Transformational Books

I have loved to read since I figured out how at the ripe old age of three. Reading opened a whole world for me – a world of information, a world of hope. Books brought with them whole worlds that were so different from my own life. Books let me know at a young age that there were families out there that didn’t hurt children, with parents who were loving to each other. Through out my life books have opened whole new worlds to me. Today I want to share ten (plus one!) books that have been transformational for me – transforming my parenting, my career, my relationships, my life. These books have brought tears and understanding, hope and grief. Each one deeply touched me, I would love to know how they impact you. (Full disclosure – the links to the books are my Amazon Affiliate links. Thank you for supporting me on my journey).

1. And I Don’t Want to Live This Life: A Mother’s Story of Her Daughter’s Murder by Deborah Spungen. The first time I read this book I was 14 or 15. While I don’t remember much about the details anymore or my reaction to Nancy’s mom’s view of events, I have always remembered the poem written by her uncle for her funeral. It was my mantra to get through the very painful years of my teens and early twenties. The poem let me hold on to the hope that someday I would reconcile with my mother and have a loving, accepting relationship (we did shortly before she died). Now that I have a child of my own, I still hold on to the poem as a reminder that while my daughter is from me, she is not me and to step back and let her life be her own. (The poem itself can be read here).

2. The Prophet by Kahil Gibran. I was a teenager the first time I read this book too, and it has stuck with me for over 25 years. I refer to it for solace and as another gentle reminder to not try to mold my daughter into who I may want her to be and to allow her to grow into her own beautiful self.

3. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. My mom gave me this book for my first birthday and it encouraged my individuality from that day forward. I know by today’s standards the book is a bit on the cheesy side, however it gave me solace knowing that my mom wanted me to be my own person from a young age, even if when that manifested in later years she may not have been so accepting.

4. 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage by John M. Gottman, PhD and Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD. When my marriage was falling apart after the birth of our daughter (and continued to free fall for two plus years), this book gave both Nick and I hope for our marriage. We would come back it again and again, do one or another of the exercises together and have real connection. Although those times were the hardest of our marriage to date, even though divorce was threatened daily by both of us, I really believe this book helped us remember why we chose each other in the first place and is a large part of why we are still together today.

5. Maternal Desire: On Children, Love and the Inner Life by Daphne de Marneffe. I read this book just after I had made the decision to walk away from my career. I sobbed through the whole book, feeling as if finally, someone was saying what my heart had been screaming about my call to motherhood. I love this book, it erased shame and spoke my heart.

6. Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld, PhD and Gabor Mate, MD. This book not only was the main reason I decided to agree with Nick regarding homeschooling our daughter, it also initiated my internal realization of being called to become a marriage and family therapist. While the tone of the book can be a little heavy-handed at times (after further study at the Neufeld Institute I learned that the tone was more the editor than Dr. Neufeld), it contains valuable information regarding how to attain and maintain an attachment based relationship with your child as they grow. It is amazing.

7. The Big Book of Unschooling by Sandra Dodd. This book solidified my decision for our family to unschool. I still randomly open it when I’m feeling overwhelmed with whatever parenting thing is going on in the moment and magically exactly the right words will appear to help me reset myself and be the parent I want to be. I really think every parent should read this book, whether you intend to unschool or not – it is filled with amazing parenting insight.

8. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW. This  book touched those parts of me that were scared of the new uncharted course I was embarking on (unschooling, career change) and really helped me get in touch with my soul and what I have been called to do. This book also helped me to start the process of letting go of a LOT of shame and self blame for a lot of the pain I experienced throughout my life.

9. In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness by Peter A. Levine, PhD. This is the book that started me on the path to finding the interconnection of trauma with physical, mental and spiritual health. Levine explains trauma and trauma treatment from a somatic (body) perspective. This book (and the course I took that required its reading) helped me further define the work I want to do and how I want to help others on their healing path. It also has some great exercises that you can do at home to help with starting your own healing journey.

10. The Unsayable: The Hidden Language of Trauma by Annie G. Rogers, PhD. Yet another book that brought me to tears. Rogers discusses how language itself can be traumatizing. She shares both autobiographical and client stories while explaining Lacan’s theory of trauma transference through language. It is both heart-wrenching and fascinating to read.

