For years I have wanted to drive across the country to Colorado. An opportunity came up in the fall that allowed me to travel and work virtually and I jumped on it. I drove from Baltimore Maryland to the The Front Range and to the San Juan Mountains in Colorado September thru November 2016. I stayed in Airbnb’s along the way to live like a local and find where I felt the vibe to one day relocate to the the west.
My adorable English Springer and yes her name is from the classic Beatles song thanks to my kids Claire and Clark who named her at birth in 2008. Up until this point Eleanor had never traveled in the car for more than 30 minutes – so we were both stepping out in full uncertainty and courage!
After the first hour of standing on the center console with her head out the sunroof, she realized I better lay day and get comfortable in the back seat, this is going to be a long ride! Smart Eleanor and I am so grateful to have made this monumental road trip and self discovery with her.
I returned to Baltimore and realized I am not the same person anymore. Little did I know how powerful this road trip was for me. This road trip opened my heart to really loving me as I am.
As I moved into my beautiful pre war apartment in Baltimore in February 2013, I felt re-energized and alive. My daughter was out living life and my son was off to college. For the first time I had a yearning to focus on me but still felt guilty. I celebrated my 50th birthday February, 2014 and thought I was on the path in my new space in Baltimore City.
On my 50th birthday, a dear friend gifted me this stunning black and white print of Coco Chanel in 1916 on the beach in France. This photo was taken at the very start of her career. I look at this every morning as I sip coffee with the bright sunlight rising to a new day. I ponder, think and wonder what Coco was thinking and feeling as she was about to be a game changer in the fashion industry for women.
The 2 CCs with Coco Chanel are significant in my life which I will reveal later in my blogs.
I simply have not been the same since I returned to Baltimore. I left my heart in Colorado – the sunshine, high altitude, mountains, big blue bird skies, the snow, cold and no humidity. Did I mention Durango has 350 days a year of sunshine……Yes Really!
I also met the most friendly people in my life! Traveling in the car 4 days and 3 nights on Route 70 to Colorado allowed me to see this beautiful country and meet the people who are the fabric of America. My journey lead me to the mountains. I ski and my dream is to wake up and hike in spring/summer/fall and ski in the winter each day. So that took me into Denver then onto Breckenridge to Frisco, Vail to Aspen, Avon to Telluride and then there is Durango. Wow! I felt SO grounded in Durango. The South West Corner of Colorado. I met the most friendly people surrounded by the San Juan Mountains. I knew I was in the place, this was it 1915 miles from Baltimore. Who knew, right?
So here it goes……the journey to my soul. As a student of my self awareness over the past decade I have learned “how I feel” was never valued growing up in my family or origin.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not send gratitude to finding the Al Anon Program. I am forever grateful to 3 amazing women who all at different times in 2010 offered to me to consider attending an Al Anon meeting. The final woman who is still today someone I trust and call a friend, asked me to support her in a meeting and have dinner. I didn’t ask any questions, I just said sure, where and when. Stay tuned for how this mattered for me in my self discovery of becoming aware that I am a child of an alcoholic. In 1988 I married a functional alcoholic, happily divorced in 2002 and realizing in 2010 my 2 beautiful children are children of an alcoholic – wow!
I know. It’s big. More on that to be revealed later.
After attending daily Al Anon meetings, reading, getting fired 3 times in 5 years and so much self work, I still was feeling a big hole. I realized I can’t muscle this with my logic, you know my brain…..its in my heart. I found Danielle Laporte in 2013, read the Firestarters and Desire Map and I was feeling an opening. So in 2015 I became a student of Danielle LaPorte to become a licensed facilitator of The Desire Map Program. Yep, I thought that was my ticket. While I loved the reading, process, wheel of life, goals with soul…..I was not applying it and to fearful to run workshops in Baltimore.
There was still a hole. Knowing I was still a work in progress I continued to white knuckle with my business strategy consulting biz and attracting clients who let’s just say we’re a mirror or me = dysfunctional (yep true) in fact 2015 is a blur to me right now. So that is when I knew I had to travel in 2016 and change my physical space to awaken my soul.
I put my beautiful furnished pre-war apartment on Airbnb and had long term guest so I would spend weeks at a time in various places in 2016. My business is virtual so I can provide services anywhere as long as I have Wifi and my laptop – all seemed good. Then I get the guest I was hoping for, a long term guest for 2 months in September. This was my ticket to ride LOL no pun intended but YES really! My big opportunity to take the road trip across America to Colorado. The road trip I dreamed of and could see and taste! Game on – it was my game changer. I had no idea the powerful spiritual shifts that would come to me. Energy of the universe, my higher power it was all around me, there was no denying it. I literally felt the shift from head to toe and more importantly in my heart. Something bigger was happening to me and I could not deny it. I was feeling the true me.
The real me that somehow I left as a young teenager……that free spirited turquoise Denise was finding her way!
Pictured her in 1978 with my dad at a company cookout.
So this is scary for me. Yep the courage girl. On November 2, 2013 had the word “courage” tattooed, in my own handwriting on my right wrist. My daily reminder to summons the courage each day to be her authentic worthy self. I am packing up and moving to Durango Colorado.
What I know for sure….it takes “insane courage” for people to rise up and be their authentic self. Detach from the nay sayers and forge onward with so much noise in this world. I would not be here to write this without so many amazing women who have held space for me along the way – especially over the past 6 years. You will meet these women as I write in the #couragecafe and I will share their gifts, talents, love and how you can find them because I have learned to accept and respect WE CAN NOT DO THIS THING LIFE ALONE.
Year by year, day by day, I feel more vulnerable to open my heart and share the ups and downs. Not keep it silent.
My voice is powerful to free me from the inside out. Dark brings light. Facing it is hard but necessary. I would not find the bright side of myself without being on my knees. We are all doing the best we can.
One of my favorite quotes from Danielle LaPorte is above my desk
“If you want to find out, you have to go in” (scary and true)
I hope you will follow me on this journey. I would love to meet you and hear what you have to share – my posts will also be on social media.
Rock with courage and All Love