Warning: If you really love me and you like the person you think I am, please read no further. If you have an open mind and you've always been curious about other possibilities in the universe, feel free to proceed. Just be aware, I'm feeling pretty vulnerable right now.
Some of you know of my recent transformation, or I should say realization. I was born to be a healer. I know that now. Now is my time of emergence and I am trying to cut the cords of self-doubt. Let's say that I've begun to explore alternative spiritual paths to find inner peace.
In just about twelve months I will be hanging up my Army uniform for the very last time, after almost 25 years of total federal service. I've always felt a calling to the spiritual arts, but feared isolation as a leader in the military, or just today's society in general. These are things I kept to myself but I continued to let my intuition lead me in my quest to make this world a better place. After we lost Julia in 2006, it was obvious that I was feeling and receiving messages from somewhere that I just couldn't interpret or understand. Sometimes they were driving directions that would take me to random locations, sometimes they were phone calls to complete strangers with messages that I didn't understand ( but the person on the other line did!) I learned that if I followed my "gut", then my divine path would always be clear. There have been way too many synchronicities in my life for them just to be coincidences.
I'll be honest. There was a time when I fought that path. I hung on to so much negativity from my past that I just couldn't let go. My daughter had just died after four months in four hospitals in two separate countries. Nothing was going right, but I refused to let it be. Have you ever felt like "God's punching bag"? I used to joke that if it could go wrong, then it definitely would with me. I was definitely "Murphy's B%@ch"! The more I fought and raged about the unfairness of the world, the more unfair it became. It was almost comical. The things that would happen to me or around me were enough to make me think "You can't be serious, can you? Okay, where are you hiding the cameras, 'cause I feel like I'm being punked..." After the fourth miscarriage following our daughter's death, I'd finally had enough!! I could either let it get me down or I could take the summer off and do something I'd always wanted to do: complete a triathlon. What a better way to honor our daughter, than to compete in the Nation's Tri on my birthday, in the city in which she passed away. My grief counselor called it "coming full circle". I now call it a kick in the ass from the divine. Every ounce of pain I experienced that summer helped to purge each negative emotion I was harboring since her loss. Fear, anger, sadness, oh and I can't forget to mention guilt. That was the training monkey on my back that just wouldn't let go. Full disclosure - I have to mention this was not an Iron Man but the distance was nothing to sneeze at. It was a one mile swim in the Potomac River, a 25 mile bike ride and a 6.2 mile run through Washington D.C., so I was pretty proud of myself.
I realized in this process how exercise made me feel. It was the mileage on the road and the Yoga on the mat that healed my inner soul. I began to understand that healing begins with us. We must have compassion for ourselves and allow ourselves to heal before any other process will work. As soon as this epiphany hit home, my life changed forever. I accepted my perfect family of three and was okay with the fact that I may never have another child. Then BAM! Along comes Elena - my amazing Rainbow Baby (the next child born after loss). Let's just say she keeps us on our toes.... For those of you who do not know, she is named after the amazing nurse who stayed by Julia's side at D.C. Children's Hospital, gave her so much love, and called her "Peanut". We told her as she was taking Julia off life support, that if we ever had another little girl, we would name her after our favorite nurse. We still keep in touch to this day. Most of you know our story with Team Julia Lani, so I won't go into it here. But, if you'd like to catch up, just click on the butterfly below.
Fast-forward to 2011...
A couple of important things happen this year that catapult me on to my current trajectory. First, I became an Elite Trainer with International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) but more importantly, a Master Resilience Trainer (MR T) for the U.S. Army. Little did I know exactly how much I needed that course at that exact moment. For my non-Army readers, we learned how to train skills such as energy-management, putting things into perspective, identifying activating events, etc. Everything was based in the field of positive psychology out of Penn State. I immediately put it to personal use and WOW did it work. All those things that I thought were a big deal; all that junk that I used to worry about and catastrophize over; all that crap still hovering over my head that I thought I'd worked through.... GONE! Perspective is an amazing thing! I no longer watch the news. I look for the good in every day. I do my very best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I volunteer wherever I can because I know Julia would want me to. It's not easy but I really try.
I taught this training to Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division returning from Iraq, 200 at a time, in a chapel at Fort Bragg in 2012 and continue to use it on a daily basis while managing my career field. I recognized so many benefits of positive psychology that I decided to pursue a graduate degree as a Wellness Coach. Each layer of education I added on complemented the next. Fort Bragg was in dire need of Sexual Assault Victim Advocates in 2012-2013. I was able to use my positive psychology training in the emergency rooms with the victims while holding their hands. That was hard, but I could tell that it helped. I'm not sure it is something I could ever do again but I would never take that experience back.
I have so much story to tell, but I'm a little worn out from my trip down memory lane, so stay tuned. I'll pick back up right where I left off!
Have a beautiful day everyone. Don't forget to count your blessings before you go to bed tonight and every night. It'll change your life!
Great things are coming up! I'm currently enrolled in two separate courses for Yoga Medicine and Certified Crystal Healing. I feel that both of these modalities will greatly enhance my ability to help heal the community.