On my way home tonight with my kiddos, we were walking through Chinatown as the sun was almost gone and I overheard a man as he was rifling through his wallet to give an older homeless woman some money. I smiled at her and she looked me up and down, but still smiled, took a drag off her cigarette and then refocused her attention on the man in front of her.
He didn’t look up from his wallet but said, “...Teresa, do you have anywhere to sleep tonight?” And she said “...no, no, Mike, not yet. I’ll go over to the shelter around the corner, I think. I don’t know.” Her eyes were glued to his wallet. She was shifting from foot to foot. I couldn’t hear the rest of their conversation as we passed and I started thinking about it and I saw the kids were thinking about it, too. “Hey guys, what do you think has happened, with all things being equal and keeping mental health out of it...what do you think is the thing that goes sideways in a woman’s life where she ends up without a home, nowhere to sleep and asking people in the street for money at her age?”
And the kids instantly said “...marrying the wrong man.” I immediately agreed.
“Yes, it could be that. Yes for sure, but why not take it a couple of steps even before that. What if she didn’t pursue her life with purpose and intention, figuring out her soul’s purpose when she was younger, before the thought of a boyfriend...her real reason for being here...and didn’t nurture any gifts or tools she was given to carve out a life for herself? What if that’s the missing piece?”
Having been very unhappily married for a very long time and separated and divorced for almost 5 years now, I can say that marrying someone who is not good for you is definitely a thing that I overlooked.
It’s a real thing. I mean I didn’t understand the magnitude of making the wrong choice in my spouse. I married simply because it meant more to him that we married, than it did to me if we didn’t and remained common law. The person you decide to marry is the biggest choice you’re ever going to make so freely but that has so much weight to it and packs in so much detail into a life together that making the wrong choice can be truly and utterly devastating.
But how about not understanding yourself at all and locking yourself into a career that you might not like simply because your parents told you to? How about doing a string of jobs and jumping around, biding time, waiting for the next thing and “yeah, I guess this works. I’ve been doing it long enough.”
Perfect, until that thing doesn’t work because it’s the wrong thing, and onto the next thing we go and ten more years are behind us. Is it possible to suggest that we take the time we need from teenhood to early adulthood to soul search and get in touch with our true soul’s calling so that the work we do is fulfilling and we are growing from it at the same time? Finding the right friends, intimate partners and spouses would be so different, right?
The way you think of the world would change. The way you map out your future, and who you connect yourself with and how you can self-soothe and meditate and pray and call peace, opportunities and abundance into your life would be as easy to you as breathing.
You wouldn’t be defensive. You would be open. You would spot the narcissists coming a mile away. You would easily set boundaries and detach with love when it’s not working. How does all of that sound? Pretty good, right? I don’t know about you, but I’m done with all the nonsense. As women, we need to seriously consider what it means to step into our femininity and our leadership by first taking control of our own lives and worlds and stop putting all the emphasis on things outside of us to give our lives meaning.
Do what feels good to you, but prioritize your personal development inward on a daily basis. We need to figure out why in the world we keep going through the same things over and over again at different stages of our lives with different people and just finally get the point.
Has it ever occurred to you that instead of looking at your life like you’re the victim of a bad joke to consider the fact that the universe is literally handing you a master’s degree on a silver platter in the thing that you’re supposed to help humanity with?
I would ask my girlfriends, “Why? Why do I keep going through hard times? When does it stop being so hard?” I just kept doing the same thing over and over and over again and I kept getting the same crap results because that’s what I was used to and even though they were awful, I kept doing it because the devil you know is better somehow than the devil you don’t.
And that’s a bad habit that I needed to stop. I needed to stop normalizing living my life without fulfilling my real potential.
We get so comfortable in what’s not working that we normalize abuse, addiction (and this could mean addiction to alcohol or drugs or even drama, sex, men, bad relationships) and an almost non-existent relationship to ourselves as a means of coping and getting through to the next day.
We don’t know why we’re here. We don’t know why we put up with bad relationships, we don’t know why we’re still in this crap job. We just keep doing it because that’s what we are taught to do. It doesn’t feel good, but we know to expect, so we keep going, and we keep getting older.
And you know what this says to me? It’s a damned shame because we’ve played right into the game where women are shamed just because they’re women, and they’re feared because they’re strong, and they’re held back because they’ve been held down and not lifted up. And they’ve been taught that they need to be perfect, not listen or trust easily and to “be careful”. What kind of adventure starts with “be careful”?
Earlier today, at the start of our walk in the sunshine and cool breeze, something awesome happened. “Don’t you just love that?” I said to my kiddos. “What?” They both looked at me. They missed it. “Those three women who just walked by with the cute dog, you didn’t notice the way they looked at me?” She shrugged her shoulders, “...no...what happened?” “They all smiled at me. They were all so happy with each other and sharing some story...don’t you love it when women support each other, even with a smile?
It shows a sort of solidarity, don’t you think?” My kids smiled and nodded. It made me happy to see women smiling at one another, smiling at me, not just looking past me, or around me or through me. Not imagining other women as a threat or competition or comparing themselves to one another. A simple acceptance. A simple gesture. It made us all happy and that sparked a conversation about inner peace and taking time to be quiet and still and start to know yourself.
