I started writing this morning, working on a piece about how I came to love the beach, travel and cruising and it turned into something completely different. Even though I was intending to write about one subject I had another subject on my brain.
I have been working on redoing my websites and services, what I am going to focus on for work, to earn a living. I am having conflicting thoughts on the matter. And the two ideas messed into one article. One never knows where a breakthrough or insight will arise.
I have always loved the beach. My passion and love of the ocean has grown and evolved wrapped with my love of traveling and writing. It has taken me most of my life to be at peace with who I am and to live my life through my loves, interests and passions.
Growing up my travel was mainly throughout New England living in Massachusetts. Our trips to Cape Cod and to the beaches in Maine were limited. I would beg my mother to take me to the beach. She would grudgingly take us to the town pond or to a nearby State Park several times a week in the summer.
Somehow we did manage to go to every state in New England, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island. We even went to New York City and to Montreal Canada. We would take boat rides on Lake Winnipesaukee and the ferries in Boston Harbor. I loved being on the water.
As a teenager we began going to Bermuda. Dad would come home and tell us we were off to Bermuda for the weekend. Our first trip mom wouldn’t stay at the beach so we stayed at a hotel inland. My sister, Susan and I took the bus to Hamilton and then to the beach all by ourselves. It was thrilling to be off in a strange land on our own.
After high school our family along with a couple of my friends and one of my sister’s friends went on our first cruise, the Mardi Gras out of Boston to Bermuda. I had been on boats before on the lakes of New England and in the Boston Harbor but this was more than I could ever imagine. During my late teens and early twenties I went on two cruises every year. I would go on trips even short trips whenever I could. Once I went on a trip to Aruba by myself. It was an experience that opened up a new world to me. It showed me I was capable of more than I believed about myself.
I journaled, wrote poetry and wrote stories about my travel and places I went to, my love of the ocean, boats, ships and the beach. Writing was my friend. I could write what I felt and experienced what I loved and hated without any judgment from anyone.
The experience of being in new places brought myself out into the world. At home I was shy and reserved. When I traveled I was someone else. In traveling I began discovering who I was. It was the only time I felt comfortable in myself.
Life, real life and living the kind of life that was expected of me took me away from those interests and passions I loved. I had new experiences, many of them wonderful but my heart was not in it. Life was alright but something was missing. I even forgot what it was.
Divorced now with three young girls I began searching mostly in secret or in ways hidden from view while it looked like I was doing something else like going to college. Everyone thought I was preparing for a career for when the girls were older and for my future.
In school I explored subjects I was interested in, weather, writing, meditation as well as things that were helpful at the time like homeschooling, teaching, women’s studies and psychology. My classes were a mish mash, a hodgepodge of my inner life.
I learned much about myself. I knew I wasn’t living any dreams or passions. School actually became my passion at that point of my life. I loved being away at residency with new people, learning new ideas and concepts.
In writing about my childhood I remembered my love of writing, baseball and horses, then my love of the beach, the ocean and ships. There was no way any of that could be a career except maybe writing. I pursued a path of women’s studies and how I could help other women except I still couldn’t help myself!
And then it happened quickly and suddenly and I was totally unprepared. I fell of the side of a cliff. My daughters were all grown up and each one heading off into the world to explore and discover their own life full of their own interests and passions. I had given them wings but still hadn’t repaired mine. I was freaking out! My youngest daughter, Monica said, “Mom, go have your own adventure its time,”
Divine Guidance from a friend lead me to a path that I hesitated walking down. Blindly I followed the path that changed who I was becoming. Spending a year at a retreat center in the middle of the woods, writing, meeting people there who were inspirational and supporting helped me feel comfortable again in my own body and mind. I gained some faith and courage in myself again.
Visiting with my daughters, Monica in California and Samantha in North Carolina I remembered my love of the beach and the ocean. When I returned to the woods I heard the ocean calling me in the wind of the trees. I couldn’t contain my desire to live at the beach. With the new found confidence from my time at the retreat center, I took a leap of faith and came to the beach.
This island I stumbled reawakened my connection to the ocean and the beach. It inspired my writing. I feel in love again. I felt like I was home. I settled in to this island community, getting a job, making friends while writing my memoir of my time at the retreat center and where my past life unraveled.
Here at the beach I began living in the present moment letting myself and my life unfold as I danced down the beach each day. Words flew onto the page. Not great words but words I wrote every day. I was becoming more and more myself each day. Life was good. Life was great in fact. I was living my dream of living on an island at the ocean. I was writing and making friends. I become content taking small steps.
And then a curve ball hit me. My sister, Susan called, “Something’s wrong with mom, she’s going senile, crazy. It’s out of control.” The diagnoses was Alzheimer’s.
In the midst of it all I get a text from Susan. “What to go on a cruise? I need to get away.”
Ironically, I was on my way home from a spur of the moment weekend trip because I had needed to get away. I hesitated briefly but whatever Susan wanted and needed I will do. She has been handling the burden of mom and her diagnoses insistent that I continue on with my life. And truth be told I would love to go on a cruise again.
Two month later we are on the Carnival Destiny reliving childhood memories and reconnecting our bond as sisters. Tragedy and Fun intertwined. It was a gift we both needed. We decided in that moment that we would get together every year and go on a cruise or trip of some kind.
