pitching a tent

i am in my early 30s and still trying to “find myself.” i believe in God, but i feel like i can’t find what my spiritual path is. i have a job that allows me to provide for my son, but i can’t seem to find a career path that fulfills me. i am biracial and have a very universal perspective on life, but i sometimes struggle with a feeling of not fitting in.

my friend evelyn told me about the spring red tent symposium and as soon as i looked it up, i knew i wanted to attend. i told other women about it, but ended up going to the symposium by myself.  once things got underway, and the sacred space was established, i knew i’d found a place that met an internal need. my decision to attend the symposium alone was immediately confirmed as a very right decision…it was something i was doing for me.

i have a tendency to be very hard on myself and subject myself to unnecessary pressure…which i am sure is the curse of many a superwoman. as i sat through the morning panels, i confess that i looked around and automatically put every other woman in the place on a pedestal, ultimately making myself feel like i am not doing enough with my life. as the day progressed, i was genuinely surprised when some of the women i compared myself to shared stories of struggling with insecurities similar to what i struggle with. and it’s not that i felt better because these women had insecurities, but rather, i felt a sense of connection and healing.  this opened the way to me feeling that i’d found a group of people…of women…with whom i genuinely fit. we all know women can have a tendency to be very critical of each other and not once throughout the day did i experience this. before the day ended, i knew that i wanted to support the efforts of the next symposium.

i decided to join the fall symposium planning committee because all of me wants to see this event be as successful, or even more successful, than the spring symposium. admittedly though, i also wanted to challenge myself to take on my “not feeling like i fit in” struggle and i thought, what better way to do so than to work with strong, like-minded and purpose-driven women? as a newcomer to the group, i appreciate being able to observe the respectful exchange of honest opinions as everyone works to achieve a common goal. i am proud of myself for taking action and being a part of something.  i feel like it’s taking a step towards better understanding who i am.

when i subject myself to unnecessary pressure, i can be hard on myself for feeling like i still have to figure out who i am and what my purpose is…and it’s not easy for me to publicly share this. but they say the first step is admitting it. so as part of challenging myself, i decided to take on writing this as my very first blog. one thing that i learned at the spring symposium is that we all carry some sort of burden, but that burden doesn’t have to define who we are. to hear the stories from other women created a sense of healing for me, so perhaps i can play a part in paying that healing forward.

i am glad i decided to come on board for the planning of the fall symposium and i look forward to the end result. i am also not the only one benefitting from working with this beautiful group of women. my son, who has attended each meeting i’ve attended, has also made a new friend with the son of another planning committee member.

there was a point in time where “finding myself” caused me much angst. i still have my days, just like everyone does, but i am beginning to fully understand that life really is a journey…and to constantly evolve is to keep up with the journey. at this time last year, i wanted to be involved in something so that there would be more to my life than just working a full-time job and raising my son      full-time. i found that something when i entered the tent in the spring. i am doing what i can to continue evolving and to keep up with my life’s journey. i know i’ll find my ultimate place of peace soon. in the meantime, i’ll enjoy the beauty of new experiences and new friendships as i help to pitch a tent this fall.

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My Certified Life

Hello World!

Thank you for taking the time to check out “The Certified Chronicles.”  This is my new blog that explores the journey of a woman (me) who has lived her life doing everything the “right” way. I graduated high school on time, obtained my undergraduate degree in four years and moved on my own to the Washington, DC area with no family or friends in sight.  I obtained my Master’s by time I was 24, landed a great paying job, bought a condo at 25 and was married by 29.  I gave birth to my son a year later and was on my way to divorce just two years after that. At 32, with the ink dry on my divorce papers, I was back in my one-bedroom condo…but this time as a single mother instead of a single woman. This was the beginning of what has been a constant “aha” moment. For all this life I had lived up until this point, I realized I had never taken the time to find out what makes me really happy. The happy that you feel from the inside out. The happy that, despite the heart breaks and bad days, no one person or thing can take away.

So here I am, now at 34 years-old, trying to peel back layers and piece together who I am authentically. This process feels drawn-out and uncomfortable, but I know it is necessary. They say those things that are worth it, never come easy.  Finding my true passion and inner-peace…being unapologetically me…is absolutely worth it. I’ve had days where I’ve cried non-stop, screamed into a pillow, yelled in my car with all of the windows up and even had some angry conversations with the Creator. Yet, I can also feel the healing that is taking place. The negative energy that has been and continues to be removed from my life, which allows room for more positive energy and growth. I’ve been blessed to find a great therapist and have had new people, as well as re-established friends, brought into my life who truly support me on my journey.

One of the most important things I have learned and that I continue to be reminded of, is that life really is about the journey and not the destination. As a woman who has always lived her life by definition, I’ve been frustrated with myself for not feeling like I’ve arrived at a certain place. When I was in college, I just knew I was going to have it all together and then some by time I was 30. Now I am almost 35 and having to reconcile what I thought was going to be, with what really is. I feel I’ve had my share of enough life experiences to be able to look back and see how those experiences have shaped me. When I take that time to reflect, I am proud of myself for being a continuous survivor. For never giving up. For never shifting the blame onto others but instead, taking responsibility and accountability for my own actions and decisions. No one is responsible for my life but me, so it is up to me to make the decisions that will impact and shape the life that I want going forward from here. What this has all shown me is that we are constantly evolving on the journey, and if we can live in the moment enough and be in tune with the Universe enough (tactics I’m still learning), then we can enjoy the journey for what it is, instead of being frustrated at never reaching, or struggling to reach, the ever-elusive finish line.

So, this is my story. We all have one to share. I hope mine is insightful, inspiring or at the very least, entertaining. I love to help people and make people feel happy…and I hope you will find that here.

Peace and Love.

Rachel