Thankful for the Courage to Face the Suffering in Order to Evolve into a More Fulfilling Way of Living Life

Nov 17, 2021

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“Acute crises and dysfunction always precede or coincide with any evolutionary advancement or gain in consciousness.” —Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

The bones of my primary bathroom stood naked and exposed for two weeks in October. No work. No changes beyond ridding the space of the unwanted items – a non-bearing wall, an extra sink, part of the cabinetry and all of the tiles and accessories, even the toilet was removed as it would be relocated. Nothing stood but the beat-up drywall, studs ornamented with pipes and water line hoses and wires hanging from the ceiling from light switches no longer in the wall that encased them.

At this point, work on the house was now in its fifth month. The guest bathroom now finished (tour it here), and the final project had begun. But for those two weeks, the project stalled. And for good reason. Covid struck – first my contractor who had been careful and diligent about bringing few people into my home for the past 15 months (he also worked on my kitchen last summer – see the post for the tour below), and checking to make sure those who did entered were healthy (if not, we waited or found another subcontractor) and then, I too was forced to rest and heal and self-isolate as Covid found me as well. While vaccinated in January and February, no doubt my immune system had been weakened by the emotional strain of saying goodbye to my pup Oscar just three weeks prior. Another unexpected and unwanted surprise came when the illustrator I had worked with for ten years told me due to circumstances beyond her control, she would not be able to work on our project together for TSLL’s 3rd book (set to release in Spring 2022). Unknowningly, my stress levels rose along with more than a touch of fear.

First and most important, was my contractor okay? Thankfully, yes, but not until after quite the scare and a week+ in the hospital. Next question turned my attention to TSLL and the projects I had long been working on, not wanting to sacrifice the quality I had envisioned in my mind with regards to the illustrations that will play a significant piece of support to the written content. And then of course, will my bathroom be completed?

In the middle of all of this uncertainty, I returned to books that had spoken to me in the past couple of years. Upon my initial reading, I observed their wisdom but now know I did not understand the full intent, the full message, and how it may materialize in one’s daily life.

One of the books I returned to was Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. I reread it for the third time earlier this month.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could spare [yourself] from all suffering? No, it wouldn’t. [You] would not evolve as a human being and would remain shallow, identified with the external form of things. Suffering drives you deeper. The paradox is that suffering is caused by identification with form and erodes identification with form. A lot of it is caused by the ego, although eventually suffering destroys the ego—but not until you suffer consciously . . . Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego . . . As long as you resist suffering, it is a slow process because the resistance creates more ego to burn up . . . The fire of suffering becomes the light of consciousness.”

Admittedly, it may be difficult to accept Tolle’s wisdom in the above quote. After all, who wants to suffer? And especially knowingly suffer? But here’s the thing, when we remain aware of our suffering, we are awake to learn, we are awake so that we can witness what caused the pain, our role in the pain that was inflicted and free ourselves from attachment of any identification we feel we must be, have or create. Tolle writes far more eloquently than I in his book, but one of the many takeaways I am trying to add to my life is to not only hold myself in the present, but also engage fully with it, removing negativity, doubtful dismissive comments and going where the door opens, and making sure to bring my full self with me as I cross the threshold.

As life often does, the everyday events parallel the metaphorical lesson one needs to learn if only we would witness, observe and acknowledge.

On Friday October 29th with my self-isolation period having concluded, the contractor’s family (a family full of contractors themselves), introduced me to a new contractor from out-of-town who would oversee and bring to completion my primary bath. Having worked alongside him for two decades, they held in high regard and without question, trusted him. Due to my primary contractor’s health on close watch at the hospital, this now out-of-town contract said yes without hesitation even though it would require him to drive back and forth three hours each way, each week as he also had his work where he now lived. His willingness to sacrifice his time spoke to the respect he had for my contractor and reminded me of the power of human connection, helpful exchange, respect for one’s work ethic and cultivated trust through a long period of comradeship and teamwork.

Progress on the project resumed on November 1st. New walls began being put up, pipes and water lines relocated, drains put in place, and the tiler scheduled.

What I am about to share may not make sense at first, especially if one of two things is true in your life: (1) You have been living your truth, aligning your career path with your unique gifts since you were able to work; or (2) You are extending yourself exhaustedly regularly and without end in sight, believing you cannot live any differently because to dare to step toward what calls you would put your ability to survive (forget thrive) in jeopardy.

