New beginnings can bring up a mix of emotions; scary, exciting, doubtful, hopeful, and more. When a new beginning takes us by surprise, we may feel thrown off and unsure of how everything will work out. Yet, somehow it always does.
We asked our Journey LIVE teachers to share with us stories of new beginnings, both expected and unexpected. Their stories show us that even if we can’t see how our story will end, eventually all the dots connect.
I remember picking up one of my favorite books by the meditation teacher Pema Chodron and reading about the story of her divorce. I was a young twenty-something who had just gotten his heart broken. While the sentiment of reeling from a breakup felt similar, the specific story was a bit alienating to me as I had never gone through a divorce.
Who was writing about that first big heartbreak or their quarter-life crisis instead of the midlife crisis? Because I could not find a Buddhist teacher speaking to my current life experiences – and because I was a young teacher myself – I struggled with whether I could do it myself. Eventually, getting over my fear and hesitation, the idea hatched that maybe I could write from my own experience. Three years later my first book, The Buddha Walks into a Bar, was born.
It was 1999, I was about one year away from my commissioning as a naval officer in the United States Navy and I received the official word that the Navy was not sending me to medical school but instead it was going to commission me as a Surface Warfare Officer and that we were going back to the Middle East (where our current conflict still resides). I panicked, and had to decide where exactly I wanted my life to go directionally.
I’ve been singing and dancing since I was three years old, and started professionally at 15 years old. I put all of that aside so that I could join the military. Seven years of military service later I come to this particular roadblock in my life and decided to leave the military and pursue what artistically has been a part of my whole life. Needless to say, countless wonderful adventures later, I am in the best place I’ve ever been and owe it all to embracing the change. Just think, “What if…this ACTUALLY works.”
Any time one follows their heart to give a dream, goal, intuition or desire a chance to manifest into reality, inevitably you are taking a giant leap of faith. My big leap of faith happens daily, by letting my heart and life point the way with my work, and ultimately where and how I spend my time. One of the first times I experimented with living this way was when I decided to pursue medical school and signed up for a pre-med program well after I finished college.
While my mind was constantly reminding me of how bad at math and science I had always been at school, when I tuned into my heart, there wasn’t an ounce of second guessing about it. It knew that’s exactly what I wanted to be doing! Sure enough, pre-med led to becoming Center Director at one of the top healthy psychology research laboratories in the world. And it’s where I began, investigating the scientific benefits of meditation – knowledge that I still use and share each and every day with my meditation students.
10 years ago I met a charming artist with a sparkle in his eye… and he was beautiful! I also happened to be at a point in my life where I was “focusing on myself and not dating.” I really intended to stay disciplined about the not dating part, but a good friend softened me up. He encouraged me to keep my heart open and just be curious about who this person is… and because he knew him personally vouched that he was a really great guy, worth taking a chance on.
I’m so glad I didn’t let my agenda of what I thought was “right for my life” at the time get in my way, because that charming artist is now my husband (and father to our son), and we’ll be celebrating 5 years of being married this month!
In 2000 I interviewed for a job that I thought was the perfect job. Well, let me be clear everyone around me told me it was the perfect job for me. I would be making the most amount of money I ever made, and I would be on track for climbing the corporate ladder. When I was offered the position, I was not completely surprised. But, why did this not feel right? I struggled for some time with my decision since I wanted to please my family. The kind of stability the job would give me would help my family in a big way.
I ultimately turned down the position going off of my gut receiving that this was not right for me at this time and on top of that, I moved across the country to California because I felt called to travel and experience a different city from NY. One year later I was awakened to the horrific news that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center building. I dropped to my knees in sadness and cried for the losses that were taking place and also wept in gratitude for the leap of faith I took in turning that job down because that company was located in the World Trade Center. I could have been there that day. I live my life now trusting and following in this gut RECEIVING!