My Life As We Know It

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puzzleI promised in an earlier post to share more about me and how it relates to the direction I’m heading.  Many of you know some things about me and a few of you may know a lot about me but most see me as one or two aspects of who I am, simply because the rest has never come up before.  I’m not one to “spill it all” right away and I’ve spent a lot of my life segmenting pieces of it to fit whatever was in front of me, worrying about being accepted and liked.  I’ve been a lot less afraid to share in the past few years and have talked about this before but, until recently, haven’t been quite sure of what my life and my business would look like when I combined everything under one umbrella which my soul had been crying out to do.  Sometimes I wondered if it was possible by my soul told me it was and to give it time.  I was assured that it would become clear one day, when the timing was right.

I have a pretty eclectic background which fits into my life-long yearning for learning, my ADD (being distracted by shiny things isn’t always bad) and I think is actually pretty cool. Here’s a few highlights of my life to give you an idea (oh, Lord, am I really sharing this??):

My childhood was probably much like yours, in varying degrees.  I won’t go into a lot of detail (thank you, Danielle LaPorte, for the honest truth about this one) but, to sum it up, I often felt like I wasn’t able to express myself.  Sometimes I was told to be quiet…sometimes I just felt it was the right thing to do.  I had things I wanted to do…to try…sometimes being able to and sometimes not because of time or lack of money or any number of other reasons.  Fairly strict upbringing with not a lot of freedom.  Chores felt like a big part of my day but I had some time to play too – work had to come first though.  Always.  Lots of things felt “off-limits.”  I had a rocky relationship with the man who raised me, a step-father around since I was very young.   Expression was a big thing to me.  I didn’t feel free to express myself most of the time and grew up craving attention and opportunities to express myself yet lacking the confidence to do so.

I spent 15 years in parks and rec where I started in a minimum wage position working an open gym and moved into creating programs, teaching and supervising staff to managing the department, all of it’s programs and rental facilities. I managed customer service, registration, advertising, donations, budgets and programs from a small program with a few to community festivals with thousands. I wrote grants, was active in our professional association (including a year as President) and generally enjoyed what I did. Oh, how I loved to see the joy on our participant’s faces and work with staff interested in growing both professionally and personally.  How I loved to plan and teach and learn and market and almost everything about it!  BUT there came a day when I no longer wanted to be told what to do by a council or commission. There came a day when the politics of it all were just too much and didn’t resonate with me at all (not that they ever did). There came a day I had to leave…to spread my wings…to be more of who I was dying to be.

I have close to 10 years now in personal growth experience and training, primarily in the holistic world. By this, I mean consciously working on being a happier and more successful person (I can’t wait to share more about what I’ve learned here).  I’ve shed a few tears (okay, more than a few) over the years as I’ve attempted to work through all my shit.  Around the same time, I realized my job was really not serving me well any more (about three years before I left), I decided I needed some tools. Better tools than I had to handle the things life was throwing at me. I needed to process some of the things from my past and begin to move forward. Enter yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, past life regression, life coaching, aura photos, chakras, intuition, Reiki, mediumship, and all kinds of other opportunities to look at life through a different lens…to be open and willing to explore…to try things on, if only for a moment, and decide what fits and what doesn’t. What started as a desire to experience a more fulfilling life, became a business for me.  I have a sizable list of certifications and have taught workshops and provided one-on-one services to many people in some of these areas. It’s all still a part of my life, just not one I share a lot when it comes to my “business”.

After leaving my job and opening a wellness center, I realized pretty quickly that running the wellness center was not at all what I wanted. I am so grateful to have gotten that out of my system early on. Many practitioners dream of having their own center and feel as though they’ll know they’ve “succeeded” when they can open those doors, only to find that most centers don’t do well, they are difficult to manage, and running one takes you away from everything you loved in the first place and requires a whole different set of skills that you may or may not have and may or may not enjoy using.

I spent a good chunk of 2008 and 2009 really exploring what worked in my life and what didn’t. I guess I’ve always done this to some degree but this time was much more intense.  I wanted to mindfully bring forward all of the good that had come from my experiences and leave behind the rest.  I analyzed everything, looking for common threads and constants going back into my childhood. This brought a lot of clarity for me and allowed me to see how everything to that point, had a purpose and there were many reasons that I enjoyed aspects of both my park and rec days as well as the holistic work I’d been doing. What I realized was that I needed to be creative, needed to have opportunities to explore how the mind works, need to have learning opportunities, wanted to support others in the areas they were asking me for support in (many common threads here). I loved art (although I’d done little), I loved to create, I loved branding, I loved technology. I loved sharing my experiences and knowledge with others.

I went back to school and got a degree in Interactive Media and Graphic Design to add to all my experience and have built a successful business in this area over the last few years. Over time I’ve added back in the teaching because this is the #1 thing that floats my boat. While there are many things I love about my business, I have still felt like something was missing. What about all the other experiences I had? What about the risks I’ve taken? What about ALL the things my heart is telling me to share?

In comes the addition to my business that I’m working on now. Closely under wraps with only a handful knowing what’s coming until now (yep, a little spoiler alert here…), I am taking all of my knowledge, skills and experiences and creating something new…more classes, a membership program with both a business and personal track, with a variety of topics to provide support along the journey that we call life. Classes,  will include past, present, and future knowledge and new ones will be added regularly. This journey is all about muddling through and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It’s about finding the courage to purge things that aren’t working and add more of what is. I’m just like you, trying to find my way. I’m willing to do the work and here’s my list of biggies:

  • Left a job after 15 years.  A job that provided good income and great benefits.  And I left as the recession was hitting. Because it was time.
  • The same weekend I left that job, my oldest daughter got married and I opened a 2,000 sq. foot wellness center.
  • Closed a business because it was draining me of everything I had inside.  No longer able to focus on what I loved, I was spending all my time on things I pretty much hated and it was very expensive. And it was time.
  • Left a marriage after 20 years.  A marriage that hadn’t worked in a long time.  And I left knowing I was self-employed (which translates into I’m never sure when my next payday is) and unsure of whether I could support myself or not.  Because it was time.
  • Left the home I’d lived in for 20 years and the city I’d lived in for 35 of my 45 years.  Because it was time.

Through it all I have felt broken at times, been broke at times and wondered if I was ever going to see the fruits of my labor but, deep in my heart, I knew I would.  I knew I just had to be patient.   At the same time, never once, have I ever looked back and regretted any of my decisions.  I would sooner lose everything I had than ever go back to working that job, being in that marriage or living in that home or city.  They all served a purpose and I am grateful for that.  Now it’s time to spread my wings and fly.

Today, I find myself on this new adventure – living in an apartment, with nature all around, in a city that is much closer to where I like to spend my time.  I have everything I need in arms reach and I’m much more content as my journey continues to unfold.  I’m as excited to see what the future holds as I am living in the moment today.  I’m ready to embrace life and all it offers and I’m looking for others who are looking to do the same.  I’m looking for women who are willing to do the work, to make the hard choices, so they can be joy-filled every day.   What are you willing to do today? Wanna join me?

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