Ingredients Required To Make Lockdown Lemonade

Bag Of Lemons (can Include: Health, Relationships, Finances, Death, Loss, Injury, etc)
Optimism  (Organic)
Positivity
(Personal)
Can-Do Attitude
(Unlimited Amount)
A Pinch of Vulnerability
A Dash of Authenticity

Serve With A Smile!

Be The Victim of Your Story or Be the Hero of Your Journey. 

The Lemons.

After calling the Big Island of Hawaii home for three months, it was time to bid farewell to Kona and make my way back to Colorado. Though bittersweet to say goodbye, I was excited. Merely 10 days prior I’d signed an offer letter for a new job in Boulder and verbally committed to sublet a furnished room with my own bathroom.  Preparing for my return had paid off. Everything had fallen into place.

But, in the blink of an eye, the plans I worked sp hard to secure, fell through, or rather, were ripped from underneath me. First, out of nowhere, the organization eliminated my job. Then, the housing turned out to be anything but a good fit. It’s as if the Universe shook her head and waved her finger in my face with a smirk saying, “I don’t think so!”. Completely devasted, I began to question…everything.

Why would life line up only to fall apart?

Once extremely hopeful, I was heartbroken, stuck on an angry, and frustrate emotional rollercoaster. I trusted them, I trusted myself.  What did I do wrong?  How could they do this to me? I convinced myself all my responsible decisions, meant absolutely nothing.

However, this was not my first rodeo.

Countless times throughout my life I’ve fallen on my face only to scrape myself up. I’ve turned bumps into blessings and managed to morph stumbling blocks into stepping stones. To give in to actions beyond my control, I’d give up my power. Deep down I knew my capabilities. I knew everything falling apart was not my end-all, be-all. But, when you’re smack dab in the eye of a storm, it’s paralyzing and nearly impossible to imagine a silver lining.  I felt lost, lonely, and hurt. But, I also knew I always had a choice: victim or victor.

Rejection is Redirection, Rejection IS Redirection” 

Despite struggling with self-confidence, I continued commitment to “trying” to find a job and a place to live in Boulder.  Fortunately, having been a healthcare recruiter for almost a decade, a former nurse I worked with, reached out to inquire if I’d interview with her company for a remote position. I explained my situation and the synchronicity of her timing. Despite feeling a tad unsure about returning to my former career, I promised the Universe I’d accept an offer. Then, a week after my stellar interview, the company decided to hold off hiring anyone. Seriously? Why did this keep happening to me? Again hurt by the tease of a routine paycheck to afford the stability I so badly craved. On the edge of losing it, I sighed and repeated, “rejection is redirection.”

Back to square one, I was now forced to step back and take inventory of my situation. In this pause of contemplation, I recognized, quite clearly: my heart really didn’t want the job. My heart was still in Hawaii. I was sending mixed messages to the Universe. No wonder I wasn’t getting gigs! No longer could I kid myself.  I missed the ocean breeze, humidity, tan skin, even my wild curly hair! Though I was so happy to reconnect with friends, I wasn’t happy with a foot of fresh snow. But, what could I do? Where would I go? Only back a month, I couldn’t justify leaving again. Instead, I tucked my awareness in my back pocket and recommitted to Colorado.

From What If… to Why Not

With my decision to stay,  I knew nothing would change unless I did. So, I shifted my perspective and began making the best of it. And, it worked! The more I leaned into uncertainty, the more opportunities began showing up! From a long term pet sitting gig to generous invitations to stay in the guest rooms, I always had a safe space to rest my head. I even got a free car! Well, not my own car, but one to borrow for a month! Since a good friend was traveling to Indonesia, she offered her car as a place to store it. Talk about a win-win! Despite the Universe’s sassiness, she kept offering hugs of reassurance. My life was back in the flow of crazy synchronicity.

Yes, And…

The formula never failed: the more I showed up for myself, the more life showed up, for me. My exchanges of energy ranged from babysitting and walking dogs to helping organize a basement. Some days I’d wake with a huge smile trusting the yellow brick road lining up one step at a time. Other sleepless nights I lay awake, riddled with anxiety from the nightmare of not knowing my what next. It ebbed from trusting the flow to questioning how long it would all last.  The “stuck in a funk” days were the toughest. In an attempt to shift my energy, I’d strap on sneakers and go for a walk. One afternoon, while strolling along the Boulder Creek, it finally hit me: what I was “doing” wasn’t working. It was OK to follow my heart. At this moment I gave myself permission to look outside the Boulder Bubble.

SURRENDER.

