I was proud of my deep spiritual practice and listened to my intuition often. I had been noticing since giving birth to my last children that there was a non-fulfillment within me. I attempted to fill it with all new things – no luck. I spent years leaping into opportunities, looking for the belonging, only to wind up still feeling the emptiness.

One day on the way to a funeral, I heard a song playing on the radio and it sparked an undeniable throbbing in my heart – passionately driven and unrecognizable. Something shifted in me in that moment and my awareness seemed to become different. Not really knowing what had ignited within me, I began to pray. My daily grind included stillness and an inner request to the Universe for help.

Then, one day I landed in a web of fear and isolation. I had one son wildly motivated by his version of fun and another son physically needing medical attention. In addition, my father in law was deathly ill.

Amidst this storm and my exhausted tears, I finally stopped. For the first time, I was more than willing to take a risk.

A quote by Anais Nin caught my attention -“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Immediately I walked away from a career in teaching. While that change felt extremely freeing, it didn’t fulfill the yearning entirely. Once again, I found myself searching for the next gig trying to fill the void. I needed to get real. Questions plagued my heart – What was I to do? And even…Who am I?

My kids went back to school and I found myself completely lost and unrecognizable. One day that seemed monumental, I landed on the couch staring blankly out the window, tears of uncharted territory streaming down my face, and an uncontrollable shaking that came from not knowing. What seemed like a forever moment turned out to be a few minutes. In those few painful moments of release, I knew, in my heart, I was breaking open. And the love story began.

I journeyed back through the darkness of my consciousness. I unfolded story after story. Each experience led me closer. Each experience seemed to brighten up a darkness of uncharted territory. Each experience held pain and sadness and honor and a love so endearing. Each experience released the chains holding me captive in doubts, fears and lies. Each experience freed me a bit more. Each experience made me more grateful for all aspects of my life.

This unfolding of my past led me to the present. The present that brought me home to me. The present moment of a knowing so deeply entrenched in love and admiration for all of me.

This is my love story. This is me finding me again. This is me stepping into a sense of belonging; not because I fit in, but because I fit into me.

** The full story of Coming Home: A Love Story by Kristi Peck can be found on Amazon.