What started as a new direction towards a better every day life for myself has brought in a completely different identity.
I went from driving as fast as I could go to moving almost backwards.
Stopping a fast car is one of the most vulnerable and courageous things we could do.
Because we have to be ok with not belonging, with not fitting in with our family, friends and neighbors.
Being ok with disappointing others.
Money. Financial freedom.
Risking it all for what?
For the most priceless thing in the world.
I have to tell you I wish I had all these insights earlier.
But grief and fear put you inside a really fast car.
With blinders on your left and right.
With one thing in mind.
Not feeling grief or joy.
As both are dangerous to someone who lost a lot.
So you are in this car driving away from everything, even the things you crave for because you are afraid of losing them all again.
Your mind is telling you that it is possibly better to have nothing and lose nothing than have it all and lose it all.
You do everything you can to not be in this position again.
This fast car you are driving makes your pain numb and misses all the opportunities for joy.
But here is what happens. The faster you go the worse everything gets.
Numbness doesn’t lead to less pain.
It leads to severe depression.
Because when a person who is made to feel everything tries to feel nothing is like extracting their own DNA and burying it in the ground.
When I stopped my very fast car (which by the way has been driving for over a decade at a lightening speed) I had no idea who I was.
I have put myself through this process many times.
I can honestly tell you this reentry is so different to all the others.
It has had the biggest surprises.
The most invisible losses.
And some dark nights.
Maybe not the darkest but certainly unexpected darkness.
Unexpected darkness can be more dangerous than regular darkness.
We never see it coming.
I will end this letter by saying this:
If you are running fast, trying to numb yourself from everything good and bad, please promise me you will hit the breaks however much it hurts. @SecondFirsts (Click to Tweet!)
The pain from stopping the car will subside and you will be able to breathe again.
You will begin to cry the tears you couldn’t while you were speeding.
And feel the pain of your old life so that the new life has a chance to begin.
With many breaks and a new creative identity,
Christina Rasmussen is the creator and founder of The Life Reentry Institute, Second Firsts, and Star Letters, and the host of the Dear Life Podcast. Christina is on a crusade to help millions of people rebuild, reclaim, and relaunch their lives using the power of their own minds. Christina’s work has been featured on ABC News, NPR, The White House Blog, and MariaShriver.com. She is the bestselling author of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again, which has also been translated in Chinese and German and just released her second book Where Did You Go on expanding the mind in ways that allows co-creation with the forces of the universe. She is also writing her first work of fiction: a science fiction story about a woman on a quest to start over and begin a new life. You can find more information on her website and follow her on FB or Twitter.
Image courtesy of Matthew Henry.