The most recent stories from The Change Blog community.
Monique sent us a kaleidoscope. But it wasn’t the beautiful, smoothly-sanded wood or the delicate glass end piece that moved us. It was the note in the box.
Dear Ruth and Bobbi, Looking through a kaleidoscope, I find that I love the scene in front of me. It’s so intricate and beautiful, I just want to look at it forever. But eventually, I have to turn the glass. The tiny pieces inside jumble around and, for an instant, there is chaos. Yet soon a new, even more exquisite pattern emerges. One I would not have seen if I had not turned the kaleidoscope. I send you this to remind you that your current journey is much like the turning of the glass: A new, beautiful picture is coming into view.
I struggled with low self esteem for most of my life. When I was young, most of the feedback I got from my mother was “You could do better”. If I got a ‘B’ on my report card I was told “You could do better”. It didn’t matter what household chore: dusting, washing dishes, cleaning my room. It was always “You could do better” followed by a series of corrections. Sometimes her reaction was “Can’t you do anything right?”
The meaning I gave to these events was that “I’m not good enough”, “I can never be good enough”, “I’m stupid”, “I’m incompetent”. No wonder I had low self-esteem! It took me years to realize that the negative meanings I gave things were wrong.
About a year and a half ago, I had an epiphany. I was in a job I enjoyed. The prospects were great. But I decided that I didn’t want it any more. I needed change. I seemingly became unemployable overnight. Not one to do things by halves, I quickly set myself a goal of quitting my job by 23rd May 2012 (exactly one year after I launched my first website). I knew at the time that the goal was not rooted in any logic – I had no firm plan that would get me to where I wanted to be. But I felt that any goal was better than no goal at all.
To be perfectly honest, whilst I was determined to achieve my goal, I had absolutely no idea whether or not I would. And as it turned out, what I thought I needed to achieve in order to quit my job wasn’t what I ended up doing at all.
Aikido changed my life. When I first started, I was hesitant and scared. I had trained in martial arts before, but I’d always had a mental block that held me back from giving it everything I had. I constantly looked to my trainer (or Sensei) for approval.
I was constantly second-guessing myself. But one day, everything changed.
‘What’s for dinner?’ asked my youngest son. ‘I have no idea’, I replied. ‘I’m not that kind of Mum anymore’. Before you castigate me for being a bad mother, this youngest son is actually aged 19 and for a year lived away from home at College on another continent before he flew back to the nest!
Still, it did seem a bit strange even to me. Why had I gone from a stay-at-home Mom who played nurse, taxi, housekeeper, cook and Counsellor to ‘feeling’ almost completely disinterested in these roles?
I was twenty-seven years old when I saw a glimpse of how I would perceive the world in the future. Of course I didn’t realize it at the time, but the events that would follow from that time in my life, would alter my views and beliefs forever.
I went on an inner journey to discover what it was that I should do with my life. I had felt lost most of my life. I never really wanted a regular job. I didn’t like the idea of working until I was 70 so I could “retire”. Heck, I didn’t like the idea of working period. I wanted something more with my life. I wanted meaning. To do something that aligned with my non-conformist ways of how I perceived the world.