Okay… well here I am. In THIS moment. Wow… let me just take a second. (deep breath in)
Whew… as I went through my day today, this moment… this feeling had been creeping up on me. I’ve been trying to deny it… but I can’t. Here I am, starting this post at 11:43pm, the day before I turn 40, and I can’t let this moment pass without documenting it of some sort.
Wow. As of 11:56am on December 31st, 2014, I will be 40.
Wow. Honestly the thoughts that have been going through my mind is… “What would my 30 year old self be surprised to know about where I am at 40?”
My 30 year old self still wasn’t feeling any sense of urgency that she had to have everything figured out. 16 yr old self knew that I would get married at 32… so at 30 I was still not in a rush to get married. I honestly think my 30 year old self would be BLOWN AWAY that I am married to Peter, 5 years now. Back when I was 30… I was NOT sure I had what it took to be married to a chef (Peter showed up late and TRASHED with a 16lb chocolate cake to my 30th birthday party), and had strong ideas of who the type of man I thought I was going to be with were *tried DESPERATELY (and in vain) to find him… and I think she her mouth would be wide open when I told her that yep…I’m Kerilyn RUSSO now. 🙂
**In hindsight, Peter is a ying to my yang. He allows me to be fully myself. In both the good and the dreadfully awful moments. For that reason… I know I am EXACTLY where I am supposed to be. I still say that my husband has saved my life.
At 30, she was already feeling the confusion that, while 3.5 years in post graduation, to having multiple jobs/lay offs, etc… and never feeling like she understood what she kept doing wrong…. would be COMPLETELY DUMBSTRUCK to find out that at 40, she’s just as fucking disenchanted when it came to her career and her financial future. The 30 year old Kerilyn would probably drop to her knees and bawl her eyes out… knowing that at 40… all her dreams of “making it”… of being successful in what she was doing (meaning that she felt like she was doing what she was meant to be doing… like bigger purpose kinda stuff) was still SO FAR AWAY FROM HER. She would be so disappointed in me to know that I am still struggling so much with this. She would NOT know what to say when I tell her that I am convinced that maybe this topic (career/purpose/money) is something I’m not learning my lesson on, because WHY GOD… haven’t I found my place yet???? She would be so surprised to know that I feel like a failure… still SO LOST.
That said…. she would not be surprised to know that I haven’t given up yet. Not at all. ONLY SHE KNOWS that it’s not in me to give up on this quest. She knows that it’s truly what she feels like she was meant to do…. BIG THINGS. *whatever that means, and would not be surprised to know that even though YES, she does in fact feel like a failure with regards to her mission… she is far from giving up.
Mark my words: I will not give up until I have no other choice but to do so. It may take me the REST OF MY LIFE… but damn it… I am NOT DONE YET.
My 30 year old self had an inkling that she would one day warm to the thought that she wanted to have a child… but would have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA just how it’s healed a part of her that she had NO idea was missing. NO idea. She would have NO idea that she really would love being a mama *okay, it has it’s moments sometime, but in general… I feel like my best self when I’m reading to my son or watching him learn something new. My 30 year old self would be in astonishment at how comfortable I feel… knowing I don’t have to have all the answers and not pretending that I do. I am DAMN PROUD that I know I don’t have to have all the answers, and that Leonardo will grow up knowing that I might not know how to fix it… but that together, we can get through anything and that I WILL one day be not just his mom but his friend too. I will find a way to do this, I vow to you my beloved.
***BONUS: If I get another chance to experience the first year (knowing what I know now) with another bebe in 2015. Fingers crossed.
My 30 year old self would be proud of how I have stepped into being vulnerable. Always feeling like the odd man out for wanting to always talk about my imperfections… my “stuff”, I think my 30 year old self would walk up to me….. look me in the eyes and say “I’m proud of you Kerilyn. Keep it up.” despite how unusual it seems to so many people.
My 30 year old self would be SO HAPPY FOR ME… like doing a HAPPY DANCE, that I found my ‘home’ in my spiritual quest. Finding and studying A Course in Miracles is really like coming home…it answers ALL the questions that my 30 year old self was wondering… and even the ones that at 40, I still have STRONG resistance in surrendering to. From the time I was 19, I had been searching for the BIG answers… and I truly feel like I have found them.
