“The smart ones know where to look when things get rough. It isn’t ‘there’. It’s ‘here’. No matter what happened in a class, in a performance last week, last year or five minutes ago. If you come back to here, you’ll always be home.” -Center Stage, 2000
One of my all-time favorite movies is Center Stage. After you stop laughing and before you judge, allow me to explain why. Yes, the dancing is fun, the music is even better, but what strikes me more than anything is the message. The best dancer doesn’t land the lead. The underdog has a moment to shine but makes some poor choices along the way, and at the end of the movie we’re left with a lot of questions. What happens next?
It’s easy to find comfort in our surroundings when it’s smooth sailing. When life’s circumstances are comfortable, we, in turn are comfortable with where we are and more importantly, with whom we are. There’s no need seek external sources for a solution and there’s certainly no reason to search inward…
But I want to talk about what happens when we don’t land that role, or that job, or the good news we’ve been hoping for. Because as painful and piercing to the heart as the twists and twirls of this life can be, there is magic in the uncertainty of where our sails will lead us if we stop, breathe and point our inner compass toward home.
Generally speaking, I’m a positive and relatively private person when it comes to how I carry my dispositions. But I made a promise when accepting this role that I would be honest, and change the conversation when it comes to how we communicate with each other, so here goes. It’s been a rocky couple of months in that I am having a really difficult time distinguishing between who I am both as a person and a parent. Just when I think I’ve found “Susan” again after 8 years in the trenches of parenting small children, I’m whipped around by another lasso of parenthood that both warrants and deserves 110% percent of my attention and once again, I feel like I have lost my footing and that glimmer of who I once used to be and who I am striving to be all at the same time.
This transition period happens to us a few times in life. When we move out of our parents house, when we move in with someone else, when we move from person to parent, back to person again, when we retire….During these times when we look around, our eyes see those who are seemingly shinier, smarter, standing with both feet on steady ground and we wonder how we once used to live in that place so effortlessly, and how with just a blink we seem to lose our footing in our own skin.
It’s the most terrifying feeling in the world when your feet don’t have a recognizable place to land. Both of my worlds as a parent and the person I am aside from motherhood are currently foreign territory and lately I find myself searching for where and what home is to me on almost a daily basis.
So, this is when I stop, and breathe and take a moment to remember who I am underneath the noise and where my heart feels most at home. If it’s one lesson these past few months have reinforced, it’s that the answer to what will “complete” us, won’t be found out there. Our happiness does not lie in outside forces. All of the vacations, hairstyles, acupuncture, accolades, indulgences… that we seek out when we’re feeling unsteady do not and will not hold a candle to the strength and steadiness already within us, even when it waivers for a time.
I know my heart is most happy when I’m laughing with my family, when I share a joke with long distance friend, when I still feel chills from a song I’ve sang a thousand times, when I listen to Flamenco, when I dance, when I write alone at midnight and when I hug my Mom. These are the things that ground me, and bring balance to my world and home in my heart.
I hope that when life gets a little to” lifey”, which is certain to happen to all of us at one point or another, that you pause and give gratitude to all of your attributes which have created the authentic person that you are. This is where home is. Right in front of you… inside of you.
Writer, marketer and mother of two, Susan Madden has a background working with the Fine Arts in Dallas, TX and Milwaukee, WI. Relatively new to the fitness industry, she enjoys sharing her experiences about this crazy beautiful life, the endless quest to find work-home balance and wellness from a novice perspective. She’s passionate about nature, everything music, seeking out little moments that make a lasting impact, and has a newfound appreciation for the benefits of a well- made green smoothie. Susan is a native of Whitefish Bay, WI and now resides in Mequon, WI with her husband Mike and children, Samantha and Blake.
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