Posts Tagged ‘Idyllwild’

Nothing is more difficult for me than accepting what I want. Do I have a destination on this journey? I don’t know; but I keep moving towards something that seems both elusive and thrillingly possible.

Women are typically raised to fulfill the needs of others: husbands, partners, children, supervisors, students, extended family, pets, and anyone else who we can help, save, or serve. I would love to say that this is some antiquated notion that no longer applies, but I see this in myself, my students, my family, and my friends. We exist for so long to make someone else’s existence easier. In the process, we forget who we are and we can’t name what we want. If we do, if we can, we feel searing guilt around placing ourselves “first”, not thinking that those around us are doing that very thing, unworried that they are not serving us or supporting our dreams.

What is this revolutionary act that I wish engage in? What is the wild and crazy scenario that I am pursuing, and feeling so terribly guilty about? I want to live in Idyllwild full time, help build or run a community center, and travel to Spain with my husband a couple times a year. When I write in down, it doesn’t seem so extravagant. And yet, I find myself battling self hatred for simply wanting to create a life that honors my path and not anyone else’s. Why is that the case? Why do so many women, especially as they hit their 50’s, feel like it’s only now that we can timidly and with great caution venture out into the world for ourselves?

For decades, my life was about seeking out others’ approval. I needed to be the best teacher at work, the most dedicated daughter, wife, mother, and friend. My entire life was about what someone else might expect from me and trying to meet those expectations, whether they were stated or implied. But a strange thing happens when you live to please or serve others. Those people for whom you sacrifice yourself pull away. They didn’t ask for your sacrifice; they are usually threatened and defensive around a person who hands over her heart and soul on a platter and cares so little for their own needs and desires. On top of gutting your sense of self, in addition to losing your soul, you feel a crushing sense of failure; your sacrifices did not make your daughter happy, or fix your parents’ various issues and foibles, or inspire your husband, or motivate your students. You might make small differences, but the big, emotional gestures, the list of things you gave up, well, didn’t create the Big Changes you expected. You didn’t save anyone; you were not meant to.

So now, when time feels like it’s growing shorter, our life spans gradually shortening like summer melting into fall, there is this urgent sense that it’s now or never. Do you want that full-time house in the mountains? Then make it happen. Do you want to practice your healing arts, your nascent mediumship? Then get over your shame and doubt and serve people without sacrifice and violation of your boundaries. Do you need to be in Spain half the year? Then give up your ties that bind, and go. Will all this bring searing guilt and fear? Of course. But, in the end, you will find that being true to yourself is not only a gift to you, but to all those who love you, too.

—Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD

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