Feeling lonely and confused was starting to become a bad habit for me.  On this particular morning, it struck me hard. My two oldest children had left for elementary school and my youngest was at pre-school, appearing to have skipped over his toddler years altogether. Looking around my house, all that remained were dirty dishes in the sink and a pile of underwear on the floor.  Something was missing.

“What the hell?” spun through my head as I drank my last sip of coffee.

I had spent two decades of my life consumed with accomplishing the next goal: high school, college, corporate America, grad school, job, house, marriage, job, babies, house.

How could I feel discontent when I finally had everything I ever wanted?

I needed a career that would light me up. A part-time, money-making perfection of a job. That, I determined, was the key to everlasting happiness and never-ending joy.  So I set out in search of a passion. Over the next three years, I thought really hard about it. I hoped that the right opportunity would come knocking on my door. I willed with all of my might that abundance and satisfaction would appear and complete me. And silently cried when my friends boasted about their new promotions and business ventures on Facebook. I journaled, read self-help books and searched the want ads looking for the posting from the Universe titled, This is it, Carly.

I was convinced that the JOB was the key to fulfillment.

That day as I decided on the next arts and craft project to create with my kids, I had no way of knowing I was beginning a journey of self-discovery. In my endless quest for more-more recognition, more accomplishments, more things, I didn’t see that the missing piece was not in a flexible job, an exciting vacation or a new outfit that made me look thirty.

When you put in the effort but nonetheless feel empty, it’s time to refill your coffee mug and take a closer look.

Are you depending on outside sources and events to make you happy?

Are you trying to mentally or physically push and force your way to a particular outcome?

You may not need to switch to drinking tea (this is one change I refuse to make) but you can consider a better option. Why not let go of trying to change it all and accept the path as it is in the moment? The loneliness, the confusion. Yup, accept all of it. Breathe right into that missing piece with every bone in your body. This is fulfillment.

Carly Hamilton-Jones