Dear Matisse, Phoenix and Ignatius,
I HAD A DREAM. It was a dream that I had experienced almost twenty years ago and it shook me so violently that it was the impetus I needed to change my life. I simply dreamt of a horse… “A big black stallion with no distinct marks but a coat so perfectly groomed and polished that it resembled black silk. I watched as this muscular stud was clearly spooked and tried to escape from his imprisoned paddock, in a desperate attempt to be free. He stood on his hind legs with strength and agility so obvious as his front hoofs continued to strike and kick the wooden fence keeping him confined in a small enclosure. I heard a frightening sound come from deep within his chest and I knew he was using all his power to break loose. I could see the whites of his left equine eye and the panic set within them as he stared straight at me, his ears laid back in fear, his jaw stressed open, pushing back his large lips and revealing a mouth of strong teeth while his nostrils flared violently”.
This was the impressionable mental picture that has always remained with me with absolute clarity and I must say that its immediate relevance to my life did not escape me. You see, they say that to dream of a horse represents strength, empowerment and liberty. A horse in a dream is like an omen that a call for freedom is galloping into your life. This deeply intense dream had enlivened my consciousness with a great thud and I knew that undeniably I had seen myself. I was the black stallion needing to break free.
At the time of this dream, I had just removed myself from a toxic relationship with a person I had hoped was the right one for me. Hope is the operative word here because there is a big difference in hoping you are with the right person and knowing you are with the right person. Hoping means being in a state of wishful thinking and purposely avoiding that niggling voice inside your head trying to warn you that all is not well. Knowing someone is the right person offers a sense of assurance, a calm and a peacefulness that envelopes you and leads to building a confidence in oneself.
So I admit that I had hoped for a long time. I had hoped that this person was eventually going to see the greatness in me that I did not see. I had hoped that his harsh words and neglectful behaviour meant nothing. I ignored my inner voice and hoped for years that the physical and emotional torment would eventually go away. But it didn’t go away and it would never go away because I was refusing to look at myself and believe in myself. I never knew how great I was or how beautiful I was. I never knew I was determined and insightful and compelling. I didn’t know I could be exciting and confident and worthwhile. And I didn’t know those things not only because no one ever told me but because until I saw myself in that dream, I had not allowed myself to honestly see and hear me. I had listened to everyone else’s thoughts and opinions and looked for approval outside of myself for so long that I had not recognised my own inner guide and it’s desperate cry to be seen and heard. So like the black stallion, I was trying to break free of a confined place.
I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and that this turning point in my life happens to everyone. It doesn’t have to be a breakup that changes you. It can simply be a trip, a new job, an engagement or a moment of revelation where you discover yourself. It can be disguised in many forms but it all ends the same for it is the moment you turn yourself inside out and you fearlessly begin to know and understand yourself. It is the moment that I greeted myself and gave myself permission to be the best I could be. And so I started a search for who I was and looking back I realise that what could once be described as an immensely heart breaking moment had also become the most joyous and enriching turning point in my history.
Discovering and understanding myself was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I searched for answers in books, in movies, in music, in friends. I looked for myself during lonely walks on the beach, in the reflection of shop windows, even in the canopy of twinkling stars on a silent night. I was overcome with sadness and grief because I felt like a failure in love, because I had ignored myself for so long and because I was often overwhelmed with fear that I was now alone.
But then something happened. While I continued to sympathise with my broken heart and mourn what once was, I also learnt to be kind and gentle with myself. I slowed down and embraced my challenging moments. I learnt to give myself healing hugs. I cried in the bathtub and let my tears flow around me and I breathed with the rhythm of the Universe. Time became my new friend and as each day passed I whispered to myself “just get through today”. I began to live in the now and slowly stopped thinking of the yesterday and the tomorrow. And without even realizing it, I was beginning to Trust and Let Go.
So my glorious children, now you know where my story all began. As your Mummy, my advice to you is this: Never ignore your inner voice. It is a powerful tool which lives and breathes inside of you that will always guide you. Find the greatness in yourself not by listening to others but by being honest in your thoughts and in your heart and then you will be free in your life. And don’t ever be afraid to spend time alone with yourself because this is the precious moment that you will become your own friend.