When you are on the verge of transforming, it can get really uncomfortable. My initiation was very painful and took me by surprise. Some of you may be familiar with my story and in particular my history with anxiety. For the first half of my life, it served me well academically and professionally, but then it hit me full-blown midway through a one-year sabbatical traveling through South and Central America in my early 30s. I was in full-blown transition even if I didn’t know it at the time. I was trying to break away from a job I really loved but I knew it was time for me to move on. I was enjoying my single status, and as when you expect it the least, I had just met someone before my travels who was kind, loving, smart, funny, available, and (for once!) committed. It left me feeling paralysed and unable to move forward. I didn’t or couldn’t recognise myself anymore. I turned to doctors, who didn’t have any answers for me. At best, it didn’t help, at worst it made me feel stigmatised and alone in my search for understanding my own suffering. I didn’t know it at the time but it really was my initiation to what Carl Jung calls the individuation process, the process of becoming whole once again. For the first time in my life, I was confronted with all of the qualities and aspects of myself I had pushed away, the bad and the ugly. It was my time to face this, and bring it into consciousness so I could grow and find more wholeness. Fast forward 5 years later, I feel completely transformed, but also weirdly at home. Progressively as I find the right modalities to work with (Jungian Psychology and Eastern spirituality) and the right people to support me through my journey, I started shaping the life I really want for myself. One where I feel I can choose how I respond, how I shape, and how I create. So I made the conscious decision to leave my parliamentary role, commit to my partner, start a family, and build my coaching and well-being practice Holistically Me. And most importantly, I make space for myself, my practices, my inner growth, and coach others who like I was, are also going through change and need the right kind of support to find their own answers. But you know what? My transformation didn’t need to be that painful. But it was because I wasn’t equipped with the right mindset, and tools to help me navigate it graciously. Here is what I was doing wrong:
I was motivated by my ego and defense mechanisms, I wanted to be right in life, as opposed to being happy
I was trying to find answers in my head to problems that had been created also in my head
I was trying to avoid pain at all cost and any difficult emotion was a sign of weakness for me – I would have done anything to push away the pain, grief, sadness, anxiety, fear
I was motivated by externals – mainly what people thought of me
I was judging and shaming myself for how I felt
I thought my anxiety was my intuition – which became really problematic when I wanted to consciously commit to my partner but was riddled with relationship anxiety
I was trying to move away from doubts, fears, and uncertainties as opposed to embracing them to learn about myself and grow
I had no idea how to connect to my intuition or inner wisdom which is our birthright
I made all those mistakes, but you don’t have to. I believe your transformation can be a lot kinder. You do not have to hit rock bottom to grow. I am passionate about life coaching because I believe experiencing wholeness is our birthright. And when we get stuck in life trying to decide, whether that’s committing to a partner, a project, or a vision and are riddled with fear or anxiety, it’s not because it’s not right, it’s because we’ve not been shown the way to work with those fears, doubts, and uncertainties. This is why when I work with clients, I don’t hand out a roadmap, but I prompt, ask, and call upon inner resources to help clients discover their own way to access their yes, their nos and their maybes. This in turn helps you achieve your vision, no matter how great the challenge is. And the transformation is incredible. One of my clients Kate, recently sent me the following lines (shared with permission) ‘I can see the path. I am losing my guilt and owning my right to happiness and joy. So much of this is our work together.'
There is no greater privilege than doing this work.