Each winner was asked to address the audience with a brief explanation of how the scholarship money would be used, and as I was standing at the podium reciting a spiel I had made up in my head just minutes before, I felt a very subtle 'click' where my heart lay beating.
Literally. Like a puzzle piece when it fits easily into its designated space. It was like my heart knew, in that moment, that is had found its home. I think I heard it sigh in relief.
And as I peered into the audience during my 30-second talk, everything became so monumentally clear as my head seemed to catch up with my heart. Oh my God! I heard my head shout. I am meant to be sharing my story with large audiences.
This should not have struck me with any amount of surprise since I'd had this dream for many years, but it was almost as if it was a new epiphany, and I was hearing it for the first time.
Ten years ago I was leaping into a new-and-improved life after single-parenting three young kids for 5 years. I'd just published my first book and I was moving my happy little family of four 1500 miles cross-country, hopeful to be leaving my career as a nurse behind me to begin Coaching others about all I'd just learned in the wake of leaving my sex addict husband. After all I'd been through in the previous seven years, I'd become someone new. Nursing just wasn't 'me' anymore.
But my best-laid plans had another idea about what was good for me because shortly after settling into my new surroundings, life steadily went to hell...again.
The relationship I moved here for dissolved after four challenging years; my book never really got the traction I'd expected; and I didn't have enough clients to support my family, so I reluctantly returned to nursing to pay the bills. And if that wasn't enough, my family went mute after the publication of said book, during the same months I was grappling with PTSD in the wake of uncovering and working through my childhood sexual abuse. After just a few years, all I'd moved west for was lost: my mate, my book, my coaching practice. My dream.
Yep. My forties sucked the big-one.
But wait, that's not the whole story. After the award's dinner that Monday night, I was operating from my old perspective, one that reminded me that it was okay to fire up the dream again. So it was not surprising that the next morning an “Inspiration from Martha Beck” email appeared in my inbox, and the brief quote resonated deeply within me:
“Free hearts rock boats, break rules, do things that disrupt the system—whether that system is a dysfunctional family, a bloated bureaucracy, or the whole wide world.”
This is exactly what I'd done in my life—many, many times. I've left toxic relationships, I've stood up to harsh opposition, and I've made decisions that many in my life thought were ridiculous.
So my heart, in all its new-found confidence, made me post the quote on Facebook.
By Tuesday, my heart continued to feel around for its comfy spot, so it took me to a work meeting 45-minutes north of where I live. I was listening to the muffled speaking in the distance, when it happened again. I could almost feel my heart slowly click another notch into place, and I knew it had nothing to do with the information-sharing conference I was attending. I'd been day-dreaming that moment about how delicious my Coaching practice would feel as I helped others through the devastating effects of sex addiction, and my heart was showing its approval. Yep, it was clear what I needed to do next.
So I panicked.
I went to work on Wednesday, fearful of the task ahead of me. I knew it was time to quit my job, but how could I? I'd just started, for heaven's sakes, just several weeks before. I had been pleased with the idea of this new job and I had planned to stay at least through the end of the year while I got my Coaching practice off the ground. But I knew it was futile to fight my heart. It was done--now! and I knew it was time to move on.
Then it got really weird.
The next morning I received a Facebook message from my friend that contained a link to a Martha Beck article. As an avid fan of hers (and current student), I assumed I'd already read it, but I opened it anyway. And lo and behold, staring back at me halfway through the article was the quote I'd used at the beginning of the week. So I kept reading, and the message confirmed everything my heart was already setting out to do, long before I understood its mission.
“When desire really comes from your heart, deciding to act on it will bring another strong sensation. You’ll feel an extraordinary clarity, the sense that something inside you has clicked into place.”
By the end of that week, I had drafted my resignation letter and 21 days later I terminated my position as manager. In ten short weeks, that job had confirmed everything I already knew: after 24 years as a nurse, traditional healthcare was no longer my path. And I couldn't fake it anymore.
Just 2 weeks after quitting that job, I spent a weekend with Martha Beck and 160 of my fellow classmates at a beautiful resort in California, where we experienced and practiced new ways to enhance our craft.
Sigh. Let the magic continue...