It Was the 80’s After All
I had spent the prior decade serving my country by day and educating myself at night. As a single mother of a child with some challenges, military service provided me with the shelter and security I needed to keep our tiny family off the streets. I was grateful for the help, but somewhere around the middle of my second hitch, I began to feel a sense of restlessness and discontent, but couldn’t specifically identify why I was feeling that way.
My remedy for this feeling was to go back to school. I had gotten my BA in Psychology, and had contemplated pursuing a Master’s in counseling. I ended up going a different way, and it took four more hard years of study and sacrifice to achieve it. Looking back, I can clearly see that, instead of diving into the feelings I was having (which I now believe were the beginnings of my awakening) I chose to run from them.
When we receive signals from our Higher Wisdom, our brains do process them, and our bodies respond to them whether we are conscious of it or not. One of the ways we may respond to the signals we’re ignoring is with avoidance type behaviours. The feelings of discomfort that register in our bodies make us uncomfortable, and if we aren’t aware of what is actually happening to us, we do things like: smoke more cigarettes, maybe drink some alcohol to numb it, watch TV, watch more TV, play video games, play more video games, or make our lives really busy, so we don’t have time to feel these uncomfortable feelings.
I chose to pursue a law degree. Now, for any of you who are reading who also went down that path, you understand how all-consuming that pursuit can be. And I did this while full-time in the military. Oh, and yes a beautiful daughter to care for, too. Could my life get any fuller? Nope. I shared all this so you could understand just how intense the discomfort was getting, and just how ‘asleep’ I still was at the time. In retrospect, I can clearly see that I was beginning to wake up, that what I was feeling was the change that was coming.
A number of things converged around this time as well. I had injured by lower back in the first enlistment because I was such a mission-oriented individual that I did whatever it took to get the job done, and as a result of that attitude, I am reminded daily of that simple choice. I have learned to work within the constraints of my physical body instead of ignoring them. It has been a path of growth in and of itself, this relationship with my limitations. The pain and problems I was having around that injury led me to a point where I could not feel my foot and had a constant sharp pain radiating down my leg. I would often be laid up in bed unable to even stand up and took painkillers regularly just to function. In short, I was a mess. My life was not even remotely fulfilling, and I could not shake the restlessness no matter what I did.
I did finish the law degree despite the agony, and passed the bar in the state I was living in at the time, and actually went into partnership with another person. I went from law school consuming my life to some family law cases consuming my life. It was a delicate dance, but I needed to stay busy otherwise I would have to deal with that restless feeling, and at that time, I didn’t have a clue there was even anything up, let alone the tools with which to address it.
When they say that hindsight is 20-20, it really is true. I can clearly see what I was doing then, but was blind to it when I was in the middle of the experience. There is value in doing a periodic life review. There are lessons that can be extracted from those experiences, and I continue to mine precious gems from my past.
Things eventually reached a boil. Within the span of months, I found myself retired from the military, unable to even sit upright for any length of time, which inhibited my ability to practice law. I was confused, scared, and uncertain about what I was going to do next.
In keeping with my promise to write shorter installments, this story will be continued next time. See you then.
The path you take is made by walking it.
All original material posted to this site is copyright 2012, Julie Marie. All rights reserved.