We just returned from the beautiful island of Kauai, also known as the "Garden Island" — 500 square miles of lush greenery and leaves the size of my whole body. Without fail, every time I step foot here something reawakens in me.
It could be the salt air, the warm water, or the fact that it's usually the first 10 days in a long while I've taken a breath. I can't say that I've taken a decent break since before my mom passed which was quickly followed by my dad passing — a two-year stint of navigating loss and the oddly timed logistics that come with the end of life.
I knew life would not go back to "normal" as much as I wished and pleaded for it to. Somewhere along the way, I took a mental step back. A pause? A break? A re-acclimation? Perhaps all of the above. I came to Kauai with a new wish: to return to myself even if that return surprised me or took me in a new direction.
We were sailing across the south shore of Kauai on our way back from the Nā Pali coast, a small stretch of cliffs that can only be reached by air or sea, and the sun began to set. It's the kind of experience that can suspend time. My phone stays tucked away inside the boat for the entire trip because I just want to take it all in.
If I want to crawl into the inner dwellings of my mind or heart I get on or near water; it works every time. Maybe it's the double Cancer in me or my moon is exalted in Taurus or that from a very young age my mom had to coerce me to get out of any swimming pool.
I love the water. I love her fluid, unruly, pristine flow. I used to joke that I was a mermaid in a past life. Not really. But I do feel most at home by the coast and will choose water over mountains any day.
So, needless to say, being on an island is pure magic.
We came here to vacate, to take a much-needed pause. I took all but a few client conversations off my calendar, packed a few books, two journals, many pens, and an open mind. But I will admit, in the back of my heart was a secret wish to also heal a little.
Being tossed in the throes of grief for almost two years feels like being tossed by a riptide. It's hard to know which way is up. There is nothing grounded about grief. But, at some point, you have to get out of the water and let ruminations segue to new life.
I came to Kauai feeling ready, metaphorically, to get out of the current and stand on dry land again. And as counter-intuitive as this might sound, I also fought this re-emergence because that meant losing my parents really happened. There is really something to move on from. Rational? No. Real? Yes.
And so I chose to employ one of my core principles I use with my clients — respect where you are and listen to where you're ready to be.
I will be the first to admit I am a bit of a development junkie. Not because I want to perfect life, but because I am deeply in love with the idea that you can literally create your life, which means no one is beholden to past thinking. But this little love affair can also create unrealistic expectations.
I could hear my inner voice from the moment we stepped off the plane: "OK, I am here. Am I healed yet?" (Insert a big ol' eye roll)
Day two. Nada.
Day three. Nope, not yet.
And so it went.
I read. I wrote. I swam. I got tossed by the waves. I found myself at dinner one night missing my mother so much I almost couldn't breathe.
Huh. Not what I had in mind.
Then as we're sailing into the sunset and the boat captain starts playing 60's rock n' roll, my mom's favorite, two birds cascade across the orange glow and I hear a small voice say what I'd been waiting to hear and also terrified to listen to...
"It's time to get going, Andrea. Move on. Bring us with you. But do not play stalemate on your life because you wish it were different."
There it is. The thing you avoid with loss. Getting going again. It's not like I haven't been living my life, but there's been a lot of motion without movement. And if I were to do it all over again? Well, I would choose the same.
Am I "healed"? No. Because the truth is, there is nothing broken. But I DO get to choose where to go next knowing that I will always wish to call up my mom or dad and regale them with my most recent adventure. And this is OK.
As Rich Roll shared in Finding Ultra (highly recommend!):
"Let go of the end game. Instead, fall in love with the process. Show up for life with enthusiasm and commitment. Connect with spirit. Wrestle with your soul and relish every hardship. Give freely of yourself to others. Because it's the journey that truly gives your path meaning. And there truly is no destination."
Here's to a new chapter. One that equal parts scares me and invigorates me. One that relishes the hardship AND shows up with enthusiasm and commitment. One that chooses to be brave with my life.
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Before you click that link and book time with me, I want you to answer these questions for yourself:
Why seek a coach now? What was/is the tipping point that brought you to this place?
What do you need to come out of this conversation either knowing or remembering about yourself?
What is the cost of not doing this work now?
Who will be affected by you doing this work? Think of the ripple effect beyond what you can see.
What holds you back? What compels you to move forward?
OK — now...
Book a 90-Minute Problem Solving & Possibility Creating Coaching Experience with me.
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