Today we wecome a guest post by our friend and Certified Soul Restoration Instructor…Debbie Howard, from Oxford, UK!
Those who follow my Instagram, or belong to one of the various art journaling Facebook groups in which I participate regularly, know that I have not had an easy year. In fact it’s been over 5 years now since my world got turned upside down and I began the long hard process of restoring my soul.
It began with a huge loss, followed by an enormous amount of sadness and then loneliness. I hadn’t realised until this happened that my soul was in such a state of disrepair. I wasn’t deliriously happy, but I was bumbling along and life was ok, good in most parts actually. I had no inclination that it should have been any different, that I should have been different? Only when I was plunged into a place so dark did I realise how dimmed my inner light had become.
I spent many months lost in that place and feeling pretty hopeless about ever being happy again. That was until I heard Melody Ross describing her own personal Soul Restoration journey, and I instantly knew this was what I needed to do.
For those of you that are not familiar with Soul Restoration, it is the most amazing course created by Melody, co founder of Brave Living. It is designed to help reignite lost sparkle and get you shining once again on full beam! You learn how to dissect the parts of your life that are not working properly and begin to understand why you feel suffocated, see where you gave up control of your life and learn how to take your power back. There are tools at your disposal that you can use to co-create with the universe the bright and positive future your soul desires and deserves.
My personal Soul Restoration journey has been quite radical in many ways. Firstly, I carefully unpicked my life up to this point. I learned so much about the things that have shaped me into the fearful, resentful, isolated adult who was lurking beneath the cardboard cutout self she showed to the world. I was no longer the real me, the authentic beautiful soul that had arrived on planet earth over 45 years ago. I was no longer joyful. I needed to restore back to that happy, fearless, adventurous and loving soul.
The hardest part of this journey back to me was to make the sad and difficult decision to divorce my husband of 23 years. We have two wonderful sons, both young adults now, and I was trying desperately to find a way to keep our family together. But for many reasons which I would come to discover and understand, our relationship had become toxic and I no longer had the energy and fortitude required to hold us together.
This decision brought with it a wide range of new feelings, worries and challenges. For a start, I now had to be financially responsible. I had to learn how to plan, and budget, and save and think twice about things instead of being my naturally impulsive self. This felt both scary and exciting at the same time. Armed with my best Brave Girl attitude, and feeling free and empowered, I set forth on my new adventure with gusto!
I had a lot to learn, and the lessons started coming thick and fast. Reigning in my impulsiveness was proving more difficult than anticipated, and in my rush to shed the skin that had previously constricted my growth, I began looking for my next home before our family home was on the market. It took a few months of endless viewings searching for that ‘perfect’ home in which to start over. Feeling tired, I was on the verge of taking a break from my thus far fruitless house hunting when I found ‘the one’. The funny thing was that it hardly ticked any of my boxes, yet I immediately felt a connection with it. A Victorian property almost 130 years old it was in need of serious updating and remodeling to become a suitable home. But while friends and family looked puzzled as I described my ideas, I was already inhabiting my future space through my vivid imagination. I enlisted a builder who seemed to ‘get’ my vision and instructed him to get on without delay so that my new home might be ready before I had to move out of my current one. Practical and financial considerations were not as interesting as choosing window styles and other design details, but six months later very little had been achieved and the budget was spiraling out of control. I felt let down and betrayed, as well a hugely disappointed in myself. I had literally created my very own dilapidated and uninhabitable ruin…a physical manifestation of my souls state of disrepair! My ‘crack’ house.
I threw myself a huge pity party and the worrying resulted in sleepless nights and the inability to focus on anything much besides my impending doom. This was when I realised that I had lost control of this project and there was no one else to fix it but me. My ‘go to’ rescuer (my now ex husband) was no longer at my disposal but I knew I needed to ask for help.
One of the most valuable things I learned taking Soul Restoration the first time was that I don’t have to do everything myself and I can reach out to others who are stronger in areas where I am lacking. So I tentatively reached out to friends and family in the hope of redeeming some goodwill vouchers I wasn’t even sure I had earned.
To my great surprise, as well as relief, everyone was very supportive and encouraging. It seemed that although the shame of this first solo failure had heightened my sense of unworthiness, I must have somehow earned some kindness credits. Perhaps I was after all a valuable human being.
So with my friends and family, and to my surprise my ex husband, at my back, I regrouped and started again. I stopped my building project and have set about finding somewhere to rent while I pack up my old life and rethink my vision. I still love the old house I have bought and remain excited about the wonderful potential it possesses.
As I traverse the voids that the lifted floorboards have exposed and look up through the gaps in the ceilings I do wonder at the irony of the situation. Obviously my healing journey was not as complete as I thought it was. I had not done enough excavating, unearthing and revealing in order to fully restore. Well now I can literally see the dirt beneath the foundations and there is no other choice than to start rebuilding from the ground up. And I will be an active participant and guardian of this restoration and I will show myself and my life the respect it deserves.
Bring it on!
Live Soul Restoration and other Brave Girl courses I’m teaching (click on the UK pin on the map)