In case you didn’t know this about me…. I am a New Years Eve baby.
Born December 31st, 1974 at 11:56am in Brooklyn, NYC
I wish I could tell you that I decided, of my own accord, to join the world that day but alas, as my mother recants, I am an enduced, C-Section baby.
*How much more exciting the story would be if I just happened to arrive on that day.
No such luck.
My mothers OB/GYN was going on vacation on 1/1/1975 and wanted to deliver me beforehand.
I know for years as a youngster, I thought it would be more exciting if I told people that I was born at 11:56PM instead of AM so I could get more attention. I actually did that for years, until it started to feel so very deceiving and untrue (and I also confirmed it with my mother that I was actually born in the AM)
Two big events on one day. Another year of living, and another year of life.
It wasn’t until a few days ago, driving home with my husband from our Christmas festivities with his family, that it HIT me… ANOTHER reason why this day is SO important, so SACRED to me, and I have been aching to sit down and write it out to you (well, also to myself) so that I could get this discovery OUT of me and somewhere I could take a better look at it (and also to discuss it with you too).
So here I am. I want to talk about the PARADOX between the event/energy /fact/ritual of December 31st being both my birth-day, and also a day of new hope and beginnings for SO many of us.
I would say 7 out of 10 people that hear that my birthday is on New Years Eve, usually say something about how that sucks. I am quick to correct their belief by sharing my enthusiasm in that…
I LOVE my birthday. I think being born on New Years Eve is the best day of the year to be born.
As I have grown up, I have had many opportunities to pontificate why I feel the way I do.
I think the beginning part of it has always been my mothers knowing the challenges that those born in a holiday season would have, always being lost in the Christmas holiday, the confusion between Christmas and birthday gifts, so she always made me feel really special on my birthday. It was like because I was born on that day gave us an additional reason to celebrate. I never felt slighted and was always pretty excited when December 31st came around again.
*Correction: The only REALLY stinky thing was my locker was never decorated all through school, as we were always off on Christmas vacation, and cause I was a winter baby, I could never have a pool party. I remember one year I waited until the summer to have a birthday party, just so I could have a pool party. 🙂
I LOVED that I spent my 21st birthday in Times Square watching the ball drop. I LOVED my 22nd birthday was spent dancing my heart out with some good friends after moving to Savannah,GA a few days earlier.
I love that I will always have a reason to CELEBRATE on my birthday.
Most people are happier on my birthday, they’re in a festive mood. There is this BUZZ in the air, the scent of a fancy dress and a glass of champagne, somewhere in the near future.
It’s like I can hear the sound of a party horn, being blown somewhere, and somehow that makes that it’s my birthday, just a tad bit more exciting.
Secondly (and most importantly, I believe) , I always looked forward to getting older.
I think it has something to do with being A Searcher, but I have always looked forward to getting another year older, almost giddy as each year passed, that I was settling into the time when I could use that inner “old soul wisdom” that I felt so strongly inside, instead of being seen as just a kid.
Even today, as I find myself turning 38 years old, one day from now, I feel that familiar tingle of excitement that I have accumulated a bit more experience and wisdom under my belt. I’ve always felt like a Sage, and I guess there is a part of me that has always wanted to look the part. (HMM, is that the reason why I’ve never been afraid of getting gray hair?)
I remember I was SO excited to turn 30. I was SO excited to experience what most people told me they experienced about how they REALLY got to know who they were in their 30’s.
I couldn’t WAIT.
As I’m sure you do on your birthday, you reflect on the past year, what you accomplished, how you might’ve felt defeated, and what you have to look forward to in the next 365 days of your life, on your birth-day. You make a wish, with eyes closed, as you blow out the candles on your birthday cake, sending into the ethers a vision for what the next year of life will bring.
Well I have that too.
I just get to do that on the same day that EVERYONE ELSE is doing something similar, as they look to find their word, find their resolution, search for what they want to change, as one year ticks into another.
Can you imagine how POWERFUL having both significant days happen on the SAME day could be for me?
*anyone born on this day, actually.
I actually get choked up when I think of how powerful a day it is for me. Can you imagine the energy, the hope, the excitement the significance being born on December 31st is?
I not only get a New YEAR… I get a new year of LIVING!
Deep breath in.
NEW YEARS EVE
I grew up watching Dick Clark on TV, staying up as late as I possibly could keep my eyes open, just so I could see the ball drop. I loved that my parents would have the neighbors over, and we could have a reason to be rambunctious an loud. Blowing those horns as loud as we could. Wearing fancy hats and having dad relent to making my sister and I his special “Chocolate milk” which was a glass of Kahlua and cream (heavy on the cream) that we could taste for just this special occasion.
As an earlier memory, I distinctively remember going to an evening mass on New Years Eve with my grandpa, where the church would smell so strongly of incense, as we welcomed the new year. How I miss that smell and my grandpa so much this time of year.
