Every year I start the year with a word that drops into my life like the count-down ball. The word which is the Big Bang, the fireworks, and the confetti all in one. The word which embraces me, drives me, inspires me, and keeps me honest. While others selected words for 2017 such as transform, change, evolve, maximize, trust, growth, embrace, transcend, harmony, union, which are all great words, I chose the word “Healing”.
“Healing” – a word I tried to change for days. A word which, at first, was more of a sizzle then a guiding light. Yet the word followed me like a shadow. The word inched up on me in a dream. I could not let the word go. Then I realized the strength behind the word “Healing.”
Healing does have power. Healing of self and purpose. 2016 was a typical year. Not catastrophic or perfect, but a year to look in the mirror and decide what’s next. Many of us like to drive forward without looking behind.
For me, real leaders are those who are willing to not only keep moving and inspiring, but who are also willing to do gut checks, willing to ask for help, and willing to learn from what works and what doesn’t. Honestly, courage doesn’t come solely from fighting the battles, but from exhaling. Being transparent, I’ve never had an easy time exhaling. Quite frankly, “Healing” may be the hardest word I’ve ever had to embrace, but do think it will make me stronger.
While volunteering at the hospital, a mantra of mine was to tell parents there is no weakness in healing and letting people help you on your journey. People love to mow your lawn or pick up your children at school and you would cherish the help. I use to say these words, but had trouble taking my own advice. Last year two very wise sayings my husband said to me was – your passion is not necessarily everyone else’s passion and not everyone will pick you. Being passionate and being picked are what we all desire and we learn at a young age. Remember being chosen or not chosen in gym class? Remember how it felt when you weren’t chosen? One of life’s important lessons is – We are not always picked; which even as adults hurts. Other lessons which are not easy to accept includes asking for help or learning the meaning behind the words “Pride”, “Patience”, and “Acceptance.”
Last year, there was a lot of sleep lost on “Pride”, “Patience”, and “Acceptance”. First, there was writing my books. Like everything else in my life, it was my goal to go to market on my own. Yet, I knew nothing about the book industry and wasn’t following the books’ vision. When asked what was most important about the books – my response has always been getting the right books, into the right hands, at the right time. I thought everyone would see my passion and it would miraculously happen. Thinking back, I did some of the right things, but not necessarily the right thing. From day one, my husband wanted me to go the route of finding a publisher. The problem was “Pride” dominated me. Writing from childhood was my dream, so, writing was always personal to me. Having a Publisher felt like giving away my soul. My mind wondered how much a Publisher would change my idea, my words, my heart for the books. Also, in my delusional state, I always thought if I sold one book I had to sell them all. The problem was I was not good at selling my books on my own, so, eventually it was important to come to the conclusion the books had to be more than me. If the books were to fly, the only way for this to happen was to give up Pride and to get out of the books way; which was to find a Publisher.
Patience is another virtue not typically in my dictionary. Being completely transparent, my soul seeks instant gratification. For those who are patient, they tell me patience can bring better lessons and better gifts then we could have imagined; which is still a lesson for me to learn. Boy, the gifts I would have received if I had only been patient!First, there is not a day go by I was patient with the books. Sadly, in wanting overnight success, there was no room to be patient. In my dreams, my books met the right person and became an overnight sensation. Unfortunately, my plan was not only flawed, but my plan relied on my timing and vision and never God’s timing and vision. To this day, can’t help but question my need for control and my need for instant gratification? It became more about me and not the books. Who knows if my crazy mind even had the faith of a mustard seed how far we’d be right now with the books, but again a good lesson for me. Another good example of not having patience was with our adoption. Honestly, it was not easy for me to wait almost two years to take on the role of being a parent. Early on in the process, we had birth parents interested in meeting us and then they changed their mind and selected the other couple. Completely crushing! I wondered what game God was playing. Then came Ryley. As soon as Ryley was born and we got to spend life with her, we knew God hand-picked her for us. In retrospect, my impatience left no room for the divine to happen. Impatience is also a constant saga in my career. In my world, as soon as I meet with anyone in the business my expectation is they will turn around and say “There is nothing better than Kristen and apple pie.” My expectation is they will call me the next day. Luckily, God put my husband in my life because, as you can tell, he is a very, very patient man. In the end, my husband can usually show me the importance of patience; which is truly God’s hand in my life.
Lastly, acceptance has been my dagger and arrow. Deep down it’s my belief my husband has wanted to be onboard of this book journey, but also know he cringes anytime we talk about money and the books. He’d rather the books be a hobby rather than a vision. For me, this has caused joy to turn to justification; which for a free spirit with a dream is a shocker to the system. The problem is looking for acceptance in the wrong places. Instead of looking to God for acceptance, my mistake is looking for external acceptance and gratification which will never satisfy. Also, aging has not been a pretty picture of acceptance. Since aging, shallow as this may sound, it’s been devastating to no longer be the young beauty in the bar. At my age, they would no longer cast me as the main vixen but rather as the mother. Although, my value is not solely focused on beauty, it is a hard ladder to climb. No amount of procedures, make-up, or beauty treatments takes away life’s lines. However, acceptance, my whole life, has always been a tough pill for me to swallow. Growing up I cared to be popular and craved for my mother’s acceptance. At my age, it is no longer about being popular, but accepted in my roles as a mother, in my career, as a wife. All areas of acceptance have been attacked through our marriage almost ending on several occasions, being questioned as parents whether we were neglectful for allowing our 6 almost 7 year old daughter to go to our neighborhood park with friends, and my books and career not skyrocketing. It left me questioning why God; which is not the right question. The right question is why I seek acceptance in areas other than God?
So as you can tell, there is a lot of healing needing to occur. My goal is to come out of 2017 stronger. Stronger in belief, self-love, purpose, and wisdom. If I can breathe and heal my wounds and transgressions, it can only help my writing, my relationships, my alignment with God, and my purpose. This year I want to heal my pains of the writing journey, my doubts around my career, my hopes for a brighter future, and my view of myself. I believe healing will help me listen to God more strongly. Healing will help me reach new levels of possibilities. Quite frankly, when we don’t heal we just stay stuck. Stuck in destructive thinking patterns, stuck in status quo, stuck in unhappiness, and stuck in moving forward. Perhaps, you are like me and you need to heal before you can evolve, transform, transcend, grow, etc. If you are like me, it is better to admit you need healing then to stay in an imaginary universe of what should have, could have, or must have happened. I believe healing makes you stronger not weaker. So, in 2017, please join me in the roller coaster of healing. Who knows what beauty will come from healing? Then in 2018 we can concentrate our efforts on climbing new mountains.
So, let’s raise our glasses and cheer to a 2017 filled with the powers of healing!