Monday, August 23, 2010

Unexpected Gifts

"Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." - Vivian Green

I’ve been writing a lot lately about living in the unknown, the process of birthing “what’s next” and the gifts that can come from being in a state of flux because that’s where some of my closest friends, family and clients are hanging out these days.

My husband was laid off this summer from his job and is in the middle of a job search.

When you’re in the middle of a big life or career transition, it’s really easy to fall into the “we’ll be happier when …” mindset or to constantly wish things were different from how they are.

But I know from past experience, happiness is an inside-out job. I’m sure of it. And, I believe that it’s just as possible to experience joy and well-being in the here and now as it will be a few months from now when my husband is working again (meditating together each morning before we start our day has really helped remind us of this).

Saturday morning, rather than rush off to my favorite yoga class and the farmer’s market, I headed out with my family for a walk on our neighborhood nature trail before the temps got unbearable.

I love to walk with friends and family. I think it’s one of the most nourishing activities in the world: soaking up nature, heartfelt connection, sweating/feeling your strong muscles, synching up to your walking partner’s rhythms and slowing down to enjoy life at a pedestrian pace (rather than the “human race” speed most of us are in much of the time!).

As we walked and our son trailed us on his bike, we began to talk about what good things have come from my husband’s recent job loss.

He shared he’s appreciating getting more time with our son, he’s enjoying learning more about my businesses, he’s getting in better physical shape (he started running again) and he loves that we’re getting to meditate together each morning after our little one goes to school.

I love that I’m becoming more conscious about how I spend, I'm getting more child care support which is allowing me to do some things I normally can’t, I’m getting more help with meal preparation and overall --even though it sometimes drives me crazy to have my husband at the house when I’m working from home-- it’s nice to have the company and someone to enjoy tacos with in the middle of the day.

I just had the opportunity to lead a weekend self-renewal retreat in the Berkshires of MA at Kripalu for 54 amazing women ages 25-70, many of whom were navigating major life transitions.

As the women opened up to me individually and shared where they are-- contemplating divorce, healing from a lover’s suicide, recovering from a life-long addiction, putting together their life after a major job loss, finding a path to wholeness after a debilitating disease—what struck me was how much healing and empowerment they were deriving from these challenges. For the most part, they shared they felt stronger, wiser and were becoming aware of all the “gifts” that have come from their recent struggles.

Their courage touched me deeply and reminded me that most of us are navigating some type of challenge or transition right now.

They reminded me we always have a choice about how we choose to perceive a situation.

And, sometimes what we think may be the “worst” thing that could have ever happened to us, might just bear an outcome greater than we have imagined was possible.

JOIN A GROUP, ATTEND A RETREAT/WORKSHOP OR DIALOGUE WITH ME: Would you like to learn more about the power of self-care and how being kinder to yourself can change your life? Start or join a Personal Renewal Group, visit our calendar to learn more about upcoming events including my Aug. 27th Career Strategy Workshop: Find a Fit, Create a Plan, Love Your Workshop and our FREE September 9th Live Inside Out teleclass on Strategies for Balanced Living.

Also, check out our Live Inside Out community and share how you create balance in your relationship.

The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to life balance and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly.

Photo: Renee Peterson Trudeau. Monk's Pond at Kripalu, a beautiful, quiet pond sitting atop a hill behind the main building.


Sonya Feher said...

Renee, I am experiencing exactly the same epiphany about major change. My husband asked for a divorce in January and admitted an affair in February. You never could have convinced me that I'd be less lonely and angry six months out from all of that than I was in my marriage for years.

The major life changes I'm experiencing are definitely helping me appreciate the moment, feel gratitude for all that I do have, and soak in the love from friends and family. There have been so many gifts from this change.

I hope you and your family continue to appreciate your "unexpected gifts."

Nina said...

funny. I've been unemployed for almost a year. its a been a tough year as I don't have a partner or even child support for my son. bad things have happened, we're losing our house, some health insurance issues, extreme financial stress but its also been an amazingly GREAT year. I've been able to be home with my son - I NEVER thought I'd have that opportunity. We've done so many fun things together. We got a puppy since I had time for it. And I've found more inner peace than I had in the past. Inner contentment. A great gift of seeing the good and wonder in each day as my son does. the other day a friend said "I hope your life gets better" and it really shocked me cause I was thinking my life was pretty good. Actually much better than it ever was when I had a job that I thought was my dream job. I really appreciate little things much more. I'm glad I stumbled on your blog, I'll keep checking it out. thanks for your insight.