*That said: Knowing the answer and ACCEPTING it as true. LIVING the answer is a different story. I will be working the REST OF MY LIFE to reduce my resistance to accepting the answer and letting it become a part of how I live my life. Still SO MUCH RESISTANCE.
My 30 year old self would be surprised at how my body aches and malfunctions at 40. I think I saw my mother in her eternal ailments and thought that I could THINK my way past this moment. Nope. My fucking knees ache, I have a weird ganglion cyst on my wrist (common for new mamas) and I thought I somehow missed the curse of the Carincis women gallbladder removal. Nope.
That said… I’m happy to report to my 30 year old self that at 40… I STILL feel the athlete inside of me. I STILL want to run. I am determined to get back on that path this year. It’s important for me to reconnect with that part of me in my 40’s.
My 30 year old self would be BLOWN AWAY that I live in Savannah again. Like Mind.Blown. While she loved Savannah…she never actually saw herself moving back here and I think she would just say “NO! You’re kidding me! I move back to Savannah???” over and over again if I were to have coffee with her. Secretly I think she would be elated, while the 40 year old part of me still feels like there is a place (Italy/NYC) that I still am daydreaming of living before I die.
I don’t think my 30 year old self could fathom the situations around my parents and my sister. (Long story, if you don’t know… maybe you could ask me when/if we see each other next) A part of me is utterly heartbroken at knowing the sadness, confusion and denial going on at home… the vigilante 30 year old part of me wants to break into that house…. dressed in black… kidnap each one of my family, one by one.. and under a bright shining light force them to confess. Confess their fears. To say them out loud in order to, once and for ALL be free of them. That’s who I’ve been in my family…. the black sheep so it’s apropos that I’ve always envisioned myself doing this dressed in black. The little girl (way younger than 30, more like 3) just wants to go home.. crawl in my mom and dads lap and watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Years Eve. My mom making a nice celebration of me turning 40. Sadly, that vision will NEVER happen again… and I am really struggling at 40 with putting this vision to rest. I want to dedicate the next 10 years of my life to fully forgiving my parents for what I think they have “done” to me, when in reality I’ve done it only to myself. #projectionmakesperception #ACIM
I would need to be held and hold on to my 30 year old self when I tell her that our beloved Pez left us this year. Whew. Being on mama duty ALL THE TIME… I would love to revert back to the life of my 30 year old self, and lay in bed all day, crying and watching sappy love stories, definitely ‘Marley & Me” – Sadly I cannot do that and honestly don’t know if I’m properly mourning my girls loss. I still feel a bit numb about it and I don’t know if that’s normal or not. I sort of feel like I’m holding the damn closed for some undisclosed time when I can do just that… sit in bed all day with a bag of Hersheys Kisses and just cry……. for hours, missing my girl. I miss you Pez. Every day. *oh Jesus, not now.
My 30 year old self would be…. I don’t know the word…. SURPRISED/NOT SURPRISED/AMUSED/ELATED?????….. to find out that DAMN IT, I AM A GREAT WRITER!!! I think I started My High/Low emails, when I was 27…( I wrote the High and Low of my day in an email, Monday-Friday to 70+ people for YEARS…before there even was a blog.) It’s ALL stream of consciousness *like now… I’m totally in the flow and it’s an hour later than when I started this post* and LOVE writing EXCEPT when I feel like I have to. *Part of why this year I SUCK at writing posts for Married to a Chef. When it flows, damn it it flows *like now* but I can’t force it. My 40 year old self is SO EXCITED to see where this new found acknowledgment will take me the next 10 years!!!!