I love that it always ended up that everyone had to hug and kiss each other at midnight. How I loved an opportunity to be hugged and kissed by those that loved me most.
I remember that frustration I always had when I forgot to write the new years date on my school work for a few days, until I got used to it. An amusing frustration than anything else. *insert chuckle here, probably the same for you too, eh?
Nowadays, I love how everyone is talking about what their word is.
“What is your word for the new year?”
I don’t know when that practice became popular (maybe it always has and I wasn’t aware of it?), but I absolutely LOVE that for weeks prior to this date, so many of us are desperately searching to dive in underneath the surface to come up with one symbol of what we would like to accomplish as the ball drops and we enter a whole new year.
I’ve seen videos posted about it, blog posts written with it, and coaches talking about the importance of knowing what your word or phrase is going to be for the new year.
It’s not just a day to party, is it? It is really a time of reflection…. a symbol of another chance.
Let me say it again…
We are always SO quick to just keep going, that New Years Eve is just that… a SYMBOL. One moment in time created in order to give us the permission to SLOW DOWN, if only for ONE night…
(shoot, one MOMENT when the ball strikes twelve) Just for a second now, think back to that moment… doesn’t it seems like for that one moment, TIME seems to slow WAY down?
…. to reflect on where we are… in relation to where we want to be.
*Ah, a coaches dream.
It’s an unwritten permission slip to throw away the scribbles of the previous year, and start a new, clean fresh page, to begin again. (or, bring into the new year the things that ARE working for us. (BONUS!)
It’s a time to honor changes… births, deaths, and momentous moments of the past year, in order to make some room for new ones to come.
And then, in a flash, it’s over. It’s the new year and we’re quickly cleaning up the remains of the party, or for those in Times Square, the tedious process of cleaning all the streamers that fall from the sky as the ball drops, and we resume our lives with little significant changes to be seen.
That is… unless we remain vigilant and steadfast in our pursuits of our desires.
That’s where the gym jokes and the diet jokes come into play.
Why are we unable to maintain that space… long enough to create a shift in our lives, our bodies, our dreams?
Why is it the flush of a new year that gives us renewed enthusiasm, and swiftly, diminish as the days pass by?
It’s the answers to these questions that have me perpetually curious, as the Searcher I am.
Maybe they do for you too.
New Years Day is usually spent feeling conflicted. We WANT so desperately to get started with our pursuits of our resolutions.. our symbolic words.. but there is this part of us that is uncomfortable knowing that tomorrow, we will return back to our day to day. The shiny and the fantastical have now simmered down and what falls into place is this dull feeling of..
Now… I have to make it happen.
It’s why a lot of us get discouraged SO easily, right? WE are the only ones that can make it happen and there is a part of us that wished that it was as magical as the energy that New Years Eve holds, right?
We can do it, many of us WILL accomplish their new years goals, because of sheer will to make it so. For most of us, we have to hit bottom so that there is nowhere to go but up.
Enough is enough.
I know that this year, this, my 38th year…beginning on January 1st, 2013, I am in many ways in that place of Enough is Enough. Somehow the knowing inside me knows that I can no longer seek/long for/wish/resolve/declare the way I have done in the past.
Hoping and wishing (and working hard to make it so) is no longer working for me, and frankly, I cannot continue doing it the same way anymore.
I feel I’ve begun to cross over a threshold, into a new way of being. A test of faith as I have NEVER experienced before, I feel is upon me. Before this year, I was still striving. I had never felt like I arrived. What I wanted was still “Out there”.
I was still “In hope.”
“Seek and do not find”
Maybe some of you have that same experience?
Hoping this would happen, that this wouldn’t happen, and looking for it to happen by feeling the absence of it in my life.
This year, and with the blessing of what I’m learning as A Course student, I charged myself with being at peace what whatever comes near me or through me this next year.
My phrase, my practice for this year is NO MATTER WHAT.
NO MATTER WHAT happens, I am significant.
NO MATTER WHAT I see, I can choose to be at peace.
NO MATTER WHAT happens, I am already worth it.
The knowing that whatever happens “out there”, that I am already complete.
There is nothing to strive for… everything I have is inside me… now.
I would prefer that this be the year that my husband and I get pregnant.
I would prefer that my coaching business thrive to the point where I would not need to lean on the 9-5 as I have.
But the charge is to be at peace…. NO MATTER if that happens or not.
To be happy… NOW. To not let the lack of those accomplishments lessen my ability to feel that I am okay where I am.
In doing that… I almost automatically go to a place of happiness. And it feels really good.
I want to feel this way vs. how I’ve felt up to now which is angry and resentful (that I have not gotten pregnant yet) and sad (that I’m still relying on the 9-5 as my primary income)
This will be my practice, my mantra, my prayer in this new year… this new birth-year. To be OKAY and at peace with WHATEVER comes my way.
