Tomorrow, we will have been home for a week. Today is the first day that we woke up at a normal time (6:30) and all got a full night's sleep. Yeah! So, it only took 6 days to get over the jet lag. Although, I have to admit, my head is still in a bit of a fog. I think part of that is because I don't have a plan. There are about 268 things that I need to do...but I am quite resistant to making a list. James actually asked me to make a list of things that need to be done around the house. Then he assigned things to Ethan from the list. Poor Ethan!
I learned a lot of things about myself in France. Some of them good things, some of them not so good things and a few ugly things. Most of these things I've always known...but, haven't wanted to admit or confront OR I thought they were GOOD things. I now see that there is a good and a bad side to some of my personality traits. They serve me well in many ways, however, they also cause me a lot of stress. The goal now that I'm home is to see how I can tweak things just a bit so that I am still well served, without being stressed.
The first thing I learned is we all have a choice. Let's back up a bit to why I wanted to go on this trip. I thought I needed to escape and have a break from all the things that were pushing down on me. I felt like I was stressed out all the time, life was hard, I wanted out! Turns out, that's where my head was, so that was my reality. But, I was making a choice. I was choosing to see things as stressful and hard and overwhelming! As I learned in France, I could choose to see things as an adventure, as a challenge, as something to attack and survive...rather than seeing life as doing things to me...I could do things to life!
Unfortunately for my family, I didn't learn this lesson very quickly. It took 5 long weeks of being handed lemons before I saw the way to make lemonade. I swear, the second I realized that I had a choice in how I reacted to the challenges we were presented in France, that was the second those things were no longer challenges. Sadly, this is a lesson I have learned before in my life...and had applied in my life for many years. For some reason, the events of the last two years have had me feeling like I don't have choice. That life is just happening to me. That being happy, amidst all that has been going on, was impossible and just not right. I realize I had gotten trapped in the idea that with so much suffering in the world, it was wrong to be happy. Even if my life was good, even if I was loved and loved others, even if down deep I wanted to be happy.
Something shifted for me in France. Maybe it was two months without the news. No tv, no newspapers, no internet news. I made a conscious decision to avoid it all. For all I know, they've found a cure for cancer, or we have been invaded by space aliens. Anything could have happened, and I don't know about it. And to tell you the truth, I feel better! I took a break from all the economic news...the daily stress of wondering are we out of the recession yet?
I now realize that I got off track on July 11, 2008 when IndyMac Bank failed, the day after my 43rd birthday. Looking back, I realize I was completely naive. I never thought IndyMac would fail. I had faith. The bank had many, many good people working for it...trying to save it. When it failed, a piece of me was forever changed. I lost faith. Faith in the American ideal...work hard and you're rewarded. Looking at my own business, we were starting to feel the effects of the downturn in the economy too. I started thinking that it didn't matter how hard I worked, I couldn't effect the changes needed to keep my business strong.
Perhaps this is a stage that all business owners go through. Wondering if you've got what it takes to be successful, when so many others fail. Wondering if you have any actual control over anything...or if you just have to react to what life throws at you. This is not a good place to be when you're running a business. You don't want to do a business plan, because you start to feel like it's pointless. Of course, this is the time it's more important than ever to have a plan and to work the plan! (I sound like an AA member.)
I was happy in France. Every day I woke up with hope and peacefulness (well, except those two mornings when I was sick as a dog...those mornings I just hoped for a swift and painless death!) Every day was a new day with endless possibilities. Every day was a chance for joy!
So, why can't I feel this way at home? What's stopping me? I'm stopping me...plain and simple. I've gotta get out of my own way. There is happiness and peace and joy...all waiting for me. Just waiting for me to say...come in. So, I'm saying "Come in!" "Come in today, tomorrow and every day after that!" It's time and I'm ready. Maybe I did need to jump off the cliff to see these truths again...maybe not...but it certainly helped. I'm choosing happiness again and I am so damn happy about it!