Ep 2 Find Your Way – Preface
Hello and welcome to Find Your Way, the podcast. I’m your host Gena McLean, author of the book Find Your Way and writer under the name Seeker and Sage. It’s a joy to be bringing this content to you, and my hope is that it finds its way into your mind and heart, nourishing you and supporting you as you find your way.
Today I’m bringing you the preface from my new book, Find Your Way, which is what this podcast is based on.
And the preface is a really good introduction to who I am, the journey I’ve been on and how this book came to be. And it starts with this very important declaration.
I am not a psychologist, counselor or therapist of any kind.
I do not claim to know the answers, but as someone who has lived with debilitating chronic gut pain and difficult-to-diagnose symptoms for more than 30 years, I am very familiar with how challenging life’s journey can be.
I have also navigated multiple career moves, small business ventures and Interstate relocations, endured unsuccessful pregnancies and a bout of breast cancer and through it all dealt with the crippling self doubt that comes with the writing territory.
I know uncertainty; I know overwhelm; I know helplessness; And I know them well.
I know what it is to wait, to fall, to lose, to come undone. But I also know what it takes to be patient, to rise, to win and be whole.
But so do you.
My story is your story.
It is the narrative of every human living or dead.
When we set aside the personal circumstances of every life story, what we’re left with is universal – recurring themes of love and loss, joy and disappointment, success and sorrow, triumph and tragedy.
We are each living what American professor of literature and acclaimed author Joseph Campbell coined ‘The Hero’s Journey’.
Every one of us is ‘called’, every one of us is ‘tested’ and every one of us has the potential to be ‘transformed’ by our experiences.
But there is no map – we each have to find our own way.
A diagnosis at age 17 that raised more questions than answers was the catalyst for my Hero’s journey. Little did I know this ‘call’ to heal the devastating symptoms I was experiencing would be the beginning of a life-long quest that would take me into a deep exploration of the mind-body connection and the human condition.
I have since then devoured thousands of books from the self-help, psychology, spirituality, wellbeing and wisdom literature shelves and undertaken many classes and courses to better understand the relationship between our thoughts, emotions, perceptions and choices and how they influence our well being and our ability to live a meaningful life.
In 2009, the call to write my own self help work was realised and Note to Self was born – a card set and booklet that is still empowering and inspiring people to make authentic choices. But my journey into what it is to be human didn’t end there. My health battle escalated, activating a bleak period of uncertainty, disbelief and despair that lasted a further 10 years. My career went on hold and I withdrew from my active life, putting all my energy into navigating the crippling symptoms that had no straight answers.
It was then that I started writing for a different reason.
I needed a safe place to express the intense emotions I was feeling. Every day I would rant and vent and mourn and plead and pray on paper, acknowledging and releasing whatever I could to try and ease the psychological wounding and profound sense of loss I was experiencing.
Every flare-up and misdiagnosis kindled my desperate yearning to find meaning and understanding from my experience and I would dive even deeper into my pain, writing my way through the ache, the struggle, the suffering until I could find the relief I needed.
Insights and revelations would appear on the page, encouraging me to listen, to let go and trust, transforming this intense time of struggle into one of profound healing and growth.
Every call and test since that first diagnosis has been its own journey: each one an important part of the discovery and healing that is the evolutionary arc of my life, and each an unprecedented voyage with situations and experiences I’d never before encountered. I saw them all as chances to learn – about me, about others, about life, about relationships, about change, about loss, about love – and an invitation to expand my mind and my heart.
My desire to pass on what I learn still burns brightly.
In February 2019, I created a coaching business called Seeker and Sage and began sharing the wisdom that had come from my own journey of challenges. I was posting my insights regularly on social media when I noticed a theme emerging. The posts were addressing the struggle we face when we’re challenged by change and how we can better manage our approach and response to it. Each was proving to be a timely reminder, not just for me, but for my followers too, and I soon realised their timelessness was deserving of a more permanent place to dwell.
That’s when I decided to create this book.
After all these years of learning from and through life’s challenges, I know they have much to teach us. I know first hand we can emerge from our difficulties, not just intact but more open and loving, wiser and kinder, with ourselves and each other, if we see life as a journey and change as an opportunity for growth.
But we only discover the path by walking it, one step at a time, finding our way as we go.
This is everyone’s story – the universal underneath the personal; the quest to find the way that best serves our own unique arc of evolution. I can’t tell you which way to go or what your way looks like. All I can do is share what has helped me and the countless others I have supported find our way through life difficulties.
Wherever you are on the journey, it is my hope that this book will prompt insights and bring you the clarity and off you need to keep opening, keep changing, keep growing and keep going.
May it bring you back to you – the one who knows you better than anyone else; the one with the power to choose and the power to change your experience of life for the better.
Thank you for being here.
Thank you for listening.
It’s an honor to have you with me.