About two years ago, I found myself in the back of an Uber riding through Atlanta when the driver said something that caught my attention.
As he entertained me with colorful war stories, he mentioned that as a former soldier he was required to leave his family for extended periods of time before a huge mission. They called this period isolation for preparation. During this time, he’d prepare mentally and physically for the huge task ahead because just one mistake could cost a ton of lives.
I sat with this for a minute and thought about how it had applied to my own life.
In 2014, as I was preparing to transition out of my career as a gossip blogger, I moved to Arizona to go through a period of isolation. I knew the only way that I would be able to start my new life, was to leave everything that I had ever known and I would have to separate myself from the people who had boxed me into an idea that I had outgrown. It literally allowed me to be introduced to a newer, more evolved version of myself, and I never felt so free.
That isolation period gave me the clarity I needed to walk away from my celebrity gossip site, and I went on to launch a whole new brand centered around empowerment, feminine wellness, and career elevation which was more in line with the woman I wanted to be.
In 2018, while on the road to obtaining my pro card as an IFBB bikini athlete, I went through another period of isolation. This time, I isolated myself from a friend’s circle who spent weekends drinking and turned up on Sundays for Brunch. I traded liquor-filled industry events, and let’s meet for coffee dates with frequent visits to the gym and grocery store all because I knew the discipline required to obtain a winning physique had no room for slip-ups. Instead of spending long hours on social media, or chatting it up on the phone with friends, I fed my mind audiobooks and youtube motivational videos to train my mindset to be that of a champion. And I visualized that win every single day. As a result, I obtained my pro card within 3 months of my isolation period.
Another goal crossed off the list.
Isolation isn’t just for preparation, it’s for elevation.
I am reminded of this as we come to the close of a year that forced many of us into involuntary isolation. Those first few months of lock-down felt incredibly lonely, but after going through all the motions, I stopped and asked myself, “What is God trying to teach me in this season?”
Over the past two years, I’ve been re-routed time and time again by simply asking far too many people for their opinions on ideas I had or things I really wanted to do. And those varied opinions led me down a dark hole of unfinished work and shoulda coulda wouldas. Constantly asking for other’s thoughts and opinions on things I hadn’t even started meant that I didn’t trust my gut. I was asking for permission to do some of the work HE called me to do.
This need for validation led me to spectator mode, cheering from the sidelines for people whose action on their dreams led to major life wins. Meanwhile, I became so distracted by staying busy in projects that bogged me down versus served me, that I didn’t realize I had transitioned into auto-pilot mode and lost command of the wheel.
The wheel that was the life I desired to live, which included filling my days with things that I was incredibly passionate about.
Since I refused to do frequent self check-ins to see if I was truly happy, still in alignment, and on the right path, my GPS lead me to a destination I never chose.
In moments such as this, when we feel redirected, that is when we need to spend the most time with ourselves. It is during these times, isolation is absolutely necessary.
If you are reading this, the odds are you are have gone through something similar. There’s a major shift happening in your life, and everything is changing. The isolation periods that happened for many of us who live alone in 2020 was meant for us to face the weakest parts of ourselves. The things in our lives that weren’t working. The things that needed changing.
It also made us realize the things that really set our souls on fire.
It helped us face our true selves.
In the poem, The Invitation, there is a line that says:
I want to know
if you can be alone
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.
I’ve learned to enjoy my clarity in these empty, quiet moments filled with solitude. Those moments when my inner voice is the loudest because it doesn’t have to compete with that of others. It doesn’t have to compete with my self-doubt or fear.
My inner voice runs this sh*t when she’s in an environment that allows her to shine.
I send this note to you as a reminder to take the time to lean into your quiet moments this holiday season.
Your inner voice has been waiting for its time to speak.
Mine told me that it’s time I get back to my essence: writing.
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I felt this so deeply. There have been so many moments where I leaned on others opinions as a crutch instead of trusting my gut. In this year I finally vowed to myself that my life’s decisions wouldn’t be dependent upon others opinions. It’s been hard for me but I know that is what my lesson has been for the year. To trust myself more. To be okay with who I am separate of others. To follow my intended path.
So this really hit home for me. I know that what I'm entering in is a state of evolution and while I want to go out and party and kee kee with everyone there is something holding me back. This post confirmed there is more work to do on self and that it's necessary to take the time out to knock some of those goals out of the park that had been on the back shelf for too long. Thank you for your vulnerability Sis we needed that.