Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
Those are questions have I heard and even asked of myself. For the last few weeks and months I have had the grounding and inspiring experience of being in the Redemption School of Coaching and I have been diving head-first into that exact question. Truth be told, this is another ‘fuelling station’ on my journey of self-discovery and healing. A humbling, scary, wonderful, sad, happy, exciting journey that I have actively been on for nearly a decade.
So, let me ask those big and powerful questions again. Who am I? What makes me tick? What is my purpose? What is my essence? WOAH! I know. I mean, really, who am I? I am a daughter and daughter-in-law, sister and sister-in-law, wife, mother, niece, aunt, cousin, friend, neighbor, employee, cook, driver, maid, and so much more! I run from morning to night, 24/7. Who am I? Who cares! Who has the time to figure it out? I mean, I once knew, or at least I think I did. I was once a highly motivated, people-driven person. I thrilled in working with and helping others. From my earliest days as a babysitter and mother’s helper, I always felt ‘at home’ helping others, anticipating their needs and being part of something bigger than myself. But somewhere along the way, I got lost.
Life happened, and I got lost. If fact I was so lost that I ended up at the bottom of a pit. I felt stuck and unsettled. I felt very much alone and unwanted. I felt that my only purpose was to serve others. My worth was dependant on my relation to how much others needed me. Ultimately, I felt I was replaceable, dispensable and valueless. It was a very painful and harsh awakening when life began to slow down just enough for me to realize that somewhere, somehow, even though I had more now than ever before, I lost me. I became unrecognizable to myself. When I looked in the mirror I very much did not like what I saw.
I had to change. I had to figure it out. I mean, how hard could it be? I had a problem and after all, I have always been the problem solver, the person with the answers, the person other people came to with their problems. If I could help them, then I had to find a way to help myself. I had to ask myself those tough, powerful questions. So I did. I would love to tell you that then I had a wonderful epiphany, and everything ran full speed back to who I wanted to be. But alas, life and healing are not that simple. After I had the courage to ask those questions, I was still stuck. I had no answers and I didn’t know where to look to find the answers. Now, I was lost AND confused! And lonely. And did I ever feel very alone. Did anyone know? Did anyone see me? How could they? I didn’t see myself. To the outside world, I had it all together. I had a job, I had a family, I sent meals to new moms and went to every kiddush. Inside, I was a shadow. The more organized and ‘out there’ I was, the more I hid and ran from my truth.
The truth was I knew this was not the life I was meant to have. I like to be happy. I love to sing and draw and paint and write. When I asked myself who I was I realized I no longer sang, not even in the shower. I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush or sketch pad in years. The shadow inside had become my everything. I was a shadow; a mere image. No wonder I felt my only purpose was to serve others!
So I began to search for answers. I read self-help books and blogs. I sought out professional help. I read books on Emunah and bitachon. And slowly I found a narrow, barely-there staircase inside my pit. One step at a time I began climbing my way out. The higher I got, the clearer the steps became.
The more organized and ‘out there’ I was, the more I hid and ran from my truth.
Then came Redemption. Well, really the Redemption Retreats. I had been hearing about and seeing glimpses of this new ‘thing’ online. A healthy place to strip away the barriers and step you’re your glorious light! Wow! It sounded amazing. It sounded ‘not for me’.
As luck would have it (well, really, as Hashem planned it!) the one and only driving force behind the Geula Project/Redemption Retreats, Rivka Malka, who I knew from her days as co-head of Wrapunzel, and I ran into each other at a wedding (with a third friend, who is really more like a sister). We started to talk and catch up when Rivka Malka mentioned this new venture she was on: Redemption Retreats. To which my friend piped up “we should have you here in Montreal to do that!” My silly insta-reply was “ya, what she said. I’ll back her up and make it happen with her”. Oy! What was I thinking! I wasn’t. That was the beauty of it. My soul, my neshama, didn’t let my shadow or my head get in the way. It knew what it wanted and it recognized it right then and there and so it made me speak up and find the next step.
All that summer my friend and I kept asking ourselves “what did we sign up for?”. Little did we know, Hashem had drafted us onto his Geula team. He already had a few great players, but he was looking for a few more. So, a retreat was planned and a retreat happened. And I have never been the same since! It turns out redemption was (and is) for me!
Through the Redemption School and continuing with my personal journey, I have learned about essence. My essence to be specific. I learned, that we all have an essence and it is that intrinsic nature; those indispensable qualities that determine our character. I know that sounds very lofty and ethereal but trust me; we all have an essence, and, once I discovered mine, it became one of my most empowering assets.
How did I discover my essence? Well, when I first connected with my essence I felt whole. Completely whole. I had a deep-in-my-gut feeling that all was as it should be and a supreme quietness in my head. There were no internal arguments, no conflicts, no reasoning or questioning, no doubt, and no pride. My heart, head, and soul were in unison. I couldn’t recall any time in my adult like that I felt like that. I was foreign. It was wonderful.
That moment defined for me what my essence is and where my essence lives. Part of my essence in an internal desire to help people see their beauty and power. I have always had a strong sense of empathy. I was given a gift (which I hid for a very long time) to see the energy and auras around people. This is a strong part of my essence. Sharing the beauty and strength I see around me connects me with who I really am and strengthens me.
Since re-discovering my essence (since I truly believe I was once very connected with it), I have become more and more aware of when it pokes it’s head out. I am learning to connect with it actively and coax it out by knowingly, deliberately and consciously being in a space where my heart, soul, and mind can sing in harmony.
From the beginnings of my journey nearly a decade ago through the Redemption School of Coaching, I have had a few amazing ‘aha’ moments, some tough times and a lot of insight. I have learned that I am a who and a what (there are also the why, when and how, but I’ll save those for another time). I am learning to accept that new and deeper understanding of myself and through that acceptance, I am learning to love and honor ALL my parts and layers.
So, to return to my original question, “who am I?” I don’t fully know yet. What I do know is that I have a lot of love in my soul, a compassionate heart and a problem-solving oriented mind. Together they make me a very powerful and valuable. I also know that to truly continue discovering who I am and then to live by its light I must choose a path of openness, acceptance, beauty, and love in ALL that G-d has put before me.
May it be my blessing to you that we use the upcoming days and weeks to accept that we have a choice. We can choose how we move forward on our journeys. Because life is a most glorious and exhilarating journey and I look forward to sharing mine with you.
About Rachel Tock-Wormeli
As a wife and mother of 3 unique and amazing children, Rachel has experienced many ups, downs, twists and turns along her journey. One of the most powerful ups occurred when she discovered her voice and chose to share it. Join Rachel and find something of yourself somewhere along this topsy-turvey, amazing, scary and wondrous journey we call life.