For nearly 20 years as I taught and then began writing TSLL blog as well in 2009, ever since dedicating my time entire to both teaching and the blog along with the podcast and books, I have been searching. Searching for love, searching for peace, searching for understanding, searching for enjoyment, searching for the courage to be wholly Shannon.

Gradually, pieces of me, pieces of inner strength were learned and embodied. As the blog began to unfold, more and more enjoyment was experienced as writing, sharing, connecting, traveling and exploring energized me, and I began to listen to this truth. Peace rushed over me when I gathered up the courage to pay witness to the truth I saw in my life when pandemic lockdown measures were enforced in spring 2020. I finally had time to sleep deeply and without rushing to school and searching for hours that didn’t exist to finish both of my jobs. It was during this time I recognized one cannot find love if one is not love in their lives. This is not to say I was unloving, but I had no time to connect with others outside of my work life. I had no time to be what I wished to welcome into my life.

“When you can’t stand the endless cycle of suffering anymore, you begin to awaken.”

When I began to work with my counselor during the lockdown period in 2020, to finally be honest about my feelings with another human being who did not judge, who observed and witnessed the truths I shared about myself and what lifted my world up, I began to listen to myself and trust my truth.

“Some changes may look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge. There may be a period of insecurity and uncertainty. What should I do? As the ego is no longer running your life, the psychological need for external security, which is illusory anyway, lessons. You are able to live with uncertainty, even enjoy it. When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibility open up in your life.”

In evidence to Tolle’s quote, in the road bump of not being able to work with the illustrator I had planned on being part of the 3rd book, I reached out to a trusted artist who immediately came to mind and inquired if she would be interested in bringing my ideas to life. To my delight and absolute glee, she said yes, and as she and I are moving along the journey of each illustration, I quickly realized, she is the right illustrator for this project, without a doubt and more in alignment with TSLL’s message and in particular the book’s content.

Often when we cannot let go of something that needs to be shed, the universe takes it away from us, and while we may kick and scream and ask why, it is because we have grown or outgrown where we held ourselves comfortably, but not congruently in alignment with what and who we now are.

In some ways, letting go of teaching, the identify of a teacher, was the most difficult part. It was what I knew and what I called myself for 20 years, but that is just the problem. As Eckhart Tolle points out, all I-dentities are vehicles of the ego. When we associate ourselves as anything – any label essentially – we are letting our ego take a bigger role in our lives, an unhealthy role in our lives.

The pain didn’t directly come from leaving teaching. In fact, the final three months of my teaching career were some of the most joyous moments of the entire 20 years solidifying my decision to bring to a close one chapter and pursue fully another great love, and I am grateful to my students, colleagues and parents for their celebratory words and gestures. The pain only indirectly had anything to do with leaving teaching. The pain directly came from knowing I would have to say goodbye to Oscar and that he could not live forever. Having been his doggie mama for nearly 17 years, I didn’t know life without him. Norman didn’t know life without him. And so I began to control what I thought I could: the bathroom remodels and TSLL’s 3rd book and all the details that creating a book entails. Of course, trying to control one thing that has nothing to do with the other you consciously know you cannot control yet quietly hope you can only makes it all the more frustrating when you hit a road bump with the project that you think you (and you do) have more of a voice in.

Small road bump after small road bump kept being hit during the summer and by the time September rolled around and Oscar’s health was not improving, my impatience was painful. I didn’t voice the impatience outloud in the same manner I was feeling it within, which means I held it. For a while I suffered unknowingly by doing this, until I realized I needed to be fully conscious of my suffering and why I was suffering – what role was I playing in this painful period of my life?

I was trying to avoid suffering.

I wouldn’t have admitted this truth at the time because I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to have to feel what I only imagined would be excruciating pain when Oscar died. I didn’t want to suffer. But to suffer, as Tolle points out in the quote at the top of today’s post, is the opportunity to begin living fully consciously. In other words, to deepen your human experience, to deepen the connections you forge, to find the gift of being vulnerable when you cross paths with someone else who as well chooses to be vulnerable in your presence.

Suffering doesn’t have to always come from dysfunction, of clinging too much to the ego and any identity we give ourselves; it can also be ‘acute crises’ as he defines them, events you cannot predict or did not have control over (in my case, Oscar’s death). It is when we don’t let ourselves feel the suffering that we cause ourselves more pain, and by fleeing the pain, we embolden the ego.

