& Meditation Improv Artist
You know how, ever since Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love, the standard fare for an upper middle class white woman’s midlife crisis has been some variation on Bali?
In my case, not so much…But then again, I have been non-standard my whole life. It started with needing extra narrow shoes at the age of about 5.
What can I say?
While others were eating, praying and loving, I went off to the mountainous highlands of Chiapas, Mexico in search of a group of indigenous rebels I believed held the answers to my unhappiness and the road map to a better life. The moment I set foot inside rebel territory, life as I knew it came to an end.
What I found in those far away Mexican lands wasn't a revolution I could join or my long lost tribal community. (I'm no Che Guevara and this is not some New Age fairy tale.) It was a group of ordinary people who had come to terms with their suffering and managed to take back their self definition from over 500 years of oppression one grueling step at a time.
This encounter unexpectedly and rather violently opened a door into the snaking labyrinth of my own long-buried trauma. Truth be told, that door had been rattling for a long time. But this experience tore it right off the damn hinges.
There was no going back.
So stirring was the example provided by the Zapatista rebels, and so compelling was my experience of suffering and hope in the rugged mountains of Chiapas, that my legendary, long standing composure broke.
I spent less than one week in San Cristóbal de las Casas (where I later lived for just shy of 5 years) and only one hour with the rebels. It was enough.
When I returned to the United States, I began the ragged descent into a complete emotional collapse. My past came pouring into my present with uncommon force. Before it was over, the tsunami of grief and buried tears had taken everything: my career (as a successful, highly paid tax lawyer), my role as the primary caregiver for my then 12-year-old daughter, my home, my security and just about everything else that wasn’t nailed to my physical body.
Or I suppose you could say, my passion took those things because it was my passion I was yearning to fulfill and it was my zest for life that I was aching to reclaim! One afternoon, I performed a cord cutting ritual to cut myself loose from everything that was inconsistent with the fulfillment of my dreams.
The most jarring thing about the whole experience was the way it ripped apart my sense that I could rely on myself to weather every storm and just keep right on keeping on. I lost the only security I had ever been able to cobble together. By the time the dust settled, the myth of my unyielding competence had been shredded and burned. Nothing but the ashes of who I had been remained.
And then some lady came by with a broom and a dust pan and swept even those last remnants away.
So there I stood, alone and stripped bare-ass naked but for a thin case of irrational exuberance about what the future might hold.
It didn’t take long for that to wear off! But it lasted long enough to get me settled in Chiapas where, whether I wanted to or not, I began crawling through that long-avoided labyrinth of pain in earnest.
In the years that followed, I had to gnaw my way through some bitter rinds. Harsh as they were, when I finally chewed through them, it was ambrosia they offered up, albeit in halting dribbles.
Inherent in my fall was my rise.
And It. Took. A Long. Long. Time.
In some ways, I am still chewing the outer edge of the bitter fruit. Yet I can’t tell the difference between the hard, acrid exterior and the aromatic nectar that so often flows.
At the crossroads between tragedy and the hope that always seems to dawn (despite tragedy's best efforts), I have found the kind of magnificence that is as complete in the middle of the mayhem as it is in the heart of the merriment.
I have found my Passion Path®. It doesn’t look a thing like I imagined it would. But it’s mine and I am on fire for it.
Which brings me to why I do what I do:
I know that the all stars are born when an unexpected disturbance upsets the debris already floating in the darkness of space.
Therefore, I also know that no matter how painful it is to sit in the rubble of your past, you are both the darkness and the bright light yearning to be born.
I ache to see you burn!
- Gain clarity about where you are
- Find out what is keeping you stuck
- Discover where you want to be
- Learn how you can close the gap between the life you have and the one you want
- Create a clear and effective strategy for creating a life you are on fire to live
- Snag your chance to apply for The Passion Path® Program.
Not quite ready for a face-to-face?