And to forgive myself when I fall back into hoping.
I know I will have ample opportunities to practice this, this year.
I am open to the opportunity to learn.
My wish for you in the new year is that you are at peace with wherever you are in your life.
With whether your goals manifest for you, or not.
That that doesn’t less the knowing that you are SO worth it. SO valid. SO loved.
And that nothing you do or accomplish (or happens to you) can or will EVER change that.
Happy New Year.
Happy Birthday (to me)
and THANK YOU for being a part of my journey.
Observation: People don’t really like it when you are uncomfortable.
I’ve noticed people instantly become uncomfortable themselves, then react in a myriad of different ways which are really the same. (get angry at YOU for being uncomfortable, laugh at your uncomfortableness, TELL you you’re upsetting them and literally ask you to stop talking that way, try to fix it by doing what they think will make you comfortable again.)
I’m wondering if I am the same way… (NOTE TO SELF: Really look if yourself and if so…work on that.)
I’m not comfortable right now in my life.
There is a lot of uncertainty and uncomfortable change coming straight ahead in my windshield and I am feeling unsure how to drive into it. (Actually… that’s a lie. I know I want to drive AROUND it.. pretend it’s not happening and SPEED into a place of feeling certain, hopeful, and comfortable again if I were being honest.)
This past weekend, I was sitting at lunch after my husbands grandmothers funeral, talking with a woman I hadn’t seen in a while; she asked me how I was. I told her….
We kept talking and she then asked me something that’s got me itchin to want to write.
“Isn’t it true that we’re always in a state of being uncomfortable? I mean, when was the last time you were truly comfortable?”
It’s been a philosophy and a mantra… to be “comfortable being uncomfortable”, that I have been working on, for a while now. To be in practice of being okay in this strange and unfamiliar space where everything about this current moment isn’t something that I want or desire, but know that until something changes (and it always does)… I might as well take a seat and do my best to get comfy.
Her question has left me feeling haunted. For the past 24 hours or so, I’ve been asking myself that question and only now, writing it out can I say with comfortable certainty… (ha ha, comfortable certainty… see how I CRAVE to swim in that energy?)
No. I’ve never truly achieved a state of continual comfort.
Sure, I’ve had moments of being comfortable…Absolutely. But continual comfort? When I recall moments in my life when I was feeling comfortable and at ease, a smile hits my face and I immediately want to take a deep breath in and I feel my body relax. A sense of peacefulness and present moment flash into my consciousness. For the pure enjoyment of going down memory lane, I’m going to share a few of them with you. *Let me ask you to notice a common thread between them.
1. 1996 – When at WVU and I was running everyday… losing weight and knowing I was about to leave for Savannah.
2.1997 – Those first few months in Savannah, when I was running everyday in Forsyth Park and working out in the gym and going to school. Lived alone and LOVED it.
3. 2006 – Moved BACK into the SAME apartment I used to live in 2 years prior (for 5 years). Rented a part of an art studio above a coffee shop and worked on my greeting cards. Rode my bike to the studio every chance I got.
4. 2009 – Engaged and planning my wedding. Running everyday after work, losing weight and getting SO excited for the wedding and daydreaming of our future life together. (The last OFFICIAL time I was comfortable)
I find it interesting that EXERCISE, ROUTINE and LOOKING FORWARD TO/WORKING TOWARD SOMETHING IN THE FUTURE (HOPE) are the key attributes in each of these comfortable moments of my life. Looking forward to what I was working on (greeting cards/being a married woman/going to art school/achieving my fitness goals (running 6 miles/day), being a creature of habit (routine) and getting that daily dose of adrenaline were what was needed to help perpetuate comfort for me. Just going back to these moments makes me feel instantly happier and more at peace.
Amazing speaker and coach Dyana Valentine calls these common threads Super Conditions. Traits or conditions that when applied and in action, will allow for maximum forward movement and sense of greatness. (i.e. Comfort.). She comes up with schnazzy names for these super conditions (For example: One of her super conditions is A TALL ORDER) , but at the core there are these attributes/environments/ways of being that help us facilitate us to do our best work.
Just knowing that these are my super conditions, makes me happy. Makes me feel a little less crazy in my brain knowing that right now… even though these ideal situations may lie dormant for a while to come, that they still exist. That they are a necessary part of me and it’s these conditions that I am constantly striving to achieve. It’s these, and other conditions that at my core… NEVER let me give up.
It helps me be more comfortable being uncomfortable.
I know that this upcoming experience will pass and I will be into another chapter of my journey at some point in the next few months. I am hopeful that I will see some reap to my sow. While I do not know HOW or WHEN this next chapter will come, I hold onto the belief that I will surpass this moment so I keep my head down, knowing that if I just relax into this present uncomfortable feeling, not fight it or try to run from it, that it will pass with as little turbulance and unrest.
