Every year around my “California-versary,” I think about what this milestone means to me. So, every year I evaluate how much progress I’ve made since the year before and since moving altogether. Moving across the country to start over is my story about courage, change, and commitment. But, I've come to learn it’s also a story about healing from my past and helping others heal in the present.
Starting over was my anthem in change and healing. On a mission to create a better version of myself and my life, I hid a secret for decades about how not loving myself deeply affected my youth and eventually my adulthood. Even though I always tried to make the most of my life, I desperately sought meaning for all the pain I had endured. I carried that pain like an old suitcase and dragged it to California.
It took another eight years since moving, but I’ve finally unpacked that suitcase. You see, starting over at 40 was no easy feat. There were many more things I had to endure first. There were so many times I just didn't think I'd make it. There were times I've fallen down so hard that I thought maybe I should just pack up and go home. I thought I've lost too much time, too much money, and too much pride. After going through a handful of jobs and taking too many financial hits, I was disappointed in my progress. So many times I thought, this wasn’t the vision I had in my mind for a new life. But, I realized that was just my ego talking.
It’s common to let our pride get in the way of our progress. No one wants to struggle. No one wants to admit when things aren’t working out as planned. And, no one wants to feel like they’re failing. But, I knew I couldn’t stop believing in myself. I had come too far. There was no turning back now. I had to find the lessons in the journey and the clues they left behind because the visions I had in my head of what my life could be never went away. I believe if you can see what you want in your mind, it is only a matter of time before you can bring it forward into reality. Therefore, I knew I just needed to be patient.
There are people who don’t buy into finding a life purpose. But, even before moving to California, I needed one. I needed a reason to keep going. I had been unhappy for so long that I just felt like I was floating from day to day, and not really living. I hadn’t settled down. I hadn’t yet married. And, I was lonely and in pain. I saw so much more for myself and I knew I deserved more. This was one reason why I wanted to create a new life. My heart's desire was to find love, find meaning to my life, and live by the ocean. Eventually, I moved closer to the ocean. I found my forever love. And, I finally had a vision of my purpose. But, it’s taken me time to act on it.
I felt a calling years ago that led me on a path to discovering my purpose. Deep in my soul I knew I was meant to achieve something beyond my comfort zone for the greater good. I knew it would come to me eventually - this calling, my true life purpose. I had visions of creating a movement in California, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I knew it had to do with wellness. Since I had run a wellness practice in Connecticut, I assumed I would run one in California. I ran a few here, but none them were the right fit. Life doesn't always go as planned. Life rarely does.
When I graduated from the University of Connecticut over 25 years ago, I never imagined a life in California. Ask me if I saw myself marrying a native San Diegan with two sons and two dogs by the sea. Ask me if I saw myself leading a women’s fitness boot camp after walking away from fitness 20 years ago. Ask me if I saw myself walking away from growing wellness practices to teaching crafts, cheerleading, courage, and confidence to senior citizens. And, ask me if I saw myself blogging, podcasting, and public speaking about my struggles with self-esteem and thoughts of suicide with the hopes of helping others.
It took me a few years, but I found it - my ultimate life purpose. Ironically, my new life here triggered the pain I had carried from the past. Opening that “old suitcase” and facing my past led me on a path of healing. It was the key that unlocked the secrets to revealing my true self. By facing my pain, I also found the strength to share it with the purpose of helping others.
I have found my movement in wellness, and I call it a movement in aloha. My purpose is to help empower others with love, kindness, and compassion to help them achieve optimal health, happiness, and success.
No one knows what's around the corner. All we have is the present moment, our thoughts, our dreams, and the option to make the most of our lives. So, why not? What is your heart's desire? What's that thing you've always wanted to do, gnawing at your soul? Make the choice to do something about it. Then, make a commitment to yourself to achieve it. Build your life around it piece by piece. Take a chance, take risks, and take action. Therein lie your dream and your destiny. Have the courage to take a step toward your dreams. And, muster more courage to create more steps as you learn more about yourself and move along your path. Lastly, be open to where your journey takes you. Be open to changing directions and taking the roads less travelled to reveal your true self.
Never stop dreaming, my Pineapple. Your dreams say more about you than you know. They hold the secrets of your purpose. And, like whispers, your dreams gently call upon you to take action to help bring them to life. In your actions you will find your destiny because your actions define your destiny.
We are a culmination of our choices. Choose to listen to your inner voice. Choose to take action. And, choose to have courage.
Live, Love, and Lead with Aloha.To Say Your Daily Aloha:
The loop: When our brain feels happy, we smile; when we smile, our brain feels happier. Thanks to this feedback loop, we can alter our brain's emotional processing pathway to feel happier with a simple smile. Smiling also helps reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and heart rate.
Did you know?: The happiness level that a smile can bring to our brains is estimated as equivalent to that of having 2,000 bars of chocolate.
Source: "What's the Science Behind a Smile?" (BritishCouncil.org)