A few days later, I felt the call. While walking to my car, thinking about my what next, out of “nowhere” I heard a whisper. A gentle voice clearly said, Ask for help. That’s when it dawned on me. Here I was trying to “figure it out” and telling the Universe what I wanted but I had yet to ask for divine guidance! And, now, in my new state of surrender, I had nothing to lose. Wide-open to a change of scenery and new possibilities, I knew I couldn’t ignore the whisper, So, instead of driving home, I got into my car, took a deep breath, put my hands in prayer form, and from a place of gratitude and appreciation, kindly asked my guides, out loud, “pretty please show me where I’m to live the month of April.” As if waiting for me to ask, I instantly felt a nudge: log into the San Diego housing group on Facebook.

Having lived in San Diego from 2004-2011, I’d considered moving back. So, this wasn’t too surprising. Listening, I followed orders,  picked up my phone and logged into the group. Instantly… my eyes widened and my jaw dropped. The very first post on the page read: APRIL ONLY – GET IT BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE DOES! Holy wow, was this for real? Did I really get my answer this quickly? I scrolled through the stunning photos and scanned the details. It was everything I wanted and then some:  minutes from the beach, my price range, even a bike to borrow! Without questioning or skipping a beat, I private messaged the owner: “My bags are packed!!” Yup, those were my exact words. I was confident this apartment was meant for me. I was, in fact, following my heat back to California.

However, Record Scratch.

In the midst of my excitement, I failed to notice a really big detail! This dream come true was not in San Diego, but instead, in Tulum, Mexico!!!! Wait a minute, in asking the Universe to show my next move in California I was actually being guided to leave the country and move to a slice of paradise I’d only once visited in 2013 for a few days? I’d stumbled onto a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Visibly shaking with that feeling when you know something is meant to be, my intuition smacked my upside the head with a big, fat “YES!” Pumped for my new plan, I recognized the need to act quickly and prove to the Universe I was serious. In my usual spontaneous style, Only flying Southwest since they allow charge-free changed, I logged in my app and searched for a direct flight from Denver to Cancun. BAM! Perfect: April 1st, only $135. I clicked “purchase” Despite the looming state of affairs around the world, in this moment, I felt FREE. Within a few days, I spoke with the gal behind the ad.  We both agreed the room was mine!  I was now the proud owner of a new plan I never would have planned.  Something had shifted. Even though this felt crazy, it was crazy good.

Accept… COVID- 19.

As reality took shape, crossed my fingers, and held onto hope all would work out.  Unlike most Americans, I wasn’t worried about being “stuck there”. Are you kidding? I loved the idea of being quarantining with palm trees and an ocean breeze! Some friends thought I was nuts, others were jealous, a few concerned. But 90% gave me their blessing. Those who know me agree: they have no idea how I do it but they couldn’t deny I always land on my feet. (I’m like a cat… watch me!)  I wasn’t trying to go to Mexico.  The opportunity found me.

And Then…Southwest Canceled all International Flights.

I understood their decision. My heart hurt for the sick, weak, and worried. However, I questioned the forced isolation. To me, fear was spreading faster than the virus. So why didn’t I feel any anxiety? What was wrong with me? Why was I more afraid of the people hoarding toilet paper, judging others, and giving away their personal power so quickly? I knew my body was healthy and I was not contagious.  I wasn’t worried about getting sick. I saw this as an opportunity. I stood back and watched the world wake up

Love is more powerful than a Lockdown.

People were hyper-aware of other people. The global pause was connecting us in ways like never before. Conditioning and compassion, both being tested. Social distancing forced us to separate but forced us to face ourselves. Men and women exposed to their habits, use of time, core values, and priorities. While the COVID was robbing people of their breath, it seemed Mother Earth was gifted ability to breathe with ease. Daily communicating came to a halt, flights grounded, factories no longer fuming smoke. The pandemic was pausing pollution! Plants and animals reaped the benefit of our reset. Unconscious humans were “waking up”. Healing was happening. We were being brought back to basics. For the first time in my lifetime, everyone on earth was experiencing the same story. Humanity was in the midst of a massive hero’s journey.  lens. Instead of wearing a mask, I rocked a pair of rose-colored glasses.


***I Interrupt This Journey for a “Strangers To Friends” Story***

In 2008, working for the same Healthcare Recruiting company in San Diego, CA, I met Tina in of all places, the Women’s bathroom. I mean, how many bestie stories begin like that? Then, I was laid off and she resigned the next day. Soon after we bumped into each other in dance class, fast-forwarding our friendship from co-workers to partners in crime. Then, in 2010, Tina and I decided to move to Wilmington, NC together.  But as quickly as we found an in a matter of one week. our plans changed. Her job asked her to stay in San Diego another six months and my job let me go with six weeks severance, Despite having been to Wilmington and not knowing a soul, I chose to go solo, creating a 15 city, six-week “Strangers To Friends” road trip. And six months later, Tina arrived too.  2 years ago, Tina moved to Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she bought a beautiful home, complete with an adorable studio surrounded by palm trees.

