One morning, almost 11 years ago, my now ex-husband Chris woke up not feeling so good … a flu bug? we thought … worst case scenario Lyme Disease. We were getting ready for the big family adventure – a year in Jackson Hole with our five children (including four snowboard-loving sons). Life was about as bright as it could be. How could anything get in the way of our dreams?
Then, as a colleague of mine likes to say, “Welcome to the show.” Lyme Disease became advanced brain cancer, and well, everything changed. Everything, except for perhaps, the most important thing – how do we want to show up every day? What are the values that will hold us through the darkest of nights?
It has been quite the journey over the past decade of understanding that all this effort we put into the external definitions of success is rather hollow without a healthy internal center around WHY. And money, while important, can’t be the primary answer. Because, honestly, we can all probably live with a lot less and be just fine – and we can’t take money with us when we die.
I’ve seen many examples lately of people running so fast that there’s not enough time for what we know to be good about our health (like nutritious food, exercise and sleep) and ignoring the whispers of our emotions while moving forward with the force of a steam roller. And when I ask, why? The silent pause can be deafening. I get it, and sometimes I’m right with there too. But, I had an experience with Chris that I hope few have to go through. You can wake up, and everything is different.
Ambition is fine. Dreams are important – but without our health (physical and emotional), nothing really matters. In these days of the coronavirus along with unprecedented weather and a political system trying to do everything to keep us in fear, clarifying our internal compass is powerful.
What is it that’s most important? What is it that I can do to best be of service to myself, those I love and my community? What is it that I want to stand for and deepen into on this journey of life?
When we answer those questions, and every day take a few minutes to reflect on them, our fears lessen. We become more courageous around what matters. We know why we are making the choices we do.
Yes. I am an idealist and an optimist. But the medical data, employee loyalty and satisfaction data, and relationship data keeps pouring in that when we take a few minutes to slow our body down, breathe deeply into our values, set intentions and come from a place of gratitude, we are healthier, more connected and more prosperous. And when “The Show” comes to us, we can weather the storms without breaking our sails.
Here’s to inhaling love and exhaling fear on a daily basis.