Over 20 years ago, I attended a week long workshop led by Jack Canfield, the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" guy, that changed my life profoundly. I was in a huge life transition, moving back to Indianapolis freshly divorced from a short-lived crazy marriage with nothing but a truckload of debt; and struggling with obesity which was a byproduct of refusing to move my body in any way and being fiercely committed to binge eating on total crap food and drinking jugs of cheap wine or whatever I could get my hands on. I was at a low. But I did have a new job and this stoked the possibilities for my life in a way that kept me going against all odds.
Call it a fated intervention by the gods or good fortune, I call it a Cinderella experience of transformation from the darkness of the cocoon into the butterfly spreading her magnificent wings and taking flight into new life. Instead of glass slippers and a carriage ride with Prince Charming by my side, I was given the opportunity to attend this workshop. One of the first exercises was writing out what I wanted for my life over the next year, 5 years and 10 years. I know this is common knowledge now as we are all well-versed in and understand the importance of being intentional with our lives; but this was mind-blowing for me, as it was the first time that I had ever reflected on and grounded in the question: What do I want for my life?
The instructions included NOT to limit myself, to think BIG, bigger than I had ever thought before. This actually scared the shit out of me and excited the hell out of me. I was struck with a pit in my stomach over the fear of being disappointed if what I want doesn't come to be AND I was flooded with the thrill from new thoughts and ideas that hatched effortlessly.
Nothing gets our pulse, our life force racing more than being scared shitless and being excited. Both actually felt good because I was feeling again after being numb for so long. The joy of wanting as I put it all on the page, scratching down line after line at a fever pitch helped me to BELIEVE in the beauty of my life again. I wept. This seemingly simple exercise was actually sacred, it was the miracle I had been begging for.
It was right there within me all along but the exercise gave me permission to want again. The little girl who had dared to dream was awakened from her slumber and she was on fire. Choice by choice, step by step, day by day, I created a life through effort and grace that has been far more than what I penned that day or ever dreamed of as a child. It hasn't all been a fairy tale as there have been many hard knocks that have handed my ass to me, but there have also been moments that dropped me into sheer magnificence.
Following John's death, I stopped wanting and I was okay with that as the grief held me in a necessary cocoon. After all, a lifetime can have many death and rebirth cycles and I was definitely in that space. But suddenly, I found myself wanting again with desires stirring and churning deep within so just as I had done over 20 years ago, I put pen to paper listing my dreams and feeling an intense joy even in knowing there will be disappointments and detours along the way. Much wiser at this point, I trust that life will unfold perfectly as I am comfortable in the mystery, living in the unknown and don't feel the need to control the reigns. Oh, the joy of WANTING again...