And because I can’t leave this book off the list…

11. The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks. This book is an autobiography by a fully functioning schizophrenic. Reading her life experiences, both what it is like inside her head as a schizophrenic as well as the experiences she has at the hands of others because of her diagnosis has had a huge impact on me that I still cannot articulate. Not only has it given me greater empathy for those with chronic mental illnesses, it opened my eyes to the cruelty of the mental health system within the United States.

There they are. Eleven books that have shaped who I am in this moment. I would love to  know what books have impacted you deeply in your life.

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Loving Home

There are times when I think I’m finally getting it – you know, how to live a beautiful, relatively low-stress life filled with joy and love.  I love these times, because it is during these moments or hours or days that the universe sends me a  message along a particular theme that I definitely have not figured out. Messages about a piece of life that is negative, that brings me sadness, that dampens the joy of my beautiful life.

This week the message was about home. I read a post from and it hit me like a thunderbolt.

We moved into our home two years ago this month. We chose our home for several reasons, but the biggest selling point to us was the creek in the back yard. Oh, how we love our little creek and it’s tiny wooded area. We don’t visit it often enough, and when we do… it’s like magic.

Other than the creek, I haven’t had a single nice thing to say about our home since we moved in. I’ve often complained about how it doesn’t get enough light. How our basement is like a freezer year round. How having three floors and no central family space makes me insane. The kitchen is too small and so is the living room. There’s too much space and it’s not laid out well. On and on my list of complaints goes.

The thought that hit me after reading Cassia’s post, is how I don’t love our home. Meaning, I don’t give love to our home, I don’t care for it, I don’t nurture it. I put more and more negativity into it and the piles of mess and chaos continued to grow and my negativity grew with them.

How terribly sad it is to me, the negative energy I have put into the space that shelters us from the heat and cold; that provides the appliances to cook our food and clean our clothes; that gives us the opportunities to shower and bathe. The space where our joy of being together is born, where it is nurtured by each of us.

How can our joy as a family be nurtured fully in a space that I hate? How can the feeling of love and peace be overflowing when all I can do is complain about how the space we are in is all wrong? What would happen if I gave our home the same tender loving care that I give to cooking our meals, to helping my daughter drift off to sleep, to making sure my husband has clean clothes? How much would our joy as a family increase if I turned this negativity I have for our home into a love and awe of its beauty?

I’m on a mission now. A mission to love our home. A mission to give love to our home. A mission to create a space of healing, love and growth for every person who walks in the door, and most importantly for the three of us who live here.

I started yesterday. My daughter and I unpacked two boxes from the garage (remember, we’ve been here two years, still have boxes in the garage to unpack), found homes for several of the items and some of them were put into a bag to be donated. I polished some of the silver (!!!!!) – namely the silver hand mirror in our middle floor bathroom and the small candelabra that lives in our dining room (I used the aluminum foil and baking soda method). I rearranged the living room so I actually like the space (and both Nick and our daughter also commented how much better the space is now). I hung up some more art and took down some pieces that were inherited, that I never really liked but felt I had to keep for some reason (those pieces are also going to donation). Today I hung up another string of twinkle lights to give the space more light and warmth.

I gave love to two rooms in our home and it has given me peace and comfort in return. I will continue to give love a space at a time, clearing away clutter, unpacking our possessions, hanging up our art, arranging the space so it feels like it’s ours. Because it is ours, and we should love it as a reflection of ourselves.

I will give love to the space that has kept us warm in winter and cool in summer. I will give love to the space that allows our joy and beautiful life to blossom. As I would give love to any other part of our life that nourishes us, I will give love to the space that is our home. 

The (recently) polished hand mirror and a new candle in one of our bathrooms.

Posted in Family, healing, Home, Joy, Peace, Sparkle, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Seeing abundance

I’ve enjoyed the last week, returning to my life of abundance, returning to gratitude, returning to knowing in my soul I am on the path I am meant to be on. It hasn’t been easy. There are questions still around our finances, the multiple medical bills from my surgery and treatments, the holidays fast approaching. It all can crash down upon me if I let it and I can start to slip and spin into that familiar sense of lack, that familiar fear.

