If you feel your life lacks meaning and purpose, you are not alone!
This picture was taken of my husband and I at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the highest mountains in the world. The ironic thing was that I was standing literally on top of the world and yet on the inside, I was as low as I could ever remember being. I was in total denial that my life was lacking meaning and purpose.
“People travel to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”- Saint Augustine
I was 50, retired and splitting my time between my home in Calgary, Alberta and 2 beautiful vacation homes. I had 2 grown children that were successfully launched, a great husband, family, friends and the opportunity to travel to many exotic places.
I had a long and fulfilling career as a nurse that I was passionate about. When my husband retired and wanted to start traveling more, it seemed like the right thing to do to leave my career and explore the next chapter of my life.
Everybody that knew me was envious of my life and thought I had it all and was living the dream. I was healthy, wealthy and sometimes wise and that’s when it all fell apart.
I found myself becoming increasingly unhappy with my retirement lifestyle. I tried many different things to find meaning in the life I had created. I traveled, golfed, socialized, painted, volunteered, did triathlons, took courses in interior design. Sounds great, but I was deeply unhappy and was trying to figure out why with so much to be grateful for was I so unhappy?
I got to the point that I felt my soul was dying and I knew that I needed to make some changes.
I had experienced low points in my life but this was different. I now know that I was going through what has been described as the “dark knight of the soul”. The dark knight of the soul goes back a long way and has been described by Eckhart Tolle in this article (https://www.eckharttolle.com/newsletter/october-2011) as “what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.”
During this confusing time, I intuitively knew that the answers were not out there somewhere but that they were inside of me. I began to learn about the power of meditation and decided to give it a try. As I established a regular practice, a shift and transformation began to happen.
My meditation practice enabled me to quiet my mind in order to hear my soul and the little voice inside of me. I had profound insights recognizing that I’d lived my life to meet the needs of others and that my decision to retire was made for my husband and not for myself.
I realized that the brief retirement ended up being the bridge between the first half of my life and the second half of my life. When I connected with my soul, I knew that I had not finished serving and sharing my gifts with the world. I experienced what Eckhart Tolle described as a “ kind of rebirth. The dark knight of the soul is a kind of death that you die. What dies is the egoic sense of self.”
As I transitioned out of retirement and made changes to reconnect with my soul’s purpose, I experienced many challenges. The biggest one was that the people around me didn’t want me to change. My changing had a ripple effect. It was a painful period of time and difficult to keep moving forward in a different direction. Meditation gave me the skill to be present with my thoughts and feelings without going to battle with them.
I explored endless tools and practices to help me get in touch with myself and heal the parts of my life that needed healing. I tried journaling, meditation, mindfulness, forgiveness practices, self-compassion practices, traditional counseling, mindful walking and eating, weight training, sleep habits, hormones and supplements, affirmative prayer, affirmations, daily inspirational readings, communication skills to use my voice, time in nature, gratitude, daily habits tracking, time alone, time with people and countless books. I turned healing my life into a full-time job.
Each of those tools helped me in some way grow and evolve into the person that I was meant to be. In that process, I developed peace of mind, slept better, got my stress hormones under control, began loving myself, lost some weight, became clearer in my thinking, felt less anxious and lost, and most importantly began listening to that inner voice about how I was meant to live my life.
Today, I am forging ahead into the second half of my life ready and committed to make a difference. If you’re feeling lost, confused or that your life is lacking meaning and purpose, I have the tools and the firsthand experience to help you on your journey.