I turned 53 this month.
I’ve accomplished a lot and at the same time I feel like I’ve not accomplished much. I graduated from high school and college. I’ve had a couple of careers, with varying degrees of success. I’ve had romantic relationships, a few serious, many not. I’ve been a wife. I’ve been divorced. And widowed (sort of),
I’m a mom. I am blessed with a wonderful daughter.
I’ve been blessed with wonderful friends and family my entire life. I’ve only recently come to realize what a true blessing this is, and not something to be taken for granted.
I have regrets. But, they don’t define me. I’ve handled situations badly. I’ve handled other situations with strength and grace. I tried, really tried, to make my marriage work. Sometimes I made bad choices. I reacted poorly. Things could have been different. Maybe.
I had the courage to leave when it was time. I had the courage to move across country, with no help but from a 12-year old and a cat.
I had the strength and courage to go back to Colorado after my ex-husband died and to do what had to be done. To deal with the house that held 20 years of memories, both wonderful and terrible. I don’t really know how I got through those trips to Colorado. It’s like a higher force took over and held me and guided me throughout.
I learned a lot about grief. I felt its crushing weight and also it’s deep lessons. Death brings us closer to life, someone said to me. I agree. I thought I could push through it and live and work as normal. I was wrong. Again, the higher force took over. It told me, “Stop. Everything. You need to heal.” That same week, my house sold. I was able to take a few months off from work and focus on healing. On radical, extreme self-care.
Today, I feel a deep sense of contentment with life. I feel grounded. My new home feels like home. My kid is happy and has made good friends. I am happy and have made good friends. I’m physically and emotionally stronger than I’ve been in years. I love my work. I’ve got much to do still. I was derailed for a long time.
I’m optimistic about life and the future. Stepping into 53. Owning it. Like a badass.
How does one process the truly amazing experiences in life? Visiting a magical place, the birth of a child, falling in love? Sadly, I think we often don’t. The new baby comes filled with work, and we are often minimally supported in the care of a child. The one we were so madly in love with soon becomes taken for granted. The magical place is relegated to a jumble of photos as we rush to get caught up upon our return.
Does it have to be like this?
There was a time, and there are still cultures where it isn’t like this. A village comes to support new parents, so they can bond with and enjoy their new baby. There are those couples you meet, that, after 20, 30, even 50 years, still love and appreciate one another.
There are places and experiences that have the potential to change us, permanently, for the better, if we make the conscious effort to allow them to do so.
I am writing from my patio in Punta de Mita, Mexico. it is 6:00 am and still dark. I am listening to waves crashing and roosters crowing. I’ve spent the past week here at the Yogahealer Leadership retreat, with 34 of the most amazing, inspiring, diverse women I have ever had the privilege of connecting with.
I feel amazing. I’ve been so inspired, learned so much, eaten fresh, healthy, delicious food. I’m enthralled with this little hamlet.
My previous experiences in Mexico have been at big, all-inclusive resorts. Those experiences were fine. And fun. But, I left relatively unimpressed. This is different. Punta Mita is a little surfing town, filled with colors and music and people. The locals and tourists mingle happily. The vibe is amazing. I am pulled in by the culture and already plotting how I can get back here as often as possible and bring my daughter with me.
The inspiration from the Yogahealer tribe and being around other Yoga Health Coaches has been mind-blowing. I see the potential in myself and in all of them, to truly make a difference in the world. Each person we help, every person to whom we bring vibrant health, has a ripple effect. Personal health is connected to community health and planetary health. I want to be part of that. I want to make a difference. I want to guide people into their own realization that their desires for joy, health, connection and dharma are possible.
So, back to my original question. How do I keep this feeling? How do I process this experience so it sinks into me and stays with me? How do I keep this, while going back to my life of working, grocery shopping, parenting and the daily hustle and bustle?
I think the answer, boiled down to one word, is consciously. Or, maybe, deliberately. This will be an exercise in consciously, deliberately making my life happen the way I want it, rather than letting life happen to me. I’ve been practicing this for years and it never stops taking effort. If we want to live the life of our dreams, we must continuously create it for ourselves. I apologize to any fans of The Secret, but just sitting around visualizing our dreams does not cut it. I’m not saying that there is no value in visualization; on the contrary, I believe there is tremendous value in it. But, it is only part of the equation. The actions we take must align with those visions.
For example, if I say I want to take a trip to Italy, but I don’t pick a date, save the money or get a passport, I will not ever end up in Italy. It’s the same with health. If I say I want to feel amazing, but I snack throughout the day, eat a heavy, late dinner and stay up until midnight, I will not feel amazing. Simple law of cause and effect.
So, I am reviewing my copious notes from Mexico. I am setting short-term goals in three month chunks of time. I am setting long-term goals and taking the steps to achieve them in the timeline I have laid out. I am blocking time on my calendar to work towards my goals.
In my coaching groups I often find that people have resistance to blocking time and to having calendar integrity. They say it seems to restrictive to live that way. The truth is, it’s the opposite. The more we live in integrity with our calendar and align our actions to our goals, the more easeful our lives become.