SO….all this to say that if you see me in person, talk to me on the phone, send me a text or an email. Please know that I’m feeling quite uncomfortable in my life right now.
And I’m feeling okay about that.
*I ask that you be okay with that as well, for me. Thanks.
Before I dive in, I’m going to do my best to articulate my experience but I want to be honest – this trip was beyond articulation. It was an experience using my sixth sense only. My third eye. It ultimately was something I can’t really explain, in a taste/smell/see/hear/feel, kinda way. It’s kinda like asking someone to explain what PEACE is. I can share my experience with the town of Portland, what I saw..etc.. but how I FELT I know I will never be able to truly convey. Just gotta believe me… this trip changed my life.
PS: I’m a chatty Cathy and I know I already want to ramble on and on.. tell you every single thing but I’m writing a blog post, not a book here so I’ll ATTEMPT to shorten it. No guarantees though.
So, my girl friend Kellee and I set to travel across country to both experience Portland for the first time. She is considering a move there and the Summit gave me a reason to check out this town that has been on my Top 3 Cities to visit for quite a few years now. I had heard that the city itself was unlike the rest of the country, and was excited to see first hand what they were talking about. We flew in on the Fourth of July – I thought we were coming in too late to experience any fireworks… BOY WERE WE WRONG! Check this out.
* I left my commentary and the crying baby in there for true flying affects. Cause everyone loves being on a plane with a crying baby, right?
The fireworks were EVERYWHERE. It was one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever witnessed. Everywhere we looked, hundreds (dare I say thousands) of exploding colors filling the sky below us. It was an amazing Red Carpet moment for Kellee and I, I tell ya.
That night before hitting the pillow hard… I was excited and also nervous about what the next few days would bring. Being a extrovert with introverted tendencies… I didn’t know what side of me would stick around. Large crowds of people I don’t know can definitely bring out the wall flower in me… but I kept telling myself to be OPEN to whatever. ‘Be OPEN’ I kept telling myself. My mantra for my trip (and the previous week as well, if I were being honest) was something my amazing coach friend Laura told me…
Practice being comfortable being uncomfortable…
Aye, Aye Captain.
We got there the day before the opening party… which gave Kellee and I some time to explore the town. She definitely did more homework than I did on what was to do there, and I was (and still am) ETERNALLY grateful for that. She was the navigator and I was so damn grateful for that.
One of the first things I noticed was this sense of peace I got when walking around. No people rushing around, not a lot of traffic (It was the day after a holiday, but still) Here comes my first point of AWESOME-NESS about Portland.
– Public Transportation is FREE within the space of downtown Portland. The Streetcar and Rail system were all FREE. We weren’t rushing around trying to find coins/tickets or fare. It was kind of amazing. Taking that stress off our plate as visitors really contributed to our ease as we traveled from place to place.
The weather was absolutely beautiful. An average high of 82 degrees while we were there, sunny, LOW humidity. Seeing as how I just came from 100+ weather with high humidity, Portlands weather reminded me I was NOT at home, thankfully. (Thank you Rain Gods for staying away from Portland while we were there, I know you’re comfortable holding reign (pun intended) over the city.)
After traveling to our recommended breakfast place, we meandered through the city, walking to the river and then hopping the rail to the area called North Williams. Since we didn’t know exactly where we were going, we strolled down the streets, passed amazing parks with huge trees and green green grass, saw some AMAZING craftsman style houses to the sweet spot – the place where all these shops were located. By now Kellee and I were both already in love with our experience and were enjoying soaking it all in. Without having a set plan, we enjoyed finding our way and eventually ended up at a restaurant called Veritable Quandry for dinner – where we enjoyed a good meal and even better conversation.
The next days adventure was just as amazing as the first -Beautiful weather – after getting breakfast, we moseyed over to Early Registration for #WDS2012, as I walked up, I was greeted by Chris Guillebeau (The initiator behind #WDS2012) and immediately saw bloggers that I recognized. Butterflies in the stomach. Picked up my badge, T-Shirt and Gift Bag (with Chris’ book – the $100 Startup inside! Score, I had yet to buy the book and voila! there it was! More on this $100 Startup later) I hadn’t prepared for interaction yet, so we quickly left and made our way to the Lan Su Chinese Gardens. I knew before long I would be among so many amazing people but I was still in touring the city mode. The gardens were amazing. Right in the middle of downtown Portland. It was olfactory overload due to the amazing trees and plants they had there. We continued the theme and enjoyed a light chinese lunch and then I had to make my way back to the hotel to get ready for the opening festivities.
Leaving Kellee, and taking the rail to the opening location, I felt a quiet excitement. Holding onto the unknown and sitting with it. I had NO idea how the next two plus days would look, how I would feel and being the planner I am, I was heading toward the event with my mantra already being repeated.
Be comfortable being uncomfortable.
