Living Beyond Survival Mode

Journaling my way out of the weight, Day 2. What do I want out of my life? How do I make sure I get it? These are the suggested questions for today. They are questions I have been asking myself for more years than I can remember. Of course the answers change as soon as I figure them out. I think it’s meant to be that way. Charles Fillmore, cofounder of the Unity movement says that, “Desire is the onward impulse of the ever-evolving soul.” That makes sense to me.

I used to just want to survive. I couldn’t dream. There are no dreams bigger than mere survival for an abused child. Once I got out of that situation, I was still in survival mode. Making just enough money to avoid starving and keep a unstable roof over my head. The only desires I allowed myself to have were the bare necessities of life. I was still young though and hadn’t had time to figure anything out.

Then came the husband and kids. My desires were for them. What would make them happy? How could they have more? I didn’t dare dream about me. So I was still in survival mode. Keep everyone else happy and I’m happy, right? I had figured out how to work as a team, so I had more. A car, a home, a family but a desire? Maybe small ones. A restaurant I’d like to try, a movie I’d like to see, a vacation I’d like to take…someday. I had settled into a comfortable rut with no desire to move. Not until the kids were grown anyway.

Then my life turned upside-down, inside-out, right-side wrong, in just a matter of hours. I was introduced to my survival system, received my diagnosis, and I was once again thrown into survival mode. Just get through this minute, this hour, this day, this therapy…on and on it went. There is no room for dreaming or desires in survival mode. Not really. I couldn’t do anything but get through it and once again, that, in and of itself, was my dream; my only desire and not until the dust settles is there time for a breath.

After all the chaos of the diagnosis, the radical change it brought to the family and the unbelievable mess it left, it opened a new window. The marriage didn’t survive the changes and the kids grew in their own ways, separately but still united. We began a new life, in survival mode. We had just enough to make it. Small house, enough food, basic needs and maybe the occasional outing and I suddenly had a huge amount of empty space. Space to breathe. Space to think. Space to dream and begin to desire…more.

It wasn’t until the therapy was done, the marriage had dissolved, the kids were half grown and I was well spent that I began asking myself the questions that are posed today: “What do I want out of life and how do I make sure I get it?”

These questions are easier to answer today because I took total advantage of the new space and the room to breathe. I began to dream. I took the small amount of money that I got from the divorce and invested it on myself. I took one weekend a month for me. While the kids were with their Dad, I drove 4 hours away to a retreat on Lookout Mountain in Northeastern Alabama. There, in a room full of like minded searching souls, using meditation and quiet time, I began to ask the questions, “what do I want out of life and how do I make sure I get it?” Every month for a year, I spent 3 days in that small town with newly made friends and I began to peel away my onion of survival. Layer after layer it began to fall away and I began to dream bigger and bigger. First a new car, then a new relationship, a new job and finally a new life.

Now, I ask myself those questions almost daily and I am finding the courage to dream bigger than just what I want for myself, asking things like, “what does my community want?” and “what does the world need?” and that feels good.

So today my answer is, I want to be the person on the outside that I see myself as on the inside and I want have the energy to follow through with the big dreams I’m planning. I want to travel the USA and see all the National and State Parks. I want to make new like-minded friends, be introduced to new teachers and expand my thinking. I want to make more time to explore me so I can show my kids how to find themselves and I want to laugh. Hardy laughter that makes you change your underwear often. I want to Love. Love so big my heart is the only thing you see and I just want to be who I authentically am, so you never doubt who you hear I’m supposed to be. I want to be influenced by great minds and inspire others to think new thoughts. I want be involved in change and start a few movements of my own. I want to live – full out – no regrets and no apologies. I want to fall in love with my life so much that I have no desire to escape but instead, want to dive deep into my soul. So I am continuing to peel this onion with trips away to the mountains, time alone to dream, meditations of music and silence, exploring new windows, forgiving closed doors and listening for my internal guidance system to speak. It knows the ways, it keeps my dreams and guides my footsteps when I take just a moment be still and know, I have everything I need within me and that is my survival mode.

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