Since the babes were little and more specifically, since my son was able to start putting sentences together and suggesting that I wasn’t his “first mommy,” and that his first mommy put him “in a box”, leading me down the road for the past 8 years to “what happens after we die,” and “is reincarnation a real thing?”, and “how do you do inner spiritual work,” and “how do you meditate?”, I would start to teach my kids that this body we are in is simply a vehicle for our souls to drive around in.
Like picking a Tesla, or a KIA, a Porsche or a Mercedes, your body is simply your vehicle and that it’s worth taking the time to make sure your vehicle is able to drive you not just to the corner store, but any dang place you want to go.
It’s a struggle to get kids to eat properly, yes, and mine are far from perfect in that regard, but I want them to see their outside shell as the vehicle for the more important thing that’s inside it. I don’t want them to be riddled with shame or guilt
or fear. I don’t want them to be codependent or needy or emotionally stunted because someone isn’t in their lives or someone dies and moves on from this realm.
I don’t want them making friends with people who aren’t in it for the right reasons and who leave them when their friends are done using them. Yes I believe that we need all experiences, good and bad, because they’re necessary to be able to know what we want but I also believe that we don’t need to go to extreme suffering to get there if we know how to manage our minds with very specific tools and get in the practice it takes to become masters of our lives.
I know what you’re thinking right now. I’m living in some world in my head where these things are simply not possible, a pipe dream, la la land.
I’ll tell you something personal. I used to be homeless. I used to live on the street on and off from 12 years old until I was 18 years old, finding places to live here and there for small periods of time, usually being ripped out of this city or that and plunked into the next one simply because I was too young to be on my own and my parents had the legal right to rip me out of any kind of stability on a whim and drop me into the wild once again in a new place, also on a whim, kicking me out with nothing but the clothes on my back over and over again.
I’ve lived in more bedroom closets, church bathrooms, storage closets, on roofs, under things, over things, in cars, under trees than I can count. Many men, girls and boys have tried to hurt me throughout my life and some have succeeded. There are many times I’m sure I could have died, but didn’t.
There was one time when I wanted to die, but I didn’t. Before that I was in and out of seven foster homes before I was two years old and lived in the eighth home from two until ten years old and I thank my lucky stars for that home because it would be the home that would set me up to survive all of what’s happened in the years since.
A proper foundation at any age is what sets the stage for how you’ll handle
what’s coming your way. The unknown. I have every reason in the world to be angry and feel threatened and make poor decisions that could end with me dead on the street, but there’s one thing inside me that won’t let that happen. When I was five years old, I overheard someone in my social worker’s office use the word ‘statistic’ when she was talking about me.
I loved reading and had a dictionary on the counter beside the toaster at my foster family’s house, and when I got home, I told my foster mother the word I was looking up. She waited for me to look it up and then she asked me to spell it and use it in a sentence. “I will never be a statistic.” And neither should you.
It’s important that we question our beliefs as we go through life. Why am I making this choice? Why do I feel I have to listen to this person and not that person? Why don’t I research everything before listening to anybody? Why do I need certain kinds of attention?
Where is that coming from? As a rule, I always try to look for proof in my life of a negative thought or fear and if I can’t find it, then I have to trash that thought. It doesn’t make sense. It’s like someone walking up to you and telling you your hair is a different colour than it is. It’s absurd to think that your feelings would be hurt about it. It’s simply not true - you know what your hair colour is - you’ll move on with your day and it will be a funny, albeit strange thing to tell your friends about.
But you won’t get stuck in it, is my point. You won’t let it affect you in a negative
way and keep you down, hold you back. That’s what our negative thoughts and fears are: random things that don’t matter and are not true. We need to find the proof that it’s true or find the proof that it’s not true and move on.
If I think that I’m too old to start a business after being married for 20 years with two children, isn’t it possible that I could look back on a time in my life when the pressure was on and I did the work and showed that I could succeed? I mean, draw on whatever you need to, but find that time where you shocked yourself because your hard work paid off and you were able to do what felt impossible.
With enough practice, we can get good at anything, at any age. And if you light a fire under your derrière, well then, you’ll move even faster. I remember someone asking me once in an interview about how I survived it all, and the answer I came up with was “I didn’t have time to think about it. I just did it.”
I remember after leaving that marriage and getting on my own again after almost 20 years, I wanted to work out as a way to get my emotions out. I wasn’t fully on the spiritual path that I’m on now, but I was being led down the right road. Anyway, I was going to take it out on the treadmill.
I asked a friend of mine who now owns a very successful online fitness business how I was going to get good at working out when it seemed so hard and daunting. I felt like I had a pile of weight to lose after having two kids and feeling miserable for the better part of two decades and she said something to me that I’ll never forget. She said “What feels impossibly hard now will soon be your warm up, babe, but you have to get started with the true intention to succeed and let that guide you.” And there it is. Xo
Tanya-Marie Dubé–Born into the foster care system, living in eight homes by the age of two years old, and homeless on and off for six years from 12-18 years old, Tanya-Marie Dubé is a show host, a motivational speaker, published author and online educator. She has a powerful paid membership for women entrepreneurs who feel called to be in the spiritual space called Soulful Entrepreneur Membership teaching them how to master their influence through developing their spirituality and connection to their higher power so that they can have lasting, massive impact in their lives and businesses. She is trained as a Life Coach with Robbins-Madanes, is certified as an Advanced Belief Clearing Practitioner and is finishing her masters in Metaphysical Sciences as a Metaphysical Life Coach and Spiritual Healer. She has been coaching for 28 years with an educational background in psychology. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.