I am an expert at changing my life. Since the age of 21, from time to time, I've picked up and moved myself lock, stock and barrel across the country and back again and up and down the coasts and through Europe and the American South. I've changed career course on several occasions.
Way back when I was eighteen or so and at a loss and in between and without guidance, I sat myself down at a giant desk that was parked at the bay windows inside my rented room across from Haverford College. There I made a decision that, having no idea how to plan my life or what steps to take next, I would go out and experience life fully, madly, deeply and then settle down and write about it.
Now would be about that time I'd planned to settle down and write.
In my mid-30's, I was out rowing on the Charles in Cambridge one morning. I was miserable and at a loss and confused. I made a decision that, by the end of two years I would be earning my living as a singer and fulfill my duty to the beautiful voice I was born with and realize my true identity as a musical artist. I knew that if I did not start taking action at that moment, I'd be filled with regret by the age of 65.
I did it. By the end of two years I was performing at my first CD release concert. I became a professional performing songwriter, produced five recording projects and toured solo all over the US and Europe. Early on, I discovered that the touring life was not healthy for me so turned to teaching music, drawing and watercolor and freelanced as a visual artist, writer and teacher. I’ve been teaching drawing and watercolor (amongst other things), and coaching private clients and groups for the past 21 years.
About six years ago, I went through a situational depression, was prescribed a psychotropic drug which I took against my better judgement and, as a result, started drinking after many, many years sober. I made some less than wise decisions, experienced a series of losses, exceptional stress, problematic eye surgery and other blows. All the sturm und drang of course was colored dark by drinking alcohol too regularly as a self-medication tactic in response to stress which, of course, created more stress and mess.
It also has not helped that I’ve recently been teaching drawing and watercolor live in an environment that has challenged me. I have bent over backwards trying to make it work but at the end of every set of weekly classes, I have felt like I’ve just returned from the front. Emotionally slain.
On the other hand, as challenging situations do, I have learned a lot about myself and relied heavily on healing practices new and old.
Of course, there have been high points and successful creative projects throughout these years but overall, I aged, gained weight and felt less and less like my optimistic, healthy self. I felt as though I'd lost my joie de vivre. I victimized myself with habits of self-criticism, regret, and negative thinking in general. As the world turned in such ways that it became almost unrecognizable, I was turning, too.
Time for a change.
A dear friend once told me about a visit to her shrink during which she unloaded a ton of problems. When she finished, her shrink looked at her and said, "That's great! Now what are you going to do about it?"
This is what I am doing about it. I have started up a school for self-healing. Because I am not only an expert in changing my life but an expert in self-healing.
Over the past five years, I've been teaching live (and one long online) healing courses and always leave these classes and courses feeling elevated, good, and thrilled that people have been truly helped.
I am changing my life again.
Here are some ground rules.
Those are ground rules that I refer to and practice on a daily basis. There are more but those are a few highlights.
I am making other changes, too. It's confusing and scary because the path forward is not clear and I have to make slightly public course corrections here and there. But that's normal. And change is literally vital.
The temptation is to build this project around sobriety and, certainly, it goes without saying that that is absolutely required. However, there is more (much more) to this game of self-healing than alcohol.
One common thread is chronic stress. Chronic stress, the causes, triggers, responses and solutions will be addressed. The common solution is learning to heal ourselves. And that's a process, a journey and a multi-layered experience.
So... I'm building this project around healing, evolving and becoming fully conscious. It's going to be great fun and fascinating.
Game on. Come along if you'd like to join me, heal and change your life, too.
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