The romance of Self-Discovery

Yesterday, a good friend shared with me this poem. 

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”  
― Portia NelsonThere's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

He promised himself he will never walk on this same street again and I believe him because it all starts with awareness and choice.

Awareness and choice. Yes, life happens. Yes, it can be painful. Yes, some things cannot be prevented. And yes, you are responsible for the way you react to what is happening. 

You may not be able to change what happens to you but you may want to be aware when the same or similar things happen and happen again.
What is different if you consider that life doesn’t happen to you but for you?

Alice is one of my client. Her dad passed away when she was very young and, being the oldest, she had to take care of her siblings while her mom was working. Her paradigm as always had been to take care of everyone. Today, in her 60s, she is tired of it and she decided that she would stay single for the rest of her life in order to not have to take care of a man anymore. 

Who told her that relationship was about taking care of the others but herself? We discussed the possibility of relationship being fun, being a partnership, an exchange, where she cares about him and he spoils her. We even envisioned her having a lover and not a husband. I had the pleasure to see my client turn into an excited teenager once again. Love can be love. Love can be exchanges, fun, travel, joyful moments. Love can be what you want it to be. Just choose the street you want to walk on and enjoy.

A beautiful house in Provence or a prison?

Life is often a matter of perception.

This is the house where I spent most of my childhood summers and where I spent most of my teenage years. A beautiful old property only 45 minutes away from Cannes in a small village called Pegomas. It was a nice place, with a pool and a huge garden and I hated it. Even today I can’t go there without feeling sad and oppressed. Each time I set a foot in this gorgeous property, I wonder why it affects me so much.

I came from Paris and this place was where my cousins were visiting once in a while to play in the pool. This is where I was helping my dad building a wall or taking care of the trees when I was a kid. This is also the place where I learned what solitude felt like. Yes, family was visiting but most of the time I spent my summers there by myself, inside this house. My parents where busy, my brothers too old to be available and then out to college. Pegomas was to far from any town where my friends were living. I had to walk in the dark to take a bus to take me to school and walk back in the dark to come back home. And yes it was scary.

As I became a teenager and wanted to go out or see my friends, this place became my prison: a beautiful one, too far, no transportation. So I sat there waiting for the days to pass. At least that was my interpretation of it. Maybe it was not exactly the way it was but it was the way I was seeing it, the way I experienced it.

Today as an adult I choose to change this message for few reasons. Countryside does not have to be synonym with darkness, gloominess and fear. Solitude doesn’t have to be sad and miserable. This was my perception as a kid and it left a trace into my subconscious. This trace I feel it in my body each time I go there or to an isolate place and I can’t breathe. Today I choose to let go of the impression it made on me. I look at that photo once more and cry over the young girl who was so sad, so scared and lonely. I am not this girl anymore. I am not a depressed, isolated, unconfident teenager anymore. I am an adult woman with more friends that I can count. I can travel over the world. I know how to see beauty in a tree or a newborn animal. I know how to appreciate the joy inside myself when I don’t have anyone around. Today I know that I am free and full of love, of life wherever I am. Today I choose to breathe.