It’s time. Time for big changes.
I’ve been known for making some big changes in my life. One of the first was when I moved across the continent from my lifelong home in southeastern Pennsylvania to Oakland, California to get my master’s degree. I was the first in my family to get a master’s degree and the second of five children to move out of state. It was all a very big deal for me.
I was never one of those people who felt destined for an Ivy League school or a master’s degree or a doctorate. I was so not into status or prestige. I was simply me, trying to make a difference in a small way – by “being nice,” by working with mentally handicapped adults, then by becoming exceedingly active as an advocate for peace, and then by helping to bring about peace on an individual level by giving really awesome massages. But when I moved out of the home I’d been sharing with my partner and I was faced with the challenge of trying to survive on one single small salary (actually, three part-time jobs), I found I wasn’t doing a very good job of paying my bills. But then a couple dreams led me to realize that getting a graduate degree might be a good idea. Once I found my school (Matthew Fox’s University of Creation Spirituality, then under the auspices of Naropa University), I was completely sold. With the help of some very kind friends, I packed up, sold, stored, or gave away all my belongings, and with my little Hyundai loaded to the gills, I ventured out on a very long road trip to the west coast.
I absolutely loved my school, and California, too (aside from the dreaded freeways), but interestingly, once there I had an increasingly strong intuition I was supposed to move to New Mexico. And so came the next of my big changes. After I got my degree, I once again packed everything up, stored quite a bit of my stuff at a friend’s home, crammed the rest into my trusty Hyundai, and drove to Madrid, NM. I only knew a couple people in the entire state and I had no job, but I listened to that still small voice that kept getting louder and stronger!
One month in, I was flat broke. I still had no job and I had no money for my landlady. I was thoroughly ashamed and more than a little scared. I didn’t know what to do. Fortunately one friend and a new acquaintance helped me with some healing work, some energy work, and a subsequent much-needed shift in attitude and belief, and within a few weeks I had not one, but three jobs! The big job I began that December was as a hospice chaplain in Santa Fe. My master’s degree had helped qualify me for the job. My education had paid off! And so I began what was to become one part of my life’s work– working with those who were nearing death.
The next big change happened less than three years later. Although I passionately loved New Mexico, my parents were not doing well. Mom had had a heart attack and a small stroke and Dad was showing signs of early Alzheimer’s. So I moved back to Pennsylvania in 2009 to help take care of them. Two and a half years later I received a diagnosis of early breast cancer. Eventually this huge wake-up call made me realize that I dearly missed the southwest. And so, once we had good people in place to care for my parents, I again moved. This time I chose Colorado.
I loved, loved, loved the little Colorado town I’d moved to. I loved the majestic mountains, I loved the huge valley and vast wide sky, I loved the wild animals that populated the place, I loved the progressive and spiritually inclined people who lived there, and I loved the slower pace and simpler lifestyle. Every day I was, quite literally, surrounded by beauty. My heart sang. I walked around in a near perpetual state of joy and gratitude.
While living there, I made frequent trips home to Pennsylvania to check on my elderly parents. My spirit loved Colorado, but my family still needed me, and so I divided my time between both states. From November 2013 through February 2014, I spent lots of time with my father as he declined and eventually succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer’s. And from October to December of 2015, I spend lots of time with my mother as she too declined and eventually left this world.
I am so very glad I had created a life which allowed for the freedom to take time off to be with my beloved parents. It was not easy financially or emotionally, but there was no other choice for me. Family is important. My parents sacrificed a lot to lovingly raise me and my four siblings and they absolutely deserved my/our sacrifice at the end of their lives. (My siblings were all very involved as well.)
Now that both of my parents have left this world, there is no one and nothing to hold me back from pursuing my own dreams. I have helped scores of others and I realize that now it’s my time. No more excuses. Paying attention to my own life is not selfish, it’s about doing soul work. It’s the reason I’m here. It’s the reason we’re all here! What is my purpose? What are my dreams? What kind of life do I want to create for myself? It is still unfolding, but one thing I do know. It involves stepping into my power in a bigger, bolder way than ever before.
In my capacity as caregiver, I am very gentle and kind. I’ve cared for not only my parents, but patients from two different hospices, a host of private clients, even children and pets. I am really good at caring for others. But I don’t believe that’s my life’s work. I believe it’s time for me to step into my other gifts. “Good and kind” are very important qualities for the world right now, but as women, I think we also need to step into our power. Many prophecies have said that at this time on the planet, the feminine principle is needed more than ever. And apparently we western women may actually tip the scales and help save the Earth. But we have to make ourselves heard! We can’t keep being shrinking violets.
For me, I believe it’s time to write and teach and be creative. It’s time for me to step into my spiritual leadership abilities. It’s time for me to stop playing small.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with living a humble, simple life. Indeed, it is a noble thing and something I still very much want. But if I’m sitting on my talents, I am not doing what I came here to do. It’s time to shine!
As Marianne Williamson so beautifully said, “We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
So, that’s what I’m working on right now. I’m creating my shining new life. And if through my words and actions I can help you to do the same, I will be exceedingly happy.
May you be richly blessed. I honor you and your shining light!