I’ve been reflecting on the death of my father recently. Probably because I’m talking about it a lot more as I chat with potential podcast guests. Losing my father was the catalyst for the journey that has brought me here. What I’m realizing now is that the experience didn’t just start my path to becoming more self-aware and establishing a spiritual practice – it pushed me to grow up!
I was 29 when my dad died. A couple of months away from my 30th birthday. The crazy thing (or maybe not so crazy?) was that I hadn’t really had to grow up until then. Yes, I was financially independent, I had lived on my own when I was in school and I had already experienced the death of a close friend when I was 17, but I still feel like I hadn’t fully grown up.
Before my father’s death I was coasting. I had done what I was “supposed to do”. I had gone to school, got the degrees, and got the job. I can honestly say after I completed my MBA, there was nothing that I did that fulfilled me. I was just going through the motions. I was paying bills and hanging out with friends, but I had no goals besides wanting to make more money thank I was making and not having a plan for how I was going to do that.
After the worst of my grief passed, and as I started to read books written by Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay and others, I finally started to question what it was that I wanted for my life. I had spent so much of my life trying to please others that I had never given myself permission to think about what I truly wanted. It was the first time in my life that I realized that I was actually in control of where I was headed.
As exciting as the notion of being in control of your destiny is, it can be a scary realization as well. You realize that you’ve always been the one in control, even when you thought you weren’t. It all comes down to choice. You can choose to give your power away and you can choose to take it back. I had to accept that I had made choices that had landed me where I was and that if I didn’t want to repeat those experiences, I had to make different choices.
If I’ve learned anything from this recent reflection and on the interviews that I’ve done it’s that we all go through challenging times. It’s up to us to decide what we’re going to do with those experiences. Are we going to allow them to swallow us whole or are we going to learn from that experience and use it as an example of what we can endure?
At the end of the day, the choice is always ours to make.