A little over two years ago, I started my Old School Journaling Blog. It provided me with a creative outlet to share my thoughts and stories…life lessons I picked up along the way as we all do.
I also used this blog to share my first book, a collection of letters, stories, and poetry that, once cobbled together, became a timeline of my early childhood and adulthood.
After having published my first book, Following the Path of the Dinosaurs; A Childhood Saved
I believed I’d slayed all my monsters and was on a path to being a more
confident and healthy individual. I’d
clearly identified first, how I’d followed the steps of my parents and their
behaviors (Following the Path of the Dinosaurs), figured out why I made the
choices I had in the past (Lingering Footprints), and finally moved past all
these dysfunctions and turned behaviors from my childhood into more positive
and healthier choices in the future (Beyond the Ice Age).
|I should have "looked inside" more.|
I still like the three-part analogy and see it as completely relevant in moving forward. But events and circumstances that have occurred since 2015 has led me to re-examine whether or not I am indeed, in that golden place of having survived and moved past the Ice Age so to speak and into a brighter and sunnier future. My conclusion is that I have not and that I am still stuck somewhere between the “Lingering Footprints” of my childhood and family and just short of being free and among the living, “Beyond the Ice Age.”
If you haven’t read the book, some of this won’t make sense (if you’d like to read it, here’s a link to Amazon to purchase J https://www.amazon.com/Following-Path-Dinosaurs-Childhood-Extinction/dp/1512243795/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495281988&sr=8-1&keywords=mary+niehaus+ralles ).
Writing the story of my childhood had a much bigger impact than I first imagined. It wasn’t until later, that I realized that purging my soul had set yet another catalyst into motion. A catalyst that would force me to examine my life once again, reminding me that I was still on a journey and that my learning was incomplete…stymied and stalled.
I have talked about ignorance before, willingly admitting that there are often areas I simply don’t know anything about and I’m still seeking to learn. There are times in my life where I have welcomed the opportunity to learn and others, when it was too painful and difficult…and I resisted, preferring to hide my head in the sand rather than face any new truths that might challenge the grounding I thought I’d found. Awakenings and enlightenment seldom come quietly. You don’t go to bed one evening and awake with a new wisdom and strength you didn’t have the day before. No, in my experience, enlightenment is a by-product of a very difficult path or journey. And more often than not, the journey contains a high degree of uncertainty, with constantly changing variables. Variables that require you to react and respond faster than you’re comfortable with, leaving you in active peril of choosing too quickly or relying upon incomplete facts or assumptions that could result in…that could result in…hell, who am I kidding? We are all in that same environment. It’s called “life” and it’s completely unpredictable. If we’re lucky, our internal compass is well developed and we’ve had a solid foundation in growing up and learning how to make healthy choices. We’ve learned by observation in the first family we came into life with. We know what is right and wrong based upon how that family unit operated. We know how to feel about ourselves, and others because we were taught from an early age what appropriate behaviors and boundaries were.
But here’s the thing…there will always be variations to our reality and norm. Because every family unit grew up in a different reality, operating with a different set of rules. And that’s not all bad. It brings diversity and growth into future families and relationships. It helps us to give and get empathy and understanding. And it enables growth for future relationships.
But what happens to those of us who may not have been quite so “lucky” in experiencing a charmed life in childhood? What about those of us, who grew up thinking our reality was safe and normal, only to learn later that everything we grew up believing to be true…was not necessarily healthy? What happens when we wake up and realize that we were conditioned to operate in a reality and norm that was built on a foundation of dysfunction…a set of rules that perhaps helps us reach survivor status as adults, but prevents us from re-establishing rules that fit for us now in a healthier environment, where we have a chance to not just merely exist and survive, but to thrive with brilliance.
I want to thrive with brilliance. I want to leave fear behind and find excitement when I look at unlimited possibilities…instead of feeling paralyzed in fear of making the wrong choices. I may still want to hide. I know I will still be afraid. But I won’t be so afraid that I stay standing still at this single point in time. My life is evolving rapidly, with significant changes happening in virtually every corner of my life. I am leaning heavily on the wonderful truth that we all suffer from; the affliction of being human. I know there is no perfection to be had. Even still, I have to believe we all have the opportunity to thrive brilliantly if we keep putting one foot in front of the other…even at times when we don’t know where we will ultimately end up.
I think I’ve just written the introduction to a sequel. As with everything else I’ve shared, I invite you to join me on this journey as well. I’m taking that first step and I can assure you, I have no idea where it will lead me. I have a few guides on this path, including a few new books I’ve read. I’ll share as I go. And this time, I hope to move a little further beyond the “Ice Age.”