Life Entrepreneurs Turn Disappointments into Opportunities

I just spent one of those amazing weekends that reaffirm the divine order of life.  It started out on Friday evening with a deep, painful disappointment.  It ended on Sunday evening with a deep, abiding sense that I am on the right path, that I am grateful, that I have so much ahead of me.

I see once again from the experience that I am resilient, able to walk through painful moments, willing to embrace what comes.  Those are essential qualities for Life Entrepreneurs.

On Friday evening, someone I felt a deep connection to, that I genuinely cared about, decided not to be my friend anymore.  It was a shock to my system–I experienced all the symptoms of shock:  numbness, chills, disbelief.  It felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, and I couldn’t seem to make sense of it.  So I got some help, called a few of my friends for support, made it through a fairly sleepless Friday night, then sort of zombied through the day on Saturday.  Since I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t do much of anything.

That afternoon I went to see my mom and we watched some movies together, very comforting, so by the time I came back home, I could feel my body start to relax.  That evening I watched TV and kept falling asleep, so I knew something was shifting.

I spoke about it a bit during the day, but sort of gave up trying to understand what happened, because I didn’t really think I could at that moment. 

Saturday night I slept more, and woke up with a bit more energy, ready to exercise and keep going.  After my shower, I actually felt the warmth of gratitude for my friend, understanding more about the decision that was made. 

As I was walking through my morning routine, my phone rang.  A dear friend from Santa Fe called–she was stuck in DFW because of plane delays to New York and did I want to get together?  Not only was I thrilled to hear her voice, but I was also sort of amazed.  Janet Schreiber is one of the foremost experts, and has spent years teaching the graduate program at the University of New Mexico, on the subjects of death, grief, loss and trauma.  And here she was, dropped into my life so to speak, on the ideal day at the ideal time for me.

Had to be cosmic.

She was glad to join me and my mom for our day of taking care of my grandson.  I picked her up and the three of us spent the most delightful time with Ethan–what a lucky baby!  Three doting grandmothers all taking turns playing with him, feeding him, marveling at his brilliance and energy.  We were all in heaven!  Janni and I cooked lunch, Mom watched Ethan, we shared food and great conversation.

After Mom and the baby went home, Janni and I watched a show about Jeff Koons, the artist, we visited about our lives, and gradually got into exploring life in our sixties, the choices we have ahead of us, the challenges of having lived very full, demanding lives and now finding ourselves with space and time to explore new directions, knowing that we still have productive, meaningful work ahead of us.  We’re just not so sure what it is, what it looks like, how to move forward into it.

She read my blog and encouraged me to keep writing–felt it is very important for women to express their innermost thoughts and share them.  Many women are going through similar experiences, and not many are writing about how it feels to be here.  Most of the people we know have been deeply affected by the economic crisis, we are all feeling our way along to find ways to cope with reduced retirement resources, how to turn these challenges into opportunities.

I asked her to be a guest blogger–and I hope she will encourage other women to send me their thoughts and ideas.  I saw that we could expand what I’m writing into a sort of forum for women to speak.  I hadn’t ever thought of that before–but it made perfect sense!

And I encouraged her to expand her work, make it more available to the world.  Since the death of Elizabeth Kubler Ross, Janni could now take up the mantle of spreading her knowledge of dealing with death, grief, trauma and loss.  She is an amazing teacher, a great resource for so many, and we need her shining presence to turn to.

We had such a great time talking, sharing ideas, exploring new directions.  Very inspiring.  Very encouraging.  Very comforting.  And I remembered that I have so much more ahead of me.  That my disappointments always lead me into new directions, that I cannot possibly suffer a loss without a gain.  When I took her back to her hotel, we touched on my experience of sadness, and she encouraged me to see the benefits of it, what I could learn about myself through it, to see how it was just part of my process of growth.  What a blessing to have a therapist drop into my life at the exact moment I needed a little counseling!  What a blessing to be able to share our strengths with each other!

She loved the concept of being a Life Entrepreneur.  It was just the encouragement I needed to keep writing, to keep exploring and to stay open.  To not let one sad experience affect me so much that I would close my heart and go back into hiding.  I’m staying out in the world.  I’m willing to have my heart hurt again.  It is worth it to feel this alive and full of possibilities.

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