Our Featured Topic: The New Me: A Report from the Transformation
In a few weeks, I will be attending my 40th high school class reunion. Those who haven’t seen me in forty years will be shocked and a bit surprised when they meet “the new me.”
In high school, I was extremely shy and a complete introvert. I felt awkward and didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. Of course, looking back now, I know that wasn’t true, but at that point in my young life it was definitely my perception.
Very early on I made some decisions that were, in my book, non-negotiable. Public speaking was at the very top of my list. I can remember giving speeches in high school and my knees would shake and my hands would quiver. I was so nervous I couldn’t even think straight.
Things have changed dramatically for me through the years. I am more outgoing now and open to meeting new people and creating new experiences — things that time and living life brought about.
There is a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks — and sometimes I guess that is true. But what I’ve come to realize is that if the old dog is willing, anything is possible.
Never in a million years could I ever have imagined that I would bury my 20-year old daughter, Elizabeth. It was not the right order of things, and it still isn’t. It was non-negotiable — but it happened, and suddenly I had to incorporate it into my life, make peace with it, and work through all of the painful emotions to find joy again and a life worth living.
Once I accepted my daughter’s death, it was easier for other things that I had once considered non-negotiable to be held up for change. Because of the strong connection that I still shared with Elizabeth, I had an extreme sense of gratitude to God and the Universe at large. I was no longer a stiff board of do’s and do not’s. My life became malleable, and I was molded into something far greater than I could have ever imagined. There is a saying that God can dream a dream bigger than you can ever dream for yourself. I can see this so clearly in my life since that fateful day in September 2003.
Public speaking has now become something that I do at every opportunity. And my topic is always the same: the most painful experience of my life, the death of my daughter, my journey through it and coming out the other side and back to embracing and loving life again.
The first time I spoke, I had practiced for months and questioned my sanity daily. How can I possibly speak in front of strangers about the most painful time of my life? In truth, I didn’t know. All l knew was that my story was important and sharing it could be the catalyst for others to view their own life situations in a different way. I also was confident that if I did everything I could to prepare, The Divine would step in to help me.
This certainly was the case. In fact, when I finished that first talk, I felt the strongest sense of accomplishment I have ever felt. It was a complete sense of euphoria. Spirit had asked me to step up — and I had done so. Not without some fear and trepidation, but with the knowing that I would receive help whenever I needed it. The strong presence of my daughter permeates my very being whenever I share our story. In a sense, we have become a team, and we work together from both sides of the veil to help others. For me, there is no greater calling.
What will the next forty years bring? I don’t know, but I look forward to whatever adventures Spirit sends my way! Life is joyous!