The truth was that Oscar’s death was more excruciating than I could have ever imagined, but I did let myself feel it wholly and entirely and I had support around me (TSLL community’s love meant more than you will ever understand fully – thank you) and I know in my heart he lived a loved life his entire life. In caring for him, I was reminded of the power of vulnerability. Granted, yes, he was my pup, not a human, but life lessons can come in a myriad of forms and mediums and heartbeats. I also learned that love takes on many different forms, and as well, it can arrive in our lives in the most unexpected ways. Our job, our #1 job for living well is to let love in.

For sooooo long I have put up barriers because I did not want to suffer again through another romantic heartbreak of which there were more than a couple over the course of 25 years. Some of the barriers I was aware of, but until now, too many I was not. But I didn’t want to suffer. I didn’t want to feel the pain of loss, no matter what that loss was. In fact, it was far easier if the loss was early on in the relationship, even if the relationship didn’t materialize at all, less pain to feel!

But life without love, any and all forms of love, real, honest love, and yes, in the above instances, romantic love, is not worth missing out on when the opportunity, the possibility crosses your path.

As I shared in my first book, welcoming Oscar and Norman into my life was not planned, was not expected, but without hesitation, the two best decisions even though filled with uncertainty in my life journey thus far for believing in love and the possibility of good things.

The momentary pause with the primary bathroom remodel gifted me with the time to check myself when it came to trying to control too much. Trying to control anything beyond myself. I began to acknowledge even more fully my suffering and the role not doing so played in the pain felt and the actions I took to indirectly avoid acknowledging the depth of the suffering. Realizing that such pain was not inevitable and by paradoxically acquiescing to the suffering was the only real remedy to rid feeling the pain, I began and continue to witness beautiful, unexpected and positive moments with others.

My job now is to take down the barriers that have been entrenched for so long because they are no longer needed. I can protect myself by being my whole self so long as I hold myself in the present moment fully and engage with whatever or whomever I meet.

As I look forward to concluding a year abundant with transition and unexpected and some unwanted events (some caused by the choice to transition, some not), I am grateful to have had the opportunity to make the choices I did. And I am doubly grateful I had the courage to grasp the opportunity.

In the spring of 2022, TSLL’s 3rd book will be released. Part memoir, part daily meditations for a full year of reading on how to welcome and cultivate true contentment in our everydays. What you have read today is a sampling of the more personal glimpse into my life you will find on the more than 400+ pages along with inspiration for you to live your most fulfilling life and apply it to your everydays. I am excited to share it with you and hope that you too can live and experience a life that opens you up and gathers up your courage so that you can experience a life you may now only imagine might be possible. A life full of real and abundant love felt and expressed in a variety of avenues and relationships that make up a healthy social well-being and a grounded and true self.



38 thoughts on “Thankful for the Courage to Face the Suffering in Order to Evolve into a More Fulfilling Way of Living Life

  1. Hi Shannon, Your post reminds me of the Garth Brooks song The Dance. Kelly Clarkson sings an amazing version of it and is quoted saying the lyrics were what got her past the sadness of her divorce. When I’m ever feeling sad and a little sorry for myself, I put it on. Here is a bit of it…

    “Yes my life is better left to chance. I could have missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance.”

  2. Shannon, thank you for sharing this concept of not suppressing our suffering and how it impacted you. I can very much relate, and I think your words and experience will help a lot of people. Looking forward to the book in the spring.

  3. WOW! WOW! WOW! All your posts a great, but this one is THE BEST POST EVER!!! (Yes, I am shouting and jumping up and down!). There are not enough heart emojis to express my appreciation for your words here. Is it too soon to pre-order your 3rd book? I cannot contain my excitement and anticipation if this is a sample of what is to come. Just bravo, Shannon!

  4. Shannon-what a beautiful and remarkable post. You have given me so much food for thought and I self identify with so much of what you have shared. Thank you for your vulnerability and authenticity. This post is potentially life changing for all of us that it speaks to in so many ways. I’m incredibly excited for your 3rd book but more so to just continue this journey with you. Thank you for taking us down paths we wouldn’t necessarily choose, but benefit so much from.

  5. I agree with Susan Marie. In my opinion, this is your best post. I felt like you were truly speaking to me as I’ve been contemplating my tendency to excessively control seemingly random aspects of my life when I feel fearful. Thanks for your vulnerability and truthfulness, acknowledging both your pain and your hope. I am excited to go on a parallel journey of awareness with you and to read your third book. Merci, Shannon!

