When my life first started to unravel I decided the answer was to move to Redondo Beach which is close to Los Angeles. I had lived there until I was 7 years old and hadn’t been back. But when my daughter wanted to see UCLA on her college tours, I booked a hotel there. When we got there we went to lunch at a place overlooking the ocean and then took a nap on the beach. I was relaxed for the first time in a long time. I liked being away from the stresses of my daily life and feeling the sun on my face and the cool salt water on my feet. Being away made me realize how stressed I had been at home. It was nice to take long walks in the sunshine, get our hair done and take the time to contemplate the future over long dinners by the ocean. It made me happy and I didn’t want to leave. So, when I got back home and had to face reality, I fell into a depression. I wanted to feel the way I felt in Redondo Beach. So, I started spending my free time looking at apartments there, and even applied for a job. Whether I was going to move or not I realized I needed help to sort out my emotions as I was becoming increasingly distant and felt like I was almost starting to live 2 lives; my current stressful life, and a fantasy beach life. So, I got a life coach to help me. When I first started talking to my coach I was talking a mile a minute about how I had to live by the beach and that I was addicted to getting on Zillow and looking at cute little apartments with any type of view of the ocean. I also mentioned that my daughter was getting ready to go off to college, my marriage was going through a transition, I had just got demoted at my job, my mom’s memory was almost non-existent, and my sister was contacting me daily with the latest drama regarding our dysfunctional family. I had reached my breaking point, I could no longer take in any new information and process it. I had to get away, and I had to get away to the beach! My coach patiently walked me through trying to organize my thoughts and my life. I was disappointed, frustrated and at a complete loss of how to move forward. It was a scary place to be! The way I had always handled these situations in the past was to take action. But there was no action I could take to stop my daughter from leaving our home, to stop my husband from drifting away from me, to stop my mom from losing her memory, or to reverse the demotion I got at work. There was nothing I could do to make things better, and it was a horrible feeling of helplessness. I felt alone and scared. So, with the help of my coach I started to do little things each day to make myself feel better. One of those things was doing 20 minutes of yoga and deep breathing in the morning before work. Just that 20 minutes of centering myself first thing in the morning really helped. It helped me get in touch with my own feelings rather than trying to control things outside of myself. It helped me tap my power. My power that brought my daughter into the world, and created a family. My power that rejected what I saw growing up and consciously decided I wanted something different and made it happen. My power that even though I was demoted at my job, I still worked diligently every day and excelled and rebounded to an even better place today. My power that was the employee, the mom, the wife, the sister, the daughter, that was all those things to everyone else, but what was I to me? All of my energy was going to either trying to control things that were beyond my control or trying to escape those same things. It never even entered my mind to accept them. Acceptance felt like giving up to me. Acceptance was what weak people did because they didn’t have the guts to take control of their life. Acceptance meant I was getting old. If I moved at least it would be obvious that I disagreed with how things were going, even if nothing changed, I could somehow voice the fact that I was not going along with the changes. Yes, I was being stubborn, I was disillusioned and I was angry. I had always been the fighter and the rebel. But I started to realize that what was going on in my life I couldn’t fight against. I was just wasting my energy and causing even more chaos. I realized that I had to work on accepting that life was changing. I worked hard on this as it was completely against my nature. My daughter was probably just as scared as me about going off to college, my husband was probably nervous about the upcoming changes in our family too, my company was going through a restructuring to survive the changing economy, and my mom was getting older, and that is just life! I started to realize that none of these changes were anything that I could control or stop. But what I could control was my reaction to them. I could be calmer, kinder, more understanding and empathetic. Not only with the people around me but with myself. So, as hard as it was, I had to stop fighting, I had to accept and I had to let go. Doing this made me feel out of control and off balance. But I just let myself feel that way, which was hard. It felt so awkward to not take some sort of action to try ‘make things better’. I literally would say to myself “Peta, Stop!” when I would want to swoop in and try and take control. It is a hard habit to break. My favorite saying became ‘Let me think about it’, as a way to slow myself down. It is a process to change from action to acceptance. But, in accepting things that I couldn’t change, owning and recognizing my own power, and becoming more compassionate with myself and others, I found my way out of my depression and helplessness. Redondo Beach helped me remember that feeling of possibilities in life, it reconnected me with my younger self that was more carefree and hopeful. Being there shined a light on that part of me that was always there, and is there. Instead of moving there, I just needed to move all the collected unnecessary debris out of the way so I could get back to the place where I feel hopeful, youthful and that anything is possible. And I have moved to that place.
Last weekend I went on a retreat in the mountains with no access to technology. No phone, no TV, no internet. When I went back to work on Monday a part of me was still in the mountains. I wasn’t fully present back at my job, as I longed to return to the simplicity of […]
This year is no different than any other year. I still have my history, my faults, my stubbornness and my tendency to withdraw into my own world. Except this year it is worse. It is worse because I can’t use any of my old excuses that worked so well to keep me comfortable and in […]