The Years I Lost

I look back now, over the last number of years of working on my inner world so my outer world could be better and I’m sad.

I was surprised to see that I have feeling. I know it was my journey. I know it was necessary. I honour the path and the process. But I cannot help but wish I had someone like me when I was struggling so deeply.

Don’t get me wrong, my teachers were incredible. They gave me hope sometimes in the darkest of moments. When life was crumbling under me, even though I knew it was right, it didn’t mean it was easy, and often they gave me a glimmer of hope where there was none.

The tiniest of flickers in the darkest of days kept me going. But I am a bright light. I am a massive energy. I had faded to almost imperceptible. I didn’t know that girl. The one who struggled. She was not me. She was not the strong, fuck the world, I’ll do what I want, create my own life, no one gets to me what to do girl.

Somewhere along the way, the chipping away of life, the chipping away of confidence, stuff going wrong, life going sideways, people not liking you and you not being able to do anything about it. People being mean and unfair.

Life has a way of helping down.

A quote I read recently said that boats don’t sink because of the water outside of them, they sink because of the water that gets inside of them. Which is why it’s so important to make sure of who we spend time with, what gardens we water, what seeds we plant, what harvest are we tending.

Because there will be water. There will be people who want to drown you. There will be people who want to own, dominate, control, manipulate you. There are people in this world who want nothing more than to take people down. I hate to see their karma.

But as I reflected on this deep journey, I realized that when I became self employed was when the water started getting in and it came until I drowned. Quite literally, couldn’t breathe, was lost in the sea of bullshit and drama with people. It took me years to figure out that we attract situations until we grow through them. If I was putting up with bullshit, making room for it in my life, setting a place for it at the dinner table, it wouldn’t have been so comfortable to come into my space.

And even deeper as I reflected on the journey home to myself, and I am here, I do wish it could have been shorter. I wish I had known what parts to focus on instead of piece mealing it together. I wish I had a map, of sorts. I wish I didn’t lose so many years unpacking and healing what really could have been far easier and shorter.

But then, that was my journey, right? To create a path for women that did not exist. See, most of my teachers were men. They understood and helped but not to the extent that I needed because they didn’t understand my issues or issues relating directly to women.

And other female teachers I had were wounded and healing themselves and caused even more trauma to me, which then took longer to heal. I realized the wounded healing is not ok. We’re all going to be working on things all of our lives but teaching when you’re not qualified to do so, telling people who are desperate and hurting that you can help them, when in fact, you cannot, is not ok. That took me years to recover from, the damage that was done by wounded healers.

And even my best healers and helpers and teachers and guides didn’t understand my trauma. They didn’t understand the way the brain works. They didn’t get that it wasn’t as easy “change your thoughts change your life”. Like fuck off. I wanted to change my thoughts. I did. But they were relentless until I was exhausted and angrier.

We absolutely DO need to control our mindset, take charge of our emotions and purge it all out. We need a healthy body in order to live a healthy life. We do. But we cannot skip steps. We cannot ask people to jump to a place they can’t go when they haven’t healed the past. We cannot tell them they are not trying hard enough when they’re investing in themselves at a level they could be a fucking doctor for their time and financial investments.

There is a process and that process starts with honouring where you are, where you’ve come from, facing your truth, facing the shadows and the darkness and emerging on the other side.

Then you have to raise yourself. You have to find who you are now that you’ve let go of who you are not. That is interesting as an adult, to realize you don’t want certain people in your life or you’re in the wrong career, or relationship, to put yourself out there and make new friends. It’s not as easy as saying “wanna go riding bikes”.

It’s uncomfortable to grow into a new life, to grow into the person you always were but wouldn’t let yourself be. It’s uncomfortable to own your stories and what made you you. It’s uncomfortable to outgrow your life and grow into a new one.

But it’s necessary. And it doesn’t have to be as long and as hard as it was for me. I was piecing through the process. It took me years to get ready for the real work. Then it took me years to get through the next phases. Then it took me years to get comfortable with it.

So when I look at my age, 39, heading into 40 in 7 months I’m confused at times because I feel like I’m, finally, just getting started with living. I’m me, I’m confident, I’m determined, I’m empowered again. I’m all the things I used to be, but so much more because now I have processes to deal with the rising tides. I recognize when I need help to bail the boat out. I recognize when I need to give someone a life jacket and say fuck off.

I know when I need to get in my own lifeboat and retreat. I create my own destiny and my own life and I no longer engage or entertain shitty people, people filled with excuses, people who need to be saved from their own drowning.