The most uncomfortable part were those first 20 minutes, walking up and not knowing anyone. Recognizing a similar uncomfortable-ness with others who also didn’t know anyone, my eyes immediately landed on a beautiful woman with gorgeous auburn hair and eyes that matched her hair. She meandered in and out of the space, and I knew she was attempting to find a spot where she would feel comfortable. Like me.
She was my first.*And as you know you always remember your first.
In typical Kerilyn “Is comfortable in small groups” fashion, I went up to her and introduced myself. I felt a sense of relief and immediately relaxed, after confirming that she too, didn’t know anyone and I knew I would stick with her throughout this experience. Her big sparkly eyes and beautiful smile made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and immediately felt like I’ve known her forever.
We chatted a while and I fell in love with her right away. Little did I know that I would fall in love (literally fall in love) a few times that weekend. We asked each other the usual “Don’t you DARE ask about what she does for a JOB” questions like “What brings you here?”and “What’s your mission?” – I figured out before coming here that this was NOT going to be about how to manage a 9-5, or live WITHIN our means…. NO. This was a “What do you feel called to do?” kinda gathering. Only after I came home did I realize that for the first time, possibly in my entire life, I was with my people – The Searchers.
Amazing fact – Anna Ray came from Dubai. What a long way to come for such an event. I admired her dedication and it only intrigued me to get to know her more.
In truth, I had already been admiring Kai for a while. Admired her for her bold statements that we’re all superheros and honestly, I also loved that her tagline involved a bit of potty mouth. HELLO.I had connected with her via the Twitta so I knew she was coming and was planning on finding and meeting her in person.
I went up to her, introduced my actual self and introduced her to the amazing Anna Ray. As I expected, she was passionate, cool and as beautiful in person as I’d seen her online.
Fell in love for the second time… all within the span of 15 minutes.
I didn’t know then but we would stick together throughout the summit. Weaving in and out during the speakers and breakout groups.
I also knew that I would eventually see a handful of familiar faces. A group of us, going to the summit from DC got together a few times prior so we would know someone there. Another lifeline, if you will. I was counting on connecting with them when I needed a respite from the energy transfer of meeting all these new people. Even if I only saw Lisa, Monique or Chris from across the room, I felt safe. It was that way throughout the weekend and I was really glad for that. Thank you Monique for creating this group – I didn’t even know how needed you all were going to be to me.
At the opening festivities, I saw people whose blog I’ve followed a while, whose e-course I’ve taken to help me figure out what my Declarations were, and a kindred spirit whose mission to help us be well-fed women, just to name a few. I couldn’t believe I was amongst so many inspiring people and had no idea at the time, what I was in for. Food Trucks and Sumo wrestlers, Yoga moves, “Dunk-a-blogger” stations and skee-ball lanes… it was like I was at a carnival. A carnival where amazing people, doing amazing things, were all around me. I fell asleep, after making my way home, buzzing from the residual energy that we were all plugged into. The next morning, I carried with me my badge, and my mantra to be comfortable being uncomfortable, but quickly discovered I wasn’t uncomfortable at all.
Here’s where it becomes difficult…
I cannot explain to you the impact that the next two days had on my life. Truthfully, I am still processing how big an impact it was. Each night as I got back to the hotel and caught up with Kellee.. I could barely explain to her what my experiences were. It was beyond words.
Here is what I CAN say… as I BEGIN to process what I took in. (After chatting with my mentioned above friend Laura, only just a day or two ago)
I have NEVER, EVER.. in my life felt like I fit in more than I did in those two days. Among others who feel like me, a fish out of water. Gasping for breath as I flop around, constantly attempting to make my way to where I belong. THE OCEAN. I have always felt like the odd man out… NOT because I think so differently from most people who want to be happy and live with purpose… but because I have always been unafraid to show my sadness that I have yet to find it and disenchantment (and yes, frustration too) with the trappings of a mediocre, “be happy you have a JOB” kinda life. As the beloved James Kavanaugh said…
I am one of the Searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand.
During those two days, I was among The Searchers. James said he believes there are millions of us but there are BILLIONS of people in the world. That makes us, those ACTIVELY searching and never ceasing to find their calling, their purpose… among the few. Constantly working to find what fills them up, makes time stop and what helps contribute to the greater good.
Not just a campaign to get votes, and hold power – but in all ways… MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
The World Domination Summits tagline was…
“How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?”
It’s the same question I ask myself (and beat myself up over) ALL THE TIME.
The Speakers…. again, unless you were there, I know I would not do them justice (and this blog post would go on FOREVER) so I won’t even try. Just know they all, in their own way…spoke directly to every single one of the 1000 of us sitting in that theatre. It was sacred ground… and just like we don’t usually talk about what we pray about… I’m not sure I can share with you how receiving this information has changed me. *Except to see it in my future actions. And that I CAN talk about.
