For the last handful of years, I had really been feeling as though I would never be able to truly make a difference in the care of our planet or in helping people find happiness through my work. The environment was still a deep connection for me, along with empowering and caring for people, but somehow the organizations I chose for jobs, unexpectedly, didn't leave me feeling like I was impacting either of these areas in my work. The world has been feeling very complex to me these days- and I became uncertain about whether my education and training could have a measurable impact in the 21st Century. I was also tired of living to survive, pay check to paycheck, doing work that was stressful and disconnected from my heart. I knew something had to change.
Serendipitously, my longest and deepest relationship came crashing down at about the same time as the overwhelming feeling of being chained to a professional career that that didn't feel good, and that I couldn't "leave at the office" at the end of my workdays. I suddenly felt like lightening had cracked me in half; anxiety came screeching into my life out of nowhere, and my tears started flowing like waterfalls.
After a brief attempt at healing from the pain via talk therapy and anti-anxiety meds (I did not want to be on meds), I "put on my brave" and attended a local Women Within weekend retreat, which became a vulnerable and empowering start to my healing process. The Universe (and a common love of nature) connected me with one of the owners of a New York state intensive nature-based coaching business, Sagefire Institute, and I discovered "sit spot" or nature mindfulness, which was the next keystone step in what I now recognize as my "unfolding" (MUCH more on this another day, as it is now one of my favorite life coaching offerings).
After 25 years of making monthly school loan payments (instead of taking "real" vacations), I signed up to attend Sagefire Institute's Puerto Rico Nature Retreat. I knew it was critical to my happiness to allow myself to go on the retreat. Luckily it was affordable, and I'm a wiz at bargain shopping, so I paid for the adventure, plus several additional hostel/Air BnB nights.
Every second there was magical...starting with a direct 3 hour only flight, and a discount car rental that was an orange Fiat! (Orange=joy!) The island was everything I had imagined and more...my route was coastal and food based, exploring the road side food stands and markets, and nature areas along the way. The hotel was incredible, and the retreat...magical.
One really important thing about life coaches, is that in their eyes (and mine), everyone is a beautiful human. NOT ONCE in that retreat or in my encounters with life coaches since, did I feel broken. I felt accepted, cared for, equal, and kind of... loved. I learned new ways of engaging my heart and soul under palm trees at the edge of the surf, footsteps from our hotel. It was there that I realized that if I joined the tribe that helps people fulfill their own basic needs- if people feel strong enough, healthy enough, connected enough and even joyful, so many more people would feel happy and whole, and the earth would be healthy. We would all be listening to our hearts and souls for guidance rather than fears, and our hearts and souls would never steer us to act in a truly destructive way.
That was the first step. There have been 100s of beautiful turtle steps since April 2016, as I learned to navigate the world from a place where emotions are natural and important, where my voice counts, where I can finally stand back and see the stories and fears that my past and my mind had mastered, that fed a path of lack. Being the calm observer to one's own thoughts, emotions and behaviors has been an instrumental step towards my own peace and joy.