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I remember a time when it was difficult just to make it through the day.  When I would wake up, dreading the day ahead of me, barely able to put myself together and make it to work.  I’d be sitting at my desk, choking back tears and trying just to breathe through the moment.  Just to make it.  Trying not to fall to pieces and leap out of my skin. Not to crawl into a cave and hide away from the realty of the pain.  I remember those days.  I rarely think of them now, but I will always remember what it was like to live in that kind of existence.  The walls and loneliness and guilt and despair.  The hurt and anger, regret and disbelief.

I am so grateful those days are gone.

It’s almost hard to believe that was me.  That was my life.  That was my pain and my prison of emotion. I remember wondering and hoping and wishing I could break free and breathe easy again.  But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would find this kind of peace and happiness in my life. That it was even possible to feel so content and so at ease in my own skin. To feel so loved and so supported and so fulfilled.  I never imagined that as a single woman turning 30 with an old beat-down car and shoes that need mending, I would feel so blessed.  That I would be able to see beauty in every day and every thing that crosses my path.  I never knew it could be like that.  I never knew that kind of love.

It began by wanting more.  Being sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  Not wanting to cry and feel defeated.  Wanting to feel happy.  Wanting to know what made me happy.  Wanting to know that happy was possible.  It began by following my happy.  That was my first step out. My first grasp at the light and a world that was more possible that not.  Following my happy.  It seems so simple really, and yet it was, for me, the biggest leap of faith.  How could following my happy really help?  Isn’t it self indulgent to chase after happiness?  Yes.  And what better than to indulge yourself in happiness.  What a beautiful act of self care and self love.

Yes, that is me skipping toward the water!

Yes, that is me skipping toward the water!

Instead of staying home and eating ice cream on the couch with a glass of red wine and a horror flick, I called a girlfriend and we went on a walk.  Or out for a glass of wine.  Or to see a band.  Or to a movie.  I started saying yes.  F$ck it, I had to try new things.  Maybe I would like it!  Maybe it would make me happy.  Maybe it would give me hope and inspiration and help me figure out what I wanted.  Maybe if I said yes and went to every concert and cooking class and drum circle.  If I went to every symphony and art opening and karaoke night.  If I just said yes when I was invited and pushed my comfort zone.  Maybe there was more beyond the walls I built for myself and safety net of friends and hobbies I had built.  And there was.  And so much more.

To write about it all would be a novel in and of itself.  But I can tell you one thing that is so incredibly true:  the state of peace and serenity I now live in all began by wanting more.  By making the choice to follow my happy.  To follow the laughter and the smiles and the things that make my heart dance.  To embrace those moments and seek them out. To cherish them, to share them and to hold them in my heart.  To make those moments the ones I carry with me forever.

How about you?  What has helped you live a life filled with passion and purpose?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

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