At Choices, I watch people of all ages struggle to step out from beneath the shadow of their upbringings, the burdens of the past, the sadness of the lessons they’ve learned on the road of life that have broken their hearts and undermined their belief in their capacity to live freely and whole-heartedly.
Seldom are the burdens they carry intentional ‘gifts’ from the people who loved them. Most often, they are a reflection of the pain and fears of those who meant the best for them but didn’t know how to give or create ‘the better’ they dreamt of passing on.
Our parents were not handed a roadmap to raising us when we are born.
There is no surefire way to raise a child, to protect them from encounters that hurt them or cause them pain.
All we can do is provide them tools that will help them get up when they fall, move on when they falter and stand tall when the world feels like it is pushing them down.
Years ago, a child psychologist I knew told me that my job as a parent was to ensure my daughters survived their childhood. You’re going to mess up, he said. You’re going to make mistakes. We all do. As long as they can get to the age of 16, they have a chance of repairing the damage you did.
At the time, I remember thinking, What damage? I love my daughters how could he suggest I’d hurt them? Truth is, even before I disappeared into the darkness of a relationship that was killing me, there were things I’d done unintentionally to cause them pain, to wound their hearts, to limit their capacity to live whole-heartedly. I carried my own childhood wounds and lessons learned on the road of life with me. Unacknowledged, they limited my ability to be whole and present with my daughters.
Didn’t make me a bad mother. It did make me very human. And in my humanness, it made me capable of change, if I was willing.
We are all capable of change. We are all worthy of living life on the wild side, on the outside of our comfort zones, never looking back at the things that dragged us down or held us silent in our fears.
We all deserve to love and be loved.
And that’s where programs like Choices come in.
Choices is not a cure-all or magic potion to drink that will fix everything. It’s just a beautifully constructed program with some very well-defined and effective processes that gently and lovingly create space for each person to look inside and heal the broken spaces where the light has been distorted. And in the healing of those broken places, learn to live in the wonder and beauty of who they are when Love can get in to outshine their fear they’ll never be enough.
So many times we think we have all the answers to who we are.
What I’ve learned at Choices is I will never know all of who I am because all of who I am is greater than my fears and wildest dreams. When I let go of the fears that hold me back from being all of who I want to be in a world of love and joy, anything is possible. When I risk letting go of the protective walls and shields I’ve built around me and my heart, I free myself from the habitual behaviours and responses I’ve adopted to keep my heart from getting hurt and my dreams from getting shattered. And in that freedom, life happens, miracles unfold.
Because, once I tear down the walls around my heart, the world is a wondrous place where my light shines brightly in the freedom of being all I am when I no longer walk in fear that my past is my future and all I’ll ever know.
When I let go of measuring each step by the length of the shadow of yesterday, I am free to walk in the light of today becoming all I ever dreamed my life would be.