So, this post probably won’t seem to fit in this blog and this space, but what follows is vital to how I got to be here, helping all of you. Take a look and hopefully you will understand a little more about me.
Dear Liz Gilbert
I hope it is ok that I call you Liz. We haven’t met before but I feel like we would be friends and that is what I would call you.
I felt a need to write to you and thank you.
Because of your words, I found my happy.
I didn’t follow your type of journey, I made my own. But without your words, I wouldn’t have even seen the option to make the journey.
I first picked up “Eat, Pray, Love” because it was the talk of all of the woman I know who read. They were all reading it, had read it, or were going to read it. They talked me into reading it. I had never heard of you, and at that time, reading a memoir held no interest for me whatsoever. But I picked it up, and changed my life forever. You wrote of a scene in a bathroom where you had the realization that you no longer wanted to be married. I had barely started the book and I had to put it down and cry as I had just read something that accurately described my life. I knew when I read those words that I didn’t want to be married anymore and I knew at that moment that I needed to get out. I needed to find someplace that I was happy. The universe dropped this book in my lap for this exact reason. I know that.
I was 39 years old and I had no idea how to get happy or find what I wanted out of life. So, I started a journey.
I was never the adventurer type. I let fear keep me in places for much of my life. I stayed in the same general area and never really ventured far from what I knew as a child. 40 years in the same place can make for a very comfortable but boring life.
But, after my divorce, I decided to do things that I wanted to do. I started taking ballet classes and found a place that lets adults perform. It was amazing that first performance to remember what it was like as a kid and to realize I could find that fun again as an adult. I took sewing classes and learned to make things, tangible things, that made me happy. I found out that I loved handing that finished thing off to someone and telling them that this was theirs and it was a one of kind. I felt value in being able to create something and give it away.
I really didn’t follow you or your career after I read “Eat, Pray, Love”. I looked at the book as something the universe gave to me at a point in time when I really needed it. I do however, follow a lot of what Oprah does and I was surprised one morning to see you on Super Soul Sunday and realize that you were the person who had written those words that changed my life and sent me on my journey. You said lots of things on that show that stayed with me and fit my life perfectly. I learned that I am an auntie, and that everyone takes their own hero’s journey, and that I don’t have to meditate every day to have a thriving spiritual practice. I say I learned them but really I already knew these things, I just didn’t know how to put them in words. You really do have a gift with words.
After that show, I started to follow you on Facebook and really listen to what you had to say. I am so happy that your light and inspiration are in my world these days.
It was also at this point that I kicked my hero’s journey into high gear.
I knew I needed to make a change. Work was comfortable but not challenging. Home was boring. I needed an adventure. Then as I made the decision to change, the universe pulled out all the stops. I lost my job. My grandfather got diagnosed with a terminal illness. And, I made a big decision to move across the entire country to be close to him during his final years. I moved to a town where I knew no one and was scared out of my mind. Cue the depression and anxiety and homesickness. Almost went back home. Thank god for friends who know me better than I know myself. They visited, and talked me off the ledge. I stayed. And I learned that I was right where I needed to be.
I took a job to pay the bills. Didn’t really like the job but met great people. Some of them will be lifelong friends to me, I am sure. And I stayed. So when my grandfather got really ill, I was there to help out. And I was there to learn a lot more from him in just a few months. See, I had always had trouble talking to him. I learned most of what I know from him by watching. He was a NJ Italian and he had the personality to match. Larger than life most days. But in his last months, he couldn’t do much but sit and watch TV. So we watched TV and we talked. And it was so good. I learned a lot more about his philosophy of life and how much he loved family. And I knew that when I sat by his bed on his last day here, I was right where I was supposed to be. I will treasure that time with him forever.
Big Magic came out roughly a month after my grandpa passed away. I got it for my 42nd birthday about a month later and read it cover to cover in less than a week. Everything in it tells me that I need to let go of my fear and continue my journey. I know that I don’t like where I live or work but I am afraid of change and failure. I really tried to put my fear in the back seat but that challenged me. So, the universe gave me a little more of your wisdom when I saw your Super Soul Session on following your curiosity. I really identified with the woman who couldn’t find her passion. I had been specifically searching for my passion for over 3 years and couldn’t find it. After your talk, I decided to follow my curiosity and see where it would lead me on my journey. I felt called to a small place, far away in the mountains.
I am a pretty practical and logically person by nature. I am a project manager by trade. I need a plan, and a job, and every part of my logical brain says that I can’t just pick up and move to the middle of nowhere, even though this is where I feel called to go. The call to go is pretty strong so I decided that I need to create a plan and create a job, one that won’t be limited by when and where. I find it interesting that we always discuss creativity around some sort of art. But it is so much more than that. I am being creative when I start my own virtual business so that I can master my own destiny. And I have to keep referring back to Big Magic while I build the business because it is so much work and not much of that work is pretty or easy. I have to keep reminding myself that this shit sandwich is the one I have chosen and it is a lot better than the shit sandwich where corporate suits tell me what to do every day.
Funny thing is, even though I am eating that shit sandwich, I am happy. I am happy that I am free to do what I want. I am happy that the universe is speaking and I am listening. I am happy that I am learning lots of new things. I am happy that I am helping people in the world.
I am happy.
So, Liz Gilbert, I want to thank you for what you do and what you write. You are doing a great service in the universe by being you and creating your fantastic words. I want to pour out my gratitude to you. Please keep being you!