This year I made the choice to live differently and that I have!
After resigning in December and transitioning my agency to new management, I have travelled all over, had more bottles of wine and champagne than I can count, hosted parties, shared all sorts of foods, walked, talked and laughed more than ever in my life. This has been my year of reflection and renewal. This has been my year to Eat, Pray, Love only I altered the order to Pray, Eat, Love!
After leaving the agency, I travelled with my youngest son for a week. The goal was to restore my health – mind, body and soul before figuring out what I was going to do to make a living. Upon my return from an exceptional holiday at a health and wellness resort I returned home and worked on my next book. After being home for 2 days, a friend and I exchanged messages over Facebook and 2 days later I was on a plane to Mexico where I wrote and ate and drank for 2 weeks! It was heaven!!! Life was carefree. Water is church-like for me so I wrote, and swam and walked for hours. This trip was spontaneous and made me realize I needed to seize these moments – something I only did when it related to my children – rarely could I justify this for myself. With time and no commitments I was seizing every opportunity!
Separately, I had been planning a trip to South East Asia to meet my daughter. This had been in the works for a while but the fact that it became a reality still seems like a dream to me! And given that I was no longer the agency I could do it carefree.
Mariah and I toured Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali and Singapore. This trip was the climax to months of getting back to health, re-evaluating work and life, reflecting on failures and success.
In South East Asia there was a ton of spiritual learning – churches and temples. We did very little conventional praying but a ton of spiritual reflection and learning. It seems right to have had this experience with one of my precious children. And in this case because it was my daughter there was also the added reflection on being women and the state of women in North America and around the world. The two of us started Gypsea Diaries (also posted to this site) during this time. We traveled, visited temples and churches and realized how strong our family faith is. “Church” is within us versus a place and we “pray” daily. My time with my sons pre the trip to Asia and then the time with my daughter has been the greatest of my life. For the first time in years I was and continue to be truly blissful – a bliss that only comes from peace. This several months with my children nurturing me back to spiritual health was my “Pray”.
As I write I am in Italy. The food is incredible and I will surely be going home 10 pounds heavier than I began. I am at Debbie Travis’ Tuscan Villa with a group of women. A friend asked me 3 years ago if I wanted to come and I said why not! The villa took a little longer than expected – but it was worth it – it is beyond spectacular! I am here with a girlfriend who started off as an employee and is now my partner in a new venture at work. Slightly more than half my age she is a joy to be around and it seems fitting that she is with me in Italy as we attend this Women’s Leadership Gathering and the food around us abounds. A true foodie, Aleena is ensuring I sip and savour every bite and drink guilt-free…and that I am. While there is an added focus on food here in Italy, food has been a big deal in my family. We eat and order food based on what we want to taste and we share generously. Our best conversations are over food and we truly savour these moments. This is my “Eat”.
And “Love”? Well I gave up on Love last fall. A love partner seemed to elude me so I decided not to worry about it. I would focus on myself and my family, our home and our life. I would complete my second book, figure out my next career steps and not even worry about finding a partner. And in this focus I became healthy and very very happy and that was when I re-met my now, boyfriend. My boyfriend had been a client so we had shared business lunches and dinners but we had never gone on a date. Since I no longer owned the agency, he was therefore no longer my client and a casual conversation in the spring lead to a great friendship which has lead to love.
After my trip to Asia I went to Paris for 4 days with my boyfriend and as I drop Aleena and all the other women at the airport to fly home I will greet him. My boyfriend and I will then hop in a car and tour the Tuscan Coast and some of the key cities inland. Our plans are very loose because the goal is really just to spend time. There is a love and connection between the two of us that is surreal and so we are savouring these moments when we can learn and explore the world while learning about each other and strengthening our relationship. This is “Love”.
Its been quite the whirlwind since January – my Eat, Pray, Love has been in a different order – Pray, Eat, Love. In fairness, they have all criss-crossed and intersected. This seems classically ironic as I turn 50?! I don’t feel as though I am experiencing a mid life crisis but rather a renewed passion – an intense desire to live my values with more awareness and to consciously eat, pray and love or pray, eat and love!!!