  6. Shannon, just beautiful today. I usually can’t read content that is really lengthy, but today I read every word. I feel for you very much as well as for myself and others. We all suffer at times so deeply. And we all NEED LOVE!!!! And to feel SAFE to be ourselves. Thank you for your courage today!
    Happy Happy Holidays Shannon to you and Norman!!!!

  7. WOW. I think this hits the nail on the head. I am so sorry for your bumps, bruises and pain from life. What spoke to me was the suffering essentially burning the ego. I reflect on my life and realize now, that I have always squelched my pain and suffering so I could help everyone else get thru theirs. I think it is starting to accumulate and “grow my ego” so to speak. I am the “strong” one and the “problem solver” that everyone runs to..except I think I realized, I am the only one I can run to for my own suffering as well. I think I need to let it wash over me and just be the “girl on fire” to be able to move on with figuring out who exactly I am and what do I (!) want from my life. Looking back, I don’t think I would have changed some of the events in order to avoid the pain, but need to accept the fact that I need to give myself time to walk thru the suffering. Thanks so much.

    1. Absolutely. Humbled to hear this post spoke to you. I appreciate what you have shared, especially regarding letting the suffering wash over you, letting yourself experience it fully. You can do it, and you will find peace on the other side deeper than imagined. 🙂

  8. A courageous and sincere post . Your best, as other TSLL members mentioned Thank you Shannon for revealing your true self. Sending much love. Kameela xx

  9. What a beautiful post, Shannon. This hit home with me because of the numerous changes in my own life this past year and my struggles with control. My word of the year for 2021 was “open” and boy have I had to remind myself of that frequently. Thank you for being open and I look forward to book three!

  10. A very timely and appreciated post for me Shannon. I’m dealing with the loss of my Dad, an ending of a job, and an illness with my husband. At the same time, wondering what is next for me. Looking forward to more inspirational and uplifting posts from you to help me through.

    1. Laura, My thoughts and heart are with you as you grieve the loss o your father. I do hope through all of the loss and struggle, you find what is yours to find for a deeper peace. Sending much love. xo

  11. And THIS post right here is the reason I am a loyal follower Shannon! Your constant commitment to growth and self awareness resonates with SO many of us, myself included. It’s this kind of vulnerability that encourages us to lower our defenses and trust ALL that the Universe has in store for us. Thank you for taking us on this journey with you! I am beyond excited to dive into your 3rd book and can’t wait to see the illustrations that found their rightful home within the pages 😊

  12. Oh my gosh, Shannon. How is it that you seem to know exactly what I need to read on any given day? I have been going through an intense period of suffering since the beginning of October – many times I wake up wondering why I’m trapped in this nightmare, why can’t I just have my life back. Reading this reminds me that there is meaning to this, there is something to be learned if I stop fighting. No, it might not turn out the way I want, but you’ve reminded me that giving up control provides a peace all its own. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your courage to share and constant stream of inspiration. Eagerly, eagerly, eagerly anticipating the third book!

  13. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

    Nelson Mandela

    Beautiful gift of a post you have given us, from your heart, and from your courage to take the chance to be vulnerable.
    For those of us who are empaths ( and introverts), we tend to enclose, to “protect”, and focus on our egos needs in our early days. (Yay for those who understood at an early age that it was never ego. Truly.) I was broken open at one point in my early days because everything was tied to definition of myself and ego. And when that relationship ended, it was chaos in my soul. I had to re-learn and decide on specific parameters for every social engagement, every self engagement, and decide specifically what was my belief system for every aspect, and how was I to go on in this world, in this skin, honestly, compassionately, connected, vocal.
    As my yoga teacher says, there is grace all around us and within us, just be open and ask.
    And this is a great reminder to move Tolle’s book back onto the nightstand. ( He is such a Big-Brain Person, it’s nice to refer back to his writings in small chunks.)☺
    Shannon, you are the absolute best. And if you ever wonder, we’ve got your back. Because of who you are. EXTRA ear rubs for Norman. XO

  14. Wow! What a powerful post, and one that really spoke to me. Understanding pain and the reason we feel it, is both scary and empowering. Just like anger I think it’s part of a suite of feelings we’re socialized to not feel. There is so much to learn from these, if we are willing to learn to sit with them, allow them into our lives and live a full spectrum of emotions.