I think my 30 year old self would be surprised that I still struggle with FUN. It’s almost like whatever makes people have what the world calls “fun”… I never got that gene. Maybe it’s because FOR ME… what is fun is different (perhaps?) than what the rest of the world considers fun. For instance… later today, I’m going to get a pedicure, then I’m going to the movies (going to see ‘Big Eyes’) and I think Peter had made dinner plans for us. THAT IS FUN. But am I… FUN? No. I’m a pretty damn serious woman and I’ll admit I never thought I would be THIS not fun when I was 30. I’m always wanting to add more worldly defined fun to my life… but can’t seem to find a way to do it. To me fun=irresponsible. fun=frivolous fun=reckless and I’ve had plenty of moments in my life when I let my hair down in the quest of fun… only to have something really not fun happen to me. I think having Leo in my life… and wanting to be as PRESENT as I can be for him, in the moment…. is only going to bring out the side of me that wants to be more fun. The “fun” mom. I’ll be curious to talk to the 50 year old Kerilyn to see how if I can accomplish that.
I could go on but I think I’ll leave some conversations between my 30 year old self and who I am today to be discussed as I go throughout my day today. I will most likely be in a reflective mode today… this is a HUGE moment for me.
I’ve always wanted to be older. I’m not afraid or dread this moment. Honestly I’m quietly excited. I’ve made 2 out of the 3 of my dreams for my 30’s come true (start a family and move away from DC/VA (won’t lie, I’m a bit homesick for DC/VA right now and that’s okay with me) I’ve saved the biggest and the scariest for last (to always have $10,000 in the bank) – this past year has been about diving right into the fear of why I haven’t made this happen yet (read above about career/purpose/money) – This past year has been so very difficult with regards to this topic. I have had INTENSE ANXIETY about this, this past year. Like waking up at 3 am every morning, heart beating wildly…. I have been so hard on myself and on my husband this past year… all because of my OWN FEAR. I’m learning that part of the solution is something that I’ve never really done before… but is the ONLY way (for me) to achieve my goal. To TRUST. To Leap (you know, and the net will appear kind of leaping) To SURRENDER. I’ve never put my money (or my faith) where my chatty Cathy mouth is… and I have this strong suspicion that that is THEE reason why I have not yet connected with my doing BIG things yet. I’ve been too afraid to do what it takes to do so. Well I know no other way, going forward. Can not be in denial any longer.
I was telling a coach friend of mine that this past year has been like making a delicious chicken noodle soup. You put the chicken bones in the stock.. and let it simmer for hours…. all the while the fat comes to the top. You can’t really eat the fat (okay you could use it for something else, but stay with me on this visual) so you have to SKIM IT OFF. Well, to me, this past year has been about SKIMMING THE FEAR that has prevented me from achieving my goals in my career/financial future. I have had to dive right into that fear, in order to skim it off, and frankly am still in the midst of it right as I type this. Like my beloved A Course in Miracles says….
“Remember that no one is where he is by accident, and chance plays no part in God’s plan.” -M9
I feel on purpose, even in this fear. I do NOT feel like where I am is a coincidence. I do not feel alone… even when I’m scared out of my mind. (literally) I have a strong feeling I’m being led into this fear because it’s the ONLY way that I can achieve this BIG goals. Want big things.. gotta DO big things. And ha….. I have to fucking laugh… it just wouldn’t be my lifes experience… my lifes “script” as it were… if I were to get these big things the EASY way.
HA HA HA… ME? The Easy Way? No thanks. I’ll take an extra serving of “Are you fucking kidding me?”, did that just happen to me? WHAT???? as a mode of learning.
You know… I accept this way because I WANT to learn this so I can teach it to someone else. The ONLY way to teach is to really KNOW what I’m teaching. I think that’s part of the equation I find myself in right now.
So Happy 40th Birthday to me….. and Happy New Year to You.
CONTINUE (BEING BRAVE). DIVE DEEPER. HEAL YOURSELF. LIGHTEN UP. HAVE MORE FUN.
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.
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.
I want to share something with you that I’ve been devoted to, for a bit over a year now. Rub some spiritual lotion on you in an effort to share with you where I have been as of late.
I want to share with you, something that has me feeling akin to how a monk usually feels.
But first: AAAAAH!!! (Yelling out into the canyon… hearing my own voice echoing back) I miss regularly writing here. SO nice to be able to share my own views here (my own agenda, in coaching terms) – here it’s okay to be about me. Writing for business is nothing like writing for your own pleasure/release/creativity/self expression, let me tell ya.