TAKE ACTION, BE UNCOOL, MAKE A MOVE, IT’S GOOD TO BE AN INTROVERT, DO SOMETHING, YOUR PASSION ISN’T ALWAYS THE FIRST PLACE YOU LOOK, FIND YOUR SUPERHERO…
Each day at noon, we broke for lunch, then at the 1 and 2 o’clock hour, there were breakout groups. Mini-Lectures of yet more amazing people. The first day, for lunch, I heard about this AMAZING farmers market to wander to… MAN. It’s without a doubt, the best farmers market I’ve ever been to. Here is a snippet of a really awesome band that was playing. The weather was wonderful, the vibe was so chill and it looked like all the familes in Portland were there. I had a delicous Pulled pork sandwich and Strawberry lemonade. I can still taste it now. I also had this impulse to buy flowers. I LOVE flowers. They make me happy. I originally intended to give them to one of the speakers during the breakout group, but I was amazed at how many people who saw these flowers, stopped and slowed down enough to really enjoy them as well. I ended up carrying them with me the rest of the day. I was walking across the street with my flowers when someone in a car yelled out the window how beautiful the flowers were and when I waved them on to pass me… she said “No, I want to keep looking at the flowers.” It was kinda amazing. Here is a picture of me with the lovely flowers. Nevermind that I look stoned (I wasn’t, I assure you.)
The first day of breakout sessions, I sat in a Chapel, a few blocks away from the main location and listened to Danielle LaPorte and Brene Brown share their insights during an hourlong Q&A. Like listening to a Sunday Sermon, I sat in a pew as Brene Brown helped us understand how shame shows up in our lives and how to work through it (When you’re feeling shameful, bring your brain back to center by saying “Pain Pain Pain”) and Danielle Laporte showed us by way of opening up her trench coat (not literally) and revealing to us how she has worked through the same things we all have. (My takeaway with Danielle has always been not to be afraid to fail. I lean on her when I need a reminder that It’s OKAY to be scared… to keep going anyway… JUST DO IT.) Sadly, I didn’t take pictures as I was holding onto my flowers, just taking in their wisdom. It was amazing to be in the same room as these inspiring women.
At the close of the first day, we were all left to our own devices to do as we wished that evening. Fortunately for me, I already had plans. A month or two prior, there was an invitation to watch the screening of a movie whose trailer had my heart beating faster as I asked myself the SAME questions…
Is this how it HAS to be? Watch the trailer here.
That evening, I met up with my DC ladies as we sat and watched this thought provoking movie. Great way to end the first day, If I say so myself. I was just SO DAMN HAPPY to be among other people who felt the same way that I did… hearing them whooping and hollering throughout the film, even now it gets me feeling a bit choked up to know they’re out there. Questioning and Challenging the status quo.
~For those of you out there, feeling the uncomfortable feeling that it doesn’t HAVE to be this way, that it can be different – I THANK MY LUCKY STARS you exist.
The second day during the breakout sessions, I experienced the energy of two very powerful women who are making big changes in the world. Pam Slim was talking about how to connect with your audience and honestly.. her real time examples she gave us I will never forget. Moving us around the room to help us understand how the energy changes when delivering in person talks.. and how to translate that online was amazing. To feel the energy shifts in every different focus was something I’ll always remember. Then to Tara Gentile, talking about the root of wealth in ALL it’s forms. Money is such a challenging topic to talk about for most of us, but as I listened, she made it so easy, had me feeling like I wanted to. I left her session, SO wanting to sit down with her and have a long conversation. She seemed really easy to talk to, like a sage for the modern womans finances.
Bonus share here: During the 2nd day of amazing lectures, I found myself sitting next to Kai. She informed me as we sat down, that she HAD to watch the finals of Wimbleton Tennis match and I melted right there. I LOVED that she felt as passionate about where she was as she was about the tennis match she was watching. Not to mention I too, love watching Tennis, I somehow fell in love with her more that she knew she could have the best of both worlds. As she listened to the speaker, she watched the final match of the game…even handing me half of her ear buds to listen to the award ceremony. Swoon.
At our scheduled breaks, we had a few moments to either randomly connect with someone new, or meetup with someone we’ve yet to connect with… at one said gathering spot the second day (the Highly Sensitive Lounge area) After embracing a kindred spirit who I look forward to being permanently engaged to into the future (Rach, that’s you), I was introduced to Jill – instantly, there was a spark. That did it.
Officially fell in love for the third time that weekend.
