Note: At the end of Part 1 of this narrative, which The Daily Brunch published on 19-October 2016, the author was driving from Phoenix, Arizona toward an unknown future in southern California to live with her mother and step-father, after ending her 30-year marriage.

 While I was incredibly thankful to have a comfortable place to live with my mom and step-dad, I knew it would be a challenging transition for all of us. I was middle-aged and had managed my own home for many years, had raised a family. My mom and step-dad were in their 80’s and had never shared their home for more than a week with anyone since I was 18.

Once I arrived from Arizona and settled in, we all found our rhythm together. At the same time, I determined that I’d find a new place to live as soon as I could afford it.

I hoped to re-ignite my life coaching practice in southern California. It never developed as fully as I envisioned, possibly because of the sluggish U.S. economy at that time. Jobs were very tough to find too. I created another career for myself as a professional childcare provider (also known as a nanny).

I’ll never forget the day I arrived at the front door of the first family I worked with. I paused for a few seconds before I rang their doorbell, took a deep breath and whispered to myself, “OK, you’ve run two businesses, you have a master’s degree, and now you’re going to work as a nanny. Let’s see what this is all about!”

I poured massive time and energy into making my life in California as productive and fun as possible. I became active in a church near my parents’ home and started a single women’s group there. I ended up working with a couple coaching clients and tried to launch a networking group for business women. I joined the board of a non-profit organization that provided assistance to impoverished women. I even dated a little, although my heart wasn’t really in it.

During all these varied activities, I frequently checked in with myself, asking, “How are you feeling? Are you enjoying the path you’re creating?”

Gradually it dawned on me that I was once again pushing myself too hard. I had exchanged one kind of stressful, high-pressure scenario in Arizona for a similar one in California. This driven perspective coming from within myself was definitely one I wanted to release.

I also realized that I didn’t feel much attraction to the lifestyle of southern California. Endless traffic, tons of people, and very little open, natural space.

When I still lived in Arizona I visited my cousins several times in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had been utterly charmed by its mountain setting, its less urban culture, and the brilliant clarity of the air and sky there.

After spending 18 arduous months in California, I decided to relocate to Santa Fe. It was a tough choice on many levels and yet, I was totally committed to creating a fresh way of life for myself, one based on letting go of my fear of not being enough and embracing deeper trust in my unique gifts.

Ellen and friend
Ellen and her friend

A good friend of mine drove from California to New Mexico with me (in the photo above I’m on the left). When we rolled into town I had a magical sense that I’d finally come home. The feeling of being home didn’t come from the actual community as much as it did from the fierce, majestic mountains, the endless blue sky, and the growing feeling of safety in my own spirit.

I’d like to tell you that my life in New Mexico has been a dream-come-true from the very beginning. But that wouldn’t be true. My initial three years were wildly challenging and included major trauma for my son who lived thousands of miles away, the unexpected death of a close friend, the break-up of a serious love affair, and my mother’s death.

My resolve to learn to thrive, moving through life with more ease and spaciousness, helped me greatly, especially in those early, difficult years. My choice to step away from trying to prove my worth and consistently practice intentional gentleness with myself made all the difference in the world. In addition, I’m miraculously blessed with extraordinary friends and a wise spiritual mentor who love me unconditionally and model their own approaches to healthy self-care.

Inviting major change into your life can sometimes be enhanced by a new geographic environment. Northern New Mexico is an essential inspiration for me. However, fresh location isn’t a requirement. The evolution that must occur is the one in your heart, where you open yourself to unknown possibilities, where self-perceptions can shift away from fear and shame to begin the free-flowing journey into love and acceptance.

Read: Choosing to Thrive (Part 1)

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Ellen Antill
Ellen Antill

Ellen Antill is the creator of Thriving in Wholeness in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has been a Life Change Coach for 20+ years. Thriving in Wholeness provides a process for unlimited life transformation, beginning with unconditional love for yourself. It is a potent guide for navigating key life transitions (relational difficulties, loss of a loved one, career/financial challenges, serious illness and other issues), forming authentic heart-based relationships and fearlessly expressing who you are. The Thriving in Wholeness process is available to individuals and small groups, in person and online. For more details, contact Ellen for your free discovery session.

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by Ellen Antill, M.A. (Copyright © 2016 by Ellen Antill. All rights reserved worldwide)

Featured Image Credits: MartaZ* Via changes have been made to the original)

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