I looked in the mirror and a blotchy-faced, puffy-eyed, mascara stained, exasperated and deeply feeling face was staring back at me. It was one of the most pivotal moments of my life to date. I stood alone in the bathroom of my AirBnB in Santa Fé, New Mexico in 2015 where through heaving sobs I said out loud to myself in the mirror “no one is coming to save you, no one is coming to save you. NO ONE is coming to SAVE YOU”. I cried harder with each iteration and it was the most influential and jarring moment of my life to date. The guttural cries were real. So very real. Every heave, every moan; I was allowing myself to feel deeply maybe for the first time ever. To let go. To give in to the fear and let myself go to that place…the place I had worried forever that if I went there, I would surely not return. But I kept going. Deeper into my core. Plunging myself right into the deepest, darkest spot of my soul that had been screaming out of hunger for attention my entire existence.
No one is coming to save you. It’s a powerful statement. Maybe we don’t always consciously think we’re waiting for or expect someone to save us, but I think for many of us, subconsciously, we are conditioned to lean on someone or something. Our parents, a partner or spouse, a best friend, a counselor or for many, a God or deity. If a loved one won’t save us, well we always have God (whatever your version or belief of God is). A safety net must be present at all times to feel secure in ourselves. After all, we’re not circus performers taking our lives in our hands with every step – we’re just regular humans, without super-powers. We NEED a savior of one form or another; I mean shit WILL hit the fan, right? So we pray, we cry to and lean on our loved ones, we cultivate special relationships, we seek the guidance of a counselor – we do all the things. They are our insurance policy that we will always have someone there when we need them.
This moment, in this bathroom, for the first time I realized the only person that can save me…is me. Simple, broken, imperfect, scared as hell, me. The amount and magnitude of fear that was boiling up during this realization was immeasurable. When all is said and done – it really is just me, you, ourselves. No one can change what’s happening on the inside, except for myself.
No one can alter my past or my experiences or release my anxiety, worry and fear. No one can undo my choices or predict my future. All the work must be done on the inside. Sure, this can be augmented and accelerated by the help of my loved ones, counselors, spiritual workers or God, but I am the one that has to do the work, put it into motion and own all of my feelings and experiences and choices. I can lean on outside sources my entire life and make zero progress, which in many cases, I had done to date. I had a false perception of how these external sources worked (or didn’t work).
Why is it that so many of us spend our lives pretending? We go through the motions we think are necessary to get through our difficult times (praying, counseling, exercising, socializing etc.) but many of us don’t really go to that place. To get to the center of the “why”. Why we feel the way we feel. Why certain things trigger us. Why many of us live in a continual state of fear and worry. Why did I choose to live a life of avoidance and neediness? I thought I was doing all the right things, but my fear and anxiety prevailed. Sure. I’d have some good days and moments, but the background song of my life was worry, fear and anxiety – rinse and repeat. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t normal to “be” this way…All. The. Time. I just kept going.
For me it took hitting rock bottom. I was miserable. In a toxic and abusive relationship. In a career that was soul-sucking. Always on edge and triggered by everything. Arguing with my son nonstop. Trying to control everything in my life to feel “ok”. It was an unrelenting roller coaster I had boarded and all exits had been removed. I had the best of intentions to “be better” every day. I would read the self help books. Go to my counselor. Seek guidance from friends. Go for runs. Cry through yoga. Clean and organize my house to find “order”. But this wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until I had hit a literal impasse in life and I knew that I would surely die an emotional death if I stayed on this ride for one more day. In a state of feeling complete helplessness I sought out a spiritual teacher in Santa Fe (Jana Wilson, emotionalhealingretreat.com). I didn’t care how much it would cost. I wanted “real” help. I wanted to truly find me. I wanted to be rescued. Yeah – I said it. It sounds pathetic, right? I cringe as I type it. But this was my reality.
Off I went to Santa Fe for my 10-day, 1:1 intensive retreat. No phones, no real contact with the outside world, just me, my teacher and my thoughts – gulp. I was ready for my rescue! You probably know how this story goes now. With the guidance of my gifted spiritual teacher, she kindly helped me see that there was no rescue boat. No life raft. No savior. No one was “coming for me”. No one that is, except myself. I had to seek within in order to heal. God/Spirit (aka “me”) was inside of me, and always would be. This all-knowing energy was part of me. Always available to me. I had to connect within myself at the deepest level in order to move past my fear, worry and anxiety that plagued my daily existence. As she saw me stuck in my “story” and not even able to hear her redirections out of it, she calmly but firmly stated, “No one is coming to save you, Becky”. A silence graced the room. A silence so quiet it was loud.
It was as though the whole entire universe shifted within that moment. For me, life would never be quite the same, but in the best way possible. At 39 years old, I was stopped dead in my tracks and finally understood something so very critical to the success and enjoyment of my future. When she left me for the day, I walked in the bathroom and I looked in the mirror for the first time with a whole new perspective. A perspective that shook me to my core and through those tears, I suddenly felt an intense loneliness. I felt more alone and scared that I thought was humanly possible. I was certain this was the end. Despite my uncertainty, I let myself grieve the loss of a savior. To feel that feeling of being completely alone. Isolated. Destitute. But suddenly I blinked open my bloodshot eyes and took a deep breath, looked myself dead in the eyes and realized I suddenly felt a lightness. I felt warm. I felt held. What I really felt for the first time was free. Wow. No one defines me. I don’t have to wait for anyone to come running to rescue me or console me or take care of me. I don’t even have to pick up a phone. I simply need to turn within. I may not have known exactly how to do that quite yet in that moment (honestly I still work on this every day!), or what exactly that meant, but I had a confidence I was on the cusp of a new beginning. Not just a new chapter, but a new series of my life that would definitely break records and be a best seller.
In this moment, I accepted myself and the power within me for the first time…ever. I was yet to learn exactly how to take my next right steps in this new direction. That would come through more work with my teacher and research and reading and life experience. But, the most important lesson was now tattooed on my soul. I truly accepted myself for who I was at my core and I felt POWERFUL.
In case you were like me in 2015 and didn’t know, spoiler alert: no one is coming to save you. But, I have good news, you are fully equipped to save yourself and once you get this, I mean really get this, your life will level up in a way that you may not yet have the capacity to even imagine. Get ready. You are the one you’ve been looking for.
As always, LOVE ALWAYS WINS!
Becky…with the Good Life