After the final keynote speaker, JD Roth, talked about personal transformations, having us all convinced we too, can transform into whatever we’re willing to put the work into, I knew we were coming to a close. If I were honest, I was feeling a bit anxious, not knowing how I would find a way to re-enter into my everyday life after having this experience, my 9-5 job, What was my next step with Married to a Chef? I was sad and frankly a little scared. How was I going to keep this energy going? I knew part of the reason why I came to Portland, was to find a way over the hump that has recently had me feeling paralyzed. I’m at this place with my mission… my obsession where I know I’m needing to swim to the middle of the pool, into bigger things, more fruitful opportunities, and I’m feeling quite scared to swim away from the side of the pool. (READ: I’m SCARED TO FAIL)
As Chris, the creator of #WDS2012 was sharing his final thoughts with us, I had NO idea what was coming.
Here is the video with his closing thoughts and his preceding gift – definitely worth a watch.
He (along with an anonymous donor) gave us all a gift, a $100 Investment it’s been coined, and gave us the only instructions were to INVEST in something.
Yea. I left in shock. Did that just happen? What? I put my Investment in the book by the same author who entrusted me with this, until I can even process what I’m going to do with it.
That last day was frankly a blur. As I re-grouped with Kellee to spend the last day in Portland, I felt really off. (Yes, at this point I was exhausted, overstimulated and on the verge of a very needed tearful release) We connected with someone Kellee had met while I was plugged into inspiration, and he showed us a bit more of the city, the part that you needed a car to get to. (SIDE NOTE: I totally fell in love with this renovated school turned lodging/restaurant/movie theater/smoking lounge…. WHEN I go back to Portland again (maybe for #WDS2013, if I’m not pregnant (fingers crossed) I will definitely be staying HERE.)
So here I am… it’s been about a week since the Summit ended,
Still in this state of suspension.
What do I do with this $100?
Where do I go from here?
A week has passed and I still do not know.
All I know is I’m not the same person I was two weeks ago… before the storm.
No. Somethings different.
I’ve always said that I felt like an eagle tethered in invisible chains to the ground by a large cement block. From an early age, I’ve felt that way. I have, time and time again, attempted to spread my vast wing span to take flight, only having those chains remind me that you can only go so far…not doing what you’re meant to do. For a few days in Portland, I found myself without any chains…flying with 1000 other eagles, letting the wind heal their unused wings and bruised hearts and the sun heat their passions. I hold those Eagles in my heart right now, I support you and I am here if you ever need a reminder who you are. For you helped me remember who I was.
For a series of moments… I was released from “Be Realistic” and “Is that practical” and “If I were you…” statements. I left the worry about how I should be careful behind and was soaring into the wind. Untethered. FREE.
You know why I feel suspended (it just hit me) .. because I’m still flying. My heart and my mind are still amongst the clouds… haven’t yet landed on the ground but am flying close enough not to feel the pull of the chains. In this feeling, I am able to be in the moment… not in the worries of the past or the anticipation of the future rouse me. I am HERE. NOW. I don’t want this feeling to go… but instead use it to keep me moving forward, taking action…to do something,
TO MAKE A MOVE.
After this experience, I feel even more dedicated to learn to LIVE from this place of suspension. It’s been building a while (to let GO of the past/future and live in the PRESENT..to swim toward the middle of the pool), these experiences, from the storm to this very moment, have given me the EVIDENCE that it does exist, that it CAN happen.
Amazing what we can do when we have EVIDENCE to back us up.
To wrap: Chris asked us on the Twitta a few days ago, “#WDS2012 Attendees: One year from now, how will your life be different?”
I responded to him by saying that while I’m still processing everything I took in, I feel confident to tell him that not much will be the same.
So many things are changing in my life right now, with this newfound elevation of flight I’m in… I’m even more excited to see what that will look like, come this time next year.
Days later, I’m still in a daze… asking myself “What just happened?… Was I dreaming? Did that just happen?”, as if the things I’ve experienced and felt, didn’t even happen to me, wasn’t even real. (*) Walking around in a state of suspension the past few days, I have yet to really process all that’s happened in the past two weeks. Like waking from a state of being unconscious, looking around to find some element of familiarity. Disoriented. It all happened so fast and in one continual stream, that it was almost like I was IN the movie, and yetsofar, the lights have yet to go on and I have yet to stand up and walk out of the theater.
PART ONE – The Storm
Amazing how fast it came on… my husband, sitting on the couch after looking at his email on his phone with a weather update; “Honey, I think we’re going to get a bad storm here”, and I said “When?”, he said “Now.” and like that.. the lights went out.
Little did I know they wouldn’t go back on for four days.
With the weather topping out at 106 degrees that day in the Washington DC area, it made sense we were eventually going to get a doosy of a storm to cut the heat, but this… was unlike any storm I’ve experienced.
Suddenly- my cumulative memories of every single episode of “Storm Chasers” I’ve watched and flashbacks of the cow flying by in “Twister” came to mind in a flash. I asked myself if I remembered what I learned in 2nd grade during a school drill.
“If you don’t have a basement, get to a bathtub.”
