Navigating your growth during a global crisis

Growing up is a constant evolution

If you asked me about my journey into womanhood at 18, 25, or 30 you would have received different answers. As I read my journal entries and reflections on my growth, I’ve come to realize one central theme: that my definition of becoming a woman has shifted and evolved as a result of my personal growth and spiritual maturity.

In my twenties, I had so many ideas and visions about who I should be and what I should be doing, that it took a little longer for the life lessons to really settle in and take root.  Back then, my goal was just to land a great entertainment job, find a handsome boyfriend and make enough money to travel and have a nice house filled with my husband and kids in the suburbs.

The funny part is that the conquest of achieving those dreams wasn’t something I approached with intention. I just assumed that I would get everything I wanted — when I wanted it — if I just prayed for God to recognize that I was a good person.

In hindsight, living my life that way kept me in a perpetual state of desperation and disappointment; constantly wishing for me and the events of my life to be different. Over time, it became clear that in order for me to really accomplish the things I wanted, I would have to think about how and why I wanted certain things in my life.

At the age of 25, the quarter-life crisis set in and I dove into tons of self-help and new age books. Looking back now, it took about four years to really understand how my behaviors (or lack thereof) were sabotaging my health and happiness. What I was looking for beyond books on positivity was a framework — a blueprint — that would help me understand how to handle my personal and professional challenges without coming apart at the seams.

How to start: Seek maturity first, the rest will rise within your spirit

One of the best things in my thirties I experienced was investigating the occurrences in my life that I labeled as “difficult” or “challenging.” What I realized through the help of some key spiritual and self-help text is that challenges are often opportunities to level up. Meaning:

All the challenges and obstacles that I experienced were really the Universe/God showing me what I needed to heal, understand and resolve in order for me to move into the next stage of my life. 

It seems like a simple sentiment to understand, but as a young woman, I didn’t always have the proper perspective or emotional distance to see the bigger picture of how my life events were unfolding.

The framework that I mentioned earlier, had more to do with me asking myself the important questions about my life and my purpose; and less to do with following or becoming a devout religious citizen. I mention religion in this context because it has always been a place of reference for understanding the world and my place in it. What I kept coming back to at the time was The Bible; while it was inspirational it didn’t feed me in the way I needed. So I began seeking outside of the foundational text… not from a place of rejection, but from a place of openness to other texts that would assuage my discomfort.

What I was seeking through spiritual research was a set of rules or knowledge that would help me put my life experiences in context; and thus help me get through the highs and lows of life that I was experiencing, specifically in my early 20s and 30s.

Raising your awareness is the key framework

The framework isn’t complicated, it’s actually really quite simple — and that is to become aware of your behaviors and thoughts and love yourself enough to make a higher choice. All of the books I have read (and there have been many, as I read one new book a month) point to the same concept, which is to nurture your soul so that you begin to see yourself and your life differently. It may seem like a difficult or unclear task at first, but what you can do is ask yourself a few questions like:

  • What’s the highest vision for this situation?
  • How would I act, and who would I want to be?
  • Does my energy support the outcome that I desire?

No matter what life stage you are in, you must begin the personal work of figuring out how to handle challenges and difficult situations without burying yourself in more work or unhelpful behaviors (e.g. excessive drinking, partying, or drug use.)

Once you create tools — like meditation, journaling, conscious breathwork, nature walking and daily exercise — that help you reach for your personal peace, your perspective and ability to see solutions to leveling up will emerge. From that heightened place you can begin to explore what makes you tick and what passions lie beneath all of the expectations of your personal world. Give yourself the permission to feel what it’s like to lose yourself in your own desires and be present in the moment so that you begin to send signals to your body and your soul that you are finally listening.

This is when you’ll experience what wise people call… alignment. When you begin to make decisions that are “aligned” with who you want to become, you will see your life begin to change right before your eyes. It doesn’t happen drastically, but over time you will begin to trust yourself and the decisions you make because you’ve chosen to love yourself in the process.

Learning to enjoy those little moments of growth immediately shifts your perspective, and you begin to see that life is less about the job or title your hold and more about your self-awareness and accepting and managing the less desirable parts of your being and your life experience.

Write everything down

Begin with one simple task, write all of your hopes and desires down. Make time to think about all the things you want to do, every place you want to see and all of the people you hope to meet. And remember, the goal is not to think that everything must happen the way you have written it, but to understand that the goal is to anchor the energy of your positive intentions for your life for a future outcome — and be unattached to how everything ultimately unfolds.

That is what loving yourself really means; it’s not just a word we use to show our intimate affection… it’s much more than that. It is a force and power that we all hold, that can alter the events of your past and present. It is the central framework that will enable you to become the person that GOD created you to be and the person that you have envisioned for yourself.

So go forth and make peace with your fears; give them some space, hear them out, for they are only there to teach you what still needs to be addressed and resolved. Once you begin this lifelong work, you will begin to understand that life is not about an end goal or destination, but a new way of seeing along your beautiful and precious journey called… your life.

by Jennifer Ekeleme

Jennifer Ekeleme is a creative, wellness coach and creative brand strategist and Founder of JennZen Co-Creation Studio -- A wellness consultancy for brands and companies seeking to integrate the spirit of wellness for themselves and the people they serve.


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