When I was 19, I was at a crossroads in my life. I was clinically depressed. I had suicidal ideations, and I was self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. It’s as if the light had gone out of my eyes, and I was escaping the pain of childhood trauma. If I had continued down this path, I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be alive today. I was given the opportunity for an alternate ending, one that offered a way out of the pain and darkness and a chance of hope. I chose hope and thus began my journey back to my heart.
I never imagined the journey would take 22 years or the many twists and turns I would encounter along the way, but as I know now, all that I longed for and was searching for was within me all along.
When I set out on this path, I longed for deeper fulfillment, inner peace, purpose and a path (with clear-cut directions of course). I wanted the perfect career, the perfect life partner, the beautiful house with the 2.5 kids and a Volvo station wagon to boot!
I held tightly to the belief that once I had found all of those external things, I would enter into a new relationship with myself. A relationship that would allow me to be proud of myself and ultimately love myself in a way that I had not been able to do. Through many years of therapy, self-help groups, gurus and a commitment to spiritual growth, the concept of self-love became something that I was very familiar with. I understood the importance and the concept of it, but couldn’t quite achieve it for myself.
I began the Co-Active Coaching training first in 2004 and felt such resonance with the concepts that I immediately felt my soul become alive to something I hadn’t known existed before. I chose to coach and help others with the very thing that had alluded me for so long. If I could support them in their quest for fulfillment, perhaps I would obtain it for myself.
It took many years later for me to complete the training. As I did, I became more of me, my true authentic self. I started to create the life I had always craved. With newfound relationship skills, I learned how to be in relationship with others and with myself in a very different way. The “others” became easier for me, as I still held firm to the belief that my relationship to myself was contingent on my outside accomplishments.
Fast forward to March 2017 when I began CTI’s Leadership Program. I went in with an open mind but also felt that I had a pretty good grasp of who I was and where my growth opportunities lay. It was shortly after retreat one, where we learned all about our leader within, the power within and self-authorship, that I was lying on a massage table receiving a treatment. I was intentionally sending love to every part of my body that was being massaged, and at once I had a visceral knowing that self-love and self-compassion were my starting point to greater fulfillment.
I was filled with such a strong sense of knowing, that at once I wanted to leap off the table and shout from the rooftops that SELF-LOVE is the answer. There is no other answer!It all starts with my relationship with myself, and from this place of deep self-compassion and acceptance, anything and everything is possible.
It was as if my years of seeking and knowledge landed in me, rather than outside of me. I realized in the most intense way possible that if I wanted deeper relationships, meaningful work, a clear understanding of my life purpose and path, then self-love had to be my starting point.
CTI’s Leadership Program has taken the concepts I have known for many years and brought them into my physical being in a way that has literally changed me and rearranged me. I would like to think that the journey to this life-changing answer has finally come to an end, but I now know that the journey from my heart has only just begun.