“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” — Maya Angelou
My dear friend Nozomi had just returned from a retreat in Belize when we met up for our monthly-ish dinner. She was glowing. What was meant to be a business retreat had produced a deeply personal breakthrough she had not anticipated. I wanted to hear it all and I hung on to her every word, searching for something that could spark a breakthrough for me too.
You see, this was a dark period for me. I was slowly emerging from severe burnout, a condition I didn’t even think was possible until I experienced it. This was around the time our car insurance costs doubled because within a 12-month period I had managed to get into something like nine, shall we say, fender benders. In every case, I’d had my eyes on the road, seemingly focused, yet I would drive into a car in front of me, back out into a driving car behind me, etc., all the while looking at them but not seeing them. How was that even possible? Each time I would ask, Where did that car come from?
I was run ragged from managing a business, mothering two very young kids, caregiving for aged parents, and everything else in between. My body was falling apart, ballooned beyond recognition, and lethargic to a point of total exhaustion.
It felt like I both knew everything I needed to do to change yet at the same time knew nothing. Where do I start? How? Can someone just tell me what to do? Save me?
As Nozomi dished about her experience, she said something that hit a nerve. The retreat director had challenged the attendees to think in terms of transformation, not just about individual changes they wanted to make.
That got me thinking. What would my life look like with a total transformation?
I know that Nozomi shared a lot of wisdom with me that night, but the only word I remembered was “transformation.” Even today I don’t know why that word held so much power for me, but it did, and that’s what it took to motivate me to action.
Truth be told, I had a lot of false starts and setbacks as I began my transformation journey, but each one led to a greater lesson that made the next try a bit more successful, until finally I landed on what became my holy grail for transformation: a maniacal focus on consistent daily actions. Simple—but not easy.
Now, I hardly recognize the woman I was two years ago. Mentally, physically, spiritually, I am a woman transformed.
As is often the case, it took another life-altering event to put it all in perspective. Four months ago, I lost my father. Longtime Radiant readers will know that his 30-plus-year health battle inspired me to start Radiant (Dad’s story is featured in Radiant No. 11, The Survivor Issue). To say the loss was crushing would be an understatement. The months leading up to dad’s passing were intense. We were constantly in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices until finally the fiercely independent man, who kept driving until a few short weeks before his last breath, could no longer hold himself up.
I envy the people who are able to capture the pain of loss in words. I have not yet found the words to describe this abyss of pain. What I know for sure is that two years ago, I—my parent’s only daughter and Daddy’s girl—would not have been able to bear it. I might have fallen apart.
I have learned a lot about myself these last two years. I have learned what the women featured in this issue, The Rebirth Issue, know to be true: that rebirth is inevitable, that we are all capable of engineering our transformation, and that no transformation will go unchallenged.
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