Last year was such a rollercoaster that it’s hard for me to describe.
The highs were dizzying: Matthew and I got engaged, moved into our beautiful flat, and adopted Hagrid. We had our gorgeous teeny tiny wedding and visited my friends in family in Canada. I worked with amazing new coaching clients, co-hosted two retreats, and launched two new programs. I started my podcast and interviewed many of my heroes. I went on holidays to France and Italy and Belgium. I made new friends and deepened my relationships with others.
But there were times when I thought the lows would crush me. I struggled with depression again and there were days when I could barely get out of bed. I would miss social commitments because a few minutes before they started I would be overwhelmed by a complete sense of panic.
And I felt like a fraud; how could I help people if I could barely help myself? It didn’t matter how many e-mails I received from clients who were making positive changes as a result of our work together or women who were transforming their lives through my programs or who had been deeply touched by something I’d written. It never felt good enough. I never felt good enough.
I tried to be honest about when times were difficult but I couldn’t pull back the curtain completely. I hadn’t moved through this yet. I hadn’t learned the lessons. I didn’t know what the story was in order to share it. And honestly, I was fucking scared. I didn’t know how vulnerable I could be before you’d just click away.
Last weekend I went to a beautiful workshop led by Gabrielle Bernstein and I was completely in awe of the raw honesty with which she shared her own recent struggles and how she’s moving through them with faith and grace.
She talked about having a breakdown on a her yoga mat a few months ago as she realized she was yet again stuck in a pattern of chasing her life and constantly striving rather than truly living. This breakdown created a breakthrough as she realized all of the ways she had been avoiding showing up for this “assignment.”
We worked through an exercise to identify our own “universal life assignments” - the lesson we are currently here to learn and I had my own “aha!” moment:
My universal assignment is worthiness. My assignment is to stop looking for evidence that I’m flawed and not good enough.
It was like putting that down on paper suddenly reordered everything in my mind so that it made sense.
Thinking that I couldn’t quit my job until my business was “good enough.”
My health challenges being linked to a deep distrust in my body’s abilities.
Feeling unworthy of happiness as soon as true love had entered my life and pitching head first into depression.
It all comes back to my assignment.
And the thing about a universal assignment is that it keeps showing up until we show up for it.
It shows up in our relationships. Our career. Our health. Our creativity. It shows up in the way we talk to ourselves and the decisions we make about how to live.
Until we are willing to fully show up fully, lean into the feeling of that assignment, and turn it over to be healed, it will show up again and again and again.
But the first step is to recognize what your assignment is. Call it out by name when it shows up in your life, rather than burying your head in the sand. You can ask yourself:
What negative patterns continue to repeat themselves in your life?
What situations crop up that seem to reinforce your limiting beliefs?
What is the common thread tying together these patterns and experiences?
What are they trying to teach you?
Your universal assignment shows up in all of these uncomfortable ways but it is always trying to lead you to a more positive way of viewing yourself and the world. So ask yourself: what would it look like if this wound was healed? And write it down: "My universal assignment is ________________."
When Gabby’s new book comes out in October, it will walk you through the exact steps she taught us in the workshop. But you can start right now by recognizing your assignment and creating a practice to show up for it every day (and here’s a great video on the topic).
Your practice might be bringing the assignment to your meditation practice and asking for guidance. It might be finding an accountability buddy so that you can call each other out on your crazy when these patterns keep popping up. You might show up for your assignment in your journal or your therapy sessions. The important thing is that you recognize it and show up. I really believe that when you do, you will be guided to the help that you need: whether it's a book, a therapist, a coach, a workshop, or a friend who will guide you to
For me, this recognition has been so powerful. It took all of these disjointed things that I knew about myself and crystallized them so that I could see how it was all connected. It has shown me that wounds I thought were healed are still there because I wasn’t showing up for them, I was trying to pretend they weren’t there. Now that I know this I’ve made the commitment to show up fully even when it hurts, even when I want to look away, even when I’m not sure what the point is.
Take some time today to figure out your universal assignment. Call it out by name. And if you're struggling to put your finger on it, send me an e-mail. I'd love to help you get to this powerful place of awareness so that you can move forward and truly live your life.