At times we’ve all been presented with a conflict or a choice we’d rather avoid. Who we really are shines through in these moments. By the same token, we’re human and sometimes avoid really grabbing the issue by-the-horns. The hard truth is that you can never really avoid them - they just come back later (threefold). The upside is that, if you look hard enough you will see that there is a recurring theme, a common flavour, to them that tells you something profound about yourself and the right path for your future.
I was speaking with a friend today who is dealing with one such challenge: her children have been taken from her because her ex-husband activated the Mental Health Act. Her lawyers are involved because it seems the Act was illegally activated but now her and her children are caught up in a bureaucratic and familial nightmare that could go on for years.
She is understandably upset, angry and worried.
Coaching her is a privilege and a revelation. She’s an immensely strong and resourceful person so her and her children will probably be alright. But right now they are not. However, as we worked through our call we both discovered something extraordinary: despite how horrible this fight is, how seemingly unconnected with the rest of her life it seems, it is not unconnected at all. Actually, in one way or another she's been fighting this fight all her life.
Despite the terrible trial she is undergoing, and the impacts on her and her children, she somehow feels she is back on track! She’s once again fighting the fight she was born for and suddenly the path of her life, previously unclear, is clear.
Beware ‘Settling’: the cost may be higher than you think
Before her third child was born my friend had been a respected activist for the rights of women and children - a founder of what is now a global agency helping women in distress.
After her third child she suffered post-natal depression and stepped-out of that and other roles. She decided she couldn’t deal with the stress and angst of her job and moved to the country to settle down and live a quiet life.
Now, seemingly out-of-the-blue she’s dealing with exactly the same issues, only this time in her own foyer. She left the fight, so the fight came and found her.
When she laid-down the gloves she had good cause –three little children and post-natal depression. What she got in our call today is that learning about and transforming these issues is her Leitmotif - the recurring theme of her life, her soul’s purpose (click HERE to read more about what your Leitmotif is). Getting that she changed completely, in her own words:
Like my friend, it’s staring you in the face - in your life’s biography. Look for it where you made your biggest decisions, where the costs of choice were at their highest, where the path suddenly became clear because of an incident or a conversation. Ask your friends and family, they’ll have a pretty good idea if you’re willing the listen to the answer (this article outlines a couple of conscious steps you can take).
Either way, your future might be yours to create but your purpose is a still greater thing by far. It’s worth spending a little time thinking about what it might be!
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1. A play by the American playwright, Tennessee Williams