Drum roll….and the winner(s) of the Hay House Writer’s Workshop contest are…not me. Life did not turn out as I had hoped. My story is not unique enough to warrant a formal publishing contract from this contest. Sadly, my book proposal did not even garner one of the runner-up self-publishing offers. The manuscripts that did win were also health-based yet with a more interesting approach to wellness than mine; at least in the perspective of Hay House…BIG sigh; DEEP breath….
Am I disappointed? Yes. Had I really hoped I’d win, for once? Yes. Is this the end of my writing? Absolutely not. I have a message that wants to be heard so as to help others navigate their way through chronic dis-ease. I will continue writing and I’ll just have to figure out another way to publish it. I’m proud of what I accomplished with my book proposal and am even prouder of the actual book that’s almost complete. For my memoir writing class this week the topic was, “What most influenced you during this past year? Did it take you one step closer to fulfilling your Tikkun Olam?” I want to share what I wrote with you because it skims the surface of lessons I learned from this experience that motivate me to keep moving forward and I hope they do the same for you.
As 2016 began, I gave my all to everyone else and then by a twist of fate mid-way through, I found myself believing it was finally ‘my time.’ Yet after months of forward movement, I stumbled as my bubble of hope burst; my courage dashed by the often spoken words of loved ones, “don’t get your hopes up so you don’t get hurt when it doesn’t happen.” Sadly I tend to mirror the expectations and preconceived notions of how others see me; still visualizing the insecure child I was instead of the confident woman I’ve become (and sometimes struggle to be). This year I have chosen to focus on constantly reminding myself of my inner resilience; attempting to overcome obstacles I allow to be placed before me. Whenever I look into the mirror and give my reflection a pep-talk, I remind myself that I alone hold the power to my happiness and success; it’s just a matter of perspective and faith in myself.
So this year I continued my role as devoted daughter, loyal friend, fierce advocate for the underdog, and champion of striving to be something more and/or matter more. “When life calls you, you have to answer,” was basically my motto. A synopsis of the year includes several weeks of caring for my father (and mother) when needed; accumulating the necessary hours and passing the required exam to increase my coaching credential to the next professional level (PCP); attending a Hay House Writer’s Workshop and gaining clarity of my next book; learning to play mahjong and making 6 new friends in the process; beating my previous year’s fundraising effort for Walk MS; and saying goodbye to a few family and friends as they either moved or died. I’m sure there were many other influential events this past year but my mind has trivialized them to the back-burner of my memory. Granted, not everything was easy or wonderful yet it all felt like it had a purpose. Sometimes that purpose was buried underneath a bunch of stress, pain, and suffering; but it was there nonetheless. I had this deep-seated sense that I was where I was meant to be, doing what I was meant to do.
With that said, life has never seemed to turn out as planned. My father always had me write down a 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year plan. Somewhere in my 40s I realized these plans only set me up to feel like a failure because I never recognized what I had accomplished; only what I had not. So I stopped planning for a while. Much of my life I have also been a world-class worrier. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot let certain thoughts lie still in my brain and as I age and our world becomes less stable, it just gets worse. This past year my worry got so out of control that I had to tune out much of what I call nonsense while constantly reminding myself to “let go” when stressful thoughts about my future bubble to the surface. Reminding myself of the Serenity prayer – awareness of what I can and cannot control and knowing the difference – has become a daily activity. Somehow, life in 2016 feels as if it’s gotten out of control in so many ways, yet when I stop, take a deep breath, and reflect honestly, I still find myself feeling as if I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
In March I attended Hay House Publishing’s Writer’s Workshop and at the end of the workshop we were asked to complete a writing exercise that began with the prompt, “Believe in….” I wrote: Believe in yourself, you are the change you wish to see in this world. With it you help others navigate through pain or dis-ease to wellness. You make other people’s lives easier, you matter. You make a difference. Just breathe – trust in the process of your journey. All is as it’s meant to be. God said to me, “I choose you because you can handle it. Now teach others. Remember, I AM.” Not only is this the theme of my next book, Be Your Own Superhero: A Coach-Approach to Living Well with Chronic Dis-ease, it has bubbled up to be the theme of my year (and perhaps next year too, who knows?). It certainly has prompted me to begin planning again, although this time setting intentions of who I want to be and how I want to show up in my life instead of realizing specific goals that may or may not be possible or achievable for me.
And although I live with a constant nagging sense of inadequacy and futility that I continually battle to overcome, I have extrapolated a few nuggets of helpful wisdom that are the foundation of what I teach. My story needs to be greater than me and empathize with other peoples’ pain to help alleviate it; I need to continue developing my skills as an escort into the human soul; and I have to always be courageous – willing to be uncomfortable to truly share my vision. I need to fully feel the energy in and around me whether positive or negative; having faith that I am where I am meant to be right now without worry. This year has been another giant step toward connecting me to my soul’s true journey; my true Tikkun Olam. Hopefully, I am one step closer to releasing fear, worry, and self-doubt so that I can let my light shine brightly for others and for myself. I need to continually work at practicing what I preach; standing strong and resilient in the face of chronic dis-ease so I can help others do the same.
Be Present | Be Purposeful | Be Well