Staying Safe. How’s that Working?

“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anais Nin

©Wanda St. Hilaire

Have you ever thought to yourself, the time has come? Maybe in a marriage, a job, a friendship, with the kids, or a house that’s getting too small? Possibly an unexpected event brought you to a realization.

A rift in my Universe rendered my blog vacant of activity over the past six months, while a “time has come” moment propagated. In the middle of January, 15 minutes after I got off my Sunday night WestJet flight, returning from a beautiful writing vacation, I learned—with a resounding thump—that my sales position of six years had been “eliminated.” I had been eliminated. Effective immediately.

Pushed off of a cliff, with no net, I went into a swift tailspin. It was an unanticipated blow that was handled in a mind-bogglingly thoughtless manner, but it wasn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. It was, however, a straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back event.

I’d had no plans to start over in sales at this stage in my life; to go through the long learning and rebuilding process once again, and to do something that had no meaning. I’d been diligently working my way towards a creative life, but was in no way ready financially. Yet … the time has come kept resounding through my spirit.

Existing in a dumbfounded free-fall, the only thing I could motivate myself to do was to go to a café to sit and write.

Although our brains are hardwired for the safe and familiar—for survival—abject fear couldn’t force me to go forth in panic, seeking something that had proven to be pointless over the years. I was done.

When you are positioned far behind the 8-ball mid-life, trust can be scant. However, trust—the size of a mustard seed—hijacked logic. Super scary-assed circumstances have not moved me. Pragmatism has not persuaded me.

I kept writing. I finished my beloved pet project, Fragments of French, and then painstakingly redesigned my poetry book.

Upon completion of the two books, I stared off into life, seeing a blank but bleak slate. I knew my soul was crying to live a write life—my right life. I also knew that whatever directs us towards our correct path was speaking in thunderous tones. But I had no inner reserves. And a war raged between despair and hope.

Days after learning I’d lost my job, my body responded with harsh physical pain (that I’ve yet to resolve). Between my body’s pain and my mind’s numbness, I hung suspended.

An astute friend gifted me healing sessions with a brilliantly intuitive woman, and directly after the first one, new energy emerged and ideas sparked. A tiny light began to appear in the darkness.

My higher self kept asking, “What has it cost you to stay safe?” And, oh, the cost has been high.

Is there an area of your life where you are clinging to a safety net, but know in your heart that you need to release it?

Safety can kill joy. It can bore us to tears. It can make us do stupid things, like beg, or brownnose, or tuck our values away …

We all live within the confines of our beliefs. During a recent conversation with a lively group of women over dinner, I saw how firmly (and sometimes painfully) entrenched our indoctrinations are. They can come from our culture, religion, authority figures, or experiences. We develop ideas that we are certain to be true. Yet how can we all live such radically differing lives and all are the “truth”?

Some people think it’s perfectly safe (and fun) to climb high altitude mountains. Some believe being famous is absolutely within their reach. Others think they cannot go to bed past 9 p.m. without turning into a pumpkin. Many feel the couch is a great place to spend their lives.

Therein lies the fact that our lives are arbitrary. We create—or destroy—the rules. Tomorrow, we hear that zucchini is wildly harmful, and we stop eating it, even though we love it, and we suspect that chances are, it won’t hurt us. Or we know that smoking can kill us, but we keep doing it anyway.

Re-patterning the brain is work. Throwing away rules, even ones that no longer help us, takes awareness and conscientiousness.

“Free-ranging” has always suited me, but long ago, I was frightened into believing that I could not survive without someone else handing me a specific cheque on a certain date each month.

It’s taking a Herculean effort to change that mindset. But I’ve started pursuing a freelancer’s life. I’ve completed some cool assignments and have loved doing them.

Last week, almost six months since the shove off the cliff, I was driving out to Cochrane for an appointment. I took the long way through the countryside to avoid city traffic and enjoy nature. Stopping at the sugar shack in Bragg Creek, I grabbed a latte.

As I turned back onto the road, it hit me that I’d been feeling like the staked elephant. Having been “staked” since my earliest days in a sales career—a lifetime career—I felt I was still roped and tied to something. It struck me that in spite of the financial fallout from the job loss I was, in actuality, free.

I drove with my frothy, delectable latte in hand, grateful. The genesis of the epiphany began to hit my body.

I am free.

I watched the forests, looking for wildlife, as I passed by.

I am driving down this highway to a session with a kind, gifted woman who is invested in my wellness.

I am free.

I am not driving to a sales call anywhere. I am not answering inane questions for anyone.

 I am free.

Freedom, I realized, is a state of mind. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, but he discovered he was free to choose his thoughts.

In spite of my circumstances, I have freedom. I can choose. I can open my mind to new ways of living. I can tear down preconceptions and barricades. I can ask life what it expects from me as my reason for being. I can imagine and visualize and dream.

Transition is always a process, but the time has come.

And you? Has the time come?

May you live free from false prisons and untethered from imaginary stakes.


(Brilliantly intuitive healer:

Post © Wanda St.Hilaire

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This fusion guidebook-memoir helps navigate prevention as much as it is for the those diagnosed with disease; it is a resource for living life to the fullest. St. Hilaire presents simple-to-digest material and wisdom woven with insightful anecdotes. She provides an invaluable amalgamation of research in a context not always accessible at your cancer centre.

“What a remarkable mixture of facts, data, research, warmth, humour, compassion, inspiration, vulnerability and courage!”
-Dianne Quinton, Coach

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