• Barb Swartz-Biscaro

Vulnerability and values in our "why"

I have recently been challenged to dig deep and ask myself what my "why" is. Why do I do the work I do? Why am I passionate about it? Why am I so focussed on certain things? Why do I procrastinate and not jump right in? Great questions. To truly answer them I had to allow myself to be vulnerable and that was scary. It was also liberating. Here's my "why".

Early childhood - I was raised in a home and family with 2 parents and 3 siblings (I was the 3rd child) We lived in a remote area which was dad's dream so he could be self-employed in whatever he wanted to do which included trapping. Our parents were wonderful providers, they always ensured there was food on the table and the bills were paid, we were safe and secure and that the chimney was always open for Santa's visit. They did the best they could with the resources they had at the time. There were some really difficult times in my parents marriage, dad was away a lot for work and play. Mom was home, isolated with 4 kids, loads of responsibilities and no adult conversation. They were both very stressed for different reasons as they raised our young family. This left them little time for the "nurturing" moments. There was a lot of marital stress which they fought through and survived but sadly, we 4 kids took on some of that stress as well. We each have our own memories that have left us in different places in terms of understanding it and accepting it so that we don't hold any angst about it. At the same time I was living a secret life as a victim of sexual abuse by an elementary school principal. That went on for almost 5 years every day of school. This scarred my soul in ways I could never imagine. I went on to my teens and beyond with a victim mindset.

Teens - Oh dear I was rebellious. I couldn't get my dad's attention for fun stuff so I got it by being a half dressed, boy seeking, drinking and cigarette stealing brat for lack of better word. I had lacked attention that I wanted from dad, without him realizing I needed it. I wanted his attention and any other attention I could find so I went looking. I ended up running away from home, getting into drugs, living in some sketchy situations. Thankfully, I saw my worth when my parents wrote me a letter and asked me to come home instead of sending police to my door and trying to force me (that was their first response). In the letter I got the love, attention and affirmation I needed to go back and feel worthy of a good life. I was still a "victim" always asking "why me".

The rest of my "victim" days - Married at 22, first baby at 23, second baby 25, third baby 27. Divorced at 29. Met a new man that I would go on to marry. This added 4 more children to my life and their significant others followed by grandchildren. Not an easy transition for anyone, we struggled. During all of this I was struggling with medical issues - depression, autoimmune disease diagnosis, pain all the time, sadness all the time and I was working full time trying to keep my head above water. My body was running on cortisol since I was 5 years old and I didn't know any different so it was my comfort zone. Until it couldn't be my comfort zone any longer. In 2009 I lost my oldest brother to a car accident. I spent 7 months before he passed at the hospital every day or damn near trying to ensure his care was dignified and he had love around him. His death started my spiral downward until 2013, the day before my 39th birthday I could not function anymore. I walked out of the office where I worked and had no idea where my life was going but I knew I wanted to go to sleep and wake up a new person.

Becoming me - The next day I decided it was time to try to address what was happening inside of me and accept that maybe it was my childhood trauma that was a factor rather than ignoring it. I accessed Sexual Assault specific therapy, I spoke with my parents and learned about their "why" and I understood and was able to accept and let that go. I couldn't blame them for being human and I had to stop feeling like a victim. I wrapped up a law suit against the school board that I had started many years before - and I won. I took control. I had to take control. This is my life and I had to accept the negative impacts that this life I have led as a victim has had on my own children. I was victorious, I followed the light and life was becoming a brightness I had never seen before. It became addicting. I wanted more.

Now - At the spry age of 45 I have lost my dad. I was lucky to have lots of time with him to have further conversation and wrap up any "loose ends" in our relationship. When he passed we had a wonderful relationship with forgiveness for all ways we had hurt each other and an acknowledgment that love between a parent and child never dims. Losing him was the hardest thing I have ever lived with. It really made me start thinking about life and choices. Life is short, we don't know "when" the end will come. I decided I would find my way to live the most meaningful life. I work from a home office because I want to. I work for HSA Canada because I love sharing my passions around treating people with respect and supporting people to live a full life at all stages - a life determined by them. I have a life coaching and healing business offering Reiki because I am a walking testament to the fact that we can heal and live a great life. I am a values practitioner because I believe that awareness of our values has a significant impact on our choices and ability to create a life of choice. I am an e-commerce business partner because I believe in their products and want to live a healthier life. I do all of this because I want to be here as long as I can and I want to provide my family with the best version of me that I can. Spirituality, Family, Health and Income, in that order, are my needs and priorities and so I work toward them.

I offer all of this to others because there are always people who are ready to start finding their "why". It all starts with a hard conversation and continues with more. Our "why" is always connected to our values. Why I feel passionate about something, why I feel offended or uneasy about something. Sometimes the uneasiness comes from a value that is habit rather than serving so it takes energy rather than gives energy and may stall you in passionate pursuits. My values were hard at work through all of the above.

When we know our "why" we create a life we want and we are at peace with living it. Vulnerability and values get us there. I am going to show up and be seen in my own life first, and if you see me send a wave!



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