Yesterday, at breakfast, my girl stood next to me, looking through a toy catalog, pointing out every thing she wanted (which was pretty much every thing in the catalog!). I felt myself tense, become angry. Doesn’t she understand she can’t have everything she wants? Doesn’t she understand we are poor and can’t afford any of these things she wants? The guilt also came in, which fed the anger – if only I’d stayed in my full-time position years ago, we wouldn’t be where we are today. If only I’d done this or that or the other thing.

I felt all this negativity through my whole body. I started getting snappy with my daughter “that’s too expensive,” “you don’t need that” instead of enjoying the beauty of watching a little girl’s world expand and seeing all the amazing things that are in it, that she wants to be a part of.

I had no patience for any of it.

I took a deep breath and the tears came. She asked me what was wrong and I sobbed. I sobbed how we don’t have any money for presents this year (but not to worry, she would get presents), that mommy and daddy won’t be exchanging gifts this year. I cried tears, but didn’t share the thoughts, of not knowing if we will have a special Christmas dinner or if it will be simple, unremarkable.

My daughter’s reaction took my breath away. As I’m in the midst of a breakdown about how our Christmas isn’t going to be anything like in years past, she says matter-of-factly: “Mama, we can just make presents for each other this year”.

Her wisdom is truly beyond her five and a half years.

A week ago she and I had this conversation while folding laundry:

Her: Mama I want a peace sign toy.
Me: You mean like a pillow shaped like a peace sign?
Her: Yeah. I want you to make it mama.
Me: I think I could do that.
Her: Really? You could sew that mama? I want it as my Christmas present from you.
Me: I can absolutely make that happen.

I remembered this conversation when she said we could just make each other presents. I breathed in the beauty and truth of my daughter. I breathed in the beauty and truth of knowing that as long as we have each other, everything will be amazing.

I still felt sad, however. I love shopping for gifts, wrapping gifts, having a thousand gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. We went upstairs and I looked in her room. I again breathed in the truth of our abundance. Her room is overflowing with toys. Don’t I often complain that she has too much and need to get rid of somethings because we just don’t have space for it all? Breathing in the truth and beauty of knowing we have all we need and more.

We went into the master bedroom and I started to fold the clean laundry that had piled up over the week. So many clothes. Hers. Mine. Nick’s. I again breathed in the beauty and truth of our abundance.

The day continued like this, where I would start to feel sadness because our holidays will be different from years past and then breathing in how yes, they will be different – we have a peace and joy in our home now that we didn’t have even a year ago. We have each other. We have all become so much closer and there is so much love in our home. I wouldn’t trade the feeling of our home for any material goods.

Nick had to go to work for an hour today (his day off) and so I took a break from studying and working on my business and spent time with our girl. We pulled out two boxes from the garage and unpacked them (this month marks two years of being in our home, and we still have boxes to unpack). The boxes were marked “knick-knacks” and they were all the little statues and figurines that I haven’t wanted to find a home for. Today felt like a good time to share them all with my daughter, plus I was looking for a Mary statue for my altar.

I saw our abundance again. Heirloom figurines from mine and Nick’s childhoods. Gifts from my mom. Pieces of each of us that have been hidden away for two years. There is a small bag of these that are going to Goodwill, because tastes have changed, the realization made that our deceased family members do not inhabit their things left behind, they inhabit our hearts and souls.

I went back out to grab a third box to go through and saw a doll carrying case that was my mom’s. My daughter came out as I was grabbing it to bring in and my eyes lit up  and I told her I found something for her.

We went in and opened it up – it was filled with Barbie clothes and accessories, circa the mid-1950s. There were Barbie plates and a tea set, shoes and clothes (most of them made by my grandma). She was so filled with joy. New (to her) accessories for her Barbies. She ran up to her room, grabbed her Barbie beach house and some dolls and came down to start to play.

I breathe in the beauty of these moments. The truth of these moments, knowing truly and deeply we have more than enough. We will be more than fine. We have each other, and that is all that matters.