The next year, however, we were unable to go on a cruise because mom was in the final stages of her Alzheimer’s. Death was coming and our focus was on her final care. Her death changed both of our lives. It freed us from some of our past.
Our next cruise on the Carnival Splendor the year after mom’s death strengthened our bond. We were raised by the same parents but had very different experiences. This time and our trips have changed us and how we see the past. It set us free from childhood fears and circumstances that were beyond our control. It opened a door for us to have a new bond with new understandings of our childhood. It was time for us to step into ourselves and into our lives without our childhood fears and myths holding us back. In addition it reignited our love of cruising and the ocean.
Our next cruise a journey cruise on the Carnival Triumph is when we began to take flight and Sisters Travel Adventures was born. For me something was still missing, something still holding me back but I didn’t even realize at the time.
It has taken until today for me to fully understand what I have been writing and teaching for the last five years. What I have realized is that I have been trying to fit my interests into a box that I can package to sell to earn a living in the world. I believed it was what I had to do even in following my dream of living at the beach and helping other women take a chance on themselves and their dreams.
It lead me to create programs of journal writing for self-discovery and letting go of you past. Dancing on the Beach releases self-expression and inhibitions, FootSteps in the sand helps you see the steps you have walked, take the lessons and let the rest get washed away by the sea and walk forward in the present moment to discover what is possible for you.
My Signature Program, Step into YourSelf, Step into Your Life combines all of these elements and going further in taking risks, making changes, move though life transitions in a way that honors your core self and being incorporating you interest, your loves and you passions. Inspiring other women to discover what is truly in their heart, to believe in themselves and in life to lead them towards their dreams not compromise their dreams or to fit their dreams into a box but let them be whatever shape they become.
I am still constantly revamping and changing these programs because I feel like I haven’t gotten it quite right. All of the services I was offering were utilizing a portion of myself and so I have been still feeling unfulfilled.
I still believed that I couldn’t full live the life I really aspire to and dream about. I still believed that what I loved to do had to fit into a box that fit into the world to earn a living. This belief has held me back. It keeps trying to keep my passion as a hobby or vacation. Yes I am traveling and writing about my passions on my blog but I am still trying to find an outlet to earn a living using only one aspect of my passions
My writing has evolved with my travels. My focus is shifting and changing too. As my interests and loves come alive and into the light, my passions are igniting and taking flight.
And then it hit me!
My interests, likes, dislikes, loves, interests and passions don’t fit in a box. They aren’t even all connected. They are a mish mash, a hodgepodge just like my inner life just like I am. It is who I am. All of it make up me and my life. Compromising and compartmentalizing aren’t cutting it. It doesn’t fit me, who I am or the kind of life I aspire to.
I am about to take another leap of faith and sail with the currents and let the wind take me into my passions and the life I aspire to. I will live what I teach more fully than ever before. For the past years I have tiptoed down the beach even when I am dancing. No longer. I am going to dance down the beach to my own tune, follow my passions wherever they lead.
I don’t know yet how all my interests traveling, the beach, the ocean, boats, cruising, wine, dancing, weather, women’s studies, self-discover, self-expression, community, island life, and writing are going to weave together.
It is time though that I stop holding back that I let go of the false belief that I have to compromise that lifestyle and life I aspire to. I am going to live my life through my passions of the ocean and beach, cruising and traveling, writing and my interests in weather and wine and people and women issues, and whatever new ones I discover along my travels. I only hope that in whatever shape it becomes I can inspire another person to step out of fear, to walk through life changes to create the life they aspire to.
I have only dipped my toes in the water cautiously swimming in the sea. Now I am going to get on the boat and set the sails into the wind. Life is created in each present moment, eyes on the horizon to distant shores. What I will discover will continue to shift and change who I am and who I will become. I am ready.
Instead of trying to fit all my interests, desire, dreams, and passions into my life I am going to let them create my life, be my life. I will live my life through them. I finally think I am getting it. No more holding back and tiptoeing around what I believe. I am going to believe it with all my heart.
I have to because all my interests, desires, dreams and passions are who I am at my core being. They are calling to me to be recognized and to be enjoyed to enrich and inform my being and to enrich the world through who I am and who only I can be. They make me who I am and they will make me who I become.
Life will unfold as I unfold through writing, traveling, cruising, dancing on the beach, sharing times with friends, being part of the community, learning and having new experiences, meeting new people, sipping wine, eating ice cream, anything that enriches my day, in which I experience each moment.
It all fits together and doesn’t fit together it isn’t neat and is as messy as it can be. It won’t be perfect it will still be full of bumps in the road and maybe another fall off a cliff but it will be my life one that fits me and is me.
As I continue down this road of traveling and writing and following my interests then I will be living the life I aspire to. How the work will take shape or evolve will fit me and my lifestyle and come from what I have to offer. Which is who I am.
Sharing with you what I am passionate about – what I experience, discover, think, feel, believe, and learn whatever shape or form it takes whether it is in writing, coaching, teaching, or just sharing with a friend is my work.
I will let the work come out of the life I am living through my interests and passions whatever form it takes. That is the life I aspire to.
Why don’t you follow your own dreams and passions right to the life you aspire to?