Eight weeks ago, I was sitting in the parking lot of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, getting ready to tour this cool venue with my husband, sister-in-law, & father-in-law. The weather was surprisingly sunny for Cleveland, and our two day road-trip leading up to this moment was exciting, fun and a little nerve wracking.
You see, it had been three years since my husband, Jason, and I, saw his family. And to say that our last visit was eventful is an understatement. I wanted Jason to have a great trip, and I wanted to get to know my “other” family. I prayed that this would be a turning point in both of our lives.
So here we are, September 2010, the family is getting along beautifully, the sun was shining, I was with my husband on a well-needed vacation, and I thought life couldn’t get any better. Heck, I was about to see first-hand Johnny Cash’s tour bus. I thought life could.NOT get any better – seriously, Johnny Cash’s bus? Who wouldn’t be thrilled?
Until my cell phone rang. It was Lara Casey. She had called to inform me that I was accepted to attend the “Making Things Happen 2010” intensive. As I tried to contain myself from sounding like a crazy lunatic-wedding planner, my husband turned to me and high-fived me. I was grinning from ear to ear. Through the cracking high-pitched sound of my voice, and I thanked Lara over and over.
I then started to shed a few tears and I didn’t know why. Was it because I was doing something that I hoped would happen for me? Or was it because somebody that I admired from a far personally called me to say she wanted ME. Little ol’ me. A girl from Wyoming with big dreams. Ginormous.
So, this time last week, I was preparing for something I wasn’t sure how to prepare for. All I knew was it was time to “Make Things Happen”. Do I dress professionally? Do I wear my classic jeans, long-sleeved shirt with a pair of flips? I had already stepped out of my comfort zone. All I knew was I didn’t want to look like a cheeseball grinning from ear to ear the whole time. Think of Tom Hanks in “BIG” – you know the scene where he walks into FAO Schwarz? Yea, that was me.
I flew to Phoenix from Denver on Saturday morning. Now mind you, things with my own family weren’t as great as I hoped, and I just prayed that we could get along. Just 2 days is all I need. For the sake of my sanity – this was a big weekend for me.
I landed, walked out of the tarmac, and there was my mom and dad. Grinning from ear to ear (it’s a theme in my family) and I shed a few more tears. It had been a while since I had seen my folks and I was thrilled to see them.
Later that evening, my mom and I had a very difficult conversation, I think from both ends. This conversation had been building for a few months. But neither one of us were willing to call out the elephant in the room, until now. Terse words were exchanged, visions of hurt were being realized, and I didn’t want any part of it. All I wanted to do was run. “Heather, the universe is calling you here for a reason bigger then you” is all my heart said to me. “You’re okay. Just breathe, take a step back, and breathe”.
And I did. It’s not about me. Something bigger is happening here. I just need to stay still enough to realize it.
The intensive was scheduled for the next day, Sunday. I woke up, energized but a bit drained from the night before. I was ready though – to have a real conversation, although I didn’t quite know what that meant.
I drove to the hotel, singing at the top of my lungs to Johnny Cash, who happened to be on the radio, at the exact moment I was flipping through radio stations. My heart eased a little bit, but my butterflies were fluttering away.
I walked into the hotel, nervous and apprehensive. “What did I think I was going to possibly contribute to this group? These women are established in their business, and I’m sure I’m the odd duck out.”
The minute we all walked in, the room was quiet, everyone getting their coffee and breakfast. I sat in my chair, fidgety and palms were a little damp. I didn’t know what to do – do I say hello? Do I just sit in my chair and look at my phone hoping that an email, or a tweet, or a Facebook notification would pop up?
Lara, Emily & Gina walked into the room, and Lara immediately began to talk about her journey to today. I think all of our jaws dropped at the amount of honesty and authenticity she was sharing with us.
Then Emily shared her story. Then Gina shared her story. These two women are remarkable and provoking.
One by one, we all shared our story. My time was nearing. My heart was racing and I felt like I was going to faint. I had never really been that nervous before to talk in front of a group. But this was becoming personal. Honest. Exposed. So, like in true Heather fashion, I jumped in with both feet, eyes closed. What was I going to say? Did I even have anything meaningful to share? I was about to find out.
Sharing things that only my most inner-trusted circle of family and friends would know. This was the catalyst for the day. Tone was set, stage was locked in.
For the next 10 hours, each of us went on a very deep and personal journey with ourselves and with each other.
There were many lessons I derived from this fateful weekend. A broken family relationship was beginning to heal. I am a believer in that the universe truly works in amazing and mysterious ways.
To all 14 of you, I am so touched that you allowed me into your lives. Strength and wisdom are a few words that I would use to describe each and every one of you. I look forward to seeing you grow. I look forward to getting us all together again to catch up, and perhaps shed a few less tears.
You are resilient. You are brave. You are insightful. You are loved.
I wish for you all nothing but “rainbows and puppies” in anything you touch. Great success, as you define it, is in your grasp.
Don’t be afraid to attack it with as much force and honesty as you did in this intensive.
You can do it. Rock it out.
Oh, and laugh at yourself every now and then. :)
Best wishes always,