Dimming My Light by Julie Lokun

I dimmed my light for 40 years.

This light is not an ordinary light. You know the light- that hangs from the ceiling with only a single filament bulb. This light possesses the ability to only illuminate the creaks and crags of it’s space.

My light was full-on neon. This light, in my mind, is a a fluorescent spotlight that beams into the universe and sparks a fire that changes people’s lives.

Since day one, I knew I was different. I knew I was a bundle of extra-energy and often found myself relegated to the corner of classrooms because of my playful hijinks. My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Quick, referred to me as the class “Chatterbox”.

At some point in my journey, the idea that I was “too much” was reinforced by dictated norms. My peers edged their way out of my ecosystem and my teachers wagged their fingers with disapproval. These external messages seeped into my DNA and I became the model of ordinary.

“Julie, be quiet”

“Julie, stop your nonsense”

“Julie, you are too much”

At about the age of 12, I recognized that my high energy alienated other children. I was not a trouble maker and I did not like to be sanctioned for my spirited commentaries. I distinctly remember standing in line for school before the bell rang, and I prayed that someone would talk to me. The pain of not being accepted trumped my need to shine. Therefore, I changed. I muted my excitement, rocked Guess jeans and Keds, and ultimately, became the person everyone else wanted me to be.

Conforming became the key to my success. Being like everyone else allowed my access to popularity. And the icing on the cake is that I built a community of people who accepted me as ordinary.

The four decades I gave my personal power away I made decisions that lead to a robust social circle. While I systematically suppressed my creativity, my purpose and ultimately, the essence of my humanity, there was a hole in my heart that left me empty.

My mission to conform and make everyone else at ease had me excelling at a rapid rate. Conformity became the jailer of joy. And my world became small. These systematic check marks became badges of honor.

Law School- Check
Momma- Checked four times
House with White Picket Fence- Check

This self-imposed incarceration was the incubator for my unhappiness. I lived a small life and feared isolation. The results of living in this golden cage resulted in a painful divorce, a distaste for practicing law and uprooting the people who meant the most to me, my children.

At aged 40, a I was struck by the path of despair I felt an undercurrent of an electric change bubbling inside. I knew I had to give my children the means to thrive and celebrate their unique qualities. I knew I had to lead these four boys in a new direction. So, I put on my Nikes and went out for a run. As my gate increased, I found myself in front of a church and the bells were singing. A flock of cardinals swooped in front of my path as I fell to my knees and promised the universe I would live within my light. This is the day my life changed. I embraced everything extra about me. This epiphany may sound formulaic. Yet on this day, I changed everything. I quit my job, started a business of my own, and began using my loud, sometimes eccentric voice. With strategic precision, I gave birth to an omni-media company that celebrates voices of those who desire to make an impact in this world. I began podcasting, speaking on stages and have authored four books. My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Quick would be proud.

I still get looks and reactions. People scratch their heads and most likely think I am “too much”. The difference is that I do not care what I perceive to believe other people think. I am not a mind reader. I am me. I am Julie who follows breadcrumbs of joy. If my path does not yield joy, I course correct.

I am quirky middle aged human that celebrates diversity, is constantly writing and is fueled by the bold voices of changemakers. The catalyst for our path to joy, is to embrace the core of who we are meant to be. I see so many of my clients who are following prescribed paths of responsibility, and who are left with deep sorrow. My journey of dimming my light and ultimately following the breadcrumbs of joy has
transformed me into a true facilitator of dreams. Along the way, I discovered the immense power and significance of embracing my passions, desires, and inner calling.

Initially, I allowed the fear of judgment and societal expectations to overshadow my true potential, causing me to suppress my authentic self. However, as I gradually let go of these inhibitions, I embarked on a path of self-discovery, rekindling the flame within me. As I began to prioritize my joy and follow the subtle signs that the universe presented, I found myself unraveling a tapestry of fulfillment and purpose. By aligning my actions with my deepest passions and embracing the unique gifts I possess, I became a catalyst for not only my own dreams but also the dreams of those around me. With each step, I realized that my light shines brightest when I dare to be my genuine self and encourage others to do the same. Today, I proudly stand as a facilitator of dreams, illuminating the way for others to pursue their
aspirations, fostering an environment of inspiration, growth, and joy.

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