I kept wanting to run to the bathtub. But my husband, in his standard “I got this.” kinda way… had us huddled together away from the windows while the trees bent in 90 degree angles to their usual pose and the wind was like an angry wife, after hearing of her husbands infidelity.
ALL I could think of was “Where is Pez?” Pez, my 16 yr old kitty, I had seen briefly crouching LOW and in a dash to hide as the branches began hitting the windows.
“Pez. Pez…. Where are you?” – I was frantic. It still gets me that if something had happened… I would’ve been made to leave without her. Makes me feel SO MUCH MORE for those caught in that same predicament as in Hurricane Katrina. *getting choked up.
Like what people say when strange and out of the ordinary things happen… Time SLOWED DOWN.
It lasted 45 minutes but it seemed like it went on for hours.
And.. just as The Weather Channel predicted, the storm would pass at 11:15 and at 11:14, I looked at my phone.
All I hear now is the sounds of fire trucks and ambluances. My husband, thinking there isn’t much we can do till morning, having hypothesised the house was still standing and without imminent damage, we went to bed. The door in our bedroom that goes into the backyard that we never leave open, because of the unspoken fear that someone would come in while we slept and killed us was kept open this night…
I kept peeking out at the door through the night to make sure noone was there.
You know… LOOTERS. *Yes, in case you were wondering, I’m lying in bed, thinking of LOOTERS as the LA Riots come to mind. Visualizing people coming into my house for my TV.
*I can laugh now, but at the time, it was something I really had to be concerned about.
After an understandibly uncomfortable night sleep (It still was in the 90’s throughout the night) and my husband getting up at 1am because he could no longer sleep, we began our four day journey of what life would’ve looked like (and how ILL-EQUIPT I was to manage) if we turned back the time to before there was electricity.
My first priority- Pez. She’s no spring chicken, so after annoyingly SLOW I was at accepting that it might be a while before the power went back on AND how hot it was still supposed to be that day, I made arrangements to have her go to my parents and my gracious sister who originally came out to have a girls day with me (no such luck at this point) transported this loved feline to the safety of my mother who I knew would overfeed her and love all up on her until we could be reunited.
Next priority – GAS. With so many gas stations without power, every station that had power quickly tapped out as so many attempted to facilitate their mobility through this experience, finding a flowing gas station was becoming quite difficult. Already with the gas light on, I knew it was critical to find some petrol. (Amazingly, the Twitta came in handy as the hashtag #opengasstations – became my navigation to the motherland. ) Drove around for quite a while, close to invisioning where I would be and if someone would help me if I ran out of gas. Thankfully, it never got to that.
We had already intended to get out of dodge for the night to attend a birthday party the next day on the Eastern Shore, so by 6:30pm, we were safely out of town and into cooler temperatures at a B&B for the night. It was a beautiful 24 hours out of town, relaxing by a pool, good (Caribbean) food, reggae music, and even better friends.
But we knew… we had to go back.
Which brings us to my last but what eventually became my first priority – Where were we going to SLEEP. Staying in that roasting house was not an option so where we were to stay became our next important priority. We sent out the call to our family and friends, while still relaxing at the shore, who would house us while we were waiting for the blessed juice to be restored, but quickly a growing anxiety set in for me….
I am a creature of habit and I am OFFICIALLY… out of my routine.
It wasn’t long before I was out of sorts and unable to focus. My amazing husband did the best he could to keep me on the rational side of the road, but I’ll admit… the irrational welcomed me in a few times. Over the next few days, going to the 9-5 was a respite for the heat, and I was grateful I had that to go to but deep in my core, I felt I was coming undone. I knew I was going out of town for a few days, had intended to knock a few self-care things off my To Do list during those four days without power, so the question of how I got my laundry done, my mani-pedi scheduled, and my NEED for a new pair of denims was high on my “figure it out” list and the topic of the spoiling groceries was something to talk about as well. I was leaving, whether I had power or not.
Day four, the day before I leave out of town for five days.
After a tip from my neighbor and multiple calls to the power company, I had a sense that I would come home to a lighted and cool-er house. Texting my husband who was texting our neighbor to give us hour by hour status of whether or now he saw a light on. Thankfully, I got the call. It was on.
I was never so excited to go home, since living in the house we live in. As I walked in, the house seemed like a stranger to me. Things were just left where they were left. The air felt STALE. Yet I moved into action. Packing and preparing for my trip. Last minute errands completed(mani/pedi drying, denim in my suitcase) in sense of obligation not pleasure. As the hours passed, and I was able to sleep in my own bed, I found myself both excited at what the next five days were to bring, and a sadness that I have to continue on, without a routine.
Almost on auto-pilot, I made my way to pick up my girlfriend as we journeyed onward to the airport.
I'm a tall drink of water. I'm a life-coach and mama. I'm here to explore what lies beneath the surface; in the deep end. The shallows are not the place for me. Hopefully, you feel the same. Come, grab a cup of tea and dig in.