In December, while I was living in Hawaii, Tina and my Mom were having dinner together at my Mom’s house in Delray Beach, FL, four hours south of Saint Petersburg. While talking about my “what next” they came up with an idea: rather than move back to Colorado, I could move into Tina’s studio, typically listed as an Airbnb. When they called to share the idea, I agreed living closer to family would be nice, but the timing didn’t feel right. I felt called back to Boulder. But, as I say, never say never. The Saint Petersburg seed was planted.

Back to the story…

At the last minute, I bought a cheap flight and flew to San Diego to celebrate my 42nd birthday on March 15th with an incredible dinner, lots of wine, and good friends. What none of us knew at the time, that night, my birthday was literally the last night the world would be the same. San Francisco went into lockdown and my brother lost his job as a bartender, the very next day. This meant two things: life would never be the same and moving to San Diego was now no longer an option.  Sh%$t was getting really real, really fast.

That day I called Tina to tell her about my birthday and what was happening in California. Thinking back to her offer, I asked about the Airbnb. She explained the current guests were booked through March 31, but once they left the invitation she’d happily let me move in. I mean, never in my dreams could I have imagined a pandemic being the reason to move to Saint Petersburg but then again, I never imagined the world being told to stay at home and quarantine.  Though I’d never been and didn’t know anyone else, her offer was perfect. Except for one part: I needed a place by March 23. But, she also wanted them to leave early. We both crossed our fingers.

March 19th, four days later in the middle of a massive Spring snowstorm, I got the text I’d prayed for: “The Airbnb guests are leaving! he casita will be ready by March 23. Let me know if you’re coming! As quickly as my plans had fallen apart, now they fell together.

I called everyone to give them the good news: I had a place to quarantine! Within 72 hours, I used the same Southwest ticket originally to Cancun to book my flight to Tampa. As if it couldn’t get any better,  my friend traveling Indonesia, whose car I’d been driving for a month, texted asking if I’d be possible for me to leave her car parked at the airport by 6 PM on March 24th; She wanted to land and immediately self-quarantine. Since my departure time was 5 PM on March 24th, without trying to make it work, it worked out perfectly.

Time To Make Lemonade!

With only a few days to get everything in order, I downsized my storage unit and moved my stuff into a smaller space. On my last day in Boulder, I left time to enjoy myself. I rose early for an epic sunrise and hiked a beautiful trail. Then I packed the same suitcases I’d taken to Hawaii,  hugged the same two friends who’d picked me up at the airport six weeks prior and said, goodbye. It was bittersweet.

Driving to catch my flight felt like I was a character in a movie. I was leaving behind everything I knew, having no clue when I’d return or what to expect. My emotions ranged from grief to gratitude. Then, to add fuel to the fire, 20 minutes away from the airport a friend called to tell me the Governor of Colorado announced a mandatory LockDown beginning at 5 PM, the very next day. Instantly I felt a panic jolt through my body. Like those scenes in the movie, I could feel a tornado on my tail, like I was outrunning an Apocolypse, with only seconds to spare. Only this wasn’t a movie, it was real life.  I had no doubt I was getting our of dodge, right on time.

Once the car was parked, my bags were checked and I was cleared through security,  I finally, for the first time in weeks, took a huge sigh of relief. I made it. I took the time to take in the other people in the airport. I wondered about their stories, where they were going. Were they scared? When I got to my gate, people were six feet spaced out, but, they were friendly. It was like we were members of the same club. When it was time to board, the flight attendant called us up at the same time. With a smile she Instructed us to pick out our own rows, insisting we were all first class, bottomless pretzels for everyone! I chose a window seat. There were 25 of us, total.

—————— This Brings Me to Today, April 24, ONE MONTH LATER —————

As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk in my little (well, tiny) Pinterest perfect studio, watching the warm rain dance on the saltwater pool that separates my space from Tina’s place. My skin is golden brown and my hair is soft with curls. And most importantly, I am safe, I am healthy and I feel… at home. As Joeseph Campbell says,“we must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  As i look back on the chaos: the job, housing, flights everything had to happen, in the time that it happened, in order for my opportunity in Florida, to happen. Fully leaning into the uncomfortable space of uncertainty was the key to my daydream of quarantining with an ocean breeze and palm trees, coming true. Lemonade isn’t made from luck. It’s made… from lemons.

My Mantra: I AM WHERE I AM BECAUSE IT’S WHERE I AM SUPPOSED TO BE. I CAN’T BE LATE, I CAN’T BE EARLY.

