself for the transgressions of life. I complained constantly. I believed I wasn’t pretty enough. There were years when I was too fat and years when I was too thin. Perhaps if I had been smarter, or worked harder, things may have been different. Certainly if I had been more sexual, my marriage would have had a different outcome. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without bursting into tears over the perceived potential that I had wasted.

The litany was endless.

These conflicting emotions and the stories they held in place served as an overwhelming and debilitating yoke. Yet, they became some of the greatest gifts I have ever received. After five decades, it was time that I learned to love myself. It was imperative that I nurture self-respect. I had to cultivate independence. I needed to be my own source of joy and fulfillment.

5 steps to beginning againAn Extended Time-Out

I had lived in the dark for so long, something within me was screaming to find the light. And so I was thrust into my own awakening.

There was a singular morning when I knew that in order to move forward I first needed to put myself in an extended time-out. I hit the brakes in my life and shut everything down. I began saying no to every invitation. I resigned from my community boards. I cut off every distraction I could identify and for the first time ever, I got quiet.

Without realizing it, in cutting myself off from the greater distractions of life, I begin to get in touch with the silence of my soul.

This experience was dramatically different from my daily prayers and my fervent recitation of the rosary.  I had no formal training in spirituality. I was not on a particular path of awakening. I was not a meditator nor was I necessarily a sane human being during this time. But I became a living testament to how the energy of your soul can move you into greater connection with your authentic self if you just open the door, even a tiny crack.

The Brightening of the Light

For 18 months I worked relentlessly on myself. And with each successive day, the light became brighter. I got into intensive therapy with a practitioner who had a spiritual foundation and found the courage to look at the part I played in how my life had unfolded. Then I began to take responsibility. I worked outdoors and cultivated my garden. I walked on the beach. I prioritized my relationship with my middle-school-aged son. I read books. I refused to date because I didn’t want to be distracted. Most importantly I listened to the stirrings of something deep within.

The synchronicity and magic that unfolded were astounding. I was physically moved into direct alignment with individuals who played a profound role in my recovery. I witnessed unexpected messages and profound insights that kept me moving in the flow of my own becoming.

Through these interactions I came to realize that all of my prior experiences merely served as the evolutionary fodder required for me to grow and evolve into the acceptance of the love that lives at my core. And here is what was revealed to me:

I am not broken. I am evolving. Within me resides the courage to break the rules necessary to create my most authentic and beautiful life.

I am a living testament to all women that the best is yet to come. Here’s how you can begin your journey to authenticity.

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The Five Steps to Beginning Again

1. If you, too, are faced with challenge, crisis, or adversity, start by fully embracing the flawed, broken, and frightened person you see when you look in the mirror. Blame has no place here. Fault is irrelevant. No matter how overwhelming your situation may seem, your life is not over. As you begin to embrace your brokenness with unconditional love you will start to hear the quiet whisper of life calling you into more. And I promise you it will take your breath away.

2. Find time each day to completely disconnect from the chaos of life and just be still. No fancy poses. No dark rooms. No special music. Just stillness. Begin with three minutes each morning. Simply open your palms and your heart and ask the God of your understanding to support you in your unfolding. My invitation to the Universe each morning is “I am open to receive.” And then I shut up and just listen.

3. I couldn’t sleep for months. I stopped eating. I wanted the pain to stop but I knew that addictive substances were no longer the solution. So I got the support I needed and the tools to get me through the toughest times. Trust me, drinking alone is never the solution. It may temporarily feel like you are deadening the pain, but once again you are also deadening your ability to awaken to the life that is being birthed.

Prioritize finding your support team. A best friend to walk with you in the morning. A therapist to whom you can rant, scream, and cry. And then when you are ready, guide you through the hard work. A spiritual advisor who will provide the tools to support you when you feel disconnected from your soul.

4. Feel everything there is to feel. Cry. Scream. Curse. OK, if there are others at home, let it all out in the privacy of your bedroom. But the important message here is to let it out. Allow every emotion to flow through you without restraint. Don’t judge anything. To do so creates energetic blocks within you around this crisis or adversity. Know that each emotion that is felt through to completion carries with it the ability to heal your heart and renew your being.

