Faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
Two years ago the universe sent a series of events my way, that were the catalyst’s that catapulted me in a completely new life’s direction and environment. Over night there was a drastic change in the habitat that I had been surviving in for the preceding 6 years. I remember my mind flooding with reasons why I may not have had the ability to lead this new life, endless list of reasons as to why Icould potentially fail. Unfortunately failure was not an option. I simply wasn’t going to crumble and die! I had no plan and so I prayed, “Please God or universe or divine power, please tell me what to do, just tell me the next step I should take. I am not asking for anything except–guidance. Amen” Once I opened my eyes the word ‘FAITH’ appear in front of me, barely visible, suspended in mid-air. “Ok, That’s something…I suppose.” I thought to myself, “Not only am I completely lost, but now I am seeing things too… this should be good.” I grabbed a sharpie-pen and I wrote the word out on my left hand, in the same bold, capital, block-letters, just as they appeared in the vision.
What was I supposed to do with this word? Faith in what? As the kid growing up who used to take apart all the electronic things in our house just to see how they worked and where it all started, I had a little trouble just simply having faith. None-the-less, I was certainly going to give it a try, I mean, these were letters suspended in space–that almost never happens, unless of course you are baked. No more than a day later, I spotted this word, etched in a little, silver, pendant in the jewelry case at Winners of all places. Obviously I was going to buy it, I mean who wouldn’t? Suspended letters in space have now magically appeared before me in real matter. You could say I wore it religiously. On days when I would feel lost–catching the necklace in my reflection as I passed a mirror–always gave me a tiny dose of strength. The constant reminder of the word “FAITH” gave me the ability to not only keep looking forward, but to also walk away from my past and let go of it, with a little bit of grace.
The thing about Faith is– it works better when you know what you have faith in. At the time, I simply had faith in the idea that in the end it was going to be alright and if it wasn’t alright yet then it must not have been the end. I had trouble with completely accepting the idea of having faith in GOD alone.
When I was growing up my stepfather–who you could say was very religious–introduced my sister and me to Christianity. At the time, learning, understanding and accepting everything he taught us, was something I needed to adapt to, in order to survive in my environment. My step-father, bless his heart, was our perceived life-line in that time and space. He provided for my family, in addition, my mom found some security in his intelligence, drive and social-status and consequently, so did I. He also believed in the idea of “spare the rod, spoil the child” and I wasn’t a huge fan of the rod, so the few questions I had about that faith, I kept to myself, burried them deep in the depths of my mind and I was certainly not going allow those thoughts to grow. Doing this was imperative to my survival–not that I connected all this at the time. I believed whole-hearted that all the scripture in Bible should be taken literally and when myself or any other human-being did not live accordingly, then they would without a doubt be sent into a eternal, fiery-pit, of doom and darkness, for the rest of eternity. Not a heavy idea to put on a child heart at all! I can’t imagine why I grew up to be so scared of the world. The stories and imagery made just enough sense to me that I could convince all the cells in my body that they were true. Survival of the fittest thoughts. Confidence in these perceived facts and this trust in something outside of me, molded much of who I was in grade school. I even went so far as to tell one of my closest friends in the 9th grade, that she was going to hell for choosing to have an abortion, and I thought this was a good idea because I was saving her soul. Clearly, I was a good person for telling her these things.
Like all things in life, changes occurred and in my late teens, ignoring those little questions I had about organized religion, no longer suited me. Moreover, my new habitat had the right conditions that allowed those questions, thoughts or seeds in my mind to grow. As they grew, the more I adapted to the idea that my beliefs just weren’t working for me anymore. I grew to describe myself as “spiritual, but not religious” this was another beneficial adaptation to my thoughts, because it allowed me to connect to my next life-line.
At the age of 22 I met someone… I found him truly fascinating, we shared many of the same ideas about the spiritual world and we had an incredible ability to teach each other things. This man, my perceived soul-mate; was my best friend; he was also educated; had confidence in his future direction; he came from a good family and he took care of me in many of the same ways my step-father did, so I married him. I loved him dearly, but a lot of the confidence that I had displayed during this time was a result of a sense of security we gave each other Together the two of us were a force to be reckoned with, we were a power couple to say the least. He was a doctor and taught me all about health and wellness, an area which I always had a keen interest in. He displayed so many traits that I perceived were missing or under-delevoped within me, and I am certain he felt exactly the same way. We both had a false sense of wholeness, and all we needed was each other to have the confidence to face the world
I now had an increased sense of confidence and I felt it was time for me to go back to school and learn about an area that interested me. Maintaining a healthy body was always high in my value list, so I first studied personal training. I had no intention of ever being a personal trainer, my occupations were being a wife and a make-up artist in the TV and film industry, I just wanted the knowledge of the mechanics of exercise for myself. While exercise is undoubtable a huge factor in maintaining a healthy body, it wasn’t long before I realized that I needed to learn more about nutrition (a study that fascinated me) if I wanted to achieve and or maintain my ideal physical form. After a considerable amount of debate in my mind about whether I could actually do it, I decided I was worth the investment and I enrolled in a program to become a nutritionist. I felt I would be able to do this because I had this amazing support system in my husband, who was intelligent and could help me through these two years.
