I wrote a piece yesterday called: What I Learned From an 8 Year Old, which, as it turns out, was a helluva lot.
And which, was my most popular blog post to date. I had thousands (yes, you read right) hits on this particular piece yesterday. Guess we can all learn from children?
What I Learned From An 8 Year Old.
I got an email later that day from the mom of Little Jen (L.J.), the 8 year old I learned so much from. I met her mom through social media. She found me on Positively Positive and then entered my Twitter Contest I was running with Karen Salmansohn about inspiration. I loved reading her hourly tweets.
With her permission I am sharing the email she sent me yesterday. It made me cry and it also inspired me to be a better person. To be the best possible parent when I have kids. To live more fully and be more vulnerable. To be real. To connect with people I might never have connected with. To allow life to touch me.
She did not win the contest ( by choice). Katherine, a young college student who tweeted us about every 15 minutes won instead. It was a tie between the two and the “mom”, in true mom fashion, let the kid win.
Without further ado, here is the email.
It is beyond gorgeous. I am humbled.
Wow. Seriously? Wow, Jen.
After reading your post today, my mind is spinning. There are both no words and a flood of words swirling around in my head.
Let me share with you what brought me to your class on Saturday.
Last year I was offered my dream job. It had the big fancy title, an impressive paycheck, and lots of prestige. It was in my area of expertise and a field I wanted to explore. I leapt at the chance. My heart swelled. I was so excited that finally, FINALLY, I had the brass ring. This past January, a little over a year after accepting my dream job, I resigned. It broke my heart, but my year working at my dream job was one of the worst years of my life. I was constantly stressed out, unhappy, unhealthy and I now had both Xanex and Prozac in my medicine cabinet. But worst of all, I felt like a failure. By the company’s standards I was doing well. By my standards I was failing. After a year, I wasn’t making the progress or having the impact I knew I could make. I felt like I could have been doing so much better. My whole life I’d gotten ahead by working harder and being smarter than the average bear. That didn’t work here. It was too political and I’m too blunt and impatient. I had ideas and strategies that I knew would be successful, but couldn’t get approval to implement them. Mediocre is not my style. I couldn’t do the work I set out to do and I was MISERABLE. And worst of all, my misery was impacting my sweet family.
So, without another job lined up, without a clue what my next move would be, in a crappy economy, I quit my job. Everyone told me I was crazy. For decades, I have worked my ass off to be successful, thinking success would make me happy. I was wrong. I had literally won showcase #2 and I was miserable. I had saved up enough money to give myself some time to figure things out. I am blessed that my husband has a good job, so I didn’t have to give up any benefits. But still. I’m used to taking care of my family and myself, so this was scary.
I moved forward knowing three things:
1. I had to find a way to be my own boss so I could set my own hours and be able to put my family first.
2. I had to be able to wear flip flops and jeans every day. No more dress up.
3. Whatever my new venture would be, it would be a social enterprise that benefitted my community.
My first course of action was to read. I read books, blogs, magazines, recipes for success and the back of cereal boxes. I read your Manifesto Of My Identity on the Positively Positive website and started following your blog. I read the books You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay, A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, among others. I started reading A Course In Miracles. A whole new world opened up to me. One based on Love, Faith, and more Love. One where fear did not exist. One where happiness was a decision, not a result. A world where I am amazing and not less-than. A world I wanted to share with my family and friends.
I also entered your amazing twitter contest. I wanted to go to Ojai – I even wrote it on my manifestation mirror. The retreat pictures were intoxicating and I’m pretty sure I’ve been to that building in a previous life. For the contest, I made rules for myself. I couldn’t get out of bed until I found something inspiring to tweet. There were days the kids were almost late for school. Also, I couldn’t stockpile inspirational tweets. If I felt inspired at any time, I made myself tweet it right then– no saving something for tomorrow. Halfway thru the contest I almost quit because the exercise of saying Wow, Life is Great one or two times a day was its own reward. Ojai became irrelevant.
Flash forward to last Saturday. I almost didn’t come. I was listening to my fears:
1. I’m out of shape and Austin is filled with healthy, athletic people and I knew I’d be the biggest one in the room.
2. You would be disappointed meeting me, like online dating 🙂
3. I was worried I had put you on a pedestal and that you’d turn out to be human.
But I really wanted to meet this sparkplug, rock star, manifesting yoga teacher I had found on the Internet – there is a reason I found you when I did. I really wanted to experience manifestation yoga. More than anything, I really, really wanted the opportunity for my daughter to meet you. She is amazing and along with her twin brother (!), a gift from the gods. It’s my job to show her how wonderful life is and have her meet amazing people (Someday, some way, someone will break her heart. Someone will try to crush her dreams. I need to fortify her for that time so she can say “So what. Life is still amazing, awe-inspiring, and beautiful. Next”). Finally, I really felt the need to tell you in person how happy I am that you are on this earth, doing what you are doing. I don’t think we tell each other those kind of things as much as we should.
I’m so glad I came and brought Jen. I fell in love the minute you were kind to my daughter and I could see that you got her. She is over the moon about you, too.
You have helped me on my journey more than you will ever know, and for this I am eternally grateful. I hope all your dreams come true.
Jen will be sending her own note 🙂 Thank you for all of your kind words about her.