It’s something that has me go even deeper inside myself (If that’s even possible). Another possible term for a gold miner, is how I’m feeling.
An Excavation Engineer
I feel so strongly about what I’m studying that I really did cover my book with a brown paper bag (like I’m sure you did back in school) and put “The Answer” on the front of it. (see here)
Follow me on instagram @thisdreamergirl
I really do believe this is the ANSWER to EVERY question I’ve ever had in my life.
This book (and this philosophy) is like the biggest homecoming I’ve ever had.
In it, I feel the end of my search… of why things are the way they are… what my purpose is…
what makes this world tick…etc…
I feel like a 2 month old, with regards to how new I am to practicing this in my every day life.
Actually, at my study group, I call myself a puppy because that’s the energy I feel that I bring.. excitable, with endless questions and curiosity.
*I always worry I’m getting annoying to those who have been studying this for years now. Silly ego.
I feel like I’ve arrived at my final destination with regards to that itch that resides deepest in my soul.
The thing that keeps me up at night… freaking out about money… feeling worthless and never good enough.
The answer to why there is war… why bad things happen to good people,
to why we attack our brother and even more importantly – OURSELVES.
There has always been this sadness in my life.. this, infinite HUNGER to find out why we are here and what my purpose is.
From a young age, somehow I just knew that the answers lied within.
Even the yucky stuff that I don’t want to look at.
I wanted to see.
As I got older, I felt this pulsing inside me quicken… like a stopwatch counting the seconds before reach the finish line.
This ache.. this wanderlust feeling that NEVER was truly satiated.
I would recognize bits of that longing in everyone around me… I would reach out and grab that part.. sometimes unaware that the person I was holding onto wasn’t looking for the same thing as I… in truth they were probably running from this longing and I was seen as something that got in the way.
It’s caused isolation, depression and sadness… Kinda like the poem on the front page of the website says…
“I am one of The Searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content.”
This way of thinking is SO RADICAL… SO unlike anything that religious organizations, or even new-age believers have adopted that it’s like something that YOU have to find yourself. (Like a rave, perhaps.)
It smacks the face of God being the person who “did this to us” and places the responsibility for EVERYTHING… solely in OUR OWN LAP.
I chuckle. It makes SO MUCH SENSE to me.
But so does the fact that we as bodies are fighting TOOTH AND NAIL to give in to it.
The first time I ever heard the phrase “We are not our bodies”… was in my first ever yoga class. Which wasn’t but a few years ago.
I remember that sentence standing out at me.
Thinking “Hmm…we’re not our bodies?”
Now having come from a Reincarnation/Energy/Karma/Spirit/Medium/Psychic belief at the time, I knew that we were MORE than bodies…
But to not be our bodies. That phrase stuck with me.
Then I come to find “The Course” as it’s called.
A Course in Miracles.
And I’m reminded just how accurate that phrase really is.
WE ARE NOT OUR BODIES.
No. We are everything BUT our bodies. And that is what STILL blows my mind, every day.
Quite a few years ago, my friend Cathy attempted to introduce me to The Course by introducing me to her teacher.
At the time, I wasn’t ready. The resistance was still to high in me.
But I look back and see that it would be the intended trajectory.. at some point in time (which is a topic all in itself.)
Then at the book recommendation of my Auntie, who always kept me in the loop with spiritual literature to add to my repetoire,
She gave me a book which was the precursor to The Course.
Still. I wasn’t ready. I barely got 20 pages in and I put it down.
For four years.
Then at the serendipitous experience of meeting a fellow coach who has come to be a dear friend of mine, who also recently was introduced to the book.
We began reading it together. A chapter or two a week. We would talk every Saturday morning on the phone (and still do) about what we learned.
I don’t remember when the book clicked with me.. but when it did… I dove straight in.
It literally BLEW MY MIND. (Literal in the most figurative sense, that is.)
It answered everything that I wondered about.