It was near the end of my first semester where I first learned that there was an undeniable link between nutrition and mental well-being, and it was then for the first time ever, that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I went to my husband and shared my dreams to continue studying, eventually combining nutrition and counselling and help people heal themselves. His reaction was not one I had expected and only two days later I found out exactly why… For the previous three weeks he had been preparing to leave me… and he did just that.
“I don’t love you anymore.”
This was the event that lead me to need that faith necklace. I was desperate to find faith in something and even though I couldn’t describe what I had faith in, I continued to have it. Even though there were days when I didn’t even want to bother to wake up, I continually got up every morning at 4:30 am for my morning workouts, worked 16-hour days to save money for my tuition and continued my studies. I was a heartbroken, insecure singe female, armed with only faith in, who knows what, and a million fears…it was now time to face ALL of my fears. This included jumping off a bridge (of course attached to a bungee cord) With each fear I faced and with each passing day, my confidence in myself started to grow.
It was about 18 months after my separation where I met a girl randomly on the street who for no reason started telling me about her recent separation. I could feel her pain with every fibre of my being, this girl was me, only a year earlier. I explained the story of my faith necklace–as tears filled her eyes she said to me “My friends don’t understand what I am going through, I think you will be the one to help, I must have met you for a reason.” –I knew then that telling her the story of my faith necklace was not enough and what I really needed to do was give her the experience too… so I took off my necklace and I tied it around her neck. The two of us instantly burst into tears, it was without a doubt the right thing to do, but the moment I saw it suspended around her neck, I realized I had just given my external power-source away.
Days later I randomly found another pendant online–it really resonated with me at the time–the script read the quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Over the quote was a picture of what appeared to be a mustard seed plant. I bought the pendant, but had no idea what a mustard seed plant represented. One day, out of sheer boredom I googled images of mustard seed plants and what I found blew me away. A collection of images with a plant and the word “FAITH”. I had no idea these two things could be linked. Turns out there is a scripture in the bible that reads “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Facing my fears; trying to live by “Be the change you wish to see in the world”; exercising the idea of having faith as small as a mustard seed were the perfect combination of nutrients my brain needed to product the thoughts that grew to new beliefs about myself. I finally granted myself the permission to conceive the idea that the only power-source I could eternally keep faith in (complete trust or confidence in someone or something) was ME.
From that moment on I vowed to myself that I would actively choose to stop believing in all the lies or fears that crippled me for so many years. From that point foreword only thoughts that were from a place of love for myself were allowed live and grow and flourish inside of my mind.
3 thoughts on “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.”
Wow. Such a beautiful story of growth, change and self-love and empowerment. I am so glad you’ve chosen to share your journey with the world. I still wear the necklace daily – not because I have faith in religion but because I have faith that life is playing out as it should be and that everything is going to be okay. I have faith that I have the power to create the kind of life, the kind of future, the kind of present moment that my heart and soul desires. I have faith that the universe is conspiring in my favour if I am open to it and keep positive. This necklace has been a daily reminder of those thoughts and beliefs. I believe we are both fortunate women for having the rug pulled out from under our feet and having our world turned upside down. If it didn’t unfold that way, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Maria, you were a key player in my journey by sharing yours and for that I will always be thankful that our paths crossed while I walked down the seawall. Keep up the fantasic work.. and yes, you are being the change you wish to see in the world!
Truly inspiring! I enjoyed connecting as female to this whole experience. Being heart broken, relious belief background and knowing how faith is so important. We all have much to share and each and every one of us are teachers and students on life on different levels. Being able to express our journeys experience through our life time opens up our ability to communicate on an authentic level of being and speak our truth. There is freedom in doing so.
Maria, Thank you for sharing your story. The strength you have today is from what you’ve been through. I think your goal to combine counseling with nutrition is a great idea! I also really liked your faith reminder. Sometimes I forget about faith and to trust in God. Good reminder. Wishing you success in your dreams and goals.