And life changes. I’m taking a moment today to look back over the past 30 years. Yes 30. Not 57 even though that is my age, but today marks 31 years since I came to this country.
So much has happened. So much change. And pretty much none of it planned. Of course I have tried to make plans and I certainly have dreams and goals. But I also have had to revise my dreams, plans and goals many times over in the past 30 years.
I came here with a dream
The thing about plans and dreams is that they are based on what we already know. Sometimes they are even based on what other people think we should be and do.
I came here with a dream of living a happy life, based on a new marriage with someone I was crazy about. And I came here, after having had a very successful career in Denmark at the early age of 26, with the expectations that my ambitions of what New York could offer, would take on amazing adventures.
It all changed, because not only could I not get a job that would further my career, but instead I had to start over, I also found myself divorced within 9 months. I remember my feelings of failure and my embarrassment, which essentially kept me from going back home and instead look within myself for answers. My spiritual journey started and I stared studying Buddhism, healing, energy medicine, macro-biotic, emotional healing, trauma and trance therapy, Feng Shui… I was looking for answers to life, especially my own.
To know myself
Thinking back I have learned about who I am and why I do what I do, not through successes, but through challenges, which some would call failures.
When I first started my spiritual journey in the 90’s, instead of finding answers, I found ways of asking myself questions, that would help me move forward. I could easily have gotten emotionally stuck, but I knew I needed to keep going. To keep learning and to keep growing.
My spiritual journey continued through my time in the fashion industry, the world of design, and it really took hold when both my parents ended up with cancer at the same time. Having to work through that, right after my second divorce and loss of a career, again. I was fired from my job as a EVP of a fashion company, because my mom died and my dad was sick. Staying emotionally present to all of this, without hiding or running away, was one of the most important things I have ever done in my life.
What keeps us going?
After my dad died about a year after my mom, my next step was a decision to start completely over. I went back to school, I started a new business, I founded Path for Life® and I started a whole new life, again.
My mindfulness practice has always been at the core of my work, but also my personal journey. If I had not kept a healthy relationship with myself I could not have done what I have done professionally. I could not have kept going through the challenges, that sidetracked my dreams, my plans and with that my goals. I could not have been constructive and creative, curious and calm.
Emotional agility and generosity
Today, looking back over this past year, which marked my 30th year in New York and also another divorce, I can be constructive, creative, curious and calm with excitement for my dreams, goals and plans, wondering where this journey will take me. I’m well aware I have no clue. My life has not worked out as planned, but it has worked out.
My heart has grown bigger, my visionary spirit has grown bigger, my energy has bigger, my desire for impact and change, to be of service and to learn even more about myself has grown bigger. I hope it always will.
When we can be emotionally agile and generous, we can be curious abut what happens inside of us, when the world changes on the outside. We can wonder what we need or what someone else needs so that we can keep growing, keep navigating the waters of life. People say I am so resilient and strong and maybe I am. But it doesn’t mean I don’t hurt, have fears, and feel the emotions of life’s changes. Quite the opposite. I feel deeply and I respect and honor my emotions. What I don’t do is tell myself stories about who I am because of it. I am not a failure because things have changed and not worked out the way I expected to or hoped for. I am a human being, who keeps figuring out this thing called life.
My next phase
As you may know, I am doing more and more public speaking and corporate workshops, helping people survive work. It was my original dream when I left the fashion industry, however I was too early, talking about a healthy work culture, so instead I started working with people one-on-one. I still do, however my focus is to help in a bigger, wider and broader way. I love speaking. For some reason I feel at home on the stage, not nervous or self-conscious. Just connected with my purpose and wanting to be of service.
What’s funny about all of this is that essentially helping people be happy and healthy is my little girl dream, that has grown up. I recognized it some years back, and I trusted it. I decided to go for it and throw myself into this new evolution of my career as a speaker, facilitator, consultant and still also coach. I was in my 50’s and thought… if I am going to follow my dreams, I have to do it now.
Time is a funny thing, because when we zoom out we can see a pattern and when we are in it, it can feel rocky. Like the ocean.
Thank you life for challenging me and I am looking forward to what’s next. Sure I have my hopes, dreams, goals and plans. Let’s see how life and I will figure this out.