The Long Journey Home - A Diary

September took me on an unexpected adventure.  It was filled with birthdays, business trips, a-ha moments, brinks of disaster and ultimately an understanding of who I truly am within this life. 

I began so innocently as my birthday brought a romantic lunch with my husband.  As we sipped our tea and ate cake, I mentioned that I needed to spend more time feeding my soul again.  I had spent so much time focused on business and other people's needs that I had grossly neglected my own.  It's a common struggle, but one that I knew I had to overcome if I was to be of any use to the world.  So, I began nightly meditations again.  I focused on who I wanted to be and how I had gotten so far off my path.  It was a journey that made me rethink my business and ask whether retail was the right adventure for me.  I knew I was burned out before the summer season began.  I promoted my lead to manager and stepped back from the store.  My husband was traveling for our consulting business and my kids would be home all summer.  It was a wonderful ideal in my head.  I could hand the store over to someone else and just relax for a while.

It didn't exactly turn out that way, but hey, a girl can hope, right?!

While I was away, I saw the store's sales drop, but I didn't want to see the problem.  I just wanted to breathe again.  I really just needed to find my breath again.  The store's decline wasn't anyone's fault but my own.  I'm the one that ran away.  However, by the time the boys started school again, I knew I was going to have to do something.  I lamented the problem.  Okay, I wallowed in self-pity and pouted like a child for a while.  Then, I put my big girl pants on, and sat down to find solutions.  I enjoy our little spice and tea store.  I love making people happy with our products.  I love listening to their stories of experimental meals and amazing ideas.  I just didn't love being tied to the store all the time.  It's so hard to own a business when you are spending all your time running it.  I wasn't happy, and thus, my employees weren't happy either. 

I contemplated selling the store.  It could bring a nice profit and I could release all the negativity that I had associated with it.  Then, Hurricane Harvey happened.  I watched helpless while all my family and friends in my home town of Houston dealt with deluge after deluge.  I watched the news relentlessly hoping for a glimpse of an area where I couldn't yet reach people to verify their safety.  It was unthinkable for them, and all I could do was watch.  Luckily, most of my family and friends were relatively undamaged from the storm.  Briefly, I could breathe again, and it made me realize how important living intentionally was in a life that could be over in a moment.  As I pondered this new realization, another storm came through.  This time, it threatened all my friends in Florida.  Our corporate headquarters and so many of our sister and brother franchise owners were in the path of Irma.  Our franchise conference was scheduled the next week, and I had no idea what to do for anyone except pray.  Again, I was blessed in that no one was seriously injured or damaged from the storm, and our conference was still a go.  

As the end of September rolled in, I made a decision to go to the conference and just feel.  I wanted to know how it felt to be in this family.  Did it still call to me or was it time to move on?  It didn't take long before I felt at home with my fellow store owners.  I remembered what it was like to be around positive and inspired people.  I wanted to be positive and inspired as well.  I breathed it all in for 3 days as I listened, learned, and grew as a person and business owner.

So many times in our lives, we forget who we are.  We get so caught up in the moment or the problems that we lose sight of the why.  I remembered what it was like to be among like-minded people, feeling and achieving similar goals, all the while truly enjoying each other's company.  It was a mirror into my truest self.  The self that follows her instincts and tackles mountains of chaos without a second thought.  I had lost that fearless self.

Maybe it was the whirlwind of the last few years catching up with me.  I barely stopped moving from the time we purchased the store, before even moving to the Ozarks, until stepping away for the summer over 2 years later.  We, as people, have a habit of focusing so hard on surviving that we forget how to live or even why we live in the first place.  I was deep in survival mode.  I was exhausted, burned, beaten, and nothing remotely resembling the me that I once knew so well.  It happens.  I'm hardly the only one who can relate to this state of being.  But, for me, I had to change.  I was lost, I knew it, and I had to do something about it.  So, I threw it all on the table.  I let go of all my labels, problems, limitations, and regrets.  I just sat there and said to my inner self, "who do you choose to be in this life?"  Because, at any time in our lives, we can choose a different path.  For me, I wanted my passions reignited.  I wanted to live intentionally with a purpose of being that lit me on fire every moment of every day.  At my core, that is who I am.  I am emotional, passionate, enthusiastic, and come at life with the ferocity of a hurricane.  I believe that I can achieve anything I choose to hold onto long enough whether it be positive, negative or indifferent.  I just had to choose with purpose, instead of in reaction to the world around me.  So, I chose.  I chose to listen to my intuition instead of logic.  It told me to stir the passions within, to let loose with the ferocity of a hurricane, and to not let go for even a moment of who I truly am.

And, one sleepless night during the conference in a hotel room all alone, I awakened.  I awakened to exactly what I needed to do to turn around my business and my life in general.  I awakened to the journey that I now find myself on.  It has led me away from my regular blog posts, but I hope that it leads me into a new blogosphere.  One where my experiences, adventures and passions shine through and touch you on a more intimate level.  I hope to move you into infinite possibilities and delicious meals that you can share and enjoy for years to come.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.