    One of the most beautiful, and helpful, things I heard about processing grief (and the accompanying emotions) is that ‘it’s love with no where to go’. The depth of grief shows the depth of love we felt. I found it comfiting and helped me to lean in and accept it, as I would not have wanted to miss out on the depth of love.

    Can’t wait for your new book Shannon. Much love to both you and Norman.

  15. Shannon,

    It’s a precious gift when someone shares their story. As the recipient it is humbling to receive such a gift. Throughout the years you have share your life experiences, and by doing so you have taken us on the journey to the place and the person you are today. It has been an amazing year of celebration and loss for you, so thank you for allowing us to be a part of it.
    May 2022 be a continuation of discovery. The very best to you and sweet Norman.

  16. Shannon,
    As so many have said, thank you for this gift. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for trusting us with your vulnerability.

    Blessings to you.
    Jim

  17. Dear Shannon,
    Thank you for a powerful post and for sharing your vulnerability. What a gift to all of us. I feel it demonstrates the rightness of your decision to leave teaching, devote yourself more fully to writing (you have important ideas to communicate!), and create more space for Shannon in Shannon’s life.
    I disagree with Tolle on this point: “Suffering has a noble purpose.” It’s a fine distinction, but I would say suffering has a noble outcome. Following your example of self-revelation, I’ll use myself as an example. My mother died of cancer when I was 13. I learned a lot about myself and developed strengths because of that loss. It certainly has informed my work as a minister who does grief counseling, however I would never say that was the “purpose” of my mother’s death. It was a positive outcome of a tragic experience.
    It’s wonderful that you have not only experience positive outcomes, but also that you are sharing your perspective on suffering and the growth it can stimulate in all of us.
    For that, I am truly grateful.
    Deborah

    1. Deborah, I sincerely appreciate your distinguishing the difference between purpose and outcome. I see your point and also think both can be present. Due to the willingness to go through and fully experience rather than avoid or dismiss, and because of the purpose to force us to be present with what w3 may not want to accept, the outcome is an amazing gift of awareness. Thank you so much again for your insight and sharing a chapter of you4 life story. 😌💛

  18. Thank you, Shannon, for sharing and for being so vulnerable. I read a portion of A new Earth everyday. For me, it has been transformative, and I am glad to hear that it helped you through a difficult time and helped you find a deeper insight into living.

    Best,
    Kristi

  19. Shannon, ditto to what so many other readers said. Thank you for sharing and your vulnerability, and kudos to you for realizing what you need to do. So sorry for your loss of Oscar, like you I don’t have my own family and my animals are mine. Their lives and well being are always in the forefront of my mind and my decisions. Writing this and listening to Adele 30 which is so raw and emotional. Highly recommend. Take care of yourself, we are all here rooting for you.

  20. I have also repeated a life pattern of avoiding suffering, not facing it head on and denying it, even to myself. This has caused untold health and emotional issues as I stuffed the pain away to focus on more tangible busy, constructive work that I COULD control.
    But With age comes growth, expansion and wisdom. Like you, I have learned to be more open and accept suffering, embrace it, live through it and then keep it safely tucked inside while cherishing the happier memories that precipitated the suffering. Still not an easy life lesson, especially when one is in the midst of suffering or even sees it on the horizon. My natural tendency is to run and hide, but I am intentionally working through standing in my pain, being present for myself and others.
    This summer, I helped my severely handicapped (physical and intellectual) sister go through a very challenging and sudden hospitalization and subsequent passing. I was not sure I could face the brutal experience alone, but I managed to rise up, remain calm, absorbed the painful experience and brought joy and comfort to her. Today, although still openly painful, my memories of being there for her bring me comfort and peace.

    Wishing you all the best in this journey in finding your truth, and your power.

    With love,

    Karen

  21. Your openness is helpful to those of us (me) who feel that we are the only ones who have these feelings. I have been learning from you as a type of mentor-role model, and now I have learned even more. It is possible to live a “simply luxurious life” and have an imperfect life (who knew?). I absolutely cannot wait for your new book to come out! Thanks for everything!

    1. Victoria,

      Reading your words reminded me why we all benefit when we embrace our humanness – we realize we are not alone and have far more in common than we may have ever thought possible. One truth I have learned after years of trying to do so much on my own is to welcome others in for the good, not so good and every other life moment we go through. We need not welcome many, but the few we trust or doing so gradually to build trust bring a depth to life that is priceless. Any suffering that we may be feeling is lessened and all the joy we may be feeling is multiplied. The more I live in alignment with my true self, the more I am introduced to people to trust wholly.

