My Journey of (Be) Coming Home through the Illusion of the American Pipe Dream

 

It is a big world, full of things that steal your breath and fill your belly with fire.... But where you go when you leave isn't as important as where you go when you come home. ~ Lindsay Eagar, Hour of the Bees

My leadership path began at birth, it seems, as I was the oldest of four girls in a family dynamic that had me taking on a lot of responsibility at a young age. While my parents did the best they could with what they had, my childhood was filled with experiences of financial struggle.

I vowed to do it differently, to figure out how to build a life where I never felt penniless or powerless. I became an avid learner of the "right way" to be a success in life, becoming the first in my family to go to college and putting myself through undergrad and law school. 

Success as a Corporate Executive

Chasing the American Dream, I began my tour of the business world as a lawyer and corporate executive. I spent 10 years as the Vice President & General Counsel of a non-profit health plan in Silicon Valley, California during the height of the technology boom.

My life ticked all the boxes in the conventional checklist for success ~ earning a huge income in a powerful executive position; living in a custom-built mini-mansion with my technology lawyer husband, our two children and a golden retriever; wearing stylish clothes and driving a brand new BMW.

And yet... I was working ridiculously long hours, shouldering an insane amount of responsibility, and sharing "quality time" with my children by singing along to Raffi songs during our hour-long, bumper-to-bumper commute in the carpool lane. 

One phrase kept running through my head: "There must be a better way...."

Success as a Business Owner

Having my fill of corporate power games, legal and political wrangling, and a position that required me to vigilantly guard against all that could possibly go wrong, we moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina seeking a better place to raise our young children than on the freeways and in the rampant materialism of the Bay Area. 

There I decided to dive into the entrepreneurial world and create a business of my own ~ one where I could make all the decisions, make a bunch of money, and make my own hours. {cue cosmic giggle}

Most of my friends thought I was insane for leaving a prestigious (and lucrative) career as a lawyer and corporate executive to start my own business. My fellow attorney friends, however, would say (only half-joking) "Take me with you, please...." 

I spent the next 12 years as the Founder, President & Chief Style Officer of Salutations, building from scratch two best-in-class, award-winning stationery boutiques that were beloved by our customers, peers and trading partners. I rose to the top of my industry, being seen as a thought leader and futurist who advocated moving beyond the battles between competitors and bridging differences between retailers and manufacturers in the midst of the worst economic downturn our country had seen since the Great Depression.

Again, I had attained the Holy Grail of Success according to "conventional wisdom" ~ so why was I buried by the weight of managing multiple businesses and employees, perpetually stressed, and on the verge of adrenal burnout? 

Success as a Solopreneur

On to the next version of the American (Pipe) Dream.... I was on a mission to find a more enlightened way to make a lot of money without killing myself doing it, devouring books like The 4-Hour WorkweekOne Minute MillionaireLaw of Attraction, and Think & Grow Rich. Thus began my new career in the realm of information marketing, solopreneurism, and business coaching. 

I founded Blue Sky Business Academy, creating two online membership programs called Business Freedom Blueprint and Wake Up to Your Wealth. Building a website and coaching platform from scratch, I led workshops, retreats, mastermind groups, and private mentoring engagements for business owners around the world in the areas of purpose-driven marketing and systems, as well as abundance-based approaches to life and leadership.

At one point, I spent $35,000 to hire a business coach, diving in deep and becoming an A+ student of the information marketing world. I brought in over $100,000 in my first year with very little overhead and zero employees. 

Are you seeing a pattern here? For the third time, I created a career from nothing, did "all the right things", and reached a pinnacle of success in that world. So.... why was I still not happy, still not fulfilled, still in fear around having enough, doing enough, and being enough? 

The Great Crash

In the midst of trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, how I could be better and do more, all areas of my life came to a screeching halt.

Everything that had worked so well in my coaching business no longer worked and revenue slowed to a trickle, I realized that I no longer wanted to be in my 20-year marriage despite the fact that I was married to a wonderful man who supported me in all my crazy endeavors (sending shock waves through my entire family), and my mother who lived with us was in the end stages of terminal ovarian cancer.

I was reeling, as I watched the "perfect life" I had crafted for myself ~ the one that was meant to keep me from feeling penniless and powerless ~ shatter around me like Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall.

I was on a collision course to being penniless and, perhaps for the first time in my life, powerless to do anything about it....

This was the first in a series of many "breakdowns to breakthroughs" over the next five years of my Heroine's Journey. I tumbled deep into the Underworld of my being, coming face-to-face with the demons and dragons of my own fears, conditioned programming and survival mechanisms; smelting the many layers of armor I had formed around my heart and soul essence in the alchemical fires of a very large cauldron; beginning to befriend those demons and dragons as my greatest allies; and unearthing the deeply buried gold of my own true self.

Lo and behold, this was not Fool's Gold but a vast cache of priceless treasures that had been there all along.... 

(Be) Coming Home

Throughout this wild and magical journey, I have come to more fully understand and embody true Leadership, true Power, and true Abundance ~ and what it means to genuinely go beyond ever again feeling penniless or powerless.  

Along the way, beneath the layers of misguided power structures and an imbalanced masculine approach to life where the mind is in control and engaged in a perpetual fight for survival, I found an immense well of feminine wisdom, intuition, unconditional love, connection to nature, childlike curiosity and wonder, passion, and a heart that felt everything with incredible intensity.

In that space, I could come to understand, love and appreciate all the ways that my mind had done the only thing it knew how to do to protect a treasure that precious ~ to hide her away in exile, at the bottom of a cavernous well, for so many years that her very existence was nearly forgotten. 

I could see the seemingly hopeless battle for survival that had been waged at the surface, in a world that existed amidst a morass of lack, scarcity, insufficiency, and separation ~ while the only thing that could ever truly bring peace, liberty and joy had been bound and gagged. 

And I found what my mind alone couldn't have known ... the aspect of me that had been buried in the abyss could never truly die. In fact, she is a fractal of a force that contains all the potential energy of a million suns ~ a mass of carbon that only becomes a diamond, stronger when compressed under the intense pressure and heat of the magma ocean deep within.

Until one day, in just the right timing that is not a moment too soon nor a moment too late, the volcano of life-force energy erupts and blows apart all that is no longer needed, all that was attempting to contain her as she evolves and expands.

The phoenix rising like the dawn of a new day ~ a being that somehow always existed and has yet been born as something entirely new. 

Through the integration of every twist and turn of this chaotic and yet divinely ordered path, I have come to have a profound appreciation for the journey....

The journey that has led me through so many direct experiences of all that was not me and yet are aspects of me.

The journey of coming to unleash my essential nature and fulfill my original intention of incarnating in this reality to more fully express my true self, thereby serving others who are doing the same.

The journey of awareness and embodiment of a force of nature that is learning to more fully inhabit this incredible physical vessel ~ the alchemical process of freeing the stuck energy and wisdom contained in cellular memory of all the triumphs and hardships gathered over aeons. 

The journey of coming to more deeply know, appreciate and (be)come Home with all the other incredible forces of nature who have agreed to embark on this long and winding road, find each other, and join in sovereign unity with an awe-inspiring planet who is on the same mythic journey.   

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