I’m thankful for my dark moments, when all I see is the sadness, the perceived lack. Without those dark moments I couldn’t appreciate the beauty of all we have. The peace, sparkle and joy that truly fills our home, our life. Without those moments of doubt I couldn’t become more firm in my faith and belief of my path. Without those tears I can’t cleanse and heal the pain of the hurt little girl inside me. Without the darkness, we can not appreciate the light.

Posted in healing, Joy, Mamahood, Sense of Abundance, Sense of lack, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Healing Repair

For my birthday this year I asked that we simply spend the day together as a family – go to a movie and out to eat. The choices for movies were somewhat limited as I wanted our 5+ year old daughter to join in the fun. It was between Frankenweenie and Brave. I chose Frankenweenie.

A bit of a spoiler alert here: in the film a young boy brings his dead dog back to life. Logic follows that before the boy can bring the dog back to life, the dog actually has to die. And it does, in the first ten minutes of the film.

From the moment the dog dies through the end of the film our daughter begged to leave. She didn’t want to watch this. It was too much for her. Nick and I thought for sure the film would lighten up and it would be fun and she’d enjoy it. It didn’t. We forced our little girl to sit through the film to the very end. She curled up on my lap and hid her face for the last half of the film, sobbing that she wanted to leave. I’m not sure why I didn’t just say, let’s go. I was stuck in lack, for certain. We’d just paid a lot of money to get into the theater and a bunch more money on junk food. It was my special day, damn it. I wanted the day to be about memy needs, my wants. And I honestly thought the film would get lighter and she’d enjoy it.

I didn’t listen to the needs of my girl.

She couldn’t get to sleep for the next several nights, and was up until midnight or 1am, fighting sleep, terrified of nightmares. The nightlight came back on in her room. She asked us why we didn’t listen to her, why I didn’t listen to her, why we didn’t leave. More traumatizing than the film itself was the fact that we, that I, didn’t listen to her, didn’t hear her, didn’t take care of her. We apologized, I apologized. We explained we thought it would get to be more fun. We told her we should have listened to her, regardless. We made a mistake. We were deeply sorry for our mistake and we would do better next time. Mama would do better next time.

As these things work, there always is a next time. It’s the beauty of life: you always have a chance to do better, to make a different choice, to repair, to heal.

Today on a hike with some fellow unschoolers we saw salmon spawning in the stream. It was fun to watch and the kids were intrigued. At one stop along the way there was a large, headless, salmon. The kids looked at it and my daughter asked how it died. We said maybe a raccoon got it, or maybe it was just old and died. She apparently thought about this for a few hours, because on the way home, she started crying about the salmon.

She was so sad that she didn’t get to say good-bye to it. She was deeply feeling that the fish died alone, and that was the saddest feeling in the world to her. She didn’t want the fish to be alone. She wanted it to be remembered.

I told her we could go back to the park tomorrow to say good-bye. She then said we needed to have a marker, so we would always know where the salmon died. As the evening progressed we have decided to decorate a rock that we will take to the bridge where we saw the salmon. A marker. We will mark the bridge too in someway so that if the rock gets lost we will still know.

She was overwhelmed with the sadness for the fish of dying alone. It was beautiful to witness. It was beautiful to feel. It was beautiful to listen to my girl.

It was beautiful to give her the gift of listening, of honoring her deeply sensitive soul. It was amazing to let her feel and in those moments, feel myself, the profound sadness of death.

I am deeply feeling like my girl is. I was at her young age crying about the death of a ladybug. I remember being told “It’s just a bug. Nothing to be upset about” in a mocking, insensitive way. The adults didn’t understand me. I’ve hidden my sensitivity for a long time. I’ve been ashamed of it. Scared by it. Put up walls and hid.

I honored my girl today. By honoring her, I honored myself. By letting her express her deep sadness, her deep profound feeling, I healed the little girl in me who was mocked. I cried with my girl today about the death of the salmon. About the sadness of dying alone. We talked about heaven and how that fish can feel the love she’s sending out to it. It knows.

I had the opportunity to repair my relationship with my daughter today. I had the opportunity to repair my relationship with myself. I seized it. Thankfully, I seized it.

