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When you don’t know who you are

November 9, 2016

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I vividly remember standing at the make-shift change table in the corner of our living room, dressing our baby boy whilst my husband asked me what I wanted to do with the time we’d carved out for me to be on my own.

One delicious day, all to myself.

This was a day we had fought to make possible. The first time I would be on my own since my son was born 4 months earlier. I knew I needed it, and my goodness did I yearn for it.

My first reaction, like most mothers, was to say sleep.

The next, which followed closely behind, was the realisation that I had no idea what I wanted to do.

Literally, none.

The enormity of this struck me and I felt a deep sadness. I didn’t know what made me happy. I didn’t know how to have fun. I didn’t know what I wanted.

And more than this, I didn’t know myself.

How the hell could I take care of myself, let alone a baby, if I didn’t know the first thing about me? How could I teach him anything about life, if I didn’t have a clue about it myself?

It was one of a number of soul shocking moments that made me realise how far I had drifted from myself. How far I had travelled from home.

How I had deserted the pure and simple girl who had lived mesmerised by the world around her, questioning everything, writing her deepest truths and in love with everyone and everything.

But this precious girl had been shown that life’s answers came from the world outside of her; teachers, priests, doctors, parents, newspapers, books, politicians, televisions. These were the sources of knowledge to be absorbed for a good life, not the deep whispers from a home within.

This precious girl was so deeply open and sensitive, she took it all in. She sucked up every last drop, finding a place for it within her slender frame. Everyone’s knowledge, fears, pain, advice and expectations. Everything.

She busied herself with what she heard, what she learnt, what she was told to do. She focused on doing the right thing, being the person that she was told to be. Successfully anesthetizing her true feelings with the busyness of the monumental task at hand.

The home within her became more and more cluttered, confused and overwhelmed. Her truths, hidden so deeply, even she could not find them.

Her deeply sensual body was aching, screaming to be listened to, but she was so overwhelmed, she had detached from it, no longer able to feel it.

She focused on coping, getting through each day until she could collapse in bed at night. She learnt to achieve, to drive through the loneliness, and find the way to make others happy.

Fast forward many years and this little girl became a mum, a role she had wanted for so long, the ultimate she thought in making someone happy.

Yet motherhood arrived and she could no longer think. Her whole life was about someone else.

Every second of the day given up to another.

There was no space, no air to breath for her and her alone, no sense of home, only living far, far away from anything that felt remotely like home.

But her holy home, deep within, continued to share its gentle and wise whispers, its kind words. They fell on deaf ears and, after years and years of the cold shoulder, they started to scream in the life stopping form of chronic fatigue.

Like a shot to the heart, she collapsed. I collapsed.

Mother of an 8 month old, owner of a business, on the other side of the world from family, totally and utterly helpless.

A husband who would do anything to make it right, and yet I had no idea what to tell him.

What I now know, many years later, is this was the most disguised gift I have ever received. The gift I never wanted, but am deeply grateful for every day.

This gift has been one of being forced to make space, to dive deep and clear the layers I had willingly accepted that didn’t belong to me.

To find what lay beneath, the precious girl that lay waiting, the home within. I found her creativity, her joy, her sensitivity, her wisdom, her words, her gifts, her deep purpose and lifelong friendship.

I gave her my friendship and let her, my true home, guide me to creating a new life. A life which involved epic change from moving with my son and husband from Australia to the UK. From bustling city to deep, lush countryside. From corporate career to a deep calling. From doing motherhood, to being me as a mother.

I came home to myself.

My life has been transformed into mine, no longer everyone else’s, but mine. I fiercely claim it every day. I listen to that home within me, nurture it, share it, know it’s my truth.

I have been given the calling to travel home to myself everyday and travel the journey home with others whose home is lost and buried, but always lying in wait for them to take up residence.
I am home.

 

Michelle offers coaching to clients around the world and solo retreats at her home in rural England to enable people to press pause, to journey home to their true self and build a lasting daily commitment to coming home and live their true life.

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