Friday, September 22, 2006

The Turning Point

This October my grandparents are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their house burning to the ground along with every thing they had ever owned. Weird thing to celebrate you are thinking right?

Well, the point of the celebration is to celebrate rebirth. It is evidence that even though sometimes we can lose everything and stand in the ashes of was once our life and rebuilt it even better than it was before.

Their house grew back; they built the house of their dreams in its place. They created a palace. And slowly but surely new memories were created.

They say that in everyone’s life there is always a clearing, a clean slate, and a proverbial rug being pulled out from under us. It leaves us with a Tabula Rasa, a chance to either sink or swim, to get up and walk or stay on the ground in the comforts of misery.

This year has been my clearing. Everything that I associated with myself was lost. People died. People left. Jobs became no more. I was left standing with nothing.

Now as I look at the past months I think of what can become of Tabula Rasa. I was left standing with nothing because I had to become happy with nothing before I could ever be happy with something. So I put myself to work. I worked on me without anything to define myself or anything to rely on.

It is easy to distract ourselves from the ugly insecurities we have when we have busy jobs, projected relationships, drama, and what not. But without all of it we are confronted with all that ugly and there is no choice but to sink or swim. Clear the muck and move on creating the life that we are meant to live….that we WANT to live.

At times the “work” we have on ourselves is a lot harder than going to a job every day. It is shitty and ugly and painful.

But what happens, and what happened to me, is I slowly became a new person. Stereotypes that I had about myself and others had about me have slowly begun to drift away. A new me is born and what she is is better than I ever thought possible. Creative ideas are flowing. My focus is clearer. Life is changing..slowly but surely

The turning point came when I surrendered to the way I thought things should be and just accepted the way things are. It is when I threw my hands up into the sky and gave up control, gave up knowing, gave it all up. I became free and I became different somehow.

So I can be negative and tell myself, "Well I have not found a fulfilling job yet," or "I am not published yet," or whatnot. Or I can focus on how far I have come in the past few months. I am living successfully on my own when no one ever thought I could. I was given a new pet as a gift from my brother, the greatest gift he has ever given. I have been responsible in my job applications. I have found new relationships. I have become responsible and hard working. I have grown up. I have gained new insights about what my goals are. I have run a half marathon. I have maintained my fitness and nutrition regimen. I have grown in my craft. I have not only found my confidence again but I have fallen in love with me as I am. (or am starting to which is a start) Not bad right?

The turning point was the burning down of the house.

The new beginning was being the Phoenix that rose from the ashes.


Rachel said...

I have had so many turning points in my life. The divorce of my parents, the assault from my cousin, the end of a relationship that I thought I would die without, the birth of a child, moving away from every single family member other than my 3 month old son back in 1998.
Each and every one has allowed me to grow, learn new things about myself and become a better person with a much more grounded and realistic perspective on life.
I don't know if any of these would be considered THE turning point. Many of them were just a nudge in a slightly different direction.

-J said...

My house burned down twice. Good times.

I'm glad you are growing. :-)

Mike Stickel said...

Seems like this year is a bit of the same for me as well. New country, new company (with me an a partner running it), new beginnings and none of the old friends, family or comforts. Let the adventure begin!

It's unfortunate that I haven't known you that long but I must say that what I do know of you now is that you are an amazing person and this is one of my favorite blogs. Keep up the good work :^)

Lydia said...

Great post, Rachel. As thought-provoking as ever, and very indicative of the wonderful person I sense you are.

I think it’s what you do after a loss that determines whether it ultimately takes on a positive meaning or not. I’ve suffered huge loss, but have gradually been able to let go and accept things and move on with a better purpose and mindset. Kind of a different me, who’s learnt from the crap that life throws at you. It doesn’t negate the significance of the loss but can bring good out of the bad, hope out of the despair. So what I’m trying to say is that we all have turning points, but it’s the direction we take that is all important, and the acceptance of what came before that allows us to really move forward.

Rachel Heather said...

Rachel - and would you now say things are better than before/ Like with your turning points I mean.

J - twice? twice? how did you get handed that one? Man I hope you had time to save some stuff

Mike - you you really did get uprooted huh? Thank you so much for that compliment. It is very thoughtful and sweet. :)

Lydia - well how does one know if they are "doing good" with the turning point?

Scott said...

I love that you said that things changed when you just accepted the way that things are. That is such a tough thing to do, but it is so elemental and important.


-J said...

Yeah, no. We weren't home either time. Some folks have all the luck. :-)

Lydia said...

Best answer I can come up with is listen to your gut feeling. We tend to be the best judges of how we‘re doing. It’s also individual; “good” means different things to different people at different times. And if it’s not going good we can try and create our own turning points.

Rachel said...

I don't know if they are better or worse than before. I just live life. Whatever comes I roll with the punches. I rarely look back with regret or disappointment.
I know that I have grown and growth is never bad.

Grumpy O. Selznick said...

theres a line in the movie i just finished...

America is a great frontier. Without the occasional forest fire, the next generation of trees can never grow.

...this can apply to life as well.

deepsat said...

beautiful post rach!!

you get up everytime you fall down.. thats being a fighting survivor. its easy to give up and crib. one who rises from the ashes of misery.. they succeed!!!

keep walking!!


Jenna said...

What a great post!
New beginings are always hard, i've lost my house a long time ago, not burned down but left, abandoned during the war. As my parents who spent most of their life there are over it, me and my sis are too. Things happen for a reason...and as my mom says" my whole family is alive without a scratch on the if all I lost are physical things, I can live with that.."
I've kept my memories of good things in my head all that's left of the physical is a few pictures that I made copies of and distributed to the rest of the family as they all lost their houses too...
I guess the moral of it all is love is eternal...we grow with our loses and learn from them.
"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." harsh but so true.
I love your writing:)

rabbitfish said...

I miss talking to you, darling. Interesting that we came to the same place at the same time in ways both similiar and yet dissimiliar. I love you. M

mollymcmommy said...

can i say WTG? wow you sound so empowered

its only when we love ourselves that we can love others


Rachel Heather said...

Scott - it is a tough thing to do. and I think I am still learning how to do it. But I am getting better and better :)

Lydia - but how do we know what is our "gut"? Maybe my gut is defective LOL.

Deepsat - thank you for that. Yeah I have no idea where I am walking to right now. Butthe important thing is I am walking right?

Rachel - how do you manage to never look back?

Grumpy - best line ever. I just wrote it down.

RabbitFish - Well lets talk then! I am glad you arre coming to the same place too. It feels good huh?

Molly - Yes you can say WTG. THough I didn't do much. I think I just grew up maybe. I wish I could get a psychic to tell me what the future holds. Now THAT would be cool!

Tiffanie said...

Good for you, Rachel :)

Keshi said...

what an AWAKENING post!


Mike Stickel said...

Rachel H - Yeah, uprooted would be a good way to describe it but it was my choice and I'm glad for it. I needed a fresh start and I'm going to make the most of this one.

rachel - I'd like to know how keep from looking back as well. Often I find myself reliving odd situations and poor decisions that I've made and just thinking that I'd made a fool of myself.