Us together today… Repairing, healing

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Coming back to our beautiful life has been so wonderful. Leaving that sense of lack behind and realizing, deeply in every fiber of my being, how much we have, how blessed my family is – it’s truly leaving me filled with awe at it all.

Before, up until about three weeks ago, we had such beautiful rituals at the beginning and end of days. The middle – well the middle was always a mish-mash of fun chaos and not-fun-chaos, of laughter, tears, arguments, playing, seeing friends or staying home. But the bookend of our days… they were filled with peace (and sometimes chaos), love, and deeply felt joy for each other.

The end of the day involves our bedtime routine. There can be chaos leading up to actually getting snuggled into bed. Our daughter hates brushing her teeth and half the time there is a small battle around this. We always pick up her room together and that can be extremely frustrating depending on how tired I am. She can drag out picking out books and lovies. Then, when she’s ready to settle in, on the nights that I get to “do bedtime” with her, she’ll throw her whole body around her papa and give him a huge hug and kisses. He’ll tuck us both in. I read her her stories. As I’m reading to her we both settle into each other. We find our calm, our peace, our joy. I feel my whole body relax and sense hers do the same. We are separate and one in this time. I close the last book, and set it down on her nightstand, and before I turn off the light, I hold her and listen.

She tells me of her day. Even though typically I spend all day every day with her, although I know what she’s been doing just about every minute, this is the time I get to the learn the deep truths of her experiences. She’ll tell me how during a playdate a friend was mean to her and how much it hurt her. She’ll cry. I’ll listen. Sometimes I offer “wisdom”, but mostly I just try to be there, to let her be heard, to let her feel. Sometimes she’ll tell me how great some part of the day was, like getting to eat the batter off both beaters when we made pumpkin bread or she’ll be full of the sillies and want to tell me jokes and laugh and laugh and laugh. It’s our deep time of connection, and in those moments I know. I know that I am loved, I am appreciated, I am needed.

I know in those moments that my daughter is grateful to have me as her mama. I know she appreciates the little things I may do during the day, that I think go unnoticed. I know how much she loves me and how much I can unintentionally hurt her. I have the beautiful opportunity to repair, to be, to heal.

The irony is there was a time when I hated doing bedtime. If I’m quiet and honest with myself it’s because the deep connection terrified me. It was too real. Too intense. To feel so loved by another person can be overwhelming. It goes against the grain of a lifetime of being told how worthless you are, how you don’t matter.

I’m not sure when it shifted for me, when I started loving bedtime, when I was ready to accept the beautiful gifts my daughter had to offer. It’s been gradual over the last several years. I love getting to do bedtime now and it’s what I missed most the last three weeks when I had to go to bed before her because I was waking up so early to go to work. During that time I only did bedtime twice a week.

Last Friday, my night for bedtime since I didn’t have to work Saturday, my daughter’s deepest sadness was that she missed me.

She said this in the quietest voice. Tears immediately started streaming down my cheeks. I missed her too. I missed our moments so much.

We have them back now.

Sometimes the price of groceries is so much greater than the cash we pay for them.

My heart.

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Gratitude and Blessings

I’ve been stuck in a sense of lack for over a month. I’ve been cranky to just about everyone in my path. My heart has not been soft or open or warm – it’s been hard, closed and cold. I haven’t really connected with my husband or my daughter. Heck, I haven’t connected to myself.

I’ve been stuck in the sense of lack and in fear. I’ve let the terror of my childhood rear its ugly head and convince me that I am the only one who can keep me safe, I am the only one who can provide for me, it is all up to me to keep everything in balance.

What a load of crap. I listened to it and believed it. I continued to shrivel up and believe it more and as I became more miserable, so did those around me.

I figured it out though. Well I figured out that I was lying to myself if I thought  I had no one else who could help keep me safe, who could provide for me, who could help me keep in balance.

I’ve recently been introduced to the idea of blessings. Sending out some love and appreciation to those who inspire me, those who provide for me, those who keep me safe and sane. Sometimes those blessings go to strangers, sometimes they go to people very close and sometimes to those who are somewhere in between. We are all connected. We all influence each other, in positive or negative ways, every moment of every day. What we put out there, we do indeed get back.  If we wholly, honestly and deeply give love, we will receive it, if we are open to it. It is brave to give love and blessings, it puts us in a very vulnerable place to let others know how important they are to us, to share the beauty we see in them. Yet brave we must be.

