by Liz Jansen
The last few months have been a time of intense editing and revisions on Crash Landing. The journey it relates has taken me back to who I am before the stories I heard about who I was. Beneath titles, roles, and accomplishments.
As if to remind me what happens when we let our heads rule our heart, this photo surfaced recently as I sorted through memories in preparation for my childhood friend Deb’s celebration of life.
I found the photos of the trip we took across Canada when I was 17—our coming of age trip—along with photos of my early riding days and early motorcycles.
There was also this photo, from 1998. I have no idea why I posed for it, what the circumstances, or where it was, but I remember the clothing, and the time, well. I bought the top in Montreal while attending the Moto GP.
At the time, friends, family, and colleagues viewed my life as perfect. I had a promising career, a beautiful house in the country, and traveled the world.
My first impulse was to destroy the picture. It was the unhappiest period of my life, and it showed. When I saw it I felt anger. How could I let myself get to that point?
But this journey of the past four years has taught me a lot about myself. A Self that’s been with me since birth. Over time, I got covered up by stories and expectations that weren’t aligned with my heart. That ‘me’ in the photo was the result.
My second, stronger response was to extend compassion and honor that person, me, buried under all those layers of protection that were trying to convince me I had it made. I was doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing at the time. There was nothing wrong with it, other than it was not a fit for me. Deep down, I knew it.
Fortunately, that year was also a turning point as my spirit began to stir. I wasn’t even coming close to making the most of my skills and gifts, although I wasn’t conscious of it. It took a few more years to decide I wasn’t going to live the rest of my life like that and make life-changing steps.
All those experiences and lessons made me who I am today. Now my heart sings and leads the charge, with input from my mind. I look at that photo with tenderness, gratitude, and compassion, grateful I found and followed the path out.