Updated: Dec 19, 2019

This blog is dedicated to my beautiful daughter Dania, may she rest at peace in paradise.

Just when you think that you have life under control, the universe throws you a curveball. You know, the one that hits you so hard and what's worse is that you never saw it coming. My job prepares me for the conscious control that we have over circumstances, the mindset that we need to grow and the focus that we strive to gain for a new empowering future. Can you relate? Have you ever found yourself looking into the yonder in disbelief, shock and a sense of 'it is just not possible'? Have you found yourself saying, 'this cannot be true'?

Going back to the start helps me to understand why & how I am responding to the 'now'. Have ever gone back to your start to understand and find the realisations that you are reacting to your 'current situations' because of the skills that your life experiences have taught you? Try it with me today....

My journey really began when I was 16 years old. I found myself caught between who I was and who I most desperately hoped to become. Back in the time, I felt like a young woman who was not comfortable in her own skin, let alone in her life. There were days when I found myself on a car journey and my mind wandered to the unknown places that my future would eventually take me to. Back in the time, I struggled to find the middle ground where my parents and I could meet for a sense of understanding. What the younger Maria couldn't express was the 'why' and the 'when' and the 'how' life could be different for her. She was a creative, expressive and deeply misunderstood teenager and she was unskillful at expressing her fears, her hopes and her needs for belonging. Due to a melange of unskillful youthfulness, generation gaps and the usual parent/teenager misunderstandings, the years following would lead young Maria to a life of taking the road most-often never travelled and therefore always felt to her and to those who loved her as the road most rebellious. As the years followed, younger Maria gained life experiences that saw her falling in love, getting married, and travelling across the globe to a foreign country and new culture. With only two suitcases, a mind filled with hopes and a heart filled with deep guilt for the family she had left behind, she set off and followed the path never travelled. Along her journey to the present day, she experienced highs, lows and many moments in-between. As life took their turns, Maria seemed to find the ground and always found a way to handle the experiences and make it through to the other side. Fast forward to October 11, 2019, 1:38pm.

Isn't it funny how curveballs don't hit you the same way? For me, they come with mixed signals and they don't give you the 'trailer version' of what to expect in the upcoming seconds that will change your perception of life. October brought me such a curveball. One minute, I was receiving missed calls from my daughter, who was living abroad, and my heart was leaping with great excitement because it had been too long since we had last spoken. The next minute, a text message stating that the calls were not from my daughter but rather her friend, and without knowing why, my heart dropped to a level of deep worry. The minutes following that text message brought on feelings of shock, disbelief and a sense of feeling stuck. You know, when the pain is just too much to endure and you really want to curl back up into the fetal position? Suddenly, I found myself reacting on 'autopilot'. Doing, speaking, reacting robotically because my job trained me to 'do the right next step'. As I was watching myself reacting and responding to the most devastating situation that I had experienced in my life, an experience that no parent should ever have to, people were reacting around me. Crying, screaming in disbelief and asking so many questions was all I could hear in my surroundings. As for myself, I was robotically doing the 'next right step'.

How do we merge the 'sense of control we so deeply want to have in our life' with the 'sense of reality that we do NOT have any control of our life'? How do we teach the youth that every day is a time lost that we will never get again? I have so many 'I wish moments' these days. I wish I could turn back the clock; I wish I could hug her more; I wish I could savour the moments knowing that time would race by so quickly. What do you wish? What do you know at your core that life has taught you? The days following October 11 2019 at 1:38pm are mixed with lows, deeper lows and moments of 'you have to find the strength'. I have had to say good-bye to dreams, hopes and I have had to face my fears and most of all, I have had to wake up and find the strength to bring life back into the deepest, darkest moments of my life. The curveballs are inevitable, our reactions are human but the moments following are our greatest moments of learning. My greatest learnings have been that; it is ok to say no to people; it is time to say yes to fear; it is time to say goodbye to what no longer serves you and it is time to reflect often...we are our own source of strength.

Looking back now, I understand that life experiences have taught me that I am stronger than I think I am and braver than I believe I can be. Nothing will ever be the same, no experience will ever undo the trauma and the loss but one thing is for sure; if you find yourself on the other side of a curveball, remember to watch yourself reacting; allow yourself to experience and remind yourself that you can only do 'the next right step'. Curveballs do not prepare us, they just hit us. The hit can be harsh but along our journey, we will have to learn to find the strength, the tools and the love to overcome the highs, the lows and the darkness that 'curveballs' can take us to.

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