Motherhood, Mortality and Mid-Life created the conditions for what was to be My Perfect Storm.
A storm so powerful it propelled me into a new life, my Novel life. The life I live now.
But before I get there, I need go back in time a bit. I hope you’ll follow me…
Seattle, April 1997
I decide to leave the man I had loved for six years, the man I truly thought I would spend the rest of my life with (in spite of our somewhat tumultuous relationship), to follow my heart’s longing to travel the world and venture into the unknowns of adult life. I was 23. It was as if I were being called by something bigger for something bigger. Just what, I had no idea yet.
The moment of that singular decision became the first step on my journey back to myself, for myself and in honor of myself.
And I have been obsessed with living authentically ever since, which, for me, is to continuously discover, nurture and honor my true self.
Traveling, May, 1998
I’m traveling around the world with my sister, carefree and newly single. I am learning, journaling, drinking, dancing, doing some crazy things all while diving deep into my soul. We decide to get tattoos while in Bangkok and find a back-alley tattoo shop with a guy that keeps his tools in a toaster oven (remember when I said, “crazy things?”).
I know exactly what I’m getting, my new mantra for living. On the inside of my left ankle, Follow your heart, be true to yourself is written in beautiful blue Chinese characters, a permanent and beautiful reminder of the path I have committed to be on.
A month later, I end up meeting the man who will eventually become my husband. Despite the gentle protests of well-meaning family members that I should “just be single for a while”, I followed my heart and once again, the course of my life changed directions.
Montréal, July 2000
I move to Montréal with my new love (who hails from Québec) and I start a Master’s program. My heart led me to him, which led me to my Master’s, which led me to being able to spend two years researching (what else?) authenticity! I kid you not. I told you I was obsessed.
I felt like the luckiest girl in the world and I settled in very happily to my new life in Montréal.
2011, My Perfect Storm
Flash forward and I’m on a massage table on my 38th birthday. I’m a married mom to two incredible girls, with a super job and a very happy life. Life isn’t perfect, obviously, but I have no real complaints.
I thought I had it all. Until, I realized I didn’t.
I became acutely aware of my own mortality that day, for at the very instant I lay there enjoying my massage (11am to be exact), a friend of a friend, who was 5 months pregnant, was run over by a truck and killed while biking to pick up her son from daycare. The story showed up in my Facebook feed.
I was destroyed by this story. I felt so horribly guilty that while I was getting a message, she was struck dead. Why was I the lucky one?
My feelings opened up my soul and settled in with a grip so tight and so real that it permanently changed me. But, why? I didn’t even know her.
But, you see…that didn’t matter. Because all that mattered in that moment was this:
Something bigger than me was calling me to sit up and pay attention to my life.
Around this same time, my 25 year-old-cousin was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Within nine months of her diagnosis, she was gone. As my aunt said, it took nine months to bring her into the world and nine months for her to go.
As a mother, my heart could not process the pain and grief of my aunt and uncle. Coupled with the deep pain I felt for the pregnant cyclist and her child, now motherless, I felt utterly helpless and it all seemed so senseless. I desperately tried to make sense of it all. I needed to make sense of it! But how can you make sense of something so nonsensical?
My grief threw me into a tailspin of existential questioning of my beliefs, values and fears around motherhood, life, death, my own spirituality and then… my own “mid-life” crisis hit. My seemingly great, fine, perfect life suddenly felt…less than. I felt trapped in a life that no longer felt enough. In my heart there was a hunger for deeper meaning. For deeper connection to something more. But what?, I asked myself. And yet I felt awful about that! Who am I to want more? Shouldn’t I just realize how lucky I am?
But, I couldn’t. Because I realized I couldn’t wait another minute to answer the urgent call to find the deeper meaning and purpose I craved because what if I didn’t have another minute to wait? All of a sudden, time became the most precious gift I knew. The present moment, the here and now, RIGHT NOW, is all we ever really have and it can be gone in an instant.
This profound realization changed everything for me.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Steve Jobs
I had gotten good at following my heart and I had a pretty sweet life as a result of honoring my true self. But something felt different now. There was an urgency, on a soul-level, because I was suddenly so aware of how fleeting life is. And so my grief turned into a heartfelt mission. The mission of my life, I dare to say! It’s a mission for my cousin, for the cyclist, for her son, for all those who no longer have the privilege of being ALIVE! And, it’s a mission for my own children!
The something bigger that was calling was this: to commit to living every single day of my exquisite life contributing to the well-being and authenticity of the world. At first I didn’t know what that meant. I just knew it in my soul. But then coaching came into my life and Your Novel Life was born with the mission to help women dig deep into who you are to (re) discover your truth, your soul, and live each day like it matters (because it DOES!) by living out your own authentic story. Because if we are not fully ourselves, then what are we doing this all for?
And so I followed my heart to a calling that felt greater than me. I followed my heart to step away from the security of a super job and career because of the urgency I felt to do and be something MORE in the world. To live from a place of authentic courage and to help others do the same.
I have been on this quest for authentic living for 20 years now and am even more convinced today that our purpose in life is to discover our true nature, our most authentic self, and share it with the world. Because when we are lit-up from within, the world does shine brighter. We can offer more goodness, kindness and love when we each feel nourished from a deep soul-level. And as a mother, I cannot think of a more powerful way to show up for our children than by offering them our truest self that in turn gives them permission to be exactly who they are meant to be. When we are nourished, our loved ones flourish and I know, more than anything, that you want that for your children too. It’s a win-win. 😉
You know that crazy heart of yours? The one with lightning crackling and moonlight shining through it. The one you’ve been told not to trust because it often led you off the beaten path. The one so many have misunderstood your entire life. Trust it. Feed it. Grow it. It’s your greatest treasure and will point the way to your highest destiny. It is the voice of your soul.
Thank you for reading how I have lived (and continue to) my authentic story.
I am grateful for your interest and patience. xo