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What was I made for?

A dear co-facilitator and friend gave me a card at a recent retreat. It says:

Fill your lungs up with life and repeat after me:

I am alive.

I am alive.

I am alive.

My eyes travel from the card to the tree outside my window. It's new, green leaves are almost florescent as they dance in the breeze.

I am alive.

Mother’s Day, which arrived this year whether I liked it or not, had me pondering my very existence. As Billie Eilish so plaintively sings in her song from the Barbie movie...what was I made for? Why did I come through the women I did, into this life? For years I have been recommending books like “Motherless Daughters” and “Mother Hunger” to friends and clients with complicated feelings and experiences around their mothers. I am one of them now, initiated into the club in 2020, when I learned that my young-addict birthmother, whom I had desperately searched for as a young woman, died from her addiction a short while after I stopped looking. The confusing journey of navigating grief after the death of my adoptive mother in 2022, who I couldn't be more different from (or so I thought), confirmed my status. And then there is my own journey of mothering of a high needs young man, whose epic meltdowns have me jumpy and at times, dangerously sad.

What was I made for? To be an adoptee, searching for connection, weaving my own tether to the world? To be a daughter, searching for connection, achieving a small morsel of it before my mother’s light was snuffed out by dementia? To be a mother, searching for connection, navigating the tidal waves of my son’s dysregulation.

I was made for it all, I suppose. This is the only thing that’s ever made sense to me when it comes to life. I've said it over and over again in deep conversations with deep people.

I am alive to experience life.

The joy, the delight, the pleasure…the awe! The fury, the sadness, the break-ups and the break-downs…the painful truth about the world. To be human is to experience. If you strip away the running of the rat-race, procreation, material gains, hedonism, perfectionism and spiritual enlightenment…what else is there?

I’ve held on to the hopeful idea that “the soul is here for its own joy” (thank you, Rumi). An ancient Kundalini yoga theory is that as souls, we have chosen this life and everyone and everything in it. I chose my birth and my birthmother. My adoptive parents. The addictions passed on down through generations – yes, I chose my addiction to numbing myself with alcohol. I chose my son and the conditions he lives with. I chose to transform my life a multitude of times, sometimes gritting my teeth as the pain of change burned through my body. I chose to hurt many people. I chose to be hurt. I chose to love certain people I never should have. I chose to be loved.

And so, I reaffirm my mission…to gather experiences and move through each one with some grace. I will scoop them up, try them on, dance and shake with them in joy and rage, disrobe and discard them leaving pools of experience at my feet, perhaps holding on to a small, torn, piece to tuck away in a secret place.

To remind me of the dance.

Yesterday when I was walking to my office, I intentionally veered down an unfamiliar street. I wanted to see something different and the pedestrian lights changing to “walk” at the right time, granted my wish. As I strolled down the street not usually taken, I let my eyes fall upon beautiful old homes next to falling down, boarded up buildings. I passed red and yellow tulips, and trees with their temporary white blossoms. I saw the largest lilac bush I’ve ever seen, the smell hitting me with the memory of my grandmother’s yard and the lilacs in bloom.

Taking a different path, literally and figuratively, creates a different sensory experience

I turn 57 years old in four days.

I am alive.

I am alive.

I am alive.

And I am at the beginning again.

Seven-year cycles seem to be a thing for me. The past seven years have given me tremendous opportunities and growth. All my experiences and the skills I learned along the way, contributed to where I am now. I find myself wanting to be wild and grounded. I’m wandering into the unknown. I am caring less about things that used to consume me. I am trusting myself implicitly. I am witnessing my unwavering presence in experiences, both chosen and unchosen. For the past three months or so, I’ve been seeing repeating numbers daily, sometimes multiple times a day…everywhere! A friend is having the same experience. Sometimes we text each other screenshots. It’s a wink from the universe, I like to think.

“You’re on the right track.”

Imagine, you are a soul…floating around human existence and it’s your time. Your number has been called. It must be quite something to look down, up – from whatever vantage point souls “see” - and ponder inhabiting a human life on this beautiful, terrifying planet we call home. Wouldn’t it make sense that the goal is to have as many different experiences as possible? To feel as much as possible. To fall down deep. To rise high. Maybe we don’t always choose both. The teachings in grief, loss and lack are perhaps reserved for the oldest souls, the ones who have practice with human experiences. The souls who will not break.

Maybe the question is…what am I a part of? I am alive, in this time...with you. Writing this piece reaches out across space and time to connect with you, reading it. We are part of each other.

Valarie Kaur, in her inspiring book, “See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love” says, you are a part of me, I don’t yet know. When I met her after an event, she gathered up my hands together and gently laid an imaginary bouquet of flowers in my arms. I don’t remember everything she said, but her energy was a tether wrapping around my body and holding me in that experience.

This year, I am wild and grounded, and dancing with the unknown in most areas of my life. I've created a special experience in the 11th month of 2024, where I intend to fully embody it. I'll be taking a group of recovering women to Northern Costa Rica, to a magical rainforest ranch for a week of tethering – to ourselves, to the land and its explosion of life... to each other. It's an immersion into one of the most plant and animal bio-diverse regions of Costa Rica. There will be movement (yoga, dance, Qigong), meditation, nature, 1:1 and group coaching, excursions to a nearby National Park and its infamous mud baths, opportunities for healing body and spirit work, and chocolate (the venue is home to a Cacao plantation)! There will be laughter and tears. There will be openings and closings. There will be connection to soul, connection to our physical bodies, and connection to each other.

Are you longing for an experience to expand your recovery and life? Expand Beyond Recovery La Anita Rainforest Retreat has a limited number of spots left. Check out the details and register HERE.

Join us. Be a part of us.

You are alive.

You are alive.

You are alive.



P.S. Are you on Facebook? Connect me there in the Expand Beyond Recovery Group! I'm also on Instagram HERE!


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