But with such a “THIS WILL LEAVE YOU BELIEVING THIS IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE” mentality that I still have regular resistance to it.. when what I’m reading/learning makes so much sense that I get caught up in “It CANT be this simple.”
ADD TO THAT- the fact that two brothers made a movie that SO CLOSELY resembles The Course.. it’s UNCANNY.
While it makes SO much sense… it still pulls on me.
I am in battle with it’s resistance. Even as I type this.
I am in constant training to break the resistance, and frankly, it can be quite exhausting.
I haven’t been as social or as chatty in my life, that’s where the monk feeling comes in. Closing out the outside world to “keep my head down” while I’m taking in all this.
Constantly challenging what I see, hear, feel and wish…
It’s like I’m training for the biggest race of my LIFE.
Researching for my dissertation.
Asking myself these questions that are beyond what I can even comprehend.
Can this really be true?
Is this really happening?
And then correcting the resistance that arises in me. Every time I ask.
I’m not telling you I want you to jump on board.
I’m not even telling you to do anything more than read the words that I’m typing.
I just want to share that there is a part of me – a really big part of me, actually – that is becoming the HAPPIEST and MOST PEACEFUL I’ve ever been in my life.
Not because I’ve ‘made it’ or that I’ve arrived.
Nothing outside of me has changed. I’m still the same person you know me to be.
Not even because what I’m studying comes easy to me. Let me tell you – This is NOT an easy path to take on.
Please believe me part of my practice is learning to face my own resistance to it – which at times there is nothing else.
No. It’s because I now have The Answer.
I can no longer be a victim to my experiences.
I can no longer see someone as better/worse than me.
I am learning that as I judge someone else, I’m doing the same to myself (hint: because we are the SAME)
This is about our mortal fear and WHY we feel it – no matter where we go.
No matter what we do.
There is still something missing, right?
Yea. I know. Me too.
So… As I was mentioning at the beginning of my post – For just a second, let me ask you a few RHETORICAL questions.
Note: Here is where I talk about God. (You can call God whatever you wish but I’m going to call God, God.)
You might not believe in God (that’s okay) – still see if any part of the question resonates, stirs you up, stimulates/agitates you.
You might not believe in a God persay, but in something bigger than yourself – Cool. Cool. Energy, Universe. Philbert the Flying Unicorn – All fine with me.
Even if you can’t put your finger on what you believe – just read my words and FEEL what your response is inside.
What if God had NOTHING to do with creating the world we see?
What if God did NOT create our bodies?
What if your mother/father/doggie/sister/brother/cat dying had NOTHING to do with how God has a plan for all of us.
What if God had NOTHING to do with this?
How would you feel if I told you you are NOT individual/special/ different, that there is not only ONE of you in this world?
What if you made this WHOLE world/life up to hide from the fact that you made a choice.
What if the ONLY purpose in this life is to find out who you REALLY are? What if there is a force… a something… that’s SOLE PURPOSE is to keep us from finding out that this isn’t really happening?
(Hint: It’s called EGO – Easing God Out) more like pushing if you ask me.
Now, let me say for those who love me and who haven’t talked to me in a while.
No, I haven’t joined a cult.
Noone is making me do any of this.
I haven’t tithed all my money away.
I ABSOLUTELY respect and honor if you think/believe something differently. In NO way am I saying that what I believe is right and YOU are wrong.
No way Jose.
Like I said above, I regularly have moments when I’m questioning “Is this really happening? Am I really doing this?”
I assure you I’m awake in my dreaming.
The world is evolving. I don’t know if you can feel it… if you can tell.
We are gradually shifting toward liberation.
In our work.
In our families.
And in our beliefs.
FOR ME – This is a step in that process. A step on a pathway that I believe I will be on as long as I’m still dreaming.
I will end this with the Introduction paragraph of the course (again~ Sometimes it’s BEYOND what I can comprehend) but it is where my mind is
And in that, I AM HOME.
“This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you an establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what an be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.
This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:
– Nothing real can be threatened
– Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
In this learning, I feel I no longer have to look OUT THERE for anything.
In this belief system – I AM HOME, NOW.
*Now is the time I nestle in, hunker down and study hard… until I wake up.
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.