We were two hundred and fifty women from around the world. Doctors, teachers, therapists, moms and writers represented just a few of the women I met. The weekend was magical! I attended Spiritual Solutions at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. Generally, upon meeting new people, one of the first questions asked is, “What do you do?” Immediately I felt the difference in being amongst all women when the question was not What do you do? It was, “What brought you here?”

I was caught off guard the first time someone asked me that. I’d wanted to attend one of the Chopra Center’s workshops for years. When I was in my thirties, I folded laundry while listening to Deepak Chopra’s book Fire In The Heart. I read Buddha, by Deepak Chopra. I also devoured Sue Monk Kidd’s, Firstlight, When The Heart Waits, and The Dance of The Dissident Daughter. Then I discovered The Power of Now and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. I fell in love with Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I bought Oprah’s and Deepak’s meditations. And I developed a practice of keeping a gratitude journal and occasionally meditating. When the Chopra Center added Elizabeth Gilbert to their list of speakers I thought of it as my dream vacation, something I’d go to someday. Then my husband Eric told me it was his gift to me for our 20th anniversary.

It Was A Big Magic Weekend

Off I went to California not knowing what to expect. After listening to Deepak Chopra’s voice for so many years, I was extremely excited to see him and listen to him in person. I believe we learn certain lessons at specific times in our lives. Lessons we need to hear when we are ready. I learned a lot over the four days. I have many more books to read and curiosities to investigate. However, there were three main lessons I felt were my “Aha!” moments as Oprah calls them. Lessons that seemed basic yet I hadn’t understood. I’m going to write about all three over the next few weeks. The first came from Elizabeth Gilbert who is an amazing speaker and writer! I read Big Magic before attending the workshop, and it was exactly what I needed to read. If you crave to live a more creative life, are a creative, want to be a writer, or you are a writer I highly, highly recommend Big Magic! My first lesson…

Worry is not love

My husband Eric has a saying that I’ve heard over and over and over, “You got this!”

I’d tell him about my concerns for my writing, or if I was asked to speak, or even when I wasn’t sure if I could complete the marathon. I’d go on and on, and he’d simply flash his huge grin and say, “You got this!” Honestly, there were times when I wanted to punch him. In fact, I probably told him to stop telling me that. It seemed like a brush off when I wanted him to delve down into my swirling pit of worry. The problem was I saw worry as love. I felt as though he wasn’t loving me by telling me, “You Got This!” Like any good mom, I started worrying about my children since before they were born. Worry and I held hands all through their elementary, middle and high school years. Then when my daughter went off to college, I had to constantly check in with her to make sure she was safe. If a day or two went by without a text, my writer brain would come up with all sorts of reasons of why I hadn’t heard from her. While my daughter, Arielle, perhaps understood that my worry went along with mothering, it’s possible my son interpreted it differently. Our society sends a clear message to boys that strength is a power. Elizabeth Gilbert explained that when we are worried about someone we make them weak. It’s as if we’re saying I don’t believe you can take care of yourself or thrive. Let me take care of you. Instead, when we believe in someone and hold them in strength, we say (and these were Elizabeth Gilbert’s exact words): “You got this!”

It’s possible my mouth dropped open, and the angels or mermaids sang, “Ahh ahhh ahhh!” When I heard Elizabeth Gilbert say those three words.

I felt amazing freedom at that moment! Freedom along with my vegetarian self having to eat crow. Eric saw me as strong, his words, “You got this,” were said in love. Worry is not love.  I didn’t have to constantly worry about my children. I always believed in them. I knew they were strong. It’s just that not worrying made me feel guilty as if I didn’t love them enough if I wasn’t worrying. I couldn’t see what my worry was doing to them. I was sending the message that I didn’t believe in them even though my words were telling them I did. Now, my children are graduating high school and college, and I see that look of dread on their face when someone asks them about their future. It’s a lot of pressure to have to map out your life at eighteen and twenty-two. But I’m not worried. My message to them is,  “You got this!”

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