GUEST BLOG: Laura Toop shares her story
5 years ago, my life spectacularly imploded
I lost my husband, my health, and my career in quick succession, Everything I knew, gone in an instant.
Indeed, my then, 4 year-old-nephew said that first Christmas, ‘Auntie Lollipops (aka Me) now that Uncle Chris is dead, you have nothing’. ‘Do not worry’, he said, ‘I will look after you for 100 days’. And they say…out of the mouths of babes…100 days, well that is a long time if you are 4, but if you are 42 then it was not going to get me much past March!
The thing was, as 2015 drew to a close, I DID feel like I had nothing.
I was lost in a world I had not asked for, I did not recognize, and I had no clue how I was going to step forward. I drifted along for some months trying to resume ‘normal’ before I realized that what HAD been ‘normal’ was no longer 'normal'. The life I had, the structures, the routines I had, no longer were applicable, I had been stripped bare, metaphorically speaking, of course. The world was so busy around me, I felt I was going to spin out of control.
I needed the time to breathe, to take a pause, and notice where I was.
What I noticed was ‘loss’ has been a feature in my life from a very early age. Back then, I did not understand about loss, and the impact of grief, I felt excluded, unable to keep up, not good enough, different from everyone else. I became a ‘hostage’ of my own thoughts and feelings. Very quickly my emotional health began to deteriorate, as did my physical health.
I looked inwards for ‘control’, for ‘release’, to ‘manage’ what I felt I could not. A 20+ year ‘battle’ with eating disorders and associated addictions, then ensued, as I ‘fought’ my thoughts and my feelings. The strength I gained when I was ‘in control’, was not true, and I could rapidly become ‘out of control’. Not that the ‘outside’ world would ever have known.
But you see that ‘plan’ does not work long term.
Ironically, it took the multiple losses of my husband, health, and career, and me feeling like I had lost everything to find a ‘plan’. A plan to allow me to build true, long-lasting confidence, control & connection. For me, this was the difference that made the difference in finding true purpose and a passion for life and living.
It has not been an easy journey.
I have wanted to give up many times, but the strength I had gained in knowing I was something more than nothing has allowed me to anchor myself in the subsequent storms and weather them far better, without the need to return to the unhelpful behaviours of the past.
If there is one thing, I can share with you from the many losses of my life,
It is that the answers are not out there, they are within us. We do not need to depend on another or something happening before we can act. We do not need to worry about where we are in relation to everyone else. We simply need to allow ourselves the grace of time to look within, and everything we seek will be found.
When we begin to understand ourselves, so it is where we find our voice, and in finding our voice we can be heard and we can truly connect with the world and find our sense of true purpose and belonging.
So, in losing everything, I did in fact gain everything. I learned how to live beyond limits and to feel truly alive.
I wanted to feel alive.
Laura has been sharing her amazing insights from questions posed by her network- check it out here! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHjQRHVUiA2K37ip_iJD1nA/videos
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