“The obstacle in the path is the path” zen proverb
Here’s my story.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Antoinette Giacobbe.
For the last five years, I had become a caregiver for both my ailing Mother and Aunt. I thought I was superwoman and that I was able to do it all.
Eventually, as the caregiving became more demanding, I had to let go of my work. I didn’t realize how stressed I was and it was always amazing how much energy I had. Little did I know that I was running on empty fumes as I had exhausted my reservoir. All along the way, I thought I would put my work on hold and be able to get back to my path one day.
After my Mother and Aunt passed away, not only was there a big void but I also became aware that I was in a major burnout and depression. I thought I knew all about stress and burnout since I had taught it and had helped so many people overcome it. When I first discovered yoga many years ago, it rescued me from my stress and anxiety and became a life changer that put me on this path of helping others cope with life’s challenges.
Yet, here I was, many years later, and I thought, what am I going to do now? Well, I had to start taking care of myself. My body and mind were very much neglected. And my soul was broken. One day, someone asked me how I was doing. I answered, “Trying to pick up the pieces.” At that moment I realized that maybe I don’t need those pieces anymore.
Seane Corn says “What gets in our way, is the way.”
I was on my path all along the way. I understand now what a great honour and privilege it was to be beside my Mother and Aunt during the final years of their journey. I also recognized how easy it is to lose yourself in the process of caring for your loved ones, all the more reason to take care of yourself and ask for help so that you can continue to take care of them.
The valuable lessons I learnt was to live life with a greater awareness of what is really important in life, to seize the day and to appreciate the special moments of everyday life. I learnt that compassion, empathy and patience is about commitment and putting that love into action.
Imagine putting that on your resume.
Our so-called obstacles come bearing gifts.
In every situation, there’s the opportunity to learn and grow. The healing happens when we are willing to let go of the negative and to accept the lesson by finding the positive in order to continue nourishing our soul.
When we are open to receiving the gifts, we can push forward onto our path. The universe is always giving us little nudges and sometimes big pushes into the direction we need to go. If we don’t grow with the flow, we get stuck in the pain of resistance.
As the Rolling Stones would say, “ You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes, well, you might find you get what you need.”
And one of my mother and aunt’s favourite quote was “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell
Living in Montreal, we often joke about all the major road repairs and orange cones as we face daily traffic challenges. Despite all the detours, we end up finding our way, along with pleasant surprises.
My father was born in 1911 and was a great storyteller. He was always fascinated with how things were evolving, especially if you think back to the size of the first computer being the size of a room.
Imagine telling someone from that era, that in the 21st century, we would have all these technological commodities and advancements.
Those people would think what a fascinating time and place to live in. But if we look around today, why is there so much misery?
With all that is happening in the world today, isn’t it ironic that in this day and age of communication, no one is really communicating. While the quantity of communication has increased, the quality has decreased.
What is missing is the human factor, the spiritual connection. We are disconnected from our soul. We are so busy living our lives on the outside that when it is time to look for answers, we are lost and continue to look on the outside for quick fix solutions. In essence, the solutions are an inside job. We need to turn off the outside noise and tune inwards by making the time and effort for awareness, reflection and listening. We need to be open and true to our feelings and listen to our heart. Not many people are mindful of their lives.They are either stuck in the past, worried about the future and really not present in their lives.
By sharing our stories, we can find our voice and our courage to overcome our obstacles or shall I say, learn how to integrate these experiences into our lives and move along our path.
By sharing our stories, we create that spark, that connection that forms such a critical and crucial part of communication.
Have you noticed how we are drawn to stories? They provide a mirror to how we see ourselves. Storytelling is an alternative communication strategy and therapeutic tool used to teach and facilitate learning. Whether you are sharing with a friend, partner, therapist, hairdresser or even with someone on the bus, we all can gain a better understanding of ourselves and others.
As we share our joys and hardships, our passions and fears, we find common ground as we come together to connect and learn many lessons. Stories open our minds to new experiences and perceptions as to how we think and feel, as well as to what motivates us to make decisions and take action.
In this fast-paced information age, we need to make room for storytelling as it serves as a valuable tool for processing information. Storytelling has always played an important role in our culture, history and society and will continue to pass along the wisdom and knowledge for future generations to come.
The more technology continues to increase information, the more valuable stories become. We need to make sense of the world around us and not lose perspective as to what really matters in life, the human connection, the soul’s purpose.
In the end, there are no substitutions for living your life, making mistakes, learning from them, overcoming obstacles and sharing your story.
As I embark on this new chapter of my journey, I’m excited to share with you stories from around the world that have impacted people’s lives and are an inspiration to others. In pursuit of my love for teaching, I believe in harnessing the power of storytelling as it can inform, instruct, involve and help people forge new connections as they unite in their soul quest for life’s answers.
Everyone has a story.