I grew up during the Fifty’s, Sixties and Seventies. How lucky was that? I was married at 17; had 3 children by age 21; always the over-achiever! i acquired my GED and went to college at 30 with an English/Art major and a 3.9 GPA. Throughout my life I have been a Coach: Little League, Girls’ and Women’s Softball, Racquetball, Golf, Professional Sales Trainer and Manager, public speaker; I even developed and taught Cooking Classes (another of my Passions). My personal Joy has always been through teaching and coaching what I am passionate about. When I discover a new Passion I immerse myself into self-education so I could pass on the knowledge.
I made my first career in publishing, sales and marketing. It brought me and my husband from Boston to Chicago to Minneapolis over 30 years. I have vast experience with sales and marketing, training and management, event planning, proposal development, public speaking and graphic art. I discovered my ultimate Joy both in my personal and professional life through counseling friends, family, colleagues and co-workers to help them through difficult times and with their professional development.
After the passing of my beloved and the center of my world I felt drawn to a ‘second life’ in the spiritual region of Asheville, North Carolina. The energy of the area encouraged me to hone my natural skills to become a Certified Life and Business Coach. I have received my Certification from the JD Campus of London. I am a life-long learner and have sought out books, articles, classes, and training to supplement my natural abilities. As before, I began my self-education about this life-long Passion so I can pass on the knowledge and experience.
A Journey to My Second Life. A Journey to Asheville, North Carolina.
I found myself spiraling downward like ‘Alice’. For the last three years I have watched my Beloved leave me a little bit every day. Now my “First Life” journey was ending. I crashed to the Earth in the Spring of 2014 when I was forced to bid farewell to the center of my World for the past fifty years. We said good-bye when Cancer took him from me. Our bond that could not be broken shattered.
What I did not realize during that journey was that I had also lost a bit of myself each of those days as well. At the end my Soul and my Heart were ripped from my core leaving a raw gaping hole. I had been scrubbed out. I became an empty shell.
I have spent the last year shuffling one foot in front of the other; no direction, no purpose, no reason to get out of bed. I had always been the “vibrant” one; full of Life and intention; so dedicated to bringing Joy into the World one encounter at a time. Why was I left behind? Who am I now? What purpose is there for me alone? He is no longer there to watch me bring that Joy with a knowing smile.
Slowly I began to come to terms with the fact that I was going to be forced to move on without him. I needed to attempt to fill the cavern that had been left. It was echoing. Before, I knew my purpose on this Earth; I was here to be Joy; here to bring small bits of Joy to all that were in need of it. But all of my Joy had left me hadn’t it?
Time to examine that very question. Was my Beloved the only source of my Joy? The true answer was a surprise to me. He was not the only Source. And so began my second Journey; my Quest to determine how to quiet the gaping echo within me.
I began with a review of what brings me Joy to help determine my second Life.
Number one: my Beloved. His memory now.
Second: our children. Now grown (heck they’re OLD!).
Third: the Grandchildren are also grown! Any impact I might have on who they might become is pretty much done.
Fourth: helping every kind of ‘people’ maneuver through their own struggles.
Another consideration in my Quest: I have Multiple Sclerosis and it was flaring up. Stress had forced me to have to utilize a cane regularly. I have lived in the ‘Frozen Tundra’ of Minnesota for the past 20+ years. Not an easy State to maneuver with a cane in the Winter. It became obvious that I could not move forward and find myself again if I cannot get out and around a good portion of the year!
1. Move back to my original home in New England to Family and a large circle of close friends. Well, maybe not a smart move after THIS Winter! Same mobility issues coupled with additional living expenses.
2. Move to San Francisco to be near my younger sister. Better weather but talk about additional living expenses! And she and her family would be the only people I know there.
Somewhere warm. Somewhere warm. Who do I know somewhere warm?
Some of my late husband’s family has settled in Florida. Warm? Yes. Do I like it there? No. Too crowded, too expensive, too humid, too many lizards and bugs. I certainly don’t consider lizards and bugs Joyful.
Aha! My very close cousin has built a home on a mountain in Asheville, North Carolina! We have a possibility here! My cousin and I were born six weeks apart. We grew up like brother and sister. Without the fighting. He is the person that led me to the final answers in my life-long search for Spirit more than a decade ago. He and his wife have built a huge social circle that I think I could inject myself into. When I telephoned him with the proposal he was delighted! He then asked me the perfect question: “What does your Heart tell you?” And then he suggested the perfect solution to determine the answer to that question: “You should never move somewhere that you have never visited.”
I researched. What I saw online was wonderful. I learned it was a City of about 80,000 with some very interesting History. It is filled with ‘old Hippies and young Hipsters’; with musicians, artists and writers. It is traditionally the only City in North Carolina that votes Liberal! I was starting to put this City on like an old warm sweater. Off I went. In January. He assured me that it would be the worst weather that I would see in Asheville at that time of year. It would all be uphill from there.
My cousin picked me and my daughter up at the airport. An airport is an airport. We drove and chatted. And then it happened – we arrived. The air smelled different. The mountains were majestic and blue-grey and surrounded us. We drove up the mountain side to his home; back and forth, back and forth; a ‘switchback’ I was told. Evening fell on the way so I would have to wait until morning to see the view.
And it was Spectacular! And it was Peaceful. And it was Joy.
We toured the area for several days. All the while my cousin and his lovely wife expounded the virtues they had found in Asheville; Historic, vibrant, spiritual, friendly. Each day I bonded a little more. We visited several places for me to live, we dined at multiple wonderful independently owned eateries, we toured the Biltmore mansion, we attended their uplifting Sunday service, they introduced me to several of their delightful friends, I bought a local piece of Art that called to me.
We talked about the paths I could take once here. There were so many avenues for me to regain my bearings, my Joy that I did not want to leave when my visit was done. I wanted to jump in with both feet. I was beginning to feel the internal vibrancy I had lost. Asheville needed to be my home. It was now up to my Universe to make it happen. Now I needed to wait.
Did I mention that I hate waiting? I do not ‘do nothing’ well. The last time I had a 30 day stretch where I had nothing to do I wrote a cookbook! And now I had to wait for a home to present itself. February passed. I kept in touch with my possible homes hoping someone had to move. I didn’t want to wish ‘ill-will’ on anyone but maybe someone would get a great opportunity and have to move? March was almost done. I was feeling like I was walking knee-deep in mud.
March 26. My Cousin’s wife Wendy called just to let me know she was feeling a ‘shift’ and felt something would open up soon! Hope? I put a call in to one of my possible new Homes. TWO units were opening! I sent all of the information they needed and once again I needed to wait. I went to bed with my Heart lightened a bit.
Since my Beloved left me I had been trying to have him visit my dreams. While visiting my Cousin I started the practice of picturing his face while drifting into slumber. EVERY time I did, his face morphed into my Cousin’s face! Coincidence? Upon returning home I kept up the ritual. Several times I could ‘feel’ my Love in my dream but I could never be sure he had been there. I couldn’t ‘see’ him. The morning after Wendy’s call I awoke with a start and a vivid memory of my dream. I was in a room where the ceiling was flooding. I moved around the corner looking for help and there he was. My Love was sitting on a bench as plain as day. He looked me in the eyes and smiled. I always loved his smile.
I poured my morning coffee and prepared for more waiting. Within moments of sitting down at the table my phone rang. I had been approved!
Now I am on my way. My plans include taking Classes to become a Certified Life/Soul Coach (helping people maneuver through their ‘Life Struggles’) while I immerse myself in my new Community; starting at the end of April. My Joy is returning.
Asheville: Here I Come!