As I drove home I could not help but worry a little about how it would be. Worried that all the unfolding and new growth that took place at the retreat would quickly wilt away as I entered into my old life. A little terrified I might end up in my old way of being. But the condescending voice in my head was not as loud anymore. The fear and worries were counter-balanced with love and excitement. My heart was yearning to embrace my husband and little boy. I missed them so much, not just because I was gone for two nights but because in reality I had been gone for years. Now I felt like nothing else really mattered. Just me and them.
The drive home felt nothing like the drive to the retreat. It wasn’t rushed or frantic. It was peaceful. Breathing in – I knew everything was okay, that I was going to be okay. Breathing out – I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. I could feel a smile enter my body, not just on my face but one that penetrated deep within my bones. My heart was not beating erratically anymore; my knuckles weren’t white from gripping the steering wheel. I felt relaxed, and warm, and myself again. I actually enjoyed the drive. The scenery was beautiful. I had the window down a little and the air smelled earthy and wonderful, like a fresh rain. And instead of blaring the music like a dirty old habit, I just listened to my breath. I didn’t have a single ounce of urgency left inside of me. I just took pleasure in the moment.
As I pulled up into the driveway, I could feel this ache in my heart. I’m sure if I had any cry left in me I would have cried tears of joy. The house was perfect. The paint was peeling on the outside. The 1970’s look used to bother me. But right then it was perfect. Because it was home. It was my home. The flowers I had planted only weeks ago were blooming in full force; shining their colorful, smiling heads at me as I walked up the steps and opened the door.
Inside the house everything was tidy and quiet. The sun was shining through all the windows warming everything it touched. And there were my boys – sitting on the floor in the living room, building Lego. I didn’t say a word. I walked over to my 7-year-old boy knelt down beside him and scooped him up into the biggest hug I had in me. I held him tight. ‘Ugh this was everything that ever mattered to me’, I thought. My heart swelled.
Time stood blissfully still and I was speechless.
And they both just stared at me. Like I was perhaps a stranger. You could see the pondering in my husband’s eyes, he was quiet but I sensed he was eagerly trying to figure out what was different. And our little boy was curious too. “Mom you seem… different.” I smile and roll my back onto the fluffy white rug beneath us, staring up at the ceiling with a smile on my face and joy in my voice, “I feel different!”
Then my husband and boy laid their heads down beside mine. And we all stared up in silence for a few minutes. It was pure bliss. I was home, surrounded by my people.
All along I thought I would be going to the retreat to check out of my life, to check-out of the stress. But much to my surprise, I actually took the time to check-in. To realize I had been sleep-walking through life, one ordinary day after another, completely unaware of the treasure that lied within. Trying to cram 36 or 48 hours into a day that only ever had 24, in a constant quest for a better tomorrow. Going for weeks on limited sleep, strung out on trying to do more and more. Then at times when I felt defeated; when a better tomorrow never came, I’d completely throw in the towel. Try to numb myself out. Sometimes with a bottle of booze until the wee hours of the morning with friends who felt the need to unwind too. Only to start all over again in the morning. Running on a hamster wheel, like a zombie.
But finally, I was done. Done searching for a better tomorrow. No more sleep walking. As I laid there with them by my side I let out a big sigh. “We are going to be okay. Together. Here. Now!” And it was in that moment that I knew I didn’t need anything else. I didn’t need people or things. I just needed to love myself, and what was right in front of me. It was time to stop chasing after what I thought I wanted, and start wanting what I already had. It was time to stop investing in crap that wouldn’t matter in 5 years and start investing in myself and my family. It was time to get well again. To become whole.
My days looked very different after that.
I took time to work on myself. To find beauty, love and light in the little things. And I said ‘no’ a lot more. But only so I could say yes to myself and my family. Our home became a sacred place for me that summer. Waking up I always felt happy to be home. There was less yelling, less hurrying. Deeper more attentive conversations. There were more hugs and laughter. Things were better – life was better.
Every morning I would have tea in the sun-room and create space for myself. Whether it was 10 minutes or 2 hours, I made time for just me everyday. It became a ritual. And as I learned more and more about myself, about my truth – life got a little easier. And surprisingly it felt like I had more time. It felt like I could give myself more genuinely to those I loved. My practices became deeper as I learned more about coming home. Not just the structure around me but to the sweet space inside of me. Yes it got messy at times, and yes I spiraled into disintegration as things unfolded from time to time but I never got stuck there anymore. I had strength to pull myself up again. I had courage to reach out, to not bear it alone. I could breath deeper and sleep more soundly. I felt happier.
Of course I had a lot of help with that practice. Finding connection with a sisterhood of women who also had similar intentions was a tremendous help. I also worked more with the leader from the retreat, as she coached from a distance for another 6 months. I never felt alone. And for that I will forever be grateful.
Coming home was and always will be a warm welcome.
Thanks for reading.
If you are ever interested in having a mentor along life’s journey, or for extra help unveiling your true intention, or letting go of false beliefs that keep you stuck – check out my dear friend and life coach Micheline Green. michelinegreenlifecoach.com