4 Extraordinary Days! 16 Visionary Speakers!
I wrote this letter to the part of myself that dared to listen to her pain more than her need for stability. That part helped me write my first book This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love and discover my best life.
Years ago, I sat in front of the Pacific Ocean, and considered taking my life. I didn’t see another choice. I was an honors graduate of Harvard Law School on partnership track at a corporate law firm. I couldn’t bear my day-evening-weekend job, even with its ostentatious paycheck. I couldn’t figure out any other options with my frantic analytical mind. I had no glistening faith or trust in myself, the Universe, or even the tooth fairy, back then.
You build that faith, when you leap--- not before.
So, I screamed and cried in my journal. I let out one desperate wail near sunset. And I made the choices that gave birth to a life I couldn’t imagine. This letter is to her with my love and gratitude…
You wanted an impossible life. You wanted freedom. You wanted to rip off your lawyer clothes and identity and walk for miles on beaches-- on a Tuesday, a weekday. You didn’t even really know what you wanted.
You just knew you wanted to live and that there had to be something more. You thought you were infantile or weak, for wanting fairy-dusted Utopia as you saw it, without a plan, money, or a strand of reasonable possibility. But you wanted it so much, you didn’t want to live, if living meant existing in the “responsible” life you knew, that did not involve sand in your toes and being yourself.
I remember your wail, your helpless crazy cry. It was as though you fell to your knees and screamed “Uncle.” It was in that wail I believe the angels heard “Yes Father, Yes Mother, Yes Universe, Yes Life Energy, Yes Love, Yes, Yes, Yes.” You didn’t know that saying NO to the only life you knew was saying YES to the life that would come. I have this life now because of your courage and dignity, your commitment to dreams you couldn’t even name. I am beyond grateful.
You wanted to be a writer with all your heart, though you considered that forbidden territory, ridiculous and reckless. Well, I want you to know you weren’t crazy. You were meant to write, and that desire has saved your life, mine, and, now, many others. I wrote a book and it got published by a major New York house and it hit some bestseller’s lists. Because of my writing, I have a devoted following of smart creative people who attend my workshops, retreats, and coaching programs. Now I’ve published other books, too. Your “frivolous fantasies” have become my destiny.
Once I led a women’s retreat on the whitest sands anywhere on a beach in Tulum, Mexico, where Mayans once resided. And I thought of you, sitting on another beach, in another time, as I led those women to their freedom. I’ve taught in the rain forest of Costa Rica, zip lined through a jungle. I visit San Francisco often and hang out with creative brilliant friends, some of them famous. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself famous, but my fans would, so maybe I am a little.
Now you’ll love this, because I know it will tickle your writer’s heart and the Brooklyn girl in you, eyes clumped with mascara and insecurity, who once dreamed of being in Manhattan with reason to be there. Well, I stay in Greenwich Village, write in artsy coffee shops, and meet my publisher for lunch, not because he’s my publisher but because he’s my friend.
I live in Colorado under blue skies, with golden sun, trails, mountains, and parking spaces for everyone. I get up when I want to and I am free. I have people who work for me. Yes, I can pay other people’s salaries, all because you chose your silly reckless dreams: you chose to write.
I finally feel like I belong in this world. I get to have life-changing conversations with people, almost daily. I meet visionaries and business leaders and actresses and authors and I meditate with them, lecture-- and at the most beautiful retreat centers in the country-- watch them melt and laugh, and discover and grab their own inspired calling with both hands and one ravenous heart. It’s magic. It’s breathing. And I am paid for this. I can die with peace in my bones now, because I know I have done something here on earth that matters. I’m so proud to be using my gifts in this way.
Here’s what I’m trying to say. I’m so grateful you believed in something more. I am so grateful you allowed everything you knew to unravel. I am so grateful you questioned what was available in life. I am so grateful that while you were terrified, you still chose to be different. I am in awe of you, because you knew there was something else and you believed even when it was excruciatingly painful to believe. I am grateful you chose the unknown, because I am living in its abundance.
I would have missed this life, if you had gotten yourself under control, buckled down and accepted the status quo.
I would have missed this life if you had allowed the pain to weigh in one more ounce than your thinnest hope, and you had ended it all-- instead of begun it all.
I am terrified that others out there might not realize they have a choice or that their pain is not a lack in them, but their own flare of unexpressed wild beauty, creativity, heightened potential and the golden-eyed jaguar that resides within them. It motivates me to keep sharing. I can’t allow someone to stop believing, no, not on my watch.
I am grateful to all parts of myself that chose this journey over and over, because it has required choosing over and over again. I am living this life because of every one of your decisions, through doubt, exhaustion and dim determination; I am grateful.
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