My belief system carries with it the idea that we live multiple lives. From my perspective, the idea of the perfect, idyllic heaven, while sounding wonderful, would become after time a bit of a bore. So we live, we learn, we die, we mull it over for a while, and then decide what we’re going to do with our next lifetime. We live again, we learn more stuff, have experiences, we die, and on and on.
I never fully understood why I’ve been obsessed with horses since birth. When I put it in the context of multiple lives, perhaps it is because I had horses, or even was a horse, in a previous life.
What other aspects of myself are the product of that sort of history? I really don’t like having my head under water – I mean really. I’ve never much enjoyed the water, and only learned to swim after my brother did. He’s four years my junior, so he was six and I was ten. So when did I acquire that fear of water, and having my head under it? I’ve never quite figured that one out. Over the years I’ve worked on this little quirk. I even learned to dive off of a pier (sloppily, but my head went in the water first, a big deal from my point of view), and did some swimming in the Atlantic. It was actually easier than the river where I originally learned the dog paddle – with all that salt in the water, I was much more buoyant. These days, though, I have no desire to go much farther into water than my knees.
And then there’s mediocrity. I have lived a singularly safe life, for the most part. I’ve done some crazy things, but I’ve always had the feeling that there was something inside me that was tucked away, safe. I kept a medium profile – B to B+ student, in the middle of my graduating class in terms of academics, a good employee at the companies for whom I worked, but not any sort of award winner. This mediocre attitude seems even more deeply engrained than my love of horses and my fear of water. It has permeated me. To release myself from this habit of the soul has been a challenge, so I’ve drifted, drifted, drifted in this life.
A few weeks ago I attended a three-day business event, and during the event we went through a process where we looked at what our life would be like in a year or five years or 10 years from that moment if we continued down the trail we were on. It was very experiential and visceral. I found myself in a prison of my own making, looking through bars and feeling as though I had wasted my life. The sounds that escaped from my throat were not human. I was one of the most powerful animals on earth, the Cougar, and was completely lost. I growled, I shrieked, I felt the pain of never being free, never reaching my potential, never, never, never….in that moment, lifetimes of mediocrity were released into the cosmos.
It’s not easy letting go of lifetimes of habit. Sometimes I slip back into the fear. But every day I move forward, one step at a time, and I know that what I’m doing in my life, the passion I feel for people and their pets and making their relationships better, is changing lives and is, without a doubt, what I’m here to do. It’s taken a long time to get here. Lifetimes. But it’s been worth every lesson learned, and every step. What is it time to change in your life?