Inspired by a mentor and a best friend (two different people by the way) I’ve decided to send out blessings every day. They will go out in different ways to different people, some quietly, some loudly. I’ve sent out a few blessings already today and it is amazing how I have almost immediately been blessed in return, from different places. Now I’m going to send out some blessing here, to introduce you to the amazing people I am blessed to have in my life.

1. My husband. He doesn’t have a website anymore, so you can’t “meet” him. Trust me when I say this man has saved my life in more ways than I can ever count. The love he gives me, even when I’m at my worst, is beautiful and true and pure. I am so blessed to have him by my side, as my companion and my champion. He keeps me safe, he provides for our family. He makes my heart sing in ways I never knew possible.

2. One of my daughter’s godmothers, Michelle Smith-Lewis. She’s truly been the big sister I didn’t have. I love her and I love that I can go months without calling her or talking to her and when I need her to suddenly come with to a doctor’s appointment because Nick can’t, she drops everything and is there by my side. She literally knows me inside and out (she’s seen my liver!) and I am so grateful for  her. (Also, she’s a rock-star photographer, and I have amazing family photos – including our daughter’s birth – as well as other photographic art pieces by her around our home to prove it.)

3. My partner in radical unschooling crime, Chessa. I thank the heavens for the day I decided to host a preschool playgroup for our local homeschool community and she walked into my home. She’s one of those people who just gets me, who I don’t have to explain myself to, who knows where I’m coming from. She gently guides me to look deeper into myself and think about my actions and impact in and on the world. She is amazing and beautiful and multi-faceted and dear gosh, am I blessed to have her by my side. (Also, she’s taught me the importance of dance parties to change the mood of a moment or the day. Seriously. Dance parties rock!!)

4. Chessa introduced me to the truly amazing Hanna Marcotti. I have to be honest and say that when Chessa first started telling me at Hanna I was more than skeptical. Plus, you know, life coaching? Really? I’m in school to be a therapist. Dear gods in the heavens, was I ever wrong!! I’m still on my path, and I see the value of this other path, and specifically in Hannah herself – she brings magic to the world. I mean this from my deepest being. I participated in her Spirits of Joy program last month and it was transformational!!! I’m now in her Community Grace program and after just four days I can again say – transformational!!!

5. Hannah quietly inspired me to acknowledge what I truly want for me and for my new business (more about that new business later). I want to be appreciated. I want to know that what I do matters. It’s amazing how when I admitted that to myself, all of a sudden I felt appreciated by a stranger. I have such gratitude for this woman and she needs to be mentioned here: Carolan Deacon. Carolan left a comment on a post of mine today that brought me to tears, in such a very good way. I read her comment just moments after I had made the decision to definitely quit my job this morning. I had been telling my husband how I hoped that my work would make a difference in the world, that others would appreciate me, my writing, the courses I hope to offer. And Carolan’s comment comes through my email and I just cried. Ask and you shall receive. (Carolan is also an AMAZING singer, you should really check her out!!)

I am grateful for so many people. This is a small list for today. These are a handful of the blessings I will give out today. Other blessing will be quieter. Some will be loud. I am so truly blessed by every single person in my life.

My life is so filled with abundance and light. I’m so glad I am back in this place and can see how truly blessed I am. I’m grateful for the last month of sense of lack. It was a good reminder of how dark life can be when we let the fear take over. A good reminder of how beautiful life can be when we are brave.

Me smiling blessings to you. ❤

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Choose Abundance

Find a new way. A better way. Your way. The unknown, uncharted path through this wild new world that allows you – yourself in your uniqueness – to reclaim the full measure of your true nature.

– Martha Beck

The above quote has been sitting around in my head for weeks now. It’s been reinforced the last few days in some work I have been doing around a business idea I have. To be myself. To be true to me. To not pretend or try to be any one else. To lose the safety nets and risk entering the unknown.

To dare to be true to my soul.

Scary shit. Seriously.