5. This is not the time to rush into any major life decisions. Be gentle with yourself. You are in a process of unfolding. I promise the universe will align you with your next move when you are ready to take it on. (That goes for dating as well).

These five steps will deliver miracles if you allow them. They will call you into the light of your most magnificent life.

If you’ve been where I have, I hope you will share what you are feeling in the comments. I can’t wait to read your insights.

Live Authentically-

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Comments (9)

  1. Hi Jan , Thankyou for this powerful message it brought me to tears. I just lost my husband of 29 yrs in December and I feel lost like my life is over . I struggle a lot of the fears you mention .
    Deep down though I have hope and am counting my blessings two children , meaningful work I am a Hospice Nurse and have recently started playing the piano 3 yrs ago all of these thing bring me comfort . It just feels really dark right now but I wanted to thank you for sharing your inspiring journey .
    Sincerely Pam

  2. When we are at our darkest moments the entire universe is conspiring to move us into the light. Our job is to find the patience and faith to know that we are being moved into something uniquely powerful. I’m so glad you’ve found activities that bring you joy. You can’t rush the healing process. Be with the sadness, cry the tears. And find even the smallest joys to be grateful for. I am grateful that you are now on this journey with me and our tribe of inspiring souls who will reflect back to one another tremendous love and light.

  3. I’m in the beginning stages (6 plus months) of a separation with my husband of 27 years. I’ve done all I can or want to do to continue living this way. Panache had always said you’ll be done when your done and I’m done. With that said it doesn’t make it any easier, my heart still very much hurts and I’m on my journey to true self love. Thank you Jan for your advice, I can feel the truth and love in your words and I’m very grateful for that. xoxoxo Pam

  4. These life transitions aren’t meant to be easy and to expect it to be that way only causes you suffering. There is much work to be done because we never want to move backward into greater dissonance. So you must be patient. You are in the process of birthing this next authentic chapter of your becoming. It takes time. Introspection. Gentleness. And great healing. Be patient with yourself and the process. During these times of tumultuous transition we walk one of two ways… into greater love or into greater disconnection. I know you are moving into the love and light. I know you, Pam. I know that you have what it takes. Support yourself with positive daily rituals and continue to follow your heart. The light will shine again.

  5. Hello Jan:
    Your story beginning was identical to mine in every way except instead of leaving my husband of 28 years, he committed suicide so as to not have to face his life without me.
    Desperately lonely and as you described “a shell of a person” I went onto an online meetup site and met my soulmate. It was destiny for me , but a crushing blow to my husband.
    I was honest and loving in my retreat , but he chose to end his life leaving me with guilt and sadness . It’s been six months. The man I met has stood by and supported me in every way. He is kind and loving and the most evolved man I have ever met.
    I am struggling to put things in perspective, but have found great happiness and joy with this man. Something I have never had in my 57 years.
    Life has started over for me and there are no boundaries. It is daunting though. All of this uncertainty and I continue to doubt and judge myself.
    It sounds like you have found the way and I admire your strength and bravery.
    I , too posess these qualities , but have difficulty realizing my potential. I long for completion.

  6. My beautiful Terry…you’ve been through quite a journey already, but as I think you perceive, there are wonderful things coming for you and your love. You’re right – there ARE no boundaries. TRUST that life itself is guiding you in the right direction. There will be ups and downs – but let go of the thought that it is daunting. This process will flow exactly the way it is meant to, if you will only accept your doubts without judgement. Let those feelings BE in you. Feel them. Don’t judge them or yourself for having them. I believe you’ll find that the process becomes so much easier and you will FEEL the completion you long for.

    I look forward to hearing about your process and your progress.

    All my love,

  7. Yep – been there done that – call me a cynic but im a little jaded – 1st partner was a broken vulnerable man – good at masking at his best – violent at his worst – I left with 2 toddlers – he suicided – 2nd was also not what he seemed – I’d known ‘of’ him for years & was grateful for his attention ‘but’ What you see is not always what you get – he was also ‘damaged goods’ & try as I might nothing made a difference … my 2 children from the first suffered the brunt; so here am I – jaded from 30 plus years of effort – dealing with the fallout yet comfortable in my own skin – regrets? I’ve had a few…but then again too few to mention …I did what I had to do and saw it through without exception … but for me …

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