Sometimes I feel like I'm actually living my life backwards. Like the older I get, the more I become like a child.
I mean, I'm obviously getting older and I can see the future ahead of me (grey hairs and all), but when I get very still and dig deep into my heart I notice something profound:
I'm reconnecting with my inner child more and more every day. (Yes, I'm about to get a little woo-woo, but just hang in here with me.)
When I was in fifth grade, I had an amazing teacher who saw my creative potential and encouraged me to write poems and short stories. He made me feel like I was the most gifted student he'd ever had. He helped me submit my writings to competitions for children and I won awards at the county and state level.
I was so inspired that I was reading things like Descarte's Meditations, Robinson Crusoe and The Prophet.
I was 10 years old.
I remember feeling so alive and connected, like there was so much to learn and love and play with in the world.
And then everything started to crash around me.
Some bad things started happening at home, and I felt trapped and hopeless. I started getting sick a lot and missing school. And as things got worse at home, I dropped my creative endeavors and started "acting like an adult."
I abandoned things like writing poetry and reading philosophy for straight A's and worrying about my parents. I put all my effort into being perfect for them so that I would never be the cause of conflict and I started to attach my worthiness of being loved to the degree to which I was perceived as perfect.
Creativity went away. Play went away. And that little fifth grade self, she disappeared.
Fast forward to almost two years ago when I quit my job and started my own business. Simultaneously, my family suffered a huge tragedy that sent me reeling -- my little brother was sentenced to seven years in prison for a federal crime that stunned us all.
He went to a prison in Puerto Rico where he wasn't being fed enough food and lost an unhealthy amount of weight. He got very sick and I started to imagine him as this ghostly, wild-haired figure.
This malnourished and gray version of my little brother haunted me for weeks. I couldn't think about him without seeing this wild vision.
Until I had a breakthrough.
As I began to face this haunting figure (instead of shying away from it) and explore it's shape, size and purpose, I realized that this ghost wasn't my brother after all, but a child-like version of myself that was craving my attention.
Yes, it was weird. And I was totally creeped out.
I could barely acknowledge this little ghost. She was wild and disheveled, and in desperate need of care and nurturing. I was ashamed and scared of her, and wanted nothing more than to turn away from her.
At the same time my mother, unaware of what I was going through, pulled out these old photos of me in fifth grade (like the one above) and other signs started to appear inviting me to explore what the heck was going on.
Eventually and with a great deal of reflection, I came to realize that I'd been running from this little girl my entire adult life. The things she saw; the things she had to give up; the sadness, guilt and shame she carried was too much for me to bear. I had to disassociate from her to live a "normal" life.
One day I was revealing these revelations to my friend who's a spiritual healer and bless her loving, new-age-y heart, she pulled up the chair from my desk and invited my little girl to the table. (Of course the chair from my desk was the kind of chair you sat in when you went to school in the 80's and 90's, too... it was getting a little cray-cray.)
And given that I'm open to everything and willing to try anything, we spent the entire evening giving her a voice.
Oh and the things she said...
She made it very clear that what she needed was only to be given a spot at the table -- to be loved, to be creative, to write, to play, to read poetry and philosophy and to bring that work into the light; to own it.
This entire exploration took about a year and with the support of my coaches, intuitive friends and loved ones (my sister and my niece, for example) I started to own her, integrate her, and tap into her true nature. As a result, my health improved, I enjoyed more success in my work and I blossomed creatively. I even met an amazing man and fell in love.
So for me, living life backwards means growing more and more everyday into the child I was in fifth grade and integrating all parts of myself, even the shameful, dark, hidden parts.
I do what feels like play in my work and I act from my creative, wild and true nature.
The more I do that, the more empowered I become. The more successful I am. The more unstoppable I feel. The more completely, utterly, unabashedly, and fearlessly bold I become.
The more the universe honors my prayers, my intentions are met and I rise to the highest and best version of myself.
Go ahead and unsubscribe if you want. Shame me if you will. Call me woo-woo and new-age-y. I don't care.
Through self-acceptance comes a new found sense of freedom which transforms the way you see life and the world around you.
And I see what's possible for myself, for you, for your daughters, your sisters, your wife, your mother, your aunts, your co-workers, and your friends.
I see a future where you can fully embody grace, power, creativity, generosity, compassion, kindness, success, money, joy, leadership, profit and social-change without sacrificing parts of yourself; without sacrificing your true nature.
All you have to do is tap into your intuition, honor what's begging to be integrated and expressed, radically accept yourself, and surround yourself with supportive, loving, inspiring people who encourage you to do so (no matter how crazy and weird it gets!)
Then just take one step towards the light and another and another and another.....
Until you find yourself in the warm glow of freedom and integration.