Because I’m gonna through you a life raft, it’s your choice to get on it. I won’t let you in my boat to drill holes in it.

Some days I wonder where the time went? I wonder how it happened, how did I get here? From girl gone wild to wild soul woman? When did I really grow up and grow into myself?

When did I stop giving a fuck about what other’s think (thank god!)? And there was no one thing, no one moment, it was all the moments, it was the whole journey, for which I’m forever grateful that I took it. I’m grateful that day on my kitchen floor contemplating ending my life that I took the olive brach held out to me.

I’m grateful again when I said yes to everything along the path that I was given, shown. Lots I thought was crazy. Plenty of times I was sure I was crazy. But even more I was relentless in my pursuit of a better life, of better emotions, of finding solid ground and finding a better outcome for life. I knew it was there and I knew it was up to me to find it.

It wasn’t going to passively come in and sit down and be like “girl, here you go”. No the journey asks you to show up, asks you to come up with the money, asks you to show up when you don’t want to, when you’re scared, asks you to give more than you think you can, asks you to give up, walk away and walk towards and say yes. It asks you to do it scared.

THat’s how it works. It doesn’t work by you sitting around complaining, thinking, overthinking, wishing. It comes by action. It comes by a decision that you don’t know where the fuck you’re going but that you cannot stay where you are. It comes with a determination to find your power, your passion, your life again.

I know, too, that no matter how many years I feel I lost in the journey (and I know this feeling will subside as I step into greater and greater things) I know I would have lost a lot more if I had started when I did.

Where I would be if I had said no? Would I even be alive today? Would I be still sitting on the coach hating my job, hating my life, wishing for something else? Would I be drinking, a drug user? An emotional eater?

These are real questions I ask myself if I hadn’t started. And so I’m grateful for my determination, for my life, for what I’m living. It didn’t come easy. I gave up a lot to be here today. I let go of my old life that sure looked more pleasing from the outside. I gave up people and dealt with a lot of loneliness. I took a lot of risks.

I decided a long time I would let the chips fall where they may. This is my life. And it’s one my precious life that I get to do something incredible with or I can sit around complaining about not having it or wishing for it.

So I went for it.

And the chips, as they do, landed exactly where they needed to land. I wouldn’t have imagined I’d be here. But once upon a time I longed for a place that I wasn’t sure existed. It was like my soul was longing to be somewhere it knew I needed to be, but I didn’t have a path, I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have a road map to get there.

But I made it. And it’s exactly what I was missing that I couldn’t put into words.

And now I created a map for others who want to get to that place within yourself. Confident. Determined. Fierce. Calm. Passionate. Loving. Compassionate. Warrior. Wild Soul. Free Spirit.

Because I don’t want anyone else to lose as many years as I did.

I lost a lot of years numb and going through the motions. Then I “lost more” (but really there were incredible but my dreams were slowed down) finding myself. I have learned that much of our journey and our direction is to create what we needed. There is a hole in the fabric and we need to come into the space to create what’s missing, we have to take that journey so we can make it easier for others.

Not easier in enabling, but faster, a direct path and journey so we don’t have to be worn down to bone and old age before we learn this.

If I could give a woman one piece of advice it’s this – do it now, do it sooner, don’t wait, don’t hold yourself back. Say yes to the retreat, to the coaching, to the journey within. Say yes to that as your greatest form of self care. Self care isn’t about chocolate and bubble baths and avoiding. It’s about the hard work necessary to find yourself and become the best version of yourself so you can live your best life.

So do it. Become the wildest freest version of yourself. Say yes. Let the chips fall where they may. Because it’s not what we lose in years on the calendar, it’s about who we become on the journey. And that is the point.

Stay wild,


PS… if you’re ready for the journey within and want a map so you can stop losing years then let’s talk – book a free consult here -> Schedule Appointment

2 thoughts on “The Years I Lost

  1. Theresa Ennis says:

    Hi Tonya, I just want to say that I am so proud of you for making these tough decisions and taking the action you have taken to change your life path. I am sure your story will influence others to do the same and try to live their best life. Keep putting your message out there! Even at my age I am inspired by your strength and determination to become the person you were meant to be. Much love and prayers going your way. I guess I am actually your Aunt Theresa seeing that we are connected by marriage. hugs.


    1. Tonya Whittle says:

      Thank you so much (aunt)Theresa! Your support means the world. It’s nice to see people who have been along the ride for the entire journey. I am so happy to hear that you’re inspired – because we can make changes at any age to live our best lives xoxo


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