Upside Down Messenger
My body felt at least one hundred pounds heavier as I struggled to hold it upright at the VIP table. Three hours, Amanda. You can hold it together for three more hours. For the first time in a long time, I felt lost again. I looked around the room full of excited entrepreneurs who were making a living doing what they loved, and the lump in my throat grew. I am supposed to be one of them! I was one of them, and it was the most inspiring work I’ve ever done. And people were saying YES… until the market crashed.
All the magic and miracles that had occurred in the last three years suddenly meant nothing. I was heartbroken and tired to my core. How can I be feeling this way again…after all this work?
“And thank you, Amanda Johnson,” the happy voice snapped me back to the present and I smiled on cue, “for helping me restructure my book. You’re a genius!” I nodded in gratitude for the generous acknowledgment in front of her audience while my heart swelled with pain. You were the first angel to help me. I don’t have the heart to tell you it’s falling apart AGAIN. My stomach lurched at the thought of looking into her eyes and telling her that I had to walk away. She’ll be so disappointed. I looked down and breathed a long deep breath to keep the welling tears at bay.
Just before the break, I escaped to the bathroom. If one more person asked me how I was doing, I was gonna lose it. Closing the stall door behind me, I clutched my head, and let a few tears fall. I can’t believe this door is being slammed in my face too. It was so magical. The message came through. I set my intention, knowing that a Secret Teacher would show up. And she did. I believed the facilitator program was the perfect next step. And they accepted me. I’ve stayed the course in spite of the discomfort. I’ve served in every room, telling the stories I never intended to share. I’ve healed relationships, I’ve pounded pavement to showcase the program, and I’m almost certified, and I had big contracts ready for signatures.
But now it doesn’t matter. They won’t return my calls. All this work…for nothing. I understood they had to be cautious because of the market crash, but what about my dream of changing lives for a living?
When the music stopped in the ballroom, I wiped the mascara trail off my face and went back to support my friend. Walking into the room, I was overwhelmed with the energy of inspired entrepreneurs, and my heart sunk again, I am supposed to be one of them, but the bills are late and the account is empty…there’s no other way.
“What about True to Intention?” The voice boomed over the excited activity. What about it? I responded sarcastically. Six months earlier, I’d been inspired to change my business name and take it in a new direction. “True to Intention” resonated, capturing the message that had led me to Lisa and been confirmed for two years: We come into this world with purpose (intention) and everything we need to fulfill it – like the caterpillar has everything it needs to become a butterfly. But something happens, and we stop believing in those dreams that were placed within us. Our work is to remember our intention and be true to it. The truth of the message was undeniable. When I said YES to my purpose, Lisa walked into a Sizzler behind me only three months later. In every teen workshop, transformation occurred when they realized they already have the power to change their lives. And the testimonials from my authors always went something like this: Thank you for helping me stay true to my real message. True to Intention felt so right to me. I had to get this message out. And yet something was holding me back.
“You know, Amanda…” It was the last break of the day, and I’d mentioned my dream to a few friends again. “I think you should ask yourself why you’re all talk. It’s a great idea. Where are the business cards?” Her voice was full of love but razor sharp, and it cut through me.
Silently, I turned on my heel and tore out of the building, racing to get to my car before the dam broke. “You’re never going to get yourself together.” I stumbled across the parking lot and struggled to steady my hand to unlock the door. “You’re such a disappointment.” I sobbed all the way home. “Your family will starve because everything you do falls apart.” I got in my pajamas, turned off all the lights, and collapsed into bed. “You’re a fraud – wait til everyone finds out! They thought you were bound for greatness, and look.” The venom flew at me with force, and I covered my head to shut the voices out.
Burying my wet face in my pillow, I screamed at God. Why is this happening again? Why would you give me a message, put the people in my life to make it happen, and then take it all away again? Of course I don’t want to move forward with my dream because the others were taken away! Every single one of them – marriage, teaching, online instructing, editing, and now this! And as far as I can tell, it’s YOUR fault! You opened the doors, and then you let them slam! Where have you been?
Struggling for my next breath, I asked myself if I should even bother. What was I doing in this life? Oh no! I am a fraud! Here I was ready to be certified to teach teens how to fall in love with themselves, and I was asking myself if I should keep living? The room swirled, and the pressure in my chest grew. “You don’t deserve to live.”
Pull it together, Amanda. You have a husband, a little boy, and a family to live for. You can’t leave them behind. Pull yourself together! As soon as I asked myself the question How?, I remembered a tool we teach the teens. I reached for my journal and, cocooning myself with blankets, I started writing. “My negative self-talk tells me that I’m worthless, that nothing will ever change, that I’m a disappointment, that I should just give up. It tells me that I’m a fraud, that my broken dreams are my fault, that I’m not good enough to have them…” I trembled as years of pain coursed through my veins, out through the pen, and onto the tear-smeared paper. I took a deep breath, silencing my resistance to doing what I knew I had to do next.
“My powerful self-talk tells me that I have a beautiful family to live for, that I have purpose and am worthy of my dreams. It tells me that I am a good mother and wife, that I am an incredible teacher who inspires, that I have a message and tools to help others. It reminds me that I have manifested miracles, that I have already made a difference, and that I have always been taken care of.”
The venomous voices silenced, I heard the still small voice, “Amanda, do you see? All of those broken dreams you have taken on as failures? They weren’t failures. You’re using your teaching skills every day (just not the way you expected), you’re inspiring others to be better versions of themselves through your work (just not the way you expected), and you’re living your message in your parenting, marriage, and career (just not the way you expected), and now you’re going to use the transformational training you’ve just completed (just not the way you expected). The dreams didn’t end because you weren’t good enough or did something wrong. They ended because you got what you needed from them, and you needed to move to the next thing so you could do the work I have for you. I never abandoned you. You just didn’t recognize me. I WAS all of the closed doors, directing you to be True to your Intention and to help others be true to theirs. Beloved, dare to dream again. And lean into the discomfort. Relax into your upside down like the caterpillar does. Trust that the transformation will happen…because it’s meant to.”
I picked up the phone and left a voicemail for the angel who was probably wondering where I’d disappeared to: “Hey, Sis. Sorry I had to leave. Can you call me Monday? I need to talk to you about a dream.”