Inside: I saw in my mind’s eye a big gaping wound being stitched up and *heard* the clear, resounding thought: “this is no longer your story. You will write a new story.”
I saw myself carrying sloppy buckets of joy, one in each hand. They splashed over onto my bare feet as I slowly walked up the grassy path.
Moments before I saw in my mind’s eye a big gaping wound being stitched up and *heard* the clear, resounding thought: “this is no longer your story. You will write a new story.”
I realized with a tinge of self-doubt and a profound sense of awe, that I had become a joy carrier. An imperfect and beautiful carrier of messy, hopeful, life-giving joy. How was that possible?
In the midst of heartache and struggle i became a joy-carrier
In the past seven years, I’d returned to school, started writing, launched babies into the world as I launched a new business, struggled with fear, anxiety and suicidal thoughts but also learned to ask for help and advocate for my needs.
I walked through surgery, chronic pain, and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I’ve practiced embracing the truth of what I want, honoured my wiring, and learned to shore up leaky boundaries.
I buried people I love, said yes to adventure, worked really hard, incredibly hard, and learned to rest. I put down deep, strong roots of self-awareness and self-compassion.
And I picked up joy along the way. Enough to share.
But after all that, I still didn’t really understand what it means to walk to through the fire and choose to keep living. What it means to understand something not on a theoretical level but to feel it in your bones. To embody what you say you believe in and summon a strength you never knew you had.
we can walk through the fire and come out changed but whole
Not long after I had the experience of seeing that wound being stitched up and hearing “you will write a new story,” my son tried to die for the first time. We fought alongside him for life, we were in a traumatic car accident, my son ended his life, Covid hit, I lived 17 months with PTSD and severe panic disorder… and somehow, I’m still standing and breathing and carrying around these sloppy buckets of joy. I don’t know how this is possible.
For the first couple of years after our son left, I felt like our family was broken. I was broken. But around the second evolution of Jairus’ death date I heard another thought. This time what I heard is that we are not broken at all. We are simply different now. Forever changed but still beautiful.
It was then that I realized, I had come full circle. That’s what life does – it invites to journey deeper not wider.
It was three years ago that I’d been hurting and saw myself carrying those buckets of joy. Three years since my son first tried to die and all the horror and heartache in between. I had thought I knew what it meant when I heard in my head or my spirit that I would write a new story. I thought it meant that he would be OK. That we would be Ok.
And here we are. We are OK, just not in the way I wanted. Still in pain. Still learning how to live with and around an impossible grief. But we’re living.
I’d come full circle and now as I looked for hope I heard or recognized that I am now, three years later, stepping into my new story. It took three years to come to the end of one story, to live the ending of one story before writing a new one. There is no jumping ahead.
Now I need and want to keep writing.
brave and compassionate community matters for health and happiness!
The Brave + Beautiful Community is a place for brave, weary, curious women in the middle season of life. We gather in warm and welcoming community to build relationship, learn and grow together, practice new skills with ongoing support, and reclaim freedom, wholeness, and joy for our lives.
you can write a new story for your life
No matter where you’ve come from, or what you’ve walked through, you can write and embody a new story for your life.
I’m a planner so I have goals and a clear sense of vision for where I’m heading but of course, I don’t control where the next seven years or the next seven days will lead. That isn’t my business. My business is to decide that I will show up. And the mindset with which I’ll show up. And that when life feels hard and I forget I have what it takes, I will show up anyway.
And I get to choose joy every day.
If you’re here then I believe you’re looking for something. Maybe freedom or self-compassion or maybe you want to learn to dance with fear. Perhaps you’re seeking joy.
Maybe, you realize, you are ready to write a new story.
Step out onto the path with me and see where it leads.
We can invite joy to come along as our faithful companion.
*written in January 2019, updated in April 2022