Life Happens.
The first step to making lemonade is to admit, “it”…happened. You must call out the chaos and acknowledgment the wrench in your place. You must look your lemon in the eye and… accept it. Acceptance is the first step toward healing, anything.  When you release tension in the body you not only open yourself up to positive energy, but you allow yourself to feel deeply, ultimately releasing negative emotions from the body. These emotions might include disappointment, sadness, anger, frustration or grief. Expressing emotions is anything but a sign of weakness.  A good cry feels good, for a reason. Only after you accept your fear can you turn it into fuel.  Feeling your feels is what I consider to be the ‘first step to freedom’  Vulnerability is the prelude to the perspective shift.

Keep The Faith
To have faith is a choice. Like I showed in my story, it was the act of surrender that invited the Universe to meet me halfway. But to bring myself to the point where I can let go and trust, I must trust, myself. The moment you start to doubt your worthiness or your capabilities, you fall off course. You must believe in the greater plan, for it all. I know it’s easier said than done. Faith only becomes my friend after I’ve been brought to my knees, that moment of pulling myself up by my own bootstraps. Believing in myself empowers me to believe in others. Though I empathize with the unsettling and often, terrifying feeling of uncertainty, I also can’t emphasize the role you play in attaching meaning to what it means to “not know”. Even when we feel certain in what’s ahead, it all can change in the snap of a finger. This proves “knowing” doesn’t protect you, just like “not knowing” doesn’t destroy you. There’s always a method to the madness.

Let Go To Grow.
Detaching from the way something ‘needs’ can determine whether someone is going to spiral out, or remain balanced.  It’s the assumptions and the expectations that lead to disappointments and misfortune.  Holding onto assumptions blocks your ability to visualize and feel into what you want to co-create in your life. You must not limit your ability to look outside of your bubble.but instead see the limitless possibilities in every which direction around you. Our conditioning has taught us there is a right and wrong. But to move through life with ease, you must also have grace, with others, with outcomes and with, yourself.  You know the phrase, “go with the flow”, well, it’s true. When you let go, you flow. Think of your limiting beliefs as a dam holding back raging waters to a calm standstill. Now imagine removing the dam. Water begins rushing over and under, around rocks, through trees, but all streams of current in the same direction. That’s what happens when you stop holding yourself back and begin believing it’s all going to work out.  Your willingness to shift your perspective shifts your energy! In this space of a higher vibration, you will attract who and what you need. Manifesting isn’t magic but rather your heart and your mind agreeing to align in their common pursuit of a greater purpose.

The moment you’re able to look on all the lemons that brought you to exactly where you were meant to be, you experience a level of peace that’s hard to put to words. The weight is lifted off your shoulder. And as your story continues to shift, your confidence continues to grow. This feeling becomes a stored memory you can tap back into any time you need the extra motivation or a reminder of your why. You now hold a personal play-by-play of how you turned lemons into lockdown lemonade. Never will you not know what it means to be brave and forge ahead. You know your ability to love yourself so much nothing can stop your Pheonix from rising. You know not only do you deserve to dream, but your dreams deserve to you, too.

This is your life. These are your lessons. What you decide to do with what you learn is up to you. But please, do me a favor. Please give yourself permission, to give yourself permission, to live your most authentic life. Imagine the unimaginable. Speak your truth. Follow your bliss. And most importantly, practice gratitude. To be grateful is the greatest gift we can offer to honor the journey we call, life.

Let’s Make Lemonade, Together. 

Are you ready to shift your story and shift your life? Do you want support during the journey of discovering your silver lining? This is where I offer you an opportunity to allow me to help you.  If you crave a connected conversation or want guidance connecting with yourself, I‘m here to help. For some the shift happens, fast. For others, it’s more complicated and takes more time. There is no right or wrong and the Universe doesn’t choose favorites. As long as you are open, you will experience a positive change.

Due to the extreme circumstances of COVID, I recognize many of you are in a space where a little support can go a long way. For this, I’m extending a special opportunity for us to connect for 30 or 60 minutes, discussing whatever you wish. Whether you want to turn lemons into lemonade or simply want a genuine, connected conversation about life, you’ll receive my intuitive guidance, optimistic attitude, and enthusiasm for what I know to be true, for you. Consider me your on-call cheerleader and therapist all rolled into one!

Connection Sessions are via Zoom and… only $1 per minute! During our call, you can decide to add more time to our connection.

Treat yourself to a massage for your heart and soul and schedule a time for us to talk, HERE!

You are not alone. We are in this together.
Thank you for being you and most importantly, thank you for showing up, for you.

Cheers To The Journey,
Carlyn

Social Distancing on a Sunny Afternoon in St. Pete!