I'm celebrating one month of wandering and being on Kauai. As I look out the window, I see vibrant sun rays filtering through the trees, a luscious green malachite mountain with clouds floating by. There is a soft island breeze that carries with it the scent of tropical flowers. Just being on this island, every cell of my body relaxes. In the evening, I’ve had a ritual to swim in Hanalei Bay while watching the sun set. With a mix of emotion, my salty tears meet that of grandma ocean and I let myself dissolve into Aloha. On one hand, I bow in gratitude for this life, for the decisions and unfolding that has brought me here to this moment and on the other, I’m in awe at the resilience of the human spirit and the amount of transformation, change and pain we can navigate. In the midst of all of it, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
With this gratitude and aloha, I feel a calling that I will no longer ignore. To share my soul, to share my story-- the high’s and the low’s, to share the question’s I’m pondering, the answers I’m finding all with the intention of healing and wholing. My calling is to help each person unfold their own myth to question their assumptions, face their fears, and own personal limitations to live a bigger life, a fuller life, a life of soul.
The pull towards soul feels like an earthquake in the midst of your life… In the western world, many are called, but few respond. Entry into the life of the soul demands a steep price.Bill Plotkin
This is where I start.
I’m living the life of a wanderer on the Hawaiian islands, surrendering to the Universe, learning Aloha every minute, living an integrated and healthy life, and seeing versus seeking. Or if you like, you could say I’m middle aged, homeless, unemployed, and soon to be divorced. Which is truer? It’s a matter of perspective and I choose the prior.
In 2013, I created a vision board for my life. As I glued each image with care, I hoped I was calling in something bigger and grander into my life. I was stepping into mystery and desire. I felt a calling to live a life where my gifts are easily given and received, where I feel connected and at one with nature, where I have a deep connection to community, and a deep and passionate love. I felt a call, to what, I didn’t know. I just knew it was something bigger than I could understand. During this time the word Priestess came to me. She sounded exotic, mysterious and wise. At the same time, she was super freaky and woo woo. Come on, Priestess. Ya right! Whatever. I was no Priestess. What does that even mean?!
As time progressed, new layers of my being began to fall into place. I can now see each as a stepping stone that got me here. As I look back now I have such gratitude for the pain, the angst, the conundrum that had me take each step.
Beauty, Grace, and Truth- the first stone
Looking back at my career in Corporate America and Organization Development there were many times I doubted myself and the work. There were countless times I said to myself, I should quit. The should was my sign that I wasn't ready. Because I shouldn't do anything, neither should you. By 2015, I was ready. I wanted to spend more time with groups and individuals facilitating and inspiring transformation. I no longer wanted to work somewhere I couldn’t grow, create, or be seen for what I could contribute. I wanted to thrive, not just survive.
During this time, a new leader joined my team and asked me to wait on making any decisions. She promised change was coming. I waited and took my sabbatical to get some space from work and dream into what I wanted. During my time off, I met with Steve Sisgold of Whole Body Intelligence for a two-day coaching intensive. As we worked together it became clear to me that my life was built on a mission to live and create beauty, grace, and truth. These values are my food and my foundation. Just like plants need sun and water; I need beauty, grace, and truth.
Fierce- the second stone
After my sabbatical, a change did come and I stepped into a dream job working on leadership development and then creating a program to bring coaching skills to all leaders. However, I continued to feel out of place at work and struggling with my identity. Frankly, I was confused.
I worked most of my career in Technology where jeans and a nice shirt, and maybe some high heels were the norm. Working in Human Resources, women were far more dressy. In Tech we would joke that you could tell what floor someone worked on by how they dressed. With the dressiest of all being the Executive Assistants to the C suite who all sat on the top floor. I didn’t fit in and I wanted to be myself.
What was my style? I felt like if I could express myself through my look I’d have more confidence and present better in my role. Through a referral, I met with Nathalie Chapron from You Shine on Stage. During my time with her, I was able to share with her what clothes I liked and what I desired in my style. Together we sorted through colors, fabrics, and clothing. I was able to learn why some things looked good on me and others didn't. For the first time in my life, I felt like a woman who had style and understood clothing and accessories.
The real change came with the style name she gave me-- The Fierce Autumn Priestess. I look best in Autumn colors, thus Autumn. Priestess.. well you know where she comes from. But, Fierce? Fierce was not me at all. Yet, it sounded right and it excited me. Something in me opened. I became the Fierce Autumn Priestess.
Soul- the third stone
The next stone that set me on this path was my introduction to soul, mystery, magic, and nature. I remember the night clearly— the heat on my skin, the earthy smell of the Sedona air, and the taste of tequila on my lips. Luke and I were sitting on the veranda of an amazing Spanish restaurant recounting the details of our Pink Jeep Vortex tour. I shared with him how I felt at each vortex, especially the last one. At the last one, my heart opened and I wept with pure joy. It was magical! We talked about magic and for the first time, I shared with another how much I wanted magic to be real. How much I longed for mystery and magic in my life.
Months later during a vacation on the big island of Hawaii, I visited a used bookstore. After swimming with the dolphins and hearing stories about the locals, I felt inspired by their connection with nature. That same spark that was lit in Sedona became rekindled. Wandering through the book store, I looked for books on magic or nature. Then I found a category labeled Shamanism. I pulled a book entitled Awakening to the Spirit World by Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman. I had to have it. I devoured the book and the word soul became embedded in my heart.
Guardian- the last stone
After I left my corporate career, I jumped right into a three-week coaching intensive so I could learn Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I'll admit it. I love learning! Next, to hanging out in a tropical paradise, any workshop where I get to learn new coaching skills and get free coaching is my idea of fun. During the workshop, the teacher would invite a student to the front of the room to demonstrate a technique. We would then pair up and practice it on our own. I was selected for the belief change exercise.
I can hear you now. "Why would you want to stand in front of a room of 20 people and talk about your dirty laundry?" I do!
I’ve witnessed time and time again when, I or others, are vulnerable in front of others and the power it has. The things we label as ugly and unlovable in ourselves, become human and beautiful. Being seen and still loved after sharing your dirty little truths, is quite powerful. OK-- Back to the story.
I still remember the visceral feeling of standing in front of the room, both nervous and excited. The resistance and fear, as I walked through each step. The last step, creating a new empowering belief. I swear time stopped as I felt into a new belief. I had an image of white wings protecting an agate egg. I looked around the room and saw that each person had their own egg. The eggs were our soul's dreams. Then I said aloud-- I am a guardian. I am a guardian of my soul's dreams. I am a guardian of yours.
Stone by stone, pieces of my experience laid a path. I heard the call. The call to live a life of soul. As Bill Plotkin mentions, the life of soul comes at a steep price and I would pay the price. The cost: safety, security, smallness, and plans that aren’t true. A question presented itself to me.
This or my life?
In the last two years, one by one, things that I valued and held onto were put before me. An image of Maat and the Heart Weighing Ceremony is vivid in my mind. My independence, my dream job, my health, my corporate ego and status, my physical strength, my marriage and love, my home, and the many ways of being that kept me safe. Each time, this or my life?
I choose to believe in a life bigger than I can dream. I choose to step into my fear and to look at the raw, honest and sometimes ugly truth of who I am. In turn; I gain freedom, compassion, and aloha. Each time my life has blossomed and I've gained my life back in a richer and more real way.
I choose to share this with you. The full raw realities of the mundane and the imaginal of life. My hope is that by sharing my story, my exploration and my wholing that it will provide you healing and inspiration on your own journey.
Will you choose your life?