For those of you who have been seeking some level of fulfillment from an external source outside of yourself, (I’m raising my hand with you), buckle up and let’s dive in.

I’ve spent a lifetime seeking love and approval from my father and never felt like I  received it.  As you can imagine, this has manifested in all sorts of ways over the course of my lifetime (the best one shared at the end of this love note).

Last weekend, I was talking to a soul sister who also happens to be an entrepreneur. We were sharing our “daddy issues” and our deep yearning and huge striving to receive their approval in that certain way we were craving it (you might see where I’m going with this one).

While we didn’t receive what we were looking for in the way we wanted it, we also recognized this played a role in building us up to be warriors in life and business.  We are strong, powerful, never-say-die, high risk tolerant warriors, all of which has contributed to us being long term entrepreneurs making a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve and in our communities.

And yet, there is a hole that remains unfulfilled in us.

As I have been contemplating our conversation, I decided to explore and connect with a wise source.   When I need answers or guidance to deep questions, I turn to meditation and a process called Active ImaginationCarl Jung developed the process to bridge our conscious and unconscious mind using images, visualizations and narratives. My Intentional Creativity training also very successfully uses this process to navigate, explore and resolve the deeper issues in life.

So in the quiet early hours just before fulling waking up, I went to a place I often return to when I’m seeking comfort and guidance from my inner wisdom. I visualize being on a favorite trail in northern California. It’s a very challenging and absolutely gorgeous trail. As I dip down and round a corner, there is a tall, magnificent redwood tree.  The center of the tree is hollowed out and invites me to sit inside it.

I sit inside that hollowed out hallowed tree and begin to connect with myself as I root in to Mother Nature.

A sense of peacefulness replaces a longing.  Gentle hands touch my heart and remind me that I can be the source of that which I seek. I can embody the love and approval I seek because I already  have it within me. I am the source and of the source and no one needs to give it to me other than me.

And even though I can give it to myself, I was encouraged to look deeper at what I am receiving. While it may not look the way I want to receive it, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not being given.

This exercise gave me deep comfort on the one hand and illuminating clarity on the other.

The comfort came from the deep-seated understanding that I can, and have, provided myself with exactly what I’ve needed to walk my authentic path (or to run my unique trail is probably more apt).

The clarity came as more of a surprise.

I’ve spent the last month completely redesigning me relatively new website to better reflect who I am, what I do, who I serve and how I serve.  My gift from the redwood came in the form of a huge “A Ha!” that what I provide is so much more than coaching services.

My real, authentic role is serving as a sacred container to catalyze and nourish purpose and passion for those I serve.

What I fully realized is I provide to others that which I have deeply desired in my own life.  It’s my “differentiator” in marketing parlance.

It was a powerful moment as it all came together for me.

The 3 morals of my story

  1. If you are not receiving something you deeply desire, check in to see if it’s showing up in a way other than thee one way you hoped it would be delivered
  2. If you are not receiving something you need from an external source, check in to see if you can provide it to yourself; and
  3. Rather than looking at what you’ve been missing, take a closer, deeper look to see if what you thought was a “lack” has actually forged within you your greatest asset.

Thanks for sharing this magical journey.

Remember to make your days matter.

Remember that You matter.

A picture of Joan Jakel holding up a finiser t shirt after running a half marathon at Both Park in the rain

The actual trail leading to my redwood was discovered on my first half marathon trail race in the rain at Bothe State Park.

What do you do when you are seeking answers to life’s big questions? Share your best practices in the comments below.