The sight of spring cherry blossoms can move me to tears. I remember kneeling down to pick up a handful of the incredibly soft, blush-pink flowers under the tree near my mother’s hospice window. I carried them up to her room and laid them on the window sill.
She passed away this month, five years ago. My dad also left in May, two years before Mom. It seems so strange now – in some ways it feels like yesterday but so very much has happened in the intervening time. I feel like I’ve been slowly evolving…
Have you ever had the feeling that you’re not the person you were before, but you’re not entirely sure who you are at this moment? I’ve been feeling that way for some time now.
For a major part of my life, I knew precisely who I was and what I was doing, at least in terms of my career: I was a professional organizer, the author of two best-selling books, and a continual innovator in my field. But shortly after my mom’s death, I began to feel like I was drifting – not really anchored and certainly not focused on moving “ahead”. I was able to enjoy present moments, but I no longer had the sense of being on MY road.
As my husband (a former air-traffic controller) was now retired, I assumed that I was just entering my own retirement phase of life where old goals would give way to new activities more suited to this stage. So I continued to drift. I discovered scrapbooking which I thought was a wonderful new hobby. I volunteered with Sedona’s Senior Citizen Referral Specialist, helping her to organize her cabinets and files full of resource information. I mentored some up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
And then I got a call from TLC (TV’s “The Learning Channel”), asking me if I would like to be an organizer for an episode of the second season of their new show on hoarders. Given that I had been out of the professional organizing loop for a few years, this was a flattering invitation. I said “sure”, and they put me into their data base, pending the location of a client in my geographic area.
I was initially enthused about the offer, but as weeks passed, I started to feel uncomfortable. I would watch the show and realize that it depressed me as opposed to challenging me. What was up with that? I didn’t know what to make of my reaction.
Some friends and I get together for a monthly “High Tea and Jazz” at a local tea shop. Last month we were enjoying our tiny sandwiches and white ambrosia tea, when the woman refilling our cups asked if any of us would like to have a tea leaf reading with the shop’s psychic. We all thought that sounded like fun, and put our names down.
I never expected to hear what that reader told me, or that what she had to say would put me squarely back on my path.
I sat down at the table with her, and after some general observations she asked me if I had any questions. I started to mention the hoarders show, and before the question was out of my mouth, she put up her hand to stop me. “Don’t do it”, she said. “Why?” I asked. She replied, “It’s too dark for you. The energy is too dark.” I immediately felt a tremendous sense of relief. She had clearly affirmed my gut feeling.
She then said, “There’s something else that you’re doing…” I told her about my scrapbooking and working with the Senior Referral specialist and she practically jumped out of her chair. “That’s it!” I had been thinking about offering a workshop for seniors on how to create a personal legacy, combining organizing, journaling and scrapbooking.
She advised me to put together a course for the Adult Learning Center that is affiliated with our local college. She said to offer the course twice to make sure that it was as good as I could make it, and then she said to “take it on the road”. I just stared at her with my mouth open. “I thought I was through with the inventing and writing part of my life.” And she laughed at me. LAUGHED.
“You have no idea what the Universe has in mind for you,” she smiled.”This project of yours is important, it’s needed and it’s going to be big.”
Well well well. It appears that there really are second acts in life. I should know that by now considering that my father changed his life completely, with huge success, following a near-fatal heart attack.
The very next day, I submitted a proposal to the Adult Learning Center, and will be teaching a class there next fall. I’m excited to see what I come up with, and how this may translate into book material. And it being the month that it is, I sense my mother’s and fathers’ hands in this.
I do believe that along with grief and unknowing, there can be rebirth, second acts, and cherry blossoms.