As the late summer begins to slide into autumn, I am doing my best to Drink in the Dog Days of Summer. I love this time of year, because nature is in full bloom and the potential to nourish ourselves in its abundance is unlimited.
At the same time, I am ready to replace the carefree flow of the summer months with a more structured rhythm, as the kids return to school. So many people have said to me lately that they had big projects planned for the summer that they never completed. Our greatest intentions are often out of alignment with the energy of the season. The hot summer months are more of a time for sitting by a lake relaxing, enjoying time spent with family and friends and detaching from our busy schedules. The fall, on the other hand, has a feeling of rebirth and productivity. Maybe this comes from the days of the Harvest or our years of ‘Back to School’ programming. Either way, it is the perfect time to align with the spirit of the season for new projects, especially to create a new direction for our life and work.
How are you going to take full advantage of the energy of autumn to re-fire your life?
It was an autumn day six years ago when I lay on the couch in my family room waiting for my friend to arrive to go out for dinner. I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks. In that time, my life had changed dramatically. My husband, Bob, had died after an 18 month battle with cancer. I was still operating in a grief fog. I sat alone in the room where so many family memories were created. The familiar sounds of the house comforted me – the ticking of the clock in the next room; the furnace pushing warm air into the house on the cool October night; the giggling of my young children, aged 7 and 9, upstairs as the babysitter helped them to bed. In the distance, I heard another familiar sound. It was the daily Montreal commuter train approaching. The sound triggered a memory. I could see the dinner table in the kitchen, where my two boys sat. Bob was cooking at the stove on the island next to them. “Mommy’s coming home,” my youngest son squealed with excitement as he heard the train approaching. “Yes, not long now,” said Bob. My house was only a few minutes drive from the station. I arrived home, greeted by my sons’ out-stretched arms. The smell of a home-cooked meal wafted through the entrance way. Bob’s loving smile and warm hug welcomed me home. The stress of the long, grueling day downtown began to melt away. Dinner was on the table when I arrived. The four of us sat down and began to share our meal and the day’s events.
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy…” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
I drifted back to the current time, listening to the train whistle, knowing that my Rockwellian life was gone forever. In that split second when the memory faded and the next thought entered my mind, I braced myself for a wave of grief to envelope me. I was surprised when the feeling that came was relief, rather than sadness and longing. How could I feel relief, I wondered. As I explored this new feeling, it become clear to me that I was happy to see the days commuting to a job I only marginally enjoyed gone forever. Like the caterpillar who gets a whiff of the butterfly she’s becoming, I had a sense of a new life that I could create for myself.I began to perceive a silver lining in my suffering.
For the first time since I was young, my future was completely unscripted. Life had offered me a blank canvas. I could re-imagine and redesign my life in any way I pleased. I didn’t have a job (I had closed my business when Bob was sick), or a partner and my kids where young enough that we could decide to live anywhere we wanted. This was a rare gift. Before long, I would be working again and my boys would be older and well entrenched in their lives. We wouldn’t be as free to do as we pleased. This gift had a shelf life. Not wanting to waste it, I went on a journey of self exploration.
First, we traveled to Bali to the place where Bob and I were married. I considered living there for a couple of years imagining my own version of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ with kids. I soon realized that I needed to be home in my own community to heal and to evolve. I went to workshops, seminars, conferences across the country and abroad. I researched and studied many forms of spirituality and ancient traditions, all in search of a new way of life. In particular, I was looking for a new career that allowed me the flexibility to raise my children, to leverage my talents and expertise, and to serve in the best way possible. This was a lofty goal, and I wasn’t independently wealthy. I still needed to earn a living.
I began by drawing on my business experience. I use to help senior leadership teams define their long term vision and strategy. I used this process on myself, adapting it as I went along. I incorporated the wisdom practices of mindfulness and law of attraction, that I was learning. I also did some deep soul-searching for answers. I defined the aspects of my life that brought me the most meaning and joy. I identified my core, unshakable beliefs and values. I outlined the gifts, expertise, experience and education that offered me the greatest opportunity to make a positive impact. Finally, I looked outward to identify my ideal customer and to define my unique place within the market.
“When you are living in your sweet spot you feel … calm and energetic, accomplished and joyful.” – Deepak Chopra –
I named this approach Discover Your Zen Spot™. I define the ‘Zen Spot’ (‘Z Spot’), as the ‘G Spot’ of your life. It is the place where you most thrive. I discovered that, for me, my sweet spot was in helping people live consciously and awaken to their highest potential and purpose. Since then, I have used this process to help dozens of individuals pinpoint where their passions, purpose, skills and gifts combine to deliver them prosperity, ease and flow, while helping them make a difference in the world.
Have you ever wondered what is your true path? Or, maybe you are like I use to be, with lots of ideas, but not sure how to put it all together to create a viable career path. Maybe you feel stuck in a rut or have tried programs in the past, taken courses, done vision boards, invested time and money, but still don’t have a clear view of your true path. If so, perhaps the Discover Your Zen Spot™ program can help you. To learn more about this program and other transformational resources, visit us at DesigningTransformation.com or contact me at lianne@DesigningTransformation.com (514-825-0732).