When my husband and I made the decision for me to walk away from my successful career to save my sanity, to save our marriage, to save my life, we didn’t know what the future held for us beyond financial ruin. Still, I took the relatively safe route, and I didn’t just walk away from my career and firm, I stepped into a different role, a part-time role, where I was still making enough money for us to be comfortable. We had to make some sacrifices, some of them huge, and still, we lived comfortably.

I needed that time to rest. To figure out what my soul was calling me to do. To hear her tiny whispers of what I’ve known since I was 14.

I couldn’t figure it out though. I couldn’t figure out how I would go back to school, work, unschool our daughter all at once. I couldn’t see beyond our comfort level. I was terrified of that giant of a leap.  I knew what my soul is called to do, and I was still not letting her do it.

The choice was taken away from me a little over a year after I went part-time. I was laid off. When I left the office that day, after I had packed up all my things, I drove away and I suddenly couldn’t breathe. I literally felt like the wind had been knocked out of me, like I had just been slammed in the chest and stomach. I was gasping, tears streaming down my face as I drove away from comfort and what I knew into the unknown.

Within a couple months of the lay-off I was accepted into the graduate program of my choice, ready to start the following fall. My soul was singing. We could get by on my unemployment, pay for school with my cashed out stock options and 401k. All was good.

Until my unemployment benefits ran out and we had a $3000+ mechanic bill to pay that ate up all our savings, the 401k and stock spent on tuition and books and some luxuries.

I had promised myself when I recovered emotionally from the lay-off that I wasn’t going to work in another job that didn’t make my heart sing.

I broke that promise. My soul is withering with the pain of that broken promise. I’m exhausted to my bones, not having the energy to focus on school or my business plan or my daughter or my husband. I cry most every day because I find no joy in my work. It’s little solace that it is buying us groceries.

A few days ago my husband told me to quit my job. I’ve only been working at it for three weeks. I tell myself it will get better. I’ll find a groove. I’ll find the joy in knowing I’m providing for my family. I told him no, I wouldn’t quit.

My soul cried out that day. I told her to grow up and deal with reality and that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.

Wait. What? Our life as unschoolers has been all about doing what makes us joyful. About understanding we have choices. Understanding every decision we make, every single thing we do is a choice. We don’t have to do a damn thing.

As these things go, the decision has been taken out of my hands again, partially. My husband received a promotion which means a shift change which means, probably, I won’t be able to go to my job anyhow. At least not five days a week like I have been.

What I realized today however is the importance of making the choice myself. The importance of not waiting to see what my husband’s shift will be to see if I can make this job work. I need to stop and say, I choose faith.

I choose faith in the universe. I choose faith that I am on the right path. I choose faith knowing we have everything we need, as long as we have each other.

Choosing faith is scary as hell.

I’m not good with unknowns. I’m not good without plans. I start to panic and get scared and lash out and push everyone away. I need safety nets and security. Or at least, I think I do.

What I need is to trust my husband. To know that he can provide for us. To know that he loves me and believes in me. Believes in us.

What I need is to trust the Universe. To know we, my little family, will make it through. To know yes, times may be tough financially now, but dear God, look at the beautiful life we have together. To move out of this sense of lack I’ve found myself in again and back into the sense of abundance we’ve felt for the last couple years. 

We haven’t had our beautiful life for three weeks. We’ve had misery because I’ve been miserable and making everyone around me miserable too.

I appreciate the Universe stepping in and forcing my hand on this one. Thank you, and I’ve got this. I know what I have to do. And I don’t  have to do it. I choose to.

I choose to listen to my soul. I choose to let my heart sing. I choose our beautiful life. I choose not to let fear destroy what we have fought so hard for.

I cannot control everything. Life happens. Horrible things like cancer happen. Families fall to pieces every single day. People let their souls shrivel up and die in the name of providing, in the name of protection, in the name of safety.

Today I choose to be vulnerable. Today I choose to put faith in my path. 

I’m scared as hell. And I feel the heaviness that has been on my chest for almost a month now lift. This is the right choice.

I choose abundance. I choose beauty. I choose to let my heart sing.  




Posted in Family, healing, Joy, Sense of Abundance, Sense of lack | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments