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Before I really knew I wanted to live a ‘Zen life’, I ended up having to achieve everything I didn’t want first. For me, it just seems to work like that.
I was on a mission; a fast-paced, over-the-top, gotta-be-the-best, 100mph quest to succeed. Most would assume that I came from an overachieving family; perhaps a silver-spoon, vastly educated pedigree but the truth was, I was one of the few in my family to graduate from college or even like school. We were a street-smart lot. A family of survivors. The ‘we make-do with what we got’ type of people. But I was determined to make more. Do more. Have more. And nothing was going to stop me.
I spent my college career chasing straight A’s, honors programs, internships. I wasn’t organically the summa cum laude honoree I ended up becoming but I was driven. If I wasn’t studying, I was working and for me, doing anything else was a waste of time. I wasn’t into wasting time. In fact, I efficiently scheduled every single moment of time in my life. I was determined to ‘make it’. But make it where?
I ended up making it as a television producer; the jump-on-a-plane, follow-the-story type of gigs. Lugging around tons of equipment at ungodly hours of the morning, it was my job to get the big story on a tiny budget. I cameoed as producer, camera-woman, interviewer and makeup artist all at the same time. I was all about proving myself. Look what I can do – is this good enough? Am I good enough? Good enough was measured by titles and raises. This continued for 12 years.
I climbed the proverbial ladder. I was no longer the fresh-out-of-school chump paying her dues; I was the one getting paid. I spent more time in edit rooms and ‘on-location’ than I did at home or with family, never mind dating anyone. I was married to my career. I chose meals based on whether or not they could be effectively carried and eaten on-the-go. I drank more coffee than water. People napped longer than I slept. It was all about just keeping the candle burning and I was definitely burning it at both ends.
It wasn’t until I had it all did I realize I really had nothing. Never in my daydreams did I expect to feel lonely, depleted or empty. There I was driving my expensive car, in my expensive clothing and felt like I was bankrupt. My spirit never bought into the outside ‘stuff’. All I could think was ‘this is it?’ My entire identity seemed paper-thin. My health - a shell of what it should be for someone my age. I knew something had to change – everything had to change. And it did.
I named her Mia Noelle - 6 pounds 11oz of pure life-changing perfection. I began asking myself questions I never asked before. It was no longer about what I wanted to be – it was about who I wanted to become. I wanted my daughter to have a mother who was healthy from the inside out. A mother who cared more about contributing to life than seeing what she could get from it. A mother who lived out her passions and followed her Inner Guidance, instead of the expectations of society. For me it was about taking 100mph down to 50mph and enjoying the ride. I was no longer on a mission. I was happily taking the first few baby steps on a journey; a journey towards living authentically.
Throughout my life, I’ve always been fascinated with holistic health; herbs, oils, juicing, healing therapies. I have always believed that when it comes to optimal health, our body knows exactly what to do; it just needs the proper tools. The times I managed to tweak certain areas of my diet – even slightly, I felt the results immediately. Whenever I could carve out an hour for a yoga class, the effect was so amazing and profound that I have actually been brought to tears. How could the things that made me feel so good only be a fraction (ok a fraction of a fraction) of my life? I knew I wanted to – had to – pursue it. I had to live it and that included my career.
Today ‘good enough’ is measured by how much peace, serenity, and laughter I have in my life. It’s defined by the moments where I am able to just be; being truly present for my daughter, being present and connected to my Source and taking care of my body & spirit. It’s about loving the work I do, helping people and growing. It’s about eliminating toxicity, accepting what is, and opening myself up to the full potential of what will be.
If you would like to share your journey with me or have comments about mine, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Founder of Zen Living Magazine