I was teetering at the edge, staring below at uncertainty; crippled by fear and exhaustion, yet knowing I must take a leap of faith. That leap was my only path now, because behind me, all I could see was a landscape painted with potholes – a panorama that no longer served me, and to which returning was futile. So would I fly or fall?
December 2012, a date now etched firmly in my mind, saw my overwhelmed, people-pleasing, approval seeking perfectionist self left crumbled and broken. I realised, finally that something big needed to change and that something was ME.
Oddly, I had visited this edge before and not heeded the call to change; for 20 years I had danced with depression and stress and yet chose to turn on my heels and find sanctuary in the familiarity of my self-destructive habits, surreptitiously disguised as security.
This time there was no going back; I was worth more than the masquerading simplicity of that return ticket.
So armed with intense courage, I began walking my Pathway to Happiness. I let go of everything that no longer served me, which included relationships that hurt me and a financially successful business that drained me. After all, the money wasn’t making me happy.
I reflected on my inner world, where my insecure child was so desperate to be loved that she pleased others at her own expense. This gave rise to years of passivity, creating a landscape of drama and compliance, encased within an armor of defensiveness and controlling masculine energy.
I reconnected with my heart that had been hidden for so long by my corporate mask and allowed myself to feel exposed, without identity. It was scary, although absolutely necessary.
Photo by Karen Davies
And then began the rebuilding: Through the pain came healing and with the healing came strength. And thanks to the help of some amazing teachers, I learnt to forgive, meditate, cry and journalize.
I finally came to understand my deep-rooted insecurities, seeing them for what they were - beliefs that I had held for so long that I considered them to be true. Yet they were only an illusion, constructed by my mind.
I found that my happiness was not held in the mirage of the perfect job, car, house or friendship. Real happiness was a choice that I could make, each and every day.
That realization empowered me to see how happiness was in my hands and that I no longer needed to give away my power to please others, in the vain hope of a crumb of respect. I developed an inner strength that enabled me to set boundaries and I gave myself permission to put my needs on the agenda. This was my time to be happy.
With my Happiness Prescription as my guide, I now take a daily dose of mindfulness, meditation, gratitude and affirmations, which have slowly turned my path from a rocky highway to a golden sandy beach where I have created the space for my happiness to breathe.
I have simplified my life and found appreciation in the small things, letting go of my need to please and applying regular self-respect and compassion.
Photo by Karen Davies
My reward is that the corporate mask I wore has shed like a snake’s skin. Softness replaces my masculinity that now fits like a pair of gloves. My eyes are open, my heart is healing and my inner respect is growing.
And if that wasn’t enough, my Pathway to Happiness has allowed me, together with my husband, to follow our dream of freedom, choice and discovery and live beyond our fears. We packed up, packed in and headed off from England, into the European sunset with our trusty steed, Scoobie, the Camper.
The liberation we have found as digital nomads has enriched our lives beyond all recognition and all because we made the decision to live beyond our fear and put happiness at the heart of our lives.
And to top it all, my journey has inspired me to reconnect with my coaching and writing passions that I rescued from my ‘old life’; I now help and support other stressed-out women, who find themselves exhausted by life’s demands and standing at the edge, to begin their own pathway to happiness. It is now time to help others live the lives that they too deserve.
We are united in this happiness movement and we can see happiness start to spread through families, communities and the world, one heart at a time.
About Karen Davies
Karen is an experienced coach and author of ‘Awaken your Assertion’, who after years of coping with stress and depression, has faced her self-doubts and passivity to live her dream. She and her husband now travel around Europe in their Motorhome, accompanied by her mission; to free you from your demons, so you too can live the life you deserve.