      Wishing you well. 😌

  22. Dear Shannon,
    Thank you, for sharing your difficulties with us. I think I can speak for the entire TSLL community when I say that we are here for you, even if we are far away geographically and on another time zone. The fact that you can be open (=trust) with this community of people is the highest compliment to your work – you built this community, with care and dedication along many years. I am proud to be a part of it – and I am humbled that you trust us enough to express your true self, sometimes shining and sometimes raining… That, my dear, is the gift of friendship, so thank you for being my friend, and for counting on me as a friend.

    It is difficult to accept upfront that suffering has a purpose, noble as it might be, as Mr. Tolle suggests. Humans need to make sense of the vastness of the life that goes around them and that well, yes, they cannot entirely control on all its aspect. Suffering can be revelatory but can also be numbing. The dividing line between Self-Ego-Individuality and Identity is a fine one. This would be a great topic for a lengthily discussion that far exceeds the scope of this comment. 🙂

    Big hug. 🙂

  23. What an authentic and deeply moving post Shannon. I respect all the suffering and changes you have had to go through this year, and can acknowledge the pain of losing a loved pet, one that has been such a strong part of your life for so many years. I’m sorry it had to coincide with this horrible virus which probably made the whole thing so much worse. That quote by Tolle is so poignant and relevant, and I think many of us need to be reminded that suffering is such an important part of our lives, whether we try and avoid it or not.
    Thank you for your eloquence and your honesty, and I hope that the coming months bring peace and joy back into your life.
    Kirsty 🙂 ~ itsaclassicallife.blogspot.com

  24. What a beautiful post. So honest, and so insightful.
    You are right, in order to experience life truly and fully, we need to let down those walls we build to protect ourselves/prevent suffering, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable and experience the suffering if it presents itself.
    This was lovely to read, and I look forward to reading book #3 next year
    Sarah x

  25. Dear Shannon,
    Like so many others, I am blown away with your post. It speaks to me in many similar ways.

    Question: I am curious about identity…I am now where you were when you left the teaching profession. On the cusp of making the oh so scary jump of leaving a very successful consulting career, moving away and starting a new adventure that is still in its infancy stages but I have sketched the framework and provided for the financial bridge. I know this sounds silly, but I am wondering how you answered the questions…what are you going to do? Who are you now, how do you define yourself? I am not going to say retired. It doesn’t fit in so many ways. I may do work for pay somewhere else down the road. I am not an “aunt” as my many nieces and nephews call me, but only speaks to one element in my schematic. I struggle with what is my identity will be…. how do you/we answer at cocktail parties as to “what do you do?” This may seem trivial, but I am curious about how to tell others of the story of my journey from there to here, succinctly and honestly. Thanks for your guidance and insight.

    Most of all, I am SO glad I found you.
    Alicia 🙂

    1. Alicia,

      Happy to help. You know, with you asking about the word identity I immediately think of Eckhart Tollé who in the book I mention in this post – The New Earth – speaks to identity is needed by the ego. When we understand that in all truth, identity is actually a limiting notion, we actually set ourselves free. In other words, while other will ask – what do you do, etc. and now you no longer will say “consult”, but you will want to say something else that rings true to your new chapter, find comfort in the more fluid truth which is someone who is courageously honoring the next chapter to discover what [fill in the blank].

      My situation may be a bit different as I have been writing and blogging 12 years and while I now say writer, it still is a nebulous “identity”. I have found myself more often saying, “someone who explores True Contentment and shares what I discover through my writing.”

      I encourage you to read The New Earth and explore letting go of the I-dentities to to introduce yourself to others. I think about this in the context of dating. As soon as I say, “I am someone who [is afraid of heights/likes chocolate but not caramel/etc.] I actually close doors. I don’t know if that makes sense, but the key is to keep yourself open. Instead let your actions show who you are, your kind gestures, your thoughtfulness, your curiosity.

      I have gone on far too long. I do hope this helped. Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a lovely week. 😌

  26. I love this, thank you, and in many ways it’s very freeing to view things from this perspective. I will also look into the book. With deep appreciation, Alicia.

  27. I finally had a chance to read this blog. My heart pours for you. You found the words to air your grief and know that in doing so, welcomed others to grieve with you.

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